A little news in my inbox from the funniest man in America :
Hello friend guy lady or other,
Some of you are aware that, last Saturday, I launched a new series on my site louisck.net called “Horace and Pete”. I’m writing now to tell you some stuff about it….
Horace and Pete is a new show that I am producing, directing, writing, distributing and financing on my own. I have an amazing cast: Steve Buscemi, Edie Falco, Alan Alda, Jessica Lange, Aidy Bryant, Steven Wright, Kurt Metzger and other guest stars. Also Paul Simon wrote and performed the theme song which is beautiful.
The response to episode one has been great so far and there are more coming. We are making them now and having a lot of fun doing it.
Part of the idea behind launching it on the site was to create a show in a new way and to provide it to you directly and immediately, without the usual promotion, banner ads, billboards and clips that tell you what the show feels and looks like before you get to see it for yourself. As a writer, there’s always a weird feeing that as you unfold the story and reveal the characters and the tone, you always know that the audience will never get the benefit of seeing it the way you wrote it because they always know so much before they watch it. And as a TV watcher I’m always delighted when I can see a thing without knowing anything about it because of the promotion. So making this show and just posting it out of the blue gave me the rare opportunity to give you that experience of discovery.
Also because we are shooting this show in a multi-camera format with an emphasis on a live feeling, we are able to post it very soon after each episode is shot. So I’m making this show as you’re watching it.
Okay so let’s talk for a minute about the five dollars of it all. If you’re on this email list then you’re probably aware that I always make an effort to make the work I do on my own as cheap as possible and as painless as possible to get. That’s why my specials are five dollars and that’s why I sold tickets to my last big tour here on the site, with our own ticketing service at a flat price with no ticket charges and we have worked hard to keep my tickets out of the hands of scalpers.
So why the dirty fuckballs did I charge you five dollars for Horace and Pete, where most TV shows you buy online are 3 dollars or less? Well, the dirty unmovable fact is that this show is fucking expensive.
The standup specials are much more containable. It’s one guy on a stage in a theater and in most cases, the cost of the tickets that the live audience paid, was enough to finance the filming.
But Horace and Pete is a full on TV production with four broadcast cameras, two beautiful sets and a state of the art control room and a very talented and skilled crew and a hall-of-fame cast. Every second the cameras are rolling, money is shooting out of my asshole like your mother’s worst diarrhea. (Yes there are less upsetting metaphors I could be using but I just think that one is the sharpest and most concise). Basically this is a hand-made, one guy paid for it version of a thing that is usually made by a giant corporation.
Now, I’m not complaining about this at all. I’m just telling you the facts. I charged five dollars because I need to recoup some of the cost in order for us to stay in production.
Also, it’s interesting. The value of any set amount of money is mercurial (I’m showing off because i just learned that word. It means it changes and shifts a lot). Some people say “Five dollars is a cup of coffee”. Some people say “Hey! Five dollars?? What the fuck!” Some people say “What are you guys talking about?” Some people say “Nothing. don’t enter a conversation in the middle”.
Anyway, I’m leaving the first episode at 5 dollars. I’m lowering the next episode to 2 dollars and the rest will be 3 dollars after that. I hope you feel that’s fair. If you don’t, please tell everyone in the world.
Meanwhile, we’re going to keep making Horace and Pete. We’re going to keep telling you the story.
I sincerely hope that you enjoy it. I’ll write you again later and tell you more about it. It’s fun to talk about. But for now I want to shut up and not ruin the experience of you just watching the show.
Here’s the link for the website. Enjoy episode 2 of Horace and Pete. We’re shooting it now. You’ll get it on Saturday morning.
Scammers use the Internet to find new victims. KatieMoe fights back using the Internet to educate and help artists NOT become victims.
How many years have I been doing this blog. How many personal emails have I sent for years before I started the blog. Really, this scam has changed VERY LITTLE since it began. Why? Because it is still working for the scammers. Because they are still making money. If it wasn’t, it would have changed long ago.
1. DO NOT use wire transfers very ANY reason in your business dealings. Period. This one tip will destroy the effectiveness of 99% of this type of scam. They need you to wire your good money to them so they can disappear with it without a trace – before you’ve discovered their payment is a faked check or stolen credit card or faked paypal payment.
2. DO NOT do any one any favors in selling your work. Don’t forward money for them to some non-existent shipper. Let them pay their shipper themselves (there is no shipper so the scam will end here).
3. DO NOT accept overpayments. Just don’t. If a buyer overpays, offer to void their check and have them send a check of the right amount (and remember, no favors for forwarding money to a non-existent shipper) or if it’s a credit card – call the card company first and verify that the card number matches the billing address (it almost never does), and if it’s a paypal payment – actually manually log into your paypal account in a brand new browser and double check that they’ve paid anything at all. What scammers do with paypal is they fake a payment confirmation email and hope the victim never logs into their account (in time) to check.
And this bit about moving to Russia or moving to Malaysia or they are at sea or in Afghanistan or out of the country for some other odd reason…huge tip-offs that a scam is in progress. It helps set up why they are asking you wire them (or a shipper) money. But don’t do it.
Okay, here’s another one I received today:
Hello Kathleen, my artist husband was almost scammed. I was suspicious and finally went to the Internet to do some research and found you. Please add the Steve Borgatti name to your list of despicable characters. I’m going to make a donation to you!
At the very bottom is the scammer’s message. When mail is sent to my husband’s art address, a blind copy goes to my Gmail account so I copied the header info.
Delivered-To: [email protected][Links to mailto:[email protected]]
Received: by 10.170.118.80 with SMTP id k77csp28622ykb;
Sat, 5 Apr 2014 07:41:26 -0700 (PDT)
X-Received: by 10.140.33.244 with SMTP id j107mr2728669qgj.81.1396708873079;
Sat, 05 Apr 2014 07:41:13 -0700 (PDT)
Received: by 10.224.79.80 with HTTP; Sat, 5 Apr 2014 07:41:13 -0700 (PDT)
Date: Sat, 5 Apr 2014 15:41:13 +0100
Subject: Payment and pick-up…
From: Steve Borgatti ([email protected])
Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary=001a113aa9803c108704f64ca0df
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
Hello Mrs. [last name],
Hope you are good. I’m just reading your email now as I have been so busy.Thanks for the details which I’ve noted down and I hope to visit your studio with my wife in the nearest future after our anniversary. Also in order not to leave any clue to my wife for the surprise, I’ve contacted a client of mine to issue out a check which will include my shipping agent fees to you, so please you may have to help remit the balance to the shipping agent as soon as the check clears your bank. I would have handled this much differently if I’d been at home but am a bit pressed for time myself and do not have access to a lot of cash over here to expedite this transaction… trying to kill two birds with a stone.
Moreover, they are not sending any bill or hold you responsible for the payment of the contract between us. all I’m asking from you is a favor to help me send the extra funds on the check to the shipping agent who will be coming over to your location to pick-up the piece and have it delivered safely to me at my residential address.
Mrs. [last name], I want you to understand that I’m concluding you are a responsible person and I can therefore entrust you with this arrangement.please i will appreciate if you get back to me asap to know if i can entrust you with this transaction.
Many thanks and talk to you soon,
——– Original Message ——–
From: Steve Borgatti ([email protected])
Date: Thu, April 03, 2014 9:33 am
Dear [last name], Thanks for the message, I must tell you I am very much interested in the immediate purchase of the piece to surprise my wife. I can be reached at (323) 374-5218 (feel free to leave a voice mail or text message if am not available but E-mail would be the fastest way to reach me though).If you’d like to know, I’m relocating to the Russia soon and our anniversary is fast approaching. So I’m trying to gather some good stuff to make this event a surprise one. I am buying yours as part of gifts to her (quickly before someone else grabs it). I’m okay with the price, I think it’s worth it anyway, so I’ll be sending a check.
As regarding shipping, you don’t have to worry about that in order not to leave any clue to my wife for the surprise. as soon as you receive and cash the check, my shipping agent (who is also moving my personal effect) will contact you to arrange pick-up.
I would have come to purchase the piece myself but, I’m currently out of the country on a conference trip and won’t be back for another couple of weeks. Regards,Steve.
PS: In the meantime, kindly get back to me with your full name (you want the check payable to) and contact address (preferably for fedEx not P.O box) where a check can be mailed to, so I can get the check prepared and have it mailed out to you right away.
——– Original Message ——–
My name is Steve Borgatti from Nevada. I’m reaching you to inquire about your works. I actually observed my wife has been viewing your website on my laptop and i guess she likes that piece, I’m so impressed and amazed to have seen your various works too, : ) I must also say you are doing a great job. I would like to know what inspired that work.
I am very much interested in the purchase of the piece (in subject field above) to surprise my wife. Kindly confirm the availability for immediate sales. Thanks and best regards,
ANPF Women’s Invitational Winners Announced
Three outstanding plays by noted playwrights selected for presentation.
March 25-27, 2016 festival honors under-represented American playwrights.
Ashland New Plays Festival announces the winners of its ANPF Women’s Invitational. They are Martyna Majok for Cost of Living (formerly Ropes in the Well); Lauren Yee for King of the Yees; and grand prize winner Jiehae Park for Hannah and the Dread Gazebo.
The Women’s Invitational will be held March 25-27, 2016 in the Music Recital Hall at Southern Oregon University in Ashland. Dramatic readings of each play will be presented in both matinee and evening performances at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
As an effort to highlight critically acclaimed but unproduced work by leading American playwrights, the Women’s Invitational received 30 works from which ten finalists were selected in blind readings. ANPF Artistic Director Kyle Haden and The Kilroys co-founder Laura Jacqmin, who chairs the festival, chose the winners.
Says Haden, “It was tremendously exciting reading the finalist plays. All of them were truly impressive. I am so excited by our three winners and can’t wait to share these new stories with our audiences. We all know that women are vastly under-represented in theatre today, and have been since the beginning. We want to do our part to change that inequity. The Women’s Invitational will be a meaningful step for us in that direction.”
Additionally, the week will include an opening reception hosted by Bill Rauch, artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF); and Parity, a roundtable discussion with Jacqmin, host playwright EM Lewis, and the winning playwrights, moderated by Dr. Lue Morgan Douthit, OSF’s director of literary development and dramaturgy. The roundtable is open to the public.
More information is available at www.ashlandnewplays.org
John Sabraw, “Axioma VII” (2015), mixed media on wood panel, 12 x 12 inches (McCormick Gallery)
John Sabraw applies his alchemy to sludge, turning it into art by extracting pigment from it and then creating images of nature, under siege, autumnal, and weirdly beautiful. Turning poison into paint becomes a modern version of creating gold from lead. It isn’t just symbolic but a way to make cleanup a potentially profit-generating industry. An example of his recent work is on view at Manifest’s Secret Garden exhibition right now. Last year, Hyperallergic did an appreciative story on his use of toxic runoff to create pigments and offered examples of the finished work, as impressive as everything he’s done in the past. From Hyperallergic:
You can see the process in detail in a short documentary by Jacob Koestler, but in essence, the team takes samples from the most polluted areas, neutralizes the pH, then separates the concentrated iron from the clean water. As Kalliopi Monoyios reported for Scientific American last month, one goal of the project is to see if there’s a way that remediation could pay for itself through a sustainable product. Iron oxide pigments include familiar names like ochre, sienna, and umber, whose use dates back tens of thousands of years. In theory, production of pigments from the toxic sludge on a large scale could be marketable and support the removal of the pollutants as its own industry.
Last month, Adam Gopnik, a regular writer for The New Yorker, drew an unusual connection between art criticism and religion in this conversation with Krista Tippett who hosts the On Being podcast. Before he got to that, he offered interesting thoughts on how he can be a devoted Darwinist and still take his Jewish faith seriously, as well as a husband who appreciates his wife’s Christianity. He named his children Darwin and Auden (after the poet, who was a Christian.) I’ve been bringing religion into this blog fairly often lately, against my better judgement, since it’s such a politicized topic now. I think painting and religious faith are close siblings. Schools of art, or fixed theories about what art needs to be, are maybe a bit more like organized religions. I’ll leave it to you, and maybe Kierkegaard, to separate the good from the bad in those last two sentences. (Jim Mott and I talk about this quite a bit, which reminds me that I still have to write about my conversation with him.) I see a parallel between art and faith partly because of the way both try to point toward the whole of human experience. Art does it with a quiet, indoor voice–at least the art I love. In contrast to organized religion, which seems to make a lot of noise now, genuine faith more often than not withdraws into silence. Art and faith attempt to draw attention to the entirety of life, the whole of things. How art does this is something only Proust and Samuel Beckett, of all people, offer suggestions that make sense to me, in a tentative way, but that’s for another post. The point is to trigger in the practitioner an imaginative and felt apprehension of the totality of life. For me painting at its best offers a certain kind of attention, a level of awareness, that combines gratitude, joy, affirmation, and a sort of impartial honoring of things as they are. The spirit of painting for me is: “before it’s gone, take a look at how amazing this apple is!” Painting is akin to meditation or prayer: a way of strenuously attempting to see what’s there in front of you, and inside you, as clearly as possible, without distortion. (Would that describe phenomenology as well?) And in both there’s a constant element of self-doubt, a questioning of whether or not what you’re seeing, and doing, is true or real or right or even just worthwhile.
All of this represents, in a different sphere, the striving at the heart of most faiths, especially the element of self-doubt. In contrast to how many people think faith means certainty, including a lot of believers. But to get back to Gopnik (who didn’t talk about any of this) he makes a point that art criticism, not art itself, is a practice before it’s a dogma–he got there by talking first about Darwin and religion. I think that distinction between practice and dogma works much better for art itself than for art criticism. Art is a practice that tends to spin off fixed principles, and schools, and prejudices against this or that in favor of that or this (the way faith splits up into antagonistic sects) but primarily it’s a non-conceptual way to see into the nature of things. Learning how to paint is learning how to be aware. It isn’t an activity that springs from conceptual origins (at least not the kind of painting I practice.) Instead of illustrating ideas, painting tries to show life–and show it in terms that can’t be translated into words or concepts and maybe, to some individual degree, in ways that haven’t been seen before. Dogma and ideas are beside the point. Practice is everything. Doing, not thinking.
This distinction between practice and dogma links back to religion. It’s the pivotal distinction of Karen Armstrong’s recent writing about God. She talks about how religion and faith are learned behaviors, ways of being in the world, that can’t be reduced to dogma, and have very little to do with the various “beliefs” which can be asserted as propositions about the world. Art integrates human experience though learned skills. Art doesn’t assert propositions. Faith works in the same way. What’s incredible about a great painting is that, rising up out of long practice, long learning of skills, you might get work that resonates with a sense of the whole of life and conveys what is true and good–as the artist strives to adhere to those things in something as simple as the way she applies her paint. All of these things are equally true, in a slightly different and more important way, for the discipline of a Buddhist, Hindu, Jew, Muslim, or Christian. The goal is the same: to act in harmony with what’s real and true, through years of practice. The hope is to create an extremely humble, living relationship with the world beyond your head, as Matthew Crawford puts it, while being acutely aware of how difficult it is for your mind to remain aware of its own severe limitations and its default setting for despair, cynicism, and doubt.
Here is a sample of Gopnik’s comments. I’m puzzled by the genealogy he rattles off–I think I would reorder the isms a bit. Surrealism begat abstract expressionism didn’t it? But he makes his point:
Krista Tippett: How does your reverence for Darwin . . . influence your sense of religion?
Gopnick: I always see Darwin as the model of the active explanation, the ethics of explanation. It affects my own feelings about the universe because it’s demonstrative about the possibility that you can be completely committed to a rational, material explanation of how we got here without being committed to a reductive account of our own experience. You can believe that there’s a completely rational account of how we got here but you can never fully rationalize what we feel here: it’s central to Darwin’s distinction between two different kinds of time. It’s the hardest reconciliation to attempt. That is that anybody who, like Darwin, is committed to science is acutely aware of the limits of scientific explanation. The greatest philosopher of science in the 20th century, Karl Popper, always said the realm of science was small. There is a huge realm of human experience that would never be susceptible to scientific explanation. That didn’t mean it could be subsumed into the supernatural. But there were realms of what for lack of a better word you call spiritual or numinous experience, or simply the experience of sensibility, everything summed up in . . . songs and poems and novels and spirituals all the other ways we have of organizing our experience . . . he believed he had discovered the secrets of life, but nothing could explain the mysteries of living.
Krista: Which is also the confusion that brings us to the religious part of life–community, texts, teaching.
Gopnick: And practices. I’m trying to write a book of memoirs on coming to New York in the 1980s. I was in the art world in those years. I was getting a degree in art history, God help me. I realized then that understanding modern art really was like a religion in that it was a practice before it was a dogma. You could never really get it by understanding the way one picture had changed another, how cubism had created expressionism which created surrealism and so on. It was a practice of interpretation. That is something that is insufficiently well understood. What religion brings us is a practice, not a dogma. The idea of having a spiritual practice is one that’s completely compatible with having a skepticism about dogma. Science demands that we be skeptical of our own theories.
Gopnik doesn’t quite get to the heart of it: religion and art aren’t simply about “feeling” or “sensibility.” But that’s more a limitation of the language, rather than a fault in his view–these are the words you end up resorting to, for lack of better terms. BTW, on the subject of art criticism, the Entitled Opinions episode on Diderot touches on how he approached each painting he wrote about without applying any formal system to his critique or response. You’ll also learn he was crazy about ice cream.
Bill writes about an upcoming show:
Been busy here in the studio, entered a couple of shows and continue to draw everyday. Jean and I collaborated on two works that will be shown @Makers Gallery and Studio opening on Valentines Day. The show will feature artist couples who were asked to produce 2 works combining each other skills and concepts. I attached one of the works for you to see.