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Blog Entries tagged 'art'

Frank O'Hara, Channeled by Zadie Smith in the NYRB

Zadie Smith's talk on Obama and cultural multiplicity is all kinds of lovely. I especially like the way she worked in this poem by Frank O'Hara:

I am a Hittite in love with a horse

I don't know what blood's

in me I feel like an African prince I am a girl walking downstairs

in a red pleated dress with heels I am a champion taking a fall

I am a jockey with a sprained ass-hole I am the light mist

in which a face appears

and it is another face of blonde I am a baboon eating a banana

I am a dictator looking at his wife I am a doctor eating a child

and the child's mother smiling I am a Chinaman climbing a mountain

I am a child smelling his father's underwear I am an Indian

sleeping on a scalp

and my pony is stamping in

the birches,

and I've just caught sight of the

Niña, the Pinta and the Santa

Maria.

What land is this, so free? 

And here's O'Hara again, this time via Don Draper, the center of the universe that is Mad Men:



Lovely, lovely, lovely. And all of it, so true.
February 12th, 2009

The Beautiful Five Thousand Dollar House

I love prefabs. I think they're the answer to unsustainable living. Impermanent, earth friendly, affordable. This one is small, and marketed to developing countries and dislocated people. Imagine this instead of trailers in New Orleans. 

From our friends at Inhabitat

January 27th, 2009

Viva the book!

In the face of gloomy news about the state of publishing, I predict the book will have a huge resurgence. At the end of a day of tapping, or the beginning of a day with no tapping planned, there is nothing more comforting than to lie in bed with a lovely book. The feel of it in my hand is satisfying; the paper, the pool of yellow light on me and the paper, the turning of the page, my single-pointed absorption in another world.

Intimacy itself.

Viva el libro!

Inspired by a great piece on reading in Harper's by Colson Whitehead, brought to you via the great folks at Readerville:

How to Read

We each come to literature in our own way. For some, the gift is bestowed by a helpful governess who guides our fingers over the letters in a primer. For others, a private tutor first enlightens us to the majesty of the written word. How you arrive is immaterial. What is important now is that you forget all that and learn to read anew. In my literary criticism, I have become known as a champion of the eternal verities and a scold of the trendy and the fashionable. I have essayed to instruct your writers in how to write correctly. Now I will teach you to read correctly.

When we see a word, we must ask ourselves foremost, What does it mean? This is the first step in comprehension. When we have accomplished this, we can proceed to the next, and so on. In due course, we have read the sentence in toto. By returning to the beginning of the sentence to perform a close reading, we unlock its essence. I learned this skill at university. Although born in the States, I journeyed abroad for my education and underwent my intellectual coming of age at Oxford. I remember when the first dispatches of Dirty Realism made their way across the Atlantic. I pored over each latest issue of Granta as if it contained the Holy Word. And perhaps it did. One of my favorites from that time has always been Raymond Carver, in particular his affecting tale “Leave the Porch Light On, It’ll Be Dark.”

More

January 18th, 2009

Woman: The Ballad of John and Yoko

Yoko's love for John and John's love for Yoko was the heart at the center of their own personal peace movement. Both artists, they influenced each other, creating an alchemical effect bigger than either one could achieve on their own. From my perspective, theirs was a true partnership-- transgressive and transcendent and transformative, a love story for all time.

 

I stumbled upon these videos while reading Cara at Curvature's fascinating  feminist analysis of Yoko.

Double Fantasy

January 11th, 2009

Art and Commerce: How To Make It Work Now

This is a great interview on the issues of copyright and monetization on the Web. Lessig is refreshingly open and optimistic about the way the Internet supports creatives and creativity, and the conversation is a great example of two paradigms working together to give birth to something brand new.

From the NPR site:

December 22, 2008 · In his new book Remix, law professor Lawrence Lessig explores the changing landscape of intellectual property in the digital age — and argues that antiquated copyright laws should be updated.

Lessig is a columnist for Wired and the chair of Creative Commons, a nonprofit organization that promotes the legal sharing, repurposing and remixing of creative work.

 Listen.

December 24th, 2008

The Art We Make, The Love We Give

Just watched The Lives of Others.

I have always wondered what I would do for art. For love. For the freedom that making your art and loving your chosen one symbolizes. Would I die for it? Become an informant? Or much, much worse? 

Watching the film, I felt that art is the fire. The work we make, the love we give is the flame we pass from one to the other to stay warm. To stay alive. Awake.

Tonight, let it burn.
November 24th, 2008

Five Favorite Books for Venus Magazine

the lover

I almost always read for inspiration. I’m on a perpetual hunt for books
that make me want to sit down and write my own. I can’t believe they
are so hard to find—there are millions of books, after all. But to find
my books, the ones that call my name, is a major deal. Once found, I
read these books in bed at two in the morning, take them on airplanes
again and again, and get teary-eyed remembering who I was the first
time I cracked their pages.

Read More

October 13th, 2008

Santi White, for Interview Magazine

August 4th, 2008

August 4th, 2008

Modern Beauty, with Patricia from Australia

vogue

Today I got an email from a young high-school student in Australia, Patricia, doing a report on Third Wave and Women's Magazines.

"As a founder of third wave feminism, I'd like to ask you a few questions."

1. What is your personal definition of "modern feminism"?

Any act or thought that leads to a safer, healthier, more equitable and enjoyable experience for women and the people who love them.

July 8th, 2008

San Miguel Atencion

Hey here's an interview I just did for the paper in San Miguel de Allende about the upcoming writer's conference. Hope someone out there comes up and says hi. This interview was with Gina Hyams, editor of the Searching for Mary Poppins:

1. What is your writing schedule like? Do you have a favorite place to write or any creativity-inducing rituals?

Since having my son, I have had to throw a lot of my ideas about where and when to write out the window. I now write anywhere I can charge my laptop: the bed, the sofa, a chair in the backyard. I also write in hotels more lately, and try to build a few extra days for writing into my lecture schedule. My other trick is to wait until I really know what I want and need to say. Then I add a few months onto that until I can't contain it anymore. The urgency makes me write faster.

2. You have been extremely brave about delving into and revealing your complex personal truths in your memoirs and you have paid dearly for doing so. You wrote in Baby Love that your mother was so furious about what you wrote in Black, White, and Jewish that she disinherited you. Was it worth it? Is it worth it?

Well, it certainly wasn't the best financial decision I've ever made! Because my mother is such a powerhouse in the industry (think Oprah and many, many others) and people take sides, the estrangement has had a serious impact on my career and the resources available to me.

Access aside, as millions of people know, my mother is a tremendous human being and I love and respect her deeply. The rub is that, like her, I'm a writer: my life is my material. It's an issue all writers deal with: Is it possible to tell my story without hurting others? What happens to the world of letters if writers only write what is acceptable? What is the point of writing if you can't be truthful?

Some of my favorite memoirists, women like Anais Nin, Simone de Beauvoir, Audre Lorde, Diane DiPrima, Marguerite Duras, Susanna Kaysen, bell hooks, Lucy Grealy, asha bandele and others, didn't write what made everyone comfortable. They wrote what they needed to write, and the truth of their expression stands the test of time. I hope my work does the same.

So I guess that's a yes. It is worth it. And the cost is tremendous. I often tell writers in my workshops that their biggest fear about telling their story can come true: you can lose the people you love the most. But, as many of those same writers like to tell me, the opposite is also true: you can become closer to the people you love; telling your story can be a cathartic place of healing. I thought that would be true for me and my family. So far, not so much. But there is still time. I'll never close the door.

3. You have edited three non-fiction anthologies and contributed to at least twenty others. Why do you think anthologies as a genre became so popular and do you think the publishing trend is over? What is your new anthology about and when will it be out? I hear there is a local author in it.


The first anthology I read was This Bridge Called My Back by the late Chicana writer Gloria Anzaldua, and my all-time favorite is We Are the Stories We Tell. The genre endures because it fulfills a human longing to see the world from different points of view, all at once. And then there is the fact that collections are like parties for introverts: you meet the most fascinating people without having to leave the house. It's the original virtual community.

My new anthology is about new family configurations. It is called Walk This Way: Introducing the New American Family. It's about all the ways people are living these days: from birthing at home without a midwife, living polyamorously, and inviting the nanny to be a full-fledged family member, to co-housing, transracial adoption, and intercultural ex-pat life. SMdA resident Susan McKinney de Ortega is covering that last topic, and I'm thrilled to include her essay about moving to San Miguel, falling in love and starting what to some may seem like a non-traditional family.

4. Have you been in San Miguel de Allende before? If so, what is the first experience you look forward to having (place to go, etc.) upon each return?

This will be my first trip to San Miguel de Allende, though my mother owns a house in Mexico and I've spent over two decades going back and forth: the country is in my blood. I'm looking forward to speaking Spanish, a language I love, and eating carne asada with beans and rice. I'm looking forward to the light, the warmth of the people, and the focus on family rather than consumerism. I'm looking forward to architectural beauty and diversity. And of course, I am looking forward to meeting some wonderful writers.
December 11th, 2007