Saturday, December 26, 2009


There she is standing outside my cab, as if a random Union Square passerby. But she is no stranger to me. That graceful lady wearing colorful quilt-like fabric, holding a pink down, and sporting the colossal, ever-evolving glass bead necklace she made, is my significant and beloved other, Jenine Bressner. Soon it will be a year since we met.

I don't know if I ever told you, but it was this blog that facilitated our union. First I saw the charming face and words of what appeared to be a down-to-Earth, multi-ethnic Jew on a friend's wall on Facebook. My entire life I had been waiting patiently to find a soulmate of a special blend of unexpected genes. I sent her a blunt message, inquiring on her ethnic soup. I am well aware this comes off as rude, creepy, and xenophobic.... but I do it with everyone, knowing true to my heart that it comes from a place of admiration and innocent fascination with the overlapping of cultures, customs, and creeds. Her response was curt and more or less impersonal.

I knew then I had one last chance to break the ice and that I had better make it good. I couldn't pester her with too many words. I decided to simply send her a link to my blog. After all, its contents are a raw expression of who I strive to be: a voice of euphoric empathy for the world's wonders found in its people and their demographic spectrum. I had absolutely no expectations, and to my surprise, she did indeed pick up on this vibe. By the way, she is of Eastern European and Filipina backgrounds. And I have Hispanic, Romanian, and Polish roots. You can call us "Ashkephardic". But that is not what this post is about.

It's my opportunity to thank Jenine for helping me fine tune my desire to pursue the crafts of writing and photojournalism, and to proliferate public awareness of its existence. It is also my chance to share with you a few of the methods she utilizes to create new things and inspire humanity towards a more self-actualized sense of empowerment. Above is a picture of what were the blank backsides of her business cards, which she fed into a laser cutter to engrave my name, email, and blog address unto. Originally I had hand written the info unto a thick stash of her cards, one by one, and passed them out in my cab as a form of double sided advertising for us both.

Jenine was recently chosen to participate in the worldwide Fab Academy. She's been learning to operate various machinery to produce almost anything one's imagination can take on. She has come up with some marvelous results. Formulating ideas and following through with delicate, time-consuming precision on computers.

You can see pictures and read the details on her blog, along with everything else she's made over the years with an endless inventory of tools and materials. The list is as replete with ingenuity as a cluster of colleges. Berkeley or Beantown, minus pretense and ulterior motives. It's as diverse as the Queens neighborhood of Elmhurst and its nationalities, only more integrated. It is as well-informed as the walking Wikipedia that Jenine herself is, only more accurate than a lot of what's been put on the web. It's as meticulously and anomalously crafted as Mohandas himself must have been by the environment that shaped his gumption.

Jenine lives in Providence and adds daily to its already distinct flavor of artistry, via flame worked glass, intricate embroideries for practical uses, unconventional sculpting, stitching, soldering, milling, forging, serging, vinyl cuttings, air brushing, homemade lip balm, hand bound books, immaculate pen drawings, wall prints, textile earrings, ruffle beards, dolls, pom poms, fabric anemones, recycled shoes, museum quality jewelry, heat set metallic textures, continuously refined D.I.Y. clothing and culinary contraptions, efficient scavenging of discarded items that become effective studio components, and all this is just the beginning.

Now let me tell you how she's used her skills to encourage my endeavors. Above you can see the vinyl cut stickers she produced, which I placed on my lap top, but could eventually scatter about the city on bumpers and stop signs. My blog address in yellow impact stencil font, since I regard taxi driving to be a (nonviolent) military discipline of sorts. My name in an blue arabesque font, since I've an affinity to the Middle East.

Jenine sets aside time to proofread, edit, and revise most every new article I type. Her suggestions are priceless. When visiting me in New York, she offers to sit in the front seat of the taxicab so I don't miss a shift. She mingles with my fares, resulting in larger tips. The rides seem to take half the time to accomplish, which brings smiles from both the backseat and from behind the wheel.

Sometimes we'll park the cab for a gastronomical pit stop and she always has a list of eateries she's been researching, where independent shop owners strive to make it a genuine experience. We also explore museums and other cultural attractions together. She never fails to leave my mind saturated with her acute attention to particularities among all the art and D.I.Y. experiments around us. This in turn enables my fluidity of envisioning my own potential, both artistically and practically, and of course the marriage of each. That precise fusion is to me what"JB Fireworks" is all about. As she herself puts it, "There are no boundaries in my life".

Above is a picture at Kenny's place, inside Essex Market. He is to her an example of what she values most: independent thought and skilled craft (which you can see in both his book and thedocumentary about him). He is however a bonafide jerk, which is only valuable if applied in moderation and interspersed with kindness. He's a cook. He should know that recipe. Even the most NEW YORK of New Yorkers know that.

I make myself available every time she needs help transporting her art to an exhibition and I'm humbled that she trusts me enough to hold down her booth while she walks around as a living showcase and self-marketer. Much like my overhead (shift lease and gas total), she has to pay the promoter a flat rate for a table and then work her way toward breaking into the black. I can very much relate to this. However, the economy has rocked the sale of craft work much worse than it has the taxi driving industry in NYC, which manages to stay afloat due to it being seen as more of a necessary service. In most other cities, though, the state of hackneying is in just as bad a rut. The picture above is of Jenine setting up her booth at the most recent Bizarre Bazaar in Boston.

As she wrote in her blog most recently, she plans to slowly veer away from the under-appreciated labor of amassing stock and traveling to display it around the country. I too seek to move on from my own dead-end form of self employment, not toward the other extreme (wage and schedule slavery), but rather in the direction of realizing all my bigger potentials in the world. Together we will support and uplift one another into ever-higher levels of both financial and spiritual contentment.


  1. Greetings from Dublin Ireland.
    I hope 20 10 will be a great and a safe year for you both.
    Loads of happyness together

  2. There definitely are boundaries in my life, just not as much between how I live and what I make.

    Thanks for all of this.

    and the CRASS font isn't just military- looking. . .


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