NIGHTLY NOODLE MONTHLY
TURNS 10 THIS YEAR!
Flax Art Studios kicked off Aug 29 with the 10-year anniversary of the Nightly Noodle Monthly. More than 100 people came out to sip hobo vodka shots and immerse themselves in the projected landscape of Cabezon Peak, New Mexico, streaming across from another wall of large Noodle covers and content.
To the side, the artist Eva Avenue sat at a table covered with large-format, full-color original Noodle zines, featuring hyperlocal experiences around the world. Coffee Anthropologist Chris LeClere manned the bar outside and gave out free copies of the new Belfast Noodle and select Hobo Vodka issues. Click on the cover image below to read the latest Belfast Noodle.
The last two visitors for the night enjoy a moment to themselves listening to the entire audio chapter of Lollapalooza while watching drone footage of NM.
I was excited cause they’re from Iran and I hope to one day visit their capital of Tehran.
A slide of recognition to all these wonderful people who spent their hard-earned cash to support an art show.
Hand-painted Hobo Vodka bottles.
Special shout-out to Cafe Cuan who bought this add because they believed in the Noodle and what it represents. They got a free color poster of the ad we ran.
CAFE CUAN 151-156 CROMAC STREET, BELFAST
Thank you for viewing “London Through My Red Sunglasses: A Photo Essay”
P.S. I’m doing a GoFundMe for the Nightly Noodle Monthly book & art show. Everyone who donates anything gets a digital copy of the book and a special thanks in the book and on the art show wall.
Can I tell Yale, "Sometimes shit’s just cool?"
I was riffing with Chris - a visual and cultural anthropologist - on explaining to the Yale School of Art why my work is culturally relevant. I’ve done so many things, how to I boil it down to one message? I’m not a lobbyist for a certain group, though I do stoke fantasies of changing police culture, undoing everyone’s violent tendencies, championing women to power and scrubbing people from their racism. I mean, my recent portraits of men applying lipstick are oddly feminist AND uplifting for men allowing each other and themselves to be who they are. But I also do things cause I like to “make special” or it’s autobiographical and I’m trying to work through something, or I’m just feeling all poetic about whatever. I don’t want to pigeonhole myself to one track, but it wouldn’t hurt to write down all the bodies of work I’ve ever done and then discover the threads and similarities that way. The discussion was fun so I took a second to hit record on my phone.
Eva: It’d be funny to put on my essay about being culturally relevant that, yes, I’m down with being cultural and I’m down with being relevant. But what’s the opposite of culture?
Chris: You first have to define culture, and culture itself is kind of muddy and undefined. It’s this malleable concept and, in order to say the antithesis of something, you first have to say what that something is, and since there’s really no agreed upon definition for what constitutes culture, starting with this ephemeral concept from which you’re now trying to base the antithesis on.. .you have to have a definitive parameter on which to base the opposition on. So if I were to say, the opposite of light is dark. Yeah, but light and dark have very definitive moments. Dusk and dawn. But culture is this kind of undefined -
Eva: And no one wants to hear that it’s relevant ’cause it’s decorative. No one wants to hear I use pretty colors to bring joy.
Chris: No, nobody cares about sparking joy.
Eva: They want to know I’m attacking problems.
Eva: They want to know that I’m inspiring fresh perspectives.
Chris: You’re furthering the conversation. Adding to the dialogue. You are setting forth new ideas, you’re adding to a body of knowledge. You are transitioning the gaze. You’re illuminating -
Eva: - communities.
Chris: But to say you’re the antithesis of culture, well, what’s culture?
Eva: Well, that was a joke.
Chris: Yeah, I’m just saying. You know, that’s one of the problems with academia is that sometimes shit’s just cool.
Eva: Thank you, exactly! But you have to quantify it. They’ll be like,” What is this ‘shit?’ And how is it ‘cool?’”
Chris: Right, and that’s the thing, right? We need to have more than just “wow this is really pretty.” We need to have, for some reason, this decision that is has to be relevant, deep, thoughtful, evocative, knowable, blah blah blah, and sometimes we lose the sense of wonder because we’re so busy chasing the resonance.
Eva: So I’ll be like allow me to disassemble the wonder and resonance of my work and lay it flat in its bare bones before your feet.
Chris: That’s actually a reason why I’ve never studied music seriously. It’s because I just like listening to classical music. I enjoy it. If I know too much about it, I feel like it’s going to take away from the sheer enjoyment of listening to a beautiful piece as opposed to the theory and the ideology and all of this other stuff behind it.
Eva: Have you and I ever watched the Ted talk called Classical Music With Shining Eyes with Benjamin Zander?
Chris: No... Oh boy...
Eva: That makes me think of that talk. I think you’d enjoy that.
Chris: I’ve romanticized learning an instrument, but I never get too deep into it, cause A) time and energy. I could educate myself on music theory if I wanted, and I enjoy the stories behind the compositions, and I enjoy the stories behind the composers and their biographies. That adds to me. But I don’t need to know music theory ’cause I think then I won’t just enjoy it.
Eva: You’ll be sitting there analyzing it instead of allowing yourself to be swept away?
Chris: Just enjoying what it is for what it is.
Eva: Sometimes shit’s just cool.
Did you attend Yale’s painting program for grad school? Would love to chat about your experience! Reach out through Instagram or email me at email@example.com.
The Lucky $12 Horse Painting
Art has so many functions, so I’ve decided to write a collection of stories on my blog remembering all the times art saved me, served me or undid me.
I’m a survivor. When I’m stuck, there’s always been a way out. Here’s a story about how drawing a girl’s dead horse got me back home.
I used to have no money, but did I let that stop me from traveling to NYC all the time? Hell no.
This particular time in 2005, I’d used student loans to fly myself and my best friend Stacey out see Tim Hawkinson’s retrospective at the Whitney Museum. We stayed with a family in Queens I knew from Quaker meeting.
So one morning, a few art supplies in tow, we walked across the Queensborough Bridge to seize the day. I don’t remember if we really had no metro money at all or had left our wallets at the apartment, but at the end of the day we were sitting in a Starbucks waiting out a torrential rainstorm; each raindrop was a bucket of water - it was insane. Our only way back was to walk across the Queensborough Bridge. We sat there for two hours, and in a few minutes it’d be midnight, and then it would be 12:30 when the coffeeshop closed, and we’d definitely be walking home in soaked shoes and clothes for at least two hours.
I was drawing with pen and filling in white space with watercolor at a counter against a window. Stacey to my right. Empty chair to my left. A young woman comes in from the rain. She sits down. I’m friendly, etc. “Can you paint horses?” she asks, pulling out a picture of her old horse from her wallet. “Yes, I used to draw horses ALL THE TIME!” I say. “And I live in New Mexico. But we have no money to get back to Queens, and I really don’t want to walk for hours in the storm. I’ll take any amount you have, and if you trust me, I’ll make the painting back in Albuquerque and mail it to you. I’ll send you back your photo too, of course.”
She had $12.
I took it. Stacey and I made it home that night on the subway. The rain never let up until the next day.
It took me a few months to mail the painting to her. Didn’t have her phone number, just her address. In the package I provided my email and phone number, asking her to reach out when the horse painting arrives. Never heard from her. I’ll never know if she got it. But she was my $12 rain angel that night.
And that’s the power of art.
I don’t have any $12 horse paintings anymore, but if you want to commission or ask about what I have available, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
As our Hobo Vodka: Americana On The Rocks publishing project comes to a close this month, I talked with Marcella Ortega about what it’s like to lay bare a chapter of her life story each month for the past year. Keep reading!
How do feel about this publishing project coming to an end?
Relieved and anxious. I’m a neurotic and nervous person so I tend to let things consume me at times. I’ve had a love-hate dynamic with this writing process which is not necessarily a bad thing. That’s just how writing is, for me at least. When I have a project, it’ll sit in my gut for days, weeks, months, and making me nervous until I sit down and confront it, which of course ends up being a huge relief.
I went through that every month during this project and so in some ways I’m relieved to have it finished but I’m also anxious in terms of not having an anchor anymore, the thing that consumed me.
Do you feel like your reasons for writing this book evolved over the course of the year?
I think in some ways it did. When I started this project I was in a transitional place in my life. I was going through a divorce, a career change, a close family member was dying and that was like the first real and largely significant loss in my life. They were two solid years of hell for me because everything about life as I knew it was changing and there was nothing I could do about it. I was living once again in my hometown and spending time with people I hadn’t seen since I was in high school and everything just started to feel surreal. So I wrote down ten chapters and just started writing one day because I felt like at the end of the day that was the one thing nobody could take away from me. Nobody could take away the fact that I could write and at that point I needed to write for my sanity.
But now, I’m just enjoying creating a New Mexican story that’s not exclusively focused on the fact that I’m a New Mexican. I mean, I thought about writing some chapters about the town history in general, but I wasn’t sure how to do that without feeling like I was serving and digesting it for a white western audience which makes me cringe.
In what way would you like to see this project grow or continue?
When I first started the project, I imagined it’d work great as an indie film. Like I thought ideally, if the book grew a following it could potentially be turned into a screenplay. About a month before we wrapped this up, Eva, the Noodle Publisher, came to me with a serious plan about turning this into an indie film. And instead of being super excited and grateful that she came up with a strategy, I totally freaked out and went into a nervous shock and paralysis. It took me a while to process what was really freaking me out about it and I soon realized part of it was privacy. Like the stories I write are not flattering for myself or the distinct characters in it, many of whom I really care about and still talk to.
But the more I’ve thought about it, I’ve realized my greatest fear is for this project to turn into something that gets tokenized or displays New Mexicans in a patronizing light just because we’re New Mexicans. Which like, obviously the Noodle’s not gonna make a cliche screenplay or anything. I’m just not sure about how involved funding sources can become. Right now, New Mexicans have zero representation in mass media. I would hate to end up being a part of something that fetishizes or patronizes us in order to appeal to a white audience. I see Mexicans portrayed in patronizing ways constantly in media. In so many movies and shows, just their culture and who they are is portrayed as the punchline.
Like how many times, in film, have you seen a white man pouring his heart out or venting and then they show a Mexican, or a person of color, as the person he’s venting to and suddenly the scene is hilarious. There’s this implication in mass media that latinos are an inherently simple and ignorant people. Independent films and highly stylized films aren’t exempt from this. Just look at how Wes Anderson portrays some people of color. It’s unfortunate. That’s just not something I would handle well. But so far, it looks like the Noodle’s engaging with some awesome looking funding sources which is exciting because I wouldn’t have to freak out over them forcing us to make it highly digestible for a western audience.
Do you feel you’ve grown as a writer the past year?
Yes, in terms of pushing myself to do something that terrifies me. I never thought I’d write about my life. But of course, in terms of form and style, I could kill a darling or two or ten.
What would you have done differently?
I would have put more thought into the names of the characters. Some of the characters hate their Hobo Vodka names. Then again, I’m not a mind reader. When it comes to marketing or sales, I would have come up with a better distribution plan.
What would you like to say to your readers as we near the final chapter?
Thank you for reading and supporting this project. I know it’s fucking weird but I hope you liked it.
How’s your couture lingerie business coming along?
Oh my god. So when I’m not writing Hobo Vodka, I’m stressing about sewing projects. I’ve been practicing a lot this last year. I made Eva’s wedding dress, as well as the suit I wore to her wedding. I have the sweetest boyfriend in the world who supports my existence, like a 1950s business man, and when I moved to Arkansas last year, he bought me a sewing machine because I wanted to make lingerie and sell it. Now that Hobo Vodka is over, I’ll have time to start assembling a collection.
I’ve found that underwires and hooks aren’t the easiest thing to come by. (I mean, if you want them to be pretty and functional. I’m not doing this to make ugly bras that don’t work.) I learned to sew from my grandmother who is a perfectionist but in such an effortless way. She can make anything perfect out of nothing. Not me. I have to endure agony and anxiety, change direction twelve times before I get it perfect but I need things to be perfect otherwise I’m miserable and I’ll throw it away.
I like to think I get that from my great-grandmother Refugito, who taught my grandmother to sew. In the 1930s, she’d sell a goat so that she could afford to buy a small piece of velvet or fur to dress her jackets with. They were so poor, they lived in a two room house next to an orchard, which looks like the garden of eden. She wanted everything to be nice. She’d take old clothes apart by the seams and reconstruct them perfectly with the material inside out so they’d look new again. I love stories about the things she’d make cause she sounds so anxious and stubborn. I actually own one of the shirts she made for herself. I have no idea how she made the collar which is almost like a spring lace. It’s so incredible and intricate.
So anyway, I’m thinking of starting out simple with some bodysuits, rompers, and slips and kind of see where that takes me.
I put this video together for a group of artists looking to do some mail art, as a way to be some guiding background noise at their mail art workstation. Get out your scissors, tape, magazines and enjoy!
The Most Beautiful Bar In Belfast
When you walk into House Belfast - a multi-use hotel and bar space - you’re met with at least a few people if not a whole crowd and a big blushing cherry blossom tree shooting out from the bar. Even if you don’t like crowds, you won’t mind because you’re standing under a big pink tree at the bar. If this bar didn’t not have a big pink tree coming out the middle, not so many people would come in, and they would walk by the building, ignoring the few people sitting at the normal whatever bar with no big pink tree. Did I mention there’s a huge glorious magic tree??? It’s man-made, as are the birds clipped to the branches. But it looks very real, and thats real enough for anyone.
I come in with my husband and we stand behind a seated couple at the bar. We squeezed our way through to get there, no room to sit. The seated fat man at the bar keeps looking at me. Staring. When he isn’t staring at me, he’s rebuilding momentum to stare again in front of his angrily resigned girlfriend. Whenever I talk to my husband, the man’s face follows mine to watch us talk. He eventually stands up and gives me his chair. I take it. Why not? His girlfriend gets up to use the restroom, comes back and finds him talking to me after I’ve asked how long they had been there before being served, because the bartenders are not asking what I want. He says I have to be aggressive. I do know that, but some bartenders get annoyed and think you’re pushy cause they do see you and they’ll get to you but they’re busy with the 50 other thirsty people who came before you. The woman wants to leave. They leave. He comes back to remind me to be aggressive at putting in my drink order and then leaves again. I’m so thrilled to be in a great relationship where there’s no resigned disgust and reserved hopelessness amidst flagrant disrespect and tense non-communication.
Once seated, a funny, lively woman my age slips in beside my husband and asks if he wants her to take our picture together. He said no, that my boyfriend would get jealous if he saw the pictures. He’s joking, I don’t have another partner, but the woman loved it and high-fived me and said that’s the way it should be. My husband and I are very clear about not cheating, so it’s fun to joke about it with strangers together. We told her we met on Instagram and she loudly cannot believe it and tells her friends. I am still conditioning my ears to catch every word in the Belfast English accent. Sometimes I smile and nod like they’re not speaking English. She was from an hour away and never makes it to this bar but it was her friend’s 40th birthday. We leave to eat a couple hours later and Chris gives her his card to follow him on Instagram at @coffeeanthropology. He’s a coffee anthropologist. People love to hear this because it sounds funny and they can’t image what he’s doing with his day as a coffee anthropologist, sitting around in coffeeshops doing “research??” Anyway. Aren’t these cherry blossom tree bar pics so stunning?
I order two gin and tonics. The first with Bombay Sapphire. The second with Irish Gunpowder Gin.
Chris orders a Jameson Cold Brew neat with a glass of ice on the side. The drink is a prototype and House Belfast is one of ten bars in Ireland carrying it. It’s so prototype, Jameson isn’t even sure if they’re actually going to launch it yet. Of course, being a coffee anthropologist, Chris has to taste it and photograph the drink 1,000 times for 5 minutes.
59-63 Botanic Ave
Belfast BT7 1JL
The Dandy Warhols
A MANCHESTER SHOW REVIEW OF THEIR 25TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR
I made this poster from my sketchbook (then took a photo of my sketchbooks page to modify in Photoshop) at the Lisbon airport Wednesday because we didn’t know if we would make the flight to Manchester from Lisbon due to snow. You know we made it cause the Friday show just ended and my legs are sore.
French pop band Juniore from Paris opened the set with sexy spooky synth drone dance shake and cute trance vocals. Their set was less than an hour but I would’ve watched them all night. I got the sense this experience of opening for the dandies on tour was a very amazing turn of events for the Juniore. A fun aside, the lead singer’s dad won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2008.
It wasn’t long before The Dandy Warhols came on at 9pm and stayed on till nearly 11. There is a strict curfew at Albert Hall in Manchester that shows must not go past 11, which doesn’t just mean the sound ends, but they forcefully sweep you out of the place and close up the merch table. I’ve always been able to go to the merch table after a show, cause that’s when you’re excited to go, so I didn’t get anything from Juniore or the Dandy’s new swag. As for the music, you know how it works. They played instruments, it was amazing, we all sang along, I don’t get music writing - I mean, go to the show or don’t, it’s a social experience, I don’t know what to tell you; they played new songs and old hits such as Godless, Boys Better, Plan A, Last High, We Used To Be Friends, Bohemian Like You…
The Dandy Warhols. Photos by Chris LeClere.
They ended the show without an encore, while Zia stayed pulsating a waaaaahhhh/womp sound on her synth and announcing she’d be playing an after party set as DJ Rescue at Night People.
The floor was emptied pretty fast by security. I waited outside for a picture with lead singer Courtney Taylor-Taylor but I hate the photo, I look so insane, so I’ll show you what I wore instead.
So close to finding the perfect answer to my artisan’s dream prayer.
Can’t I have a normal flight without all these
horrifying displays relentlessly unfolding before
my eyes the entire trip?
Slobbery slobbering grossness so foul and sad.
I look around for alternative seating. Nothing.
I order a gin&tonic
and pull out my sketchbook.