Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I was actually asked to stop registering voters on a sidewalk outside Whole Foods in Portland, Oregon after a complaint by a dead-eyed Republican mother/daughter team. I was 15 feet away initially. I was wearing a small Obama button (and an "Alaska Grown" T-shirt). Obviously, I will register anyone of any political persuasion. Whole Foods argued that it was private property (it's ambiguous where the sidewalk starts/begins) and that I was being a little "too obvious", and that Whole Foods (a Republican-owned company) didn't accept solicitors. I pointed out that voter regsitration was hardly asking people for money, and then I moved my pitch.
The twenty-something daughter muttered "that's bullshit" in my direction as she refused to look at me after her complaint (several minutes before I was asked to leave).
Her eyes and her mother's eyes were like Hitler's. I'm not fucking kidding.
Don't let them have tomorrow.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Kind of interesting to be considered part of the "history" of something. That's me on the right. The little boy on the left was my first friend. He had the same birthday as me, and he died when we were in high school due to high school kids up in Wainwright making a punch out of (ethyl?) alcohol. It was really tragic. Meanwhile, my friends and I were doing exactly the same thing down in Kenai, and using Everclear. I have a copy of this picture that my dad had labeled, and the woman holding me is my "Eskimo Grandma", according to Dad's handwriting. I think I remember being told that she was my babysitter. I wonder whether I have a cache of Inupiat words somewhere in my brain left over from 0 - 2 years old, and whether I'd find it easier to learn the language because of that. I oughta try it some day.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Posted by Erik Henriksen on Sun, Aug 31 at 11:10 AM
Last night--downtown, sometime around sunset, at a block party hosted by the Art Institute of Portland--the best nine films we received in the "My Pretty Portland" film contest were screened. We got over 30 entries, and for myself and a crack team of intrepid Mercury writers, it was no easy task to decide the winners, but I think we did an alright job of it. It should probably be noted here that we gave extra credit to films that featured unicorns.
My memory of last night is the tiniest bit blurry thanks to my possible abuse of the drink ticket system, but I remember enough of the evening to know it went pretty well, and the crowd seemed to dig most of the entries. For those of you who couldn't make it out last night--and those who were there and want to re-watch particular films--here are the nine finalists we selected. The first place winner is immediately below, with second place and seven others (plus an honorable mention!) after the jump."
Here's the article and my film plus the other finalists...
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
The Bridal Couple: my brother David, and Hyun-Mi. (photo by Karin Bryson)
During the wedding ceremony: Hyun-Mi looking beautiful, just as her name suggests. (photo by Karin Bryson)
Wishstones that fill an empty tree stump - Haeinsa Temple - pre-wedding, different location (photo by Kathleen Bryson)
Near Haeinsa Temple (a picture I liked that I forgot to post, pre-wedding, different location) (photo by Kathleen Bryson)
David and Hyun-Mi, after the wedding (photo by Phil Bryson)
Wedding ceremony with laden table and (live, and still alive) chickens... (shamanist ceremony) (photo by Pat Bryson)
The Wedding, with Mi's Japanese friends in formal dress in the foreground
The Wedding... (photo by Pat Bryson)
The Temple... (photo by Pat Bryson)
My Dad, Phil! (photo by Pat Bryson)
The bride Hyun-Mi and her sister Soo-Mi (photo by Pat Bryson)
Bride and Groom (photo by Pat Bryson)
Bride and Groom 2 (photo by Pat Bryson)
Bride and Groom 3 (photo by Pat Bryson)
Bride and Groom 4... (photo by Pat Bryson)
Here comes the bride (photo by Pat Bryson)
My new sister-in-law Hyun-Mi and me... (photo by David Bryson)
Family after Temple hike (photo by David Bryson)
My brother David growling with the bears. (photo by David Bryson)
David and Mi on Paradise Island - Odeo (photo by David Bryson)
David and Mi, Cavers! (photo by David Bryson)
Kaving in Korea... (my family decided that the word "cavers" was a lot more hip than the word "caveman" or "cavewoman", or the anthropological "cave-dwellers". We saw so many gorgeous caves - 5 or 6? Loved them. (Photo by David Bryson)
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
At Haeinsa Temple - me, Mom, dad, David and Mi.
The Tripitaka scripts - the Koreans invented moveable type several centuries before the Gutenberg press - they are housed in a special room by the temple at Haeinsa. (From Wikipedia: "It is the world's most comprehensive and oldest intact version of Buddhist canon in Chinese script, with no known errors or errata in the 52,382,960 characters which are organized in over 1496 titles and 6568 volumes. Each wood block measures 70 centimeters in width and 24 centimeters in length. The thickness of the blocks range from 2.6 to 4 centimeters and each weights about three to four kilograms.")
A particularly beautiful fountain on Odeo.
Odeo Island - the topiary looks like Dr. Seuss.
The temple was so beautiful...
At Odeo Island ("Paradise Island") - most of the statuary was Greek while the topiary was Korean, but this seemed a touch of the Americana to me.
My brother David and his fiancee Mi!
You can place a rock on top of the temple and make a wish...
First sight of Busan after 23 hours of flying - looked like a candy Disneyland with all the neon.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
The main character in All Bottled Up, Morgan Mothrey, is very fond of perfume bottles, and so that chimes in nicely with my most recent post.
Here is the synopsis:
All Bottled Up
Novel: 65,000 words. Setting: current-day Portland, Oregon.
Food tester and minor cable “celebrity” Morgan Mothrey invokes a genie, a good-looking fellow name of Jim Scox, who starts to fulfill all of her dreams, despite his great love of bad puns and anagrams. But soon she discovers that, as a textbook chauvinist pig, he has desires of his own, ones that she finds herself fulfilling as well. It’s the ultimate battle of the sexes, one that makes Taming of the Shrew look like I Dream of Jeannie, and one which turns the whole genie myth upside down and gives the bottle a few shakes to boot.
For as the gameplay and wordplay and stakes with Jim Scox grow higher and more complex, and her own ambitions and wishes ever more grandiose (Twelve swimming pools filled with green champagne! Six boyfriends slavishly devoted to her every whim who all can cook as well! Seven-league high-heels! A functioning remote control!), Morgan begins to realize that some of the power might be her own. And not just in a post-feminist metaphor way, but really her own: all signs are pointing to the fact that she is herself an incarnation of the well-known genie Gremory, who was depicted in 1583 by Johann Wier as “appearing in the form of a beautiful woman with the crown of a duchess tied around her waist, and riding a camel”. This troubles Morgan, to say the least. Particularly the camel.
It’s also troubling that Jim the Genie’s power seems to be waning as the perfume in his bottle dries up, and unless she figures out his latest oneupmanship battle-of-the-wits puzzle with which he’s been baiting her, one which involves a trio of his ex-girlfriends, the genies Wickifer, Djinnifer and Nancy, she’s screwed (back into her own bottle, it seems).
Most troubling of all is the fact that Morgan and Jim are falling head over heels in love. This is despite the bad puns and fierce rivalry.
Part fairy tale, part detective story, all word play, All Bottled Up reminds us in all the best possible ways that common anagrams for “I dream of genies” are “a fireside gnome”, “faerie smidgeon” and “maiden fries ego”.
Just as in The Taming of the Shrew, here’s to frying all egos, always sunnyside-up.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
I have always wanted to be a perfumer (parfumier?) and indeed would organize perfume-making contests for my class when I was in fourth grade/ten years old. I remember judging one particular contest and awarding first prize - $2, maybe? - to another little girl who later admitted that she had used strawberry-scented shampoo as her "perfume". I had urged the contest makers to mix their mothers' perfumes with different vanilla food flavoring and peppermint extracts. The strawberry winner showed chutzpah, though, so I didn't think that she had cheated.
I got my first chemistry set around the same time, and I am fairly sure that the experiments I tried, after making invisible ink, were those where you were concocting rose smells and rotten egg smells. Probably that same year, my friend Melanie received a perfume sampler set from her grandma full of beautiful, differently shaped tiny bottles, and I coveted it dearly. I was always trying to get Melanie to mix some together to create an entirely new perfume, but I don't think she ever fell for it.
I have always been INCREDIBLY picky about which perfumes I have worn myself, with a few exceptions in the 90s where I just wore Gaultier, which I was neutral about, because I loved the bottles so much.
I am fairly sure that I have always loved musk, and therefore from my teens often preferred male colognes over overly sickly sweet fragrances. I recall borrowing my ex-boyfriend's Pierre Cardin and Lacoste colognes, and possibly even Brut, in the late 80s/early 90s. I have a feeling I would still like these were I to smell them again, if nothing else than for nostalgic attachments to particular colognes. My girlfriend (also a perfume gender rebel) wears Kenzo and Lolita Lempicka for Men and I like these on her a lot too, and wouldn't feel too uncomfortable stealing a squirt, but I am not sure I would seek them out and *pay* for them. I also prefer some women's perfumes even more than men's colognes (god forbid it should be the same word!), so I guess I am not really a perfume transvestite at all, but more like a perfume switch-hitter, a nefarious fragrance bi-scentual.
Here, though, is a backwards chronology of those perfumes for which I have laid out good money (or little money) in my time to purchase, picky as I am, alongside reviews of their qualities. I wonder whether I could concoct the perfect perfume all for me, using these descriptions, and having the expertise (which I clearly lack). Maybe I will mix them all together one day.
I am 18 - 22 years old. I have just left Alaska and moved to Sweden and fallen in love. I am introduced to "Paris" by my new New Yorker friend Georgia, a fellow exchange student who is my polar opposite (organized, preppy, ambitious in a Working Girl movie kind of way that I detachedly admire), but with whom I (flakey semi-philosophical punkish neurotic small-town Alaskan free spirit) inexplicably hit it off, becoming friends after she lends me her Egyptian-cotton towel after I realize I forgot my stained ratty one after an impromptu bikini dip in a cold Swedish lake. Obviously I managed to remember my bathing suit, but dismissing my towel as something less important seems kind of par for the course for me back then. Anyway, Georgia saved me from hypothermia and introduced me to "Paris".
"Aromatic, Floral, Fruity. Designed by Yves Saint Laurent in 1983, Paris is an exquisite, floral fragrance. It is the result of the following top fragrance Notes: mimosa, orange blossom and linden. The middle notes are: moss, violet and ylang-ylang and the base of the fragrance is: amber, musk and iris. Paris is recommended for romantic use." - from The Perfume Emporium
I am 22 - 25 years old, living in Seattle. I have just finished college and can't find a job except telemarketing. I have realized I am bisexual. I am painting a good deal and just beginning to show people my writing. I am on the periphery of the Queer Nation/ACT-UP political movement. My friends are as messed up and lovable as I am. I am wearing the Body Shop's essential oil (for men) "Activiste" - also known as the less-Frenchified "Activist".
"Top notes of citrus, a spicy heart of cedarwood, ylang ylang and armoise, and base notes of sandalwood, patchouli and amber. Oriental in style, and active in approach." - The Body Shop International
I am 25 - 27 years old - I move to London for drama school, join Lesbian Avengers, fall in love, finish drama school and can't find a job. My girlfriend gives me the Body Shop's "White Musk" as a first Valentine's Day present and I love it.
"The smell of this perfume is really nice. White musk is really hard to describe but it has almost a talcum powder smell but more posh and strong - perfume experts must think I'm mad! It can be worn day or night, as it has one of those versatile scents that is suitable for all occasions which is why it is one of my favourites." - from DOO YOO
"Fragrance Notes: Top: Musk, Lily, Ylang Ylang, hints of Galbanum and Basil Middle: Musk, Jasmine, Lily, Rose Base: Musk, Jasmine, Rose, Iris, Amber, Patchouli, Vetiver, hints of Peach, Oakmoss, Vanilla" - from The Body Shop
I am 27 - 30 years old; I'm living in London, dabbling with Gaultier perfumes because of the doll-shaped and snowdome-shaped bottles, when I discover that I love the Body Shop's vanilla perfume spray even more than "White Musk". Why do I love it? Because it smells like Play-Dough. To my horror, after only several years of wearing it, it is discontinued! I buy up as many bottles of "Vanilla" as I can. I have started an MA and am working in a publishing company. I am still too broke to buy more than 6 bottles of "Vanilla" even at 75% slashed prices.
"A refreshing, non-greasy body mist that moisturizes and helps to soften the skin, leaving it subtly scented with a sweet, warm and spicy vanilla fragrance... Bergamot, peach, strawberry, orange flower, jasmine, plum, ylang ylang, vanilla, sandalwood, amber and musk... have been blended together to create the sweet, warm and velvety vanilla fragrance." - The Body Shop
I am 30 - 32, and have just finished my MA in film, and my first book Mush is coming out soon. After reading a description of "Hypnotic Poison" in a fashion magazine, I think to myself that that sounds like something I would love, and guess what, I do. It is one of the most amazing things I have ever smelled.
Here's what a customer reviewer on eopinions said: "A few months ago, after hearing so many raves and reading tons of rave reviews on the internet, I decided to go and test Hypnotic Poison by Christian Dior. It's been out since 1998, so it isn't anything new to the market, but it was new to me. I was so excited to test out this scent that was being reviewed and advertised as a man-magnet (not that I needed to be a magnet since I do have a boyfriend, but I was still curious to see what this thing was all about)! Jeez..I'm a girl and girls love to smell pretty to everyone around them, right? :)... So, I stopped by Ulta, and walked up to that red bottle again, and VERY LIGHTLY misted my wrist from a far, far distance. Wow..the air smelled SO GOOD. I thought it must've been something else sprayed by another customer. Nope..it was just me there. I put my nose to my hypnotically poisoned wrist, and I felt stuck. My nose was stuck to my wrist. I was captivated by the way it smelled. But this was supposed to smell like a rootbeer float with playdoh on the side. I sprayed a paper card again to see if maybe this bottle might have been a fresh one and the one I tried months ago might've been old. NO! I smelled the rootbeer mixture again! This stuff really does smell different on SKIN than it does on PAPER, or even from the nozzle.
Hypnotic Poison, according to basenotes, claims to have: "..the result of the following top fragrance notes: bitter almond, caraway and jasmine. The middle notes are: moss, sandalwood and oakmoss and the base of the fragrance is: vanilla, musk and cedar." On my skin, I could smell the warmth of vanilla, but in a non-sugary, non-foody way. I could smell the bitter almond keeping this fragrance from turning sickeningly sweet. The rest of the ingredients mingled together to form this gorgeous, intriguing, alluring, and very sexy scent. It becomes a part of you when you put it on. I recommend that you please try this on your skin if you're interested in it. It smells completely different on my skin than it did on paper. After about 30 minutes, it just keeps getting better and better. The lasting power is AMAZING! At least 24 hours!"
I am 32 - 34 years old, and encounter the amazing scents of Philosophy Baby Grace fragrance in Sephora in New York, and I am hooked. I think it smells better than anything I've ever smelled before. Clean, fresh, perfect, new. It's a new century as well.
"Baby Grace is a sophisticated, clean scent formulated for women who are young-at-heart. The perfect scent for those who love the way a baby smells... Notes: Poppy, Green Accord, Pink Mimosa, Pepper, Creamy White Woods, Musk. Style:Light. Clean. Slightly Sweet." - from Sephora
I am 34 - to present, and I am working on directing my first feature film. I move back to the States. I can't find a job. My second book Girl on a Stick and my third book He's Lucid are accepted for publication. I am reeling from culture shock after having been away a decade and then straight into the mouth of the Bush-culture beast. I am wearing... Karma by Lush.
"Complex citrus and patchouli spread light and love... Karma is a proper perfume, not an eau de toilette, so a little goes a very long way. It's made with patchouli to make you more objective and orange oil to revive you when you're frazzled. Lavender refreshes, pine brings happiness into your life, lemongrass lifts your spirits and elemi ought to make you feel joyful. Once you've sprayed a little on your wrists and taken a good sniff, dab it on everyone you know to spread love and light all over the place." - from the Lush website
Saturday, March 29, 2008
I can't believe I cried at Horton Hears a Who last night. That kind of takes the cake as far as sentimentality goes, although I believe I once wept at the abysmal 80s film Fresh Horses as well. But, as I was trying to justify to Simone, there was something very moving/human about all the Whos in Whoville shouting "We are here!" together that reminded me of two million people marching through London to demand accountability from their government to *not* illegally attack another country. We, and yes I was among those two million, already knew that the WMD claims were spurious, so it confounds me when people say they only found out about it later. Anyway, I think I cried because it all ended up being to no avail; the government *didn't* listen; the people really couldn't speak. It reminds me of our whole planet shouting out to somewhere else in space, "We are here!". "Someone take notice!".
Or maybe I'm just pre-menstrual.
Which Epic Poet Are You?
created with QuizFarm.com
You are Dante Alighieri, author of The Divine Comedy. You chose to employ a very complex allegorical method to attack the political and religous shortcomings of your contemporaries, as well as to express wider spiritual truths. Your affection for Vergil led you to make him a central character in your epic.
Well, I suppose "very complex allegorical method to attack the political and religious shortcomings of your contemporaries" might apply to my book Girl on a Stick as well, if I flatter myself. I've never actually read The Divine Comedy, though I've always liked the idea of it. I plan to take at least ten books to Korea to catch up on my reading, as I'll be there for 10 days and my hosts (my brother's fiancee's parents) don't speak English. I would also like to walk around Busan a lot; not to get too Genet-ish about it (or whorish?), but I really do like dock-towns and port cities. Here's a painting I did of Marseilles called The Hairy Fish-Wife. Click on it to enlarge it.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
With Girl on a Stick, it got a little pathological, and even as a published novelist and someone who has been in love with books and reading my entire life, I found myself resenting every new book I saw, and trying to keep myself from envying other people's success when I couldn't understand why GOAS wasn't being lauded/accepted. That was painful, and bitterness is not a common trait with me, or something I admire in myself. That eased when GOAS got a publisher, but I still think it hasn't gotten its due, and possibly never will. I tend to be very self-critical, so if I say that something I have created is good, it's probably very good. It has taken me years to be able to say "I am a writer" to people. People still say, "Really? Self-published?" Er, no. (And, again not something I am proud of: "Fuck you for your underestimation!", but only in my head, of course.) Anyway, GOAS aside, usually thick skin.
As a painter, even thicker skin, possibly because I am so outside the system anyway. I don't even know how to work it. I just keep painting, and putting shows on from time to time, and people keep buying the paintings. I would love to have a manager/agent who discovered and believed in me, but I don't have the energy/time to look for one. If someone doesn't like my art, I can usually think, in a good-natured way, of course, "To hell with ya." Lately, though, I see contemporaries have the $$$ to devote to their painting careers full-time and I am jealous of that, though not of them, really. I have a good feeling about my paintings, actually, like one day I actually will be discovered and hopefully by this I won't be too cynical to be delighted by the stardom.
As a filmmaker and actor, rice-paper thin skin. For the former, lack of experience playing the festival/distribution game and therefore lack of confidence in my own work (men never seem to suffer from this, I've noticed); for the latter, residual neurosis from a fucked-up experience at drama school, which has been partly healed by taking part in the lovely Sarah Wood's films and being praised etc. I am definitely someone who blooms under praise, not criticism.
My last posts have been heavily narcissistic, but that's art for ya. Besides, I feel uncomfortable spilling personal details about my life, my girlfriend, my family, my friends. And I rarely even discuss my "artistic life" anyway with anyone, so these last two posts are something quite new for me as well. One personal detail is that, for some reason, I have really been missing my London-based friend Venetia recently. It's weird to live 10 years in one place and then have all those people, all those memories, just gone. It was sort of the same with Stockholm, where I lived for around 3 years and then left abruptly, never to return. I always assume I'll just show up for a film festival or a book reading at some point. I still dream in fluent Swedish from time to time. It would be odd to see the way it smells, feels. But London, I feel, is current with me, kind of more in my present blood (like Seattle, 3 years as well). Stockholm feels like Alaska, something taken for given. It's not exactly the past. London, New York, even San Francisco, Barcelona, my sell-out dream beachhouse in San Diego, all feel like the present and the future to me.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
GIRL ON A STICK:
I am waiting for my second novel to come out, and I have been waiting for over a year and a half from its first scheduled publication date. I think my publishers are bringing it out soon. I worked so hard on it and I have a fear that it probably won't get reviewed. It kind of breaks my heart. At the same time I really love my publishers and their vision and I know they are doing everything they can. I think it's a very good book. I just want it to come out; I don't care that it won't get its due in terms of reviews/coverage; I just want it published.
I am trying to get a U.S. agent at the moment, while still retaining my lovely UK agent. That means I have a few bigshot agents reading my stuff. I have had rejection letters in my life previously, of course, but they are never form letters and they always say "you're a terrific writer" or "you're a very talented writer", so I will choose to believe them and carry on. Honestly, though, sometimes I am close to giving up hope as a writer and a filmmaker and painter. I am already working menial temp jobs for $10/hour (I've been temping at a cool place recently, though); maybe I should just accept my fate with no ambitions, but I think that would kill me. I think it is already killing me. No one knows.
Anyway, I had my bound proofs of GIRL ON A STICK that were sent off with some of my proposals to NY agents, and most of them are still reading/considering at the moment, and that includes being read by two dream agents that I would dearly love to have. One of the few rejections I have had (actually it was more of a "please rewrite and we will reconsider" letter) was a great rejection as far as rejections go, one where they said that THE MATCHBOX should be darker and more twisted and they knew I could do dark and twisted because they'd read part of GOAS and that the characters in THE MATCHBOX were just too mainstream. I had to laugh at that one; I am not usually encouraged to be more edgy. I actually felt better after reading it, again not a common occurrence with rejection letters. At least she got it, and got me.
Is the novel which was sold to the same publishers as GOAS as part of a 2-book deal, but their schedule is delayed, so I don't know when it will be published. HE'S LUCID is kind of a cross between GIRL ON A STICK and THE MATCHBOX. It's set 131 years in the future, in an Alaska devastated by global warming. It's very funny. It's extremely playful and even lighthearted while still being edgy as fuck. I like the language best here in HE'S LUCID, though GIRL ON A STICK is a close second. HE'S LUCID is my favorite thing that I've written. The entire manuscript is complete and, having been bought, is waiting to be published. I performed some sections to dancing polar bears and a violin at Bumbershoot a few years back, but that seems so long ago too. I am waiting on this one as well.
Is my mainstream book, or at least as mainstream as I can go without feeling like I'm selling out. It is like eating a decadent chocolate fairy tale. I stand by it. I think it's clever. We'll see about that one. That is the one that is out with agents at the moment. Bloomsbury UK nearly bought it, but the final purse-strings editor wasn't as wild about it as the two commissioning editors. It has gotten a lot of support from the former editor of Granta. The entire manuscript is complete.
ALL BOTTLED UP:
Is a reverse Taming of Shrew, about a cranky, glamorous food editor who discovers a male genie in a perfume bottle. It is (very) loosely based on 1,001 Arabian Nights. There are 4 completed and polished chapters for this (10,000 words). I just gave this one to my British agent. THE MATCHBOX and ALL BOTTLED UP go together, with overlapping characters, but both are stand-alone.
Is my chimp-human interbreeding science fiction blockbuster. I would love to sell this one. Proposal + 20,000 words completed. The SF novel of my heart.
Is literary fiction, set in current-day Alaska. It's sort of similar in tone to The Shipping News, playful and dark, sweet and sad. Proposal + 10,000 words complete.
THE WITCH OF AGNESI:
A novel of linked short stories. I hope to finish this this week. 90,000 words. God knows if it will ever be published, but I am proud of it.
THE ROCKINGHORSE WORLD:
A children's book that I have written and illustrated. It's all completed. It's zany. I spent years on it.
A poetry manuscript, completed. Most of the poems have been published previously, but I just don't have the energy to send this off.
1 interesting, quirky feature film that feels like it's never going to get done.
1 filmed but unedited feature documentary film about craftmakers.
1 cool feature screenplay that I would like to film called Spaceships Over Corvallis.
Is it any wonder that I feel like a fucking failure? All this and all for nothing. I am just worn down. I have tried so hard for so many years, and come close so many times, and now I'm just shutting down. Am I cursed? My writing, my filmmaking, my paintings - occasionally even my acting - is beautiful and interesting. Why. Can't. I. Get. A. Break. I feel like an iris retreating in on itself. I'm sorry. I'm in a dark place. No one ever sees it, but it's there.
Yeah, I'm listing, like a ship going down with all my treasures. Fuck it.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
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