I know, I know... I have a lot of catching up to do.
My 2018 ended with a purchase of a new home, while much of 2019 (thus far) was spent packing up the old place and moving into the new one. (I dare not use the term "unpacking" as my office/studio room is still filled with clutter yet to be organized.)
The last time I moved was four years ago, into a lovely 2-bedroom apartment in Sierra Madre, CA. As I was fairly happy there, I told myself I wouldn't move out unless I experienced either a significant life change, or California's plate tectonics deemed it absolutely necessary. Fortunately, it was a life change for the better.
For my previous move, I took a week off work, and had everything ready for a housewarming party a few weeks later. But moving into this new townhouse took a lot more out of me, and it wasn't suitable for visitors until an Easter housewarming dinner more than three months later. Even though this move involved a lot of help and more time to prepare, it was an absolutely exhausting experience -- and far more stressful than any of the previous four moves of my adult life. I could blame it on the sheer enormity of stuff I own, but I'd be avoiding a (literally) painful truth: I'm out of shape, middle aged, and the passing years are taking their toll. Never do I wish to move again...unless another life change is in store.
I love the new place, though. It has everything I could ever want, except a lower mortgage. And if the center of Malebolge marks the Ninth Circle of Hell, I think Circle Ten must be a garage filled with over a hundred boxes of disorganized junk.
But enough of my whining! It's time for an AMSEL project update...
On Saturday, Dec. 1st, 2018 -- the 30th anniversary of the first World AIDS Day -- we unveiled a panel made in Richard Amsel's memory for inclusion on the AIDS Memorial Quilt near The Wall Las Memorias AIDS Monument in Los Angeles. (More on that can be read here.) I'll announce when and where the panel will be incorporated within the actual quilt itself, once the information is finalized. I'm told it may take some time.
Last December also marked what would have been Richard Amsel's 71st birthday, and I desperately wanted to schedule a public art show along with a display of the quilt for the occasion. I reached out to a number of local art galleries, colleges and universities, city libraries, city halls, and LGBT resources, but in all cases, there just either wasn't enough time or suitable space to meet that particular timeframe.
A quick and easy solution was found at the last minute -- one that had been right under my nose all along. My friends and associates at Warner Bros. kindly made room for a display at one of their buildings in Burbank. They not only supported the idea, but covered the costs of promoting a small opening reception, with complimentary wine, cheese, and snacks. A video monitor was also installed, playing some of the Amsel motion graphics done for the film.
It was a relaxed, happy atmosphere -- one that was welcomed by everyone during a busy holiday season. That the venue was held on WB grounds also put my mind at ease; each of the Amsel originals I own are personal treasures to me, and here I didn't have to worry about anyone stealing or damaging my collection.
It was great mingling with people to discuss the artist's work, and the progress on the documentary. I was especially surprised how many people said that they had never heard of Amsel's name until now, even if everyone was already familiar with his work. (The comment "I thought Drew Struzan did that," was uttered so often, it would have made for a jovial drinking game.)
I received so many compliments on the show that we extended it into January. Nevermind that I needed the extra time to make room for everything in my new place.
Heartfelt thanks to all my friends at Warner Bros. for their encouragement and support. I am particularly indebted to Kristy McCormac, Ron Dilley, and Susan Cheng for helping me make the show happen.