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Godin Defines Art, Anzaldua Discusses Art, Art City Displays Art: Portal at Burning Man

September 16, 2019



A useful definition of art by Seth Godin

Art is a human activity. It is the creation of something new, something that might not work, something that causes a viewer to be influenced.

Art uses context and culture to send a message. Instead of only a contribution of beauty or craft, art adds intent. The artist works to create something generous, something that will change us.

Art isn’t painting or canvas or prettiness. Art is work that matters.

It’s entirely possible that you’re an artist.

Everyone can be, if we choose.

Read more…

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Bohemian Rhapsody at Burning Man 2019

September 11, 2019



“Creative artists … are mankind’s wakeners to recollection: summoners of our outward mind to conscious contact with ourselves, not as participants in this or that morsel of history, but as spirit, in the consciousness of being. Their task, therefore, is to communicate directly from one inward world to another, in such a way that an actual shock of experience will have been rendered: not a mere statement for the information or persuasion of a brain, but an effective communication across the void of space and time from one center of consciousness to another.”

Joseph Campbell, from The Masks of God, Volume IV: Creative Mythology

Read more…

Take Action to Save Earth: Read a Book!

September 9, 2019

“Our heart grows cold,” wrotePope Francis in the 2015 Lenten message. “As long as I am relatively healthy and comfortable, I don’t think about those less well off. Today, this selfish attitude of indifference has taken on global proportions, to the extent that we can speak of aglobalization of indifference. It is a problem which we, as Christians, need to confront.” Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq, an Eskimo-Kalaallit Elder in Kalaallit Nunaat, Greenland, says Only by Melting the Ice in the Heart of Man does Man have a Chance to Change and begin using his vast Knowledge Wisely.”


In addition to getting a real strong dose of nature, reading up, finding solutions, and taking action really helps! Read more…

Burning Man: Call the playa (973) 737-BURN

August 26, 2019

A man who is not on fire is nothing.

That kind of person is ridiculous and two-dimensional.

He must be on fire even if he makes a fool of himself.

A flame must burn somewhere,

otherwise no light shines,

there is no warmth,

there is nothing.

Carl Jung

For how to Burn at home… 

Burning Man 2019 Theme Metamorphoses and “Oh The Places You’ll Go”

August 19, 2019

“Oh the places you’ll go!” — the walking man in 2011

“Omnia mutantur, nihil interit”
(Everything changes, nothing perishes)
― Ovid, Metamorphoses

Here in the northern hemisphere, summer has one more month, but when school starts, like it is today at Ventura College, it feels like fall. Days are getting shorter, nights longer, and we’re back from our summer adventures. The season is changing.

“Energy can be transformed from one form to another,
but can be neither created nor destroyed.”

― 1st Law of Thermodynamics

My summer travel included skiing and hiking trips to Big Bear and Mammoth, plus two days exploring Amsterdam and two weeks in Tanzania with several days trekking to and climbing up Mt Kilimanjaro, which at 19,340′ is the tallest free standing mountain in the world and is known as “The Roof of Africa.”  More on that here. 

in climbing Kilimanjaro I achieved a lifelong dream

Even before one trip is over, my imagination is already planning future trips, and while I am not sure yet if I’m going to Burning Man this year, many of my friends are– and they are busy “packing all the things” including fabulous art projects built by a group of artists from Art City, Ventura as well as projects by Deniz Nicole of Ventura and Valerie Mallory of Oakland.

the Mutant Vehicle known as the Mighty Zenith

And I can’t forget the Mighty Zenith– the giant TV mutant vehicle that will be prowling the playa days and night and is the creation of sTeVe Knauff and Rosel Weedn. Plus the gifts! Check out these starfish by Maria Lucila:

pendants for gifting at 2019 Burning Man by Ventura area artist Maria Lucila

The theme this year at Burning Man is “Metamorphoses” — from the Burning Man Journal: Read more…

Buen Camino Adventure on Anglesey

July 26, 2019

A Buen Camino on an Adventure on Anglesey

  • Hidden in ferns in a cow pasture near a seaside castle.
  • Inside a Wendy House beside a lighthouse.
  • At a mile-long sloping campground above a beach in town.
  • Inside a caravan full of ivy and snails in the yard of a pub.
  • A campground near a vineyard.
  • A campground on a sheep’s pasture with views of the ocean and the ferries coming and going  from Dublin to Holyhead.
  • A garden in a parsonage.

These are all places where we slept as my son and I backpacked for eight days and 90 miles August 2018 going from train station to train station along the Wales Coastal Path on the Island of Anglesey or Ynys Môn. Read more…

Calling Our Spirits Back from Wandering: Meet Joy Harjo, New US Poet Laureate

June 25, 2019

Father’s Day 2019 Full Moon at Refugio State Beach north of Santa Barbara, CA c. Gwendolyn Alley

For Calling the Spirit Back from Wandering the Earth in Its Human Feet
by Joy Harjo

Put down that bag of potato chips, that white bread, that bottle of pop.

Turn off that cellphone, computer, and remote control.

Open the door, then close it behind you.

Take a breath offered by friendly winds. They travel the earth gathering essences of plants to clean.

Give it back with gratitude.

If you sing it will give your spirit lift to fly to the stars’ ears and back.

Acknowledge this earth who has cared for you since you were a dream planting itself precisely within your parents’ desire.

Let your moccasin feet take you to the encampment of the guardians who have known you before time, who will be there after time. They sit before the fire that has been there without time.

Let the earth stabilize your postcolonial insecure jitters.

Be respectful of the small insects, birds and animal people who accompany you.
Ask their forgiveness for the harm we humans have brought down upon them.

Don’t worry.
The heart knows the way though there may be high-rises, interstates, checkpoints, armed soldiers, massacres, wars, and those who will despise you because they despise themselves.

The journey might take you a few hours, a day, a year, a few years, a hundred, a thousand or even more.

Watch your mind. Without training it might run away and leave your heart for the immense human feast set by the thieves of time.

Do not hold regrets.

When you find your way to the circle, to the fire kept burning by the keepers of your soul, you will be welcomed.

You must clean yourself with cedar, sage, or other healing plant.

Cut the ties you have to failure and shame.

Let go the pain you are holding in your mind, your shoulders, your heart, all the way to your feet. Let go the pain of your ancestors to make way for those who are heading in our direction.

Ask for forgiveness.

Call upon the help of those who love you. These helpers take many forms: animal, element, bird, angel, saint, stone, or ancestor.

Call your spirit back. It may be caught in corners and creases of shame, judgment, and human abuse.

You must call in a way that your spirit will want to return.

Speak to it as you would to a beloved child.

Welcome your spirit back from its wandering. It may return in pieces, in tatters. Gather them together. They will be happy to be found after being lost for so long.

Your spirit will need to sleep awhile after it is bathed and given clean clothes.

Now you can have a party. Invite everyone you know who loves and supports you. Keep room for those who have no place else to go.

Make a giveaway, and remember, keep the speeches short.

Then, you must do this: help the next person find their way through the dark.

Congratulations to Poet Joy Harjo, member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, who will become the first Native American U.S. Poet Laureate this fall. Harjo is a poet and a musician who says: 

“You hit words together with rhythm and sound quality and fierce playfulness,” Harjo told NPR in describing her poetry and writing process. 

According to NPR, Harjo’s goals as the country’s 23rd poet laureate consultant in poetry include bringing about   “a healing of people speaking to each other, with each other.” She sees poetry exchanges as a way to accomplish this:

“I really believe if people sit together and hear their deepest feelings and thoughts beyond political divisiveness, it makes connections. There’s connections made that can’t be made with politicized language.”


Let us call our spirits back from wandering. Let us gather around a kitchen table. This is how we could save the world. 

Photo: Karen Kuehn

According to the about page on her website, “Joy Harjo was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is a member of the Mvskoke Nation. Her seven books of poetry, which includes such well-known titles as How We Became Human- New and Selected PoemsThe Woman Who Fell From the Sky, and She Had Some Horseshave garnered many awards.  These include the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas; and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America.”

Learn more about Joy Harjo’s books and music on her official site. Watch for her latest book of poetry coming out this August, An American Sunrise will be published in August.

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