Sunday, February 28, 2010

Conquering Venus: Collin Kelley. Highly Recommended!!

From the Vanilla Heart publisher's release of the book: In the summer of 1995, young American writer Martin Paige agrees to chaperone a group of high school seniors on their graduation trip to Paris as a favor to his best friend, teacher Diane Jacobs. Diane hopes Europe will act as a catalyst to lift Martin from his grief following the suicide of his lover, Peter. But the trip proves to be more than either of them bargained for. Martin finds himself falling in love with one of her students, David McLaren, who is unprepared to cope with his burgeoning sexuality. He also meets a mysterious Parisian woman, Irène Laureux, who is debilitated by agoraphobia and spends her days spying on the hotel guests across from her apartment. Martin and Irène discover they have a logic-defying connection: a small tribal tattoo on their left hands that means “equal but opposite.” This is same tattoo that Martin’s lover and Irène’s husband had inked into their skin. All the characters lives are irrevocably changed in a horrifying terrorist attack on a Paris metro station. Liberated by the blast, forced from her own self-imprisonment, Irène learns her husband’s death was not an accident, and dares Martin to acknowledge the role he played in Peter’s suicide. Diane, harboring her own secrets and a hidden agenda, takes a drastic step to force David out of the closet and admit his feelings for Martin. From America to England to France, the globe-hopping story places fictional characters amidst historical events such as the Nazi occupation of Paris, the student/worker riots of 1968 and the terrorist bombings of Paris in 1995. Grounded in reality, Conquering Venus is a mystery, a love story and a journey of self-realization.

An interview with Collin about the book is by Jessica Handler on her blog

I couldn't put Collin's book down. Though labeled as 'gay fiction' at Amazon, this book is universal in its appeal. The plot, the locale, the complex interrelationships between characters and the mystery all keep any reader on the edge of his/her seat. I've enjoyed reading Collin for years now on He's an excellent poet as well as novelist. To put it more plainly, he 'has the touch'.

To read excerpts from his novel, view a trailor, and purchase it (several purchasing locations are listed as links), go to You'll also find 'ideal actors' Collin has chosen, were the book a movie. I've loved seeing him post those!

An excellent review of the book is at New Southerner.

I highly recommend this book. You won't regret your choice!


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Anke Merzbach , Artist extraordinary

I've featured her work in the past, but want to do so again, since she's added new work to her growing collection. I'm in love with her work. So....take a look and enjoy a fascinating artist.

See Anke's photostream HERE

Click to see them larger.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Oranges and Sardines....Didi Menendez does it again!

A wonderful issue! Click on the cover and you'll go fullscreen. Hitting 'escape' on your keyboard will take you back out. Click on the follow or back arrows to go through the journal. Fantastic art and poetry to be seen.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Speed of Light

for James Dean

Fast car. Fast car.
Liz in his thoughts;
the reek of his last
same-sexed lover 
still on his sheets.

Fast car. 
How fast can it go? 
Rev up the motor. 
Let out the throttle.
Full speed around
that next curve.

If he flies at the speed
of light, will he disappear
into the moon's belly,
he wonders?

He stubs out his last cig,
chugs down more Daniels.
The ghosts still won't slip off
his shoulder blades.

He's two people, and even
this fast, loud
little sports car
can't make the one
he hates go away.

Pris Campbell

Published in Remark Journal, 2006

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A REPOST FROM MAY 2006 Featuring Montage Art: Maggie Taylor/Jerry Uelsmann

copyrighted image by Maggie Taylor.

It's indeed a small world. When a Finnish fellow art lover on MySpace posted to me about a wonderful digital artist she'd discovered named Maggie Taylor, I googled her, saw she was from Gainesville, Florida. Years ago, I remembered my old (former) friend, an master of darkroom montages, Jerry Uelsmann telling me he was marrying one of his former graduate student who did stunning ditigal work. Another bio showed she was indeed his wife She works from photos and also from things she collects at old shops and scans them in her flatbed scanner (I had to wonder if she'd ever scanned her head, like I have :-) Her final work is all digitally rendered, though.

One of several sites for her work is at

A book, Adobe Photoshop Master Class : Maggie Taylor's Landscape of Dreams (Master Class ), describing some of her techniques was listed, but the write-up on says it's more of a showcase of her work (enough of a reason to buy it, alone) and less of a step by step, but gives some of that. It can be found at:

Amazon site for Landscape of Dreams

A book, Surreal Digital Photography (Paperback)
by Barry Huggins, Ian Probert, lauded by readers as having excellent step by step detail for creating montages in Adobe.

The link at Amazon is HERE.

Even if you don't like montages (a combination of images to make a meaningful whole) or surrealism, it seemed useful to me to see just what was involved to get these types of images, techniques which could be used to create other types of images , as well (though I admit, I love the surrealistic work, myself).

As a boon, on my old friend's site, I found video clips of him describing his work. He has permanent exhibits at the MOMA (he had one there when I knew him), The Smithsonian and a number of other prominent places. In the late sixties and early seventies, he gave me four signed and numbered prints. I gave three to a local art gallery in the eighties and kept one. I knew he'd had a show at the museum and that his work would be much appreciated by them and by patrons of the museum.

I see now that his work from that period goes for around 6 or 7 thousand dollars! This was his third marriage and, upset by 'female voices from his past' contacting him (he was in his early fifties and still a charmer), he finally asked all former female friends or loves to have no further contact with him to save destroying yet another marriage (It was already causing upset at that point). A loss. Jerry was a fun and loving friend. Still a kid at heart.

I hadn't seen him since his thirties. We met when I was in O'Hare in Chicago, waiting for the snowed-in commuter plane to take me back to grad school from Christmas holidays. He was teaching at Gainesville and visiting art friends where I attended school at the U. of Illinois. The airlines finally limoed us down and he and I were good friends by the end of the trip. He had his portfolio with him and his work bowled me over. I was to find out that, only in his thirties, he was already an icon and cult underground figure. For around five or six years, whenever he had a show close to whereever I happened to be living, we spent a day together, just exploring the area and, once, dancing down a Chicago street. When I lived in Boston, he got me into a one day darkroom workshop he gave there for 12 people. I was a rank amateur with a cheap enlarger in my bathroom. The others were aiming for professions in this field, so I felt lucky for that opportunity.

No, no romance between us. Just friendship.

I see in his vids that yes, he's older but he still has that same grin (and all of his hair, too). He's just past 70 now and going strong. So many good memories came back seeing him again, along with a bit of a tug that the connection has been lost.

His site is at:
Jerry Uelsmann: Legend

It's well worth a look to see some of his images, vids, and explantion of his darkroom work too. I still have a few cards he made for me and images with letters on the back. Since I only framed his mounted ones, many of these are worse for wear, even though kept in a folder, unfortunately. He sent the one below when he'd just heard he won a Guggenheim Fellowship and we were planning our Chicago visit.

The one with the angel is clearly a Valentine's Day card and so typical of his fun-loving creativity. The one with flower in mouth(see, I'm not the only one who does that:-) is a status report on the beard he was growing out. The last one was done on metal, so didn't scan well. Click any of these to enlarge.

Below is one from his website to show how intricate his work has become over the years. Remember, this isn't digital. It's all in the darkroom. I love this particular image. It's called 'Untitled'. Again, click to enlarge.

Note: There was no way on either artist's site to contact them, so I hope that by citing the links that if either ever see this blog, it'll be seen in the spirit of admiration in which it was done, with some leeway given for my former friendship with Jerry. With contemporary artists I always get permission before posting their work on my website with poetry.

With good memories!



Been missing in action again.

My friend from college days came to stay with me last Monday through Friday. Those of you with ME/CFS who follow my blog know how wonderful it is to see a friend and also how much energy it takes, at the same time. I did little else since I wanted to focus on spending what time I could with Marilyn. Fortunately, she understands my limitations and never pushes me. I push myself, though, so we made one ride over the the ocean together and I even made it into a small shoestore in downtown Lake Worth to try on some sandals I badly needed. In the interim, I zoned out and we talked short times inbetween. My sleep has been off so my energy is low right now, but I'm happy. I'm especially happy that our friendship, one of those rare from the heart ones, has lasted all the way back from my teens.

This is us by our bench. This man wandered along while I was photographing Marilyn, to the left, and asked if I wanted him to take a photo. It was only after I looked at him, seeing only sunglasses like most other people were wearing, and held out the camera that he laughed and said he was blind. His friend walked up then and got all of us.

Below are some more shots of Lake Worth Beach that day. Lake Worth rims the southern end of West Palm Beach with no break between. Lake Worth Beach is over the bridge from downtown and about 8 miles south of Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, home to the moneyed and well as Donald Trump's mansion, now club--once the Emily Post mansion.

I call this one 'Taking a stroll with the gulls' :-)

The below shot was taken at full 20x zoom. The surfer you see if being towed by the kite high in the air.

Below is me with the Lake Worth Pier, finally repaired from the 2004 hurricanes, behind me. I unfortunately look like the hurricane hit ME lol.

The woman here has her sunglasses on her head and is bending, feeding the gulls, who are eager to gather quickly when food appears. Some will swoop to try to take lunch from your hand if you're careless enough to hold it high enough. Brazen birds, indeed!!:-)

And finally, here we are on my webcam on Marilyn's last day here.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Australia...the movie. It's epic. It's wonderful!

Australia is a very long movie, but I'm so glad I rented it. The music...the characters...the story. Hugh Jackman. Need I say more??

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Fantastic issue of Oranges and Sardines

Click on the image to go full screen mode. ESC will take you back out. Hit the right arrow to move forward. You'll find some gray pages as spacers in the beginning. Just hit the right arrow again and you're into the journal.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Jim Knowles does it again! Inkwell Competition

You must read his blog to see the details of the exciting news!

Phoebe Kate Foster's blog

If you're up for some really wry observations on the world, filled with wit and humor, plus darn good writing, visit the blog/website of Phoebe Kate Foster. Read one entry. It's like eating one bite of chocolate. Dare you to stop!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Monday, February 01, 2010

Days of Protest Bringing another post from 2005 forward)


(click on images to make them larger)

This post is by no means an attempt to 'recap' the Civil Rights Movement or the Vietnam war and its aftermath. Rather, it's a brief slice of my experience of both times in photo and text. This was prompted by requests by some readers to share more of my protest days after I posted a photo from the People's Revolutionary March in my commune blog post, further down. While I protested injustice and I protested the war, I don't see myself as a hard core protester. Had I been, I would've been down in Selma. I would've done more in general. With regards to the Vietnam part of the post, enough debates have raged about whether that war was 'right' or 'wrong'. This post isn't about that debate.
I still have a copy of this flyer. I was living with an interacial group, working and studying in Manhattan the summer before I attended graduate school when this march was planned. Little did I know when I read this flyer and decided to attend that it would attract such massive numbers of people, estimated as high as 300,000 or more to Washington that day, or that it would become such a historical event. I rode down on a chartered bus from Manhattan. What struck me with most impact was the joy I saw in the faces in the crowds extending from the Monument to the Lincoln Memorial. People were laughing, crying, hugging...That day, we believed anything was possible.

Our group living tied into the whole experience. We didn't form friendships based on race, as might have been expected, but on compatablity. For me, that made the summer program a success.

Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Peter Paul and Mary were among the singers who preceded Martin Luther King's speech.

Martin Luther King was the last speaker of the day, his I Have A Dream speech becoming a hallmark in freedom speeches over the years. I still remember how he mesmerized the crowds that day. A marvelous orator. A man who believed his dream would come true in his lifetime. He amazed me.

My father was school superintendent in the South and in charge of carrying out integration in his schools when I attended the March. Already, he and my mother were receiving death threats and I remember him asking me that, if I went, to avoid any TV cameras, as it could make his situation even more dangerous. The irony of his situation is that both were long-time church members and my mother had to stop singing in the church choir, she received so much ostracism whenever she entered the choir loft. My opinion? The churches should have been the first to integrate and support the movement. Not!
I met Claude Brown at a Menningers Party at APA in Washington in the early seventies. By then, his Manchild in the Promised Land had been a smashing hit. I loved that book. He and I began talking and couldn't stop, so he invited me to spend the next day with him, driving around Washington as he visited his old radical buddies from his Howard University days. It was a shock to read that he died a few years ago in his early sixties. He was a charismatic man, a brilliant man who survived a hellish beginning and lived to tell about it. We shared the day, had a wonderful time, said our goodbyes and I never saw him again.
Vietnam Days!!

Photo courtesy of Gary Jacobson from his Vietnam pages. Both my husband and his brother were in Vietnam, but I have no photos from Vietnam from either of them_only shots from refueling trips to the Philippines and R&R in Hong Kong.

My husband was a junior officer on a supply ship, the USS Genesee, this side of the DMZ. The one time they had to go up into the river, they were shelled. I remember his letter...'they were trying to kill me...they were trying to kill me'. Two men were killed and a shell destroyed the officer's mess room. They were fortunate that they didn't lose more. This shot is taken from a naval archive website of the ship in port in 1969 upon its return from Vietnam right after we left Hawaii.An account of the shelling is found HERE.

His brother was in the jungles but had no night patrol since he was made company clerk, being the only man who could type. It was from him that I heard the worst and women lobbing grenades, his buddies going out and not coming back or coming back with ears strung on their belt; the heads on poles, the fragging of unpopular officers. Stories so painful I could hardly bear to hear them. I couldn't imagine living them. That was really when I knew I had to do whatever small things I could do to stop the war and bring these men home. As Jon Voight said in Coming Home (rephrased), 'we not only had to live with what was done to us, but what we did over there'. Killing leaves a mark that's hard to leave behind.


My part in the protests came by writing endless letters and, finally, attending the People's Revolutionary March in Concord, which is pictured in my commune blog below and again here. I didn't take any photos of the march, itself. I don't know that any of our individual acts made any difference, but, overall, the mood of the country was not one to support war and so it eventually ended. The suicide rate of Vietnam vets has already outnumbered those killed in the war.

At the time, most protesters blamed the Vets. Now we know this was inexcusable. I knew it then, having loved men in that war, but sometimes insight comes late. In general, it was a time of protesting everything. Bonfires were held for draft card burning. Bras were burned or not worn. Women refused to shave their legs or under their arms. Men refused to cut their hair.

Hair burst on the scene as a musical in San Francisco, which I saw in 1969 enroute from Honolulu to Newport, while the Beatles sang about Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds. Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert were transforming themselves via LSD into Gurus at Harvard (and were eventually fired). Living in Boston, I had one foot in that world and the other foot in the world of my work and men with shorter hair and women who wore bras and shaved their legs. It was a crazy, confusing, unsettling time, but I wouldn't trade being a part of it for anything.

Posted in honor of the post two below this one. Please Come to Boston

by Dave Loggins