Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Playlist...

of sorts. I'm still trying to figure out why not all the tracks I've downloaded are available to add to the playlist. If anyone can offer help, please do. I'm obviously not a wiz with the audio.

1. Must I Paint You A Picture - Billy Bragg
2. Foolish Love - Rufus Wainwright
3. Five Colors - Sam Phillips

Cowboy Junkies

I would like you guys to celebrate with me a minor miracle. I've been wanting a jukebox on my blog for weeks and, look, I've made it this far!

It's sort of a test, so I chose Horse In The Country by Cowboy Junkies as my pilot. There is yet much to figure out. For example, the song I really wanted was one I thought I purchased as an MP3 file but I can't find where it was downloaded to. If anyone has suggestions, please, please, please let me know. This is my first foray into MP3 territory and I'm really limited!

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New To Me Blogs

Sandpiper's Place - Stunning original nature and wildlife photography. I have to visit here daily now.

Juanuchis' Way - Funny, honest, real and original artwork to boot!

Liberality - Political, thoughtful poster and commenter.

minnesottablue at Random Thoughts - I really like her current post A Divided Family. Another intelligent, thoughtful commenter.

Thank you all for enriching my life and introducing me to or reminding me of important concerns, ideals and ideas.

cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Friday Evening Nudes


Image I Reclining Nude

Image II Sleeping Nude On Red Background

Image III Nude On Sofa

Image IV Nymph And Satyr

I Will Be Your Mirror

written by Lou Reed
In anticipation of his concert next Saturday, I've been on a Lou Reed kick. This is dedicated to my daughter Supergirl Two who gets starry-eyed when she talks about Nico.

I love you.

Your Mom

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Trouble With Frida Kahlo?

I was just reminiscing with W.P. about a Frida Kahlo exhibition we both had the good fortune to attend when we visited London in 2005. The exhibition, at the Tate Modern, was, at that time, the largest ever of Kahlo's work outside of Mexico. We're both big fans of her work and W.P. is further drawn to her work because he was a student at U.N.A.M. many years ago, before Kahlo's iconoclastic fame.

It was tremendous for me to see so many of Frida Kahlo's paintings. I have several files of Khalos already saved but I went a step further and did a search for articles and art criticism of her work. That is where I went wrong. My enthusiasm turned to irritation and I was reminded of just exactly why, as an art lover, I detest art criticism. Almost invariably, I'm confronted with the over-intellectualization, pretentiousness and, more insidous, the sexism of the art world.

It is true that I love art. It is also true that I am not an expert on art. In fact, I never took an art history or art appreciation course in my life. Perhaps that is a good thing. I thought this article was a particularly good analysis of how the art world views and markets women artists.

The Trouble With Frida Kahlo: Uncomfortable truths about this season's hottest female artist. by Stephanie Mencimer

Feminists might celebrate Kahlo's ascent to greatness--if only her fame were related to her art. Instead, her fans are largely drawn by the story of her life, for which her paintings are often presented as simple illustration.

I must be an exception, since what I was originally drawn to was the art and not necessarily the woman. Clearly she depicted her own physical and emotional pain through her paintings. And who was that fat man she painted herself next to? I had no idea what the source of that pain was until many years later, which added to my understanding of her work but did not replace my interest in it.

Some feminist art historians have struggled against such reworkings of women artists, but Kahlo's pop-culture mania revives it with a vengeance. Kahlo certainly facilitated this process by painting herself as the quietly suffering female. In every possible sense, the mass-culture Kahlo embodies that now-poisonous term: victimhood. She was the victim of patriarchal culture, victim of an unfaithful husband, and simply the victim of a horrific accident. But that's probably one reason why she's so popular. "People like to see women as victims," says Mary Garrard, a professor of art history at American University.

Why is it that when women write or paint their personal experiences in a society that so often exploits, belittles and patronizes them, they must endure also the label of "victim" from critics? Isn't that like adding insult to injury?

Walk through the NMWA's exhibit, and you'll see that even Kahlo's still- life paintings are treated as a reflection of her personal life. The "open fruit," we're told, depict her aggressive sexuality and obsession with fertility, as do the monkeys in her self-portraits, even though she had them as pets. (Apparently her pet dog, which she also painted, carries no such connotations.)

Ugh. This really annoys me. I just want to be left alone to admire the open fruit, as open fruit. I want to bask in the color, the line, the arrangement. If "aggressive sexuality" enters my mind, then let it be my idea and not some museum curator's, quite likely a man. Similar things have been said about Georgia O'Keefe's large flower paintings, which she denounced as having little to do with her work.

If [Kahlo's] paintings were looked at closely, she would become a dangerous woman," says Lindauer, explaining that Kahlo's paintings actually challenge lots of feminine ideals. If they really took a good look at her art, she adds, "People would be less comfortable buying her fridge magnets.

Amen and thank god for dangerous women.

Monday, April 7, 2008

And Today...Further Evidence

At home: crocus.

These guys are across the street from my school. Notice there are still patches of snow here and there.

The high today was 56. This morning when I left for work it was 38. I refused to wear socks.

Yesterday's Walk Reveals It Is Spring

W.P. cutting down some pussywillows for me.

The beavers have been hard at work.


We went to this spot because it's a wetlands area known to have pussywillows growing and beavers knawing. This area has been targeted for a Wal-Mart mega-store for over a decade. I'm too lazy to do the research but it was, I believe, twelve or so years ago that a local citizens group kept Wal-Mart out of town. So far, so good at keeping the bastards out.

What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love And Understanding

I know, I know...I've gone youtube happy. It's the blog butterfly affect at work here. I wish I could turn it up louder...

What I really need is to get me one of those cool jukeboxes like Mad Priest has on his blog.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Left: Memorium
Below: Georgia O'Keefe's Hands

Left: Laetia Casta
Annie Liebowitz

National Poetry Month - Sharon Olds

For my National Poetry Month posts, I've decided that I want to focus on the work of women poets. Those who were and are considred "half cracked" are particular favorites. Half-cracked women poets are witches, bitches, feminists and madwomen. I say, thank god for us who partake of their intimacy, madness and sorcery.

Others, like Sharon Olds, tell their own truths about the body, sex, violence, death and family in stark language that is feared and criticized, I believe, because of their gender.

Here is Sharon Olds from her collection The Dead And The Living. Some critics of Olds have referred to her work as "pornographic", so be warned.

The Issues
(Rhodesia 1978)

Just don't tell me about the issues.
I can see the pale spider-belly head of the
newborn who lies on the lawn, the web of
veins at the surface of her scalp, her skin
grey and gleaming, the clean line of the
bayonet down the center of her chest.
I see her mother's face, beaten and
beaten into the shape of a plant,
a cactus with grey spines and broad
dark maroon blooms.
I see her arm stretched out across her baby,
wrist resting, heavily, still, across the
tiny ribs.
Don't speak to me about
politics. I've got eyes, man.

Also from The Gold Cell

Still Life

I lie on my back after making love,
breasts white in shallow curves like the lids of soup dishes,
nipples shiny as berries, speckled and immutable.
My legs lie down there somewhere in the bed like those
great silver fish drooping over the edge of the table
Scene of destruction, scene of perfect peace,
sex bright and calm and luminous as the
scarlet and blue dead pheasant all
maroon neck feathers, and deep body wounds,
and on the center of my forehead a drop of water
round and opalescent, and in it
the self-portrait of the artist, upside down,
naked, holding your brushes dripping like torches with light.

Open Letter To Laura Bush

Salon interview with Sharon Olds

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