Sunday, July 31, 2011

Never Cry Wolf

Yesterday I had reason to ask Lucas if he remembered the story about the boy who cried wolf. After an enthusiastic request for me to tell the story once more, he proved that he knows it by heart by reciting the whole thing for me. So he knows the story. But has he learned the lesson?

We had our 'cry wolf' moment yesterday because Lucas had a Capoeira event at his school. It is one of two events that he will attend this year, and I remembered that the event was happening at 1:30 in the afternoon. Lucas informed me on Thursday, and again on Friday, that he was supposed to be there at 10:00 in the morning.

I didn't believe him.

Lucas has gotten in the habit of 'making up stories' as I like to say, usually in order to get or do something he wants. This is why he is so familiar with the story of the boy who cried wolf. One of the ways that I have tried to convince him not to make stuff up is by telling him that we will just stop believing anything he says. Since he had been so extremely enthusiastic about the Capoeira event, we figured he just wanted to get there super early and start enjoying it hours before it was to actually start.

I am not a morning person. Never have been. 'Morning' is mostly just an abstract concept for me, as I am usually up until the wee hours working on the computer and I am almost never out of bed before 10. I hope this will change sometime soon, but for now, that's how it is and how it has been for years. So I was fast asleep at 9:30 when Lucas showed up with the paper listing the starting time of the event, which was, you guessed it- 10 o'clock. We didn't make it to the event quite on time, but we did get there before his class did their part, thank goodness. I would have felt terrible if I'd shown up there at 1:30 and it was long over.

I sure hope my 'I told you so' moment has some impact, but maybe missing the thing completely would have served that purpose more effectively.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Big Wall

I wasn't going to write about this until it was finished, but it's taking forever... that, and my friend Jon took some great pictures of me working on it yesterday.

This is by far my most ambitious wall, and therefore my most ambitious painting, and probably my most ambitious artwork, ever. It wasn't supposed to be as involved as it has become, that's why I'm painting the background now, instead of at first, like any sane person would do. I had tagged this wall for later painting several times, and the stoopid political/propaganda sign painters kept painting over it. So I decided to paint over them (vertically). I may also paint over them (coat-of-paintwise) if the ambition continues to creep.

Note the police traffic stop (blitz) in the background. They were completely disinterested in me, which is why Salvador is a graffiteiro's paradise. At least for this kind of work.

The painting is taking forever because I'm only working on it on the weekends, and only if:

a. I don't have any other work that needs to get done
b. It's not raining
c. I'm not with Lucas

Plus it is clearly not a one-session wall. More like a ten session wall at this point. But I've enjoyed the chance to reflect upon what I've been working on, and the composition has built over time. I take pictures, print them out, draw on the printouts, and go back to the wall. I realized the thing was not going to jump off the background if I didn't just paint the dern thing, which is what I am doing now. I'll do the top part my next session- only problem, my ladder doesn't reach that high! But I have a solution in mind.

The location is really fantastic - poking up in the middle of the above photo are the Elevador Lacerda and the Basílica de Nossa Senhora da Conceição da Praia, two of the most famous landmarks in Salvador. Unfortunately, it's pretty run down, and there are some nasty streets nearby - lots of crackheads, glue-sniffers, prostitutes, and alcoholics in the neighborhood. On the weekends they are often the only folks around. Generally they are enthusiastic about my work, which is nice. The best thing about street art is that it's for everybody.

Generally when I'm done I like to pick up some garbage in the area, do my civic duty to clean up some. Didn't happen yesterday, because as it was getting dark a very sketchy dude, either a crackhead or mentally ill, perhaps both but certainly homeless and not in a good way, started pacing around my car- looking at me and mumbling and causing every mental alarm I have to go off loudly. I got off the ladder and picked up a stout stick I was using as an extension for my paint roller, and kept it near me as I packed up the rest of my stuff and split. It was unfortunate, because I wanted to spend another 15/20 minutes getting the wall to a place that I'm happier to leave it at for the next week or two, and that didn't happen.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Tonight Lucas asked me to fix up an old berimbau for him, and since I had all the various pieces lying around the house I obliged him. For those of you who don't know, a berimbau is a one-stringed instrument of African origin that is played in Capoeira rodas around the world.

As I was working on it, Lucas started singing one of the songs his capoeira group sings at school. Since he trains a different style than I used to, I often don't recognize the songs. This one was a new one. It was about different characters from Brazilian folklore doing different capoeira moves. One line in particular caught my ear:

A mula sem cabeça deu a cabeçada...

I thought that was pretty funny. Those of you who speak Portuguese will probably get the joke. For those of you who don't, let me explain.

A mula sem cabeça is literally a 'headless mule.' In Brazilian folklore, these monsters happen when a woman does something naughty with a priest, and then is cursed, transforming into a mule spouting flames from its neck, where its head is supposed to be.

In Portuguese, you can create a word for getting hit by something just by adding the suffix 'ada' to it. For instance, if I elbow you I'm giving you a cotovelada (since cotovelo is elbow) and if I whack you with my flip-flop I'm giving you a chinelada (because a flip-flop is a chinelo). In the popular comic strip Monica she is known to give her friends/rivals coelhadas, which are whacks with her stuffed blue bunny (coelho).

So what is a cabeçada? It's a head butt. Cabeça (head) + ada.


A mula sem cabeça

by definition

cannot give

a cabeçada

because it doesn't




I told Lucas I'd ask his capoeira teacher about this silly song - it's also possible Lucas misremembered the words.

Then I asked him what Saci Pererê did. Lucas told me a rasteria, which is a leg sweep. I thought that would be a pretty good trick, because Saci has only one leg. But I guess it's possible, particularly if you are a magical creature.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


Today would have been my Dad's 82nd birthday, except that he left us this past year.

I've been thinking about him a lot, and missing him - it has now been a full year since I last spoke with him. Lately I've been reading a book he recommended to me, 'Seven Days in the Art World,' enjoying it thoroughly, and thinking of him even more as a result.

Miss you Dad, wish I could pick up the phone and call you.