Hi everybody. This story is about the events surrounding a recent trip I made to Los Angeles to perform an art show with my friends. The relevant information is that the show was held at the Lab 101 Gallery in Culver City and the title of the performance was (and is) Wilting Wonder. The other performers included: Michael David Aho, Mel Kadel, and The Fudge Factory. The performance opened on Saturday September 29th and it runs through October 24th 2007.
Before I left for LA I stopped by my friend Kevin's house where a really elaborate performance arena is being constructed.
When the performance arena is finished I predict that the sales of Lone Star and Busch tall boys in the surrounding area will reach an all time high.
Another thing I did before leaving for LA was to have all of my performance props photographed so that when I'm dead they can be put in a book titled: "Dead Mike's Stuff."
I also stopped by the printer.
And picked up a new zine I had printed. I know some of you are probably thinking that I'm a sellout for paying somebody to print and bind my zines for me. And you know what? You're probably right. It's just hard for me to find time to do that stuff these days. You know, with cable television and all.
Anyway, so this is what Los Angeles looks like.
For this particular performance, the artists (that's us) created an backdrop installation of recycled plastic panels printed with a low tech commercial printing process (think about how the bottom of a skateboard is printed these days.)
By establishing very specific restrictions for size and colors, the artists were able to create a very cohesive collective body of work despite the fact that they were working independently without knowledge of the other's compositions. I'm kidding. All of us just draw the same thing over and over so we pretty much knew what these would look like all together.
One down, thirty one to go...
We seriously took a break after hanging one piece. When you walk into a spotless gallery sometimes it's really stressful to knock that first hole into the wall. After the first one goes up though I'm usually ready to trash the place and catch the trash can on fire.
A friend of mine overheard somebody pointing to the blue panel and saying, "Is that Sponge Bob Square Pants?" That makes me feel really sad. Because it does totally look like him and I hadn't noticed. There go my "serious artist" aspirations.
A collection of sub standard hairdos.
The panels turned out to be pretty heavy so it took some teamwork to get them up. Millard totally blew it and didn't wear a red shirt.
Please excuse the poor quality of these photographs. I'm sure there's a way to push buttons on my camera to change the white levels or the Ph balance or something but I don't know how to do it. I'm sure I could figure it out in about two minutes but since I'm trying to make a living as an artist I'm supposed to act stupid and/or aloof the majority of the time.
Okay, so one of the walls looked like this when we were finished hanging it. Each of the panels is 2' x 2' and they are all hung 2" apart. If you give a care.
And each panel was signed on the back by the performer that designed the graphic that adorned it.
After we finished the first stage of installation, we retired to Mel and Travis' cabin in Echo Park. That is where I took this photograph of horizontal stripes. Where are we at right now? Post psychedelic? Or was that yesterday?
Smalls was there looking for a fight.
Nern was happy to oblige him.
I'm pretty sure this is some sort of voodoo.
Cats are just naturally funny. That's why there are so many calendars and women's nightgowns celebrating their antics.
I was dying to show Travis and Isac the complete set of 1976 Dorfuss Collectable Skateboard Stickers I had bought off an antiques website. Because I'm what a fifth grader might refer to as, a "total dork sandwich."
But for real, these things are really super badass.
The next day we headed back down to the gallery to finish setting everything for our performance. This was wall number two of our recycled plastic panel performance backdrop installation. In addition to the plastic panels, each of us had a collection of personal work as well.
Okay, so then I forgot to take any photos for about a day and a half. When I remembered that I was supposed to be in full blog mode I grabbed my camera and found myself in a completely different city. I found myself in Michael Burnett's (Thrasher Photo Magician) garage studio in Cardiff by the Sea.
Michael Burnett and I both collect what my wife refers to as "crap."
As Michael put it, "When Thrasher was cooooool."
Even my wife (her name is Allison) would have been impressed by this original script from the pilot episode of Freaks and Geeks. Don't you just love that show? It makes me want to crawl up into a little ball of nostalgia and just die as slowly as possible. Like, in a good way.
What the what? We totally skated this place. It reminded me how much my street legs have deteriorated from my twenties into my thirties. Don't get me wrong. I was never very good. But I at least used to be able to no handed jump those smallish pyramids.
Okay, this is where things sort of fell apart. After leaving Burnett's I was supposed to head back to LA to stay with Travis and Mel. But they called and told me NOT to come back to their cabin because they both woke up with the flu or food poisoning or something in that genre of suck. And I was all like, "WHOAH! I'm so glad I didn't catch that." And so I crashed at my buddy Stacy's house instead. And then I woke up at around 8am the next morning (the day of the opening) and totally barfed in a trash can in his guest room. The day was off to a good start.
My original plan for the day (the day = Saturday) had been to wake up, drink some coffee, meet Allison at the airport, pick up a rental car, head to Culver City, check into our hotel, and then relax for a few hours before heading over to the art performance that evening. Instead... Allison had to find her way to my friend Stacy's house in Long Beach and load up her vomiting husband into the rental car and drive him (passed out in the back seat) to our hotel. Awesome indeed. (I managed to keep the rental car barf free.) Once at the hotel I crawled back into bed with all of my clothes on (including a hooded sweatshirt - hood operational) to try to keep my shivering at an acceptable level.
Anyway, I managed to make it out of bed that night for about half an hour just to see what the show looked like. Don't worry, I totally wore a surgical mask like M.J. (Actually I didn't so if you attended the opening and went home and upchucked then that is totally my bad.) Or you just don't like Millard's work. One of the two. I had to head back to Austin the next day so I never even had the chance to photograph the show in its entirety. Oh well. If you would like to see some of the work in the show you can check out the Lab's website
I also realized I didn't have any photos of my buddy Stacy on my camera when I came home (and I thought he deserved a shout in this thing since he let me throw up at his house so many times) so I stole this one from the internet. This is Stacy doing a little move called the tailslide and the photo was taken by Chris Ortiz. When I do a tailslide it looks nothing like this. It looks more like a dude falling down next to a curb.
So that's pretty much it. Definitely not one of my favorite trips out of the house. But I'm sure it could've been worse. It could have involved a beard of bees gone wrong.
Thanks to Freddi Cerasoli at Lab 101 for the opportunity to perform in her gallery, thanks to Stacy Lowery and Carrie Phillips for taking care of me while I was ill, thanks to my buddies at the Volcom Art Loft for helping us out with the production costs of the panels, thanks to Mel, Millard, and Mike for inspiring me and being my friends, and thanks to everybody who took the time to read this. Put a little love in your heart.
Performance Artist and freelance whatever you got
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