Sunday, April 25, 2021
Monday, November 2, 2020
|A scanned-in pumpkin is given a narrative - digital - DS 2020.|
... or Samhain, if you prefer. So, while I apologize for not coming to the table on the actual day, well, does it really matter?
Anyway, I've been camping out in a rabbit hole these days... and diligently trying to produce a post relative to the situation. As it was, the image appearing above was meant for my "other" blog... but after some careful consideration - and possibly some subliminal communication with the those on the "other" side - it was decided that the Famous Last Words on Post-Mac Blues would neither be my own nor Mac's, but, instead, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's.
I did read some good news today. In reference to a footnote in my previous post... the one about the "fat" lady singing, it seems like she's singing for Biden & Harris... as every artist, woman, and intelligent human should be. See: The Countdown: Lady Gaga gets drawn in as campaign heats up.
I hesitate to hope... but, maybe, this is a good omen!
Saturday, September 26, 2020
Ah, but there's a new circus in town. Yes, it's getting perilously close to Election Day again and although, in a visual sense, it seems our Presidential choices are not all that diverse - i.e., for the most part: old, male and pale - Democratic hopeful, Joe Biden, proving that he's no slouch, chose a vivacious female running mate - both African-American and
Native American *- and, in terms of entertainment value, she's just about everything he's not. And that's the good news. The bad news is that, unfortunately, many Americans (both male and female) are firmly misogynistic; a fact not lost to Biden's foes whose agenda is to keep misogyny thriving. Therefore, the cunning Man from Mordor (who cannot be named) - and his creepy, bleached-out sidekick, (whose name can't be recalled) - continue to hold a large segment of the Kingdom of the West in thrall, and, while this phenomenon has never been sufficiently explained we might assume either the Dark Arts are involved or, perhaps, the many toxins now present in water supplies.** Regardless, the present administration continues to produce damage and will do so, apparently, till the "fat lady sings"***; assuring American citizens that regardless of future election results, we'll be wading in muck for years to come.
However, after one very long year of Deep Muck, I think we might all agree that, while it's been advised to make lemonade when presented with lemons, it is equally advisable that, when in hell, make popcorn. Seriously; the conditions are optimal (and give new credence to "Hellzapoppin.") And, what goes better with popcorn than a movie? And, really, what kind of movie pairs better with politics than Walt Disney's 1940 animated film, Fantasia?
This is a wrap. Enjoy the film-clip... and pass the popcorn.
Incidentally, if you're in need of more laughs (and who isn't?) - and can read English - here's some outrageously stupid news headlines.
Sorry for the mistake; apparently even legitimate sources can be inaccurate these days... and I've been ignoring all things (and people) political for several years +. And we know why.
*** And, then again, maybe this Lady...
Saturday, September 19, 2020
I confess, I haven't devoted a great deal of attention to Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the recent past. I'm afraid I took her position in the Supreme Court for granted. But, while her career was not foremost on my mind, her presence in the world still seemed crucial; I somehow felt safer knowing she was there... which really hit home when I learned she had died last night. (See here and here.) Not only did I feel truly bereft, I also felt frightened; certain that, even before her body grew cold, reactionary forces would begin plotting to replace her with one of their own.
And I wasn't wrong. (See here.)
RBG was a force to be reckoned with; one suspects she stoically held death at bay till the last possible moment, if only to confound the present administration. It is reported she said to her granddaughter several days before she died:
"My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed." *
She was a modern Athena and a true feminist, in that she supported and fought for both the concept of gender equality and, in some cases, individuals who specifically suffered from the lack of it... which often included men. But, more importantly, she was a truly intelligent human who used her position of power to bring some clarity to the world.
Her death has brought another terrible loss to this planet at a time when we have already lost too much. But, I hope her spirit remains for awhile; encouraging and inspiring young women to continue fighting where she left off. And, with any luck, as she was so driven and passionate in her convictions, she'll return long enough to haunt a few politicians... specifically the buzzards currently circling around the Supreme Court.
Vale, RBG, and more power to you. You fought from the standpoint of love... love for the people you served and a love for the truth. There is no greater standpoint.
(Note: Inset left in the text portion of the post is a photo of RBG taken by Kevin Wolf (AP) and found here.)
* This just in (9/21/20): Not terribly surprisingly, the leader of the present administration is in denial about this statement and wishes to cast doubt (his favorite evil seed to plant when he's cornered or presented with any obstruction to his agenda) on its authenticity. He has, instead, "suggested" that the statement allegedly made by RBG's granddaughter was, in his (woefully deficient) estimation, contrived by the Democratic party.
"But while repeatedly proclaiming his respect for Ginsburg, Trump dismissed her final statement, that her wish was not to be replaced until a new president is installed, saying it sounded like 'it came out of the wind,' and suggesting with no evidence that one of his Democratic opponents could have made it up.
'I don't know that she said that, or was that written out by Adam Schiff and Schumer and Pelosi?' Trump said, referring to Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. 'I would be more inclined to the second, OK, you know? That came out of the wind. It sounds so beautiful, but that sounds like a Schumer deal, or maybe a Pelosi or Shifty Schiff.'"
- Via this article. (Note: The use of audacity - and disrespect - to achieve his objective is, yet, another favorite ploy of our "fearless leader" If he was a child he might be excused... but, perhaps, not even then.)
Monday, August 3, 2020
|Russian dancer Vaslav Nijinsky in his 1911 role as the "Rose Ghost"|
from the ballet "Le Spectre de la Rose." (Also here, and another related article in French).
Click all images in this post to enlarge.
("O you, who caused my death
- From the poem Le Spectre de la Rose by Théophile Gautier which inspired Michel Fokine's ballet about a young woman haunted by the spirit of a rose she had received at her debut. Later that night, while she dozes in a chair, the spirit of the wilted rose visits her in a dream. (Note: So much tends to be lost in mere word translations of French poetry... specifically: the poetry! I've seen several translations of this particular stanza but found myself dissatisfied with all of them. So, I tweaked it. In other words, if this translation is also problematic, the fault is mine.)
The rose (inset right) is named for a man... as many roses are. Did you know that? It's name is Fantin Latour, named for the French artist who was known for his elegant paintings of flowers... especially his roses. More of his work can be found here. There might, in actuality, be a variety of rose named Nijinsky - well, there ought to be - but, if so, I haven't found it.
"His dancing has the unbroken quality of music, the balance of a great painting, the meaning of fine literature, and the emotion inherent in all these arts. There is something of transmutation in his performances; he becomes an alembic, transforming movement into a finely wrought and beautiful work of art. The dancing of Nijinsky is first an imaginative triumph, and the spectator, perhaps, should not be interested in further dissection of it..."
- From "The Russian Ballet and Nijinsky" by Carl van Vechten found in Nijinsky, an illustrated Monograph edited by Paul Magriel, 1946. Also found within the pages of the book are the 3 b/w photos of Nijinsky as the Rose found inset left, inset right (below) and below the jump.
"In December 1917, Vaslav Nijinsky, the most famous male dancer in the Western world, moved into a Swiss villa with his wife and three-year-old daughter and started to go insane. This diary, which he kept in four notebooks over six weeks, is the only sustained, on-the-spot account we have by a major artist of the experience of entering psychosis. Nijinsky's diary was first published in 1936, in a heavily bowdlerized version that omitted almost half of his text. The present edition, translated by Kyril FitzLyon, is the first complete version in English, and the first version in any language to include the fourth notebook, written at the very edge of psychosis. It contains Nijinsky's last lucid thoughts - on God, sex, war, and the nature of the universe, as well as on his own broken life."
- A description of The Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky. The New York Times has archived a small portion of the newer translation of the diary here.
"Nijinsky's Diary was written during the six weeks he spent in Switzerland before being committed to the asylum, combining elements of autobiography with appeals for compassion toward the less fortunate, and for vegetarianism and animal rights. Nijinsky writes of the importance of feeling, as opposed to reliance on reason and logic alone, and he denounces the practice of art criticism as being nothing more than a way for those who practice it to indulge their own egos rather than focusing on what the artist was trying to say. The diary also contains bitter and conflicted thoughts regarding his relationship with Diaghilev."
- Excerpt from the Wiki entry for Nijinsky.
"The man who is right is the one who feels but does not understand."
- A quote from Nijinsky's Diary found here.
If someone had told me years ago that one day in the far future I would fall in love with a man dressed as a flower, I would've probably just figured they (or I) had inhaled one flower too many. And, yet, that's just what I did one recent Pandemic night, as I gazed at a photo of the Russian dancer, Vaslav Nijinsky. The photo was found in a slim red book with the name "Nijinsky" written in a thin, black script on its spine; a book I might have easily overlooked had it not fallen under my creative radar earlier in the day. And what to my wondering eyes did appear, as I opened the book to a random page, but a photograph of Nijinsky in his role from the ballet "Le Spectre de la Rose"... that is, the ghost or spirit of the rose, which I learned had been inspired by a French poem of the same name.
Lovely, lovely, exquisitely lovely. As it so happens, roses (and spirits) figure prominently in a current art project of mine - a project devoted to the mysteries of the power of love - and, well, I'd be the last one to ignore the quirky habits of fate. Unfortunately, as I began reading the book (into the wee hours of the morning) it became apparent that I had another tragic artist on my hands and, worse still, another misunderstood "mad" artist. At which point I realized Nijinsky would eventually have to make his way to Trans-D... the home of the misunderstood "mad" artist.
As a young dancer, Vaslav Nijinsky (March 12, 1889 – April 8, 1950) was beautiful, graceful, luminous, beloved by both men and women, and considered the greatest dancer and most innovative choreographer of his time. This was during the latter years of the Fin de Siècle when all sorts of dark romanticism, spiritualism - and debauchery - transpired. Tragically, his life - and (allegedly) his mind - began to unravel around the age of 29 (apparently the shelf-life of many a brilliant flame). He was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia and was to spend his remaining 30 years in and out of mental institutions. Professionally, he would never dance again... reminding us (to our dismay), that, yes, for an artist, there are fates worse than death... and almost all of them are in some way related to institutions.
Nijinsky is and was most often referred to as gay: the stereotypical effeminate ballet dancer - and, while looking at his "Rose" photographs, you might've thought so, too - as if grace and beauty (and some great eye-shadow) are exclusively found in feminine form. This a fairly modern misconception. The classical world entertained a broader, unbiased perspective, glorifying both their pretty boys and pretty girls equally in art and poetry. Then again, in ancient Greece and Rome, one's sexual orientation wasn't the socially definitive issue it became in the modern world. In fact, no precise Latin words for "homosexual" or "heterosexual" existed. As for Nijinsky, well, he married a woman, fathered two children and employed a number of female prostitutes, while his few documented relationships with men - specifically Sergei Diaghilev, the founder of the renowned Ballets Russes in which Nijinsky found his fame - seem to be based predominately on Nijinsky's artistic opportunism and his partner's egocentric, abusive indulgences. "Love" did not seem to have been the operative term in their relationship. But, for Nijinsky, love was all. And, his feeling was so strong, he believed he was love's personification. In a letter to Diaghilev, Nijinsky wrote:
"You are the one who wants death and destruction, although you are afraid of death.
I love love, but I am not the flesh and blood, I am the spirit, the soul. I am love..."
Ultimately, whether Nijinsky was gay, bi, straight - or some permutation thereof - doesn't really interest us here. I'm more inclined to agree with Dorothy Parker's remark:
So, let's just accept that Nijinsky was a less common kind of guy and move on...
Monday, June 29, 2020
"...A great deal more could be said, but in passing I merely wanted to touch upon a subject which in itself would require a very long and much more detailed discussion; I shall come back to it. At this juncture, my intention was merely to mark a point by noting the hate of the marvelous which rages in certain men, this absurdity beneath which they try to bury it. Let us not mince words: the marvelous is always beautiful, anything marvelous is beautiful, in fact only the marvelous is beautiful."
"...We are still living under the rule of logic, that, of course, is what I am driving at. But in our day, logical procedures are only applicable in solving problems of secondary interest. The absolute rationalism still in fashion only allows us to consider facts directly related to our own experience. The aims of logic, in contrast, escape us. Pointless to add that our very experience finds itself limited. It paces about in a cage from which it is more and more difficult to free it. It leans, it too, on immediate utility, and is guarded by common sense. Under the flag of civilisation, accompanied by the pretext of progress, we have managed to banish from the spirit everything that might rightly or wrongly be termed superstition, fancy, forbidding any kind of research into the truth which does not conform to accepted practice. It was by pure chance, it seems, that a part of our mental world, and to my mind the most important, with which we pretended to be no longer concerned, was recently brought back to light."
Thursday, June 25, 2020
Monday, May 25, 2020
Note to RW: Life is short. Move on, (baby).
Note to Gilmour and Waters*: Generally, ego-tripping little boys are what start Wars and Walls. See: 1st Note.
Note #3: Pink Floyd Forever! :-)
* Re: Floyd Feud... here, here, and here.
Friday, May 22, 2020
(Between the large cloud (in the image above) and the rooftops of human dwellings in the foreground is an unusual, undulating veil of mist striated with the sun's rays. Beneath the veil - stretched out from left to right and lying in shadow - is Sandia Crest, the main body of the Sandia Mountains. This is a cell-phone photograph shot in late March of 2018 while I was still living on the road. It is amongst my last photos of the Sandia Mountains. The rest will appear further on in the post: formally the last post of the Traveler & the Mountain series. (Part 1 & Part 2). Click on all images for larger view.)
"The sense of the sacred does not require any image of the gods. There will be no more gothic cathedrals built to exalt humankind to the heavens; no more prophets to lead humankind to the divine; and no more Holy Grails to entice humankind upon the Quest – we now have the sacred suffusing us en masse, manifesting as both the tangible and intangible. Our cultures are being finely renewed from the inside-out by a subtle vibration that has come to us through a myriad of emanations in different forms.
Our ancestors were aware that they lived in a sacred cosmos, where the physical world existed in communion with the unseen dimension which ensouled and sanctified it. There was no rigid line drawn between what was the inner world and what was external reality, because both domains were in correspondence. The individual human soul was a part of the greater sacred reality. And just as the sacred is an instrument of the human, so the human is an instrument of the sacred. The sacred worldview is one that accepts not only the metaphysical but also the magical and the mysterious – the magnificent wonder in everything and all. As the Greek Orphic Mysteries of 2,500 years ago spoke: ‘I am a child of earth and starry heaven, but my race is of heaven alone.’"
- Via Kingsley L. Dennis’s Reality Sandwich article: Magic Never Died: The Sacred is Still Alive.
"There is, we feel, something different about a sacred mountain which cannot be easily explained, something that makes it exceptional. It possesses a kind of energy that’s unique to itself, which can be sensed and felt as much as seen. It draws people to it…inexplicably, mysteriously: 'The power of such a mountain,' writes Lama Anagarki Govinda,
'is so great and yet so subtle that without compulsion pilgrims are drawn to the mountain from near and far, as if by the force of some invisible magnet, and they will undergo untold hardships and privations in their inexplicable urge to approach and to worship the sacred spot. Nobody has conferred the title of sacredness upon such a mountain; by virtue of its own magnetic and psychic emanations the mountain is intuitively recognized to be sacred. It needs no organizer of its worship; innately, each of its devotees feels the urge to pay it reverence.'"
- Via a 2017 Graham Hancock article written by Dustin Naef: Mount Shasta: California’s Mysterious Mountain.
Saturday, May 9, 2020
|Is there anybody out there?|
Or, as Dorothy Parker once said:
"What fresh hell is this?"
|In a word: "Fuck."|
In the end, I realized I couldn't bring myself to post anything... at the same time feeling I MUST avoid all reference to the present global affairs. I've had enough of contaminants in my recent past, and enough of various forms of "official" posturing (predominately from affluent male sources and without meaningful content) to last several lifetimes. Perhaps, I'll have something to say when the dust clears. Perhaps, not.
But, if you're reading this, I'm going to assume you're not seeking the expected... nor obligatory blah-bah regarding current events. Good. Because neither are my strong suit. Moreover, due to my continuing refugee status, isolation-at-home does not seem like a half-bad state of affairs. In other words, if I had a home I'd be quite happy staying in it, thank you! As for social distancing, well, for introverts and all those people whose job it is to magically pull attractive and meaningful things out of their heads (and hands), it's a requirement.
Admittedly, I am in the throes of new art projects... which will hopefully be revealed in future Pandemic Moments. Meanwhile, the two photos of myself (taken by myself) document a couple of failed attempts creating masks. I did wear the blue one (at the top of the post) a few times while wandering about in the Outside but, ultimately, facial coverings - although useful for espionage - kind of give me the heebie-jeebies when everyone is wearing one. On the other hand, there's something to be said for face coverings. One reveals absolutely nothing. Stay tuned: with a little more innovation, they could become the Next Big Fashion Trend!
Thursday, October 31, 2019
|Forest Sleep - oil on panel - 2010, Kelly Louise Judd.|
(Click to enlarge.)
Well, it's the witching season again and, in an effort to stay true to the spirit(s) of our various Days of the Dead, I thought I might feature a new artist whose work is unique, pleasantly spooky, darkly ethereal and the stuff of Old World dreams: the illustrations of Kansas City, Missouri artist, Kelly Louise Judd. (Inset right: Light of the Owls, 2012.)
"Swan Bones Theater" is the name she uses to describe the "fragile shadowland" from which her images emerge as well as the illustrations themselves. Which is perfect really - especially for today - because, if you've recall from the Swan People posts, the swan is the symbol of the psychopomp in many traditions. To repost a quote (found here):
"In the British Isles, Samhain is the time when we see the migratory swans returning for their winter break. Their arrival at their winter waters is far from shy. In full voice, the awesome, evocative sound of hundreds of powerful wings beating signals their presence. They have been guided by the stars of Cygnus, the swan constellation, the Northern Cross, that guards the gateway rift in the Milky Way. They represent the winged soul returning.
The swan is the psychopomp. She flies with the souls of the dead from the burial grounds, the charnel grounds, and the necropolis. She takes them, under the guidance of the Cailleach, to the realms of the spirits."
- Caroline Wise from The Swan, the Goddess, and Other Samhain Musings.
Inset left above is Three Swans (2015). All images in this post - including the one below - can be found on Judd's website.
|The Mockingbird and the Hare - oil on panel - 2010, Kelly Louise Judd.|
Blessed Be and have a (transdimensionally) magical day!