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The Patron from Hell

I am that patron. I am the patron who enters your establishment, inhales a toxic odor, and writes a review about it. I am the patron who asks that the music be turned down, five times, of five different people, including the manager, then takes the party onto the sidewalk […]


Scream Machines and Big Design

  One of the people I loved most in the world could not recognize his own mother in photos. He invented a system of hacks to disguise his inability to read social cues. His understanding of spatial relationships was so nuanced that he broke every test he took. He re-imagined […]


Sustainability: It’s Your Health

TW: language, family dysfunction When we first moved to Philadelphia, I committed two terrible sins. Arriving in the South Philly home of my mother-in-law, where residents cut down street trees because they are “messy,” I 1) opened the blinds, and 2) bought plants for the front windows. Later, after the storm of shock […]


Frigid Dining

Lately I’ve been rubbernecking Architectural Digest. It’s not that the photos aren’t glamorous. It’s–well, just look. These are from a series of “Before + After: Stunning Dining Room Makeovers.” The “before” photos are predictably stodgy, dated and bland. The “after” photos are stunning all right. They make me want to […]


Moving Rocks

Last Friday I spent the whole day laying a walkway, with stuff I dug up in the garden last summer. The lack of tension in my garden has been bothering me all year. Even though stuff was growing with unprecedented vigor, it was all the same green. There weren’t enough […]


Dandelions at Franny Lou’s

This Valentine’s Day, I painted purple dandelions. If you’ve lived in Kensington for more than a year, you probably remember Leotah’s coffee house; it was my favorite place to hang in the neighborhood. Last year, hearts were broken when it was forced to close. Thankfully, that’s not the end of […]


Why Decoration Is High Art

It’s the easiest thing in the world. You don’t even have to think. Just invoke the D-word during a critique, at any fine arts academy in the world, and watch the artist crumble. “It’s decorative.” In other words: trivial, shallow, trite, banal, unintelligent, and unworthy of further consideration. (“Feminine,” is […]


How Design Can Break You

A walk through a BMW showroom once gave me a nervous breakdown. I was living the dream, as an artist in San Francisco during the height of the tech boom. I had a secure job, a flourishing studio practice and a quasi-jet-setter lifestyle. My programmer boyfriend and I spent weekends […]