When I was in Sweden I had the opportunity to meet the amazing Carsten Höller, who attempted to convince me he wasn’t a “bird nerd.” I wrote about it for the New York Times’ T Magazine.
“Beautiful, no?” Höller says, pointing to a Siberian rubythroat darting around a large cage in what was once the guest room of his Stockholm apartment. The artist, known for his playful, participatory installations — tube slides that span multiple floors, rooms with giant mushrooms hanging from the ceiling — has spent the past several years filling his personal aviaries with feathered friends acquired from Belgium, Italy, Holland and Germany.
Höller also meticulously photographs his collection, tracking each bird’s development from egg to adult. “They look quite beautiful when they are older,” he says. “But in the beginning, they look like aliens.” In addition to incorporating the birds into his 2011 exhibition at the New Museum in New York, he has been making photogravures of one-of-a-kind canary crossbreeds with the Danish artist Niels Borch Jensen. “I just don’t know where it comes from,” the former agricultural entomologist says of his obsession. Certainly not his mother: “She’s like, ‘What kind is this?’ and I say, ‘I’ve told you like a hundred times, that’s a song thrush! It’s very easy to recognize!’ ”
I wrote a short piece for the NY Times (reprinted below) about the immensely likable Jacqueline Suskin, who just put out a new book called “Go Ahead & Like It.” The book’s great – get one!
A Poet’s Advice to “Go Ahead & Like It”
In our digital era of numbly clicking “like” as we impassively watch our friends’ lives scroll by on Facebook and Instagram, along comes an analog antidote: “Go Ahead & Like It,” a new art book/self-help guide by the Los Angeles poet Jacqueline Suskin. The 29-year-old is well known around town for Poem Store, a self-described “performance poetry piece” she sets up at farmers’ markets, events and weddings. To create each poem, she asks for a subject and then briskly pecks out evocative lines on a vintage Hermès typewriter in exchange for whatever amount the recipient deems it to be worth.
With “Go Ahead & Like It,” Suskin offers up a simple practice that she finds incredibly therapeutic: making lists of things you like. It began several years ago when a friend (to whom she dedicates the book) gave her a list. “It was kind of like a flirty ‘get to know me’ note,” she said. “That’s all it was, just a list of things he likes. I thought it was a fascinating concept to show someone this part of yourself, your interests, but in this really detailed way.” His original list of likes is included in the book, as are many of Suskin’s own. The project is part scrapbook — photographs collaged with a mix of type- and hand-written pieces of paper — and part how-to.
Her mission with “Go Ahead & Like It,” she says, is to help other people pause to take note of the good amongst the banal and quotidian. “To be able to look around and find beauty and inspiration in every little thing, that’s what makes me a poet,” she said. “I want to show anybody that they have that in themselves.”
“Go Ahead & Like It” ($22) is available for pre-order online.
I just launched a blog called Procreative – all about issues related to men’s fertility. I did some crowdsourcing on Facebook to find the name. Some of my favorite submissions included: Future shot, Papa was a Frozen Load, Take a Load off Danny, The Loadown, The Father Load, You’ve Got Male (fertility issues), and…The Huffington Post.
I still really like Papa Was a Frozen Load, but the blog is really about a broad variety of issues related to men’s fertility. If I eventually end up using my frozen sperm to father a child, I look forward to the day when I can sing to my grandchild: “Papa was a frozen load / a vile in cold storage was him home, etc…”. Assuming I have a son. Or a kid, for that matter…
Throngs of Swedes eager to escape the land of the midnight sun are traveling to the land of eternal sunshine. Blame the obvious (weather), the logistical (Norwegian Air Shuttle’s new direct flight from Stockholm) or the sartorial (Acne Studios’ opening of a West Coast outpost); whatever the reason, Los Angeles has become a new home away from ‘Holm for many Swedish creatives. “Without fail, every single day there’s a bunch of Swedes in the lobby,” says Fredrik Carlstrom, who ensconced himself at the newish Ace Hotel while overseeing the recent launch of Austere, a nearby Scandi-centric retail showroom and event space. Come late next year, downtown L.A. will also house AYD (short for “All Your Dreams”), a Nordic-influenced members club designed by Andreas Fornell (formerly Acne’s in-house architect). AYD will boast Swedish chefs (Adam & Albin of Matstudio in Stockholm) and club “ambassadors” like the pop icon Robyn. “A lot of people are skipping New York and going straight to L.A.,” says Patrik Berger, who co-produced the Swedish duo Icona Pop’s massive 2012 hit “I Love It.” “It’s all in L.A. when it comes to pop music.”
My band Ray & Remora’s new video for “Gold Soundz” premiered today on EW.com. A big thanks to everyone who participated and helped out!
Directed by Snäckan B.
Edited by Ted Malmros
Shot by Snäckan B & Ruben Broman
Featuring (in order of appearance):
The Gold Soundz 1994 Dancers: Erica Carpenter, Stephen Patterson, Yvonne Lacombe, Erin O’Brien (with choreography by Caitlin Adams)
Jeff Goldblum (& Woody the poodle)
Miwa Okumura, Katrina Dickson, Lisa Milberg
Track listing: 1) Like a Fool (Superchunk) 2) Gold Soundz (Pavement) 3) Say It Ain’t So (Weezer) 4) Skull (Sebadoh) 5) Feel The Pain (Dinosaur Jr.) 6) The Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory (Guided by Voices)