24 February 2008


A few hundred people braved the rain and crammed into Tartine for the “art opening.” Those who came hungry ate heartily. Those who weren’t hungry graciously accepted the bowls of sancocho and homebrewed pineapple beer I thrust at them.

A week later the show got some press in the Guardian.

Despite the boost, my confidence sagged. Nobody seemed to be reading the artist statement. The stack of postcards next to the cream and sugar didn't dwindle. Eyes never wandered above the top row of the pastry case.

I finally got realistic: people don’t come to Tartine for the "art"

Uh... what show?

Then one day I overheard a conversation at the coffee bar between two strangers going back and forth about their favorite photos. “I like that one in the corner… it always reminds me that there is a bigger world out there.” The other nodded in agreement. “I like that one over the door – every morning I come in gunning for my coffee and I see that picture of the mountaintop and the clouds and I just relax.” I butted into the conversation and hugged the two startled women.

The show got more press a few weeks later; this time in the weekend edition of the San Francisco Examiner. Read it here or click on the image to enlarge.

I may still be two grand in the hole but I would call the show a resounding success - none of which would have been possible without generous help.

A whole hearted thank you to Chad and Liz, who provided not just the stage, but a family, a home, and an always inspiring place to work. To my ruthless editors and most ardent supporters: Dad, Mom, and Jaz. To my resilient curator, Brianna, and the professional crew at Photoworks. To my friends in the Sierra Nevada Santa Martha. Mono tells me that Teti always asks when his gringo is going to come back to the Sierra. Very soon, abuelito, as long as I’m still “fresco” with El Cholo.

And finally to you, my dear readers. Gracias a todos.

Update (March 15)

A week ago I got a call, and the brief conversation ended like this:

Me. You're joking?
Caller. Nope.
Me. I've never been on TV.
Caller. That's okay.
Me. I don't even have a TV.
Caller. So then we'll see you at the studio on Friday?

Click on this link to see the wandering cook "LIVE"