Sunday, December 27, 2009


Everyone who knows how happy bootz make me raise your hand! LOL!
Hope you all had a wonderful holiday. The end of the year and the end of the decade is crashing down upon us.
What was one of your favorite memories from the last year and one from the past decade?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

TEMPTATION TUESDAY and Happy Holidays!

Holidays ARE NOT the time to try and resist temptation. Right? Tell me i'm right. There is just tooooo much temptation out there.  I'm wracking my brain for any single temptation I resisted... nope. Gave in to them all. And i LIKED it! LOL!

Happiest of holidays to all of my wonderful online friends. I was thinking the other day that this is the third or fourth christmas i'll be sharing with some of you, like Lisa Andel, Susan, Megan Hart, Anya Bast, Daisy Dexter Dobbs, Julia, Ann and so many of my writer friends that have hung in there with me thru thick and thin. For some like RJ, Jackie, Bobby, Cap'n, Massa Sage, Riffy-dawg, Cabana Boy, Rob, and Gaddy - it's the third holiday season we'll be sharing and for a lot of my facebook pals like Anil, Wolfie, Kandi, Louise, Vik, Danny and so many others, this will be our second season of celebration. Then there are all the new friends i've made in the past year that are so very dear to me. Y'all know who you are. ~grinning~ Time flies so fast - it is quite amazing.

Holidays are one of those times when you also think of those you lost along the way. The friendships that have endured mean so very much to me. But I can't help missing a few people like Mr. Al Watts - who must have fallen off a roof after all; old George in all his incarnations, who vanished without a trace this year; Windy who also vanished with the wind; darling Enigma whom i miss more than i can say, as well as a few others that just vanished. Wherever you  are, whatever you're doing - i hope life is treating you well and your holidays are bright and full of love.

Merry met all my friends - and the very best wishes for an exciting, fun filled 2010.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What are the odds?

I know y'all just love hearing about the odd things that happen to me. Come on - you know you do. I'm like this magnet for bizarre and funny incidents.

This one is truly strange because come on... what are the odds... really.

I was in the airport yesterday and have just passed thru the security check. A guard led me to a chair so i could put my boots back on, then asked if i was the lead singer for the band that had just passed through. Umm- yeah, like I totally have that rockstar sheen to me. Heh. ~eyeroll~ I figured the guard was being funny so I laughed and  thanked him for the compliment. He shook his head and insisted that he recognized me. He said he had a photographic memory and wanted to know what i did. To myself I'm thinking - let's not piss off the security guard and miss the flight home, so I told him I'm an artist, writer and do a weekly radio show. He got all excited and said an LA radio show was where he recognized me from. Ummm... wow. Now to figure out where he saw my picture associated with the show. I wonder if he is one of Johnny's FB friends. I wish i'd thought to ask. I was just a bit too startled. :D

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

DAMage Report - Arts Day today

Today's article posted here and on facebook.

on the air 2pm pst / 5pm est
at - Channel 1

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Moronic Ox Literary Arts and Cultural Journal - DAMage Pickup

The Moronic Ox re-published yesterday's story from the radio show. (Yay!!! - thanks David!)
Check it out here!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

DAMAge Report for Dec. 2, 2009

Catch the show today at at 2pm PST, 5pm EST and 10pm GMT.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


temptation FAIL.

 I gave in to every temptation last week including turkey with dressing, raspberry pie, broiled cheese asparagus... i was bad... sooooo bad. And not just with food - but that's another story. :P

what temptations did you resist... or give in to this past week? Surely i'm not alone in being tempted? :D

Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday Poetry Train - The Drowning

Brand spanking new - still needs edits but throwing it out there anyway.

The drowning

Face pressed beneath the water
Indulging in the sweet sips of your deceit
She dreamed in happy ever after fragments,
Of Ophelia softly singing
And she was kept…
quite willing to believe in anything.

The drip, drip of half-truths
Wrapped in heartfelt sincerity
Her self esteem eroded,
As the ripples of your duplicity
shudder onward, outward…
Dragging her down and down and down.

Heart beat flutters, much too fast
Cracking beneath the pressure
Of pretending her smile hasn’t fallen
Off the edge of the world,
While everything, oh everything is alright…
Trapped in the leaky vessel of her life.

Face pressed beneath the water
Tears dissolving in its watery embrace
Her choice remains steadfast and simple,
Lift herself up and out
or drink deeply of the sorrow…
That will fill her until she drowns.

Ride the Monday Poetry Train - share your links or just enjoy the read:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Have a Happy Thanksgiving

Getting ready to head into insane work day but wanted to give those of you in bloggyland a heads up that there won't be an Arts Day this week on the DAMage Report - however Johnny will be having his regularly scheduled show, so go ahead an enjoy some damaged news and humor. :)

I hope everyone in US has a good turkey day.
I'll be taking a short break over the holidays from the social networking (facebook) and the blogging. Have several projects to handle that i'll be focusing on.
Back on the air next week at regular times.
Eat some dessert for me - Kota

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

DAMage Report - Arts Day Article Link

Please click on the link above to read today's topic. I've created a blog just for the articles for those interested in following the show.

Join me today on the DAMage Report News Show at - 2pm PST/5pm EST/ 10pm GMT. Topic today is about the $43 million dollar Warhol - is it still art or just an investment stored in a safe?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


This week i resisted the temptation to be a diva, pack up my toys, and go home. I'm pretty sure though if i had, no one would have noticed.

I also resisted the urge to add an "S" to the church sign near my house that says "God, HE never fails."

Since i missed Tempting Tuesday last week y'all get a two-fer. :D
What temptation did you resist or give in to this past week?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hopping Back on the Monday Poetry Train

Fade Away Naturally

Color me with bold strokes

And outside the lines
of preconceived notions

For one day I will fade

And all that will remain
are dusty memories

Drifting in the wind


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

DAMage Report - When Art Imitates Art

The 1963 painting by Alma Thomas (to the right) is remarkably similar to a 1953 piece by Matisse (below it) and is causing an uproar of controversy on the topic of art and plagiarism. The painting was originally among the works selected by the Obamas to hang in the White House, but was returned - either due to the controversy or because it really didn't match the sofa. The reasons really are inconsequential. What is of interest are the heated debates over the differences between tribute art and outright theft of concept and/or visuals.

It is true that art imitates life. It is also true that in one way, shape, or form, art also imitates art. It can't be helped. Artists ARE influenced in their ideas and their forms of expression.

Picasso said "the bad artists imitate, the great artists steal."
In other words, to steal an idea you have to own it and make it your own.
To imitate, you merely need to copy it and put nothing of yourself into it.

On one hand, Alma's "Watusi" is an almost exact replica of Matisse's "L'escargot" with palette changed and shapes rearranged. On the other hand, it is well documented that Alma created the painting as a tribute, using it as a study of Matisse's techniques. She never hid the fact that it was directly influenced. Furthermore, her study of this particular work was apparently a turning point in her art. Everything that followed reflected the impact of Matisse on her paintings/concepts/approach. As Tilly Greene remarked yesterday, it would have been MORE interesting to see Alma take the influence to another level, rather than just remake Matisse's composition. But it should be duly noted that Alma probably had no idea that her painting would one day hang in the Hirshhorn Museum and be considered one of the great works of American art.

I've often wondered if Picasso and Matisse would roll over in their graves knowing that their napkin drawings are considered fine works of art. Nawwww - Picasso would love it, the arrogant old bastard!

The major difference between plagiarism and tribute seems to be credit given where credit is due. Trying to pass off copies of someone else's original concepts and work as your own is plagiarism, pure and simple. Utilizing the ideas and visuals of a "master" artist to create something new, or to study technique is tribute. All art is an imitation in one form or another, whether it is an imitation of something seen or an expression of an idea born within the mind of the artist. It is the process of communicating the ideas, the visions, the exploration that creates the art in whatever genre the artist chooses to express themselves in.

Does Watusi deserve to be considered a great work of art, given that it is a tribute piece? It depends on who you talk to. Personally I think it is confusing and blurs the already subjective lines of what constitutes "masterful" art - art that rates hanging in the top museums of the world. Does Alma Thomas deserve the scathing disregard for her work that is currently being bandied about? Absolutely not. However, on the bright side - more people now know her name and have looked at her paintings. Bad P.R. is better than no P.R. type thing.

Art is once again the heated topic of discussion - replacing whatever was on television last night as the topic of choice.
Well, for some people anyway.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

DAMage Research - Plagarism or Tribute?

The 1963 painting by Alma Thomas (to the right) is extremely similar to a 1953 piece by Matisse (below).

it would be interesting to find out what the Hirshhorn Museum paid for Watusi.

Thomas's painting was first exhibited in the '60s. At that time, you could no more plagiarize a Matisse collage such as "The Snail" than you could pass off the "Mona Lisa" as your own.

Elaborations on earlier artists' work, even full appropriation, have been common practice in art for hundreds of years. Artists long learned their craft by copying the works of older masters; even among high artists, it was standard.

the 73-year-old artist found herself staring at the hollyhock shadows she had known her entire life and calculating

how to use them in her paintings. A year earlier, she had seen the late Matisse cutouts at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Matisse's work had prompted her to paint an acrylic-on-canvas version of his collage The Snail (1953), in which nearly all the original colors were reversed. Thomas named her painting Watusi (Hard Edge), after Chubby Checker's dance hit "The Watusi." As well as marrying high modernism with the popular culture of black America--then entering the American mainstream--the title she chose noted Matisse's debt to African art.

Pablo Picasso that, "the bad artists imitate, the great artists steal." Thomas' work here is a transformation of the Matisse painting. There is power in the decision to reverse colors and to change perspective from "L'escargot,"giving "Watusi" integrity to stand on its own as a distinctive piece.


illegitimate copying is real. Both Richard Prince (See VR’s “Prince of Pilfer”) and Jeff Koons have been sued by photographers for incorporating copyrighted work into their own. Koons lost the Rogers v. Koons case, but won a more recent suit under the “fair use” doctrine. Readers will remember that earlier this year Damien Hirst threatened to sue a 16-year-old over his use of an image of Hirst’s diamond-incrusted skull, in the process demanding royalties.

Thomas always credited Matisse for the inspiration that produced Watusi. It is obvious that the work launched her on a journey of artistic discovery that produced her unique and forward-looking (if not radical) mosaic style.

To assert that Thomas was “simply copying” Matisse would be to deny the rich and varied underpinnings of her work. Thomas was deeply impressed by the colors and patterns of the natural world around her.

**Credit to Venetian Red Contributors Christine Cariati and Liz Hager for excellent arguments and research

Friday, November 6, 2009

No Jobs and Everything Costs More - 2005 to 2009 costs of Eggs, Bread, Milk and Gas

I found it positively disgusting that i couldn't find these numbers quickly, easily, or in layman terms after spending over half an hour searching the web and online news. I don't have a degree in economics or finance. PPI numbers and CIS numbers and acronym fill in the fucking blank numbers mean nothing to me. It doesn't translate to instant comprehension. All I wanted was the freakin average prices of some consumer goods. Not the increase percent, not the decrease projections. Just. The. Price. I ended up searching item by item, year by year. >_<

it wasn't easy getting verifiable #s - they vary ridiculously. Oh and Wikianswer is a freakin joke - their numbers aren't even realistically close to the statistical documents

In four years...
Dozen Eggs: 2006 = $1.45 / 2007 = $1.56 / 2008 = $2.18 / 2009 = $2.89
White Bread: 2006 = $1.05 / 2007 = $1.25 / 2008 = $1.28 / 2009 = $2.79
Gallon Milk: 2006 = $2.40 / 2007 = $3.13 / 2008 = $2.74 / 2009 = $3.53
Gas: 2005 = $1.78 / 2006 = $2.57 / 2007 = $2.81 / 2008 = $3.55 - $4.10 / 2009 = $2.90

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

DAMage Report - All that Glitters Might Be Crap

President Obama's Committee on the Arts and Humanities has selected some shiny, Hollywood Stars to be on the PCAH committee including top-tier actors such as Forest Whitaker, Sarah Jessica Parker, Alfre Woodard, and Edward Norton. Other high profile personalities include cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Teresa Heinz (wife of John Kerry), Senator Dick Cohen and of course First Lady Michelle Obama, as the committees chair.

It looks good, smells good... but really - how effective is a star-studded committee going to be. If this were simply a matter of finding some recognizable faces to endorse the arts and put a little P.R. spotlight on awareness, that would be one thing. However, the President's Committee for Arts and Humanities is SUPPOSED to be a functioning committee with goals and a definative impact on the weakening state of the arts in our country.

Right now, at this very moment - city, county and state funding to the arts is being ruthlessly slashed. The blows are coming down hard and will definitely cripple, as well as outright kill, many arts organizations. This includes the few struggling arts education programs. The Georgia Council for the Arts has eliminated all funding for arts education, I was told last week by an after-school program. Certainly this is reflected in other states. In our local government, an additional 25%-50% cut in arts budgets are occurring. This impacts not only arts organizations but local after-school arts programs. For some, the death knell has begun to toll. Because the only other avenue of funding - corporate sponsorships - have dropped as much as 50-75% this past year.

People, we don't need a pretty committee of Hollywood A-listers posing for the media. We need a committee compromised of dedicated individuals, with experience in arts education and arts support, who are willing to work their asses off to save the arts in this country. We need people who are in the trenches, who are going to follow through with the campaign promises the President made to the arts. Pretty words and pretty faces and glitzy photo-ops just aren't going to make one damn bit of difference as our country's arts, artists, and cultural richness dies away.

A quote from a speech made yesterday has Mr. Obama saying, "When I was running for President, no one knew exactly what 'Change You Can Believe In' meant. One year later, I am proud to say that that is still the case." (Reference:

Is it just me, or is this all kinds of wacked? The President is PROUD that no one can define changes made? Changes that could be embraced, celebrated, and believed in? In other words, pride in remaining undefined, particularly in relationship to what the citizens assumed were positive changes to "be believed in" seems somewhat contrary. It doesn't indicate strong leadership. Rather, leadership that attempts to get away with the least amount of feather-ruffling. That is not a circumstance that lends itself to change and certainly doesn't bode well for support of the arts.

I may be doing the new PCAH committee super stars a disservice - they may be determined to really provide solutions and save arts and arts education before it is too late. But I have a sinking feeling...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

DAMage Research - tomorrow's topic - PCAH

President Obama has named his appointees to his Committee on the Arts and Humanities. The names include actors such as Forest Whitaker, Sarah Jessica Parker, Alfre Woodard, and Edward Norton, as well as the Editor-in-Chief of Vogue magazine, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, philanthropist (and wife of John Kerry) Teresa Heinz, and our own Senator Dick Cohen. Firlst Lady Michelle Obama serves as the committee's honorary chair.

PCAH - Coming Up Taller

The President has promised America the following:

- To reinvest in arts education, by expanding public/private partnerships between schools and arts organizations. He also, based on his work in Chicago, promised to create an "artist corps" consisting of of young artists trained to work in low-income schools and their communities. And he promised to be publicly champion the importance of an arts education.

- To support increased funding for the NEA. (Did that - restored NEA funding to its highest level since 1992 when he signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in February)

- To promote cultural diplomacy. By that he means put more money into U.S. embassy programs that send American artists on tour around the world.

- To attract foreign talent. Since 9/11 it's been difficult, if not impossible to get a visa to perform in the United States. President Obama has promised to streamline the visa process so artists and art students can make their way here more easily.

- To provide affordable health care to artists. (Because if you provide affordable health care to everybody, that includes artists. Two birds, one stone.)

- To ensure "tax fairness" for artists. Candidate Obama said he supports legislation that would allow artists to deduct the fair-market value of their work, rather than just the costs of the materials, when they make charitable contributions.

LA-LA-LA-Los Angeles Here I come!

Flight booked for January. Doing DAMage Report Show from the studio on the 29th. How much fun and activity can I cram into four days. I'm thinking sleep on the plane there and back and no sleep inbetween. :D

Now if only I can convince Miz Andel to join me.... LA will never be the same. BWWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!


TEMPTATION TUESDAY: i resisted the lure of tootsie rolls yesterday... but the twizzlers did me in.

(What was your temptation this past week?)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pretty cool happening that show listeners and facebook peeps got a heads up on. i thought some of y'all in bloggyland might like to hear about it too. The Moronic Ox Literary Arts and Cultural Journal picked up this week's show article and republished it here:

Nice bit of PR for the show and gave me a total "squee-girl" moment. heh.

Happy Halloween everyone- i'll be halloween partying online tonight and then at a girls-only party tomorrow night.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

DAMage Report - Sex & Art: Alive and Well in the U.S.A.

Recently the Blue Moon Cabaret in Seattle brought burlesque to a high-class Seattle steakhouse. Seattle considers itself the 'sexploration' capital of the U.S. and was able to draw a fair-sized audience for the $225 a plate "intimate" show.

After the multitude of topics bemoaning censorship, sexual repression, and worries that we are spiraling backwards into prudish Victorian hypocrisy, i thought it might be time to celebrate those cities and art lovers who not only continue to embrace sensuality in art but promote it.

"Neo-burlesque" is making a comeback according to a handful of sources. The flashy, cabaret-style entertainment with voluptuous women (and drop-dead gorgeous drag queens) has always been a fascinating form of performance art. More artistically-minded than stripping, while still flaunting the art of tease and seduction, burlesque is a feast for the senses. It encompasses the spectrum of raunchy sass to elegant pageantry.

"Burlesque rose to popularity in the 1930s, hit its peak in the late '50s and is now in the midst of a nationwide revival that local performers swear is making Seattle swoon."

Apparently the burlesque revival has found homes throughout the United States with the large communities on the East and West Coasts. New York City boasts the largest community with notable troops and venues including The Slipper Room, Le Scandal Cabaret, and Pinchbottom Burlesque. In Greensboro, NC, there are burlesque revival performances by Foxy Moxy and her "Cabaret Risque" troupe in the Greensboro Fringe Theater Festival. In Seattle burlesque is queen with Miss Indigo Blue, Miss Trixie Lane, The Queen of Shame, Miss Kitty Baby, Ravenna Black, Paula the Swedish Housewife, Vienna Le Rouge, The Atomic Bombshells, Burning Hearts, The Von Foxies, Glitzkrieg Burlesque, and Sinner Saint Burlesque. In California the San Francisco Bay Area is home of the largest monthly burlesque and variety show the Hubba Hubba Revue.

It is interesting to note that in the 20th century, burlesque and cabaret-type shows gained popularity during repressed/depressed decades in our history. Perhaps Johnny is right, and as one segment of the population tries to restrict behavior and force conformity into a polished little box, there will always be another segment breaking free - loudly and with great flourish - declaring their rights to express.

Since burlesque hasn't made its way down south yet, someone is sooooo taking me to a burlesque show in LA when i come visit in January.

The question for you: what do you think of burlesque as an art form and do you think there are cultural parallels between its rival now and its popularity in the past?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


This week i resisted the temptation to vandalize signs on the side of the road by changing

"Christian Single? Call...." to "Pagan Single? Call..."

resisted temptation lately? tell me allllll about it. LOL!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

DAMage Report - When Freedom Dies

In the U.S. we've become used to hearing stories of artists, poets, cartoonists, journalists and other creative types being arrested and worse for expressing their views via their chosen medium in other countries.

For example, Egypt, which is renown for prosecuting artists, activists and journalists for insulting Islam recently banned a journal by respected poet Helmi Salem because one of his poems compared God to a villager who feeds ducks and milks cows.

In 2005 rioters killed Christians in Denmark, burned churches and called for the execution of cartoonists following the publication of cartoons disrespecting prophet Mohammed.

In Britain, a 15-year-old boy was charged last year for holding up a sign outside a Scientology building declaring, "Scientology is not a religion, it is a dangerous cult."

Dutch prosecutors this year have brought charges against the Arab European League for a cartoon questioning the Holocaust.

Dutch politician Geert Wilders was barred from entering Britain because he made a movie describing the Quran as a "fascist" book and Islam as a violent religion.

In France, actress Brigitte Bardot was convicted for saying in 2006 that Muslims were ruining France in a letter to the Interior Minister.

We have shook our collective heads and patted ourselves on the back for OUR constitutional right to Freedom of Speech. We may not like, agree, or appreciate some of the left wing, right wing, religious and/or bigoted sentiments of our artists, writers, poets, political cartoonists - but as long as they stay within the boundaries of the law, WE'VE respected their right to express. Well...for the most part. Our smug, self righteous days are ending. Times, they are a changing as a climate of censorship continues to grow.

Recently, Yale University Press published The Cartoons That Shook the World, a book by Jytte Klausen on the 2006 controversy surrounding 12 Mohammed cartoons. Yale, however, (over Klausen's objections) cut out the actual pictures of the cartoons.

Still, if you live in the United States, creating a painting and putting devil horns on a picture of the pope won't get you an automatic jail sentence here. Yet. That may soon change if recent resolutions supported by the United States are any indication.

The Obama administration supported the effort of the U.N. Human Rights Council to recognize exceptions to free speech for any "negative racial and religious stereotyping." The exception was made as part of a resolution supporting free speech that passed this month.

Jonathan Turley points out in his article, "the laws achieve tolerance through the ultimate act of intolerance: criminalizing the ability of some individuals to denounce sacred or sensitive values. We do not need free speech to protect popular thoughts or popular people. It is designed to protect those who challenge the majority and its institutions. ...The public and private curtailment on religious criticism threatens religious and secular speakers alike. However, the fear is that, when speech becomes sacrilegious, only the religious will have true free speech. It is a danger that has become all the more real after the decision of the Obama administration to join in the effort to craft a new faith-based speech standard."

Freedom of Speech is fundamental to who we are. It is the most essential tool an artist has. When that freedom dies, so do the arts.

***Sculpture by Alexandre Kosolapov, “the hero. the leader. the god”

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Vote for the award winning DAMage Report in The Peoples Choice Podcast Awards at:

Please vote for us in BOTH the Political & Comedy categories by filling out the following:
Podcast Name = The DAMage Report
Podcast URL =

Okay - so i was sneaky and also added DAMage Report to the arts category but come on - how could i NOT? LOL!

Nominations now thru the 18th so hop to it!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

DAMage Report Research - Stolen Art or Stolen Logic?

I've been following this story for a few weeks and it has proven to be the most ridiculously investigated theft of art i've run across - with wild accusations, poor reporting, possibly shoddy police investigating centered around two men who may or may not have had art stolen. The whole thing does smell funny but that doesn't necessarily indicate guilt. Sometimes people are just stupid. Stupid with $80 million dollars worth of art is pretty impressive though.
In initial stories released I kept wondering why the hell no one was talking to the insurance people who had provided quotes that "were too expensive," for the partners to be able to afford it. Obviously they had to see the collection in order to evaluate it. Insurance reps have now come forward but reports of their comments are still muddied and confusing.
In a recent conversation with a friend I pointed out that without insurance, there would be no purpose in pretending a collection had been stolen. He pointed out that stolen art, especially relatively unknown pieces go way up in value due to the publicity. He speculated that perhaps the owners intended to miraculously reacquire their stolen art and then sell it off at the new higher value due to the publicity. Hmmmmm.... that would be pretty diabolical. And i would imagine with the police watching them so carefully, very hard to pull off.

Below are some research links on various reports on this story. I think this will be Wednesday's Art Topic on the Damage Report. Feel free to share your thoughts.

This one is excellent info on the reputed stolen Pollack:

Monday, October 12, 2009


Have you ever been tempted over and over on a daily basis to do something you just KNOW you shouldn't do because it will just end up biting you in the ass? You resist daily, but can feel the pull, the allure of the forbidden calling you... tempting you to just... give... in. Even though you know it would be a gihugant mistake, you feel yourself waffling on the edge of giving in. The dark side of yourself whispers "just go on and do it. It will bother you over and over and over, every day, if you don't." Stoopid dark side. Meanwhile the other side of yourself is squealing "Danger, Will Robinson! Danger! Danger!"
No, I'm not talking about sex. Or chocolate! Geez.

My personal temptation would mean nothing to you and probably seem inconsequential. The question though, is are YOU ever tempted to do something that you are 99.9999% sure is a mistake?

Do you do it... or do you find the strength to resist? And if you resist, do you wonder what if....?

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Digging my way out of the post-work hell trench. Now i'm playing catchup on all those things left to the wayside such as stories, book edits, chasing down an agent, painting, blogging, recontacting friends.

Tonight I have a long-ass and very grueling shoot. This year though I'm wearing pants and avoiding escalators. Just call me elevator girl.

Tomorrow i'm indulging in the annual greek fest and going to bury my face in gyro heaven. Then saturday I'm swinging by the hispanic festival to hang with hispanic community for a bit. I missed going last year and the cultural group noticed AND called me on it. Ooops. So I promised to stop by this year no matter what.

Sunday I have writers' group, which I have missed for the past month due to work, so I'm fairly excited about jumping back in with my homeys. I suspect I will get royally bitch-slapped for not having finished the sending of query letters. I deserve it.

Working on my Angel/Demon story. And thinking of opening a second blog - one that is just for writing and book talk since I seem to be using this predominantly for the show and babble. I need to get back into my online writers' network and keep in touch with my friends there more consistently. I miss them.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

DAMage Report - Exploiting the Art of Exploiting?
A 1983 photo of a 1975 photo of a nude 10 year old is stirring up the controversy battle stations. Appropriately enough, it is connected to an exhibition about controversy in art.

The original title for the Tate show "Sold Out" was changed because some of the artists took offense. (Insert soundtrack of me snickering at what an oxymoron THAT is.) A shame really because it would have left no question in the public's mind that the exhibition was about artists selling out, commercializing, prostituting, exploiting (whatever you want to call it) art for money and fame. As a movement, Pop Art was steeped in sarcasm and self mockery, dedicated to playing off the business end while utilizing controversy to add to the value of a piece by giving the artist his/her fifteen minutes of fame. God bless Mister Warhol everyone.

A 1983 piece by Richard Prince features a photograph of Brooke Shields posing naked in a bathtub. Public outrage and the police have caused the piece to be removed from the exhibition. (Interestingly enough the video of an artist being fucked by her collector is acceptable, as are the other graphically sexual images in the exhibition.)

Mr. Prince's piece is a photograph of a photograph taken by commercial photographer Garry Gross in 1975. A point that is brought up repeatedly is that Ms. Shields unsuccessfully sued Mr. Gross to reclaim the image's copyright.

What isn't brought up as often is that she posed in 2005 for Mr. Prince, standing in the same position but wearing a bikini, for a piece called "Spiritual America IV." Considering his "reclaimed" photo of her had been on
exhibit since 1983, there can be little doubt that she was aware that he had created a piece of art using her image. Her posing for him in a similar pose could easily be construed as consent for use, in my book anyway.

Jack Bankowsky, a New York-based curator says the piece is meant as a comment on exploitation. "I think it's important to be very careful about confusing a work that asks us to think about a situation, with the situation itself,"

It’s the visual equivalent of the novel Lolita,” Matthew Kieran said. “Do we think Lolita shouldn’t be read? No. Do we think it is deeply morally troubling? Yes. Why is it so good? Because it is deeply morally troubling. Purpose and context are vital. It would be morally repugnant to post the picture on a paedophile website because the intention would be to excite sexual interest. By contrast the same image in an art gallery invites the viewer to confront and explore issues of child sexuality and morality."

The Tate exhibition is about exploitation. It is about the extremes that artists will go to. It is about the dark side of art and human nature. Mr. Prince's piece is one of the most powerful in the show since it hits the topic right on the head on multiple levels. Using an iconic child star was no accident. Using one whose own mother sold her out was no accident. Using one who was exploited and used repeatedly in the name of art (film) and in the name of commerce (advertising) was bloody brilliant on the artist's part. He couldn't have conveyed the message better.

Exploitation of children for money, for sex, for fame...for ART is a reality that many of us shy from thinking too hard on. It is beyond horrific that a parent, a teacher, a relative, a stranger would use a helpless child in such a way. But it is a reality and it happens every day in beauty pageants across the country, in porn studios all over the world, in foster homes and schools, and the supposed sanctuary of a child's home.

And there is no hope of change if no one will talk about it. Not rant, not howl, but TALK about it. The job of good art is to open a path of dialogue. The job of the public is to follow that path and be outraged enough to do something, not just complain.

To wrap it up, one brilliant comment from a blog post about artist Richard Prince:
"many of the most influential artists from the 20th century leave us with ideas and philosophies that have a greater lasting impact than their actual work supports."

And one dumbass comment from Mike Judge, the head of communications for the Christian Institute about the Tate exhibition:
"Art is where you can look at something and be lifted in your soul about the great works humans can accomplish, but to look at something and see the depths to which humility can sink, that is not art."
I think Mister Judge needs to take an art history class.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

DAMage Report - The Right to Read

It is National Banned Books Week. No, I don't want you to go out and find a book that you would like to have pulled from the library shelves and tossed into the bonfire. There are enough people out there doing that already. In fact it looks like the trend is increasing, not decreasing. How damn scary is THAT? Now, in South Dakota, Utah and Arkansas they couldn't give a flying Huck Finn what you read. The remaining states are a different matter as the map shown in the link below indicates. The Northeast seem particularly protesty against "inappropriate" reading materials.

Get this - there were more than 400 book challenges (requests for books to be banned) in 2007, 513 reported in 2008 and an on-going count in 2009, according to the American Library Association.

The most frequently challenged book on the ALA's list for the last three years was And Tango Makes Three, a children's book that tells the true story of two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo who found an abandoned egg, hatched it, and nurtured the chick.

Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn still ranks as one of the most commonly challenged books.
“Some people assume, book bannings happened in the ‘50s and ‘60s and they did,” Sandy Stuart-Bayer said. “But there are still book bannings going on today. ‘Twilight’ was banned, 'Harry Potter' was banned. This isn’t a new thing and unfortunatley, it doesn’t seem to be going away either.”

A list of Banned books including some recent surprising ones include:
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – banned 1984
American Heritage Dictionary -banned 1978 and 1987
Banned From Public Radio: Humor, Commentary and Smart Remarks Your Government DOESN'T Want You To Hear - 1991
The Book Your Church Doesn't Want You To Read -1995
Catch 22 - thru 1979
Catcher in the Rye - perpetual banned
The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, Beauty's Punishment, Beauty's Release - banned 1992.
Daddy's Roommate - A favorite of censors
Decamerone - perpetual banned
Fahrenheit 451 - banned 1998
Forever - by Judy Blume - ban date not given but COME ON! Judy Blume?!?
Freedom and Order – banned by the U.S. Information Agency
Grapes of Wrath - perpetual banned
Literature in Society - dates not given but can you imagine?
Lord of the Flies - perpetual banned
Search for Truth in History - This video tape has already been banned in three countries.
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble - perpetual banned
The Valachi Papers - banned 1968

Some of these are ridiculous. However, the most ridiculous thing is that we have book bannings and burnings in 2009. Let me clarify something - we're not talking about protesting that erotica isn't on the shelves of middle school libraries.
A little common sense does come into play here. But protesting a children's book about gay penguins that adopt an egg AND is based on a real story, is the worst kind of censorship. It is demanding that personal agendas and tastes be imposed on everyone else - whether they like it or not.