Our minds still full and buzzing from the George Stoll encounter, at dusk we entered a whole new realm of good. The three of us went to visit Lawrence who has graciously offered his home/manor for Get Hubbied. The spirit in which he opened his arms to the idea was unexpected (shock). I will quote parts of his immediate response to my first gentle pitch:
Our minds still full and buzzing from the George Stoll encounter, at dusk we entered a whole new realm of good. The three of us went to visit Lawrence who has graciously offered his home/manor for Get Hubbied. The spirit in which he opened his arms to the idea was unexpected (shock). I will quote parts of his immediate response to my first gentle pitch:
Gobsmacked - I'm not used to people saying yes so easily, or saying yes at all. I felt giddy but got down to business and asked relevant questions about how he entertains, how many people could comfortably be seated in the garden, what was off limits and such and such. After he said yes to 99% of everything, we were given champagne, lounged about in his living room surrounded by a stellar art and book collection, and neatly ordered curiosities, and had a spirited talk. He actually invited us to smoke! There is an ashtray in arms reach of every chair in the room. I smoked a cigarette entirely due to the opportunity to be decadent. He is a wonder. At no moment did I feel any social panic, and this situation would be ripe for that, but this is who he is - relaxed and positive.
Liz, Jon and I will put our heads together for a while and will visit some other places before lovingly locking anyone into this venture. The only con I see at Lawrence's home is that it may be hard to have a sit down dinner for 180 people (our flexible projected number of guests), since the pool is central to the back yard and the interior is filled with precious things. I would feel responsible for even a slight dimple in his world - it would be terrifying to have anything happen to anything in that home. So, that is a second con. Food for thought, but I went home feeling increased love for humans.
*this is not Mr. X's house:
George is part of the furniture at this neighborhood outdoor cafe, so we met him at his home away from home. We all got right into the discussion springing off of our mutual distaste of the ritual of the groom taking the garter off of the bride's leg (sometimes with teeth).
It is the groom's privilege to remove the newlywed bride’s garter and toss it to the male guests. The symbolism to deflowering is unambiguous. Historically, this tradition also relates to the belief that taking an article of the bride's clothing would bring good luck. As this often resulted in the destruction of the bride's dress, the tradition arose for the bride to toss articles of clothing to the guests, including the garter.
and from thegartergirl.com:
The wedding garter is said to be one of the oldest wedding traditions, dating back to the Dark Ages. After the wedding festivities, guests would accompany the bride and groom up to their bedroom to ensure that they arrived safely and to wish them well. It was considered good luck for a guest to take home a little piece of the bride’s clothing. Over time, this ritual evolved into a wild wedding night romp where guests would tackle the bride, ripping her clothes off hoping for a piece of her attire. (It is also said that wedding guests did this to “help” the new couple along)
Over time, this ritual evolved into a wild wedding night romp where guests would tackle the bride, ripping her clothes off hoping for a piece of her attire. (It is also said that wedding guests did this to “help” the new couple along.)
Liz was especially resistant to the idea of having anything taken off of her leg and anything that resembled this ritual. George brought up an interesting way of thinking of the approach. To point out a ritual's ridiculousness could be most powerful if you were to exaggerate the content of the ritual. He suggests making it bolder, obvious and more sexual - amp it up. Zippers, ribbons and pearls were materials in the discussion. His ideas will brew and the conversation will be an interesting road to the eventual piece.
Parents with kids remaining unmarried; breeding habits across educational boundaries; and waiting to get married until prepared: click here for the article
Everyone should watch this: Diane J. Savino made the passionate case for a government that recognizes and administers same-sex marriages.
This talk took place just hours before NY lawmakers rejected the key marriage equality bill in December of 2009.
Ben Guzman, and the micro-brewery Eastside Brewers he's raised from the ground up, yet another triumphant project he’s delved, has offered to donate beer for the wedding. I'm not a big beer drinker, or do I feign any knowledge of beer brewing, but listening to him talk about his growing business, the passion for it, and the nuances of it, had me hankering for the tasting he's invited Jon, Liz and I to in January. His generosity is so appreciated. I will do all I can to promote his business, as he has aided in mine.
Below is an image from an informal tasting of a sampling of his brew. And second is a picture of him taken from another project of mine he graciously participated in, The CoTour in 2008. He's also a talented musician and sang in the a capella performance at Barnsdal Park, co-composed by his wife, Kelly Martin, and another great friend, Dave Jones. He is also featured in the interview section of this book with Kelly regarding their marriage.
Joe's meeting was back to back with Kimmel - the same day! There we were again with nery a break, Liz, Jon and I, explaining our intentions, our wishes, our fog and our clarity.
Joe listened patiently as we got our bearings and repeated ourselves but then got into the grit of our thinking on the topic at hand, which is the verbiage of a wedding, the ceremony's crux, the statements to each other and the organization of such moments. 'Teetering', a word that came up early in our talk, is what I see as the goal to seek. We want to be subversive, and funny and prod the structures that be, but at the same time to embrace the actual happening - the two people committing publicly to each other in front of their near and dear.
Joe is the perfect fit for this teeter in my estimation. I have seen his performance work, and his skill as an entertainer is as strong as his skill as a pusher of boundaries. The comedy he controls that taps into the uncomfortable for a second (or much much longer), crosses back into comedy again; this a talent the likes of a symphony conductor. You, the audience, are awakened to the place beyond comedy, and are (hopefully) awakened to the line he has crossed and come back from with humor and a solid gaze. His work reminds me of Buster Keaton mixed with David Mamet; Henry Miller mixed with slap-stick, or cowboy movies mixed with kareoke. There's the teetering, and the skill in knowing just when you're about to go too far - to control the room, and gain the audience again. In this case, the work will be a dialogue with Jon and Liz and a ceremony paying attention to the couple and their deep affection for each other and the witnesses, but also a prodding at the structural norms of weddings that people repeat blindly.
There were so many ideas that came out of our talk. Suffice it to say there was mention of power-point, legal documents becoming characters in the ceremony and gafs at unexpected moments. Again, Liz and Jon were pushed into talking about things not in their normal dialogue patterns. It may be uncomfortable at times, but I hope they feel comfortable with that.
It was a mash-up of personality that went well. There is a certain satisfaction with watching people ignite.
But even better, these three drawings of Joe's I find particularly relevant to Get Hubbied: the missile drawings re: the conversation about the conflict between wanting to get married and not knowing why you'd want to get married: a yes and a no. We've been talking about using text on the wedding garments themselves announcing that conflict. Head Exploding- well, isn't that obvious.
Yes Missile 2010, watercolor and pencil on paper, 30 x 24"
No Missile 2010, watercolor and pencil on paper, 30 x 24"
Head Exploding 2010, watercolor and pencil on paper, 22 x 24"
Karen's used to events at a large scale and is concerned that the flowers, even though it is purely that aspect of the wedding that she’d be examining, will require much more thought, labor and cost than what we are asking of her. There is nothing sloppy or unconsidered about anything she does. At this juncture this rather open-ended wedding concept is without an aesthetic adhesive; this concerns her (and me), but this is the very beginning of the process and I trust we’ll sort it out (I also offered up my family as indentured servants for the cause).
I am not the type of person who would allow an event of mine be visually awkward or schizophrenic, but it did help to look at other projects of hers that created big atmosphere with fairly simple elements helping us to begin to imagine ways to structure the visual glue for stages of the ceremony such as hanging elements that would create shadow, or stencils on the table cloths to bring patterns together across the room. Big installations with a lot of detailed organization and mastery over materials - this is second nature to her; they also contain an inherent beauty, grace and inventive pallet that were the reason I asked her to be a part of this in the first place. Many of her workshops and events engage with under privileged and/or challenged children and adults; she brings them together via an art project to work on together, complete and exhibit within her overarching visual and structural plan.
I feel, the most important aspect of her work for this wedding will be a visual substantive backbone for the space that will make people feel drawn together, participatory and safe.
A discussion about the visual aspect to the wedding with Jon and Liz was something I don't think they'd thought much about. I felt they were challenged to verbalize what they wanted in a way they weren't prepared for, but that was interesting in its own right.
We met Jon and Liz at Amy' Cargill's compact yet comfortable editing room to go over the interview footage. I want to be able to give the artists a solid take on their personalities and values so that they can begin thinking of how they will approach their piece. Some of the artists won't be able to meet J&L in person, so this video will serve as their bearing. I know they were nervous to see themselves on film. I don't happen to like that experience personally, so I get it.
Amy had already gone through a first pass, taking out some of the no-brainer moments. We looked through the 30 minutes of footage taken down from an hour, that Amy will now take down to 20 for the artists and 10 for the website. I reveled in the reliving of J&L’s succinct and compelling messages that go hand in hand with my impetus for the project. They are also quite funny, and I forgot that about them - its often distracting being behind the camera. By the way, this interview was not masterful with focus. The camera was set to auto-focus and it kept finding the trees behind them outside - the trees looked sharp! They got along with Amy; there was much laughter in the small room; there were not that many moments in the video that they wanted to take out - I dare say they enjoyed it, and were impressed.
The last few days have filled my head to overflow with investigation into venues, and all their inclusions, exclusions, price sheets, guidelines, deposits, curfews, caterers, floor plans, capacity, parking, bathrooms, clean-up, valet, staffing, available dates, guest lists, seating, tableware, site fees, and deadlines. Don't laugh. My wedding (in 2000) was planned by my ex-mother-in-law, so I wasn't privy to the nitty gritty. I got to plan my dress and the favors and the cake, and that was pretty stress-free.
I put too much pressure on myself to get everything done each day. Prioritizing is elusive for me. I have my lists and I feel unaccomplished if I haven't crossed everything on them. But, I'm getting better, and setting boundaries. HA! I'm sitting here with five windows open on the computer each seeking more information, or fixing the websites, or making a chart, and another list. There's always tomorrow...
Liz, Jon and I met at Marvimon downtown, well, after I got completely lost, called them three times from the side of the road. No fun to show up all tangled up, and late - also, it was cold and I wasn't layered enough. Despite this, the conversation/process was useful, though as is the norm, took a while to gel. From the get go, Miguel was inviting and informative; he owns Marvimon and the Smog Shoppe, as well as conceiving and heading up the Wooley Pocket company.
I’m sure our budget won’t be able to bear the cost of either of his event spaces, but they are incredibly seductive and aesthetically right on target. I am in awe of the consideration and originality of every detail - its a bit of an embarrassingly pleasing hipster paradise. Also, he has really perfected the flow of a good event: how to park people/seat them/feed them/keep them entertained, let alone fitting in the ceremony itself. I think I've got the entertainment part covered though - it will be dynamic and all the elements will be re-thought, and presented differently than any movie or real-time marriage.
I did think the talk should have been more about Miguel's artistic contribution to the project than the workings of the space, but we got there in the end with a bit of verbal nudging. It took a little while for him to remember signing up for this (it was a year ago when he did so), but after I went over the list of artists and their role in the ceremony, the inception of the idea, and why I chose Liz and Jon (not necessarily in that order), he seemed to understand and was more excited/interested. His is to be the artist in charge of the presentation/concept of the food and has done many unique visionary art projects involving gatherings, food and/or drink.
Overall the experience helped me immensely, since sometimes when you repeat why you are doing something out loud in front of others, it helps you to remember why you are doing it.
I drove to Jon and Liz's place, where I was greeted and kidnly offered potato pancakes. We ate, chatted and then gradually delved deeply into the details and lists of priorities to address regarding the wedding.
I had a spreadsheet listing the artists and the fees they requested for their contributions/art works. Added up it reached $37,900. This is quite impossible being that their entire budget at this point is $10,000 real dollars and $10,000 I will raise (positive thinking) to match their dollars. To resolve this I must ask each artist if they would consider lowering their fee considerably, which is painful since I want the artists to be happy with what they receive for their work.
The following made my mind happy in one way, and overwhelmed in another.
Jon had three immaculately meticulously thought-out typed pages in preparation for the meeting.
The first was split into three topics
1. A list of possible venues to research for donation of their space, and other venues.
2. The criteria of details needed for a venue, such as number of guests, catering, alcohol, parking, indoor/outdoor space, and curfew issues (we want to be able to stay and dance). 3. Suggestions and thoughts from one of their organized friends who had gone through this process re: what to ask, what you need etc.
The second one was a list of possible Saturdays starting with May, notated with holiday black-outs and dates of certain guests they knew couldn't attend, as well as a chart of temperatures for the months May-November 2011. There was also a list of full moon dates.
The third was an agenda of vital topics, like budget, date considerations, flowers, food, and what about honeymoon, rings and the dress? My head was spinning. I am personally attracted to charts, lists of things to do, and prioritization, but I spent the rest of the day and evening emailing and perusing ideas via google to try to wrap my head around all the details that had been raised. The word drowning comes to mind.
I sure have a lot to be thankful for right now. Regarding this undertaking specifically, its quite a list: family, friends, the contributing artists, Tif Sigfrids, Rose Apodaca, the newly appointed couple, supporters of the project who are promising to help in different ways. Its all quite magical if I can risk sounding mushy.
Cheer's to you all! I wish we were all here:
No I can focus all the stored momentum onto a real couple now. These forces have been gathering in luke warm storage for a year while the search was on.I've already begun venue outreach, artist negotiations and talk of setting the date. It looks like it will be 6-8 months from now. I'll give Jon and Liz a couple days to rest and eat turkey...or tofurkey.
I sure have a lot to be thankful for right now. Regarding this undertaking specifically, its quite a list: family, friends, the contributing artists, Tif Sigfrids, Rose Apodaca, the newly appointed couple, supporters of the project who are promising to help in different ways. I wish we were all here:
More details to come, but heavens to betsy, I’m elated. I suppose I should tell you the couple's identity: Jon XXXXXXXXX and Elizabeth XXXXXXX; they are now the cog for Get Hubbied's wheel. They came over to my place tonight and we played verbal tennis about many of the particulars. I am sure they are going to be interesting to work with and to make big memories with.
Thanks to my cousin Tyler, I have been exposed to this incredible webpage. I'm in shock, flabberghasted, my mind is reeling, I'm deeply amused, disturbed and all sorts of other things regarding discovery of this section of the online Huffington Post called: Divorce.
They don't even have a marriage section...what is wrong with this picture? Its quite striking the way the tabs are listed at the top of the page: Living / Health / Divorce / Arts / Books / Religion.
Read through this Wikipedia entry. The founder of the company believes that "certain characteristics can predict compatibility, and lead to more satisfying relationships". It doesn't focus on shared interests, instead the "members complete a proprietary questionnaire that purports to determine characteristics, beliefs, values, emotional health and skills". It was discouraging that same-sex connections weren't possible. But with all the computer dating out there, this one has a distinctly different approach. Anyone have any experience with this?
George is a muse in all senses of the word, an accomplished photographer, filmmaker and scholar, and lover of wine and conversation in the afternoons. I've been honored to have time in his company beyond this interview. In this current candid portrait, he is brutally honest in his rejection of the idea of marriage, though there are moments that leak a certain tiny hope that the whole thing: long lasting love/marriage, could be possible and mutually rewarding, though he admits it is a miraculous feat.
“The idea of marriage is kind of…I wouldn't go so far as to say repulsive, but I'd say it was, not interesting to me because there are just too many examples of horrific marriages. Why would you want to do that. Its like going to war or something. Why would you want to go someplace where people are trying to kill you. Maybe that's not such a good idea.”
"People get married and then they're are happy and then they are miserable and then they are happy again, so it's this flux. It's not a stable thing that happens.. and when you are not married what you experience is being by yourself a lot. The married men I know are dying to spend some time alone and the single men are dying to find something, someone to spend time with on these lonely long evenings."
There's a greater terror than being alone, and that's the terror of being with somebody who's driving you absolutely insane. I'm old enough now that I can balance out these two terrors and see them before me…and there's no question that (comparably) the terror of being alone is a picnic.”
I had the pleasure of meeting with Honor Fraser today; she is interested in the concept of Get Hubbied. I was thinking about finding a venue to serve as a launching pad for the project - to expose its intentions to a larger public - throw a larger net. We stirred up some great ideas and the discussion underscored for me the importance of working with a couple who truly fit and are inspired/inspiring. I was hoping the LAB, Honor's space for projects outside the scope of the galleries primary focus, was the place to hold the next event in this trajectory, but the LAB is more about singular artist's projects, not collaborative ones.
After more thought post meeting, it became clear that what needs to happen next is the wedding. That's all. Its that simple: find the couple, get the artists going, handle the details and have the wedding. I don't need an event before the main event. I always have to remind myself to pull back. I tend to go overboard with details, when the core of the idea is the most important.
I met with Amy today, who will be taking over the editing of the interviews where David Herr left off. He is far too busy in the big apple to continue, and I want the footage already shot to be edited before the next blue moon. We will miss him though! It is good momentum on my end in getting the wheels of the project in gear to get the interviews off the shelf and out on YouTube and on this site. She's excited about the project, gets it, and I look forward to collaborating with her. My cousin Tyler Hubby knew her in Chicago many years ago, and so its nice to bridge the gap.
Today I'm meeting with Rose Apodaca (a dynamo with the generosity of a saint who has been helping me all along with PR) to get all our eggs in a row to present Get Hubbied to a few people. This means tweaking the press release, getting a presentation together and all that I am not so fond of, but needed to get the word spread and hopeful support. I don't want the couple chosen to have to pay for everything, and I want them to be able to keep the artwork made especially for them. Nothing else makes sense to me. This is what has prohibited me from going ahead with a couple who have already applied. I have a couple I really like and could (and almost did) forge ahead, but I suppose I should hold out to see if these avenues of potential backing come through - to become the yellow brick road to fruition. This brainchild needs to be born.
Oct. 5, 2010
I've seen many complilations of bloopers, and like this one the best. Firstly: no annoying narrator, and secondly, there are many vintage clips, and lastly the editing is amusing and clever. Enjoy!
I'm pleased to announce that my commitment to waiting for this project to bear fruit in the best of ways is seeing some full-fledged fruit. Its been incubating, but not passively. I've been working behind the scenes non-stop on interviews, editing, and outreach for potential venues, sponsorship/underwriting etc.
There is activity, not just on the creative front: We have finished editing new interview videos and so many others to edit and post forthcoming. There may be a potent opportunity that will propel the project to a bigger audience. The couples in this second round are being let go, in order to get a wider field of play in regards to venue, exposure and resources. It will take more time, more so than any other project thus far, but worth the wait.
I am also going to activate this blog daily-ish. (ack - the word gives me hives, but I get it: it does give any interested parties more frequent updates and thoughts without me having to be up in your/their grill). So, bookmark it and check in. If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, constructive criticism, and by all means and especially: praise, send them/it my way.
I had butterflies in my stomach on this one. They, the butterflies, had something to do with how much I appreciated the time and thought they, Jon and Liz, put into their application. I may have to plagiarize them in all future writings about the project. I'll just excerpt a part of it, though it is all as quotable:
A basic challenge in having a wedding is that while there is something truly meaningful about the intentions and motivations, the standard form of the ceremony is often stale, rote, even problematic. We believe that one possible solution that would allow us to affirm the essence while challenging the form is through “play.”
An essential element of the ceremony must involve explicitly challenging the institution of marriage before affirming it. We hope to take seriously some of the objections to marriage, including its traditional role in the subjugation of women and queers; its relation to the state and property rights; and the problematic expectation of marriage as normative.
We aspire to a ceremony that incorporates elements of the performative and interactive; one that is fun and funny while still being earnest; one that constructs a narrative and takes the guests on a journey; one that is as much commentary on the ceremony as it is ceremony itself. This will require striking a delicate balance: between the traditional and the non-traditional; between earnestness and silliness; between play and our own preachy didacticism."
Jon is a research director at an L.A.-based non-profit advocacy organization that focuses on improving jobs and the environment. Liz is has been an editor in the publications department at MOCA for ten years.
*Their last names have been taken out to protect their identities, as requested, since I ended up working with another couple in the end, and as a new beginning.
Rodney, a sales rep, and Vicky, a financial planner, are now living in Thousand Oaks. They met in a dog park and have dated for about 5 years and engaged since 2008. If it weren't for family, they would have gone through a Vegas drive-through.
What I found the most engaging aspect when meeting them, is that they are so different and yet they have come together; they seem like best friends who just happen to be in love (with benefits). It was also admirable to me that they are not at all a part of the art world and yet approached this art-drenched idea with an openness I wish I'd see more of in the art world. They were willing and enthusiastic to leave all the details up to me, which also spoke to me of their bravery in the face of family wedding demands and wishes.
I love this description of weddings that they both chimed in on about in their interview:
“Weddings are kind of boring. Everything’s the same. Everyone’s just waiting for the vows to be over. The boring blah blah blah...I Do...and then you go to the reception. everything’s the same...bridesmaids with matching dressing, tables all done with centerpieces...chicken or fish...the band, the DJ, the dancefloor in the middle...its kind of, well...eh. I just thought to do something different.”
Arriving to interview Emily Nettie Meredith (archivist) and Jeremiah James Lewis (writer and web/graphic designer) I was Tif-less, and the camera turned into a foreign object in my hands - Tif usually mans the machine. I finally got things working and we had tea while we talked. They easy to be around and completely at ease as a couple.
Here is a notable exerpt from their application form where they answer the question, "What about Get Hubbied appeals to you?":
“There is, of course, the superficial, obvious, and maybe most pertinent elephant in the room, and that's the benefit of having a wedding, its planning and execution, and all the myriad details taken care of and run by talented, inspired, brilliant people who aren't... us. Then there's the art itself. Marriage has always been a bit of spectacle, kind of like Jacques Brel on the streets of Paris dancing with soldiers on leave, or Dadaist theatre for the masses; weddings are the most public act of what is a rather intimate and private union. What better way to encapsulate the spirit of that boisterous openness by presenting it as an artistic endeavor? After all, a lifetime together generates not just love but also friction, and friction, heat, and heat, in some cases, can help forge artistic, pathways down unknown roads. Marriage is as much a matter of public opinion and interaction today as it is a thing between two people, God, and a silent, watching crowd.”
and a quote from their interview about Jeremy’s proposal:
“It was definitely unplanned. I did not have a ring. I didn’t expect to be proposing that evening, but being true children of our modern instantaneous communications age, I put the word out on twitter that I’d asked her to marry me - and that of course set off a flurry of activity in the twitter world and on facebook. What I found so interesting, was that as soon as I asked her, and as soon as she said yes, all of my previous doubts and wondering and questioning - it was all gone. It was like I had changed inside, and I know that sounds kind of cheesy, but literally, I felt different. I felt like I’ve made this decision - the hard part’s over. Now I just have to make it work, and that’s just a matter of waking up every day and saying, ok, this is me, making it work.”
I met Matt and Kirsten Hudson at a wedding for Zoe Crosher, an artist friend of mine. They were the surprise conversation of my night, and I was compelled by their story enough to pursue an interview. They met on match.com and are now expecting their first child. She is a whiz of a cook, and over dinner I was treated to a lesson on how to create a compelling online dating profile. They both had sensible tips as to how to present oneself in the best possible way when foraging that virtual meeting arena.
"There are very few things you can do in life where you can call something into being just with words. Of life’s big things, there are things that happen to you like deaths or births, moves or career changes or meeting somebody… some are biological and some are circumstantial, but as far as I know marriage and divorce are the two things you can do in which you decide to call something into being. With these words we go from being individuals to being a married unit….two people who are still individuals, but now there's this other thing that exists." ~Kirsten
"I went from being someone who was totally opposed to marriage, to thinking, Oh no, it wouldn't be enough NOT to be married." ~Matt
I'd never met Kristin Calabrese before, which is almost shocking as we know at least 158 people in common, so says Facebook. Of all the interviews thus far, and most likely all in the future, she and Joshua (Aster) are undoubtedly and completely unified. It was inspiring both in what I saw, being their individual art works and home/studio environments, and what I heard, which was their connectivity, their history and the story of their marriage. I look to them to instill some breath of fresh air into this whole marriage activity amongst artists. There is so much resistance to it, and mistrust of it, and she and Josh are simply utilizing it as a ritual structure that they are filling with their own beliefs - reinventing it for themselves - taking what they like, looking forward and leaving the rest behind.
I interviewed them in the back yard of their home inside their own professionally kitted out boxing gym, which serves as a boxing school for kids in the neighborhood.
“We are Brooke Richards: office manager/hostess/casting assistant, and Simon Herrera; owns a boxing gym. We've been together for 1 year after meeting at a gym in Pasadena. He was the boxing coach there and a friend of mine begged me to take the class with her. After the first class I found myself in love and ended up organizing my entire work and school schedule just to take his class (which is hard with 3 jobs on top of going to school). Finally, he met me at the hospital I was volunteering at one night and brought me dinner and we talked until 3 in the morning, told each other EVERYTHING (every secret, mistake, etc.) and we've been together ever since.”
and about gay marriage:
“Everyone’s a human being, and we always agre that there’s certain things all human being deserve, like food, water, air, and getting to love each other.”
Veronica is a painter preparing for graduate school and Clinton is a software engineer and musician, and here are a couple of quotes from their application. Its heartening that people applying are seeming willing to relinquish control of this major life event to favor this unique experience.
“We have been together for 4 years and decided that we wanted to be married after a series of life-changing events involving birth and death affected both of our families. We wanted being married to afford us opportunities to travel together as lifetime companions to nurture each other's changing paths."
“We are agnostic and open to ritual interpretations of marriage. We like to think of ourselves as creative people, aware of and attuned to the arts and artistic projects, living under the idea that art and life can be more interconnected with small everyday efforts. The opportunity to create a wedding ceremony through collaborative input and outside influences rather than inward, hierarchical lines of command is what attracted us to your project. We would like to put aside personal sentiment in favor of the experience.”
Kate (30-something) and Gordon (ditto) are friends of mine, but as luck would have it, also like the idea of Get Hubbied enough to apply. Their application reads like a good short story, and well it should since Kate is a writer/editor/designer etc etc. Ultimately it would have felt like cheating to have chosen them to be the couple since they are close friends, but it was a bittersweet decision since I know it would have been joyous and meaningful for all our families in our continuing enriching friendship history. They are now raising their charming son Grover and have started a creatively thriving business together, an artist’s foundary: www.artsrefoundary.com
This statement struck me as the root of their collective sentiment on marriage:
“The best part of a lifetime partnership is what isn't expected. It is losing your selfishness and embracing the life of someone who has somehow become just as important as you. We are building something big and wonderful together - and even though it isn't necessarily clear what that thing is, it is exciting and special and it would be impossible to do without each other. We think of our lives together as a creative project, always leading us into new places - working together to make our lives as beautiful and special as they can be. It is our hope that this project will continue throughout our lives.”
I am going to shamefully/shamelessly toot my horn via their words:
“We think that not only is Bettina Hubby a unique and wonderful artist in her own right, but that she also has a special gift for finding and encouraging artists with special points of view and abilities of expression. We are less interested in the individual artists than the collective result of their collaboration. What is most interesting to us about this project is watching (and perhaps participating in) a great experiment of artists delving into and exploring the roots, meanings and expressions of the cultural institution of marriage. The result can be nothing less than exciting. And what better way to mark what we hope to be a lifelong partnership of creating and building a life unlike any other, than by allowing a group of artists to bring their own inspiration and expression to a one-of-a-kind, once ever moment about our lifelong project?”
Richard Allan Aptekar (68) and Bevy Jeanne Travlos (61) applied today, and are unable to have an interview since they live out of town. I'd like to quote their application and wish them the best of togetherness - a unique pair to be sure!
“We both look and act 20 years younger than our actual ages. We met at Bevy's former office, at a business networking group session, 'Entrepreneurs In Action'. Richard is a property manager/entertainer/writer/wedding officiant. Bevy is a marketing consultant/jewelry designer. While we've both been married twice, we never say 'never again'. We both love and LIKE each other and we're still debating whether we should 'get married', so the determination of a lifetime partnership is still up in the air. Personally, I (Richard) love ceremonies that are totally unique, individual. I perform a lot (30+ each year; 20 years) As artists ourselves, we love the creative process and its results. It would be wonderful to have other artists interpret our ceremony.”
Richard's website: www.ShowsToYou.com
Renee Arnold (27) and Ryan Joyce (29), who applied online and can't be in the flesh to be interviewed, therefore excerpts suffice via Renee’s written voice to express a bit of their character. I enjoyed the fresh sense of humor and sincerity in their answers.
"RYAN IS A REGIONAL MANAGER FOR AT&T IN WASHINGTON, DC, AND I'M BETWEEN JOBS, TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO USE MY EDUCATION FOR SOMETHING MEANINGFUL UNTIL WE START A FAMILY AND I BECOME A GRANOLA-BAKING HOME-SCHOOLING MOM."
“I HAVE WANTED TO BE MARRIED TO RYAN SINCE I GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE IN 2005. MY FAMILY HAS A HISTORY OF BAD EXAMPLES OF MARRIAGE. IN FACT, MY DAD JUST GOT HIS EIGHTH DIVORCE, MY MOM HAS BEEN DIVORCED THREE TIMES, AND I HAVE THREE SIBLINGS WHO EACH HAVE DIFFERENT MOMS. RYAN AND I BEGAN TALKING ABOUT MARRIAGE WHEN WE REALIZED WE WANTED CHILDREN TOGETHER AND WANTED TO PROVIDE THEM WITH THE STABLE ROOTS I DIDN'T HAVE AS A CHILD. RYAN JOKES HE WAS ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN HE WANTED TO MARRY ME ON THE DAY HE PROPOSED, BECAUSE I SHARED MY BREAD WITH HIM AT DINNER. APPARENTLY, BEING ABLE TO SHARE REALLY GOOD BREAD WITH HIM EVEN THOUGH I REALLY WANTED TO KEEP IT FOR MYSELF WAS PROOF THAT I WOULD BE WILLING TO SHARE EVERY PART OF MY LIFE WITH HIM.”
“NEITHER OF US ARE RELIGIOUS BUT WE WOULD WANT TO INCORPORATE THE AFRICAN AMERICAN BROOM JUMPING CEREMONY ON OUR WAY BACK DOWN THE AISLE IN HONOR OF MY AFRICAN AMERICAN HALF.”
“RYAN HAS GROWN UP SURROUNDED BY ART. HIS MOM, SUSAN JOYCE, IS A CURATOR AND SHE ACTUALLY RECOMMENDED THIS PROJECT TO US. ART HAS BECOME A BIG PART OF MY LIFE AS WELL AS A RESULT OF BEING WITH RYAN. I'VE ALWAYS BEEN CURIOUS IN LEARNING NEW THINGS AND SEEING THE WORLD IN NEW WAYS, AND HAVING SOMEONE ELSE INTERPRET OUR DAY FOR US WOULD BE AN AMAZING NEW EXPERIENCE FOR US AND OUR GUESTS. IT WOULD BE A TRULY MEMORABLE WAY FOR US TO BEGIN THE NEXT CHAPTER OF OUR LIFE TOGETHER.”
OUR first couple to consider! Austin and Dave have been together for 8 years. They have broken up and gotten back together approximately as many times as years, but their relationship is strong and has weathered storms. They have been in conversation with us to be our chosen couple and have questioned our motives, direction, covering all points possible. Its been challenging, and has ultimately strengthened the Get Hubbied resolve. They are also partners in their art practice under the name Fallen Fruit, and are getting the wide and large recognition they deserve for the social and community oriented work they do under that moniker. The Los Angeles County Museum (LACMA) is featuring their versatile and generous fruit-centric projects for the whole year. Understandably, they have chosen not to participate after much thought and conversation due primarily to the fact that our art practices may be confused/muddled with the merger, but I truly appreciated their serious and thoughtful consideration. Here is their website, which is quite impressive, its a wonder they have time to think about getting married: www.fallenfruit.org
They are the 1st and 2nd from the right
A Good Marriage, French, by Eric Rohmer - an impetuous but emotionally frail Sabine stars: a woman on a single-minded mission to find a husband. Ditching her married lover, she sets her sights on Edmond, the attractive cousin of her best friend. Edmond is cordial to Sabine but unresponsive to her romantic overtures. Her persistence is wrenching, but... - 1981
My Dad has made some verbal gesticulations hovering over the idea of asking mom on a trip with him. I have to say that this time it surprises me. Its been many years of moons since they were last together and let's just say, they have been down that road a few times with each other (4). Shakespeare lives on, and more power to them. Perhaps the fifth time will be the charm. (They have since been on a few trips, and gained momentum as a trip-taking occasional couple...but for now, this is stalled by the distance between Savannah, where Dad continues his family medical practice, and San Diego, where my mom lives to take care of my niece, Savannah. This story has a few more chapters I’ll bet.
Renowned feminist writer Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicolson shared an open marriage, indulging in same-sex encounters and other taboo practices in an era of strict societal mores. Set in World War I Europe, this Masterpiece Theater drama explores Vita's tumultuous affair with novelist Violet Keppel in a brave true-story portrayal of lesbianism in the early 20th century. - 1990
We started putting these ads up on telephone poles around the city in art-centric locales. Many site hits.
This remarkable Israeli movie about arranged marriages starts as a romantic comedy: unmarried at 31, Zaza is an embarrassment to his family. Though they parade him past young, attractive, and eligible girls, he resists them all--because Zaza already has a secret love affair with Judith, a divorcée. Zaza knows his parents would never accept Judith; but when his parents find out, the results are worse than either of them ever expected, leading to a harrowing and sad conclusion. Every turn of the story is full of lively, unexpected details; there's not a predictable moment in the entire movie. Dover Koshashvili - 2003
The Ad in ARTFORUM is out on the stands! I got a supportive note from Knight Landesman sent a nice note of well wishes - he really likes the project and wanted to make sure I understood the placement in the back was because it is an advertisement, so in that section, I got the best placement. I have such fond memories of working there. It was like being in a Woody Allen film.
Victor and Irma Estrada opened up to us about their troubles, milestones and ultimate successes. It was a deeply moving discussion filled with the kind of gulp you get when you hear of a couple overcoming major obstacles and doing the work it takes to stay together. They are now enjoying married life and each other more than ever before, and as Irma said, “I’m so glad I stuck it out. Its like a fine wine.”
"We have found that we've had quite a few challenges but what I think has been very interesting is that because we really have different viewpoints about certain things, it forces us to talk and communicate; the one thing I’ve found that’s helped us the most is communication. You have to talk about your issues" -Irma
"Ultimately to be married, it's not for people who are weak..it requires self sacrifice...But, from my point of view, when you’re married, that’s it: you’re married. In that respect you could say I’m really old school.
Also, there is an aspect to marriage which is really driven by the obligation to the children, not to each other, because those kids didn't marry you. Those kids have to bear the consequences of your behavior, and at times you have to bear that situation for the sake of the children." -Victor
Whoa, the details. This is harkening back to CoTour 08 where every detail had 100 details to it. Both Tif and I are on the computer too much for our own good these days, but its rewarding as all the artists bios and images, the research, the marriage poll, and all the aspects of the website we're building are solidifying the whole picture-ness of this project. One more month to get it all sorted, as well as organizing a three-day show at The Company (gallery in Chinatown), a collaboration between me and Abel Baker Gutierrez which takes place on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of October.
Its a little nerve wracking to have put this brave undertaking into the hands of the universe, but it feels good too. The Ad has been sent to Artforum and will hit the stands on October 1st, thereabouts. The mystery couple will hopefully connect with the deeply good intentions of this project and have faith that HubbyCo, and all our collaborators will see to it that this wedding experience is meaningful and dynamic beyond imagining. Knight Landesman at Artforum, where I worked as the receptionist and then circulation director so many years ago, has given us a glorious discount on the ad, and has faith in our project. The artists are sending in good information and ideas, and its gradual (strong and sure) info and image gathering is a sight for sore eyes.
Xochitl and Mabell’s home itself was a testament to the strength of their relationship and includes a shrine they activate consistently as a reminder to their commitment. They were incredibly forthcoming about the challenges and victories of being a lesbian couple; they got married during that brief window in California when it was appropriately legal. Their cats were running and playing around in their abundant garden as we talked. Since the video was made, one of their cats passed away, so for them the video is a lasting portrait of not only their love for each other but as a monument of the love they had for their cat as well.
“I’m the first woman in my generation whose gotten married who wasn’t pregnant, who wasn’t being forced to get married...and that’s kind of a big deal - its a really big Mexican family and a lot of my cousins are already married. When I told my Grandma I was getting married, I said the bad news is I’m marrying a woman. The good news is that she’s amazing, and she’s a doctor, and I’m in love, AND I’m not pregnant. She didn’t quite see the humor, but I did.” ~ Xochitle
“I am willing to suffer heartbreak...heartache and sadness in order to have the happiness and the passion and the ecstacy that I also feel. So, you kind of have to ask yourself, are you prepared for that, before you get married, and I am. I think you have a choice...that’s the 21st century twist...and I chose to marry for true love.” ~MaBell
All the artist's have committed to the project, the advertisement has been scrutinized, to say the least, and is off to ARTFORUM. Mike Slack, the artist and the designer of the Ad, must be relieved knowing I can't send revisions and/or semantic queries any longer. Now its time to buckle into the month to make ready for when the magazine hits the stands on Oct. 1st or thereabouts. I want to make sure that every question anyone could possible have is answered before anyone asks, as much as this is possible. My virtual and physical bulletin boards are cramping with overuse.
Its a little nerve wracking to have put this undertaking into the hands of the universe, but its the kind of butterflied stomach I can handle and is normal for all artistic undertakings - the hope that what you create will be received well, will work. I hope an eventual couple will connect with the deeply good intentions of this project and have faith that HubbyCo’s collaborators will see to it that this wedding experience is meaningful and dynamic. Knight Landesman at ARTFORUM, where I worked as the receptionist and then Circulation Director so many years ago, has given us a generous discount on the ad, and has an encouraging enthusiasm for our project. The artists are sending in good information and ideas, and a gradual strong but sure info/image gathering is building my steam.
We started putting these ads up on telephone poles around the city in art-centric locales and our website is being tapped into now, as evident by its virtual attendance scorekeeper.
Tim and David are involved in a deeper familial relationship with each other than any romance they've ever had, but a deep commitment nonetheless. Neither of them have been in a long lasting partnership/romance. This is why they wanted to be interviewed together.
Here are excerpts of lyrics to the song they chose to represent their relationship, which is especially pogniant knowing the struggles they’ve been through as brothers/friends:
'For the Life That Will Be'
...If we remain together in our diversity - Together we can discover our unity - If we can put ourselves together we'll have continuity... If we stay together it will be a miracle - If we stay together we will be a family...We will stay together if we understand each other- If we pardon each other, what mistakes can we make? ...To the life that will be. For the life that will be - You will never be alone, I will never be alone, we will never be alone.
“What would interest me in marriage would be a commitment with a legal aspect. If I fall in love with someone from another county they should be able to become a citizen; it should include financial benefits, insurance, as well as the way you’re perceived in the world. I completely think that men should have the option to get married.” ~Tim
“In general it can be very difficult for two men to be together and to relinquish power in order to cooperate. The interesting difference between gay couples and straight couples that I’ve seen is that straight couples have this notion of romance - there’s already this road and this format and framing that’s already put up, whereas gay men don’t have that template in front of them, so they’re forced to find a way that works for them.
I don’t know if I’d want to have approbation from a society that has a really rigid notion of what coupledom is. I want approbation from the people I respect in the world I live in. They would be the people at any ceremony I’d do. I like the idea that it should be legal. We do live in a world where if your lover dies, you can’t go to the hospital and their family takes everything he owned from you - that is so horrific.”~ David
Orson Welles' audacious biography of newspaper baron Charles Foster Kane, which, in essence, was a thinly veiled portrait of publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst. Welles's complex and technically stunning film chronicles Kane's rise from poverty to become one of America's most influential men -- and it's considered one of the best movies ever made. Notable to this topic is the famous 'breakfast' montage scene succinctly illustrating the disintegration of Kane's marriage in a brief time. 1941
Life is Sweet - Mike Leigh, 1991. The plot is simple enough. A couple of days in the life of a working class London family. A couple of fairly deep issues are dealt with, such as eating disorders and depression, but other than a few moments, all we are doing is watching a family live their life: a strong hard-working mother; a weaker easily-led by his mates father; and their twin daughters: Natalie - resourceful and kind-hearted but with a strange tendency to wear men's shirts and down pints - and Nicola - screwed up, rude, irrational and painfully insecure in both her looks and her intelligence. Notable to this topic is the resounding sweetness between husband and wife, at the end of the day - there is love there.
Jon has taken portraits of couples in his circle of LA acquaintances and friends. He was struck by the uncanny pairings that have arisen and shifted amongst these people over time within this strong-knit group and so made the photographs on wood with holes in the top so that they hang on pegs next to each other, and are easy to take down and switch. Many partners have literally switched partners over time and many have remained friends. Jon is such a well-spoken succinct thinker, and though this undertaking may on first view seem like a cynical view of marriage, he is a romantic at heart.
“For years I’ve asked people, just randomly out of curiousity, why get married, why not just live together with the person you’re with. What’s beyond just being in a relationship that you get from this?...and the woman that I work with had the best answer, that you sort of make an agreement to go beyond whatever the normal problems you would have when you’d have split up with someone...whatever that is that’s gone wrong, that you would go a step further, or the ten steps you’d have to go through in order to stay together...”
“The whole idea of marriage is really antiquated to me. I think that’s why I interviewed people for years, why I still do it. I think more people get married than should because they feel its an obligation or almost an acquisition - tthey still think that even though they may be modern in their other ways of thinking, they’re very old fashioed in this idea about being married. I think it is outmoded and even though it is a nice idea, it needs to be upmoded.”
Here are a few couples he photographed (and not all of them are still together):
Sad film with a slightly satisfactory end via the main characters softening from a crotchety professor feared by his students and cuckolded by his young wife - 1940 Mike Figgis
We met with these nervous pair of camera-shy men, though they had no need to be. I've known them for years and have been the blissed out repeat recipient of their culinary talents that they dole out generously when entertaining from their home, my dream home. Again, I felt lucky to hear their back story and the challenges they face being together as a gay couple, the issues that remain with their families, and to talk about their love and how it has shifted and deepened over the ten years they’ve been together. They both almost seem surprised, not that they’re still together, but that its been as easy as it has been, as natural.
“About getting married, I always considered it just a piece of paper; the ritual or the ceremony really doesn’t validate the relationship. The peole who are around us see the way that we are - that’s a ritual in itself....I hope we grow old together.” ~ Mo
“I don’t feel that I want to get married. I don’t want to think about getting divorced. Being gay, you kind of had to fight through a lot of other things, so you get to make it up, and that’s the good part, making up your life together because you don’t have to fall into all the conventions.”
A German man, in love with his wife - that’s a fairly accurate summation of this interview. Christian and his wife have endured some major obstacles, but his first priority remains family over all else. He would rather be living in the United States, but stays in Germany for the sake of marital and familial unity. His wife was in Germany at the time, so I interviewed him solo about not being solo. I was moved to hear him speak about his decisions in life regardless of his personal wishes for career and location; he projected such utter unselfishness and sacrifice for the sake of the family, and emanated zero resentment. What struck/jolted me most deeply is that he specifically sacrificed his dream job for his family. I have met very few people, in fact I'm having a hard time thinking of ONE person, who has made such a big life decision and sacrifice for the other.
"Say, you’re an artist for example. its like using different media. Some people like to paint with red, and always paint with red, so they get really deep into it, or working with one technique…and so, you get deep and deeper and you know more about this media than anybody else, but if you jump from one media to another, you're always on the surface." ~ Christian
Check out the interview on this site, under video interviews
Javier and Signe met in Barcelona on vacation and fell in love. They were not married, and feel strongly that the institution is not for them. They were together for more than 8 years and travel separately for their individual careers, he for art and she for social work. I was curious to see a relationship work with so much separation and no verbal or legal commitment.
(alas or for better, since this video was made, Javier and Signe are no longer together)
"Its (marriage) a convention. I don't want to always think I have to do what the other people are doing in the ways they are doing it. If I wanted to get more committed and celebrate that, I would actually do it on a daily basis toward her. Because being together with someone requires that you commit, that you give a lot of yourself, that you cut your ego. " -Javier
Is it really ideal for you to be together with one person for a really long time? I'm not sure. Nowadays people are more independent, and that's also reflected in relationships. People are more picky…they don't accept too many things that annoy them. Its difficult living with another person. So, a consequence of the financial independence people have gained is also that they have different relationships in their lives….and I don't think that's a bad thing. ~Signe
Tif and I met with Linda and Alan, very accomplished architects who are known to use recycled and green methods of building. We went to discuss the build out of the desert property I purchased a year ago - a plot of dirt with a small structure on it. I say small structure instead of house since its basically walls and a roof, no plumbing or any interior goodies. We envision it to be HubbyCo Far East, and a component of Get Hubbied. It is envisioned to be a retreat for recently joined couples to go and get away from each other, to be alone and to think about marriage, togetherness and themselves as individuals. I went to Montessori school as a child and thought of guiding the individuals in a similar style and structure through films and reading materials and activities in a solitary peaceful environment.
We then went out to the desert to visit a property that they built, called the It House. Check out their website:
I've known Michele, an artist, and Ivan, a graphic designer and web guru, for many years, but, as it sometimes tends to go with even the closest of friends over scores and scores of evenings of conversation, have never broached the topic of their relationship, how they met, and what marriage means to them. I consider myself deeply blessed to have been amongst the invitees of their wedding years ago. It was by far the most touching and emotionally resonant wedding I’ve ever been to. Individually they are such strong independent and talented individuals but neither take the dominant role in the relationship- which I find quite rare. Until now, I was more aware of their love of cats than what they thought of their own love of each other, since there is no avoiding the issue of cat love in their household - I think at one point they had about 9 of them. Now they are joyfully raising their child Ellis amongst the cats.
“We got married because we love each other; its an expression of our love, and its a big celebration of our love that everybody can understand.” ~Ivan
“I feel like that for as many ions marriage has existed, it still has a whole new meaning for me and for Ivan and our relationship...Its an institution or idea that exists and you can make that idea what you want."
Symbolic acts are really important to people. There are all kinds of ceremonies that have significance, like christening a baby...the first birthday party, funerals...there are all of these milestones that are very meaningful and I feel that it (marriage) should be for everybody.” ~Michele
See their interview, and at least one of the cats, under video's on this site.
This film is considered one of Ingmar Bergman's best, an intense drama follows the marriage of Marianne and Johan as it deteriorates - the frustration and misunderstandings palpable. When Marianne learns of Johan's infatuation with another woman, the relationship unravels, yet through it all, a deep, underlying love keeps the couple connected. And Marianne's discovery of her power as an independent woman woos him back to a deeper union. 1973
Here are some of the questions we are asking in the interviews:
How old are you and what do you do for a living? How did you meet? Did you have significant relationships before you met each other? Are or were your parents’ happily married? Tell us about the circumstances leading up to your marriage? Why did you decide to get married?
What are your thoughts on gay marriage? What aspects of marriage are most important for you? Do either or both of you subscribe to religious or cultural conventions? Was your marriage something you did for your family? Do you think taking occasional breaks from each other may prolong marriages?
Do you look at marriage as being a long term commitment, but not necessarily till death do you part? How many people do you know who you think are happily married?
The marriage project I conceived early this winter now feels like a real undertaking instead of just a conversation. It all started with thoughts of doing a group show on marriage - to study it, think about it, discuss it and create something about it. My life has been touched by the institution time and time again in that my parents married and divorced each other a few times, both my sis and I have married and divorced, and the prop 8 issue has brought marriage into the forefront of current discussions. I thought it fair game and of interest as a topic for art making.
With time and reflection the group show structure was too lifeless as a format for Get Hubbied. I came around to the fact that the format needed to be a wedding itself; all the players within would be the creators of the wedding, including the couple, the bride and groom’s families, my family, the artists, Tif and me. So, I began thinking of this more as a collaborative event, and to choose the couple based on their ability to enjoy and participate in this unconventional but very joyous way of discussing, questioning and celebrating the institution of marriage.
Though, through various technological challenges and learning curves broached and battled, proudly, the first few interviews have been filmed, and the footage awaits our virtual red pen...and then we'll begin posting them to the website.
- Project Home
- Video Interviews
- Bec and Ruben
- Classified Ad
- Skip Arnold
- Barbara Bestor
- The trio, 'The Boyfriend,' Chris Kuhrt, Stephen Schilling & Mark Simon
- Joshua Callaghan
- Cal Clements
- Gerald Davis
- Abel Baker Gutierrez
- Roger Herman
- Bettina Hubby
- Samo Hurt (AKA David G.A. Stephenson) - ballad for Bec and Ruben
- Tyler Hubby
- Christopher James
- David Jones & Kelly Marie Martin
- Kahn & Selesnick
- Daveed Kapoor and Alison Kudlow -Yichud
- Kate Mayfield & Ade Ratna
- Karen Lofgren
- Miguel Nelson
- Michele O'Marah
- Terri Phillips
- Olivia Primé
- Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs
- Ed Ruscha
- Tif Sigfrids
- Mike Slack
- Joe Sola
- George Stoll
- William Stone
- Marriage Poll
- Other Marriage Art
- Why are we doing this?
- About Hubby
- Thank yous