Monday, June 30, 2008

Tom Hayden Interviews Naomi Klein

I'm just back from a 10-day trip to the Northwest. I had a great time, showed off my VainVan and the new Candy Home trailer and got to visit lots of friends. You can see my photos HERE.

I have a lot of unpacking still to do, and mounds of backlogged work I need to get to so while you wait for me to blog something new please enjoy the following video of two very smart progressives:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Presenting The Maestro!

Sometimes we need to remember the many reasons why we fight so hard to make the world a better place. Not only do should we learn from those who've gone before us but we also have a responsibility to teach what we know of the world to those coming up behind us. Art is one of the aspects of humanity that is often overlooked, or undervalued. Yet, for all of human existence we've honored certain creators of craft and art. Funny thing is we don't usually honor them until they're long dead and gone. As a working artist myself I can tell you this is extremely annoying but it may be an unintended result of the fact that most artists march to their own drummer. We may seem to be out of step with the rest of society, and indeed we often are, but we can sometimes be leading the way out of the muck and mire of oppression and confusion. If only folks who are less in communication with their own creative spirit would stop rushing about and notice, they might remember why life is worth living.

I first met Maestro Gaxiola back in 1999 during the 3rd annual ArtCar Fest. Filmmaker Les Blank screened his film about the Maestro and because I was a participant and volunteer for the fest I got to meet him and his wife Alice. This film is a MUST SEE for any artist or anyone hoping to become more creative, in fact it's a must see for all humans!
Les Blank's new non-fiction film features California artist Gerald Gaxiola - aka The Maestro - who lives passionately by his credo, "Art is a religion not a business." For over twenty years, the Maestro has totally dedicated himself to art for art's sake, producing an astonishing array of work - none of it for sale.

This American documentary profiles the colorful life of middle-aged artist Gerald ("The Maestro") Gaxiola who 20 years ago forsook the daily grind of a normal job to become "a Western cowboy," a persona he has cultivated ever since. Gaxiola has created numerous objets d'folkart in that time ranging from painted landscapes to 72 Van Gogh-inspired paintings to detailed, realistic sculptures. Though he has produced many works, and has even dabbled in performance art, Gaxiola refuses to sell his art because he believes that "art is a religion, not a business," and fears that he will be "corrupted" should he sell any of it. As a result, Gaxiola has very little money, but this does not stop him from creating, nor does it stop him from launching periodic paint pellet gun attacks on such "institutionalized" artists as Christo and the late Warhol. - Source

From The Maestro's Written in the Rocks.

The Maestro is a true Renaissance man in that he is a master of many media and methods. He sings, he sews, he paints, and he sculpts. He designs, he conceptualizes, and he builds. Watch the Maestro and his art on video:

The Maestro has the most magnificent wardrobe of handmade (by himself) cowboy boots and matching outfits. These head-to-toe ensembles are simply unlike anything else in either rodeo circles or Hollywood costume collections. Here's a pair of boots the Maestro made to commemorate a sort of pilgrimage he took, with wife Alice, Santa Monica, CA to Chicago, IL on America's famed Route 66:

Seem more of the Maestro's amazing one-of-a-kind cowboy boots

Please visit his website, watch the video clips above and treat yourself to the fresh, delightful, honest work of a true American artist. I hope the Maestro inspires you as much as he does me!

Please respect the work of the artists you see here and be sure to credit them when you share their artwork with others.

To share your opinion on this or any other post, please click the word "COMMENTS" below.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Great Reasons to Vote for Republicans

Oh sweet irony, how I love thee...

From SyntheticHuman Pictures

Directed by Charlie Steak

Do You Consume?

I just watched one of the most wonderfully fun, strange, enticing calls to political action I've ever seen. Reverend Billy (and the Church of Stop Shopping) is an artist, musician, and social activist. He and his choir have done many political actions and "guerilla-style" performances throughout the U.S. Their specific target is our most consumption-based holiday, Christmas. Reverend Billy says,
"Make time to spend with your loved ones that doesn't involve shopping or corporations or logos," he said. "It's like getting off alcohol and noticing that you're not drunk anymore when you stop letting a corporation direct your desires." - Source

What Would Jesus Buy?
Watch a preview of the film:

Back in the 1980s, like so many other Americans in their mid-twenties I was trying to get my career going. I had worked for a decade in the fashion industry doing a wide variety of jobs from retail to wholesale and even manufacturing. Right at that time, the de-regulation Reagan era, all the American apparel companies were beginning to off-shore their production to Asia. At that time the unions still had some clout in the U.S. and the best way for corporations to avoid paying their workers decent salaries and benefits was to off-shore to countries with very weak worker's rights. Viola, thank you Mr. Laissez-faire.

Today, we are painfully aware of the results of this greedy mentality. Chances are your own town is fighting off another Starbucks or Walmart? Does it even have a unique "Main Street" area anymore? The Church of Stop Shopping has something to say about that...

Here are the lyrics to "Pushback!" a song about the homogenization of the America landscape:

Who are these developers? Have you ever seen one live?
They gotta live in Westchester, not in Queens or Bed-Stuy.
When one of them knocks on your door, the Shopocalypse is here.
We’re gentrified. It’s getting weird.
Homogenizing in this big box.
Defend what’s left, save the small shops.
Chain stores give us migraines.
Where is Ginsberg? Where is Coltrane?

This town ain’t no super
This town ain’t no super
This town ain’t no supermall

Who are these politicos? Have you ever seen one live?
They gotta live uptown, somewhere where they can hide.
Who buys them all that TV time? He’s the one who broke your lease.
Officials slick their palms with grease.

Stop that Starbucks not another.
No your latte’s not my lover.
Don’t take slavery in my coffee.
We like Fair Trade - it’s so tasty.

This town ain’t no super
This town ain’t no super
This town ain’t no supermall

If you’re rich your view is scenic
If you’re poor you better dream it
Transnationals have their targets
The working, poor the artists.

This town ain’t no super
This town ain’t no super
This town ain’t no supermall
words: bill talen music: julio herrera

Listen to the choir sing,"Stop Shopping" HERE

And watch a truly original way to teach the 1st Amendment:

WOW! I would love to go to one of Reverend Billy's revival meetings. Although the trappings of fundamentalist religion give me the creeps, using it as a medium for progressive social justice is simply genius! What better way to stop the circle of destructive consumption than by following this message:
Statement of Belief: Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir believe that Consumerism is overwhelming our lives. The corporations want us to have experiences only through their products. Our neighborhoods, "commons" places like stoops and parks and streets and libraries, are disappearing into the corporatized world of big boxes and chain stores. But if we "back away from the product" - even a little bit, well then we Put The Odd Back In God! The supermodels fly away and we're left with our original sensuality. So we are singing and preaching for local economies and real -- not mediated through products -- experience. We like independent shops where you know the person behind the counter or at least - you like them enough to share a story.We ask that local activists who are defending themselves against supermalls, nuke plants, gentrification -- call us and we'll come and put on our "Fabulous Worship!" Remember children... Love is a Gift Economy! — The Rev

Read More about Reverend Billy


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fight The Smears


My dear Great-Uncle down in Florida has been forwarding some of the emails he's been receiving from his friends. It's pretty shocking right-wing slander. Here's a small taste, put on your rubber gloves and a gas mask:

Find a candidate with close ties to The Nation of Islam and the violent Muslim overthrow in Africa, a candidate who is educated among white infidel Americans but hides his bitterness and anger behind a superficial toothy smile. Find a candidate who changes his American name of Barry to the Muslim name of Barak Hussein Obama, and dares anyone to question his true ties under the banner of 'racism'. Nurture this candidate in an atmosphere of anti-white American teaching and surround him with Islamic teachers. Provide him with a bitter, racist, anti-white, anti-American wife, and supply him with Muslim middle east connections and Islamic monies. Allow him to be clever enough to get away with his anti-white rhetoric and proclaim he will give $834 billion taxpayer dollars to the Muslim controlled United Nations for use in Africa.

Well if you just...


you will find the following FACT!
Senator Obama has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian
The above example is just one of what is sure to be many more virally-spread lies by right wing radicals. With TRILLIONS of dollars at stake (that they haven't quite finished stealing from our pockets) these greedy, short-sighted, racist, theocratic humps will do anything, ANYTHING to keep the very reasonable, moderate, and chosen Democratic candidate from winning the White House. We must stop them.

Anytime you see or hear of a rumor about Barack or Michelle Obama, go to that link and check it out (chances it's a lie) and then do your part to "Fight the Smears!"

Working together, as a national team of committed civilians we can regain control of OUR government and get it to work for all Americans again!


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Seen Your Tax Dollars Lately?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bush's 3rd Term = John McCain

This video was created by Ron Paul supporters, Republicans who don't support their own party's candidate:

Monday, June 09, 2008

How To Stop George Bush From Attacking Iran

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Obama Is Our Nominee!!!

This folks, is history being made before your eyes:


Monday, June 02, 2008

Question for America

Prepare yourself to watch this, it's filled with painful truth. Be brave, be willing to feel the discomfort. It's the first step towards peace.

Song and sung by Sara Thomsen