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Equally Updated: Two New Projects On the Rise - 'Kindling: A Survey of the American West' and 'Heart of Chicago'

   Equally Empty Expeditions R E P O R T S

There's a lot of exciting things happening here at equally empty. First off, we'll be changing platforms in the next week. Squarespace has completely overhauled the way they do business, which is good for you, my reader, because it will enable features on our end to more practically handle issues as widespread and as simple as better incorporating Read More... elements, styling and organizing of photographs and their galleries, and adding Facebook 'Like" and Google '+1' elements. While we are very excited about these developments it also means added and unexpected work on this end. So, if things slow down a moment - no fear - we are just mired in migrating our system to a new platform.

   That said, we will be having a Report on the Dan Deacon concert this Saturday at The Cobra Lounge in Chicago. He's one of our favorite artists, and it is going to be a really fun evening. If you'd like to join the fun, follow the above link and get ya self a ticket.

Upcoming Projects:

   I'd also like to take this opportunity to introduce two upcoming projects - one just beginning, the other blossoming - that you'll begin to see more of in both gallery shows and photo zines. The first I'd like to introduce has been mentioned in this blog before. Our first Equally Empty Expedition, Felissia and I have returned from our explorations and have been hard at work synthesizing our collections. You'll be regularly seeing updates on Kindling: A Survey of the American West as we progress. The following photographs are a mere glimpse into the breadth of culture and geography studied by the team. All photographs are by m.e.s. (Michael Egon Schiele).

St. Croix River | Afton State Park, MN | 2012

 

McCleod, ND | Federal Grasslands | 2012

 

Black Rock Desert, NV | 2012

 

Bison | Theodore Roosevelt National Park, ND | 2012

 

Pretty cool, huh? I'd also like to present the beginnings of a project about the community in Chicago I live, Pilsen. The working title for the project is 'Heart of Chicago' for the name of a small geographical section of the neighborhood. Both 'Heart of Chicago' and 'Kindling: A Survey of the American West' are planned to be published as small artbooks and hopefully accompanied by gallery shows. You will most definitely be updated. Thanks for looking!

 

Freight | 13th & Damen | Chicago, IL | 2012

 

Under Highway - 55 | Chicago, IL | 2012

 

Tracks | Chicago, IL | 2012

 

Chicago, IL | 2012

 

View from Highway 55 & Damen | Chicago, IL | 2012

Equally Cinematic: Why the F*** Is Moonrise Kingdom in Limited Release?

   Last night was the Chicago area premier of Wes Anderson's highly anticipated new flick Moonrise Kingdom. My sweetheart and I motored up 30 minutes north to Evanston where one of the three theaters in the Chicago-land area are showing the film. As ridiculous as it may sound, the Oscar nominated writer/director Wes Anderson - whom made somewhere in the neighborhood of $50,000,000 on his career-making movie The Royal Tenenbaums - must have a limited release for his new film that includes an all-star cast including Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, and the more-myth-than-man Bill Murray. But all those actors play second fiddle to the leading duo of twelve-year-olds Jared Gilman (Sam Shakusky) and Kara Hayward (Suzy Bishop) and The Life Aquatic - which followed The Royal Tenenbaums - lost nearly $20 million before erasing some of that ground through international screenings and DVD sales. Since then, Wes Anderson's movies have followed a similar trend, the rarely seen lost treasure The Darjeeling Limited barely making $17,000,000 despite not being shown anywhere and the amazing Fantastic Mr. Fox barely eking out $6 million. So maybe the numbers do support the decision to have a limited release, and numbers don't lie, right?

   Moonrise Kingdom is the love story of the orphaned and "emotionally unstable" Khaki Scout Sam Shakusky and the brooding and darkly commanding Suzy Bishop. Banished by their peer groups, these two child-lovers resolve to run away together into the New Penzance Island wilderness. A search party is organized by Scout Master Ward (Norton) and Police Capt. Sharp (Willis) for the runaways as a looming storm approaches and trouble mounts. Moonrise Kingdom is funny and awkwardly sweet, sharing in some respects more with Fantastic Mr. Fox than Wes Anderson's other films. Our two main characters are 12 years old and we never really leave their sphere, making the movie a fantasy for not only being a period-piece of the 1960s, but as for bringing us back to the confusing time of adolescence. And, of course, the movie is wonderfully musically curated; mostly by Hank Willimas and Benjamin Britten's The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra.

   All this is to say that while Moonrise Kingdom is particularly Wes Anderson in its eccentricity and commanding presence of mood and style, it is not weird enough to turn off the general movie-viewing public as The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou did. In many respects, Moonrise Kingdom fits as an archetypal summer film - caught up in the loss of innocence for two young lovers, centered around the adventures of two runaways and a summer camp, both whimsical and funny - so much so, that you might argue the film's marketability to become a blockbuster more than its potential to become a cult-classic. Hell, it has Bruce Willis in it! Everyone loves Bruce Willis, right?

   Interestingly enough, as the years have happened, Wes Anderson has added more cachet to his name. Those of us who grew up on and loved Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, and The Royal Tenenbaums have become older and in some cases the taste-makers of our society which has subtely shifted to reflect this, as does every few years. So why not open Moonrise Kingdom to a wider audience? It is a movie that stands out in comparison to everything else in the market for its artfulness and quality. It appeals to a demographic that loves movies, but has stopped paying to see them. The trump card though - and the moguls who run Hollywood and make remake after sequel after sequel might not understand this - it's a good movie. Why must we always consider the American populous too stupid to enjoy a movie without superfluous CG animation and a well conceived plot? I'd say give the movie a chance and let's give the cinema some culture to go along with all the superheroes destroying the planet. The people actually might enjoy it.

    See the trailer here!

Dada A Day: May 26, 2012 - "US Efforts Fail"

New Dada for you, and this one's a beaut! I used one of my favorite specimine's in this piece, a flower I pressed from the North Garden at the Art Institute of Chicago from July 2011. I thought it blended with the poppie flowers that predominate the image in this artwork very nicely. Don't you? More info after the link.


May 26, 2012 | U.S. EFFORTS FAIL

DaDa A Day: DaDa LIVES!

   DaDa LIVES! After a brief moment of respat, DaDa A Day is back on its feet. I've added a few of my favorite pieces to the website. Most are for sale and would make a wonderful addition to any collection.

   I hope to be adding more every few days, including pieces from this year. So take a minute and check out the new additions!

January 15, 2010: "Hopes Fade"
June 20, 2011: "just tired of it"
September 18, 2011: "Hopes and Worries"
September 27, 2011: "for the blood of our martyr's"

 

Festive 500 - The Holidays Are Over

Lake Michigan via Granville Beach, Chicago: Dec 2011.

   Masanobu Fukuoka talks about "do-nothing" farming a lot in his manifesto The One Straw Revolution. His idea, that instead of tilling and working the land ample crops can be grown by allowing nature's natural processes do the work for you, looks to a world that strives to limit the need for human intervention for progress.

   Initially, Fukuoka's attempts were failures - most farms he worked with were already too dependent to human involvement, too altered from their natural homeostasis to respond to his methods. In bidding to try the Festive 500, I was hoping that by simply upping my normal riding habits I could miraculously ride my way to victory. This was not the case.

   My final tallies for mileage is somewhere around one hundred miles (I updated my iPhone to iOS 5 and lost all my apps - including the Strava app which I used to track miles). That's only one third of the way to my goal, and by most perspectives a failure. I was down on myself for awhile, but there's also only so much time in a day and my social relationships rank a wee bit higher than riding my bike.

   Yet, as I look back on participating in Festive 500, I see myself riding almost everyday, unfased by weather conditions. I feel stronger and have more stamina on my bicycle. I'm happier riding my bike then I have been in a long time and feel ready to take the next step - taking longer rides to more adventurous locales. During this promotion, I rode the Lake Shore Path along Lake Michigan often. It's where I took the lovely polaroid in the upper corner. Bicycling has the ability to take you to beautiful places - many not accessible by cars - and by a beautiful route.

   Masanobu Fukuoka in The One-Straw Revolution, asserts that his inspiration for "do-nothing" farming came by a realization he had younger in life that, "There is no intrinsic value in anything, everything is a futile, meaningless effort." His pragmatically Japanese axiom inspired Fukuoka to smarter, more efficient farming; to me, has been almost permission to bicycle for the sake of the ride, the hypnosis of revolving pedals, and to not keep such a thing chained to merely purposeful travel. For, at times, the action is the purpose in itself.

Festive 500 - An existential failure?

   So, Day 3 - Christmas Day - of Rapha's Festive 500 was a bust. I rode a total of zero miles, kilometers, meters, inches, centimeters of any discernable value. While that's not too bad, it was Christmas after all, this puts me seriously behind in my progress for achieving 311 miles. I woke up on the 25th much later than I would have guessed and by the time breakfast was done there was no way I was going to go anywhere and be back by 1:30 when my oma and aunt would be arriving for Christmas. I contemplated heading out to the grocery before they closed to grab a Sunday New York Times, but alas, my folks get the Sunday edition delivered to the house.

   While undeterred from Christmas' goose egg, I rode to work and home accomplishing a neat 8.6 miles, well under my now under performing goal of 35 miles a day. My intentions were to take a ride up the lake and around before returning home, but I had left my iPhone charger back at home during Christmas and I was now meeting my father back at my place with said charger and some bagged leaves for our compost. This meant not riding after work, and by the time my father had left and I had eaten there were a few more important tasks still left on my plate than riding around town for the sheer thrill.

   In the interim between then and now I have rode only another 10 miles. Stout tastings and picking up my lovely sweetheart and her family from the airport have seriously impeded my process. A failure of the will? When only down by a small margin does one let themselves down and turn a challenge into a miracle? I easily could have performed better and I have only myself to blame.

   Yet, when one peers at this failure through a more existential lens, perhaps the failure was only arbitrarily assigned. I'm riding more: nearly daily and for longer trips. I am no where near what many professionals or amteurs can pedal in a day, but, hell, I'm riding a fixed gear in the streets of Chicago! And I love it.

   While my rankings continue to dwindle to the point of laughability in the Festive 500 rankings, I hold my head high. I am a happy cyclist, riding through the unseasonably warm Chicago winter, knowing that I can ride anywhere in this city, no problem.