Artsy! My/Your/Our new favorite time-suck!

A couple weeks ago I got a really nice e-mail in regard to a blog post I wrote last year about some public art I'd gone to see (and really enjoyed) including work by one of my favorite artists, Spencer Finch

The e-mail came from a guy who works for a thing called Artsy which, it turns out, is an amazingly cool and really powerful website!  As the e-mail explained:

We strive to make all of the world’s art accessible to anyone online. Our Spencer Finch page, for example, provides visitors with Finch's bio, over 60 of his works, exclusive articles, and up-to-date Finch exhibition listings. The page even includes related artist & category tags, plus suggested contemporary artists, allowing viewers to continue exploring art beyond our Finch page.

And it's true! E-mail guy wasn't lying!

I immediately looked up some other top-of-mind favorites: Sol Lewitt, Mark Rothko, Helen FrankenthalerYves Klein, Alexander Calder, Lucian Freud, Ernesto Neto . . . it's like getting to Skype with faraway friends you wish you got to visit more.  And then, in looking up a favorite Grant Wood painting, I found Don Coen who's making work I kinda like and who I'd never heard of before.  Then Joseph Cornell gave me Adam Nisenson!  Cool, right?! And am I embarrassed that my list only contains ONE woman? I am! So I'm going to keep poking around Artsy with an eye to remedying that deficit. BAM!

And that's not even all you can do on Artsy, it's just all I've done so far.

Scrolling artists is a MUCH more gratifying way to loose half an hour (or more - oops!) than scrolling Facebook.  Check it out. And leave me a comment about YOUR favorite artist(s) - especially if you've got a lady for me! xo

Professional Lover of Eggs

I love eggs.

Wherever there's some marker to commemorate my life after I die, that's probably what it should say:  Eevin Hartsough 19whatever - 20whatever. LOVED eggs.

Anyway, I was having a phone meeting recently when it was revealed to me, via a series of digressions, that many people still struggle (as I once did) to confidently and reliably produce properly cooked soft-boiled eggs.  I told my colleague how I like to do it and she said "make me a video!" so I did.  Here it is in case you also would find this information useful.

And then, here's an old post about one of my favorite clutch dinners which involves . . . soft boiled eggs! 

Tell me if you have another way or how you tweak this method for yourself! 


We had a party!  For Gemma & The Bear!  And It was GREAT!

A whole bunch of wonderful people showed up.  We watched the whole first season all together on a big screen.  We played a fun drinking game.  There were Goodie Bags.  And everyone seemed to have a great time!  

Here are some photos.  (Scroll down past the photos to learn how to re-live our fun party in the comfort of your own home!)  

Me and Marley who plays Gemma, age 9.

Me and Marley who plays Gemma, age 9.

Goodie Bags for the Party!

Goodie Bags for the Party!

Sexy people at the party enjoying the show.

Sexy people at the party enjoying the show.

Me and Kevin aka Gemma & The Bear

Me and Kevin aka Gemma & The Bear

Attractive and delighted crowd

Attractive and delighted crowd

Me, Marc Sinoway who plays Adrian

Me, Marc Sinoway who plays Adrian

Kevin, Debargo (who plays Tom), and Me

Kevin, Debargo (who plays Tom), and Me

Want to catch up on the fun?  Just CLICK HERE to watch Season One and then follow the rules of our very own #GATBLive drinking game below.  

Feel free to take photos of YOUR event - we'd love to see!

Tick-Tock! TICK-TOCK!!!

When I joined the New York Neo-Futurists (NYNF) in 2006, one of the most joyful aspects of the experience was being able to recommend the show (Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind) without hesitation.  Up 'till then, I'd done a bunch of plays here and there in NYC, but they often suffered one way or another from being off-off-Broadway productions (lack of time, lack of money, etc.)*.  But the Neo's were different.  They had figured out how to make those limitations work for them and it felt so good to be so proud of something I was a part of.

I feel the same way about Gemma & The Bear.  Like Too Much Light . . . , Gemma & The Bear (GATB) is actually for something of a niche audience and I don't actually think that either is for everyone; certainly neither is perfect.  I do think both are, in turns, innovative, delightful and well-made and I am uniquely unabashed in my promotion of GATB as I was with Too Much Light . . . .

So, it has been a bit of a frustrating surprise to grapple, these last couple of months, with just how difficult marketing a (micro-budget) web series can be.  I recently watched a popular vlog that argues that the internet creates a meritocracy in which "if the video you're making is interesting to anyone . . . all you have to be concerned with is making something that someone else wants to watch."  This was more or less my assumption going in to Gemma & The Bear, but here in the episode-release-and-marketing phase, where the measure of marketing success - views on YouTube - seems to have been equated with the quality of the content (at least as far as generating press, industry attention, etc.) and where spending money to boost posts seems like the only way to be seen at all, that argument about meritocracy feels a bit false . . . or at least naive.

I've been naive all my life.  Also: impatient.

The other night, at a birthday gathering for a neighbor, I had a conversation with some people I'd just met about the social norms of meeting new people (how meta).  I was expressing my frustration with the apparent taboo of asking people what they do.  They countered that "what are you up to?" or "what's new?" or "how do you spend your time?" are completely acceptable alternatives.  I'm not sure I agree but, in any case, those alternatives don't address my real want which is to grab these new acquaintances by the lapels (maybe just figuratively) and say something like "who are you?! what's your story?! tell me everything!!"  I don't want to be coy, making small talk and teasing out the information slowly; I want the story up front!  (Looking back, my entire first date with my husband was just me interrogating him the entire night including important questions like "what are your three favorite sounds?"  I guess his tolerance was an early good sign?)

Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind wasn't an overnight success; the company has gone through tremendous growing pains and, while they've come incredibly far, they're still working hard to grow and improve.  And, of course, that's the story almost everywhere.

So maybe it isn't that the meritocracy of the internet is false (although marketing dollars certainly play a role, albeit a complicated one), maybe it's about staying the course so we can find our audience . . . or they can find us. 

I really wish they'd hurry up about it, though. 


*To be very clear: I think off-off-Broadway is great and of tremendous value.  All artists need a place to practice, experiment and grow and for theater artists in NYC, OOB is often it.  Furthermore, over the past decade, I've seen the OOB community as a whole grow and improve the quality of its work.  So, no dig at OOB.  I love it, in fact.

Please adopt me, Bob Garfield! OR Everyone: Listen to THIS

Do you listen to On The Media?  It's really good.  Before I had a kid I listened religiously to the broadcast; these days I keep up with the show via their weekly podcast.  Listening the other day it kind of reminded me of a non-satirical version of The Daily show: smart, nuanced analysis of the media from the past week. 

Along with reading the NY Times on my phone instead of looking at Facebook, listening to On The Media always feels like I did something good for myself AND I always like it better than the alternative.  It's like choosing the healthier breakfast option that's ALSO more delicious.  Anyway . . .

I have not been able to stop thinking about last week's episode.  It's a great episode - they start with Trump, they end with David Foster Wallace (well, David Lipsky who did the interview with DFW that became the book and then the movie) but in the middle, almost hidden, is the thing over which I am obsessing: Bob Garfield's interview with Charles A. Allen, Deputy General Counsel for International Affairs at the Department of Defense, about their recently released Law of War Manual's problematic implications for journalists.

WAIT!  COME BACK!  I know that last sentence was full of wonky/nerdy/soporific words but that's not the point.  THE POINT is that Bob Garfield, in that interview, does the hardest thing: he keeps asking questions - pointed, challenging questions - without becoming either aggressive or apologetic - and, at the end, holding Charles Allen to account, he asks when they can speak again to follow up on their conversation.  WHO DOES THAT?!  IT WAS AMAZING!!

Listening to Bob Garfield conduct that interview made me feel so many things: it made me feel safer than I've felt in a long time, like someone smart is watching out for what's fair and right in this country; it made me feel SO impressed with his skill as an interviewer; it made me wish he could be my tough-conversations-mentor (aka Dad?).

There has been more in the media lately about how women undermine themselves and are undermined by others in conversation.  There's Mansplaining, 10 Simple Words Every Girl Should Learn (side note: "Girl?" really? Not "Woman?"), and Amy Schumer's amazing "I'm Sorry" sketch.  I think that's all great and valuable.  Being effective and powerful as a woman in conversation (not to mention negotiation), having been socialized in the standard U.S.A.-way, is something I think about and struggle with.  However, I think Bob Garfield's example pertains beyond gender divisions; I know plenty of guys who don't know how to "disagree without being disagreeable."  I guess I just think that, in this particular way, Bob Garfield is a great role model and most of us could stand to learn a thing or twelve from his example.

You can listen to the whole excellent episode HERE or, if you're short on time, the Bob Garfield interview is HERE.  Follow Bob Garfield on Twitter HERE.