When You Look, Make Sure You See…

When The Frogge was a first year acting student, she was sitting in class, wide-eyed, so excited, not knowing what to expect. Her teacher walked in, a tall, strong, serious man, the kind of man you know not to F with. At first glance, he looked very intimidating, but when The Frogge looked into his eyes, she knew he had a good heart… and a lot to offer, so she paid very close attention. He stood in front of the class looking us all up and down, sizing us up, making his predictions about who could hack it and who would crumble under the pressure of the harsh world known as The Theatre. I was waiting for him to speak, I was just dyinggg to know what the first words out of his mouth were going to be… and then… he kind of shook his head, nodding it this way and that… then he pointed his finger at us and said… “When you look, make sure you see.” 

Now, I am sitting there in the first row with my notebook and pencil in hand, and I am thinking to myself, What The F? I just paid X amount of dollars to be told to “see” when I “look.” What did that even mean? Obviously everybody “sees” when they “look,” right? Right? WRONG. 

Most people do not see when they look (I know this now, but it is not something you can learn overnight. I know this now thanks to many hours of acting classes and many hours spent literally just observing people.) Most people run around this world with their head up their butts because they are too afraid to really see what is in front of their face. “What if it is scary? What if I don’t like what I see?” these people think to themselves. So they walk around only half alive because they are too afraid to experience ALL it is that we as human beings can experience. In the end it is their own loss… if you are too afraid to experience the ugly, you will miss out on the beautiful. 

During that first year at acting school, we all had to read this book called The Spoon River Anthology. In the book one of the characters says, “One should be all dead when one is half dead. Nor ever mock life, nor ever cheat love.” This is something that I think about every single day… 

So why am I telling this all to you? Hmmm?  Of course I have a reason. The Frogge always has her reasons. Well, yesterday The Frogge did a bunch of things… as usual. I met up with some friends, went over to The Siren Festival in Coney Island… played on the beach… tried to burry my friend in the sand… then I headed over to (gasppp!) another bar! However, I specifically went over to The Trash Bar in Williamsburg because my friends band (The Party Death) was playing (along with 9 other bands… isn’t that great? 10 bands in one night for only $7 bucks… ya can’t beat that! So if you like Rock N’ Roll check out The Trash Bar. 256 Grand Street @ Roebling.) But anyway, while I was at The Trash Bar, I started to feel really sick (The Frogge has a sensitive tummy and is borderline suffering from exhaustion.) The loud music was making me feel even worse, so I had to leave. That said, I woke up this morning, or shall I say afternoon, with nothing that really inspired me from yesterday to write about. And I would never write about something unless I was truly inspired by it. I know you guys are all busy people, and if I don’t give a crap about what I am writing about, why should you? But I wanted to write a post, so to get inspired I started looking through all my pics on Iphoto and this is what I found. 

"The Settlers" by Romanian artist Nova Mihai Popa

"The Settlers" by Romanian artist Nova Mihai Popa

What is that a picture of, you may be wondering? It is of a huge, HUGE (I want to call it a sculpture, but I am not sure if that is even the right word? … so I am just going to call it a piece…) piece by Romanian artist Nova Mihai Popa. Where is this piece located, you may be wondering? Well, The Frogge is here to tell you everything.

A few weeks ago, I believe it was the weekend of June 20th, The Frogge went out to the Hamptons to share a house with a bunch of crazy kids. On the way, I saw this market with a big sign outside that read, “Fresh Strawberries For Sale.” I turned to my accomplice and said, “Lets stop and get some strawberries, I bet they are amazing.” She said okay, so we parked my car in front of the market and went inside in search of some goodies. Now, this is a little bit difficult to explain, so bear with me, the market looked like a barn (it probably used to be a barn, and you know how barns have huge doors.) Naturally, we walked in through the front… but the back of this market/barn had the huge doors as well, and they were open. So, I am shopping around: Strawberries, check. Jam, check. Guacamole, check. Pita chips, check. When all of a sudden, I look up and through the back of the market/barn’s doors, I see the most interesting house I have ever seen in my life… and I think to myself, “What the F is that?” I NEED to know. 

Nova's Ark: The house built by artist Nova Mihai Popa and his partner Tundra.

Nova's Ark: The house built by artist Nova Mihai Popa and his partner Tundra.

I go over to the checkout line to pay for my stuff, and I ask the girl at the counter, “What is that amazing blue house over there on the other side of the road?” She says it is a house built by the artist Nova Mihai Popa… I ask her if anybody actually lives there… she says, yes, there are people that live in the house. I pay for my stuff, grab my friend, and drive to the front of this house. Low and behold… there is a phone number to call posted on a sign! I was so excited, I give my friend my cell phone, and I am like, “Call the number!! Call the number!!” (I couldn’t do it myself because I was driving, and I currently have 2 tickets that I still have to deal with… yeah, yeah, The Frogge is a badass.) My friend calls the number, and a lady picks up, but we don’t know who she is… turns out it was Tundra, Nova Mihai Popa’s partner! We tell her we are in love with the house and that we don’t come to the Hamptons very often… we ask her if we can see the house. She agrees (because, as we found out later, she is amazing.) I turn my car around and start driving back towards the house, I park in front, she lets us in.

Inside of Nova's Ark

Inside of Nova's Ark

And this is what we walk into. Pretty much the coolest house on the planet Earth. The whole house is made of wood and was built by Nova and Tundra. If you look at the picture of the house (from the outside, 2 pics above) you will see that it is kind of shaped like a circle. This is so the house has a very small footprint on the soil, it makes the house more green. Also, the house was made from all recycled materials (all the wood came from an old church… you can read more about the ‘greenness’ of Nova’s Ark at http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/01/elliptical_hous.php)  The other building, next to the blue house was Nova’s studio.

Then Tundra tells us that Nova had recently passed on March 28, 2009. I started to cry, I just couldn’t control it… I was so moved… this was the most interesting house I have ever seen in my life, and it was green (as you probably know by now, from reading previous posts, I am vegan, so the fact that this house was green really resonated with me) and I am just standing there, in the middle of it all, with Nova’s lifelong partner Tundra (they met when she was very young in Central Park… I know… so cute) and she tells me that he just passed. So, I started to cry, and then she started to cry, and then we were hugging each other, and then she said, “I am so glad that you decided to call the number and come by.” And I said, “Don’t people call this number EVERYDAY and ask you to see the house?” And she said no, and I just couldn’t believe it. She said, “Either people do not really see the house, they just kind of drive by it, and don’t notice, or they are too afraid to call the number.” 

To drive by such an amazing thing and not even see it is just so sad. Or, to see it, and be interested in it, but too afraid to call the number is also sad. And that is what I was talking about! Seeing when you look… actually seeing… and taking things in and letting them affect you… being a human being… not just walking around like some zombie who solely communicates with other human life through text messages and facebook wall posts. Don’t get me wrong, I like facebook, and text messages… but there has to be more for our generation… there has to be more… and there is… if you let yourself experience it. 

So anyway, I am standing there, and crying, and hugging, and were talking, and Tundra is showing me all the newspaper articles written about Nova, and she is telling me his life story, how he had to escape from Romania (because it was communist… and the government did not allow Nova to leave Romania even though he wanted to come to America to pursue his art.) Nova ran away from Romania with NOTHING except a small backpack and the clothes on his back. He survived on his journey by eating random things that he found along the way, he was starving most of the way… finally he ended up in Italy… he had to swim some crazy distance, apparently he almost drowned… and then from Italy he eventually came over to the states (Tundra explains this story much better than I do, by the way.) 

THEN, she says to me… “If you like this house get in your car and drive to the gravel driveway down the road. Go up the driveway, and when you see a little house, park your car… then walk up the gravel hill, and you will be there.” And I am like, “I’ll be where? Where will I be?” And she goes… “Just do it, just go… find the gravel driveway, go in, and walk up the hill, you will see.” So, I thank her for everything, for letting me into her home, for the tour of the house, for her time, for telling me the whole story, we exchange numbers… I get in my car, and I find this driveway that she is talking about. I park my car, get out, and walk up the hill… and I was just blown away… this is what I found…

"The Soldiers" by Nova Mihai Popa

"The Soldiers" by Nova Mihai Popa

 Those are “The Soldiers” … but wait… there’s more… 

"The Astronauts" by Nova Michai Popa

"The Astronauts" by Nova Michai Popa

These are “The Astronauts” …

"The Settlers" by Nova Michai Popa

"The Settlers" by Nova Michai Popa

And these are “The Settlers.” There are more… including, “The Bell,” “The Galaxy,” “The Sun,” ect… and they are all beautiful, but the ones that I have posted are my favorite. All these statues are in an open field, and when you see them all together at one time, its breathtaking. It looks like aliens have come to Earth and left behind these huge, metal, amazing things… the field which they are in is also surrounded by horses, which makes for a really interesting effect. Its like man+art+nature all together in perfect harmony. 

That leads me to… THE RIBBIT OF THE DAY:  YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO FIND OR WHAT YOU CAN DISCOVER ON ANY GIVEN DAY (I went to the Hamptons that day with completely superficial intentions, to go swimming, to lay out and to party at Georgica and Dune… but clearly, the universe had bigger plans in store for The Frogge.) SO OPEN UP YOUR EYES, AND WHEN YOU LOOK… MAKE SURE YOU SEE. 

Love your friend,

                              The Frogge ❤


2 Responses to “When You Look, Make Sure You See…”

  1. Not to mention that the universe has fulfilled your wish of experiencing this amazing field of Nova’s sculptures under the pouring rain the next time you visited, as well as the fact that a long drive out to the Hamptons is no longer necessary to experience his art 🙂 Say yes to DUMBO!

  2. Yes… I have to go see the new sculpture in DUMBO! Thank you for letting me know that it is there! That is so exciting… I ❤ Nova.

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