Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Thankful for art, and intelligent response to the brainwashing of a lifetime.

thankful for the collective wisdom of the people
photo: Roger Leisner

Saturday, November 20, 2010


bush true crime

Big decision today -- where to move the memoirs of a war criminal?

A man who once claimed "I am the decider" has had help writing a book defending his actions in office e.g. authorizing torture. Another head of state has called him a liar for his claim about support for the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. The list of his crimes is really too long to chronicle here. A special prosecutor should be put on the job immediately.

But since the current faux decider works for the same bosses, it hasn't happened and it won't.

Maybe I'll also move The Audacity of Dangling False Hope around at Borders today while I'm there. Maybe to the horror section.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fiddling around on facebook?

photo: Brian Reeves
Slacktivists, couch potatoes, facebook fiddlers -- whatever they get called, it doesn't sound good. Another derisive term I really hate is sheeple.

Looking past the name calling, I see that people are called to action at different times and by different circumstances. When people are ready, they fall eagerly upon the tools at hand and get busy. Until then, there is always some idle amusement to while away the hours.

My CODEPINK friend Janet has been urging me to write up what I told her about why facebook has been such an effective tool for me as an organizer.

Janet and I are facebook friends, but like many of our middle aged cohort, we are disinclined to spend untold hours in front of a screen virtually interacting with others. We really like real time face to face contact with others, even perhaps believing a minimum amount is critical to our morale and mental health.

If your inbox is anything like mine, it's stuffed to the gills and I only ever open a small fraction of it. So people emailing me cool links sometimes get through, and then I know I miss a lot. Priorities and time pressure have a lot to do with which emails I open.

I only go on facebook when I have a bit of time. Besides using it to create events I can invite local friends to easily, I post status updates occasionally, especially as reminders of events about to happen. I like to set my News Feed to Most Recent instead of Top News, which is prioritized according to how many comments an item gets. On Most Recent I get a steady stream of what a wide ranging group of people think is worth reading or watching.

Items come and go, but a good item will have a long life due to a chain of sharing. If I miss it the first or second time, I could see it again as subsequent people share it. My facebook friends act as a filter that bring me news, often from publications I would not otherwise visit -- local newspapers, websites, foreign news sources, and so on. Sometimes I explore from that point if I see other links that look interesting. This has broadened my reading. Hooray!

Video as a medium has opened up for me largely as a result of facebook posts. Here's my current favorite. Why is disturbing economic news so hilarious when presented by robo-voiced characters speaking slightly fractured English? I don't know, I just enjoy it.

Another good part about sharing articles or videos is they are automatically put in a folder called Links. I went to Preferences to make it visible on my Profile. I can search through this folder when I'm looking for something I read or saw, but I can't find a way back to it by googling or otherwise searching. Links is a chron file of what I found interesting or significant. Kind of like how people like my grandparents would have kept newspaper clippings, but much more dynamic.

I hope you find your best tools and put them at your service, whether your chief concern is environmental justice, prison justice, human rights, or bringing our war $$ home.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Drawing a crowd

Images from Draw-a-Thon II at Space Gallery in Portland, ME on Veterans Day.

For a good look at the art created by 40+ artists, go to the Maine Drawathon flickr site here.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Day of ArT & activism

Maine Peace Walker & Northampton BOW$H organizer Beth Adams joined Codepink and artists of Draw-a-Thon II making signs to welcome the Peace Walk and Vets for Peace as they passed by in the parade.

Many streams converged on Veterans Day when Space Gallery hosted Draw-a-thon II to Bring Our War $$ Home. 30+ artists + Buddhist monks and nuns leading the Maine Peace Walk with drums and chanting + Pink women + Vets for Peace + general public age 2 to around 90 being artists or subjects + Kenny Cole's amazing show "The Hellfire Story."

The show features one drawing for each time a Predator Drone has delivered a Hellfire missile to Earth. These drawing hover overhead and throw long shadows, mounted as they are perpindicular to the walls. They are b&w and yellow. Red paintings of hell cover the white walls at floor level. (Kenny himself is a blue triangle in some photos. Nice job.)

The generosity of spirit on the part of participants started with Kenny and Space offering to host a Draw-a-Thon. Artists come from all over for these events.There were many young artists this time, which was good to see. Our friend and fine printmaker Tamar Etingen came from Cambridge for the day. Poet Martin Steingesser led the crowd in chanting as he recited a poem about what the CEO of General Dynamics does with all that money. Many people had their portraits done by artists who specialize in it. It was fun to watch the process and the reaction of those who posed. The artists worked hard all day. Here's an amazing wall of art to delight the eyeballs and help spread a BOW$H message.

The special presence of Veterans for Peace and Buddhist nuns and monks who had just completed a 130 mile walk through Maine was also a factor. We had greeted them from the sidewalk in front of Space Gallery as the annual Vet's Day parade passed by, and we were honored to feed them before many departed back to Massachusetts or New York. Lovely Vanessa is a new friend from the walkers who was interesting to talk with about education.

Many walk in families with young children joined the Draw-a-Thon. The age range went from 2 to about 90. Homeless youth joined in creating images of beauty and healthy priorities. People were fed. Minds were fed. The national priorities project website was consulted. What slice of pie is transportation anyway? (A depressing 3% for both fy10 and fy11.)

Breakfast and lunch were provided by Codepink Maine's hospitality wagon. Pat Taub is an amazing whirlwind on the Portland scene now and she had cleverly arranged with Local Sprouts eatery to deliver hot soup and trays of sandwiches made from local farm production.Well fed artists are productive artists!

Lora has her portrait made by Rob.

I had a portrait made wearing my pink hair by Paula Dougherty who in Feb. had made a beautiful drawing of a pregnant woman that I photographed. The flash of the photo landed in the center of the swollen belly as an orb of light. We both loved that coincidence.

That picture and others from both Draw-a-Thons are on display until Dec. 5 at the Meg Perry Center of Peace Action Maine, 644 Congress., Portland.
Cori, thank you for the beautiful garden picture.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Many hands make light work

Photo courtesy of Afghan Women's Writing Project. 
Lend your ears to their voices here.
I guess I get discouraged a lot faster than most people. (But maybe I get encouraged faster, too.) The rout of so-called progressives in the mid-term elections was in the cards from the moment candidate Obama went back to his seat in the Senate and voted yes on that year's war supplemental funding bill.

Sometimes it just takes a couple of years for those kind of chickens to come home to roost.

The sold out Democratic Party deserved to lose, and they did. So be it. Read 20th century history of Germany if you want to find out what happens next.

Meanwhile, let's keep joining hands in a circle with people who manifest the power of solidarity, and love for their fellow human beings. That means all fellow human beings, not just the ones with the correct understanding of what's going on. I don't like effigy burnings. 

Here's what I do like:
Peace walking  
Buddhists and veterans and college students and others are doing it in Maine this week. I do it on my local bridge every Sunday for an hour. It fits with my schedule and over time it has become one of the deepest experiences in my life. It also offers opportunities we did not anticipate. Try it and you might find strength in it, too.

A friend I grew up with and I have been collaborating on a novel for teens about a family with a veteran dad who has PTSD. We are just finishing our first draft and it has been a great learning experience. I've listened carefully to the stories of family members of soldiers who come home thus afflicted. It affects everyone in their family and, really, their community. Our friend Dr. Bob Hayes talked about this with us last Wednesday night in Waterville after a potluck supper for the Maine Peace Walk.
Another wonderful peace walker and news bringer on Wednesday night was Beth Adams, who brought a greeting from Northampton, Mass. where a BOW$H resolution was recently passed. A great public forum with lots of testimony from community members was an important part of their process. During our discussion Bruce Gagnon mentioned that a lot of our fellow citizens are looking around for explanations about why they and their loved ones are in economic distress. "Let's help them find the war spending answer." I said I know people working on the campaign in California, South Carolina, Pittsburgh, PA and New Mexico. And Maine organizer Gary Higginbottom went to NYC this weekend to share BOW$H news with a regional conference of United National Antiwar Conference folks.

The 2nd Draw-a-Thon to Bring Our War $$ Home will be happening this Thursday (11/11, Veterans or Armistice Day) 10am-4pm at Space Gallery in Portland, Maine. Artist Kenny Cole just unveiled his show on drones and the suffering they cause "The Hellfire Story" to huge crowds and will host the 'Thon there. A potluck lunch for the artists and any peace walkers who are still around will begin at noon, and your contributions are welcome if you are in the area.

Artist Corliss Chastain with her painting of gold coins showering down on student loan debt. Pat Taub and Mark Roman installed the show of images from our last Draw-a-Thon.

CODEPINK Maine put up a show of some of the images from last February's Draw-a-Thon in Bath. The exhibit at the Meg Perry Center of Peace Action Maine in Portland will stay up all month, and it is mirrored by a smaller display in the front window of Local Sprouts, a healthy foods eatery across Congress Street.

The prominent national group Veterans for Peace was not invited to participate in the annual Veterans Day parade to Portland City Hall. Last year they carried a banner calling on the U.S. to get out of Afghanistan, angering some organizers of the parade. We shall see how they participate this Thursday before joining us at Space Gallery.

Artist Rob Shetterly will be on hand along with others offering portraits of veterans and peace lovers. Artists Natasha Mayers and Brian Reeves have contributed a lot of energy to this event already. You can see a full list of participating artists here on Kenny's Draw-a-Thon blog.
Last year's Draw-a-thon in Bath: artists at work!
The Union of Maine Visual Artists along with Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space and CODEPINK Maine are co-sponsoring.

Join us, because many hands make light work.

Friday, November 5, 2010

130 miles for peace in Maine

Peace Walkers join hands, cast long shadows as they set out from Univ. of Maine Farmington.
Great article on their effort here in local newspaper, the Daily Bulldog.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Draw-a-Thon II to Bring Our War $$ Home

Draw-a-Thon II to Bring Our War $$ Home
Thu. 11/11/10 
Veterans Day
Space Gallery
Congress St.,

The big day is almost here! Kenny Cole has finished installing his show "The Hellfire Story" which opens this Friday, Nov 5 during First Friday art walk in Portland, Maine. 

Next week on Veteran's Day=====>

Draw-a-thon II (check out the blog)

at Space Gallery, where Kenny makes space for other artists, poets and people to join in creating Bring Our War $$ Home visions.

Portraits of veterans and others, plus new visions of an economy based on peaceful production, not weapons of mass destruction.

List of participating Artists for the November 2010 Draw-a-thon

  • Brian Reeves
  • Brita Holmquist
  • Bud Swenson
  • Corliss Chastain
  • Karin Spitfire
  • Kenny Cole
  • Laurie Proctor-Lefebvre
  • Lois Anne
  • Lynne Harwood
  • Melody Lewis-Kane
  • Natasha Mayers
  • Nora Tryon
  • Oran Suta
  • Paula Dougherty
  • Rob Shetterly
  • Robin Brooks
  • William Hessian
Sponsored by The Union of Maine Visual Artists, CODEPINK Maine, and Global Network Against Nuclear Power & Weapons in Space.

Draw-a-Thon II to Bring Our War $$ Home
Thu. 11/11/10 
Veterans Day
Space Gallery
Congress St.,

FMI contact us here.