Rebecca Major is a smart, highly original, shit together artist. Dr. Lisa plumbs her childhood experience of moving at 5 years old with her mother and 10 year old sister from Budapest, Hungary to NYC to live with a prominent, wildly avant-guard theater group, the Squat Theater (active in a large communal setting. Rebecca has since become an accomplished artist and grounded adult, but it couldn’t have been easy. We get a great vision of her experience and some of the effect it’s had on her life.
More about Rebecca and her work here: http://www.rebeccamajor.com/
Learn about the Squat Theatre, an important part of NYC theater history: (From Wikipedia) Squat Theatre (1977–1991) was a Hungarian experimental theatre company from Budapest, which left Hungary for Paris, France, and then New York City, where they built a reputation for experimental theatre.
Originally, the Company was known as Kassák Haz Studió and was located at Uzsoki-utca 57, Budapest). For political and aesthetic reasons the Company emigrated to Paris then to the United States where they arrived in New York City first living at the Hotel Chelsea and then at 256 West 23rd Street where they lived, worked and performed from 1977 to 1985. Several members left Squat Theatre in 1985 when they lost the lease to their space on 23rd Street including Anna Koós, Péter Halász, Eric Daille, and Agnes Santha. The rest of the Company continued until 1991. Squat Theatre's last play was Full Moon Killer, 1991 and performed at The Kitchen in New York City.
The space on 23rd Street had a large window with a street entrance, and spectators sat in the back of the store facing the storefront window and the street beyond. Events took place with the street as backdrop, with the intention of unsettling the events, the relationship among the members of the group, and the audience. This set-up was first used in Rotterdam at 129a Van Oldenbarneveltstraat in the show Pig, Child, Fire! which was commissioned by the Toneelraad Rotterdam.
Five minutes before my show was to go live, I realized my guest wasn’t coming, so I called up my always entertaining friend, artist David Kramer and ragged on him for an hour. If you don’t know how mean I can be, well, listen to this. Kramer more than holds his own while we gossip about the art fairs in town. We find out what David’s working on, his upcoming solo exhibition in June at Front Room and whether or not he has stolen ideas from his 19 year old son, Martin who’s in film school. Here’s an video of David and Martin in therapy with me from 2007 when Martin was 9. Here's the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B83RKYFUA0g
More about David Kramer and his work here: https://davidkramer5000.com/
Ken Johnson started a project about 5 years ago titled Ball and Cone. http://ballandcone.tumblr.com/ Ball and Cone are simply the life and experiences of an anthropomorphized ball and an anthropomorphized cone duo in a comic style format. Ball and Cone have no sex or human identity, just one eye each, and they are adorably compelling and funny. They are very simple but explore questions and ideas that can be very complex, such as the meaning of existence and what is mirth? BUY THE BOOK here:
It was fascinating to talk with Ken about this work and the more than one thousand of drawings he's done for this project., the role it’s taken on in his daily life (he does about one a day) and the dialogue he has with his followers. I think the biggest surprise to me was to find out his largest audience is children, many from far-flung parts of the globe. The uniqueness in this work is how it can be accessed on the simplest level—drawings that communicate immediately to anyone—and how the ideas explored in these cartoons are also incredibly complex and philosophical-that is if you think about what is going on in the images, besides your initial reaction to its humor. To date Ken has created an in depth Tumblr, a more edited instagram as well as 2 books available on Amazon. Follow Ball and Cone here: https://www.instagram.com/ball_and_cone_/
Ken Johnson was born 1953 in Montclair New Jersey. Johnson is an American art critic. Johnson is a writer for the arts pages of The New York Times, where he covers gallery and museum exhibits. Johnson attended Brown University and State University of New York at Albany, earning a degree in art from the former in 1976 and a master’s degree in studio art, with a concentration in painting, from the latter in 1977.
In his journalism career he has written on contemporary art for several art magazines, newspapers and publications. He published for the Art Review in the New York Times, doing reviews for artists in NYC such as Don Doe and was the art critic for the Boston Globe from 2006-2007.
I am obsessed with the creative process which led me to becoming a fan of Jim Tews’s podcast "Quitting Comedy." http://www.jimtews.com/podcast.html He has great comedians talk about their career and process by starting with the premise : Have you ever thought of quitting comedy?
Comedian Jim Tews learned a lot about discipline from his years in the Coast Guard which turned out instrumental in helping his personal development and managing his creativity productively. In this session with Jim, we learn about his less-than-typical, comedy career journey from being brought up in a blue collar family from Allentown, Pa. and being told by his guidance counselor in high school that he wasn’t “college material” to enlisting in the Coast Guard and making a successful comedy career for himself. It turns out being yelled at constantly is good for any creative career really.
More about Jim here: http://www.jimtews.com/
and here: Jim Tews made his stand-up television debut on Last Comic Standing and was featured in an episode of Louie in 2014. Previously he was one of 2011’s New Faces at Just for Laughs Montreal and has performed in the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival, and SF Sketchfest. He recently created/cowrote and starred in The Undone Sweaters web series about a sociophobic Weezer cover band, which was featured on Funny or Die and Nerdist.com. He also created the HBO Labs’s web series The Opener and recently directed a feature length documentary about Cleveland’s independent comedy scene called Make Fun. Felines of New York is his first book, and perhaps his greatest achievement to date.
Rolf Arne Leer had an unusual upbringing which connects him intimately to outsiders.
He is a highly creative, successful, HANDSOME guy who grew up on a farm in Norway that was also a center for mentally ill people. He is the 3rd generation to manage a facility where the working farm provides occupational therapy, housing and medical care for 16 patients at a time. Rolf and his sister were brought up with schizophrenic, bipolar patients, a Down syndrome woman, etc.
Quoted magazine is a glorious coffee table book style magazine that are spectacular profiles of 10 highly individualized New Yorkers, curated by Rolf and his staff. Together with Quoted Magazine’s brand Manager, Megan Davenport, Rolf takes us on a deep dive into his life growing up around the mentally ill as a daily part of life. His genuine love and compassion for these people was actually kinda moving to tears for this hard-boiled shrink that I am. I wish the life Rolf describes were available for all mentally troubled folks everywhere. The final analysis of Rolf, is because he “presents” as so normal and successful he is the ultimate ambassador for outsider humans in this wonderful city, New York, the world Capital of outsiders.
I got to spend an hour with artist advisor Marina Granger, founder of https://www.theartistadvisory.com/about-2/ and she imparted some art career wisdom that you can’t get anywhere. We’ve all heard of creative coaches, etc., but Marina is truly in a class of her own. She has a lot of experience from her art world experiences working in galleries and museums. Here’s a quote from one of her clients that describes her abilities nicely: “Like the perfect combination of therapist and business coach, she tactfully summarized my struggles to their essence. She transformed the dark complicated mass into one crystal clear nugget that I could hold gently in my brainspace.”
Normally I dig into people’s personalities, but Marina’s advice and insights were so valuable that I kept my mouth shut and did a lot of listening. So grateful to her from all of us!
She considers this a labor of love for artists so her prices are ridiculously reasonable. If you use this promo code you can get 10% off with our special code: GIVEASHIT https://www.theartistadvisory.com/book
Rosa has a unique perspective on life and comedy as she comes from a 2-Mommy family, a Jew and a Hispanic. She did know her bio dad and his family, they’re all close, so it sounds a bit like a very modern day and much more interesting version of the Brady Bunch. Rosa is a powerhouse at 25; she’s been in a solid relationship with a guy for two years—all in all, I dub her well rounded and secure. Rosa is on the board of The Black Women in Comedy Festival which is coming up-Feb. 28 thru March 3! www.blackwomenincomedyfestival.com
Rosa writes a lot about women and minorities, LBGTQ in comedy, so we get to dive into these topics as well. More about Rosa here: https://www.rosaescandon.com She’s also a highly talented visual artist: http://www.thnk1994.com/
I am impressed with comedian/animator Manolo Moreno’s work. It’s highly original and HILARIOUS. Check it out here. Manolo was brought up in Pennsylvania with 4 siblings and parents originally from the Philippines. Dr. Lisa delves into whether he wants to bring his work to a larger audience—if he does, then why the fuck is he burying his impressive credits in the darkest corners of his website??? Manolo is endearing and great at articulating his psychological makeup so there is lots of learning all around. ps: I got Manolo to talk about girls!!! (he's single + hetero)
I also found out why Manolo said no to my original invitation to be on the show. A very good reason, too! Why do I always take this stuff so personally? CHECK OUT THIS TALENT!!! http://manolosomething.com/index.html Insta, twitter: @manolosomething https://www.instagram.com/p/BrcOx4sHlD0/
You can too! These guys are smart, attractive, and talented, plus they make great, widely respected work together without arguing. IS this real? How is it possible that a married couple can make art together without getting at each other’s throat? I kicked the tires and found out A LOT. They both have equally strong personalities and mutual respect folks! They each come from small towns which helps keep the neurosis in check too. We talk about their current show at Postmasters, http://www.postmastersart.com/archive/jcpo19/jcpo19direct.html which, among some larger pieces, has miniature dollhouse type of recreations of horrific historical scenes, many of which are mass suicides such as Jonestown. There’s also a well-researched recreation of In addition delve into some of their projects which involve more craziness such as driving an illegal re-made tour bus around Chelsea giving tours on the art from the bus and selling strange funny art souvenirs. http://www.jenandpaulbustours.com/ And this crazy over-the –top dinner with a elevating table at Allegra La Viola Gallery—Loren Monk/James Kalm video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLUC8lJCs0Y
YOU MUST SEE their show at Postmasters – TOO GOOD. More
I met Daniel Christmann on the street earlier in the week while he was soliciting signatures for his campaign for Public Advocate. He’s a super passionate guy with very specific, thought out points of view. He shared his views on more than what to do with the L train. He wants to motivate society in general. Daniel’s an interesting guy who has learned the variety of people and neighborhoods through his job as manager of a plumbing company. He’s is REAL. More about Dan and his platform here: https://www.nycpublicadvocate.com/ https://www.facebook.com/groups/605000943248603