Well, I’m officially launching PhillipRetuta.com again. Off and on for the past month, I’ve been working on the layout, design, and code, and I’m satisfied enough to announce that it’s ready. Check it out.
Over this past weekend, I went to the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Gowanus, Brooklyn. The admission price is fairly cheap, and I managed to get in for $6 by lying and saying that I was still a student at Parsons (I still have my old student ID at all times, in case I need to get a discount at a movie or a museum, but even then the Gothy hipster girl running the admissions counter didn’t even check). Overall, I would suggest going to a place like this. I admit that it was small and that the two-room, single floor of exhibits seems like a collector’s apartment filled with strange trinkets and oddities — you feel like you’re at your weird, really-religious-but-somehow-progressive aunt’s apartment, and she just died and you need to clear out her junk.
As an artist, I loved nearly all the exhibits — from the two-headed kitten, to some guy’s tattooed skin preserved in a jar, to all the imagery of death and religion. A couple of my friends who went with me (excluding one friend that’s a fine artist) said the place is a rip-off, but they aren’t visual or artistically-inclined people; a large part of me appreciates the finest detail of even the littlest thing: from a well-preserved skeleton of a translucent tropical fish in a 2-inch jar, to the hand-carved Virgin Mary and Death statues that could easily balance on the tip of your finger. That shit takes immense skill to create, and yes, if you bunch it all together in such a confined space, you can easily overlook those details. I understand that nearly everything in that museum took patience to create, and I advise you to have such patience when visiting this place. It’s an interesting place if you’re fascinated by images of the macabre and sacred, and you’ll definitely need some time to examine all the books, photographs, and tiny pieces this small museum has to offer. If your expectations are to see a bunch of freakshow fuckery, you might be disappointed.
Oh, but they do have taxidermied squirrels and chipmunks gathering at a bar and a fair, respectively. There’s also a coffee bar and a keen gift shop on the ground floor, too. All of it is pretty fucking cool.
Click through some of the larger exhibits:
A little video from me and my dog.
Let’s be honest: one of the major gripes about any relationship that I have is the feeling of being left out. Be it friends or family, I feel alone and isolated when I’m not included in something, particularly with certain individuals I feel close to. Initially, it gets me depressed and makes me wonder why the fuck I’m not doing the same thing or seeing the potential of outside/unfamiliar places, events, and people. Of course, these sentiments have made me stronger – at least in my own head – and have forced me to become more independent and less co-dependent. I want to see what this world has to offer, and even if I feel left out, I push myself to explore outside the comfort zones of my city (New York) and the known world (America).
When I went to Tokyo a few years back – the only foreign country I’ve visited, other than the Philippines when I was 4 – I got a taste of outside Midwestern and New York culture. I’m forever grateful for that trip, but with the stresses of life and my un/underemployment of 2012 to 2014, I’ve been financially and emotionally hindered to travel anywhere, much less go to a concert or nice restaurant or whatever the hell most people do.
And so, since I’ve been able to settle a promising and permanent job, coupled with some of my friends who went outside of the country this past winter, I made it a goal to travel and experience life more, with or without the company of other individuals.
For instance, I went to Montauk by myself as soon after I visited my family in Chicago for Christmas. I was inspired by this article and subsequent psychological paper, both of which proposed that experiential purchases are more memorable and fulfilling than material purchases. At this stage of my life, I feel I own enough shit to be comfortable, so why not spend my money on travelling – be it outside of town, a museum or concert, or any other fucking shit other than a new TV or a piece of furniture?
Anyway, after arriving at La Guardia airport in NYC from O’Hare, I rented a car and picked up my dog from my friend who was watching her in Manhattan. I drove the 3+ hours (sidenote: I miss driving), straight into the night, and booked a pet-friendly hotel right by the Atlantic Ocean. For the next two days, I was able to reflect and relax, completely removed from any and all outside factors and forces in an otherwise completely deserted Montauk. I know that it was winter, but this kind of solitude gave me piece of mind and further enforced my wanderlust. I was a stranger in unfamiliar territory, and without the stigma of obligations or people I know, it felt good to fucking travel. I felt refreshed.
Here are some of the photos I took:
Ultimately, this is the first step in me traveling more – a newfound wanderlust, if you will. I feel I’ve wasted the last 31 years being sheltered, sticking to my own comfort zones, and being completely emotionally invested in the people and places and things that, in retrospect, don’t bring me definitive happiness or fulfillment. So cheers: to living life.
As most of my friends know, I try to be a little crafty — almost to the point where I’d make an excellent, domestic housewife. This past Christmas, I used the great services at Spoonflower to print out pictures of my friends’ dogs onto fabric. I then constructed pillowcases using the printed cloth swatches and materials that I got at this affordable fabric store, Trumart, as well as some old Ikea pillows my roommate has been wanting me to get rid of (two birds, one stone: making presents and getting rid of furniture). I used a combination of hand-sewn stitching and a cheap-ass, hot pink covered sewing machine my mom got me before I moved to New York to create what I consider one of the more thoughtful gifts I’ve ever produced. Let’s just say that the skills I learned in 6th grade Home Economics have helped me immensely (shoutout to Mrs. Schaudt), and with a little hard work and a budget of 40 dollars, I was able to create something my friends loved.
A part of me thinks I should open my own Etsy shop or sell a bunch of shit at Renegade Craft Fair (the latter, I did once back in 2008). Hipsters and twees would eat this shiznit up.