You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Art’ category.

I made this today. That is all. (For key to proofreading marks, visit the Chicago Manual of Style.)

 

I keep in touch with my grandparents mostly through writing letters, something I eminently enjoy and feel has fallen too much to the wayside in modern society’s hustle and bustle of a harried existence. In his latest letter—written in the most beautiful and meticulous penmanship that is his hallmark—my grandpa wrote a paragraph that was exactly what I needed to read:

Detail from Grandpa's painting

Detail from one of my
grandpa’s paintings

Glad to hear that you are finding time for personal writing. Keep it up—remember you have something to say to all of us and we need to hear. We write, we paint for different reasons at different times. Most of my painting is illustration, no big story, but I like boats and I want to paint them. Sometimes I try to tell a story—put some meaning into the picture. Sometimes I almost succeed.

That’s from Bill Atcheson, painter and my grandpa. I feel like there’s so much I want to tease out of this paragraph—about the importance of expression, about the ways that the things that are vital to us change but remain vital, about the need to try despite obstacles and challenges—but for right now, I am just going to dwell in his words and let them speak for themselves. And I’m gonna go write!

Reverend Billy and the Life After Shopping Gospel Choir

Reverend Billy and the Life After Shopping Gospel Choir

Do you feel like the addiction to stuff—buying stuff, owning stuff, wanting stuff—is too much? Sick of being a customer, a consumer, and want to just connect like a simple human being? Feel like ever-creeping consumerism is going to bring on the shopocalypse? Well, Reverend Billy and the Life After Shopping gospel choir—a group of creative and enthusiastic performance artist-activists—are right there with you. Back in December, a friend and I attended a Shopocalypse Revival performance at the always awesome Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy, New York. Check out two video pieces from the service: Shopocalypse and Beatitudes of Buylessness. These people are fun, they’re talented, they’re hilarious, and they’ve got a really serious point or two. If you can’t catch them live, you can find out more about them and what they’ve got to say in the documentary What Would Jesus Buy?—one of my favorite lines: “Are you people or are you sheeple?” In the words of Reverend Billy, “Peaceallujah!”

A few weeks ago, I was handed the opportunity for a last-minute adventure. A friend who had planned a weekend getaway to see WaterFire in Providence decided that she couldn’t go and offered me her fancy hotel reservation for free. So, off went Angela and I to Rhode Island.
Free 4-Star Hotel Room

Free 4-Star Hotel Room

Our schmancy hotel was downtown, right across the street from the capitol building. How schmancy was it? There was valet parking. The front desk staffperson that checked me in had the title of “choreographer.” And the pillows on the comfy beds were huge.

A ring of fire next to the Providence capitol building.

A ring of fire next to the Providence capitol building.

The whole reason we were there, though, was WaterFire. A sculpture installation on three of Providence’s downtown rivers, WaterFire is made up of a series of 100 small bonfires that float like buoys on the meandering rivers. It’s magical—the intoxicating smell of burning wood, the sound of (dramatic) international music piped along the walkways, and most of all the sight of two mesmerizing elements (mesmerizing enough on their own, even more so in their fanciful dance).

Line of Fire

Line of Fire

I don’t know about you, but I could stare at a bonfire for hours and stare at moving water for hours, so the combination was enchanting. (It would have been more so if there weren’t hundreds of people milling about, of course, but such is the reality of WaterFire.)

Pretty lady with a flower.

Pretty lady with a flower.

Throughout the night, people were taking gondola rides down the river, and as Angela and I stopped under one of the bridges lit by old oil lamps, a gondola passed and its guide threw a flower to us. Some of the charm wore off once we read the paper tag that accompanied it—”WaterFire is sponsored by [insert the name of some corporate entity that I can’t remember].”—but still, it’s not everyday that you get a flower thrown at you from a passing gondola.

Fire and Water

Fire and Water

In order to keep the multitude of fires burning throughout the night, there is a firetender boat winding its way along the rivers. Staffed by five or six people dressed in black, the boat is full of chopped wood ready to feed the fires. There was something about the sight of the firetending that seemed ancient, primal, ritual.

Firetender Boat

Firetender Boat

Classic arms-length view of Angela and me.

Classic arms-length view of Angela and me.

So, it was a delightful random adventure. I had first heard about WaterFire from my friend Maureen, a talented photographer whose photos of the phenomenon do the magic of it much more justice. But I leave you with my best shot at capturing a bit of it:

Water and Fire

Water and Fire

What’s Going On Here?

Partly It's the Boots is ever-evolving (just like me)—opinions, wonderings, projects, freewrites, fascinations, adventures, and the like. Not to mention current events, feminist perspectives, lefty politics, LGBTQ equality, and much more.

Find out more about me and this place you find yourself.

Enter your e-mail address to subscribe to Partly It's the Boots and receive notifications of new posts by e-mail.

Join 31 other followers

Tiny House, Big Community

Help me build my dream tiny house!

No idea what I'm talking about? Find out more!

Donate to my Tiny House Fund.

Tweet Tweet

wordpress stat
%d bloggers like this: