Saturday, June 02, 2012

The U.S. Civil War ran from 1861 to 1865 and was the first modern war--shown by the enormous number of people killed and hurt.

We'd have a hard time recognizing medieval and Renaissance European wars as wars like we're used to now.  Not that many killed--partly because of limited killing technology and partly because the participants weren't that into mass killing.

The wars from the era in Northern Italy the approach of which is summed up in Machiavelli's "The Prince" were mostly fought be mercenaries who changed sides for pay as the various city-states changed alliances with and against each other all the time.  The mercenaries were not very interested in killing and dying en masse as part of this musical chairs, not-too-meaningful process.

The wars back then, the leaders spent much energy  on what looks like posturing from here and now--and it was healthier for them and their followers and employees.  Much drama, not so much death.

Another reason for much lower death tolls back then was there were fewer people total to kill and be killed.

Before the US Civil War happened, someone predicted that with more population and democracy the wars would be wars and the people and that people's wars would be terrible deadly wars.

The U.S. Civil War ran from 1861  to    18 65.  Mohandas Gandhi was born in 1869, four years after the end of the U.S. Civil War.

A solution from a whole other place to a problem not yet fully perceived.

/With more people in the world and spreading democracy, one thing needed was someone smart, brave, charismatic to find ways to involve lots of people  in deciding their destiny without killing them and whether or not democracy formally existed.  Gee. and hi, it's Gandhi.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Quiet but not desolate.
There's a word in the middle of your heart which isn't a word.  I can hear it, and it helps.
Don't rush to finish.  You don't yet know what this event is for.  Give happenings time to find themselves.
We won't say it's history.  We'll just tell you some of how we got here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The flowers have the feeling of having been drawn by someone who's been drawing flowers since able to get  fingers around crayon, who connects with flowers in their good-looking sexiness and wisdom.

I'm liking the dresses in the windows of Desigual at Ellis and Powell (a block above the cable car turnaround.)

They are drawn with lust and love and real botanical life detail. They are big--half to two-thirds the width of the dress fronts.

The flowers are resting fertilely on the  belly or softly on the breasts.  The dresses are simply cut and look to be made of fabric like t-shirt fabric only thick and of higher quality.  They look comfortable to wear.

The flowers are making me think of a brilliant intellectual woman giving a brilliant intellectual presentation wearing one of these dresses.

If freer to celebrate fertility in clothes, then freer to be fertile in all ways.  Freer to imagine about things we want to imagine in a  style that is comfy for our body minds.

Repititious patterms of stylized, simplified sma;;flowers were common around here when it was common for all women to spend lots of time doing repititious small tasks.

Big task are now more available.  We need to be open and fertile in new ways and old.   Any give flower in new and old at once, like we need to be now.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Explaining things that matter:

Be simple.  Then simpler than that.

Just say what happens.

The part of reality that any given person needs to know is naturally riveting to them.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Secretary of Labor was Frances Perkins, the first secretary of labor in the new department, and the first woman cabinet member.  She knew how Roosevelt like things explained--simple, short.

One time she arranged for an activist with an idea of what should happen to have a short time with Roosevelt.  This guy was into impressing Roosevelt with his smarts.  He didn't.

After he left, (his time was not extended), Roosevelt asked Perkins what the man was trying to say.  Perkins told him.  Roosevelt said, "Well, why didn't he say that?!"

Roosevelt got a lot done with radio fireside chats, where he explained what was up and what he wanted to do about it to people in general. One reason he did his output that way is that is how he liked his input.

"The Roosevelt I Knew" by Frances Perkins is a great read about how things can happen in government. It makes it clear for example that Frances Perkins and Eleanor Roosevelt didn't really hit it off as people. but that they were both aware they were very important parts of the liberal branch of the Roosevelt administration, so they found ways to act toward the same ends without hanging out much together.

Perkins gives the feeling that if Eleanor had run a little faster, gotten there just a little bit sooner on the issue, the Japanese would not have been interred.  Presumably she would have said something common sense and humanizing.  But the security guys got there first.

Perkins came from being an activist in New York City and then a member of New York State Government.  When the Triangle shirt factory fire happened and many young women were burned alive, she told the story of factory conditions in general as simply as she  could.  She took legislators on tours of  facories so they could see, feel, smell the conditions.

At the time of that fire and Perkins' teachable moments follow-up, Franklin Roosevelt was in Washington, D.C. being assistant Secretary of the Navy.  Perkins had a lifelong regret that he hadn't been there to be taken on those tours, because she thought he would have been better and more active on labor issues if he had.

However, liberal he looks from here, she thought he could've been more, with simple education.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The blue and yellow dragon is breaking through the red wall.  

I'm liking it because the red wall is real, and the blue and yellow (with a touch of white) dragon isn't.

It's a mural where the red wall in the mural, most of it, is a red wall that I could cross Trenton alley and touch in its redness and wallness.  Except the parts of the red wall that are breaking as the dragon rips them.  I couldn't touch them because they, like the dragon, are flat paint only.

The dragon is mostly blue, has yellow scales sticking up going up and down its spine.and is basically one diameter throughout its length, like a snake, like a Chinese dragon, not with a big bulge in its middle like a Euro-dragon.

I also like the dragon breaking the wall because its across the skinny street from two benches, so the usual mural advantage--repeated viewings are easy--is even more present.

The mural is called Dragons Gate by Wes Wong and the Lost One.
Buttons and zippers.  The thing about buttons is that it would be very unusual for them all to fail at once, all up and down the length of what you want to close.
The entire street-facing wall of the John J. Delucchi Sheet Metal Works on Powell (near Vallejo) is painted silver, like sheet metal.

Go and do likewise.  Make the not-obvious obvious move.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Jay DeFeo, working in an apartment on Fillmore Street in San Francisco, painted "The Rose" from 1958 to 1966.  Its current owner, the Whitney Museum, lists it as "oil on canvas with wood and mica, 128 1/4 x 92 1/4 inches"

When she and her husband, Wally Hedrick, also an artist, moved out of that apartment because the rent was multiplied by five, the painting weighed over a ton.

She was building the groundwater, as artists often do.  That's one thing she was doing.

Several artists lived in the building where she and Hedrick lived.  Other artists lived nearby in the Fillmore neighborhood.

Her studio was as artists' place to hang out.  The painting over its years of creation looked many ways that we can't see now if we see it at the Whitney.  Those ways were seen by artists as part of their daily life and daily dream.

So the now invisible looks of "The Rose" became part of what many different people made art from.

Which can have unimagined influence, maybe making good things happen in unknown ways.  This kind of work can be important in ways the artists involved never know.  There is good stuff outside shared reality that wants in, and an artist watching "The Rose" grow might be one way in.

--facts from  the book "Looking for Bruce Conner" (he was a neighbor) by Kevin Hatch.  Thoughts on groundwater mine. Bruce Conner made a film, "The White Rose" about the artwork being moved out of the apartment.  It ends with DeFeo sitting in front of the window that couldn't be seen all the years she was working on the painting that was leaned against it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I sat down to wait for a bus.  Soon, a man joined me at the bus stop, and immediately said, loudly, "I hate this bus."

I made a small, word-free sound of acknowledgement, and thought, "Urban nut."

Then I remembered that I used to used that bus line a lot, when I had friends who lived on it.  When I used the line a lot, I felt just like that.

It's very long between buses.  I felt like I never got a break, but always had to wait for almost the whole time between busses.  It felt like the bus line itself enjoyed making us all wait impatiently.  Speaking of urban nut.

But different lines do feel like they have personalities, independent of the drivers or riders.  The 30 Stockton, when I used it a lot, felt like a bunch of puppies to me, because there would be a long pause between buses, and then several.  I thought busses were like puppies who couldn't imagine being apart from each other.  I didn't really get mad at its spottiness because puppies can't really help themselves.

The bus line that the man shouted that he hated felt to me like it was maniacally laughing at the waiting riders, when I was a person often waiting for it.

Urban nut being,  perhaps, someone with different experiences than me, or even the same experiences that I haven't remembered lately.
A man ranting angrily down the sidewalk was ranting at a particular "you."

In successive sentences, the man yelled, "You're an ogre!  You're a monster!  You're a nightmare!"

For a street rant, those are words unusually clean and mythic.
Walk on dirt, and feel what kind of art is needed in a bumpy world
A man in the back of the bus had some electronic music on, ambient-style, played quietly.

It was doing its ambient job.  I didn't notice it for a while.  I just felt the bus itself, bus as object, was in a good mooc.