Tuesday, September 30, 2008

random thing #1

i derive an inordinately enormous pleasure from finishing off bottles of things, and tossing them out (yeah, yeah, rinsing and recycling them--that's part of the fun) before welcoming the lovely, chock full replacement. having a variety of things open that serve the same function bothers me. this goes for hot sauce, lotion and especially shampoo.

i have always felt this way and knew i was crazy. then i read a feng shui book that told me that I'M RIGHT. it called those almost empty bottles lined up 'dead soldiers'. vindication. i love feng shui.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

good bye to a fine human

sad news that paul newman has passed away. kudos to an amazing human being. the acting. the salad dressing. the $175 million to charity.

i had the chance to speak service oriented sentences to newman throughout my years of catering at the myriad of charity fund raising events we catered specifically for his camps for kids with terminal illness. like willie nelson, he was one of my favorite celebrities to serve--so gracious, kind and down to earth.

recently, mieke and ezra came to me with ideas for their wedding ceremony. we ended up adapting parts of the beautifully inspiring ceremony that joined him and his wife of 50 years, joanne woodward. a great marriage to follow. he also said in referrence to the temptation to stray from her: "I have steak at home, why go out for hamburger?"images not by kitty joe ste-marie

Friday, September 26, 2008

with all due respect

maria: "what class did you just come from?"

me: "photographic self portrait. wouldn't be my first choice, but at this point, i'm getting near the end of the list of photography offerings. plus, it's a teacher i've had before and love. i'd take his class even if it was only about....(thinking hard to come up with something ridiculously off-putting)....standing around staring at holes in the ground full of shit.

maria: "my dad teaches that class."

me: "oh, right--archeology!"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

the markers of identity

homework due today: photograph someone else as you.

what an interesting assignment! i was immediately excited by it--an unusual reaction to an assignment. my usual internal response to homework, specifically in photography classes is dread. lame, i know. what does this say about me as a photographer? answer: i'm terrified of living up to others' expectations. what do i do?!

with this one, though, i knew just what to do. emre. my lover as me. simple. on the couch.

then i reconsidered. it seemed like a cheap shot. dress a man in drag. well, i'd use a woman if she were my lover, but a man is what i got.

i felt lazy though, imagining the hyper-creativity and uber-impressive technique twists my classmates would employ to approach this assignment. but then i scolded myself for judging by comparison, just as i would discourage a friend in doing. sure, it's great to be inspired by others, but to abandon my very clear inspiration out of a feeling of inadequacy just wouldn't do. let me be inadequate, but let me be myself.

am i just making excuses? regardless, i was excited. as i said, such an interesting assignment. i was forced to distill my own identity markers. at least superficially, physically, what represents me? i discovered that these physical markers are not necessarily strictly superficial. even if you shop only at old navy, it still says something about your personality. these are conscious choices--expressions--i should say.

so i started out by giving my long red wig a haircut. this wig is leftover from my highly successful jessica rabbit costume, and has been used so many times by myself and others that it's a knotty mess anyway. no great sacrifice.

selected a nice vintage dress of the kind that stocks nearly half of my closet. a trademark since my teen years.

over-accessorized with jewelry because with me, more is always more.

a touch of make up.red toenail polish. my hands may always be a ragged mess, but you'll find my toes often brightly painted.

the toe ring--a necessity. a nerdy little detail (thanks for noticing, kim!) back in 1995, when i worked at a metaphysical bookstore in good ol' nor-cal, a roaming silver salesman pulled up to my counter with his giant suitcase of glitter and gave me a silver toe ring. i put it on right there in the store and for thirteen years it's never left my toe.

the tattoo is a jackpot. a gorgeous marker. i was amazed at how decently i was able to render it, considering i can't draw to save my life.

the mug? a nod to both my huge desire to sitck my nose in everyone's business in the name of help, as well as my stubbornness and sometimes cocky (!) self-confidence. i admit that i am a strange mix of self confidence and insecurity.

so all of these 'me' details populate the couch where i write, where i read, where i slouch with my laptop. they populate my 'other half'. emre was surprisingly co-operative, as i attempted to costume him in dress after dress and necklace after necklace that wouldn't nearly fit around half of him. he's not the skinny emo-looking guy i met 5 years ago. he only softly mentioned, "you know, i've never done this..." what? imitate your insane, camera-wielding girlfriend? not surprised. no complaints though.
oh. except the wig. the wig! when i put it on him, its synthetic red strands combined with the aggressively, well, aggressive, beard and muscly body shoved into a polyester sheath to look abso-frikin-loutely hideously disgusting! like the most amateur drag queen. like the most pathetic bearded freak show lady (no offense to freak show ladies--surely you all look better than emre did with this wig on).

the wig was bumming me out about the whole project. and emre too.
"it itches! can i take it off while you draw the tattoo?"

okay. okay. already he was agreeably listening to my indie rock whatever i listen to that he hates, to 'channel kitty'. a pretty effective way to force your boyfriend with polar opposite taste in music to listen to yours, by the way. try it sometime. it garnered even less complaints than my old standby--the 'driver always controls the music in the car'. note: this one only works when your boyfriend (like mine) grew up in the city, therefore does not have a drivers license.

so the wig came off. temporarily. and when it did, emre pointed out, "i look more like you without the wig. i mean, we have the same haircut..." true. and really (hopefully), i don't look too much like the drag queen he was conjuring up. so the wig stayed off.
and aha! i decided to use the wig in the shoot anyway. t his was the eureka moment. i would let the wig fall onto the couch below his head area, like i was discarding my red hair, my feminitity. it wasn't emre channelling me, it was me channeling my masculine side, pulling off the mask of kitty....

do you see where i'm going with this? it was the twist i felt i was missing.

and after the tattoo drawing and the extensive coaching of positioning....(can you close your legs? and let me see the tattoo. but not like you're displaying it. oops, and can i see the lettering on the mug, where did the mug go? oh, and foot down so i can see the toe ring. wait, can you close your legs again?)....i forgot about the damn wig. i remembered it when emre was back in his normal clothes and i was wiping the tattoo off with rubbing alcohol. and i imagined the last three hours all for not.and i thought: well, maybe i don't need a twist.and finally, me, the day before, practicing. emre is far more glamorous than me. and prussia? yeah, she refused to pose with emre. she wasn't fooled by the dress. and by the way, this purple dress didn't wrap around half of emre's torso...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

what's wrong with this picture?

okay, i don't want to hear about my dress being out focus or the strange composition that includes no head. there is something truly fishy about this image, one of tomorrow's homework shots for my self-portrait class. can you guess what it is?

have at it. really. in the comment section. give it your best shot.

i'll wait right here.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

sunday morning therapy session--issues with ME

i thought i'd leave that last post up for a few days, what, with being super busy and the fact that no one looks at my blog on weekends anyway. but the problem is, it's freaking me out to keep seeing myself like that when i pull up my blog. then why do i keep pulling up my blog? why, of course to read your lovely comments on posts new and old.

compounding this creeped out feeling is continuing to scroll down and feel my eyes roll back and the involuntary 'ugh' escape. god! it's all about me. how boring! but these are classic blog issues. that's what a blog is. a journal. online. for all to read. sometimes i think i'm crazy for doing this, and sometimes i get to bored of hearing myself prattle on....
but, eh, may as well give all those people who hate me for being such a narcissist something to really make them sick.

and also, when i post too much about other people, you guys get annoyed.

well, buckle up your seat belts because like it or not, the only hands on photo class i haven't yet conquered being offered this semester is 'the photographic self-portrait' and you'll surely be seeing my assignments. so deal with it (i may just be talking to myself here--jeez, what, is this all about me?)

Friday, September 19, 2008

a rare moment when kitty joe is rendered speechless (you missed it)

behold, an artifact from one of the most surreal and touching moments of my life. this wee little painting was gifted to me by my dear friend jenilee of the amazing painting fame, and her friend nikki--also an amazing painter. we had just sat on the typically gorgeous and verdant front porch of her beautiful and affordable portland victorian sipping prosecco and marveling that actually, though we were so familiar with each other through jeni's stories and photos, we'd never really met. this fact was made all the stranger and more unbelievable when i was handed a gift wrapped parcel containing the above palm-sized painting.

first i stared at it--totally confused. who is this person who looks like me. it's me? but i'm in a painting! i'm not in paintings! but those are my earrings! i felt like aristocracy, bohemia all at once. but wait, is that really me? but we just went over the fact that we'd only just met.

ah, but a couple years prior i did sit on another verdant and beautiful portland porch with nikki's husband sean, also a talented painter and photographer, who did snap the photo version of this image and pass it on to nikki when she was looking for new faces to paint. and just like that, i'm a queen. a speechless queen with tears in her eyes.

see (and buy, commission to see yourself as bohemian royalty?) nikki's work here.

Monday, September 15, 2008

i finally made it to nyu.

i go to the new school. it used to be called 'new school university' but a year or so ago, the powers that be met with a pr agency and decided that in addition to 'jazzing up' their logo, they also need to completely change the name of the whole place so as to encompass the many disparate parts under its orange umbrella.

see, the new school isn't really new, as the name would imply. it was founded in the 1920's by two renegade professors at columbia university who wanted to actually teach the material they were researching in their fields. columbia rejected them, insisting they stick to the usual, so they moved downtown where it's hipper (hipper? did i really say that?) and birthed the new school for social research.

and it grew.

after world war 2, the new school once again trail blazed, being the first university to offer continuing education courses for newly minted adults returning from war with a world of experience--so they didn't have to take classes with the pipsqueaks straight out of high school. now there's euguene lang--the undergraduate division, mannes school of music, and the oh-so prestigious parsons school of design.

a pretty cool place, it turns out.

yet still. still. when people ask me, where do you go to school? they reply, "oh, you mean nyu?" no, not nyu. nyu is our neighbor. nyu is the second largest landowner in new york city (after the catholic church). nyu is where the well to do kids supported by their parents go to school. i do not go to nyu. and i do not feel inferior. i go to the new school. or the new school university.

but things are changing around here (you're lucky i didn't have a blog three years ago--you would have heard some ranting...) and apparently the new school wants to be more like nyu. hence, the rainforest-scale slashing of the art department to accomodate more liberal arts curriculum. hence the re-design of the logo. but a logo wasn't enough--so ultra hip and urban that it is (um)--the powers that be didn't stop there. now, as i may or may not have conceded, i understand the need to update the name, i guess. it's not like i'm conducting social research. but really? this is the best they could do? a university? A UNIVERSITY?! they probably paid the million dollars i've given them toward my degree to come up with this doozy.

nyu, be very afraid. A UNIVERSITY is knocking on your door. i won't say which one. it should just be enough to say A UNIVERSITY. if we had a mascot, it's tail would be between its legs.

okay, but it turns out i had absolutely no intention of reading my school for filth. just got a little sidetracked. what i was going to say was, i finally made it to nyu. (their local, online newspaper, that is).

Thursday, September 11, 2008

i wrote this seven years ago

i guess now is as good a day as any to share this with you.
you'll need to click on each image to read...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


first assignment for my photographic self portrait class.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

primping, brooklyn style

ever had somewhere you really cared about going—like, say—a book launch where you’d first see your name published? say that you’ve even chosen just the right dress to wear--and not merely because it’s the only clean thing in your closet. okay, so maybe it is, but nevertheless, can we just drop the laundry issue already?
and then a few days prior to said exciting event, the landlord leaves this note taped to every surface in the building resembling a wall.

you recognize the date as an important one, a day you could probably benefit from the use of some hot water, but shrug. so what. you’ve been taking cold showers all summer anyway.
and then the day comes and you're all discombobulated anyway. instead of being pedicures and peace you're all hot, schleppy, sweaty and running late. that cold shower starts sounding pretty good.
except when you turn on the tub to full blast cold, this is the amount of water coming out.

again, don't hassle me about my dirty tub.

you wait for the pipe to bring forth your fountain of youth but the only thing coming is a hollow gurgling sound, kind of like a hoarse donkey (not like a horse-donkey, which, i guess, would be a mule...)

so you wash your hair under this trickle because you still smell like woodsmoke and marshmallows from the weekend camping trip. as you employ your yoga practice to maneuver yourself under the spitting faucet, all the while adding interesting bruises to your collection, your frazzled mind busies itself crossing errands off your list to compensate for the time-sucking shower olympics.

but you may as well have left the hair dirty because once you're done haphazardly loading it up with bizarre products you don't really know how to use in an attempt to 'style' your newly cropped red mane you just come out looking like sharon osbourne. more shrugs. what are you gonna do?

as you initially expected, none of it matters anyway, because at above mentioned party, you're far too busy meeting nice people and laughing at the awesome and beautifully put together book you're so proud to be a part of.
the end.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

bathroom stall grafitti

'jesus died for your sins'.

question: would jesus approve of your pathetic bic pen defacing of the lovely toilet stall HE created? come on now.