Sunday, March 14, 2010


How did the time get away from me. It seems that I'd barely gotten the soap out from underneath my fingernails when, BAM!, here it was again.  That's right, yesterday was  SCHWAKLAKK!  For those of you too lazy to follow a link to find out what it is, I'll oblige you. Schwaklakk is an invented holiday in which the only main purpose is to carve bars of Ivory soap into whatever thing (or idea if you're artsy shmartsy) your heart desires. From what I gather it used to be a family thing, but it's slowly grown into a 'almost' event. 

It's ironic that my very previous post was about the Peach Pies, because it was my two favorite pies who invited me to this wholesome celebration, last year, my first time.  Way back then, I had just gotten my beloved iPhone and through the use of Google and iTunes, I copied a bunch of images of things I though could  be readily carved from a bar of soap onto my phone.  I had photos of bath tubs, my ugly 'contour' chair (which I hope to introduce you all too someday), beds, and a bunch of artsy sculptures.  I ultimately decided to try and copy one of the sculptures. A sexy bronze (I think) semi abstract depiction of a woman sitting on the ground with her head resting on her knees.  Take a look at the original that I hoped to copy.

I figured it was challenging, but doable. As I got there before the others, I got started right away.  The people who organized it had all the soap you could ever want, and a bunch of fancy artist tools, in addition to tons and tons of toothpicks, to use for carving.  One cool thing I disovered pretty quick, was that the screen of an iPhone is almost exactly the same size as a bar of Ivory Soap. so I simply placed a piece of paper over my screen, and traced it out (I never claimed to be original).  Then, on the advice of the lady in charge, I transfered the image onto my soap by poking holes through the paper, along my tracing lines. It worked just as advertised.  My goal was to get the profile carved out, and then work on getting the right thicknesses done. Unfortunately, I had another appointment (I, for the life of me, cannot remember what, but I think I was going to Chicago for something), plus this was now several hours later and there had been lots of fun conversation with my friends and some new aquaintences.  I got the profile pretty much done, which was a fine stopping point. So, that was it for 2009 Schwaklakk for me.  Here's a couple photos of my soap carving from last year.


Obviously, I didn't finish it, but I's still very proud of it.n (except for the fact that I broke the stupid base while working on it) As a matter of fact, I conscider Schwaklakk 2009 to be some sort of an artistic awakening for me.  Since then, I've felt myself becoming more creative. Maybe some special day, I'll use it to wash with, until then it's sitting smack in the middle of my fireplace's mantle.

Ever since last year I've been torn about whether to bring that one back to the next Schwaklakk, to try and finish it, or to simply leave it the way it is.  I'ts actually a little embarrasing how much I rolled that thought around in my head.  Ultimately I decided to leave it as is, and to do something different this year. 

I'd already decided to go (obviously) again this year, but it was still really nice to be asked, by the same people who introduced me to it, if I were going agin.  They're such a good group of free spirits. So much fun. I told them "hell ya",  I'm glad that they're doing it agian too, I was secretly concerned that they wouldn't be going this year.  I don't know why, maybe because I see similarities between them and myself.  I know I could easily have seen something new, shiny and interesting, and followed that particular rabbit wherever it led me (I just saw Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland last week).  But that didn't happen, for them or me, so all was well in the world.

Not only were Kati (she carved a very nice owl, in relief)  and Aaron (he made a fun moustache) already there when I showed up, but they, especially Aaron, were hung over from the previous night's festivities.  They were in attendence (and Kati performed) at "FILTH II", an erotic, boundry pushing art show held at the Inferno (where else).  I missed it last year, and had planned on going this year but decided, as I drove past commercial ave, that I needed a good night of sleep instead, so I flaked out on it.  Foxy Veronica's Peach pies were performing again too.  From what I hear, it was quite the event, with lots, and lots of shots consumed. I felt kind of bad to have missed out, but at least I felt well rested while feeling bad. Right?

Also there again this year was Megan (she carved a butt plug). I gather she's in their group of close friends.  I don't think she's a Peach Pie, but she's in that scene in some way.  Last year I couldn't get a read on her (beyond being cute), she came across as kind of cold (to me).  I remeber thinking that she may just be having a bad day. I like for people to like me, and she seemed indiferent (at best).  This year, I think I must have been right about her having a bad day, because she was a hoot.  A genuine pleasue. She definately seemed to thaw to me, and we've even become eachothers Schwaklakk nemesiss (what's the plural of nemesis?), even to the point that, while I pronounce it propperly, she (being my Shwaklakk nemesis) prounounces it Nem-eh-sigh. (Trust me, this is more funny than it reads).  She brought her boyfriend with her. I can't recall his name, but he was a cool guy (he carved a bunny rabbit), and was great with the movie quotes and other fun banter that made our table the one you would want to be at.  I just now realized that I forgot to ask him about the vintage 35mm camera he had with him.  I really like the simple, non ergomatic design of those things. I think it was a old Lieca, but I'm not sure. 

These people are great fun to hang out with, really fun.  I can't imagine "really" partying with them, I don't know if I could hang, or for how long.  It was a table full of independent, but like, minded folk. For me, it was a rare treat that I savored. I like that I can relate, and get along with all sorts of people, I really think it's my strong suit.  These people are some of the best I've met.

The conversaton was fun, varied, and interesting. All while carving soap, which for me, because I am not much for talking without having something to say, is perfect.  It allows you to simply carve away while the conversation may be somewhere in which I have nothing to add. Fine, just carve on.   Incidentally, that didn't happen often.  Topics ranged from:  possble new porn genres, including CPAP mask porn, and Single Penetration (SP) porn.  Or, the use of the term 'Al dente" (as in pasta) as a description of a state of male arousal (Unfortunately, I just checked, and it's already in the Urban dictionary, so we didn't coin a phrase).  I recall a discussion about a newpaper advice column that dealt with the uncomfortable nature of forgeting peoples names (which I am horrible at), WAY past the point where you should know them.  And countless other things. 

These are the kind of people who would be fun to have over for a dinner party of some sort.  Maybe, I'll think about doing that. It could be a great success!

Alright, back to the soap carving.  This year I decided to use another image from the ones I collected last year. In fact, I'm pretty sure the piece I used as my model must be by the same artist (If you know who it is, please let me know. Really.)  This is the image that I traced from my iPhone this year:

(actually,not that exact image, the one I traced was a front facing image of the same sculpture).

Here's some photos of this one being worked on.  Again, I didn't quite finish it. I had to leave (after over four hours there) to meet Lisa.  She was at some suburban event at a friend of hers, where there were a handful of people that she wanted to meet me (or, for me to meet).  I suppose it was convenient that they were all in the same place. but now I'm sure I'll have problems identifying who is who (much less their spouses etc...)  Oh well, at least I'm honest and upfront about the fact that I'm bad about remembering names.  From there, we went to my place to make homemade soft pretzels (now that I know how). I'd already done the mise en place, so I knew it would be easy, and fun.  Boy was it fun.  Anyway,  As you can see, I definately got farther on this year's sculpture, than last years bar. It's already on my mantle with the other one, although it wasn't that big of a hit with Lisas' friends, or their suburban, poker playing hubbies.  I was seriously tempted to leave my soap with with the Schwaklakk organizers.  They have quite the amazing collection of carved soap from over the years.  They were all on display on the stage (did I mention this took place at the High Noon Saloon ?). It was hillarious to see people pointing out their previous sculptures.  I, being my selfish self, just couldn't bear to let mine go. Maybe next year, I'll both finish one, and leave it behind, hopefully to inspire future Schwaklakkians, or to be discovered as a masterpiece (maybe)

I took a couple group shots of our whole table of carvers, but none of them turned out, too bad, they were fun shots with everyone holding up their creations.

Oh my Gosh, I just realized I completly left out my other favorite Peach Pie. The lovely Ralphie (that's a different story) who I've already introduced to you, as Moxie Rhodes (she carved a chess piece, a Bishop, I think).  She, also was drinking some hair of the dog yesterday.  Apparently everyone is in agreement that there were WAY too many shots taken last night.

Jeesh, I also almost forgot to mention that the adorable new (to me) Peach Pie, whom I neglected to introduce myself to the other night at the Inferno, Miss Ginger Snap, was there.  I'm drawing a blank on what she carved out of her bar of soap.  I must have been distracted, plus, she was way on the other end of the group of tables we had clumped together.  I feel much better now, because Immediately, when I saw her, I rectified my crudeness from the other day and politely introduced myself.   I love having the chance to recitfy the little things.  I was glad to have a chance to get to know her a teeny bit.  Like all these women, she is very comfertable in her skin.  She seems pretty cool.

OK, I hope to see you all out there for Shwaklakk 2011.


At March 14, 2010 at 5:30 PM , Anonymous dragonlms said...

While talking with my friend Lisa about Schwaklakk, we both agreed that if we went we would each be very good at carving a --- cube

At March 24, 2010 at 5:55 PM , Blogger thechrisproject said...

Hey Rich, I stumbled on here from Ginger Snips' Facebook profile, and... yes, indeed, I had a Leica with me. It was produced in the late 80's, so I'm not sure it's quite "vintage" yet, but it's close. Wait, I was produced in the late 70's... am I vintage now? Fuck!


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