For me, art isn't just about finding something pretty or intelligent, or wishing I could paint as well as someone else. It's about looking at a piece and knowing that it's taught you something and you feel better for having seen it. You understand the world a little better afterwards, and you can't wait to rave about it to your friends. Here are three lessons I've learned from artists that I'd like to pass on:
One might have hoped that, by this hour, the very sight of chains on black flesh, or the very sight of chains, would be so intolerable a sight for the American people, and so unbearable a memory, that they would themselves spontaneously rise up and strike off the manacles. But no, they appear to glory in their chains; now, more than ever, they appear to measure their safety in chains and corpses. -James Baldwin to Angela Davis.*
I agree that apocalyptic imagery has figured prominently in the public imagination in 2011 in part as a result of the anxieties of this moment in time. Nowhere has this been more evident than in songs about love, in which said love is either a distraction from or metaphor for the end times. First, let's take a look at Aussie singer, Lenka's "At the End of the World (lyrics here):
Responses to September 11 have been fraught from the start. As I thought through the problem of grief over the weekend, I was gratified that NPR posted the new work by minimalist musicians Steve Reich and the Kronos Quartet, WTC/9/11. Here's a sample:
It's no secret that musicians often die far too quickly. In this Only the Good Die Young, Part II mix, I recognize some of the artists we've lost in the past twenty years (a few of whom even sang about early death). All we can do is miss them.
On Monday, the GA Voicebroke the news that Atlanta's Crest Lawn Memorial Park cemetery will soon have a section "for gay people—couples, their children, single people, people who want to be with their chosen families." The Advocateand Queerty quickly picked up on the story, and it's likely to get bigger as the days go by, especially with the catchy misnomer "gay cemetery." (The lightning-quick spread of the innacurate term "Ground-Zero Mosque" comes to mind.)
For a number of reasons, the idea of a specifically queer section in a cemetery is troubling to me.
Hello, hello! Ready for some thought-provoking links? I knew you were!
Today, in bad taste... anti-abortion group Life Always is comparing aborted fetuses to people killed by the earthquake in Japan. The always-astute ColorLines reports on the wrongheadedness of this tactic.
TransGriot writes about the importance of having trans* people in US cinema, and not just as characters.
Did you see the New York Times' claim that all of Washington D.C.'s influential pundits are young men... and Ann Friedman's response? Feministe gives us a run-down.
Alvin McEwan muses on the irony of bishops denying queer people housing, and Frances Kissling talks about the life of Geraldine Ferraro, an influential pro-choice Catholic politician, both on AlterNet.
Some of us at Bitch HQ were unhappy to see this announcement about Mad Men's hiatus. Meanwhile at Philly, Ellen Gray explores the curious decision to include a documentary about 1960s divorce on the Season 4 DVDs. What's your take?
At HuffPo, Linkins argues against the claim that political liberals are silent about invading Libya.
Recently at a safety seminar, a Toronto cop told students that "Women can avoid sexual assault by not dressing like 'sluts.'" In protest, awesome local women are marching past police headquarters on Sunday for the Slutwalk!