STATUS UPDATE: "A Productive Stint in Milwaukee, and Off to Americorps!"

     The time has come once again my wonderful readers, to return to you as I always do, and continue my ongoing report of the American landscape through the lens in which I so obscurely see it. I know I've been off the blog for a little bit now, but if you've been following along here at TLGAJ from the outset, then you probably have figured out that my project-to-project work flow not only allows me to continue traveling on the whim as I have, but also unfortunately requires that I occasionally focus in on those projects a bit more at times, which sadly, leaves you guys with the occasional feelings of abandonment, that I ultimately cannot blame you for. I don't feel good about it either guys, I assure you- but our relationship- like so many others, is what facebook would consider "complicated."
     So falling back into my general pattern here, I will give you guys a bit of an outline with regards to what in gods name kept me in Milwaukee for the most unreasonable months of the year- which is obviously just a ploy for me to plug some of my recent projects; and then, as is also customary, I will go into the difficulties, and circumstances, and all the mellow dramatic griping that I like to drop on you whenever I make another grand departure, because this time in particular, I really was at odds with some major life changes. Finally, in general alignment with my tellings of the majority of this Journey, we will cap our latest post off with yet another senseless argument, and another senseless fallout, between me and the forever bickering "B.O.," a.k.a. Brian Olsen. Are we ready to begin, class? Splendid!

     So lets start out where things left off, shall we? After several months of living in the Le Sabre with my gal Chassy, and traveling partner B.O., we made our way up the scenic West Coast from San Francisco, stopping all over the place for weeks at a time, and really absorbing the unique flavor of the Pacific Northwest. Near the end of the summer, we finally spent the last of what little we had, and found ourselves flat broke in the wonderful city of Portland, which unbeknown to us, would become a sacred social hub for the remainder of our time in the N.W., and would lead us to all sorts of amazing new friendships and experiences.
     It just so happened that in my first day of craigslist job-searching, I got a call back for a fairly prominent micro brewery called "Laurel wood," that apparently needed a cook so badly, that they called me back in that same day for an interview. With some help from my patented "suit-in-a-bag," I showed up looking as spiffy as a man living out of a car can, and landed the job which gave us the opportunity to live it up in the backyards of some particularly wonderful folks for the rest of the summer. Our gypsy lifestyle treated us as well as anyone could ask for, and when September rolled around, we were very sad to depart the once foreign city we had come to know, and the life long friends we had made within it while "yard-surfing."

     After a few patient days of scanning, we found ourselves a craigslist ride-share from a remarkably generous fellow by the name of Tae, who had been traveling the country with the performance circus "Cirque Du Soleil," which is a whole 'nother story that has yet to hit the TLGAJ, and will surely be a staple of the inevitable novel in which this blog functions to support. Anyhow, Tae took us through Colorado where we spent the weekend, and even introduced us to some of his friends in Iowa who also were good enough to let us crash there for a few days. Bless his heart and soul, cause Tae even took us as far as Chicago on his way to D.C., so we only had to spring our last ten bucks on a rail pass to get back to Milwaukee in perfect timing for the performance art show that I had been invited to participate in. It should be duly noted that Tae helped us get a great deal across the country on the very meager amount we were able to offer him as compensation, partly because he was an advocate of what he saw here on TLGAJ. He, and so many other folks' genuine acts of kindness have been the true heart and beauty in this grand adventure.
     The 2010 Milwaukee Performance Art Showcase was a great success for me, in that I got to work with some of my favorite Milwaukee organizers to put out a performance art piece I had been very excited about, and they even gave us a modest stipend. The other performance artists in the show were incredibly talented, and I even got a small amount of interest from local press! Essentially, I couldn't ask for much more without being greedy. As I already promised I'd try and keep the self-promotion to a minimum here in my little re-cap, I'll use links liberally on the off chance that I haven't already forced my work down your throat- here's a link to my art blog if your interested in hearing more about this particular project: "The Weight of the World on my Shoulders," from Milwaukee Performance Art Showcase 2010

     So after the show in Milwaukee, it was already getting too cold for my taste, and my obvious plans of getting the hell outta' town for the winter were foiled by something I'm perhaps being too gloomy about in this mention- opportunity! As much as I truly am devoted to the all encompassing project that TLGAJ has been shaping itself into, I've also got to take the opportunities that come at me whenever I can, by balancing a small need for money to continue what I'm doing, Art opportunities to succeed at doing what makes me happy, and experiences that are valuable to my perspective of America. I've shifted my focus all over the place in the past two years of vagabond living, but when Pegi Christiansen approached me about taking on the task of documenting and creating a group of video's for her temporary public art organization, IN:SITE, I simply could not turn it down for several reasons. One being how much I admire and appreciate IN:SITE's model for innovative "site specific" public art, two being that I can always use some more fodder for the 'ol portfolio- especially in functional video work, and lastly, because it was a paid gig, and even as good as I am at getting by with very little- I needed some money to keep on keeping on. So to make a long story short, or a short mention long, I ended up spending several months in Milwaukee that winter making a series of documentaries for IN:SITE, and pushing my personal work in between. All the video's can be found on IN:SITE's website here: IN:SITE video's

     In between this high pace of video work, I managed to keep up my connections in Milwaukee, and push a decent amount of writing, as well as studio work. Though this was a good thing, I really don't do well being stuck inside hiding from the miserable cold for months on end, and my decision to re-awaken my younger interest in political activism- through the Madison labor protests- got me thinking about how I might be able to bring something extra to TLGAJ, while also making some positive change, and not abandoning my artistic goals. After some research, I began filling out applications for Americorps, which is why I am currently writing to you from the Mt. Adams Center, in Trout Lake WA. I won't link, or expand upon this much at the moment, as the point of bringing you guys up to speed on my less recent endeavors, is so I can start sharing this current experience with you at greater length. So then, moving along.
     I knew I wouldn't be happy just having my cake, so in an effort to "eat it too," I began writing proposals with the intention of putting a show together before I departed to Washington for my 6 month Americorps term. This took some work, but finally, I was asked by a new gallery in Milwaukee, to be a part of their first show which will now be opening on June 9th in my absence. I am very excited for the response to this new work, and once again, I will spare you the details except for the fact that I made a hilarious video for their site, that discusses the work in an effort to engage lovely viewers such as yourself. I don't ever show the final piece in the video- otherwise you might not come to the opening- but if you don't make it out to the show, my art blog will surely cover the details for anyone who missed it. If anyone's interested though, heres the video- it really is pretty entertaining, even if you think my work sucks: "Art at a Glance," (Interview for "C E N T E R," gallery opening)

        By now you must be thinking, geeze, is this guy finally done with all his self-promoting art nonsense?, and to answer your question honestly, yes. I am (for now at least). So here's whats on the agenda: Since I didn't really get around to the details of my departure yet, which include me and B.O.'s always entertaining stubbornness, as well as the difficulties of my embarking on this new adventure without Miss Chastaine Tallon- I'm going to swallow my pride and just post this damn thing already. Lets face it, I've been out of practice a bit lately, and if anything, it'll be good to be delivering some content at a faster and perhaps less thorough pace. To cap things off, I think I'll litter the post with some pics of my time in Milwaukee, because asides from being productive in a professional sense, I really did enjoy spending some time with some of my favorite people- so here's to my homies holding it down in Mil- Town!
     Expect more soon folks, and thank you so much for reading. I'm having an amazing time here in Trout Lake living at the base of a volcano, and I promise there is much more to come (as always).

Until We Meet Again...

Joseph R. Reeves