October 26, 2012

BOOK RELEASE! Please Let Me Have All The Things I Desire

I called Fed Ex 4 times asking them when they were going to be here today.
The driver seemed annoyed when she finally arrived and I scared her by being next to
her door when she got out of the van.

Please Let Me Have All The Things I Desire is here.
It is a 78 page, full color, perfect bound book of drawings, poems, short stories, and plays I wrote while in Ireland.

You can see its insides  HERE

The books are 40USD. Its worth it. Probably.

These books are available next month at Art Vs Craft Where I will be selling all sorts of products I haven't talked about yet. Stay tuned for that, if you care.

If you would like to order a book (WOW! Great idea.) you can email me directly at makealcflammini@gmail.com
Thank you.

October 23, 2012


Midwest Anonymous

Reefer & Ecstasy

The first in the new series of podcasts.

Two anonymous men from a small town in Wisconsin.  In the first episode they discuss fame, lamps, other failed craft ideas, fanny packs, French films, education, skinny girls, fine motor skills and drugs.

October 13, 2012


Painter. Detektive. 

Anyone who knows me, knows too well that Kati Heck is my favorite painter, and no one knows that more than Kati herself, who I repeatedly and drunkenly tell every chance I get.

I met Kati in Antwerp, Belgium where she lives with her husband Gregory Brems. (Kati is from Germany.)  My partner Colin Matthes had become good friends with them a few years before and while we were traveling in Europe we stayed with them. Seeing Kati’s paintings for the first time, for me, was a revelation about what art could be. It was the moment every artist has when they see a work for the first time that paralyzes how they think of themselves or what they do.  To me Kati’s paintings are like looking through a keyhole into Gods bathroom and seeing him squish his belly fat or pop a pimple. They are honest and brutal and hilarious and unfathomably beautiful. I know I am gushing. Imagine what I say to her.

Kati and I have become good friends over the years. Last year she came to Milwaukee and along with Colin Matthes they collaborated on the third exhibition of The parachute project in abandoned stores at the Grand Avenue Mall. Last week Kati was again in the United States traveling to California to see her brother. She stopped for a long weekend to visit me in Milwaukee. I am recently living above Sky High in a small corner of the building where I have a small bedroom and the only source of heat is an electric blanket. We dubbed the tiny space The Idea Room, and spent most of our time together in it, her dressed as Santa Clause and me in a white bathrobe, drinking wine and whiskey through pairs of plastic drinking glasses we found at Science & Surplus.

Makeal Flammini: Will you move in with me?

Kati Heck: Of course. Great idea, in fact. Maybe we can look for a new venue.

MF:  I’ve brought you here, now you’ve seen it, we could do this EVERY DAY.

KH: What are you doing? Are you just pretending you’re writing?

MF: I’m drawing a swastika.

KH: Typical. Yah, look. I would move in with you under one condition that we could take this warm blanket.

MF: We can take this blanket anywhere.

KH: True. Whoa. What a wonderful thought. Yah. We could take it anywhere. Maybe we should make this road trip. We can even stay in your car and have it be all warm with this blanket, put it into the cigarette lighter.

MF: Hold on. I gotta catch up.

KH: …But Makeal if you take these notes it’s going to take forever…the flow of this interview is kind of gone now already.


KH:  Allay. What a bad pen too!

MF: Ok. Hold on.

KH: I better not say anything anymore or you will never catch up. This is... Ok. I should shut up. I shut up.

MF: How long will you be in the U.S.?

KH: Two weeks.

MF: What will you do?

KH: Well, I come to the idea room and then I go to visit my brother in L.A. and investigate baby detective cases.  I will just get drunk in the pauses.

MF: Are you a baby detective?

KH: Don’t you see that?

MF: Can you tell me what the Baby Detektive Club is?

KH: It started with wanting to bring all the people I admire or worship together. So I wrote to all these people and they would return membership cards. Right now there are 60 – 70 members, not all of them are artists. I want to bring them together to make change or to do actions. The people I have invited can invite others and it will grow away from me. Of course, you don’t just admire the living but also the dead.. My first letter is to Herman Hesse. So I send this letter to him.

MF: Why Herman Hesse? I know the book Steppenwolf has a big influence on you, did the Baby Detective Club come from that?

KH: No. It came later. Everything was figured out by the time I read that. The book somehow just told me I was on the right path. The idea for the Baby Detektive Club came while I was traveling in an RV around the U.S. making a film with Bissy Bunder. I went to the toilet and when I came back I said-There has to be a Baby Detektive and he has to say, “Is it going downhill or am I wrong?” In German it sounds nicer.

MF: Can you give me an example of a case?

Baby Detektive Office, Kati Heck and Tina Schott

KH: You can’t go into that all. The work someone makes is the investigation. You look at people, you look at a painting, you make a painting-everyone is standing here with a magnifying glass. I just want people to share what they are working on.

Gretchenfrage, oil on canvas, Kati Heck

MF: I’ve heard you say that you don’t care for being put in all women artist shows. Can you tell me what you mean?

KH: Well, most of these “all women art exhibitions” are bad. Why do you make a big point that we are all women? I somehow think that these shows are more against feminism. Woman, Man, I don’t care. I’d rather be a something. If it’s just an exhibition of men they don’t make this point.

MF: ( I am fumbling to catch up) We will just let this do its job. (I put my phone recorder on.)

KH: What do you think?

MF: I hope it works.

KH: Can we check it out?

MF: Nah. It will disrupt the flow.

KH: It’s true, but then we will have to do it again or can you memorize?

MF: I don’t remember how to use these glasses. What’s happening!
(my beer glasses are coming apart and beer is dripping down me everywhere.)

KH: Cheers!

MF: What do you think about Milwaukee? Well what do you think of this room since I haven’t shown you Milwaukee?

KH: It’s the idea room so I need it. I was looking so forward to this trip and now I am here and we are in this room for 3 days.
In the idea room

MF: It’s sort of like a retreat. You’re getting successful now, sometimes you have to go away to the idea room.

KH: Exactly, I mean these Russians they pay to be beggars.

MF: Can you pay me?

KH: Mmmm.

MF: They pay to be beggars?

KH: Yeah, they want for excitement they try out to be a beggar for one week or something.

MF: No.

KH: Yeah. It’s like going hunting for tropical animals or something. Just like, adventure.
Bored of life. They choose to be a beggar for a week, and probably pay 2,000 bucks for or it or something.

MF: Oh my god. I’m not sure if this recorder is working. I’ve heard of these people that do the same thing but spend a night in a prison for fun. Not sure if that is true.

KH: Ah, yah. I think we even talked about this already.

MF: We have nothing left in the idea room.

KH: Why did I come to this idea room!! Yah, my life, yah. If you’re earning money you don’t know the real life anymore. That’s why I come.

MF: Yeah. That’s what I’m showing you, real life. Yeah, because now I’m thinking when you leave I’m just going to be in this room making crafts.

KH: This is a nice apartment.

MF: It is, I love it here.

KH: At the end you will be able to skate. New friends.

MF: I don’t go outside.

KH: New outfit.

MF: I have a new shirt in this case ( I point to my suitcase sitting on the end of my bed)
That I am waiting to unveil.

KH: Maybe you can do the virgin wear out tonight.

MF: Are we going somewhere?

KH: I hope so.

MF: I thought staying in this room was the plan.  

Kati Heck is represented by the Tim Van Laere Gallery in Antwerp, Belgium and you can see more of her works HERE

October 11, 2012


Skateboarding Legend. Owner of SKY HIGH Skateboard Shop.

I met Aaron a few years ago at an art opening when Colin Matthes & I were still running the Astrix Gallery in Walkers Point. I was introduced to him by his longtime partner the artist & organizer Faythe Levine. who runs the Sky High Gallery tucked in the back of Sky High. I was only just getting to know Faythe at that time as well and I remember thinking to myself, "Holy shit Faythe dates a wild animal man.” 
That’s all pretty irrelevant.

At any rate, Aaron and Faythe invited me to live upstairs above Aarons skateboard shop Sky High where I have been holed up in a bathrobe making products for Art Vs. Craft. Also irrelevant.

We are seated on two stools at the Blackbird Bar in Bayview. There is a birthday party going on around us. The lights are low. Everything is red and yellow and blurry. 

Makeal Flammini: Would you say you are a Milwaukee skate legend?

Aaron Polansky: Don’t legends have to be dead?

MF: No.

AP: Well, I’ve done plenty of shit. I have lots of friend’s country wide because of skating.

MF: Do you have as many cool moves as friends?

AP: No.

MF: How many moves do you have?

AP: Each year that I get older it divides by four.

MF: When did you start skating?

AP: When I was little I had a banana board and then I bought my 1st board from Target when I was 13.  I didn’t know what it was or meant. I just liked it.

MF: So you found skateboarding on your own- no one really introduced you to it?

AP: Not really, no.

MF: Who bought you the banana board?

AP:  My mom’s friend Joanne Grimm gave it to me.

MF: So what did you do once you had it?

AP: I skated on the driveway and sidewalk of my grandmother’s house, learned to go in a straight line. My dad poured cement in our garage then I bought a bigger board and could go in circles on that. That’s when I realized something bigger existed. I would see dudes carrying boards but never riding them. I never actually saw it happening. When I finally did I was like, whoa. First time I saw tricks I was like Oh Shit! I was into BMX and riding bikes.     

MF: So everything changed after that?

AP: The first skate video I saw was Curb Dogs. (Side note: I wrote this in my notebook as Curd Bocks)  I rented Cheech & Chong Up in Smoke and Curb Dogs from the local video store. It was for a date with the first girl I brought to my house. It was funny because my parents were divorced and my mom came over just because she wanted to see me on my first official date with a girl.

MF: So what did you do? You watched Curb Dogs on your date?

AP: Twice. I was totally blown away.

MF: Was the girl?

AP: She couldn’t give a shit. I think she broke up with me a week later. It made me realize there was this place all different kinds of kids could come together. Punks, mods, skaters, metal heads, whatever.

MF: So what was your first trick?

AP: Well, I took the wheels off my board and copied what they did. I would jump off my porch onto my board. First I spray painted it.

MF: What color?

AP: White with a giant knife and I wrote ‘Suicidal Tendencies” on it. That girl I dated her brother was into Punk and I was a Metal kid.

MF: So you turned Punk?

AP: No, it just showed me new shit.

Aaron showing me the signs of a skate spot.

MF: Do you think I would be a good skateboarder?

AP: Yeah.

MF: Really?

AP: You have Passion.
MF: I knew it.  So did skating give you an identity?

AP: No, well… Before skating I wanted to fashion an identity after skating it dissolved that thinking. I definitely found something in it. It took a year or two for me to say, “I’m a skater” It let me step out of that Junior High identity where I was always deciding, “this is cool” “this is not cool.” Skating blew it all up for me. It was all different kinds of kids doing it. Skating brings People together.

MF: So after the porch jumps without wheels? What was the first trick?

AP: Tall shit. Stand on a bumper and jump onto a board. Back then it was called an “Acid Drop.”

MF: Is it still called that?

AP: Once its nicknamed it sticks.

MF: Did you have a nickname?

AP: Later in High School.

MF: What?

AP: It went from – I had this friend from Tennessee and when he said my name it sounded like Ern. So Ern turned into Ernie. That spread.

MF: Do people still call you Ernie?

AP: No.

MF: Do you want to bring it back?

AP: Not worried about it.

MF: Do you have others?

AP: Uh. Lopan from Polansky. Lopan turned into Lopes and others strains of all sorts of shit. Lo-pants, Lo-panties, Pole-Candy, Pole Shanty, and then Po-Po and Popes. Uncle Aaron, Uncle. That’s the standard one.

MF: Who taught you all the cool lingo?

AP: Ha, Okay, well, you just listen. Sometimes you make up your own shit. I don’t know. Most of it was Racine slang and it changed monthly.

MF: What’s an old slang?

AP: What? Skate Speak or in general?

MF: Either.

AP: Let me think.

MF: My favorite thing you say is “Crewed up just chilling” I could never say that and be taken seriously. It sounds so good when you say it.

AP: Friends were a crew, break-dance crew...

MF: Wait. You can break-dance?

AP: Well I wasn’t a B-Boy. We had performances in my grandma’s basement with my cousin’s boom box. We would choreograph them.

MF: Do you remember any?

AP: Just the worm and the helicopter.

MF: Could you still do it?

AP: In High School I tried it drunk as fuck and got a rug burn on my forehead. I thought I could pull it out after 5 years.

MF: So you own Sky High?

AP: Yes.

MF: Since when?

AP: 1999

MF: Are you happy?

AP: Yes. I love it. Not always happy but I love it.

MF: Where is your store?

AP: Bayview. 2501 S. Howell Avenue.

MF: What do you sell?

AP: I carry boards, shoes, clothing. Everything that a normal shop would carry except I take very personally what I bring in because it’s the shop I sit in all day. So I carry brands that other shops don’t and I do well with that.

MF: You do have good shoes. If you saw me doing helicopters on the carpet what would you say to me?

AP: I’d say, All right be easy.