Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

Stamp from Finland, illustrating a detective novel by Mika Waltari, starring Inspector Palmu.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


A 19 seconds micromovie:
bink (left) & Fresca leap for joy in front of bink's DVD to ART sculpture, The Wave. (And the Wailing Wall Quilt in the background.)

Song: "Stand," by R.E.M.

bink's Artist Statement, posted on the wall by the art and on her DVD to ART blog:

The Wave

Artist: Lucinda Naylor,
in collaboration with two thousand households

Media: Repurposed DVDs

These discs originally carried a divisive message sent in the name of the Catholic Church, seeking to block the civil rights of same-sex couples. I say sent in the name of the Church, but not the Church I know. The Church I know is inclusive, not exclusive.

For fifteen years, as artist-in-residence at the Basilica of Saint Mary, I used whatever materials I could scrounge from a budget-strapped liturgical department to create art for all the seasons of the church year. When I heard about these DVDs, I thought, “Free art materials! I’ll turn them into art.”

I put out a call on Facebook, asking people to donate their DVDs to my project. I called it DVD to ART.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

The first DVD arrived in a bag of bagels. People slid DVDs through my mailbox, passed them to me in the pews, threw them into collection boxes outside several churches. They sent them to Return The DVD with notes saying, “Turn me into art.” Church workers passed them along, laughingly, “under cover of night”. Over and over, I heard, “Thank you for changing this message into one of love.”

Some DVDs came broken, scratched, written on: “Return to sender, offensive material.” “Not in my name.” “You are not alone.” 

Repeatedly they quoted Jesus: 
“Love one another, as I have loved you.”

Thank you to everyone who passed along a DVD.

The Wave is about the Spirit of inclusion and love, which is sweeping though the Catholic Church as it continues to change, as usual, from the people up to the hierarchy.

[end artist's statement]

"The Wave"

Me at the DVD to ART opening last night.

"The Wave"

All is well, and all shall be well.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Anyone Can Make Art (& Look Like Princess Leia)

The uses of DVDs as art are endless. Here, bink models the Princess Leia look as she turns the archbishop's anti-marriage equality message into sculpture.

The opening reception for bink's DVD to ART starts in an hour and a half!

An article in today's Strib showed the DVD sculpture (unfinished, since bink didn't complete it until 2:30 this morning), and someone commented snidely,
"It looks like a pile of DVDs. Anyone could do that."

Mean-spirited, but I thought, exactly:
Just like anyone can get married.

Let's do it! Let's fall in love!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Exhausted by Art

I'm exhausted--got home at midnight having spent twelve hours helping bink (below, right) with her DVD to ART project.
Twenty-some people came and stitched four hundred cardboard DVD covers into squares this afternoon, then bink & I made them into a quilt and and hung it on the 12-foot-high wall.
Whereupon several squares threatened to fall apart and we spent the evening doing emergency surgery.

There'll be paper and pens for people to write out hopes, dreams, prayers and tuck them into the DVD pockets, like people tuck prayers into the chinks of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.

Thank-you to all who sent yarn, ribbons, and shoelaces.
The wall really looks great. The main event will be the sculpture bink's making out of the DVDs, but I think the wall is maybe just as cool.

If you're in town, come for the opening reception!
It's this Friday, October 29.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

C-KAPE: iloveyoumauralynch

The Captain Kirk Academy for the Pursuit of Excellence--and I--wish Maura K. Lynch (aka iloveyoumauralynch) a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
Maura's optimistic nature leads her to boldy go into Jefferies Tubes I would never even see and results in her doing amazing things... like finding a space for bink to make and show her DVD art.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Captain Kirk Academy for the Pursuit of Excellence Award of the Week

C-KAPE honors bink for her DVD to ART project, transforming DVDs carrying a message against same-sex marriage into sculpture.

(The "All ur [X] are belong to us" phrase is a Janglish lolcat netspeak phrase from a translation of a Japanese animation that rendered "all your bases now belong to us" into "all your base are belong to us.")

It Gets Better, Lone Star Style

I'm a sucker for those moments in Westerns when some big ol' cowboy tenderly helps a little calf on its way.

Here's one of them, real life.
Joel Burns is a member of the Fort Worth city council. He addresses the council with his personal story, on behalf of teens bullied for being LGBT, or, as he says, just for being different.
Part of the It Gets Better Project.

There's something about bravery in a Texan accent, I tell ya... Achy-breaky.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Casting the Movie (In Which bink Takes on the Sheriff of Nottingham)

Who should play the leads in a Robin Hood version of bink's DVD to ART project?
That's what I was left wondering after reading the Washington Post article "Of Bully Pulpits and Bully Bishops".

[Gulp. The Wash-f*ing-ington Post!]

This is my favorite article yet about the DVD to ART project because the author, Anthony Stevens-Arroyo, starts off talking about movies:
As a Catholic, he says, he always resented the movie cliché of bishops dining at the king's table while ignoring starving peasants.
But, he goes on to say
I don't know if John Nienstedt, the Archbishop of St. Paul, Minnesota, has succumbed to this temptation [to sell out for power and money], but if you substitute "same sex marriage" for "rights to hunt deer in Sherwood Forest" you'd have enough for a movie.
A movie! There's an idea!
And then he discusses bink and Father Michael Tegeder, the guy I wrote a thank-you letter to the other day, and wraps up by asking,
"Where is Friar Tuck when we need him?"

Well, now. Obviously Fr. Tegeder is Friar Tuck, the church representative.

And bink?
A Robin Hood fan from early childhood, when she wore her under-shirt and -pants over her clothes so her clothes would look like his, bink said she always liked Wil Scarlett, Robin Hood's dashing, daring side-kick. He's a bit of a shape-shifter: sometimes he's cast as a fashionable young man, sometimes as a far darker and older character.

Who should play these roles?
I had to think.... oh, about 10 seconds.

I've never met Tegeder, but Jeff Bridges (left) is my kind of Friar Tuck.

And a grown-up, female Will Scarlettt couldn't be anybody but Judy Davis (above, right). Unless she was Cate Blanchett.

Naturally the Sheriff of Nottingham is Alan Rickman (above, left) reprising his role in the otherwise lame Kevin Costner vehicle, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

And the archbishop?
We shall just have to resurrect Charles Laughton.

Friday, October 15, 2010

1701: The Right to Be Average

RIGHT: "Kirk and Spock at Disney's Gay Day," by Farfalla

What makes something funny?

There're lots of clever (and even more terrible) photoshops of Kirk/Spock out there, most of which don't move me one way or another, or not enough to bother to share here.
But this one totally cracked me up.

It's not just the goofy incongruity of Kirk and Spock at what is a real event-- Gay Days at Disney is a meet-up sanctioned (!) but not organized by Disney World: people dress in red and meet by the Cinderella castle (below)-- though I find that plenty funny.
And it's not just that Farfalla chose fitting expressions for our boys, though they are comically spot on.

No, what pushed it over the top for me is Kirk's sweatshirt.

With that ridiculous logo "1701" (the registry number of the USS Enterprise, though if you've read this far, you might not need to be told that), it strikes me as exactly the sort of leisure wear a company man would indeed wear on vacation.

It's like the corporate logos some folks who march in gay pride parades display.
To me, they seem to say,
"I may be a sexual minority, but gosh darn it, I want the right to be as average and unimaginative as any square straight person you'll ever meet."

In fact, I don't know why conservatives aren't the biggest champions of same-sex marriage. The best way to deal with something you see as wild and dangerous (such as sexuality) is to domesticate it.

When same-sex marriage is legal everywhere in the United States, gay married couples aren't going to trap neighborhood children and force them to read Verlaine. They'll do what straight married couples do:
don stupid T-shirts and go to Disneyland.

Give people what they need and they'll simmer down. Or, you know, if they go rogue and join Starfleet or write poetry, it'll be because that's who they are, not because oppression drove them to it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sweetieness: Before and After Irony

What do Star Trek & the Beatles, which ran concurrently for a while, have in common?
I'd have said nothing, but I see I've connected them three times now; once through their boots, once (and again here) their dress uniforms, and once in my vid "Star Trek, My Love: In My Life." (by rabbittooth, via Tintorera)

That makes me wonder...

ST was square in the late 60s, and the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper was hip. But they and their costumes share a sweetness, a lack of irony.
The '60s were full of rage and pain, but irony?

I've started watching all of director Peter Weir's movies. Last night I watched The Plumber (1979, links to a good NYT review), a made-for-Aussie-TV film about a sunny sweetie of a guy, a working-class plumber, whose dark underside comes out in a relationship with an academic woman tenant--an anthropologist who totally can't fathom the guy tearing up her own bathroom.

Weir's films are often about the slip-slidey nature of meaning and the disconnect between "civilized" self-presentation and the "wild" subconscious.
In a special feature interview with The Plumber
--(actually, the film itself is a special feature on the DVD that features The Cars That Ate Paris, Weir's first feature film, from 1973, which was, he says, a failure, but an interesting one)--
Weir said people have very different reactions to the film, depending on how they read the characters.
The plumber was partly inspired by a taxi driver whose cab Weir rode in during the Vietnam War. The guy dressed like John Lennon, but when Weir commented on the bombing of Vietnam, expecting the driver to agree it was terrible, instead the guy said they should drop a nuclear bomb on Vietnam.
For some, Weid said, the Manson murders ended the 60s, but that was it for him. A way of dressing that had signaled a political position had become a fashion statement.

''It's what you can't see that counts in plumbing," the plumber tells the academic.

[image of Weir from "Commanding Waves: The Films of Peter Weir"
If there's a canyon, a rift, between "before and after" irony--the awareness that what you see isn't necessarily what you get--I'd put both Star Trek and [most of] the Beatles on the "before" side. (Does Let It Be cross over?)

Sweetieness survives, though, even in an ironic age. Like this one, for instance. Millions of adults--I know several of them--sincerely love Harry Potter, a most unironic tale.
I like it OK, bit find it hopelessly "before."

If I'd written the Potter tale, all would not have been well. Hermione and Ron would have died, leaving Harry a shattered shell, having saved the world at the cost of everything dear to him.

I'd end the series on the magic train platform to Hogwarts.
The parent standing there wouldnt be Harry, it would be Harry's stupid muggle cousin, Dudley... the befuddled father of a wizard child.
And thus the cycle would start up again.

There seem to be moments in history that crack the ground open.
But I'm not sure the most important cracks are those that happen in political history so much as those that crack the ground in front of our own feet.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

One of these things...

More similarities between the mid-century design of starships and museums: one of these things is NOT Star Trek.
[IDENTIFICATION in comments]

As always, Star Trek screencaps from

Monday, October 11, 2010

Blue Wash

Spent the day helping bink wash blue paint over the label side of 800 DVDs--half her haul--to transform them (artistically and spiritually, ya know) ... and so the fingers wouldn't look so much like Vienna sausages.

You can get some sense of the space a business owner gave her to work in--a big, bright, empty storefront in the Uptown (a few blocks from the Apple store).

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Suffering for Something

There's no chat like church chat (exceeded in complexity and cast of characters possibly only by church choir chat), so I almost enjoyed giving blood yesterday--my second time--at the Woman's Club because a dear church friend, CA, sat and discussed the latest installments of Archbishop and Co. with me.

I'd thought my near-fainting when I donated blood the first time was merely psychological, and therefore a fun chat would distract me, and I'd be fine.
Sure enough, I was fine for the hour I spent lying down, chatting and eating the Lorna Doones CA brought me.

So I got up and toured the cool old building, but by the time I'd gotten to their library on the second floor, a wave of yuckiness swept over me. I had to sit down.
CA left to get the car, and when she came back I was lying on the floor. (Nice rug!)

She drove me home and I slept for a couple hours, then read by the open window until bedtime.
 [Zadie Smith, On Beauty; The Summer Book, by Tove Jansson; Staying Alive: Real Poems for Unreal Times (2002), edited by Neil Astley]

I know people who donate blood on their lunch hour and then go back to their active jobs.
I guess that's not going to be me.
CA and I agreed, though, that with all the senseless suffering in life, it makes a nice change to suffer for something.

Wishing you all good health!

Friday, October 8, 2010

DVD to ART: bandsaw

Here's my 34-second micromovie of bink making the first cuts on the bishops' anti-gay-marriage DVDs, to turn them into art.

Song: Alison Krauss, "I Will," by the Beatles

Of all the elements of this projects--religion, sexuality, politics, art--art most interests me. And, I believe, bink too.
When bink was three, she traced a Ferris wheel in the lines of her palm.
When she showed her mom, her mom made her wash it off.

I think she never recovered from that cruel injustice (like Spiderman seeing his parents murdered),
and in reaction she seeks to turn the whole world into art.
You can see it in the flicker of her smile at the end of the vid.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Blog Is Three

LEFT: Me, disheveled at Bob's, where I started this blog three years ago today.

A few random thoughts.

When I started, it'd been almost five years since my mother killed herself, and I was still dragging her death around. It's fallen away somewhat, and I can see her again, the person, unobscured by her death.
I dreamed I saw her recently. She looked at me, smiled, said, "Hello, Francesca."
That's all.
It was stunning. I hadn't heard her voice in almost eight years, and there it was.

Last week, my Frindian ms came back from the editor, who took out much of what I thought was most interesting. (Too gory, too many Indians. WTF?) I lobbied to keep some of it in, but the publisher has the final say, so I don't know.
I'm not really liking writing on assignment. Even though the topics (now, the history of communications) are interesting, it's like writing with blinders and hobbles.

I'm meeting with a couple friends next Sunday with the idea of forming a writing group, especially to encourage one another to send our writing out for publication. Not sure this would ever be lucrative, but maybe I'd rather do nonwriting paid work that leaves my brain free so I can just write here.
I like myself as a blogger.
I like other bloggers.
(Facebook, not so much, though bink's DVD to ART project proves how effective it is as a communication tool.)

I like being middle-aged. A lot.
Despite the usual ups and downs, I am calmer, more sure in myself. I go off (e.g. when the pastor fired bink, a real Sicilian rage blew through) but I come back to center sooner--clear about what I think and feel, not so buffeted by the winds of emotion, and therefore more able to do what I want.
This is great! It's like farming in the Dust Bowl--you want your fertile top soil to stay on the ground so you can use it, not always be up in the air.
It's not a loss of passion, it's a gain of clarity.

Going to donate blood for the second time this Saturday. You may remember, I almost fainted twice the first time. It's a disgusting feeling, nothing like graceful movie fainting. But it's such a good thing to do, I'll do it again.
Captain Kirk would.

Thinking about turning fifty in March... want to write more about that. But not now. I'm writing a couple indexes and later I'm meeting bink at the art college to film her cutting slits into the DVDs on a bandsaw. I hope to create a little documentary of this whole project.

Oh! Jut yesterday, some business-owners gave bink free use of a wonderful empty storefront (in the Uptown) to build and show her project!
A big space with lots of windows, ...perfect for an opening night party.
Will keep you posted.

Happy Birthday to l'astronave. Thank you all for being here.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Some thank-you's deserve paper.

I used to think brave, wise people didn't need thank-you letters because surely they knew how wonderful they were and didn't need strangers to tell them, and besides, they probably heard it all the time anyway.
Somewhere along the line I realized that isn't necessarily true, or, even if it is, it still does my little heart good to say "thank you."
So I added to my List of Things to Do, "write thank-you letters to strangers who inspire you."

This morning I wrote a thank-you to Father Michael Tegeder. Articles about him keep turning up next to articles about bink's DVD to ART project.
So far, he's the only priest in town with the guts to speak up publicly for love and sanity re committed same-sex relationships:
" 'This man is leading us in the wrong direction,' on this issue, [Tegeder] said of [archbp] Nienstedt. 'We have to call it for what it is – it's bullying behavior. It's not the work of Jesus Christ.
It's not the work of Jesus Christ.' "
--from "Minn. pastor challenges Nienstedt's DVD campaign," in yesterday's (10-5-10) National Catholic Reporter

This is my letter:
"Dear Father Tegeder,

"My name is Fresca D. I'm a good friend of Lucinda Naylor, who is collecting the archbp's DVDs to turn into art. Alongside FB updates about her, I always see links to articles about you, and I want to write––on paper!––to say thank you for your wonderful words of scripture, church teaching, and Lake Woebegone common sense. So:

"It almost seems silly to thank a priest for being "brave" enough to quote scripture and a cardinal who writes catechism [the cardinal archp of Vienna, who calls for the church to revise its views of committed same-sex relationships], but since you're the only one I see doing so (in public), I guess that makes you a blooming hero. And again, I say thank you.

"As for me, a few years ago (2002-2003), I worked part-time as sacristan at the Basilica. I always say it was like working in my favorite restaurant and discovering how the sausage is made. I left in great distress––took my name off the rolls and everything ( :( = no DVD), but I'm glad I know the political inner workings of the church---makes it easier to discern which bits are Christ and which are gristle, or, as you say, bullying--and it also teaches one to protect oneself (as you also advise), and what issues are worth squawking about. Turning gay people who want to get married (want to, for heaven's sake) into sausage is certainly one of those issues.

"Thank you for your good work.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My 0.15 Minutes of Fame

People wrote messages to the archbishop on the envelopes holding anti-gay DVDs, before donating them to bink to turn into art. From her DVD to ART blog.

That's me (in part), to the right, in the blue scarf, helping bink (holding sign) and friends collect DVDs outside the Basilica of Saint Mary this past Sunday.

Picture from the Minnesota Public Radio coverage "Artist gathers raw materials, raw emotions with Catholic DVD", by Sasha Aslanian.

This reporter, Sasha, was the best--she spent more time with bink on Sunday than any of the other reporters, and more time talking to parishioners coming and going to church.
She even went into the church after one of the masses and asked Fr. Bauer in person to comment.
He declined.

Click on above link for article and audio. I tried to embed the audio here too:

Sunday, October 3, 2010

nothing bad happened

right: bink watching the tc marathon pass the basilica while collecting the archbip's anti-gay marriage dvds to turn into art

0 people threw anything out of cars
0 people yelled mean things
0 people spat

1 camera battery (mine) died after 9 measly pictures

2 employees of the church brought coffee and donuts to us at 7 a.m., before the first mass

2 marathoners swerved out of their way as they ran past the basilica to hand over their dvds

3 people said they didn't like what we were doing (but not in a scary way)

4 media agencies sent reporters

9 hours I hope to sleep tonight to make up for a sleepless last nite

13 = years lived by the girl who wrote up, printed, and handed out a flier alongside us: "What can $1,000,000 do?" (the estimated cost of the 400,000 dvds)

25 people, at least, drove up and handed us dvds out their car windows

55 unasked for dollars donated

79 helpings of bemusement at hearing self, recently ranked "mildly pessimistic", declaim into a reporter's microphone:
"This is a done deal. Gay marriage won't happen here today, but it will happen tomorrow. This dvd is the desperate act of people trying to cling to the past."
...or word to that 100% optimistic effect

100? pounds, it seemed to me, the TV cameraman's steadicam weighed, when he left me pick it up

546 dvds handed over to DVD to ART

many hugs from people of all ages

some tears

countless expressions from friends and strangers (of all types!) of blessing, gratitude, interest, joy, faith, hope, and love to bink for offering a positive outlet for the jumble of feelings––dismay, frustration, hurt, grief, outrage, fatigue, and more––the dvd engendered

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Risk is our game; puppies is our name.

When people name puppies after you, you know you must be doing something right.

A family e-mailed bink tonight to tell her they'd named their chocolate-lab puppy after her!!!
She's has been getting the most amazing outpouring of gratitude and support for her DVD to ART project, collecting the archbishops anti-gay marriage DVDs to turn into art.
Everything from friends who dropped off bagels to a stranger who gave her a $100 bill.

Not totally surprising, though I am surprised. bink's offering a loving, creative outlet for people who are angry and hurt. One woman I talked to at Mass last Sunday was almost weeping with rage at how the pastor has "suspended" bink as artist in residence.

bink, meanwhile, has been ... Well, honestly, I don't know when I've seen someone so centered, aligned, on target. For fifteen years she never said boo to the Church about its rancid sexual politics, and now she just calmly steps forward and says, with one calm stroke, Enough of this silliness.

It's like watching the Church get slapped with a fish.

This evening I made up these snacks that bink, Maura, and I can eat out of our jacket pockets while we stand--on public property [1]--outside the Basilica for five hours tomorrow, so people going to Mass can hand over their copy of the DVD to bink, if they want.

I'm not real jazzed about doing this.
I certainly have no doubts it is the right thing to do, but taking a stand in public, well, honestly, it frightens me. I have friends who relish political action, but I am not one of those. (Neither is bink, in fact.)
Especially when there might be media and cracked nuts around.

I know mostly people will be happy to see us, and throughout the morning other volunteers will join us, but it's just, you know, nervous-making.
So, I am reciting the mantra of the Capt. Kirk Academy for the Pursuit of Excellence to myself:
"Risk... risk is our business.
That's what this starship is all about. It's why we're aboard h

[1] Exercising our Freedom of Assembly, per the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Funny how I rarely think much about my Constitutional rights unless I'm dealing with the Catholic Church.
One pastor wrote a comment on the DVD to ART blog asking Lucinda to take his church off the list of places volunteers will be collecting near. She politely declined.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Star Trek Ensign Sings the Blues: "Jim Kirk doesn't ever bring me pretty flowers..."

The Ensign's Lament

A mashup, slashup video by our very own genius gal M'ret, of smoothable.

(May run smoothest if you let the whole thing buffer first.)

The Ensign's Lament on Vimeo.

M'ret writes:
"There are some 400 people aboard the Enterprise; I estimate some 200 in love with Captain Kirk.

Clips are from the TOS episode "Obsession".
The song is "Jim" by Billie Holiday."


This fanvid made me scream with laughter.
I always thought that ensign was a total mooncalf... but I've never seen him in a vid before.

I was just talking to someone about why I don't like Harry Potter slash, and among other reasons (tweens aren't my thing), I don't like it because it's not funny (or none I've seen has been--let me know if you know of any). But, for me anyway, humor ripples around the edge of even the sexiest, most serious Star Trek slash.