The “Portrait-ception” Edition :: Issue #080


Rusty’s Electric Dreams :: Issue #080 :: The “Portrait-ception” Edition :: 04:13:2016

Rusty's Electric Dreams

Rusty’s Electric Dreams, an inbox zine by professional free spirit Rusty Blazenhoff
Issue #080 :: The “Portrait-ception” Edition :: 04:13:2016


A brilliant man by the name of Kyle Kesterson recommended a book to me at an awesome conference/retreat we both attend called Dent. The book –which was originally self-published in 1998– is called Orbiting the Giant Hairball and it was penned by Gordon Mackenzie, a 30-year veteran of Hallmark.

Mackenzie was a king amongst creative kings. One of his greatest life’s achievements was that he gave people permission to be creative… to be artists. He gave them space to create within a restrictive corporate system (the “hairball”). 
Towards the end of his career at the greeting card behemoth, he earned himself a new job title, “Creative Paradox.” While he earned the promotion, the title itself wasn’t given to him, he created it. This is how he describes it:

“I became a liaison between the chaos of creativity and the discipline of business. I had no job description and a title that made no sense, but people started coming to me with their ideas, and I would listen to those ideas and validate them. When you validate a person, what you’re really doing is giving them power — like a battery charger.”

That was his job, to validate people. I can’t tell you how touched I was by that. I don’t have insider info on Hallmark’s current climate, but how amazing is it that they had a “Creative Paradox” on staff?

The book is great, give it a read. Then, pass it along to a friend.

I’m traveling to NYC this week (which I’m very excited about! I’ll tell you more about THAT later) and I’ve been reminding SJ that she has her 5th grade portraits on Friday, while I’m gone. I told her I want her to start thinking about what she’s going to wear, how she’s going to style her hair, and stuff like that. Ok, so last night, I brought it up again. She looked at me like I was a little nuts and said, “What is the big deal with these portraits?!”

I explained that it was a way of capturing everyone’s image at a certain time in their life.  I said there would be a class portrait too. She said, “What?! WHO is going to be doing all this DRAWING of the PORTRAITS?” I responded, “No one… these are your school photos, that’s all.”

She looked at me and started laughing, “I thought we were getting PORTRAITS of ourselves drawn on PAPER.” Then we both laughed when I explained that there are different kinds of “portraits.”

We then spent a good part of the evening discussing all the ways she could show up for her fifth-grade portrait session. The one we liked the most was the idea of a “portrait-ception.” She brings in a sketch pad to school and gets her photo taken of her drawing her own portrait… and, of course, the portrait she’s drawing is of her drawing a portrait.

Have a great week, y’all!

Rusty Blazenhoff

p.s.  Learn more about Kyle (and that incredible brain of his) in this video. He’s demoing Campfire, his super-amazing storytelling app, at iHangar’s big Community Day (SF) on 4/16. By the way, his company has a great name. In fact, it’s Freak’n Genius. 🙂

“Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.”

This space intentionally left inceptioned

As seen on the Internets


Artist Briancoshock turned abandoned manhole covers in Milan into miniature rooms

:: Definitely worth a watch: CONAN in South Korea
:: THIS ONE, especially

BBQ Punk exists!

AutoCamp, a luxury Airstream trailer “getaway” in Guerneville, CA

:: Peter Max’s groovy paper airplanes

:: “It takes about 8 and a half minutes to get to space”– Astronaut Cady Coleman

:: This is your brain on LSD

:: Betty Crocker’s LIES

:: Beautiful read: $teven Ra$pa on losing Prepostero, his beard of 18 years (!)

:: Leonardo da Vinci’s resume

:: A guy planted a “Van Gogh painting” in his field Thanks, Piph!

:: Ain’t this sweet: The juvenile delinquents of San Francisco in the late 1950s
:: Thanks, Gary!

Something Neat-o



Impossible bought a Polaroid factory and re-hired workers to recreate and start selling the popular film a few years back.
This is their first attempt at making a new polaroid camera. Integrates a ring flash and manual controls via iOS app integration.”
Amit Gupta, Product Hunt

Artist-in-Residence: Carollyne Yardley


Skinner's Horse

Skinner’s Horse, 48″ x 48″, oil on wood panel, 2015

“This cross-pollination of the grave with the goofy continues in Skinner’s Horse. Yardley combines the uniform of the Skinner’s Horse Brigade, a relic of British Imperialism in India, with the iconic Archie McPhee rubber horse mask. To me, this work highlights the contrast between two types of cultural organization; on the one hand, the forced control of colonialism, and on the other the kind of unregulated, spontaneous popular activity that has adopted the horse mask for the symbol of anonymity. Rather than a medium of disguise though, the mask is a way of highlighting something overlooked. The anonymous horses of the cavalry regiment are here invoked by a symbol of anarchic contemporary folk culture. This image
dissolves the tensions between colonizers and colonized into such a concise statement as to be absurd. The only way out is to laugh.”

Laurie White, Analogue Magazine, Dec/Jan 2016

Carollyne Yardley‘s exquisite oil painting technique lends a certain authority to the absurd, allowing the serious and the silly to hover together on the same plane of existence. The “mask” has become a symbol describing misfits, hiding behind animated personas, odd and beautifully unusual. She is currently exploring character development through the repetition of imagery, brand development, identity, memes, pop culture, and absurdity.

Events of note

[4/20] dorkbot SF #86 at Codeword
[4/20] Brian Fan’s new kind of guitar that anyone can play in 5 minutes at dorkbot SF #86 at Codeword, San Francisco
Various cities in the USA
[Until 4/23] Lily Tomlin


[4/16] Atlas Obscura Day

Alameda, California
[4/30] Whimsy Fest, 1 PM – 6 PM at Alameda Point

[3/2017] Spannabis

[6/4-6/5] Chicago Redhead Days, 11 AM to 5 PM, City Hall Park

East Park Reservoir in Colusa County, California
[5/20-5/26] Camp Tipsy, an “annual rotten boat building contest and camp-out”

Houston, Texas
[4/9] The 29th Annual Houston Art Car Parade

Lake Iseo, Italy
[6/18 to 7/3] Christo’s Floating Piers

Las Vegas
[Ongoing] Akhob, an immersive “Ganzfeld effect” experience by artist James Turrell at Louis Vuitton [by appt only: 702-730-3150]  HIGHLY recommended!

Desert beyond Las Vegas
[4/29-5/1] Further Future Festival [Tickets]

Lisbon, Portugal
[11/7-11/10] Web Summit 2016

[July 2016] EVA London 2016

Los Angeles

Cool Places to Buy Weird Shit in Los Angeles

[4/9] “Hooray L.A.” gala with Charles Phoenix at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater, 8 PM [Tickets]

[4/13] Serial Killer Speed Dating at BarFood LA, 8 – 10 PM

[4/17] A Swedish Nyckelharpa & Accordion show at The Museum of Jurassic Technology, 7:30 PM and 9:30 PM [Tickets]

[Dates through 4/30] Mojo Maps, Interactive Theatre and Urban Adventure created by a former Disney Imagineer

[Until 5/12] Hooray for L.A.A full Marionette Musical Variety Hour at Bob Baker Marionette Theater [Tickets]

[5/29] E.T., the Extra Terrestrial screening at Hollywood Forever Cemetery

[8/14] BrunchCon LA at The Reef, 9 AM to 3 PM Thanks, Josh!

[10/1] Dolly Parton at Hollywood Bowl [Tickets]

[12/5-12/8] Henry Rollins at Largo

Marble Falls, Texas
[10/7-10/10] Camp Grounded

Melbourne, Australia
beinArt Gallery opens in early 2016

New Orleans
[2/28/2017] Mardi Gras
[2/13/2018] Mardi Gras
[3/5/2019] Mardi Gras
[2/25/20] Mardi Gras

New York City
Quirky NYC by Oriana Leckert:
“From Bumper Cars to Torah Taxidermy: A Guide to 25 of Brooklyn’s Most Unusual Museums”
“From Elevators to Outsider Art: A Guide to 16 Under-the-Radar Museums in Queens”

[4/16] Anarchist Book Fair at Judson Memorial Church near Washington Square, 11 AM to 7 PM

[4/16] Blunderland, an evening of Variety at the House of Yes, Brooklyn, 7 PM to 10 PM [Tickets]

[Until 5/26] Then She Fell, a “fully immersive, multi-sensory experience in which only 15 audience members per performance explore a dreamscape where every alcove, corner, and corridor has been transformed into a lushly designed world”

[Ongoing] Sleep No More at The McKittrick Hotel
[Ongoing] Jungle-Ized by Sound Collective, Free
[Ongoing] The Ferry Play on the Staten Island Ferry, $1.99
[Ongoing] More NYC events


[4/16-9/25] Altered State: Marijuana in California at OMCA

[4/17] MAPS 30th Anniversary Banquet & Celebration at Scottish Rite Center

[4/20] The Dancehall of Beautiful Radiant Things at Fratellanza Club [Emeryville], 7:30 PM to 10:30 PM [Tickets]

[4/23] 2016 Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair, 10 AM to 6 PM

[5/6-5/8] DadaConf 0.1 at Nimby [Tickets]

[6/25-6/26] Burger Boogaloo, Mosswood Park [Tickets]

Palm Springs, California
[7/8-7/11] Yes and Yes Yes (YxYY) at the Ace Hotel, a “summer retreat for anyone who considers themselves a thinker, maker, creator, nerd, or weirdo.” [Tickets]

Paris, France
Editor’s note:
Last January I had the good fortune to spend the night in an artist’s yurt. My photos from that visit will be included in this show…in PARIS!
[4/13-8/29] Habiter le Campement, Cité de l’architecture & du patrimoine au Palais de Chaillot

Portland, Oregon
[8/11-8/15] World Domination Summit [Tickets]

Provincetown, Massachusetts
[8/13-8/19] Carnival 2016: Back to the 80’s

Riverside, California
[5/20-5/22] Beyond Brookledge at the Galleria at the Mission Inn

San Francisco
“Best storytelling events in the Bay Area”
Upscale vs. Frugal SF
[Ongoing] Elsewhere Philatelic Society
[Ongoing] More SF events

[Until 4/23] INTRUDE, a large-scale public artwork by Tasmanian artist Amanda Parer, Civic Center Plaza

[4/13] Fireside Storytelling: “Achilles Heel” at Chez Poulet, 7:30 PM Doors, $15

[4/14] Yuri’s NightLife at California Academy of Sciences with Space Cowboys, 6 PM to 10 PM [Tickets]

[4/14-4/15] The Chocolate and Art Show at SOMarts

[4/15] Bawdy Storytelling: “Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll” at 7 PM [Tickets]
“Nerdgasm” at 10:30 PM [Tickets], both at the Verdi Club

[4/16] Perpetual Motion Grand Opening (inc. Nemo Gould’s “Megalodon”) at Heron Arts (exhibits through 5/14)

[4/16] Community Day at Innovation Hangar at Palace of Fine Arts, 10 AM to 5 PM (Kyle Kesterson will demo his new storytelling app, Campfire, at this event. It’s REALLY cool!) [Free]

[4/20] Screening of “Blueberry Soup” at Chez Poulet [Tickets]

[4/20] dorkbot SF #86 at Codeword

[4/21-4/24] The Gray Area Festival, a conference, performances, workshops, and an exhibition surveying culture through the lens of art and technology

[4/27] Mermaid Swim San Francisco

[4/29-5/1] stARTup Art Fair at Hotel del Sol

[4/30] Mark Growden’s Quintet At The Mission San Francisco de As’­s, 8 PM [Tickets]

[5/1] How Weird 2016: The Cosmic Stew, [Tickets]

[5/5] Jason Mecier’s “Celebrity Trash” at 111 Minna

[5/11] Fireside Storytelling: “Gotta Bail” at Chez Poulet, 7:30 PM Doors, $15

[5/16] SFMOMA to reopen

[6/5] Space Age slide show with Charles Phoenix at Grand Star Theater, 3 PM [Tickets]

[6/11-10/2] Cindy Sherman: Imitation of Life at The Broad [pdf]

[6/12-6/13] Season finale of Calling All Choir at Mission Dolores Basilica

[6/12] Mac Sabbath at Slim’s, 8 PM, all ages [Tickets]

[6/24-6/26] New Games with John Law

[7/10] Cocktail Robotics Grand Challenge at DNA Lounge [Tickets]

[7/23] The Murray Invitational. A Bill Murray Art Exhibition and Golf Party at Public Works

[8/5-8/7] Outside Lands, Golden Gate Park

[10/13] Brian Wilson presents Pet Sounds – Celebrating the 50th Anniversary, 8 PM [Tickets]

[10/2017] 50th Anniversary of the Summer of Love

SF Bay Area
[Ongoing] Best swimming holes in the SF Bay Area

San Diego, California
[8/18-8/21] Tiki Oasis: “Monster Island”

San Mateo, California
[5/20-5/22] The 11th Annual Maker Faire Bay Area [Tickets]

San Rafael, California
[5/7] David Sedaris at Marin Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium, 8 PM [Tickets]

Santa Fe, New Mexico
[Ongoing] Meow Wolf [Read this] [Tickets]

The Obscure, the Charming and the Odd: Mark Pahlow’s Guide to Seattle

[7/4-7/10] Nowhere

Sun Valley, Idaho
[4/19-4/22] Dent 2017

If YOU would like to co-curate an issue of Rusty’s Electric Dreams, I’d love to hear your idea! Please email me: about a cool event? Share it. I’ll do my best to include it in the next issue.

The Houndstooth Glitch by Doc Pop for Betabrand


Foma Labs, Immersive Experiences

“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.”

Dolly Parton

Rusty’s Electric Dreams is a weekly inbox zine by Rusty Blazenhoff. These personally-curated missives are beacons to signal and celebrate the global tribe of weird, wonderful, and “different” people (“the Others“).

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