Monday, September 29, 2008

Another Tower Falling

Or is it? So hard to really know what the hell is going on. I knew that first bailout bill was poison but that doesn't mean something shouldn't be done. Though it might seem healthy to just let the whole sick system detoxify itself, there are innocent folks' homes, businesses and retirements at stake. I thought the revised 100 pager would likely pass but I'm glad it didn't. Now, maybe, some legislation with true function and integrity can be honed to address this debacle with less fear and more intelligence and the stock market will have time to catch its breath. Onward.

White Walls

For weeks I've been meaning to catch Frida Kahlo at the SFMOMA and this weekend was my last chance so a trip to the City was in order. I looked into getting tickets and, unsurprisingly, the show was sold out. Damn. Instead of kicking myself for being less than vigilant, I let Rob convince me into heading south anyway to check out the Shepard Fairey show at White Walls gallery in the Tenderloin. Shepard is the artist who created the Obama poster (see my previous post) and I was eager to see his work up close.

Being a Saturday, there was more traffic on the streets than our last several trips to SF and that was a headache. It took us considerably longer to navigate the streets and we almost got in a major collision on the way, but we finally made it. White Walls is on Larkin Street a few blocks east of Van Ness in a nondescript building with minimal signage but a vibrant streetside mural by Ron English and a Fairey piece hung behind the smudgy glass of a paneled window. It was clearly the place.

I expected to confront a bank of good-sized silkscreened posters of Fairey's work framed behind glass, the same that I'd previewed online. And indeed there was that. But my first impression was overhwhelmed by a huge piece, a larger version of this, hung prominently and flanked by others of lesser size but equal gravity on either side.
I was really floored by the quality of these originals. Strong black stenciled work boldly laid over multi-layers of collaged graphic ephemera with textured varnished surfaces and richly nuanced color on canvas. No fussy glass. I love this stuff. A street art aesthetic giving way to tight graphics and, upon closer scrutiny, fine-grained delicate detail.

A possible cosmic reason for our delay en route to the gallery revealed itself when, upstairs amid multiple smaller works, I was startled by a young guy giving me an unexpected look of "Hey! Krista!" It took me more than a minute to grok that it was my own cousin, James, standing before me, who I hadn't seen in literally years. Strange and cool. He's a digital graphic artist himself and we had a catch up chat before heading out.

So, it was Fairey not Frida this time. No regrets.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Natural Rights

The shift is happening. This weekend Ecuadorians will vote on whether to approve a new constitution which includes articles that would grant Nature the right to "exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and processes in evolution".

I'm in awe.

Read more at bright green blog. Ecuador is not the only country to grant rights to nonhuman entities. The US, for instance, grants some human rights to corporations (see my old blogpost Corporate Beastie). Why not for trees? Bodies of water? Species? Ecuador has tread the furthest into this realization of Nature's right to be.

Here are the rights to be granted to Pachamama (aka Mother Earth):

Art. 1. Nature or Pachamama, where life is reproduced and exists, has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and its processes in evolution.

Every person, people, community or nationality, will be able to demand the recognitions of rights for nature before the public organisms. The application and interpretation of these rights will follow the related principles established in the Constitution.

Art. 2. Nature has the right to an integral restoration. This integral restoration is independent of the obligation on natural and juridical persons or the State to indemnify the people and the collectives that depend on the natural systems.

In the cases of severe or permanent environmental impact, including the ones caused by the exploitation on non renewable natural resources, the State will establish the most efficient mechanisms for the restoration, and will adopt the adequate measures to eliminate or mitigate the harmful environmental consequences.

Art. 3. The State will motivate natural and juridical persons as well as collectives to protect nature; it will promote respect towards all the elements that form an ecosystem.

Art. 4. The State will apply precaution and restriction measures in all the activities that can lead to the extinction of species, the destruction of the ecosystems or the permanent alteration of the natural cycles.

The introduction of organisms and organic and inorganic material that can alter in a definitive way the national genetic patrimony is prohibited.

Art. 5. The persons, people, communities and nationalities will have the right to benefit from the environment and form natural wealth that will allow well being.

The environmental services are cannot be appropriated; its production, provision, use and exploitation, will be regulated by the State.

At the cusp of reparation...

Painting by Betty LaDuke "Pachamama"

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

No Wall Street Bailout

Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio saying it straight and strong. Powerful! The events unfolding these past few days are spectacular in their surreality. Can this be happening?? This bailout legislation reeks, the worst stink coming from
a rotten bit of language that effectively transfers the power of the purse from Congress to the Executive branch. In the hands of this criminal administration that would mean a stake in the heart of anything resembling a democracy here in the US. They are talking about a staggering $700 billion blank check with absolutely no oversight! Write your Congresspeople and tell them NO. The "emergency" has been manufactured. There is time to craft something healthy that will actually address these dire straits. Real Reform or Nothing.

UPDATE: Yet another informative diary on just why we need to say NO.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fairey Show

The artist who recently created the wildly successful Obama silkscreen posters, Shepard Fairey, is having a solo show in SF at the White Walls gallery space from September 13 through October 4, titled The Duality of Humanity. I find his work so excellent it gives me pain. A perfect amalgam of conception, aesthetic flavor and political bite. Yow.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Saying His Peace

"In 1969, a 14-year-old Beatle fanatic named Jerry Levitan, armed with a reel-to-reel tape deck, snuck into John Lennon's hotel room in Toronto and convinced John to do an interview about peace." One wise guy.

Schizophrenic or Shamanic?

The raw, wise and awesomely psychedelectible teachings of Terence McKenna.