We're almost halfway through 2017 and...

...(sigh) and... well, I haven't posted any new art here. I can tell you that I've made some small pieces and should add them to the small works page on the site (will do... I'm way behind on adding things to that page). But I haven't finished any large works, though two were close to finished before I left for LA and one of them is quite a lovely new favorite of mine; the other, I should have left well enough alone. I posted a 'work in progress' pic on instagram of it several months back and it's gotten the most likes of anything -- but I've destroyed it by going in and in and in with the paint, and now have to work out the mess I've made. I do have some finished medium works (a bunch of 24x48's) but will hold off on creating a "2017" page until I have more to show. 

This year started out tough from the get-go: I was tied-up with the charity art events I planned and hosted, a Cornelia show, and then packing up my art (CRAZY amount of inventory), and then the actual colossal double move of home and studio, then working on finding a home in LA and getting settled... then upended by a tragic family setback (which took me out of LA for a total of 2 weeks soon after moving here), and trying to get settled some more as if none of the bad stuff happened (which is not something one can even begin to pretend).

I had trouble picking up the paintbrush and the guitar during these many months in 2017. There was either no time or no sense of self during moments of duress, which there have been way too many of lately. It's been more like months of duress as opposed to moments. Actually, take that quite literally. There were a few days in May here and there when I made good progress on a painting for my aunt, which I started after her massive stroke, but I lost momentum when the stress of the current state of affairs took over. Only last night, did I start to work on two small pieces after weeks of nothing.

And music... ahhhh, music! (sweet music)... I finally picked up the guitar tonight in real way (in other words, I'm not going to count the two or three times that I picked it up in vain for a tuning and a 5 minute session of forced play, followed by gut-wrenching sadness over "losing the gift" -- have I learned nothing from my 20s?). I played for real, as in realtime cathartic, focused playing. My heart was in it, and it hadn't been in it in months... many months. I'm almost ashamed to say how many but I remember the last time I played live and it was two songs at a friend's art show. The circumstances surrounding that night (associated with a spirit-breaking loss that I honestly don't think I'll ever fully recover from) kind of put a hex on my singing and playing... it's like when you read about those cases where people experience something traumatic and stop speaking. I had experienced something personally awful that killed something in me. I was able to use that event (and the power of my voice and song) as my blow back but it left me winded and pained... and then I just stopped singing, writing, playing my own songs for many months.

So tonight, I feel like I came back from the dead. No joke. The power of music and whimsy of the muse. Oh yeah, and I painted some today too. So my sense of self (after feeling robbed of it roughly a year ago) had a taste of the return.

There's no telling what tomorrow may bring... and that really means anything...

Lost in Transition

I had a very close friend who passed away almost three years ago. He was such a dear friend to me that I think of him everyday, several times a day, and I miss him terribly as I go through a new phase of my life. He, of all people who could tell me not to complain (he had one of the most tragic lives of anyone I've ever known), would always listen patiently to me and with love.

He had a song (has? ...songs do live on) called "Lost in Transition" and it's been playing through my head a lot lately. His song was about being lost between being a boy and a man, as he struggled to find himself after his father's early death (when my friend was only 17). My friend David was so smart and talented, and although the verses sing about all the particulars, the chorus sang the universals, as the best songs have both those elements as part of the DNA in the lyrics.

In a world where people post all the good things, the happy things, the things that can spur on feelings of inadequacy in so many people... I just long for a world that is real. Real everywhere... online too. Right now, I feel like I'm apologizing for this post and I don't want to apologize for it. I don't want to apologize anymore...

Here is David Lang's song "Lost in Transition" (I'm sure he wouldn't mind me posting). He recorded all the parts himself on a 4-track cassette-recorder, ping-ponging all the tracks down to get more than four. He was the first person to show me how to record and even gave me his 4 track recorder years ago... over 20 years ago.

He was quite young when he wrote and recorded this, without all the home technology people have today (there I go, apologizing again! But it's true, listen to the song beyond the recording quality). This may be circa 1994 or 1995...

Thank you, David, for being a wonderful friend. I miss you.

dave, me and his dog, sweetie pie II

dave, me and his dog, sweetie pie II

Randi Russo on BBC Radio 2 for a feature on L.E.S. Antifolk scene!

I just learned this was recently aired! Nell's Kitchen is a four part music audio documentary hosted by Nell Bryden.

The fourth part features Antifolk (1: Jazz/Harlem, 2: Disco/midtown, 3: Folk/Greenwich Village (west village), 4: Antifolk/LowerEastSide (east village))

Listen to songs by Michelle Shocked, Ani DiFranco, Lach, Roger Manning, Jeffrey Lewis, Prewar Yardsale, Regina Spektor, Moldy Peaches (Kimya Dawson & Adam Green), and yours truly, Randi Russo (I'm in the earlier/middle part of the broadcast).

And listen to extensive interviews of Jeffrey Lewis and myself (separately). Nell goes through the history through interviews and songs... Listen here... it's up for another 25 days!

My song, Dead Citizen (from the album Solar Bipolar) was featured along with the interview:

Each week through February, 10% of art & CD sales goes to a new charity: THIS WEEK: INTERNATIONAL RESCUE COMMITTEE

From Jan 30th to Feb 5th, 10% of all art and CD sales will go to the International Rescue Committee. Whether you buy art/music or not, I would love for you to donate to this wonderful organization!

Last week, $225 was raised for Free the Slaves. The week prior, $520 was raised for Gilda's Club of Chicago and $520 for Imerman Angels.

Do good in this world. Always do good.

UPDATE! I would love to give as much as possible to the IRC because I've followed this organization for so long and I'm a huge fan of what they do, so I'm extending the 10% donation to go to them through the end of February. Stay tuned for March's charity...


In anticipation to my move to LA in a few months, there are no shows at this time for art or music. But check back here! I may try to get a Chicago music performance in before I go!