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Blog Entries tagged 'genius'

Living the Divine Masculine, an Interview with Shantam Nityama, Sexual Healer

I conducted this interview a few years back for What Makes a Man: 22 Writers Imagine the Future where you can listen to the full audio, but it seems relevant for One Big Happy Family, too.

When I did the interview for KPFA in Berkeley, I was exploring the way men can, through supporting women, support a part of themselves. Nityama has taken this to an incredibly dynamic place, and spends his life offering sessions of sexual healing to women

This version is from the site Extatica.

RW: Tell me a little bit about what you do and how you came into this work.

SN: It is sex that brings us onto the planet. We must realize that if we have difficulty with the primal energy that brought us here, then we are going to be mired in self-hatred and be confused about the very thing that has brought us into being.

More

March 21st, 2009

My Body, My Butoh

Brilliant short video about Butoh, one my favorite forms of modern dance. Butoh was born in Japan after the atomic blasts. It explores death, destruction, resurrection, presence, purity, horror, the sublime, beauty, the power of a simple gesture, and more.

I'm a huge fan of Sankai Juku, one of the most respected and revered Butoh companies in the world, mentioned in this film. The first time I saw them, with a beloved choreographer friend, I was struck dumb. I was in awe, transported. Butoh changed my life. It gave me something that has never left.

March 17th, 2009

Monographs, from Readerville

Hey--here's a nice bunch of sentences I strung together on Readerville, one of my favorite literary sites.

Monographs

In the life I didn’t choose, I am a photographer and installation artist. I make striking objects that live in a space beyond words. In the life I chose, I write books about houses and people and feelings, but I reach for my Yashica Mat camera to capture that which cannot be transcribed. I photograph my son like Sally Mann captured her kids, running wild in the nude. I try to photograph myself like Lorna Simpson would, in a white dress, from behind, with one hand pouring water from a pewter pitcher and the other pouring water from a plastic jug. I dream of building a life-sized southern shack like the ones I used to pass on the side of the road in Georgia, when I was a little girl, driving to the family cemetery.

I’m no longer surprised when I open a box that’s been taped shut for years, and find an artist’s monograph on top. A few books down, I’ll find catalogs from shows that were up at MOMA when I was an intern. I was sixteen then, sitting in front of Mark Rothko’s paintings for hours. I’ve tried to give these books away, to sell them, anything to keep from carrying them to another apartment, another country, but I can’t. I need them. 

Ana Mendieta: Earth Body
How to describe Ana Mendieta? She was a Cuban-American artist who made kick-ass, sensual, outrageously smart and seductive work. I love the Silueta series--Mendieta paints her body to blend into/become various pieces of earth. She is a tree, a body of lava scorching the earth, dirt in an open grave with flowers sprouting from her skin.

Her performance pieces are brave: she walks to the wall and slides her bare hands down it, leaving two red smears. She stops, walks away, and we’re looking: it’s a vagina, it’s a gash, it’s Ana’s mark on the art world, her X in the history of art.

Artwork by Shirin Neshat
When I came back to the states after living in a Muslim country, Shirin Neshat’s work explained everything to me: the power of the feminine in Islamic culture; the powerlessness of the feminine in Islamic culture. The hopelessness of the idea of “Islamic culture.” The way faith and art and desire come together to form something like a drug for the human soul. Beloved, a photograph of mother and son, mother covered in hijab, son held close to the breast, is heart stopping. The baby sits in the folds of the hijab. And to the left of the mother and child, the Muslim pieta, there is a gun.

Seydou Keita
I don’t remember where I first saw Keita’s portraits, or heard about the man who made photographs in a small studio in Bamako, Mali, for decades before being “discovered” by Western collectors. I do know that I wanted to buy his work the second I saw it. His work captures so much about Africa and modernity and style and colonialism and independence and youth and art and vibrancy, I can barely stand to talk about it. I bought two large prints when I sold my first book. He died a few years later.

Yayoi Kusama: Love Forever
Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama makes her art at a studio a few blocks from the mental hospital in which she has lived, by choice, since the early 1970s. “If it were not for art, I would have killed myself a long time ago,” Kusama has said, and I understand. Her work is feminine, sprawling, heroic, psychedelic, minimalist, absurd and fecund. She works in polka dots, giant nets and huge pumpkins. Yayoi visits conventional reality, but doesn’t live there.

The Art of Bill Viola
Man on fire. Man drenched in water. Man shifting through time, space and the elements, on a thin video screen, with sound. A man comes in and out of being before our very eyes. Genius. I love BV.

I could go on and on. Bill Eggleston, Gauguin, Paul Strand, Hiroshi Sugimoto: Seascapes! Odd shelf after odd shelf. 

To Readerville

 

February 23rd, 2009

TwitterSheep

This TwitterSheep thing is GORGEOUS. Wish I could find a way to include the whole graphic of my cloud here. Maybe a screen shot?

 

February 21st, 2009

I miss Ana Mendieta

I miss Ana Mendieta.

I miss Ana Mendieta

February 16th, 2009

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

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

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

Ka'iulani: The Highest Point of Heaven

Hi,

Since I've been living in Hawaii, I have become even more aware of the struggles of Hawaiian people in the face of "statehood." I have been particularly inspired by the half Hawaiian and half Scottish Princess Ka'iulani, heir apparent to the Hawaiian throne when the US declared Hawaii a protectorate.

The video is very moving and provides, in just eight minutes, a very good overview of the final years of Hawaiian independence. For even more info (and an image of one of Princess Ka'iulani's beautiful paintings), read her story on Wikipedia.

Much aloha,
Rebecca

October 16th, 2007