Sunday, November 29, 2009

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Alkim and ZS

I saw some friends from grade school this weekend, including the young Ms. Alkim Tuna pictured above. We went out for lunch at 18th and Chestnut and she brought this photo of us from almost 30 years ago. Unbelievably, we had taken that photo just a block and a half away from where we had lunch, at a state of the art polaroid booth in either Space Port or Supercade.

Everyone seemed the same. I don't know how it's possible, but it's true.

Christmas Wish List

Here's what my lady would like: an entire book about the production of the song "River Deep, Mountain High" Obviously this unwritten book would be mostly about Phil Spector but my lady specifies "not about the murder or the afro," only about the recording.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Did you know that I write to "Action News" all the time? Well, like a crazy person, I do.

Here's what they got tonight...

"Tiger Woods gets into a minor car accident is not a lead story... and I quote Rob Jennings "it's just a rumor" that Tiger Woods and his wife got into a fight. It's not news and it's not any of our business. NJ turnpike melee? That's a lead story. Escaped murderer? That's a lead story. Tiger Woods might have gotten into a fight with his wife? No."

Contact Action News

RIP Al Alberts

My condolences to Stella.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Greatest new commercial: "Cash Point Bills"

Thanksgiving 2009

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends. Or, if you're like someone who worked with my lady and you don't "celebrate genocide," Happy "Day to Celebrate the Struggle."

Aside: When asked what you're doing for Thanksgiving by co-workers, don't snap "we don't celebrate genocide."

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Here's some thanks for Thanksgiving:

You know what I'm grateful for? My wife. My immediate family: mother and my siblings. And my extended family: genetic, by marriage and by choice.

And I'm grateful to be alive, every day.

Let me reiterate how much I love my lady, I'd be nothing without her.


Happy Thanksgiving From Oregon Diner in South Philadelphia!

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bruce Flannery will be greatly missed this Thanksgiving. Via phone, Bruce was present at every family holiday. Here's to Bruce and his planned Academy Awards acceptance speech thanking "everyone I've ever met, except for Savannah Roberts."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

seaweed bathing suit web

I am often asked what I "did" before I started working on I-95. Above is one of the answers. My bikini top is made entirely from seaweed harvested from the Jersey Shore and I am modeling it at the tiki bar in a beach house shared with my lady, Ray and Tina. This kelp piece is one of the many works that I produced in my 20s.

Also, I have been thinking about I-95 and the all encompassing focus... it's a pretty major achievement in my life. Shockingly, I have several other achievements that are on par with I-95. Very different than I-95 but I still take great pride in them.

Achievements Before 30

1. Reading the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy aloud, including "The Hobbit," to Alex Mechanick. Brian was in on hearing the first books, but Alex heard them from page one to the last page before the rune index. It took almost a year. This still tops my list of "Greatest Achievements." Did Middle Earth help these fine young men enter into the world? What other answer could there be than "yes?" This is cheating because I think I did this into my early 30s, but it's so good I can't let it go.

2. Whirlforce Medical Research Laboratories... that was pretty amazing, although I wish I had retained more of the Latin I learned for the the production of it. I'd like to give a shout out to my family and friends for coming to see it. I mean, it did involve a lot of difficult things and it meant for over a year my lady had to walk through a room with preserved organs to get to the hopper. Thanks, honey.

3. CVS New Year

4. Collision at Sea.
collision at sea

Please note that the identifying numbers on both boats are my birthday, 4/1/70. There were a lot of secret things in Collision at Sea. I did a lot of work on myself before I started I-95. Then I was ready to go at the end of my 20s and commit to the long, long haul.

Aside- I went to college for about a year and a half, intermittently, and that does not fall into greatest achievement. I found some old papers from college and I did really well, which I didn't remember at all. Still, actually comes closest to "regret" as opposed to "achievement."

Saturday, November 21, 2009

From now through December 30, I'm taking off from almost everything except shooting, editing and holiday preparation. I'm already feeling a little pressure from neighbors regarding our holiday window. I'm not trying to disappoint, know what I'm saying? Also, planning to celebrate Winter Solstice this year, which is throwing a new thing up in the mix.

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While this window is pretty good, it must be made a little bit better!
Important reminder: Lynn Bloom still the greatest person on earth.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Again, An Important Message About My Phone Issues

Yes, I yell when I speak on any phone, particularly a cell phone. As I get older it seems evident that I will need a hearing aid, however, I don't really think that's what causes my "phone yelling" issues. There's something deeper there. If am on the phone, I suddenly morph into a 80 year old Jew and this has been happening for years and years.

While I hope that I am considerate of people for the most part, I am not apologizing. This is it, folks. This is my volume. Take it or leave it with my phone issues.

Raymond Carver’s Life and Stories

Above is Stephen King's review of Carol Sklenicka's biography of Raymond Carver, "Raymond Carver: A Writer’s Life." I really loved this review... I can't wait to read the book and was kind of amazed that Stephen King hit on all of the things I find fascinating about Raymond Carver. I'm super interested in Raymond Carver's relationship with Gordon Lish, the complex and intimate reltionship between a writer and an editor. And I'm super, super interested in Raymond Carver's relationship with his first wife, who he abused, physically and emotionally, as well as refusing to acknowledge her role in helping him create his work.


A spouse is much more of a collaborator than people like to mention when talking about "geniuses." They LOVE the romance of the auteur. Let me tell you, that gets on my last gay nerve. A spouse's support allows the work to get done, in this case the writing to be written. When a partner supports your work, financially and emotionally, they are a collaborator and due recognition. Simply put, the work would not have been created without the collaboration of the partner. Of course, it's the wife who most often shoulders the burden of all the invisible things that allow creative work to be done for a husband.


OK, for many reasons Raymond Carver was a FUCKING ASSHOLE, a self-centered abusive dick who I'd like to punch dead in the face if he was standing right here, and it definitely impacts my reading of his stories. Even if I love them. In the review, Stephen King mentions that some facts are so abhorrent that it "to some degree taints my enjoyment of Carver’s stories." Thanks for saying that!


"During the divorce proceedings, Maryann’s lawyer said — this both haunts me and to some degree taints my enjoyment of Carver’s stories — that without a decent court settlement, Maryann Burk Carver’s post-divorce life would be 'like a bag of doorknobs that wouldn’t open any doors'."
-Stephen King


Up for discussion:

Woody Allen
R. Kelly
Richard Wagner

What did Cincinnati Reds fans do during the Marge Schott years?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pain Relief Through Photography

Rest in Peace, Jeanne-Claude

Photo: Bryan Obrien

Thanks for all you did.

The Zoe Strauss Guide to Crits

In the last 2 years I've found that I do a lot of student crits, which is a kind of odd thing to be doing because it seems a little crazy that people want my opinion of their school work. But I've come to like it and really look to do a good job. I'm not slacking, friends. One thing that seems to be different from my talking and talking about someones stuff vs. the critiquing style of other people is that I am unremittingly positive. This is because I don't give a shit if I "like" the work or not. I think these critiques have nothing to do with one's own aesthetic sensibility and is about the intent, skill and thought process of the person making the work and how they can get to where they want to be. It doesn't mean I'm not honest, I think that as a person coming into someones space to look at their unfinished work my role is to discuss the process and is less about the product.

I seem to have a loose formulaic structure at this point... if the work is close to done I tell the student what I see in it. I try and read it as it is with no input or description of the piece from the student and then I tell them my immediate reaction and reading of the piece. I have a tendency to read metaphor into a lot things where there was no intent, but I think that if I'm thinking it someone else must be as well. The biggest question that needs to be answered is whether someone is getting across what they want to convey. And then, depending on where the work is at, a billion things need to be answered. Who is the audience? How do you see it presented in final form? blah blah blah.

And if the work is in the formative stages of being created I like to find out about the person and what makes them come to want to create this work. What's their interest in making the piece and where is coming from? Are they happy with the concept? What research are they doing to help move the piece forward? What about the logistics that goes into making the piece? And skill that goes into making the piece?

There are definitively times where I've been like, "what the fuck is this?" because the kid is trying to get over with some total bullshit by couching a description of the piece in completely unrelated academic jargon. I have no qualms with terrible work where someone is really trying. It's up to me to help them think about ways to refine and rethink the piece, even if I think it blows. And I have no problem with folks having no idea why they're making something. I think that kind of exploration is healthy and in graduate school it's an amazing time to use the unconscious and just be like "Holy shit, so that's what I've been thinking about!"

This thing about these crits is that it's just my opinion... I hate a lot of art that people love, so, again, who cares if I "like" it? However, if you are trying to disguise a piece of shit by using language and unrelated theory... you're getting called out, no question.

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All in all, it does seem a little bizarre that I'm doing this job considering that I went to college for about a year and it was for history and womens studies.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

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Leonid Meteor Shower 2009 Viewer's Guide

Here in Tucson is a dark sky and I'm going to run out later see if I can catch any of this.

Thanks for Having Me Out to Tucson, Center for Creative Photography!

I hope the talk went well, my friends. Special thanks to Cass for getting me out here and Christiana for all the organizational help. I'll be up and at 'em and doing crits at 8:15.


OK, I really need to know if the University of Arizona has a big problem with nunchucks. Please see signs below.

Really? Nunchucks?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Good Morning Tucson!

Check Out Chris Jordan's Photographs of Albatross Chicks

Photo by Chris Jordan

"On a diet of human trash, every year tens of thousands of albatross chicks die on Midway from starvation, toxicity, and choking. To document this phenomenon as faithfully as possible, not a single piece of plastic in any of these photographs was moved, placed, manipulated, arranged, or altered in any way. These images depict the actual stomach contents of baby birds in one of the world's most remote marine sanctuaries, more than 2000 miles from the nearest continent."
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This one might make it back in to 95 this year... last time it was in the installation was 2006.

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This one also might come back. Even if neither comes back the finished installation, they are going to be instrumental in the order.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Back from Chicago last night at 1, leaving for Tucson right now.

Tucson Tomorrow, Talk on Tuesday

First, me and my lady were walking down Michigan Ave in Chicago and we saw GARRY MADDOX and I WAS WEARING THIS SWEATER. While I realize that Garry's just trying to live his life, I still had to show it to him. Garry's wife seemed to love it.

Then we went to a Bulls game and saw this amazing floating Bulls.

Then the Sixers lost, so dreams were crushed.

Then we went to the Frank Lloyd Wright home and studio in Chicago, which was great. Then two people who we saw at the Frank Lloyd Wright house earlier were randomly on our plane to Philadelphia!

But then our plane from Chicago ran into a coyote on the runway and we had to sputter back over Lake Michigan, and I say sputter because the plane sounded messed up despite the pilot's statement of "everything's fine." Nice try, because we were greeted with quite a battalion of fire trucks and ambulances. It was actually fine and wasn't too-nerve wracking, which is probably why I was disappointed we didn't use the slides to get off the plane.

Then we got home and LB just got a 150 dollar gift certificate from United and that's pretty great, so all in all a successful 24 hours.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Chicago, My Kind of Town Chicago Is

Thanks to all who came out to the AIC talk. And I'll put some photos up later, but I am ECSTATIC with the show. The lake Michigan image is perfect.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

In The Greatest City on Earth on November 12? Go to "Streets of Philadelphia Discussion" at the Print Center

Discussion: Streets of Philadelphia

**THIS THURSDAY** November 12, 6:00pm

Please join us for a special discussion on the Streets of Philadelphia: Photography 1970-1985 led by The Print Center's Curator, John Caperton. The discussion will focus on the legacy of early street photography and the works in the exhibition, the era they represent and their relationship to photography being created today. Guests will include exhibiting artists Paul Cava, David Graham, Tom Gralish, Paul McGuirk and Stephen Perloff, who will be joined by photographers Jeffrey Stockbridge, Sarah Stolfa as well as other special guests. FREE and open to the public.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Facebook Page

I still don't know what I'm doing with this.

The Philadelphia Public Art Project is Proud to Introduce The 2009/2010 UArts aka PCA Intern... Ms. Marianna Peragallo.

Welcome, Ms. Marianna Peragallo. Check out her work here.
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Among the many themes that have been I've established as the means to get at "everything," the theme of redemption, and the impossibility of redemption, has come to be threaded both through the North/South and the East/West pillars under 95. It wasn't something I had laid out as part of the initial structure, but I've found it to be of great importance to address the hope, fear, disappointment and desire entangled with ideas of redemption as a part of the installation.

In working with ideas of redemption, I'm very conscious to make sure the images that can hint at redemption don't become entangled with anything implying "resurrection." Of course, photos alone talk about resurrection and create these totems of immortality and there's always that lurking about... but I want to make sure the flow is not "brought back to life" but rather "building on and moving forward." There's no coming back, there's just reconstruction of self.



1. an act of redeeming or the state of being redeemed.
2. deliverance; rescue.
3. Theology. deliverance from sin; salvation.
4. atonement for guilt.

as related to "resurrection"

1. The act of rising from the dead or returning to life.
2. The state of one who has returned to life.
3. The act of bringing back to practice, notice, or use; revival.




1. relieving of emotional tensions, esp. through certain kinds of art, as tragedy or music.




1. a continuous extent, succession, or whole, no part of which can be distinguished from neighboring parts except by arbitrary division.


infiniteness, continuity, spectrum, cycle, revolution, loop, lap, orbit.

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Saturday, November 07, 2009

Whitney Workshop Super Success

Thanks to all who came out to the Whitney workshop... I thought it was a rousing success.

Recommended by Zoe Strauss: Roni Horn aka Roni Horn at the Whitney Museum in NY, NY

Pink Tons- Roni Horn

Recommended by Lynn Bloom: John Lennon: The New York City Years Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Annex in NY, NY.

Recommended by Zoe Strauss: For a late night or mid-night snack, try Tums! It's a little bit like a candy and when you're starving you can totally pretend that you "need" to eat them. This is only for people over 30.
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Friday, November 06, 2009

Syracuse Success

Thanks for having me up there, Syracuse.

Whitney Workshop

See you tomorrow, Whitney friends! Kids, this is going to be super fun. Adults, this is going to be super fun.

Zoe Strauss: Photography November 7, 2009

"Zoe Strauss is an award-winning artist who participated in the 2006 Biennial. She turned to photography after receiving a 35mm camera for her thirtieth birthday. In her own work, Zoe often takes photographs in and around her South Philadelphia neighborhood. The artist will lead the group through the exhibition Roni Horn aka Roni Horn, exploring Horn's images through the lens of Zoe's own work and processes. Families will then work with Zoe Strauss to create images of their own, inspired by her work and the exhibition."

We'll be checking out the O'Keeffe exhibit, too.

And thanks to the Whitney for this fancy hotel I'm in right now.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Me, I'm waiting so patiently, lying on the floor. I'm just trying to do this jig-saw puzzle before it rains anymore.

Save the date: MAY 2, 2010.


Actually, save May 1, too.

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Hello. If you are opposed to gay marriage I'd like to know why. What's your fucking problem?

Here's a photo of me. If you see me, please feel free to stop me and let me know why you care at all about me marrying my partner of 20 years.

Looking forward to hearing from you jackasses.
-Zoe Strauss
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Here's to the Phillies and a Great Season...

Congratulations to the 2009 National League Champion Phillies! And congratulations to the Yankees on a hard fought win. Next year, my friends!

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Unhealthy America

"The United States ranks 31st in life expectancy (tied with Kuwait and Chile), according to the latest World Health Organization figures. We rank 37th in infant mortality (partly because of many premature births) and 34th in maternal mortality. A child in the United States is two-and-a-half times as likely to die by age 5 as in Singapore or Sweden, and an American woman is 11 times as likely to die in childbirth as a woman in Ireland."

World Series Highlight

Windy City Photo Shows Worth Checking Out

“Polonia and Other Fables” Allan Sekula through Dec 13, 2009

“Barbara Crane: Challenging Vision” through Jan. 10, 2010

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Zoe Strauss Guide to a Winning Paper

Hello, friends. I was recently informed that this blog is occasionally assigned as reading in the hallowed halls of the marble floored and potted palmed academy. Now I will be sure to include more rigorous intellectual writing for those looking to punctum up a good grade by doing a close reading of my online writing and imagery.

As a service to those writing a paper on this blog I have created an outline for a guaranteed A+. See below.


Studium This: The Online Work of Zoe Strauss

(Photo to base the paper on)

Santa Pecker Out
Zoe Strauss

(Use the phrases below to help construct your thesis statement)

Referencing, but moving beyond the post-post modern appropriation art of Richard Prince and Sherrie Levine, provocateur Strauss presents an image taken directly from an internet search for "Santa Pecker" as her own...

...addressing ownership of online imagery... dissemination of information... visual tropes... the lesbian gaze interpreting the construct of the "male" body...

(Include this quote)

"As photographs give people an imaginary possession of a past that is unreal, they also help people to take possession of space in which they are insecure, The photograph is a thin slice of space as well as time. In a world ruled by photographic images, all borders ... seem arbitrary"
-Susan Sontag (On Photography)


Dark Stores by Brian Ulrich

I love it.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Septa Fail

This Life by Grace Paley

My friend tells me
a man in my house jumped off the roof
the roof is the eighth floor of this building
the roof door was locked how did he manage?
his girlfriend had said goodbye I'm leaving
he was 22
his mother and father were hurrying
at that very moment
from upstate to help him move out of Brooklyn
they had heard about the girl

the people who usually look up
and call jump jump did not see him
the life savers who creep around the back staircases
and reach the roof's edge just in time
never got their chance he meant it he wanted
only one person to know

did he imagine that she would grieve
all her young life away tell everyone
this boy I kind of lived with last year
he died on account of me

my friend was not interested he said you're always
inventing stuff what I want to know how could he throw
his life away how do these guys do it
just like that and here I am fighting this
ferocious insane vindictive virus day and
night day and night and for what? for only
one thing this life this life

The Electric Slide Boogie by Audre Lorde

New Year's Day 1:16 AM
and my body is weary beyond
time to withdraw and rest
ample room allowed me in everyone's head
but community calls
right over the threshold
drums beating through the walls
children playing their truck dramas
under the collapsible coatrack
in the narrow hallway outside my room

The TV lounge next door is wide open
it is midnight in Idaho
and the throb easy subtle spin
of the electric slide boogie
around the corner of the parlor
past the sweet clink
of dining room glasses
and the edged aroma of slightly overdone
dutch-apple pie
all laced together
with the rich dark laughter
of Gloria
and her higher-octave sisters

How hard it is to sleep
in the middle of life.

Virginia! What the Hell Is Wrong With You?

also, Jersey, you're nuts!
also, fuck you Maine homophobes.

Monday, November 02, 2009

On the Scene in Daily Serving

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A total heartbreak of a game, except for the heartthrob moment when Lynn Bloom was on TV in the 9th inning!
NY, enjoy your win because Philadelphia has the GREATEST PERSON ON EARTH, MS. LYNN BLOOM, living here and that can't be topped by any World Series win. For real.

Sunday, November 01, 2009