|. . . Christina La Sala|
|. . . 1999-07-22|
Our Motto, courtesy of Christina La Sala, and temporarily on hiatus: If you can't say something nice, say something formal.
|. . . 1999-09-30|
Hotsy-Totsy favorite Curt Salada suggested further bean spillage vis-à-vis the movie project....
The Ichthyoid Syndrome (1999)
Directed by Ray Davis and Christina La Sala
Writing credits: Christina La Sala and Ray Davis
Tagline: The medium is the message. The message is: I don't like you.
User comments: It seemed to really click with my subconscious.
Cast, verified as complete
Christina La Sala .... Company Spokesperson
Ray Davis .... Test Subject
Music by Ray Davis, with Ludwig von Beethoven
Cinematography by Ray Davis and Christina La Sala
Film editing by Ray Davis
Art direction: Christina La Sala
Costume design: Christina La Sala
Special effects: Christina La Sala
Production companies: Catseye Productions
Distributors: San Francisco Art Commission Gallery
Runtime: 3 1/2 minutes
Sound mix: Mono
Plot summary: When fish are used as input devices, a former technophobe goes wild for computers.
Memorable quotes: "We like to call them... Cuddlefish."
Release dates: Part of the "Facing Fear" group show, running from September 22 1999 through October 30 1999.
Technical specifications: With its Sorenson-compressed QuickTime file weighing in at about 40 meg, this little honey ain't gonna get much Web distribution!
|. . . 1999-10-07|
Steven Elliott, who once told Hotsy Totsy charter member Christina La Sala, "You can have the trains, I'm just going to cut out the sky," is currently sharing a gallery with our good friends Joseph Cornell and Marcel Duchamp at the Berkeley Art Museum.
As if that wasn't enough excitement, Christina and Steven just last night opened up an installation at the San Francisco State University Art Gallery -- a little number they like to call "Invisible Practices." Cholly hopes to host an exclusive interview on the project in the next day or two....
|. . . 1999-10-26|
Modern Art: Steven Elliott's and Christina La Sala's "Invisible Practices" installation has made SF State's Art Gallery over into a spacious windowless studio apartment for today's narcissistic Invisible Man, fully furnished with a "now you don't" business suit, a T-shirt for Casual Fridays, a bed, reading materials, inspirational wall hangings, and even a sandbox.
After the opening celebration, we settled down with La Sala at a noisy restaurant, ordered a lot of beer, and opened our note pad for an exclusive interview with the artist. A transcript follows:
Sierra Nevada?It sure is. It sure is....
I went to Copperopolis.
No copper. Ghost town.
Not where invisible man came from.
C gets to proofread.
As long as I don't stand out.
Invis not part of body.
Nothing to do with body politics.
Times when it's good.
Visible - bad things happen.
Detergent - completely artificial.
Sneezing gasping wheezing.
Scotch tape, xerox.
6 + 4 is 12
More insulting to call it scottish tape.
(looks like) notor Lielb
That's a good interview.
|. . . 1999-12-15|
Money talks, democracy gives up waiting for the MUNI bus: Worried that even wheeling the Willie Brown Disco Truck through the Mission and the Castro ("A vote for Willie Brown is a vote for dancing!") might not be enough to head off the Red Menace, concerned San Franciscans such as Jesse Jackson and Bill Clinton deluged the mayor's constituency with phone calls yesterday. (via Christina La Sala)
I was hoping that Ammiano would win, myself. It's important that San Francisco maintain its position as a national laughingstock, and, although Brown has done his best under the circumstances, the fact is that nowadays an openly progressive politician is even more of a curio than a pro-wrestling politician.
|. . . 1999-12-17|
The lights are strung up, Cholly's strung out, and the Club's finally got the true holiday merchandising spirit prancin' and dancin' and donnin' and blitzin' in The Hotsy Totsy Discount Warehouse Outlet:
|. . . 2000-03-23|
|. . . 2000-06-30|
|. . . 2000-07-02|
Special Anniversary Narcissism Week! (cont.): Secret Origins of the Hotsy Totsy Club
|In an email interview for The Industry Standard (which I never saw, since it wasn't put on their website), Mark Frauenfelder asked, "Why do you keep a weblog?"
Like most of the writers I know, I want to be rewarded for being self-indulgent. This is the latest attempt.
|Email to Fred Pyen:
All of which semi-coordinates with a decade's worth of wondering what this thing I'm doing is all about and wanting an excuse to drag more of those thoughts into print ("and out of my mind," as Daniel Johnston says). The Hotsy Totsy Club being just another attempt at doing "this thing I'm doing" more directly, after having published criticism and feeling sickish and having published fiction and feeling sickish.
From the Generosity discussion group:
I specifically started the Hotsy Totsy Club (complete with dopey name) to escape questions of "responsibility to an audience," "working with the editor," "academic protocol," and so on, having previously run myself several fathoms into the ground on them. Not that I dislike audiences or editors or academics, some of my best friends etc., but for whatever reasons of personal neurosis such considerations were starting to keep my inchoate yearnings permanently inchoate. I like self-indulgence (when it's truly self-indulgence rather than a sleazy attempt at group flattery) and ephemera and overweening pretentiousness, but can't seem to handle long forms at present. In short, I'm trying for a self-indulgent ephemeral overweening pretentious bite-sized unprofessional mess, and, thanks to the web publishing model of low cost and wide distribution, I think I can get away with it for a while longer.
|. . . 2000-07-06|
Special Anniversary Narcissism Week! (concluded): Rooms for Improvement
Over the past year, I finished a long essay, collaborated on a short film, wrote some letters, and made a living. But mostly it's been Hotsy Totsy.
Over the next couple, it won't be too big a surprise if I finish some other essays I've been promising for years (on Patricia Highsmith, on Jean Eustache...) or months (on Barbara Comyns, on Karen Joy Fowler...), or even something unexpected. And I better make a living. But mostly I expect it to be Hotsy Totsy.
Well, if this is gonna be my standard watering hole, I got some suggestions to make to the proprietor, if he can rouse himself up from behind that 1.5L jug of Wild Turkey for a moment....
|. . . 2000-07-11|
Christina La Sala sends this Word of the Day:
[Biblio- book + Greek taphos burial]
A person who caches or hoards books.
She adds: "I like the transition from burial to digging a hole and hiding something." Me, I like the morbid shadow it casts over "bookworms," the way it inverts the whole "words outlast the pyramids" thing -- the Egyptian mood in general, really -- and how neatly it accessorizes our "Scrooge McClock" entry.
|. . . 2000-09-14|
take away the Cats
From "The Cat in Law," North American Review, February, 1895, Gertrude B. Rolfe reporting:
"A certain citizen of Baltimore stole a fine Maltese cat from a neighbor, who had him arrested for theft. When the case came up for trial the prisoner's counsel entered the plea that it was impossible for anyone to steal a cat, as that animal is not property, and that to take forcible possession of a feline, even though it be a pet one and wear a ribbon and answer to its name, is not a legal offence. The judge held this argument to be good, and the Attorney-General, to whom the case was appealed, agreed with him. The latter in his formal opininon, declares that the cat is really nothing but a wild animal, that it is of no use to man, and that the taking of a cat without the consent of its owner is not an indictable offence."
+ + +
Old Style New Yorker Typo Corner:
"Here," the Israeli veterinarian added, "the situation is the opposite, because the reservoirs for rabbis are the wolves, jackals and hyenas." - San Diego Jewish Press-HeritageThe Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want....
|. . . 2001-10-31|
Jeez, sudden death and germ warfare are such depressing ways to spend Halloween. Remember public speaking? Or technophobia? Now that was a fear....
If you have a DivX-capable AVI player (now you remember technophobia, right?), you can escape into yesteryear via 24 big MB of Ray Davis's and Christina La Sala's The Ichthyoid Syndrome. Its tinny sound and 100% guaranteed QuickCam video will have you reliving 1999 in all its autumnal splendor!
|. . . 2002-06-19|
Is there one who understands me?
Thanks to Aaron for becoming the second person to notice that I'm Cordelia.
The first person was Christina La Sala, who tried to get me to watch Buffy back in 1997 by playing up that Thalia Menninger angle. But in those early days I was very shallow and thought the show was simply not presentable. I only really became part of the gang in the third season -- which is still my favorite, although the most recent one might've supplanted it in my affection if they hadn't transplanted the ridiculous Magic-Is-My-Anti-Drug plotline from some hell-dimension version of Buffy onto the shoulders of the Real Life show -- and only very recently and while losing all my viewers have I started getting migraines and pregnant and mature and stuff.
Errata: One who should know assures us that, despite our evident admiration for Cordelia, we are not in fact ourselves Cordelia.
We are instead 50% Anya, 20% Willow, 15% Imperfectly-Supressed-Bad-Willow-Confronting-Giles, and 15% Xander-Driving-the-Dream-Van-with-Willow-and-Tara-in-Back.
We regret any inconvenience.
|. . . 2009-05-05|
May 8th - June 5th, 2009
ampersand international arts
1001 Tennessee Street (at 20th. St.)
San Francisco, California 94107
In writing, it's called "a strong voice." Across materials, across moods, a sense of continuous engagement with another. Maybe not quite the human being you meet at the reception, the reading, or the party, but not a pose or a persona, no formula. Something wholer than that, someone you recognize when you enter the room.
In the voice of Christina La Sala, there's wit and inwit, with no hint of smirk. There's painstaking elegance, insisting on beauty even in shabbiness and loss. Art is what this voice does, and making art is necessarily making do.
There's a sort of dyslexic synesthesia, modal wires crossing at a dreamlike concept both reasonable and uncanny: Braille chewing gum, for example. ("'Well, I've tried to say How doth the little busy bee, but it all came different!' Alice replied in a very melancholy voice.")
There's a poised sense of confrontation: a dare to make the first move, to cross this line, tip this balance, pop the bubble, eat me, shatter me.... We're being asked, I think, to make a decision: to consume and have done, or to live with the experience. To live at all is to live with one's decisions and actions and circumstances.
Which is to live with one's art. The least escapist of artists, La Sala affirms without flurry or bluster, but hour by hour, week by week, over what Louis Zukofsky called "a poem of a life": the work of a life in work. Duration itself becomes preoccupation: the times that bind, as in the obsessive stitching of La Sala's "Stay Awake" bedsheet, with its dare to fall asleep.
When these characteristics coincide, there's nothing anecdotal about the result, but we're tempted to narrate, to put this perplexing artifact in its place in some known story. The voice resists us. The Rapunzel-length hair-and-steel-wool braid of La Sala's "Straw into Gold," for example, intertwines aging's fairy-tale transmutation of brown-to-gray with our age's science-fiction transmutation of organism-to-machine. Its weave is clean; the tangle is in the yarns we spin.
A return to glasswork after many years, "Petrified Forest" carries La Sala's voice at its strongest. In writing, it would be called a serial poem, a unified work made up of sets of paired individual works:
There's a row of large glass panels etched with various patterns — floral garlands, diamonds diamonded, curved boxes, pinstripes — made more elaborately decorative by shadow-play as each leans against the wall from a painted wooden platform — which, in turn, has been marred by carved tally marks.
There's a column of squat glass strips, smeared by tally marks, as if by a fingertip dipped in acid. Each bar is held flush close against the wall; the shadows turn them into a trompe l'oeil of greasy icicles or streaked unguents.
Naturally, I'm tempted into narrative. I recognized one pattern from gift wrap or wallpaper of my childhood, and then I thought of cargo cults and Renaissance reliquaries: how the fragmented kitsch of one culture, after everything falls apart, inspires the high craft of another culture. And a prisoner in the ivory tower leaves marks which, preserved and honored after everything falls apart again, become reproduced in their turn. As Alan Squire said in The Petrified Forest, "I've formed a theory about that that would interest you. It's the graveyard of the civilization that's shot from under us."
But my ramshackle construction, full of plot-holes, hardly matches the piece's confident coherence. Perhaps I should be thinking instead of natural history and microbiological cultures: a science museum with brittle slabs impressed by ancient ferns, flowers, floods, and crystals, and with slide mounts demonstrating, oh, the effects of antibiotics?
But that hardly conveys the piece's aggression, humor, and endurance. I might as well take the etymological approach: Arizona's fossilized trees are extinct members of a botanical family that includes the Chilean monkey-puzzle tree, named Araucariaceae for the Arauco people who live in the region. "Contrary to popular belief, the Quechua word awqa 'rebel, enemy', is probably not the root of araucano: the latter is more likely derived from the placename rag ko 'clayey water'." Yes, clear as mud.
Or maybe it's best if I pass this to the strong voice of Alice Notley, a poet born in Bisbee, Arizona, about 300 miles south of Petrified Forest National Park:
|"|| This is distinction, says a voice,|
Your features are etched in
ice so everyone can see them"
|"|| Poverty much maligned but beautiful|
has resulted in smaller houses replete with mysteries"
|"|| there's the desert beyond them that I try to keep housed from|
no thin flesh there no coursing fluid no thought"
I am eagerly awaiting the future retrospective or permanent wing to be entitled The La Sala Room. Not that it's any of my beeswax, as it were.
Copyright to contributed work and quoted correspondence remains with the original authors.
Public domain work remains in the public domain.
All other material: Copyright 2015 Ray Davis.