Creativity: The Party Props in Action

My recent Creativity posts have been all about making props for my 60th birthday party – Punk’s Not Dead. Today I’m making a gallery of some photos from the party, featuring those pieces. It’s not every day (or year) that I have a sufficient excuse to hire a band and the local Hall, so I thought I may as well make an event – an art project – of it.

Guests were invited to dress up in Punk Rock Style, and most of them did, with a broad range of interpretations. To me, Punk (Rock) represents freedom of expression, a DIY aesthetic and a can-do approach, so I was little bit surprised at how many of my guests associate “punk” with obnoxiousness – there was a lot of face-pulling going on! There was even concern expressed about the possibility of violent behaviour, despite the fact that my friends are very mild mannered, middle  class types who would never dream of such a thing. Thinking about this afterwards, I realised they were reflecting the biases of the Murdoch Press reporting on the Sex Pistols et al way back when…sad!

Friday Poem: Question Everything

The poem came first. Then somehow I had some Time Alone this week, with pen and paper, and thinking of the poem and all that has been going on in the world of late (what’s new?), I wrote a little rant…question everything

Nothing is certain,
Not even this:
I don’t want to be certain-
I want to wonder
And to exercise curiosity.

I don’t want to be
Like a man who is sure what is true;
Such men are dangerous
For sure.
There have been a few.

Let me instead
Always question everything,
And keep ‘if’ and ‘maybe’
Firmly in my vocabulary.question everything 2

I don’t like Dominator Culture, however it is expressed. But, because we are immersed in it, it can be difficult to see – but once one is aware, it’s everywhere. Misogyny, abuse of children, spousal violence, unequal pay scales for men and women, cheap, illegal Mexican labour used for dirty, dangerous and underpaid work, 1% of the world’s population “owning” as much as the other 99% put together, violent struggles for control, whether for families, neighbourhoods or whole countries or religions. Keeping up with the Joneses and other extringent goals, playground bullies trying to assuage their own miserable self-worth by destroying someone else’s….Dominator Culture surrounds us every day, in ways both large and small, with the seemingly insignificant feeding on and into the blindingly obvious.

No one can beat Dominator Culture, because beating is joining it…So how to counter it?

Mohondas Gandhi taught non-violent non-cooperation, and one form of non-violent non-cooperation that anybody can participate in is to ask questions, maintain curiosity and to live an actively creative life. To be widely read, and go into the wild without wanting to tame it, to regard all persons as the equal of oneself (am I sounding like Walt Whitman? Don’t mind if I do…). To draw in the margins, and colour outside the lines. To love one another, and cultivate compassion, even towards those who seem to be the very worst…All this is deeply radical behavior,
and utterly contrary to Dominator Culture.question everything 3

Weekly Photography Challenge: Achievement

Another tricky theme this week for the Weekly Photography Challenge – Achievement! I certainly haven’t run any marathons, but I do have five (grown) children, which is probably tougher. It certainly takes longer – I’m not sure where the finish line would be…I didn’t choose motherhood for my photos this week, though.

In February this year, our iconic local Hall celebrated it’s centenary, with a lot of help from us, the tiny, hardworking Moyston Hall Committee. The building was erected by the local community – much larger back then. One of the first functions was to farewell local lads who were off to join the ANZACs, not that any of them had any idea what they were in for…1914 committee (Medium)

This is the 1914 committee, and it wasn’t even Movember!

Our Hall has a proper raked stage and proscenium arch, even though it is quite tiny, and the acoustics and dance floor are excellent – some achievements of the original builders. The original bench seats are still there. Some of them are not the best, but it seems wrong to part with them after all this time. Thousands of cups of tea and coffee have been served from the kitchen (not the original, which was a dark affair with a copper in the corner – less than thirty years ago). The new kitchen is another achievement of our community! One wall is adorned with portraits of early settlers, some of them wrongly named over the years. They were researched as much as possible in the lead-up to the Centenary, and that information, along with a history of the Hall and some photos we managed to track down of events over the years, went into a book which was printed with the help of a grant and sold to everyone interested.

The weekend of the Centenary saw the Hall packed for the book launch (and afternoon tea – I think we made another hundred or so cuppas). All the memorabilia we had gathered was on display all weekend, and on the Saturday night, we had a Ball. A popular local duo – Parso and Dave – provided the music, everyone dressed up and had a really good time. I think the last few guests left around 2 am, with us old people waiting to lock up and go home to bed. The whole weekend was a major achievement for a small rural community!

1 Day 1 World: 10-11am

I’ve missed a few weeks, and now the 24 hours of Lisa’s 1 Day 1 World is almost up – but today I remembered to take a camera along to my volunteer job at Ararat Regional Art Gallery, and took a few pics between 10 and 11am today. My first task was to look through a local paper for references to our gallery (none), then I stuffed envelopes with invitations for the two upcoming exhibitions. Having finished the invites, I mended a broken drawer before making myself a cup of tea. In the main gallery, chairs and a basket of wool were ready for knitters to come in and participate in making squares for blankets – the Gallery’s contribution to Senior’s week celebrations. The finished blankets are distributed to those who need them by a charity called Wrap With Love. On Wendy’s desk is a heap of paper flowers, made in preparation for Children’s Week, which is only a week or two after Senior’s…

I went on to spend an hour or two in the afternoon knitting with a lovely lady called Lorna, and hearing about her life. A good day!

Dominator Culture

A social chat at the gallery soon came around to politics. The arts community tends to be left-leaning, from my experience, and no one was impressed by the current government’s policies or budget plans. The director commented that he doesn’t want to hate them, and that he thinks they believe they are doing what is right. Which set me thinking…KDC

Dominator Culture operates from a paradigm of fear, giving rise to wars and rumours of wars, spikes in doorways to deter rough sleepers, economic “rationalism”. Fear of change, fear of the ‘other’, fear that the poor will take advantage of the wealthy, fear of women in power. So we have isis wanting to bring back a caliphate in the Middle East, and the Australian Liberal Party wanting to deny economic support to unemployed youth, for example. No one can believe that reducing a jobless young person to utter poverty is a sensible way to get them into paid work, unless they are mired in Dominator Culture and really need to get out a lot more…

I could go on about the obvious, and vast, flaws in this policy. Bizarrely, the Government is aware of the flaws. Whilst “saving tax payer’s money” by not providing welfare to unemployed youth for six months at a time,(welfare that is barely enough to get by at  best ), a large sum of tax payers money has been put aside in the Budget to cover the inevitable problems. Community Welfare agencies are stretched to the limit already and consumer confidence has sunk. Is that policy rational? I don’t think so.

We have been told that there is a debt crisis, and that everyone has to share in “heavy lifting” – a story created by wealthy men who lift no more than the pen that signs the story. Our “enormous debt” is less than the personal fortunes of a few individuals who have control of our country’s mineral wealth – helped along with subsidies and tax breaks funded by struggling working and middle class tax payers…Is that rational? Is that the Fair Go we Australians are so fond of?the key

Our “Leaders” – under-parented, unempathic, strongly sociopathic, product of a bullying culture, dishonest, wealthy and triumphantly and smugly on top of the heap. What if the democratic process included extensive independent psychological testing of would-be candidates, allowing only the fittest to stand?

That’s psychologically fit,not “able to ride a bike and can swim” fit.

There are only two feelings.
Love and fear.
There are only two languages.
Love and fear.
There are only two activities.
Love and fear.
There are only two motives,
two procedures, two frameworks,
two results.
Love and fear.
Love and fear.

Michael Leunig

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men (sic) to do nothing.”

Edmund Burke

Daily Prompt: Colours

spectrumI love colours – all of them, from red to violet, and all the shades and tones in between, with the possible exception of puce. I have crystals, prismatic pretties, hung in every sunny window, for the pleasure of having rainbow shards scattered around the house. Often when this happens, I pick up a camera, as in any “Oh! look at that!” moment.top spectrumI  may have posted this poem before, but it fits, so here it is –

SPECTRUM

The faceted plastic crystal heart
Hung in the window by a thread
Captures the brilliance of the sun
Within itself
And splitting the light into its parts
Casts them indiscriminately around the room.

So may we, though hanging tenuously,
Enclose and scatter around us
Peace and love and empathy,
The spectrum of the light of God.

Weekly Photography Challenge: Community

 

This weeks challenge topic is “community”. I decided to share some photos I took recently at our community Hall. There had been a show on the night before – the last of a run of five performances around the district of Ararat Theatre Company’s End of Year show. The next morning, ATC crew came back to dismantle their set, while the ever faithful Hall Committee members set to work putting away chairs and tables and cleaning up. Fortunately for the workers, there were leftovers from the Country Supper for our morning tea! The Hall, built by the community, for the community, has been a centre piece of the social life of our tiny “rural village” for almost one hundred years, and in February we will be celebrating our  Hall’s Centenary  ( more cream cakes!).