Monday, December 30, 2013

rogue parenting - taking kids & teens to an art museum

by Laura E. Alvarez

Next Gen.  It's not just about the next generation of art lovers, it's about the next generation of parents.  Thus, rogue parenting.  It's about:  Guess What?  You get to keep having fun.  Yes, even after having kids.  More fun, actually.  You actually like some of the same music and play it really loud in the car.  That kind of says it all. No "Made for Kids Music" here.  There is a meeting ground.  You let there be a meeting ground.  And sometimes it's a David Hockney installation that your teenager says he can sit and look at all day or a picnic on the hill by the museum where hopefully, your 12 year old rolls down the hill before ingesting their homemade tacos while you drink coffee from a thermos... but sometimes it's after.  Fine.

First of all, some kids like to dress for their cultural outings.  Encourage this. It's just more fun. We are the art.  Of course, not all children agree with this. Fine.  More on that later.*  Here, we have Dr. Who meets Richard Serra.  The colors love each other.
Band, by Richard Serra, collection of Los Angeles Museum of Art, 2006

Eight Bit sunglasses, Burnside shorts, American Apparel shirt, Sanuk shoes.

Tote full of snacks, aforementioned coffee, sketchbook, picnic blanket.

Youngsters are also handy for taking your outfit photos.  You can do silly poses in front of them in public places.  They often take direction really well  because they are not particularly excited to take over the whole photo shoot.  See, their whole life is a creative outlet.  That's what being a kid is about, right?  But do not, I repeat do not have a child for the exclusive reason of taking your outfit photos. You've got to think these things through!

Kirkland sweater (yes, Costco), H & M pants from Crossroads Trading Co., boots unknown (Holly's sister's friend's closet). Art is Metropolis II by Chris Burden, Los Angeles Museum of Art.

Necklace is concrete rings on suede cords from Tortoise, bag is soda can tabs by Escama Studio. Art is florescent tubes by Robert Irwin.

This looks posed, but it is not.  This is also not a paid advertisement for artist, Robert Irwin since here I am sitting in another Robert Irwin... sculpture (or garden?) at another art museum.  Okay, you don't have to sketch with your kid (or your friend's kid) but, there's a lot of things that are worth trying once in this life or in any life for that matter.  
More micro fashion.  Indian textiles with cowboy boots.  I might not have thought of that.


Some teens might draw at art museums.  Its active and exciting.  Also, invite another teen on the trip.  Teens are social creatures.  Remember this time in your life?  An outing with your parents can go from boring to fun if there is another person your age who you can make fun of stuff with.  Also, most important with teens... food. Bookend the trip with food.  Start with food and end with food.  I just read that last part to my very own teen and he said, "That is so true.  If there's no food, it's hell."  Do you see how important food is to them?  

*Shoes by Sanuk, shorts by Old Navy, t shirt by... London Games 2012.  This outfit says, "Ready to switch into some Asics and run five miles."  Pretty cool.

So, we bookended the end of this art museum trip with Balconi Coffee Company.  See, you can even go somewhere you want to go... as long as there's sugar. 
Everyone happy?  Everyone happy.

1.  Attitude:  Everyone is having fun.  
2.  Dress for the outing... More fun!
3.  Meeting Ground.  Find some art everyone might like.  Or almost everyone.
4.  Balance with outdoor time. (i.e. rolling down hill)
5.  Add friends.  Especially if there is a teenager.
6.  And most important... bookend with food.

This photo by artist, Evan Hartzell.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

mexicana in the o.c. - a foto diary

By Laura E. Alvarez


A Christmas pepper discovered in the garden Sunday morning!  A sign that this was going to be a particularly Mexican trip to the O.C.

We traveled behind the orange curtain to visit  my dad and go with him to order tamales for Christmas Eve.

El Toro Bravo has it all.  Tamales, good meats, tortilleria (tortilla factory), a small market and a great place to get masa for your tamales.  

Waiting in line to order, you are faced with a tempting embarrassment of riches - a pile of chile rellenos.  Chile rellenos are actually really fun to make.  It's all about the roasting.  They catch fire on the open flame sometimes!  My mom used to make them for birthdays.  

Here's where I slip in the Clothes Story:  I decided to go for neon under Victorian like slip blouse with an embroidered folky purse.  What does it MEAN?  What made me wear this?  I have no idea.  Wait, now I have an idea:  Romantic meets an 80's OC adolescence meets summers spent in my mother's hometown in Tamaulipas.  Remember Laura Ashley and Wham U.K.?  Nothing like PTSD of the Orange County fashion.   So fun.

Requisite artsy photo means we are making art.  
What follows is more art.  See?  It's bigger...

And we're back! On the way to pick up my dad we picked up a load of tasty Mexican sweet bread from a very nice panader├Ča, where we didn't take any photos because it's not my dad's "favorite place", plus they didn't have any maranitos (little pigs) - the definition of pan dulce for him.  So we went to Gloria's next to El Toro Bravo and he got his wish - five maranitos.  Por fin, he was satisfied.  May I suggest a cup of Cuban coffee and a little pan dulce with toda la familia around 11am on a Sunday?  Yes?


And what is a trip to Mexicana O.C. without visiting the Diego Sepulveda House?  In the center photo you see my dad saying to Evan, "I remember coming here to visit every Sunday."... back when his sister, Francis lived in the house with her family in the 1940's.  Now it's a museum surrounded by a park.  I remember coming here on a school field trip and telling the other kids my aunt used to live there.

Special thanks to Evan Hartzell for taking all the art-fotos.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

la poeta

by Laura E. Alvarez

Oye! I got to meet with my favorite Chicana poet, Gloria Enedina Alvarez this week.  We collaborated on a California Artist Residency TWENTY YEARS AGO.  I know.  What? Was I 12 or something?  No, but I was kinda fresh outta college, and I had to learn to drive just to do the residency.  Yes, I learned to drive going from Santa Monica to East L.A. in the most stolen car of that year - a 1983 Oldsmobile Delta 88, leather top.  People liked to turn them into low riders.  It was in mint condition, and random old guys were always trying to buy it off me.  But I digress...

Gloria!  She is as youthful, funny, and life-enjoying as the last time I saw her so many years ago.  Here, we pose in front of a French revolution mural in Atwater.  So funny, us being revolutionary Chicana artists and trying to be as French as possible as we get older.  (Yes, that is a marc by Marc Jacobs lace blouse I am wearing.)

God, cars and clothes.  I digress again.

Here is a sprinkling of Gloria Enedina Alvarez mind blowing granules of gold from yesterday:

1)  Her identity is poet.  
That, alone is enough.  I mean, come on.  In my next life my identity will be poet just because it's so... solid, yet mysterious.  I will reside in a Scottish castle and write poetry.  I will wear electric blue hand knit ponchos, sip Earl Grey, and write about the mist and mi coraz├▓n.

2)  She WANTS to reside in a Scottish castle and write poetry.
That's where I got the idea.  Duh. 

3)  The Repatriation Thingy
In 1932 her dad was just a three year old in Cheyenne, Wyoming (where he was BORN) and his whole family was rounded up and sent "back" to Mexico.  Gloria's grandfather walked his cattle from Wyoming all the way back to where his family lived in Mexico.  (Can you see my tear stains blotting out these words?  Where's the app for that?) When Gloria's dad came back to the U.S. as an adult the government gave him a hard time for being a "draft dodger". Seriously. This story came out of a collaboration with artist, Christina Fernandez.  Read more about Repatriation here.

4)  Writing Circles About Food
Lately, she gets together with other women and they write poetry about food.  She wants to make an anthology about it.  This sounds so cool. I want to go to one, and I can't wait to read it.  I'm already hungry.  For now you can check out her work in books such as this.  

5)  Ceremonia heals.
Sweat lodges. Herbs.  It's all true.  I thought you had to go all the way to Taos to do that stuff, but apparently they have sweat lodges here, too.  I'm not going to get into it, but that story blew my mind.

6)  She made some mention of a play or opera she wrote... Paris?
Oh my goodness.  It just gets better.  Peter Sellars directed a couple.  Esa Pekka conducted one.  Los Angeles Philharmonic.  Etc., etc.  Read the full deal here.  Impressive.

7)  Nopales growing guerilla gardening poets like Ari Robles are the kind of magical people that populate her life.
Enough said. I am hooked on all things Gloria.

8)  Eyes are on her last conquest in her goal towards total optimum health domination... SLEEP.
Gotan Project, and Nova Lima... It's kind of their fault she doesn't get enough sleep, really. They "call" her from afar and beg her to come dance to their South American rythms. That and something about just loving the night. Artists don't own cows. I've never heard of one, at least.

9)  Spanglish is king.
We didn't talk about this, but since our get-together I appreciate how much she appreciates this. The beautiful mix of words that can't be really translated in one language or the other is splendarious (a word made up by one of my favorite poets who inspired the Rey part of Simone Rey). Really. This is just natch for her writing and mine and even more so for the way Gloria talks. I LOVE IT.

10) Here's what I'm talking about...


An offering
of starbursts
releases us 
to receive each other
for ourselves
to know
it is the spirit
which draws us near
the Embrace of the infinite
that pulls and pulses
in each of us
The Flame
an endless flight

Una ofrenda 
de nebula
nos libera
a recibirnos
para nosotros
el espiritu
el Abrazo del infinito
tira y pulsa
en cada quien
La Llama
un vuelo sin fin 

by Gloria Enedina Alvarez

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Simone Rey was born today.
It was given a life by the two of us because we've wanted it so badly for so long.  The name represents two of our muses, amazing beings who have become our inspiration.  Our children are growing every day, and every day, we learn from them.  We will nurture this blog, just as we have been nurturing our children.  We will learn as we go, and hope that you will too.  Share our experiences and processes and those of others that have touched our lives.  

Simone Rey invites and welcomes you into our lives.  We will be vulnerable, funny, tragic, brilliant and flawed.