Sunday, March 23, 2008

Zagar on Zagar I

photo- J. Freed
[click on image to enlarge]
Isaiah Zagar at work in Oakland

Our congratulations to Jeremiah Zagar whose documentary of his father, Isaiah, has just received the Emerging Visions Audience Award from the SXSW Film Festival. "Over the past four decades, artist Isaiah Zagar has covered more than 50,000 square feet of Philadelphia with stunning mosaic murals. "In A Dream" is a documentary feature film that chronicles his work and his tumultuous relationship with his wife, Julia. It follows the Zagars as their marriage implodes and a harrowing new chapter in their life unfolds."

For more information about the film click In a Dream.

Julia and Isaiah are our friends.

Zagar on Zagar II

Here is a genuine Isaiah Zagar Mural
in Oakland, CA

Friday, March 21, 2008

Hindu Monkey Gods -- My Mood Today

[click on image to enlarge]
from the current
New York Arts of Pacific Asia Show
Gramercy Park Armory

Thursday, March 20, 2008

DVD – Double Feature Film Pick of the Week

A Julie Delpy Diptych

For the American and French views on relationships compare Richard Linklater's "Before Sunset" with Julie Delpy's own directorial debut "2 Days in Paris." They're both smart and entertaining.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Stanley Fish and the Neo Know-Nothings

Stanley Fish, the cynical curmudgeon of higher priced education, offered this feeble response in a recent New York Times op-ed piece to the question, “Of what use are the humanities?” Fish concluded, “The only honest answer is none whatsoever. . . . The humanities are their own good.”

I was so angry at his thoughtlessness that I wrote a whole new preamble for my section in the Chapman University College Catalog about why studying the humanities is so vital to perpetuating the very things that make us most human.

Here is what I wrote for Stanley and the semi-literate children who are currently mismanaging our potentially great nation.

Nearly all contemporary human problems are more failures of imagination, observation, analysis, interpretation, communication, common sense, integrity, courage to act, faith, compassion or introspection than insufficiencies of material means to solve them. These are the areas of competency addressed and developed in the study of the humanities. Literary critic Harold Bloom recently asked, "Where can wisdom be found?" Cicero answered him almost two thousand years before: "Not to have knowledge of what happened before you were born, is to be condemned to live your life as a child."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hayden White from Stanford on Why the Humanities

Dr. Robert Harrison's "Entitled Opinions on Life and Literature" is broadcast weekly on
Stanford Radio and available for Mp3 downloads.

The following link is to a very insightful conversation on the importance of the study of the humanities between professors -- Robert Harrison and Hayden White: "On the Vocation of the Humanities."

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Candidates' Debate

art piece - J. Freed
[click on image to enlarge]

The Candidates' Debate

Saturday, March 8, 2008

A Lyric Poem from Kyoto

A Post-Card from Kyoto at Rush Hour

A perverse calm even at rush hour

even from battalions of uniformed teens

fearful of awakening warlord emperors

At the Pink Bunny Cafe, a pastel blue

elephant stylized into a ball

wraps around a raspberry bear

Old women squashed

into the shape of a Z

cross the streets glazed with rain

One thousand and one gold lacquered

radiantly female images of Kannon

have manifested erect for 733 years

Another wooden temple so vast

only rope braided from women's hair

could have dragged its enormous beams

A glass geometrical monolith

vaster than Blade Runner's

imagined future contains

The panther train

eager to carry me back to Osaka

leaving maybe a moved pebble at Rengeo-in garden.

poem - J. Freed

Friday, March 7, 2008

Theatrical Film Pick of the Week


To make you feel relieved that you do not live in Buffalo, NY,
or anywhere along I-90 for that matter, watch "Savages."

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Silver Palm

photo - J. Freed
[click on image to enlarge]
Silver Palm in San Diego

Three Poems by Carilda Oliver Labra

One of my students introduced me to this fabulous Cuban-born, lyric poet -- Carilda Oliver Labra.

Eve's Discourse

Today, I brutally greet you
with a grunt
or a kick.
Where are you hiding,
where have you fled with your wild box
full of hearts,
and your stream of gunpowder?
Where are you now;
in the ditch where all dreams are finally tossed,
or in the jungle's spidery web
where fatherless children dangle?

I miss you,
you know I do--
as myself
or the miracles that never happen--
you know I do?
I'd like to entice you with a joy I've never known,
an imprudent affair.

When will you come to me?
I'm anxious to play no games,
to confide to you: "my life"--
to let thunder humble us
to let oranges pale in your hand.
I want to search your depths
and find veils
and smoke,
that will vanish at last in flame.

I love you truly
but innocently
as the transparent enchantress of my thoughts,
but, truly, I don't love you,
though innocently
as the confused angel that I am.
I love you,
but I don't love you.
I gamble with these words
and the winner shall be the liar.
Love!. . .
(What am I saying? I'm mistaken,
because here, I wanted to write, I hate you.)
Why won't you come to me?

How is it possible
you let me pass by without requiting our fire?
How is it possible you're so distant, so paranoid
that you deny me?
You're reading the newspapers
passing through
and life.
You're with your problems
of groans and groin,
entertaining yourself with an aspiration to mourning.
Even though I'm melting you,
even though I insult you,
bring you a wilted hyacinth
approve your melancholy;
call forth the salt of heaven,
stitch you into being:
When are you going to murder me with your spit,
When are you going to overwhelm me again beneath the rain?
When are you going to call me your little bird,
your whore?
When are you going to profane me?
Beware time that passes,
Not even your ghosts appear to me now,
and I no longer understand umbrellas?
Every day, I become more honest with myself,
magnificently noble. . .
If you delay,
if you hesitate and don't search for me,
you'll be blinded;
if you don't return now,
infidel, idiot, dummy, fool,
I'll count myself nothing.

Yesterday, I dreamt that while we were kissing,
a shooting star exploded
and neither of us gave up hope.

This love of ours
belongs to no one;
We found it lost,
in the street.
Between us we saved it, sheltered it.
Because of that, when we swallow each other
in the night,
I feel like a frightened mother left
It doesn't matter,
kiss me again and over again
to come to me.
Press yourself against my waist,
come to me again;
be my warm animal again,
move me, again.
I'll purify my leftover life,
the lives of condemned children.

We'll sleep like murderers
who've saved themselves
by bonding together in incomparable blossoming.
And in the morning when the rooster crows,
we will be nature, herself.
I'll appear like your child asleep in her cradle.

Come back to me, come back,
penetrate me with lightening,
Bend me to your will.
We'll turn the record player on forever.
Bring me that unfaithful nape of your neck,
the blow of your stone.
Show me I haven't died,
my love, and I promise you the apple.

My Mother You Are in a Letter from Miami

My mother, you're only in a letter
and in an old scolding that I couldn't find;
stay here forever in the center
of a blooming rose that never dies.

My Mother, so far away, tired
of snow and mist. Wait, I'm coming
to bring you home to live with the sun inside you,
My Mother, who lives in a letter.

You can give a date to mystery,
that would blend with bewitching shadows;
you can be the stone rolled away,
you can evaporate the circles under your eyes;
but remember, your small daughter, Mother.
Don't dare to do all you can do; don't die.

The Boy Who Sells Greens

You have no parents; it’s clear...I know
because of your indecisive look.
I can tell because of your shirt.

You are small but grown up behind the basket.
You respect the sparrows. A penny is enough for you.

The people pass dressed inside with steel.
They don't listen to you...You have shouted
two or three times: "Greens!"

They pass indifferently carrying packages and umbrellas;
in new pants and new yellow blouses;

They walk in a hurry toward the bank and the tedium
or toward the sunset through Main Street. . .
And you're not selling: you do the game of selling;
and although you never played, it comes to you without trying...

But don't get close to me; no, child, don't talk with me.
I don't want to see the site of your probable wings.

I found you this morning around the courthouse,
and what a blow your unhappy innocence has given me!

My heart which was an urn of illusion
is now like wilted greens, like no heart.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Some Great Downloadable Short Fiction

Download some great Mp3 short fiction from The New Yorker.
[right click on DOWNLOAD for the story you want
and choose "Save target as. . ." to your Desktop]

And Now for Something Completely Different

For some really intelligent conversations to download to your Ipod or MP3 Player:

Professor Robert Harrison’s Podcasts from Stanford University:
[click on the show you want from the far left column
then right click on "Download the Show"
and choose "Save Link as. . ." to your Desktop]

Monday, March 3, 2008

DVD Film of the Week

I highly recommend "Paris, Je T'aime" for your next DVD film experience.

Other Sculptures in La Jolla MCASD

Niki de St. Phalle

photos - J. Freed
[click on image to enlarge]

You are what you wear.

From the Sculpture Garden in La Jolla's MCASD.

Goldsworthy Egg in La Jolla

photo - J. Freed
[click on image to enlarge]
An Andy Goldsworthy Stone Egg in La Jolla

Art from my Vacation in San Diego

photo - J. Freed
[click on image to enlarge]
Growing Goldsworthy in San Diego