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Weirdo has been a NW graffiti artist for over 10 years. He’s done a few of the biggest solo mural projects in the Seattle, and has worked hand in hand with the city to make it a more colorful place. His latest body of work is a series of canvases for the Old Crow Gallery, and really shows his new level of photo realism on a smaller scale. ~Jen Vertz (

What else have you been up to in the last year?
Well, one of the biggest things was going to Art Basel in 2011 this year to paint on a wall with Lords, and my crew OSH PT. It was amazing to experience Basel first hand, and to be out there with everyone was a real fun time. Another big thing was being forced to move last fall, it took too much time out of my schedule.

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Tell me a bit about Art Basel…
It was one of the most intense mural situations I’ve ever been in, with so many people painting at the same time. It was really inspiring, both motivational, and creatively as well. I also hope I get to do it again in 2012, I wouldn’t want to miss it again.

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What about moving studios?
It’s been different. Things have happened and changed in my life- the art building I used to be a part of is no longer- the state kicked everyone out of the 619 Western Arts Building for an upcoming tunnel project for Seattle, and that’s been a huge influence over the last year. The move took a month, searching for a place took a few months, and I found a good small work space, but for my bigger pieces, I’m actually still looking for a work area. I’ve done a few pieces outside, but it’s not always easy- like the 25′ long mural for Razorfish marketing I just did in December under the highway… so the move changed a lot for me, but I’m still doin’ it.

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What’s coming up for you in the future?
After the “Sweeping of Giants” show at the Old Crow in Oakland, I have a solo show in May at the Vermillion Gallery in Seattle that I’m really excited about. I’ll be doing a 40′ long mural installation in the gallery, it’s going to be really fucking big! In between those shows in April, I’ll be headed to Nashville to paint a mural on the outside of the AIA’s [American Institute of Architecture] residence of the year for 2011, which is a great honor to be able to put artwork on the outside of someone else’s artwork! What a trip…! Next week I will have a coffin in the “Boxes of Death” show by Electric Coffin that will be headed on a tour down the West Coast… I’ve been busy lately!

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How are you handling the busy schedule?
Working close to my home really helps, my studio is just downstairs from my apartment. Not taking too many projects at once, but picking the right ones and knowing when to say no. You say yes to what sounds interesting and challenging, and no to what isn’t going to push you as an artist. I thrive on being challenged. If it’s new or big or scary- anything like that I always say yes. And it’s taken many years to figure some of this out. Doing work out of WA state keeps me on a very strict deadline, which I like a lot. You have to finish by your flight out… The pressure is what I work well under.

Any big goals for the next year?
Mainly for 2012 is to become more nationally recognized for my art, and doing more fine art based mural projects rather than commercial ones. As always working on my technical skills to become stronger with realism and to master my tools. And I’m still a free agent, but soon I want to be represented by a gallery. I’ve had a few offers, just not the right ones.

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You can catch up with Weirdo at the “Sweeping of Giants” show at the Old Crow Gallery in Oakland on March 10th from 6-10, or from the 9th through the 11th he will be painting live at the UC Berkley Campus on a mural project near the Anthropology Department. Catch up with him for more details.

From The Citrus Report

Posted By The Citrus Report

David Foster Wallace’s article on Roger Federer from 2006.

grantland e play magazine01jr 576 David Foster Wallaces article on Roger Federer from 2006.  roger federer play grantland David Foster Wallace

We saw this on Grantland today, and with the US Open ending sometime this weekend, we figured reading David Foster Wallce’s spring 2006 New York Times’ sports magazine, Play, cover story on Roger Federer was a must. Brilliant.

Almost anyone who loves tennis and follows the men’s tour on television has, over the last few years, had what might be termed Federer Moments. These are times, as you watch the young Swiss play, when the jaw drops and eyes protrude and sounds are made that bring spouses in from other rooms to see if you’re O.K.

The Moments are more intense if you’ve played enough tennis to understand the impossibility of what you just saw him do. We’ve all got our examples. Here is one. It’s the finals of the 2005 U.S. Open, Federer serving to Andre Agassi early in the fourth set. There’s a medium-long exchange of groundstrokes, one with the distinctive butterfly shape of today’s power-baseline game, Federer and Agassi yanking each other from side to side, each trying to set up the baseline winner…until suddenly Agassi hits a hard heavy cross-court backhand that pulls Federer way out wide to his ad (=left) side, and Federer gets to it but slices the stretch backhand short, a couple feet past the service line, which of course is the sort of thing Agassi dines out on, and as Federer’s scrambling to reverse and get back to center, Agassi’s moving in to take the short ball on the rise, and he smacks it hard right back into the same ad corner, trying to wrong-foot Federer, which in fact he does — Federer’s still near the corner but running toward the centerline, and the ball’s heading to a point behind him now, where he just was, and there’s no time to turn his body around, and Agassi’s following the shot in to the net at an angle from the backhand side…and what Federer now does is somehow instantly reverse thrust and sort of skip backward three or four steps, impossibly fast, to hit a forehand out of his backhand corner, all his weight moving backward, and the forehand is a topspin screamer down the line past Agassi at net, who lunges for it but the ball’s past him, and it flies straight down the sideline and lands exactly in the deuce corner of Agassi’s side, a winner — Federer’s still dancing backward as it lands. And there’s that familiar little second of shocked silence from the New York crowd before it erupts, and John McEnroe with his color man’s headset on TV says (mostly to himself, it sounds like), “How do you hit a winner from that position?” And he’s right: given Agassi’s position and world-class quickness, Federer had to send that ball down a two-inch pipe of space in order to pass him, which he did, moving backwards, with no setup time and none of his weight behind the shot. It was impossible. It was like something out of “The Matrix.” I don’t know what-all sounds were involved, but my spouse says she hurried in and there was popcorn all over the couch and I was down on one knee and my eyeballs looked like novelty-shop eyeballs.

Anyway, that’s one example of a Federer Moment, and that was merely on TV — and the truth is that TV tennis is to live tennis pretty much as video porn is to the felt reality of human love.

Journalistically speaking, there is no hot news to offer you about Roger Federer. He is, at 25, the best tennis player currently alive. Maybe the best ever. Bios and profiles abound. “60 Minutes” did a feature on him just last year. Anything you want to know about Mr. Roger N.M.I. Federer — his background, his home town of Basel, Switzerland, his parents’ sane and unexploitative support of his talent, his junior tennis career, his early problems with fragility and temper, his beloved junior coach, how that coach’s accidental death in 2002 both shattered and annealed Federer and helped make him what he now is, Federer’s 39 career singles titles, his eight Grand Slams, his unusually steady and mature commitment to the girlfriend who travels with him (which on the men’s tour is rare) and handles his affairs (which on the men’s tour is unheard of), his old-school stoicism and mental toughness and good sportsmanship and evident overall decency and thoughtfulness and charitable largess — it’s all just a Google search away. Knock yourself out.

This present article is more about a spectator’s experience of Federer, and its context. The specific thesis here is that if you’ve never seen the young man play live, and then do, in person, on the sacred grass of Wimbledon, through the literally withering heat and then wind and rain of the ’06 fortnight, then you are apt to have what one of the tournament’s press bus drivers describes as a “bloody near-religious experience.” It may be tempting, at first, to hear a phrase like this as just one more of the overheated tropes that people resort to to describe the feeling of Federer Moments. But the driver’s phrase turns out to be true — literally, for an instant ecstatically — though it takes some time and serious watching to see this truth emerge.

Beauty is not the goal of competitive sports, but high-level sports are a prime venue for the expression of human beauty. The relation is roughly that of courage to war.

The human beauty we’re talking about here is beauty of a particular type; it might be called kinetic beauty. Its power and appeal are universal. It has nothing to do with sex or cultural norms. What it seems to have to do with, really, is human beings’ reconciliation with the fact of having a body.1

Of course, in men’s sports no one ever talks about beauty or grace or the body. Men may profess their “love” of sports, but that love must always be cast and enacted in the symbology of war: elimination vs. advance, hierarchy of rank and standing, obsessive statistics, technical analysis, tribal and/or nationalist fervor, uniforms, mass noise, banners, chest-thumping, face-painting, etc. For reasons that are not well understood, war’s codes are safer for most of us than love’s. You too may find them so, in which case Spain’s mesomorphic and totally martial Rafael Nadal is the man’s man for you — he of the unsleeved biceps and Kabuki self-exhortations. Plus Nadal is also Federer’s nemesis and the big surprise of this year’s Wimbledon, since he’s a clay-court specialist and no one expected him to make it past the first few rounds here. Whereas Federer, through the semifinals, has provided no surprise or competitive drama at all. He’s outplayed each opponent so completely that the TV and print press are worried his matches are dull and can’t compete effectively with the nationalist fervor of the World Cup.2

July 9′s men’s final, though, is everyone’s dream. Nadal vs. Federer is a replay of last month’s French Open final, which Nadal won. Federer has so far lost only four matches all year, but they’ve all been to Nadal. Still, most of these matches have been on slow clay, Nadal’s best surface. Grass is Federer’s best. On the other hand, the first week’s heat has baked out some of the Wimbledon courts’ slickness and made them slower. There’s also the fact that Nadal has adjusted his clay-based game to grass — moving in closer to the baseline on his groundstrokes, amping up his serve, overcoming his allergy to the net. He just about disemboweled Agassi in the third round. The networks are in ecstasies. Before the match, on Centre Court, behind the glass slits above the south backstop, as the linesmen are coming out on court in their new Ralph Lauren uniforms that look so much like children’s navalwear, the broadcast commentators can be seen practically bouncing up and down in their chairs. This Wimbledon final’s got the revenge narrative, the king-versus-regicide dynamic, the stark character contrasts. It’s the passionate machismo of southern Europe versus the intricate clinical artistry of the north. Apollo and Dionysus. Scalpel and cleaver. Righty and southpaw. Nos. 1 and 2 in the world. Nadal, the man who’s taken the modern power-baseline game just as far as it goes, versus a man who’s transfigured that modern game, whose precision and variety are as big a deal as his pace and foot-speed, but who may be peculiarly vulnerable to, or psyched out by, that first man. A British sportswriter, exulting with his mates in the press section, says, twice, “It’s going to be a war.”

Plus it’s in the cathedral of Centre Court. And the men’s final is always on the fortnight’s second Sunday, the symbolism of which Wimbledon emphasizes by always omitting play on the first Sunday. And the spattery gale that has knocked over parking signs and everted umbrellas all morning suddenly quits an hour before match time, the sun emerging just as Centre Court’s tarp is rolled back and the net posts driven home.

Federer and Nadal come out to applause, make their ritual bows to the nobles’ box. The Swiss is in the buttermilk-colored sport coat that Nike’s gotten him to wear for Wimbledon this year. On Federer, and perhaps on him alone, it doesn’t look absurd with shorts and sneakers. The Spaniard eschews all warm-up clothing, so you have to look at his muscles right away. He and the Swiss are both in all-Nike, up to the very same kind of tied white Nike hankie with the swoosh positioned above the third eye. Nadal tucks his hair under his hankie, but Federer doesn’t, and smoothing and fussing with the bits of hair that fall over the hankie is the main Federer tic TV viewers get to see; likewise Nadal’s obsessive retreat to the ballboy’s towel between points. There happen to be other tics and habits, though, tiny perks of live viewing. There’s the great care Roger Federer takes to hang the sport coat over his spare courtside chair’s back, just so, to keep it from wrinkling — he’s done this before each match here, and something about it seems childlike and weirdly sweet. Or the way he inevitably changes out his racket sometime in the second set, the new one always in the same clear plastic bag closed with blue tape, which he takes off carefully and always hands to a ballboy to dispose of. There’s Nadal’s habit of constantly picking his long shorts out of his bottom as he bounces the ball before serving, his way of always cutting his eyes warily from side to side as he walks the baseline, like a convict expecting to be shanked. And something odd on the Swiss’s serve, if you look very closely. Holding ball and racket out in front, just before starting the motion, Federer always places the ball precisely in the V-shaped gap of the racket’s throat, just below the head, just for an instant. If the fit isn’t perfect, he adjusts the ball until it is. It happens very fast, but also every time, on both first serves and second.

Nadal and Federer now warm each other up for precisely five minutes; the umpire keeps time. There’s a very definite order and etiquette to these pro warm-ups, which is something that television has decided you’re not interested in seeing. Centre Court holds 13,000 and change. Another several thousand have done what people here do willingly every year, which is to pay a stiff general admission at the gate and then gather, with hampers and mosquito spray, to watch the match on an enormous TV screen outside Court 1. Your guess here is probably as good as anyone’s.

Right before play, up at the net, there’s a ceremonial coin-toss to see who’ll serve first. It’s another Wimbledon ritual. The honorary coin-tosser this year is William Caines, assisted by the umpire and tournament referee. William Caines is a 7-year-old from Kent who contracted liver cancer at age 2 and somehow survived after surgery and horrific chemo. He’s here representing Cancer Research UK. He’s blond and pink-cheeked and comes up to about Federer’s waist. The crowd roars its approval of the re-enacted toss. Federer smiles distantly the whole time. Nadal, just across the net, keeps dancing in place like a boxer, swinging his arms from side to side. I’m not sure whether the U.S. networks show the coin-toss or not, whether this ceremony’s part of their contractual obligation or whether they get to cut to commercial. As William’s ushered off, there’s more cheering, but it’s scattered and disorganized; most of the crowd can’t quite tell what to do. It’s like once the ritual’s over, the reality of why this child was part of it sinks in. There’s a feeling of something important, something both uncomfortable and not, about a child with cancer tossing this dream-final’s coin. The feeling, what-all it might mean, has a tip-of-the-tongue-type quality that remains elusive for at least the first two sets.3

A top athlete’s beauty is next to impossible to describe directly. Or to evoke. Federer’s forehand is a great liquid whip, his backhand a one-hander that he can drive flat, load with topspin, or slice — the slice with such snap that the ball turns shapes in the air and skids on the grass to maybe ankle height. His serve has world-class pace and a degree of placement and variety no one else comes close to; the service motion is lithe and uneccentric, distinctive (on TV) only in a certain eel-like all-body snap at the moment of impact. His anticipation and court sense are otherworldly, and his footwork is the best in the game — as a child, he was also a soccer prodigy. All this is true, and yet none of it really explains anything or evokes the experience of watching this man play. Of witnessing, firsthand, the beauty and genius of his game. You more have to come at the aesthetic stuff obliquely, to talk around it, or — as Aquinas did with his own ineffable subject — to try to define it in terms of what it is not.

One thing it is not is televisable. At least not entirely. TV tennis has its advantages, but these advantages have disadvantages, and chief among them is a certain illusion of intimacy. Television’s slow-mo replays, its close-ups and graphics, all so privilege viewers that we’re not even aware of how much is lost in broadcast. And a large part of what’s lost is the sheer physicality of top tennis, a sense of the speeds at which the ball is moving and the players are reacting. This loss is simple to explain. TV’s priority, during a point, is coverage of the whole court, a comprehensive view, so that viewers can see both players and the overall geometry of the exchange. Television therefore chooses a specular vantage that is overhead and behind one baseline. You, the viewer, are above and looking down from behind the court. This perspective, as any art student will tell you, “foreshortens” the court. Real tennis, after all, is three-dimensional, but a TV screen’s image is only 2-D. The dimension that’s lost (or rather distorted) on the screen is the real court’s length, the 78 feet between baselines; and the speed with which the ball traverses this length is a shot’s pace, which on TV is obscured, and in person is fearsome to behold. That may sound abstract or overblown, in which case by all means go in person to some professional tournament — especially to the outer courts in early rounds, where you can sit 20 feet from the sideline — and sample the difference for yourself. If you’ve watched tennis only on television, you simply have no idea how hard these pros are hitting the ball, how fast the ball is moving,4 how little time the players have to get to it, and how quickly they’re able to move and rotate and strike and recover. And none are faster, or more deceptively effortless about it, than Roger Federer.

Interestingly, what is less obscured in TV coverage is Federer’s intelligence, since this intelligence often manifests as angle. Federer is able to see, or create, gaps and angles for winners that no one else can envision, and television’s perspective is perfect for viewing and reviewing these Federer Moments. What’s harder to appreciate on TV is that these spectacular-looking angles and winners are not coming from nowhere — they’re often set up several shots ahead, and depend as much on Federer’s manipulation of opponents’ positions as they do on the pace or placement of the coup de grâce. And understanding how and why Federer is able to move other world-class athletes around this way requires, in turn, a better technical understanding of the modern power-baseline game than TV — again — is set up to provide.

Wimbledon is strange. Verily it is the game’s Mecca, the cathedral of tennis; but it would be easier to sustain the appropriate level of on-site veneration if the tournament weren’t so intent on reminding you over and over that it’s the cathedral of tennis. There’s a peculiar mix of stodgy self-satisfaction and relentless self-promotion and -branding. It’s a bit like the sort of authority figure whose office wall has every last plaque, diploma, and award he’s ever gotten, and every time you come into the office you’re forced to look at the wall and say something to indicate that you’re impressed. Wimbledon’s own walls, along nearly every significant corridor and passage, are lined with posters and signs featuring shots of past champions, lists of Wimbledon facts and trivia, historic lore, and so on. Some of this stuff is interesting; some is just odd. The Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, for instance, has a collection of all the various kinds of rackets used here through the decades, and one of the many signs along the Level 2 passage of the Millennium Building5 promotes this exhibition with both photos and didactic text, a kind of History of the Racket. Here, sic, is the climactic end of this text:

Today’s lightweight frames made of space-age materials like graphite, boron, titanium and ceramics, with larger heads — mid-size (90-95 square inches) and over-size (110 square inches) — have totally transformed the character of the game. Nowadays it is the powerful hitters who dominate with heavy topspin. Serve-and-volley players and those who rely on subtlety and touch have virtually disappeared.

It seems odd, to say the least, that such a diagnosis continues to hang here so prominently in the fourth year of Federer’s reign over Wimbledon, since the Swiss has brought to men’s tennis degrees of touch and subtlety unseen since (at least) the days of McEnroe’s prime. But the sign’s really just a testament to the power of dogma. For almost two decades, the party line’s been that certain advances in racket technology, conditioning, and weight training have transformed pro tennis from a game of quickness and finesse into one of athleticism and brute power. And as an etiology of today’s power-baseline game, this party line is broadly accurate. Today’s pros truly are measurably bigger, stronger, and better conditioned,6 and high-tech composite rackets really have increased their capacities for pace and spin. How, then, someone of Federer’s consummate finesse has come to dominate the men’s tour is a source of wide and dogmatic confusion.

There are three kinds of valid explanation for Federer’s ascendancy. One kind involves mystery and metaphysics and is, I think, closest to the real truth. The others are more technical and make for better journalism.

The metaphysical explanation is that Roger Federer is one of those rare, preternatural athletes who appear to be exempt, at least in part, from certain physical laws. Good analogues here include Michael Jordan,7 who could not only jump inhumanly high but actually hang there a beat or two longer than gravity allows, and Muhammad Ali, who really could “float” across the canvas and land two or three jabs in the clock-time required for one. There are probably a half-dozen other examples since 1960. And Federer is of this type — a type that one could call genius, or mutant, or avatar. He is never hurried or off-balance. The approaching ball hangs, for him, a split-second longer than it ought to. His movements are lithe rather than athletic. Like Ali, Jordan, Maradona, and Gretzky, he seems both less and more substantial than the men he faces. Particularly in the all-white that Wimbledon enjoys getting away with still requiring, he looks like what he may well (I think) be: a creature whose body is both flesh and, somehow, light.

This thing about the ball cooperatively hanging there, slowing down, as if susceptible to the Swiss’s will — there’s real metaphysical truth here. And in the following anecdote. After a July 7 semifinal in which Federer destroyed Jonas Bjorkman — not just beat him, destroyed him — and just before a requisite post-match news conference in which Bjorkman, who’s friendly with Federer, says he was pleased to “have the best seat in the house” to watch the Swiss “play the nearest to perfection you can play tennis,” Federer and Bjorkman are chatting and joking around, and Bjorkman asks him just how unnaturally big the ball was looking to him out there, and Federer confirms that it was “like a bowling ball or basketball.” He means it just as a bantery, modest way to make Bjorkman feel better, to confirm that he’s surprised by how unusually well he played today; but he’s also revealing something about what tennis is like for him. Imagine that you’re a person with preternaturally good reflexes and coordination and speed, and that you’re playing high-level tennis. Your experience, in play, will not be that you possess phenomenal reflexes and speed; rather, it will seem to you that the tennis ball is quite large and slow-moving, and that you always have plenty of time to hit it. That is, you won’t experience anything like the (empirically real) quickness and skill that the live audience, watching tennis balls move so fast they hiss and blur, will attribute to you.8

Velocity’s just one part of it. Now we’re getting technical. Tennis is often called a “game of inches,” but the cliché is mostly referring to where a shot lands. In terms of a player’s hitting an incoming ball, tennis is actually more a game of micrometers: vanishingly tiny changes around the moment of impact will have large effects on how and where the ball travels. The same principle explains why even the smallest imprecision in aiming a rifle will still cause a miss if the target’s far enough away.

By way of illustration, let’s slow things way down. Imagine that you, a tennis player, are standing just behind your deuce corner’s baseline. A ball is served to your forehand — you pivot (or rotate) so that your side is to the ball’s incoming path and start to take your racket back for the forehand return. Keep visualizing up to where you’re about halfway into the stroke’s forward motion; the incoming ball is now just off your front hip, maybe six inches from point of impact. Consider some of the variables involved here. On the vertical plane, angling your racket face just a couple degrees forward or back will create topspin or slice, respectively; keeping it perpendicular will produce a flat, spinless drive. Horizontally, adjusting the racket face ever so slightly to the left or right, and hitting the ball maybe a millisecond early or late, will result in a cross-court versus down-the-line return. Further slight changes in the curves of your groundstroke’s motion and follow-through will help determine how high your return passes over the net, which, together with the speed at which you’re swinging (along with certain characteristics of the spin you impart), will affect how deep or shallow in the opponent’s court your return lands, how high it bounces, etc. These are just the broadest distinctions, of course — like, there’s heavy topspin vs. light topspin, or sharply cross-court vs. only slightly cross-court, etc. There are also the issues of how close you’re allowing the ball to get to your body, what grip you’re using, the extent to which your knees are bent and/or weight’s moving forward, and whether you’re able simultaneously to watch the ball and to see what your opponent’s doing after he serves. These all matter, too. Plus there’s the fact that you’re not putting a static object into motion here but rather reversing the flight and (to a varying extent) spin of a projectile coming toward you — coming, in the case of pro tennis, at speeds that make conscious thought impossible. Mario Ancic’s first serve, for instance, often comes in around 130 m.p.h. Since it’s 78 feet from Ancic’s baseline to yours, that means it takes 0.41 seconds for his serve to reach you.9 This is less than the time it takes to blink quickly, twice.

The upshot is that pro tennis involves intervals of time too brief for deliberate action. Temporally, we’re more in the operative range of reflexes, purely physical reactions that bypass conscious thought. And yet an effective return of serve depends on a large set of decisions and physical adjustments that are a whole lot more involved and intentional than blinking, jumping when startled, etc.

Successfully returning a hard-served tennis ball requires what’s sometimes called “the kinesthetic sense,” meaning the ability to control the body and its artificial extensions through complex and very quick systems of tasks. English has a whole cloud of terms for various parts of this ability: feel, touch, form, proprioception, coordination, hand-eye coordination, kinesthesia, grace, control, reflexes, and so on. For promising junior players, refining the kinesthetic sense is the main goal of the extreme daily practice regimens we often hear about.10 The training here is both muscular and neurological. Hitting thousands of strokes, day after day, develops the ability to do by “feel” what cannot be done by regular conscious thought. Repetitive practice like this often looks tedious or even cruel to an outsider, but the outsider can’t feel what’s going on inside the player — tiny adjustments, over and over, and a sense of each change’s effects that gets more and more acute even as it recedes from normal consciousness.11

The time and discipline required for serious kinesthetic training are one reason why top pros are usually people who’ve devoted most of their waking lives to tennis, starting (at the very latest) in their early teens. It was, for example, at age 13 that Roger Federer finally gave up soccer, and a recognizable childhood, and entered Switzerland’s national tennis training center in Ecublens. At 16, he dropped out of classroom studies and started serious international competition.

It was only weeks after quitting school that Federer won Junior Wimbledon. Obviously, this is something that not every junior who devotes himself to tennis can do. Just as obviously, then, there is more than time and training involved — there is also sheer talent, and degrees of it. Extraordinary kinesthetic ability must be present (and measurable) in a kid just to make the years of practice and training worthwhile…but from there, over time, the cream starts to rise and separate. So one type of technical explanation for Federer’s dominion is that he’s just a bit more kinesthetically talented than the other male pros. Only a little bit, since everyone in the Top 100 is himself kinesthetically gifted — but then, tennis is a game of inches.

This answer is plausible but incomplete. It would probably not have been incomplete in 1980. In 2006, though, it’s fair to ask why this kind of talent still matters so much. Recall what is true about dogma and Wimbledon’s sign. Kinesthetic virtuoso or no, Roger Federer is now dominating the largest, strongest, fittest, best-trained and -coached field of male pros who’ve ever existed, with everyone using a kind of nuclear racket that’s said to have made the finer calibrations of kinesthetic sense irrelevant, like trying to whistle Mozart during a Metallica concert.

According to reliable sources, honorary coin-tosser William Caines’s backstory is that one day, when he was 2½, his mother found a lump in his tummy, and took him to the doctor, and the lump was diagnosed as a malignant liver tumor. At which point one cannot, of course, imagine…a tiny child undergoing chemo, serious chemo, his mother having to watch, carry him home, nurse him, then bring him back to that place for more chemo. How did she answer her child’s question — the big one, the obvious one? And who could answer hers? What could any priest or pastor say that wouldn’t be grotesque?

It’s 2-1 Nadal in the final’s second set, and he’s serving. Federer won the first set at love but then flagged a bit, as he sometimes does, and is quickly down a break. Now, on Nadal’s ad, there’s a 16-stroke point. Nadal is serving a lot faster than he did in Paris, and this one’s down the center. Federer floats a soft forehand high over the net, which he can get away with because Nadal never comes in behind his serve. The Spaniard now hits a characteristically heavy topspin forehand deep to Federer’s backhand; Federer comes back with an even heavier topspin backhand, almost a clay-court shot. It’s unexpected and backs Nadal up, slightly, and his response is a low hard short ball that lands just past the service line’s T on Federer’s forehand side. Against most other opponents, Federer could simply end the point on a ball like this, but one reason Nadal gives him trouble is that he’s faster than the others, can get to stuff they can’t; and so Federer here just hits a flat, medium-hard cross-court forehand, going not for a winner but for a low, shallowly angled ball that forces Nadal up and out to the deuce side, his backhand. Nadal, on the run, backhands it hard down the line to Federer’s backhand; Federer slices it right back down the same line, slow and floaty with backspin, making Nadal come back to the same spot. Nadal slices the ball right back — three shots now all down the same line — and Federer slices the ball back to the same spot yet again, this one even slower and floatier, and Nadal gets planted and hits a big two-hander back down the same line — it’s like Nadal’s camped out now on his deuce side; he’s no longer moving all the way back to the baseline’s center between shots; Federer’s hypnotized him a little. Federer now hits a very hard, deep topspin backhand, the kind that hisses, to a point just slightly on the ad side of Nadal’s baseline, which Nadal gets to and forehands cross-court; and Federer responds with an even harder, heavier cross-court backhand, baseline-deep and moving so fast that Nadal has to hit the forehand off his back foot and then scramble to get back to center as the shot lands maybe two feet short on Federer’s backhand side again. Federer steps to this ball and now hits a totally different cross-court backhand, this one much shorter and sharper-angled, an angle no one would anticipate, and so heavy and blurred with topspin that it lands shallow and just inside the sideline and takes off hard after the bounce, and Nadal can’t move in to cut it off and can’t get to it laterally along the baseline, because of all the angle and topspin — end of point. It’s a spectacular winner, a Federer Moment; but watching it live, you can see that it’s also a winner that Federer started setting up four or even five shots earlier. Everything after that first down-the-line slice was designed by the Swiss to maneuver Nadal and lull him and then disrupt his rhythm and balance and open up that last, unimaginable angle — an angle that would have been impossible without extreme topspin.

Extreme topspin is the hallmark of today’s power-baseline game. This is something that Wimbledon’s sign gets right.12 Why topspin is so key, though, is not commonly understood. What’s commonly understood is that high-tech composite rackets impart much more pace to the ball, rather like aluminum baseball bats as opposed to good old lumber. But that dogma is false. The truth is that, at the same tensile strength, carbon-based composites are lighter than wood, and this allows modern rackets to be a couple ounces lighter and at least an inch wider across the face than the vintage Kramer and Maxply. It’s the width of the face that’s vital. A wider face means there’s more total string area, which means the sweet spot’s bigger. With a composite racket, you don’t have to meet the ball in the precise geometric center of the strings in order to generate good pace. Nor must you be spot-on to generate topspin, a spin that (recall) requires a tilted face and upwardly curved stroke, brushing over the ball rather than hitting flat through it — this was quite hard to do with wood rackets, because of their smaller face and niggardly sweet spot. Composites’ lighter, wider heads and more generous centers let players swing faster and put way more topspin on the ball…and, in turn, the more topspin you put on the ball, the harder you can hit it, because there’s more margin for error. Topspin causes the ball to pass high over the net, describe a sharp arc, and come down fast into the opponent’s court (instead of maybe soaring out).

So the basic formula here is that composite rackets enable topspin, which in turn enables groundstrokes vastly faster and harder than 20 years ago — it’s common now to see male pros pulled up off the ground and halfway around in the air by the force of their strokes, which in the old days was something one saw only in Jimmy Connors.

Connors was not, by the way, the father of the power-baseline game. He whaled mightily from the baseline, true, but his groundstrokes were flat and spinless and had to pass very low over the net. Nor was Bjorn Borg a true power-baseliner. Both Borg and Connors played specialized versions of the classic baseline game, which had evolved as a counterforce to the even more classic serve-and-volley game, which was itself the dominant form of men’s power tennis for decades, and of which John McEnroe was the greatest modern exponent. You probably know all this, and may also know that McEnroe toppled Borg and then more or less ruled the men’s game until the appearance, around the mid-1980′s, of (a) modern composite rackets13 and (b) Ivan Lendl, who played with an early form of composite and was the true progenitor of power-baseline tennis.14

Ivan Lendl was the first top pro whose strokes and tactics appeared to be designed around the special capacities of the composite racket. His goal was to win points from the baseline, via either passing shots or outright winners. His weapon was his groundstrokes, especially his forehand, which he could hit with overwhelming pace because of the amount of topspin he put on the ball. The blend of pace and topspin also allowed Lendl to do something that proved crucial to the advent of the power-baseline game. He could pull off radical, extraordinary angles on hard-hit groundstrokes, mainly because of the speed with which heavy topspin makes the ball dip and land without going wide. In retrospect, this changed the whole physics of aggressive tennis. For decades, it had been angle that made the serve-and-volley game so lethal. The closer one is to the net, the more of the opponent’s court is open — the classic advantage of volleying was that you could hit angles that would go way wide if attempted from the baseline or midcourt. But topspin on a groundstroke, if it’s really extreme, can bring the ball down fast and shallow enough to exploit many of these same angles. Especially if the groundstroke you’re hitting is off a somewhat short ball — the shorter the ball, the more angles are possible. Pace, topspin, and aggressive baseline angles: and lo, it’s the power-baseline game.

It wasn’t that Ivan Lendl was an immortally great tennis player. He was simply the first top pro to demonstrate what heavy topspin and raw power could achieve from the baseline. And, most important, the achievement was replicable, just like the composite racket. Past a certain threshold of physical talent and training, the main requirements were athleticism, aggression, and superior strength and conditioning. The result (omitting various complications and subspecialties15 ) has been men’s pro tennis for the last 20 years: ever bigger, stronger, fitter players generating unprecedented pace and topspin off the ground, trying to force the short or weak ball that they can put away.

Illustrative stat: When Lleyton Hewitt defeated David Nalbandian in the 2002 Wimbledon men’s final, there was not one single serve-and-volley point.16

The generic power-baseline game is not boring — certainly not compared with the two-second points of old-time serve-and-volley or the moon-ball tedium of classic baseline attrition. But it is somewhat static and limited; it is not, as pundits have publicly feared for years, the evolutionary endpoint of tennis. The player who’s shown this to be true is Roger Federer. And he’s shown it from within the modern game.

This within is what’s important here; this is what a purely neural account leaves out. And it is why sexy attributions like touch and subtlety must not be misunderstood. With Federer, it’s not either/or. The Swiss has every bit of Lendl and Agassi’s pace on his groundstrokes, and leaves the ground when he swings, and can out-hit even Nadal from the backcourt.17 What’s strange and wrong about Wimbledon’s sign, really, is its overall dolorous tone. Subtlety, touch, and finesse are not dead in the power-baseline era. For it is, still, in 2006, very much the power-baseline era: Roger Federer is a first-rate, kick-ass power-baseliner. It’s just that that’s not all he is. There’s also his intelligence, his occult anticipation, his court sense, his ability to read and manipulate opponents, to mix spins and speeds, to misdirect and disguise, to use tactical foresight and peripheral vision and kinesthetic range instead of just rote pace — all this has exposed the limits, and possibilities, of men’s tennis as it’s now played.

Which sounds very high-flown and nice, of course, but please understand that with this guy it’s not high-flown or abstract. Or nice. In the same emphatic, empirical, dominating way that Lendl drove home his own lesson, Roger Federer is showing that the speed and strength of today’s pro game are merely its skeleton, not its flesh. He has, figuratively and literally, re-embodied men’s tennis, and for the first time in years the game’s future is unpredictable. You should have seen, on the grounds’ outside courts, the variegated ballet that was this year’s Junior Wimbledon. Drop volleys and mixed spins, off-speed serves, gambits planned three shots ahead — all as well as the standard-issue grunts and booming balls. Whether anything like a nascent Federer was here among these juniors can’t be known, of course. Genius is not replicable. Inspiration, though, is contagious, and multiform — and even just to see, close up, power and aggression made vulnerable to beauty is to feel inspired and (in a fleeting, mortal way) reconciled.

Correction: Aug. 27, 2006

An article in PLAY magazine last Sunday about the tennis player Roger Federer referred incompletely to a point between Federer and Andre Agassi in the 2005 United States Open final and incorrectly described Agassi’s position on the final shot of the point. There was an exchange of groundstrokes in the middle of the point that was not described. And Agassi remained at the baseline on Federer’s winning shot; he did not go to the net.

From The Citrus Report

Posted By The Citrus Report

The Passengers’ Airplane Behavior Bill of Rights

41 The Passengers’ Airplane Behavior Bill of Rights passenger behavior how not to behave on airplanes crying babies bad odor airplanes

15 The Passengers’ Airplane Behavior Bill of Rights passenger behavior how not to behave on airplanes crying babies bad odor airplanes

19 The Passengers’ Airplane Behavior Bill of Rights passenger behavior how not to behave on airplanes crying babies bad odor airplanes

Article I: The right to remove shoes
Passengers shall be allowed to remove shoes from their feet, but only if the aforementioned feet don’t stink or present health risks to other passengers. The right of the passenger to go to the lavatory without shoes shall not be infringed, as it is really your own business should you want to stand in the urine of others.

Article II: Freedom from unreasonable aromatic assault
No passenger shall, in the time of flight, be subjected to unreasonable aromas, be it from powerful perfume, foods redolent of onion, or other fragrance wholly unnecessary whilst on an airplane.

Article III: The right to reasonable light
All passengers shall be allowed the right to use their own overhead light to read when the cabin lights are turned off, as that is its intended use. No passenger shall be unwillingly bothered by the thoughtless opening of window shades during this period; window seat passengers are not delegated the power to blind their fellow passengers.

Article IV: The article of reclension
A well-justified act of reclining one’s seat shall not be prohibited at all times, apart from meal time and other times specified by the flight crew. All instances of reclension shall be preceded by a rearward glance so as not to unwittingly crush the patellas or portable electronic devices of the affected passenger.

Article V: Freedom of no speech
There shall be no requirement for other passengers to listen to you drone on about your child, cat or other subject not directly germane to an immediate inflight emergency situation. The right of other passengers to give you the ‘book-off’ shall not be infringed, nor shall you assist with the answer to 14-across if unprompted.

Article VI: The right to bear armrests
In all cases where an armrest is shared by two adjacent passengers, both parties must respect the right of the other to keep the armrest down. Passengers relegated to a middle seat shall be afforded special status, and aisle and window passengers shall endeavour to accommodate.

Article VII: Conditions of passenger quarters
Passengers shall not be subject to the rubbish of others crammed thoughtlessly into seat-back pockets, or tossed onto the floor in a cavalier fashion. Chewing gum shall not be pressed to any surface affixed to an aircraft.

Article VIII: The right to heed the call of nature
A well-organised attempt to use the lavatory, being necessary for inflight calm and gastrointestinal health, shall not be impeded by aisle passengers sleeping or otherwise. The rights of others waiting to use a lavatory shall supersede the frankly ill-advised wishes of current lavatory users to waste time poking around said lavatory.

Article IX: Provisions concerning use of electronic devices
The assurance of safety shall not be infringed by the desires of others to make one last phone call, update their social network status to brag about their impending holiday, or to plant cauliflower in their virtual farm. Whilst MythBusters and others have debunked most potential dangers of using common electronic devices on planes, safety and calm shall take precedence.

Article X: Cruel and unnecessary aisle clogging
No passenger shall, in the time of disembarking, hastily grab their bag and congest the exit route before actual movement is possible. Likewise, when it comes time to exit, no passenger shall unaccountably act surprised that it is their turn to leave.

Article XI: Freedom from feral children
The right of passengers not to be kicked in the back, have their hair pulled, be presented with unasked-for mucous-moistened objects, or be otherwise assaulted by feral children shall not be infringed. Crying babies cannot be held accountable for their actions, and are therefore exempt.

Article XII: The right of reasonable alcohol consumption
No person, apart from those who are drunk and obnoxious or minors, shall be prohibited from imbibing an alcoholic beverage should they feel that it is a good idea, despite all indications to the contrary.

Article XIII: The right to private media
Reading over others’ shoulders shall not be inflicted, unless achieved in a particularly stealthy fashion causing no annoyance to the book holder. The same shall be true for films and other non-private media.


From The Citrus Report

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Sarah Folkman

Departure 40x30 605x401 Sarah Folkman

Sarah Folkman
Fight to Flight
By j.frede

It’s fair to say that most humans on the planet have felt the effects of love at one point in their life. They’ve felt both the highs and lows, as love is a package deal that comes with the possibility of the beautiful feelings we naturally associate with love as well as the darker side: pain, loss and devastation, which are as fundamental to love as the beautiful feelings.

Sarah Folkman address’s the darker side of love in her new body of work, titled Experiments in Flight that is part of a three-person show, Flight and Fable, opening at Corey Helford Gallery on May 21st in Los Angeles.

Away 24x24 605x904 Sarah Folkman

Static Propulsion 605x404 Sarah Folkman

Noting the dissolution of her marriage as the catalyst for the paintings, the result is something of a journal of her journey from torment to destruction to rebirth finding herself on the other side of what anyone who has lived through it knows it’s something that seems like an impossible or impassable time.

The paintings deal with singular emotions and struggles of the subject. Experiments in Flight presents nude female figures lying vulnerable and in transition coupled with a variety of birds that both assist and loom, depending on the painting and likely depending on the struggles Folkman was experiencing while the work was being created, as the work was painted during the collapse of her personal life that the work addresses.

The torment which is seen in Static Propulsion as the figures seem to writhe in the struggle as many of us have done on sleepless nights in the throes of heartache. Arranged in seemingly propeller-shape, one can see the reference to flight as well as the dizzying spiral of descent.

Dirigible 30x40 605x908 Sarah Folkman

Away 24x241 605x904 Sarah Folkman

Transparency seems to find its way into many of the paintings, most apparently in Glider, with the wood grain of the painted surface showing through, leading us to question the fragility of love or perhaps the fading of tragedies that were once vibrant. The slight hint of blue veins can be seen in most of the women’s exposed skin, adding an additional element of transparency of both human nature and the fragility of humans, as well as their aforementioned love.

Folkman’s use of birds comes from the apparent references of freedom and departure and is strengthened by her strong love for birds, that she described as almost obsessive. This nicely balances out the heavier aspects of their portrayal as a means of escape in Lift Off and even as patient vultures acting as oppressors in Grounded.

This beautifully painted body of work takes us through various stages of the artist’s emotions and perceptions that are easily relatable and will surely force reflection of your own experiences with love.

studio 4 605x403 Sarah Folkman

Flight and Fable
Sarah Folkman, Krista Huot and Isabel Samaras.

May 21st – June 8th
Opening Reception May 21st 7-10pm
Corey Helford Gallery 8522 Washington Boulevard Culver City, CA 90232 T: 310-287-2340

Press and Media Inquiries Angelique Groh | Charm School
T: 323-363-9338

From The Citrus Report

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Notes From A Quiet Crucifixion – III

Posted from The Citrus Report

It is now my fifth day living here. A night ago, two nights ago, I slept under an aluminum ceiling. Today it will be glass. My windows here are several meters high and all around me large steel fissures stretch from my position to the end of my eye’s view- a z-axis of steel, glass and other elements which make up the building whose architecture I am currently inhabiting.
I haven’t sat down in awhile. I keep moving, going from gate to gate, hoping that they wont realize that I am living here. The only time that I sit is when I sleep and even then it is spare. I don’t know what is out there- beyond the glass doors.

I have been living on the ground level of the Frankfurt International Airport, or, as it is known here, the Flughafen Frankfurt am Main, for five days now. It is strange to thrust one’s self into a situation whose entirety is a mystery. I do not know what it is I am doing, never have I felt more lost and never have I felt more at home being away from home. I have not spoken to anyone in over ninety-six hours and in that time I’ve deciphered and delved deeper within myself more so than at any other moment or time previous to this.
It is the fifth day that I have been living here and every face is that of a stranger. No one familiar here in flesh; the only things that bring me comfort as to their familiarity are those objects inanimate- chairs that I sit on, walls that I lean against, bathrooms that I haunt, sinks that I bathe in and doors that open and close or revolve around like those chambers of a gun.

The workers here seem to have no interest in me. I have been sleeping at Gate 41 for two nights now, my jacket covering my face every time I do doze off and my legs sprawled out in front of me. I go to sleep when the airport traffic is at its busiest, a time that I’ve deduced to be around 11am where I have time to sleep for two hours, then I wander through a small lull for around an hour and a half, get up, migrate over to the other gate, pretend to read a newspaper written in a language that I can’t comprehend and at around 3:30pm another rush begins where I have another two hours of sleep to where it is safe to be passed out amongst the masses without worrying if one will come up and question me.
I have been living here for five days now and in those five days I have studied and seen stretched across from me the faces of persons who are here, in this place, arriving only to leave it. What a strange paradox- a thought which crosses my mind’s avenue while questioning such things as this.
It is the fifth day that I have been living here and already I have begun a system of quiet intricacy which informs my walking and waking decisions. I rarely go up and interact with the employees here. I eat what I can find, the leftovers from a stranger’s meal left unattended like some bag on the top of a previously occupied table. I drink water from the few fountains haphazardly strewn about and when I wander it is mainly within the first terminal for the other seems less occupied and therefore has more chance of my getting caught there.

I woke up to the snow today. The sun is falling down in a spiral pattern. It is below freezing outside and I am beginning to acknowledge my stupidity with coming to a place where I know no one, have nothing, know not the language and left at a time when the weather is winter. A collection of vehicles scurry back and forth outside while workers around abound- waving wands, walking forth or straddling the sides of small trucks to enjoy cigarettes while their breath becomes animate and visible, resembling the cirrocumulus visuals of smoke and cloud; rising together and joining the spaces of mesosphere that crowd above the blue and all those planes start to shrink in size, becoming dots and joining the stars- sewn in together like separate sections of unfinished pattern across the sequined fabric of sky.
I watched this scene for nearly two hours before looking around me.
It has been five days since I’ve been here, feeding off of the plates of strangers as they leave for their flights in avenues of arrival and departure. It has been five days that I’ve wandered here, through the pathways of separate gates and terminals, going back and forth through separate sections of the airway. It has been five days that I’ve been here and I think I am in love with whoever invented the moving sidewalk. What a brilliantly boring invention that catapults a craze of laziness and allows one a Renoir / Régle Du Jeu view of their surroundings.

*          *

I am going to meet an angel today. Today, I am going to meet Frank.
In the beginning it felt like any other day, but today I am going to meet an angel.

Around 7:30pm I went to wash up in the bathroom. Upon entering I checked all the stalls to see whether or not anyone was occupying them before locking the main door to the bathroom and turning on the sink until the water was hot enough to bathe with. I can remember staring at myself in the mirror, contemplating whether or not to just leave the airport and walk outside. In the beginning, after I hung myself, I felt that no matter what situation I was thrust into or thrust myself into- that I could manage and meet it head on. This situation however was a little daunting. I stared at my face in the mirror and saw someone else. It took awhile to breathe and bring up the energy to do anything but look forward, but soon I built up a fire and with that fire my desire to burn and go out into the country was heated, started and begun. In delirium, from lack of sleep, food and water, I thought to myself: tomorrow I am going to go out, no matter whether the weather- whether or not I have the proper jacket or if I have the right gear- fuck that fuck everything and fuck it all. I am here. And I will reach my destination. I was going in and out of consciousness when a weight was pressed against the door-
A knock. Then another.
I heard a ring of keys moving and immediately put my shirt back on, washed my hands and straightened up. The door opened and a man who would later save my life came in.
He said something in German which I didn’t understand and then he looked at me, into my eyes, and spoke English, asking why I locked the door. Then he stopped saying anything. I attempted an answer but it didn’t bring any recognition to his face of having heard it. He stared at me for a moment so brief but a moment that in that moment felt like an eternity. Fuck, I thought, I’m caught.
“You’ve been here awhile, haven’t you?” He looked at me and extended his hand.
I stuttered a phrase which at this moment I cannot remember.
“Yes, yes- I’ve seen you before.” He paused. “I’m a worker here, clean up the areas- the food court mostly and the bathrooms sometimes if Edward ain’t here.” He looked straight at me, “so what are you doing here? It’s been a few days? Your flight, where are you headed?”
I didn’t have an answer, am a horrible liar, and decided to just tell him the truth. I told him the truth and in telling him the truth I told him much more than I think he wanted or needed to hear, but talking to someone- I felt this immediate and immense release. Up until then, I hadn’t spoken to anyone since I first got off the flight here five days ago and even that conversation was limited and small as I was talking to a child who had asked me a question that I am still trying to answer to myself.
I told him the truth, told him everything about my situation and he immediately started laughing.
“You’re from California?”
I answered yes.
“Seems so. My name’s Frank. South Carolina and Texas, grew up in a bit of both. You might feel like you don’t belong here, well- look at me!” he laughed, “a black guy from Texas and South Carolina in Frankfurt, Germany. You can’t imagine a thing like that, nope- you got a partner now, don’t worry.”
Before I could say anything he spoke again:
“You been here for a few days now- how you eat and all, how are you getting by?”
I told him barely, and explained to him my patterns of stealing food and leftovers and the places where I slept.
“Well, damn- can’t remember the last time I had this strange of a conversation- in a bathroom no less! What are you doing now, you just going to stay here?”
“Well, actually, before you opened the door I was convincing myself that I was going to go to Paris.”
“You don’t have money to eat, but you have money to go to Paris? That don’t make sense.”
“I don’t have money for either. But it’s free to walk and there’s a road.”
“In this weather? Now it really makes no sense. – Tell you what, why don’t you, well, when I get off my shift- why don’t you come over and meet my wife. She could cook you a meal and we could figure out what to do with you. We don’t have an extra bed, but we got blankets and a pillow or two.”
I hesitated for a moment before diving completely into his offer, confused entirely as to why a man named Frank, a janitor in the Frankfurt airport all the way from Texas and South Carolina was offering me a place to stay at his home in Germany. Nothing made sense and it was beautiful.
We talked for a few more minutes while he cleaned sections of the bathroom and I mopped, every now and then pretending not to when people came inside to use the facilities.

I waited a few hours for him outside the terminal in baggage claim- the first time I’d stepped outside the secured area of the airport. He came down the escalator, dressed in normal clothes, waving at me and smiling that smile of his.
We got into his car, a small vehicle, and drove what must have been a fifteen minute drive to get to his apartment. The whole time in the car I was so surprised at the amount of speech I was spewing- I couldn’t stop talking.

Inside the house:
“My wife ain’t home yet, but you can go into that room, use that shower there or whatever you need, just let me know.”
I was astonished at his hospitality. I thanked him over and over again, using the shower and laying down on the floor, a thin blanket covering me while the heat from the furnace whispered and coughed out its warmth.

I woke up to the closing of a door. Frank was laughing and I could hear him murmuring with someone else. I put my jacket on and walked over to the main hallway, seeing Frank and his wife talking with their backs faced to me. When she turned around her features immediately started to speak to me. She looked like a doll, with eyes and a facial structure that resembled Lillian Gish. Tall and blonde, she put her bags down in the kitchen and came over with Frank to greet me. We talked briefly while Frank filled her in, myself suddenly becoming quiet.
Frank was one of those persons that, when they’re telling a story, all you want to do is sit back, lean in and listen. He had an old voice that carried throughout the apartment and a laugh that echoed down every hallway.
Dinner was prepared rather quickly, a meal I remember eating like soup although it was a plate of vegetables and a strange sausage. I was so hungry then and if I think about it now I want to reach for something outside of this and eat. I just ate.

Night came and I shuffled back to my room after thanking them immensely. Each day felt like this- calm and with little worry. It began to get too comfortable and after four days I began to question whether or not I had fallen back into another pattern like at the airport, albeit one that was much more comfortable.

I sat down with Frank in his study. He had hundreds of books lying around, the majority of them on medicine. He saw me looking at all the books and pointed at their spines before elaborating:
“She grew up out here, but wanted to do medicine in the States. Family illnesses and other things brought her back and at the moment she was to leave the country to come back to the one she grew up in, we were inseparable. That’s the short of it, not the whole of it.”
I smiled. There’s nothing more beautiful to me than a simple love story. Just then, Karin called out from down the hall- dinner was ready.

We walked around in conversation while eating, the two of them holding each other’s hand on top of the table throughout the entirety of our conversation. I took a piece of bread, a roll, and bit a small piece off of it, extending a question as to how they ended up deciding to stay here after coming back instead of returning to the States.
“Well,” he said, “this isn’t that much of a happy story, but if you want to know I’ll tell you, you’ve shared what seems like everything with us.”
I told him I didn’t want to make him say anything that he didn’t want to, that it was alright. I tried to change the subject to another topic, but he kept returning to it.
“One must always face what ails him, lest it kill him. Read that somewhere, didn’t make sense then, hate those old words- lest, whence, thus and thou, but it makes sense now, that phrase. It makes sense for me to tell this story too.”
He looked at Karin and she gripped his hand. They held eye contact for a few seconds before turning back to me, the lamp above us lighting everything in a calm and golden glow.
“Haven’t told anyone this that wasn’t there for it,” he paused, “feels like you should know though.” He inhaled and exhaled deeply, his face attempting to smile that smile of his but doing so unsuccessfully. He began:
“I’m twenty years older than my father, just about, maybe a year or two less. Never was good with numbers. I bet it don’t make sense in the beginning to hear that, but it does. See, my father died when I was about eight or so. Was still a child. My mother, she ran out, didn’t really know what to do or how to handle the situation, how to handle me. I have more memories with him than her. Never saw her after a week after he left us, left this. She ran out and on, her mom came around though, came over and helped me out. My sister died with my father. Three years older than me back then. Car accident. A drunk I would later find out. I don’t know his birthday, my father. Never asked when it was.”
His voice was beginning to grow deeper, inflections and cadence changing from something tragic, to angry, to hopeful.
“After all that, after I grew up, don’t know how I ended up working there, but I started working at a funeral parlor. Seems funny now, arranging the chairs, taking people to their seats and closing the casket after the services were through. Sometimes, after seeing the bodies, I would go to the service even if I wasn’t scheduled to work that day. Seemed like the right thing to do to give someone who has no more time a bit of yours.
It was there that I met Karin. South Carolina. Her brother moved down there to be a musician and his wife, someone that everyone says was a great woman- she passed. Seems everyone at some point is dying.
Karin had come over from El Paso where she was studying, and the first moment I saw her I knew I loved her. She reminded me of no one and I think that’s why I fell for her.” He rubbed his thumb on her hand, eyes looking over, a pot of food steaming in the background.
“We’re children, I know it. Stay that way for a long time, the whole time and the whole while. Someone like you who wants to be older or get somewhere farther away from themself- you need to know that there are people out there that care for you, that love you. Know that they think about you even when there’s so much to think about and even when there’s nothing to think about. Know them, the people who’ll stay with you no matter what, and you’ll know what it is that everyone around here or there is trying to figure out. We just want to be happy.” A drop fell from his face. “We just want to be happy and knowing someone’s out there is all it really takes.”
A deep inhalation.
“Well, after awhile, Karin’s mother got sick and so she came out here to help her out. I never thought that I was one that wouldn’t be able to be apart from someone he loved, but as soon as she left, it was like she took everything about everything that I loved. More than missing her, I missed us, I missed myself and all that I had given her.
So I left, went to go see her, kind of crazy, but that’s how it is when you’re seeing stars. We got married here, in that hallway. Her mother was nervous at first, the race thing came up about once or twice, but after she saw how happy we were it didn’t matter none. You come across things right when you need them and we met each other right when we needed to. Like how you met me- us. No one knows what’s going on, but it’s going, just have to go along with it, can’t fight it.”
I said nothing, just put out my hand to join theirs- our thoughts mingling and wandering like the steam in the background, the lamplight still yellow and their faces still covered in a golden azure.

A few more days pass, a few more nights. Every night, before going to sleep I see myself out on the road, have dreams of it. Frank tells me it’s getting colder, he’s helping me out, giving me tools and teaching me small slivers of German, easy phrases and questions that will go a long way in finding food, shelter and work along my path.
“You really don’t have to do this,” he tells me, “it’s a bit ridiculous. You can just stay here?”
He poses his last statement as a question. I tell him that I have to do this. I tell him how thankful I am for everything he’s done for me and I tell him that I’ll never forget him.
He’s trying not to think of me leaving while all I can do is contemplate and ruminate over the journey that is coming to me. I look at his calendar and pick a date to leave. I mark it down, Frank and Karin agreeing quietly.

The day is here- morning.
A large billowing cloud of fog is hanging over the entirety of the city. Frank drives me out as far as he can while still having time to get back for work. We drive along the freeway while talking quietly to one another as Karin is sleeping in the backseat. A few miles out and he pulls over to the side, turning on his hazard lights. He looks at me and leans in:
“I want you to know that you don’t have to do this although I know that you will. Karin and I, we care about you. You remember that. If it starts to get bad or if it becomes unbearable, know that you have a home here. You don’t have to die for this journey.”
I tell him I wont.
I’m not good at saying goodbye, normally I just leave with a letter or a smile saying everything that I need to say. Attachments are some of the most blinding and uplifting things that we encounter in this life. Relationships with ourselves and with others are similar. It feels as if I’m always leaving- felt it back then, still feel it now. I’m looking at Frank look at me in this memory I have of this moment and all I can think of is how I should have stayed a bit longer with him and Karin. They loved each other more than most couples I’ve met, yet they were somehow lonely together. I can see it, I can see him. She’s snoring in the backseat and we don’t wake her up. I tell Frank to tell her that I say goodbye. I say goodbye to him and attempt to leave. He reaches out his hands and pulls me back into the car.
“You know I wasn’t gonna just let you leave without a hug. Come here-” we hold each other for a few moments, the draft coming into his car and his hazard lights continuing to flash around, a haze rising and receding; red waves on an asphalt shore.
“Remember what I told you now. Be careful, you hear? Be safe.”
My arms are on his shoulders and his are on mine. We are looking at and away from each other, attempting to say everything that we can, relaying everything and every emotion that we feel while using no words at all. I look at him, eyes tearing up and lips trembling. He smiles that smile of his, recalls how we met in the bathroom. I tell him that I was trying to take a shower, clean myself up in the sink. We share in the saddest laughter together, though somehow happier than anyone else in this city, in this country, on this continent or sphere or anywhere. I tell him to give my best to Karin. After a moment, his smile shrinks quietly, as does mine. There is no moment that is too long when saying goodbye to someone you do not want to leave.

We let go,

look away,

and I step out onto the path and start walking.

(Frank and Karin, whose real names have been changed for this text, were and are some of the most blindly giving and loving persons I’ve ever met. This text and many others is dedicated to them, what they did for me and their memory. I would not be alive today were it not for them.)

– Jason Jaworski

Las Vegas, NV – 2011

Posted By The Citrus Report

Ive been so bad at getting my blog on, been in the Lab making some black magic! But lets do a little catch up.
One of my recent trips was to beautiful Medellin Colombia to Launch the Gold KidDragon figure we made for Gallery bestiaextrana.
They picked Ol Johnny Trash up from a long 34 hour flight, and we drove down the windy roads to the city.
were we ate and went to check in.

had a nice salad, a colombian cheese and spinoche canalloni, flan and a Medellin barley pop!

Then i checked in to the telly, I love hotels, good and bad. Just love hotels.
Now this one SHIIEEETT! was nicer then any house ive lived in, had my own kitchen bedroom and 2 bath.
Not trying to brag all im saying is they took care of your boy!!

Got to the event that night, kids were deffinently too cool for any school ive attended. Early in the night all the youngins were out very cool and very excited!

hit a nice veggie tofu thai jammy jam

then it was time for a plethora of custom Shit Yor Pants colombiuan shots. If u dont know what plethora means see 3amigos

Then all the heads got together and we hit this old car.

these dudes make these little cardboard figures !

Woke up with my friend Harry Hangover! had a Traditional breakfast of Cheese and a colombain Papusa, watched an amazing movie.

Christmas is more important out here then it is for Macys in the US. found this crazy display

Like i said before everyone in Colombia as breast implants, even the mannequins!

found one of the homies painting this dope bird on the street.

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off to the Celebration of Lights! To Be Contd…..

New Print with Retna – "The Conductor"

I have a collaborative print with Retna that’s just been released this week, The Conductor. Printed by master printer Karen Fiorito who also did the outstanding work on my “Song of Songs” print.
This is a detail from the large mural that Retna and I painted last year in Miami during Art Basel/Primary Flight on the side of the Margulies collection building.
It’s a four color serigraph with one gold metallic, one silver metallic, one white and one black printed on grey, 22×30″ Stonehenge archival paper.
Edition of 50, signed and numbered.
$250 unframed/ $500 framed
More photos and order info @

Please email Deborah & Mike at: with any additional questions.

Posted By El Mac

Margulies mural in Miami

Here are some shots of the mural Retna and I just finished for the Margulies collection in Miami during Art Basel as part of Primary Flight. This is now our 4th mural the Wynwood district. As usual, I painted the figure, Retna painted the text. Based on a photo I took in SF a few months back. We basically spent the entire time in Miami battling the weather and working on this thing, but we did get to see a lot of really impressive mural art. Special thanks to Books, Lynn+Chris, Hoekz, Slow, the MSG’s, 33Third, Beats by Dre, and everyone else that made this possible in one way or another…

Posted By El Mac