CMU: New Acquisitions art show

My goodness! So much has been going on lately that I have a bunch of stuff to post that has just been waiting for me to make time to sit down long enough.

We found out (through a careful reading of our new lease documents, NOT through the direct questions we asked the office staff, mind you) that the new owners of our apartment complex decided to raise the rent AND give us the bill for a number of things that were previously covered in the rent (water, trash, etc.), which has effectively priced us out of living here. In addition, our current non-smoking community will no longer be such, and that is a big issue for me (remember when we had to move to a new building here, only a month after moving in the first time, because our neighbors inside the first building were smoking a lot and it was invading/permeating our unit? I am NOT doing that again). So, we’re going to have to move AGAIN before our next, hopefully final for the foreseeable future, move when we buy our next home. We are, as you can imagine, not thrilled about this, but we are trying to see the bright side (even after paying movers, we will still likely save money in the long run due to paying a much lower monthly rent at the new place) (*fingers crossed* that we get the place we’re looking at). We also have to go through all the hassles of moving, having our mail forwarded, and so on – it’s just a huge time- and energy-suck that we were not anticipating.

ANYWAY! On the bright side, I recently went to see an exhibit of new art on CMU’s campus, in the beautiful Baber Room at Park Library.

CMU New Acquisitions art exhibition

Paint by Number (ceramic) by Amy Dziesenski (2014)

I love the juxtaposition of something ephemeral, generally considered to be “low art” with a fine art like ceramics. This piece is really fun (note: all my photos from this show are TERRIBLE and should not be considered to be accurate representations of the artworks).

CMU New Acquisitions art exhibition

The Spirit: Graham, Dickenson, O’Keefe (multi-media quilt) by Ann Kowaleski

I was really excited to see that CMU acquired one of Ann Kowaleski‘s art quilts from her show earlier this year. I am a fan and admirer of her work.


CMU New Acquisitions art exhibition

Batman (ceramic) by Brett Sauve (2013)

This piece was an unexpected delight. It’s Batman, of course, but it’s also a lot more than just that. I really like the artist’s interpretation of the character. I feel like this piece highlights the humanity of the character (rather than focusing on the brutality or sex appeal, as the movies so often do). For me, the eyes especially convey the haunted, lonely life that led Bruce Wayne to take on the Batman mantle. The ears are almost dog-esque (this may just be me – given my love for bat-eared dogs) and their waver-iness gives a feeling of vulnerability. The way his cape is tied reminds me of how a child would tie on a cape, which also leads to that feeling. At any rate, this piece is also just really cool.

This show will be up through July 18 and I highly recommend checking it out.


Comic Con!

This weekend we traveled to the outskirts of Chicago for the 2010 Wizard World Comic Con. We took the train, which was nice as we didn’t have to worry about traffic or expensive parking. I also got quite a bit of knitting done en route (more on that soon). While it was a bit of a bummer that the so-called Chicago Con is not actually in Chicago, we knew that we’d be trapped there, so we were resigned to hotel restaurants in advance of the trip. Brent Spiner, who gave one of the best panel speeches, described it as “Off-the-Highwaysville” which was pretty accurate.

view of the Convention Center from our room at the Doubletree

That said, our hotel Koloa Landing Kauai beach resort was pretty nice. It had plenty of space for us to hang out during Con downtime. One night we ordered in some Chicago-style pizza, which was deadly cheesy and delicious. So, chalk one up for the ‘burbs: larger hotel rooms.

our room at the Doubletree O'Hare Rosemont

The Con itself was way fun. I took Willow around with me and photographed her with a variety of folks in costume. Some of my faves:

with Wolverine:

Willow with Wolverine

As it turns out, this guy is a postal worker who wishes he could wear the spandex all the time.

with Hit Girl:

Willow with Hit Girl

This girl was so cool! Her mom actually had a Blythe when she was a kid and was all excited to see Willow. They worked together to make this costume. It so rocks, doesn’t it?

with Tank Girl and Severus Snape:

Willow with Tank Girl and Severus Snape

I love these two as a couple.

with classic Batman and Superman:

Willow with Batman and Superman

These guys were staying in our hotel, along with some friends of theirs who dressed as Harley Quinn and the Joker. I didn’t managed to get their pics (they were in high demand on the show floor). These guys also had multiple versions of their characters’ costumes and dressed differently each day. It was impressive.

with Nick Fury:

Willow with Nick Fury (33/52)

with Venom:

Willow with Venom

We spectated at a costume contest one night. It was fun, but the most poorly planned event at the Con. It took place in a tiny meeting room at one of the hotels, and they vastly underestimated the number of people who would attend, so the room was ridiculously overcrowded. A definite fire code violation! As it was, those with bulky, difficult-to-move costumes had to stand around the outskirts of the room, and those with more maneuverability stood in the hallway until they were called to come up to the so-called stage (more of a platform). There were some awesome costumes, though, a few of which I snapped before my camera battery died (oops).

Eric Draven, who was way too pleased with himself and couldn’t stop grinning (not very Draven-esque):

Eric Draven at the costume contest

A pretty convincing Jack Sparrow:

Jack Sparrow at the costume contest

Rose Tyler from the Doctor Who episode “The Idiot’s Lantern“:

Rose Tyler at the costume contest

I was surprised that we didn’t see any Doctors on the show floor – I expected to see at least one or two.

This Godzilla costume reportedly took a year to create:

Godzilla at the costume contest

And these War Machine and Iron Man costumes must have taken ages as well. They were so accurate and really professional-looking, though they were definitely handmade by these two guys.

War Machine and Iron Man at the costume contest

This guy, though not actually related to anything Comic-y, stole the show by reciting the Old Spice commercial verbatim and jumping up on the judges table at the point where he says, “I’m on a horse.” He received my Zeitgeist Award. (Not an actual thing.)

Old Spice Guy at the costume contest

And then there was this dickhead, who chose to stand in front of a bunch of people the entire time, blocking their view and putting his butt in their faces. Jerk!

HUGE JERK at the costume contest

Among the other speakers we heard, James Marsters was one of the best, along with Brent Spiner. Marsters was interesting and told relevant anecdotes. Spiner was hilarious. I’d heard before that he had a great sense of humor, and it’s true. His presentation was almost like stand-up, though he did take some questions, too. He had a very good rapport with the audience and I could’ve listened to him for much longer than his allotted time. William Shatner was a one-man “Bleep My Dad Says” promotional machine, and went off on a 20-minute tangent about Canada. Or it ended up in Canada. Something about Canada – I drifted off a bit since it was so off-topic and boring. He only got through two questions from audience members! Adam West and Burt Ward also had a pretty good rapport with each other and both seemed to be in full control of their faculties. The award for Making The Audience Feel Uncomfortable goes to: Michael Biehn. He was on a panel with Linda Hamilton, and she tried to keep him on task, but he seemed a bit ‘off’ and kept scratching his head/beard/neck/what-have-you in a haven’t-bathed-in-a-week sort of way. Later in the day, we realized that we were walking behind him on the way back to the hotel, and he was carrying a paper bag with a six-pack of canned beer in it. Maybe a gift from a fan? (I hope?)

So overall it was really fun. We got to spend time with some friends we hardly get to see anymore, and it was great to get away for a few days and just relax. We need to go on vacation more often! Saving the best for last, my very favorite costume was Moss from the IT Crowd:

Willow with Moss

More pics on Flickr.