One of my favorite bits of holiday swag is the new DVD of John Walter's Ray Johnson documentary, How To Draw a Bunny. It's not really a biography; the film gives a pretty good impression of why such a task might be impossible. Instead, it gives you interviews with friends and lovers, various examples of his art and performances, and the trail of clues left behind after his death by drowning in Sag Harbor in 1997. There are many famous citizens of avant garde New York in the film, but my favorite interviews are with the police Chief Joseph Iliacci. It's clear that in investigating Johnson's suicide he experienced the intrigue and wonderment that so many of us have when first exposed to Ray's art. Like Joseph Cornell, he was a quintessential 20th century artist, straddling schools and media. Like Andy Kaufman, he was a performance artist whose life and death was his greatest work.
My Ray Johnson journey began with a mail art fascination in the 70's and 80's. The Crackerjack Kid has a fine narrative with samples of Ray's mail art here. Later when i discovered his collages in books and at the DIA, Johnson catalyzed my thoughts about art, magick, play, and coincidence/synchronicity. Watching the film again Monday night was every bit as enjoyable as the screening i saw at the DFT earlier this year. Check out How To Draw a Bunny, and take a dip into Ray's world.
It seems last year at this time i was scraping together a few bills to aid earthquake recovery in Iran and a landslide in the Philippines. These were pretty small potatoes compared with the devastation in the aftermath of this year's earthquake in Asia. The Daily Kos has a good rundown of relief agencies, as well as some valuable story links. i will be donating via Mercy Corps. If, like me, you haven't two nickels to rub together today and are waiting for that next check, i doubt the need will subside anytime soon. In Sri Lanka (which now faces added threats from washed-up land mines) and Indonesia, some relief workers were initially being held up due to political issues, but that is over, as even warring factions are teaming up to collect the dead, shelter, heal and feed survivors and clean up. The latest news is blogged at The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami, where there are more secure on-line links for sending immediate aid. As of this morning, more than 80,000 people are still missing. WorldChanging is the best place i've found for news on the disaster, with many links to onsite bloggers, and another excellent page of effective relief agencies. Peace out.
Well, not really. i was raised Christian, and this doesn't represent anything i or any of my Christian friends were brought up to believe. But mankind, regardless of denomination, can invent a theology to excuse just about any evil. The API story leaves the best quote for last:
"These people need tough love," Robinson said. "I don't feel comfortable with it. God don't get no pleasure punishing us. But he does it. Jesus would have done the same thing."
The timing of this post is sort of coincidental; i just came across it in the excellent Loaded Mouth.
Whatever your belief, maybe you can share a prayer or thought for, not just the Garland family (who might be enjoying a last-minute outreach due to the publicity), but everyone without shelter, whether through their mistakes, someone else's or, as usually the case, a combination of the two. Namaste and bright Yule!
In Michigan we appreciate good hand knitted headgear. i myself would love to have a Very Fine Orange Hat. But the Swapatorium Ski Masks from a 1965 McCall's Needlework and Crafts magazine, take a good thing a little too far. i picked this mask, of course, because it resembles a wrestling mask. Trust me, the one Boing Boing used where i found this link is a LOT more disturbing. Swapatorium is a really fun site, and will be posting the knitting patterns for these bizarre masks. If i could change the colors, i might almost want one ... but not the little girl, gods no!!!
Is anyone else disturbed by that bizarre Carnival Cruise commercial using Iggy Pop's "Lust for Life"? Apparently so, as this neat cartoon will attest. i always sing, "WITH the LIQUOR and DRUGS!" over that stupid ad. Iggy definitely has got a right (heh, heh), but i think/hope he knows we're cracking up over Carnival's tastelessness. Thanks to Discordian Research Technology for the word!
Dr. John Dee Sir Edward Kelley
Yesterday a scrying crystal and rare documents belonging to Dr. John Dee, philosopher, astrologer and consultant to Elizabeth I, were stolen from the Science Museum in London in what the scotsman.com calls a "daylight raid". Dee lived in the 16th up to the 17th century, and was a mathematician, scientist, and probably one of the greatest real magicians who ever lived. He is said to have hexed the Spanish Armada, causing bad weather and England's victory. He developed the British Navy, translated Euclid and was the first to apply Euclidean geometry to navigation and build Euclidean navigational instruments. You might have heard of Enochian magick? That would be Dee, and his magickal partner Sir Edward Kelley, recording their angelic communications. Or, possibly, a cryptographic scam perpetrated on Dee by Kelley. In any event, the Enochian keys are still in use by mages of today.
Ah, what i'd give to know the story around these thieves! The news reports value the items at nearly $100,000, but really they're priceless. Of course, i think the British Museum has the table and shewstone used in the enochian rituals, so those weren't the only Dee artifacts. But i'm dying to know who took them and why?
This is one of those "Well, DUH" articles. It's pretty cool, but once brought up, seems obvious. Ever wondered why, with all the difficulty and disadvantages the left handed face, there are so many? Al-Jazeera.net reports that evolutionary researches from France have indicated lefties have a serious whup-ass advantage on the right handed. Today we have traced many skills and abilities that are more prevalent in the left-handed (math, music, many creative endeavors), but those don't really explain anything from an evolutionary standpoint. Actually, i'm not sure this does, either, but it's interesting. Thanks to Rebecca's Pocket for the link!