Thursday, April 30, 2009

ha ha ha

received this highly amusing text from bryn tonight:

"it was once said that we'd have a black president when pigs fly and sure enough 100 days into his presidency... 'swine flu'."

and i thought i'd have nothing to post today.

Monday, April 27, 2009

the puppetmaker says "have a happy life"

look who's quoting me on her blog... yes, it is i, zoe brasi, the mysterious art therapist to whom she alludes. lani is one of the few peoples in my line of work that i am proud to call a colleague. she even knew about adbusters and edward bernays!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

radical textural contrasts

yesterday: assisted with lauren's altered books workshop. i would like to make one where a little creature is eating the book. it could eat the words off the page or gnaw into the pages themselves.

in the evening luca and i went to see one of my favorite new music groups: alarm will sound. led by the cheerful and passionate alan pierson, this group of musicians performed an incredible array of contemporary compositions. my favorite was their orchestration of "cock/ver 10" by aphex twin. also enjoyed a tremendous piece by john adams.

Friday, April 24, 2009

yet the soul maintains its deathly sleep

why, kay jamison, why won't you come to philadelphia and read to me from the great poets? i love your book. it is everything that interests me about psychology. it is literate and reverential. it reminds me that the great texts on the mind are fascinating, not maddening. the language can be so beautiful, the questioning so profound, the insights so brilliant. when i'm hooked into something this alive it makes my hatred for the banal ever more seething and my love of art affirmed a thousand times over.

this passage from hugo wolf brought it all back:

"this wonderful spring with its secret life and movement troubles me unspeakably. these eternal blue skies, lasting for weeks, this continuous sprouting and budding in nature, these coaxing breezes impregnated with spring sunlight and fragrance of flowers... make me frantic. everywhere this bewildering urge for life, fruitfulness, creation - and only i, although like the humblest grass of the fields one of god's creatures, may not take part in this festival of resurrection, at any rate not except as a spectator with grief and envy."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

charisma is key

top five charismatic conductors:

1) brasi
2) abbado
3) von karajan
4) kleiber
5) furtwangler

Monday, April 20, 2009

dystopian modernity

some downers:

1) j.g. ballard died and the new york times didn't even mention it!
2) i finished an unquiet mind just in time for kay redfield jamison to cancel her speaking engagement at moore.
3) my crispy peanut butter cookies came out mushy.
4) lenya joined facebook. boo, lenya, boo. you were my last bastion of facebook resistance. that and samara changed her relationship status from single to "it's complicated." um...

some uppers:

1) i continue to educate young women about culture jamming on a weekly basis.
2) emmanuelle seigner is a goddess. corps a corps was disturbing, but funny in that the male lead was interested in the stripper strictly for her insides.
3) luca has his concert tomorrow night - go, luca, go!
4) elias koteas as vaughan. oh yes indeed.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


following a lovely night at bebelush gurevich's time share, i walked from the manhattan club to molly's place via central park. though i had no bra to speak of and my overused boots were pushing the limits of my feet, it was a fine, sunny stroll. once in morningside heights, i received some belated but worth-the-wait hannukah presents, polished molly's toenails and headed out to the conservatory gardens. it was the perfect day for such an outing. plenty of flowers were in bloom, gay couples were everywhere, adorable kids abounded and an uberstylish couple were having wedding photos taken in the park. here is one of the gorgeous, gothic walkways that we made our way through:

next up: lunch at the grey dog and two dissimilar films.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

emil nolde

his people are freaky, but his landscapes they impress me:

here is a neat link i found to some guy's top ten landscape painters list. nolde is number ten.

zoe doesn't think she will finish her painting of the cherry trees before the flowers go away. 'tis a sad thing indeed.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


yesterday at lunch i was talking to d. about television. it started with pleasant reminiscing about shows we used to watch as kids - "the cosby show", "family ties", etc. - but when i said i regard them now with a mix of comfort and horror, she was utterly bewildered. so i talked about how much time i used to spend watching tv and how it disturbs me to think about my young mind absorbing all of those images and advertisements. she couldn't understand why i found that so problematic. over the course of our conversation, she made several arguments for the case of television, positing that it gives people something to connect over and that the half hour story lines that have no continuity from week to week provide a kind of safe structure for children. then of course the need to distinguish between "good" television and "bad" television and how some shows really make you think, blah blah blah.

lenya, when you and i watch tv together, it's like we're in dangerous territory, no? it feels assaultive and manipulative on so many levels, scrambling our brains with all the fast cuts and uncontested assumptions and threatening our mental integrity. when someone like jon stewart says something that actually resonates with us or sharply challenges the insanity of network hegemony, we feel visible for a moment and shocked that somehow truth has snuck into our televisions.

after purging myself of tv in 2003, watching it now feels like mental terrorism. and after exploring the world of art cinema, everything on television seems moronic and boring. d. was trying to make a case for the nature and travel channels, and i nodded respectfully, but those seem just as sinister. you sit inside staring at a screen that flashes images of faraway places and exotic animals before your immobile eyes. in the meantime, you feed processed food to your domesticated "pets", are completely ignorant of the animals and plant-life in your own region and your understanding of world culture is shaped by the tourism industry. but of course i can't form coherent thoughts when i'm talking to someone across the television divide; plus, i don't want to seem condescending, so i just sit with a sinking feeling of alienation and promise to watch "battlestar gallactica" at some point.

then today i went shopping at target with c. for little trinkets to give to the self-injuring crowd. it was the second time i've ever been to a target. it was in a giant shopping center with other superstores and chains. again, that feeling of anxiety and alienation was palpable. this is not something that would have made sense to c., so my tension remained fixed and contained. everything about it just seemed so lifeless. do i feel this way because my parents eschewed superstores as low-class and low-quality and so i feel no connection to them emotionally (the superstores, not my parents)? because "convenient" and "cheap" invariably mean toxic and exploitative? because the overconsumption of packaged products is destroying the environment? because stores like target destroy independent businesses? oh so many reasons that might make sense to people like c. and d. if i could somehow find a way to say what was on my mind respectfully and without judgement. but instead i just shrink and harden. i feel angry at my friends for not being more socially conscious and frustrated with myself for not being able to embody my beliefs in a meaningfully connected way and without feeling superior.

coming home to make vegetable tamales and macadamia caramel blondies helped a lot.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

i like blue jeans and irony

left work at 3:30 today, got an iced latte and a copy of wolves at the gate from borders, came home, read it, re-read volumes 1 and 2, then read it again. it's one of those things that sounds nifty, but even i'm impressed i ran the entire course. though i didn't find the latest volume to be all-around as engrossing, drew goddard's dialogue is hysterical and buffy is having gay sex with a fellow slayer!

i'm not entirely pleased with how i've been living my life for the past few days, but this was quite a nice respite.

"i can change. i can be less... enticing. in a lesbian sense."

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

buffy and hildegard

sometimes i forget that long before i hated tom hanks, i LOVED tom hanks.


i don't think i would do well in a "community" setting at all, because my triggers are all social. it's bad when others are getting on and i am by myself. it's worse when i am with others and there is conversation, but no one looks at me. i'm not sure why this continues to occur in groups. i also remember a passage from the bell jar that resonated a shrill tone - esther is describing how demoralizing it is to watch others grow closer together as she feels herself receding, speeding away from a city by train, watching it get smaller in the distance. the experience of invisibility triggers a very bad feeling indeed. in days of yore, blood was a comfort. cutting felt secretive, powerful, reassuring. but that's not an option anymore. and it's more about re-situating than re-constituting myself now. i'm well aware that i'm here, i just can't figure out how it's possible to go from facilitating therapeutic breakthroughs in the morning to feeling left out and awkward at my dance class in the evening. the way i have dealt with this painful perennial has been to largely avoid all social situations. i feel really fortunate that my life has developed in such a way as to support this strategy, without leaving me lonely or wanting. i find it exhausting to be around people. much better to watch films and read books and blog incognito.

why did mondrian find trees so disturbing?

Monday, April 6, 2009

tragic motifs

the antidote to "existential art therapy": beethoven, opus 10 number 1, 2nd movement. playing this tonight, as luca was resting, as frogs and toads were migrating, i remembered myself.

one of the films that i saw at this year's festival was all about the food industry. after watching it, i felt overwhelmingly saddened by the crushing power that monsanto and other agricultural giants wield over independent farmers. i felt betrayed by the government agents who are clearly doing the bidding of multi-national corporations at the expense of public health. i felt hopeless about my dependency on same corporations and discouraged by film's message about voting with my dollars, as if capitalism is the answer to the problem of capitalism. just days after the philadelphia premiere of food, inc., congressional bill hr 875 was introduced by rosa delauro. under the guise of consumer safety, this bill apparently mandates "the criminalization of seed banking, prison terms and confiscatory fines for small farmers and 24 hour GPS tracking of their animals, and of 'industrial' standards to independent farms." sign a petition to stop this bill at

Sunday, April 5, 2009


here are a few pictures i took from the quay brothers reception at the rosenwald-wolf gallery on friday:

"sometimes more life lies hidden in the opening of a door than in a question"
~the institute benjamenta

family weekend went great today!

geinian houses

i am blogging at this moment so that i don't start reading about family art therapy. last night i dreamed that i fell asleep in the back of someone's car listening to leonard cohen. i was getting a lift from a stranger to a bus station in order to return to philadelphia for the family weekend workshop. but when i woke up it was clear that it was too late and i wasn't going to make it. i didn't even call to let anyone know. felt so guilty but kind of relieved.

today i tried not to think about it at all. in the morning, we looked at some pretty disgusting properties on the main line with larry, then came home and napped off the fear that we will never find a house within our means that doesn't evoke the great serial killer spirit. at 3:30 it was off to the city. an awful film called the beautiful person, dinner with lenya and her family (happy birthday, len!), followed by a thrillingly insane tilda swinton in julia at the ritz.

now i must get some sleep. tomorrow i will be compassionate, curious and honest. i will ask questions, reflect back feelings, facilitate communication and stay with the images. i will utilize my helper. i will observe and engage. isn't there some goddess i can invoke to help me through the day? who is it?

Friday, April 3, 2009

the summer land

on august 2nd, luca and i were married. lenya read a beautiful egyptian love poem and we took our oaths beneath a canopy of green hanging amaranthus and purple allium. let these images from that magickal day begin my new blog...