Chilled Artichoke and Asparagus Pasta Salad with Lemon and Red Wine Viniagrette

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

One of my favorite things about summer coming up is the food.  Actually my favorite thing about any season is the food.  But in the summer, there are so many light flavors and grilled veggies that I really love. Eating outside on a warm night under string lights with a fire pit...that really sounds like the perfect night.

My first recipe that I'm going to share for the summer is something that's super easy, and as usual, totally vegan and plant based.  Summer is the easiest season for vegan food.  Most of the bbq stuff you eat is already vegan, maybe just needs a few minor adjustments! Veggies and fruit on the grill are great and super easy, and of course...pasta salad.

This recipe for chilled artichoke and asparagus pasta salad is DELICIOUS and honestly couldn't be easier to make.  And it's paired with a vinaigrette made with red wine vinegar and lemon juice that ties it all together.

Pasta- your choice, I prefer Casarecce for this dish
1 bunch asparagus
2 jars marinated artichoke hearts
1 table spoon capers
a bunch of olive oil
red wine vinegar
2 lemons
1 cup pine nuts (more or less, depending on taste)
2 garlic cloves

Begin boiling pasta and while that's bubbling thinly coat the bottom of a large pan with olive oil (THINLY).  Dice the garlic and toss in the heated oil.  Chop the asparagus into bite sized pieces and toss into the pan, before the garlic gets brown.  Let this simmer for a bit then squeeze the juice of one lemon into the pan.  Slightly drain the artichoke hearts and roughly chop them, then add them to the pan.  Add the capers and simmer with salt and pepper to taste.

In a separate bowl, mix in a few table spoons of olive oil and the same amount of red wine vinegar. I don't really measure this part out, just eyeball it.  Add in salt and pepper and whisk.  I also have this great black truffle salt that is really a great addition to this if you like. Don't be afraid to experiment!

Drain the past and put in a bowl.  When the veggie mix is done, toss in with the pasta and stir in the vinaigrette and top with pine nuts.  I also toss in the lemons that have been juiced for some added flavor and garnish.  I also top with parsley because I like a pretty picture.

I love this with grilled Field Roast "sausages" or veggie burgers (we had this with Beyond Burger patties and they were AMAZING).  Is also perfect on its own for lunch.

Also these flowers are too gorgeous and I'm just incredibly, embarrassingly excited for Summer.

Master's Thesis and the "Smart Girl" Cliche

Thursday, May 25, 2017
I went to SFSU right after I graduated high school.  I was never cool in school at all. I had barely any friends, I dressed weird, listened to loud and "scary" music, I liked to read (I can remember distinctly sitting alone at lunch while reading Paradise Lost) and was just generally  on the fringes of high school society.

Towards the end of my junior year, I got really into having a specific "look."  I was inspired by Dita Von Teese and dyed my platinum hair jet black, shopped for vintage clothes on Ebay, and wore red lipstick to class.  This evolved into being kind of goth and whatever that look was called in the early 2000s when you thought red eyeshadow was a good idea and your male friends suddenly started borrowing your eyeliner.  I was into my appearance because I had always been a really visual and creative person. I liked creating something with my identity.

My roommate in the dorms in San Francisco was into the same music as me, but had a completely different look which I never cared about.  She looked like a hippy, but her favorite band was AFI.  I ended up hanging out with her a lot and making friends with her friends from her hometown.  It was always kind of a joke that my hair had to be perfect and I fixed my eyeliner in the bathroom when we went places.  It was funny, for a while.

Once her "boys" came to visit her.  These were just a bunch of guys she went to high school with that she was friends with, but honestly they were all kind of douche bags.  The first thing they did was make fun of a girl who had purple hair in the hallway.  Then after plopping down in my tiny dorm room and making themselves completely at home, started asking me questions about my makeup while I was trying to mind my own business on AIM or Friendster or whatever the hell I did then on the internet.  After a few rounds of seemingly harmless banter, one of them asks "So when you go to sleep, does your face just come off on your pillow?" and everyone proceeded to laugh hysterically like it was the first joke ever told in the world.  I wore makeup, but let's be clear-I didn't pack it on.

The next year we moved into an apartment.  It was me, my roommate from the dorms, and two of her friends.  It was great!! It was my first apartment and I felt so cool.  I had a boyfriend at the time, and we spent a lot of time together.  So much in fact, that I was rarely at home.  I noticed that they recorded an answering machine message (yeah, this was a while ago) and left me out of it.  They left notes on my door instead of knocking and talking to me.  I left a hair dye box in the bathroom, and came home to a post-it on my door detailing costs for cleaning supplies and "labor" that I owed. Yup, my roommate had charged me "labor" to clean the bathroom that we shared. We had only lived there a month.  About 6 months into us living there, I decided that it was time for me to move on and move in with my boyfriend.  They all said they kind of saw it coming, and I could tell they were excited to be rid of me.  All of the utilities were in my name and I had to switch them over.  Something like the phone company or whatever didn't allow that, so I had to cancel the account, and they would reopen it.  Cool, no big deal.  Only I guess they thought I was responsible for the new deposit all on my own, because apparently they didn't realize that we would get the old deposit back and that would even everything out.  This was obviously the worst thing I could ever do to them (or so they thought) and decided to wage war.

I woke up the morning after I moved and saw a lengthy LiveJournal post (this was the end all be all in 2004, you'll remember) that explained how dumb I was.  Not just that I was stupid, but that I cared too much about makeup and that meant that I wasn't smart.  I was shallow, and insecure, and probably couldn't even read a whole book and that's why they hated me overnight.  They disowned their friends who had become friends with me, because I was that disgusting to them.  I was by far the dumbest person alive, because I wore eyeliner and styled my hair.  This was their logic, and I honestly have never forgotten it.

I dropped out of school shortly after that.

But today I found out I got an A on my Master's Thesis.  I'm putting together packets for applications to PhD programs.  I've curated a show for a major artist and I'm almost a certified expert in my field.  And guess what? I still wear eyeliner and dye my hair.  I don't mean to be braggadocios but one of the adjectives most used when describing me is "smart" and I'm well-known for being an academic and an avid book lover (yes, college roommates, I can read a whole book!).  Where did the stereotype come from that you can't be smart and care about your appearance?  Why can't I perfect a liquid eyeliner wing AND distinguish between Modern Art movements?  Why can't I have a large vocabulary AND be obsessed with finding the perfect matte red lipstick?  Why did these girls, who had once been so fond of me, suddenly think I'm a moron and shallow as a frisbee because I didn't want to pay their phone bill deposit? Maybe I've had a chip on my shoulder about it ever since, because it's something that has always hurt when I think about it.

I don't know what those girls are doing now, but I hope they're happy, and I sincerely mean that.  But part of me still hopes they catch a glimpse of me giving a lecture someday, with my perfect red lips and not a blonde root in sight. And that they will have to call me Doctor while they marvel at my winged liner.

Gallery Etiquette and Other Harsh Truths

Saturday, May 20, 2017
From all my years of working in a gallery setting (and just working with people in general) it's become evident that not all people know what to do in every situation (shocking, I know).  Some people have no idea how to behave in a gallery setting, and that's ok!! I'm here to help you.

1. If the gallery serves food or drinks, don't leave your plates/napkins/cups/beer bottles/wine glasses laying around the gallery.  
Though it is our job to clean up at the end of the night, we really worry about the artwork and if something gets spilled on it's kind of a problem.  I've actually seen people put their plates and cups down ON artwork. Not cool, man.

2. Please don't try and pitch your work to us at an opening. 
This is probably a whole other post in itself, but please don't pitch your work to a gallerist at an opening.  Most galleries don't accept unsolicited submission in the first place, so please don't bring a portfolio with you.

3. Don't "geek out" too hard. 
Ok, we know it's your favorite-artist-since-forever's opening and you're so excited, but please try to keep your fanboy/girling
to a minimum.  Artists can sometimes be introverted and screaming at the top of your lungs when you finally see them can scare them (and the rest of us too).  Be respectful.  It's ok to ask for a photo, but try not to monopolize their time or ask them a bajillion questions.  Think of it like this-they're at work tonight.

4. Keep your alcohol consumption under control. 
We've all seen it.  There are those people who run the gallery circuit on opening nights and wait for the drink to be put out, or keep coming back for refills on the Pinot Noir.  There are often times fragile and exceptionally expensive artworks at these openings, and you don't want to be stumbling about and knock something over, or spill your Malbec on a valuable drawing. Have a couple glasses, and chill.

5. Pets. Leave them at home. 
Unless you are on familiar terms with the gallery or gallerist, leave your pets at home. I've had clients bring their dogs to openings, but I know them and they know our gallery. When in doubt, leave the pooches (or other critters) at home.

6. You are not an art critic. 
And if you are, you'd know not to vocalize your opinions at the opening. It's incredibly rude to give a negative opinion about the curation, the space, the work, the food, or anything really at an opening. If you really are an art critic or reviewer, you know to keep that for print. I've actually heard patrons exclaim "I don't like this" at an opening.  Incredibly rude.

7. No one cares about your art.  
Again, it's not the time or place to try and push your art.  No one cares if you're an artist, or what kind of art you make.  This is not your show. However, it is ok to introduce yourself to the gallerist, but keep it short and sweet. "Hi, my name is blah blah blah, I love your space. The show is great. I'm an artist as well." If they keep the conversation open and ask you about your work, answer, but don't offer to send them samples of your work unless they ask and don't draw the conversation out too long.  If they're interested, they'll ask.

8. It's not Art History 101 and you're not the professor.  
Please don't pretend to know everything about every art movement in the world and how this particular work relates to any one of them.  Most of the people in the room probably know already. That's the kind of crowd these things draw...
Things that ARE ok to do:
  1. Take a checklist. That's what they're there for!
  2. Ask questions about the artist. Or if the artist is there, ask them questions about their work (but don't monopolize their time).
  3. Sign the guestbook.  You don't have to leave your email if you don't want to, but we want to hear from you.
  4. Dress up a little.  Not necessarily your Sunday best, but put on the good jewelry if you want.
  5. Stay for the whole thing.  Just don't stay beyond closing...
  6. Inquire about pricing.  If you're interested in buying, by all means ask about prices.  Gallerists are more than happy to show you around and talk to you about collecting if you're interested.  Some people are shy about asking for prices, and every gallery is different, but if you want to buy we want you to.  Some galleries will offer to send you information via email, so bring business cards (it's often easier to pass a business card to the receptionist or assistant than to write down your email and name and contact info).
  7. Have fun.  While the art world has a reputation of being stuffy, we're all here to have fun and look at some great art.  Your presence supports the artist, and your enjoyment will probably make you want to talk about it which will make others want to come too.  Word of mouth is big.  

This Semester and Doorway to Joe-The Art of Joe Coleman

Thursday, May 18, 2017
This has been without a doubt the most challenging semester of my life. And I've been in school for a while... Tomorrow after I take my last final, it will all be safely behind me. Only one more semester before I'm done with my degree, and unless I decide to continue on with my academic career and pursue a PhD, it will be the last semester of school period. I have definitely learned things in school that extend FAR beyond the classroom.

I had the pleasure of co-curating an exhibition for my program.  The exhibition was Doorway to Joe: The Art of Joe Coleman.  It had engulfed the better part of a year of my life and it was a definite learning experience.  The capstone of my degree, it was the first full exhibition I had curated myself.  I'm glad I got to be a part of it, and I learned so much about my career and myself while working on this exhibition.

Next up I will be curating a show about the modern Black Metal aesthetic, called "PITCH."

I'm excited, apprehensive, nervous, and ready for what comes next.  I will be working so hard on advancing my career in the next few months.  I'm not quite sure how to live without being a student, but I guess, like everything, I'll learn.

Photos of "Doorway to Joe-The Art of Joe Coleman" (All photos by Eric Stoner)