Monday, December 28, 2009

The A List Covered Second Seating

Odds and ends at year end. Did I ever put this link here on the blog? More television coverage. Click on this link: The A List.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Vanished, Gone, Over

Well, it took more than a week, but Second Seating has vanished from 20 N Chenevert. The place, on the inside, is once again a stark grey metal building. Once again, it is all potential and ready for a new vision.
I had little idea of how much work it would be to move everything from the space, largely because I just hadn't thought it all through until the process was under way and I always underestimate the time it will take to accomplish tasks. The day after Thanksgiving, Bobby Schlitzberger arrived to haul off the 1000 pounds of compressed aluminum cans that made that wonderful table base for those sensational light fixtures made with salvaged oil drilling pipes. Irma moved her truck back into the space the afternoon after Bobby hoisted those 30,000+ cans onto his truck and drove off.We continued our efforts to dismantle Second Seating on Monday when Craig and Luis came to remove all the painted walls and cart them off to a warehouse where they'll rest until I find a new place and make a new space. They also took down Ted's painting that stretched over the ceiling and we rolled it up in plastic. We packed for two days, endlessly it seemed. There was just so much stuff in the installation that we'd put there over a month's time. I mean, it took Jeff and me over a day to Windex all the dishes and assorted bric a brac from the big banquet table and then wrap each item and pack away in boxes. Everything was layered with dust - no glass in the windows, so the Windex part of packing was essential. Pretty gritty in the space. Jeff and I shook the giant patchwork tablecloth out in the middle of the street during a red light and then folded it up. It weighs a ton and filled the back seat of the car. Offenhauser folks carefully wrapped and carted off that stunning table base they designed as a play on the chrome arches they fabricated for the Galleria's Post Oak Blvd.The place began to look worse and worse as things were boxed and made ready for moving. Looked like a random dump for awhile. I spent a lot of time with a pair of leather gloves on picking up what must have been several thousand oyster shells and tossing them in plastic crates. Victor Rodriguez and Victor, Jr. came and took down all the marvelous parrots.On Wednesday, the electricians cameto remove the track lights and conduits, plugs and wires. Another crew arrived with their ladders and down came all the big chandeliers. I'd untied the ropes of filigreed Clorox bottles and packed them away in big trash bags.We got a late start moving things out on Thursday. Irma's truck was in the front of the space so we carted everything that was left through the patio and on to Craig's trailer. Hey, and the port-a-can was picked up while we were loading the trailer. Everything happens at once. While we delivered a trailer load to Sonny's warehouse (thank you, thank you for the warehouse space), Jeff and Moises vacuumed the entire exhibition space. Sonny asked what I was going to do with all the oyster shells. I said I wasn't sure and he said, "Those shells are for road making." So he called his neighbor and asked if he'd like to fill the potholes in his parking area. The answer was yes and so the shells have already found a few home in a warehouse parking lot off Telephone Road. Not that I didn't save a few which are now covering a table on my screen porch.
Irma's building sure looks different than it did for most of this fall season. Second Seating is now totally gone. Just a memory. Amazing what color and light can do to transform a space and make folks want to return and linger.That may be the biggest lesson about all of this. It is possible to create a very special space that draws folks in again and again, just because it makes them feel good. Inspires me to do it all over again. And again.
After I write thank you letters, many, many, many thank you letters to all the people who made Second Seating possible.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

This is the Message: Keep the Channel Open

Sweet sister of mine. You found a Martha Graham quote for your blog that I've just pasted in my heart and dropped somewhere into my cranium. I read your blog post early this morning and thus begins my day:

..........from Martha Graham, dancer and choreographer (1894-1991)

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open."

Terrific advice. Keeping the channel open sure brings joy into one's life. Way back in the 1960s when I lived in the city and worked at Bloomingdale's, I saw Martha Graham dance. She was probably about my age and we thought she was old. She was superb.

Had a discussion yesterday with a good friend about when in our lives we use our talents. When do we unleash them into the world? At 20? 40? 60 years of age? Not a day to waste.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Next Thing

Two days ago, as I was driving along Harrisburg feeling quite wonderful because of sunshine and clear blue weather, ideas for the 'next endeavor' began to dance through my head. Two ideas surfaced as worthy of pursuit, one right after the other, and I my thoughts are moving as if I were watching a tennis ball. Side to side, wanting both.
Today, however, I am focusing on one and thinking of words to describe it for a new grant application that is due in eight days. Yes, I'm going for it. Why not?
I cannot remember the moment when the idea for Second Seating came into being. I do know the date of the first concept paper for the project, but that specific 'a-ha' moment when I became a conduit for the idea itself has vanished from my memory. However, should either of these two new ideas become the 'next thing', I have documented that moment driving along Harrisburg (where METRO is at work on the new East End rail line) when the ideas first shot through my head. I'll remember when I smiled and said this is the moment.
Days ago, I shared an impromptu cup of tea with a friend and we talked about how she felt when I spoke at an evening gathering in the Second Seating space. Her response prompted my mind to take immediate leaps here, there and everywhere. Another friend reminded me about an offer I'd received two weeks ago for help in writing a grant for something incredible.

I've always known that Second Seating was a warm up exercise. It is the first of many more spaces. Sometime last week in the middle of the night, I had a flash forward vision of myself as a woman in her 70s creating and managing a new business that involves making spaces that perhaps, for a moment or forever, change the people who enter them. Because in these spaces, they 'see' differently or feel an unnameable emotion or are overcome by words painted on a wall or a flock of flying chairs or an urban garden as gathering space.There is so much more to come.
Therefore, I need to eat vegetables by the truck load, walk miles every day and do a little house cleaning before it all begins again. And it wouldn't hurt to make a list this weekend of where all the things still left at Second Seating will be stored, so when the carpenter and electricians come next week, we'll be organized and ready to clear that wonderful space and move on to the 'next.' There is plenty of work to be done to disassemble Second Seating. While writing the first grant application for what's going on in my head. It is ever thus.

I Can Feel It

Gwen Bell is a person whose name keeps popping up. I first met Gwen Bell at BlogHer in 2008 in San Francisco. She appeared to me as an incredible virtual multi-tasker and I followed her blog and tweets until I dropped into that space where the focus was only on Second Seating. I considerit a fine example of synchronicity that Gretchen Rubin interviewed Gwen Bell for The Happiness Project and that I just happened to read that interview minutes ago.

Because in the last several days, I can feel myself seeing ahead to the next and the next endeavors, meaning 'What happens after Second Seating?' Well, a lot. We are happy when we do what we are meant to do. Gwen Bell does what she's meant to do and I did what I was meant to do with Second Seating.
I know that Second Seating was a warm up exercise. Yesterday, I shared an impromptu cup of tea with a friend and we talked about how she felt when I spoke at an evening gathering in the Second Seatingspace. Her response prompted my mind to take immediate leaps here, there and everywhere. Another friend reminded me about an offer I'd received ten days ago for help in writing a grant for an incredible new project.So, suddenly in the last 24 hours, I am truly engaged in what 'comes after Second Seating' and I am remembering that in the very first concept papers, Second Seating was a step on the way to many other endeavors.
Sometime in the middle of last night, I had a flash forward vision of myself as a woman in her 70s creating and managing a new business that involves making spaces that perhaps, for a moment or forever, change the people who enter them. Because in these spaces, they 'see' differently or feel an unnameable emotion or are overcome by words painted on a wall or a flock of flying chairs or an urban garden as gathering space.
There is so much more to come. Therefore, I need to eat vegetables by the truck load, walk miles every day and do a little house cleaning before it all begins again.
And wasn't it nice to hear about Gwen Bell this morning and know that it is time for me to read her book The Unconventional Guide to the Social Web amid all the other things that are gathering on the 'to do' list.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Art Crawl: Second Seating's On the Map

Second Seating will be open on one more day. That day is Art Crawl, Saturday, November 21. Check on line for more about what will be a pretty terrific event. See Flickr's geotag here.
And here are a few things I love about this show:
I love the way it the outside is part of the space, that the boundaries between the art and the patio garden fall away and Jesse's batik is like a curtain at a very big window.
I like these lamps made from oil drilling pipes. They are the first thing folks see when they walk through the front door. Second Seating opens right on to the street with trucks barrelling toward the freeway, street folks walking to and fro, customers coming and going from Irma's and about 40+ people coming to see us.
I love this table and the story of how it came to be. Sure looks like those arches on Post Oak Blvd, just as it's meant to look because the company that fabricates the arches also made this one-of-a-kind table. That would be The Offenhauser Company on Telephone Road.
This would be a plate on the Offenhauser table top photographed in very bright morning light.
Jose's coffee can chandelier simply floats and it's dazzling. Below, Mercedes bowl of hot soup is also dazzling and catches views in the face, just rushes off the fabric.
And this image is quite simply baroque. No, make that rococo. And I love it. Walk through the door into Second Seating and you'll get to see this chandelier too, which Gonzo247 painted. Beautifully.Please join us for the very, very last day of Second Seating on Saturday, November 21. It's Art Crawl.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

CKC START Street & Urban Arts Comes to Second Seating

What an evening! What a crowd! We counded over 90 people at Second Seating this evening to see the show and to take part in Carolyn Casey's LED throwie toss.
Irma's building is covered with tiny LED lights. We hope they'll stay charged for tomorrow evening's gathering too. Gonz0247 and Carolyn Casey have a great mailing list. Folks came, mixed and mingled with lots of other folks and we didn't close the doors until almost 9:30. Thanks to Carolyn and Gonzo247 for orchestrating a terrific gathering.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"Overheard" at Second Seating

What happens on a rainy Monday afternoon when after we closed the big metal door on Second Seating? Well, it's book making time with Just got our copy of "Overheard at Second Seating" today in the mail. You can take a look at this sensuous little book at Second Seating and you can order your copy for $40.
It's to love!
Here's a bit of the text. Just a bit.
“Heavens,” she sighed, “if I’d known this was to be so elaborate, so exquisite, so reminiscent of my dreams, perhaps I would have chosen the silver shoes or I’d have bared my shoulders or possibly, floated on air itself to reach this table.”

And just another bit of text:
He approached her at the buffet table, just as she lifted a Vietnamese summer roll to her mouth.
It drizzled with peanut sauce.
She held the summer roll suspended in air, “Thank god he arrived before I smiled at him with a noodle between my teeth.”
Then, holding the dripping summer roll, she did indeed smile – and was bewitching.

Beautiful at Night - Come to a Gathering This Week

Second Seating is gorgeous at night. Absolutely conducive to wandering slowly just savoring the space or simply sitting in a chair sipping a glass of good wine. Just before we closed up last night after a Diverse Works board meeting, we lit the candles on the banquet table just to see.... Too cautious about accidental fire to keep candles lit when folks are in the space, but for just a few moments, the Second Seating looked more beautiful than usual. Victor Rodriguez stopped by and DW board members had a chance to meet and talk with him about that marvelous feral parrot flock.
Please join us Wednesday or Thursday evenings for this week's gatherings. On Wednesday between 6 and 8:00 p.m., CKC START Street & Urban Art will be showing us all how to make LED throwie lights that we'll toss on the side of the building at 7:00 p.m.. That's right. We're creating our very own milky way on the side of that metal building. A not-to-miss event. And a lot more folks will see Gonzo247's aerosol art table and chairs. Really beautiful.
Then on Thursday evening, we'll be back between 6 and 8:00 p.m. once again for wine and conversation and perhaps some of us will be in a shop-til-you-drop mode. The holidays are coming. Beautiful art awaits each person who sips that white and red Oregon wine we've been buying. And it's certainly OK to bring your own bottle. See you all.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Second Seating In Today's Houston Chronicle

Halloween has come and gone. I left the front of the house dark last night and was in bed asleep before 8:00. That good night's sleep makes all the difference. I am ready for today, which is bright blue and clear.
And to top off this bright blue day? Lisa Gray's story on Second Seating appears in this morning's Houston Chronicle. And today is Sunday. What a good day for this story to run.
Thank you, Lisa Gray.

Friday, October 30, 2009

What's Not to Love at Second Seating?

Images of Second Seating - a few things you may have missed the first time around. The Clorox bottle chandelier with its table of vintage linens surrounded by bags of laundry was hard to overlook, but we find it's always best to wander through this space a second time. Enjoy. Return. Peruse the painting you may have passed by, yet now find irresistible. Find the chandelier you cannot live without. Light your way forward. Fly with feral parrots. Allow yourself enchantment. It's all here at Second Seating. We love it and it'll be on view one more week. See gallery hours and special gathering events in the column to the right.Jose Solis created this delicate coffee can chandelier. Victor Rodriguez crafted a flock of feral parrots that fly over our space just as they fly throughout Houston's East End.
Gonzo247 used cans of aerosol paint to cover this exquisite table and four chairs with his 'Exotic Fruit Salad' motif. Imagine eating dinner at the table. Hold your breath and dive in.
All the comforts of home when seated on this chair, one of a pair that'll light any room. And you thought they were simply part of the decor. No, they're 'haveable.' These two chairs rest on either side of the 'Bayou, Bay, Beach' table and chandelier which does not mince words about what 'we, the people' do with plastic, never thinking of harm to our waterways and sea creatures. Read the text on this elaborate table and weep and never improperly throw away a Styrofoam cup again. Ever.
Ted Estrada's ode to grandmothers draws quiet attention and reflection. One remembers the days, the past, the times, the warmth of a family table.
Ah, pinto beans. We could not live without beans, cooked many ways and very often.
Jesse Sifuentes giant ceramic coffee cup yearns for a new home. Take it with you, along with roasted coffee beans from Maximus Coffee.
Catarina Williams created a fantasy collage, a plethora of foods we love set in an enchanted place.
Mercedes Fernandez paints with passion and love about the village in which she lives. She works with women in her village in Mexico with women whose men have gone 'north' and never returned. Nor do they send money home, so the women are embroidering, weaving and when Mercedes sells a painting, half the proceeds go to the women in her village.
Oil drilling pipes transformed into lighting fixtures. Heavy, durable, gorgeous. Wired in duos and trios with transparent wire. We love them on a buffet table or on the floor and then there's the patio.... Lights work anywhere.
Another view of the Gonzo247's painted chair back against Mercedes paintings. Funny how they all work together in this special space.
And here's a bit of weirdness. A tableau on the banquet table. Looks like unrequited love, don't you think? Or maybe, a simply invitation to love. It is what it is. And so close to that vintage meat grinder.
A chandelier abandoned, repainted and then reworked with provocative little phrases in gold on each piece of beveled glass. It'll all light up your night.