I don’t expect you to read all of this in one sitting.

Finally, at long last, all caught up. And it’s not because I feel bad for neglecting my readership. It’s because I’m leaving soon and I need to print out all my posts for the month of May and bind them into a book before I lose access to the Slade facilities. But also for Phil.

 

Tuesday, May 14-Thursday, May 16, 2013

As I said, I was in Jewish holiday mode in Oxford. This consists of mostly sleeping, eating, and socializing, as well as a variety of religious rituals. Also, I got a mandolin.

 

Friday, May 17-Saturday, May 18, 2013

Hermano Josh Bierman arrives in London! I stuck around in Paddington Station after my train came in from Oxford and greeted Josh as he alighted the Heathrow Express. After he put his stuff down, we went to Carphone Warehouse the best care your phone can get a sim card/ phone and then we made our way to Hendon and had lunch at Pizaza and caught up over garlic fries. Then we picked up some foodstuffs for Shabbos and made our way back home to get ready for the Slade Degree Show! Truly an impressive exhibition. So impressed with all the final year students, especially the sculptors, whose work I’ve seen materialize and develop over the past couple of months. Felt part of something great. Woohoo Slade pride! I went straight from the Slade to Friday night services at Great Portland Synagogue. Not where I usually go when I’m home for Shabbos, but it was much closer to UCL, so it made sense. Then I went home and had dinner with Josh and Rosie! Before Rosie arrives, Josh read me a few chapters of The Great Gatsby. He was reviewing for the movie. Which I have yet to see. Anyway, it was a late night full of laughs and Daniel Henkin arrangements, and Teeny Bits.

Went to services Saturday morning and came home and promptly collapsed in bed and took a nap. Josh and I didn’t manage to coordinate too well today with waking and sleeping, so there was no formal Saturday meal. Then I woke up ate lunch and took another nap. Record amount of sleeping. After Shabbat was over, Rosie came over and to make a long story short, I wrote an essay on her back.

 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Josh and Rosie took a day trip to Bath! Windsor! Stonehenge! And I spent the day with John. We saw Iron Man 3 and then went for a walk around Regents Park. So many lilacs! So fragrant! After John went home, I worked some more on my sculpture, which is never-ending, labor intensive, and full of glue. But this time I had a mandolin to pass the drying time musically. Huzzah!

 

Monday, May 20, 2013 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HERMANO JOSH!!! 20!! Next year in Vegas! Says you!

Josh and I went to St. Paul’s Cathedral. Didn’t manage to whisper in the Whispering Gallery, but we did walk all the hundreds and hundreds of steps to get as high up as you can get. By the way, Julian Olidort, if you are reading this, I checked the book at the front of the Cathedral and they do in fact seem to turn the pages! Greetings from page 45! I think it was in the 30s when we visited…Then we walked across the Millenium Bridge to the Tate Modern where we split up—Josh went to see the Lichtenstein Retrospective and I saw Ellen Gallagher’s show AxME and an exhibtion of Saloua Raouda Choucair. Loved Ellen Gallagher’s work. Amazing, mind-blowing works on paper and works made out of paper. When I get around to uploading pictures (how does never work for you?) you’ll be able to see what I’m talking about. Didn’t really care so much for SRC’s work, but it was neat to see how work developed from drawings and paintings to sculpture and the vastly different approaches she too to her art. After spending a while in the bookshop, I went home and worked on the never-ending sculpture for many hours and eventually went to bed.

 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Funny story. In a last minute effort to put finishing touches on my sculpture, I decided I would wake up very very early in the morning and catch the first train to Covent Garden Flower Market because I was absolutely certain than my sculpture needed it’s own lush garden abundant with lilacs. So I woke up BEFORE 6 and dragged my tired body to Bakerloo Station and I get to Covent Garden only to learn THAT THE COVENT GARDEN FLOWER MARKET IS NOT IN COVENT GARDEN. IT’S IN VAUXHALL. ROOKIE MISTAKE? HELLS NO. I WILL NOT ACCEPT THAT. I was already awake, so being the fool I am, I decided to walk home. Somewhere near Oxford Circus my legs decided otherwise, so I got on the Tube and passed out on the couch as soon as I got home.

Desperate for lilacs, when I woke up, I walked around Bloomsbury because I seemed to recall a bunch of flower stores in the area. There were a bunch of flower stores. There were no lilacs. However, I did pop into Pollack’s Toy Store and got the La Vie En Rose music box I saw months ago when I stopped by with Yael Stern. Exhausted and annoyed re: Lilacs, I went to the Slade (and bought a class picture! My head’s not blocked!) and sat on a bench outside and contemplated my next move. I decided to go to Robert Dyas (hardware store) and see if anyone there knew anything about constructing rotating music boxes (failed idea for sculpture). There was no one who knew such things. So I returned to my bench outside the Slade and Minghy, also in Sculpture, sat next to me and we talked a while about Outsider Art, the Slade, London, and a variety of fascinating things ranging from the philosophical to the existential and back again.

The Sculpture department was having a farewell dinner endless curry thing so I stayed there a while and chatted and rubbed elbows with the crowd. Afterwards, I met Josh at Leicester Square for some ice cream and then we saw a play called Relatively Speaking. Very funny and entertaining. By the same guy who wrote the Normal Conquests. On our way home we stopped off at Sainsbury’s to get something to eat and then spent the later part of the evening hanging out with Lizzie and Dana and heard all about their travels to Prague and Amsterdam.

 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I avoided getting out of bed this morning because today was assessment day and my sculpture felt incomplete. I knew it would be unfinished, but there is a difference between incomplete and unfinished. Something can be unfinished, but at a place where it can be presented and discussed. It was not in that place and I didn’t know what to do. So I pulled myself out of bed and decided to just replicate the sculpture some more. My version is much different, but for simplicity’s sake, I referred to the original. And it worked out. Usually casting and drying takes a while but thank God for Dana’s blow dryer it took a fraction of the time! Should have done that all along! Ah well. You live and you learn. I used to use a heat gun to make my paper casted bunnies dry faster, but I’d always wind up burning them.

I finished and packed everything together with no time to spare. Got in a taxi to Woburn Square (the Slade’s other facility) and fortunately the tutors were running late with the assessment before me, so I had time to catch my breath and unpack. Because I’m an affiliate student and not a full time time degree student, my assessment is a bit different. Instead of all four tutors, only 2 have to be present. Mel J and Kieren stayed and Mel C and Graham took a break. I have a better rapport with Mel J and Kieren so that worked quite well. It wasn’t so much a critique as it was a conversation. Discussed my experience and process, how vastly different the whole approach to art is here than it is in the states and how my reasons for being an artist differ from the other artists at the Slade. It was a wonderful conversation and it gave me a lot of closure. And now I’m a rising senior! I feel so free! Even though I’ve basically been free the entire semester! Then I packed everything up and decided to brave the Tube with all my stuff because I couldn’t imagine paying another 13 pounds for a taxi. When I got home, Dana, Ari and I ordered burgers as a last hurrah of sorts and then I had a lot of nothing I needed to do so I did that.

 

Thursday May 23, 2013

Before I begin, let me tell you that this story has a happy ending. When I got home from my assessment yesterday I couldn’t find the little glass girl from my stained glass window. I was almost certain I knew exactly where I left it at Woburn so I wasn’t worried and decided I’d go first thing in the morning. So I went back to Woburn and my glass girl was not there. I retraced my footsteps and it was nowhere to be found. Not in the Tube. Nowhere. As I walked through the front door of my flat I knew that I could check the bag I put all my work in one last time, in vain. So I did. AND IT WAS THERE ALL ALONG. So my day turned around quickly. Hooray! I bid Dana and Ari farewell and then made my way to the bindery to continue work on the bloggy books. I met Josh in Leicester Square some time around two and we got tickets to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory—second preview show! Then we went to Pizaza, source of my constant cravings. Stopped to get food for Ireland and then I went back to the flat to chill out before the show. So the show. The first act was good. A bit long, though. But clever and the sets were great. The second act was full of gimmicks. All in all, eh-ntertaining.

Once I got home I had to make sure everything was all set for Ireland. Not really sure how I could make things more set than they already were, but I found what to do. Eventually went to bed for a few hours. Heathrow Express at 5:30 for a 7:30 flight! Woohoo!

 

Friday, May 24-Sunday, May 26, 2013: IRELAND!

Let’s cut to the flight. We landed in Dublin a little before 9 and miraculously made the 9:15 bus to Galway. If we missed it, we would have had to wait 2 hours until the next one. And it was a double decker bus. I lover double deckers! With Wi-Fi! And outlets! And I slept the entire time! Found the B&B easily and once we arrived we sat in the dining room area until they were ready for us to check in. After about 15 or 20 minutes, Seamus, the manager/power that be told us that there were some people here to see us. Ah first some background. Josh and I went to Galway on this particular weekend to represent the Alper-Bierman clan at Geraldine McGinty and John Greally’s 25th wedding anniversary celebration. So naturally, I assumed John and Geraldine knew where we were staying and were popping in to say hi.

But it wasn’t John or Geraldine.

IT WAS MY PARENTAL UNIT!!!

THEY SURPRISED US!!!!

I LOVE SURPRISES!!!!!!

Was in a glorious state of shock for the next couple of hours. We went on a bus tour of Galway and walked around and I got a sweater and then we sat at a café for a while and I simply could not get over the fact that my parents were with me. I didn’t even entertain the possibility that they might come. It was the most perfect most unexpected surprise ever. My parents are better than yours. The end. This is a nonversation. AND THEY BROUGHT A WHOLE MEAL FOR SHABBOS! AHHHH! GLEE! JOY! HAPPINESS! AAAAAND THEY’RE COMING BACK TO LONDON FOR THE DAY!!! AHHHHHH!!!! HOOOORAAAY!

After our Galway outing, we went back to the B&B and got ready for part one of the anniversary festivities. And in the time I found out I was awarded another grant for my summer plans in Poland and I didn’t even know I was submitted for consideration! Thank you, thank you Tory! The excitement continued with dinner at a lovely restaurant called Ard Bia (means good food in Gaelic) and they made us beautiful salads to accommodate our kosherness. Josh couldn’t have been happier. Shabbos didn’t start until 9:30 ish, so even leaving the dinner at 9, we still had plenty of time. We had the first family Shabbos dinner in forever. The unexpectedness of it made it even better. Was still in shock (the good kind) at this point. After dinner, we retired to our beds and fell into food comas.

Saturday began as a lazy day. Twelve whole hours of sleep. Hm. Great! Had lunch for breakfast and then we walked it off on a bayside stroll in the rain. Still can’t believe my parents are here at this point. Then we got home and napped because that is what you do on Shabbos. We woke up and ate because that’s what you do on Shabbos when you’re not napping. And then we got ready for part two of the anniversary festivities. Dinner and dancing at the Galway Rowing Club! Such great fun! First of all, the room. Gavin and Triona, friends of Geraldine and John decorated the space.  Billowing white sheets with rows of fabric garlands covering the ceiling and an installation in the front of the room filled with vintage knickknacks and toys and random things. Each object had it’s own cubby. Triona said the inspiration came from the boxes printmakers keep their letter bits. Unbelievable. John introduced me to Gavin and Triona and I had a great conversation with them about all things visual. So the room was perfect. And the traditional Irish dancing! And the traditional Irish music! Such fun!! And the Guinness! Not my drink at all! Should have had Baileys. But wow! What a fun evening. In conclusion, Geraldine, I love your dress.

Moving along to Sunday! Had breakfast with Mom and then we headed out for some late morning shopping followed by a walking tour of Galway at noon. After the tour, we had lunch and sat around for a while and did some last minute window-shopping. Then Josh and I got on a bus to Dublin, the parents got on a bus to Shannon and we met up in London and ate meatloaf.

 

Monday, May 27, 2013

A lovely day in London! Spent the morning with the Parental Unit and went on a walk/lilac hunt in Regent’s Park and then had lunch at Reuben’s with John. And also Josh. Hi Josh. Perk up, kid.

A lovely lunch followed by the Unit’s send off at Paddington station. Then John and I walked around, stopping first at Paddington Green and being unimpressed and then we decided to return to Regent’s Park because it’s nice and also lilacs. May or may not have taken one to go. Then we walked around Euston for a bit in the general direction of Denmark Street where I assumed John wanted to window shop guitars but seeing that everything would be closed because the bank holiday I just kept my mouth shut. And then we walked down Denmark Street turned the corner and passed the Phoenix Theatre, where Once is playing. AND THEN I WAS SURPRISED WITH TICKETS TO SEE IT! THANKS JOHN!!! Ahhh! It was wonderful, of course. And Gold will always be the best number. Energy unlike anything else I’ve encountered. After the show we headed to Paddington Station so John could get the next train to Oxford. GREAT GREAT GREAT BANK HOLIDAY/MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND. FULL OF SURPRISES. I LOVE SURPRISES!

 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

This morning I went to see an exhibtion called Outsider Art at the Wellcome Collection.

In their own words:

Our spring exhibition brings together more than 300 works for the first major display of Japanese Outsider Art in the UK. The 46 artists represented in the show are residents and day attendees at social welfare institutions across Japan. The wonderfully diverse collection comprises ceramics, textiles, paintings, sculpture and drawings.

‘Souzou’ has no direct translation in English but a dual meaning in Japanese: written one way, it means creation, and in another it means imagination. Both meanings allude to a force by which new ideas are born and take shape in the world.

The exhibition has been organised in association with Het Dolhuys, the Museum of Psychiatry in Haarlem (the Netherlands) and the Social Welfare Organisation Aiseikai (Tokyo). It reflects the growing acclaim for Outsider Art – often defined as works made by self-taught artists perceived to be at the margins of society – while questioning assumptions about the category itself.

Eschewing a purely biographical approach, the show will be object-led, with a startling array of works offering singular and affecting explorations of culture, memory and creativity. A series of documentary films featuring a selection of the exhibiting artists will play at the end of the exhibition.

For more about it: http://www.wellcomecollection.org/whats-on/exhibitions/souzou.aspx

After the exhibition I headed to meet Josh to see The Mousetrap, the longest running play in London. 60 years! Anyway, I’ve been sworn to secrecy and can’t ruin the ending. Unfortunately I can’t tell you much else because I may or may not have fallen asleep for some but really most of the play. After the play I made my way home and attempted to tidy the flat and then gave up and took it easy the rest of the evening.

 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Today I attempted to pack things up to ship to the states and it all got very stressful especially when I kept remembering about my stained glass window. But fortunately Carey from City and Guilds said she’d be happy to help me pack it up next week! What a relief…After moving some of my stuff from one part of the living room to another I made my way to Covent Garden where Josh and I were meeting up with Iris Davies, the person who had been cutting our hair for our entire lives until she moved back to England four years ago and we haven’t seen her since then! We sat in a café and caught up for a while. SUCH A PLEASURE TO SEE YOU IRIS!!!! COME BACK TO NEW YORK!!!!! After our get-together I headed over to the Slade and ended up staying there for a couple of hours and made a few covers for some of the books I’ve been binding. Then I practiced embossing the titles so that was new and exciting. Then I went to Reuben’s because I hadn’t really eaten anything all day and I thought I should be entitled to an absurdly overpriced dinner for all my toiling in the bindery.

 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bid farewell to Josh early in the morning, fell back asleep, and woke up very late. Went to the bindery for a little while and then I made my way to Oxford to surprise John when he got back from work. He was not expecting me. The surprise involved bunnies because all good surprises do. It was a great success.

 

Friday, May 31-Sunday, June 2, 2013

Spent the morning walking around the city centre (Oxford has the worse shopping opportunities I have ever encountered) and then in the afternoon I took Eliana to the park. Then Shabbos came along and we did what one does on Shabbos. These activities include but are not limited to sleeping, eating, walking, sitting on swings, lounging around and eating cold mushrooms. Shabbos ended incredibly late but not too late for a little get-together at Jacob’s. Fun times! I now have a special spot in my heart for Islamic fundamentalist boy band music videos! Went to bed after the birds started chirping. Terrible idea, but it was worth it. Mere hours later, I pried my eyes open, got ready to go, got back in bed, and then John picked me up and we headed to London and then went our separate ways for the day. I sat in Costa for a while, reading my book (IQ84. I’ve read Haruki Murakami before and I think he’s weird and pretentious but I’m giving it another go because I wanted a really long book and this was the longest one I could find) and making some plans fall into place. Then I stopped at Pizaza for garlic fries and a salad to go, made my way home and then headed to the Closer to Israel gathering in Trafalgar Square. YAY ISRAEL PRIDE! KEEP CALM AND MAKE ALIYAH!

When I got home, I took a nap (in response to this morning’s wake up experience) and woke up to the sound of a blaring fire alarm. And this wasn’t just a siren. This was like having an ambulance in your ear. I woke up screaming. It was the scariest thing ever. I’ve never actually screamed before. Gasped, maybe. But this was a full out scream. That was awful. So I ran out the flat and waited outside with everyone else and came to my senses. Well, no going back to bed now. So I did laundry, tended to my to-do list and here I am, finally caught up.

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