Whale of a Thank You Meg! (@powermobydick)

After nearly 60 always interesting and entertaining posts, Meg Guroff, the creator and curator of the amazing Power MobyDick, is taking some well deserved shore-leave from Sea-Fever’s Moby-Monday.

Meg’s got some exciting, new adventures underway, so she can’t be here every week.  But she has agreed to be a relief captain from time to time and we look forward to welcoming her back aboard as often as she can manage.

A new skipper will be taking over Moby-Monday and I’ll have an update on that soon.  And from time to time we’ll have some guest posts like Vassar senior english and art history major and New Bedford Whaling Museum intern, Evander Price’s great post today titled “Of Whales in Mountains…”

But today, I want to give a whale of a thank you to Meg for the incredible job that she’s done over the past year for Sea-Fever readers (including me)! Here’s something that Charlotte Cheshire created for one of her teachers which is cool and appropriate for Meg too!

Moby Monday — One Artwork, Size Large

A Naples, Florida retrospective of paintings and photographs by the late Henry Koerner includes this 16-painting set called “Moby Dick,” a 7-foot-tall work based on the artist’s time living in Coney Island, New York. What do you think of the whale (which, for the bikini-blind, is directly behind the female chess player)—monstrous or less erroneous?

Margaret Guroff is the editor and publisher of Power Moby-Dick.

Moby Monday — Greta Gertler Passes the Tarpaulin (UPDATED)

Cadging a phrase from Moby-Dick’s first chapter, Brooklyn-based Aussie pop-rocker Greta Gertler is calling her current, whaley album project The Universal Thump.

And, in a nod to the speculative nature of a 19th-century whaling expedition, Gertler is looking to investors to fund the recording. Though backers—at set levels ranging from $15 to $10,000—won’t enjoy a cut of the album’s future earnings, they will receive benefits according to their contributions, provided Gertler raises a total of $15,000 by December 9. (Otherwise, no backers pay anything.)

“Pygmy Sperm Whale” donors will pay $15 and receive a digital copy of the eventual album, while “Disoriented Baby Whale” donors pay $125 for a signed CD; a signed, limited edition songbook; a “thank you” in the album’s credits; and a specially designed T-shirt. “Narwhale” ($10,000) donors receive multiple gifts, including a separate album written by Gertler about up to 10 members of the donor’s family, and a set of steak knives.

For New York area music (or whale) lovers who want to be extra supportive, there’s a fundraising concert on December 7 at The Living Room, 145 Ludlow Street in Manhattan. Gertler and her band will be playing music from the album … and if you like it, you’ll still have two days to pony up and collect your steak knives.

UPDATE: The fundraising drive made its goal (one day early), so the album will be produced. As of this writing there were no $10k backers … but there were still 3 hours left in the drive.

Margaret Guroff is editor and publisher of Power Moby-Dick.

Moby Monday — Like You’ve Got Something Better To Do?

This dude always shows up.
The New Bedford Whaling Museum just began filling slots for its 14th annual Moby-Dick Marathon, a 25-hour, nonstop reading of Herman Melville’s little book to be held January 9-10, 2010. The event starts at noon that Saturday and it’s free to read, listen, or partake of coffee, cider, and “traditional whaleship fare” (ew?), but if you want a non-wee-hours reading slot, you’d better call 508-997-0046 posthaste and make your wishes known.

Margaret Guroff is the editor and publisher of Power Moby-Dick.

Moby Monday — The Greatest of E’s

"Moby-Dick, Chapter 35, or, 1,294 Times E," by Justin Quinn
For the past two years, Minnesota artist Justin Quinn has been transcribing and transforming passages from Moby-Dick into intense, swirly drawings, prints, and collages. One catch for would-be readers: he changes every letter he copies into the letter “E.”

The point, Quinn says in a statement, is to explore “the space between reading and seeing”—to create with his E’s a “vacant language” parallel to the language of the source. He chose Moby-Dick as his text because its “story rich in theology, philosophy, and psychosis provides me with a roadmap for my work, but also with a series of underlying narratives.”

When I contacted Quinn, he had been thinking a lot about Chapter 35: “The Mast-Head,” which discusses the long, lonely hours that whalemen would spend keeping watch for whales’ spouts. Quinn compared his own labors to these. “Lost in my own thoughts (much like the whale-fishers) I am accumulating time in the studio, and the characters can read as a tally of my time,” he wrote in an email.

Quinn’s latest Moby-Dick works will be on exhibit from November 19 through December 23 at the Cain Schulte Gallery in San Francisco, with an artist talk at 7 p.m. on the opening night.

Margaret Guroff is editor and publisher of Power Moby-Dick.

Moby Monday — “And all of us escaped together to tell thee”

Whar she blows?
Last week, a cruiser relived the fateful last bit of Moby-Dick—but with a happy ending. The J/World had just checked into the Baja Ha-Ha, a two-week rally down Mexico’s Pacific coast, when it encountered a pod of whales, at least one of which attacked the boat’s rudder and opened a hole in the hull.

The J/World sank within five minutes, but all five crew members survived, thanks to two hand-held VHFs they managed to salvage in the scramble for the lifeboat. Just think, if the Pequod had had VHFs … nah, the same thing would have happened.

Margaret Guroff is the editor and publisher of Power Moby-Dick.

Moby Monday — On to Malta

There was no caption with this photo, but we're gonna say Queequeg.

The Nova Scotia Moby-Dick miniseries shoot we mentioned a couple of weeks ago has ended. For photos, click here.

The Forge, by Tony De Los ReyesIf you demand fresh Moby-Monday content every week, click this link to read about an exhibit of painter Tony De Los Reyes’s Moby-Dick inspired works, showing in Seattle through Halloween. The painting below is named The Forge.

Margaret Guroff is editor and publisher of Power Moby-Dick.

Moby Monday — The Westport (CA) Whale

Whale TK
Last year, outsider artist Kyle Siler had a vision: to build a roadside attraction that would put tiny Westport, California on the map. A seaside village nearly four hours north of San Francisco by car, Westport is currently best known as the home of an annual rubber ducky race.

But Siler, a/k/a Carlos Amigos, a/k/a Relis Elyk, has a bigger non-fish to fry. By his 40th birthday in June of next year, he plans to build a cement sperm whale named “Queequeg,” after the Polynesian harpooneer in Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. Siler is blogging about the project, which now consists of an empty moat and a cement pad for his future whale. There’s a link on the blog where you can support the effort by paying $20 for a personalized, whale-shaped tile to be cemented into the future attraction’s sidewalk. (We’ve got ours.)

When he saw his vision last September, Siler had never built anything like this. But since then, he has set about learning the crafts of whalemaking—including creating a metal skeleton for the hollow structure—with a monomania worthy of Moby Dick’s would-be assassin, he says. “I feel like Capt Ahab in my pursuit of Cement Sculpture,” Siler wrote in an email yesterday. “I’ll be welding next week!”

Margaret Guroff is editor and publisher of Power Moby-Dick.

Moby Monday — A Bower Near Withernwick

No locks on the trapdoors and shutters yet
We just got word from Yorkshire that the sperm whale skeleton described in Chapter 102 of Moby-Dick is once again on display at Burton Constable Hall, the same English country house where author Herman Melville located it in 1851. Melville described the skeleton as “articulated” and capable of being swung open and shut “like a great chest of drawers.” He also wrote of a plan to install locks on the skeleton and charge up to sixpence for a peek at it.

The whale as currently constituted—in a new, permanent display after years in storage—still seems to be awaiting its locks, but we don’t advise “swinging all day upon his lower jaw,” even though Melville said you could. The viewing fees, while more than sixpence, sound reasonable: Admission into the estate’s grounds (where you can see the whale) is £2.50 for adults; £1.25 for children; and £6.25 for a family ticket. Burton Constable is open three seasons of the year, including every day but Fridays through October 29. (It opens again from November 21 through December 6 before shutting until Easter.)

Photograph courtesy of The Burton Constable Foundation.

Margaret Guroff is editor and publisher of Power Moby-Dick.

Moby Monday — Crowdsourcing Emoji-Dick

Next stop: Klingon
Emoticons are fine as far as they go, but they do not express the whole range of human experience—our hopes, our dreams, our heartbreaks; our recycling, our maple leaves, our bananas. For that, you need emoji, which are Japanese emoticons for people with a lot of stuff to express (and maybe a lot of time on their hands).

In fact, emoji are now used by Japanese texters as a form of written language. This gave Fred Benenson an idea. The product manager at Creative Commons decided to have a book translated entirely into emoji, using the micro-contracting site Mechanical Turk for labor and the micro-funding site Kickstarter for scratch. But for a translation subject, he went decidedly macro: with enough backing, Benenson plans to produce a translation of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, the English language’s premier text on recycling, maple leaves, and bananas.

Benenson estimates the cost of translating Melville’s 1851 novel at $3,500 and is currently seeking pledges of $5 to $200. If enough backers sign on by October 19, their donations will be accepted and work will proceed. In the end, supporters will receive benefits based on their investments. Five-dollar backers will get a PDF file of the final product, while $200 backers will receive a color, hardcover limited edition Emoji-Dick book, numbered and signed “by the author.” Wonder how Benenson is going to swing that one?

Margaret Guroff is the editor and publisher of Power Moby-Dick.