Marisa Takal is an artist living and working in Los Angeles. This year, Takal was named a recipient of both the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Award and the Stanley Hollander Award. She recently closed a solo exhibition, “Heekin Toonutsi,” at Night Gallery in Los Angeles.
Takal’s Con Rep is a late summer burner, filled with sneaky moves into private pools and movie theaters, plus work on a new cookbook to be shown in an exhibition at The Picture Room in New York. Also: a reunion with her You Nori bandmate Keke Hunt and subsequent performance, a trip to Oinkster, and much more. All below! —John Chiaverina
Monday, August 15
I wake up and have a lot of anxiety about starting the day. I had a strange weekend and it’s lingering into this Monday morn. But! Despite the roughness I try my hardest to get up and have a gr-gr-great day.
Get out of bed and make coffee. I try to attempt to make breakfast but my nerves get the best of me, so I just make coffee (as if it will relieve any anxiety I have). Luckily, my roommate Orion is home and we talk while we drink our coffee. He shows me pictures he likes that are on the internet. I don’t have those pictures but I have a pic of him showing me a pic:
Go into my studio. I send Anne a picture of this M&M mug that holds bizarre meaning:
I still feel anxious*
*To tell you the truth, on this day I was preparing myself for an intense confrontation which is why I was feeling so unhinged. I don’t need to be elusive with this mention of “anxiety.” It took a lot out of me but ended up being fine. What a relief to get thoughts off zee chest.
Put on Hammond Song by the Roches. I’ve listened to this song almost every day since 2013. It’s really beautiful, calming, kind of sad. I put it on repeat so it feels meditative while I draw.
Continued drawing and started to make a collage. It’s been so hot in my studio to paint so I’ve been working on smaller and slower things. I put on this Rihanna song:
Realize I’ve been holding in my pee for over an hour so I go inside my house to pee (my studio is behind my house, convenient for peeing, inconvenient for structure). I looked up yoga class schedule near my house and saw there was a “How to Meditate” class. I decide to take it because well, my anxiety and also I’ve never tried to meditate before. Feeling a real M.E. day, ya know? Also, I take Instagram off of my phone.
Go to “How to Meditate” class, hopefully it helps.
It helps so much! I feel so much better! Reenergized, less stressed, heart beating at regular pace!
Decide to chase this good feeling and get a smoothie.
I get a really good smoothie and check out this thrift store on the corner. Really having a day.
Find some cool stuff at the thrift store. I start a group text with Kayla and Orion and ask them what they think of some options I’m trying on. Orion describes these sneakers as “gluten free raver.” Kayla has very different opinions. I decide to just go with this pink skirt. It matches the smoothie I got.
Try to continue meditation.
Go into my studio. Re-download Instagram. Start to paint and listen to this Alice Coltrane song I’ve been playing for a little while.
Meet up with Anne at the Glendale Galleria. We get dim sum to go and sit at a table in the courtyard of the mall and eat. There is a table of maybe 6 or 7 guys all passing around an Edy’s container and drinking melted ice cream from it, somehow did not get a pic.
We sneak into the movies!!! It was so easy, no one was watching. We sneak into Sausage Party but only stay for half. I think our expectations were high before going into SP, but most of the jokes were in the trailer. I’m sure it got better the second we left. But we leave and sneak into Suicide Squad. OH MY GOD! This movie was SO bad!!!! I don’t think I’ve seen a movie so bad ever? We were so confused…the story was so fakakta. It was kind of entertaining? But so corny? Can you tell I’m perplexed because of all of these question marks? But also, maybe you should go see it?
Go home, still thinking about movie. I wonder if it will enter my dreams.
Tuesday, August 16
Wake up, sad it is later than I’d like, but I stayed up late so I guess this is how it goes. I respond to some texts and emails and make coffee.
Ate breakfast with Orion. He tells me the story about how he scraped his knees. Basically, he tripped on the sidewalk:
Sophia (my sister) invited me to the movies. Again?? (I know!!) So I picked her up and we drove to North Hollywood to go see Don’t Think Twice, a movie about failed hopes and dreams and improv. I’m a little bored throughout, but it’s sincere and sentimental, which I like. I tear up at the end because all of these characters go through big changes (friendship, family, love, career). Big changes in movies always get me. ;p
Get home and Orion is eating lunch. I feel that the excursion to the movie didn’t even happen because he was in the same spot doing the same thing since I left. I made an Instagram a while ago where I post pictures of Orion eating and pretend to be him. @Orion1Eating_
Start to work in my studio. I’m working on an edition of cookbooks to show at my friend Jessica’s event at the Picture Room. I have no idea how to format it though. I try to mess around on Photoshop but I have a hard time with Photoshop. Should I go to Kinko’s right now? I think it may be better to just raw dawg Kinko’s style than waste away on formatting on Photoshop.
Finish editing on PS and head off to Kinko’s. Really proud of myself that I’m doing this errand right now. Very much something I could put off until the last minute.
Finish at Kinko’s. Yes! I formatted everything right and I feel great. I get some groceries and head home.
Make some dinner. Lentils and labneh and a weird cabbage salad that tastes like flowers to me but Orion thinks is fine. I start to put together the cookbooks and get the pages in order.
10:00 p.m. and on
Meet up with Anne and we go for a walk around Occidental College. We see an owl! So cool, it’s the first time I’ve ever seen an owl. It looked like a fat cat sitting on a tree branch. And we see some coyotes too but I get scared and make us walk down the mountain. We walk back to my house and pass out.
Wednesday, August 17
Wake up and lay in bed for a long time. It is very hot already, seems that the day can’t start. But we decide to go get some breakfast.
Get breakfast. It’s so hot, I feel so nauseous. (This summer in L.A. has been really mind numbing. The heat is all anyone can talk about. I even went to a reading the other day and every single reader wrote at least one poem about how badly they felt because of the heat. Every day I try to get over it and get tasks done regardless, but its oppressiveness creeps constantly.) We don’t know how to beat the heat and stay productive so we decide to take a dip in a pool somewhere until it gets later and cools down. Then we think maybe get a hotel room so we can work in there? We entertain this idea for too long and call maybe 10 different hotels and see if they have any vacancy. Finally decide, no that plan is not a good one, but it was fun to pretend that we could get an affordable hotel with AC and a pool in the middle of the day.
We decide to sneak into the pool at the Langham Hotel, a very fancy pool in Pasadena. I’d been told it’s easy to sneak in to.
Valet my car and say, “Oh, we’re just here meeting some friends who are guests for lunch…” “Okay ma’am the restaurant is that way.” Yes! It worked.
Find pool and lay out in the shade. It’s so nice and barely anyone is at the pool. There are iced-tea dispensers and vats of sunblock and lotion surrounding the pool. I feel like it’s 1998 or something. I haven’t seen this type of “luxury” in a long time. I like it because it’s so dated. There are orchids everywhere. We order some cocktails and a PB+J+banana sandwich off of the kids menu. Havin’ a damn day.
Feel sneaky still. Drink the drinks, eat the sandwich. Classic PB&J, a real Welch’s Skippy white bread sando:
Go in the pool and take a dip. It gets a little more crowded. Very conservative crowd. Seems like some men here with their mistresses, babies are crying, people are sweating.
Leave the hotel. What a rush! Good to know this pool is something that is available for special days.
Go to K-Town and look at a not-so-great apartment, drive around, figure out what we want to do next.
End up at the Oinkster. Today has been a very decadent day. I’ve never had a day like this before so I’m trying to embrace it and not judge it. Just feels full-on gluttonous. Order this crazy Ube milkshake that tastes like potato.
I spied on this table of these two football players eating dinner while their coach explained the plays to them. It was very Friday Night Lights. I don’t think I would’ve known what the scenario was if I hadn’t seen that show
Comatose after meal.
10:00 p.m. and on
Watch a couple of Les Blank documentaries. I pass out throughout both.
Thursday, August 18
Wake up. Make a snack and some coffee. Put on this Robert Wyatt song:
Pick up Sophia and we have lunch. We’re both kind of in bad moods. It’s mostly hot and uncomfortable. We talk about the politics of the movie business, success, desires, and a trip to Venice we are going on soon. I get an iced black tea—think that will be my new thing since coffee has been too intense.
Head into my studio. I start to laminate the cover of the cookbooks. By laminate I mean cover in strips of packaging tape.
Oh my god, I’m so frustrated by this tape, it keeps ripping on the roll, making it impossible to tear off. You know how annoying that is, right? I also can’t figure out how to connect the pages of this book! I know I will run out of tape soon and decide that before I get in too deep with sorting out how to make this book come together I should go to Staples to get more tape.
Go to Home Depot and get more packing tape, some rags, and some other stuff for my studio.
Move my work station inside my house because there is more room to work and it’s cooler in there. I get to working and get a good lamination flow going and I figure out how to attach all of the pages. I covered the front and back covers with clear packing tape with a little extra room at the top for an indentation to attach the pages to, then I tape those together for a fold and insert each individual page into the indentation. It’s hard to explain but it worked! I’m thrilled it’s successful, although it looks a little fakakta but that’s what I like about it…“handmade quality.”
Lose track of time, this laminating takes forever. I get a beer and some strawberries out of the refrigerator. I feel cool and happy I’m getting these done. Also, while I make the cookbooks, I listen to music on my headphones but keep taking them and putting them back on between ads between songs and rest them on my neck. I feel a lot like Michelle Pfieffer’s character in White Oleander. She wore headphones while working on art projects in a few scenes in that movie.
Finish the cookbooks. My roommate Evan comes home and we chat for a while. There’s a full moon tonight and we outside to talk and be in the cool air and look at the moon.
Pack up my work station and begin to write this Consumer Report out for the day….I slipped up today and didn’t record everything right when it was happening. I’ve always wanted to do a Consumer Report because of how fun they are to read. But now that I’m on the other side I’ve become self-conscious about my seemingly boring/unproductive my days are this week. Also how difficult it is to write things down as they happen, cool challenge!
Text some friends, send some emails, read through the cookbook, think about tomorrow.
My left boob starts itching so much, I scratch it a lot.
Pick up Eve’s Hollywood by Eve Babitz and start to read. My brother-in-law Larry lent me this book because he thought I’d relate to the character she depicts and he said her writing reminded him of mine. I think that’s a cool thing to say and I haven’t gotten too deep in the book but so far I think the way she writes is pretty annoying. Or at least it makes me rethink if oversharing IS in fact the way to go. But I think this is just a reaction of seeing my reflection in something. Or at least now making me overthink the narration of this Consumer Report. I mean I think “neurotic” would be the word Eve Babitz and I share. Maybe “Jewish” too.
Friday, August 19
Get up, make tea instead of coffee, and make yogurt and granola. Sit and talk to Orion and Evan for a long long long long time, such a good distraction! They look at my cookbooks.
Go to post office to mail cookbooks to Jessica. I always get souped up to go into the post office like it will take so long and be really annoying, but today was not so bad there was no one in there and it took 5 minutes. Things are looking up!
Schlep to Santa Monica to go to therapy. Sit in traffic for 45 minutes. Try to distract myself. Listen to the Moldy Peaches, that same Rihanna song from before:
Get to therapy. Good session, cool cool. The therapy I do is called Core Energetics. Which is half talk and half body work. So I talk talk talk then, like, hit a block! Orrr move around the room and shake my hands and scream, orrr lay on a mat and move around.
Leave therapy and start to head home. I always take the side streets instead of the highway because sitting in an hour traffic on the highway is unbearable, I’d rather be in the car for a little longer but at least be cruising a little fast.. I have no clue what happens on this car ride. But I take these pictures and space out the rest of the ride:
Get home, the traffic was so brutal. But I’m home now and happy to be. I make some lunch, listen to some recordings Anne sent me while I eat, which is fun because it makes me feel like someone is keeping me company.
Lay down, take a nap. I’m trying to reset after the traffic jam.
Text some friends, think about my next move. Keke is coming into town and should be at my house in a couple of hours. I want to get her a sweet treat and buy some groceries so we can make dinner.
Go to the supermarket and pick up some vegetables and chocolate and chickpeas. I try to spy on a lady in her car on the drive over there but get too scared she’ll see me. She was making these strange robotic gestures with her shoulders while singing to a song. It looked really cool:
Go outside to read and cool down. Evan comes home from work and joins me, we talk about love and relationships and jobs for a really long time
Keke comes into my house!!! We sit and chat for a while and I make us dinner. I haven’t seen her since December and it’s so nice to have her in my house. Evan tells us about a birthday party at the Standard in West Hollywood. He says Alex says, “Everyone is going,” so with that we have to go. I went to a party at the Standard when I first moved to L.A. over two years ago and it was so weird, I figured this party would be the same but who knows. We all feel kind of silly going.
Get to the party, which starts in someone’s hotel room. Funny strange vibe, kinda druggy kinda boring. Go downstairs to dance and get a drink. Hang there for a while but vibe was also kind of off so Keke and I go outside.
Talk to Keke outside for a long time, see some old friends, music inside isn’t great, hard to dance to, we contemplate leaving but end up going back to hotel room.
I really really really have to pee. People are doing drugs in the bathroom so I’m waiting forever. I thought it strange that people were sneaking off to do coke in the bathroom when everyone in the hotel room was doing it out in the open. Later friends explained to me that it’s so you don’t have to share your drugs with the whole room, oooohhh. I haven’t been to a party like this since I first moved to L.A. It’s funny that Keek came straight from her long car ride up north into this scene. Sort of so L.A. in this way, but more just the stereotype.
Alex, Keke, and I decide to scram, time to get outta there, time to leave.
Get home and I get ready for bed. Keke is hungry and cooks polenta.
I fall asleep watching Keke eat polenta with her fingers and look at her phone. I missed her, what a sweet sight.
Saturday, August 20
Wake up and yell good morning to Keke. We chat and make polenta eggs and chard for breakfast. She makes homemade immunity tea for us. She works to fix the flyer for this show tomorrow night while I send some emails. A bunch of my friends are playing in this show and I’m doing a song with Keke from our old band You Nori. I’m so excited.
Keke leaves to go give Nora a tattoo, Evan and I talk for a really long time. I make coffee because the tea wasn’t enough, eat some chocolate-covered almonds. He’s listening to Amy Winehouse on his cool bluetooth speakers. I’ve gotten really into bluetooth lately. I don’t have anything bluetooth, just the concept of bluetooth and wanting bluetooth.
Evan and I drive to pick up Keke and Alex from Alex’s house. We’re going to the Hammer to see our friend Lauren’s performance. We rush there, think we’re going to miss it, stuck in traffic but still hopeful.
We get to the Hammer just in time for the performance. It’s nice to see some friends perform as well as friends in the audience. “Made in L.A.” is about to close, so this was a kind of commemorative performance. Also highlighted all of the work and missing links of Lauren’s installation which I really appreciated. Got to see all of her hidden objects she worked furiously on to perfect.
We head back east—traffic says it’ll take an hour to get home, oy.. head home on the “back roads” (not highway). Chat in the car with Alex Evan and Keke about our shared experiences in school, all of Keke’s crazy performances and projects she made in college.
Lay down for a bit and decompress after traffic.
Make dinner with Evan. We eat and he tells me that I Love Dick is on TV now. We decide to watch the first episode. Ehhhhhhhh… I just say whatever, you know? Not even worth it to dive in whatever TV is bad I never watch TV. This was a real loaf day.
Keke comes back home and we chat and draw.
Sunday, August 21
Wake up, make coffee. I grind my coffee in my room so I don’t wake her up.
Keke wakes up, we make breakfast. Curried cauliflower and cabbage with red lentils and fried eggs. YAaaa good.
Eat, talk, drink more coffee and talk about the show tonight. My mom is at a flea market in Long Beach and sends me this text:
“Distressed” I can’t.
She also sends me a pic of this skirt:
Go shopping a little bit the same store I went to on Monday. On the way there, Anne sends me a recording of her playing drums to maybe play in between sets for the show tonight. We split a smoothie and Keke gets an all-purple outfit. We talk about purple and red and how it’s a hard color combination. I tell her when I realized I hated it I just started wearing purple with red a lot, and then eventually got used to it. Now I really like the combo and use it in a lot of my work. She feels inspired to overcome the purp-red conundrum.
Get home. Keke starts to make rice for lunch, she wants to make us sushi. I send some emails and draw. Trip a little that I haven’t gone into my studio in a couple of days but the break feels nice.
Eat lunch then lay down. Respond to emails, talk to Keke.
Rehearse our song we’re going to perform tonight. We run through it three or four times, seems like no time has passed since we last sang it together even though it’s been over three years.
Get to the venue for soundcheck. I sit around and talk to some friends who are also setting up.
Show starts. Everyone’s set was fun good dancey and sincere! Keke’s set was amazing. Her band Just the Right Height is nuts. The performance is mesmerizing and gives the audience chills. I hadn’t seen her play in over a year, I am totally blown away. It also feels really nice to sing our old song, brings back a lot of memories from San Francisco as we sing. Almost everyone in the audience leaves because the song was so shrill and loud. It’s really funny to witness while performing, but we couldn’t hear ourselves. This is the song we played, “Jicky”:
Friends talk about going to do karaoke, it sounds fun but I feel a cold coming on and feel over socialized, so after a lot of back and forth decide not to go. Then later found out no one ended up going (I love when this happens). I go home and pass out.