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.