Monday, September 25, 2006

The Medical Consequences Of The Iraq War: Health Challenges Beyond The Battlefield

photo by Lance Cpl. Brandon L.Roach USMC

The Medical Consequences Of The Iraq War: Health Challenges Beyond The Battlefield

A Symposium To Present The Issues Behind the Headlines

WHAT: Physicians for Social Responsibility, along with UCLA Extension and UCLA, School of Public Health, will hold a one-day symposium on the medical consequences of the war in Iraq.

WHY: Health effects of the war have been grossly underreported. According to public health studies, three years of war has resulted in the deaths of over 200,000 Iraqi civilians. To date, 2,685 American soldiers have been killed with 19,945 soldiers wounded. US and Iraqi war soldiers are being diagnosed with mental disease in shockingly high numbers – portending an avalanche in veteran mental health needs in the coming years. Ten authoritative physicians and social scientists will present their findings and testimonies, including:

Dahlia Wasfi, MD The War in Iraq: A First Hand Account
Richard Garfield Dr.PH Mortality and Morbidity in Iraq
Gene Bolles MD Treating American Soldiers: A Frontline Account
John Pastore MD Physician Ethics and War
Gregg Bloche MD Physician involvement in Torture: Ethical and Legal Issues
Helena Young, PhD Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in American Troops
Harriet Zeiner, PhD Traumatic Brain Injury
Nafisa Abdullah-Huf MD The Medical Situation for the Afghan People
Congressman Bob Filner Healing America’s Soldiers in the Coming Decades

WHEN: Saturday, October 21, 2006
9am - 5:30pm

WHERE: UCLA Campus, Grand Ballroom, Ackerman Hall

COST: $25 – Open To The Public, Wheelchair Accessible
Register on line: uclaextension or call: (310) 825 9971
Course Registration Number: S3972U

The Scream and Madonna On View Before Restoration at Munch Museum

From September 27th to October 1st at the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway, the newly returned paintings "The Scream" and "Madonna" will be exhibited before restoration. Both paintings will be laid out flat in glass display cases like aenesthesized patients bearing scars from their saga of theft and return.

More at:
Munch Museum

Saturday, September 16, 2006

An Elephant is Not a Wall

Tai, a 38 year old Indian elephant gets painted for Banksy's exhibition in Los Angeles
(Photo by Marissa Roth for The New York Times)

Banksy, the mischievous, witty and at times sophomoric intervention artist, has picked a thirty-eight year old Indian elephant named Tai to intervene upon. At his current and very brief Los Angeles exhibition, it opened on Thursday and closes on Sunday, Banksy has created a literal depiction of the metaphor – “There is an elephant in the room and nobody talks about it.” It seems that moving from public spaces to private elephants has created a justified uproar in Los Angeles: "I think it sends a very wrong message that abusing animals is not only OK, it's an art form," said Ed Boks, general manager of Los Angeles Animal Services, to the Los Angeles Times. "We find it no longer acceptable to dye baby chicks at Easter, but it's OK to dye an elephant?"

It seems only fitting that the anonymous Banksy out his identity in a tit for tat body painting session with Vitaly Komar & Alex Melamid and the painting elephants of Northern Thailand and Bali - Banksy as blank canvas for the painting elephants.

Komar & Melamid's Elephant Project. Could Banksy be next?

More at:
Elephants That Paint

New York Times on Banksy

Los Angeles Times on Banksy and Tai

Tai at Banksy's Show
(Béatrice de Géa / LAT)

An earlier artistic intervention by Banksy in Los Angeles proved to be much more succesful in intent and final outcome:

Monday, September 11, 2006


My current paintings are filtered through my experience of September 11th, 2001. I was visiting my family in Thailand and had spent the morning in Chiang Mai following the saffron robed monks on their small morning pilgrimages. I hopped a flight for Bangkok and while waiting for a connecting flight to San Francisco I watched in horror as the planes hit the World Trade Center. On my return to the U.S. later that week I began to paint Buddhist monks, privately at first - as a form of meditation. Only later did I grasp the dharmic sense of responsibility inherit in this new body of work. I needed to paint these paintings. And I found that the audience I had developed over the years felt the need to see them also. They have given me their trust that I will create paintings that speak of our times but also provide clues to a future path away from the darkness.

More from:

Edward Winkleman

Franklin Einspruch

Moby and NY'ers tell GW to go home

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Gregg Chadwick
Screen Memories (Fin de Cinema)
60"x60" oil on linen 2002

A new poem by Kent Chadwick about the experience of leaving a theater after watching a film:


the dream, the dark left behind,
done sipping our coke, done suckling on
the Big Nipple of Hollywood, christened
so by Bertolucci at the Oscars,
the credits rolling as the lights come up,
stumbling from our shared, climactic dream,
fantasy experienced in common,
back to the foyer of reality,
the cacophony of unscripted sound,
shock of daylight after the matinee,
the third act’s satisfaction rippling
within us, but lessening so quickly
that we try to prolong it conversing:
What have we learned? What truth? What lies?
We learn lies too: pseudo-ideas
that bond with what we think we know
but catalyze wrong conclusions.
The lies in question here are facts
refined beyond reality,
simplified so as to produce
more powerful pure emotion
(while complexity fosters
more nuanced and reflective thought).
The troika of Hollywood lies:
First—that violence is redemptive—
that just enough judicious force
can reform the schoolyard bully,
clean up Dodge City, save the Bronx.
Second—that love is just romance—
that the romantic spark is love’s
one true and only kindling,
that sex is its one fulfillment
and passion its signature sign.
Third—that the hero always wins
and gets just what he wants—
that happy endings are the rule,
that every problem can be solved
and in time for the curtain call.
We leave accepting the unreal,
not doubting the impossible,
more prone to choose expedience,
less willing to show forbearance,
primed to demand happiness now.

Yet poetry, like movies, lies.
For that Plato and Mohammed
elected to banish this art.
There are lies we choose to live by—
fiction is our euphemism,
poetry their celebration—
humor, hope, imagination,
artifices over the void
contra despair, versus ennui.
The lies of classic tragedy
to those of sentimental soaps
and Hollywood’s cheap romances
fulfill a basic human need:
Aristotle’s art catharsis.
Two types of lies to consider:
imagined facts
subverted facts.
The arts create much neater worlds,
places our minds can understand,
invent untruths, imagine facts,
things that never have been nor will.
But the artist and audience
agree they’re false. The artist does
not conceal her art nor does she
attempt to delude the viewer.
Instead we play an elaborate
game where the artist tries to win
a suspension of disbelief,
a surrender of our careful
guard against both lies and liars
with bold strokes and rich verities.
And the frisson of art is when
the artist-magician defeats
our disbelief and seduces
us into a private world where
magic happens regularly.
These imagined facts are tall tale
bones for our imagination
to gnaw on down to the marrow.

Not so lies of subverted facts.
These violate reality
to make things easy, to make things
fit within the artificial
system of a Pollyanna,
huckster, conman, true believer,
propagandist, or demagogue.
The worst subverted fact is “they”—
smooth, simple, and innocuous,
insidious as a virus.
“They:” the demonized other crowned
responsible for all our ills.
“They” fills our rhetoric, our news,
our elections, and our movies.
Ungrammatical Pogo hints
at the antidote: We have met
the enemy, and they is us.

Though, like cartoons, films teach truths too.
What have we learned? Signs and wonders
abound: we have new eyes and ears;
we have slipped inside another,
seen from a different angle
how the world alternately feels,
practiced cheering for a stranger.
Scenes have been framed and staged for us
of incomparable beauty
that thrill our sense of life’s glory.
We have been given life lessons
in how to kiss and how to fight,
how to suffer and how to dance,
how to laugh at our foolishness.
Again we’ve been reminded how
easily we break into song.

The theme song returns to mind and we want
to hum and hold onto its bright tune as
the double doors push us back outside changed
from audience to individuals,
our feelings pitched, ideas stirred, images
swirling then forming into memory
and new stories settling in our souls.