Sunday, March 30, 2008

Dixie Queen floats but is not a river boat

What would it feel like to be an illegal immigrant and gay? It's a double trouble that has resulted in suicide in my community here in the American South. I learned this from a brave couple (straight) who have helped start a support group for gay hispanic men and women. Although there is not a documentary out yet showing the reality of their lives, I have found an interesting documentary out since 2003 by Miles Christian Daniels called Dixie Queen. It shows the life and community of a drag queen living in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Warning: This documentary contains graphic scenes not suitable for all viewers

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Broken Heart in the Form of Poem

Update this picture.
Join the Peace Vigil tonight, 7:30PM Wednesday 3-19-08
at Guilford College. Bring Candles.

This poem was sent to me by Pastor Linda Faltin. It's funny, the most outspoken, activist pastors I know are the ones without a "church." For example Pastor Kristina Johnson and Pastor Brady Faggort who has begun La Vela, a spiritual counseling center for Latinos. Pastor Linda is retired and now an author. She regularly sends out emails of her poetry that always speak the truth. Send me your email address if you would like to added to her distribution list; Here is her most recent emailed poem.

five years...and counting

Five long years...
one thousand eight hundred
twenty-seven days...
countless thousands of
lives lost...
thousands more changed
forever in ways we cannot
even imagine by head injuries
and lost "post-
traumatic stress disorder"-
and even our language has
changed, as "disorder"
cannot begin to describe
a life forever misshaped
by the horrors seen &
families destroyed- here and
in Iraq,,,children without parents...
parents losing children...husbands,
wives ripped away... all in the
name of- what?
Our American appetite for it
continues insatiable...and we
dare descry the loss of our
"American way of life" as the
stock market plunges & banks
close & property values plummet &
jobs are lost... while on distant
shores, a "way of life" has been
held in abeyance for five long
Lord, have mercy.
And our government continues
to speak of "Iraqi freedom"...but
surely it cannot be about
freedom, since in this dreadful
"War on Terror" we have lost
so much of ours...allowing it
to slip through our fingers
like sand on the Iraqi desert...
since our government keeps
"terror" alive within American
hearts & minds to justify,
to gain support for, this
oxymoronic war-
which is destroying us
as surely as it is
destroying the Iraqi people.
Lord, have mercy.

Five long years...
one thousand eight hundred
twenty-seven days...
and-irony of ironies- we
stand here in the middle
of Holy Week...
commemorating the unholy
slaying of the man called Jesus
by the powers of his day...
commemorating the unholy
slaughter of peace and justice
by the powers of our day.
Lord, have mercy.

Fall to your knees, friends &
foes, Red states & Blue...
hang heads in shame for what
we have permitted in our name...
then rise up with a mighty
"No more!" resounding...
No more war!
No more fear!
No more lives for oil!
BE the peace for which
you long!
BE the hope for which
our nation craves!
BE the loving compassion
which is the path
to justice this world

Lord, have mercy,
and strengthen us
to live the truth.
Amen & amen

For those of you in the greater Greensboro area, there will be a peace vigil at the corner of Guilford College Road and Friendly Ave., right in front of Guildford College at 7:30p.m. tonight. Bring candles...and any signs you might have. And for the rest of you, MoveOne is sponsoring similar vigils across the country, as, I imagine, are any number of bold churches. Let us not be so paralyzed by fear or the perception of partisanship that we lose sight of being the peace that this world so desperately needs. Blessings, Linda
Also, be sure to watch the Front Line Documentary Bush's War. Viewable online.

Monday, March 17, 2008

An Amazing Discovery

I was amazed to learn that most of my students in one of my classes do not believe in Global Warming or believe that it is not man made. Wow. How to respond?

I came across these websites in searching for artists who address the issue of Global Warming: Global Warming Art which is filled with insightful and shocking graphs-not exactly what I call art but then again.... Green Museum is a great clearing house for artists working on this issue like Buster Simpson and for projects like the above Environmental Art Calendar.
Do you know of others? If so, please share them with me. I have a new syllabus to write! ;)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Praying for Tibet

Wind horse prayer flags.

A dear friend of mine from China once told me that they had been taught in school that Tibetans ate from human skulls. While he may recognize this now as so much cultural propaganda he still expresses the opinion that Tibet should remain a part of China. "How would you feel if Alaska wished to succeed?" he asked me. I see his point.
I also pray and worry that Tibet will loose its religious identity as China presses for integration. It is possible to now take a fast, cheap train ride from Beijing to Tibet but will it be possible to keep hold of Tibet without erasing its culture and religion? Maybe that's not the point.

As the news of today reports protests, deaths, and deadlines, I hope you take a moment to pray or meditate for Peace. Then check out Tibetan Aid Project, an organization dedicated to preserving the art and writing of Buddist Tibet. Here is an informative video on their efforts.

Tales of Water by Taco Anema

I found this book while browsing a used book store and immediately feel in love with it. When looking it up on Amazon to provide a link here, I was met with a promotional for Amazon's new digital book. Though it will save trees, I doubt that new devise will provide the pleasure this book does in paper and card board. Each page is filled with photos taken by Taco Anema of the two most important elements in our world; children and water. The relationship between the two that he captures takes me back to my own prehistoric (at least pre-digital) childhood when I spent hours exploring the creek bed behind my house, I still remember the crawdads and insect larva I discovered in its still clear and clean water. Sadly, those creek beds are now polluted as are many water sources around the world. Rather than depress us with pictures of a fallen Eden, Taco reminds us of the possibility of a cleaner, friendlier world, one we should devote our time here to preserving.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Art to the People

John Hitchcock, a printmaker that teaches at the Univ. of Wisconsin at Madison has organized a unique project in Argentina that takes activist themed printmaking out into the public and onto public transportation. This may sound trival to the art focused but think of the unique experience it may provide to the everyday person who experiences this stimulating gift. I know of another artist in Winston-Salem that put poetry on that city's buses and I am planning a mobile sculpture show wih my students that will follow the college crowd where I teach. That said, this type of activity is way too rare. Check out John's blog Hybrid Press for more on this project, other efforts, and some great printmaking links like Drive By Press. Thanks Bill for these links!