Tuesday, June 23, 2009

long time coming

first off, here's a new print/painting hybrid i finished this week. even though it's part of a larger body of work that i'm close to being happy with, but not totally "there" yet, i am pleased with where i'm taking things:

acrylic paint & relief print on paper
30 x 22 inches
© matt pulford

next, after several months of having it on my mind and working on it here and there, i finally finished the piece i mentioned in the latter parts of this post.

it's funny to me because i can see it in two distinct readings. one take never really goes into that ridiculously "evil" realm i once thought it might; rather, it comes about as one of the more dark-yet-respectable pieces (as in, here is someone's ashes — a loved one?... a family member?...). but in another more honest light, it definitely does stem from an intense abhorrence (as in, a title that cues viewers into the act of standing over someone that was purposely incinerated), even if it is a minimal, pulled-back piece. at this point in time, i'm decently happy with it.

your cold death ash
2008 - 2009
painted sawdust, plywood
variable dimensions
© matt pulford


Sunday, June 14, 2009

MLB Baseball Park #6 - Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City

i usually don't share many personal photos on the site, and i'm not sure i've ever included one of myself or family before, but whatever - here you go. (this will be a long post).

The tally:

#1 Wrigley Field, Chicago
#2 (old) Busch Stadium, Saint Louis
#3 Miller Park, Milwaukee
#4 Chase Field, Phoenix*
#5 Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis

and now,
#6 Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City
Royals vs Reds

*toured stadium but did not watch game

the latest stop on our ongoing "MLB ballparks of America" project unfortunately could not be attended by the usual suspects of coach, chad, kevin, and (sometimes) tim. yes, this time around it was just kelly and i, but no worries - we of course had a blast on our own. and besides, the best part of the trip was that kel's sister "Prez" (short for P.O.T.M.P.F.C. — don't ask) lives in downtown kansas city, which meant we had one of our favorite people on the planet to hang out with for 72 hours.

we started off by getting a tour of her downtown apartment building. she lives right in the thick of it, which is something neither kelly nor i did when we lived in chicago. her place is gorgeous — exposed brick, 15 foot high ceilings, a full workout room and lounge in the basement, and access to the rooftop patio. as always, click on any image for a larger view. check it out...

after a general introduction to her neighborhood, we decided it was time for food. of course if you're in kansas city, you have to get bbq at least once during your visit. the last time we were in town, we ate at Jack Stack , which is friggin great, but we wanted to do something less... "structured." not less classy or anything like that, just something more down-home. Prez suggested Gates. she told us to beware that we had better know what we wanted before we stepped inside, because the place was famous for wait staff that yelled at you, or just kind of yelled in general. we weren't sure if we should be expecting the rude-on-purpose style that some famous chicago eateries employ, but we were game, and we headed that way for dinner.

so... for the "review" portion of this entry, i'll just say, holy crap. i'm not especially well-versed when it comes to describing BBQ — dry vs sticky; sweet/tangy/spicy, but it was the best i have ever eaten. damn straight. the place is actually filled by really sweet — not rude — staff, and the yelling is more because of the madness that forms when the line gets up to the place where you order. in other words, it's not rudeness; it's just general loudness and mayhem. but we did well, and they seemed thankful that we paid attention to them and to what they needed to know from us (in contrast of the two folks in front of us). kel and i split a whole rack of ribs, some slaw, and some potato salad. Prez got the chicken dinner with a side of slaw. we all shared a mini sweet potato pie and a pitcher of beer. here are some pics:

Prez and i place our order

the plate my wife and i ordered up

Prez's plate

kel getting into it. messy stuff.

sweet potato pie

it was damn good. one of the staff came over to chat us up, and she was sweet. yes it sounds cheesy, but i love it when food brings people of different backgrounds together.

that took care of the first night in town. saturday was filled with a walk down to the kansas city open-air market. it's filled with vendors on weekend mornings, where you can find everything from fresh, local fruits and veggies, to spices and meats unique to foreign lands. there was also a very packed dog park right next door, so i wandered around saying hi to some dogs and owners while my two cohorts grabbed our breakfast. there was a well-known dog rescue setting up shop in the park, which meant they were showing off three awesome little pups to potential adoptive families. a big "awwwww" moment for me because i have a huge soft spot for dogs.

before i share the pictures, i forgot to mention that we stopped at a downtown antique shop on our way to the market, and i bought an effing amazing find. coach, kev, and tim - you might be into this - i found an old ball glove from the 1940s at the latest (my guess), and a home-made looking catcher's mask from probably the same era. both were very reasonably priced. anyways... some pics of the market and dog park:

now onto the baseball...

Kauffman stadium is gorgeous. the additions to the park really make things nicer. no, i had not visited before they extended the outfield part of the stadium (allowing folks to walk around behind the waterfalls), but when you're there in person, you can't imagine the park without the additions. it was a really nice place. we arrived an hour before first pitch, so this gave us a lot of time to walk around the entire stadium while drinking some beers. the fountains are nice, there is a nice sculptural piece featuring a rendition of George Brett, there is a mini ballpark for kids to play at before the game, and there are plenty of modern bathrooms everywhere.

we took our seats in the 3rd row of the upper deck, and the view was excellent. after one half inning, i noticed that i was sitting next to a father and son duo who were donning Cincinnati ballcaps. i asked if they were from ohio or just local fans of the reds, and they said they drove in from ohio for the entire weekend series. i replied by saying we were from eastern iowa, and although technically neutral for the night's game, i had to root for the home team because we are cubs fans and we need to Reds to lose right now. he was a good sport, and we talked the rest of the night about the beauty of watching a game live versus on television — the nuances that you see going on while runners are on base, the way signs are relayed in via several steps, and other things like that. the gentleman told me he approached Dusty Baker before the game, and actually got Dusty to sign his baseball.

the seventh inning stretch portion of the game is not unlike most parks — they sing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." between other innings, they do other fun things like the "kiss cam," a race of three lucky contestants that get to dress up in ketchup, mustard, and relish suits, and a fisheye "woooah, crazy big head" camera that warps the noggins of unsuspecting visitors and flashes their likeness on the jumbo-tron. none of us know why, but the latter item had us cracking up, wiping laughter tears off of our faces. it was probably the booze.

some pics of the park:

kel and Prez outside the main entrance to the park

the George Brett statue that resides beyond right-center field

the famous outfield fountains

the special mini field just for little tykes

the following photos are a general assortment showing the park from several views, a few of which are from our seats

it was awesome. we were sitting in PRIME foul ball territory, and although we saw 4 come our way, none were within reach of me. the furthest was about 30 seats away, and the closest was about 20 seats away. ah well.

i could go on about many other things we did while in town, and share many more photos of food and landmarks, but i'm exhausted and i need to hit the sack.

there you have it. i loves me some baseball more than most anything else in the world.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Steve Amos

an old friend Steve Amos is writing nice blog posts in that "conversation with myself" tone — words about his art and the inner-workings of the world of the artist's studio. in a world filled with horseshit artist statements that are usually far too busy and filled with twenty-five cent word flair, i like reading his thoughts as he writes to figure shit out. it was just this past weekend that my wife and i were saying we enjoy simple, honest discourse when it comes to talking about one's own work. if you enjoy it too, i suggest you check it out:


it's of note that steve is someone i went to school with from 2nd grade until the first two years of college, and it's funny to me that two kids from our neighborhood grew up to be "professional" artists who live or have lived in chicago.

steve's art web site is here:


Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Last Five Years

my wife and i went to see Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years last night. It was presented by Riverbend Theatre Collective, which is run by an old friend of hers from her undergrad days.

i don't think i'm well-versed at talking about theatre. i've seen many of my wife's pieces throughout the years, but they're performance pieces, not what i assume people would call "straight" theatre. with my wife's work, i feel as though i can easily speak about the sounds made on stage, the movement going on, and the cadence / tempo of things. but with musical theatre, i have never felt like i know how to discuss things with my wife, or with other people who come from a theatre background. in the past — in chicago — when i would see what i consider to be a stereotypical musical (with actors on stage accentuating their voices with ridiculously cartoonish whines, and with the songs being about every mundane thing going on on-stage) i would usually tell my wife "that was a pile of shit," subsequently asking her, "what's wrong with me?... what am i missing?..."

fast forward to last night, watching allison and dana on stage as L5Y's Catherine and Jamie, and i have to say i was floored. i loved it. it really moved me, and i was shocked at how much so. i've had it on my mind in the last 24 hours, and i'm not sure what it was. i don't know how to eloquently talk about singing and acting. but i do feel confident talking about the mood of a piece like this. for those of you that don't know, this contemporary (5 years old?... 6?...) musical features only the two characters i just mentioned, and you follow them through 5 years of their life, as they fall in love and fall out of love. for more info on the piece, including the way the time flows in opposite directions for the two characters, hit up wikipedia here.

so, the musical opens up with this number:

i'm not sure what it was — i think it was the lighting, the look on allison's face, and definitely the verse structure of this song (even though i didn't care for the other parts of this particular song) — but i was kind of floored. right away. and it seems like the entire audience was too (my wife would shed some tears several times during the night, and i would hear people around me go "wow" a lot). i guess i love sad "songs" — be them actual songs, or be them poems, films, art, and theatre. i can't really describe it any better without my words seeming incredibly cheesy. i mean, we were watching two people fall apart from one another, and it the situations were very real, not overblown nonsense. it seems that it was easy to come away with a bit of a bittersweet taste in your mouth, happy about how life deals you some sad blows here and there.

one more thing about the music - i also loved this song very much. now, before you check it out, you have to mentally mute the vocals from this particular youtube version of the production, because it sounds like kermit the frog is singing this:

do you hear how the piano barely walks around on that same line during the first couple minutes? it was great live. from my very little experience with musical theatre, it was very stripped-down , and i loved it.