We hung the show yesterday! Or more like, Donna & Irene hung the show while I stood around helplessly with my lame hand. It looks pretty good, if I do say so myself. I have to do a few little finishing touches & then it'll be fit for viewing by the weekend. I actually have much more to say but my hand won't let me.

btw, in case you missed me on Evening Magazine, you can see the video clip here.


so grumpy: i strained my right hand on saturday & it still hurts. i'm typing this all w/ my left hand, which feels really dumb. we're installing the show on wednesday. good thing i'll have help, is all i can say.


Escape from Birmingham! Really I was going kinda stir crazy in that little business motel in the middle of a soulless business park. Ugh.

So, I finally admitted that it's much better for all concerned if I don't make any promises about the sound installation at all. It's better for me (less likely to babble incoherently or faint at my own opening); better for the show (no substandard, rushed work); better for all the nice people in my life (no angsty, urgent pleas for help, no need to come peel me off the floor like a fruit roll).

I feel so much better now that I dropped the rest of Alabama from the itinerary. Sometimes when you bite off more than you can chew, you should just spit out the excess. In a ladylike manner, of course. Since we are still in the South.

In case you're confused: no, I wasn't actually in Birmingham the past few days, & I'm not actually in Tuscaloosa now. It just feels like that.

What? You say I'm babbling incoherently anyway? I'm pretty sure I'll recover once I cross the border back into Mississippi again. There's a very nice swimming pool in Hattiesburg....


I've noticed that the process of preparing for this show in some ways parallels the Southern trip itself. For instance, right now I feel like we're in Birmingham. I've climbed out of the exhaustion of Memphis & the misery of Holly Branch & Tupelo, had a nice little mental palate cleanser in Jasper. Birmingham itself has been a mixed bag, interesting & depressing by turns. Now, confronting the home stretch, I have decided to make drastic revisions to the original itinerary. I've cancelled some motel reservations & have to make new ones in different towns.

What that metaphor translates into: the sound installation is going to be extremely simple & basic. That's the cool thing about it being my first one; as long as I do something, it's fine. It doesn't have to blow your mind. And, I'm allowing myself to contemplate the notion that it might not be finished by the time the show opens. Since the show is two months long, I can add the sound part a whole week late & it will still be there for 7 weeks.

Anyway, the photos will all be there the whole time, & they make a fine show on their own, if I do say so myself. & the catalog will be available right away, too. Which is basically what I realized in Birmingham: we already accomplished so much in Mississippi that it's really fine if we don't have the energy for Alabama.

Hence, Mostly Mississippi.


Have gingham, will travel... back in 1999 I was in a group show that subsequently went on tour. The tour was originally scheduled through 2004, but now it's stretching all the way into 2006! So if it hasn't already come to your hood, it may well show up sometime soon. If you happen to be in St. Louis or Texarkana, why then, I would say chances are excellent. Too bad I can't ask my artworks to pick up Chinese takeout menus for me in every town. They've been all over the place! Go, Needle Art, go!


Not only is Yarn Harlot an amazing knitter, being some kind of Latvian Mitten Goddess, but she's also a hilariously funny writer. You should have seen me laughing hysterically in front of the computer the other day while reading her blog. She has also instigated a Knitters Without Borders happening, so if you took my advice before & donated to Doctors Without Borders, go check out what Yarn Harlot is doing; you could end up getting some yummy wooly goodies in the mail, if you're lucky.

I feel slightly less bruised (by jasmine petals, by catalog administration, by whatever, name your princess affliction) now that my fabulous crit girls came over this afternoon & showed me some tough love. No, nothing kinky, just them being their usual brilliant selves. I'm a lucky, lucky artist to have such smart & sweet friends.

Here is a nice Italian version of Aarne-Thompson tale type 704, better known as The Princess and the Pea. Some days I feel like that myself.


About fucking time. In Meridian, Mississippi, we visited the grave of James Chaney, the African American civil rights activist who was murdered along with two white activists from the north. Chaney was actually from Meridian, but his family had a hard time finding a cemetery that would accept his grave, because they were all afraid of vandalism. Can you imagine? It's already bad enough to be beaten to death by the Klan, but then there's no place to be buried because everyone is afraid that those evil fuckers will still be coming after you, even in death?? Chaney was finally buried in a tiny church graveyard outside of town. Despite the green beauty of the trees & the singing birds, we felt kind of creeped out driving up the little side road, but the place turned out to have a very peaceful air about it. Chaney's grave is marked by a beautiful, large slab of dark stone (granite?) right by the side of the road, apart from the rest, which form a cluster farther back in the center of the clearing. I wonder about the placement; was it to make it easier for people like us to find it, or were they hoping that vandals would not bother to venture into the main part of the churchyard if their primary target was so easily accessible?

You know, it really came home to me, on this trip, in a way I'd never fully grasped before: the civil rights movement was an all-out bloody war. You always hear about it as a "movement" or a "struggle", but it was war. These people died for us. It's because of them that Donna & I felt as safe as we did, driving dark country roads at night in our rental car, staying at whatever motels we wanted, eating & shopping & peeing wherever we needed to. (Granted, we didn't dare ask the country club if we could swim in their pool.) We never had to pause & wonder, "in this town, should I use the white or the colored drinking fountain?" For Asian folks in the South, these things did vary from community to community. One restaurant owner told us about his first day at school, how the cafeteria was divided with Black on one side & white on the other, & he had no idea what to do so he just walked slowly down the middle until some white kids he knew waved him over to their side.


Digging through the rapidly proliferating heaps of web information about the tsunami, Donna unearthed this righteous (& I do mean that in the best way possible) article by Rebecca Solnit. I'd been sort of peeking over Donna's shoulder at the horrible pictures, weeping a little in between rows of a mindless moss-stitch scarf, not knowing really how to digest it all. So it was a relief to read such emotionally & politically intelligent commentary. Remembering to cry & also reading smart stuff like this, that's my recommendation for post-tsunami coping, if you're a lucky one like me, who hasn't been directly affected. Of course, if you're also brilliant, I recommend writing more like this for the rest of us to read.

& yeah, I did pick up the knitting again, just tonight. I realized I needed something really brainless to knit as a break from editing these little sound pieces for the show, which is what I did all day until I couldn't think anymore.


I must not be so busy if I had time to follow the link Ms. Plastic Lam sent me so I could giggle at this nutty thing. Wait. This is even funnier! Lots of artists doing knitted & crocheted projects these days. So far I am keeping the worlds separate, though.

The Girl Where'd You Get That Hat club also dragged me away from the studio to see House of Flying Daggers. Nothing like some hyperbolic Chinese eye candy to give a person some perspective on things. No matter what stress this show puts me under, it can't possibly get as bad as being in the middle of a fatal love triangle. Even Takeshi Kaneshiro ain't worth that shit.