Sunday, July 27, 2014

money never changed a thing

We heard the Sermon on the Mount and I knew it was too complex
It didn't amount to anything more than the broken glass reflects

When you bite off more than you can chew you pay the penalty
Somebody's got to tell the tale, I guess it must be up to me

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Women to women

That night, we went to see the Sa Dance Company perform.  The house was full and performance was full to bursting with life – streaks of color and movement that simultaneously pulse with celestial abandon and the down-to-the-finger precision of Indian dance.  So who am I to talk about Indian dance tradition? Nobody.  But it was fab to see this group of mostly amateur but highly trained and experienced women cover ground from strict classicism to Bollywood exuberance.

Then on Sunday we went to the Kara Walker “A Subtlety” exhibition at the Domino Sugar Factory in Williamsburg. As much great stuff as we'd read about this, it was more amazing than we’d dared expect.

The full title was: "A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant."

Sugar baby, tar baby, Sugar Mammie Sphinx - sugar and molasses sculptures standing, melting, decaying and laying in wait, accusing and celebrating and remembering the people who worked, lived, and died in the sugar harvesting & refining industries. 

A history that stretches from the triangle of trade in slave, cash, and cane cargo from Europe to Africa to the Americas and back finds one end in this defunct Domino plant in Williamsburg, up and running until less than a decade ago.

There's so much written out there that I feel I can't add a lot to the conversation, especially since it's scarcely my story to tell.

There was a performance artist there, in green and black tiger print spandex, with a 'hidden' videographer (I didn't see him until later) getting footage of people's reactions to her as she walked the space.

At one point after she'd been there I don't know how long she let out a piercing scream standing in front of the sphinx who dominated the space (and most of the coverage of the exhibition).

She had a partner (also in spandex, black and yellow I think), who gave a simultaneous scream - no words, just an outcry - from the other end of the sphinx sculpture.

I don't know who they are or anything about them.  It wasn't this guy, who seems to have done something along similar lines, but including verbal statement and follow-up. But they were there. They were there on that day, as this art work was there, as generations of factory work happened there, and the work that built this place - this culture, this nation, this economy - happened, in the physical universe, for better and/or for worse, for a few hundred years.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Quick! Look over there!

Aaaand the upload of that last post didn't work and now it's more than a week later.  Ugh.  Here, look at these photos of a pie and a pup and think of something nice:

While we're at it - the dog in that photo is in need of some serious mojo on the health front.  Cast any healing spells you know; send out any vibes, prayers, or simple good wishes, because he's the best and we want him to stick around a good long time, dammit!

Notes from a Saturday Morning

Some quick thoughts while David Rothenberg finishes up this week's radio offering.

As usual, there has been lots of music/film/theater-going.  The Mike Daisey Yes This Man show at Joe's Pub was a standout, as was Casa Valentina.  Daisey has been at the center of quite a little storm on ye olde internets, stemming from the fact that his original title for this piece co-opted the #yesallwomen hashtag (which itself of course was a response to the misguided, not to say asinine, #notallmen hashtag that sprung up as a defensive backlash to the anger stemming from the Santa Barbara murders)  Some of the fiercest opinions came from people who seem [in my opinion] to have been blinded by the old Apple flap [missing the point and, at this point, boring] and/or driven to distraction by the notion of a white man weighing in on Women's Issues [completely understandable, necessary, and to a great extent the point of the show - and this is where it gets interesting: where does he get off doing this? Can anyone speaking from a place of privilege have something valid to contribute to the discussion? Where are the female, trans, queer, not-white-male monologists and performance artists taking on this topic at Joe's Pub? Or anywhere that gathers the kind of media attention that 1) goes along with the Public Theater or similar venues; or 2) seems to pop up when a famous, or semi-famous, man has something to say. Is he just a self-absorbed performer who needs to be loved?] Yes, I get the irony that I am a white dude making this commentary.  My opinions on this topic are extremely humble.  

And, it seems that some people are developing some strong opinions without actually seeing or hearing the work, which in my view is riveting, multi-faceted, and significantly more nuanced than some of the critical reaction would suggest. If you want to go to the crux of it, audio downloads of this and a whole bunch of Daisey's other work is free for the asking.  

Another worthwhile link is this old interview with the late, great Eli Wallach, departed a few days ago, who was a hero on a bunch of levels, and not just because he took time out of the goodness of his heart to talk to a friend of mine who was doing a Tennessee Williams role in Boston that Wallach had originated in New York about 50 years earlier.

Much happening these days.  Houseguest next weekend.  More to come...