Friday, June 13th, 2008
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A few months ago, Andrew Garrison saw my post about Project Row House and sent me a copy of the documentary he directed called Third Ward TX. This is a project that is so genius and moving to me; I’ve been following its progress for years. If you’d like to catch up, you really need to screen this film. I’ve dreaded and thus procrastinated writing this review for months because I know that words can’t do it justice. The last time I was moved to tears by a project or an exhibit was Gee’s Bend Quilts. It doesn’t happen often to this old cynic!
In 1993, Rick Lowe founded Project Row House. He was struck by how much the dilapidated shotgun shacks in the city of Houston reminded him of John Biggers’ paintings. He calls the shotgun shack “a humble abode and a temple.” As Lowe and a group of artists renovated the homes, they created a community where artists-in-residence would come stay and exhibit. Thus, the artists engaged the community and brought attention to a place that had been abandoned by many. Once a neighborhood with a small town feel, the area had fallen on hard times.
The first major result of PRH was eight exhibition houses housing two different artist per year, with exhibitions and exhibitions in progress showing for six months a year. The doors are open for people to walk through. Exhibits range from portraits to this 2001 Walter Hood installation:
After reaching this success, Lowe realized it was only the tip of the iceberg in helping the community. Thus, The Young Mothers in Residency Program was born. Single mothers were able to live in housing that is part of the project, and they are aided by mentor moms. They live rent free for two years while completing educations. These families become part of a thriving community. The amount of dignity this effort brings to people seems too powerful to describe. Read the rest of this entry »
Monday, June 2nd, 2008
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Sorry this post is so late.Â I had so much to tell you from the weekend break that I lost track of time today!Â How was everyone’s weekend? Mine was mixed – on the sad news front, my iPod bit the dust. It is so outdated that it’s hard to even find on the website – it looks like an antique compared to all of the new ones!
â€¢On happier notes, Sex and the City is worth the price of admission just for the fashion. What did you all think of
(SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT: DON’T READ THE NEXT FEW PARAGRAPH IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT YET AND WANT IT ALL TO BE FRESH)
Carrie’s apartment makeover? It seemed like good Apartment Therapy philosophy to me – clearing out Aidan’s heavy chair (it was literally weighing down the room), getting some bright new color and prints (I loved the blue), getting rid of the wedding gifts, clearing out so many books and magazines (something I am completely unable to do), arranging all the artwork on the walls instead of leaning it up against the walls. I also enjoyed all of Patricia Fields’ color combos on the clothes – the raspberry pink and red; red and purple; taxicab yellow, black, and white, et. al.
OK SPOILER OVER!
â€¢I’d like to thank my blogger pal Holly over at decor8 for inviting me to dish about design reality television shows. A few of them are gearing up to start this month, like Design Star and Top Design. Holly let me introduce myself to her readers by introducing my block in the Virginia-Highland neighborhood in the city of Atlanta. After journeying out to the ‘burbs for the flick last night, I appreciate my ‘hood all the more!
â€¢Thanks to my neighbor Lily for inviting me over to see her amazing home. Lily saw the blog post I wrote and invited me to come see the inside. I cannot wait, and I’ll be sure to share the experience with you here as soon as I do!
â€¢Thanks to commenter Charlie for giving me the heads up on another fire station renovation (the first post on this topic is here). Engine No. 44 Firehouse is completely renovated and available for the low-low price of $6,375,000. This was one of, if not the first, fire station renovations, originally bought and used in 1959 by an artist couple. Built in 1910, the firehouse included a stable for the horses that pulled their fire wagon. Check out all the photos of this remarkable property here. Read the rest of this entry »
Tuesday, March 11th, 2008
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So I finally got around to watching Gone Baby Gone last night. Great flick – I was especially amazed to see sweet little Beedie from The Wire playing a drug mule neglectful mother – I almost did not recognize Amy Ryan in that part – she was amazing. Obviously, there is perhaps one other fan of The Wire out there besides me, as Omar Little was cast as a police drug detective. Oh wait, duh, that connection would be Dennis Lehane, author of the book and writer for The Wire. Anyway, I am currently mourning the end of The Wire, but the last episode was perhaps one of the most excellent ever, so that is going to tide me over for awhile. Anyway, directing this movie is the best thing Ben Affleck has done since the SNL skit where he wants to ask Anna Nicole Smith to be his mom. The best thing since was with Jimmy Kimmel.
Back to the point:Â This cinematic view of Boston in Gone Baby Gone was so familiar. It’s been done to death lately – the parts around Boston where everything is gray, from the shingles on the houses to the sky to the skin color of the tired and jaded characters. Whether it be Southie, Chelsea, Charlestown or Dorchester, movies like Mystic River (to be fair, this is also a Dennis Lehane adaptation), The Departed, Good Will Hunting and now Gone Baby Gone all seem to spotlight the same exact view of the city. Were they all filmed on this street we see to the left?Â I call it “Code of Silence Avenue.”Â We never see nor hear about the yuppie takeover of Southie or the mega-expensive Shipyard of Charlestown. Even Dorchester has experienced gentrification in the past decade. Instead we see the same old IrishÂ dive bars full of depressing characters (some get the accent right, some completely butcher it into some pseudo-JFK accent mixed with a New York accent), asbestos-shingled three family houses and Code of Silence AvenueÂ in all of these films. The only other views we ever see of the near-Boston area are across the river in Cambridge, when painfully lame movies like Soul Man or With Honors pretend to film at Harvard. Last I heard, the Harvard campus does not allow filming, so the only authentic view we ever see is of it the usual aerial one before they zoom in on Elle Woods sitting under a tree next to a fake dorm that is not in Harvard Yard.
Here’s the requisite depressing as hell brown and yuck Boston movie apartment.Â Have you really ever seen two such heroic, young and good-looking people living with cabinets and wallpaper like that?Â I don’t think so:
I’m rambling. My question is, when was the last time we saw picturesque Boston Proper in cinema?Â I can’t think of the last time I saw The South End, The North End, the Financial District, Back Bay, Rowe’s Wharf, Comm. Ave., et. al. in a movie. Can anyone remember a film that highlights the rest of Boston and not the surrounding depressing areas? Cambridge doesn’t count, that’s its own city. Please leave your answers in the comments and let me know!
Friday, October 12th, 2007
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Does this house seem familiar?
How about now?
Or now? Read the rest of this entry »