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09 December 2005

Break Open the Champagne!! Or...

****The New News****
A fiscal sponsor has come to our rescue! And what a sponsor. Fractured Atlas, a national multidisciplinary arts organization has kindly extended their umbrella to cover us. Donate (tax-deductibly) at will!!! Click and select Bakery of the Poets.org from pull-down menu
****The New News****


...Or Cremant de Bourgogne...'cause it's only $8 bucks. Okay so last Wednesday we lost our fiscal sponsor. I spent Wednesday thru Friday, attempting to find another. Then I spent Saturday and Sunday pretending not to panic.

And then in the wee small hours of Monday morning it came to me...like a flash, like vision...like a memory! I'd forgotten something. When I applied to the Shunpike, I also applied to another organization called Fractured Atlas, a titan among artists advocates. After filling out an online app in the earliest parts of November, I received an email telling me I should expect a response a few days after the board meeting on December 6th.

I'd completely forgotten about this application! Hard to say why. Lack of confidence maybe, I've been hoping to receive word of their approval all week and yet when the answer came, "yes," it was a delightful surprise. One I celebrated with a night of decadence, a friend, a bottle of Blason de Bourgogne Cremant de Bourgogne, Thomas Keller's Spanglish BLT and Fried Egg Sandwich, parmesan garlic curly fries, a piece of really fine dark chocolate and the movie Spanglish, which I highly recommend. But make the sandwich first otherwise, you'll find yourself distracted by visions of late night BLT's dancing in your periphery.

THE STARVING ARTIST POLL
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08 December 2005

Good Grief, Charlie Brown! (Or Boo-Hoo my sponsor left)

****The New News****
A new feature of the site, poetry by Edna St. Vincent Millay read by yours truly. Check out Well-Versed

The Starving Artist Poll is shaping with some interesting and unexpected responses
****The New News****


This happened like a week ago, but I was too bummed to discuss it. As you may or may not know we had at last found a fiscal sponsor* in the form of Shunpike an arts organization in Seattle that is doing great things for artists.

I was completely stoked.

I started right away working out the fundraising campaign. I sat down to my computer last Wednesday to begin launch the first emails when I discovered in my inbox a message from the Shunpike Program Coordinator, canceling my contract. They were having some problems, their president resigned and the board decided that they don't wish to back an out-of-state organization. Even more disheartening, was receiving my copy of the fiscal sponsorship contract with the managing director's signature on it. This really, more or less...sucks.

I hopped on the phone and email right away in order to find another sponsor before the end of the year. I was seriously freaking out. But, I think a solution may be immediately on-hand. I'll let you know!!

Yeah...a minor setback, but I can suck it up...walk it off...hit the showers...hit the hay. I'll be fine

*Fiscal Sponsorship:
Fiscal Sponsorship is a financial relationship between smaller nonprofit organizations lacking the IRS 501(c)3 status and a registered 501.c3 Non-Profit Organization, who acts as Fiscal Agent, allowing the smaller organization to solicit funds from potential donors for their project as tax-deductible contributions.
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06 December 2005

Tell me what you think, the results so far

So far 37% of you guys work 2 or more jobs
33% of you work one job
14% support yourselves partially through your work as an artist
14% support yourselves entirely through your work as an artist

A couple of people have raised interesting issues in the comments. Can or should we expect to be able to support ourselves doing what we do best, what we're called to do? Well, you can see my bias, but I'm willing to be convinced otherwise. Leave a comment, I would love to know what you think!

The Comments:
#2 Full time job that pays well enough to allow me to pursue my artwork. And teaches me how to do marketing, which I can apply to my art. I believe that the Starving Artist idea is the most detrimental and has had the biggest negative impact on artists in our society. Stop believing that's what you need to do.

#2 Wish I could work as an artist full time and be recognised and valued as the creative, lateral, innovative thinker I am trained to be.

Click to vote
Starving Artists Poll
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04 December 2005

Happy Sunday!

I went this afternoon to Johnny Carino's with pos business partner Gene. It's funny what putting a face to a voice can do. We've been talking on and off for about two years now and Gene has the most wonderful voice, deep resonant, warm...I've never felt a need to guess at his appearance, I always feel prepared to like people endowed with nice speaking voices.

But something happens sometimes when one is suddenly able to match a face with a voice. This afternoon sitting across from an attractive man of a 'certain age', we were having reasonably pleasant conversation when something happened. The light hit him a certain way, or there was a particular expression which passed over his face and suddenly he reminded me of someone else. This person who, by simply picking up the phone, always managed to impart a sense safety and calm; suddenly reminded me of someone in my past who was the very model of insecurity and irrationality.

Nils and I worked in the same office. He was a person under pressure and, subject either to the trauma of a recent divorce or life-long insecurity, was quickly becoming unstable. I was working as a temp and Nils worked just under the VP who was head of our section. It was a very small department there were five of us closeted away in the back of the building in a small area divided into even more closet-like cubicles. Nils arrived a few weeks after I did, a welcome breath of testosterone in a heavily estrogenated environment.

He was warm and funny. And had the most wonderful voice, deep, resonant, warm. I realized that some of his good humor was showmanship and some of his magnanimity was bribery, and was aware of the tint of desperation which colored them both. However, that sort of thing mattered little to me, I'm often able to "see" these things in people; the weak and the strong, the good and the evil, the beautiful and the ugly, these contrasts are what make my fellow beings all the more awesome, a stained glass mosaic. I don't need people to be all one thing in order to feel safe, but I do need to know them. So I knew Nils and was prepared to like him very much, he was the Pied Piper. Wherever he was people gathered around, he was a one-man break room. It was fun. I didn't feel a need to join in with the crowd, I very much enjoyed observing, liked the way he altered the atmosphere.


Now that I think on it, though I couldn't have been more of a fan; to person who needed everyone to engage, to go along with him on his magic carpet ride; my withdrawal, though benign, must have seemed threatening...judging. At any rate, he made me a target.

I was only a temp after all, the perfect person with whom to vent his rage. The complimentary interest Nils showed when he first arrived (what was I reading, where I had been, what I had done, what did I want from life) now paid off in fuel and ammunition. It was all very jolly and 'hah, hah, all in good fun.' However the punchlines of his jokes began to pack an actual sting. He made a thing about his having a PhD and the fact that I never finished college. At first, I barely noticed. I'd never felt particularly sensitive about not having a degree, I always felt my intellectual worth was apparent to those who had need of it, and irrelevant to everyone else.

He used to do this variation of an old joke from Night Court which went, "You may be younger, you may be faster, you may even be smarter. But you will NEVER, EVER, be crazier... than me." Except that he would say, "You may be younger, you may be smarter, you may be better looking than I am..." And then he'd sort of trail off with a mock-sheepish expression and shrug his shoulders, as if to say, "Well, that's it."

On this particular day, he altered the joke slightly just for me, instead of the 'everyone join in on the fun' self-deprecatory punchline, he finished up with, "But I'm better educated.", his forefinger stabbing the air in front of me and then he walked away.In front of everyone in our department. Things went pretty much downhill from there. Nils was not consistently crabby or scornful, just sometimes, a couple of times a week, we'd be having a perfectly pleasant conversation, and then suddenly, there it would be, a dig about my lack of education, an allusion to what he imagined to be my lack of credit-worthiness (we worked in a financial institution) or general nastiness. But always cloaked in good humor or 'helpfulness'.

Everything was so out of balance and off-kilter, at that time anyway. The Columbine shootings had just happened and I spent most of that day in tears. For the first time there was nothing going on in my life that made me feel I was doing my bit for the world. I had a ridiculous job that meant nothing to anyone outside of the building. Financial need had forced me to drop out of the full time ministry work I valued so much. Here were these children, being gunned down in a place where they should have felt safe and there was no place I could go inside myself to mitigate the pain of that. All I could do was keep listening to the news reports, there was nothing I could do to help, except know.

Anyway, Nils. When people are mean or unjust, I simply declare war and think no more about them. But when they are sometimes one thing and sometimes something else, I have a hard time. I sense a struggle and I feel sympathy, plus I want to like them. I want them to be the sort of person they are striving for when they are behaving in an approximation of their best selves. It's harder for me to protect myself with the sort of weapons I would use against a consistent jerk. So between my own pre-existing fragility and his split personality, I just couldn't seem to go to red alert. No shields went up, no photon torpedos were armed. He'd just blast away from time to time and I'd take the hit.

I did find out later that he left not too long after I did (Can't remember whether he quit or was fired). According to my former co-worker, Jill his behavior became increasingly erratic. And the bullying tendencies which had been primarily aimed at me when I was there, were scatter shot a bit farther afield, aimed at far less vulnerable targets than a lowly temp. I think he was fired, or left just ahead of being fired ...or something.

It's strange, this was nearly five years ago and yet I still get a memory sense of that shaky, scared feeling one gets when being locked in a room with an unpredictable animal or walking a tightrope without a net.

And now that I've met Gene and that moment of fleeting recognition has come and gone, as much as I want to go back to my previous memory; that sense of comfort and safety, my Nils emotions have gotten a bit tangled up with my Gene emotions. I wonder what it was like for Gene to finally put a face to my voice. I wonder what happens next.
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