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Archives for September 2011

Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘Spiritual Message’ Turns 80

The Nanga Fakir's Speech, 1931 –  In 1888, when Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948) arrived in England to study law, hardly anyone came to receive him at the port. He dressed like an average Englishman and went about his business in obscurity. In 1931 this same man arrived again in England to attend the Second Round Table Conference to broker peace between the British government and the Indian Independence Movement. This time huge crowds of people poured in the streets of London to have a glimpse of him, for he was dressed in a loincloth, like the poorest of Indians whom he came to represent. Hundreds would gather to listen to this “Nanga Fakir” (as Mr. Winston Churchill used to call him). The crowds were touched and influenced by the … [Read more...]

The Ambidextrous Artist

The Photograph and Text, An Inquiry My fascination with words and images began when I was a teenager and encountered I Am A Lover, a book of photographs by Jerry Stoll with accompanying quotations selected from various sources by writer Evan S Connell, Jr.. For me, living a provincial life on the East Coast, I was enchanted by these black and white photographs of bohemian life in the San Francisco of the fifties -- poets reading their work, jazz musicians in clubs, artists’ studios, street life, photographed not as documentation but as smoky evocation. And then to read, next to, above, under, on the opposite page, words that were sometimes humorous, sometimes lyrical, always apposite and oblique to the image —this was revelation. … [Read more...]

Hold It Against Me

The United States of Stanley Kubrick –  Aspects of ourselves that we don’t know how to care for give rise to the complex patterns of distraction that we call our personalities. This notion came to me courtesy of Brittany Spears in a small burst of insight that happened also to illuminate the closing moments of Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, a film that has always haunted me. I was surfing around on Facebook and I happened to catch a clip of some Marines from the 266 Rein Division lip-synching Brittany’s song Hold it Against Me on a supply base “somewhere in Afghanistan.” One of my characteristic distractions is to locate something conservatives (or the military) are doing, and use it to climb up on my tub and start thumping. This … [Read more...]


Pacific Standard Time Arrives – Initiated by the Getty Museum along with the Getty Research Institute, Pacific Standard Time has blossomed into a comprehensive collaboration of 60 cultural institutes whose focus will be the art and artists of Southern California from the years 1945 to 1980. While the official kickoff date is October 1st, the festival has already taken on wings with gallery exhibitions of works by such L.A. original as Beatrice Wood, Maria Nordman and John Outterbridge. I was thrilled when Scott Hobbs, brought to my attention that the work of Marjorie Cameron was to be included as part PST's inaugural Getty exhibition "Crosscurrents" and featured as part of the Getty's "Explore the Era" web archive. Scott along … [Read more...]

Nesting Instinct – First Encounter

The Nests of Lindsay Wildlife Museum This is the first installment of a three part series on the Nests of Lindsay Wildlife Museum. Part 2, "Behind the Scenes" will take a look at how the nests are collected, categorized, conserved and studied before display. Part 3, "Outreach" is an interview with the museum's Natural History Curator, Marty Buxton. First Encounter I am not a birder, too much looking through binoculars and neck strain, but that doesn’t keep me from being fascinated by their lives. I first came to the Lindsay Wildlife Museum and Hospital with a small finch, a pine siskin, that had flown into my house, having been attacked by my cats. After delivering my bird, who sadly did not make it, I walked around the … [Read more...]


An Interview with American Sound Artist Jeph Jerman – In the end, whether we consider Postmodern music a calculated response to Modernist forms, or a convex re-analysis of music in general, the act of listening remains deeply mysterious. Whether we ascribe universal meaning to Mass in B Minor or The Pirates of Penzance within their authorial and historical contexts, or devise a hyperlogical system to register tones as phonemes, 4'33" and The Well-Tuned Piano still stare back like Rorschach blotter. Perhaps the acme of Postmodern music will be an authorless text without any possible universal interpretation, only individual descriptions and resonances, such that the only possible recourse will be to listen. The act of listening is … [Read more...]