It’ll just be a quick trip into town to get a few things. Right. It’s never that easy. It was like letting a kid run free in a candy store. As soon as I saw civilization, I morphed into an ugly creature – an impulse buyer with a head full of ideas.
Instead of returning to my temporary utopic woodsy residence with what I had set out for – a ping-pong set – I imported the following:
* A Styrofoam airplane
* A Frisbee
* 2 bottles of shaving cream
* 2 snorkel sets
* 2 5lb bags of bleached flour
* A gigantic sharpie
* 8 pieces of poster board
* 12 pink balloons
* 2 12-packs of beer
* And of course my new ping-pong set which included: 4 paddles, 1 clip-on net, and 3 semi-professional balls.
My reasoning (in no particular order):
2 Snorkel Sets
I had a flash to dig a hole just big enough to fit me in it. Then I would climb into it and scoop the dirt back in, covering my entire body all the way to the very top of my head. I would breathe using a snorkel. Perfect.
However fun that sounds, my fellow artist friends talked me out of it by saying I’d suffocate myself in the process. I really don’t think that would happen, but with all of that dirt pressing against my chest cavity, I really may not be able to take a breath. Foiled.
Not yet. It looks as if I’ll have to cheat. I’ll just bury the snorkel so it gives an optical illusion that I’m really down below. And when the rest of the group sees me walking around, I’ll just have to convince them that I’m Marc’s stunt double.
Easier said than done. Stunt doubles rarely look identical, so pulling that one off may be a bit tricky. Maybe I’ll fashion myself a nice scar on my face to throw em off.
2 cans of shaving cream
While out and about, it occurred to me that I’ve never covered my whole head in shaving cream. What do you do once you have it on?
Do you go for a quick jog? Try to scare passers-by? Sit around and have bugs land in it? Have a high-powered fan blow it off?
Plane and Frisbee
The plane is target practice for the Frisbee. Throw the plane up and try to hit it with the Frisbee. Come on – it’s much more fun than it sounds.
2 5lb bags of bleached flour
See 4_27_05 post.
2 12-packs of beer
Gigantic Sharpie, poster board, and 12 pink balloons
I plan on venturing to the nearby town of Sky Londa and setting up a “Free Advice” service. The most likely spot is the famed Alice’s restaurant where everyone around here hangs out. Alice’s a damn good burger and the only wireless internet for probably 50 miles in all four directions.
In an effort to advertise my service, I’m going to make a few signs using the marker and poster board. I’ll attach them to sign posts and trees a few miles out in each direction. “Free Advice Ahead.” “Free Advice at Alice’s.”
The balloons are to draw attention to the signs. I’ve got it all worked out.
Once at the restaurant, I’ll place my “free advice” sign in a very visible location on my table and wait. With the internet super highway at my fingertips and a few cups of coffee, I’ll be delivering the best advice around.
I will also ask other for their free advice. You can’t look everything up on the internet.
The ping-pong set
And the ping-pong set is to forever change my life…
Already my backhand has dramatically improved and my serve is quick. With lightning fast reflexes and the agility of plastic man, I’ve quickly climbed the ranks and have become the (almost) undefeated champion around these parts.
After playing for eight hours in a row, I’m officially obsessed with the sport.
Now I’m considering towing a ping-pong table behind my RV for the rest of the Dinner Tour. I would station it in mall parking lots and challenge unsuspecting consumers who park near me. Could you imagine?
I think I’m ready for the $ 45 paddle.
p.s. All of these quiet isolating nights up here are making me nervous. Right now I’m having fears that a giant moth is going to come into my studio and take me away.
Below is the recently published Reuter’s article – in its entirety. This generated a great many calls as you can imagine. One of the stranger calls came this morning when a senior high school student asked me to be her prom date.
In just scrolling through a few messages I’ve received this afternoon: I’ve been invited to a pig roast in Colorado, a Native American feast on a Nevada reservation, a “real” Indian meal in Bangalore, India, a BBC morning breakfast show (in England), a dinner at the Google cafeteria, a casino meal with a dealer, a side-by-side dinner with an identical Sunrader RV rubber tramp, a dinner with the Manhattan Drunk Club, lunch/ dinner with a class of 4 graders who challenge me to a game of four-square, a quick dinner in Dumaguete City, Philippines, a meal of Jack In the Box Tacos in Dallas, a dinner in the Pentagon, a dinner with the library assistant of the American Institute of Baking, a dinner in a chicken coup, and a dinner at a Florida Penitentiary.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters: Sarah Tippit) – Attention citizens of the world: Would you like to have dinner with a total stranger?
If so please call Marc Horowitz at 1-510-872-7326. The 28-year-old conceptual artist from the San Francisco area not only wants to meet you, he wants you to become part of his newest art project.
Horowitz began his “National Dinner Tour” last year as a way to explore the idea of community among strangers. Since then he has driven a leaky 1984 Toyota RV from the organic chicken farms of southern California to the hallowed halls of Yale University, in search of food and conversation — which he documents on his Web site, www.ineedtostopsoon.com.
He’ll eat anything in the name of art from burned burritos to fine foie gras, although he told Reuters he is allergic to strawberries, and that burned onions and “Hawaiian chili” have recently caused him embarrassing gastric distress.
The project began when Horowitz, a former freelance photographer’s assistant for furniture chain Crate & Barrel, got bored while setting up a shoot for the fall 2004 catalog. A computer armoire with a dry erase board attached to its door just begged to be written on — to make it look as if somebody really used the thing.
In a fateful burst of creativity, Horowitz scribbled a note: “dinner w/marc” and he added his own phone number.
“I wanted to take people away from that commercial experience of looking at something that wasn’t real … and offer them an alternative,” he said.
Horowitz’s dinner invite slipped past company proofreaders and appeared near the back of the catalog which was distributed nationally. Then his phone began ringing.
“The calls started in the Midwest with a guy named Jake from Kansas and fanned east and west from there. It has been such a bizarre thing,” he said.
Two weeks later Horowitz said he had logged about 300 messages. Due to media exposure and word of mouth, the phone still rings and Horowitz has stopped counting the calls that have poured in from around the world. “The phone rings so much it’s ridiculous. For a while it was ringing four times a minute.”
When his mailbox jammed up, he added his e-mail address. He estimates the number of phone and e-mail messages from as far away as Japan and Australia so far to be more than 16,000.
The armoire still appears in the catalog, but the phone number has been etched out and no longer appears on the company’s Web site. A Crate & Barrel spokeswoman declined comment.
HIS CUP OF TEA
University-level art training emboldened Horowitz to embark on a series of conceptual art projects in San Francisco years ago. He has run errands for strangers and shared lunch with strangers at his favorite burrito stand. He also wheeled a coffee cart and a 1,300-foot-long (396-meter-long) extension cord from from his San Francisco apartment down a hill to a public park, where he served cups of coffee to strangers.
Although it happened by accident, the dinner project seemed a natural extension of his earlier artistic work.
Surprisingly so far, nobody has had any objections to meeting him for dinner. There have been no requests for references or criminal background checks. Although he never stipulated that people were required to feed him, all but one (Gino, an injured wrestler in Bangor, Maine, who is down on his luck) have offered to provide a meal.
“People do put an enormous amount of trust in me, a stranger, which is promising in this country I think,” he said.
There have been many interesting meals so far.
A group of Hispanic residents of San Juan Battista, California, not only prepared a homecooked Mexican feast, they put on a show for him afterwards.
He spent the night on an organic chicken farm in Los Lomos, California “The whole meal was organic. The salad was traded for at the farmer’s market that day. The whole thing was created with their own hands. It was just excellent. I felt so healthy.”
A motivational speaker in Santa Rosa, California, sent him on a ropes course 60 feet in the air before serving him a meal of linguine with scallops and shrimp. Horowitz said he was able to conquer his fear of heights.
The conversations have been eclectic. In a Michigan bar, a man of few words told Horowitz: “One man’s landscaping is another man’s crime scene. I paused and said, ‘Hey, that’s great’ … and then we had to go.”
In San Diego, Horowitz, temporarily joined in his travels by two male friends, was confronted by skinheads who accused the group of being gay and proceeded to beat them up.
Horowitz, who escaped harm, ended up spending the night in the hospital, making sure his friends would recover. Afterwards the two men returned home, leaving him to travel mostly alone.
Through phone, e-mail and his Web site, dinner invitations continue pouring in from thousands of people, including: nurses on late-night shifts, a retired clam digger, lonely old women, people recovering from grave illnesses, a minister who wants to introduce Horowitz to Jesus Christ, a group of women who call themselves “wenches,” and a woman who, after much soul searching decided to scoop dog excrement for a living.
“I asked her if it was making her any money and she said no, not really. To me, it seems like contemporary art in a way but who knows,” he said.
This is a wonderful way to pass some time and impress your co-workers and loved ones. First, take a look at the ceiling in your place of work. You’re in luck if it is one of those places with that soft asbestos-like ceiling, I think it’s called acoustic ceiling tile. You’ll find it in a lot of institutions like older offices, classrooms, libraries, social security buildings, waiting rooms, un-renovated department stores, etc.
Once you’ve established your ceiling is suitable, find yourself a dozen or so No.2 pencils and a sharpener (preferably electric – it’ll give you a razor-sharp tip). Sharpen them all. Take a few of them in your writing hand, reel back and forcefully underhand them, tips toward the ground, at the ceiling; as they are just about to leave your hand flick your wrist giving them a snappy turning motion. They will tumble on their way up, more if the ceiling is higher. Some of them will stick and others will fall, so watch your eyes, your belongings, and your co-workers.
For the more traditional approach, do one at a time – it is much more challenging and rewarding. Try to see how many you can get up there before a higher-up notices, scolds you, and makes you take them down. Use caution in earthquake prone areas as they may fall during a tremble and injure someone.
Although there were no earthquakes this afternoon, I was injured by a friend’s poor attempt at developing a new throwing technique. I was writing an e-mail as she practiced. I was a bit nervous with my back toward her, but she seemed like a good throw. It was her third attempt that really failed. Out of my periphery, I noticed one heading toward my computer monitor. Before she was able to warn me, I swiveled slightly in my chair and swatted it. It stuck right into my hand. For a split second it stood there imbedded in my flesh. Then it fell like a tree to my desk, leaving its graphite stump deep in my finger. I bled. I tried pushing it out and banging my finger against my desk to break up the black dot deep within. It wasn’t working, so I forgot about for a while. I told someone here about it and she said it must come out now or it’ll get really infected. She went right to work. With a match-sterilized needle, she began probing under my skin attempting to burrow a hole big enough to pick the pencil tip out with some tweezers. Twenty minutes passed as she drove the needle deeper and deeper, occasionally involving the tweezers. No luck. Here is a look at the pain I experienced.
The graphite is still in my hand.
Does anyone have a good technique for this kind of medical condition? Or should I leave it there as my first tattoo, letting the skin just grow right over, leaving it preserved there forever.
Day 11 and no cigarettes.
Quiting has made me feel a little edgy, but I think the tremendously bizarre dreams make up for it.
The night before last, I played football with Bill Cosby. In that same dream I took a boat ride with an eccentric old lady down a winding river only to find that some developers decided to build an elaborate housing complex over part of it so we had to turn around.
I’m really looking forward to tonight’s show; maybe Rodney Dangerfield will be there.
My friend Jon took a break from his San Francisco bee-keeping experiment to visit me in the hills for a show I was having in my RV. He ended up guzzling a dozen or so beers while I was preparing for the show. Inebriated as hell by midday, he felt the strong urge to put on his best cashmere sweater, take his pants off, and run through the tall grasses and thistles in his underwear.
Here he is taking a little breather.
It was kind of scary; I had no idea he wore bikini briefs.
Despite Jon’s fashion show, my RV show happened with much success. Seven artists of completely different backgrounds each to give separate performance inside the RV. It started with a bang when a traditional composer, HK, played an original score on a Casio tone-bank keyboard I found at the San Francisco dump. A few keys don’t work; she counted them as silences.
It swiftly moved to an improvisational dance routine performed by Meg. The music was none else but the heavy metal group Mastodon!
It was brought back down to earth with some poetry, prose, and…
yoga in the galley.
Afterward, I made some fajitas for everyone. I’ve never done this before, but they were quite tasty.
I’ll post some video once I’m off this dial-up connection.
You should try having a show in your car, van, truck, RV, boat, or even your office. I think a show in either a mini cooper or in the breakroom at work would be quite exceptional. I would love to see some pictures of your show.
A friend of mine started this new blog at www.procurate.com . It is a newly formed forum for the expulsion and creation of ideas – whatever they may be. Check it out.
Here’s a quick idea – Everytime you purchase something this week, accept the bag they give you. Don’t throw it away – keep all your newly acquired bags in a safe place. At the end of week, throw ’em all in a pile and take a photo.
It’s amazing how many bags one can come by in a seven day period.
I’m still up in the hills filling my month long obligation to the Djerassi artist-in-residence program.
Every night at 7pm all of us artists sit down to share some words and a nice meal. Our conversation topics tend to be very dynamic. Last night’s discussion revolved around IQ testing. After some time, we reached a consensus that the standardized IQ test is dated and a new formula needs to be instituted.
We propose a two-part examination – 25 consecutive games of the age-old game of Simon followed by 25 games of Dance Dance Revolution (this could also serve as part of the presidential fitness test for high school students). The test taker’s mean score would represent their IQ level. Alternatives will be made for the physically challenged.
If you have some free time today or would like to procrastinate, you should play a few games of Simon. Please visit fetchfido’s site.
And if you have no idea what Dance Dance Revolution is, you can gain some valuable insight at DDR Freak. I have a horrible fear of dancing directly in front of people; I would hope the IQ test would be issued in private or at least in front of a two way mirror so it would appear like nobody is there.
Who needs to visit the museum anymore when you can have one of your very own… and enjoy it without leaving the comforts of your home. Save your money! With this easy and free technique, you can build your own personal “Home Museum” in minutes.
Pick out a “dead” space, or a “lively” one for that matter, in your home and put some of your things on display. These can be things that are important to you, things you’re attracted to because of their color, or just a hodge-podge of things you’d like to see together. It’s completely up to you!
I’ve chosen a series of three shelves that were very underused. On the top shelf, I placed a fancy hot water warmer behind a Krispy-Kreme doughnut box.
The second tier is a bit more exciting, sporting a Reddi-Wip can atop a homemade pedestal and a corn chip on the opposing pedestal. You can easily make these beautiful pedestals by wrapping plain white paper around a tupperwear container. Then you can do as I did by setting some everyday objects from around the house on top of them. These “plain” objects now take on a regal look that make a bold statement.
To dress the third tier, I just threw a couple of strange items together for a vintage effect.
Rotate your exhibit whenever you like by just changing out some or all of the items. You can also draw some more attention to your exhibit by tacking a sign and a balloon to the wall beside it.
Have an opening party and invite over some of your neighbors!
If you decide to start a “Home Museum, “please mail me your photos and I’ll post them – click here to e-mail me.
Who really needs Martha Stewart anyhow?
I just got invited to be on the The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson! This is very exciting news over here at the National Dinner Tour Headquarters/ my RV.
Keep an eye out on Friday, June 17th!!
Any suggestions on what I should do on the show?