Sunday, November 16, 2008

Art in the World

NEW 18 Nov post up at EyePreferParis

My second installation of a series on contemporary artists is now up online at Richard Nahem's website for Paris events and happenings: under 18 nov post: ArtSeen

This time I trekked out to Bagnolet to visit visual artist Seulgi Lee who I'd met in 2003 at Napoule artist foundation at the Chateau de la Napoule in 2003, where Lee embroidered her giant "Grève" banner, and of which I still have some crazy images of her trying to hold the banner up in a nasty wind by the azure coast's waves, but those pics are somewhere in a real photo folder so the one below of an unknown woman with the banner will have to suffice here. Since then, her work has really been going in many exciting directions as she has shown more and more in Paris and in Korea. Mixing elements of the interactive with a focus on the objects in everyday art, her work is quirky and fun to see as you'll notice in the images on the EyePreferParis site. She has a forthcoming show in Noisiel at la Ferme du Buisson Centre d'Art (Jan 24-March 29, 2009).

Please, do check out my article on her, and see some images of her works (such as this image from her sculpture/performance piece "c", Musée de l'Art Moderne de Paris, where people hung out inside the piece all day long for her, or her cat dyed red like an artifical object, then left to roam the galerie like it was his own home).
Great stuff!!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Poem written after a line by Rod Smith

housing deranged wishes
with the sound it loves
one is a sound housed a
deranged hive is that
wishful love or hanged
lust humorous timorous
household loving is a
deranged rustle a wish-
bone toothpicked axed
to housing washed sound
out with a love lined
a direct house to house
wasted lift searched for in
the wash or wishes semi-
cooked, self-lost or
free ranging household love
lorn or freebasted cockles
shiver wished for washed up
out of love mortgaged
mortal hover house-muse
must or mistletoe tongued
caught caper sound-slung
housing stand the bland
deranged for frequent
lined wish-for tales toe-holed
form of love of the rod the rood
deranged wishes scraped
housing the one it loves lived
without a sound inkling
in the prickled mouse dropped
dark dare deranging sound
wished to wash up to lap up
to splosh over into love

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

If you're free!!! UAD reading Thurs

I will be reading in Paris at the American Library with 3 others this Thursday,
in case anyone is free and wants to come along!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

YES, we DID!!!

It was rolling towards 5am, then just past, as I taxied from The Highlander pub through the rain back up to Louis Blanc. I said "There are a lot of Americans awake in this city tonight". The cabby just nodded. He told me, when I asked, that he was Congolais as he switched his radio from some long-winded tale on the new documentary (translated into a gazillion languages) of Pope Jean Paul II to the French announcement of the election results in the USA. To both our surprise, according to CNN, they said, Obama was the new President. As I gave a quick yelp of joy, he was already on his cell babbling away in some language I didn't understand then, for my benefit, threw in in his heavily accented French a Yes, they've already announced it, it's him. I felt moved, as we drove up to my door, that even he and his friends were awaiting this news. Change is coming. Change is on its way.

Of course, change is not exactly here, as Obama makes clear in his wonderful speech in Chicago which I only got to watching this morning. It is still on its way, it is still in the making, it is still to make: "We have a lot of work to do". But this election gives us--and me--renewed hope that it can be done, change can still be made. If you didn't get to hear the speech, it is on YOUTUBE--Obama speech in full version, 17mins.

But I think that all of us should also do honor to his contestant, McCain, who gave a gracious concession speech, bringing us much joy as it certainly brought him sadness. To listen to that speech on YOUTUBE--McCain's defeat, a lovely defeat to us, perhaps, but certainly a deep defeat for him, as this was his last stab at the Presidency. He did a beautiful job in this speech reminding everyone democracy is also about losing, and about how that fight was worth it. He should be thanked by all democrats, for his kind words for Obama, his competitor, but also for all he has done in his opposing views to remind us why we make the choices we do. For providing us choice. Thank you, McCain, we are sorry for your sadness. Thank you for your kind support of the man we also selected, and best to you in your continuation.

Finally, a few pics from the night here in Paris: HOW PARIS CELEBRATED THE ELECTION:
MIDNIGHT: Palais MAILLOT. The line is hundreds strong. Everyone is on the guest list. No on is getting in the door. Our attending French contingent, Poet Fred Forté, says with his eyes "You guys really want to wait in this line?" Or perhaps he is thinking, "Goodness, so many Americans all in one place in Paris, what a mess!" :)
Above: One third of the Line. One thinks perhaps they should just open the mall and let us wander aimlessly in seach of the news of what is happening overseas.
"Who's on the List???" All of us. We were about to bail entirely when I said, "Let's just go check out the door scene". It was pretty clublike, and disorganized, and so, before you know it, we are in the door and among the... whatever, as seen below.
We waited for this? Yep, overpriced drinks and no seats unless you can buy a bottle. Clublike, as I said. So we... made the tour, went up and down the stairs, stared at everyone, and LEFT. In the above picture, Michelle Noteboom can be spotted in the central blur space. Is she thinking what I am? "Let's get outta here!" Yep. So we taxied, in defeat, towards Mich and Fred's place before getting the Huxta call--"There's space here" in the Eccosais pub The Highlander. Leave it to the Scots to be welcoming to all the put-out Americans! Off we went. The pics below (as well as the first one on this post) are from a fabulous rest of the evening!:
Above: Ariel (French), Cara (Californina) and Miss Huxta (of Pennsylvania) go whole-bodied "O" for O-bama in the basement of The Highlander pub near Pont Neuf. Below: Ariel says to me "This is how it is done" and see, I manage to "O" for Obama, too. What can I say, it is late and getting later, the results at this point are only for the East coast and we are... waitin' waitin' waitin', the clock ticking towards two, then three, then four am.An American Election is nothing if not for the support of its Canadian contingent. For that we thank, pictured at right below, Carolyn Heinze--Give her an O!!! And with her, yep, more French boys keepin' us in line, and doing the ever thoughtful "Yes!" as CNN announces exciting new election results--though their "Yes!" comes just before turning to ask, "What are they saying on CNN? What are all those numbers and colors?" I never realized that we had the world beat in silly graphics during elections--but, yep, we do.
THE PINS: small, but to the point. To show our support to others, as if they didn't know we were Obama supporters. I prefer the pic with Frec and Mich. Cute, no? I'm wearing--and about to lose--Fred's pin. Sorry! Anyway, we stayed at The Highlander until late and later, and then with hope in our hearts headed home to learn the election turned out alright, finally, for once!!!!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Election Day!!! Arts & Lit mags for... Obama!

It is almost midnight as I begin this, my heart thrumming, my body anxious about what may or may not be a whole world of change starting tomorrow: Election day in the USA.

I have, of course, cast my vote by registered mail, in hopes to see my home state of Iowa painted a lovely deep blue cobalt color. But I'm still anxious and wonder, will people I know actually go and vote? Or just say "well, Obama's got it, so I don't need to"? I have indeed heard such phrases and from not just one friend. Worrisome!!! My response? CAST YOUR VOTE! This way, you can either participate in the great sense of pride you helped make this change happen, and hopefully in a landslide, or else, if all the democrats stay home, you won't have to feel guilt for being part of that loser party.

Mostly, I am selfish. So, beyond my sense that if McCain won the entire world could perhaps be looking at its demise, (and not because of little Miss Palin, either, but McCain himself and his military decision-making processes), I am thinking of the arts, and the danger the Republicans put the arts in. Palin is known for her oh-so-openminded attitude towards reading, and being a writer makes one like me worry that the country they come from could clamp up even more. Not to speak of decreasing public spending on the arts, for which the Reps are known. Of course, I feel optimistic, following the lovely POLLSTER results avidly, that Obama and Biden will take the vote, and bring into action among many things their arts policy.

But I also wanted to thank many of the artists (such as David Chloe, who did the painting on the left above), literary magazines and galleries who have been committed to engaging themselves artistically in this election, in honor of a change we do in fact believe in, and which is hopefully coming today. Just as Tristan Eaton reminds us on the Obama Art Report Blog when he quotes Kennedy saying: "For art establishes the basic human truths which must serve as the touchstones of our judgment. The artist...faithful to his personal vision of reality, becomes the last champion of the individual mind and sensibility against an intrusive society and an offensive state." Here are some art and lit sites attempting to do just that today:

OUT TODAY: To celebrate this hope for change, FENCE Magazine has put out a special issue with--who else?--Obama on the cover. The TOContents is listed online, and features some exciting authors such as Srikanth Reddy with new poems (yes, an old friend who spent time in Paris before his first book came out), fiction by Joe Ashby Porter who was recent visitor to our fair city for his reading at Red Wheelbarrow Bookstore, fiction by Rae Armantrout, and poems by Brandon Shimoda (the Cutbank Poetry editor I often mention, as he has a few recent works out such as a new book and chapbook).
LOCAL GALLERY: Owned by American Gallerist, Dorothy's Gallery has been trying to beef up interest in the Obama vote, raise money, speak to the French from her American point of view, and has arranged readings, music events and an art show in Obama's honor. Good for her, devoting her business to a cause like this! (painting at right below by Elizabeth McClancy, 2006)

ENDING TODAY: Wave Books, poetry publishers way off there on the farthest reaches of the US from here, Seattle, that far until one heads out to Hawaii, has been maintaining a very exciting political countdown to the election poetry and poem blog : Poetry Politic. As they describe it themselves on the Wave Books homepage, "A blog in fifty days, from September 15th through November 4th of 2008, presenting news from the intersection between poetry and politics. PoetryPolitic aims to offer a spectrum of critical and imaginative thinking, through which we, as citizens and as readers, might be brought into a field of greater and more urgent awareness. The poems, recordings, videos, essays and interviews represent the ways in which poetry might respond to the complexity of the moment, enacting and catalyzing the thinking and conversations necessary towards that response." Of course, my PhD being on Myung Mi Kim's work, among others, I could not be less than thrilled to see her championed as the post on Day 48, texts from Dura!!! Not to miss on this last day, THE END OF THE COUNTDOWN POST!!! They also just published the anthology "State of the Union: 50 Political Poems" Purchase proceeds go to helping homelessness and poverty among veterans. They get a gold star for reminding everyone that every little effort helps, and that poetry can make a change without having to violate its artistic credos.

Yes, there are likely thousands of other groups such as these, and thank you all! I hope these three listed here will lead others along the sinowy links to more such groups and efforts. But do get off the screen and into the world and VOTE TODAY if you are a registered USA voter!!!