How we mark the passing of time- Lifelong Learners and the inventions of Problem Solving

T-day Photo Shoot with Cam
Thanksgiving and on through December is a whirlwind blur of activity, in accordance with this fast pace I am going to write on events of the past two weekends.

Thanks Rituals
I've been gathering with friends and family for over ten years now at my parents house. The mom's cook the food, the dad's entertain, and we kids make appetizers and drinks or sometimes nothing at all. The years have been marked by people lost to death or moves, visitors gained -transient college students, and new members born. (My bf was even a T-Day guest before we were dating.) We talk about everything and nothing and our bellies are filled with the deliciousness that we haven't had since the year before. This Thanksgiving ritual helps us mark the passing of time.

I've decided to profile one of my best friends that regularly attends as she is one of my favorite people and she embodies qualities that I admire.

Life Long Learner pt 1.
Emily P
-Grew up in St. Louis
-Went to college in Vermont
-Plays volleyball, skies, snowboards, bikes, climbs.
-One of my longtime collaborators on art projects including; zines, furniture rehab, art projects, and aerobic dances.
-Was my first yoga teacher.
-Once sent a friend a piece of mountain lion poop in the mail.
-Built a tree house with a nudist that liked to chain saw as such.
-Used to ride a motorcycle.
-Can teach herself to do anything, like playing the banjo or harmonica.
-Secretly planted tree seedlings all over Columbia, MO Johnny Appleseed style earning her the nick name Emmy tree seed.
-Would like to one day build an adult jungle gym in her backyard that is made out of rocks and trees.
-I was afraid of her in middle school.
-We went to Spain at the same time in high school.
-Is studying to be a doctor of Physical therapy.
-We shared a studio at her grandpa's house and secretly filled his basement with objects we collected from the trash that we planned on refurbishing.
-Have been roomates 2x's.
-Makes delicious "healthy cookies", cucumber soup, and african peanut soup.
-Has lived all over U.S.
-Shares a love of Joseph Campbell.
-Studied Biology and Art
-Can build beautiful gardens- she once made our entire backyard at a rented house into a garden. One beautiful summer night during an art show we laid blankets all over the yard between the plots of plants and lit candles. People played guitar and ate perfectly ripe cherry tomatoes from the vine.

Lifelong Learners Part II
Charles and Ray Eames (photo of them building Mathematica Exhibit)
I bought the boxed set of their videos for my youngest brother. We watched half of them over T-Day weekend. These two knew about everything; design, computers, bread, Day of the Dead, sea creatures, Thomas Jefferson. I was left dizzy and dumbfounded by my initial experience of their videos and their apparent genius. Like Emily from above, they were fascinated by all aspects of life and they seemed to find everything significant or special in some way from the molecular to outer space. Brett W. showed Powers of Ten to my CAT group and I had seen a stop motion of their chairs, but I had no idea the extent of their exploration; it sort of beautiful just to see two people that seem committed to life long learning. While they may have had specialties in art and design this never limited them from learning and collaborating with other fields.

Lifelong Learners Part III.
Fantastic Mr. Fox

It's almost like Wes Anderson could have been animating all along. Or rather how exciting to see how his directing/editing techniques from live action film exist in an animated movie.

I've long considered Anderson to be a present day film auteur because of the style of his movies. Again we have the yellow titles, the thorough presentation of characters in their environments, the long slow pan outs, the energizing classic boy rock, and the tales of male adventures/ search for purpose.
The casting of the various animated creatures is spot on especially with George Clooney as the fox and Maryl Streep as his wife. Even Jason Schwartzman plays an effective brooding teenager. The animation has the same dreamy golden kodachrome look as his films. One accidental happening I especially love, is the way the fur on their faces move, I believe its a result of when they manipulate the puppets. This what I imagine most closely depicts Anderson's imaginary world. I wanted this film to last far longer than its hour and half because this world is quite captivating.

Three of my favorite adventures from this weekend

1. My cousin Hannah was visiting this weekend and she is a fashion designer. We both like to thrift shop and so my mom was thrilled to tell us about the vintage dress sale at Scholarshop. We joined hordes of mainly women at their Webster location on Saturday morning to peruse over a thousand vintage dresses. While we did find some cute outfits, we didn't want to lose our day waiting in long lines to try on and pay for dresses but what a blast to see all those people excited about vintage dresses. My cousin laughed that most of them were from JcPenny and how odd to see them sell for more now than they probably did originally.

2. These Changes Make us Light
Saturday night we went to the annual Holiday show May These Changes Make us Light held this year at the Archive. Archive is a newly opened bookstore occupying what used to be City Art Supply. The Changes Show is a variety show tied loosely together through a different narrative each year. Embracing ideas of togetherness, diversity, and healing, this year's show highlighted video pieces from a movie project called Atnas, songs by Firedog and Yuletide Express, as well as a few modern dances. I really enjoyed the visual effect of the light up tree costume worn by Amber (below) who I understand is an owner of the Archive. Pantyhose and colored silks were draped and sewn to create roots and a limb system that extended from her hands. She did a modern dance that incorporated slow movments often referencing the "yogic" tree posture.

I've helped with this show in year's past and I know that the group of collaborators worked hard to pull the show together after losing their space a week before the performance. In response, they tried to incorporate audience participation more as anything relating a stage had been eliminated. This was especially effective during the Yuletide Express Performance as the choir slowly enveloped the entire room and the line between performer and participant was erased. The Atnas videos (made by Rebecca Rivas and Kelsey) were fun and playful they moved between Lyndsey singing soulfully along the flood wall and the advice of a sassy female rapper. I had given Lyndsey some training on animation so I also enjoyed seeing her animating language emerge, particularly all the ways she was able to bring inanimate objects and photographs to life just by using them as props in her animation. Also she effectively created an overall feeling of the journey of her character through the juxtaposition of stuff. Marc Pagano and Celia were as exuberant as ever this time adding in a new dance song, The Age of Aquarius. I think that this group really problem solved their loss of space in an effective way because the audience never knew when something was going to end or begin. The only difficulty was because the front door was by the viewing area when a large group walked in I felt I should politely move back so that they could have a chance to see and then I could not see anything.

3. Highway 40 Promenade
Today I went to the Highway 40 re-opening Public Walk. What an amazing experience to realize the scale of a highway by walking it. My brother remarked that this was the only time we would experience how far apart the exits actually were. Walking and biking terrain makes you suddenly more conscious of all the twists, turns, and hills on the road. There appeared to be huge turnout of people;on bike, skateboard, rollerblade, with dogs, jogging, even a marching band. I am huge fan of pedestrian cities and I love interventions such as this when a space we usually experience as one way is suddenly made to be something else. It felt like all of St. Louis had come out to Promenade along the highway. Talking with family and friends later, it made us wish that this was a regular event. Come on can't you see it once a month we close a part of the highway down and everyone gets out and just walks, solving obesity, and isolation, activities could change; in the winter an ice rink, in summer a slip and slide, in the spring an evening dance!
Photo by Billy Paulsen


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