Vacation from Trips and Then More Trips

Offline, heading back online now that the bag’s packed again for another book trip. Got back from Colorado and unpacked from that trip and didn’t really do much of anything except catch up and work out logistics for the rest of the year. Had to mail out books and art from the book opening exhibit. Ended up selling four pieces, one of which was an impulse buy from a Rev Cafe regular who bought a Klutch piece for a friend. Got the call to buy that piece while driving the van back from Colorado. Adam5100 just picked up his art today, so all the unsold art has made it back safely. John Fekner donated a piece to the Archives, so I chose the photo of INDIAN TRAILS and will proudly hang it on the wall of the Stencil Archive HQ.

So the week consisted of sourcing the button-making machine to assemble an order from my one button client. Went to a few meetings at CELLspace to check in and help when I could. Took in culture, watching a few movies (Wall E and Dark Knight, both quite good for Hollywood clap trap), seeing Linda in the play “Ishi” (a violent, cathartic, three-hour play… whew), and taking a complete weekend off by hitting “Willits” for “Paradise” by the pond. That’s right, I turned off all the technology, as well as the planning and logistics part of my brain, and baked in the sun until I couldn’t stand it. Danced a bit, it was the Rhythm Society’s camp out after all, soaked in the the full moon light as well as the hot tub, and ate great meals with great people whom I met all at once.

I eeked in about three hours to help artist Jessica Tully paint some stencils for her Bay Area Now 5 project, Syndicate. The Yerba Buena site describes the project asa walking tour of sidewalk art installations which nod to the history of labor unions at performing arts venues in San Francisco. This tour will be led by Jessica Tully, Kim Munson and historians from the Labor Archives and Research Center.” Jessica made a pile of stencils to chalk up in front of each stop, which you can find out about by calling a number and getting a blurb on the unions and locations. Jessica had to spray paint three stencils on the inside walls, the chalk only sprays down and ran badly; so I met her at YBC. We bought some Krylon cans, which now have the cheesy cap, and went to her Mission District studio to practice on her wall there before she had the one chance to get it right on the YBC walls. The cap worked well despite my misgivings, and the latex can we bought sucked eggs. Jessica had never used spray paint, so I gave her what tips I could think of (my recent tourings and book-related stenciling has really helped develop my painting skills). I hope her opening went well last weekend.

Made a huge push at the Winter book tour this week. Have about nine dates in the works, from Boston to DC and then Atlanta to Asheville, Greenville (SC) to Mt. Pleasant. Had to call many of the shops to check in on them, but am happy to say that I’ll be in the NE before Thanksgiving and in the SE after that week. Should announce this tour soon, maybe while in Australia.

That’s been my main focus while home. I think I have things squared away for the trip. Leaving here tomorrow evening and then meeting Peat at LAX to fly to Melbourne for about three weeks of stencil goodness (I recently had someone bring up my use of goodness. Though considered a hippie thang, I recently heard a funk song that used the term the same way I do. Just channeling my groove I guess.). Hired a car and booked a few nights at an eco-hostel near Grampians National Park for at least a full day of rock stencil hunting. Had to work all that out via email. Also hope to ride Critical Mass in Melbourne right after arriving. I’ll be a jetlagged mess, but have told myself that I if I get a bike for the ride, I will do it on vapors if I have to.

Everyone in the capital of Stencil Nation has been so nice and hospitable. Reminded me of the saying I have always had: “the nicest people I’ve ever met while traveling are always Australian.” Many favors done for me already down there, and I haven’t even arrived yet. Have a free place to stay while there, people to meet, galleries to visit, alleys to drool over and photograph, and the Stencil Festival to attend. Will present the slide prez on Sunday and am bringing three stencils to hit up if the opportunity arises. Will also help Peat hang his show at the Per Square Metre gallery for a Thursday opening.

I recall an Australian telling me back during my 1995 Europe jaunt that I was nicer than most Americans he met. He couldn’t understand why, so I told him that being from the Southeast made me and him alot alike. I grew up with the attitude that the door’s open, drop in, put your feet up, and I’ll get you some tea. Sometimes we need to take it easy with life (especially when it’s blazing hot). He got it, and his friends even agreed that Southerners are the best US citizens. Anyway, I’m bringing that southern charm along with me and can’t wait to be a Yank among the masses. And a nice one from San Francisco to boot 🙂

OK, much late here now. I just packed the grip in record time. I’m getting used to packing. I usually don’t pack a car too well but rocked it on the trip to Willits this past weekend. I’m in the packing zone! Up tomorrow to drop off the buttons, run a few errands, and hit the BART train to SFO around 5 PM. Takes two days to get there, so don’t expect any blogging until at least Friday.

Fingers crossed for a bike for Critical Mass……

PS: Some Stencil Nation news: Germany and France are still getting things together for book distro in those countries. The SF Public Library has a copy in every branch now! Jennifer is running logistics on the timing of a second printing. Still too early to know when. Urban Outfitters distro is still in the works. If you shop there, tell them to stock my book! Barnes & Nobles just bought another case of books, so they must be selling through the chain. Review copies have gone out to about three places already. And mailings via the web site will be facilitated by my friend Ian while I’m gone.  Thanks for the favor, bro!