Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Vintage Fashion Show and Miss Modernism Pageant at Denver Modernism Show

At the modernism show in Denver, there was a fashion show by the Denver Vintage Society. It was one of my favorite parts of the weekend. They had fashion from the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s.

 A few things I learned during the show:
1. I really like some of the styles of clothes from earlier decades and they go well with my vintage pins!
2. Modeling really is a skill - some of these women were really wonderful at modeling - including the one in the last photo here.
3. Lots of tattoos on the models kills the whole "vintage" feel of the show. I just can't picture the housewives of the 40s sporting full sleeve tattoos.

This was the day after the Miss Modernism pageant. I found that a really odd mix of things. I wanted to love it, but two of the contestants basically used their "talent" as ads for their art and jewelry. Four of them had a "talent" involving mixing drinks. It was just odd to me. Some of it was funny, though.

Admittedly, it was my first Miss Modernism pageant and it's entirely possible I just don't get it. I did really enjoy the vintage outfits, however. And the young lady who won played Pachabel's Canon in D on the violin beautifully.
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Three Interesting Things

I am home after a fun few days on the road. And, I'm back to my usual sorting through materials from various sources online. People often ask me where I come up with the tidbits I mention in conversation or talk about here. So, I decided I will periodically post links to thinks I've found interesting for one reason or another. You can check them out or ignore them as you wish!

1. Cantor is in a difficult spot regarding disaster aid. Now that it's not his area affected, and he's a big "no spending" guy, he's vocal about not giving aid to those affected by Irene without having offsets. However, he was singing a completely different tune when it was his area affected a few years ago. I think this is one of the most difficult issues for those who purport no funding for anything. State's rights take a big backseat when people want federal disaster aid. I wish people would wake up to this when they're in the voting booth.

I saw something recently online that said - more eloquently than I'm about to say - If you don't want to pay taxes to support a federal government then don't drive on federal highways, eat food that has been inspected for safety, send your kids to public schools, use electricity or the internet, or expect disaster aid. All good points, I think.

This story seems to sum up the difficulty of being absolute about anything - especially when your comments are public.

2. Google is launching offline versions of mail and calendar. My reaction when I read this was, "Who is ever offline?" It was then that I realized I might be out of step with the rest of the world. I am always connected to email, calendar, web, etc. as long as I have cell phone signal. I've forgotten what the last numbers were on smart phones, but there's significant penetration.

I guess I thought anyone who NEEDED to be connected all the time already was. And people who didn't particularly care to be connected all the time weren't. The logical progression of that to me is - if you need/want to be connected, you can be. But, obviously, google is more in touch than I am!

3. NPR posted this: Provocative Read: 10 'More Important' Events Than The Sept. 11 Attacks
I absolutely despise what I see as the annual "celebration" of 9-11. I've written about it before so won't rehash it here. While I see a reason for noting the day, I think we have overreacted tremendously to it - from starting wars to our annual "rah-rah celebration" to justify them. For the first time, I feel like I'm not alone in this assessment.


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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Life is Weird

A few years ago, my friend Leah said in an exasperated tone, "Your life is weird. I know you don't try to make it weird. But your life is weird."

And... for the latest installment of "Patsy's Life is Weird," I offer the following:

My life may be weird, but it is ooooooh sooooo fun!

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Monday, August 29, 2011

I didn't know I collected Modernism... but apparently I do

The day started with a beautiful view of the mountains bathed in pink. We packed up and then headed off to the Modernism show for the final day.

It ended this afternoon. The show was an eye-opening experience for me because - much to my surprise - apparently I collect all this stuff! Who knew? Certainly not me.

I didn't know that cool things like old costume jewelry pins fell into the category of "modernism." I got two new (old) pins today - cheaply as the day wound to a close. I'm in love with both of them.

There were many other things there I loved, but fortunately, I collected the ones I have when they were $1 or fifty cents at thrift stores when no one cared about them. That's good, because I'd be hard pressed to afford the prices I saw at the show.

One of the funnier moments was when I mentioned liking the purses and Greg wanted to take me over to an area he thought I might have missed that had a lot of purses. I hadn't seen it, but wasn't interested in any of them. Greg pointed to woven one with a design and joked, "But, Patsy, do you have an owl purse?" I looked him straight in the eye and said, "Sadly, I do."

These pins were my only purchases. I love them both. I miss the days of picking up things like this at garage sales for a couple of bucks.

People often ask if they were given to me by family, but none of them were. All the ones I have are ones I've picked up like this. But, I treasure them as if they were my grandmother's or mother's or aunt's prized beauties.

There were about 15 pins at the show I spotted that I would have LOVED to bring home with me. One of them I was really in love with, but when I tried to bargain with the dealer she was rather curt and I just said, "It's beautiful, but I'll have to pass... thank you." and went to another booth where they were happy to make me a deal on the amber colored pin. I understand if a dealer says, "I just can't come down on this..." or something like that. This lady was just not very pleasant. Hopefully the beautiful pin will find a new owner who will be a happier person than the dealer.

Greg went back in and bargained on the blue one for me. I had spotted it on Friday and fallen in love but was going to let it go. He's a master of bargaining - even when the show isn't closing - or in this case, closed.

Little things like this make me happy. Very, very happy. I'm such a lucky girl.

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dapper Dressers

I spent time with two Dapper Dressers Saturday...

My best friend, Greg... who scored this amazing jacket at the Denver Modernism Show. I'm certain his girlfriend will appreciate me encouraging this wardrobe addition - at least that's what I'm telling myself.

And, also... the one and only, Charles Phoenix...

As the clothes might suggest, they're both fun guys!


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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Tea at the Brown Palace, Hula Girls and Hula Hoops

This afternoon I got to enjoy tea at the Brown Palace in Denver. It was one of the best tea experiences I've ever had. And, I've had tea at some of the places you are supposed to go have tea - like the Empress Hotel in Victoria, Canada and Alice's in New York. Both of those are great, but the Brown Palace was spectacular. Loved the scones, they bring you extra sandwiches, and we left not needing to go have lunch or dinner. Great experience. Service was wonderful. Eveything was right.

Then we went to the modernism show where we watched Hula Dancers and then the Miss Modernism pageant.

First... Hula dancers... not something a person sees everyday.

During the pageant, one of the contestants - who ended up getting the second runner up position - mixed a martini, then drank it while hula hooping. There was some spilling. But it was great nonetheless. Frankly, if a person has enough martinis there will be some spilling. So, there you go.

I like for the days to have variety in them. Yesterday I was looking at rattlesnakes. Today I was looking at Hula Dancers.

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Friday, August 26, 2011

A Day of Giant Things

One of The Lope's travel rules is you stop to see anything that is "The World's Largest..." This is part of the story of how I ended up having my photo taken with the world's largest prairie dog today.

We learned that the smaller one was essentially the study for the larger one.

After the prairie dog, we moseyed (however you spell that) on down the road to a giant sculpture of Bill Cody killing a buffalo, hence the name Buffalo Bill Cody. It may have been more artistic than the prairie dog, but I preferred the prairie dog subject matter.

I also ended up watching a rather large - although I wouldn't say giant - rattlesnake shed it's skin.

Needless to say, I've had a full day. Time for bed. I don't think I can handle any more excitement for the day.
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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Scenes From My World

I took this photo in an artist's studio. Surely a window like this stirs the soul of anyone, making the desire to paint palpable. Even if one doesn't paint. Or hasn't until they arrived in a place like this.

Lately I've been noticing the light in various places. It seems I keep finding myself in circumstances where it's worthy of note. Recently, someone else even mentioned it to me in a home.

Usually when something like that keeps coming up it means I should pay attention. I'm not sure what message - exactly - I'm supposed to get. Maybe it will become clear to me - as if a light is shining on it.

I know that a window like this should not be wasted on anyone except an artist who can make use of it to the fullest.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Busy News Day

It has been a busy day in the world.

Rebels broke into Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's Tripoli compound and took it over. I have to confess I have not paid close attention to the whole thing. Why? I guess because there are only so many things I can pay attention to and there is not a single thing I can do to affect the outcome of that one way or the other.

Frankly, I've largely lost interest in politics of all sorts. I will certainly vote. I will always vote. But, I will no longer endorse one candidate or another on a local or state level unless I know them personally. I have been burned one too many times by people who profess to be one thing and turn out to be another. Paul Morrison taught me that lesson. On a national level I will just have to make my best guesses.

In other news today, Virginia had an earthquake that was felt in DC. You would think it was some huge, big deal event. As best I can tell, trying to ferret out the facts from the huge over-reaction of the east-coast based news operations, some things shook. Maybe I'm a big jaded because I grew up near the New Madrid fault line and I've experienced numerous earthquakes, but this wasn't any big deal. You would have thought there was mass destruction once the news shows finally got involved. At 5.8 I think it would have been unusual to have much major destruction, although I suppose it could happen.

It was, however, a great example of how much news coverage has changed in the world. I came back from lunch and saw a note on Facebook about it. I immediately logged on to, where I found no mention of it at all. I went to Twitter, and quickly learned it was a lot of talk about something that wasn't worth talking about. By the time the traditional news organizations got involved in covering the story, and getting overly excited, I already knew it wasn't much of a story. But, we were subjected to numerous live shots of them standing in various places saying nothing had happened. Brilliant use of time, talent, energy and airtime. We could have heard about something important instead. But, that was not to be.

Also, I know this is not going to make me popular, but I'm sick of hearing about people being freaked out every time something happens. No matter what is it - earthquake to power outtage - people assume we're under attack by some unknown force, and start freaking out. People rush into the streets, jam cell phones and start evacuating cities. Good grief, people in Tripoli are dodging bullets. That's something to freak out about. People in Joplin had a third of their town wiped out. That's major. The pictures on your wall shook. It is not the same thing. Get a grip. Somewhere along the way we've turned into a nation afraid of its own shadow. The power goes out sometimes. You'll live without the DVR for a few hours. Calm the hell down.

On a personal note, tonight was Creative Sisterhood. For the first time in a few months we were all here and it was nice to connect. Group dynamics are fascinating.
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Monday, August 22, 2011

Quote of the Day

Don't tell me the moon is shining,
show me the glint of light on broken glass.
                                Anton Chekov

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Quote of the Day

Empty yourself of everything.
Let the mind rest at peace.

- Lao Tsu

This is certainly easier said than done for me. My brain goes at 100 mph all the time. There is not much peace to be found in that.

But, in an effort to find some, I started meditating years ago. It is one way to get to a bit of peace, although I've never been able to empty myself of everything. It might, indeed, be nice to rest the mind briefly.


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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve near Cottonwood Falls Kansas

I spent part of the day at the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve near Cottonwood Falls, Kansas. I first visited here a couple of years ago and wrote about it. It really left an impression on me.

Today I didn't tour the house but went, instead, to the barn while the house tour was going on. Some of the barn is original from the 1800s - essentially all the white parts. The other parts have been added through the years. Nonetheless, it's quite amazing to see old growth wood being used in such beautiful ways. I took a lot of close ups of various bits of wood here and there. You just don't see this sort of thing very often anymore.

It's much like the Tallgrass Prairie - almost all gone. Only about 4% of what was once Tallgrass Prairie remains and the majority of it is in Kansas at this one spot. We are so fortunate Nancy Landon Kassebaum made it a priority to create this.

Parts of Kansas are still very rural. I think it may be difficult for people who live in cities to imagine. For example, Chase County, where this is located, has a population of less than 2,800. There is not a single stop light in the entire county. People lead very different kinds of lives, but they're all valuable in the mix.

A really wonderful afternoon adventure. I would like to go back when it's cooler and spend more time in the prairie itself.

I heartily recommend a visit. And stop by the Grand Central in nearby Cottonwood Falls for a meal. Call first as their hours are limited. You can also try the Emma Chase Cafe down the street. Always call to confirm hours.

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Remembered in Stone

Tromping around cemeteries is something I've been doing for a very long time. It's often where you find some beautiful statuary, interesting facts, and peace. I've always thought it a pity that Americans don't have more of a European sensibility about cemeteries where they're often considered additional parks.

At Fort Leavenworth a few months ago I took some photos in the cemetery there. I was struck by the individuality demonstrated on these "identical" stones. People often have a religious symbol at the top and include a list of their service. Sometimes there's an additional line that says something about the person.

Summing up a life in a few words has always seemed like risky business to me. I'm not sure what I'd want people to read about me for the next few decades or centuries, however long it lasts. Maybe this is why most people default to the most basic of things, "Beloved Mother," or something like that. We have difficulty deciding what it should say so we leave it to those left behind, and in a desire to be accurate and meaningful they return to roles we've played in this lifetime.

I will probably always question what this man's family was trying to say with the inscription, "God Forgive His Sorrowful Heart." Obviously, they are religious people, offering an entreatment to God here. But one can't help but believe the man buried here, Robert Lee Fowler, had a difficult 59 years that led to a heart so sorrowful it's what is preserved in stone. May his new life be one of much more joy.
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Words of Wisdom

Tonight I went to see David Vidal play during Third Thursday. He was amazing, just as he was a few months ago when I first heard him. We're so fortunate to have such incredible talent passing through this little burg. I'm so thankful to Jennifer and Danny for all their efforts in making this monthly event thrive and continuing to introduce us to people like David Vidal.

He plays with a shot glass in his left hand. It's a really beautiful, haunting sound. Unlike anything I've heard before. I also love his voice - very soulful.

Tonight he sang a song with a line something like, "I've seen things better left unspoken." That really jumped out at me, and when that happens it generally means there's a message there that should be noted.

Over the years I have spoken of things I've seen that I thought might be better left alone. I'm not sure anything was ever solved by that. It was just talk. It didn't change anything that happened. Everything was exactly as it had been before the talk, except I had wasted my breath and given voice to things instinct told me were better left quietly in the past.

A motto I've lived by for years was, "Let it go. Let it be. Let it lie." It seems occasionally I forget these basic things and let others influence me to tell the stories of things better left unspoken. At this transition time of my life I'm becoming more conscious all the time of being private about my thoughts so they are my own opinions, not influenced by others.

At the same time, it's really valuable to get other people's input. Like everything I suppose it's a balancing act.
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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Quote of the Day

"Women want to be free. That is their right. And it is certainly not men who stand in their way. The day a woman's honor is no longer located below the navel, she will be free."
                   Paul Gaugin
                   "Cahier pour Aline"
                   Tahiti - 1892

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Rainbow Over Perfection

Some moments are just perfect. This was one of them.


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How people see us, and how we really are can be so very different.

I seem to give off an aura of being very prim and proper and somewhat standoffish. More than one person has told me that before they really got to know me they thought I was pretty stuck up. Once people know me that's not how they see me at all. Then they describe me as a free-spirit - fun, outgoing, and funny.

Somehow the "me" I am showing to the world is not the "me" I am inside. I am always open to new friends and new experiences. I do need to get to know people a little before I completely open myself up, and give total trust, but there's a big span between that and unapproachable.

One of my former boyfriends said the day he first met me he thought, "the chance for rejection was extremely high," that there was no chance I would even give him the time of day - that I had an aura about me of being off-limits. He did approach me. I was interested. He didn't think it such a bad thing that I had an aura of being off-limits once he was the boyfriend - he thought it was pretty fabulous then.

I think of myself as very friendly, but apparently that's not the image I give out to the world. I'm open to new people in my life - who doesn't want more friends? Somehow I need to figure out how to present that to the world instead of what I'm sending out.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Stories - Telling them and Hearing them

I was listening to an interview with writer Hanif Kureshi recently and he said something that has become one of my favorite quotes. "It's a kind of love to tell your story."

Isn't that true? Our stories are one of the only things we really have.

When I became a journalist, what I really wanted to do was tell stories. They just came in the form of news. But it was really all about stories.

When I meet people, what I really want is to hear their stories. No one ever wants to show me their wedding photo album a second time because I have a million questions about who is who and how they're related. I'm one of those people. I want to hear the stories.

I want the real stories. Not what you do for a living. Not who you know. Not who you're related to. I want to know who you are. What you think about. How you make decisions. What made you the person you are today. How you were different ten years ago. What you want - deep down, desperately - that you never speak aloud.

People have amazing stories to tell. In fact, the kinds of lives people create can be astonishing. They can go on adventures you would never imagine, engage with the world in a way we'd never think of. Others take on the task of creating a stable future through a new generation - another task I cannot imagine taking on. The old adage about "it takes all kinds" is never more true than when used in this context.

One thing I learned early is that everyone has a story. And it's a good one. It will make you laugh, cry and everything in between. Everyone you know has a story that would cause you to weep and one that would cause you to rejoice. We humans are fascinating things. And we all have a story.

Will you tell me yours?


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Friday, August 12, 2011

Scenes From My World

I take a tremendous amount of photographs. Sometimes they're little bits of the day, sometimes they're from an excursion, sometimes they're just things I run across. Some of them find their way onto the blog, but most of them end up in a computer file on a hard drive, never to be seen by anyone.

So, I think I'm going to start sharing more of them here. Some of these are pretty, some are evocative, some capture a fleeting moment that will never again be. Those all seem worthy reasons to share them.

This was taken in Kentucky a few weeks ago. I just drove by it and stopped to take a photo. I love that structure - looking like it's held up by plants. It reminds me of being a kid on the farm. Maybe it has a totally different meaning for you. Hopefully you enjoy the scene even if it doesn't bring up a memory.


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Thomas Hart Benton Paint and Harmonica

Thomas Hart Benton, in addition to being one of the great American artists, also developed the notation system still used today for harmonica. It seems creative sorts often have their fingers in lots of pies. I'm not sure why that is, but it is proven time and again. Think about how often you hear of actors who also paint, or singers who write books.

The question is how does one find time for all these pursuits. I dabble in lots of creative areas, but have difficulty figuring out where I should focus my energies. Ultimately, we only have so much time and energy and we should make the most of it by doing what we're best at. The problem is that I'm not sure what that is.

Perhaps one of these days that will become clear. In the meantime, I suppose I'll just rejoice in the blessing of variety.


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Thursday, August 11, 2011

She Wore Orange Pumps

One of the things about fashion is that it tells the world something about who we are. Maybe we're a subdued sort who wouldn't wear anything other than cream or heather gray. Or, maybe we can't imagine a week without some animal print popping up in our wardrobe.

When I was on a homes tour recently I spotted these orange shoes stored neatly on a closet shelf. They were above eye-level, but I spied them instantly. How could you not?

And I immediately made assumptions about the woman who wore them. This would not have been a shy, retiring sort? This was a woman of style. A woman who wasn't afraid to stand out in a crowd. Someone who knew what she was about.

Those orange pumps made me think a bit more about my own wardrobe. I will be the first to confess I am not overly interested in clothes. But, I do like my sparkly, vintage pins; my long skirts that are - amazingly enough - back in style at the moment; and the jeans I patched with some fabric printed in Africa. I'm not sure I have much of a style, but it seems a worthy question to consider.

I'd like to be the sort of woman who owns orange pumps, and more importantly, who wears them with grace. Alas, I'm not sure I am. If I ever see size 11 orange shoes maybe I'll buy them and see.


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Monday, August 08, 2011

Artwork Going to New Home

This piece of artwork is going to a new home. I'm not sure who's home yet. I'm donating it to the Horizons Child Advocacy Center's auction.

It has some cool things in it - including one of my favorite things I've ever done - this bright orange. It's freezer paper dyed with fabric dye. Through all the studio play I've figured out how to get the different coloration in it, which I love.

This red, orange and blue is acrylic on a recycled postcard. The white is not paint, but an intentional bit left blank. There are three places of that on this piece. I love to use different thicknesses of paper to add to the texture and this is thicker than everything else on this piece.

I love, love, love this purple. It's wax paper I've dyed with color designed for making soap. The different tones are from various methods of studio play. Some of them are dependent on the particular water we have in Hutchinson. Sometimes I have to go get water from someone who doesn't have a water softener to get the effect.

I hope whoever takes it home enjoys it!


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Sunday, August 07, 2011

Then There's This Moment...

Every relationship goes through stages. Early on the other person cannot imagine being without you. The slightest suggestion that you might not be available at some point is reason for concern. They want to be close to you. They are drawn to you and you relish in it.

Then there's this moment...

Something comes up to suggest you might not be around as much, and there's no protest. The time is past when they were concerned about always having you around. They can live without you. They know it. You know it.

The question then becomes can you live without them.


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Tis The Season

I ran out to Hobby Lobby tonight right before they closed to pick up something for an art project. As I was going in I thought, "hmmm... I wonder if they have their Christmas stuff out yet?" A quick glance to the left answered that question. Yes!

Fortunately, I had time to pick up some ornaments, including this "Believe," now being held by the monkey I already had. I also picked up these wonderful little pink purses to go on my pink and green tree.

I know some people hate it that the Christmas stuff comes out early. Personally, I love it.

And, let me tell you, if Hobby Lobby has something you love, you'd better get it. They do not get additional shipments. For example, there were two of each of these purses. Now there's one on the shelf. They were 40% off. A bargain!

It's always a moment when the first Christmas ornament of the season is purchased. Today was the day.


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Friday, August 05, 2011

Quote of the Day

It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.

---James Baldwin


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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

My Heart Is Not In It

I wrote this back in May, but never posted it. I was still at the museum and desperately trying to figure out how to find time to see my family, as well as address some other issues. I'm continually aware of spending my time on things where my heart is.


These days I find myself examining my life and how I'm spending my time. I have to admit that some of my time is allocated to places where my heart is not in it.

I have to change that.

I have made committments I will carry through with. But then I must carefully examine each thing and consider if my heart is in it. Time is too precious to not spend it where your heart is.

I can become so mired in the "must dos" and "have tos" that I have no time for the "want tos." One of my decisions at the end of last year was that I had to find a way to have more time and energy to be me. Already this year I've had more opportunities for enrichment, and that has been wonderful. I feel more balanced than I have the last couple of years. But, I need to be the fun me again, and it's hard to do that when I feel the pressure to be making money every waking moment.

There are demands on me that my heart is not into. At all. I wonder how it got this way because I'm generally pretty careful about taking on things I don't want to do. But I have to address these things.

How Your Passion Hurts Your Cause

The story of the lesbian couple in Norway that saved 40 students during the massacre there is spreading around the net. I saw it on Yahoo yesterday.

But, I had already seen the story. I read it a few days ago by following a link on Twitter. It's the sort of thing I would have instantly retweeted and posted on Facebook, but I didn't because of the way the story was written.

It was a great story until the end of it when the writer ascribed the fact that it wasn't getting much press in the western media to the couple being lesbians. It probably has far more to do with the western media being ethno-centric and not telling many stories at all about events abroad other than the facts of them happening.

The writer then went on to reference a story in the Wall Street Journal by a gay man. With all due respect to that publication, it's not exactly a breaking news entity. The stories they're interested in are not exactly the middle of the mainstream. Being negative about another person does nothing to further your cause or add to your credibility. And credibility is key. When I see that I don't know if I can trust what I'm reading so I don't share it.

Western media is not likely to pursue the human interest stories surrounding an event abroad. Be that right or wrong, it just is. Media want any good story they can find. But media people find out about any story just like anyone else. When you don't tell the story objectively, it is questionable. There are a 1000 other stories to tell and I'll just go on to one of those.

So, the lesson here is, if you want to promote a story that furthers your cause, leave your cause out of it. If the story is good, it will get told. When you muddy the waters with your cause it makes it easy to go on to the next story because I don't know if I can believe you. Stick with the facts, and leave the feelings out of it. Let the readers make up their own minds.

Giving "the media" credit for being so organized as to discount any great story is just foolish. "The media" is made up of thousands of people who are making decisions about what to cover any given moment. Everyone of them is looking for a good story. A good, true, accurate story - not a story promoting your point of view.

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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Desperately Seeking Rita

This weekend I was in Kansas City and Mark, Wayne and I filled the time with art. Saturday we had a wonderful lunch at Mama's 39th Street Diner and then headed over to the Thomas Hart Benton home for a tour. Mark had been there before, but neither Wayne nor I had.

The weekend before we had driven by it when Mark was showing me different neighborhoods. I took a liking to two homes across the street from the Thomas Hart Benton house and started referring to how happy I'd be living in one of those house. Eventually, I settled on the one on the corner as my favorite and as we drove around looking at other neighborhoods I would point out other homes and say, "I'd be happy in that house... I'd be happy in that house...," but then would turn and say, "But I would be happier in that house in Roanoke."

So, when we decided to go the Benton house, I told Wayne he'd get to see "my house" since he hadn't been with us the weekend before when we were driving past. He decided he'd move into the other one I loved, which is right across the street from the Benton house. So, we're enjoying this banter as we go in for the tour.

As our guide gives us a tour of the studio (amazing!) and home (beautiful!) he mentioned that Thomas Hart Benton's wife, Rita, was the one who really marketed his work. She would have things hanging in the house and if they sold one, she would put up another one. She was the one who managed their financial affairs and really made it possible for him to work as an artist. Throughout the tour, we heard about Rita's business prowess.

I mentioned to Wayne, another artist, that he and I needed a Rita to take care of selling our works. As we left we took some more photos of "our houses" and decided when we had a Rita we would be able to enjoy living there, lounging in the gazebo between the houses, and employing gardeners to keep the grounds looking so beautiful. But, of course, all of this starts with a Rita.

We had time to make a visit to the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, which I loved. They had an exhibit by Jules Olitski I really, really enjoyed. Wayne and I again talked about our need for a Rita.

Saturday night we went to see the Monet exhibit at the Nelson-Atkins. It's the three water lilies panels from Kansas City, Saint Louis and Cleveland - reunited for the first time in decades. It was stunning. I love Monet. Wayne and I talked about art and brush strokes and paint and how what we need is to have someone sell our things so we can focus on making art. We again mentioned we need a Rita.

Wayne and I also talked at length about how we both long for a community of artistic types to connect with. The impressionist era model is the one we love - they worked on their art and writing but gathered daily to discuss and share ideas. This is something that's missing in my life, and apparently in Wayne's as well. Again, we need a Rita to be selling what we create.

Sunday we met at the Jerusalem Cafe for lunch and tried to convince Mark he could be our Rita. We would happily give him the standard percentage. Mark was having none of that, unfortunately. We then popped over to Union Station where I did a quick interview with Wayne about his artwork that's in the Art at Work exhibit. The need for a Rita continued to be a topic of conversation.

Mark had suggested going to the Nerman museum at Johnson County Community College so we headed over to see that. After the gallery, we explored one of the nearby buildings where they have art in the hallways. We saw what was on the map and then noticed another hallway that had some art hanging, so we detoured that direction.

The last piece of art we stopped at had a lot of texture in it - a theme that kept coming up all weekend. Mark had gone on ahead, but Wayne and I were still examining it. We turned to leave and I noticed directly across from the artwork, through a glass case where someone's office was, sat this sign saying, "Rita."

I'm a big believer in signs - in this case literal and figurative. I'm not sure what this one means, other than that someone named, "Rita," works there. But it is definitely a sign. And we definitely need a Rita.


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Wayne Dean's assemblage artwork in ArtsKC exhibit Art at Work

This weekend I did a quick interview with my friend, Wayne Dean, who has a piece in the ArtsKC exhibit at Union Station in downtown Kansas City. It's a really wonderful piece. He asked coworkers to give him something to add to it. He ended up with more than 100 items, which were all added to this piece.

He talks about the piece and some of the stories behind the things in it. You can vote for his piece by "liking" it on Facebook.


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What to do...

I'm spending time these days considering what my life should look like in the future. What do I want to be doing with my days and nights? How should I be spending my time. What should I be creating? These are heady questions, needless to say.

When I examine my skill set I realize in all of the jobs I've ever had I've been using only a few of my talents. If your tasks mean you're bringing only a small part to any given day you're in "idle" much of the time. Of course, you can't be using every gift every minute, but if you're not drawing on the best of yourself regularly that seems a waste.

So, how to use all of my talents appropriately - that is one of the questions on my mind. I'm trying to imagine what that looks like.

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