Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Where do we find hope?

Where do we find hope for a better world when the news paints such a dismal picture; failed states sending explosive underwear bombers out to kill, two wars with more brewing, and on and on. I watched tonight's news with a heavy heart. Soon after hope rang; I received a phone call from friends (Muslims) wanting to plan a big party to bring Muslims and non-Muslims together to get past the head lines. We dreamt of who to invite, and how to proceed. After a half an hour of laughing and sharing ideas I hung up with a feather weight heart. Maybe it is a sin, like the Egyptians believed, to live a life that would give you a heavy heart.

I find hope from friends who remind me to act.

I am also reading a great book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by James Agee and Walker Evans. It is a window into the world of the American South of 1936. Let me tell you- things HAVE gotten better.

I find hope in change.

James Agee wrote: " Above all else; in God's name don't think of it as Art. Every fury on earth has been absorbed in time, as art, or as religion, or as authority in one form or another. The deadliest blow the enemy of the human soul can strike is to do fury honor. Swift, Blake, Beethoven, Christ, Joyce, Kafka, name me a one who has not been thus castrated. Official acceptance is the one unmistakeable symptom that salvation is beaten again, and is the one surest sign of fatal misunderstanding, and is the kiss of Judas."

I find hope in the fury of life.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Donkey Library

Inspiring. "Man lives in what he sees. But he sees only what he dreams." Check out this seer who has made a place on this earth for his dream.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Where White Means Death.

Where Have You Hidden It?

You say we are a storm, drifting from a distant place,
come to disrupt your home.
You call us diseased.
With pity, we should be cured.
You say that we are less, deserving, less, entitled, less, than you.
But we are your sons, your daughters.
We are your brothers, sisters, family and friends.
We are not a storm, brewing off the coast,
but we are equally, if not more, the heart of this nation.
We were born and raised, just as you, with the promise of freedom and equality.
The only thing that sets us apart, the only thing in the entire world, is that when we grew up, we didn't find it.
Well, where have you hidden it?
Because to tell you the truth, these childish games have started to get old.
And the fact of the matter is that
we love too.

by Reid Drake

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Help Portrait Project

Calling all photographers. Help someone in need with a portrait- for free- this holiday season. Learn more here on this growing community of artists taking direct action to make the world a better place.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

New Back of the Bus Policy in NC

The proposed new rules for admission for children of undocumented immigrants into Community Colleges in North Carolina is, in my opinion, a new "back of the bus" policy- charging out-of-state tuition to children who may have grown up in the state, and providing them access to classes as long as no "legal" student needs the spot. What a disingenuous invitation to an education. I thought of this last month as I sat at a conference of community college professors and was served lunch by an all Hispanic staff. My slave owning ancestors would have felt right at home!

I am trying to think up a performance piece involving a bus to make the point that this new policy is deeply flawed. Any suggestions?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Low Rent + Artists = Raised Rents = Gentrification - Artists

Rayna from the land down under tells me that gentrification is a growing problem in her country as developers swoop in on artists who gather around low rent, develop the neighborhood and then raise rentsand drive out the very artists that gathered there before them. Rayna sent me this cool video that won this year's Earthsharing Australia short film contest. Also, check out Rayna's facebook group dedicated to addressing this growing problem.

Madame Tutli - Putli

Take 10 minutes to watch Madame Tutli-Putli at You Tube Screening Room. (Select the movie after going to the page or a random selection will play.) It is about a women on a night train...and so much more. Enjoyed it over coffee this morning with my son, the poet. I have been thinking about it all day.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Look Past The Eyes

Shirin Neshat is a Iranian expatriate who has been making video art for years on the experience of being a women in Persia. In September, she won the Silver Lion Award for best director at the 66th Venice Film Festival for her first feature film, Women Without Men. Here is an interview of her I found on YouTube. A trailer for her movie is on YouTube but you must sign in to view it- apparently something in it requires you to be a mature viewer. In Women Without Men, Shirin shows us the lives of four women seeking freedom against the backdrop of 1953 Military Coup that installed the Shah. Like many good artists, her work was one step ahead of the world and although she began work on it 6 years ago it speaks to the current Green Movement's struggles in Iran.

Take time to sign into You Tube and look up "Women without Men" it is worth seeing and will be worth watching in its entirety when it comes to the states.