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In Memoriam B.K.S. Iyengar 1918-2014

Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar  B.K.S. Iyengar. Photographed at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute, in Pune, India. Photograph: Michael O'Neill "Only his body has ended. One person's efforts from inside out, changed the acceptance of yoga throughout the world. Nothing was hidden, from the time he began to practice, to his illness and death. Even last night he was telling Abhijata (Mr. Iyengar's granddaughter), 'I have shown you all these things, now realize them for yourself.' What he has given cannot be encompassed by words. If a disciple is more developed, then that person will understand. What can be said in words, is that he was precious to us."  — Geeta Iyengar You can find more posts on Times Quotidian about … [Read more...]

The Christmas Card that Never Was

But Reached Biblical Proportions Despite — Christmas Creativity Beginning 6 years ago I started work on a holiday card that would feature a series of gun-toting Jesus’ from online. I was tempted by the eye-catching efforts of various “artists” to recruit this man, legendary for his non-violent views, to their own base purposes. It was to be an irreverent, “He’d Turn in His Grave” kind of card. I would staple it together into as a found-art booklet that would amuse and impress friends with my Crazy Christmas Creativity. Little did I know how vastly infectious the Jesus meme is when it enters one’s life and consciousness. So, how do we know who Jesus is? We readily recognize this bearded longhair, even in disguise. Google Jesus … [Read more...]

Shame and Connection

Affective Encounters on the Path — When we fall in love (even for five minutes) it means we have met someone who resonates with some aspect of our mind from which we have been alienated – in the lover’s presence we feel complete, and the feeling is strongest when it is mutual. Even then, however, there are, famously, no guarantees. As often as not the resonance gives way to something else. The bond begins to shift and change, quite often dissolve. We feel then as if some part of our being has again been torn away, like a ripped-off limb or a stolen organ, but none of this is actually the case. As the lover recedes we simply lose contact again with that aspect of ourselves they were able to embody, and the challenge is precisely to take … [Read more...]

Sympathy and the Devil

Tea and Morphine: Women in Paris, 1880-1914, Hammer Museum, January 25, - May 18, 2014 — An inventively curated exhibition of late 19th and early 20th century works on paper by fin de siecle artists, culled from the recent acquisition of the Elisabeth Dean Collection, Tea and Morphine achieves its effects by couplings and contrasts. This is show of ‘ands,’ (the emphasis of the title above is my own interpolation). Public and private are displayed in radical contrast. Public is a woman outside the home, here looking at an exhibition through her lorgnette, contriving her costume so that the ruffles of her hat are echoed by her neckpiece, a woman who is to be seen, and who is also seeing. This is the Belle Epoque teetering on the cusp … [Read more...]

Broken Windows

Personalizing the Politics of Wealth — Expressing astonishment, a friend who recently moved from New York to Mexico to sidestep rising rents, sent me a link to a Mother Jones article on the booming job market in “wealth counselors.” These are the psychologists who help the extremely wealthy cope with the unique suffering that attends being burdened by buckets of cashola. This note arrived the same week the Wall Street Journal printed an Op-Ed by billionaire Tom Perkins comparing the Occupy Wall Street protests to Kristallnacht in Nazi Germany. Subjected to immediate and sustained ridicule, Perkins doubled down, defending the comparison, as did the Journal’s Op-Ed editors. More recently, Ben Carson, the arch-conservative celebrity … [Read more...]

Six Years with God: The Trials and Legacy of the Source Family

The Source Family by Maria Demopoulos and Jodi Wille. 2013. Drag City Film Distribution. The Source: The Untold Story of Father Yod, Ya Ho Wha 13 and The Source Family by Isis & Electricity Aquarian. 2007. Process Media. ISBN 0976082293 — Everyone remembers the high-vibration rainbow salad sprinkled with kindness and brewer’s yeast, served to John Lennon or Warren Beatty sitting on paisley throw pillows, by flaxen-haired girls too young to remember a time before birth control pills. Or Woody Allen ordering a plate of mashed yeast in Annie Hall. Or the 4AM chanting sessions in the room out back, led by giant bearded man in the blinding white robe who spoke with the voice of God in the eternal now. 1970. While many in the … [Read more...]

Bad Boys and Good Girls

The Artist's Life — Two provocative books about individual artist's lives came out early this year —Bad Boy-My Life On and Off the Canvas (Crown Publishers, 2013) an autobiography of painter Eric Fischl written with Michael Stone, and The Woman Upstairs, (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013), a novel by author Claire Messud. Since I read them in sequence, the question arose as to how one book based on facts, and another a work of fiction frames the experience of the contemporary artist. Fischl, an ultra successful painter in the mid-1980's opens his autobiographical account with a coke and alcohol fueled traffic incident in New York after the opening of his retrospective at the Whitney to commemorate five years of unrelenting good fortune, … [Read more...]

Dance Central

Obama and the Dionysian Short Circuit — Listening to Obama speak about the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case I found myself thinking back to Halloween, a few days before the last election, when I drove to Pasadena to pick up my daughter, age 12, from a small class party. The airwaves that night were saturated with electoral news and commentary, the Democrats fighting back the Romney campaign’s increasingly desperate attempts to create the silk purse of “momentum” out of the sow’s ear of declining swing state poll numbers. While Obama has governed too far to the right for my taste (to put it mildly), and while the ways he has continued, and even enhanced, many of the most depraved and indefensible policies of the Bush-Cheney years (drone … [Read more...]

Notes on a Traveler

A Meditation on Impermanence — Like pharaonic retainers the passengers leaving the Swissair terminal ahead of the Yellow Man seemed to convey all his worldly possessions into the vast crypt of the LA basin, where he had descended to breathe his last. Out walked American teenagers in t-shirts and European couples in sensible shoes and families shouldering towers of suitcases on rolling carts. Finally the Yellow Man himself emerged, in a wheelchair pushed by my mother, who had accompanied him to the clinic in Switzerland and stood by as the doctors there relieved him of the mercury-based fillings in his teeth, and administered various other treatments not available within the U.S. health care system. Earlier in the week some threshold of … [Read more...]

A Well of Conspiracy

The Tall Assassin, A Discussion with Author and Former SAPF Alan Elsdon   — The Year is 1942, Republic of South Africa. The Emergency Regulations Act, designed by General Smuts to curb pro-Nazi activities, had begun to bite at the ankles of the Ossewabrandwag membership list. The rounding up of Afrikaners and Nazi Auslanders into prison camps may have averted a civil war, but it also brought together many of the day's anti-democratic minds, and there they talked and fomented South Africa's future. At one such camp, Koffiefontein, there were interred together two men who would go on to shape the history of the country as few others would, one on the political stage and the other behind the scenes. The former, John Vorster, is well known. … [Read more...]