I broke my painting wrist and decided to keep painting with my “wrong” hand (non-dominant) hand. The results became the theme of the gallery re-opening event and my birthday party. Art + Friends new and old + fried chicken and local craft beer made for a great birthday party!
My printer asked me, “How grand was your grand opening?” (for F and Main Gallery at 36 Main Street in Isleton, CA). Well, it’s hard to be modest because last Saturday’s event really was pretty grand. The photos and paintings all looked great: art work from Greg Crawford, Keith Palmer, James Motlow and me. About 200 people came through the doors in the three-hour period.
The two tables were groaning with food from the local two groceries and four restaurants. Hahn Winery’s reds and whites were featured. Lots of locals appearing and some not so locals drove from Napa, Oakland, Sacramento and San Francisco. A good opportunity to meet art lovers and members of the community, and see them mix.
Rogelio’s restaurant next door brought in a Chinese vase with large white lilies. Friends from Sacramento and Kansas City teamed up to buy an enormous ikebana arrangement of orchids and ginger. My gratitude to all for such a tremendous kick-off. I feel welcomed—and successful already.
Gallery of Artists Work:
Delta Daze, Acrylic on Canvas by Sally Ooms
Gum Shan, stylized images of the Delta by Greg Crawford
Locke Slough, Photo print by James Motlow
Untitled, Photo by Keith Palmer
Greg Crawford created stunning mixed media pieces on paper that reflected the California Delta “as settled and reshaped by humans. I explored the motifs of mountain, river, levee, labor and fields to examine this archetype,” says Greg. He titled his six-piece work Gum Shan, the Chinese expression for Gold Mountain, in honor of the Chinese laborers who reclaimed the Delta.
Keith Palmer is drawn by patterns that, through his camera lens, abstract everyday images. In his series “Ribbons of Energy,” he invites us to see the commonplace in unexpected ways.
James Motlow, who co-authored the book on the Chinese town of Locke, Bitter Melon, provided black and white photos from that book and newer color prints of the slough area in back of the town.
My acrylic paintings also were a combination of new and old. Many represented my recent time in the Delta, others similar landscapes I’ve traveled through.
F and Main Gallery will be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11 to 4 the first weekend in April through the last weekend in October and at Christmastime. Besides art shows, planned are storytelling events, music nights, community benefits, poetry slams and children’s art fairs.
Please drop by and see the new space and find out what’s happening.
Photos from the opening May 16, 2015: (Click any image to see a slideshow.)
“When we go to bear witness to life on the streets, we’re offering ourselves. Not blankets, not food, not clothing, just ourselves.”
Bernie Glassman Roshi
Founder of Zen Peacemakers Order
Russell Delman, founder of the Embodied Life School, has announced that he and others in his movement will join in a street retreat as a way of expanding the usual Zen practice of meditating in a cloistered setting. The model was originated by Bernie Glassman Roshi who thought that living in an insecure manner would be illuminating for his students and give them a chance to experience their practice in an outside world context. There will be similar street retreats in cities around the world.
Delman said his group will be on the streets of San Francisco Dec. 17-20. While participants will not suffer the angst of not having a home to go back to after the retreat is over, they will live like and with homeless street people for those four days and nights. They will sleep outside, ask for money for food, move around as homeless people must every day, and search for places where they are allowed to go to the bathroom.
“A street retreat is a unique opportunity for students of meditation to experience one’s connection to all of life,” Delman said. “We know we will be ignored, shunned and dependent on the kindness of others.
“This is a living meditation where we have the opportunity to put into practice our beliefs…of everyday life into a larger context. We hold a mirror to who we think we are.”
Delman just completed a seminar at Santa Sabina retreat center in San Rafael, CA. The three main components of the seminars he gives in various places in the world are embodied mediation, Feldenkrais movement lessons and guided inquiry. In embodied meditation, participants strive to bring their presence to thoughts, feelings and sensations that arise from moment to moment.
Feldenkrais movement lessons are a unique neurologically based approach to eliminating ineffective habits of standing, breathing, sitting and walking, as well as unconscious contractions due to stress reactions.
Guided inquiry is the study of physical and mental habits, belief structures, relational patterns and communication patterns. The body is viewed as a vehicle through which the entire human being and one’s relationship to life can be explored.
Sometimes referred to as the roof of the world, the plateau of Tibet is the highest region on earth. Communities of people live at an average of 16,000 feet. The world’s highest mountain peak, Mount Everest, or Mount Chomolungma (Spirit Mother), towers 29,029 feet above the border of Tibet and Nepal.
In the 1950s, the United States Central Intelligence Agency introduced paramilitary teams into Tibet to train and lead Tibetan commandos against the Chinese Army attempting to claim Tibet as Chinese. The CIA trained the first resistance fighters.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the fourteenth spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, fled from Tibet to India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule and the Chinese invasion that defined it. Thousands of Tibetans fled their country directly after him, and settled first in Nepal and India. Now there are communities of Tibetans around the world.
One enclave is in Northern California where Tibetan Americans constantly strive to retain their culture and pass it on to future generations. Young people are tutored in the Tibetan language, dance and music, among other traditions, to keep alive a home none of them can ever return to. It doesn’t look as though Tibet will ever be an independent country again.
According to Friends of Tibet, more than a million Tibetans have died as a direct result of the Chinese invasions and occupation. The Friends declaration says that the whole of Tibet was turned into “a vast network of prisons and labor camps,” and contend that China has even massacred prisoners to keep the prison population “within limits.” China continues to claim it has liberated the people of Tibet and that Tibet was never an independent country.
The Tibetan Association of Northern California (TANC) has dreamed of a community center since the first 1,000 refugees were allowed into the United States. (There are only about 9,000 people in the whole of the United States who are of Tibetan ancestry.) “Preservation and promotion of Tibetan culture was the goal,” the association’s website says. “From the founding fathers and mothers to the younger leadership through the decades, we have struggled to realize our dream.”
TANC purchased a facility in Richmond, CA. “We are overjoyed…” they said, but the building needs to be brought up to code, an expense with a $600,000 price tag. Fundraising is ongoing. Last month TANC sponsored, along with the Western Regional Advocacy Project, a fundraising event in Berkeley that included food, dancing, music, talks and singing for the general public. Two examples of the program have been included in this account.
“Our center…is a special place,” the TANC website says. “It belongs to each and every Tibetan. It is your home and our home. We want to turn it into a roaring place of activities of all things Tibetan. It is a sacred place where conscious efforts are being made to nurture caring, sharing, compassion and sanctity of life itself.”
Contact tanc.org if you are interested in boosting this heartfelt Tibetan-American community. We are fortunate to have such earnest American citizens who, at the same time, do not want their children’s children to be ignorant of the thousands of years of profound culture in their background.
As of a few days ago, I am a member of the program committee for a benefit event called Farm to Every Fork in Sacramento Sept. 13. This will be a buy-one-feed-one dinner to raise money for homeless and food-scarce services in that city. Sponsors are Slow Food Sacramento (who will supply the fantastic feast), Sacramento Homeless Organizing Committee and Homeward newspaper, River City Food Bank, Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services, Sacramento Food Not Bombs and the Fund for Urban Gardening (homeless people farming in donated city lots).
My committee is tasked with asking musicians and other entertainers who have a soft spot for helping homeless people to come and play or entertain during the evening. (Poor musicians. How many times a year do they get asked to give their talents for free? But still……) Please contact me if you know musicians or entertainers would like to join in the fun.
Storytellers for the Story Project in Colorado Springs Sunday afternoon, May 25. The program was performed before a live audience, each storyteller talking about the subject of mother(s) and was broadcast on the local affiliate public radio KRCC from Colorado College.
From left presenters are Jennifer Ryan, Coordinator of The Mural Project; Sally Ooms, storyteller and author of Finding Home: How Americans Prevail; Jene Jackson, author of The Oat Project; Amity Wagner (community advocate) and daughter Ana; and moderator Patrick McConnell. The program will be rebroadcast. More info on Facebook and my Twitter feed.
Writers—fiction, non-fiction, poets et al— mingled with illustrators, publishers, bloggers, Tweeters and storytellers March 11 at the friendly and eclectic Aqus Café, in Petaluma, CA. (Don’t ask about the name Aqus. There is not really a solid answer.) The seven-store Copperfield’s Books sponsored the Written Word Mixer as well.
The crowd was asked to break up into groups of three—that’s two other people you had never met, please—for about five minutes at a time. This gave participants an opportunity to give their elevator speeches and add a few personal details.
Then, those who wished to, grabbed the mike and told the crowd circled ‘round them what they are all about, what their aspirations are and why they came to the gathering. Most were looking for help in some arena—finding an editor, discovering a book translator, or ferreting out the right publisher. Yours truly learned names of book clubs I might attend and talk about my book, Finding Home: How Americans Prevail.
All were people who value writing and books in all forms. They shared information and connected, and that was what it was all about. The idea was to create community for these professionals and it was a success. Thanks Aqus and Copperfield’s.