Category Archives: Arts

Thing of Beauty

One of  the pilots in SCOH is married to the talented Judy Williams Beskow who just won the Hoffman Challenge for her latest quilt.   It’s gorgeous and clever.  The challenge fabric has a  swirly blue and green, impressionistic pattern that looks like flowers – but could be bubbly water. To depict carp at different depths in the pool, she layered mesh over them;  she  quilted each of the Red-Crested Crane’s feathers separately.  And she did the piece  in two  months, in a blaze of inspiration while navigating  through a couple of crises in the family.  Inspiration works like that sometimes – it becomes the flow you go to when life is hard.


OK, my previous post panning the french fry billboard sounds irritable.  It WAS irritated, but not because I’m against food.  Food can  be every bit as as wonderful as it is necessary.  Good food is nutritious, preferably local and organic whenever possible.  And everybody deserves to enjoy something special and dietarily splurgy on occasion.  Case in point:  the excellent Raven Grill (specializing in fresh regional food) has lately offered single-orchard desserts on the daily menu.  That’s like single-vineyard wines and single-source chocolates;  here it’s peaches from a single Texas Hill country orchard.  Just imagine a superbly prepared single-orchard peach crisp.  Yum! I know the terrifically skilled pastry chef  – his wife is a colleague of mine.  She describes the two of them driving back from Fredericksburg, Texas with 100+ lbs of peaches in the car as a remarkably fragrant experience.

Have a safe, special and delectable Fourth of July!

The Lord of the Hallows

I love Interlibrary Loan.  It’s such a fine way to read books that my own Library doesn’t have, including obscure, scarce, or expensive titles and ones that for other reasons I’m just not in a position to buy.  Today I’m returning an Inter-Library Loan that I enjoyed very much – The Lord of the Hallows by Denise Roper (Denver:  Outskirts Press 2009.) It’s a compact  and insightful summation of the Christian symbolism in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books.  That the series is loaded with  Christian symbolism was blazingly obvious by the climax of the seventh book .  Roper places the Harry Potter books  in the tradition of  Christian fantastic novels that includes Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia.   Recommended!

tattoo who?


My collleague Tiffany enjoyed the TATTOO AND BODY ART EXPO over the weekend.  It was at Reliant Stadium.   I had no idea there could be a tattoo convention that big.  The Reliant Web site billed it:  “The Largest Tattoo and Body Art Expo in the World! This is a clean, safe, family oriented, tattoo convention and party.”  Body art means tattooing, piercing, implanting crystals, and other sorts of corporeal decor. 

Tiffany observed that  unlike the tattooed or pierced folk you might see in public who have an offputting attitude or get bristled up if you stare at them, everyody with fancy body art at the Expo wanted people to look, see and ask questions.  Just like science fiction conventions – everybody feels more at home in the midst of their tribe!

American Gothic too

On the door and window of Dr. Chandler Davidson’s Fondren Library – Rice University office:  all of these satiric, whimsical, or (depending on what kind of deadline the illustrator was under) desperate riffs on Grant Wood’s iconic painting American Gothic!

Lobster Dinner

My colleague Rebecca has been having a highly unwelcome episode of dental trouble that necessitates a strict soft food diet.  Tired of the usual choices, she asked her boyfriend, Daniel Atjai (a professional chef) for some sushi.  Here’s what he came up with:  fresh tuna, seasoned soft tofu, and mashed avocado – a  nice nutritious meal – arranged to look like a lobster and anointed with soy sauce.  Now that was art with a heart!

The Death of Music

Kevin Winn is a professional potter, ceramics teacher, and artist in Salt Lake City, Utah. Here’s the work of art he named Death of Music. He created the  skeleton out of old piano keys and other derelict pieces of musical instruments.

The skeleton’s lair is an antique, sin-ugly bass violin case.  It was found in the storage shed when Kevin and Valerie bought their house in SLC’s old Sugar House neighborhood.

The Death of Music
photo by Alexis Glynn Latner
Kevin and The Death of Music

Valerie’s sister is my writer friend Bev Hale.  I met the creepy bass violin case a couple of summers ago, when Bev and I went and stayed with Valerie and Kevin for a few days after the World Science Fiction Convention in Denver.   I wrote the bass violin case into a dark western fantasy short story.   The short story became the first chapter of a novel that I’m revising now.   I think Death of Music will make a guest appearance in the book’s climax when demons assail Salt Lake City in 1880!