Monday, July 30, 2012

Hartford youth could use your help!

I received this email the other day.  If you can help, please contact these folks.  Anything any of us can do to help youth especially in the arts is a step in the right direction. 

  Zulu Camacho

We are opening up a Grassroots community center in the Parkville area near Stop and Shop New Park ave. We will be naming it L.X.Y.(League of Xtraordinary Youth) center of Health, Music, Art and Dance

We are asking for any help with office equipment, computers, tables ,art supplies anything that can help us fill in the space to better welcome the Youth and Community our mission is to develop a positive community of empowered youth, who will enact a positive change on society.

We will be doing this through Music, Technology, Dance and Arts. Please contact us if you can help us Thank you

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Calling all artists - Murals for a cause

DoArt Foundation's goal is to bring artists and audiences together on as many levels as possible.  This includes non-traditional art displays.  Currently they are seeking muralists who would like to brighten up My Friends Place on Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA.  

My Friends Place is a youth shelter that specializes in providing clothing, food, counseling and other health resources.  The shelter was founded with the understanding that youth have needs very different from adults.  They have developed a non-threatening, inclusive environment that focuses on positive reinforcement.  In these efforts they have learned that the arts can play a big role.  Currently Cirque du Soliel has their own space at the facility where they are teaching kids circus arts.  

The mural project will provide positive inspiration to both the youth and the community.  Artists will work with the youth to insure their final creations truly represent them and that their voices are heard.  Artists who work in subject matter of the streets, homelessness etc - or that can reach out to community members of this kind and integrate the design to reflect them will have priority in the selection process.  This is not a paid commission.  However, all materials will be covered.  For more information please contact

Friday, July 13, 2012

Artists' Survey - A new kind of "Occupy"

This is a call to artists, managers, producers, promoters, "road moms"-ANYONE involved in arts and entertainment.  I want you input on this.  Do not read this post because you want my blog to have hits.  NO!  This survey is to determine not only the viability of this blog but of a project I am seriously considering that will involve, basically?, the investment of a good part of my life right now.

Let me start with a statement of observation.  THE "OCCUPY" MOVEMENT IS NOT WORKING!  Why?  Because no one is working.  They're not even trying to come up with focus issues.  They're sitting on their asses in, albeit public, areas trying to piss off the cops and anyone who will notice them.  As a child of the 60's and 70's I now see why those protests worked.  Because there was a lot of other WORK going on in conjunction with sit-ins and marches.  People were writing their political representatives.  They were voting.  They were supporting businesses owned by minorities, women, whoever the latest FOCUS issue was about.  And they were FOCUSED.  Dr. King rallied the African-American contingent for their fight.  Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem pumped up the energy of the "girls' club" and charged forth with "womens' lib".  Stonewall is a remembered event because the LGBT community didn't stop with that one act of civil disobedience.  They'd been pushed to their limit and pushed back.  They reclaimed their businesses in The Village.  They took credit for all the work they had been doing in the entertainment industry and their fight continues and they moved forward taking on the AIDS battle, legal protection for their families, their jobs and their property.

Occupiers are not fighting.  They're whining.  Yes, the cops beat you up.  No, police brutality is not right. about fighting back?  I'm not talking violence.  Don't like the banks?  Find private investors and start some good old fashioned savings and loans.  Don't have a job?  Make one.  All you 6-digit engineers and mechanics?  How about some new manufacturing of green products?  Come up with new energy sources.  REINVENT THE FUCKING CAR!!!  Don't depend on Corporate America to save your sorry ass.  They're not gonna change.  They will continue to try to control America and buy out our government.  The only way to win is to DO IT YOURSELF!!!

So here's my survey.  I want to start an Anti-Corporate Arts and Entertainment network.  A place that anyone looking for help can come and find producers, directors, galleries, labels, whatever support they need to get GOOD art out there that is not corporate or government sponsored.  I do not want to take a dime from NEA because I don't want anyone involved to be beholden to a politician or be at the mercy of the any fed budget vote for financial support.  I will however apply for tax-exempt status as a non-profit because why should we give any more money to the people who do NOT support US!!

Many of you know I have my own conspiracy theory in regards to controlling Americans through entertainment.  You'd have to have been living under a rock for the last 30 years to know that GOOD music does not spin on terrestrial radio with very few exceptions.  I would venture to say that at least 75% of U.S. radio is now owned by ClearChannel and CBS who survey the following markets: New York, Miami, Chicago, Houston and L.A.  Playlists are handed down by corporate bosses to PDs who in turn give them to DJs.  TV shows have deteriorated to "reality" contest shows or privacy invasion of the biggest whack-jobs in the country.  Everything is geared for "short attention span theater".  Movies?  Don't even go there.  Thank the gods for Jerry Bruckheimer and Pixar who somehow get big studios to fund their projects.  Every so often we are teased with a British film so that we're thrown off the scent that we are being played.  Even Broadway has sold out.  Reusing old pop/rock music instead of finding original score composers and PAYING them to make good theater.

While pondering the fact that some of my old-school 'Burner' friends have decided against returning to the Playa this year due to the negative changes to the event, I saw an analogy as I considered them spinning off and creating new smaller festivals in other places.  It's like a dandelion.  The base cannot hold the seeds any more so it releases its hold so that the wind can take them where it will.  They land, they take root and the following year they will repeat the process with those seeds going to other places and so on and so on.  Burning Man will always be the parent but the kids are going to take what they learned and build something new somewhere else with it.  That's how this network can work.  I already have connections in Boston, New York, Chicago, Austin and L.A.  Those people are connected to other cities and so-on and so-on.  Get where this is going?  Databases can be created and constantly updated.  People can be connected.  Money can be found in the private sector.  With a national community/tribe of all the satellite tribes working together a powerful thing can happen and when it finally comes to the attention of Corporate America and the government it will be too late.  We will have put good art and entertainment into the eyes, ears, hands and feet of Americans,  seen artists paid what they deserve and all with only "rendering unto Ceasar" what our annual individual income tax returns require.

Here's what I'm asking you:
1) If you are someone who would be directly involved in this effort, leave a comment
2) If you are a casual arts fan but know people this would pertain to or know people who know people, pass this link on.  You're welcome to leave comment here also.

What I want to know:
1) What is your position currently in the arts and entertainment industry
2) Are you currently corporately sponsored (signed to a major label, studio, publisher, etc)
3) Would you consider leaving that sponsorship for an endeavor such as this
4) If you are already an independent artist, writer, filmaker, performer would something like this help you
5) If you are a philanthropist would you invest in projects involved in this effort
6) How much would you pay for a monthly or annual membership to this organization
7) What would you expect in return for that subscription fee

This is a marketing survey.  I really believe in this project.  I know it will be huge if it works.  I don't expect to be the soul proprietor of it.  I will depend on the networking of the project to provide the experts that can bring it to its maximum effectiveness.  I have the passion and the drive though.  I'm tired of seeing some of the most fantastic talent in the country squelched, stifled, marginalized and sometimes even vilified to keep their music off the radio and out of the racks, their screenplays off the big screen, their gorgeous street painting deemed vandalism and their books relegated to on-line publishing for which they see little or no return.  So PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE  take a minute to respond to this, then pass it on.  I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Phoenix Frederick Nathaniel Close

While you are all waiting for my feature article on William Close because we are all waiting to see how he does in the next round of America's Got Talent, a wonderful event occurred in William and Sarah's lives yesterday.  It took Dad a couple of weeks to actually post the announcement, Phoenix was born on June 15th.  Everyone is doing fine.  

Please be patient.  For those not aware, contracts are things that have to be honored to the letter of the law. In this case both for the artist and the press.  William has assured me that as soon as NBC and AGT give the green light we will not only publish the feature in FourCulture but probably add a follow up interview.  In the meantime, please watch for his next performance with the Earth Harp and vote if you love it as much as I do.  William is blessed with incredible talent as a teacher, instrument inventor and musician.  

Brave! - unexpected inspiration and revelation

I'm a sucker for Pixar movies. Not gonna lie.  And when one of your children says they'll pay for your ticket to go see one of their usually exemplary animated flicks, then that's even more reason to go.  I will say though that I had every intention to see "Brave" after seeing the previews for it a while ago.  I have become very closely connected to my Celtic heritage over the last decade especially spiritually so besides being told a story about strong women, the fact that they were strong Celtic women was even more enticing.

Let me start with just a general movie review.  Most of you have noticed that what we are getting from Hollywood over the past 20 or so years, for the most part, has been 1) subpar 2) lacking intelligents plots and/or 3) repetition of the same story movie after movie.  Sometimes I think we all wonder and worry if there are any truly good writers left in the world.  But then a director comes along who has found a very good, if not excellent screenplay and convinces a studio and producers to actually sink some money into making a decent motion picture.  Jerry Bruckheimer is a producer who usually is a good bet for investing his money and time wisely.  Interesting that one studio who trusts him is Disney. So it shouldn't surprise that "the mouse" has also found a great partner in Pixar.  Some of the best investments Disney has made with the animation geniuses are the entire Toy Story series, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo and most recently, UP.  But Brave was a big risk.  It is not necessarily a child's movie.  I would like to warn parents that bringing kids under the age of 10 is probably not advisable.  There are parts that are genuinely scary in the violence depicted.  However, for the middle school crowd up through adults that violence is not superficial.  It is a necessary part of the storytelling.

Someone once told me there are seven basic plots for fiction.  This is the one about trying to change ones destiny but having it backfire because your motives are purely selfish.  Yes, just like the lyric from Beauty and the Beast, "a tale as old as time", Brave is that story...but it is also that plotline, within the plot.  Our heroine sees first-hand how horribly her wish could have gone wrong.  There are also a number of subplots within this script that make it "not just your average cartoon movie".  It is indeed a hidden treasure and one that deserves award recognition but probably will not get it because "it's just a cartoon".  Sadly it probably won't be recognized for the amazing quality of the art work in it either.  My hat's off to the animators who, even though done digitally, successfully pull you into a world that is so realistic down to the blades of grass.  This rendition of the ancient highlands is gorgeous.

My experience with Brave is, most likely, very different from the average person who will see this picture.  It spoke to me on an incredibly deep and emotional level.  Recently refocusing on remaining humble and holding on to childlike wonder, this story grabbed my key and said "lock away pride and ego".   Destiny is something that must happen organically.  One must follow the path, adjusting their pace for the terrain.  Resting when necessary.  Taking time to find food and nourish one's self.  So many times I have wanted a shortcut.  I've considered dropping names or calling in favors to speed up the process.  But then I look at where I have been.  All the things that it took me to get here and I cannot discount a single person, place or event.  Pride and ego are not only the destroyers of creativity, peace, and joy.  They destroy love.  Without love?  None of this is worth anything.  I can have all the accolades in the world.  People will know my name.  But I will have lost the trust and the love of the people who mean the most to me.

To my family, my friends, my artists, my creators...I commit to keeping ego and pride under lock and key.  I commit to unlocking humility.  I give you all permission to call me out when I fail at these.  I'll also work on getting trust to unlock its door from the inside.  It pokes its head out occasionally but it's still kind of scared.  Thank you all.  I may find it hard to show it, but I do love you.   Now go see the damned movie so you don't think I'm completely nuts.  Thanks.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Michael Divine: creating the Glass Onion

This time-lapse of still shots shows the intricate and amazing creation process of the gorgeous "Glass Onion" by Michael Divine. In my definition of art; "the attempt to recreate emotion taking audience from observer to participant", Divine does this in the actual painting itself and in the way that he chose to archive each step of the process. I think after you watch you will have a whole new appreciation.