October 2003 Archives

Please see Mr. Ashcroft for permission to exercise your First Amendment rights.

Anticipating this, groups are meeting every day to plan the great demonstration against Bush and the war at the Republican convention next summer.

...

Back here in the city, he works on plans for what he and everybody thinks will be the biggest of political demonstrations.

"People hate this war," he says. "I don't know how Bloomberg got in there with them, but now he is going to get driven out, too."

Dobbs was involved in the peace demonstration last February when the police and a federal court judge, Barbara Jones, who committed a thoroughly suspicious act, collaborated on treating nearly a million New Yorkers as potential criminals. That day, Bloomberg tried to act as if he didn't even know a march was on.

This time it is totally different. Dobbs reports that the police told him that applications should be made to the Secret Service. That puts Ashcroft in charge of thwarting the demonstration. The same Ashcroft who will be inside Madison Square Garden being welcomed by the Mayor of the City of New York, Mike Bloomberg. That is more than enough to blow Bloomberg and all his color pamphlets out of the job.

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Two U.S. Army soldiers, of Charlie company, 1-22 Infantry regiment, 4th Infantry Division, look inside the pockets of an unidentified Iraqi boy while patroling a street in Tikrit, 193 km (120 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2003. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

To quote our glorious leader:

I will repeat myself, that the more progress we make on the ground, the more free the Iraqis become, the more electricity is available, the more jobs are available, the more kids that are going to school, the more desperate these killers become, because they can't stand the thought of a free society. They hate freedom. They love terror. They love to try to create fear and chaos.

The press release with the list of artists is out. Am I too connected, or is the Whitney being insufficiently daring? Should there really only be a couple of names I don't know on the list? This isn't even my line of work.

One more thought. I was amused when the Times article said this.

Two years ago, while Ms. Iles was in charge of its film and video and Debra Singer, the Whitney's associate curator of contemporary art, selected the performance and sound art, the biennial was primarily put together with one pair of eyes, those of Lawrence R. Rinder, the Whitney's curator of contemporary art. Critics felt it tried too hard to look for little-known artists whose work turned out to be unremarkable.

I thought that show had too many people I had heard of already, rather than too many "obscure" ones.

Marie Coco has a nice summary in today's Newsday of answers for Rumsfeld's memo -- all from Senator Bob Graham's Oct. 10, 2002 speech on why he opposed the Iraq attack.

The religious right, including the president and his brother in Florida, believe that gay adoptions are a threat to the sanctity of good Christian American families. I think these nice church-going people are doing enough damage without any help from us homos. These people were getting money from their church, which they drove 30 miles each way to attend to help pay their rent.

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Come Alive New Testament Church
The Jackson family. Bruce, middle row, second from right; Keith, bottom left; Michael, bottom center; Tyronne, behind Keith.


Bruce Jackson was found rooting through his neighbors' garbage, so weak from starvation that he could not open the Tastykake that the shocked couple had given him out of pity.

Two weeks later, investigators and neighbors are still trying to make sense of two sharply contrasting realities: four adopted youngsters starving in plain sight and a family that was widely seen as loving and deeply religious.

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The Jacksons are in jail in Camden County, charged with starving and neglecting the 4-foot, 19-year-old Bruce and three other boys adopted from the New Jersey foster care system Michael, 9, Tyronne, 10, and Keith, 14 so seriously that none of them weighed more than 50 pounds when they were found by the police.

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Bruce, who was adopted eight years ago, when he was 11, was taken from his biological family because they were also starving him, according to case files at the Division of Youth and Family Services. At the time, he suffered from medical ailments caused by the lack of food.

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Still, though the children were homeschooled, they were not hidden away. The parents drove the 30 miles from their home here to the Come Alive New Testament Church in Medford every Sunday.

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To Pastor Thomas and the congregation, the abuse allegations are impossible to fit with the image of the struggling family that always had a small donation for the collection plate when it came around but needed help from the church to pay for its electricity and rent.

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"I have told many people that I have never seen that many kids together be so good. I never saw them fighting, and I never saw them arguing, and I said, 'Wow, every family should be like that.' "

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Ed Cotton, the director of the Division of Youth and Family Services, met with Bruce Jackson on Sunday at the hospital where he is being treated and was given a very different picture of his life than the pastor did.

Mr. Cotton said that it did not appear that Bruce Jackson had any friends. "I asked him whether he went to church or not. He said that he was not allowed to go because he was bad because he liked TV earlier in life, one of his big punishments was that he was made to sit in front of the TV for hours with it off. Stuff that doesn't make sense."

Mr. Cotton said the children may not have understood that they were being mistreated.

"I think these kids were convinced by the foster parents that they had eating disorders," he said.

Mr. Cotton continued, "These are bright kids, they read well, they're smart, they're polite, and I think they're realizing what happened was not anywhere near the norm."

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Chief Thomas J. Garrity Jr. of the Collingswood Police Department said Monday that Bruce emptied a box of cereal after he arrived at the station.

He was photographed holding the empty box, and clutching a stuffed tiger that is kept on hand to comfort young abused children.

Bruce, the one mentioned at the end of the article, is 19.

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UPDATED: Here is a good article on the GOP's plans to use gay marriage as a major issue in the 2004 elections.

That's an odd bit of casting. Worth Street Theatre is going to present Lea DeLaria as Winnie in Beckett's "Happy Days."

For other Beckett, I highly recommend seeing Beckett/Albee with Marian Seldes and Brian Murray. For discount tickets, use this link, or call 212-947-8844 and mention code: BATMC79.

Also, the BBC did a very interesting set of films of Beckett works, including the three monologues in Beckett/Albee.

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Yes, I actually saw a skinny little guy wearing these $300 Gucci sneakers at my gym yesterday, talking on his cell phone while "working out".

Daniel Reich finally has a web site!

On a somewhat unrelated note, Christina Mazzalupo has updated her web site. Check out the recent collages.

I'm still busy coding, so here are some art recommendations:

tom-sanford-defosition.jpg Tom Sanford
The Defosition, 2002
Oil and acrylic on panel
60" × 80"

Tom Sanford at 31 Grand in Williamsburg. He has a weblog called thug4life.org dedicated to his transformation to Tupac, but it seems a bit messed up at the moment. We started following him after picking up a work on paper by him at a benefit for Groundswell.

paul-mullins-sugar.jpg Paul Mullins
Sugar (Hood Up)
acrylic on panel
48" × 48"

Paul Mullins at lyonswier - think Lucien Freud meets Nascar. Really brilliant painting technique.

chris-ballantyne-split-double.jpg Chris Ballantyne
Untitled (Split Double), 2003
acrylic and ink on paper
12 × 16"

Chris Ballantyne at DCKT Contemporary - beautiful suburban/landscapish show recommended to me by Andrew LaVallee.

Joe Ovelman's wall piece (search my site for other discussions of his work) at Apartment 5BE Gallery. Also, I have a gallery of one of his outside wall installations.

The inaugural exhibition at a new new media-oriented gallery called Bryce Wolkowitz is definitely worth a visit. Here is a work by John F. Simon made from an Apple Titanium PowerBook:

john-f-simon-lifescreen.jpg aLife
Software, Apple G4 Titanium Powerbook, Acrylic Plastic
2003
21 × 17 × 3.5 inches

Outrage Radio, described as "Liberal Talk Radio with Attitude", will debut next month. I'm not a talk radio person (I don't even like Leonard Lopate or Brian Lehrer on WNYC), but maybe this will foment a bit of unrest.

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Florida Marlins catcher Ivan Rodriguez (R) kisses pitcher Ugueth Urbina after the Marlins 3-2 win over the New York Yankees in Game 1 of the World Series at Yankee Stadium in New York October 18, 2003. REUTERS/Mike Blake

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More of this might get me to watch these sports things.

Remember my bitching about having to pay the full price for the Panther upgrade? My serial number has mysteriously started working on the up-to-date form, so I'm now getting it for $20. Interesting.

I hope my PowerBook comes back from the shop by then.

Via CNN:

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are defending a new deputy undersecretary of defense "who has reportedly cast the war on terror" in religious terms.

Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, whose promotion and appointment was confirmed by the Senate in June, has said publicly that he sees the war on terrorism as a clash between Judeo-Christian values and Satan, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

Appearing in dress uniform before a religious group in Oregon in June, Boykin said Islamic extremists hate the United States "because we're a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christians. ... And the enemy is a guy named Satan."

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Discussing a U.S. Army battle against a Muslim warlord in Somalia in 1993, Boykin told one audience, "I knew my god was bigger than his. I knew that my god was a real god and his was an idol."

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UPDATED: From James I learn this too:

In another speech, General Boykin said God had selected George W. Bush as president. "Why is this man in the White House?" he asked. "The majority of Americans did not vote for him. Why is he there? And I tell you this morning that he's in the White House because God put him there for a time such as this."

Does anyone doubt we're being run by a radical theocratic regime?

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I have a new dedicated server at RackSpace for my art website hosting project.

For $20 tickets to "Gone Missing" by The Civilians, use this link, or call 212-868-4444. To get the discount on the web site, choose "Use Discount Code" in the Select Price pull-down menu and enter FWEML.

On Friday night we saw "Gone Missing" by The Civilians. James provided a preview in July inspired by an article in the NY Times about Steve Cosson, the artistic director.

"Gone Missing" is a theater work, with original songs by Michael Friedman, about things lost and found. It's very clever, and manages to go from silly songs and stories to very profound ones about loss and memory. I think the way it is wrapped up by the end is pretty brilliant, all the more so from being a collaborative project rather than a work by a single smart playwright. To give you a sense of what the songs are like, here are MP3s of two of the songs from the show. I don't think the CD is as good as they are live, in case you're wondering.

  • Lost Horizon - sung by Trey Lyford, a kind of mini-epic
  • Etch A Sketch - a somewhat silly song sung by the brilliant Jennifer Morris. I have talked with her about it, and she admits she is more of an actress than a singer, so she is lucky to be working with a composer who can write for her. Live, she is such a charismatic performer you don't think about whether she is a great singer, and she pulls it off. Actually, listening again to the recording -- she sounds great on the CD. How can you go wrong with a song that begins, "Once I was a Lockean tabula rasa"?


I would like to add one more MP3 - of the French song "La Canaille" (English translation and arrangement by Michael Friedman) from their show "Paris Commune". I talked about it here. This performance is by a lovely young woman named Quincy Tyler Bernstine. I sat next to her at Joe's Pub a few months ago and blurted out "I love you!" when I recognized her.

There is a nice article in the latest Brooklyn Rail about them and "Gone Missing."

I want to point out to those reading this that I'm normally not a fan of musicals, so I rarely recommend musical theater. The Civilians produce very out of the ordinary works.

The show runs through November 2 at the Belt Theater on West 37th Street.

My new PowerBook is already in the shop, so I'm back on a Windows desktop. The Airport Extreme card wasn't working properly.

It's no fun to have a wireless network in your apartment if you can't leave the room where the base station is located.

That seems to be the reaction of the Catholics to the Nobel Peace Prize going to Iranian activist Shirin Ebadi rather than the Pope. Via James we read the Vatican had this to say:

Many researchers say that the pope's opposition to birth control, pre-marital sex, homosexuality and female priests seemed intolerant to many Norwegians, especially women, despite a 25-year-reign devoted to peace and religious reconciliation [on his own terms].

Three of the five Nobel committee members are women. One Vatican official sniffed: "I thought this was a peace prize and not a prize in sexual ethics."

There is some talk that the Pope might win the Nobel Peace Prize. Given the Church's continuous attacks on people trying to prevent AIDS or unwanted pregnancies, or its enslavement of young Irish women, I would think the Pope belongs in The Hague for crimes against humanity. The latest outrage is the Church telling people in the developing world that condoms cannot prevent AIDS, so they should not use them.

The Catholic Church has been accused of telling people in countries with high rates of HIV that condoms do not protect against the deadly virus.

The claims are made in a Panorama programme called Sex and the Holy City to be screened on BBC One on Sunday.

It says cardinals, bishops, priests and nuns in four continents are saying HIV can pass through tiny holes in condoms.

The World Health Organization has condemned the comments and warned the Vatican it is putting lives at risk.

The claims come just a day after a report revealed that a young person is now infected with HIV every 14 seconds.

According to the United Nations Population Fund, around 6,000 people between the ages of 15 and 24 catch the virus every day.

Half of all new infections are now in people under the age of 25 and most of these are young women living in the developing world.

...

But according to Panorama, the Church is now telling people that condoms do not work.

In an interview, one of the Vatican's most senior cardinals Alfonso Lopez Trujillo suggested HIV could even pass through condoms.

"The Aids virus is roughly 450 times smaller than the spermatozoon. The spermatozoon can easily pass through the 'net' that is formed by the condom," he says.

The cardinal, who is president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Family, suggests that governments should urge people not to use condoms.

"These margins of uncertainty...should represent an obligation on the part of the health ministries and all these campaigns to act in the same way as they do with regard to cigarettes, which they state to be a danger."

The programme includes a Catholic nun advising her HIV-infected choir master not to use condoms with his wife because "the virus can pass through".

The Archbishop of Nairobi Raphael Ndingi Nzeki told Panaroma that condoms were helping to spread the virus.

"Aids...has grown so fast because of the availability of condoms," he said.

In Kenya, one in five people are HIV positive.

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Christian Holstad by Joseph Maida

While some people have written justifiably snarky things about the Times Magazine's neo-70s issue, it has its moments, including the selection of artists in the photo essay, beginning with Christian Holstad as a 70s roller disco kid.

Christian Holstad, 31

His art consists of knitting, quilting, collage, drawing, sculpture and, here in the foyer of Studio 54, himself, in full roller-disco regalia. In group and one-man shows this year, Holstad exhibited the following works: an installation of all the images he found filed under the label ''homosexual'' in the New York Public Library's picture archives; photo collages based on White House interiors (one is of a faunlike nude boy peering out from behind a sofa in a reception room); and, at the Daniel Reich gallery, a plastic-enclosed bedroom, which was an homage to David Vetter, the ''bubble boy'' whose weakened immune system required him to live in a germ-free plastic bubble. Holstad, whose work will be included in the next Whitney Biennial, says:

''When I came to New York City from Minnesota, I cried. I'd found my home, and I knew it. I got involved in the Williamsburg scene right away, and it was great.

There were these events where everyone would show up dressed in costumes; people would come with cardboard on their heads. And then it all died, and I left. Now I live in Greenpoint. Recently, I've gotten interested in the disco era, a time, like now, when New Yorkers were not afraid of darkness, and when the music was so inclusive everyone was dancing to it.''

dude-129.jpg

My new PowerBook arrived Monday, so I get to pay full price for the new Panther version of OS X.

I am tempted to split the $199 "Family Pack" (5 licenses) with one of my fellow recent PowerBook purchasers...

[Image courtesy of wmdc]

The same literary agent represents Britney Spears, Jayson Blair, and the Pope.

I forgot to mention a couple of other items in my earlier post on our trip to Chinatown and the Lower East Side to see art. There is a cool show of almost photo-realistic oil on plastic paintings by Dan Colen at Rivington Arms -- the gallery that disdains the idea of a website. I once asked whether they were going to get one, and they said, "that's not really the audience we're aiming for." This comes from people who were chatting with trucker-hatted visitors who were explaining that one simply cannot live comfortably in NYC with an apartment worth less than $1 million.

The other thing: there was a street fair on lower Crosby that was a real one -- not one of those awful fried dough and sausage cart things that pass for most street fairs. There were quite a few artists who also do work with clothing there. I bought a scarf made by Emily Noelle Lambert.

My new PowerBook arrived. As Mark Morford tells us, even the packaging is good.

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View of sign from Maccarone window (Kunst is German for art)

My work projects are keeping me too busy to write much, but I wanted to mention two shows I saw today in Chinatown that are very much worth seeing.

The first is Phil Collins (the brilliant young English artist I last saw at Apex Art, not the musician) at Maccarone on Canal Street in Chinatown. Their web site is barely there, so check out their e-flux announcement. They now have all three floors of their building, formerly occupied mostly by Kunst Electronics. The first floor has large photographs of the Britney Spears poster that appeared in the subway stations in late 2001, only to be immediately defaced, plus a video of the BBC arriving to photograph a family of Kosovar refugees in Kosovo -- including having a 15-year-old boy take off his shirt to show his bullet scars.

The second floor has photographs of his lover, his circle of friends, and people in Palestine, Belfast, New York, Belgrade, and various places in England. The third floor consists of photos from a project called "real society", where he placed an add in San Sebastian, Spain to ask people to come be photographed naked in a luxury hotel suite.

It is a very powerful show.

The other show is a solo exhibit of (mostly) abstract paintings by Wallace Whitney at Canada on Christie Street. I don't think the images on the web site do it justice, so you'll just have to go. Think a young Louise Fishman.

The Guardian has a great interview with Michael Moore. He has a new book coming out, titled Dude, Where's My Country?

Also, do not miss his op-ed in the LA Times on the California recall.

David Ehrenstein tells us that yesterday was Gore Vidal's 78th birthday.

In an ideal world, he would have been president.

The Philadelphia Inquirer has a story about the media and the stupid Americans who think Iraq was involved in 9/11. Check out the graph:

media-iraq.gif

It doesn't say much for CBS, which is funny because the right-wingers often accuse Dan Rather of "liberal bias."

[via Eschaton]

No, my new G4 PowerBook hasn't arrived yet, but this is almost as good.

Today's Daily News has this story:

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Talk-radio titan Rush Limbaugh is being investigated for allegedly buying thousands of addictive painkillers from a black-market drug ring.

There is a new Get Your War On.

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