May 31, 2009

posted by caroline picard

Posted by Nick Sarno


The other day I typed “reading books is stupid” into google. I don’t know why. I must have thought reading books was stupid at the time. One of the first results was this exchange at Yahoo! Answers (go here to read the full exchange):


Dont you think reading books is stupid?

such as fiction.

people say it makes you smarter, and i ask how?

they say it increases your imagination and helps you think outside the box, and i argue 2 strong points:

math and science will only benefit us (mankind) because once your dead your pointless knowledge of those pointless books will die too.

sure, it might make your imagination better and help you think outside the box, but you can do that through other useful ways like math, science, and chess.

 i also hate it when people act as if they’re smarter than you because they read more than you do.

for example:

“so… so you read?”

“no, i think its pointless”

and then they wouldnt talk to you and theyd probably gossip behind your back

give me your feedback on this




Katherine H: No! I do not think reading is stupid! I know that someday everyone dies and that their knowledge goes with them, but if not for literature all would be lost and we wouldn’t know what the Greeks thought of the moon and the planets they discovered. We also wouldn’t know that the Mayans existed and we wouldn’t be able to read the works of Plutarch ( I think that’s how you spell his name, sorry to the others out there who care about literature if it’s not spelled correctly). Also if we didn’t read of write you couldn’t complain about reading and I wouldn’t have ever read your question to answer it. Also if there wasn’t books math couldn’t be recorded science couldn’t be written about. Also with math and science the Mayans couldn’t have written about how the world will end December 20, 2012, Lastly science and math couldn’t exist successfully if we couldn’t write and record our findings. So give it some thought and really think about weather or not reading is pointless.


Ellie R: There’s no need to be so mad at the world of literature. Reading fiction can help with your vocabulary and is it also something that can be used as a topic of conversation an common hobby for friends (just like chess and whatever else). It’s just a hobby for some people and a bore for others but that doesn’t mean it’s stupid it just means it’s not for everyone.


kl33t: You’re very ignorant. They are smarter than you because they read..It doesn’t matter if a book is fiction or not, you will still learn something from it. Not only does reading increase your imagination, but also your vocabulary and your grammar. You think outside the box and use your imagination WAY more in reading a fiction book.. I’ve never used imagination while doing a math or science problem. Everything goes away after you die, sir. So, why are you even alive if this is how you’re thinking? It will all go away one day.. why do school, why have friends, why have a family? IT WILL ALL BE GONE ONE DAY. Not like you would know any of that, because you obviously won’t take the time to read a book, because you would enjoy it, and recognize the benefits of it.

Street Art

May 29, 2009

posted by Kaitlyn Miller


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Ray Noland

Everyday I pass by this image of former Illinois governor, Rod Blagovich dressed in his black tracksuit in mid-run on Ashland Ave, just around the corner from my apartment. Besides appreciating its hilarity, I haven’t thought much about it or its creator until Newcity’s recent article about the artist responsible, Ray Noland.

The article explained Noland’s emergence as a known artist around the streets of Chicago from easily recognizable images of Obama during his election. His iconic images have caught my eye over the year without even knowing who he was. Noland is an artist that I respect and enjoy for his political stances and for his sense of humor.

Another Excerpt

May 29, 2009

posted by caroline picard


portrait the plunk
When the car spun out of control the little boy had been sitting in the back seat feeling more grown up than he was accustomed to feeling. He had been looking out of the window with an assumed and speculative air, considering his manner above all else, while imagining simultaneously what thoughts could reinforce his posture. He looked forward to growing up, when, he felt, he might have a natural influence that spanned beyond the current boundaries of his life. He thought he could be a diplomat, imagined the suit he might wear, the man he might look like and the papers he would have to study late at night, papers he’d sign the next day, in order to save countries and distressed impoverished people. He would have a fleet of personal spies. An essential point. When he looked away from the window, he experienced his first bout of adolescent restlessness—that desire to do large things: to influence the world in a way not yet within his childish means. He looked between the seats of his mother and father and through the windshield, on to the road ahead. He saw the car coming toward them. He heard the squeal of breaks. He was not afraid, for he could not conceive of death.
He did not think about an afterlife. Rather he was poised on the crown of the present, more aware and focused than he had ever been before. The seconds before and after impact stretched out, as though time itself was lolling in a pool of sap. The boy found that despite this new medium, his mind was unaffected, moving with smooth rapidity. He watched, a little perplexed, as his mother reached her arm across the passenger seat and pressed it against her husband, many pounds larger than she, as though to keep him pressed in the seat with the force of her will.
The boy heard her arm snap first.
Then he felt the car shudder as his head snapped forward then back.
The right wall of the car bashed in, dashing his mother to the center of the car. Unnatural.
He saw blood.
His father crashed through her arm, into the windshield and bounced, leaving a bright smear of red on the glass, it made a sound, shattered, his father vomited, flecks of waste sprayed over everyone, the boy felt himself thrown forward. The lost all feeling in his body. Calm, still, he heard himself speak in a faraway voice,  “Ne me quitte pas.” He didn’t know why he said that, recalling first and vaguely as though in a dream Billy Holiday’s voice, his mother angry, the dog, the x-box, his father, Christmas, Tiger Woods eating a wheat bread sandwich on a green and perfect golf course where he’d seen it flickering through their dim room living room earlier that same day, the camera zoomed in and focused on the athlete chewing slowly as he looked up at a flag overhead (the camera panned back to follow the golfer’s gaze).
“What’s he doing?” Freddy asked, smelling the Old Spice aftershave of his father mixed with Irish Spring soap, his old man just took a shower as he did after work.
“He’s checking the direction of the wind so he can gauge his shot,” his father said, snugly seated on the leather couch, drinking a can of beer.
They watched Tiger Woods lay the remaining half of a sandwich on the bag of his clubs.
They watched the caddy pick up the remainder, bring the bread to his mouth and slowly, start to chew.
“That damn sandwich is probably the only thing on either of them that’s not endorsed,” his father said.
He forgot about Tiger Woods when he heard his father groan.
The last thing Freddy saw before he lost consciousness: the expression of his dead mother’s face—her hair an instant glaring mess of dyed red blazing in the light of the other car’s headlights, the tongue out of her mouth where it had been bitten through, blood on her chin, he stared at her chest for a moment to see her breath, glanced down to the blood on her pants, a growing stain bloody and virile he looked at her face again, the color drained in an instant, her head unnaturally slumped, hanging midair against the taught seatbelt.
Against a terrible silence.

HD & Freud

May 28, 2009

posted by Caroline Picard

Recently I heard about HD, an author from the early 20th century who, among other things, worked with Freud and then wrote a book about her experience. I thought I’d include some sections from the beginning of that text.

In addition I thought I’d include a little bit of her biography which I found on this site, where you can read its entirety.


H.D., Hilda Doolittle, was born on September 10, 1886, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Her mother a Moravian, and her father an astronomer, she grew up to be what some have called the finest of all Imagist poets. Her accomplishments, though, extended far beyond her early Imagist poems. Her poetry, fiction, and non-fiction writings were published on both sides of the Atlantic, and her roles in a few early films also earned her praise. Most of the awards, including the Gold Medal from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Brandeis and Longview Awards came late in her life, when her poetry had begun to break away from strict Imagism.

Her days in Pennsylvania were spent among her family and extended family. As a young woman she began lifelong friendships with Marianne Moore and Ezra Pound. She met them both before and during her days at Bryn Mawr, but dropped out and found her way to England in 1911. Her romance with Ezra Pound had ended, but he had found his way to Europe before her and he introduced her to London’s literary circles. In London she also met the novelist Richard Aldington, whom she married on October 18, 1913 in the borough of Kensington.

The Imagists held three principles: direct treatment of the subject, allow no word that was not essential to the presentation, and follow the musical phrase rather than strict regularity in their rhythms. They began publishing circa 1908, and H.D.’s first published poems appeared in the journal Poetry in January 1913. (“Hermes of the Ways,” “Orchard,” and “Epigram.”) Throughout her life she had adored all things Greek, and during this time she began to travel throughout Europe, and saw Greece for the first time. Her friends and associates included Ford Madox Ford and Amy Lowell, and her poetry appeared in the English Review, the Transatlantic Review, and the Egoist. And, thanks largely to Amy Lowell, she was introduced to audiences in the United States. She also began turbulent times during which her intense, but non-sexual relationship with D.H. Lawrence began, and her marriage became troubled. (Her novel “Bid Me to Live” is largely about this time.)


A Tribute to Freud

by HD

There were  wide stone steps and a balustrade. Sometimes I met someone else coming down.The stone staircase was curved. There  were two doors on the landing. The one to
the right was the Professor’s professional door; the one to the left, the Freud family door. Apparently, the two apartments had been arranged so that there should be as little confusion as possible between family and patients or students; there was the Professor who belonged to us, there was the  Professor who belonged to the family; it  was a large family with ramifications, in-laws, distant relatives, family friends. There  were other apartments above but I did not  very often pass anyone on the stairs, except  the analysand whose hour preceded mine. My hours or sessions had been arranged  for me, four days a week from five to six;  one day, from twelve to one. At least, that  was the arrangement for the second series of sessions which, I have noted, began the  end of October, 1934.
I said to the Professor, “I always had a feeling of satisfaction, of security when I passed Dr. van der Leeuw on the stairs or saw him in the hall. He seemed so self-sufficient, so poised and you had told me  about his work. I felt all the time that he was the person who would apply, carry on  the torch carry on your ideas, but not in a stereotyped way. I felt that you and your  work and the future of your work were  especially bequeathed to him. Oh, I know  there is the great body of the Psycho-Analytical Association, research workers,  doctors, trained analysts and so on! But Dr.  van der Leeuw was different. I know that  you have felt this very deeply. I came back  to Vienna to tell you how sorry I am.”

The Professor said, “You have come to  take his place.”
I do not think that the name of the  winged messenger, Hermes of the Greeks,  Mercury of the Romans, ever came up in  my talks with the Professor, except once in  a  oundabout way when I had a dream sequence that included a figure from the famous Raphael Donner fountain in the  Marktplatz. This is a very beautiful f ountain with reclining figures of river gods,  two women and two men. My dream was  connected with a young man of my acquaintance in London; his name is not Brooks but his name does suggest streams and rivers so we may call him Brooks. I  connected this young Mr. Brooks with the  figure of the younger of the male river  gods in my dream sequence. It was then  that I said to the Professor that the reclining bronze fountain figure had certain  affinities with the poised Bolognese Mercury. We agreed that the Raphael Dormer  figure was the more attractive and original  of the two, but that if you should raise the  reclining river god and stand him on his  feet, he might faintly resemble the Mer-  curyor in  everse, set the Mercury down  to lean on his elbow and he might almost  take the place of the bronze fountain figure. It was in any case our Professor’s  charming way to fall in with an idea, to  do it justice but not to overstress unimportant details. For this seemed unimportant at the time.

Perhaps it is not very important now. It  is interesting, however, to note in retrospect how the mind hedges away. I connected the Raphael Donner figure, and by  implication the Mercury, with a charming but not very important young London acquaintance, when the actual personable image is there in Vienna and was there had been there reclining on this very  couch, every hour just before my own ses- sion. As I say, I did not consciously think  about Dr. van der Leeuw or weave him  into my reveries. Nor did I think of him as
Mercury, the Messenger of the Gods and  the Leader of the Dead, after he crashed.

He was a stranger. I did not really know  him. We had spoken once in the house at
Dobling, outside Vienna. The Professor waved him across the large, unfamiliar
drawing room. Dr. van der Leeuw bowed,  he addressed me in polite, distinguished German, would the gnadige Frau object  to altering her hour for one day, to-mor-
row? I answered him in English, I would  not mind at all, I would come at 4, he at
5. He thanked me pleasantly in friendly  English, without a trace of accent. That
was the first and last time I spoke to the  Flying Dutchman. We had exchanged

you can read the full text of this book by going here.

posted by Caroline Picard

I found myself procrastinating on the composition of this press release. And yet only yesterday did I recognize the procrastination as such.

Indeed, we’ve made a good long go of it–for four years the Green Lantern has been up and running. While I look forward to it’s 2010 incarnation, I nevertheless think it’s important a) to reflect on what it has done thus far, what it has been and b) mark this point in time. Because after all, apartment galleries open and close and there will be new ones to replace the old and Chicago has an incredible vitality, what I can’t help but attribute the community in which we are all seated. Everyone a torch bearer.

To that point, on Saturday, June 13th, the final day of Jenny Walter’s solo show “In Lieu of Gifts” the Green Lantern will open its doors at 3 pm. We will have two (very small) open grills in the back (bring food if you want to cook it), and a keg.

At 5pm Terri Griffith will read from her forthcoming novel “So Much Better” (Fall 2009, Green Lantern Press);

at 6:30 pm we will read some passages from “The North Georgia Gazette” (Sept. 2009, Green Lantern Press).

Thereafter there will be much milling around, laughing, tet-a-tets, perhaps a few misty eyes and wistful glances and certainly a robust exubernace.


will be encouraged over the course of the day

At 9pm the live music performances will start (not in this order). This portion of the evening is BYOB. Those that stay will be encouraged to donate $5.

Casual Encounters


I Kong Cult

Young Joon Kwok and Rachel Shine will release thier limited edition zine, with silk screen covers, “It’s Your Turn,” in which various letters, essays and comments about Chicago’s DIY Art Community will be published. These will be available for a small dollar fee.

posted by caroline picard

Caroline Picard, Twilight of the Vanities
Opening Saturday, May 30th from 7-10pm
Show runs until Sunday, June 28th
Reading on Sunday, June 14th, time TBD

Caroline Picard is working a new novel entitled “Happy Endings.” This work-in-progress is about a group of hipsters living in Philadelphia and the events which led them to their current position in life. Entangling shallow personalities are complicated with transparent glimmers of childhood. The past becomes present, flattening out through night-time banter and its invariable avoidance of grief. The present has to lead somewhere.

To accompany “Happy Endings,” Picard will show a series of “portraits” based on peripheral characters in the book. She combines aspects of drawing, gouache, and collage into beautifully delicate compositions. These abstract works serve as intuitive meditations of the characters she has constructed. A fleshy pallet with spikes of black, hot pink, blue and gold mix together to form intricate pattern work; in each painting, specific aesthetics of each individual are recomposed into an ornate and impenetrable surface.  The gouache mingles with swatches of dollhouse wallpaper, connecting the character’s present personas to their early years.

Fifty hand bound copies of the book will be available for purchase for $20.

And then, outside, on the stoop with all of his dumb bags all over again, everyone else inside because they aren’t ready to leave yet, Tobias just starts to cry. Finally. And he can’t get up even thou gh he feels stupid crying in the midst this city, and all its people—all its pretty people with funny clothes and fancy tattoos and stylish jokes—all of his fans, he can’t help but cry and when he finally does he can’t stop until Fletcher finally finds him in the eaves of a doorway to a store that’s closed for the night. And then Fletcher finally hugs him and tells him that it’s going to be alright. I promise, buddy, we’ll get through this.

Caroline Picard is the Founding Director of The Green Lantern Gallery & Press and a Co-Editor for the literary podcast The Parlor . Her writing has been published in a handful of publications including Featherproof’s mini books, NewCity, the Chicago Art Journal Review and Proximity Magazine. Her artwork has been shown at an array of alternative venues, not limited to COMA, artXposium and a solo show at Around the Coyote.

mini dutch is another apartment gallery in Logan Square directed by Lucia Fabio. Its mission is to show works in progress and site specific installation.

3111 W. Diversey first floor, Chicago. IL 60647
773.235.5687 :: ::
open Sunday 11am-3pm or call/email for appointment

posted by caroline picard

This was originally published by Newcity. You can read the entire article by going here.

Lonesome Dove: Casiotoner Owen Ashworth sets his sights on children

By Caroline Picard

The Casiotone SK-1 is the instrument of choice for Owen Ashworth. It has been dubbed the “poor man’s sampler” and you can see old Ferris-Beuler-style commercials circa 1985 online. If anything, the ad is worth looking up because the thirty-two piano keys are so small. Popularized in the 1990s as an affordable (at the time, $100) household instrument for the family, the Casiotone is known for its lo-fi aesthetic—offering immediate entertainment in as much as one might record the squeal of a sneaker (among other things) and then play “Three Blind Mice” with said sound byte. Thus, using the SK-1 as a centerpiece for a band is pretty awesome.

Owen Ashworth has been making music under the moniker Casiotone For the Painfully Alone since 1997. During that time he has released an impressive collection of seven records, not the least of which are his latest two, a compilation “Advance Battery Base Life” and new full-length “Vs. Children.” Originally all of the music was produced on the small battery-powered keyboard. Upon discovering “the organ sound,” the built-in drum machine and an introductory piano class at San Francisco State University, Ashworth started writing songs. “I only played the songs for a few people, but one of my friends liked them enough to coax me into opening a show that she had booked for a few other local bands…the next thing I knew I had a band.”

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone plays May 28 at the Hideout.

Posted by Nick Sarno


Back when I lived in New York, I worked at a Barnes and Noble for a while. One afternoon a coworker jabbed me in the ribs and said, “Oh shit, it’s Kanye West.” Kanye West was there. He was short and very clean. He looked kind of like a brand new Smart Car. He zoomed around the art books for a moment and left the store.


Now I know why he didn’t buy anything: he hates books. Hates ’em. Says Kanye: “Sometimes people write novels and they just be so wordy and so self-absorbed. I am not a fan of books. I would never want a book’s autograph. I am a proud non-reader of books. I like to get information from doing stuff like actually talking to people and living real life.” 


But, despite his hatred of books, Kanye has written one himself. And by written one, I mean he put together 52 pages (“some blank, others with a few words”) of Kanye-isms. And by himself, I mean he wrote it with “marketer/philosopher” J. Sakiya Sandifer.


Sandifer’s book Think, Think, Think and Think Again inspired Kanye. “[He did] bullet points in bold graphics, and he expounded upon them … whereas books hide the main points chapters in. You have to read so much to get so much out of it. We wanted to make it simple for people who are non-readers, who don’t feel like doing all that, and still get the point across.”


Two more bits that are both kind of funny and kind of sad:


One of Kanye’s favorite philosophies in the book is “Get used to getting used.”

“To use someone is necessary. What’s negative is to misuse, overuse or abuse somebody,” West said. “To use is necessary. If you can’t get used, then you’re useless.”

“That really came from my entrepreneurial journey,” Sandifer said. “I would complain when my phone wasn’t ringing. ‘No, I want to be used.’ Being the resident philosopher, I put it in that context.”


And, my favorite:


While West and Sandifer might make another book, it probably won’t be a sequel to “Thank You.”

“It’s just gonna be another collection of our ideas and theories,” Sandifer said. “It’s not gonna be like ‘Thank You and You’re Welcome Volume Two.’ I think that would be limiting.”


Which is kind of like saying: “We’re not going to make a sequel to the Iron Man movie. We’ll just make another movie about Iron Man, where Iron Man does some more superhero-y stuff. It’s not like it’s gonna be Iron Man Part Two or anything. I think that would be limiting.”


And Kanye, if you’re reading this: while most novels are wordy and self-absorbed, authors don’t intentionally “hide” main points chapters in. They, you know, try to build arguments. To build an argument, they have to use words. Then, after you’ve read the support for the argument, you can decide for yourself whether it is solid or not.


Also, my book would still love to give you an autograph.


Also: made you read! Ha ha.


Go here and here for the rest of the story.


May 27, 2009

posted by caroline picard


i had a dream about you last night. i was in an upstairs library where m. was doing research on ben franklin. there was a book there that i picked up, it was bound in a red leather folder and inside there were loose pages all about the various forefathers’ lives. there was also a sheet of newsprint that had all of their signatures, except the handwriting was childish (like a handwriting class from the fourth grade) and written in pencil. upon closer examination of the book moshe and i discovered that franklin was decidedly a dandy. i remarked upon the binding. i then went outside on the porch and started talking to you and you were like “no fucking shit Franklin was a fucking dandy,” providing additional evidence to the point. i wish i could remember the stories you told me, but they felt very intimate.