Call to Arms

November 30, 2008

Hello all,
The Peter Coffin Studio and The Suburban Gallery, Chicago are working on a project called; “How to Sneak into Art Museums Without Paying”. We’d like you to share any techniques you have acquired through your life/work experience to submit to this project. These instructions (of “How to…”) from you should be hand drawn and scanned to reproduced in a booklet/zine that will be distributed for an exhibition at the Suburban and to participants.
These illustrated techniques should actually work and must be relatively current. The instructions you provide should not require doctored documents such as fake passes etc or fake uniforms/badges and should be relatively easy to understand so that someone on the street can enter without paying using the instructions you submit.
If you would like to submit a plan, please hand draw it on 8 1/2 x 11 white paper in black pen/or pencli and scan in on gray scale @ 200 DPI and send to;
Include your name/pseudonym separate from the drawing in the email, to be included in the credits of the booklet. All accepted participants will of course receive a copy of the booklet/zine. And remember to include in the drawing the museum’s name and city.
These are plans that should actually work so stick to keeping them as clear as possible….including street entrances, descriptive markers or “what to say to a guard”… anything to make the drawing effective. I have included a sample of a plan to sneak into the KW museum in Berlin to show generally what we are looking for. Feel free to forward this to any sneaky pals you know anywhere, especially outside the US as this is for any major museum/institution across the globe.

Peony In Love

by Lisa See


review written by Naomi Henderson

Since I have had no disposable income for some time now, I have to rely on friends and family to lend me books. The latest bundle of books came from my mother, who has been reading obsessively about various Asian cultures, most notably the Chinese. After spending three months there last year, she still “doesn’t get the Chinese,” and hopes that reading tons of books about them will shed some light onto the matter. The first book I picked up was called Peony In Love, by Lisa See. It is a historical novel that takes place in a wealthy family villa in 17th century China. The protagonist is a sixteen-year-old girl named Peony, who leads a very sheltered life. She is never allowed out of the villa, and is completely ignorant of the world outside her family’s decadent compound. A turning point comes in her life when her father stages an opera called the Peony Pavillion for a visiting dignitary. This opera is a real part of Chinese culture, and is especially known for it’s erotic content, and constant censorship through the ages. A few years ago, a troup from China performed the opera at the Metropolitan in New York, and they included various censored scenes. This inspired the Chinese government to try to shut down the production, deeming the scenes “politically inapropriate.” The opera also has the reputation of inspiring Chinese girls into such a state of lovesickness, that they starve themselves to death. Needless to say, Peony shares this fate after she secretly meets a young man in the garden during the opera. She is already engaged, and knows she will never see her lover again. She is so distraught that she refuses to eat, and eventually passes away.
In the next phase of the story we follow Peony in her life as a ghost. The author takes into account all the traditional Chinese beliefs in the afterlife, which are very strange and exotic to the eyes of a westerner. For example, upon death, her soul divided into three parts; one stays with her body to be buried, another travels to the afterlife where it is judged, and the third enters her ancestor tablet in her family’s ancestor shrine. In the story, the last part of the ceremony is never carried out, and Peony is forced to travel the world as a “hungry ghost.” In Chinese belief, the deceased are given many material goods to take with them in the afterlife. Like humans on earth, they will need clothes, money and food. A hungry ghost is one who has not been properly buried, and has no access to these vital gifts. Peony’s clothes eventually fade and tear, and she is always ravenously hungry. Despite these hardships, Peony gets to see the outside world for the first time. She travels to the countryside, and rides on the pleasure boat of a group of women writers. She looks after her lover, and watches as he marries another woman. Peony is forever manipulating their lives, and often believes that her destructive ways are beneficial. After many tradgedies, Peony learns how to be a helpful ghost, and eventually she gains her rightful place in her family’s ancestor shrine.
I found this book very interesting in that it teaches you about a distant culture and a foriegn belief system in the guise of a love story. In Chinese belief, for example a woman who dies while she is pregnant, goes to a hell called the Fiery Lake. She is damned for “not allowing'” her unborn children to live. The book also describes various superstitions connected with the dead, such as hanging mirrors to keep evil spirits away. This book would be enjoyable to anyone who is interested in anthropolgy and history. I think my mom made a good selection with this book in her search to understand the Chinese. It certainly gave me a glimpse into a culture I know almost nothing about.

Posted by Nick Sarno




This comes from Ask the Librarians at I just realized that trying to summarize this would take just as long as the actual piece, so I’m going to be lazy and cut and paste. But I don’t want you to be lazy…when you’re done, click on the link above, where you’ll find many more interesting factoids like this:

Q. Is it true that at some point in the seventies, Goings On About Town used the listings for The Fantasticks to serialize James Joyce’s Ulysses?

Jon writes: Yes. The New Yorker began serializing Ulysses in the November 23, 1968 listing for The Fantasticks, which famously ran for 17,162 performances, or nearly 42 years. That issue quoted the copyright information from the third printing of the novel (London, Egoist Press). The book’s opening words-“Stately plump Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed”-appeared in the Dec. 21, 1968, issue. The serialization lasted almost three years, ending in November of 1971, and encompassed the entirety of the book’s first chapter. By the end, Ulysses had spread to the listings for other long-running musicals such as Hello, Dolly!, and Fiddler on the Roof. For about six months prior to serializing Joyce’s novel, the magazine had filled the Fantasticks listing with geometry (“The sum of the squares of the two other sides”), grammar (” ‘I’ before ‘e,’ but not after ‘c’ “), instructions for doing your taxes (“If payments [line 21] are less than tax [line 16], enter Balance Due”), and other nonsense.

In 1970, New Yorker editor Gardner Botsford explained to Time magazine that he began the serialization of Ulysses because he got bored writing the same straight capsule reviews week after week. Asked about reader response to the serialization, Botsford observed, “Many are delighted they can identify the excerpts, but others think we are trying to communicate with the Russian herring fleet in code.”

Time noted that Botsford might have been inspired by one of The New Yorker’s own writers. Robert Benchley handled theatre listings for the original Life magazine in the twenties, and once wrote of the long-running Abie’s Irish Rose: “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.”


(P.S. I’m sorry about that image above. It was a good idea, but would have taken hours to to well. I hope neither James Joyce nor The New Yorker is too, too offended.)

Isaiah Dufort at The Parlor Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008 to
read his plays Plastic and King of the Pirates.
The reading will begin at 7pm.
   Isaiah Dufort is a San Francisco based playwright and
screenwriter. His plays include Absolute Pure Happiness,
produced by Three Wise Monkeys Theater Company in San
Francisco, and The Pheasant, winner of The Little Theater
of Alexandria 2007 National One-Act Competition.

His films include Silent Anna, directed by Max Sokoloff, 
and Tests I Love to Take, directed by Ronald Chase. Isaiah 
is the assistant director of the San Francisco Art & Film 
Program, an arts education non-profit making the arts 
accessible to students. He is also the screenwriting mentor 
for the SF Art & Film's Film Workshop, and the 2008/2009 
playwright-in-residence for the School of the Arts High 
School. With his spare time, he contributes to the 2xHR 
art society.

The Parlor is a monthly reading series, hosted by Chicago's 
Green Lantern and sponsored by Bad At Sports Podcast. For 
more information check out

And BIG THANKS to all of you for participating or coming 
out to the annual fundraiser last weekend. The evening was 
a huge success -
       Happy Turkey Days

An explanation of maps

November 29, 2008

by sarahs


see sarahs’ word-map experiments at


November 29, 2008

by sarahs


see more of sarahs’ word-map experiments at

for an explanation of maps, wait 2 hours.


(posted by Lily)

The flight pattern of books

November 29, 2008

Posted by Nick Sarno


There is a little corner in North Beach that has been under construction for the past couple of months. Every time I cross the street there, I have to wait for the construction workers to wave me through. And when they do, I have to hurry along because the mini bulldozer revs its engines just a few inches from my arm. I just assumed they were extending the pavement to widen the sidewalk. They weren’t. They were doing this:



The piece, by Brian Goggin and Dorka Keehn, is made up of twenty-three illuminated white polycarbonate book suspended in midair. Etched into the concrete below are words that appear to have fallen from their pages, and all of the text is taken from San Francisco (specifically North Beach) authors, spanning the past 150 years. 


The full story is at



turkey carcass burlesque

November 28, 2008


by Lily and Cathy

Chalk Shadows

November 28, 2008

Posted by Nick Sarno


One evening Paulina and I were walking back to our apartment in the West Village. I don’t know from where we were coming, but chances are we were walking home from work, and chances are we were tired. We crossed Hudson and walked by Saint Luke in the Fields, the small church just around the corner from our place, and we both stopped and looked at the ground. 


I was confused. Not in a specific way–I could just feel my mind trying to process what my eyes were seeing. There was a light over the door of the church which cast a shadow of the wrought iron gate to the sidewalk. The shadow was glowing, outlined in electric blue, and it seemed to hover a few inches from the pavement. I had a vague flashback to any number of times in college when whatever it was I had just taken had kicked in, the moment when my surroundings would flatten out and separate and everything seemed new and strange. I shook the feeling and stepped a little closer. 


Someone had traced the shadow in bright blue chalk. The outline was very precise and must have taken whoever did it a very long time. It was so simple, and yet it created a very powerful effect, a kind of optical illusion. As soon as I realized what it was the illusion ended and the shadow fell back to the sidewalk where it was supposed to be. 


It was very simple, but it did what art is supposed to do. It made me stop and look. It made me shut up for a moment and it made me talk afterwards. It made me notice something I’d never noticed before and I’ve taken that with me, on a good day seeing this or that shadow in a way I wouldn’t have previously. Mostly, though, it made the world seem new and beautiful and strange. It lasted only for a few seconds, but those seconds meant a lot, especially after coming home to a cramped apartment after a long day of work.


I felt that way a little bit yesterday, too, when I stumbled across this image online:




There are other images here. And the artist, Michael Neff, has a website as well.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving from the Green Lantern!