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I’ll be the first to admit it, I am a fool. Artists are frequently fools, that’s okay with me. How ever my foolishness has influenced others, it is clear that nobody lives in a vacuum. Many artists do not get proper acknowledgement for their valiant work. I feel lucky to have a life in NYC that allows artistic freedom so over time Micro Museum® created a tribe of trail blazing entrepreneurs who toil daily to make inspiring art. Even with many good fortunes I underestimate the impact of art. Today a NYC fire department inspector came into the museum and recalled an exhibit that we had on display while he was last here. His detail was rich and memory long lasting. It was fulled of comprehension and energy. Art has great power to help people feel alive inside. It is intangible but real. At this stage of my development I certainly wish it could be bottled and sold because everyone needs more income. This story is on the lighter end of my thoughts today. What weighs heavily on my mind is that the lack of justice all around us – made abundantly clear by the racial injustice from Ferguson to Staten Island to Ohio to Maryland to Florida. Compounded by the fact that people in positions of authority never pay a price for their outrageous actions, not the bankers who systematically looted the US treasury, not the energy companies that pollute with impunity, not the police as they strangled someone to death on camera. Cameras did not help Rodney King in 1992 and they apparently do not help ever; except the supreme irony of it all is that the camera man who recorded the Staten Island Eric Gardner homicide is currently indicted. There will be no punishment for any person of power, that pain is reserved for all of us. The legacy of oppression is huge, bigger than any elephant in a room, it is the air we breathe. It is an empty day in the USA when nobody feels safe. My folly is that I believed in something called “the greater good”. Naivety, my be my cross to bear but I have often worked closely with people of color, LGBT communities, children/parents, disabled individuals and personally experience bias as a woman. Nevertheless throughout my life I watched America slightly transform little by little by little by ever so little to become a more fair and open society. Unfortunately for me I developed hope. What my peers have been able to accomplish, women my mother’s age only dreamed of such opportunities. When we purchased Micro Museum® the neighborhood, largely ethnic, was “red-lined” and that hung us up for almost 4 years, so probably my whiteness helped people feel comfortable. Now I am not so sure of anything. It probably does not help that I watched Ryan Murphy direction of HBO’s “The Normal Heart” that featured Larry Kramer’s play by the same name. It highlighted the beginning days of AIDS in NYC. It struck a cord with me because I was in the East Village at the time 1980 – 1986. There was no love for those young beautiful talented hilarious boys who were dropping like flies, some of their families disowned them long ago, the city ignored them and the nation looked on passively because powerful people did not want to be associated. Too many in the closet, too many excuses but some form of fairness eventually prevailed, well no not really: worldwide AIDS is still devastating, it is just not exclusively gay. I still wonder how things would be different if those gifted artists, writers, musicians, fashionistas were not removed from our city life. When I get into this kind of funk I seek music to help me heal. This is why I follow certain bands but they are not playing soon! I have to wait weeks. Finally there is only one other way to momentarily fix my heavy heart until I can get my fix from “Twin Danger” playing at Soho House December 18 or “Dead Air” playing at The Grand Victory on January 10. I will make a silly playlist and dance until I am exhausted. Perhaps for old time sake I’ll start with Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” and go to other pop fluff like Psy’s “Gangnam Style” and Rick Martin’s “Livin La Vida Loca”. Predictably I will steer clear of Peggy Lee’s “Is That All There Is?” cause I might want to curl up in blanket forever and John Lennon’s “Imagine” cause hearing his voice will make me start crying. Here are his powerful words:
Imagine there’s no heaven. It’s easy if you try. No hell below us. Above us only sky
Imagine all the people. Living for today
Imagine there’s no countries. It isn’t hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for. And no religion, too
Imagine all the people. Living life in peace
You may say I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one. Hope someday you will join us. And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions. I wonder if you can. No need for greed or hunger. A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people. Sharing all the world
You may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one. I hope someday you will join us.
And the world will live as one. Biking backpack

Some Nerve

There are two predominate approaches to adult life from my point of view. The first is to embrace your inner Peter Pan and never ever address what happens as a grown person. This choice is filled with disappointment because it is tiresome and weak. The second approach is to have a realistic expectation and perceptive about who you are, what you are capable of doing with your time and how you will operate your life’s dramas. I will not boast about if I fall into this or that category but be assured I think about it all the time. It is astonishing to me that celebrity men and college boys drug women for their carnal pleasure. I am further astonished anyone would imagine that women or others welcomes this type of treatment. In the privacy of these men’s minds their need to unilaterally overpower someone is the antithesis to any motivation towards intimacy. Call me old fashion but sex, even casual sex is about getting naked both physically and emotionally. Apparently these men’s insecurity is enormous but their actual aggression is criminal. Are we failing our young men by not teaching them the art of seduction as many a generation ago claimed they learned from Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Magazine? Hefner, at very least advocated dressing the part, wining/dining, bringing the lights down low for mood enhancing smooches and exploring your partner’s entire body. To my knowledge it included drinks not rape-drugs and the goal was always to keep her saying yes. This entire phenomenon of drugging your partner in modern sexual politics is regressive and far too common to be quiet when it does in fact strike a nerve, when it is in fact heartbreaking. I suppose it is easy to fall down any rabbit hole but honestly men need to wake other men up to the responsibilities and virtues of being a fully alive human. Women and wonderful men have plays like “What Tammy Needs to Know about Getting Old and Having Sex: The Concert Tour” – A special concert performance to launch Tammy WhyNot’s debut album. The “Tammy” in question is former famous country and western singer turned performance artist Tammy WhyNot. She is the creation of artist, writer, director, scholar and activist Lois Weaver. Tammy will be giving a special performance to launch her musical exploration into aging, desire, pleasure and intimacy. Currently Ms. WhyNot is playing at LaMama in the East Village NYC. Funny and touching as ever, Weaver ropes you in with her affection for what it means to be truly a living breathing loving human. Recently I watched the movie “Nebraska” directed by Alexander Payne and written by Bob Nelson. It was a stunner of a story. The cast was beyond excellent: Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, Bob Odenkirk and Stacy Keach explored a father/son relationship during an “going back home” road trip. The father is under the impression that he is a million dollar sweepstakes winner and is determined to collect those magic dollars. The son enabled this fantasy to be played out to the final end. The conclusion was a powerful statement of complicated love, strength of vision, tolerance by the son and a visualization about the vulnerability of an elder. Since the pain of living a full life in a city of hope/dreams or sometimes the catastrophic fail of those hopes/dreams feels unrelenting, we need to seek inspiration everyday. Artists are showing us the way to a greater compassionate experience. All and all artistic merit cheers my periodic but nearly perpetually broken heart.

Small work by Kathleen Laziza

Small work by Kathleen Laziza

Tripping Along Slowly at Lightning Speed

When the decision is made after all the options are weighed, it is relatively easy to get a plan and work the plan. A background in interdisciplinary art was my strange kind of useful tool box. If there is the need to build networks that is what collaborators do (done), if there is the need to direct people specifically then being a choreographer worked well (done) but if the goal was to adjust legislative policy then I met my Waterloo. Individual artists are collectively a teaming financial force for any urban city so when I met with powerful people who planned never to do anything except lip service for artists, it was a tad discouraging. Fast forward to 2014, NYC Council is now developing a city wide cultural plan. Wow and wow….many people advocated for this idea in 1994! I suppose those at the forefront are hoping to pass this law by 2016 and see a plan for implementation in 2017. As I attended the announcement meeting at NYU with a diverse group of interested players, one by one by one artists expressed that their personal/professional needs were dire. Since bureaucratic wheels turn very very slowly in the big city I, for one hope artists can hold on because NYC is a very sad place without them. As LES art meccas like ABC NO RIO gets better facilities, there is hope for the city’s cultural institutional fortitude but individual artists are still very vulnerable. Micro Museum has made it our mission to create a tribe of achieving artists. So when they step out and present new works in NYC locations it is more than hopeful, it is soul replenishing because their generous sweat-equity is also on display. Recently watched BANKSY DOES NEW YORK – a documentary about Banksy’s residency in NYC last October. Banksy’s 31 days of art initiatives became an internet sensation and therefore became a form of virtual graffiti. The filmmakers followed the art journey by turning NYC into a progressive art buffet. The residency explored the human condition when it collides with something new and relatively unbound by ownership. I am further impressed by Banksy’s ability to remain unidentified, although my sense is that these art actions might not be one person. The works are quite brilliant and accentuate the complexities of life in the 21st Century for artists and others. The works frequently spoke to and brought out the deep agonizing desire to “get rich quick” by exploiting another person’s talents. All in all the 5 borough art residency was a great experience as a citizen of NYC and as a film directed by Chris Maukarbel for HBO. While the theme of “artist as hero” is still in my mind plus feeling that truth, justice and the American way are still good reasons to seek happiness and commerce in the pursuit of art. I, however regret that individual artists are considering leaving their chosen NYC neighborhoods. We will have to import visiting artists to rock our worlds because as a city we cannot implement social policy fast enough with issues surrounding artist housing and fair employment. For many years we watched Micro Museum’s accomplished artists make money for lots of people but not overwhelmingly for themselves. They have always been entrepreneurial because there were no other options. If only there was a faster way for say “thank-you” because 2017 is a long time from now.

Hopscotch Anyone?

Hopscotch Anyone?

Mythology

Who doesn’t have daily epiphanies concerning the outrageous slings and arrows being hurled at them in the course of the day, week, month, year? Maybe it is urban legend that survivors of the fittest are warriors but really we are tender souls. Some of those epiphanies occur by having to deal with aggressive bold-faced lies and overcoming some intrinsic behavior. Many artists including me are hoping to build a society we want to live in. A society where being the outsider is not so much a threat for “upsetting apple carts” as it is the promotion of tolerance for others possibly unlike anyone else. Artists are always unlike anyone else. We are a category all alone but then when you add systemic bias to age, gender, race, socio-eco, sexual orientation ect…. we get a hot mess of misunderstood. My epiphany today stems from events where we are forced to defend our intellectual property again and how furious it makes me to spend my time fighting another art organization who infringed on our name and plans to continue to infringe. The insulting element is they are wrong from a legal and a marketing point of view. I won’t even go into a creative point of view, so since it kind of makes no sense, the whole episode is misguided and very disappointing. Watched an Israeli film by Joseph Ceder last night called “Footnote” about a father/son relationship whereby it was accidentally announced that the father won a prestigious Talmudic award intended for the son. The mistake was brought to his son’s attention and he did not have the heart to take the honor away from his father, especially since he feel in love with his father’s work and felt his father’s slings and arrows for not being duly recognized in his youth. It was touching to watch these two tender souls navigate important issues of the heart. Perhaps it is fitting that on All Saints and All Souls Day that I am feeling the weight of responsibility and a heavy heart. On a lighter note it is Halloween and there are the world’s smallest superheroes and most courageous princesses and every other kind of goblin roaming the streets looking for treats.

As a part of the show Micro Museum did with Reflect Arts and Juliette Pellitier. I had some portraits taken....

As a part of the show Micro Museum did with Reflect Arts and Juliette Pellitier. I had some portraits taken….

Still of the Night

There is something magical about that tiny window of time where all the workers have vacated the worksite and I am left to my own thoughts. It is a special kind of calm where my thoughts are not colliding but enter politely one at a time. So composed, so serene. I could get used to this pace but this window is fleeting but while it is here, I’m allowing mental stretching. Recently I watched a PBS series about sleep and they discussed how sleep can give you the time/space to settle mental confusion. This struck me as appropriate because I routinely dreamed choreography threads for the rehearsals with my dance company. The dreams were so vivid, I can still see them today. The human mind is remarkable like that because years later certain memories are clear as a bell. This past month a beautiful performer, designer and artist Geoffrey Holder past away. His son wrote a brilliant tribute to his father and described the last hours of his life. According to his story, Mr. Holder was choreographing and dancing not just to the end but through the end. He is a huge inspiration. RIP Mr. Holder, even in death you are guiding us towards the joy of living. Continuing this exploration of inspirations, last weekend I attended Basil Twist’s “ballet without dancers” at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater. It was a trilogy of kinetic theater highlighting Stravinsky’s “The Rite Of Spring” with the St. Luke’s Orchestra performing the still haunting picturesque music. The “dance” presented was profoundly amazing puppeteering on all accounts because the scale and timing were pitch perfect. Mr. Twist has a knack for other-worldliness and he deserves high praise for delivering a masterful work. He calls himself a choreographer and one of his dancers referred to being Mr. Twist’s puppet during the lovely wine reception offered by the White Light Festival. Finally the telephone is the supreme interrupter with different ring tone for different members of my family and friends. In this case my best beloved is letting me know he is hitting the train to come home. So my window just closed and it appears that a door is about to open. Sweet dreams you’all.

Photo of Yours Truly by Photographer Kari Otero

Photo of Yours Truly by Photographer Kari Otero

Random beginning

Woke up today with a song in my head. Bye Bye Blackbird.
Drank coffee on rooftop. Enjoyed watching a bee walk around my cup until it almost drown.
Inspected past work and predicted future work.
Fretted and worried as usual.
Could only find a Bob Fosse version of Bye Bye Blackbird in music collection.
Odd.
Ate soup and want a second bowl.
Putting my ducks in a row.
Suited up for another warrior day in NYC.
Yoko Ono sing “Kiss, kiss, kiss”
Sexy.
Recalled the time I traded for piano lessons with an old school teacher who wore white gloves when she went out for errands with her rolling cart. Michelle Wilt. She was not nice to anyone but she was nice to me.
Brandenburg Concerto is my exit music as I leave the apt.
Sweet.
The sunshine is spectacular. Vitamin D makes me happy.

Who doesn't love a good picnic!

Who doesn’t love a good picnic!

The Unintended

When I started to understand the theories of quantum physics it all made total sense to me because that is what I experience as a working artist everyday. The Latin word “quantum” means “how great” or “how much”. Put a question mark next to these 2 meanings and now you understand how basic an artist’s journey is. There are lots of philosophies that enhance my own way of creative thinking. I’m influenced knowing that it is not possible to know the values of concurrent energies at the same time because when you intensely observing one form of energy you are missing the others also going on at the same time. There is just too much going on. Scientists might refer to this as “Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle” – I prefer to think of it as a lyric by John Lennon’s “life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans”. Artists keep their eye on the prize by focusing with intensity on their product-making while simultaneous sometimes imperceptive actions are happening all around us. One of the reasons I liked the work of choreographer Pina Bausch was her penchant for filling her stage with layers and layers of interactive humanity, large and small. The eye wondered everywhere and after a few days of processing what occurred on that stage – it mostly resulted in wonderful resonant memories – ones I still carry along with me. This brings me to one of my theories about modern art: the viewer might have to see it multiple times to fully appreciate the artwork or one might have to sit with it for a while to give it the freedom to speak to you on a cellular level. When that happens it truly makes for a life worth living. In the 21st Century we tend to rush and many of us have our faces fixated on little hand-held screens; looking down. Lots of life speeds by in a short amount of time, with art I hope that individuals give it more time because otherwise I believe people miss many of the healthier aspects that art can offer them. This amount of rushing and downward gazing seems like a tragic loss. Recently watched a sci-fi film called “In Time” where the exchange currency was time not money and the main character (Justin Timberlake) inherited more time than he knew what to do with. Having extra time is a totally fantasy and I am most likely not alone with that fantasy. There used to be a phrases associated with time like “leisure time”; “quality time” but time seems too abstract a concept to be pigeonholed in any way. Daylight and darkness rule my worlds. In addition to thinking deep thoughts about life, time, art, humanity I am influenced by light. As we are entering into “daylight savings time” it gets darker earlier than I am willing to accept, no matter how many years this routinely happens. I feel like I internalize the Greek myth of Persephone, daughter of Zeus and harvest goddess Demeter. Persephone abducted by Hades, King of the Underworld, is mourned by her mother who allows the world to grow dark, cold and lack vegetation until spring when she makes the world brighter. Nevertheless as I watch urbanites walking with their faces embedded in various hand held devices, the artist in me is developing new theories about eye-contact.

Kathleen Laziza in "Mixology" with photo by Kari Otero of  Mrs O Photography

Kathleen Laziza in “Mixology” with photo by Kari Otero of
Mrs O Photography