Thursday, January 31, 2013

northern sky


Solitude is a way to defend the spirit against the murderous din of our materialism.

Thomas Merton (31 january 1915 - 1968)  mystic, monk, poet,  photographer




northern sky from nick drake's 1970 album bryter layter

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

simple gifts


It's strange how the simple things in life go on while we become more difficult. 

Richard Brautigan (30 january 1935 -1984) poet, novelist & short story writer


that richard brautigan he always had a way to write plain and unravel life's complexity!



for decades one of my absolute favorite songs has been the shaker hymn simple gifts.  whenever i start feeling overwhelmed and i start becoming more difficult,  i turn to the lyrics of this pure and simple song for a bit of strength and clarity. 

the song was written and composed in 1848 by the shaker elder joseph brackett. outside of shaker communities the song was virtually unknown for almost a century - then in 1944 aaron copland used the tune for the score of ballet appalachian spring.  since copland's shout out for the tune and song - the song has been covered widely, new verses have been written, in 1963 the tune was even borrowed and adapted by english songwriter sydney carter for his song lord of the dance.

although i knew judy collins covered the song, until today i never saw this video!  wow, look how young judy is and her hair, well  it is so short - so unlike the image of judy collins emblazoned in my mind's eye!

according to the info accompanying the youtube posting:  
Judy Collins sings "Simple Gifts" for the February 1963 TV broadcast of Dinner with the President, the 50th anniversary celebration of B'nai B'rith in Washington, D.C. President Kennedy received a Democratic Legacy Award and spoke during the broadcast. Several years later, Judy recorded "Simple Gifts" for her 1970 Whales and Nightingales album.



photo: detail of a mural celebrating the legacy and diverse community of slavic village, a neighborhood located in southeast cleveland.   november 2012

Sunday, January 27, 2013

the sidewinder sleeps tonight

Extending a hand to those in trouble, rescuing the dying, and helping the injured is a form of humanitarianism, unrelated to love of country or people. Do not demean the value of life; it commands a broader, more equal dignity.
 Ai Weiwei (b. 1957) artist and activist

today for sculpture sunday we find three works of chinese artist and activist ai weiwei - i snapped this pics when i  visited his show according to what currently being exhibited at the hirshhorn museum of art in washington dc.    the exhibit quite frankly blew me away with its scope, humanity, and at times outrageousness.

i was reminded of my visit the other day while listening to a terrific story on the exhibit which aired on npr - you can listen to the story and see more photos of weiwei's work by clicking HERE.

the exhibit will be on view at the hirshhorn until february 24th, then it will be heading to indianapolis, toronto, miami, and brooklyn - catch it if you can,  it is powerful and provocative.


photos of works: top - snake ceiling  on may 12th 2008 a powerful earthquake hit sichuan china.  approximately 90,000 people went missing.  many of the victims were school children and the children's backpacks were strew all over the quake zone. in this piece packs of various sizes are used to form a snake and are "laid out as a  requiem for the souls of those who perished in the disaster." 

middle: he xie - words for river crabs and also a homophone for harmonious - a word which is used in communist  party slogan "toward a harmonious society" - this piece can be considered a work of protest and satire.  in response to chinese government censorship -which includes shutting down internet sites, the demolition of weiwei's studio, and general acts of governmental censorship and censure - weiwei twitted to "invite guests to a feast of 10,000 river crabs in protest of the government's control of information."

bottom:  didn't snap the gallery sign and can't locate my exhibit catalog at the moment - will have to get back to you with the name for this sculptural installation.  it is quite large and lends itself to lots of interactive play.

i thought perhaps a song that somehow had something to do with snakes would be good for today's song of the day. first thing that came to mind was r.e.m.'s 1992 song the sidewinder sleeps tonight.

 

by the way we are just a couple weeks away to the official beginning of the chinese year of the snake.  according to this site (where you can click and read more about the meaning of the year of the snake): 
2013 is the year of the black Snake begins on February 10th shortly after the New moon in Aquarius, the humanitarian of the zodiac. This 2013 year of Snake is meant for steady progress and attention to detail. Focus and discipline will be necessary for you to achieve what you set out to create. The Snake is the sixth sign of the Chinese Zodiac, which consists of 12 Animal Signs. It is the enigmatic, intuitive, introspective, refined and collected of the Animals Signs. Ancient Chinese wisdom says a Snake in the house is a good omen because it means that your family will not starve.

Friday, January 25, 2013

the ploughman poet

  
Some hae meat and canna eat, 
And some wad eat that want it, 
But we hae meat and we can eat, 
And sae the Lord be thankit. 

Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796)  poet & lyricist
selkirk grace




january 25th is almost over and i almost missed thinking about rabbie burns  - the bard of scotland.  tonight is burns night,  all over the world people gather together to celebrate the life and legend of scotland's favorite son.  once again i blew it in terms of finding a local burns celebration to attend- maybe next year.

this fall i visited scotland and conducted my own mini burns pilgrimage.

the first night spent in scotland my traveling companions and i had our own burns night of sorts.

although we didn't sing or recite burns ode to a haggis, we did partake of the great chieftain of the pudding race.  below  shows f and i enjoying our share of the haggis we ordered at a lovely little restaurant called the oak tree in balmaha on the banks of loch lomond.

prior to going to scotland, i would have never predicted i would have tried it not to mention actually like it.   every scot i spoke with said they loved it - and you know what they say "when in rome"....or in this case "when in scotland."

the entire time we were in scotland, i was constantly on the look out for burns related sights - which i confess did drive my friends a bit crazy, but they were most gracious and indulged my passion for all things rabbie on more than one occasion.



today's photos show include snaps of a couple sites of interest to burns-a-philes (or whatever is the word for burns aficionados). the top photo i intended to have as this week's wall wednesday post (but i'm still not back into the groove of blogging).  the wall is an artistic rendering of a few of burns poems (including my favorite to a mouse).

the mural can be found in a small garden park across the street from the burns house which is seen in the second photo.  this house was the last home burns lived in and can be found in dumfries, scotland which coincidentally is also the home of his final resting place - both of his final resting places as a matter of fact which can be seen in the last two photos.




the story of robert burns - in under 3 minutes this animated short encapsulates the life and legend of scottish bard robert burns.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

respect

 

I hope every woman in this country, whether they agree with Roe or they disagree with Roe, whether they themselves would make one decision or another, will come together and say: Pro-choice means that the Government respects the individual, and isn't that really what our country is all about?
Barbara Boxer (b.1940) u.s. senator from california



today is the 40th anniversary of roe v wade - a most important date for the rights of u.s. women.

as long as women have been getting pregnant, women have also sought to end pregnancies. this is a fact.

The international community has recognized that unsafe abortion is a major threat to women's health. By liberalizing restrictive abortion laws and investing in abortion safety, governments can save the lives of tens of thousands of women every year. History has shown that women worldwide, when faced with unwanted pregnancy, seek abortions regardless of the legality of the procedure. Many have no choice but to undergo abortions performed by unqualified practitioners in unhygienic settings. About one-third of the women who have abortions performed under these circumstances experience complications that pose major risks to their lives and health. 


if you are against abortion, don't have one.





pictures: from the mouse's archives, taken at the 1989 march for women's equality and women's lives, washington dc



Sunday, January 13, 2013

big love


I am for an art that imitates the human, that is comic, if necessary, or violent, or whatever is necessary. I am for an art that takes its form from the lines of life itself, that twists and extends and accumulates and spits and drips, and is heavy and coarse and blunt and sweet and stupid as life itself.
Claes Oldenburg (b. january 1929) sculptor



today's sculptures are by american artist claes oldenburg.  his sculptures never fail to delight me,   it is easy to distinguish  an oldenburg work,  they are typically huge replicas of everyday items.  

the three way plug can be found outside of the allen memorial art museum in nearby oberlin.  

the apple core is in the sculpture meadow at kentuck knob, the name of the usonian house designed by frank lloyd wright located in pennsylvania's laurel highland region.

downtown cleveland is graced with an oldenburg sculpture - a giant free stamp.


the sculpture is located in willard park near cleveland's city hall.  the park is a popular spot for political rallies and gatherings and fittingly  the sculpture becomes a focal point of activity as seen below.




lindsay buckingham preforming an acoustic version of his song big love. the song was first  appeared on  fleetwood mac 1987 album tango in the night.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

you don't own me

I am awfully greedy; I want everything from life. I want to be a woman and to be a man, to have many friends and to have loneliness, to work much and write good books, to travel and enjoy myself, to be selfish and to be unselfish… You see, it is difficult to get all which I want. And then when I do not succeed I get mad with anger.
Simone de Beauvoir (9 january 1908 - 1986) 


in 2007 i visited the grave of simone de beauvoir and jean-paul sartre,   partners in heart and mind.  they are buried in the same plot in the cimetière du montparnasse located in the 14th arrondissement of paris.

regular visitors to the mouse may recall my enjoyment of making pilgrimages to the graves of people i admire - simone and jean-paul are definitely among that august group -- bien entendu!



photos: top - london, october 2012; second photo - paris, march 2007


lesley gore released the song you don't own me in 1963 when she was just 17 years old and it quickly reached the #2 spot on the pop charts just behind i want to hold your hand (by the beatles).  over the years the song has been widely  covered - during  the last presidential election the song resurfaced in a psa addressing mitt romney's attacks on women and planned parenthood - lesley gore provided an introduction and many celebrities came forward to lipsynch the song. unfortunately youtube doesn't have the original psa available to embed;  however, i did find it on vimeo, which you can watch HERE  (check it out!! the election is over, but the attacks on women and our bodies most certainly aren't over -in fact on today's diane ream show, the first hour was devoted to this very topic)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

let's go make a picture*



You know what your problem is, it's that you haven't seen enough movies - all of life's riddles are answered in the movies.
Steve Martin (b.1945)  actor, comedian, writer, playwright, musician

today's tattoo is an interesting anniversary/commemorative tattoo;  i've been wanting to take a photo of bill's arm since i began tattoo tuesday.   last night i finally got the opportunity during a party for the cleveland international film festival's selection committee.

one can consider the tattoo as a work in progress,  bill adds a frame to commemorate each year he has worked the cleveland international film festival (ciff).  the count as of last night is fifteen - one frame and the slovak coat of arms has been added since the last time i examined bill's tat,  that was last march during the 36th ciff.   bill was way to busy during the festival to strike a pose for me, and truth be told, during the festival,  i'd rather be sitting in the dark watching the pictures than running around taking pictures

in my opinion, bill probably has one of the greatest jobs around - he is the artistic director for the film festival. it is a lot of responsibility and very challenging, but it also means he gets to travel the world and attend film festivals,  meet and talk with filmmakers and others in the business, and promote the cleveland festival and encourage filmmakers to submit their work here.  if steve martin's quote above is correct, the job also offers the opportunity to solve life's riddles -  bill remarked that he probably sees around 600 films a year -- i figure that's probably "enough movies."

last night's party is ciff's annual winter thank you to the dozens of volunteers who serve on the selection committee. we are winding down the review process - each person on the committee starts watching films in september and it is usually early to mid january when we finish.  over the course of five months we each watch scores of films (the number depends on whether one is doing primarily shorts or full length narratives or documentaries).  each person makes a commitment to review a set of films each week; we each evaluate the films and write reviews.  each film that is submitted to the festival is evaluated by three individuals and the best are sent along to the programming staff for consideration in the festival.  it's pretty much a herculean task given the thousands of films which are submitted.

the party it is always a good time - it isn't often i have an opportunity to hang out and talk with others who are doing what i'm doing for the festival.   we are all very passionate about our work and film in general. we are also proud of cleveland's growing presence in the festival community (although we aren't in the top 10 - yet - we are included in the 50 leading film festivals of the world - not bad considering there are literally thousands of film festivals!) along with being an established and well-regarded festival, cleveland is increasingly becoming regarded as a center for film-making - for both independent films and for big budget 'hollywood' movies.

Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.
Ingrid Bergman ( 1915-1982) actor


*line from the song ingrid bergman.

woody guthrie wrote ingrid bergman, but it wasn't recorded until decades after woody's death after it was discovered in the woody guthrie archives. woody left behind an astounding number of unrecorded songs; since the late 1990s, woody's daughter nora guthrie, has been working with a number of musicians to set woody's songs to music. the result is a growing number of albums of woody songs that sadly were never recorded by woody.

perhaps the best known of these albums are the mermaid avenue recordings by billy bragg and wilco. the first of the mermaid avenue albums was released in 1998, the third mermaid avenue volume was released in 2012 to commemorate guthrie's 100th birthday and is included in mermaid avenue: the complete sessions. the song ingrid bergman, appears on mermaid avenue, volume one, billy bragg wrote the music.

 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

fifteen feet of pure white snow


Snow changes our bones into fog streamers caught by the wind and spelled into many dances. 

Carl Sandburg (6 january 1878 - 1967) writer, poet 


visitors to my blogs know how fond i am for using alliterations to inspire and guide posts.

on mouse medicine we already  have tattoo tuesday and wall wednesday, if you head over to the lakewood daily snap you will find tag tuesday and wordless wednesday.  tag tuesday started out featuring graffiti tags, but given the efficiency of the graffiti eradication squadrons in lakewood, tag tuesday soon expanded to include snaps of clever or intriguing vanity plates (auto tags) and later grew to include photos of dogs (dog tags). the concept of wordless wednesday for blogs has been around the blogosphere for a while as a group meme - however, i was unaware of that when i started doing wordless wednesday - i just thought it sounded good as a way not have to obsess about what i was going to blather on about for that day's post. 

for months i have been contemplating creating another themed day and though  sculpture sundays,  would be perfect as it would offer a forum to showcasing some of the snaps of three dimensional art in my stash of snaps and give a shout out to those artists that create those works.  can't find a better time to start a new theme than on the first sunday of a new year!  so here you go - ta da it's SCULPTURE SUNDAY!

both of today's photos were taken  this past thursday day while i was visiting cleveland's university circle.  i spent the morning checking out the cleveland natural history museum with ms t and bingo  (seen to the right, aren't they getting big!) and a few other friends.

after the natural history museum we wandered over to the botanical garden with the hopes of checking out a special holiday exhibit that included trains, only to find the center closed as they were taking down the very exhibit we had planned to see! oh well,  there were plenty of other stuff to do and see. had we not wandered over to the botanical garden i wouldn't have taken the photograph above.

today's top photo shows one of the five spouting seeds sculptures gracing the entrance of the cleveland botanical garden.   the sculptures are by troy corliss. the work shows a series of stainless steel sprouts emerging out diamond-shaped terrazzo seeds; each of the seeds is about 4 feet tall, and the sprouting shapes vary in height and length. in the photo above, part of the north side of the cleveland museum of art can be see through this sprout's arch. 

nick cave and the bad seeds performing fifteen feet of pure white snow.  i love this video - it is camp and i'd love to be in that dancing party!  the song can be found on their 2001 album no more shall we part.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

good advices

What year is it in your imagination?
 Lynda Barry (born 2 january 1956)  cartoonist and author
today's quote from her book what it is (2008)

there are a few cleveland street artists who enjoy using walls to give advice or raise questions . today's wall wednesday  features a few of these writings on the wall.

at the beginning of a new year many of us reflect on our lives and many times our reflections lead to making new year resolutions.  i have often claimed that i don't make new year resolutions and prefer to think of myself as someone who is constantly making resolutions on how to be a better person.  but when i reflect on my habits, i realize i do make resolutions at the start of a new year. 

for instance, at the beginning of 2012, for the fourth year in a row, i made a resolution to write down the title of every book i read (or listened to).  i'm happy to report that finally for the first time i actually succeeded! prior to this past year,  my list always stopped short of december  - although i can proudly report that each year i went a little further than the previous year - and in 2011 i actually made it all the way to october!  i expect there are a couple missing titles,  books i finished when i was off on a wander and forgot to write down when i got home; but on the whole i believe my list is fairly complete.  i'm feeling proud of this little accomplishment and hope i can maintain this practice in 2013.


earlier today a friend posted a list of resolutions on her facebook page that she found from someone who goes by the lofty title of "civility coach".   i love the list and find that it offers some "good advices"  -  i post it here as one of my daily acts of random kindness (#18):
  1. Forgive anyone I have been at odds with. 
  2. Give more than I take. 
  3. Write a weekly thank-you note. 
  4. Respond with a soft answer. 
  5. Encourage others. 
  6. Conduct business with honesty and integrity. 
  7. Keep my word. 
  8. Examine my demands on others. 
  9. Be thankful. 
  10. Laugh. 
  11. Defend the defenseless. 
  12. Honor my body. It is the only one I have. 
  13. Treasure the simplicity of everyday moments. 
  14. Be inclusive. 
  15. Listen more fully.
  16.  Be content. 
  17. Sing and dance daily. 
  18. Practice daily random acts of kindness. 
  19. Pray without ceasing. 
  20. Spend more time improving my character than I do improving my appearance.
  21.  Celebrate and communicate my love for others.


r.e.m. performing good advices at an outdoor concert in raleigh in 1985. this is the best vid i could find  - the sound quality leaves a little to be desired, but its not too terrible. it's a wonderful song. to hear a really good version of the song you may have to drop some bucks and pick up a copy of r.e.m.'s 1985 album fables of the reconstruction (their third studio album). isn't it amazing how young michael looks in this vid, but then again it was recorded 27 years ago!  wow, the years do go by! 

"what year is it in your imagination?"


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

ticket to ride


happy new year friends! 

as you journey through 2013 
may your ride be smooth and
 may health, beauty, peace and 
loving kindness grace your way.



john, paul, george and ringo sing ticket to ride - released in 1965 on the beatles help! album.  in 2004 rolling stone magazine included  the song on their list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.



photo: hooper street, london, october 2012