Saturday, December 31, 2016


One Plays Cricket @ Aviary Gallery
1/7 - 2/27

At the beginning of this year I finally had the chance to show my stitched portrait project. The large collection filled all the walls of the small gallery, but it looked so good. I was truly giddy when I saw them hung in one place. Lindsay (the gallery owner) and I had had a fun three days of hanging pictures. During this endeavor we found that we were okay at math and thankful to have cord and clothespins. On the last day of the show there was a live event. A few friends performed and another handful came to watch and it was all so good.

Photo: Video projected by Blevin Blectum layered on Stitched Portraits

Don't Play With Me Too @ Aurora

In the summer of 2015 I would spend my Tuesday lunches with a really great crew from RHD-RI. We would play with toys, talk about our favorite toys, and design completely new toys. Following our time together I enlisted a handful of local artists to make work based on the ideas, drawings, and designs that came out of this time together. In March we had a one-day pop-up show at Aurora. 

It was awesome. Visual art was everywhere, a Makerbot made trophies, and all of the bands killed it. Bed Death brought a cake. Sentimental Favorites closed out the night with a rare appearance. Anyone who made it out to this can count themselves among the super lucky.

Photo: Work by Holly Titus and Tiphany Giles

Singing With Machines @ Machines with Magnets

This show was an excuse to play with my favorite performers. 

Blevin Blectum is a fresh onslaught of sounds both bright and dark, Kristin Hayter is a screaming fit of intensity, and Joss Bordelon is otherworldly and surprising. The Domestique set I put together for this night was called 'Pillow Talk.' I wore pajamas and a giant pillow hat. The set was a turning point and gave me confidence to tour.

Ricky Rainbow Beard w/ Dr. Sound @ PVD Fest

Thanks to Jen Smith for telling me it was time to start this 'Ricky Rainbow Beard Show' with a small set at the PVD Fest. It was hot and hard and completely worth it. The show may have been a bit of a jumble and certainly a bit clunky but the small crowd liked something about it. ANNND I got to get those pesky first show jitters out. It helped having one of my best friends in control of the soundtrack (many thanks to Dr. Sound!) There was also a little bit of magic, some bzzzzointment, and a necktie puppet named Bobby. 

Making on the Moon @ Burnside Park
7/7 - 8/18

This was my third year of leading art in the park in the summertime. Because they like me, I got to focus on my favorite author, Tomi Ungerer. He is my favorite because his books look beautiful while they ponder morality, he points at all the absurdity in the world and laughs, and he is primarily a troublemaker with the main message: DON'T HOPE COPE. Best moment this summer: Reading The Three Robbers and making little robber hand puppets with the kids. There were loads of others, but this one was special.

Domestique: Noise Lounge @ Machines with Magnets

My first time playing for three hours straight. My boss showed up and giggled while drinking whiskey. I only took one break to have a refreshing cocktail. I learned new things about my machines. I've never even played for three hours straight in my studio. There is an immediacy to doing it live while people make conversation, drink alcohol, and twiddle on their phones. Glad I brought my fan and three hours worth of videos.

The Ricky Rainbow Beard Show @ Aurora

After premiering at PVD Fest I decided to produce a 45 minute show. I booked it and then I immediately wanted to cancel because I knew it would consume me for months. It did. Luckily I had people like Jon Laustsen and Ted Dilucia to make it feel easier. Ted DiLucia also provided new ideas and full assistance with writing and illustrating. He is amazing. And there was Jennifer Avery and Bevin Kelley and Rachel Blumberg too... Basically the best reason for doing anything is working with cool, supportive people.

The show happened at 6:00pm on a Tuesday. I was really worried about this weird time slot, but sponsorship from Craftland and the right amount of promotion led to a full house. The show was not flawless but it's problems gave it power and the whole thing felt like a success.

Now I don't know how to follow it up. But I'm excited for its future.

Wild Embeddings @ Last Frontier NYC

Wild Torus is a performance group with layers on top of layers that have layers. When I performed with them in September at Machines With Magnets it was as if they took every remnant from every rave ever and threw it all over the room while stomping around in 4 foot heels. When they asked Domestique to be a part of one of their NYC shows I did not hesitate. I wrote a piece about the birth of Fansy, a character from the world of Ricky Rainbow Beard. I think of Fansy as a character that can live in both worlds. 

This show was insane. The building was on the East River in Brooklyn and the walls and ceiling were the original factory warehouse walls but the floor was brand new poured concrete. They had multiple projectors, multiple swings, a big teepee made out of scraps of fabric, and a whole lot of performance artists and musicians. By the end of the night, everyone became part of the Wild Torus experience which is their true desire. The entire room's decor was ripped apart and really no one had anywhere to hide. There was no real ending.
When it felt right I left the party, stayed with a good friend, and slept on my pillow hat.

Flowers vs The Frost @ Aurora

Jess Rosenkranz makes amazing things and she doesn't usually organize events, but she should more often because this mid-day flower mural making was a highlight of the year. She asked for some of my help and I helped as much as I could. It was also at a time of the day when it was totally cool to bring Sparrow along. In the end there were so many amazing looking piles of flower petals.

Photo: Detail of a larger piece by Alec Thibodeau. Flower work completed by three different crews of people.

Domestique: Canada Mini-Tour
10/24 - 10/27

This really was my first tour with one of my own projects and I felt especially thankful to be in Canada during the Thanksgiving holiday. This means big thanks to Emily Pelstring for making it happen and my tour mate, Andrea Pensado for being a delightful person. Andrea Pensado is also one of the best performers I've ever seen. Check her work out here. We played a gallery, a record store, and a DIY space together. It was short but perfect and I can't wait to do it again. Along the way I made new friends and saw some favorite people. Traveling to do the thing that you love means expanding your circle, your work, and your family. So again, thanks to everyone!

Photo: w/ Alexandra Rodriguez @ Modern Fuel Gallery. We matched unintentionally. 

Now, 2017 is only a few hours away and I'm looking forward to it because I'm looking forward to doing more stuff on purpose and I think we all might need as much purpose as possible in the next year. I love all of you. Let's keep doing all of the things! There will be a lot of not-the-things and I think we can be louder than those not-things. Here is where I smile and giggle and also think about whatever feels like a hug. LOVE.

All best,

Friday, December 23, 2016

10 BEST NIGHTS of 2016

Matmos @ Columbus Theatre

The latest album by Matmos is called Ultimate Care II. It's the length of a wash cycle and was created using the sounds of a washing machine. The Baltimore duo (M.C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel) usually keep their machine in the basement and mostly use it to clean clothes. Lucky for us, they decided to bring it on tour with them this past Spring. A washing machine played on the stage of an old vaudeville theater is most likely a rare thing.

Neil Hamburger and Major Entertainer @ Columbus Theatre

On Easter Sunday night, I had my mind fucked by two beautiful funnymen. Mike Hickey (AKA Major Entertainer) had costume changes, a giant button, an old suitcase, and an overhead projector. There were at least five or ten jokes about Egypt in between a handful of songs about being  pathetic. Basically, my jam. One song about watching horror movies is on permanent rotation in my brain.

All of that perfect nonsense was followed up by self-proclaimed, "America's Funnyman," Neil Hamburger. He made everyone want to puke and this was good because laughing is better. His John Stamos bit is still making me heave.

Before We Begin @ AS220 Black Box

A friend and I lovingly referred to this thing as the The Sweatpants Play. Its creators however, Rebecca Noon and Jed Brainerd, were very clear that it was not a play. It was more like a thing. I was drawn to it out of pure curiosity and the strangeness of the demands they put on the theater goers. Each person attending a showing of Before We Begin was required to bring a dollar coin and also wear a pair of sweatpants... And they definitely had to be actual sweatpants. Xander Marro produced some short 'how-to' films like this one, called What are Sweatpants?

It was unlike anything I had ever seen or been a part of and the format expertly tricked us into having a genuine connective experience with strangers. At the end of the thing, we all sang a song together to a forgotten mailbox. 

Photo by Jed Brainerd and Rebecca Noon.

Muscle and Marrow @ Aurora

I was there to see Marissa Nadler but this band and their intense songs  and their magnetic dynamic made for one of my favorite performances of the year. Afterwards I talked with the band members (they are indeed a romantic couple as well...). They lamented the fact that they each made so many mistakes during their set and they tried not to show their frustrations with one another. 

There really is nothing like hearing actual tension performed live.

Droplet @ Aurora

Cynthia Lech is one of my favorite people. She is thoughtful with her approach to listening. When she announced that she had started her own musical project this year I was pretty excited. Her refined taste and the textured noise and the beautiful melodies and the syrupy visuals and the intensity of the playing made this first Droplet show one of my favorite things I saw this year.

Chris Corsano @ Machines with Magnets

If you've ever seen Chris Corsano play drums then you know what I'm talking about. Even though I had to be up super early the next day it was totally worth it. When he played, everyone shut up because we all wanted to see what was going to happen next. Basically a whole lot of natural loops and incredible, inventive use of materials. (example)

Tig Notaro @ Columbus Theatre

Tig Notaro! TIG NOTARO. Everything she has put out the past few years has been excellent and then she goes and manages to somehow completely surprise everyone by bringing out super special guests, The Indigo Girls! Not really, but she milked that announcement for the last 10-15 minutes of the show. And that was after opening the night with a short film about being depressed and hiring a clown to perform at your house just for you. See also: One Mississippi.

Torrey Pines and Rachel Blumberg @ AS220

Rachel Blumberg is a national treasure, but lucky for us in RI, she lives here! There are so many of her shows that I could put on this list, but this night was so right. It was one of the shows that made me want to put this list together. Rachel had plugged this post-election gig as a way of collectively being with one another to either console or breathe a sigh of relief. With it being the former, Rachel played with a kind of intensity and strength that we all needed. She also forced this beautiful cello player to join with her in her drumming and even though she had created a beautiful visual narrative with her films, the sound of the performance totally overtook it and I closed my eyes. Thank you, Rachel Blumberg - for all that you do.

After that, we all got to see this wondrous and weird film by Clyde Petersen called Torrey Pines. It was the strangest, wordless, cut-paper stop-motion I've ever seen. And it is worth it. The filmmaker also brought a whole band to live-score it. Another one of those one-time only kind of things.

The Submissives @ The Grad Club in Kingston

Over Thanksgiving I got to travel to Canada and play shows in Kingston, Ontario and Montreal. I was informed by my super host, Emily, that I would like this band. She told me they sounded like The Shaggs and I said that is not a thing and then I saw that this was a thing and I agreed. One of the lead singers in the group taught everyone else in the band how to play their instruments (kind of), they all wear white, and they sing songs about being submissive to men while staring at the audience with dead eyes. It felt weird that people even clapped in between songs. The whole thing would have been better if there were just one or two sporadic claps. I love them. They are my new favorite band. You can even hear this exact set recorded live on their bandcamp site. Check it out here.

Andrew W. K. "The Power of Partying" @ Columbus Theatre

An enormous amount of non-saccharine positive energy from a self-proclaimed party. He literally just talked off the cuff about life from a lectern that was wearing a sash. After he had said enough he took a bunch of really hard questions from people in the crowd. This dude is MISTER ROGERS WITH MUSCLES.

Thanks for reading! Now let's all go make some more stuff like this in 2017!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Post-Summer Update!

I haven't shared anything here since May! But it was an excellent summer for sharing Tomi Ungerer stories in Burnside Park, Making Ricky Rainbow Beard shows, and performing as Domestique...

Here are some images of the things:

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Ricky Rainbow Beard Show!

If you take all of the things I like and put them together in one place you'd have this new thing I'm working on called The Ricky Rainbow Beard Show! I'm pretty excited about it and can't wait to share it and all of its glorious details, but for now, take a look at this sweet poster.

The first live stage show is happening on June 4th in Burnside Park as part of the PVD Fest.

See you there!