Wait, Wait

You’ve been through this before. There is a valuable object that you must physically attain, but it’s going to take a little bit of bureaucratic interaction to make it happen. An indeterminate amount of waiting may be involved. In this case, the treasured item is a West Campus parking pass for The Ohio State University, a necessity that your daughter ordered online. Armed with a day off, you are charged with the task of picking up the pass in the morning so that she may use it to attend her first college class that evening. You take the precaution of calling ahead to confirm that you are permitted to retrieve the pass on your daughter’s behalf. You look over a map of West Campus and find the small visitor lot where you’ve parked before, the one that is a short stroll from the Traffic and Parking offices. You double-check to make sure that you have your daughter’s university ID card and a printed receipt for the parking pass. Then, satisfied that you have taken all reasonable preparatory measures, you embark on your journey.

Your destination is a popular one on this first day of Winter Quarter, but several spaces open up after you circle the visitor lot once. There is a “Pay and Display” system in place that requires the purchase of a timed pass from an automated machine. You approach it and fish out the coins you brought along for this purpose, depositing three quarters and three dimes. It’s 9:00. There are more coins in your pocket, but the machine says that you have just bought 42 minutes of parking time, which seems more than adequate for the purpose of picking up a previously purchased parking pass. You chastise yourself for the wasteful habit of padding parking meters with unnecessary time simply due to an irrational aversion to the unlikely prospect of purchased time elapsing. Next time, you think, you’ll spend a little less instead of fattening the coffers of Traffic and Parking. Read More

Night Of The Hunter

Welcome Back To My Nightmare: Alice Cooper introduces Steve Hunter in Columbus.

It’s a great time to be an Alice Cooper fan. Just last November, Alice wrapped up a 16-month world tour dubbed Theatre of Death, an over-the-top theatrical extravaganza propelled by his best band in years. In April, the original Alice Cooper Group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, with a bombastic celebratory box set arriving in the summer. Next month will see the release of Welcome 2 My Nightmare, a conceptual sequel that reunites Alice with legendary producer Bob Ezrin and includes contributions from the ACG as well as veteran solo career collaborators. It would surely be permissible for the rock icon to take the summer off and relax.

But no. Not only has he been canvassing Europe and both North and South America since May, he is doing so under the banner of a new tour called No More Mr. Nice Guy. As the concert filler between Theatre of Death and the forthcoming Welcome 2 My Nightmare tour, it could easily have been a minimally produced affair in which Cooper & Co. make a few bucks off an assortment of greatest hits, and few would have complained. But Alice is firing on all cylinders right now, and his current show is no mere stopgap, as Wednesday’s date at the LC Pavilion in Columbus, Ohio proved. Read More

Focus Study

The photograph was a surreal, black and white portrait, just the sort of clumsy stab at art that one might expect from a college student in an introductory photography course. Its subject was a young woman whose eyes were obscured by the pair of oranges she held before her face. Perhaps it was its humor that earned it a spot on the wall of Haskett Hall, where I stopped to regard my handiwork each day after class. Passers-by might have mistaken my look of concentration for the solemn focus of critique, but my motivation was shallow. The truth was that I had something of a crush for the model, and standing for a moment in front of her portrait allowed me stare at her captivating image and daydream of impossibly good things.

Making films and videos interested me far more than capturing stills, but having declared my major as Photography and Cinema, I was obligated to learn the rudiments of picture taking and photochemistry. The lecture section of my introductory class was taught by Tony Mendoza, who was known at the time for a whimsical series of black-and-white photographs featuring his cat, Ernie.  His artistry was inspiring, but as I was to discover, creativity was only a fraction of what was required to produce good photographs.  The technical side of it – everything from light meter readings to focal lengths to maintaining the proper temperature for photochemical solutions – was daunting.  I was long on ideas but short on technique. Read More

Sunday With Art And Barack


Maus creator Art Spiegelman in an appearance at The Ohio State University

“Have you ever been the opening act for the President of the United States before?” asked David Filipi, Director of Film and Video for the Wexner Center for the Arts at The Ohio State University.  Sitting opposite him on the stage at Mershon Auditorium was Art Spiegelman, the esteemed comics artist who won a Pulitzer Prize for his unique depiction of the Holocaust in the graphic novel Maus.  Last Sunday afternoon’s audience laughed at the reference to the imminent appearance of President Obama on the Oval, a literal stone’s throw from Mershon.

“Well, I’ll tell ya’, I feel like a garage band,” quipped Spiegelman.  “On the other hand, in honor of the occasion…”  Reaching toward his open laptop, he summoned forth upon a projection screen the image of Barry Blitt’s infamous 2008 New Yorker cover that satirically depicted Barack and Michelle Obama as Muslim jihadists sharing a fist bump in the Oval Office as an American flag crackles in the fireplace.  Read More

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