25 July, 2006

whose brand is it anyways?

Branding is the most awesome pain in the ass. It's actually not the branding part so much as getting a group of twenty plus strong minded people to agree on a brand that is virtually impossible. How can I get everyone on board with a color pallette when I can't even get them to agree on what to have for lunch? Personally, I would go with hot pink and call it a day but unfortunately no one else sees the beauty of that proposition.

Part of the problem with this whole exercise is that our designer is really putting out some very basic work. Work that I could have created with my limited indesign knowledge. There is nothing arty, or edgy, or designy about his work; it is functional and that is about where it ends for positive feedback. We are branding an art gallery here, not an accounting firm. I guess I felt it all along, but it didn't really crystalize for me until today -- now that it is basically too late to make many changes.

The biggest disappointment is in the knowledge that this firm has had more than three months with our material and all they could come up with was inadequate. Le sigh.

On a less negative note, yesterday I hired a summer exchange student to help me with all of the grunt work I neither have the time nor the gumption to do. She is actually very highly qualified with a Masters in Finance. Hopefully she isn't too bored organizing back issues of newsletters in the hallway cubby. She is here to learn English so hopefully, I can at least help her a bit with that. I do love the idea of having an assistant who will actually assist me, even if she can't understand me and for only three weeks.

24 July, 2006

too much too much

I had a great, exhausting weekend the likes I haven't had in forever. I went out on Friday and Saturday night and then Sunday I went out of town to a beach about an hour away with dogs in tow. It was h-o-t but wonderful to just lay on a blanket and soak everything in. Then last night I went to the late show of Pirates of the Caribbean, good movie but it ran until almost 1 a.m., which meant about four hours of sleep for me.

This morning I was dead to the world but after a rousing session of yoga over my lunch hour (we offer it here in the gallery free for employees) and a spinach wrap I am feeling a little more in it.

My opening on Friday was even a bigger success that I previously noted with almost 220 people. And we were expecting 30 to 50. The down side was that the food supply didn't hold out and our servers were attacked on site, the sushi and fruit gone before it hit the table. Everyone seemed happy though, sipping their red wine and talking shit until almost 10:30 p.m., which is a very late night for a gallery opening. A more conservative coworker of mine commented rather distastefully that she was mad because when she left the room someone turned up the volume on the music and it seemed like a real party environment.

"It is an art gallery, not a disco!"

I just kept quiet, but I was secretly thrilled. Why can't an art gallery opening have a fun, party environment? Don't we really want people to feel comfortable and as though the place belongs to them? We are always talking about attracting a younger crowd (20-35) and we did and damn it, they like their music loud. Crank it up is what I say.

(The above photo is of the lovely raspberries from my backyard)

21 July, 2006

rare form

So, remember the rock star artist and the local paper that was desperate to interview him? Well, as I suspected they failed in their efforts. They did still do an article, but began it with extremely snide remarks directed at your truely.

"The Art Gallery wants you to know that their new exhibition has nothing to do with a strike at a local retailer, despite the similarity in their name. Their press package (rather defensively) made this clear..."

Then it went on to be a great article. I know it might sound paranoid, but believe me when I say that this was a direct hit at me curtesy the awful, sanctimonious bastard known as their editor in chief. We have been at odds since I wrote a shopping column for them years ago and had editorial differences, including that he wanted to name my column (and I was their only female writer) after a fairly graphic sex act. Since then it seems like every time we cross paths things get ugly. He is like an evil ex-boyfriend whose feelings are still so hurt from being dumped that he is determined to do everything in his power to make my life uncomfortable.

I am likely going to have to answer to this with the higher ups next week and am not looking forward to explaining the whole pitiful high school reminicent story.

Update: The Gallery opening on Friday was a gigantic success. We were hoping, praying for at least 50 people and about 150 showed up. Hopefully this is enough to make everyone over look the nasty comment in local indie.

19 July, 2006

rare night on the town

Last weekend I had a rare night out going to a local rock show with some friends. The show itself was pretty bad -- it was all ages, which meant that the average age was somewhere around 16 years old and it stunk of the b.o. that only teenage boys are capable of producing. The good parts of the evening were cold beer, seeing people I hadn't spent time with in awhile and standing outside, watching the kiddies pout all along the train tracks that are outside this particular venue.

I am feeling better today. Last night I had a good sleep, I watched Dave Chappelle's Block Party, which made me smile, and I ate something healthy for supper. I no longer feel like hiding under my desk - a good thing. The rock star show artists have arrived in town today and so there has been much talk of drinks and dinner out and talk of contemporary art, which is neither a good or bad topic depending on who you are talking to.

18 July, 2006

off my game

I am so off my game today it isn't even funny. Not even a little funny. From forgetting my glasses and security swipe card at home this morning, to bumbling my way incoherently through a three hour meeting, I am just a mess. I feel all out of sorts and I cannot focus on anything. It could have something to do with having bad sleeps the last two nights or maybe I am finally loosing my mind. I just feel all out of sorts and when I feel like this, I start to believe that I can't do anything, that I am a horrible failure and it utterly paralyses me. I don't even want to answer the phone because if someone asks me to do something I might just start to cry.

The underside of my desk is looking mighty appealing right about now. I wondering if I turned off the light, shut my door, and crawled under, if anyone would notice?

I think I am going to have my bath in the dark tonight- one of the only things that can clear my mind of all the fuzz when I am feeling like this. My autistic sister is sensory deprived and I am sensory overload. I feel like sparks are shooting from my head.

17 July, 2006

i am a productive soul

This past weekend I accomplished more then I have since moving into my house a month and a half ago. The eves were de-mucked, hedges were trimmed, weeds were pulled and floors were even vacuumed. I am a domestic goddess! On top of all that nesting I even managed to attend a rock show and a fairly substandard movie. This burst of productivity could have something to do with the fact that I took Friday off of work, giving me a whole extra day to get things done, not that extra time usually matters.

Today I am back at work and almost as though I am making up for all I did this weekend, I have had a morning where almost nothing has been accomplished. I've dealt with emails and that's about it. Given that my position is about ten month behind, this does not bode well for the rest of the week when I will have to work my ass off to catch up. On a positive note, my sassy little admin assistant is back. Hopefully I can get her to assist me- though that is not altogether likely either given the unsure nature of our relationship (she tries to avoid doing my admin work). Ah well, Rome wasn't built in a day but hopefully it doesn't take too many weeks or months.

13 July, 2006

The DNA of Literature

Read it.

I'm Thinking About Cutting Off My Hair

I always do this. It just gets long enough to put up and I am looking longingly at pictures of Audrey Tautoo and Natalie Portman and imagining the freedom of chopping it all off. But I should know by now that two weeks after the massacre, I will start the long, arduous process of growing it all back.

Why is it that we always want what we can't have?

Human Desire and Suffering

The following questionnaire was created by French novelist Marcel Proust. Apparently my answers reveal something about my human desire and suffering, though unfortunately I don't have the key so I can't tell you more then that.

1. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Sinus infection is pretty bleak. Having to pay the city $1000 on a dime is also rather miserable.

2. Where would you like to live?
A top the Eiffel tower, in a cabin by the water or in the villa Liv Tyler's character visits in the movie Stealing Beauty.

3. What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Waterproof books for reading in the bathtub, daily massages, a weekly visit from a maid and a world without mosquitoes.

4. What is your favorite extravagance?
I like to eat and shop. Sometimes I shop and then eat. I am not particular about either. I can eat almost anything and buy anything with quite a bit of enjoyment.

5. Who are your favorite heros of fiction?
Emily of New Moon, Carrie Bradshaw and Amelie Poulin.

6. Who are your favorite characters in history?
Calamity Jane, Marilyn Monroe, Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, Emily Dickinson, Ghandi and Mary Queen of Scotts.

7. What is the quality you most admire in a man?
A sense of humor.

8. What is the quality you most admire in a woman?

9. Your favorite virtue?

10. Your favorite occupation?
Eating, shopping, reading, bathing, singing, dancing and writing.

Bye Bye Money, Money Goodbye

Just yesterday I received a delightful letter from the City stating that I owe them nearly $1000 within the next two weeks or I will face major penalties. I could accept such a hard handed letter if I had actually been negligent in paying taxes, bills and what have you (which I occasionally am and when it happens I expect nasty collection letters) but to my knowledge I have been completely responsible. So I call ten people, who transfer me to twenty other people and it turns out that even though I am currently paying almost $120 a month into my property taxes lumped in with my mortgage payment, apparently until the end of 2006 I also need to pay a second payment of almsot $120 to the City. Double the property taxes between now and December, yippee! The reason- well it seems that the bank that my mortgage is through will not begin paying the taxes without first having all the money from me up front, despite the fact that they practically own me with this mortgage. So what they do is collect my money for the next eight months to be sure that they will get paid back once they have paid the city. This is stupid since the very nature of my relationship with this bank is one of me owning them money. If I am allowed to owe them $120,000 then surely they can't be so concerned about $1200 per year, that is being withdrawn automatically every month from my bank account.

I can't believe that no one thought to mention this information to me prior to the nasty letter I received yesterday. When I call the bank, the CSR told me that someone had screwed up and I should have been informed about this. So I called my lawyer, who blamed by mortgage broker and she hasn't called me back (probably because she's smart).

Luckily I do have some savings right now and can afford to make the payment but I hadn't planned on spending a chunk of my savings to pay my property taxes twice.

When things like this happen I get really angry and want to cuss someone out- preferably the person who messed things up in the first place. I am really hoping that person is the broker and that she calls me so that I can get this off my chest. Goodbye $1000.

12 July, 2006

Artist Detecting Part 2

I still haven't tracked him down, although I did speak to Miss. New York Gallerina and she was almost no help at all.

Me: Hello, this is Bernice calling from Podunk Canada.
She: Where? Who?


She: Oh.
Me: I left ten voice mails, sixteen emails and ten faxes to you this morning about getting a hold of Mr. Artist.
She: What did you say your name is again?

After ten minutes of explaining who I am and what I want AGAIN:

She: Oh, well, there's really nothing I can do for you. I mean. You know artists. They don't just drop their life to do media. Especially when it's not, like, the big media or anything.
Me: Oh no you di-int!
She: Oh yes I did bitch.

Ok, those last two things weren't said. Instead I pretty much thanked her for doing absolutely nothing for me and now, eight hours after I began, I sit here no closer to this artist then before. My new strategy- give Miss. New York Gallerina's number to the editor of the local paper and see if she tells him to his face that his paper is not important enough to merit an interview. Then at least he will feel slighted and I don't like him very much so it wouldn't be the worst thing to happen. Of course, it would definitely guarantee that my little exhibition will receive no publicity in the indie- apart from the expensive ad space I purchased last week.

Bernice Sequin - Artist Detective

I have spent the better part of my morning doing two things: fighting with my boyfriend and trying to trackdown Mr. Rockstar artist extraordinary who is apparently too important to return phone calls.

We can skip over the whole boyfriend fighting story because the only thing you really need to know is that I am right and he is wrong and a complete asshole to boot. Got it? Good.

I have an exhibition opening next week and have sent out a plethora of media packages to try and entice the locals to cover the show. I have some nasty history with one of the inde-locals and I am convinced that to make my life difficult they have chosen to interview the one artist who is not coming to town for the opening and who is notoriously difficult to get a hold of. When I say difficult to get a hold of what I really mean is that he is like a fucking ghost, he doesn't exist in this dimension but in the dimension of rock gawds and New York art parties. (Note to reader: I do not live in the world of rock gawd and hipster art parties but in the world of mosquitoes and bad cover bands). A few hours ago I thought my tracking strategy was successful- I had called every person listed on Canada 411 who lives in Manitoba and has this particular artists last name. Seventeen calls later, I reached his parents. Bingo! No, not bingo because his parents would not give me his personal contact information but only the info of the New York gallery that represents him who also apparently live in the dimension of hipsters and rock stars because they aren't calling me back either. Currently I am stalking their communications person. Phone calls. Emails. Faxes. Call me back motherfucker and I'll leave you alone. Call. Me. Back. So far no one has called me back.

And all this for a local paper that I hate and for an editor I despise. I am a total media whore. I give good interview.

11 July, 2006

How dee do

Working in the arts is hard and hilarious and requires a certain degree of sillyness at all times. Between dealing with difficult artists, curators and the media, my world fluctuates between being an utter circus to a comedy of errors. Of course, if I wanted it any other way I would have become an accountant.

As per the profile, I am 28 years old and I work in the arts, specifically in a wonderful, magical art gallery. I am officially an officer of communications, without the badge or the authority it seems. I do have a name tag though and it is silver, which is close enough, I guess.

On a daily basis I work with creative people (of which I would like to think I am one) from all over North America (depending on what exhibition I am planning to promote), less creative types (the ones who generally keep things running) and the media (who I alternate between loving and despising depending on the circumstance). Recently, my job became easier (and prettier) with the installation of Adobe Creative Suite on my computer and I am in love with the potential ads and graphics I will be able to create. The installation itself was extremely painful and took no less than four days with no help from the foul people at Adobe who are misleadingly call themselves "customer service representatives." We in the arts do not have technical people to assist us with the installation of programs. The trick is, to click "run" and pray to everything mighty that it works. It often doesn't.

When I am not fighting with my computer, fighting with artists, fighting with administrators or fighting with media, I am meeting with people- mostly people who want to sell me things like advertising space or "partnerships" (please note that a partnership is a fancy word for someone who wants me to give them money to generally do very little for me in return). I also have many, many meetings. There is a meeting for every occasion and every decision. Sometimes they feed us at meetings (those are good meetings), but mostly we sit around listening to our growing stomachs. But a full calendar does make me feel important. You want to meet with me? There's a two week wait. Zap!

The title of this blog, Prima Gallerina, was ripped off from an
article I read months and months ago (before I was actually a Gallerina and only a lowly arts worker) in the National Post about the nature of the new creature dubbed Gallerina. We are a fancy breed. We jump and dance, twirl and make pretty pictures with our toes. Our wardrobe consists of bits of film installation, gobs of paint and crystals. And we always, always smile.