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Chau and B.J.'s notes from Space City

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watercolor test

My summer break flew by and it’ll be over in a few days. Can’t believe it. Besides working on the store, and lesson-planning for school, I’ve been carving out time for personal projects. I’m not pleased with most of it, but it’s felt great to test things out and begin routines—to return to the habit of creating. Ideally, the creative misses will eventually lead to hits.

I also took my first dance class, in modern dance, at the Houston Metropolitan Dance center. Although I was nervous, my love for SYTYCD carried me through. Who knew pointing your toes could be so hard?!

Summer has also given BJ and I time to explore more of Houston—many for the first time. Last week, we stopped by the Central Library, got our cards, and checked out as many books as we could carry. We finally walked to the Sicardi Gallery literally around the corner from us. We enjoyed the shrimp egg rolls and lobster with our family at Tay Do restaurant. But we also stopped by old stand-bys: the Menil, where I got a little teary to see the same guard who was on duty in 2009 at the Twombly Gallery when BJ proposed; beating the lines with an early dinner at Tiger Den, where we tried the pandan custard donuts; and pizza and my favorite fries at Kenneally’s Pub.

 

BJ

What will survive of us is love. – Philip Larkin

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For my second test of these tiny pieces (still unnamed) I used a rougher textured clay. Dreaming of a wall covered with these?


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A couple of months ago, BJ and I visited our friend and nearby neighbor Bradley at his studio located at the University of Houston. It came at the tail end of his MFA thesis show, and we were so excited to see his sketches and other show going on upstairs. Stepping into his space, I was immediately flooded with memories of my undergrad studio and I hit with a little bit of envy. I miss having a small space, piles of books, scraps and little mementos that seemed to precious to throw away but their fate still undecided. I love his use of color and pattern, refreshing take on still-lifes, and the textures of his collage and paintings especially those made by scraping thin lines into the wet paint. The first piece is one our favorites, a sweet save the date Bradley created for his and Whitney’s upcoming wedding. Check out more of his work here. As I approach my two months of summer break, I feel motivated to carve out a space of my own and create.

All photos taken with my phone*

Hoop Dreams has been on my mind lately for several personal reasons: last weekend, BJ and I watched it on our drive up to Austin, Kevin Durant’s awesome MVP speech and shout out to his mom, I’m still bummed from the Rocket’s upset loss in Game 6, I’ve been reflecting on my first year teaching at an all boys Catholic school. Below is a clip from one of my favorite scenes, Sheila’s Graduation.

from Robert Ebert & Martin Scorsese: Best Films of the 1990s

ROGER: To me the greatest value of film is that it helps us break out of our boxes of time and space, and empathize with other people — it lets us walk in someone else’s shoes. “Hoop Dreams,” made by Steve James, Frederick Marx and Peter Gilbert, gave me that gift.

MARTIN: Well, I think it’s a extraordinary film. I mean, you have real people becoming dramatic characters. You follow their lives like everyone’s life I think is a drama in a way. And the dedication of the filmmakers was remarkable. It reminds me Goes back to Flaherty where they live with the people and stay with them for years. Again, this is a new way, a new interesting look at story telling. And what’s great too is you begin to see the relationships in the family and how they change, the boy and his father.

ROGER: When we reviewed the movie on this show Gene Siskel said that the best scene for him was where the mother turns out to have been attending nursing school –

MARTIN: Oh, that was a great scene!

ROGER: — and she has her graduation. And he says, “That’s where the crowd should have been, not at the basketball game.”

MARTIN: Just catches you, that scene.

 

Paul D’amato’s Here Still Now series includes photos documenting the decline and demolishment of Chicago’s notorious housing project, Cabrini-Green, which is where William Gates, one of the main subjects of Hoop Dreams, also resided. The other photos in the series are equally touching, beautiful, and sincere.

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