Monday, June 22, 2015

Overheard at the Haggerty….

While at the opening of "Current Tendencies IV" at the Haggerty Museum of Art this past Thursday, I heard some things.

-"Your sandwich is ready."
-"He's got an impressive resume."
-"Those Jesuit priests, you know."
-"Don't stick it to him, it's one show."
-"There are three good people in it and they're in this room right now."
-"What's she up to now?" -"She's dead."
-"Trout fishing, I understand."
-"The rumor is that he likes young boys."
-"A highly visible but weirdly forgotten space."
-"I'm lame 100%."
-"He's kind of like a mad scientist."
-"It was a crisis and I kind of like had to completely
reinvent myself."
-"So we got two 'Rachels' and we got two
guys in grey."
-"I'm making this like giant garage sale."
-"Most of everything looks kinda real."
-"Maybe in '83 it was more opaque."
-"If I could eat pine, I would."
-"That might work to your advantage if you're trying to sue them."

Congratulations to Keith, Shane McAdams, and some other dudes! The show looked great!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Reuse It Or Lose It

“This [garage gallery] doesn’t really transcend its ‘garage-ness’.” –Keith, when we went to a gallery in a garage this one time.

Those words were sort of reverberating in my head when I took a trip to Chicago this past weekend. It was a strange weekend for me. I oscillated back and forth for about 4 months about the decision to attend an environmentalist march on Saturday in Minneapolis. I attempted to arrange a bus from Milwaukee to Minneapolis. It didn’t work out. I was disappointed, but also sort of relieved, because I knew it would have been an exhausting day. However, when I woke up that morning I had that familiar feeling in my gut telling me to “get out and do something.” Since I couldn’t go to Minneapolis, I drove to the only place I could think of that made sense for a spontaneous day trip.

When I got to Chicago the inner city traffic was terrible, so I parked my car (filled with half of my wardrobe and belongings since I am currently in between apartments) on a side street in Humboldt Park. I walked a mile and a half to get to the place I had in mind, which was a small store that I had been following on Instagram called The Wasteshed. The store’s mission is to sell donated art supplies at a highly discounted rate. I was interested in seeing the store because I have recently been noticing how unaffordable art supplies are, and thinking that Milwaukee could use a store like this (particularly after the tragic closing of Artist and Display). I wanted to analyze the store to see how this idea was being executed.

The store was awesome. I cannot stress this enough. I ended up with a bag of goodies for only five bucks. They had everything an artist could want: colored pencils, water colors, canvases, yarn, ribbon, markers, brushes, sketchbooks, frames, wrapping paper, and MORE, all donated from various artistic institutions around the city. The highly discounted price was not a lie; a watercolor set purchased from a regular art supplies store probably costs a minimum of $8.00. At the Wasteshed you could buy a slightly used set for only $0.50! It was as if I had just discovered Savers and the Fox Valley Thrift Shoppe all over again.

I ended up chatting a bit with the girl who was working the register. I asked her how the heck this store could even exist if the prices were so cheap. “That’s a good question,” she said in earnest. I found out that the store basically functions as a nonprofit, with most of its support coming from grants and donations. There is only one paid staff member; the rest are volunteers. You can read more about how the store came into existence here.

While I think the idea of operating a nonprofit, recycled art supplies store is awesome, I thought that a bit more effort could have been put into making the store look a little bit less like a nonprofit, recycled art supplies store. Even the name of the shop needs take itself a bit more seriously. It felt a bit more like a junk shop or a last-minute rummage sale. This isn’t a critique for the sake of criticism. It’s more of a “tough love” kind of thing. It is unclear whether the bare bones presentation of the store is due to the fact that it is so new, or if this is just the vibe that it is going for. If the latter is the case, I think it would be in the best interest of the store to present itself as a developing non-profit that caters to all types of customers rather than a junk shop that is catering to the poorest of the poor college student. Art supplies are expensive. Period. Any person or artist at any level could pop into the store looking for some colored pencils or bubble wrap.

The rest of the day continued the trajectory of weirdness. After the Wasteshed I was feeling tired and had pretty much resigned to go home when my friend Alli and boyfriend Evan pulled up in their car right next to me. They had no idea I was in town, and I was not even close to where they live. I hopped in their car and they abducted me.

I spent the rest of the day wandering with Alli, looking at other store window displays and merchandising. I anticipated the coming week when I would be starting a new job doing exactly what I had just criticized: taking a whole crapload of stuff and turning it into something nice to look at.


Monday, June 1, 2015

Vic Perrin…That Guy Who Was the 'Control Voice' on "Outer Limits"

You know when you wonder as a kid if you are related to someone famous, or if you have any dead relatives that were famous?

When I was growing up, my mom mentioned this guy Vic Perrin to me a couple times. She said he was some kind of voice actor or something like that. He was featured on a "Twilight Zone"-esque show called "Outer Limits" that I had never heard of. I didn't really give Vic Perrin that much thought.

Until the other night. I was watching an old television show with Keith and it somehow sparked my memory of Vic. I mentioned "Outer Limits" and he said that he had actually heard of that show. I didn't think anyone outside of my family knew what that was. I was curious. So I decided to look up Vic Perrin and see what I came up with.

In this day and age, a person's general "fame," "status," or "success" can be judged by whether or not they have a Wikipedia page. I was surprised to discover that Vic had a page! (Which can be viewed here.)

The page outlines a few facts about the actor, including his birthplace in my hometown of Menomonee Falls, WI in 1916, and his death in Los Angeles in 1989 (he was 73 when he died of cancer). It also chronicles a few examples of his acting pursuits, including his appearances on a show called "Dragnet," which I had never heard of. My mom thought he might have played some kind of serial killer or crazy guy on that show, and that he seemed to always play a shady character. A picture and description on a blog I found seems to support that theory:

"Hi, Vic Perrin. I'm so glad you're just an embezzler and not a child molester in this one. You've been all kinds of guys. You used to tie ladies up and murder them. You are a serious Dragnet Villain.
I wonder what else Vic Perrin has played, in other series? Was he ever, like, a lovable dentist?" [source:  Everyone Nods: The Dragnet Style Files]

In addition to "Dragnet" he also did voice-overs and made a few appearances on the TV show "Star Trek." 

Vic in "Star Trek"in 1967

The clip below is from an appearance that he also made on an episode of the "Twilight Zone" entitled,  "People Are Alike All Over," which aired in 1960 in the 25th season of the show. His character was called "Second Martian," and I believe that he appears right after the main actor discovers that he is being kept captive and the camera zooms into the crowd of martians to rest on a woman's face. He is to the left of the woman (somewhere around 1:01). 

From my research I learned that Vic was a well-rounded actor and voice-over artist, and his reportoire even included a voice-over on the popular children's television show "Scooby Doo." 

While all of these credits to Vic were certainly interesting to me, I wasn't satisfied in my search until I came upon the YouTube clip of Vic's voice on "Outer Limits" that I had been hearing about all of these years. Maybe you've heard it, too. "There is nothing wrong with your television set…Do not attempt to adjust the picture…We are controlling transmission…" 

Vic Perrin was my grandmother's cousin, which would make him my mom's second cousin, and my third. So, it's not like this "famous family member" of mine is a close relation. I also never met him, of course, as he died the year before I was born. But it's still pretty cool that my mom can remember meeting him a few times, and has memories of his mother giving her candy cigarrettes as a child, which my grandmother hated. 

As my mom pointed out, we really have a lot of different kinds of artists in our family, specifically my mom's side. Vic seems to be the only one who "made it," but I guess that's all relative anyways (no pun intended). I wish I could have met him, or talked to my grandmother a bit more about him when she was still alive. For now I can utilize the bragging rights I have that I can listen to my dead third-cousin's voice on YouTube whenever I want (or read about him on iMDB, Wikipedia, or other people's blogs). Or, I could go to Disney World, where you can still hear his voice today at The Spaceship Earth and Exxon Energy Pavilion [source: The Los Angeles Times]!

"I'm able to be much more selective 
about the acting parts I do now. 
When your bread and butter depends on just being an actor, 
you have to accept parts that 
you like to think are beneath you." -Vic Perrin