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Posts from — November 2013

Brazil: “Transformation”





Mural of Transformation

By Duda Penteado 

This particular project has a special place in my career as a Brazilian-American artist. These past few months, I had the unique chance to see the biggest protest organized in my country since I left Brazil to live in the U.S. more than 15 years ago. Inspired by these events, I took the opportunity to create a mural of 310 square meters. The project, named “TRANSFORMATION,” includes many features that reflect the identity of the Brazilian people and the country itself.

 foto 44

  The public protests began around June of 2013, with the Indigenous People marching to the capital, Brasilia, demanding that Brazilian authorities approve the new land demarcation law under consideration, and not proposed legislation that would further undermine their basic human rights. Then, with stunning speed, a new wave of protest started in Sao Paulo over the issue of public transportation, morphing into the biggest street demonstrations Brazil has seen in more than 20 years.


Duda Penteado, center, reviews plans for the public mural.


Mural committee members go over plans with Roberto Vilela.

New waves of protest started again all over the country, involving several states in Brazil (Rio de Janeiro , Minas Gerais , Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Espírito Santo, Bahia, Salvador, among others), and minor protests staged by Brazilians living abroad were held in several countries (Argentina, Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States). The protests were not just about transportation and the land rights of the indigenous peoples, but also demanded overdue changes in education policies, and an end to the endemic government corruption that threatens the stability of Brazil. It was just amazing to me that the Brazilian people had had enough, were tired of superficial changes offered by the populist government, and were simply demanding, More!

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The opportunity to create this mural in 2013, in São Paulo, seemed providential, since it actually came about a week before protests got into full swing. The theme, “Transformation,” was decided on a week before the street protests, and its location next to the Guarulhos Airport in Sao Paulo would certainly be a reminder that the country is in a high state of transformation, evolving into a 21st Century global leader. Every day, more and more people who come and go through this airport will see the mural — even more next year, as Brazil opens its doors to the world’s biggest sporting event, the 2014 World Cup. Along with the focus on Sport, the world will want to know what Brazilians have to say about the truly important issues of the day, such as Democracy, Education, Culture, Economics, Human Rights, and so on. So, finally, the perfect opportunity had arrived. With the support of Roberto Vilela, an art collector and president of the group SIGLA, along with the UNIDEIAS Production Company and RING Cultural Events, it was my good fortune to create a pioneering art project that joins business, government and the local community at the Jardim São Geraldo in Guarulhos.   DSC02784   For about 35 days I worked with a group of about 60 people. First, we transformed two of the docks of a company warehouse into an art studio. Then, I conducted a creative workshop and painted the mural, applying my technique called “Plastic Symphony.” We  discussed different concepts, and researched various sources such as magazines, newspapers, art books, and the internet, to find out more about “transformation,” all the while applying to it the emerging theme: the dreams, aspirations and desires of a people hungry to express themselves. We also developed color studies, drawings and 13 art works presented in a group during the project’s inauguration, the “unveiling” the completed mural.   DSC02645   The ideas were many. On one hand, we created images such as the flag of Portugal, which became a Brazilian sailing canoe in the middle of some mountains; “African Woman,” the “Great Indian” in the midst of Brazilian favelas, symbolizing part of our history and the social injustice present since the beginnings of Brazilian colonial history, or  colonization “extraction.” The dry, northeastern hinterland, along with tropical fruits, are organized in a unique composition, full of contradictions, at the same time reflecting hope and promise in large spaces of rich green lands.   DSC02885   A soccer ball heads toward the center of Brasilia driven by a waterfall of blue waters signaling the winds of change. Elsewhere, a little above, we can see a mountain of people, individuals reclaiming their rights. Banners with words and slogans appear throughout the landscape, somehow summarizing the feelings of the Brazilian people who ask for “More” to their lives: Safety, health, honesty, faith, love, education, hope, joy, transformation, order and progress.   DSC02883   Toward the top of the mural, above everything, between mountains, people and factories, very close to the sky where birds fly among the clouds, a figure of an important leader appears, bringing the famous parable of Jesus and the Galilean fisherman, which in our day can be readily interpreted as a true act of democracy. Or, in other words, “… teach the people how to fish…” Finally, in a moment of reflection and seeking a meaningful iconography, I included some important artists who contributed to the Week of Modern Art (1922 ), including Di Cavalcanti, Tarsila do Amaral, Candido Portinari, Victor Brecheret, and Vicente do Rego. These and other cultural pioneeers continue to inspire us as we create an apology for the anthropophagic introspection of our current history, where we can rethink our present ways and develop forward-looking solutions for the positive transformation of this wonderful country called Brazil.

— Duda Penteado (October 1, 2013)

E-Interview: Q & A   Q) How many hours and how much paint? A) One month and 10 days and more than 40 gallons of paint!  Q) What cost?  A) The total of the project should be around $150,000, including all the art supplies ( Mural paint , brushes, and all the workshop art materials ), scaffolding equipment, assistants and coordinators, making of a catalog. Q) Who paid? A) SIGLA group. Q) Whose warehouse? A) Roberto Vilela an art collector, president and owner of the SIGLA group. Q) What is the community reaction?  A) The community loves it, especially because of the political content. This MURAL  reflects this very moment, where Brazil is going through a big political transformation in terms of the people getting more active in the streets demanding change! Q) Is this intended to be  a long-term installation? A) Yes, this art piece  MURAL TRANSFORMATION –  belongs to Roberto Vilela an art collector, president and owner of the SIGLA group.


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November 2, 2013   Comments Off on Brazil: “Transformation”



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“Primitive” as Futurist:

Intangible Heritage, Living Museum

and Transcultural Panel


by Professor Dinah P. Guimaraens
Graduate Program in Architecture and Urban Planning
School of Architecture and Urban Planning
University Federal Fluminense, Brazil

 “In countries like ours, not arriving exhausted, though oppressed and underdeveloped in terms of contemporary history,  (…) when we say it’s primitive or folk art, it is worth as much as to say that (it) is futuristic, or contemporary.” 

— Mário Pedrosa . Discourse to Tupiniquins or Nambás. Paris, 1977.

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Transculturalism and Revolt in Brazil

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A month and a half ago, Brazil lit up with protests as a million people took to the streets; violence ensued, people died. Inexplicably, the country is nevertheless due to host the World Cup in less than a year (and the Olympics in less than three), but many Brazilians are increasingly unhappy with the government’s imprudent spending of vast fortunes on huge sports-stadiums, while ignoring genuine, everyday human needs, i.e., necessary and urgent infrastructure upgrades, and a plethora of public services.

In April, the uprising began with the eviction of indigenous people from the site of the Brazilian Indian Museum. Soon, the unrest spread to the National Museum Honestino Guimarães (aka the National Museum of the Republic), which is part of the Cultural Complex of the Republic in Brasília. It is symbolic that the initial Amerindian struggle began in these particular buildings due to their Amerindian architectural allusions. The complex, the work of famed architect Oscar Niemeyer, is designed as a kind of retrofuturistic dome, like an ancient Amerindian earth mound resembling a spaceship.

It opened in 2006, paid for and operated by the government of Brasilia (Federal District). Artist and protestor Suyan Mattos explained the situation this way: “…the space is used for traveling exhibitions of renowned local artist, nationals and international lectures, film screenings, seminars, and other events,” adding that the museum has a “priceless” permanent collection of contemporary Brazilian art but focuses on rotating and temporary exhibitions.”

— Jillian Steinhauer, writing in  “Hyperallergic”


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In the famous words of the “socialist” art critic, Mario Pedrosa, “We are a country condemned to be modern” (Arantes, 2004). This ironic disclosure reveals the classic Latin American dichotomy that prevails between internationalism and nationalism, which constantly swings like a pendulum from one extreme to the other.
According to Pedrosa, South America-Atlantic hybridism of cultures is the trait that denotes Brazil’s erratic and unstable behavior, as well as its economic fluctuation from boom to bust. The nationalism that emerged with the neocolonial vogue in Brazil, for example, expresses the search for an identity in architecture, alluding to mythical Europe. As the Argentine cultural-theorist, Néstor García Canclini states, “Modernity is often seen as a mask, a mockery woven by elites and state apparatchiks, especially those concerned with the field of art and culture” (Amaral, 2005, p. 353-354).

The article “500 Years of Disgrace” by Aracy Amaral, written in 2000, describes the current state of indigenous culture, the culture that inhabited Brazil when the Portuguese arrived, as being destitute, unprotected, abandoned, and unvalued. Amaral’s essay also speaks of African or Afro-Brazilian cultures, in the 19th Century freed from slavery; yet, for the last hundred years still continue to be instantly identified with the disenfranchised, excluded or disqualified group(s) within Brazil; albeit, they are, according to common sense, the core of Brazil’s population. Amaral points out, also, the complete lack of political will, coupled with an astonishing lack of vision on the part of many Brazilian politicians, who inherently refuse to improve Brazil’s society, by failing to be responsible for the socio-cultural aspirations and expectations of the people as a whole. Instead, their focus is primarily on the elite classes. This lack of vision is reflected in the institutional cynicism revealed in the mensalão scandal and myriad court cases pending against members of the Brazilian National Congress (


Amaral points out that after 500 years, there still is not a museum of the History of Brazilian Man, just as there is no “large” “comprehensive” art museum dedicated to the indigenous people who populated the land before the European invasion. There is no “Indian Museum,” testament to a once enslaved population pushed to the hinterlands of Brazil’s “Central West” region, out of contact with one another, living in poverty and degrading conditions, begging the question, “Is this a nation with a viable Constitution representative of all Brazilians; on that is worthy of the name: “constitution?””

According to Amaral, a city without museums, such as Brasília, cannot expect to develop the higher spirit among its inhabitants. Canclini also reaffirms the near absence of museums in Latin American countries, calling it a symptom of neglect of memory, which the Bolivian art theorist Nicomedes Suarez-Arauz called Amnesis. Without memories, it is impossible to build a hierarchical relationship of continuity with the history of a society, a people, or a nation.

Pedrosa, in 1978, launched the project “Museum of Origins” in the ashes of the Museum of Modern Art – MAM/Rio. To the sound of samba, dancers from the School of Samba of Mangueira arrived on stilts designed by Affonso Eduardo Reidy and singed by fire, as a way to show appreciation for Brazil’s multi-cultural origins. Nevertheless, there is still no immense museum to express the contemporary lives and cultures of indigenous people.

Pedrosa highlights the importance of aesthetics in the face of science as a “struggle of knowledge against knowledge,” as advanced by Friedrich Nietzsche (1892) in his book “The Birth of Tragedy”. For Nietzsche, the spiritual dilemma of the future lies in “Mastering the instinct of knowledge in favor of a religion.” He favors aesthetics and restores to the arts their rights, positioning himself against religion, metaphysics, and science, in favor of a thoroughly aesthetic-civilization. For him, science cannot be a disciplined without the intercession of art, which has the innate mission to “recreate life.”
For Nietzsche, “Art is the affirmation of Life!”

Hence, in this Nietzschean light, in appreciation of the revitalization of the intangible heritage of indigenous knowledge, such as arises from the bioclimatic architecture of Malocas (Indian dwellings), this native architecture affords a theoretical and political position that warrants the right of Indians to permanently occupy the ancient Indian Museum known as Maracanã Village, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Indians own that museum in Rio, thus the world must condemn the traumatic expulsion of the indigenous inhabitants from Maracanã Village under volleys of rubber bullets, as well as cruel tear gas attacks by “elite squads” trained by Governor Sérgio Cabral with funding from the mega-entrepreneur Eike Batista. This forced eviction of natives from Maracanã Village contributed directly to the riots in June 2013 in Rio de Janeiro. The backlash from these evictions provoked the massive demonstrations that arose instantaneously from scratch, helped along by the “ninja press” Facebook and other social media, giving rise to vociferous protest (Agier, 2011, p. 172).

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International Seminar: “Museums and Transculturality”

“To establish an interdisciplinary and intercultural dialogue, the university should allow the strengthening of the social culture of human beings, promoting critical thinking that develops through philosophy, literature, art and aesthetics that are intrinsic to culture, communication, and history.” (Poulain, 2012)

The “1st Meeting of Museological Exchange: Living Cultures Seminar,” held in July 2010 in London and led by Professor Jack Lohman, former-Director of the Museum of London, aimed to outline practical guidelines for cultural cooperation and exchange between Brazilian and European museums. Co-sponsored by HSBC and UNESCO, a draft was prepared for a new, Living Indigenous Museum in Brazil by 2016. Some participants proposed implementing the project by 2014, in time for the Olympics; discussions centered about the philosophy of museums, intangible heritage, aesthetics, history and other cultural disciplines.

The project seeks to analyze the constituents of particular cultures by means of scientific research, based on the concept of transcultural anthropology stemming from work by Jacques Poulain, Professor and Chair of Cultural Institutions at UNESCO/University Paris, France. The Brazilian indigenous cultures in question and the museological institutions would be analyzed via a dynamic relationship in multiple areas to accurately identify, evaluate and recognize the ethnographic plurality that unites them. For example, according to a decree by the Department of Intangible Heritage (DPI/IPHAN n. 3,551 of 04/08/2000), the project aims to contribute to the recording of intangible factors which constitute the cultural heritage of Brazil. The decree refers to the Record Book of Knowledge, specifically the typical form of Indian dwellings represented by Malocas of Xingu, Amazon, along with the architectural styles of coastal communities that continue to construct similar structures to this day, as well as currently influencing both rural and urban Brazilian architecture.

Furthermore, the traditional architecture forged by Brazil’s ancient cultures are at present inspiring the creation of living art, i.e., an Experimental Bioclimatic Architecture, where Brazilian university students and faculty members interact directly with indigenous peoples from the Village Maracanã (Pataxó, Apurinã, Ful-niô, Tukano, Potiguara, Kaingang, Kamayurá and Tupinambá). This will be the basis of the participatory project of the Living Museum as a model of preservation and revitalization of traditional cultures recommended by IPHAN (Institute of National Historical and Artistic Heritage), MINC (Ministry of Culture) and ICOM (International Council of Museums) of UNESCO.

The proposed implementation of this project was discussed recently at the Museum of Contemporary Art – MAC Niterói / RJ, having as its theme the interrelationship of Transculturality, Architecture/Visual Arts, Music and Theatre/Performance. The aim is to create an interdisciplinary dialogue and strengthen cultural relations. The University Federal Fluminense, through its Graduate Program in Architecture and Urban Planning (PPGAU), and the University of Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO), seek to develop research and establish outreach with indigenous and African-Brazilian inhabitants.

Poulain (French coordinator of the technical cooperation CAPES-Cofecub n. 752/12), opened the international seminar “Museums and Transculturality: New Postmodern Practices”, held in May 2013, by stating that the university allows the strengthening of socialist culture in humans to promote critical thinking developed through philosophy, literature, art, architecture and aesthetics, along with culture and history of communication. In view of the Curriculum Guidelines for the National Education of Racial-Ethnic Relations and the Teaching of History of the Afro-Brazilian and Indigenous Populations (Law No. 11,645 of 10/03/2008), and the requirement by the Ministry of Education of Brazil that the theme of Afro-Brazilian and Indigenous History has to be included in the disciplines and curricular activities for undergraduate courses in Brazilian universities, the seminar asks: Is it possible to successfully integrate indigenous and African-Brazilians in the scholastic universe from the perspective of globalization and communication, in view of the policies of public space, the valuation of intangible heritage by UNESCO and its resulting cultural education equity?

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University Truth, Public Space and Live Art

It is within the philosophical viewpoint that the Living Museum intends to unveil some clues about cross-cultural issues that underlie the present historical moment of late capitalism in Brazilian society. This live art, mentioned by Mário Pedrosa (1978) to define the strength of indigenous cultures, can be symbolized by the tension between the Apollonian and the Dionysian as manifestations of art and life, which is present in the thought of Friedrich Nietzsche and was presented in 1871 in his first work “The Birth of Tragedy: or Hellenism and Pessimism.” Flusser, in his 1998 book “Philosophical Fictions,” appropriates this Nietzschean concept to express a postmodern living art characterized by two sweeping revolutions: telematics, and biotech.

How to talk about technological innovations to address the Brazilian native cultures alive today?

In case of the relevant discussion about a bioclimatic architecture or “green” architecture, look for inspiration to the indigenous Malocas (Indian dwellings) of Amazon, Xingu and the seaside regions of Brazil? It seems that architects such as Severiano Mário Porto already “had been there” in their search for popular techniques of housing in the Amazon to create prototypes of a new, intelligent architecture suitable for humid and torrid climates. These structures, with large covered roofs, allow the outward flow of hot air and thermal cooling of the interior space. Through the inspiration of the telematics´ revolution discussed by Flusser, is it then possible to prototype innovative Digital Malocas, where the technology is allied to ancient building techniques?

This is one of the questions asked by the current project, within the Innovation Agency of the Dean of Research and Graduate Studies and Innovation of the University Federal Fluminense.

The modern “baroque” inspired-architecture (according Campello, 2001) of Niemeyer, with its circular and spiral shapes, eventually influenced the structure of the kitsch architecture of the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro, and the Northeast states of Brazil. The imagery of this architectural kitsch (Guimaraens & Cavalcanti, 2006) expresses an aesthetic that merges constructive principles of modern architecture of Niemeyer with the functionalism of Le Corbusier. The presence of a stream of Luso-Brazilian Baroque influence in the work of Niemeyer is characterized by the use of elements of curved lines and free-form (according Underwood, 1992), as occurs with the colonnade of the Palácio do Alvorada (Palace of the Dawn,1956 to 1958) in Brasília. Their columns were inspired in extended networks, or boat sails, and became icons of federal political power. The  constructive elements were popularized and copied in molds of plaster, and are widely used as decorations on the facades of the houses of the working classes throughout the country. Other elements absorbed from Le Corbusier and Niemeyer were the flat roof and the “butterfly” (ceiling in “v” with a rail center, where rainwater is drained), derived from the aesthetics of “machines-of-living” modernists.

The international seminar “Museums and Transculturality” had the key idea to honor the live architecture of Niemeyer, and selected the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC/Niterói), one of his most significant projects, as the site for the gathering. This museum is the city icon of Niterói and the district. During three days, conferees had the opportunity to experience in situ the concepts of the cross-cultural philosophy of Jacques Poulain by integrating academics, students, technical staff and indigenous and African-Brazilian members into a “full trial” university.

The “triumphant joy” of Parangolé and Tropicália is based on plastic experimentation of the schools of samba in Brazil, thus indicating what Hélio Oiticica calls “leisure non-repressive” which can “self-structure” the individual.

The kitsch aesthetic also throws into question the Brazilian identity: How can we create an “authentic” art (artisanal and regional) by incorporating international trends (technological and global)? The cannibalistic posture of Oswald de Andrade and Hélio Oiticica-HO, throws into opposition the aesthetics of vanguard and the consumption of the mass culture. The “ready-made” of Marcel Duchamp approaches the kitsch aesthetic by emphasizing the “non-purity” that blends spurious architectural elements. The kitsch aesthetic is therefore an anti-art. A transient work that incorporates the postures of everyday life. The experimental kitsch aesthetic expresses the role of mass culture as a territorial boundary between high art and popular art, representing a “vanguard” of shock.

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Transcultural Panel and Performance

The relationship between image and being over time defines the different artistic practices such as visual arts, sculpture, literature, architecture, music and dance/performance. The excess of visual images today is emblematic of our society, but does not necessarily reflect the discriminatory power of the era. Images taken from the Transcultural Panel traced by Duda Penteado and Fernando Pacheco, along with the student staff of the School of Architecture and Urbanism of University Federal Fluminense, and representatives of the former Maracanã Village, presented a creative exercise that closed this international seminar.

The presentation emphasized the dialogue between different artistic manifestations. In general, the graphical notations, in all forms of expression are considered basic tools of artistic design. The graphical notation used to draw diagrams and sketches are understood as fundamental to the design of this project. The use of axes and triangular shapes as elements of composition is a tradition in the visual arts. The imaginary axis establishes a support line that creates a kind of relationship between the parts of the composition when setting an ideal type of a “skeleton” that supports the design of the primary values of order, stability and domination. With this emphasis on the axes, the geometric idea of the Transcultural Panel starts by reducing the traditional solution of crosslinked network in a network system that determines the organization and layout of urban elements.

The artistic expression of something drawn on paper thus assumed the form of a medium, or the form of a plastic thought, as occurred in the proposed panel performed in MAC-Niterói on May 29, 2013. The conceptualization of this visual project can be expressed by the thought, and the thought of the design may be indicated by the aphorism proposed by the architect Lucio Costa (1962) that “the design is a design project.” The “design” of the two artists stimulated the imagination called “active” with an imagination “will” (Bachelard, 1979). The project design referred here to an activity where the graphical notation appears as a mode of discourse, i.e., the speech of a poetic style that symbolizes one of the four levels of accuracy proposed by Aristotle: poetics, rhetoric, dialectics and analytic. Such poetic discourse characterizes itself as part of the image where the conventional habits state a way of being that must be accepted as true temporarily, thus causing the suspension of disbelief about the reality of imagery.

The transition from the real world in the visual arts stems from the role played by the creative activity of the eye as an organ that provides a common space for architecture, sculpture and painting. The essential among the three arts of architecture, sculpture and painting is the element that the art theorist and German sculptor Hildebrand (quoted by Poulain, 2002) calls “architectural” printouts, and represents the confluence of verticality, horizontality and depth as a general law that constitutes the space of composition.

On visual perception of this Transcultural Panel, we can establish a connection with the world to answer the question: What is (re) presented by the image (real or imaginary)? (Cany, 2008, p. 47-48). The classic answer is that “the level of graphical consciousness is what formalizes,” because the traditional response states that “the unconscious is the plan that materializes” (Bachelard, 1979). Such poetic discourse is characterized as part of the image where the conventional habits state that a state of being must be accepted as true (only) temporarily, thus causing the suspension of disbelief about the reality of imagery. The Transcultural Panel instructs us, then, in belief in a multicultural society in Brazil. A society where representatives of different ethnic groups, social classes and educational levels can interact to build a dialogue and creative space in the art world, inspired and influenced by the circular-contemporary baroque architecture of Oscar Niemeyer.


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AMARAL, Aracy. “500 Anos de Carência” in Textos do Trópico de Capricórnio. Artigos e Ensaios (1980-2005). Vol. 2: circuitos de arte na América Latina e no Brasil. São Paulo, Editora 34, 2006.
ARANTES, Otília (org.). Textos escolhidos – Acadêmicos e Modernos (vol. 3). São Paulo, EDUSP, 2004.
AGIER, Michel. Antropologia da Cidade: lugares, situações, movimentos. SP, Editora Terceiro Nome, 2011.
BACHELARD, Gaston. A Poética do Espaço. São Paulo, Abril Cultural, Coleção Os Pensadores, 1979.
CAMPELLO, Glauco de Oliveira. O Brilho da Simplicidade: Dois Estudos sobre Arquitetura Religiosa no Brasil Colonial. Rio de Janeiro, Casa da Palavra-Departamento Nacional do Livro, 2001.
CANCLINI, Néstor García. “La modernidad después de la posmodernidad”, in BELLUZZO, Ana Maria (org.), Modernidade: vanguardas artísticas na América Latina. Sao Paulo, UNESP/Memorial da América Latina, 1990.
CANY, Bruno. “Perspective Musicale”, préface in LYOTARD, Jean-François. Que peindre? Paris, Hermann Éditeurs, Collection Hermann – Philosophie, 2008.
COSTA, Lúcio. Sobre a Arquitetura. Porto Alegre, Centro de Estudos Universitários de Arquitetura, 1962.
FEITOSA, Charles. Du nihilisme europeene selon Nietzsche au nihilsme brésilienne selon Flusser. Paris, CAPES-Cofecub, 2012.
FLUSSER, Vilém. Ficções Filosóficas. São Paulo, EDUSP, 1998.
NIETZSCHE, Friedrich Wilhelm. O Nascimento da Tragédia, ou Helenismo e Pessimismo. Trad., notas e posfácio de Jacó Guinsburg. São Paulo, Companhia das Letras, 1992 (1871).
GUIMARAENS, Dinah. Do Kitsch à Metafísica: Arquitetura, Estética e Imagética Transculturais. Niterói, PPGAU-UFF, 2013. (Org.) Museu de Arte e Origens: Mapa das Culturas Vivas Guaranis. Rio de Janeiro, Contracapa/FAPERJ, 2003.
GUIMARAENS, Dinah & CAVALCANTI, Lauro. Arquitetura Kitsch Suburbana e Rural. Rio de Janeiro, Paz e Terra, 2006.
HILDEBRAND, Adolf. Le problème de la forme dans les arts plastiques. Préface de Jacques Poulain. Traduit de l’allemande par Éliane Beaufils. Paris, L’Harmattan, 2002.
PEDROSA, Mário. Discurso aos Tupiniquins ou Nambás. Paris, 1978.
POULAIN, Jacques. « L’enjeu d’une anthropologie interculturelle pour une esthétique transculturelle ». Texto inédito apresentado no Seminário Internacional « Museus e Transculturalidade: Novas Práticas Pós-Modernas”. Niterói, MAC, 2013. La Neutralisation du Jugement ou la Critique Pragmatique de la Raison Politique. Paris, L´Harmattan, 2012. De l’Homme: Elements d’Anthropobiologie Philosophique du Language. Paris, Les Éditions du Cerf, 2001. La Loi de Vérité: La Logique Philosophique du Jugement. Paris, Albin Michel, 1993.
UNDERWOOD, David. Oscar Niemeyer e o modernismo de formas livres no Brasil. São Paulo, Cosac&Naify, 2002.


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Portuguese Original



Professora-Doutora Dinah Guimaraens                     02 de setembro de 2013

Programa de Pós-Graduação em Arquitetura e Urbanismo – PPGAU

Escola de Arquitetura e Urbanismo

Universidade Federal Fluminense


“Em países como os nossos, que não chegam esgotados, ainda que oprimidos e subdesenvolvidos, ao nível da história contemporânea, (…) quando se diz que sua arte é primitiva ou popular vale tanto quanto dizer que é futurista” (Mário Pedrosa. Discurso aos Tupiniquins ou Nambás. Paris, 1977)




Na célebre frase de Mário Pedrosa, “Somos um país condenado ao moderno” (apud ARANTES, 2004).  Este crítico de arte socialista aponta a clássica dicotomia latino-americana entre internacionalismo e nacionalismo que se dá em um movimento pendular constante. Para ele, na América do Sul Atlântica, o hibridismo de nossas culturas é o traço que denota nosso comportamento instável, assim como nossas economias flutuantes.

O nacionalismo que emerge com a voga neocolonial no Brasil, por exemplo, expressa a busca de uma identidade na arquitetura, inspirando-se em uma Europa mítica. Néstor García Canclini (apud AMARAL, 2005, pag. 353-354), por sua vez, afirma que “A modernidade costuma ser vista como uma máscara, um simulacro urdido pelas elites e pelos aparatos estatais, sobretudo os que se ocupam da arte e da cultura”.

Aracy Amaral (in op. cit., pag. 321-327), no artigo “500 Anos de carência” escrito em 2000, nos fala do estado atual da cultura indígena, indigente, desprotegida, abandonada, não-valorizada até o dia de hoje, cultura que aqui estava quando chegaram os portugueses. Ou sobre a cultura africana ou afro-brasileira como tendo sido liberta da escravidão há mais de cem anos e que continua sendo identificada com os excluídos ou desqualificados que constituem, segundo o senso comum, grande parte da marginalidade brasileira.

Amaral (id. ibidem, pag. 321) destaca, igualmente, a falta total de vontade política, aliada à espantosa ausência de visão por parte de nossos políticos – ou será àquele cinismo institucional ora revelado no caso do “mensalão” que tramita no congresso nacional -, como sendo os responsáveis pela situação em que se encontra o Brasil na área cultural. Para esta crítica de arte, na celebração dos 500 anos deste país, não havia um museu de História do Homem Brasileiro, assim como não há um museu de arte das primeiras populações que viveram em nosso território.

Ou um Museu do Índio, escravizado, acuado, empurrado para o sertão e para o Centro-Oeste, e que ainda vaga como mendigo pelo território do Brasil em nações indígenas que têm pouco contato entre si, vivendo em condição degradante aos olhos de uma constituição digna desse nome? Enfatiza Amaral o fato do Museu do Índio realizado por Niemeyer, a pedido de Berta Ribeiro, ter ficado abandonado por muito tempo, até que somente recentemente Marcos Terena assumiu sua direção (id. Ibidem, pag. 323).

Segundo ela, uma cidade sem museus, como Brasília, não pode esperar desenvolver o espírito cidadão de seus habitantes. Já Canclini aponta a quase ausência de museus nos países latino-americanos (apud AMARAL, in op. cit., pag. 325) como um dos sintomas de descaso com a memória e a ausência de construção de uma relação de continuidade hierarquizada com os antecedentes da própria sociedade.

Mário Pedrosa, em 1978, lançou o projeto do “Museu das Origens” nas cinzas do MAM-Rio, ao som do samba embalado pelos passistas da Escola da Mangueira que evoluíram nos pilotis projetados por Affonso Eduardo Reidy então chamuscados pelo incêndio criminoso, como forma de valorização de nossas matrizes culturais. Falta ainda, no entanto, um espaço museológico contemporâneo para expressar a cultura viva das populações indígenas, afro-brasileiras e populares.

Pedrosa (apud ARANTES, in op. cit) destaca a importância da estética em face da ciência, de uma “luta do saber contra o saber” preconizada por Nietzsche (1992) no livro O Nascimento da Tragédia. Para este filósofo, o dilema espiritual do futuro reside em “Dominar o instinto do conhecimento, seja em proveito de uma religião, seja de uma civilização estética: é o que se verá”. Nietzsche toma o partido da estética e restitui à arte seus direitos, posicionando-se contra a religião, a metafísica e a ciência, a favor de uma civilização estética. Para ele, a ciência não pode ser disciplinada a não ser pela arte, que tem a missão de “recriar a vida”.

É no sentido de valorizar a revitalização do patrimônio imaterial dos saberes indígenas decorrentes de uma arquitetura bioclimática de Malocas que me posiciono, portanto, teórica e politicamente junto a este movimento pela ocupação definitiva do antigo Museu do Índio/Aldeia Maracanã, após a expulsão traumática dos indígenas do local, sob saraivadas de balas de borracha e ataques de gás lacrimogêneo da “tropa de elite” treinada pelo governador Sérgio Cabral com financiamento do então mega-empresário Eike Batista.

Acreditamos que tal desocupação forçada da Aldeia Maracanã colaborou decisivamente para deflagrar o movimento popular de junho de 2013 por ter possibilitado a manifestação maciça daquelas identidades locais que logram “se enraizar” do nada, criando um espaço de reflexões urbanas (estabelecido pela imprensa “ninja” virtual e por interfaces como o facebook) e de ações que oscilam entre o vazio e o cheio, entre uma cidade nua e uma cidade densa que se mascara, se teatraliza, se pinta, desfila e escreve/grita slogans de protesto (cf. AGIER, 2011, p. 172).


“Para estabelecer um diálogo interdisciplinar e intercultural, a universidade deve permitir o fortalecimento da cultura social dos seres humanos, promovendo o pensamento crítico que se desenvolve por meio da filosofia, da literatura, da arte e da estética na cultura da comunicação e na história” (POULAIN, 2012).

Tendo em vista a continuidade dos esforços do 1° Encontro de Intercâmbio Museológico: Living Cultures Seminar realizado em julho de 2010 em Londres pelo então Diretor do Museum of London, Professor Jack Lohman, do HSBC e da UNESCO, com vistas a delinear diretrizes práticas de cooperação cultural e intercâmbio entre museus brasileiros e europeus e a conseguinte elaboração de um projeto de um novo Museu Vivo Indígena e um Canteiro Experimental de Pesquisas Transculturais no Brasil até o ano de 2016, momento de realização das Olimpíadas, acordaram alguns participantes da necessidade de propor a implantação deste projeto em terras brasileiras no ano de 2012, desejosos de amplos debates nas áreas museológicas, filosóficas e artísticas, no que tange ao Patrimônio Imaterial, Estética, História e outras disciplinas culturais

Partindo da concepção de antropologia transcultural da UNESCO baseada na obra de Jacques Poulain (da cátedra em Filosofia da Cultura e das Instituições na UNESCO / Universidade Paris 8-Sant Denis, França), o projeto procura analisar a emergência de sujeitos constituintes de determinada cultura no processo de investigação científica. Longe de ser um objeto de pesquisa em si, as culturas vivas indígenas em questão e as instituições museológicas passariam a ser analisadas numa dinâmica de relação entre múltiplos sujeitos de conhecimento, fazendo com que, neste processo cognitivo, estes possam exercer sua faculdade de julgar a verdade e reconhecer a humanidade plural que os une.

De acordo com o decreto do DPI-IPHAN n. 3.551 de 04/08/2000, o projeto pretende contribuir para o registro de bens de natureza imaterial que constituem o patrimônio cultural brasileiro, referindo-se ao Livro de Registro dos Saberes no que tange às formas típicas da construção de moradias indígenas, representadas pelas Malocas xinguanas, amazônicas ou das comunidades costeiras e que continuam, até os dias de hoje, sendo atualizadas por nossas populações nativas rurais e urbanas

Ao refletir sobre a arquitetura milenar de nossas culturas vivas nativas, o projeto propõe a realização de oficinas de arte viva que incluem a criação de um Canteiro Experimental de Arquitetura Bioclimática no Campus da Praia Vermelha – UFF, onde seu corpo discente e docente poderá interagir diretamente com indígenas oriundos da Aldeia Maracanã (Pataxó, Apurinã, Ful-niô, Tukano, Potiguara, Kaingang, Kamayurá, Tupinambá etc), de forma a estabelecer as bases do projeto participativo do Museu Vivo nos moldes de preservação e revitalização das culturas tradicionais recomendados pelo IPHAN (Instituto do Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional)- MinC (Ministério da Cultura) e do ICOM (Conselho Internacional de Museus) da UNESCO.

A proposta de implantação deste projeto foi recentemente discutida no Museu de Arte Contemporânea – MAC, em Niterói/RJ, tendo como temática a interrelação entreTransculturalidade, Arquitetura/Artes Visuais, Música e Teatro/Performance. Visando criar um diálogo interdisciplinar e reforçar relações transculturais, a Universidade Federal Fluminense, através de seu Programa de Pós-Graduação em Arquitetura e Urbanismo-PPGAU, da Escola de Arquitetura e Urbanismo-EAU, ao lado da UNIRIO, busca desenvolver atividades de pesquisa e de extensão com comunidades autócnes de indígenas e afro-descendentes.

O Professor Jacques Poulain, coordenador francês da cooperação técnica CAPES-Cofecub n. 752/12 abriu o seminário internacional “Museus e Transculturalidade: Novas Práticas Pós-Modernas”, realizado de 27 a 29 de maio de 2013 afirmando que a universidade permite o reforço da cultura socialista no ser humano ao favorecer o espírito crítico que se desenvolve através da filosofia, da literatura, da arte, da arquitetura e da estética com a cultura da comunicação e a história.

Tendo em vista as Diretrizes Curriculares Nacionais para Educação das Relações Étnico-Raciais e para o Ensino de História e Cultura Afro-Brasileira e Indígena (Lei n° 11.645 de 10/03/2008; Resolução CNE/CP N° 01 de 17 de junho de 2004), e a exigência pelo MEC de que a temática da História e Cultura Afro-Brasileira e Indígena seja incluída nas disciplinas e atividades curriculares dos cursos de graduação das universidades brasileiras, o seminário tem como uma de suas intenções indagar: Será possível inserir adequadamente as populações indígenas e afro-descendentes neste universo escolástico sob a ótica da globalização e da comunicação, tendo em vista as políticas do espaço público, a valorização do patrimônio imaterial pela UNESCO e sua decorrente educação cultural patrimonial?


Os sociólogos de direita de todas as nações descrevem os efeitos da mundialização através de uma primitivização das relações sociais e da redução das intersubjetividades a acões de consumo alimentar / sexual e agressivas da humanidade. Habermas e Gehlen descreveram este processo como a desintegração de todas as instâncias de autoridade (cf. POULAIN, 2012.).

Ocorre aqui um individualismo máximo onde o mundo é o indivíduo e se reduz a ele mesmo, e onde ocorre uma alienação que reduz o indivíduo ao mundo.  Assim, na tautologia, o homem só encontra aquilo que procura. Experimenta-se, então, a palavra como grau zero do parceiro, onde ele não fala e somente se submete aos valores da autoridade.

O futuro da humanidade pressupõe uma redução da racionalidade ética à uma racionalidade funcional aplicada à própria história. A falsidade da imagem filosófica decorre da identificação do ser humano com seu ideal moral, percebido como a vontade de submeter ao espírito o ser irracional dos desejos (cf. POULAIN, in op. cit., apud Max Weber). A experimentação cultural, sob a égide do consenso comunicativo democrático, submetida à ânsia do domínio moral de si mesmo e ao domínio tecnológico do mundo, cria uma imagem do homem como sendo autônomo dessas instâncias.

A experimentação da subjetividade se dá, portanto, através da comunicação e da afirmação do consenso. O consenso faz de nós reféns de nós mesmos: a crise do mundo moderno se baseia na crise de comunicação, com o fracasso de instituições comunicacionais e democráticas que criam uma tautologia de linguagens que procura minimizar os apetites pelo domínio de si mesmo através da palavra como elemento dominante na sociedade.

É dentro da ótica filosófica que o Museu Vivo pretende desvendar algumas pistas sobre as questões transculturais que perpassam o presente momento histórico do capitalismo tardio na sociedade complexa brasileira. Esta arte viva, mencionada por Mário Pedrosa (1978) para definir a pujança das culturas indígenas, pode ser simbolizada pela tensão entre o apolíneo e o dionisíaco como manifestações da arte e da vida, a qual está presente no pensamento de Friedrich Nietzsche e foi apresentada em sua primeira obra O Nascimento da Tragédia: ou Helenismo e Pessimismo, escrita em 1871.

Vilém Flusser, no livro Ficções Filosóficas de 1998, apropria-se deste conceito nietzschiano para expressar uma arte viva pós-moderna, caracterizada por duas revoluções arrasadoras: a telemática e a biotécnica. Como falar de inovação tecnológica ao tratar das culturas vivas nativas brasileiras na atualidade? No caso da pertinente discussão sobre uma arquitetura bioclimática ou verde, como buscar, então, inspiração nas Malocas indígenas amazônicas, xinguanas e do litoral?

Parece que arquitetos como Severiano Mário Porto já “estiveram lá” ao pesquisar técnicas tradicionais populares na habitação do Amazonas para criar novos protótipos de uma arquitetura inteligente adequada ao clima úmido e tórrido, com amplos telhados de cobertura vegetal que permitem a saída do ar quente e o resfriamento térmico do espaço interior. Será que é possível, a partir da revolução telemática discutida por Flusser, criar protótipos inovadores de Malocas Digitais, aonde a tecnologia de ponta se alia a técnicas construtivas milenares? Esta é uma das indagações feitas pelo atual projeto, inserido dentro da AGIR (Agência de Inovação) da PROPPi (Pró-Reitoria de Pesquisa, Pós-Graduação e Inovação) da Universidade Federal Fluminense.


A arquitetura de inspiração “barroca”, segundo Glauco Campello (2001), de Oscar Niemeyer, com suas formas circulares e espiraladas, acabou por influenciar a estrutura da arquitetura brasileira de caráter kitsch dos subúrbios cariocas e do interior do Nordeste e de Minas Gerais. A imagética desta arquitetura kitsch (Guimaraens & Cavalcanti, 2006) expressa uma estética mesclada aos princípios construtivos da arquitetura moderna de Niemeyer, a qual por sua vez incorpora posturas barrocas ao funcionalismo de Le Corbusier.

A presença de uma corrente de influência barroca luso-brasileira na obra de Niemeyer é caracterizada pelo uso de elementos de linhas curvas e de forma livre (cf. Underwood, 1992), tal como ocorre com a colunata do Palácio do Alvorada (1956-1958), em Brasília. Estas colunas foram inspiradas em redes estendidas ou em velas de barcos e se tornaram ícones do poder político federal, tendo seus elementos construtivos caído no gosto popular e sido copiados em fôrmas de gesso, dispostos maciçamente como decoração nas fachadas das casas das classes trabalhadoras em todo o país. Outros elementos absorvidos das obras estéticas e funcionais de Le Corbusier e Niemeyer foram o telhado plano e o telhado “borboleta” (teto em “v”, com uma calha central, onde a água da chuva é drenada), derivadas da estética das “máquinas-de-morar” modernistas.

O seminário internacional referido teve como ideia-chave homenagear a arquitetura-viva de Oscar Niemeyer, tendo selecionado como seu espaço de realização aquele que é considerado como um dos projetos mais expressivos deste arquiteto: o MAC-Niterói, ícone da cidade e da Prefeitura de Niterói. No decorrer de três dias, tivemos a oportunidade de vivenciar in loco os conceitos da filosofia transcultural de Jacques Poulain ao integrar acadêmicos, alunos, técnicos e agentes culturais indígenas e afro-descendentes em uma “experimentação total” universitária.

A “alegria triunfal” do Parangolé e da Tropicália baseia-se no experimentalismo plástico do barracão da escola-de-samba, indicando aquilo que Hélio Oiticica denomina como “lazer não-repressivo” que pode autofundar o indivíduo. O kitsch questiona a própria identidade brasileira: como se pode criar uma arte “autêntica” (artesanal e regional) através da incorporação de tendências internacionais (tecnológicas e globais)?  A postura antropofágica, de Oswald de Andrade a Hélio Oiticica-H.O., contrapõe a vanguarda estética ao consumo da cultura de massas.

O “ready-made” de Marcel Duchamp aproxima-se da estética kitsch ao enfatizar a “não-pureza” que mescla elementos arquitetônicos espúrios. O kitsch é, então, uma ANTIARTE: obra transitória que incorpora posturas do cotidiano. A estética experimental kitsch expressa o papel da cultura de massas como território de fronteira entre arte erudita e popular, representando uma “vanguarda de choque”.


A relação entre a imagem e o ser, enquanto estrutura social no espaço-tempo define as diferentes práticas artísticas como artes visuais, escultura, literatura, arquitetura, música e dança / performance. A reprodução excessiva de imagens visuais na história contemporânea simboliza a imagética típica, em termos estruturais e históricos, da civilização dos meios de comunicação de massa, embora não represente o poder discriminatório de uma era.

As imagens do Painel Transcultural traçadas por Duda Penteado e Fernando Pacheco, juntamente com o corpo discente da Escola de Arquitetura e Urbanismo-EAU da Universidade Federal Fluminense-UFF e com agentes indígenas da antiga Aldeia Maracanã, expressam um exercício criativo que encerrou este seminário internacional, no qual o diálogo entre as diferentes manifestações artísticas foi enfatizado.

Em geral, as notações gráficas, em todas as suas formas de expressão, são consideradas como instrumentos fundamentais do desenho artístico. “O pensamento visual” adota os conceitos de “imaginação interativa” e do “conceito figural” para reiterar sua rejeição de qualquer dicotomia entre a concepção do projeto e a gravação da imagem figurativa. Em outras palavras, a notação gráfica empregada para desenhar diagramas e croquis é entendida como sendo fundamental para a concepção do projeto deste painel.

O emprego de eixos e formas triangulares como elementos de composição é uma tradição nas artes visuais. O eixo imaginário estabelece uma linha de suporte que cria um tipo de relação entre as partes da composição, quando se define um tipo ideal de um “esqueleto” que apoia a concepção de valores primários de ordem, estabilidade e dominação. Com esta ênfase nos eixos, a ideia geométrica do Painel Transcultural se afirma pela redução da solução tradicional da rede reticulada em um sistema de rede que determina a organização e o layout dos elementos urbanos.

A expressão artística de algo desenhado no papel assumiu assim a forma de um meio ou a forma de um pensamento plástico, tal como ocorreu na proposta de Painel Transcultural realizado no MAC-Niterói em 29 de maio de 2013. Na concepção deste projeto visual, a conceituação do pensamento e o pensamento do desenho podem ser indicados pelo aforismo de Lucio Costa (1962) de que “o risco é um risco” – projeto.

O “risco” dos dois artistas plásticos estimulou a imaginação dita “ativa”, ou seja, uma imaginação com “vontade” (Bachelard, 1979). A concepção do projeto referiu-se aqui a uma atividade onde a notação gráfica aparece como um modo de discurso, ou seja, o discurso de um estilo poético que simboliza um dos quatro níveis de precisão propostos por Aristóteles: poética, retórica, dialética e analítica. Caracteriza-se tal discurso poético como sendo parte da imagem onde o gosto de hábitos convencionais se afirma como forma de ser que deve ser aceita como verdadeira temporariamente, ocasionando desta maneira a suspensão da descrença sobre a realidade imagética. A transição do mundo real, nas artes visuais, decorre do papel fundamental desempenhado pela atividade criadora do olho como órgão que estabelece um espaço comum para a arquitetura, a escultura e a pintura artística.

O essencial entre as três artes da arquitetura, escultura e pintura encontra-se no elemento que o teórico de arte e escultor alemão Hildebrand (apud Poulain, 2002) chama de impressões “arquitetônicas” e que representa a confluência da verticalidade, da horizontalidade e da profundidade como lei geral que constitui o espaço de composição. Sobre a percepção visual deste Painel Transcultural, pode-se estabelecer uma conexão com o mundo para responder à pergunta: o que é (re) apresentado pela imagem (real ou imaginária)? (Cany, 2008, p. 47-48).

A resposta clássica é que “o plano da consciência gráfica é que formaliza”, já a resposta tradicional afirma que “é o plano do inconsciente que se materializa” (Bachelard, in op. cit.). Caracteriza-se tal discurso poético, expresso neste Painel Transcultural, como sendo parte da imagem onde o gosto de hábitos convencionais se afirma como forma de ser que deve ser aceita como verdadeira temporariamente, ocasionando desta maneira a suspensão da descrença sobre a realidade imagética.

O Painel Transcultural nos fala, então, sobre a crença em uma sociedade multicultural brasileira, onde representantes de diferentes etnias, estratos sociais e níveis educacionais puderam interagir para construir um espaço dialógico e criativo no universo das artes plásticas, inspirados e contaminados pela forma circular-barroca contemporânea da arquitetura de Oscar Niemeyer.



AMARAL, Aracy. “500 Anos de Carência” in Textos do Trópico de Capricórnio. Artigos e Ensaios (1980-2005). Vol. 2: circuitos de arte na América Latina e no Brasil. São Paulo, Editora 34, 2006.

ARANTES, Otília (org.). Textos escolhidos – Acadêmicos e Modernos (vol. 3). São Paulo, EDUSP, 2004.

AGIER, Michel. Antropologia da Cidade: lugares, situações, movimentos. SP, Editora Terceiro Nome, 2011.

BACHELARD, Gaston. A Poética do Espaço. São Paulo, Abril Cultural, Coleção Os Pensadores, 1979.

CAMPELLO, Glauco de Oliveira. O Brilho da Simplicidade: Dois Estudos sobre Arquitetura Religiosa no Brasil Colonial. Rio de Janeiro, Casa da Palavra-Departamento Nacional do Livro, 2001.

CANCLINI, Néstor García. “La modernidad después de la posmodernidad”, in BELLUZZO, Ana Maria (org.), Modernidade: vanguardas artísticas na América Latina. Sao Paulo, UNESP/Memorial da América Latina, 1990.

CANY, Bruno. “Perspective Musicale”, préface in LYOTARD, Jean-François. Que peindre? Paris, Hermann Éditeurs, Collection Hermann – Philosophie, 2008.

COSTA, Lúcio. Sobre a Arquitetura. Porto Alegre, Centro de Estudos Universitários de Arquitetura, 1962.

FEITOSA, Charles. Du nihilisme europeene selon Nietzsche au nihilsme brésilienne selon Flusser. Paris, CAPES-Cofecub, 2012.

FLUSSER, Vilém. Ficções Filosóficas. São Paulo, EDUSP, 1998.

NIETZSCHE, Friedrich Wilhelm. O Nascimento da Tragédia, ou Helenismo e Pessimismo. Trad., notas e posfácio de Jacó Guinsburg. São Paulo, Companhia das Letras, 1992 (1871).

GUIMARAENS, Dinah. Do Kitsch à Metafísica: Arquitetura, Estética e Imagética Transculturais. Niterói, PPGAU-UFF, 2013.

(Org.) Museu de Arte e Origens: Mapa das Culturas Vivas Guaranis. Rio de Janeiro, Contracapa/FAPERJ, 2003.

GUIMARAENS, Dinah & CAVALCANTI, Lauro. Arquitetura Kitsch Suburbana e Rural. Rio de Janeiro, Paz e Terra, 2006.

HILDEBRAND, Adolf. Le problème de la forme dans les arts plastiques. Préface de Jacques Poulain. Traduit de l’allemande par Éliane Beaufils. Paris, L’Harmattan, 2002.

PEDROSA, Mário. Discurso aos Tupiniquins ou Nambás. Paris, 1978.

POULAIN, Jacques. «  L’enjeu d’une anthropologie interculturelle pour une esthétique transculturelle ». Texto inédito apresentado no Seminário Internacional « Museus e Transculturalidade: Novas Práticas Pós-Modernas”. Niterói, MAC, 2013.

La Neutralisation du Jugement ou la Critique Pragmatique de la Raison Politique. Paris, L´Harmattan, 2012.

De l’Homme: Elements d’Anthropobiologie Philosophique du Language. Paris, Les Éditions du Cerf, 2001.

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UNDERWOOD, David. Oscar Niemeyer e o modernismo de formas livres no Brasil. São Paulo, Cosac&Naify, 2002.







November 2, 2013   Comments Off on BRAZIL/As It Is

Andy Summers/Photography-Interview

Shanghai May 2013©Andy Summers


“Del Mondo”

“Police” guitarist’s other passion

 by Ginger Liu

 Andy Summers shared a love for both music and photography from as early as the late 1970s. As the guitarist in one of the biggest bands of the 20th century – The Police – his photography became an extension of his music.
andyWhile the band toured the world, Summers documented behind the scenes, giving an intimate, personal and unique point of view that could not be captured by hired press. Much later, after The Police stopped touring and stopped making music as a band, Summers produced with Taschen (2007) “I’ll Be Watching You: Inside The Police 1980-1983.” His first photography book of the band and their travels was “Throb” (William Morrow & Company, 1983), currently out of print. Since the band’s demise, Summers has been productive in both solo music projects and photography, the latter of which has extended his art to numerous exhibitions, magazine essays, photography publications and recently, keynote presentations of his work.

For his exhibition at Leica Los Angeles, Summers presents his global travels through a series of striking black and white portraits. You won’t find any images of music in this project, instead we see people and places and gritty raw realities of people’s lives in many parts of Asia.

I spoke to Andy about his upcoming exhibition in Los Angeles, his use of Leica and his photographic process.

GL: Tell me about your upcoming exhibition at Leica Gallery Los Angeles and what we can expect to see?

AS: I am pleased to be exhibiting at the new Leica gallery in LA, as I have been a Leica photographer for many years now. Therefore, to show in the new and  first Leica gallery in LA is a distinct pleasure and seems fitting. All the photos in the show are shot with Leica and will be a selection from around the world in the last few years.

GL: When did your love affair with photography, and in particular Leica, begin?

AS: My true pursuit of photography began in the early eighties. I used a Reflex cameras as I started out but switched to the Leica Rangefinder a couple of years later when introduced to it by Ralph Gibson.





GL: From the images I’ve seen in this exhibition, people feature in many of them. Is this a conscious point of view?

AS: There is no conscious shooting of people; it would depend on the situation and if it ignites something in  me.

GL: What is your method in setting up an image? Is it a fleeting visit and taking photographs of what you see, and/or do you enter into dialogue with your subject for background information?

AS: It can be both. The real preparation is the effort that one puts into developing photography skills over the years, or seeing photographic possibilities as part of some larger progression.

GL: Which city, town or country has been your most inspiring place to photograph so far?

AS: The inspiration for a photograph is not tied to one town or city, but rather something could be anywhere that grabs one’s visual imagination.

GL: Which photographers have and still do inspire you?

AS: Ralph Gibson, Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Henri Cartier Bresson.

GL: From your upcoming exhibition in Los Angeles, can you choose an image to describe its subject matter and creative process?

AS: I wouldn’t pick out one; rather I would say that they are all facets of the process. First being in a situation that is  visually stimulating and that may involve shooting rapidly or waiting for a scene to develop visually,  i.e., the shapes become better inside the frame, the light improves or whatever it is that you recognize  as more compelling.

GL: What more can we expect to see from your photography in 2014?

AS: No doubt I will travel with my Leica monochromatic and  see what comes up…more images from China, probably.


“Andy Summers – Del Mondo” opens at the Leica Gallery Los Angeles with an opening reception on November 9, 2013 from 6pm – 8pm and the exhibition runs to January 4, 2014.  Andy Summers will present an artist talk on December 14 at 6pm.

Leica Gallery Los Angeles
8783 Beverly Blvd.
West Hollywood CA 90048

See also:

About the interviewer:

Ginger Liu is a contributing editor to Ragazine.CC.  You can read more about her in “About Us.”


November 2, 2013   1 Comment

Jennifer Georgescu/Photography

Sand, Stones, Dead Leaves & Bone-Untitled # 13©Jennifer Georgescu

Sand, Stones, Dead Leaves & Bone #13


Dabbling in Nature


Sand, Stones, Dead Leaves & Bone


It seems that while that we can recognize that we are a part of nature, there is evidence of a disconnect taking place. We have no solid definition of what it is that we claim to be a part of, and rationality is privileged over wildness and chaos. We set aside small areas of land for enjoyment, we pay to see caged animals; we want to “dabble” in nature so that we can feel closer to it. “Sand, Stones, Dead Leaves & Bone” examines our relationship to nature and the anxiety that comes from our lack of contact with it.

Presented in this project are slightly unsettling images of humans being engulfed by nature and vice versa; attractive and repulsive in their approach.  This dualism suggests that perhaps we fear nature might win if we don’t dominate it, while at the same time alluding to the acceptance of not being in control. Through the use of medium format film photography, installation, and digital technology, I explore “backyard” suburban nature and the integration of the physical and mental self into its surroundings.

– Jennifer Georgescu


Jennifer Georgescu / Photography


Jennifer Georgescu’s work describes instinctual aspects of humanity correlating to and differing from societal structuring.  With a background in painting and photographic arts, she utilizes medium format film photography, installation, and digital technology.  Her projects analyze dualisms in language, relationships, mythologies and control. “I often search for the balance that exists in between these dichotomies.  This is how I view humanity; always teetering on the line between fiction and reality, domination and submissiveness, self and other.”

After obtaining a BFA from Watkins College of Art and Design in 2008, Georgescu was awarded a year long residency at Vanderbilt University “Gallery F.”  She has received numerous awards from Artist Portfolio Magazine, the Camera Obscura Journal of Literature and Photography and the Julia Margaret Cameron Award.  Her works have recently been exhibited in the Masur Museum of Art, the Midwest Center for Photography, and PhotoPlace Gallery.

See Georgescu’s work  at:

November 2, 2013   1 Comment

Gabriel Navar/Art-Interview




The Obsessions

of Gabriel Navar

Interview with the artist

by Mike Foldes

Q) Gabe, we first met a little more than a year ago at the closing party of the We Are You Project art exhibit at Kenkeleba on the Lower East Side of New York. You and your mentor, Mel Ramos, both have pieces in that traveling exhibit. How did you happen to get connected with WAYP?

A) We became involved because I responded to an exhibition (We Are You Project)  opportunity that sounded intriguing….  I sent an image and corresponded with the exhibition members, mainly Dr. José Rodeiro; he was (and is) very gracious and accommodating!

Q) Can you tell us a little about your background, where you grew up and went to school?

A) I grew up, primarily, in California; but more specifically, in Oakland, CA. I went to school at St. Elizabeth Elementary and High School. Then, I attended Encinal High School  (as a Junior and Senior) before attending College of Alameda (CA), where I earned an A.A. Degree in Social Sciences (1990), California University State University, East Bay (Hayward) (1992); and, finally, San Jose State University (MFA, 1997)


Gabriel Navar V9N6

Interview and gallery V9N6 2013


Q) Were your parents artists? Who encouraged you to pursue art as a livelihood? Couldn’t you have picked a more difficult career path?

A) No… My parents were not artists…. not sure how I became interested in art… must have been the local Catholic church, tv (cartoons, mainly) and/or the graffiti street walls… I remember enjoying crayons, “finger” paints, and spray-paint cans as a young(er) person.

Q) For the past year or so, at least, you’ve been generating a compendium of images featuring smart phones.  For awhile, I thought you were too much engaged with that core, but then I realized everywhere I walk, in New York, in Binghamton, Washington…. everyone is carrying on a romance with his or her phone. It’s frightening. Yet, your paintings go beyond just the image of a person with a phone to mix classical poses and pop articles, all representative of a special time, a peculiar renaissance of the 21st Century. How did you happen to become so obsessed? Did you have a series in mind at the beginning

A) Great observation…. I am not so sure that I am obsessed as much as what may be observed (in terms of obsessions… better stated as “addictions” to texting, facebooking, tweeting, blogging, and so on)… My paintings are,  more than anything, observations (even while observing my own obsessive “addictions”)… therefore, my work reflects not necessarily critiques, but, more specifically, observations and, in most cases, celebrations, critiques and  disappointments. By the way, I rarely think about a series in the beginning… I simply go with the flow and try to observe a connection in what I have been working on after a while (that means, for me, after perhaps 3-5 paintings).

Q) What is your preferred medium? What is it about that medium that “says it” for you?

A) My preferred medium is acrylics and pencils…..  the main reason for my interest in acrylics is that they dry relatively quickly and I am able to work and layer quickly…. I don’t have too much of an attention span ( I often am ready to move on to other ideas), patience and allergy-intolerance for oils…  I often use oil paints mostly for finishing glazes and details (due to my allergic reactions to them).

Q) I understand you recently moved and that it was quite a stressful time. What’s it like working in the new studio, compared with the old one

A) Fortunately, my new studio is just about the same (actually a bit bigger in square footage) than my former studio; therefore, moving studios is a sort of “non-issue.”

Q) How much has your heritage influenced your life and work? Do you consider yourself American-Hispanic, Hispanic American, Hispanic or American? Or, “None of the above.

 A) First and foremost, I simply consider myself a “citizen of the earth” and, simply put,  an artist. Any “heritage” influence is, of course, absolutely welcome and I am extremely proud (because it is “in my blood,” so to speak). Regarding “labels” and stereotypes (or, tragically, pigeon-holing), I only consider myself a Hispanic-American or a Californian, or an American artist for “marketing” and exhibition purposes, because, for an artist, being part of a group (or “clique”) may at times be beneficial.

Q) You also write poetry. Do you find the motivation or inspiration to write or paint are much the same, or is it a different force that steers you in one direction or another

A) Painting and writing have been a part of what I do for many, many years. However, I have been more enamored with painterly materials – more so than pens/pencils have been for writing.



G Navar 2


Q) What advice would have to offer a younger person considering a career in the arts?

A) The main thing that I would offer anyone considering a career in the arts is to pursue the arts not necessarily as a career, but as a life decision where one must see art and culture as a passion to pursue wholeheartedly (for life… not as a vocation or as a career).

Q) If you had to “do it over again,” would you take the same path? If not, what would you have done, or do, differently? 

A) My immediate answer is, no regrets! My only “stumbling area” is that I wish I would not have purchased a house at the “wrong” time” (in 2005, before the housing “bubble burst”), and not have taken a full-time teaching job that same year in a town so far from my beloved SF/Bay Area.  In retrospect, I should have stayed in the vibrant, energizing, culturally-rich and diverse SF/Bay Area and not moved to the Central Coast. On the plus side, since the Central Coast is very mellow, I have been able to concentrate and focus on developing my artistic “voice” without too many distractions. I am, by the way, still “searching”…. (it’s part of the fun creative challenge that I live for as an artist).

Q) Anything we didn’t touch on you’d like to comment about? 

A) No… but, perhaps, I’d like to say that I absolutely love what I do as an image-maker (whether it is through painting or through words).

Thank you very much!


Artist’s note:

“Regarding my wife, Heidi Schmitt…. she has been in my life for many years and has been not only an inspiration but also a great supporter and ally… there is much that may be said here, but the main things I wish to state is that she has not only been a muse, model, photographer, but also a web-site guru and mastermind (for, as well as social media comrade (mainly for facebook, twitter, tumbler, twitter, pintrest and wordpress)…. Regarding my parents, well, they were always pleased as long as I “stayed out of trouble” and pursued my education…. no matter what the subject (they, once again, were not exposed to “art”). Regarding my writing, I’ve been doing it as long as my poainting (the late ’80’s)…. however, I have not had the same discipline for writing as I have had for drawing and painting. As far as teaching is concerned, it may be fun at times… I’ve been teaching since the Summer of 2000. ) I’ve been teaching at the College level courses that include Painting, Drawing, Art Appreciation/Survey, Mexican Art History, Design, Color Theory… teaching is inspiring for me because it is usually and often a stimulating and inspiring opportunity to not only learn something new (from history, current-events, students, etc.), but also an opportunity to engage with a handful of up-and-coming, moitivated individuals who are absolutely interested in pursuing art! This milieu is invigorating to me!”


sky’s streams

swim, swim open flow
wavy stream dizzy streak
wet, lazy lake throw
moon beam goose beak

gravy stream fashions crow, so sleek!
Pleiades-gleam, life-tree freak
crocodilian, red-eyed, red-lined escrow
moss-pebbled twigs, mud-creeked, gray-slicked
tumbled, liked, un-liked, poked, tweeted, pinned, googled, youtubed,
huddled-down, heavy rain, perpetual seeking,

yet unsought, fleeting thoughts,
but not lost, just unrest…
when lost, though, found,
then lost again

words are seedlings, forests over forests

a sea inside claws away
at the belly, the cheeks
tongue licks the eyes, wandering pink
swim stream dizzy, night’s thousand creeks

sky screams
blue then white then gold
swim swim, flow moon’s hold
sing, muse, sing love-long beams
string string along life-strong dreams

strong dreams…
app 4 better days

the dream I swim is a moonless
marmalade of purple hues,
a limp proxy for night,
shove down the cave-throat
of a day dried weary…

throw a color-bomb at me, yes !
directly at my rain-craved brain,
because these days have been khaki-washed,
graffiti-less and chewed,
not unlike decayed, carved pumpkins…
pale-orange, gray and dreary…

drenched and stormed under
a star-rise spell, twitter-ville
is streaming, spinning, new bull-shit
has gone viral,
shoved down the cyber-throat
of consciousness gone
humorously eerie…
© G. Navar 


About the interview:

This interview was conducted via e-mail in September and October 2013. Mike Foldes is founder and managing editor of Ragazine.CC. You can read more about him in “About Us”.



November 2, 2013   1 Comment

Fred Roberts – World Out of Control


Decoder (1984)


Der Protest

by Fred Roberts

Did you ever watch a pot of water come to a boil? First the water is still, then there are a few bubbles, then more and in more places, and all of a sudden many, until finally the boiling point is reached and the water is in a constant state of turmoil. This is what a recent viral video reminded me of, a project by Penn State doctoral candidate John Beieler mapping global protests from 1979 to the present day. It makes sense. Anywhere you look there is something to be concerned about. Corporations out of control, banks out of control, militarization of the police, mass NSA spying, prison as a business model, war as a business model, fracking, mass oil spills, nuclear meltdowns and melt-throughs, genetically corrupted food, global warming, dysfunctional government and a complacent media trying its best to make us feel good along the way to the catastrophe.

In this article I want to share some encounters I’ve made with political statements in music and film in the German language, representing different approaches but sharing a common goal: change.

A German film released in 1984 – “Decoder”, was just about 30 years ahead of its time. It is a must see today: a counterculture film of post-punk protest – surely not one to catch on in the mainstream of the mid 1980s. Too radical, although indeed the film did make its mark in Italy. During Italy’s period of social unrest an early version of the chaos club showed the film at all of its events and garnered it a faithful cult following. The film was inspired by the writings of William S. Burroughs and includes tracks by Einstürzende Neubauten, Soft Cell and The The, with additional music composed especially for the film by members of Soft Cell (Genesis P-Orridge and Dave Ball) and of Einstürzende Neubauten (FM Einheit, Alexander Hacke, and Jon Caffery). Burroughs had a small role in the film, as well, which is an unimpeachable confirmation of the film’s integrity. The lack of distribution apart from the Italian exception counts the film as a forgotten classic today.

The film is set in a dystopian present in which muzak is used to hold the population under control. The imagery is of fascism, a howling wind, a nameless agent walking along an urban landscape into a faceless bureaucracy, then through endless, anonymous corridors. It looks creepy and hypermodern. Many shadows. The lighting creates a dark mood, similar as in films like “Blade Runner” or the TV series “Max Headroom.”

The main character, FM Einheit, discovers that by playing back certain music/sounds, he can counteract the muzak and cause people to revolt. He carries out his experiments in, of all places, a fast food restaurant. All the while he is pursued by the shadowy agent (Bill Rice) out to eliminate him, but also following an obsession with FM Einheit’s girlfriend, played by Christine F, of the famed book “Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo.” In a key scene, Genesis P-Orridge states: “Information is like a bank. Some of us are rich. Some of us are poor with information. All of us can be rich. Our job, your job, is to rob the bank, to kill the guards, to go out there to destroy everybody who keeps and hides the whole information… Information. Power!” Later, during the riotous endgame, one of the leaders reflects the converse of this idea: There will be no news blackout. It is an information blackout.

The film metaphorically portrays today’s powers as they stand before us with the curtain drawn back and their masks torn away. This has been brought about as much by the lack of real change over the decades as by the new awareness given by Wikileaks and Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations. “Decoder” captures the moment of the boiling point when the powers that be are no longer able to control the masses. This is what makes the film so remarkable and essential viewing today. There has been a US DVD release of the film, albeit out of print, but according to the film’s author Klaus Maeck, a European DVD release is planned for 2014.

Georg Kreisler

Anyone who is a fan of Tom Lehrer will probably be astonished to learn about Georg Kreisler (1922-2011). Kreisler was a Jewish-Austrian who emigrated to America with his parents in 1938 just after Hitler had taken Georg_Kreisler_detailover in Austria. Kreisler began performing macabre, sarcastic songs in a similar vein to Lehrer but by the mid 1950s returned to Austria, continuing the same in German, developing over the years a repertoire of several hundred songs of social and political criticism, ironic, satirical and often quite dark texts. Kreisler coined the term “everblacks” for this type of song. His performances were cabaret style, accompanying himself on piano. In learning about his work, I came across many gems with head-on attacks on the reality of society’s institutions. It is punk protest in a charming, old-school manner, often praising his targets to death. Many of the songs were banned from radio and according to an intro to one of his songs, Austrian state radio was reluctant to play even his apparently harmless songs, as they were afraid he might be saying something they did not understand.

Some examples: “Der Euro” (1996) starts by listing all the historical landmarks of Europe which will soon fade into oblivion, overshadowed by the all-powerful Euro. “Who needs culture when you have the Euro? It can bribe politicians, build banks rising to the stars. It can build McDonalds and military barracks, poets will die for it and the masses will learn to worship it.”

Another song is a chilling psychogram of a sociopathic politician: “Der Politiker.” With each verse he captures some aspect we will recognize in some politician somewhere: “I see homeless freezing under bridges, unemployed who are ashamed before their own children, war refugees, burning villages, and freshly raped women. My one thought in all this: How can I help my party?” Another remarkable song laments the fact that there is a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, and also to nearly every class of person, but not a society for the prevention of cruelty to the police: “If a student goes for a walk before parliament / He should desist and cease / Let’s protect the police.” Over and over he decries ad absurdum, “who will protect the police?”

Those songs are just the tip of the iceberg. I ventured a translation of one of Kreisler’s works which struck me as the most bitterly sarcastic song I’d ever heard. As I translated, it terrified me that this is a perfect snapshot of America today. Do I need to give examples? Warning: the language is graphic and racist:

Shoot them Dead
If you see a nigger ape –
Shoot him dead!
If your neighbor looks agape –
Shoot him dead!
You don’t have to be ashamed
You will never once be blamed –
Shoot them simply stone cold dead!
Turkish, Kurdish, Lebanese, and sometimes white –
Worthless human specimens are a blight
Communists and anarchists and bleeding hearts –
Don’t you lose your sleep at night!
Attorneys and employees and pacifists –
Anyone who still believes that good exists
In the gutter, in the trash!
With a weapon flash!
Does someone have prosthetic legs –
Shoot him dead!
Has he joined the reader dregs –
Shoot him dead!
Homeless bums or slacker swine
And the Gypsies first in line
Shoot them simply stone code dead!
Don’t come to me with democrats –
Gas them, squash them!
Let them die like traitor rats –
No one wants them!
Father, mother, sisters, brothers, and old friends
There’s something you need them for?
Pastors, teachers, city libruls –
kill and crate them!
All the stupid poet souls –
Eliminate them!
Know one thing: you are strong!
All the rest are wrong!
Let’s go to war in foreign places –
Shoot them dead!
Decimate entire races –
Shoot them dead!
When they’re in the cemetery
You will feel so legendary –
So shoot them stone cold dead!
Stone cold dead –
Eats no bread
Get them and shoot them dead!


Songs like this unmask a harsh reality, make us uncomfortable, and hopefully catalyze us into effective action. Another key song of Kreisler’s “Vorletztes Lied” (Next to Last Song) captures the idea that it is too late to write songs, jokes, words to change the establishment. It is time to do something. That is where we are today.




gustav-hamburg-pudel by robin hinsch

Photo by Robin Hinsch:


Austria, the land that gave us Gustav Mahler and Gustav Meyrink also gives us the lady Gustav. Gustav is the pseudonym under which electronic musician Eva Jantschitsch writes and performs songs that follow on the idea of Kreisler’s “Vorletztes Lied.” Her texts (in both English and German) are determined attempts to slap us out of our stupor before it is too late, and in some cases with the undertone that it already is. Her debut “Rettet die Wale” (Save the Whales) was released late 2004 and became an immediate favorite of mine. The American war against Iraq was in full drive and headlines sometimes took on surrealistic proportions. In 2008 she followed up with “Verlass die Stadt” (Leave the City), but most of her time in the past years has been devoted to theater projects.

The first song on her debut “We Shall Overcome” is a cousin to the civil rights song of the same name. It is about seeing through the superficialities of modern society and breaking the chains of manipulation, to ultimately overcome the repression. It also immediately establishes her style of songwriting. Most of her songs are a challenge to interpret. The texts bombard the listener with the same idea presented in different ways in semi-enigmatic references, for example: “when all the beauty just seems to be wrong”, “we dance to their music”, “we all are invited to their big bingo show.” The advantage: the songs stay up to date and allow listeners to relate the ideas to their own perceptions. Some songs have a strong feminist message: “One Hand Mona” describes the situation of a woman becoming a man’s wife, calling it the same as losing an arm (ceasing to be his equal) – the modern violin accompaniment lends an extreme sense of urgency to the situation. “Mein Bruder” is like a song out of the end times of permanent war, repeating the mantra “my brother was an American patriot, brave, strong, a believer, family man and pilot” alternating it with the details and repercussions of his death in battle.

The loveliest and most fascinating song on the album is “Rettet die Wale” (Save the whales), with sugar sweet vocals and orchestral accompaniment, it sounds like a sister to Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” but is instead an aggressive attack on complacency and the idea that by correctly sorting your garbage and using all the politically correct terms you will save the world. Gustav performed in Hamburg several weeks ago and sang it like a long, slow kiss with the audience. The final suggestion, take each other by the hand and make love every day, has the implication that maybe all we have left to make this world a better place is to reach out to one another on an individual level.

Her concert at Hamburg’s Golden Pudel Club was also the occasion for me to learn about her newer songs including a lullaby about the riders of the apocalypse and the amazing “Soldatin oder Veteran.” It is classic Gustav, asking the question: are you a good soldier, or a veteran of that belief? Are you a conformist or a fighter? The idea is presented again and again in diverse variations: when you dream are you someone who resists? It’s the kind of song that makes you want to open a club, just to play it – because it rocks that much.

Gustav has received positive reviews for rescuing the genre of protest songs, but her songs are not exactly protests. They are not songs to sing at the demonstrations but rather to get us there. In a sense we are living in Metropolis and Gustav is Maria, calling us into action.

Gustav’s Website:


Maybe contemporary events are so far along now that we can only despair. I hope not, but to paraphrase Georg Kreisler, the time for writing songs has long passed. It is time for action. Gustav’s music is a wakeup call to all those who have missed that message. The film Decoder shows us the prerequisite for change. We need to fully understand what is going on in the world in order to correct it. So what do we do now? Something, I hope.


About the reviewer:

Fred Roberts, contributing Music Editor.  A native of Cincinnati living in Germany since 1987, Fred enjoys subverting the arbitrary commercial process in which great works often go unrecognized.  He is creator and designer of, an award-winning AI system. His interests include literature, film, photography and discovering all the well-kept secrets Europe has to offer. You can read more about him in About Us.


November 2, 2013   Comments Off on Fred Roberts – World Out of Control

Jeff Katz/Music

david wax

David Wax Museum at City Winery

* * *

Dancing Girl

 by Jeff Katz

Why do we get so angry at the lone girl dancing at a concert?

I was at a David Wax Museum in Albany, a great show, exciting, very danceable. The Linda is a fairly austere place, a former bank building, with about 175 seats set up facing the stage. There’s room on the side for circular tables and, if so inclined, dancing. There were a few who took advantage of the that space, but when David Wax encouraged everyone to get up, for their own circulatory health, one girl sauntered to the front and there she stayed, dancing, spinning, arms out and up Ed Grimley style. It was fine when she wasn’t in the way, but when she moved to the front and center of the seated crowd the guy behind us in the second row, who had committed his own transgression with loud and boring conversation about his pets’ diarrhea and a discourse on the relative hardness of bluestone vs. slate. (My son Joey asked me “What’s it like being an adult? Does your conversation have to turn boring?”), shouted “Crazy person here.”

“Over there, or do you mean me?” dancing girl answered with a sneer. “I’m having a great time.”

That’s the issue. It’s not only that she blocked our view but she clearly felt her level of enjoyment was superior because she was dancing and we weren’t. And there’s so much attention gathering – front and center, talking to the band, not in typical shout out fashion, but conversational.

“Sue,” she began, as if she and the band’s fiddler/singer/donkey jawbone percussion player Sue Slezak was interested in a mid-show tete-a-tete. Or when David Wax said this was the second show of the fall tour and I t was exciting.

“It is exciting!” the dancer agreed, as if this were a one on one over coffee.

Towards the end of the show, the girl, still right in front of us, grabbed Joey, who wasn’t sure what to do but, good sport that he is, he got up and twirled her around. Later he told me her breath reeked of alcohol.

The hostility the dancing girl engendered reminded me of a similar situation. A trippy girl put herself right in front of the expensive seats at a Bob Dylan/Paul Simon, antagonizing everyone to the point where people threw shit at her.

It’s not simply pure enthusiasm, “happy feet” as Steve Martin used to say. If it was, no one would have a problem with it. It’s the smugness, the “Hey, look at me!” vibe that is either understood or said flat out, the in-your-face attitude that the lone dancing girl is better than the rest of the audience, because she gets it and we all need to see what she gets. That’s what pisses people off, always.


About the author:

Jeff Katz is music editor of Ragazine.CC.  Born in Brooklyn, Katz now writes about music, baseball and whatever else he’s obsessing on from his home base in Cooperstown, New York. You can read more about him in “About Us.”

November 2, 2013   Comments Off on Jeff Katz/Music

Photo Editor’s Choice / Nov-Dec 2013




Diamonds & Pearls

Marc Lagrange

79705_1Courtesy of teNeues. Photo © 2013 Marc Lagrange

Château Lagrange, 2006

79705_2Courtesy of teNeues. Photo © 2013 Marc Lagrange

Erotic Lady, 2012

79705_3Courtesy of teNeues. Photo © 2013 Marc Lagrange

Millionaire Woman, 2009


Feeling Toxic, Seeking Beauty

Praise be to the nude photographer whose image enlivens our day with the sensuousness of women. Who provides windows one can project into as thematically and naturally as the grand images of Teton lakes captured by Ansel Adams. Who capture fragments of the feminine mystique that are as much inspiration as aspiration — for don’t we all, in work and life, aspire to discover, if not attain, some higher level of beauty?

Belgian photographer Marc Lagrange shares his own erotic revelations in a new book from Teneus publishing, lagrangeDiamonds & Pearls. The table-top hardcover, in  208 pages, features photographs of models, captivating in their own right, whose magnetism is suitably amplified by glitter, setting, glamour and costume. Shooting with his favored Leica camera (there is an exhibition of the photographs in the book on exhibit at the Leica Gallery in Frankfurt, Germany),  Lagrange employed an experienced team of designers, makeup artists, models and other assistants to set up scenes that cultivate the lasciviousness of O, suggest the gifts of early love, and aptly convey the power of the modern corporate boardroom, as some of the accompanying images attest.

Victoria can keep her secrets…. I’ll take Diamonds & Pearls.

All photographs © Diamonds & Pearls by Marc Lagrange, published by teNeues, Photo © 2013 Marc Lagrange. All rights reserved


bookcoverDiamonds & Pearls

11 1/8 x 14 in.|  208 pages | Hardcover with jacket | 120 color and duotone photographs

Book available at:

 Exhibition at Leica Gallery Frankfurt,, Rahn AG Foto & Fine Art, Am Salzhaus 2, 60311 Frankfurt till December 31st, 2013.


For the PHOTOGRAPHY spot submissions, please see guidelines at

November 2, 2013   Comments Off on Photo Editor’s Choice / Nov-Dec 2013

Seamus Heaney/A Memoir


Irish poet and Nobel Prize winner Seamus Heaney at the University College Dublin, February 11, 2009. Wikipedia Commons Photo.


Seamus Heaney,

Man of Words and Grace

John Smelcer

Seamus Heaney, the Irish Nobelist who epitomized the poet, shook off his mortal coil on August 30, 2013. He was widely eulogized. English poet Andrew Motion stated on BBC that “Seamus was person of exceptional grace,” and playwright Tom Stoppard wrote in The Guardian that “Seamus never had a sour moment, neither in person nor on paper.” After an almost two-decade-long friendship with the great bard, including sharing a traditional Irish supper of bangers and mash at a Temple Bar pub in Dublin only a few years before his death, I can tell you of an instance that might cast some doubt on a life of “grace” without “a sour moment,” if only provisionally. But this isn’t a story of grievance or criticism; it’s a story about character, about being magnanimous and big enough to apologize.

As I said, Seamus was my friend. But it didn’t begin that way; in fact, it began quite the opposite. Professor Heaney almost destroyed my career. To tell the story, I have to back up almost two decades ago, to the fall of 1996. I had only recently been named poetry editor at Rosebud magazine, then a fledging start-up with only a handful of back issues to brag about. To impress the editor-in-chief and publisher with my competence, I wanted to land a poem by a major poet. I had my sights set on Seamus Heaney, who had received the Nobel Prize for Literature the year before. I learned that Professor Heaney divided his year between teaching at Harvard in the fall semester and teaching at Trinity University in Dublin in the spring. Being late fall, I wrote to him at Harvard asking to publish his poetry. I included a couple copies of Rosebud. Professor Heaney received the letter just before leaving Boston to go home for Christmas. He hastily replied, sending me a translation of an old Gaelic poem entitled “I am Raferty” accompanied by a kind letter on Harvard stationery expressing his gratitude and telling me to send his complimentary copies (and honorarium) to his address in Ireland.

Needless to say, the folks at Rosebud were ecstatic.

Months later—I recall it was late February, 1997—after mailing the proofs and payment as promised, Rosebud’s editor-in-chief, Rod Clark, received a phone call from the Nobelist himself. Let’s just say the tone wasn’t appreciative. Instead, The Great Poet was charging that had I stolen his poem. He accused me of somehow infiltrating his office and stealing the poem from a manuscript he was then completing.

I was far from my home in Alaska at the time, in Atlanta at the time, giving a reading of my poetry at some college when Rod called me to relate the news. At first I sat on the edge of my motel bed, dumbfounded, as he fervently related his phone conversation with Professor Heaney. As I listened, anxiety and panic swelled inside me. Eventually, I got up and paced the room, wearing a thin path into the cheap carpet. As a teacher of poetry, I often remind students of the importance of poetry, citing another poet-Nobelist, Octavio Paz, who said that “poetry is an operation capable of changing the world.” In spite of my personal belief in poetry’s value, I found it hard to imagine that Professor Heaney actually believed that I had flown to Harvard, climbed into a campus building window at night clad in black and with a flashlight in hand, jimmied open the door to his office, and, like a practiced cat burglar, rifled through his dark office in search of a poem to steal and later publish for the world to see. If that wasn’t audacious enough, I’d also send copies of the magazine to the unknowing victim with accompanying honorarium.

I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

Was this some kind of prank?

But Rod assured me this was no joking matter. Despite our growing friendship, I couldn’t help but wonder if he was asking himself what the hell kind of mess had I got the magazine into?

Despite my skepticism that Seamus believed that I had purloined one of his poems, the laureate was adamant, threatening legal action. Could this crazy quarrel damage Rosebud’s future? Would it destroy my blossoming career as a professor of literature and creative writing? My future literally hung in the uncertain outcome.

I felt like throwing up.

I assured Rod that I had secured the poem properly. That’s when I pulled my ace in the hole, so to speak. I told him that back home in Anchorage, Alaska I had Professor Heaney’s letter on Harvard stationery in a Harvard envelope, postmarked from Harvard’s mail room. But I was thousands of miles away and wouldn’t return home for days. The issue at hand demanded prompt action to avert a lawsuit. Frantically, I called home and left a message for my wife to fax the letter and envelope cover to Rod. Meanwhile, outraged at the false assertion made by Seamus and armed with this knowledge, Rod called Professor Heaney’s assistant at Harvard and related our discussion. It is my understanding that some very tart exchanges took place.

Eventually, the indisputable evidence was faxed to Professor Heaney’s assistant at Harvard, who subsequently faxed it to Ireland. On seeing the letter and his signature, Seamus remembered what had happened. In his haste to pack up his Harvard office to leave for Dublin for Christmas, he had forgotten that he had sent me the poem at all. Needless to say, he apologized profusely, sending Rod a three-page letter of apology. The fax included a personal letter to me, as well. I think Seamus clearly recognized not only his own error, but also the hell he must have put me through—undeservedly to be sure. To make amends, Seamus asked how he could make it up to me. I asked him to write a blurb for a poetry book I was then completing (Songs from an Outcast), but he declined, telling me it had become his policy not to write blurbs for other writers. Instead, he gave me a poem to publish as a limited edition broadside as part of a series I was then publishing under Salmon Run Press, an independent press I owned at the time.


Seamus Heaney letter to John Smelcer.

Over the ensuing years, we wrote to each other periodically, sharing news of our lives and even sharing new poems to look over and giving feedback. We even met in Dublin. Although it took longer than a decade, Seamus did eventually provide a blurb for one of my poetry books (Raven). The last time we communicated was a year or two before his death. As usual, Seamus was hard at work on a new poetry manuscript.

Andrew Motion said that Seamus was a man of exceptional grace, and he was right, for it takes grace to admit when one has wronged another and to make amends. In our long friendship, despite the rough beginning, I learned that Seamus was indeed the kind of man as described in the splendid eulogies about his life and work. Although his pen will be forever stilled, Seamus Heaney has left us a wellspring of moving, affecting poetry which, like that of his worthy Irish Nobel prize-winning predecessors—Shaw, Yeats, and Beckett—will be an enduring gift to the world.


About the author:

John Smelcer, the author of a numerous books of poetry and ethnic American literature, was recently a Clifford D. Clark Fellow at Binghamton University in upstate New York. You can read more about him in “About Us.”

November 2, 2013   Comments Off on Seamus Heaney/A Memoir

Beowraven, by Ted Hughes & John Smelcer

Beowraven poem

November 2, 2013   Comments Off on Beowraven, by Ted Hughes & John Smelcer

Michel Collins/Creative Nonfiction


Shovel Bums and Buffalo Pies:

Discovering the New West in the Texting Age

by Michel Collins

This is an excerpt from my manuscript Shovel Bums and Buffalo Pies: Discovering the New West in the Texting Age. A travel narrative over a two-month archaeological field school I spent camping in the foothills of Wyoming and Montana. The following section recalls the last days of our stay excavating on a bestselling author’s buffalo ranch, as well as our trip to the Legend Rock petroglyph site and hot springs.

fieldschool 4

I woke up with a headache. I felt cold and put on an extra top layer before unzipping my tent. I noticed the mud had dried on my rain pants as I slipped them on. The sky was blistering clear and the wind crisp. It was still pretty muddy as I walked up to the house for breakfast. Gerald was already awake and bugging everyone. He seemed to be forever asking or telling someone an inane question. I ignored him and took my oatmeal to the living room. I stomached a bowl and dissolved an emergency vitamin C packet. Within ten minutes I was leaning over an outside rail puking my guts out. Surprisingly none of the oatmeal came back up. Just the vitamin C packet.

“Still dehydrated huh? You really need to be getting more water in a day.”

“I don’t think it’s just dehydration.”

“Just keep drinking water.”

We got our gear loaded and headed out to the site. This time Katelyn, Heidi, and Daphne were chosen to stay for water screening. A perfect day for it. I was growing weary with my unit. It was filled with nothing but gravel rocks. I looked at Audrea’s perfected sand trap with envy. It was all smooth and sculpted. Every five or ten minutes she would ask for the depth measuring string, which was closest to my side, causing me to pause along with her. Near the fourteenth time, I lost my patience.

“Audrea, you haven’t even gone down a centimeter. There’s no way you’ve gone past your level. You’re fine.”

“I’m just checking to make sure I know how far I’m down. You can never be too careful.”

“You can. You are being much too careful.”

Juan turned his head and barked at me, “Hey you’re just jealous hers looks so much better than yours. Plus you haven’t found anything.”

“Shut up Juan. Aaaah you’re right. I’m tired of digging out rock after rock when I see everyone else getting something. Whensit gonna be my turn?”

My turn would not come that day. I finished my level filling two buckets of dirt by noon. We went back to the house and had our usual lunch. We ran out of pasta salad. Disappointed, I was not content with dry pretzels and chips. Professor Lauren told us we would attempt to ride into town again today. I wasn’t sure how much better the roads could be in one day’s time. It still seemed muddy everywhere we walked. The roads getting off the ranch could only be worse.

I was strong, and hadn’t felt the urge to vomit since morning. I was beyond excited just to get off the ranch and use a public restroom. We had only been on the ranch a week, but it felt like a month without the usual delicacies. I grabbed a change of clothes, my soap, and headed for the truck. Dan, Juan, Jeff, and I rode in Katelyn’s truck as we made it off the ranch. Rachel’s truck seemed to get stuck in the mud at one point, but powered out of the grimy mire. It happened to be Jeff’s twenty-first birthday. We started celebrating by packing a bowl and passing it around.

Our first stop was the historic rock art site at Legend Rock. We discussed Legend Rock a few days earlier during Professor Lauren’s lecture. Legend Rock is recognized as a historic collection of petroglyph pieces (images engraved by carving, scraping, and incising into the rock) along a rock wall. The wall has roughly 300 art pieces and stretches a quarter of a mile long. The images depicted are said to hold certain spiritual power. The engraving itself encapsulates an actual spirit contained in the rock. Professor Lauren instructed us not to point at the pieces as this would release the spirit. While some of them were good, apparently some of them were evil as well. I gave a slight chuckle. No one else did. It seemed I was the only one that did not believe in Indian spirits. Professor Lauren explained most of the pieces were a thousand to two thousand years old. Some of them were just a few hundred years old.

We pulled into the parking area a little into the afternoon. There was only one other car. We took turns using the one occupancy bathroom while Professor Lauren handed out work sheets. An elderly couple got into their car, drove away. I looked down at the worksheet and saw a list of tedious questions. I wanted to crumple it in my pocket. I decided against it and followed the group up to the rock wall. A narrow trail on top of a slightly steep slope followed the signs that indicated the rock art on the wall. I noticed other signs too. BEWARE: rattlesnake area. I seemed to be more concerned at checking the ground than everyone else. They were more worried about evil spirits than poisonous snakes.

The figures engraved in the rock wall were one of two things. Either people or animals. Very crude, they reminded me of the inexperienced doodles of a first grader. Many of the men depicted were stick figures with oversized hands and penises. It seemed the farther down the trail I went the penises of the figures got bigger and bigger. A historic big dick contest. Somehow knowing that even Indians from a thousand years ago overcompensated in their penis size made me feel good.

An image of a woman repeatedly appeared along the wall. I remembered her as the water ghost woman from lecture. Any water-related mysticism was important near the hot springs. It is said that she gave power to men to make them better warriors. I thought I saw a depiction of a pregnant woman with child in stomach. I was immediately dismissed by Professor Lauren and Rachel. I was told the Shoshone people never, not even in one circumstance ever, depicted expecting women. I was skeptical that throughout the thousands of years of Shoshone history, no one had ever created an image of an impregnated woman. It seemed quite possible just on the math. I was surprised at the rigid certainty that the archaeological community gave to any rock art. People analyze, interpret, and go back and forth over art that was created in this decade by living artists. Let alone art that was created centuries ago by an unknown artist.

Knowing the figures were a thousand years old, I kept feeling unimpressed by them. In my head I compared them to European art and sculptures created at the same time. The intricate sculpting of monastery lintels and statues created no comparison at all. I understood the lack of technological tools would never allow such preciseness in the Shoshone petroglyphs. However I couldn’t understand the lack of artistic ability in the engravings. Even the Olmec colossal heads made at the same time in Mesoamerica were intricately sculpted and designed.


I began thinking about the petroglyphs in terms of graffiti art. It made me feel better. The simple figures and signature pieces made complete sense if thought about in a graffiti philosophy. Throughout history works of art are typically commissioned by patrons from painters or sculptors. This allows for an extended period of time for the artist to work on the project, allowing every line and groove to be perfected. Graffiti on the other hand is commissioned by no one, and usually done on the move. With limited time the images can only have so much detail and precision. This mold fit perfectly with the Legend Rock Shoshone pieces.

After I had gone through the whole trail, I walked back talking with Katelyn. She was overcome with calmness. She told me she could feel the spirits in the rocks. I wasn’t surprised, as I remembered her saying she could see ghosts, and that she has seen many in her life. To her this space was a church. I tried explaining my views without smashing hers down.

“I don’t know. To me this is just one really big, really cool, graffiti wall.”

I could see the disgust on her face.

“Just hear me out. If you don’t buy into the whole spirit thing like me, what is this place? People traveled along this route and saw that other people had started engraving pictures in the wall. So they decided to engrave their own picture, with their one little personalized signature. Like those figures with the shields. Every shield is unique. Like I said, a signature for each artist. All that is, is graffiti. When I look at those shields I just see graffiti tags.”

“You think people would stop for hours just to spray paint graffiti on a wall?”

“Yes. People do that. Have you never seen graffiti murals?”

“I guess I have. I just thought about that more as art than graffiti.”

“That’s the problem. People like you have this idea that graffiti was created in the 20th century by punk kids. Graffiti has been around for thousands of years. The Chinese. The Greeks. They all had graffiti. All I’m saying is I think this space is one big awesome historic graffiti mural. What’s wrong with that?”

“It just sounds dirty to call it graffiti. Plus you’re not taking the religious aspect into it. The spirits here wouldn’t like to be called graffiti.”

“That’s true. I guess I just don’t really believe in ancient water spirits.”

Back near the beginning of the trail I noticed my expecting woman.

“Hey what does that look like to you,” I said pointing toward the pregnant woman.

“Don’t point at the figures,” she yelled slapping my hand.

“What did I just release a spirit or something? What about that one? Or that one,” I laughed as I started pointing to every figure in sight.

“You’re so disrespectful.”

“Hey, just because I don’t buy into their spirituality doesn’t mean I don’t respect them. If I did the same thing in a Catholic Church you would be laughing along with me. I just don’t buy into mythology, native or Christian. Actually I feel like you’re the one patronizing these people.”

“You’re such an asshole.”

“So how many spirits did I release?”

“I don’t see spirits. I see ghosts. There’s a difference.”


After a short stop at the visitor center, we headed to the hot springs. You could smell the sulfur miles before you even got to the park. Normally you don’t associate the smell of rotten eggs with relaxation, but in this case I couldn’t get enough. I had known we would be visiting hot springs before we came out west so I looked a bit up. I came to find that the actual term hot spring is pretty vague. It basically refers to any natural spring warmer than seventy degrees Fahrenheit or just somewhere between thirteen and twenty degrees above the average air temperature at the surface. The flow of a hot spring must be somewhere between a dribble and the outpour of a geyser. Sometimes science is so vague yet so specific.

For centuries people have traveled to hot springs for medicinal purposes. We know now that hot springs have the capability to hold minerals like calcium, lithium, and radium. Things besides therapeutic minerals are found in the hot springs as well. Tiny microbes called thermophiles not only have the capability, but flourish in hot water environments. Amoebas like Naegleria Fowleri have been known to spread infections, diseases like meningitis, and even death in some cases. It’s said the amoeba comes through the nasal passages to affect the brain.

All of this was going through my head as we walked to the springs. The set up looked like my old community pool in Indianapolis. A woman sat at a desk checking people in. We paid for a rental towel and pair of swimming trunks. I asked if I was allowed to wear my own pair of shorts and was turned down. I signed in, and noticed people who had come before us. Ted, Bethany, and the kids –  Oregon. Julie, Andrew, Tim, and Grandpa –  Pennsylvania. Stan and Marge –  Ohio. The list went on. Each one had some note as to why or where else they were visiting. We grabbed our rental trunks and towel and headed to the locker rooms. Guys to the left, girls to the right.

Before hitting the hot springs I was able to get the three S’s in. On a toilet with indoor plumbing, no less. I shaved my neck hair and noticed I had a bit of a beard growing. I let it go. It felt like the beard had a purpose. At this point most everyone had showered and gotten into their trunks. I took off my clothes, stuffed them in my bag, and put my bag in a locker. There was no lock, but felt at ease remembering I was in Wyoming and not the thieving Midwest. Thankful I had bought some water shoes at Wal-Mart before we left Cody, I flipped them on and made my way to the showers. The rectangular room held three shower heads on each side of the wall facing each other. An old man was in the middle shower to the left. Was this Stan from Ohio? I didn’t ask, but turned on the last shower on the right.

The hot water fell on me, melting my skin like butter. It was better than sex. I could see the dirty water fall off of me swirling near the central drain. I could feel the layer of grime as it washed off my body. I moaned slightly as I scrubbed the coating on the back of my neck and behind my ears. The old man left. I couldn’t say how long I was under the shower. It didn’t feel that long. I heard the other guys coming in from the hot springs and realized it had been nearly half an hour. I turned off the shower and grabbed my towel. My muscles felt so relaxed, and my body rejuvenated. I kept thinking about the micro-lethal-organisms and the rental swim trunks. I felt OK about not actually venturing into the hot springs.

I put on my clothes and met Juan outside by a bench. I asked how the springs were. He said it was just like a large hot tub that smelled like rotten eggs. Shortly we were joined by Jordan, Jeff, and Dan. Professor Lauren had told us earlier that we would be meeting at the Safari Club later. The Safari Club was a hotel and pub just down the street. We waited nearly twenty minutes, then headed back to Katelyn’s truck. We put our stuff in the back and headed to the Safari Club.

The name was not misleading. Big game animal heads from lions to buffalo to bears to gazelle to goats covered every inch of the walls. There was even a hippopotamus head. We decided to grab a table and get some food with our drinks. I kept searching the walls to find a new animal I hadn’t noticed. Juan nudged me to order. I got a beer with country fried steak and mashed potatoes. As it was Jeff’s twenty-first birthday he and Juan had celebratory shots at the bar as Dan and I waited for the food. Tequila for Juan, whiskey for Jeff. By the time our food arrived, they were good and drunk. I tore my country fried steak to shreds. Somehow I kept feeling all the safari animals eyes bearing down at us. Judging us. I had another beer and felt fine.

Professor Lauren and the girls arrived shortly after we finished our food. They had chosen to sit out on the deck so we moved from the bar. Before I could sit down Katelyn grabbed my arm and pulled me toward her truck. She asked if I could buy her and the rest of the girls alcohol. I agreed. Heidi came with us. She instructed me to get a bottle of vodka and a six-pack of beer. She handed me thirty bucks and asked if that would be enough.


“Well what kind do you want?”

“What kind of what, beer or vodka?”

“Well both. I could get you a six-dollar bottle of vodka or I can get you a twenty-dollar bottle. Same thing for the six-pack.”

“I don’t know. How much is Grey Goose?”

“I don’t know. Don’t drink vodka. I know Grey Goose is pretty expensive though.”

“I don’t know. Just buy something. How am I supposed to know? I’m not even twenty-one.”

“It just helps knowing if you have enough, if you actually know what you want to get.”

“I don’t know. Just get a ten-dollar bottle and Blue Moon.”

“Sounds good. I’ll be back in a second.”

Katelyn handed me her beer money and I got out of the truck. I walked up to a building that seemed to be made entirely out of wood. The room was tiny and dimly lit. A guy in his late twenties stood behind the corner bar wiping it down. No one else was there. He was friendly. After looking at my ID he asked how I liked Wyoming so far.

“It’s pretty amazing so far,” I told him.

He just smiled and bagged the alcohol. I wondered how he was liking Wyoming so far, but didn’t ask. I told him to have a good one, and walked back to the truck. We drove back to the Safari club and met up with the rest of the group. In the lobby I had noticed Dan sleeping in a chair. On the walls were pictures of the same man hunched over dead animal after dead animal. Obviously the man behind the Safari Club. I noticed a picture of the bobcat I had seen earlier in the bar. I wondered if the guy had a checklist of animals he wanted to bag and board. He must have. I went out to the deck to find the rest of the group eating and being merry. I could feel my eyes drooping. The sun was going down and the air was growing cold. I went back inside and grabbed a chair next to Dan. He seemed to have the right idea. Sometime later Audrea shook us awake and we made it back to the trucks. We smoked another bowl on the way back to the ranch, making it there just before dark. My body felt the most content it had in days. I stumbled to my tent nearly falling into it in the dark. I slumped down and ripped the boots off my feet. I had forgot to untie them. I didn’t take off any of my clothes and slept on top of my sleeping bag. The combination of a hot shower, beer, country fried steak, and pot smoke clobbered my head to a snooze.

I woke up half past four as it was our KP (Kitchen Patrol) day. I felt miles better, and it seemed the bug had passed. I got to the kitchen before Audrea and began to boil water for the coffee. Breakfast burritos on the list, I began frying up some bacon. Audrea and Dan came in shortly after and helped with eggs and sausage. During breakfast I noticed everyone seemed to be in good spirits. Even Juan helped with cleaning the dishes. A miracle in any light. Professor Lauren said we would be spending the entire day at the sight, and to pack our lunches. I made a giant sandwich, an orange, and an oversized bag of pretzels. Jordan and Rachel would not be joining us. They were driving back up to Montana to pick up Jordan’s jeep.

At the site I realized everyone seemed to be going in fast forward compared to the previous week. Precision seemed to be replaced with just finishing the unit. Professor Lauren was even helping trowel at the ground. She was digging much quicker than us, not seeming to even look through her dirt, but just piling it into buckets. We were certainly missing things, but that didn’t seem to matter. I had read earlier in the year that Cultural Resource Management firms have set periods in which projects are needed to be completed. Academic archaeology was supposed to be different. I guess Professor Lauren just wanted her research to look complete and clean. As we packed up our gear Professor Lauren explained we would come back out again tomorrow for only a half day. We had to finish our units. I was excited to hear that Matt and Katey would be joining us for our last dinner in Red Canyon.

They arrived shortly before the food was done cooking. A full three course meal, we even had a dessert. We ate at the long outside table with Matt and Katey at the head of one end. After dinner they began talking about their philosophy to archaeology and their writing careers. Matt said he began writing seriously after reading an atrociously bad and inaccurate book in the ’70s.

“If this counts, I can do better than that. It was just bad, just terrible writing,” he said.


fieldschool 2


His tone wasn’t arrogant or humble, just straightforward. I felt the same way after reading a book of Raymond Carver stories when I was eighteen.

“My first book was god awful. Spent the whole winter in my cabin in Colorado typing it out on the typewriter. See those were ancient things that people used before computers. I wrote a couple books before I got an agent. A couple more before I got a new agent and actually published.”

“I was able to publish my first book,” Katey chimed in.

I told them I was a writer, and asked how they were able to publish their first book.

They told me they made a few connections at a writer’s conference in Texas. It cost so much just to get into the conference that they didn’t have any money for a hotel. Ended up sleeping in their truck for days. They asked if I had written a book yet. I said I had. One I had finished, one I hadn’t and burned. Literally. They said most people can’t even finish one book they start, let alone attempt two. It made my heart swell. I began asking inane questions about their writing practices and tendencies. They seemed beyond happy to answer and gave more than thorough responses.

They spoke of archaeology as well, as most of their writing pertained to historic cultures. They stressed being flexible. Flexibility was the key to the physical excavation as well as the analysis afterwards. Newly discovered information could enlighten new theories as no one should be so concrete and unmoving on any one idea or believed “fact”. Their new book was set during the Cahokian Empire roughly a thousand years ago. Apparently they had already written a book concerning Cahokia twenty years ago, but the revelation of new information inspired them to delve back into the subject.

We talked for hours as the air grew cold and the wind strong. Matt and Katey didn’t seem to notice the temperature change. After his second piece of dessert Matt said they would be leaving. I was uneasy to see them go. I wanted to talk about writing for another hour or two. I might never see them again. As I shook Matt’s hand they told me to send them my next book. I promised I would. My heart slid down into my stomach as I watched them drive off to their cabin castle in the twilight. From shovel bums to best-selling authors. Matt and Katey Grind rewrote the American dream.


About the author:

An anthropology graduate of Indiana University, Michel Collins has been published in Crack the Spine and Genesis. While not working on his manuscript Michel performs standup in the smaller clubs throughout the Midwest. Fascinated by archaeology, barber shop culture and the art of the donut, he tends to write about the American cultural psyche.




November 2, 2013   Comments Off on Michel Collins/Creative Nonfiction

Nicole Broadhurst/Poetry

* * * **

 Haight Mail


Evolution F*d Your S* Up!!


(in voice of Samuel L. Jackson   😉


Still there

are certain illnesses that require

air, lots of it.

Barbara Guest, “Roses”


I don’t want you in my bed. I don’t want to write this. I don’t want you
in my bed. I don’t want you in the soft sheets: the road’s crushed
angel wings. I don’t want your head on the pillow-Case of satin or
Cotton, stuffed with the feathers of geese, I do not wish to see your
At the foot of my bed. I don’t want you in the living room or office
Step Back from The Island of Capri, & the Mona Lisa
I don’t want you in the second room, With my uncle in it. I don’t want
you near the threshold of my door. I don’t want you
In my bathroom: the light’s burned out. I don’t want you in the kitchen
where the dog turned over his water-bowl, & the streams became rusty
alluvial plains on the swelling linoleum. I don’t want you on the swollen
Porch the color of my grandmother’s hair. Not on the first landing, or
any turning of the stair. Not in the dirt yard, full of the shit
we have yet to collect. Not on the concrete run by the general of ants—
not on the sagging Lower porches nor in any crawlspace under the


long mausoleum of Mack the cat, Spiders, rats, & snakes. I Do Not
want you underneath the Chinaberry as it’s now past Spring-time, &
You missed its inimitable grey mixed behind the lavender,
froth Gods recall, (it’s their hair)
& the hard poisoned suns all in a cherry-bunch. I don’t want you
under the screaming jet or satellite. I don’t want you Around
the perimeters of my house: it’s a castle, & the moat is environs
Hostile. I do not want you at the gate. I don’t want you in the road.
I don’t want you in the sidewalks fronting the road. I don’t want you
in the road behind the house. Hell, I don’t want you in my city. But
it’s not my city—- so, I say, come not to the yard,
Nor present the asinine unassailability to the broadcast
rumor of scrub ‘neath whining escarpments ajar. I don’t want you
On the roof or in the core of the Old


Step out the light-bulb
Flirt with the fish Swim up a wire. I do not want you on any celestial
Surface, either planetary, The Sun, or the Moon—- I don’t want you
in a meadow. Or on the sea. Or anywhere tenderly… I don’t want you
In The Back of a pink Cadillac, or a yellow Taxi. I don’t want you
on the L. I don’t want you in the crown of the Statue of Liberty,
or Rockefeller Center. I will not abide you In the jungle. I don’t want
you at a half-way house or in a bathroom at the Ritz. I don’t want you
On Long Island & I don’t want you in Zanzibar. I don’t want you to
beat me at Monopoly I don’t want to (boxing “clang’) go to Istanbul
I don’t like Nice I simply do not want you, Either
on the beaches of Any Hometown I dreamed
I might have a claim to, & I Certainly Don’t want you in any Eternity
Where I might meet you, Your Apparitional Approach—-
Appear at no Bay-sides, E-Bay, Walk no green, eschew the picturesque


Quit the diner, cancel your dinner Reservations
Opt Out of the helicopter ride & the free-fall over all that’s Western,
Un-hire all the Clueless guides, I don’t want you in the Officer’s Suite
I don’t want you in the Oval office I Don’t Want You at any camp,
be it with the M.I.C or Girl Scouts—- Leave
my Casino, this is My Private Island, I own the Cemeteries
& the Parks—- I do not Want you on my street, invading my Vatican,
Or any party to my Nation—– stay out the mother fucking Libraries,
by the way, Ease out the Back Door of all cafes, vacate the offices
lining Main Street Remove Yourself from the seat you were not assigned
The church doors are locked. Need I Remind You
The Manger’s bombed.
You are not the lamentable beast toppling from The Empire State.
And the zeroing planes…..I don’t want you in the speed of their bullets.


I don’t want you

in Death’s Boat—- the wood’s slats vomiting vistas of the salt-sea—- I
Hope Never to meet you in any Marine ‘Life’, Minute-men minutia’s
Endeavor to Traverse the Universe. Get Off of my spaceship.
The Tunnel of Love’s Ride Is Sunk in the wake. Do not hazard
the swiss cheese moons with me please. Coal miners & the operators
of Power plants along with their Employees all chime We do not want
you in our tunnels—- the ones that are charcoal wrinkles—- Keep your
Marbles’ singing. Extract
Yorself At any monuments, tourist attractions too, booths, ribbons,
Elevators, trolleys & pie’s foot-paths, bike rails or routes, trams,
Concessions’ corn-dogs’ lighting stores, laundromats, & especially,
—-parking lots—–. All taboo. Please abstain from Walmarts,
Walgreens, Supermarkets, etc. NO AIRPORTS.

I don’t want you in my bed ever again. I don’t want you
near to my lips. I don’t want you Outside on the roof, or cameo’d
in the weather balloon, newspaper, in Parliament, in Congress, at the


I don’t want you at the Capitoline or on the Prairie. No DNKY. No
Horses trotting—- either in blued uniform Or for bridle-spiked sight-
Seeing: No sand. No foam. No wave. No ices. No ice-cream. No
Sunshine. No coffee. No playground no swing. Sans wa wa.
I do not want you. I do not want you at the end of the rainbow. Hear?
I don’t want you in the grocery aisle, either to pick up photographs or
Pharmaceuticals, I don’t want you at the bank or in a disco. Fuck
Saturday matinees. Fuck the popcorn & the candy & soda counter
Keep all your Christines at the Drive-In; pull in your Marlins alone &
forever mount them isolated. Gleam, I don’t want you anywhere
near the environs of Katmandu or Shangri-La. If you touch a monk
I’ll bill you. Pack your things & retire from the monastery, please.
Evacuate the bomb-shelter, the repast, The sabbatical, all & every
synagogue making sweet Earth’s face. Leave the face of the Earth.
Not even its waves, or its fabled stars, or all its imagined horizons
will or could house you now. Vomit the wolf. Take off the mask &
Reveal the Hog. Let the corridors of your eyes’ glitter-mirrors be
a lullaby: Get off the wings of the crow. Move out the rose. Step Off
of my cloud.

Go blind in the marrow.

Come up out of the Marianas. Stop twirling on Everest. Creep
out Cheops, hide under a metal Crotch that leaves nothing
to the imagination~~ I don’t hear you in the seashell, you’re not
Under the crayon-canyon’d rocks, the refrigerator that wouldn’t Open
from inside—-. O, it’s not you
In the freezer, your knees ain’t up to concrete, your nose isn’t Under-
Ground of Refuse.

Put it in the sack to return to horizontality. Wait for the train, track.
Pick the molten tar & feathers off you Peel I don’t want you waiting
for me at Amtrak  I don’t want your hide on any stretch of concrete
If seen on a dirt road—–. I don’t want you on any mother fucking
escalators either. Or in underground Shelters, obviously. Hospitals are
Off Limits. All fast-food joints, Greyhounds barreling down
3 A.M. highways. I want you off of this ride bebe….. Don’t Touch
my meal. That water’s not yours. This is not your neighborhood. This
is not your Strip mall. This is not your anything. You are not yours.
You are essentially, as I’ve been trying to tell you all along, the
Offspring of a Raper of Infants.


Stay off the interstate. Stay off the blue roads. Avoid Two-
lane highways. Beware the roar
Of the off-road singular. Meadows will evaporate you.
Fields are not your destiny. Beaches shatter you.
The galaxy itself calls you unregisterable.
Drums are not an Echo for you any more, nor any cognizance
Of ‘nymph’ ‘star’ ‘wood’ ‘water’ ‘town’ “word”—-
you are not even the appellation of ghost.
Gems may have Luster but they will never recall your eyes.
Boughs may bow in blossom but not for any of yours.
Or thine: cities will become metropolises, the planets will be
One front, one font, but that archival avalanche Has Been
Burned Out your eyes, Wander & sing, rejoicing, oh lost
Lamb of the Kingdom.

Of the Kingdom’s Veldt. Cherry trees in Spring.

For I, for one, do not, & never did, want, nor desire you—-
not in the school-room, the spireless church-yards, Locker-room, War-
Room, porno, surfing, parachuting (why not) or the hour
With Hitchcock—-
I’ll ride you out of every camp, collapse your warrens. Get out
of the Fucking tree. Take a hike & shake it off. I don’t want to find you
in a grain of sand. And I want you to sit on Damascus steel. So……..
Go, you’re excommunicated from the Legionnaires. You
Are not the crunchy worm at the bottom of the bottle. You
Are not the tear in my beer. You are not the wild Mustang. You
Are not the shift, as if underwater, Of the shook unicorn’s mane…….
You’re no McCall’s, no macaw, no Legislative Body no tablets that
staved Off anything, quinine or otherwise Get Away
from all the Animals God has seen fit to grace the globe with Out

from under you—

And there’s no work here for you —-
you’re blacklisted Blackballed. You’re done, kaput, eat your fingers
With the bread. Kiss a mirror, or the back of your hand.  If you try
2 book a flight you’ll be grounded. Get out/Off
of my negative. Go sleep in yon slaughter house. Eat cow-punch. Eat
the dial Whose shadow is a stone. Sup that horizon. Become a cocktail.
Make a foam of life-preservers. Wanna mint? But Wipe
your state Off the license plate in the shark’s gut. Cram chalk.
Use the cork wisely. I don’t want you in Toledo. You are miscast.
The buffet, the dance-line, No one will put their Hands on your hips—-
Trumpets..!! You are in none of the photographs.
There is no note of your reservation
Resignation, Birth certificate? Parents? Children? Spouse? Gender?
Sexual preference? Religion? Nationality? You are not a coconut.
You are, however, a sprout. There are twin leaves no one Will ever
hear, because the Universe is a dungeon, for the frogs of your hopes.

Yeah, right.

Forever eradicate the memory of shoes from your Cognizance.
Your bones will meet the earth, NOT lackadaisically from NOW
ON. No backpackers. No stevedores, no captains, no dancers,
No help. And long-haired freaky people….. We’ve got somebody 2
Wash the dishes. Put it down. Put it away. And the zoo—- the zoo
Ain’t no place for you. You cannot lay in a flag nor on a lily, spool.
Don’t just show up. And please, don’t be for the love of Christ Early
& if you want to survive tomorrow if it’s the last thing you do my
friend do not at all costs whatever The fuck happens Show up
unfashionably Late. And being on time is extremely boring. Please exit
the SUV. Let some other poor son Of a gun rent that No-Account trailer
whose deed’s not worth the paper it’s written on. Stay down
Of the wind, Flood. All eddies, streams, tides, the diurnal Swell
Of the universal in Music—-. Get out the kids’ books  Don’t “Pop Up”.
All we have to eat here are foils. Packaging. We will learn to digest
these too. Our eyes will be opened. But, quite frankly, you’re simply
not allowed the sound of the train. Whoo Whooo

I don’t want you by my side. I want you to suck on catfish Skulls
for the rest of your miserable life. Bask Under the Arches. The throne
Is extinguished. The cataracts whose vibrancy narrows, calls Out
burnished auras of candles, cathedrals, sports’ stadiums, Alien dams.
In short, Fuck You.  The ribald streets Will drag you tied to vehicles
to the station. Orca bait, with the fruit-ripe eyes beaks like. You Think
I’m kidding? They drag live dogs from meat hooks through the sea.
Distance yourself from the shining Off my hairnet. Shove
your paycheck. Let your victuals be nasal spray & goats’ kidneys.
Shove a Barbie doll up your ____……. lick my A-____ Lost waiter
Of Flasks. Do a task. Don’t ask. Wipe my ass. Fling the bole, of all
That’s Sold, or “been told”….. something new something old
Something nibbled something shoaled
Just drop dead. Sew up your shit-hole, dye some hot bath,
Inhale a few fumes, take a razor to your pecker. Cut off both ears
& mail them To Yourself. Wear my underwear over your nose-holes.

Train your pets

To use the toilet. Buy us a bra of diamonds, PLEASE. You Know What
the poop-pool sign reads. Your fashion is blasé. Your mien a rotunda—-.
Delectable crown corn-coloured of choice nibblets……
Bring me your statuesque aggrandizement of figures.
I don’t want you! Not your hat, your thumbs, your tooth.
Not a lock, a Look—- no photo, no
Legacy’s sway—- not the ambrosial swell of rot. And get your tail Out
of Norway. Prince of the Canadas sneers alway Always Your Way,
little fey. Rut crust. Fever-Bloom; Crap-clad,
you’ll shoulder the Liposuctioned fat of mavens.
Billow Them about your Waste, baleen Of stiff lips, Buoying
the carcass of your shade.
Eat the nails of hoovered & Wing-ed things.
Devour your own ghost. Stick your own foot in it up to the ankle—-
you can do it!!! O Yoga!

Get outta my hut, this ain’t your yurtz. The lips of my fathers Have
become bounded To toothless jaws. What whets the prying
Of antelopes crying. You are not worth the dust of this moon,
Or its craters, its concave priapism, basins who forever suggest water—-
Eternally your slippers are mongrels’ crowns, the chattels’ idyll.
Whip the plate out from under your jaws’ saliva.
The long myth of sleep has crashed into your cached breasts’ nipples.
The nuzzler is steep. Ding-dong.
You made me a craft of Global constituencies.
Up-end the Brass Instruments of your Great Deep.
And if I hear a peep—–

O Minnesota

O Maine

Bangkok & Tripoli.

A dire expunging.

The faith flits out the froth in me…..

Connect at the Beluga-beleaguered sure-line, bellisimoed architect of



The feminine has ambition without taint.
I don’t want you in the Sub-Sahara. The Morse means flee the bark.
De-coderof entrails. Emerge
Rung after rung out your Slum, out that pylon barge you Call
A sea-home! The Bridge
Squats like a camel. Let it lie over you as the ribs of your eyes
Close-to. Hear the screech
Of metal. Let the fog-horn be cows’ plaintive moos.
Assail the Golden Port with your lying
& encounter the gridded girdled past Parthenon’s of deeper sleep,
so softly silent & waiting Right Out
the corner of your eye in the ameliorated diamonds’ blur
Read a book & construct a trap For Honey.
You don’t want to win a big oven, as your Beau can shove you in’t.
Lay out w/out an SPF.


All the invasive species are protected except you.


Pick up the Crumbs.

Put them in your Jaws Like A Squirrel. Let
the ransacked seeds grow out of the slaughter. Withdraw & sign
Your Own Death-Warrant. Make a skull-cup of the Anti-Christ. Pull
Out Of the Buchenvalds of this World. Eat the hot titties off a tank.
We’ll arrest you if you keep dancing like that—-
All surf-boards, lozenges of cocoa-butter, & twists—-
there are 50 ways to leave
your lover! You are not behind the white eyeballs of the Senator.
Evacuate Immediately: Vamoosel. Sigh-a-Nora.
But the fur of the rat abhors you.
Extinct mammals gather To celebrate
your demise! Somebody burns blankets at your funeral.
You are let go.

This is a SIGNAL

From on High, rehearsing the sky’s pledge of great pictures.
Just imagine it as the widest Flat-screen TV you’ve ever seen.
I’ve been to that planet. And many others. And I am assured
YOU are NOT welcome! They do not want you
on the plastic-grass Doormat with the two cute little Daisies
In the upper corner Where the stamp should be.
They don’t want you
to stick it into the bike’s basket. If you show up
at the Easter ‘Egg’ Hunt God Save You.
Every time you moved to a new house—-
Recall your explorations? THAT never happened. You are not the waif
of the corridors, regardless of sex…. Exit the cupboards. Exit the EXIT
sign, green or red. Exit Christmas. Exit cookies. Exit sprinkles. Exit

You have vanished from the vaults…..

You may no longer imbibe parfums. The Orange Blossoms—-
their maze—– buzzing, humming—- Will attack you to death.
Stung perforce strong-footed Dance.
Whose sinews belong to the Laborer.
Mask of deeds, Damask & Osiris, salt-Mines, Cypress—- eat the
Coach & let the Western be. The bruised Mustang in the gutter of thee
Glue-house with the mangled tongue disinherited you a long time ago.
The pregnant, starved gut. What lights on the shoulders of the carcass?
Place, you are not wanted in wax, in tallow-light, moon-bright, hedge-
Shaded & grove induced, clearing brought—- the purse’s Empty.
The clinic has seen everybody they can see today. The bridge is up &
you will have to wait your turn. The light at the intersection.
The distance between here & K-PAX. Ah, my American Beauty.

Let this be a song of your transcendence. Not an ungovernable outcome
Of Law. Vinegar & sap—– I am your house & I don’t want you!
Not the rings on your fingers or the smell of your scalp—-
an oil that can’t be described—- not the cataract’ eyes. The imploded
Catamaran. The man-made island. The restaurant Booth, the skipping
to the Loo. The place where the sun doesn’t shine. Pull out
the plane’s fuselage, Hoist the jock-strap so the crickets quiet stand a foot
From the locomotive at night a serpentine wailing.  Then RUN
Into the neighborhoods with your plastic tourniquet of beer
I don’t want you in the parade of moths. Your float’s disqualified.
You’ve been tagged. The yo-delayer of yodeling falls on deaf ears.
The woodsman simply did not give a shit.
It’s cattle-call closing-time at the Maul. We are making your Beef-
Patties Right Now. The hair-dryer & the curling-iron grin. Barbed-wire—-
Fake eyelashes. The blinds can’t see you. I was hushed to the heights—-

Well, profligacy ain’t necessarily profit— & I’ve got a long way to go, Baby.


About the poet:

Nicole Broadhurst’s work appears on-line & in audio in Drunken Boat’s

haight10th Anniversary Issue, as well as The Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner,

Mudlark, Elimae, Spiral Orb, Mangrove & The Miami Herald, among others.

Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize she was awarded The Eve of St.

Agnes Award by Negative Capability, & is continuing decades-long

work on her tome Souvenir.

Haight Mail was written out as-is in that parabolic fit of pique, save for

punctuation, form & an interim of light sleep.





November 2, 2013   Comments Off on Nicole Broadhurst/Poetry

Gay Life/Mircea Filimon

 Clare Mallison Illustration. Anna Goodson Agency.

Clare Mallison Illustration. Anna Goodson Agency.

Gay Roots

by Mircea Filimon

The idea for this article came from a set of pictures that I received in an email some time ago. I can’t recall exactly who sent it or what it was about, but somehow the images stuck in my mind. And one day they just popped out from whatever shadowy corner they had been slumbering in and demanded attention. I won’t keep you in the dark for too long and I will reveal the content and message of these pictures. Both of them had a striking red background and contained wood. The second, revealed an uprooted sapling. A very slender trunk with somewhat fuzzy looking roots. The first picture, in the order it was displayed in the email, showed, presumably the top/middle part of the trunk which had a piece of tin molded onto it, reading “Why did you come home?” I remember some of the first thoughts that swiftly passed through my head revolved around the words “pathetic,” “over the top” and “nationalism.” However, when my mind decided to revisit the images, they passed through a gay filter and came out in a totally new light. So I got to thinking about gay roots. And not about the historical tales about Antiquity or the Stonewall movement. It’s true that they are vital pieces in the puzzle of gay identity, but this time I went into a different direction, namely national identity.

Most of us have a home, and in most cases that is a particular spatial place. Whether it is a country, city, village, house, room, etc., it’s still our home and it is enveloped in all the qualities that a “home” is supposed to evoke. Warmth, security, nostalgia and so on. It often happens that when we settle in another place, our home transforms from a physical place to a feeling that haunts us, in a good way, wherever we may be. Aside from our home, in the sense of the place where we grew up or are currently living, we often perceive our native country as our home. This gives us part of our identity, it helps shape our perception of ourselves in relation to the rest of the world. Some may be proud of their “home,” some may not be. Some may print it and wear it on a T-shirt or cap, while others may try hide and forget any connection they have had with it. Regardless of the degree of pride we may take in our country, our national identity is an intrinsic part of our individuality, whether we want to acknowledge it or not.

Now, in the field of cultural studies, the debate over what national identity is and how it is established is still quite heated. In its rudimentary form, national identity used to be the notion that people who share the same language and live within the same borders also share the same identity. That was regarded as a valid concept for a while but as the world started to change, altered by wars or changes of regimes and unions, the criteria for establishing a national identity had to be modified as well. Consequently, speaking a particular language or living in a particular place was no longer sufficient to prove one’s national identity. Languages change, they are constantly morphing into something different. Not to mention that due to conflicts and political decisions, some languages may be eradicated or banned overnight, while others may be imposed onto the people as being official, just as swiftly. The same rationality applies to territory. A particular patch of land may once belong to a country and the next day be the property of its next-door neighbor. Thus, building a national identity moved towards forging a feeling of community. It doesn’t matter so much that you live within the borders of a particular country, as much as how you feel about it. The sentiments that arouse in you when declaring your nationality are the ones that contour your identity. You feel proud, safe, inspired to share the same language, territory, values, all in all nationality, with others.

It is a struggle to understand how the principles of national identity function vis-à-vis homosexuality. In most cases, religion and dogmas are two of the fundamental pillars for creating a nation’s identity. They are most visible in the case of newly born countries and nations, or those recovering from very damaging circumstances, like decades of communism, which have erased a lot of national individuality. The principle of uniformity, put very strongly forth by totalitarian regimes, consists in underlining certain aspects of a nation, while utterly dissolving others. Consequently, at the end of such a period, the nation finds itself naked from an identity standpoint and deeply feels its inferiority in contest with other countries that have forged and maintained very strong individual national identities, which make them stand out. In this case, the easiest and fastest way to put together an identity is to go back in time to the moment before the country had experienced difficulties and pick up where others left off. However, where digging up historical greatness and glory may give the people a sense of pride, it ought to be taken into consideration that most principles and perspectives have become obsolete and inadequate with time. It is impossible not to mention the important role that religion plays in this type of scenario, since throughout the centuries it has exercised its power as the greatest uniforming force known to man. While it brings together with candor those that are alike, giving a false sense of security and warmth, it viciously shuns out and plagues the different ones.

The conundrum arises when gay men and women want to take pride in their sexuality and live their lives in equality and at the same time feel like they belong to a particular nation. The recent events that have been taking place in Russia and many African countries have been quite disturbing, especially in the context of international gay movement developments. It almost seems as if these countries are going to extremes just to be opposite from the current gay liberation trend, and thus base their identity on their fundamentalist approach. While countries such as the United Kingdom, the United States and France have made ground-breaking strides by legalizing gay marriage and offering equal benefits to all their citizens, in other parts of the world anti-gay laws are being passed in a staggeringly increasing number, banning homosexuality and making it severely punishable.

Thus, how can a gay individual take pride in his/her national identity, when his/her home country denies basic human rights and more so, blatantly rejects homosexuality? I currently live in New York City, but for some twenty-odd years of my life I have lived in Romania and have had direct contact with extreme homophobia and general disgust towards any form of diversity, may it be sexual, racial or religious. I suppose the only lucky strike the Romanian gay community got was the country’s integration into the European Union. During this process, many laws had to be changed and adapted to the European standards of equality. As a result of this, homosexuality is no longer punishable by law, nevertheless, it is not protected by law, either. In terms of anti-discrimination laws, homosexuality still has not earned its place among other safe categories, such as race, religion, political orientation, etc. So in this context, when I ask myself “Am I proud to be Romanian?” the very swift and sharp answer is, “No.” Since I cannot divide my Romanian heritage from my gay nature, I cannot take any pride or pleasure in belonging to a nation that despises my very individual nature. And I am quite certain that there are millions of other people out there in the world who share this exact feeling. How can we have any national roots when we cannot live a normal, unharmed life in the country where were born?

But getting back to the discussion about national identities regarded as communities, I need to mention the concept of imagined communities, which was thought of and put forth by Benedict Anderson. In short, he states that communities don’t necessarily need to be constrained by a particular physical place or a live interaction; they can be formed by people who are utter strangers to each other and who inhabit opposite sides of the world, but who share the same interests and habits. For instance, there is an imagined community of people who go to church on Sunday morning. Also there is one of people who read newspapers on their iPads. And one of people who sleep with their socks on. All in all, we are all part of numerous communities, sometimes without even knowing it. At this very moment, there may be millions of other people around the world undergoing the same activity as you, and this, according to Anderson, brings you all together in an imagined community. This idea has a rather comforting feeling to it, especially when applied to the gay world. Just like the “It gets better” campaign, thinking of the world in terms of imagined communities gives gay people a sentiment of belonging, thus warding off any loneliness or despair. And so, since this can be our safety net, we can think of countless types of communities we belong to, hence building up and reinforcing our identity. With regards to national identity, in the case of homophobic and intolerant countries, its gay inhabitants can see themselves as being part of an international community of gay men and women who are being mistreated by the country they love. Or, if they have had the fortune of escaping this type of oppression, they can opt to be part of the community of homosexuals who live abroad and still feel proud of their home country, but not of all its aspects. Or those who live abroad and have cut off any connection with their birth country altogether. Again, the possibilities are infinite.

As for me, I feel I am part of the international community of cosmopolitan gay men who have the luxury of choosing the aspects of their identity and forging it in accordance with their wants of desires. As for my roots, I don’t need to go “home” to find them, since they are all over the place, deeply embedded in equality, acceptance and joy.



About the author:

Mircea Filimon contributes and edits the “Gay Life” column for Ragazine.CC. You can find out more about him in “About Us.”

Clare Mallison Illustration provided courtesy of the artist through Anna Goodson Illustration Agency.

 * * * * *

send #65

Lynda Barreto

November 2, 2013   Comments Off on Gay Life/Mircea Filimon

Galanty Miller/Re-Tweets

Jenyne Butterfly:
* * * *
If graffiti is art,

then bank robbery is theater…
by Galanty Miller
If I had to get a face tattoo, it would be a picture of the back of my head./ The way I warn my kids against texting while they drive is to remind them if they die in a car crash, they won’t be able to text./ “Stripper” tops the list of toughest jobs in America, according to the latest poles./ One of the things on my Bucket List was “crossing something off my Bucket List.” But that was stupid so I crossed it off my Bucket List./ I’m happy we legalized same-sex marriage because now the Smurfs can marry someone other than Smurfette./ My wife just caught me masturbating. Needless to say, this is going to be an awkward wedding night./ If Gandhi were alive today, he’d make a fortune./ Would you rather have world peace or be slightly more attractive? Me, too./ I would never steal someone else’s tweet unless I absolutely can’t think of one on my own./ Judge rules guy who went underground to steal all that coal should be tried as a miner./ I read about parents who were arrested for letting their son get too obese. So to be on the safe side I don’t let my kids eat./ The best things in life are free if you’re willing to steal./ You know you’ve truly made it when you live in a house with lots of extra rooms that you don’t need or use./ I wish I could be Superman for a day so I could feel what it would be like to work at a newspaper./ Things nobody ever said on their death bed: “I regret not following Mark Wahlberg on Twitter.”/ We’re gonna stay friends for the rest of our lives. (note to self: Murder my friend.)/ I dance on where my enemies’ graves will be, just in case I die first./ I was curious about my lineage so I went to “” It turns out I’m the first person in my family./ Sunday is like the “Monday” of the weekend./ What is the Constitutionality of yelling “Fire!” in an EMPTY theater?/ I think inmates on death row should be released from prison, since they only have a short time left to live./ Everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing when they read this Tweet./ I walked under a ladder on my way to the doctor. When I got there, he told me the bad news; I only have 7 more years to live./ I’m stopping at eXXXon for gas and porn./ It’s so hot you could fry an egg on the sidewalk, though I wouldn’t recommend eating it./ I’m down to 14 followers on my landline account./ At New York Yankees Fantasy Camp, I got to play baseball with all my old favorite players and have sex with a young Heather Locklear./ more things you’ll never hear: “… and the Oscar goes to Ashton Kutcher!”/ I bought a gun to protect myself from myself because I’m a violent psychopath./ I don’t like people knowing my personal, private business. #mypersonalprivatebusiness/ KFC’s Pledge To You: Every chicken we serve was more or less alive at some point in time./ I think clowns are really scary, especially when they’re trying to kill you./ I love my job so much I would do it for free, unless I won the lottery – then I’d quit./ The SAT test must’ve had herpes because I got a perfect sore./ Being bisexual is not a “choice.” People are BORN pretending they’re not 100% gay./ If graffiti is art, then bank robbery is “theater.”/ Twitter is a great way to record what you were thinking during moments when you have nothing to do./ I don’t like nude scenes unless it’s absolutely crucial to the plot. But since I only watch porn films, it usually is./ We need to keep kids off drugs unless they have a prescription./ I lost my virginity in an inner-city crack house. Luckily, though, I still haven’t lost my innocence./ My bread refuses to have its picture taken. It’s a terrible roll model./ The doctor weighed me. I guess they learn how to do that in medical school./ My wife and I can’t decide what to name our new baby so we’re giving him up for adoption./ I can’t start my day without a cup of coffee… or at least something to wash down my OxyContin./ I ran a mile in under 4 minutes. I mean, if you don’t count the times I stopped to rest./ In order to boost the economy, they should print up more gold./ You’re the top floor of the house and you’re on crack. It’s time to admit that you’re a drug attic./ When wealthy children go to the beach, do they make sand slums?/ I want to go see the Lone Ranger because I’m a huge fan of Johnny Depp being annoying./ I wonder what summer vacation is like in prison?/ Don’t know why they call it RESTroom. When I go to the bathroom – it’s WORK./ There’s no ‘I’ in “can’t stand my teammates.”/ I went to an existential strip club, where I spent a fortune on lap dances. But what does it all mean?
* * * * *
Drawing Room. Walter Gurbo.

Drawing Room. Walter Gurbo.

November 2, 2013   Comments Off on Galanty Miller/Re-Tweets

Teresa Sutton/Poetry


Had I known the mundane package
I carry under my arm was a bomb,
I might have spent my life charged
with anticipation. I might have unwrapped
it to see if what’s inside would emit
an eerie glow. I might have felt
some foreboding. Had I known
that clean underpants and a package
are metaphors, I might have
pondered the beginning, the end,
and the light more often, especially
the light. I might have listened to
the second hand’s sweep
Had I known the mundane package
on the doomsday clock that right now
reads five minutes to midnight.
In the beginning was the word
and a rapid thump, thump,
a jackhammer of beats. In the beginning,
I am accelerating, about to take off
or fall under. A dizzying scent
of sugared cherry blossoms, freesia,
notes of roses, a too brief whiff
of chocolate. In the beginning
was Mother, her perfume. The space
between my hand and the nurse’s
call button is inches, but the word says
that I am a mist that appears
for a little time and vanishes, like mother.
Body collapsing in on itself,
brain in the stomach, arms and legs
kaleidoscopes shutting up, turtle like,
rumpled ball of paper, my affairs
are in order, words, more words.
Had I known the mundane package I carry
under my arm was a bomb, I might have
searched for a boat. I might have
purchased new underpants to store
in the drawers of grammar and words.
I might have gone outside to sit
in the light more often. The mundane
package I carry under my arm
is a bomb. Had I known, I
might have pressed the button sooner.



Time to slip off the lace nightdress
of convalescence, trust again in objects
that are not opaque, cease aimless attempts
to revise the past. With both feet, jump in

amid confusion of time and tenses, stumble
down the abyss to recover
the life’s reserves. Now, see
a backyard full of graves, not as threads

of life snipped, but as an assembly of sun,
moon, stars, earth, fire, sea monsters,
wild animals, wild weather, all
of the ingredients of a tambourine dance

where the humble are crowned. History’s
spine is unchartered, unrecognizable
with fruit trees, creatures that crawl
above or below the firmament in a cosmos

incompatible with science. Waters of Heaven
are separated from earth’s by a solid
dome arched over the globe created
by poets to protect us from warehouses

of hail and snow. Now, throw
open a tower window to let the sun
and moon pass through. This firmament
seems fluid, but solid, permeable. Come

to the edge to peek
at what lies on the other side.



A red button is how
it always begins.
Push to start
the wash. Push
to call for medical
help. Push to make things
explode. It’s a Grand
Canyon jaunt at breakneck
speed – white water crashing
over the sides
of an inflatable boat,
a perforated drum
tumbling nuclear warheads
aimed in different directions,
again a red button
to press, a medic
at the helm, just out
of reach. Then, a fall
into a doomsday
vault full of black
nothing, where no one
thought to store any
seed packets in waterproof,
airtight envelopes.
A speck of awareness,
an orange raft surges
like a quarter winking
in the suds cycle
or a silver fish glinting
on the surface of churning
waves. Deep in the permafrost
of the shadow
lands, somewhere between
Heaven and Hell, the thick walls
are air locked, the bunker
carved into the side
of a sandstone mountain
will not yield,
and the safe house
is empty, no
supplies stockpiled
for a catastrophe, no
seeds preserved
to reestablish crops.
The first brick laid
is askew, the underpinning,
compromised from the start.
Nothing stands
between humanity
and mass starvation.
The clothes, clean but torn.


About the poet:

Teresa Sutton is a poet who teaches at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY. Her first chapbook, “They’re Gone,” was selected for publication by the Finishing Line Press and was published November, 2012. You may contact her at:


November 2, 2013   Comments Off on Teresa Sutton/Poetry