Archive for July, 2010

Klee and Me Riding in on 60!

July 22, 2010

Something rather eventful will take place uneventfully tonight while I sleep. I will silently whisper goodbye to my fifties. There won’t be any fireworks or anything earth shattering. It will be a transitory slumber. (Prayerfully, hopefully) I will awake and without making headline news, I will be sixty.

There has been much discussion about this marker and, of course, “we” all agree that my mother made a mistake on exactly what the actual  year was, that I was born regardless of a birth certificate. Hence, heretofore when asked what my age is, I will respond that either I dunno, or I forget, or I’m not sure, or why, does it matter how old I am, or I just turned 70!

It was grand being fifty. Given it is the new forty, I owned fifty. But Sixty really is different. The old age labels seriously kick in at 60 and articles geared toward seniors who are experiencing health problems, legs/joints/muscle issues target my age group.  That being said, arguing with a number is like convincing myself I will be fifty tomorrow morning. And so, watch for me. I am not the lady in the red hat. Nope,  I am going to be wearing striped djellebas, over pedal pushers, lots of bling and outrageous tennis shoes, for starters.

I compare this birthday and my entry into the sixties to that of the works of artist Paul Klee: “lighthearted and whimsical yet radiant and colorful.” When you allow yourself to really become part of Klee’s art there is a meandering sense of style that defies gravity. His colors, shapes and geometrics are truly modernistic and yet there is depth, softness and an insight into the soulfulness of mystery and wonder. An original, certainly not an imitator,  much of the artwork of Klee seems out of balance and pushes beyond belief that life is symmetrical and that the only successful art falls into balance with nature. Klee’s art pushes the color wheel into high gear. And that is how I see my sixties. Revelation: maybe I am going to revisit the sixties, 1960’s!

Paul Klee sums up life and art this way: “Some will not recognize the truthfulness of my mirror. Let them remember that I am not here to reflect the surface… but must penetrate inside. My mirror probes down to the heart. I write words on the forehead and around the corners of the mouth. My human faces are truer than the real ones.”

Good night, sweet dreams until tomorrow when I introduce:
New Age Sage of the 21st Century Moxie Lady

Reading Matters

July 15, 2010

Alexia sine Agraphia met Benny Cooperman in the middle of the night. Benny Cooperman, a detective that emerged on the crime scene in 1980, could solve any case. But in 2000 he came face to face with a mystery that changed his life forever.

Canadian author, Howard Engel, went to sleep one evening, suffered a stroke in the middle of the night, and awoke to find that the portion of his brain effected was his ability to read. With this  rare condition known as alexia sine agraphia, Engel found that he could write, but as soon as he tried to put his thoughts to the paper, they were lost.

In this short memoir, “The Man Who Forgot How to Read,” Engel shares his lost life, frustrations and willingness to write one more time. Engel recalls that there were other effects of the stroke that emerged over time, “but none were as dramatic and devastating as this one”; an author who made his living working with words. Follow Engel in his journey to a  remarkable triumph over his affliction.

The happy ending is Engel’s most recent Benny Cooperman detective story, “The Memory Book”.

As Noir as it Gets…

July 13, 2010

Mansom hatar kvinnor… Have you seen it?

Noomi Rapace… Have you heard of her?

Are you living under a rock?

Steig Larsson?

“Men Who Hate Women?”

Well how about: “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

I don’t want to have to write SPOILER ALERT, so I will keep this brief. However, at the end of this 2 ½ hour thriller, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, you will be saying to yourself that the time just flew by! The most mesmerizing heroines of modern drama, Lisbeth Salander (played by Noomi Rapace),  is a black character. No she is NOT Black as in African! But everything from her hair, eye makeup, nail polish, skin tight clothing, high boots and full-on back body dragon tat is black; noir. Gothed out with body piercings, this chain smoking computer hacker is a character and actress you won’t soon forget.

Lisbeth investigates a case of a young girl who disappeared some forty years ago and as the investigation unfolds so does a long list of violent crimes against women which triggers her own dark past of abuse and crime.

Lisbeth connects with a relaxed investigative journalist who has been hired by an elderly billionaire who lives on a chilling, remote island.  The story plays out like a family tree or a study of genealogy.  According to Roger Ebert, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, may not be considered “a deep psychological study”  but it is an unforgettable thriller.

Shacking Up in Laguna Beach

July 12, 2010

When you hear the word: SHACK what do you think of? A seven foot-325 pound NBA star (former Laker)? Or William P. Young’s novel about a man who meets God in person?

Putting a new kind of shack on the map is the current exhibit at The Laguna Art Museum – The Art Shack. At first, playful bordering on silliness, the exhibit exposes the voyeur to trendy shacks, crapper shacks, tattoo shacks, slave shacks, surfer shacks and a guillotine shack. The shacks are interactive (inviting you to enter and explore) and include flashing lights, old sound recordings, videos and  famous animated television series.

The exhibit will expose your senses to an uncomfortable art and architecture marriage. While the perception of a shack varies, the personalities of artists Paul Frank (Shacky Blue), and Mark Ryden and Marion Peck (Sweet Wishes Miniature Theater)  are captivating, the show stealers are Costa Mesa artists Jeff Gillette and Laurie Hassold. Underscoring the life of millions of people around the globe, Gillette’s Slum pieces and Mickey Jakarta are brilliant in capturing a way of life foreign to the typical Laguna Beach gallery gawker.  Hassold’s Reading the Bones is a chilling mixture of human and animal bones that provide a unique shelter.

Other works not to be missed include Travis Somerville’s Great American Let Down, whose work is inspired by his life in the south and civil rights activists parents and James P. Scott Torn View of Paradise which incorporates the use of street signs and power lines for his shack.


The exhibit runs through October 3rd at the Laguna Art Museum and is sponsored by Hurley. For more information visit: http://www.lagunaartmuseum.org/Current-Exhibit.html

Something New, Used and Borrowed

July 10, 2010

Located on the campus of Chapman University in Orange, California, The Guggenheim Gallery was built with a gift from Robert and Shirley Guggenheim in 1975.  The gallery is part of the Wilkinson College Department of Art and boasts successful partnerships with many community arts organizations including Southern California Artists, Orange Unified School District and the Orange Art Association. Chapman University organizations also hold receptions in the gallery.

Have you ever wondered what kind of artwork professional artists collect or what interconnectedness or relationships artists have with other artists?

USED, NEW, BORROWED, the gallery’s current exhibition is art through the eyes of nine artists. Their artwork (“new”) is displayed alongside of works of artists whose pieces are part of the artists’ private collection (“used”) who also invite another artist to share his or her work as part of the exhibit (“borrowed”).

Works on displayed included those of the following artists: Craig Antrim, Jane Bauman, Lisa & Tom  Dowling, Julie Easton, David Michael Lee, Bradford Salamon, Pat Sparkuhl, P. Williams.
Other Artists: Matthew Carver, Mary Cecile,  Gee Brian Cooper, Mary Heebner, Trevor Norris, Katherine Rohrbacher, Joseph Salamon, Gregg Stone, Julia Strickler.  More Artists:Don Bachardy,  Nick Boskovitch, Bill Boaz, John Paul Jones, Frank Dixon,  Kathe Kollwitz  David Ordaz, Richard Ross, Edwin Ushiro, Bedroom Wall Re-installation (Robert Arieas, R.T. Pece, Jeffrey Crussell, Richard Turner, Max King Cap, Andrea Harris-McGee, Jeffrey Gillette, Jeffrey Vallance, Joe Marsico and more).

Many of the nine local artists were on hand to share their stories and connections to the art they shared in this exhibit and the July 10th opening. For more information visit New Used Borrowed on Facebook or The Guggenheim Gallery at http://www.chapman.edu/art/guggenheim.asp. This memorable exhibit runs through July 30th.

From Breaking Bad to… Worse!

July 10, 2010

I have officially crossed over to the dark side. I have shocked family members and friends with my bad choice.  And now announcing to the world, I say: “Hello, my name is Charlene and I am a “Breaking Bad” addict.”

With the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Emmy Awards looming, you should take notice. This (AMC) television show, its writers and cast are positioned to hold up a few of these prestigious statuettes.  And when they do, their acceptance of the Emmys will break the mold of modern TV dramatic series.

My blood boils and my heart races just trying to introduce you to “Breaking Bad”, but try I must. Fascinating Hitchcock-esque filming, crisp editing, chilling sounds like you have never heard before and color the likes of which you have never witnessed.  The use of symbols of elements of the periodic table “Breaking Bad” is a simple, yet clever addition to a show that is like a laboratory where everything that is dark and politically incorrect is breeding.

Everything is so wrong about this series. And like that cigarette habit you are trying to break, you keep saying no more, and yet you watch. You watch as each character breaks bad and goes beyond badder.

Leave it to creator Vince Gilligan (of X-File fame) to come up with a story line about a family that is facing a whole lotta hardship and just what happens when a loving husband and father makes a decision to do whatever he can to provide for his family proving that doing what needs to be done for the family is not necessarily the right thing to do. In this case it’s bad, really – really bad.

A modern day stage is set in a suburb of New Mexico with a simple plot: a high school Chemistry teacher who is suffering from stage III (inoperable lung) cancer with two years to live in the midst of a midlife crisis; “befriends” a high school junkie and becomes the best meth producer this side of the border; with a wife who is (unexpectedly) pregnant and their teenage son has cerebral palsy; who just happens to have a brother-in-law who is a DEA agent.

The lead role of Walter White is played by Bryan Cranston (of Malcolm in the Middle fame).  Known by those in the drug world as Heisenberg (German theoretical physicist and contributor to quantum mechanics) explains himself this way: “My wife is seven months pregnant with a baby we didn’t intend. My fifteen-year old son has cerebral palsy. I am an extremely overqualified high school chemistry teacher. When I can work, I make $43,700 per year. I have watched all of my colleagues and friends surpass me in every way imaginable. And within eighteen months, I will be dead.“

Anna Gunn plays Walt’s wife, Skyler and responds this way when she realizes her husband skyrocketing medical bills are being paid: “Whatever it is,” she says, “I’m afraid to know.”

The supporting role of Jesse Pinkman is played by a rising star, Aaron Paul.  He is brilliant with his delivery of lines such as this one: “Like I came to you, begging to cook meth. ‘Oh, hey, nerdiest old dude I know, you wanna come cook crystal?’ Puh-lease. I’d ask my diaper-wearing granny, but her wheelchair wouldn’t fit in the RV.”

How does a series go from bad to worse? I don’t know, but rest assured I will be there with my plastic lawn chair in the front row for the fourth season of “Breaking Bad.”

Employment…at What Price?

July 8, 2010

Six weeks into unemployment…I have posted on a vast array of opportunities including working for Greenpeace (for which I am not green enough apparently), egg donor sales (it doesn’t help if your eggs are hard boiled) and the plan to earn $1450 per week in sales (put oh yeah you must invest $20k to get in on the ground floor). Who says jobs aren’t plentiful these days?

LOVE WORKING WITH SENIORS? HAVE YOU HAD EXPERIENCE VOLUNTEERING IN A SENIOR COMMUNITY AND WANT TO GET PAID TO DO SO…Seems that there is plethora of job options for those who want to help the elderly live a quality of life in the comfort of their own homes.  Do you like to shop? Do you like cooking? Are you a great companion? Honestly, how can you turn away an offer like this? $10 per hour or collecting unemployment, let me see…

I did some research on home care jobs. You can house sit, babysit, pet sit or be a companion. Each position comes with its own level of responsibility. House sitting gets you a change of scenery, allows you to test the waters of new digs or an upscale location but is generally provided without monetary compensation. Pet sitting services can range in price from about $10 to $25 each day depending upon the level of care and attention given to the dog, cat or birds. “Babysitting” varies on whether you are a nanny or just keeping a kid safe, still the going rates range from $10 to $15 per hour. Someone providing care for seniors  averages $10 per hour. Hmmmm, makes one wonder about employment at what cost?

Roger Federer Era at Wimbledon: Game, Set, Match – Sports – Obit Magazine

July 6, 2010

Roger Federer Era at Wimbledon: Game, Set, Match – Sports – Obit Magazine

When life gives you a trach you make a cookbook!

July 5, 2010

Film buffs, moviegoers, critics or anyone who’s ever had a love affair with the big screen knows his name. For over 40 years he has been a columnist for the Chicago Sun Times. His television show, At the Movies, spanned a career of more than 20 years. For ten years he published annual movie review yearbooks, along with video companion guides to movies and the famous great movies series. He has written books about movie greats including Martin Scorsese. And recently he published a new book, The Pot and How to Use It!

Roger Ebert may have had the charmed Hollywood life others dream about until his big 6-0. In 2002 his life would take on a new twist. A ten year battle with cancers would change much about this man, except his will to live.

Detecting a lump in his throat in 2002 Ebert was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer. Accorinding to his surgeon, Dr. Harold Pelzer, chief of head and neck surgery at Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital, “Roger’s thyroid cancer was the most common and indolent type.”  While his prognosis was “good”,  in 2003 Ebert battled Salivary Cancer. After several years of treatment, Ebert was on the road to recovery when he would meet with his next challenge in 2006, Jaw Bone Cancer. It was at this time Ebert would face the removal of part of his jaw bone which resulted in a cartoid burst and a tracheostomy.

The movie reviewer would no longer be able to eat or speak independently. But Ebert was not one to be silenced. In 2007 he adopted a MAC OS X, computerized voice system.  And in 2010 he switched to a software system called CereProc, that tailors text-to-speech software for voiceless. Ebert’s speech is now patterned after his voice, the voice of Roger that we are accustomed to hearing.

An inspiration to all and in brave, bold Ebert fashion he was interviewed in March of 2010 by Oprah Winfrey before a live audience.

So why would Ebert write a cookbook at this time? Just because he doesn’t eat, doesn’t mean he cannot enjoy the camaraderie associated with the kitchen and mealtime. And when life gives you a trach, you make a cookbook.

Two Thumbs Up for Roger Ebert!

Warning Sign Ahead

July 5, 2010

On your morning walk or drive into work you may have seen the sign. It does not register. Until today. DEAD = END. How will you approach the warning sign ahead? Will you look toward the heavens and give thanks? Will you immediately say a prayer? Will your attitude change, at least for the moment as you earnestly greet the next person you pass by?

Perchance, he for whom the Bell tolls, may be so ill, that he knows not it tolls for him. John Donne