Saturday, October 6, 2012

Being a Dinner Guest, and a Really Cool Artist at Unblurred (VEGAN MOFO: DAY 6)

The only thing I like as much as cooking dinner for my friends is when my friends cook dinner for me.
Lisa and Eli recently relocated to Pittsburgh from Washington DC so that Lisa can attend grad school at Duquesne.  Lisa is a vegan dabbler.  She prefers to cook vegan, but she is not even a full-time vegetarian.  I respect that.  The truth is, that's how I was for years and years.  Frankly, that's how I was during the majority of time I maintained this blog!  I support any incremental change in a positive direction.

Lisa's got Veganomicon, which was also my first vegan cookbook.  She's super-busy with grad school (grad school sounds hard, man), but she took the time to prepare a really great dinner and invite me over to eat it.
It's extra-impressive to me how little mess she created while cooking.  I really need to learn that trick.
What we've got here is Baked BBQ Tofu (made with the Backyard BBQ Sauce),  Sauteed Collards, Skillet Corn Bread (made in a standard pan instead of a skillet, but no worse for it!), and I put the Cheater Baked Beans right on top of the bread.  Terrific stuff!  A little higher in sugar than I'm trying to eat with my meals, but I have no regrets. 
Hail to the chef!

Oh, and, in news completely unrelated to vegan eating, check this out:
This woman and her installation activity last night during Unblurred, which is Pittsburgh's First Friday, was the single thing that generated the most conversation up and down Penn Avenue.  I wish I knew her name, or, uhhh, even the name of the venue she was in, but the galleries give you free beer!  It makes for sub-par event reporting.  ANYWAY, this woman was just sitting at a table, crumpling this white material that looked like paper mache and letting the crushed stuff fall in front of her and onto her feet.  She did it with singular concentration, making faces that implied that she was working very hard at this task, puzzling over how to do it best, even.

My immediate inclination was to talk to her.  I mean, there was nothing separating her from the "audience."  She was just a person, hard at work crumbling thin pottery that jangled to the ground like glass.  But I was scared because I tend to have inclinations that are apparently inappropriate, so I didn't trust my instincts on the matter.

But then I spoke with some people who, like many others, were scattered around the room discussing the oddly disconcerting installation.  A young woman told me that a guy earlier was talking to her, and she responded to him.  "She's not a brochure," the woman said.  Good!  This is what I thought.  So I went back up to her.

"What is this stuff, paper mache?" I asked.
 "It's like that.  Thin, kilned clay," she told me, still crumbling.
 "Are you going to do something with it once it's all in pieces?"
She just shrugged her shoulders.
"Are you breathing a lot of dust in?"
"Oh, yeah.,  Plenty," she responded, unperturbed.
"Hmmm," I said.  "Well, I hope you avoid pollution for a few months after this to make up for tonight.  The dust is totally worth it for this night, in my opinion."

It was definitely awkward to talk to her.  But that's cool.  The whole thing about the utter weirdness of her doing this--and people's difficulty deciding how to react to her--was just as interesting to watch as the activity itself.  I feel bad that the artist could barely witness it.  She was too busy crumbling and making constant faces of intense concentration, like this one:
Props to you, mysterious artist!  If I ever find out who you are, I'll go to all of your exhibits in Pittsburgh.


  1. Performance art is always a good break up of the regular monotony. Always something to talk about and never an answer! The food looks fab!!

  2. Weird - yet cool! And yes, it's very nice to have someone cook for you. I don't really have vegan friends. But I do have a vegan sister who cooks for me sometimes. And my momma cooks vegan for me. :)

  3. No mess whilst cooking!? Sounds like black magic


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