Saturday, December 18, 2010

more Kohunlich photos

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Ira and booked this tour while on the Nordic Spirit that sails out of New Orleans. At our first port, Costa Maya, we were on a bus for two plus hours traveling through the Yucatan countryside, first miles of swamp, then lots of small dusty villages, a huge fresh water lake and sinkhole, and coming near our destination, huge fields of sugar cane. The Kohunlich pre-classical Mayan ruins are in a beautiful huge park. Our Mayan guide, Deanna Garcia was exceptional as she took us through the various sites. Imagine that these ruins of limestone were originally coated with an adobe/limestone mix and then painted red using cochineal.
The highlight of Kohunlich is the Temple of the Masks. The six awesome, huge carved stone faces are on 3 levels, on opposite sides of the grand stairway. The temple has been covered with a thatched roof to protect the sculptures and preserve the red color that still remains on them. Do look at my Picasa web page entitled Nordic Spirit to see more of the site.
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Monday, November 29, 2010

Baby buzzard

I was totally amazed by the close up photos my daughter-in-law, Kathleen, has taken of a young vulture. She'd first spotted this bird on the main roadway near their Seabrook, Texas home, and then, as she looked out her kitchen window, saw this same bird walking on the sidewalk. Kathleen is an animal lover, and noting that the bird did not fly, chopped up some chicken and as he approached their home, she put it out. The bird, now named "Ugly Betty" by neighbors, perched on a nearby fence and stayed there for hours. Ugly Betty now returns most days and Kathleen continues to provide hamburger or chicken tidbits. The bird is content to sleep with their cats, but spreads its huge wings, lowers its head and looks appropriately threatening if dogs comes near. According to Kathleen, one of its wings doesn't have its lower feathers...she thinks it probably it was attacked by a dog and lost those as it got away. She hopes those feathers are growing back and that her scary looking friend will soon be able to fly away. But if not, Ugly Betty has probably found a home.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Library Sale Treasure

As usual, I chatted with Richard Edwardes at the Shreve Memorial Library Sale. We both were intent on finding books, so it was just a quick chat and laugh re finding ourselves once again among the bookshelves. I found lots of paperbacks to read on airplanes and ships, some jazz CDs, a few interesting history tomes, a book of 3 Sophocles plays for grandson Wyn, and surprisingly, this time, lots of art books that had been discarded by the library system.
A discard for the system, but a treasure for me, is "The New Deal for Artists" by Richard D. McKinzie. The content covers the history, the performance, of the Federal arts programs during the Great Depression. There are photos of the participating artists and the marvelous work they did. Imagine...if the government had retained all that artwork, instead of selling it in bales as rag material, we would probably be able to erase the deficit with the sale of those works. I remember Mark Rothko talking about standing in line for his federal paycheck; that he didn't feel like a charity case because the entire NYC art community was there with him... all those artists whose names are now in art history books, whose works now grace museum walls, were on that line with him. In this McKinzie book, I found photos of two of my favorite teachers, Burgoyne Diller (I had a "crush" on this very handsome teacher), and Jose Rivera.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cruise ship news

The headlines re the Carnival s engine room fire showcase the SPAM and other "cold" food being brought on board because all available electricity is being used for the auxiliary engines. I'm sure that in spite of the disappointment felt by all passengers, they're also having an adventure they won't forget, and most are having fun in the pools and on deck, watching the tugs, helicopters, aircraft carrier.
Ira and I were on the first Dawn Princess when the AC crashed; people slept on deck and except for the litigious few, those on board became a "community" and enjoyed what they could: the ports, the entertainment in spite of the sweltering temps. We saw that same community spirit on board Celebrity's Mercury when a sudden wind shear on the Platte R. leaving Buenos Aires, tilted the ship to a dangerous angle and broke all glassware, lots of ceiling pipes, sculptures, etc. And again, we witnessed passengers making lemonade out of lemons when the Royal Olympic ship we'd booked for the Xmas/New Year voyage to Brazil, stopped and stayed in St. Thomas because the company went into bankruptcy. Anyone who travels has to be resilient. Sometimes a port that you've looked forward to visiting, is cancelled because of weather conditions, unknown port deficiencies i.e. no tugboats, no wharf.
I hope Carniaval ceased their dining room cheers of "fun, fun, fun" on this voyage.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Antiquities Restoration

In spite of the economic situation, hordes of tourists still visit the Acropolis. My previous visits and photographs show lots of scaffolding, piles of carved marbles, but few if any workmen. This year, that changed. First, the completion of the Acropolis Museum that contains the treasures uncovered within the Acropolis area, and still preserves the archeological remnants of its site. And to my delight,with this August visit I finally viewed the beautiful Nike Athena temple shorn of its external skeleton of scaffolding, and much of the scaffolding on the Parthenon had been removed. There were many workmen as we explored, and they weren't just chatting with each other, but actually working on the structures. Is this the upside of an economic downturn?...that contracts and jobs are at a premium and so someone else is available if the job isn't done well?
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Art 101 T-shirt

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Monday, November 1, 2010

ARTISTS TRANSIT exhibit at Turner

I should have brought my camera to this special event, the 25 year reunion of Artists Transit, at Turner. Bruce Allen and I chatted about the art scene then with The Loft, Artists Transit and Gladstone as working and collaborative spaces for local artists. All of them are now defunct, and there's no equivalent local space at the present time for the younger generation of creative bent. Is it because money is so tight, rentals too high, or Facebook that replaces the face to face synergy of these work spaces?

The show is an interesting one with up to date works from many of those artists who were part of the Transit scene. What a pleasure it was greeting Carlos Colon, Richard Edwardes, Greg Hornbeak, Dennis O'Bryant, Lewis Kalmbach, Michael Moore, and seeing their innovative, creative spirit in their new works. Works from Michael Herold, Deborah Howard and Robert St. John are also displayed. I specifically remember Deborah's fabulous show, her last local one as she left LSU-S and Shreveport shortly after. I especially enjoyed looking at the original sign in book thats been preserved by Dorothy Hanna Allen...such youthful energy and perspective brought big smiles to my face. Do stop in and enjoy this great reunion.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

At last, cooler temps

Last weeks soaring temperatures reminded me of the unexpected super high ones we experienced in Venice this past August when starting our cruise adventure with our grandsons, Wyn and Dane. None if any of the public buildings were air conditioned, and I was grateful that we were on group tours so that we didn't have to stand in long lines under the broiling sun to visit the various tourist sites. The brilliant light bounced off white domes, gilded ornaments, the canals, erasing most details, and making shaded benches, arched arcades the best places to be.
This painting, just completed, harks back to that time. Its on Japanese rough paper, covered w. a layer of torn tissue paper and medium. I used palette knives so as to avoid details, and hope my viewer will experience with me that intense light and heat.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


As the local sportscaster was reciting the woes of the Saints losing the game, I remembered a special delightful moment.
I wore my Saints Championship T this past May when I was touring the Acropolis Museum in Athens. There were many school groups also visiting this beautiful, new museum that looks out onto the Acropolis and houses treasures found there. As I was gazing with wonder at the amazing display of the pieces of the Parthenon frieze, the Greek original ones and in plaster, the copies of those held by the British Museum, a youngster left his group and walked up to me. He pointed to my shirt, and in very good English said slowly and solemnly, "I like your team. I watched all the games I could and I was happy when they won the championship." I asked him whether he played American football; he told me he played soccer. I wished I had worn that T over another shirt so that I could've given it to him.
I haven't given up hope; perhaps I can buy another championship T this year.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


The mailman delivered a great package yesterday from dear friend, Cynthia Maris Dantzic. The brightly colored cover of this postcard sized book, and the title ALPHABET CITY: Signs of New York, had me picking it up and going through it immediately, page by fascinating page. Cynthia's photographs of New York City's creative signs and her selection of those with alphabetic whimsey provide lots of chuckles as well as beautifully composed and colorful subjects, i.e. the scissors and comb that become an "A" in Barber Shop, or the fork that's an "E" in Eats. There are 30 delightful postcards in this volume. What a perfect stocking stuffer this book would make. Its publisher is Fotofolio, ISBN 978-1-58418-126-2.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

illustrated by Rob Shepperson

Received a card yesterday from friends, Lea and Bob Shepperson, letting me know that their son, Rob has illustrated a new children's book, MEMORY BANK. The author is Carolyn Coman and is targeting 8-12 yr. olds. MEMORY BANK has received great reviews and will no doubt be on many thoughtful gift lists for youngsters. I'll head to Barnes & Noble soon and it'll probably find a spot on my bookshelves too, as I think the best children's books are worth my time and money. My applause to Rob Shepperson as the reviews for his illustrations will surely help make this book a prize winner.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Placido Domingo, Whirlie and Wyn

In Los Angeles, daughter, Shari, aka Whirlie the Clown, and aspiring actor/singer grandson Wyn Delano attended the premiere of "Il Postino", an opera in 4 acts by Daniel Catan( remember the great film of the same name?). According to reviews the L.A. Opera produced a great show w. Placido Domingo as the lead. Wyn's voice teacher, Vladimir Chernov played the role of the town mayor. After going backstage and chatting with Mr. Chernov, Wyn and Shari met Mr. Domingo's family at the post-opera gala,(his grandaughter received the recent Whirlie CD "Life is a Piece of Cake") and to end a perfect evening were introduced to the great tenor. No! neither asked for an autograph, but really wanted to.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Wyn is 18 today

Wyn, with his cousin, Dane, Ira and I celebrated his birthday two weeks earlier while aboard the Aegean Odyssey. However, today was the official day. We celebrated with poppers and champagne but his mom always has had something very special on each of his birthdays, thus playing her role as birthday clown to the hilt. He's flown a glider, a helicopter, been on a LTA going off a cliff, etc. Today's gift for this 18th birthday had to top them all.
So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY WYN. You're a great guy who deserves to have more than one birthday celebration...ENJOY.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Zadar, Croatia

What you're seeing in these photos on the left is a solar disc. 700+ LED cells store energy during the day and provide constantly changing color and pattern throughout the night on Zadar's promenade.
The disc is one part of a site specific installation by Nikola Basic who received the Europe prize for this work a few years ago. The other part of his installation is those steps to the Adriatic Sea viewed in the bottom photo. There are pipes under those steps and holes in the concrete above them. As the sea washes into the pipes, they behave like organ pipes, pushing the air through those vents in the concrete to create notes/sounds very much like whale or dolphin calls. Those notes are programmed into the solar disc and provide the patterning and color data. The work is a fabulous placemaker and even in the wee hours, there are people on and around the disk; during the day locals are swimming off those steps. In the evening, hordes of people are on the promenade, lingering at the disc awhile before going to the shopping and entertainment areas about a mile further up the walk.

Our cabin's balcony overlooked the disc, and I found myself on the balcony, hypnotized by the changing patterns at 2 am, then 3 am. Wouldn't it be great to have Mr. Basic create a work like this for downtown Shreveport.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010


After saying our good-byes to Cynthia and Grayson Dantzic, we packed, headed to Houston and picked up our grandson, Dane. Then via Air France, with a stop in Paris, to Venice where we joined our L.A. based grandson, Wyn, and boarded the Aegean Odysssey. We looked forward to 16 days with these bright handsome youngsters who'd just completed high school studies and are taking a gap year.

Venice was experiencing extraordinarily high temps, but still was packed with tourists. The next morning, we started the first of lthe 3 tours scheduled for that day, St. Marks Sq. and the Doges Palace. Our ship used "whispers", a small box placed in one's pocket or hung around the neck plus an earpiece; the guide can thus speak quietly into his/her unit and be heard by the group, even if like Ira and me, we wander away to view other interesting sights.
Avoiding the long lines, we viewed the splendors of the Palace, the prisons, and the famed "Bridge of Sighs" (now surrounded by Coca-cola ads), and then in free time, licked gelatos as we peeked into shops and tiny streets that always ended in more canals. After lunch, via water taxi, we went through picturesque canals to Giudecca and after a museum visit, climbed up narrow stairs to the tops of non-air conditioned buildings to view a few ancient synagogues...tho' I was gasping, it was worth it. Then a walk through the beautiful Canareggio area to the Rialto and its crush of visitors, before returning to the ship for dinner.
A larger launch from San Basilio then returned us to the St. Marks area for our private viewing of the cathedral's interior. The golden mosaics overhead are awesome (though Ira and I thought those in Monreale and the Palatine chapel, Cefalu cathedral wwere better) and having the space and time to enjoy them, the marble floor mosaics, to explore the area behind the altar w. its priceless treasures, and then to also descend to the crypt area and see the earliest bldg. foundations, was so amazing that heat and exhaustion didn't matter. We all slept well; the boys wishing that our next day was at sea instead of in Pula, Croatia with a 9 am tour.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Jazz brunch at ARTSPACE

All the tables in the mainspace and cafe were filled and refilled Sunday at noon, with people enjoying the Dantzic jazz photographs environment, Michael's good food and a live band playing jazz and the blues. A group photograph of those connected to the exhibit, Bill and his Moonbot bunch, SRAC and ARTSPACE personnel, me and the Dantzics, was taken, and then we all said our good-byes to Grayson and Cynthia Dantzic...hope they return soon.

At two pm, those attending the ARTBREAK winners exhibit in Coolspace started arriving: mayoral candidate, Roy Burrell, supt. Dr. Dawkins, Art supervisor, Henry Price, lots of proud parents and children. Do tell your school board rep to restore the full arts budgeting.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Grayson Dantzic, via a fabulously constructed slide show, took his ARTSPACE audience through his dad's photographic career. He included some amazing contact sheets, some of which included the images now on the gallery walls, photos of his dad's files, studio, and newspaper sources that he'd researched so well. The original TIMEX Jazz show video was also shown, a glimpse of a glorious past jazz era. Trudeau's local documentary of jazz artists was an eye opener re Shreveport's local jazz scene and our own wonderful musicians.

The Atchisons hosted a dinner party Saturday evening for those who'd helped with the "Club Dantzic" and the great exhibit of Jerry Dantzic's work. As usual the food and company were outstanding. I enjoyed meeting for the first time, Ginger Clarke, Steve and Janice Aiken, Brandon Oldenberg, Artspace's L.J. And I hadn't enjoyed the company of Sarah Herrington, Mark Hermosillo for too long a time. And my dear friend, Cynthia, Jerry's partner and wife enjoyed it all. Applause for whomever thought to record the music of the musicians featured in the show, and put them on a gift CD...the perfect ending to a perfect day.

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

Jerry Dantzic Exhibit

The neon lit CLUB DANTZIC sign announced the Jerry Dantzic show at ARTSPACE . The jazz band was marvelous and set the mood. Black interior walls are the perfect background for the amazing photographs.
For me, viewing the faces of Lionel Hampton, Gene Krupa, Ella Fitzgerald et al is like seeing my old friends. And added to the great, insightful jazz works, I enjoyed the "life" photos of a couple's New Year's Eve kiss in Times Square, a birds eye view of men in fedoras conversing, my friend, Cynthia, so young and carefree on a Coney Island carousel. The shots taken at the Newark Minsky's burlesque are great and the shrouding curtain really is just an isolating element. I was at that burlesque house in its declining days, the ones shown in Jerry's photos, and saw the fabulous Georgia Southern perform. The chorus line lacked Rockette precision; in fact their costumes were worn, tawdry, torn, their shoes unmatched. Jerry's photos add magic to the legendary place.

Grayson Dantzic delivered a heartfelt moment as he spoke about his dad, and then played and sang two of his own compositions. His mom was teary as she accepted a bouquet of flowers from him, and I joined those tears as I was so beautifully recognized.

Maggie Martinwise, I'll tell you about the delightful attendees: Jodie Glorioso, Carolyn Nelson, Robert and Talbot Trudeau, Cookie Garner, Nadine Charity, Marcy Everett, the Thorne-Thomsens, Shirley and Ron Silverman, the Leonard Washingtons, Neil Johnson, Jerry Wray, etc., a sterling audience for Jerry.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Cynthia and me

Cynthia and I today tried to duplicate that photo booth image of us as 12 year olds I recently found...this is the best we could come up with. What fun to use the Photo Booth program on my new Mac...this is the sepia effect.
We're looking forward to the show opening tonight at ARTSPACE.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Apologies..just couldn't rotate this photo, but it is the DANTZIC connection.
Jerry Dantzic's fabulous jazz photographs will be exhibited at ARTSPACE, opening this Friday Aug. 13. His wife, Cynthia and son, Grayson will attend, as will Ira and me.
Cynthia and I became friends during our first year of middle school, Montauk Jr. HS in Brooklyn. This photo was taken at a coin operated photo booth...I think we were 12 yrs. old. We have kept in touch through these many, many years, though it had been 30 years since we'd seen one another, when we hugged at the Ogden museum in New
Orleans, April 2009.
Do enter "Cynthia Maris Dantzic" into your favorite bookseller's site and you'll find a long list of art-related titles. And she's still teaching at LIU. Please come to Friday night's opening and meet her, enjoy archivist, Grayson's talk and Jerry's insightful photos.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

From Greece to Sicily

Nauplia, Greece to Taormina, Sicily was a 2 day voyage in rough seas. At Nauplia we travelled to Mycenae and though we'd been there before, and have planned another trip that includes this site, we were awed by this Gate of Atreus (bottom photo). A marvelous Greek, then Roman theater, whose backdrop is Mt. Etna, was the highlight in Taormina, but this artist was content to sit in the shade of a tree in the cathedral square, perhaps thinking of the marvelous pottery sold in the shops along the narrow cobbled streets.

That evening we dined on the after deck looking at the buildings of Naxos along the coast, and Taormina, perched on the mountain above as the sun set. Yes! I have a video but haven't edited it yet.

The top photo is the side of the huge cathedral in Syracuse, actually on the island of Ortygia, the original Greek settlement. Note that the walls are built between Doric columns. The columns are apparent in the interior as well and comprise what was once theTemple of Athena. After viewing the original Arethusa fresh water spring, the reason Syracuse became an important port in ancient times, we returned to the square, entered a small church that had the greatest treasure of all: Caravaggio's wonderful "St. Lucia at Her Burial", commissioned by this church and set in place there by the artist. It was a great end to a marvelous day of touring in Syracuse.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

More Acropolis

Still finding my way through PhotoshopCS5, but I liked these two that I shot on that very brilliant w. sunshine day. I noticed that the Erecthion porch and building had been well cleaned since our last visit and the revealed golden tones of the stone are beautiful. The original caryatids are in the new and wonderful Acropolis museum...these are excellent copies.
The details of the shadowed arch with that jutting out fragment in bright light make for an interesting study. The lovely, distinct acanthus decorations are also on on that very top cornice of the Erecthion photo.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Going to the Acropolis

Finally bought that Mac computer, the new Photoshop too, and am now going through the photos Ira and I shot during our last voyage on the Aegean Odyssey as we sailed from Athens to Rome.
I think this is an Odeon that we passed on our way to the Acropolis. You can see that tiers of seating are being built so that the site can again be utilized for performances. I liked the view of the city beyond and the green hill that's to the right. The old arches of rough stone contrast nicely with the white stark cotemporary urban architecture. The sun was really too strong...I think I used an ISO of 100 on this shot.
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Saturday, June 19, 2010

This week's Kid Pics

I'm thusfar happy with my switch to an IMAC; perhaps just because the new computer is umpteen times as fast as my ancient Gateway. Both Bonnie and Shari emailed photos that you see here. Bonnie, in Panama, is posing with 10 year old friend, Julie, at a site that shelters starfish, she says "more than you can imagine". She included the name of the place, but I didn't think to save that. I'm using that starfish photo on y desktop; the clarity of the water is amazing...Hope there's no oil to be discovered under those sands.

Shari too was busy with her Iphone camera. Here's a picture of grandson, Wyn, with his "City of Angels" haircut. He was a lead in his high school production of that musical. And how did Shari get into Dodger stadium, into the Dodger dugout to have her picture snapped? That's a question for our next phone call; but neither Ira nor I are surprised.

Heard from Megan Porter that the POP bubbe wrap show has been extended. So if you haven't been at ARTSPACE yet, here's another opportunity to enjoy the show.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

POP Packaging for Pampered Patrons

Here are a few more photos of my installation taken a few weeks after the gala opening. The bubble wrap strips have been tied back to permit easier transit to the bathrooms, offices, for gallery patrons. However in this state, the participant doesn't have the tactile experience of going through that tunnel surrounded by the brush of the bubble wrap strips, the varying light coming through the material, etc. Would this occur in a NYC, L.A., Dallas, etal gallery? The title, seen by me as silly as the origin of this packaging, now seems appropriate.
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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Trapani tours

Our tour brought us to SEGESTA, once the center of the Elymian civilization: Trojans, Greek Phocaeans and Sicans.

The photos to the left show the unfinished 36 columned 5th c. BCE Doric Temple in that magnificent setting; the distance photo was shot from a bus that took us to the Greek theater high in the hills. The other two photos show the site of SELINUNTE, Segesta's enemy, founded in 628 BCE, destroyed by Carthage in 409 BCE. Only one of the eight temples found here has been restored. The restorers in the 50's reported that they couldn't be sure that the work they were doing was valid...that certain stones should be atop or next to one another, etc. So the other temple sites are piles of antique rubble. You can see how huge the columns, capitals were in these Doric structures.