Monday, December 26, 2005

Graffiti for sale

I thought I was on it with Mystical Street Art-- well here come the corporations. Nike and Sony among others are paying to have really great graffiti art -- that looks pretty close to real graffiti art -- sell there goods.

It's great-- they are going to co-opt everything. So, really, if it's good art, let it stand in opposition to really great "real" graffiti art.

What Looks Like Graffiti Could Really Be an Ad

What looks like artful vandalism is really part of a guerrilla marketing campaign for Sony's PlayStation Portable, a device that can play games, music and movies. In major cities such as San Francisco, Miami and New York, Sony has paid building owners to use wall space for the campaign, and the images have become a familiar sight.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Vote for FunkyEnough's TOP 10

FunkyEnough's Top 10 for 2005

Requesting your vote

Aloha Friends:

Please help me mark the year that has passed by voting for the FunkyEnough TOP 10 for 2005. I have compiled your nominations and now it is time to vote. The end of the year places us halfway through the first decade of the third millenium. How do you REPRESENT 2005?

Funkyenough is about telling it like it is. Let's be real folks. 2005 was a crazy year, it went by in a flash, almost a disbelief-- a blur-- as time seemed to speed up and our lives got busier. So, for good or bad, what were the defining moments? Who and what should we most pay attention to in the coming years? Where did you find solace and meaning?

What were the signs of the times?

Return your emails much and certainly before December 31, 2005. Feel free to pass this email on.

Be in the Mix in '06,

Vote via email:

FunkyEnough 2005 Top 10 Ballot:

(I). Who most represented 2005?

  • (a). Anderson Cooper He is controversial but my take on him is that he is genuine and honest. The crying on TV which might be viewed by skeptics as a ploy is not; it’s a sign of the times. Audiences want real people. This was honest reporting in the middle of a tragedy. My prediction is that more news people will be lowering their guard and possiblly dropping their bad hair in an attempt to be perceived as more honest. But only people like Anderson who are genuine will surface and survive. submitted by: [lc]
  • (b). Bono and Bill & Melinda Gates A rockstar and billionaires of the highest order. He continues to rock crowds, capable of inspiring sheer joy and poignant tears. They are royalty of the evil corporate capitalist empire. He influences with his lyrics and his soul. They drop crazy dollars to affect change. He is smart and has his Zen on big-time. They have said candidly that they want to rid themselves of their burden of billions. He advocates with the power he's attained, but remains unpretentious. Their work through their foundation to irradiate and treat disease in the third world is truly mind-boggling: both in the measurable impact they are having in saving lives, but also in the long-term economic impact that healthier populations will have on countries struggling with poverty and war. [jnm][ja]
  • (c). Harold Pinter, the British poet/playwright who won this year's Nobel Prize for Literature. In his acceptance speech, Pinter took the opportunity to blast Bush and Blair for their "war crimes" and for the "tapestry of lies" they've woven since the beginning. Pinter has always been outspoken, but to turn the Nobel speech into a political commentary--one that was more honest and incisive than any you'll hear over the usual channels--was as bold as it was necessary. After a talk in London right after he won the prize, he was asked if Blair had contacted him to offer congratulations, Pinter said, "No, but I understand there's some little fucker running around here with flowers from the Prime Minister. If you see him, tell him, 'no thanks.'" Writers rarely make an impact, which makes Pinter's timely criticism of the war mongers all the more worth celebrating.[gs]
  • (d). John McCain... his willingness to stand up to his party and the wrongheaded White House regime regarding torture is absolutely the right thing to do. For a country that's so willing to push regime change for torture and quick to rebuke China regarding their treatment of human rights, it is absurd that we're even debating this issue. It's unbelievable how quickly the US has devolved from a paragon to a pariah. McCain is one of the few people that is slowing the slide somewhat. [jh]
  • (e). Jon Stewart "The Daily Show" A terrific and original critique of the news media. he dissed the CNN guys, was that 2005? [cg][cc]
  • (f). Kanye West for saying "George Bush doesn't care about Black people" on live TV [cg]
  • (g). Oprah Possibly, the most influential social and political 'person' in the world. Who's bigger than Oprah? Really? She survived poverty, racial discriminations and sexual abuse and today she rules the airwaves (which really means ruling our thought waves). Oprah is what Tiger and Michael will never be, someone who uses her celebrity to move the world toward unity and beyond false dichotomies which convince us we are separate beings. The woman makes me proud to be a human. [js][ms][am]
  • (h). Rosa Parks "We can all have a Rosa Parks' Moment." --Hillary Clinton [ts]
  • (i). Soldiers Women and Men who don't necessarily support our current government but that went to war to support our country while risking their lives and dying. They are the greatest heroes of 2005. They are the ones doing something no one else is in America is doing. They are the ones to remember, to ask what 2005 meant... [js]
  • (j). Stanley "Tookie" Williams His execution serves as the perfect metaphor for the direction this country is headed. I'm most moved by his choice to change, to move toward becoming a more conscious, open-hearted being (despite all of the evidence he had to justify his alienation) AND then the ways in which society as a whole reacted to such change with cynicism, mistrust, disbelief. If a man is not allowed to change, to evolve for the better OR if society functions to limit or discredit such change rather than support it, then where does that leave us? [ms]
  • (k). Terrell Owens The professional athlete who showed the greatest selfishness. We're at war, and these cats are making millions, meanwhile, they decline common decency to represent a little gratitude. Could have included Latrell Sprewell and any of the NBA players who complained that they needed a stipend to pay for the new dress code.
  • (l). Thomas Friedman for a strategic accounting on the effects of globalization "The World is Flat". An excellent account of where we are as a global community and where we are going over the next 10-20 years. Perhaps, the most important piece of social/economic/political commentary in quite some time. [cg]
  • (m). Visions of the Superdome following Hurricane Katrina After seeing the imagery of Katrina, with people on roofs with signs asking for help, I was embarrassed as an American for the first time. For exposing our inability to deal with massive disaster with biblical proportions and racial dimensions, it's Hurricane Katrina that was the greatest event of 2005. [jh][gm]

(II). Signs of what's to come

  • (a). 2012 The Mayan calendar ends; perhaps ours does, too. I'm still hoping that the aliens who spawned us finally reveal themselves, thus forever altering our ways of being for the better. [ms]
  • (b). Kids Just two days ago, when I was talking to my son about the possibility of moving to East Lansing, MI, where I'm interviewing for a job, Gabriel expressed his deepest reservations. When I told him we could have a bigger house, he could have his own room, and he and Dominic could have a dog and more room to play, he said, "But my friends, dad, are more important than all that!" He's 6. Nuff said. [gs]
  • (c). Global Warming Once again, is this an illusion? How serious is this? Um, is the planet like really melting?
  • (d). Googlization satellite maps of your home, video of your family, single company stock market bubble, simple, fast, "do no evil" credo
  • (e). IPOD - i know it wasn't invented this year, but i feel like the explosion of ipods has officially taken off. its like having a walkman back in the 80's. You've just gotta have one. and it has revolutionized the driving experience. all your music in one little device. no cd's skipping or tapes warping. You can make playlists, put it on shuffle, or just pick a musician and listen to everything they have done. i love my IPOD! [er]
  • (f). the Medical device that is planted in the brain that can turn off ALL shaking for many people with Parkinson's disease is the Greatest Invention of '05. [js]
  • (g). Michael Franti the dude exudes love. he travels to iraq and sings songs with kids in the street. he travels to israel and supports peace on all sides of the conflict. he speaks at rallies across europe and the U.S. and then he plays tunes at high sierra and we all dance. much in the way that martin luther king jr actually embodied the non-violent resistance with love for his oppressors, franti reminds us that we are our bigger selves when we look past our anger. Our rapidly expanding technology is serving the purpose of bringing us closer together. shrinking the world. eliminating the walls that were created in a different time out of different needs. the new countries, the new ideologies must work in the same direction, to bring us together, to show us our sameness and allow us to enjoy our differentness. franti is a spearhead for this new ideology. he doesn't just sing songs for the purpose of making a living. he performs for audiences because that is his purpose in this growing new world. and when he performs he embodies human love. i go to his shows to reinvigorate myself and get in touch once again with that strong sense of purpose. i thank the world that he has been created. [hm]
  • (h). Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter Never understood why they didn't both get the Peace Prize. I'm reading his new book, "Our Endangered Values." [ts]
  • (i). Wikipedia

(III). Power spots for 2005

  • (a). Black Rock City, NVI went to Burning Man with the intention of not overworking myself. I spent the whole week talking to people. While in the dessert, Katrina was getting worse and worse, and the feeling of partying while a city was being destroyed was a bit difficult. But it was so powerful to be a part of a group working towards compassion and love and putting that out there into the world, while others were suffering. We couldn't cancel BM and all go to New Orleans, but we could send out the vibe, 25,000 people all exuding happiness and love, thats gotta help somewhere somehow. [er]
  • (b). Cathedrals in Spain:built as mosques and then converted to cathedrals by the Christian conquerors they put this year's conflicts in some perspective. We sat to meditate for a few minutes in the cathedral in Cordoba, and it was a powerful experience indeed to ponder the pride of those who built and worshiped in such a beautiful structure, the rush of power for those who hoisted a cross on top of it, the depth of pain for those conquered and expelled, the senses of entitlement, vengeance . . . [jnm]
  • (c). Lana'i, Hawaii. Hardly any explanation necessary, but of the oak trees and cliffsides and ocean vistas I've also seen this year, lying exposed on a grassy lawn under the stars of an island lost in the Pacific takes the cake. [js]
  • (d). Little Beach, Maui. We went to a sunset drum circle. It was a beautiful day. the water was sweet and when we got close to it we could see whales in the distance jumping in and out, making huge splashes in the distance. Deep underwater I could hear them singing. People were gathering for the drum circle and fire dancing that was going to happen around the sunset. There were strange fools everywhere. The energy was a little overwhelming. Like a bunch of little superballs in a tiny box being shaken around fast as hell. I remember feeling grounded and grateful. One of our friends got all of her shit stolen that night. Her brand new camera was taken. Her stuff was right next to ours. Somehow the experience felt grounding to me, I knew our stuff was at risk but somehow stayed connected to it, to my family and friends. [hm]
  • (e). Mendocino Coastline, north of town at the vortex of ocean bay, streamlined trees and wedding site. The ceaseless waves, seagulls, cold breeze and sun. [cc]
  • (f). New York City [am]
  • (g). On top of a granite dome in the Emigrant Wilderness, CA just enjoying the comfort of a naturally sculpted seat on the squeaky clean rock, watching a hawk, the sunset, the moonrise. [cc]
  • (i). On top of a small mountain in Huehuetenango, Guatemala. fog, vivid green and yellow grass and gray rocks, cool air but warm enough sun to nap in [cc].
  • (j). Paris Place de la Concord Then maybe Fiji's island beaches and breeze. [ts]
  • (k). Top of Mt. Rinjani, Lombok, Indonesia (island near Bali) I went from one of the most hedonistic places on earth (Full Moon Party on Ko Pha Ngan) to a mountain that was completely tranquil. I got a sense what being spiritual really means by watching the porter and guide pray five times a day while respecting the 14,000 foot mountain in every way. Due to our relative inactivity, climbing a mountain (even with a porter and guide) to novice climbers was pretty brutal, given the altitude, unsteady terrain and other variables that you don't typically have to negotiate when on a couch or a basketball court. The goal was to make it to the top of the mountain before sunrise, necessitating the start of the day to an ungodly, dark hour. The last 1000 yards or so were pretty steep, with gravelly terrain that meant that for every foot you advanced, you slid back about a half a foot or more. I didn't feel quite like Sisyphus, but certainly in the same ballpark. The sun was hinting at it's arrival which put the pressure on. The fatigue and lack of oxygen made it even tougher, but I figured that I'm rarely on top of the world, and if I don't reach inside for the energy to make it up to the top by daybreak, I'd forever be pissed at myself. I mustered up the strength to get to the top by daybreak and it was unlike any other sensation I had to that point in my life. [jh]

(IV). and finally, the moving image (film/tv) of 2005

  • (a). I Heart Huckabees "How am i not being myself? How am i not being myself? How am i not being myself?" funny play on how we are all connected. The universe, the trees, the people, the war, the birds, the politicians. We are all just matter floating around. I loved Dustin Hoffman as the existential detective - as well as hitting yourself in the face with a big red bouncy ball to stop your brain from thinking and to just BE. [er]
  • (b). Lost I've not yet seen a television show devote so much time to "minority" characters. (To wit: several episodes follow the flashback lives of the shows Korean couple, who often speak with subtitles and exhibit a full range of emotions.) The writing is excellent and makes us all want to be TV screenwriters! It is a cross between The Twilight Zone and ER. Muy excelente! [ja]
  • (c). March of the Penguins at my Dad's recommendation (he got all teary just telling me about it). Fabulous. [jnm]
  • (d). Me You and everyone we know Funky film of the year. It showed life tilted in a trippy way rarely seen in film and often how I experience it. I appreciated seeing things through a unique lens, while at the same time staying authentic and real - not just trying to freak me out for freaking's sake. [hm]
  • (e). What the Bleep do We Know?! While cheesy at times, this film of the year took a direct swing at everyday notions of time and space declaring that we have entered the age where we consciously choose our reality. Shamelessly bringing back the premillennial obsession with convergence.
  • (f). Rent Homage to the 80's when AIDS was a death sentence.
Please be sure to return your opinion by email to by 12/31/05.
Thanks so much for including your vote for FunkyEnough's TOP 10.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Bush meets with the Dalai Lama: true story

So, would you believe the Dalai Lama and George W. Bush hanging together? It happenned.

W. went on to China where he told their leaders that the DL didn't want Tibet's sovereignty.

Do you think W. felt like he was talking to Jesus? OR Did he think that The Dalai Lama was a charlatan? Does W. really support Tibetan Buddhism? How does he reconcile that with his belief in JESUS? And his support for democracy, "no eloctorate chose his holiness".....


World Peace Herald

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Poet and The Painter

Poetry Painting, the movie that Jamey Austin and I made in 2003 is now online. Search for "poet painter".

At left is the piece from session six. The only one that he and I actually both went hands on with a painting. Note our signatures in the bottom left.

(BTW, I never put any words in his poetry. Though I did catch some great shots of his mad skills at writing straight without stopping).

For more details on "The Poet and The Painter".

To watch The Poet and The Painter:

Thursday, November 10, 2005

"We Are All Witnesses": Lebron

Nike has posted a ten story high billboard of King James AKA Lebron James, the next coming of Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson. The slogan, "We are all witnesses" refers to the unique opportunity of watching the birth of a legend.

From this photo, I thought that the American flag and others (anyone recognize the other two?) were part of the billboard. What is Nike doing? Are they referencing our collective responsibility for what America is doing around the globe?

We are all "witnesses" and complicit to the loss of individual liberties and the anti-American sentiment in the world. So many people I know are still in shock that Bush got re-elected and are exhausted over it.

David Brooks in todays NY Times column about the recent riots in France:
One of the striking things about the scenes from France is how thoroughly the rioters have assimilated hip-hop and rap culture. It's not only that they use the same hand gestures as American rappers, wear the same clothes and necklaces, play the same video games, and sit with the same sorts of car stereos at full blast. It's that they seem to have adopted the same poses of exaggerated manhood, the same attitudes about women, money and the police.

America's rebellious countercultural heroes exert more influence around the world than the clean establishment images from Disney and McDonald's. This is our final insult to the anti-Americans; we define how to be anti-American, and the foreigners who attack us are reduced to borrowing our own clich├ęs.

Sorry, I just think it's important to note:
  1. Hip-hop is not all about Gangsta. That is one of the most annoying misnomers for me-- when I meet someone who assumes all rap and hip-hop are misogynistic, violent, etc.
  2. Americans often forget how influential our counter-culture is. We still define what is hip and cool in the world. More specifically, I would offer the over-generalization that it is Black America that still decides what is cool.
  3. Being anti-american is different than being anti-US government... the second of those has been a message from much conscious hip-hop: Public Enemy, Poor Righteous Teachers, Paris, X-Clan...
I went on to find these other images. Looks like the billboard is just placed behind flagpoles.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

R.I.P. breathingSPACE

Oaklandish, the grassroots organization in downtown Oakland has lost it's building and is transforming itself into a solid internet community builder. I just posted a link to the warehouse which I left exactly one year ago.

RIP breathingSPACE: props to
Matome, Roib, Krissy, Gideon, Aubry, Colin, Thilivhali, Shaka, Adimu, Saran, Kelly, Gillian, Nicko Blue, Ethan and some G's...

The forum on Oaklandish is great, check it out.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween: The Power of Imagery

I've always been impressed by the power of an image. A week before the images from Abu Ghraib prison were released (frightening scenes of American occupation in Iraq) I was filming a documentary in which a sage presented this:
the power of imagery and art has been taken over by advertising. Schools should teach how to read and understand art, visuals, the emotive power of imagery.
The Apple iPod marketing campaign was original and graceful in it's use of imagery. I didn't invent this concept-- I first heard of it from Rob Figliuzzi of an artpiece in New York City where the Abu Ghraib imagery had been done as an iPod ad. I never saw what those looked like.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

"Leading by (Bad) Example" by Thomas Friedman

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 (Iraq News Agency) - A delegation of Iraqi judges and journalists abruptly left the U.S. today, cutting short its visit to study the workings of American democracy. A delegation spokesman said the Iraqis were "bewildered" by some of the behavior of the Bush administration and felt it was best to limit their exposure to the U.S. system at this time, when Iraq is taking its first baby steps toward democracy.

The lead Iraqi delegate, Muhammad Mithaqi, a noted secular Sunni judge who had recently survived an assassination attempt by Islamist radicals, said that he was stunned when he heard President Bush telling Republicans that one reason they should support Harriet Miers for the U.S. Supreme Court was because of "her religion." She is described as a devout evangelical Christian.

Mithaqi said that after two years of being lectured to by U.S. diplomats in Baghdad about the need to separate "mosque from state" in the new Iraq, he was also floored to read that the former Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr, now a law school dean, said on the radio show of the conservative James Dobson that Miers deserved support because she was "a very, very strong Christian [who] should be a source of great comfort and assistance to people in the households of faith around the country."

"Now let me get this straight," Judge Mithaqi said. "You are lecturing us about keeping religion out of politics, and then your own president and conservative legal scholars go and tell your public to endorse Miers as a Supreme Court justice because she is an evangelical Christian.

"How would you feel if you picked up your newspapers next week and read that the president of Iraq justified the appointment of an Iraqi Supreme Court justice by telling Iraqis: 'Don't pay attention to his lack of legal expertise. Pay attention to the fact that he is a Muslim fundamentalist and prays at a Saudi-funded Wahhabi mosque.' Is that the Iraq you sent your sons to build and to die for? I don't think so. We can't have our people exposed to such talk."

A fellow delegation member, Abdul Wahab al-Unfi, a Shiite lawyer who walks with a limp today as a result of torture in a Saddam prison, said he did not want to spend another day in Washington after listening to the Bush team defend its right to use torture in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unfi said he was heartened by the fact that the Senate voted 90 to 9 to ban U.S. torture of military prisoners. But he said he was depressed by reports that the White House might veto the bill because of that amendment, which would ban "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment of P.O.W.'s.

"I survived eight years of torture under Saddam," Unfi said. "Virtually every extended family in Iraq has someone who was tortured or killed in a Baathist prison. Yet, already, more than 100 prisoners of war have died in U.S. custody. How is that possible from the greatest democracy in the world? There must be no place for torture in the future Iraq. We are going home now because I don't want our delegation corrupted by all this American right-to-torture talk."

Finally, the delegation member Sahaf al-Sahafi, editor of one of Iraq's new newspapers, said he wanted to go home after watching a televised videoconference last Thursday between soldiers in Iraq and President Bush. The soldiers, 10 Americans and an Iraqi, were coached by a Pentagon aide on how to respond to Mr. Bush.

"I had nightmares watching this," Sahafi said. "It was right from the Saddam playbook. I was particularly upset to hear the Iraqi sergeant major, Akeel Shakir Nasser, tell Mr. Bush: 'Thank you very much for everything. I like you.' It was exactly the kind of staged encounter that Saddam used to have with his troops."

Sahafi said he was also floored to see the U.S. Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan agency that works for Congress, declare that a Bush administration contract that paid Armstrong Williams, a supposedly independent commentator, to promote Mr. Bush's No Child Left Behind policy constituted illegal propaganda - an attempt by the government to buy good press.

"Saddam bought and paid journalists all over the Arab world," Sahafi said. "It makes me sick to see even a drop of that in America."

By coincidence, the Iraqi delegates departed Washington just as the Bush aide Karen Hughes returned from the Middle East. Her trip was aimed at improving America's image among Muslims by giving them a more accurate view of America and President Bush. She said, "The more they know about us, the more they will like us."

(Yes, all of this is a fake news story. I just wish that it weren't so true.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Malcolm in the Middle: @ Burning Man

[note as of POST 'i hope this link still works']

this is a link to the entire show without commercials. i
think dean is even in it (ok, they do a horrible job
emulating your neon light costume)... love, g

> From: suzi palmer
> Subject: bman on malcolm and the middle
> didn't see it? me neither, and i didn't want to BUT
> this is a pretty good account of bman - very accurate,
> down to the details (the banana bike which i have a
> photo of from this year! to the random guy in EL
> wire... the rebirth camp...)
> please tell me this cracks you up... i'm laughing so
> hard...!!

My Letter to Nicholas Christoff

In regards to this column by Nicholas Chrisoff, I emailed:

Dear Sir:

i just got something i hadn't before about WHAT IN THE WORLD IS GOING ON with this conservative dominance; i.e. how is it that bush is getting away with his stomping of pristine wildlife, with his blatant payoff to his sycophants, with his horrible economic plan making the rich the benefactors... how can bush pull off this extremely conservative agenda with so many of us appauled?

i naively thought as a child with a progressive family that sexism and racism would be gone by the time i was an adult. i have been explaining the re-election of bush as the result of the daze and confusement of the conscious people, a general shock.

but really it is a call to rally. we shouldn't be surprised that the court legislation has run its course. it is our time in this democracy to convince our fellow americans that racism and sexism
are the wrong choices for our country.

it's time to make the law state a woman's choice. it's time to make the law acknowledge that black people are still dissed through institutional racism.

perhaps the coming of george W bush is the realization that we can't rely on the courts anymore.
it's time to engage in democracy.

but the question remains, is it possible to engage in a democracy considering the influence (control?) of the legislative system (hence, dismissal of democracy) exuded by corporations?


Monday, October 10, 2005

Order in the Court: Nicholas Christoff on Hariet Miers

With another Supreme Court battle looming, this time over Harriet Miers, let's acknowledge something up front: Republicans are right to complain about judicial activism.

One of the most fundamental mistakes that liberals made after World War II was, time after time, to seek social progress through the courts rather than through the political process.

It started well, with the Warren Court's unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education to force the desegregation of schools. That decision was so manifestly right -- and alternative routes to justice so manifestly broken -- that court rulings then became the liberal template for achieving a more humane society.

The left went to the Supreme Court to achieve a range of victories it could never have managed through the political process: barring school prayer, protecting protesters who used four-letter words, guaranteeing lawyers for criminal defendants, and securing a right to privacy that protected contraception and abortion.

It's almost taken for granted on the left that if you support abortion rights, you must have agreed with Roe v. Wade, or if you support gay rights, you must favor court rulings endorsing gay marriage. But court rulings can constitute fine justice and bad law.

Archibald Cox, the great constitutional lawyer, yearned for social progress but was troubled by constitutional stretching. For example, when other avenues were unavailable, the Supreme Court used the 13th Amendment, which simply banned slavery, to bar private discrimination against blacks. It was a worthy outcome, achieved by torturing the Constitution.

Don't get me wrong: I agree with the spirit of the Warren Court decisions, and as a kid I worshiped William Douglas the way my friends worshiped Hank Aaron (I was an insufferable child). I saw how court rulings could affect our lives: my high school in rural Oregon banned teachers and students from having facial hair, until the A.C.L.U. took up the case -- and the school caved.

So, granted, the courts were often the most efficient way to advance a liberal agenda, and cases like Roe v. Wade now deserve respect as precedents. But there were two problems with the activist approach.

The first was that these rulings alienated ordinary Americans who just could not see how the Constitution banned school prayers but protected obscenities. Frustration still seethes at liberals who try to impose their values on the heartland, and one consequence has been the rise of the religious right.

The second objection is that conservatives can play the same game of judicial activism to advance a social agenda. Alas, they already are.

''Judicial activism'' is usually associated with liberals, but Paul Gewirtz of Yale Law School has shown that lately conservatives have been far more likely to strike down laws passed by Congress. Clarence Thomas voted to invalidate 65 percent of the laws that came before him in cases, while those least likely to do so were Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. Indeed, Justice Breyer has written a thoughtful new book, ''Active Liberty,'' which calls for judicial restraint and suggests that the best arena for resolving crucial national questions is legislatures rather than courts.

A growing number on the left are questioning the traditional idea of using courts to achieve a more liberal society. Justice Ginsburg, in her Senate hearings, even criticized the scope of Roe v. Wade for short-circuiting the legislative process: ''My view is that if Roe had been less sweeping, people would have accepted it more readily, would have expressed themselves in the political arena in an enduring way on this question.''

In the magazine of the Democratic Leadership Council, Prof. William Galston warned:

''We must acknowledge that as a party, we have opened ourselves to charges of elitism. We cannot be an effective party if we substitute litigation for mobilization. We cannot be a democratic party if we do not trust the people.''

That doesn't mean blindly trusting Ms. Miers or any other Supreme Court nominee. But it does mean that the main mode for seeking a more liberal agenda, such as permitting gay marriage or barring public displays of the Ten Commandments, should be the democratic process, not the undemocratic courts. And it also suggests that the Republicans are dead right to fret about judicial activism -- and we should hold them to their word.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Book Review: Letters to America

Three months before the US launched its war in Iraq, I was traveling in Turkey. The kind old man running our hotel asked us while we had breakfast overlooking the beautiful beaches of the mediteranean, "Who did you vote for, Gore or Bush?"

When we told him our answer, he replied, "How is it that Bush is president? Every American I have asked voted for Gore."

I am a proud American. And I understand when Americans adamently assert that we must support our principles abroad and protect our citizens. I also believe that as the world leader, it is important that we understand, relate to and respect our neighbors.

Letters To America, the first book from Erica Gellar, is not a peace-nik new age liberal manifesto of any kind-- rather it is a straight shooting representation of what the world would say to the USA given the voice to do so. I strongly urge you to amplify this voice. Buy the book. Buy ten. Send them to your government representatives, to your friends and to journalists.
It may be that those who voted for Bush never made it to the same hotel we did on the beaches in Turkey. Or perhaps they weren't comfortable expressing their views to the old pension owner. However, it seems to me more and more, that most of the people entrenched in the notion that America does no wrong just don't get outside much.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Halliburton taking over: duh!

Well, this is what we have been talking about. George W couldn't spell "grassroots" if you gave him a dictionary. I have it on good source that the CDC (Center for Disease Control) was given hotel budget of $200 a night in New Orleans. These guys have critical immediate work to do in the Gulf to protect the lives and aid the health of the people trying to restart their lives. The sounds like plenty of cash for a hotel room-- but guess what, it wasn't enough. The hotel rooms were quickly taken up after the CDC thought they had secured a place to stay. The CDC was actually kicked out by a group paying $400 a night. Guess who? Say it with me: Halliburton.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Remembering Passion by getting away

It works every time-- today I wanted to make art at my house but instead made myself go to the top of the volcano on Maui, 10,000 ft elevation: Haleakala. I only made the hike in an hour in, but I could feel my body tingle. And I come home remembering so much that I want to create.

By the way, I just launched my movie that is about mystical art with a realist attitude-- more influenced by abstract artists and graffiti artists than meditative spiritualists-- mystical street art.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

art lives in manhattan

What's that in the back-- it's a floating island. I swear when I first saw this picture I stared, amazed at how beautiful an image it was, but until I watched the multimedia presentation on Robert Smithson did I see the island of trees.

Blooters and Winders: Fites and Llacks.

If you are wondering what Kanye meant by the media calling white people "finders" and black people "looters", see this set of screenshots in which 6 out of 7 slides note black people as looting and the one slide of white people doing the same thing is of "finders".

I would venture a guess that this is one of the few grocery looting photos we'll see of white people looting in New Orleans. The area hit by the hurricane was predominantly black and poor. Maybe some white cats in the French Quarter were looting, I don't know. But this is not about blaming the AP photographer for the quote.

The point here is not to blame the media now, but to realize that racism is a subtle and often unconscious act that exists for us. The media is just a reflection of that.

Race has been exposed as a real issue again in America.

"George Bush Doesn't Care About Black People"

Five days after hurricane Katrina devasted the Gulf Coast of the USA, NBC TV hosted a telethon to raise money for the red cross. Comedian Mike Myers and hip-hop star Kanye West were reading from a teleprompter when Kanye ditched the script:

Friday, September 16, 2005

This has to be the coolest thing I've ever done: The NEW GP TRIBUTE

The painting is "Preserving Gary" that served as the center piece for the GP Tribute. The music is from "Golden Rule" by Blackalicious. This has to be the coolest thing I've ever done: gp art.

Monday, September 12, 2005

art in times of this war

"(un)Patriot(ic) Act," the artist Lisa Charde's straitjacketed flag, is part of a new exhibition by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council

The street mindset for art, what has been shown in alternative spaces for years, has made it into a gallery showing that was just reviewed in the ny times:

...the show is a thoughtful, legitimate exploration of one way in which American artists' lives have changed because of 9/11; it raises questions about artistic freedom that ought to be asked near ground zero. And the anger directed against the show reveals some chilling cultural trends: the devaluing of art as a proper response to 9/11, and the persistent, wrongheaded idea that to question the government is to dishonor the memory of those who died.

Carlos Andrade & Todd Ayoung's "Beheaded/Between," left, and an untitled work by John Leanos.

ABOVE: Kouross Esmaeli's "Greetings Without Flowers" features lifesize portraits of citizens of Baghdad.

BELOW: A simulated explosive device in a suitcase by the artist Hackett.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Don't let New Orleans become Las Vegas

If you haven't figured out Bush by now, what we have to fear here is that he drops crazy dollars on his friends to rebuild New Orleans as the PARTY TOWN they know it as. I have nothing against sex, drugs and rock-n-roll. But, not if the entire city is rebuilt based on that concept and all the money is capitalized by the corporate elite. Let's have some REAL ART, some innovative music (DON'T LET NEW ORLEANS BECOME LAS VEGAS). Let's invigorate the vast community of people who lived in the heart of New Orleans. Let's step up to the opportunity in a right way. Every person affected must be in a home and healthy.

My question is how do we encourage a real art scene back into New Orleans.

Thanks Eric for this link.
Despite the disaster that has overwhelmed New Orleans, the city's monied, mostly white elite is hanging on and maneuvering to play a role in the recovery when the floodwaters of Katrina are gone. "New Orleans is ready to be rebuilt. Let's start right here," says Mr. O'Dwyer, standing in his expansive kitchen, next to a counter covered with a jumble of weaponry and electric wires.
Or was there ever one?

Peeling Away the layers of America we find Nikes

Eugene Robinson wrote this great piece on the Katrina Hurricane situation:
That's what this unreal disaster did to New Orleans and the whole country. Things we tried to tuck away and forget about are suddenly out there for the world to see.
America just went and aired our dirty laundry to the world. YO WORLD!!!: "We got a 'bunch a poor people' and they are mostly black and they are the same poor people that have been here for long, long time in our country. Reagonomics, supply siders, Clinton-boom-enomics, whatever you want to blame it on, hasn't worked....

(the blame game: While Jon Stewart is really MISSING when he blames Mike Brown and FEMA-- really Brown is just a fall guy for BUSH. Don't buy this America, Brown was given no power and no good infrastructure. Bush clearly chose the wrong guy and put him in the wrong place.)

American capitalism has left WAY TOO MANY OF OUR POOR STILL POOR. And, Hurricane Katrina opened our Kimono to show that we don't really have this "poor thing" figured out.

The Right Side says that it's their own damn fault. And in a spiritual sense, we all choose our own reality, right? We all need to be responsible for ourselves. And it's true.

And then the left says: bullshit, y'all just put your friends in the best god damn jobs.
RIGHT: You do too, look at all the Clinton ambassador appointments.
LEFT: Listen, I'm just saying, that I need to take responsibility for myself, but the rules of the economic game are based on who you know. White people know white people. Rich people know rich people. And that's straight up.

RIGHT: But I would hire the most qualified person for any job. White or Black. Rich or poor.
LEFT: Sometimes I agree with your whole point, that's probably why I'm a liberal. You probably think you do hire the best person for the job..
(BTW, when a conservative can see my point, I feel as if my mind is blissed-- almost numbed perhaps... but not quite, mostly inspired because 'my god, we might actually have our country and our world come together' kind of feeling-- yes, I'm going to say it, 'in peace').
Sometimes, I agree that people need to get off their asses and get some shit done. I get the most done when I am 90% sweating but I get the most done when I am loving my job.
... but what you aren't quite admiting is that you create your own standards of who passes the muster to get the job, get into the school, and be succesful.

RIGHT: Why the race thing? Kanye West, Howard Dean?

My friend called my on the phone and said he couldn't understand the looting. That was on day 4. "I can understand taking food, but why NIKE'S?

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Excerpts from interview with intuitive healer Mary Swanson

These are excerpts from an interview the Johnathon Human and I recorded with Mary. The entire text to be published in the near future.

June 27th, Sunday, 2004

JQ: What is it that you do?
M: Legally I can call myself an energy balancer, I can call myself an energy worker, I can call myself a chakra balancer. Legally, I can’t call myself a healer or a therapist. But what I do is work with people’s belief systems, their energy fields, to affect healing in their lives. I think of myself as a student of human interaction. I came up though poetry and theatre and the arts.

JQ: You use the words “seeing energy” would you say that it is actually a visual of what you “see” or is it more of the sense and a perception that’s in part vision, optical?
M: There are many different ways of being intuitive. And one way is actually seeing which is “clairvoyance”. And yes, I would say I definitely I see energy. At the beginning of my life I thought everybody saw things this way. It would be a very normal occurrence for me to see somebody with a tiny little head, or yellow things shooting off of their bodies.

JQ: So you would say you had this gift sense as a child?
M: I would definitely say I was born seeing things that way. But there is also clairsencience where you are feeling, smelling, and tasting energy.
And there is prescience where you are kind of seeing and sensing things ahead of when they happen. And there is clairaudience where you are hearing things. And I would say that all those ways of perceiving happen to me. And it’s really nice to be able to calm and quiet it down.

GQ: Was there any experience as a child... were there people you met as a child where you recognized that this was a different way of experiencing the world?

M: Two things come up when you ask that question. One is that my experience with my father was that he also sensed what I sensed. So I didn’t feel that I was that different. Because our communication was very non-verbal and I just thought that that was how people communicated with other people.
And then when I was in my seventh year, I remember very vividly my first out of body experience. I was cutting through from my school to my church, and I went through this long hallway, and the hallway started began to tilt. I just stood there and looked at it. There was a classroom right there and I went and laid down. There was a shelf in the back of the schoolroom, and I just laid down on the shelf and I was up in the corner of the room watching myself lay down on the shelf in the back. And that was my first experience of thinking I don’t think other people do this.

GQ: What is your experience in airports? For example, if you were flying, would you have any sense of the safety of the plane? Or would you have a sense of being able to check in with that? Or would you just have a faith that “I am trusting in the universe and that everything is going to be OK”?
M: I’ve never had the experience that I should leave an airplane. I’ve never had the experience that there is something wrong here and I should divert. But when I do get on an airplane I just sit down, ground the airplane, discharge any negative energies that I can see or sense, I ground the whole cockpit, and make sure everybody is awake and everything. I do do that. And then I just let go, I just turn it over to “I’ve done what I can do here”.

But I think the bigger question here is that I that nothing is really fated. And that you can have an influence. One person being grounded and calm in a situation can influence the situation that might be about to teeter off into some kind of chaos.

Maybe that is why it hard to go out there into the world. Not just that you are being bombarded. With the practice that I have, I do just try to maintain a calm and grounded thing all the time and I have come to trust myself that that in and of itself is going to create a safe pathway for me to walk in the world through.

GQ: Would you think you would know if something terrible was going to happen?
M: I think I would feel if something terrible was going to happen. I don’t know that I would know the exact cause of what was creating that feeling within me. Certainly with all the chaos that has been going on the world lately, I and several other psychics that I talk to sometimes will call each other and go “whoa what is going on, what’s about to come down here it’s just really hard to ground, it’s hard to get protected., it’s hard to feel OK. I’m waking up in the middle of the night in tears.” There’s an awareness when there is a building of energy, Around us and also worldwide.

So, I think I try to stay as calm and separate from that as much as I can because even with the belief that one person can ground a room and affect the whole situation it doesn’t help to react to that feeling of panic or chaos going on other than ok, just just be grounded, be as calm as you can.

But causation is a very tricky thing, you can feel energy and know that things are how they should be. But then finding out why is pulling that thread out to get to that point of causation. It’s a tricky thing. Because usually there isn’t one point of causation, there are a lot of factors coming together about to converge that create the chaos.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Cool New Online Maps

Street Level Maps.... Somehow, these guys took photos of the street all over major cities. It's still in BETA. This picture is where the former Media Metrix office was, 432 Clay St. in the financial district of San Francisco.

And of course if you haven't seen google maps, check this out: Where I live in Maui.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Why do 2 out of 5 Americans still support Bush and the Iraq War?

Most of us who opposed the Iraq War from the outset are entirely confused now that it looks like a disaster on many levels and 40% of Americans are still in the Bush camp.

Are we waiting for a miracle? All reports I read, even David Brooks, at least admit that the president's policy is blowing it-- not the least to say that the entire notion was wrongheaded from the beginning:
  1. When Shannon and I visited Turkey before the war, a family in the southeast corner told us that IRAQ was the most secular muslim country in the region. Soudi Arabia and Iran are the most hardcore muslim countries.
  2. Bush didnt' really Give Peace a Chance. I understand when Christopher Hitchenssays: "the root falicy that is being put around 'if we weren't mean to them they wouldn't be mean with us' -- absolute bullshit". Got it. -- BUT-- is violence really the answer? [insert john lennon here]. Seriously, isn't this at least a moment to give pause and reflect on what we have learned from Dr. King, from eastern religions, taoism, buddhism, from common sense-- from our experience as humans living our lives -- that "loving our neighbor" is more likely to create a happy outcome?
When Bamuthi and Erica visited, he prompted required reading: Bill Moyers speech at Harvard. Moyers broke down Bush's objective: The religious right basically doesn't care about the environment or the rest of the world hating us because the APOCOLYPSE is coming.

So are we waiting for a miracle? Are all of us? Do we think this thing is just going to work itself out?

Iraq is a mess. Comedy Central is the leading opponent (gawd just wait 'til how many history books corner Jon Stewart as the only vocal dissenter) to the war.

The confusing 40% still still support Bush. They've been called Jackonians by FRANCIS FUKUYAMA in Invasion of the Isolationists -- but it doesn't make sense:

"President Bush's strategy on Iraq is un-American."

"Much has been made of the emergence of "red state" America, which supposedly constitutes the political base for President Bush's unilateralist foreign policy, and of the increased number of conservative Christians who supposedly shape the president's international agenda. But the extent and significance of these phenomena have been much exaggerated."

"Are we failing in Iraq? That's still unclear. The United States can control the situation militarily as long as it chooses to remain there in force, but our willingness to maintain the personnel levels necessary to stay the course is limited."

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Layers in Graffiti: Website Review GRAFARC.ORG

My art, as I'll tell you again and again, is alot about layers. Every layer influences every other layer-- even when the viewer can no longer clearly see what existed before. This site has inspired me to complete a vision I've had for a number of years. I want to allow users to strip away top layers from my paintings to see what it was that existed before-- what influenced subsequent layers. I'll post info here on the blog when it's available to view.

If you are interested in Graffiti, this is a phenomenal work. The creator allows you to urban time travel-- to move back in time and see the previous layers of graffiti. It's up to you to determine if the pervious layers somehow affect the following ones.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Front Street: Maui Fine art Scene

Front Street in Maui claims to be third in the world in art sales. What this means exactly is a little unclear. "Third behind New York and Paris" based on per capita sales... While I have been unable to come up with the figures to support this, undoubtedly, some of the best art in the world is available right here.

It's all here: Picasso, Chagall, Warhol, Haring , Sam Francis, Erte... the classic masters, the most collectible art... and then the up and comers.

But what I have learned selling art on front street is:
  1. Most people don't care about art. Those of us who love art are in the vast minority. In fact a number of people even take great pride in "not getting" art.
  2. Of those that love art, those of us who are captivated by new art/cutting edge art/transformational art are in the minority again.
  3. Art can be an investment. It is actually a great place to put your money but if you don't know what you are doing, it's likely a distaster.
  4. Art is an impulse buy. People buy art in the moment when they love it. The "BeBack Bus "does not exist. "We'll be here on vacation all week" is just another way of saying-- "let me out of the gallery."
  5. The art buyer has to like you. No one is going to give thousands of dollars for art if they don't like you.
  6. The art buyer needs approval. The sales job may actually be more a job of just letting them know that it's ok for them to spend thousands of dollars for an object made of materials that amount to a few hundred dollars in actually cost.
  7. Just about everyone is super happy that they bought art. Every time I would call someone to ask if they are still loving their art, they would say yes. When I called my very first client just to say hello, he started off telling me, "you were right. you and my wife were right, I didn't want to buy the art but you thought we should and you were right. We love it. Thank you."
  8. People create their own glass ceiling of attraction. I can't tell you how many times the art people effuse over is the art just beyond their financial means. When they could afford the $2000 Bertho, they love the $10,000 Warhol. When they can afford the $10,000 Picasso, they want the one that is $40,000. This allows them to not have to do anything or spend any money.
  9. The jury is still out on this one, but it is looking like the most succesful people in this business are hard core. Soft on the outside but when you cross them, they beat you up. If you like the art, you do not leave until you have put down the money.