Saturday, June 21, 2014


I saw a picture of a painting that I liked. Then, this picture of Wangechi Mutu, an artist and sculptor who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Right off the bat, a biography appeared and said, "She is considered by many critics to be one of the most important contemporary African artists of recent years. Her art works have. achieved considerable global acclaim."

I started looking at photos of different things she created, and a video. There were lots of things to click. No doubt about it, this artist's credits tell you not only where she's exhibited, but loud and clear, say that the high and mighty folks in the art world are very impressed with her.

I wanted to see her art, not read her life history, so I skimmed. Age 41, born in Kenya, she sensed (she herself explained this in one of the videos) that before she was in her teens, she knew that she was going to be an artist, and she focused on becoming an artist in grade school -- it was a goal as she pursued her education.

It reminded me of me, (and what kids with show biz dreams do). This gal created an instrument -- body and soul -- that could do whatever she might want it to do -- draw, paint, sculpt, build, construct, photograph, record, and film. How did she know what to do? She grabbed whatever she saw that interested her -- that's what Wangechi did -- and she herself says, that's what she still does.

In her late teens she got herself educated in the World College in Wales. In her early twenties, she moved to New York City, where she studied at the New School for Social Research, Cooper Union, and Yale.

And she created things -- paintings, collages, sculptures, photos, music, recordings, and videos.

Her work speaks to me -- images floating on reality, juxtaposition of dream-like visions and beautiful rendered, detailed,  exquisitely detailed reality.

What Wangechi Mutu  says about herself as we look at her work, is a trip into another America -- our world seen by a woman with eyes that see truth, beauty, evil, life and death in her own, very special, different way.

The vision of the artist here is especially interesting -- think of this nine minute video as a visit to a museum of art, where you can spend a little or as much time with Wangechi as you feel like spending.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Emily, praising and raving about John's singing, wants to know when and how John developed his baritone voice.

John reveals what he did at age 9, because he loved singing and was too shy to perform a song in front of a roomful of relatives.

When Lerner's assistant discovered him, and Alan Lerner asked him to sing --  and he didn't sing well -- he was hired as understudy, standby for Richard Burton and Roddy McDowall. That inspired John to start studying with Seymour Osborne, the renown theatrical vocal coach whom Alan recommended. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014


When you ask a simple, harmless question like this one, be careful, folks -- it is "MICROAGGRESSION."


Even my "Huh" can be a microaggression. I didn't  realize that "huh?" in a surprised tone, expresses prejudice against  what is now important to many, many people.

The term was coined by Chester M. Pierce in 1970; specifics were detailed by Mary Rowe in 1973 in her book in which she detailed various microaggressions -- references to sex, gender, and race. People paid attention for a while, but back then we were getting more and more involved with being "Politically Correct."  

Now microaggression in the news -- a hot college-kid thing, that has also caught on with students' older-wiser friends, and inspired their peers -- professors, teachers, lecturers -- to examine these kinds of racist murmurs as a trend that reflects national guilt.

I think it's a good trend, a sensible trend -- it's not turning back the clock to our previous years of fretful awareness of the deep prejudice instilled in us from the beginning of our school days, (from even earlier).

Our chatty friendly remarks -- how we observe hair, skin color, facial and body features -- need to be examined. These subtle, friendly sounding, often automatic, exchanges -- for instance, put-downs of blacks by offenders -- play a role in unfairness in the legal system as they can influence the decisions of juries, and hey-- microaggesioning is what the Speaker of the House and his gang are doing daily, affecting how people view the successes or failures of the White House.

Is  microagreession something YOU and I should deal with?  Guys, we have learned before to keep track of anything that is a big deal for kids. I say focus on this -- learn all you can about microaggression -- dance it, sing it, practice it every day.