JIM DORAN

David Best’s Temple

We visited the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C. today. The following image and quote are from the Renwick Website…

David Best's Temple

David Best’s Temple transforms the Renwick Gallery’s Bettie Rubenstein Grand Salon into a glowing sanctuary, offering visitors a quiet place to reflect and pay tribute to lost loved ones. Originally part of the exhibition No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man, this site-specific installation covers the walls with intricately carved raw wood panels that lead to an ornate altar. Wooden placards are provided for visitors to write a personal message and leave within the installation. 

https://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/david-bests-temple

Visitors were invited to write something on a piece of wood, and add to the exhibit. I presume this temple will be burned at some point, as this happens at the Burning Man festival.

The temple was breathtaking.

Some of the inscriptions were funny. Many were wrenching.

What is my life without your love? Who am I without you by my side?

I left a contribution, too.

I loved “Welcome to Marwen”

Steve Carell in the excellent "Welcome to Marwen"

There are a few movies that are in constant rotation in my studio/home. I watch and/or listen to them while I work and/or workout. I’m not saying they are cinematic masterpieces, only that I love them. It’s the highest praise I can give. These movies continue to provide rewards with consecutive viewings.

I just saw Welcome to Marwen, it immediately earned a spot on my tiny, exclusive list.

Steve Carell plays Mark Hogancamp, an artist who had his memories and drawing skills beaten out of him outside of a bar when he drunkenly admitted he likes to wear women’s shoes.

Welcome to Marwen Gals

Much of the narrative takes place in Hogancamp’s yard, in a model town he created called Marwen. Barbie like action figures (the characters in the film actually call them action figures, bless) interact with a puppet figure Hogancamp. It’s an elaborate coping mechanism that highlights the resilience of imagination. He stages realistic scenes and photographs them. The shift between two worlds – a miniature facsimile and the “real” world – is enticing. Plus, the bad guys are Nazis and they are repeatedly pummeled by his stiletto wearing female protectors. The sets are wonderful. And Carell’s Hogancamp is endearing without being sappy. He finds peace and acceptance in his internal world – who doesn’t want that?

I read a shitty review of this film (there is no shortage of them) that noted Welcome to Marwen is for people who complain about Hollywood’s formulaic films. I went to see this with a friend, and we both thought the movie felt “loooooooong.” But, that’s not a bad thing, and I also think this deserves several initial viewings. Does it have some problems? Probably. But it’s so good.

The real Mark Hogancamp

It’s directed by Robert Zemeckis, who directed Back to the Future movies, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?Cast Away, and Forrest Gump.  I think this film is a labour of love, and perhaps wasn’t really positioned to be a blockbuster. I don’t care if it was. I’m glad they got this story out into the world. There’s even a nod to Back to the Future.

Excel Blades

I’ve been using Excel Blades ever since my friend, Annie Howe, gave me some to try last summer. Previously, I had always used Xacto blades (hundreds and hundreds of them).

I’ve found Excel blades to be more consistently sharp, especially at the tip, which is what I use the most. As a surprise bonus, they sent me new handles today! Of all days, too.

I love them. You can follow the company on Instagram. They really are family owned and operated, and seem like very nice folks!

Excel Blades