Saturday, April 11, 2009

Catching up

Here I am in Bacau, Romania amongst some of the finest folks in theatre here. Everyone has been so kind and helpful and so forgiving of my half-remembered tourista phrases. My biggest thank you has to go to the best translator Adriana, a beautiful actress for Bacau's City Theatre and wife of the artistic director Gabriel Dutu and to the theatre's general director, Adrian Gazdaru, who along with a young actor named Justin drove from Bacau to Bucharest to pick me up from the airport. Doesn't sound like much of a feat, until you consider there are no highways in this part of Romania just two lane roads with passing lanes every once in a while. Took us about four hours with a stop for dinner at a great little restaurant where I feasted on sausage and polenta and some of the local wine.

But let me get back to my exploits in Boston. The conference became better and better day by day as I realized that it's not only for artists who are interested in international residencies, but also for the folks who offer these to explain and promote their programs. One of the highlights of the trip was seeing old friends and family that I hadn't seen in many years. My high school friend Francine Ozereko and her husband Frank. We had lunch in a local Irish pub. Saturday after the sessions was the rubber chicken dinner, ur, I mean the Gala Conference Dinner. I met two other artists interested in doing a colaborative digital project down the road and then had drinks and too much fun with Juliet Armstrong, a professor and artist from South Africa and Jane Rainwater, an artist from Conneticut.
  • Especially interesting was the final session I went to on Sunday about art fairs and biennailes. On the panel were two gallery directors and a curator. If you're an artist thinking about going to one of these to pitch yourself to a gallery, in a word, don't. The other thing I learned is that sometimes it's good to exhibit at some of the fringe fairs that pop up around the big international art fairs like the one in Miami. My cousin Pam came down from New Hampshire to have dinner with me on Sunday. It was great to see her after five years and to get caught up on family news and have the best "lobsta dinna" with her.
  • Monday I had the chance to catch up with another old high school chum, Jonathan Stangroom. He's a painter and also installs art for several galleries and art consultants in the Boston area. We met at his "home away from home", the Plough and Star pub on Mass Ave. in Cambridge. Tuesday I went over to the new Contemporary Art Museum in Boston where among other artists, they were showing work by Shepard Fairey, the street artist who zoomed to fame by taking an Associated Press photo of Barack Obama, manipulating it and putting the word Hope on it. Then I took the train from Boston to Lowell to meet more high school friends: Joelyn and Donna. It was so good to see them. I hadn't seen Joelyn since the memorial dinner for my mom almost five years ago. And it must have been at least 40 years - Yikes - since I had seen Donna. As you can see, they both look great and you'd never suspect we were from the class of 1969! Wednesday was packing up and getting on the plane first for Munich then switching for Bucharest. Those overseas flights are always tough and this one was no exception. Took forever to get comfortable enough to get some sleep. Luckily there were facilities at the Munich airport for a shower and a change of clothes that I packed in the carry on, so I felt half human for the final flight to Bucharest.
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