Friday, April 28, 2017

An Acting Family

 I am participating in another group online discussion of HENY VIII. I started looking at one thing or another during Act 4. I was curious about performances in the U.S. because the political game playing in the play reminds me of contemporary politics. I found there was a 63 week performance on Broadway produced by English actor Herbert Beerbohm Tree in 1916. I looked around at his biography and his whole family is so fascinating. Above photo is him, below is his wife Helen Maud Holt, also an actor.

 Their three daughters were also actors and poets...and one a bohemian. Above Violet, below Felicity.

 And here is their daughter Iris, a poet, bohemian and artist's model, for no less than Modigliani.
Mr. Tree had seven illegitimate children.I almost fell over....when I read... His grandson was Oliver Reed. I adored Olive Reed he is really one of my favorite actors. When I looked at his Wikipedia page...I was shocked that he died so relatively young. In theory, he could be in his 70's right now...and still working. Oh that feels sad. I just loved him!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

"Get obsessed and stay obsessed" THE HOTEL NEW HAMPSHIRE.
I've worked with volunteering since I was a kid. My parents raised my sister and I to do community volunteerism whether it was with environmental issues or with humanist issues. Sometimes through civic approaches (Greenpeace) sometimes through spiritual approaches (religious groups or meditation retreats). One of the things I have noticed living in the United States is that many people in the city do not seem to understand that there is a potential for ecstasy when doing volunteer work. This is especially true in the disciplines I grew up practicing within Hinduism and Buddhism. Many Buddhists I have worked with for Canada...we would fight to be the first one to wash a floor, clean a toilet. It was considered so lame to just wipe off a counter or type a letter. The dirtier and more labour intensive the better the possibility for excitement and sublime peak experience. Working with a group of other people also taught to feel happy emotions while volunteering for Habitat For Humanity, or building a stage for the Dalai Lama...we would stay up all night and work work work. The Sanskrit word (yes there is a word for this!) is upaya. I have had that experience at my friend's church for born-agains. But the surprise of working with several different Buddhist organizations in Chicago and hearing people name-calling or complaining about the work, or not volunteer at something I was very much experienced a cultural shock. People have tended to volunteer to do work that is familiar to their carreer...or puts them in a position of power...not realizing that the more crazy stuff you do always you to take a risk and be vulnerable...taking the ego off guard...and expediting an opportunity for a profound experience.Why don't people want to have fun working together outside of their jobs? A mystery!! One of the things about doing Cook It Forward...was to try to teach and share the bliss of working for a cause that was't for one's ego. And to see if that concept could be introduced or at least hinted at. I believe we did have some success...while serving unhoused persons. This is not a merit based is a spirit thing...learning an attitude of doing suffering work and feeling like you can laugh about it or bond. And here comes a documentary...that has gripped me. I thank my friend Greg for suggesting this movie. What a revelation. The documentary JIRO DREAMS OF SUSHI introduces an idea to mainstream American culture through Netflix of a fascinating artisan concept of shokunin. It's a little tiny bit like the Sanskrit word upaya which means skillful means. The idea that work done while applying very intense emotion and labour to mindfulness....and it giving one a life similar to the lessons in Robert Pirsig's book ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE. The idea that a practice can give a person a set of philosophical, mindfulness skills is one that is slowly becoming an idea in the United States, but it's not just here... Contemporary industrial society everywhere has lost this relationship with the art of practice and enlightenment. (or if you prefer self-awareness, self-examination, transforming if one needs to transform.)The negative side to studying and practicing a craft could be called "tunnel vision"...however...all of the artists I know have only had the best attitude to making paintings or writing and sculpture. It is the combination of attitude and align the work of the body to the spirit of the will. Here is a very interesting breakdown of the Japanese word shokunin, as well as the trailer for this documentary. I will probably watch it five more times.
"1. A serious attitude toward one’s work
2. Aspiration to improve – to strive for perfection
3. Cleanliness (which includes a proper order in one’s life and work)
4. Lead rather than collaborate
5. Bring passion to one’s work, (and through that passion to discover moments of ecstasy)"
Marahiro Yamamoto

Monday, March 27, 2017

Painting With Shakespeare

 I am watching a 2009 version of LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST filmed at The Globe. And I'm making a few paintings.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Two Excellent Articles

"Why is my life so hard"

"Most of us feel we face more headwinds and obstacles than everyone else — which breeds resentment. We also undervalue the tailwinds that help us — which leaves us ungrateful and unhappy. How can we avoid this trap?"

"Taking a big picture view, hedonistic sustainability is what happens when you stop thinking about buildings as structures and start thinking about them as ecosystems."

  • Hedonistic Sustainability

  • From Freakonomics
  • Why is my life so hard?

  • BBQ At The Buddhist Temple Of Chicago

    Monday, February 27, 2017

    Guest Speaker

    Dr. Shabana Mir was a guest speaker for Interfaith Sunday Service at the Buddhist Temple of Chicago yesterday. Dr. Mir visited the temple from the American Islamic College and she told some very good stories and shared her personal narrative of being Muslim. One story she told was so insightful and puts perspective on how culture changes. She told us about an uncle of hers who moved to South Carloina from Pakistan in the 1950's. Her uncle, who everyone called Mo, was a tennis player and everyone knew him as the "brown guy who played tennis". Her Uncle Mo became interested in a woman he met and he wanted to date her. Since it was the 1950's Mo wanted too be very respectful so he went to the girls parents and asked to speak to them and have their permission to date their daughter. Mo meets with the girls mother who asks him questions. She asks, "What religion are you?" Mo answers, "Muslim." The mother says, "What's that?" and so Mo briefly explains his faith and ...the mother says, "So you're not Catholic?" "No" says Mo. The girls mother says, "Okay you can date my daughter." Part of this delightful story was to demonstrate how fluid religion is and how relationships and attitudes to religion change depending not on religion or faith, but on our various cultures and our culture's beliefs. Dr. Mir was very thoughtful and a charming speaker bringing anthropology and her own personal life into her lecture.

    Friday, February 24, 2017

    Answers To Random-Assed Questions

    These questions are from The Shameful Sheep
    and 27th Street blogs....

    1) Who are you named for?
    My dad's first car, a Hillman Minx.

    2) Do you like your handwriting?
    Half of the time....if I can take time to write....but after so many years on the computer I find it exhausting to hand write and I feel like I have forgotten how

    3) What is your favourite lunchmeat?

    4) Longest relationship?
    With my husband Stagg

    5) Do you still have your tonsils?

    6)Would you bungee jump?
    No fucking way (However I have been known to ski so it's not like I don't like adventure)

    7) Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?
    Most of the time

    8) What is your favourite ice cream?

    9) What is the first thing you notice about people?
    I don't know. I guess body language.

    10) Football or baseball?
    Meh. Hockey. I'll watch almost any sport if it's in playoffs though.

    11) What colour pants are you wearing?
    Bright green velour

    12) Last thing you ate?
    Open-faced cheese and avocado sandwich

    13) If you were a crayon what colour would you be?

    14) Favourite smell?
    Coffee. Followed by roses, gardenias, vanilla...

    15) Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone?
    Vivien a community organizer

    16) Hair colour?

    17) Eye colour?

    18) Favourite foods to eat?
    Artichokes, pomegranates, nachos, curries

    19) Scary movies or happy endings?

    20) Last movie you watched?
    Now You See Me 2

    21) Favourite holiday?

    22 Beer or wine?

    23) Night owl or early bird?
    Night owl. I can totally function in the morning but I'm faking it.

    24) Favourite day of the week?
    Don't have one

    25) Which three of your favourite bloggers do you want to know more about?
    I don't want to put anyone in a spot, so I don't usually tag....but I would love to read my blogger friends answers t if you do this list, let me know in the comments please.