Song for Phil Spector

by Judy D. Fox

While growing up, my parents traveled between Los Angeles and Nashville three and four times a year. Living in rented houses or apartments, the four of us kids weren’t allowed to have any toys or possessions that wouldn’t fit in the car. Our clothing and bedding would be tied up in sheets and placed in the back seat and trunk of our car. The oldest child, I would often climb up into the back window. There, I would listen to the hum of the engine, make up songs and watch the sky for UFO’s. These things helped take my mind away from the thoughts of emptiness.

notes on a wire

One Friday afternoon in late spring of ‘58 in Echo Park, California - at age seven - I was babysitting my younger brother and sister in my father’s sedan while my parents shopped. We were parked behind the Pioneer Market on Sunset Boulevard. As usual I sang songs to pass the time.

On the playground that school year I learned some clapping songs. (For example, a sailor went to sea, sea, sea, etc.) As I made up the lyrics, my mind was on the cute, blonde-haired boy who recently moved next door. Even though he hadn’t shown any interest in me, I had developed a big crush. So, as thoughts of him crept into my clapping rhythms, these words emerged:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Fish and Friendship in Tokyo

by Jules Older

On our last visit to Japan:

  •  An American businessman told me, “A bunch of hippies got together for three days and took drugs.” He was talking about Woodstock.
  •  We looked out the window of our ryokan and gazed upon a 13th-century pagoda. On the television in our traditional Japanese room, man was taking the first steps on the moon.
  •  And our twin daughters were conceived on a futon in Tokyo.

*  *  *

It was to Tokyo we were returning, decades later. Our friends – Eipan and Hirame, Eiichi and Hiroko – still lived there, and it was way past time to re-une. And we wanted to see the city we’d been so taken with all those years before. How had it changed? How had it not?

When I tell Hirame on the phone that I’m looking for changes, she says, “Expect to see a lot of blonde Japanese.”

I chuckle. “Not your daughters, I bet.” Despite his years as a grad student (and my roommate) in New York, Eipan is very traditional, a samurai businessman with a 6th degree black belt in Judo. I can hear Hirame’s quiet smile all the way from Tokyo. “They’re brown-hair Japanese.” 

It doesn’t take long to spot other changes, other sames. First stop on the bus trip in from the airport is the La Floret Hotel. As the bus doors open, a young woman in a sharply pressed uniform bows deeply. Score one for the same. On the other hand, where the massive hotel – and dozens like it – now stand, there used to be only small shops. The Tokyo skyline has pushed skyward.

At our friends’ home, there’s a similar mixture. We still take off our shoes at the door, but Hirame greets us with a kiss, not a bow. The ofuru, the ubiquitous Japanese hot tub, still awaits, only now it’s kitted out with bubbles, programmable water jets and digital temperature controls that can be operated from the kitchen.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Getting Potted in Minnesota

by Laurie Gilberg Vander Velde

“Hi, son, do you need any pots?”  I asked my son on the phone.  I was standing on a hillside in the beautiful St. Croix River Valley.  Dark clouds dropped cold, almost icy, droplets on us one minute; the sun shone the next.  We were bundled up against the cold spring weather we had not anticipated when we headed up to the Minneapolis area for the annual St. Croix Valley Pottery Tour over Mothers’ Day weekend.  Wooden planks which spanned sawhorses were the simple palette for a varied display of handmade ceramic pots.   

Pottery for sale on the hillside outside Guillermo Cuellar's studio overlooking the St. Croix Valley.

My son replied quickly to my inquiry.  “No, Mom, I don’t need any pots…And you don’t either!”  He was probably right, but he was talking to a confirmed pot head. My husband Michael and I love ceramics, and it had taken us years to get to the pottery tour. We’d known about the Minnesota potters for a long time. Warren Mackenzie, American pioneer studio potter, taught at the University of Minnesota for a long time and inspired many students with his simple, functional, affordable pieces. We’d admired his work, read books about him and had managed to acquire a few of his pieces over the years.

Was it necessary for us to buy another pot by Warren MacKenzie or any other accomplished potter?  To tell the truth, necessity hasn’t entered into our pursuit of fine handmade pottery since back in the late sixties when we bought our first pieces at the Ann Arbor Artist Guild sales. In more than forty years of marriage, pottery has been a passion for both of us.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

PHOTO ESSAY: Myanmar by Longtail, Trishaw and Tuk-Tuk

story and photos by Paul Ross        

Getting to Myanmar (Burma) is a trip, but getting around while in-country can be an adventure.  

During 18 days of travel, we rode in human-pedaled trishaws, rickety horse-drawn carriages, vintage trains, and boats of every imaginable size, shape and color. Squeezed into crowded truck-busses, we joined indigenous commuters, and used the smattering of Burmese phrases we picked up along the way to interact and become part of their day. In turn, they became part of our memories. 

Much more than transportation, these conveyances provided an intimate glimpse of everyday life, a profound sense of place, and an authentic connection to this rapidly changing country.

Traveling with Eldertreks, an adventure travel company for travelers 50 and older, my wife, Judie, and I were able to step outside the tourist bubble and travel with the locals.  

Here's the visual proof. 


An old converted bicycle, with its five-inch seat not constructed with wide-beamed Americans in mind,  and a bumpy dirt road make for a colorful experience, especially if you add in the black and blue marks on your backside. The peddler/driver's friend rode along, balancing on the bike's peg, as either a human GPS or a spare "engine."  Far from "the days of Raj" luxury (the Brits colonized Myanmar as well as India), the trishaw is a practical taxi in a bustling, developing country and ––like all taxis everywhere–– it's best to negotiate the fare in advance of the trip. You want to help the local economy but--

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

When You Wish Upon A Mound...

by Laurie Gilberg Vander Velde

 

She was so vivacious and charismatic that I went up and introduced myself after the talk she gave.  When I told her I was from St. Louis, she immediately asked, “Have you ever been to Cahokia Mounds?”  “Well, my kids went on school trips... I’ve been meaning to go since they built the new visitor’s center...,” I muttered my reply.  “You have to go,” she urged.  “It’s one of the most wonderful, inspiring Native American sites in all of North America.  Promise me you’ll go.”  “Sure,” I said.

 

I met Judie in October 2009 when she spoke at a retreat for the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College at the lovely Tamaya Resort north of Albuquerque.  Judie and I had an instant rapport, and, when we met for lunch in Santa Fe a week or so later, she again pressed us to go to Cahokia Mounds.  Again we promised.  But life intervenes, and by the time we returned to Santa Fe the following summer and called Judie to get together, we still hadn’t gone.  

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Border Crossing

Everything was working out well. I crossed the Canadian border and passed through customs with no problems, reunited with friends I hadn’t seen in seven years, and prepared to meet my students—teachers who wanted to learn creative ways to teach literature.

The seminar coordinator was smiling, assuring me that the paper, pens, pencils, fingerpaints, and clay were all set up. She led me to the room where fifteen eager participants sat around U-shaped tables, waiting, ready to begin the first of four seminars. 

Then I saw her.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Revelations at a Convent

by Kristine Mietzner 

 

When I walked through the tall wooden doors of the Santa Sabina Center, thirty minutes north of San Francisco, I hoped for rest and revelations about what was next in my life. The former convent is tucked away in San Rafael among oaks and eucalyptus, and it is a place for quiet, contemplation, and meditation. Exactly what I needed.


On that rainy May weekend, I sought a break from navigating the litigious end of a long marriage. I was a sailor caught in a storm of emotions, seeking a safe harbor. No talking, just a place to take my tired self to bind my wounds, shed disappointments, and release anger. 

Just as I was falling into bed in a room that once housed Dominican novitiates, my cell phone rang. Why was I getting a call at 9:30 p.m. from the father of my children? I jumped to the fear that my son or daughter might be hurt, so I answered the phone. Big mistake. 

The kids were okay but he, an attorney, wanted to talk about our unsettled property issues. I didn’t. I referred him to my attorney. Before we hung up, I said, “Don’t call me again this weekend.” Sighing, I turned off the phone. 

Then I berated myself. How foolish could I be? I knew better than to take a call from my ex-husband while on a spiritual retreat. 

I stopped myself from a bitter downward spiral by recalling that the marriage had had its good years. We were blessed with two incredible children. I found some compassion for myself. It was okay that I answered the phone and besides, I had ended the call quickly.

Opening the window, I inhaled the eucalyptus-scented air, listened to the soft, steady rainfall whispering in the night, and reflected on how far I’d travelled in my post-marriage years. 

Right from the beginning of the unraveling of my marriage, I knew that forgiveness would unlock the door to my new life, but finding the key proved challenging. How could I forgive someone I perceived as trying to take advantage of me?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Have a Happy Crappy Christmas Catalonia-Style

by Elyn Aviva

 

Bon Nadal and Feliç Any Nou! That’s Catalan for Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. 

It’s the holiday season in my home town, Girona, Catalonia, and things aren’t quite what you might expect. Yes, there are the familiar ho-ho-ho Santa Claus figures dangling from buildings, and three-foot-high Christmas trees with matching pink and purple ribbon decorations are lined up outside stores on the main shopping streets.

There are brilliant-colored lights strung across the avenues, and a glittering conical abstraction of a Christmas tree pulses on and off in the Plaza de Catalunya. Christmas carols (sometimes in English) echo through the halls, the beauty salons, and the restaurants, and carolers emote as they stroll down the pedestrian Rambla, songbooks in hand. Flame-red poinsettias are for sale in the market, and school-club fundraisers hawk chocolate bars and handmade knickknacks. And there’s the cheery Firanadal (Christmas Fair) offering artisanal goods, felt slippers, jewelry, plastic toys, and boxwood spoons.

Yes, all of this is vaguely familiar, even if gigantes (giant dancing king and queen figures), a marathon Nativity play (Els Pastorets), xuixus (pronounced “choochoos”: sugar dusted, cream-filled pastry rolls), and turrón (a kind of nougat) aren’t usual Christmas fare.


But you really know you’re in a foreign land when you seen the rows of squatting miniature figures—including SpongeBob SquarePants, flamenco dancers, Obama, Barça soccer star Messi, Queen Elizabeth II, and Death—their pants pulled down, a brown plop of poop deposited behind them, for sale for inclusion in Nativity scenes. Correction: the plop of poop behind Death is white, not brown. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

What If Something Happens?

by Sally McKinney

 

Squeezed between napping young people in a tour van, I doubted that this Virgin del Carmen dance festival weekend was a good idea. I’d finished my bottle of water. The driver was swerving down rough roads toward a Peruvian village 3,200 meters high. Weak and dehydrated from several medications, I felt nausea with each lurching switchback.  

When I planned this July weekend in remote Paucartambo, I imagined the fun I’d have. Tripping around in my long, ruffled skirt—while sipping a pisco sour--I’d hitch up my skirt and join Peruvians, dancing in the street. 

Paucartambo, jammed with visitors for Festividad de La Virgen del Carmen, had limited lodging options. In the rear of the van, my back-up bottle of water was buried under luggage. Trucks, vans, cars, carts and visitors with daypacks blocked our way. We parked near a school so we could camp there for the night, but could not unload. After an hour in the parking lot, a tardy local woman unlocked the school room. I unzipped my duffel and gulped all the water I could hold.

Before I left home, my younger sister, Judy, who seldom travels, had shared her concern. “Isn’t Peru a developing country?” she asked and then began scolding, “You’re 78 years old! And you’re going to Peru?”

During the six-block walk to the plaza, we strolled past market stands stacked with alpaca blankets, fuzzy sweaters, striped ponchos and ear-flap hats. We were clearly in Peru. Two-story buildings with blue balconies overlooked the plaza on all sides. Standing on the sidewalk, I strained to see costumed performers parading down the street. My sister had said, “What if something happens?” Yet, as I surveyed the crowd, the festival scene looked safe enough to me. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Santa Claus is Coming to School

by B.J. Stolbov 

As the only (old) white man with a (long) white beard in my rural Filipino community of Northern Luzon, I get the exceedingly great pleasure every December of being Santa Claus.

I am a volunteer high school teacher. My first year here, I was asked to play Santa Claus at my high school’s Christmas assembly.  I excitedly volunteered.  Dressed in a red t-shirt and red jogging pants (the colors of our school), my black rubber swamp tromping boots (cleaned), a red cap with battery operated white blinking stars, my wire-rimmed glasses, and my long white beard, I, Santa Claus, appeared from the back of the stage of the school gymnasium to loud amplified blaring Christmas music. 

One thousand students went wild. This was my ultimate rock star Santa Claus moment. I strode across the stage waving, and then waded down into the roaring crowd.  Carrying a red bag filled with candy, I threw handfuls of candy everywhere.  It was almost a sugar frenzy riot. Everyone loves Santa Claus. No wonder he does this!  What a rush! I felt like Santa Claus. 

Next year, I was again invited to play Santa Claus.  But not only at my high school, where now, of course, everyone knew me; but also at an elementary school, where few, if any, of the kids knew me.  I cheerfully accepted.

I arrived at the elementary school dressed in regular clothes, with my Santa outfit hidden in my tightly folded red bag.  The principal of the school had made all the arrangements, agreeing with me that no one, except for a few teachers, would know that Santa Claus was coming to their school.  In the principal’s office, I changed into my Santa outfit. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Use It Or Lose It: A Japanese Tea Story

Thirty years ago, I was dazzled by my action-packed month visiting a friend and his family in Japan. They live in Fukui Prefecture near the Sea of Japan, but I gazed in wonder at the Gion Festival and temples in Kyoto, kabuki theater in Tokyo, the deer park in Nara and Himeji castle from Shogun days. The most delicate and intimate thing I recall was a tea ceremony performed by a friend of my friend at her home.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Use It Or Lose It - A Tea Story

by Jean Kepler Ross

 

Thirty years ago, I was dazzled by my action-packed month visiting a friend and his family in Japan. They live in Fukui Prefecture near the Sea of Japan, but I gazed in wonder at the Gion Festival and temples in Kyoto, kabuki theater in Tokyo, the deer park in Nara and Himeji castle from shogun days. The most delicate and intimate thing I recall was a tea ceremony performed by a friend of my friend at her home. 

 

Garbed in a kimono, our host greeted us and led us to her tea area where a small shrine, with incense and blossoms, dedicated to her ancestors, stood in a prominent spot. She went through ritual preparations and whisked the powdered green tea with hot water in special bowls, then presented them to us to admire. We turned the bowls three times to appreciate the decorations inside each bowl before we drank the frothy tea. At the end of the ceremony, our host presented me with a fine tea bowl painted with fall leaves and gold leaf to take home with me. It’s been keeping me company ever since as a treasured objet d’art and memento of my trip. 

Before I left Japan, I purchased a bamboo whisk and a tin of special powdered green tea with the thought of trying my hand at preparing the tea once I got home. I’ve kept them with my kitchen spices above my stove for thirty years, admiring the Japanese letters, waiting for that perfect moment when I would perform my own tea ceremony and savor the tea. Somehow, the moment never arrived. Maybe I was too busy with life and the years somehow passed. I often looked at my whisk and tea and enjoyed the anticipation, the possibility of someday re-creating the tea ceremony.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Meeting the Sultan at Topkapi

by John Mole

Editor’s note: The following is by the oldest blogger we have ever published. Actually, he is more than 400 years old. Contributor, John Mole, was so taken by the diary of Thomas Dallam, who, at age 25 was charged with delivering the gift of a self-playing organ and clock from Queen Elizabeth to Sultan Mehmet III of Turkey, that he translated the work into modern English. This post, originally titled ‘The Sultan’s Organ” was written in 1599. It includes what is probably the first ever recoreded glimpse inside the Sultan’s harem by a foreigner. 

 

I set up the organ in the grandest pavilion of Topkapi palace. Inside was a little apartment. I have never seen the like for carving, gilding, paintwork and varnish. The Sultan had nineteen brothers put to death in there. It was built for the sole purpose of strangling them.

The main hall has two rows of marble pillars. The pedestals are made of brass and double gilt. The walls on three sides only go up to the eaves and the rest is open. But if there is a storm or a gale they can quickly lower cotton hangings that will keep out any kind of weather and just as quickly open them again. The fourth wall is made of porphyry so polished you can see yourself in it. On the floor are rich silk carpets. There are no chairs or tables or benches, only one royal divan. On one side is a pond full of different-coloured fish. 

***

The Sultan came over the water in his golden barge. I was ushered out of the room and the door locked behind me. I heard the Sultan arrive and the loud noise of his retinue. He sat down on his great throne and commanded silence. The Organ began to salute him.  First the clock struck the hour. Then a chime of sixteen bells played a four part melody. Two figures raised silver trumpets to their lips and blew a fanfare. Then the music started with a five part song played twice. At the top of the organ a holly bush full of blackbirds and thrushes sang and flapped their wings. Various other movements amazed the Sultan. He sat down in front of the keyboard and asked the Chief White Eunuch, the Kapi Aga, if he knew anyone who could play it. He said the man who brought it was outside the door. 

“Fetch him here,” said the Sultan.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Today’s Learning Objective: Kill a Goat

by Laura Fuller

 

Ron’s blue eyes were bloodshot and watering when he returned to the group.  His cheeks were sunburned, his hair sun-bleached. He shoved his hands in the pockets of his white hooded sweatshirt, an act of 13-year-old toughness.  He and Mary had volunteered to eat the goat’s kidneys, not because they’d wanted to, but because peers’ opinions outweigh adolescent reason. Mary now smiled proudly in a pack of incredulous girls. Ron fought to put the texture of warm, raw goat kidney behind him and move on with his life, but I could see that he was struggling to gain control of his gag reflex.  Kyle offered to walk with him back to the tents, stoically, so as not to make Ron feel weak.  

I watched them walk away, their shadows long in the evening grass, and turned back to the other 20-some seventh-graders, all of them perplexed as to how to receive this cross-cultural gift. They were outlined against a horizon of royal blue Tanzanian sky, high above tufts of trees and shrubs on the rocky terrain below. The high rocks on which we stood began to glow reddish in the setting sun. This, I predicted, was both the height and the conclusion of my short, ridiculous teaching career in Dubai.  

The kids had all chosen to observe the ritual slaughter of this goat, not wanting to be cowardly among the courageous or rude to the Maasai guides.  After sixteen hours of Serengeti driving from the nearest city, we were lucky to have the Maasai patrolling our campsite’s perimeter every fifteen minutes at night to ensure our safety.  They silently taught our students to carve spears and showed us the soft cave in the bush where they held their councils. 

The seventh-graders, from Dubai – who actually came from all over the planet – were upper-class, elite, and as such, polite and appreciative. They were first inquisitive: goat slaughter? And then horrified: goat slaughter. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Genuine or Hoax? Visiting a Crop Circle Formation at Avebury, England

by Elyn Aviva

The news rippled through our group like a breeze through a wheat field: a crop circle had just been spotted! According to a crop circle blog, it had appeared only two days earlier, on the side of Windmill Hill, close to Avebury, in southern England. We were told it was still fresh and relatively untrammeled. Even better news was that we were nearby, since our group was visiting sacred sites in the area—including Stonehenge, Glastonbury, and Avebury, site of the largest stone circle in the UK. 

Crop formations usually occur in fields of ripe cereal grains. They appear all over the world but are most prevalent during July and August in the Wiltshire district of southern England. The complex patterns range in size from just a few feet across to over 900 feet, although the average is about 200-300 feet in diameter, and they vary in elements from a few to over 400. The designs may be circular (hence “crop circle”) or based on other geometrical forms (hence “crop formation”). 

They are controversial. Some researchers believe they are encoded messages from either Gaia/Earth or ET/the Cosmos; others believe they are hoaxes perpetrated by tricksters. They may be a relatively recent occurrence, first documented in 1976 in the UK, or they may be much, much older. I’d been reading about them for years, but I’d never seen one—and never walked inside of one. I was excited at the prospect.

Before setting out, our guide, Jude Currivan, showed us a tantalizing diagram of the crop formation. It looked like a huge, blunt-ended sword, pale gold cut into the middle of a field of dark ripe grain. Jude promptly christened it “Excalibur” and called it “the sword of truth.”

The sword blade was composed of 16 overlapping circles. Each overlap formed a geometrical figure called a vesica piscis or mandorla, which is often found in sacred art. Extending through the center of the circular handle and out the top were 10 circles in increasing and decreasing sizes. The handle incorporated both a disk (representing the sun?) and a crescent (representing the moon?).

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Black Jesus, Grilled Guinea Pig and the Damned Spanish

by Adam Jones-Kelley 

 

Spain is Earth’s version of The Biggest Loser.

It’s hard to believe that Spain, a country that today is smaller than the state of Texas, once ruled an empire covering all of Central America, much of the US and South America, parts of the Caribbean, bits of Europe and even some outposts in Asia.

That’s a lot of empire to lose.

 

Remnants of the former empire are everywhere evident in Latin America, however, where Spanish remains the dominant language, where the culture and food retain heavy Spanish influence and where Roman Catholicism, the religion imposed on native civilizations at the often bloody point of a sword, remains the overwhelmingly dominant religion.

Even Cusco, a small city today but once the capital of the mighty Incan Empire, boasts 17 cathedrals for its 350,000 residents.

A couple of them are particularly fascinating, and a little funny.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Conspiracy on Malta?

by Elyn Aviva

We were on Malta, a tiny island at the crossroads of the Mediterranean, within sight on a clear day of Sicily and Mount Etna, and we were confused.

Since our first day on the island, Gary (my husband) and I had been experiencing generalized confusion. For example, we had been told that everyone spoke English—after all, Malta had been an English colony for over 150 years—but street signs were unpronounceable, and our taxi driver didn’t seem to understand a word we said. He replied to our frantic queries in something that sounded like a mixture of Arabic and Italian. And it turns out it was. Sort of. Maltese is a Semitic language, brought by Phoenician settlers 3000+ years ago, so it sounds vaguely Arabic. And because Italy has had such a pervasive influence on Malta—in part because of proximity, and in part because for decades the only television channels available were Italian—Italian words and cuisine are prevalent.

But our linguistic confusion was superficial. Much more confusing were the temples, the fat ladies, and the cart ruts. We had come to Malta to see the massive Neolithic stone temples, recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. Some of them date back 5,500 years—or maybe 10,000 or 12,000 years, depending on whom you believe. Ggantija, on Malta’s tiny neighbor island Gozo, is thought to be the second oldest temple in the world, after Göbekli Tepe in Turkey. It predates the pyramids by millennia. Some writers believe the Maltese temples are oriented to astrological alignments that existed 12,000 years ago, not 5,500—and might even have been built by extraterrestrials.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Horny at the Taj

by Adams Jones-Kelley 

 

Love can make you do many things.

It can make you laugh.

It can make you cry.

It can make you build the Taj Mahal.


The epic tale surrounding the construction of the Taj has all the trappings of a Hollywood fiction – tragedy, romance, betrayal, murder – but this fable is true, and is one of history’s great tragic love stories.

The story goes that at the ripe old age of 15, Prince Khurram, who would later become Shah Jahan, fifth Emperor of the Mughal Empire, married 14-year-old Arjumand Banu Begum, and fell desperately in love. He gave his beloved the name Mumtaz Mahal (Jewel of the Palace,) and over the next seventeen years they had fourteen children, six of which survived past childhood.

The seventeenth child died during birth, taking her mother with her.

The Shah was so devastated by the death of his wife that he locked himself away for eight days with no food or water. Legend has it that during this time the image of the Taj Mahal came to him in his dreams, so he emerged from isolation, organized a board of architects, and within a year construction commenced.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

"What Color is Your Paris Shoot?"*

story + photos by Paul Ross
      (*warning: contains no photos of Paris)

There are just too many photo contests out there. Most of them are meaningless –except to those running the competition and collecting fees.

The winners sometimes get gear and money but --with lottery-like odds-- the payoff is more often mere bragging rights and having your work displayed in cyberspace, which is the electronic equivalent of being tacked-up on a refrigerator.

In spite of all the preceding, when my wife found and forwarded one notice, the competition caught my eye. “Capture the Colour” (the contest is Brit-based) has separate judges for images concentrated around each of five hues: red, white, green, blue and yellow. Given my opinion that many in the photo world are enslaved by the unwritten artistic law that serious photography is B&W, this contest had instant appeal. It got me thinking, and not just about my own photos.

Consider the topic:  colors are more than the result of physics and its interaction with human anatomy. They’re emotional. Psychologists and marketers would tell you that blue is “cool,” white is “clean” and red “passionate.” At least in our contemporary society. In other cultures and in other times and places, it’s different. Among some Native Americans, certain colors are linked to the cardinal directions (North= white, West=black, South=yellow and East=red). In Christian traditions, white stood for purity, red signaled blood and, borrowing from the Roman Empire that alternately repressed and embraced the church, the color purple was royal.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Dancing With Martha Graham

Martha Graham 1948 via Wikipedia Commons LicenseThe Martha Graham School of Dance was in an old mansion on East 63rd street between 2nd and 3rd avenues in New York City. Walking into the building was like entering the temple of a high priestess whose devotees all looked alike—the men, gorgeous, tall, well built, strutting around in tights so revealing I blushed each time I tried not to look. The women, tall, thin, yet muscular, their long dark hair pulled into buns or twists, not a hair daring to disturb the sleek coiffures. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...