Monday, June 20, 2011

Trolley Tracks, Jon Freise, & Peak Oil

It would seem like a literary device, if it weren't something you can see half a dozen blocks from here, at the corner of Cedar Avenue and 35th Street: One of Minneapolis' many potholes, this one revealing the original brick paving and a rail from the 60 year-defunct trolley system.

A week ago I interviewed neighbor Jon Freise for the neighborhood newspaper, Corcoran News. I had heard Jon present an explanation of peak oil at the Corcoran Park building in February, and was eager to include him in my series of portraits of interesting neighbors. (Jon told me about the pothole; it's by his house.)

During our conversation, I quoted Wes Jackson to Jon as having said that those of us who conserve are making it easier for the profligate by not bidding against them in the de facto energy auction. Jon thought about this for a while, and responded that it's an accurate observation, but the rich bastards are not the only ones who need cheap oil. Operations that feed the elderly and the sick, people who have to get to work where there's no public transportation, and energy-intensive services upon which even the most conservative among us rely are examples of functions that we would not want to bid against.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Trying to Draw Like Al Hirschfeld

CD cover for my friend Lisa, designed by Dawn Yema, drawings by me. I'd been sketching Lisa while she performed for a few years, and turned a decent likeness into a caricature under the influendce of Al Hirschfeld. The drawings of the other artists are mostly from photos. The exception is Linda Tennyson, the bassist behind Lisa's elbow.

Hirschfeld, born in 1903, was the NY Times Drama Caricaturist. He died, still drawing, five months shy of his hundredth birthday. Of course the fellow with the white whiskers and the eyebrows is the artist in self portrait. The sketchier stuff is Hirschfeld, studying Tom Courtenay. Hirschfeld would attend opening night, sit on the aisle, and take notes or draw in a personal shorthand in his pocket. I've seen a video of the ninety-nine year old Hirschfeld working on a finished drawing of Paul Newman as the Narrator/Stage Manager in Our Town. The Tom Courtenay studies are instructive, but I'd give a lot to see some of the pocket drawings.