Sunday, April 25, 2010

Artists' talk at The Meadows

Today, Sunday, April 25, the Meadows hosted several artists whose works are in the Triennial Show. Each spoke about the works in the show and responded to comments and questions from an interested and interesting audience : Jasmine Morelock, Bruce and Dorothy Allen, etal. I missed Ellen Soffer's presentation, but came in for part of her brother, Steve's, thoughts re his work that is very intuitive. Debbie Engle showed her found elements wall hung piece and a computer manipulated photo and explained the genesis of each. I wasn't familiar w. the young man from Ruston who showed his illustrations for several poetry chap books, and showed his beautifully crafted drawings.Sorry that I didn't get his name. I was surprised that he uses a 6B pencil...I'd have a smeary mess if I followed his example. My talk explained my use of narrative, challenging tech problems, the anti-war stance of my ploughshare series, and why I haven't been creating more concrete sculptures.
I wish we had more of these artist/audience sessions.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Documentary film re wooden synagogues

This morning Ira and I were part of the large audience that gathered at Bnai Zion for a screening of "The Lost Wooden Synagogues of Eastern Europe". Documentary producer, Albert Barry delivered a moving introduction to his film, relating a bit of history about the 17th c. synagogues in the rural shtetls of Latvia & Lithuania; how each was the rich social, instructional, economic, religious center of the community. There were, in the film, several interviews w. Holocaust survivors who had memories of several of these treasured buildings. The film includes archived photos of life in the vanished communities as well as the Nazi and Communist desecration of the structures and the ensuing deterioration. Combined w. photos of their former glory from Polish archives, their condition is heartbreaking. Yet, there is only an aging, very small Jewish community remaining in these countries, so even if restoration were possible, who would be be utilizing them?
We were struck by these buildings' resemblance, even to the onion domes on some, to the Russian Orthodox wooden churches that have been restored on Kizshi Island, near St. Petersburg. Mr. Barry and his crew did a marvelous service in documenting so well what is/was remaining of these once beautiful, well-crafted structures that were the celebrated centers of Jewish life before the Holocaust.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Jackie Robinson memories

Tonight Ira is watching the Yankees-Angels game; every player is wearing #42 to honor this day as the first day that Jackie Robinson played for the Brooklyn Dodgers 62 years ago. A clip was shown of the great #42 stealing home plate w. Whitey Ford pitching.
Sixty two years ago, I was a student at Erasmus Hall HS in Brooklyn. It had a huge enrollment and a huge campus; even with 2 graduations each year, my class had about 800 students. Sometime before or after noon, I had a class that met in one of the rooms, I think above the entrance "arch", that faced Flatbush Avenue. The avenue was a busy place, lined w. shops and eateries, lots of pedestrian and car traffic. At one end of Flatbush Avnue was Ebbets Field.
I remember a student sitting near the window shouting, "There's Jackie Robinson." Sure enough, there was his famous pink Cadillac, parking across the street, in front of the toniest lunch room in the area...a place where the ladies arrived via limos and fancy cars, wearing veiled little hats and white gloves. He stepped out and several on the sidewalk applauded as he walked in. He must have met someone there fairly regularly as I remember seeing him, during that semester, arrive there often, and each time we students were just as thrilled. How marvelous that his memory and achievements are being celebrated at ball parks today.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

"Uncle Earl"

Gov. Earl Long was the great subject of RELIC session #6. Dr. Gary Joiner defined "progressivism", related some delightful personal and some news making stories about Huey and Earl Long. Both of these men changed LA,: the anti-Longs say "for the worse", the pro group claims "for the better". Dr. Bill Long, Earl's nephew, added his insightful stories about growing up next to the "Pea Patch". I learned Earl Longs' family were well educated, that Earl's daughters were professors of art, Latin...Earl and Huey knew however that to win an election, they had to be seen as "good old boys". Ira too spoke for a few minutes relating how his dad, Abe, met Seymour Weiss in Hot Springs, stayed at the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans and received a plaque and card giving him the title of LA Colonel, aide de camp to Gov. Earl Long.
The A.J.Liebling book, "The Earl of Louisiana" was a good read and the movie "Blaise" starring Paul Newman was suggested viewing.
This was the last of the RELIC" series. I hope LEH finds funds for next year's programs. You can see videos of the above on YouTube, Artsmaven 75, Uncle Earl Parts 1 and 2.