Category Archives: galleries

Gee Vaucher/Penny Rimbaud/Firstsite

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This is my first blog of 2017 because I have been so immersed in making my new Shrewd Idiot deluxe edition which I shall talk more about in the near future but now a long overdue look at the work of Gee Vaucher & Penny Rimbaud which has resounded around Firstsite Gallery in Colchester since last November and will continue to permeate that space until sadly on 19th February the show(s) will end.

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I have been thrilled by the breadth & depth of their works and will try to exhibit some kind of overview here. If you have not seen the show of Gee’s imagery get down to the gallery and don’t miss an incredible show. This is what I believe that gallery was built for. I believe that Gee & Penny are both native Essex folks who have been steeped in ‘art’ all their adult lives and both made considerable contribution to the fields they have ploughed, sown and harvested. I’d say this could take the prize for the best show so far at Firstsite being at least as good as their wonderful Bruce McLean show (but I still cannot afford the catalogue for that show at £25!). The ground covered by the Vaucher & Rimbaud collaboration is vast and I have struggled to get the words down to cover the bits I have seen and witnessed because there’s been so much going on. Gee became involved right from the hanging and with all of the planning of various films, workshops and concerts which have accompanied the show.

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I missed the open evening and the first event I attended was Gee’s film called ‘Angel’ in which a 14 year old girl stared into the camera for a long long time.

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Gee Vaucher with Angel in the post film talk.

It is a powerful piece which grew out of Gee’s several images of childhood painted onto large canvasses which you can see in the exhibition.

Gee was interested in the loss of that innocence which occurs when young girls get to an age of transition from primary to secondary schools when they just have to toughen up to survive. Angel was a good model. She was able to sit still and in contemplation despite her old sister being in the background as a distraction. Angel is several years older now but this was her first viewing of the film and a sort of propulsion into a star position which she took with poise & grace.

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The Exhibition

Gee’s show on the walls is full of works done over the past 40 years with her extensive and varied media. It seems she excels at any medium she adopts. For those faint heart-ed-ones amongst you I should say that much of her work is challenging with little concern for any timidity. Gee ain’t presenting the human form like a Botticelli.

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She reveals all and cuts all into collages of bodies and animals which she extends into beautifully strange sculptures. I shan’t even try to explain in words what she does, just let her visual vocabulary speak for itself like she was outspoken in the 70s & 80s against the inconsiderate and/or ill-considered policies of the likes of Reagan & Thatcher. Her political satire is devastatingly cut throat on issues like the Vietnam war and the sending of Americans to kill maim and be killed and maimed.

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The Publications

Under the publisher name of Existential Gee and Penny have designed written and printed many books and small format works. As with all their work there’s a difference and a good quality that pervades. The exhibition catalogue with an intro by the new Director Sally is a snip at £15 I think.

 

The Events

I didn’t attend all and there’s still one or two left to go to but I was really impressed by the ones I got to.

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Penny Rimbaud brings commitment and a great deal of gravitas to his content and delivery.

I loved the ‘orchestra’ at his performance of his ‘Requiem’ poem. He once said in an interview, “Benjamin Britten’s ‘War Requiem’ is probably the greatest musical/lyrical influence of my life. As a young kid I was a chorister and met Britten when he conducted and I sung in what I think was the first British performance of his ‘Spring Symphony’. It was this event that introduced me to his music and it wasn’t long before I first listened to the ‘War Requiem’. It completely bowled me over. As a ‘war baby’ my early years had been filled with tales of war, all somewhat tinged with the ‘glory’ of it.  The ‘War Requiem’ told a very different story. Britten’s passionate  settings of Wilfred Owen’s profound (anti)war poems touched me deeply at every level and introduced me to ideas of pacifism which became so central both to my life and to my philosophy (even if at times I have doubted it!!). It was this piece of musical genius that taught me at a very early age that one could say ‘no’, and, indeed, had every right to do so.

In his ‘The Pity of War’, with music on cello by Kate Shortt and Liam Noble on piano, his reading of Wilfred Owen’s words was very powerful & evocative, sending me to read the originals where Owen compared the advocates of war and the victims of that cause to the biblical Old testament’s Abram and Isaac with a very differing outcome! When the god of WW1 gave the leaders the nod to prevent the Death throes, in Owen’s words:

‘But the old man would not so, but slew his son

And half the seed of Europe, one by one.’

Leaving the Ram of Pride triumphant and intact.’

The Discussion

A highly knowledgeable panel of:

Stevphen Shukaitis, at-gee-talk-stevphen-shukaitis-sm

 

Brandon Taylor, at-gee-talk-brandon-taylor-2-sm

 

Rebecca Binns a-becky-binns-at-gee-talk-sm

&  George Mackay at-gee-talk-george-mackay-sm

discussed the different aspects of Vaucher’s works on 1 Dec 2016. Rebecca Binns is doing a PHD about Vaucher’s and she brought a feminist perspective to the proceedings. Brandon Taylor has written books which include observations on her collage, indeed in the French version of one a collage by Vaucher is used for the front cover. You missed a good debate about her work but I can show you some photos that I took of the event which was introduced by Firstsite’s new(ish) curator Stuart Tulloch.stu-tullock-sm

The Gallery

Gee made full use of the wonderful facility at The Firstsite Gallery with stunning red flags inviting visitors in to her really well hung and presented work throughout. Firstsite Gallery has a much maligned history and this series of events & the main exhibition ought to go a long way to establish it on the map of must visit spaces in this country. It’s a great gallery!

Sally Shaw, the new director has a healthy demeanour and a listening approach and I wish her and her staff well for a great future which the town of Colchester needs. Sally has said anyone with ideas please come forward and put them to her as the job is still massive to take the place forward.

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Lookin Back

October 27th 2015, on my 65th birthday, shortly after doing the IPA [International Performance Association] fortnight, I become an OAP (Old Age Pensioner) and realize that I am an also an OPA (Opsimath Performance Artist). For those what don’t know (like I didn’t before I accidentally discovered the word whilst checking the meaning of ‘opulent’) an ‘opsimath’ is ‘a person who learns late in life’ and I certainly realised my love of Performance Art (PArt) late in my 50 years as a artisbloke.

A new stage name, ‘DANI OOPAPA’ or ‘OMI OOPAPA’ maybe?

It may be an idea if you read this blog about my work watti dun in 2013, it’ll let you know where am coming from:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/my-past-pages-from-the-net/

The rest of this is about the last year (2015) & my ‘links’ (not) with some gallery spaces and it will soon go into my ‘about’ in my wordpress site. The knowledge, skills & experience I have accumulated did not come easily, it came as the result of determined effort and my desire to learn then apply my abilities. Colchester has been my cultural centre since 1975 and I have exhibited there several times; one man shows in Trinity Street gallery (1994), the main Library gallery (2000) and the Red Lion Bookshop (2014) and participation in several group shows in particular at the Minories as the Final show of my MA qualification (2013) followed by a solo ‘performance’ there.

Jan 26th 2015

On the basis of my thinking that it may be better to fill the walls with my work^, than close the gallery with the walls effectively empty I make an offer to Firstsite Gallery Colchester.

(^ work which has seen 25 solo shows in Essex since 1978 and has been loved by many of those who came into the shows who indicated their feelings in the visitors’ books),

‘Dear curators,[the head curator (MC, see below) had quit the gallery for a plum job in a big gallery in Germany leaving deputies i/c]

I was in firstsite on Saturday 17th January and I noticed the gallery is almost empty at the moment and one of the assistants told me it is not scheduled to have a new show until March- I feel impelled to ask you to give me the freedom of your walls and spaces and I’ll mount a big show based of the work I have produced in the past 48 years.

‘Dear Pete,

Thank you for your email and for sending your proposal for an exhibition at Firstsite.

I’m afraid that we are unable to host an exhibition of your work in the coming weeks. The galleries are committed to other activities during this period, including essential maintenance and a 5-week long residency by Maria Loboda, during which time she will fabricate a new work in situ. Furthermore, as I’m sure you are aware, our exhibitions are originated and developed over much longer periods of time and through extended conversations with the artist.

31 Jan 2015’

Shortly after sending me that short note she quit the gallery.

Here’s some links to the blArts (my word to combine my Blatherings on Art) I did about firstsite:

About Bruce McLean- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/bruce-mclean-not-trendy-but-twitchy/

 

Bruce McLean said- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/this-is-the-best-exhibition-of-my-work-ever/

 

Two part report on firstsite symposium- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/so-we-live-in-a-digital-cage-part-2/

 

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/06/01/so-we-live-in-the-digital-cybernetic-age-the-d-c-age-digital-cage/

 

Krzysztof Fijalkowski, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, Norwich University of the Arts gives a  talk about Henri Chopin- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/henri-chopin-and-others-who-got-forgot/

 

The Man from New York talk- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/andrew-roths-talk-at-first-site-last-saturday/

 

Ann Stephen from Australia’s talk- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/first-site-talk-success-but/

 

Feb 2015– The ‘free community place for arts’ in Colchester called Slack Space did a lovely ‘artists book’ show:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/02/08/artist-books-stories-at-slack-space/

&

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/02/11/my-artists-books-from-slack-space-to-babe-11-12-april/

 

Also in February the Art Council withdrew the funding from Firstsite gallery and I did a blog about making an offer to help the crestfallen director who on his appointment had said on being announced as Firstsite’s new director in November 2012, “The positioning of Firstsite within the local community is essential to my new role. I hope to extend Firstsite’s mission in bringing excellent art to everyone, supporting artists from the region to develop their careers and demonstrating the value that contemporary visual art brings to society.”

“To Matthew Rowe

I would like to meet you and discuss some of the issues that abide with you and the wonderful firstsite gallery along with its inherited problems and its legacy. I once had a long chat with Michelle Cotton (MC) which she began reluctantly but gradually warmed to and eventually said, ‘You should meet the new director Pete’

I also had a small article in Venue which flagged up the wonderful work of Bruce McLean and how well it looked in the space. I had tried to get Michelle to inform me about which show would follow McLean so I could prepare a longer article for Venue.

I would like to help you to move the gallery forward, why because I have lived in Essex since 1973 and taught art for many years and I see the need for such a big and potentially great space for art(s). At present it is nowhere near reaching its potential and that for many reasons, many of which you know some you may not be aware of.

So, if you would like to meet so we can talk and see if there are ways I can help please respond.

Pete Kennedy MA, DMS, Adv Dip, etc (I didn’t inc. an honor bestowed on me c.2008 RA Doubtful!) 14.2.15”.

MR never bothered to answer my offer yet the local MP and the rep of the Art Council had answered me, somewhat condescendingly I’ll have you know, the MP was ousted at the next election.

My blog abart it:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/02/28/moving-on-letting-go/

In April Matthew Rowe Director left:

http://www.colchesterchronicle.co.uk/2015/04/08/fancy-a-firstsite-job/

my blog about it, ignore the title, that was not intended to rejoice, I felt sad about MR and MC and all them what tried to bring advanced art ideas to Colchester but their intent altho well-meant was not so well based on the needs of the local community which yes would benefit from ‘education’ into 20th century+ art but it’s ‘the way you tell ‘em’ which counts. BE WARNED there’s a lot about my work in this and all ma blogs:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/04/25/oh-bee-joy-full/

 

Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th April

I attend the BABE book art fair at the Arnolfini where I share a table with David Jury. On the Sunday I do my reading and dance about my poems which are featured in my two books called ‘Inside This Earthen Vessel’. It was performed in a room they call the lecture room but it had no atmosphere at all. Chris Leonard a friend of over 40 years who lives near Bristol turned up, my mate Dave Doughty came down from Essex to film it and two other folk came plus the gallery helper who had to be there. It was really hard mustering any enthusiasm in such circumstances but those who came all seemed to enjoy it (?). It was invaluable doing it with so little an audience because it brought home the maxim, “The Show must go on” and taught me by experience how to lift myself up when the chips seemed to be down. It was good practice too.

Ere’s ma blog on BABE.

4pm Pete Kennedy ‘readings’- Inspired by Kabir’s poem ‘Inside This Clay Jug’ (transformed from Rabindranath Tagore’s translation by Robert Bly and recited by Pete) Also, various renditions from the original book on Six Mystics- G Batch (G…iorgi Ivanovitch Gurdzhiev. B…euys Joseph. A…ngeli Silesii. T…enzin Gyatso. C…arl Gustav Jung & H…ermann Hesse.), Inside This Clay Jug and Inside This Great Jug.

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/?s=jug+talk+at+babe+%26+bukman+dances+on

 

April 2015, Interim Director Anthony Roberts takes over for a year, my blArt:

Triumphal Buzz

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/06/13/91326/

I join a guided tour led by the new Director, blog:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/?s=FIRSTSITE+NEW+BEGINNING%2C+PART+2.

July- I go to the BALTIC gallery Gateshead book fair and do my Outlaw Pete Intervention, everything begins to fall into place:

Baltic Artists Book Market 2015

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/?s=baltic+artists+book+market+2015

After my gig at BALTIC I realise I am only skirting around the edges of Performance Art these past 40 years so decide to join the IPA http://www.ipapress.i-pa.org/ in October which leads to possibly one of the most momentous shifts in my thinking and doing in my whole life as a artisbloke:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/?s=2+weeks+doing+performance+art.

Then another blog, yes it HAS started:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/11/01/now-i-have-begun/

So, I start to try to get ‘out there’ into the PA community. I have to say sadly my initial tentative approach to LADA has been a damp squib and my attempt to contact the organisers of SPILL fest also hit the rocks. Here’s some blogs:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/11/29/lets-do-it-live-art/

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/12/14/lets-dance/

My links to IPA have proved much more warm and rewarding. During the ‘pop up performances’ with IPA I return to the Arnolfini and do some much more well received performance art and we use the ‘lecture room’ as a base in which to change our clothes. I did an impromptu engagement with two little boys in a puddle outside the gallery thinking nobody was watching and I got these lovely words from two of our course leaders (Vest & Page) who happened to be in the café looking on proceedings as I splashed with the kids.

“Thanks for your warmth and smiles during the IPA days – we will always remember you jumping with the kid in the little water pond on the streets in front of Arnolfini.

Keep being magic and shining, V&A

v & p latex colord dancers

And I shall never forget their wonderful performance at Arnolfini! I was touched & inspired bigtime and I learned masses from observing them.

 

November I take part in the day of Performance Art at Firstsite gallery.

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/11/09/the-frailty-of-being-human/

Next in November I had a table at the Hadleigh books fair:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/11/15/life-begins-at-65-now/

And here’s a blog about my first ever article in an American Journal (JAB):

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/my-german-ghosts/

 

December– Interim Director Anthony Roberts leaves Firstsite before a year is up (with my artist’s math I make it 9 months, just long enuf for a babe to gestate?) BUT he managed to get over £2 million support from Art Council before he goes. Thanks Ant yer dun a great job cos you turned the old tanker around, now it’s headed in the right direction, let’s hope it don’t come aground again. What an end to the year and an era at Firstsite gallery in Colchester, these two events are the final things which Anthony Roberts oversaw as ‘interim’ Director before taking his leave! He left the space in a much better place than he had found it in.

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/12/29/december-at-firstsite/

 

The future at Firstsite.

Now their work begins and they’ve a lot of work to do. The gallery is nowhere near a fully functioning gallery and socially inviting/accepted place. The budge that AR gave it is just that, a budge. It requires a mammoth transformation in its view of the world, local, national & international. Maybe more importantly the local council needs to sort out the locality, that in immediate proximity to the gallery as well as the whole town which over the past 10 years has sunk. It needs imagination and creativity, just as does the gallery. The roads around the gallery, especially the closing of entry into Queen St from the High St., need urgent attention vis a vis right to drive without impunity. The parking access near the gallery needs making available and accessible. The access to and from the car park in Priory St. needs sorting as does the total access and right to use the field outside the gallery. Visitors to the gallery should enjoy complete 360 degree access to the ground around the gallery.

 

Postscript- I can’t, or couldn’t, detach from the idea that my art was worthy and the world did me a dis-service by not attaching to it and giving me loads a money and praise and love and attachment. Then I look see what those results brought for the likes of Michael Jackson, John Lennon & Elvis the Pelvis and I can see I don’t want loads a money and praise and love and attachment. I am now more ready to give up my forlorn attempts to be up there with the famous ones! I think myself lucky that I never made it. I no longer ‘mind’, even if I did in the past. I have had my moments, I’ve had positive feedback which has gone into the burner and helped energise me as did criticisms cos often I’d not take them laying down, I’d up and at ‘em. I’d make my next ting beat better. All the time I wanted to improve. That’s why I find myself an opsimath, a ‘person who learns late in life’, or should that be an Opzzie-Mouth in praise of Ozzie Ozbourne?)

So you see my links to galleries in the past 50 yearns has been rather limited, you could say galleries are my limited company; Pete Kennedy Galleries Ltd. However, onwards and now I’m an Opsimath!  My next blog will be about relationships, according to TED they make your life last much longer if they’re good! Here’s my final blog for this lot:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/12/21/i-tried-to-change-the-world/

ta to Zelda Chappel fer this image via @Steve_Perfect, ta 2 yu 2 blue

a len bern on art

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The frailty of being human

The frailty of being human/ubeings*.

As I approached one of the most important (in my way of thinking) moments in my life my shoulder ached so much it jeopardized my planned ‘Performance Art’ at the re-newed  firstsite Gallery Colchester.

It pulled me up sharp. I had to really rest on Thursday and take it easier on myself Friday. I hoped the pain would subside so I could carry on my piece. This brought up the notion of frailty. Of course we live longer than a gnat or a flea or a butterfly once we survive the pang if birth but we are prone to disease, injury and mutual self-destruction (wars & other conflicts) as Gurdjeff used to call it until he too found that crashing your car did little for your survival and he did died on the second crash. We all will die anyway, crash or no crash, war or no war, it is our destiny. Tibetan thinkers don’t talk of death per se, they have the bardo of living (this here now) and the bardo of dying (what happens to us when we quit the body which has been our shell awhile). My ‘Performance Art’ is me railing against my fate, or actually, more accurately, accepting it and making a noise (even when the piece is silent which is rare) whilst I still can.

I hope you enjoy what I do. Bless you & Namaste.

*‘ubeings’ is my non gender biased word for our species.

a pete + optics

So, shouldering the task I turned up Saturday 7th November 2015 and ‘performance-artisted’ with my piece on being a cowboy called Outlaw Pete that Bruce the Boss Springstep song he wrote  especially for me (not).

19.04.2016 I had a nice little fillip today when a member of the staff at Firstsite said of my Outlaw Pete gig, ‘It was an out of body experience.’ She had not watched my whole gig. Said what she saw was very strange. I retorted, ‘That’s good cos I never want to be perceived as ‘normal’.’

Then I Explained Joseph Beuys to a Dead Woodpecker, below is Priscila Buschinelli’s photo of me Making the Point whilst holding the dead woodpecker (it flew into our conservatory and I got a friend to stuff it).

making the point

and I danced to Luke E Walker’s ambient ‘Sounds for Pete’s Clay Jug’

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Having first led a crowd from the comfort of the foyer café to the Mosaic Area by ‘playing’ a Bolivian song on the woodpecker’s beak and calling ‘Follow me, I’m the Pied Piper’. And about 30 folk did! It was so good to see the corridor filled with curious people after once seeing a lecturer from Australia walking forlornly all lonely thru that same space to give her talk to about ten people in the gallery’s fabulous lecture theatre. WOW, the gallery has moved on since then.

To see 30 people walking 5 or 6 abreast meant so much to me. To see that wonderful gallery full of people & music & dance & Performance Art & 700+ pictures and sculptures by local folks and to be part of that was a real highlight as the place is moving from untouchable to accessible under Anthony Roberts ‘temporary’ leadership.

One woman said she thought the best part of my piece was when I laid (exhausted) on the glass on top of the mosaic and breathed out which made my breath appear on the glass. My favourite moment was when I laid down at the end and left a smudge from the make up on my hand like a stone-age artist left his mark on cave walls.

It was an honour & privilege to do my Performance Art at Firstsite’s first Performance Art day even though it meant I had to go to the Small Publisher’s Book Fair at Conway Hall on Friday and miss some Performance Art events in the Spill fest in London. It was well worth it to be part of the day which used the Mosaic Area & other parts of Firstsite to show off the beauty of the architectural features and the second event (sorry I missed the first) by Helen Stratford helen stratford (7) smactually got the crowd to touch parts of the building and learn to appreciate it more. She shewed us the leaning wall had a good intent. They don’t reach the floor so they look as if they’re floating. THEN! If you crouch under the gap tween floor and wall there’s a long series of windows! These cannot be appreciated because the public cannot get down into the field to the back of the building for legal reasons. This needs to be rectified. The building needs to be circumnavigated with access at all times the gallery is open, for many reasons. Get it sorted Colchester (Council)! (see footnote) So here are some images of folk feeling the gallery, and it felt good banging a beat on the gold cladding:

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Priscila Buschinelli with Stephanie Kogler watching Pete

There were 11 different Performance Artist events working their magic including a breast feeding mother dancing with her babe suckling.

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They were enjoyed by all age groups. Let me list a few of the Performance Artists who played their part in the day curated by Priscila Buschinelli, the organiser/curator & Stephanie Kogler, the Open project assistant, with ‘JV’ doing the sound tech which made the music & sound reach our ears so clearly.

Lee Ashcroft registered his disdain at having to pay to do a Performance Art event! He wanted a refund and asked what Mario would do? Bang his head on a box and coins fall out, which he did for a 20 mins ‘durational’ piece with his just reward but the action hurt so much I bet he wished he’d not complained!

lee ashcroft refund (7) sm

Phil Mill did a sound piece which was phenomenal BUT he needed something on the ‘stage’ to captivate interest, a focal point.

phil mill (1) sm

Che Kevlin did a sound piece with wonderful focal points particularly the golden mask which he made from an old card wrapping stuff sprayed gold. He created this ‘thing’ which played noise as he stroked it for his 20 minutes with a home made bow. No image cos someone had hid my camera.

Mel Donohoe did a most beautiful piece with herself dressed in a wedding dress under which a petticoat filled with white feathers lurked. She stuck dress pins in her arms from which she dangled the feathers to create ‘wings’ then she mounted some step ladders and raised her arms. A lack of wind prevented her taking off!

mel donohoe primary love (9) sm mel donohoe primary love (25) sm

The Murphy family of four dressed up as horses danced beautifully in costumes which shone & shimmered & glittered.

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And finally Holly Dot & Will did a totally irreverent skit on galleryistic etiquette which absolutely marmalised the way so many galleries don’t allow you to talk, laugh, touch, take photos and all the things you’d love to do.

holly dot +will (10) sm

I found the work infectious, the noises were glorious especially the sound of children laughing. As was the sound of clapter, especially when they showed appreciation for my own gyrating perspiring and making my mark on the glass.

I hope to do two more blogs this week about The book fair world and about Deb Guinane’s Performance Art at the spill fest in London on Sunday.

holly dot +will (14) sm

(footnote to Colchester council)

I’m not’asking am saying do it, because without that possibility the gallery can never function AND we (public/visitors) cannot access the car park so parking is an ISSUE and one which MUST BE PREVENTING visitors coming to the gallery. And whilst I am on about stupid things.Another thing which needs sorting is the road into Queen Street which normal cars can’t drive down from the high street. The stupidity is that they merely drive down the East Hill and turn at the Minories and go back to Queen Street and don’t say ‘We’ll put a stop to that’ NO, just re-instate the road so people can drive to the car park (Butt Lane?) then allow access to the gallery through the path at the back. Then folk can see thru the windows at the foot of the floating leaning walls! It’s not rocket science. Sort it!

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It’s not just the books!

ahed in curtain call

Thanks to the 30 visitor-‘hinnies’ to this blArt on its first day up with your 51 ‘views’.

I just got back frae doing the BALTIC book market. What a wonderful weekend. Not as many folks came in to the bookfair as we all hoped and there are some ways I think that can be moved forward at future gigs but It’s not just about the books, is it? I have to thank Theresa Easton, Hannah Marsden & Gary Malkin for their hard work, interest, indefatigibleness, helps, patience, humour, example and a whole lot more. It was wonderfully set up. My table at 1x2metres was best I ever had.

ma tyebel left ma tyebel

Have to thank all 3 for organising the event, I’ve never had so much help on arrival and on being sent packing and all. ta to Theresa Easton especially for tweeting and retweeting and rebloggin ma blArt https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/07/09/peter-d-cowboy/ and for making me feel so at home thru-out. Thanks also to Janette who guarded my stall whilst I shot off to see the Gormley at Hatton. there was a wonderful show of Albert Adams work at University Gallery Newcastle too. How he lived a lifetime and I never heard of him I don’t know. Certainly one of the best print-makers ever from these isles.

My ‘tyebble’ at BALTIC- I forgot to place our collaboration on the wall David! There’s ma new buk centre left, ‘Venus Stairs’ behind the little concertina buk ‘Inside this great jug’ with all its color pics of my heroes.

I had prepared my new book ‘Venus Stares on the Stairs’ to promote my picture of the same names. I took my pic to the Baltic too and prepped a show at High Noon on the Saturday to ‘explain’ my werks. I was in tremulous trepidations about doing the ‘performance’ but it turned out fine, really, really fine! It was the best reception I have ever had and the actor in me reacted to the good will and cranked up the act so I heard myself saying tings I had not scripted as the audience laughed and laughed at my antics. So. I entered in me cowboy outfit with Bruce serenading ‘Cowboy Pete’ thanks to Hannah Marsden’s wizardry. I did my Zumba reeling and rolling whooping and swirling my imaginary lariat. I did that ting wit ma legs where you go bow-legged and then turn around what I lurned in Zumba, I shot the sherrif wit ma six-gun fingers and I galloped on me imaginary hoss across the stage ‘leaving women crying in my wake’ (Bruce). Follow that! And I did. I recited Kabir’s poem about what’s inside the clay jug and shewed my big pot and scrolls off and that was only a starter. Now for the real object of the ‘talk’, ‘Venus Stairs’ picture.

I had prepared a powerpoint with my mate Dave Doughty’s help to add some music. (I shall try to put the presentation up in a future ‘blArty Pete’s’. It was projected onto a big screen and I had a ‘clikie’ to control the speed. Then I read my senryus about the making of the picture. Most everyone seemed to like the ‘show’ and they clapped with vigorosity at th’End. (It’s going to go up on BALTIC archive eventually and when it does, filmed by Gary Malkin, I shall send a link in my blArt.) That made my weekend, well that and selling a page from my collaborative letterpress pages printed by David Jury.

I learned a lot from doing the gig.

On the way back my chauffeuse Christine and I mulled over how tings can be improved. The fact that nobody bought any copies of ‘Venus Stairs’ had to have a reason. We worked out it needs a slip cover

a slip cover idea

with information on, like reviews, so am gunta aks some of the key players from the book event to scribe some werds for us.

Cos I werked out that books won’t attract interest if you don’t adhere to some tried & tested marketing ploys employed in the ‘normal’ book market; good cover, information, category etc

All these tings are not on my book at present.

Bruce borrowed my hat for this song!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLZ3uGd3gTo

There were other performances but I only got to see one which was done several times by Sylvia Causer and Andrea Freeman.Sylvia + Andrea sm

They did great, just continuing with their ‘reading’ even tho at times there was nobody watching, or just Hannah, bless her.

hannah watches on sm

They read the end of books, with Sylvia reading the words and Andrea interrupting the punctuations.

I said I were going to reblog this lovely review by Janet Davis which goes a long way towards explaining what artists books are, but i realised I didn’t yet know how to reblog, so if you click on this link it should take you to her blog:

https://janetedavisart.wordpress.com/2015/07/14/baltic-artists-book-market-2015/

Peter D. Cowboy 

glasses & gun close up

Peter D. Cowboy  alias Rhody O’Dork odork sheriffsays he’ll be coming to BALTIC with me and, as you already know, when he says that there’s nought I can dae aboot it (that’s me Geordie heritage talking noo).

Am away frae ma compooter a few days after I post this, am on the trail as O’Dork puts it.

a beuys influence

Above is a bit from a buk on Keifer I bought last time I wer in BALTIC. (O’Dork bought a yeller plastic doll which he’s bringing to the show).I am an inbetweena. I do these performance ting and I create images, artefacs and buks. So I look forward to ma latest show, ‘How to explain Veus on the stairs to a live audience at the Baltic’ and keep an eye on my stall at the same time! Well I got this split personality and so we should be Alright Now by the Free.

Alright am ready, nearly.

madgrad earings an fleurs sm

Ps here’s ma girl getting her MA at Courtauld & St Clements this week. Proud Pete.

expecting on stairs at tate brit smtate

And. I saw this lady on the stairs at TATE same day, I feel a painting coming on, oh no, I did not aks her permission.

Alright am ready, nearly.

So am nearly ready for BALTIC next week.  Their fame even spreads to the south coast, altho this design in Margate is not theirsbaltic logosm

Been a busy fascinating week. I joined ENAS at Margate to see the Grayson Perry show at the Turner Gallery which was pretty good. If he keeps practising he’ll make those pots straight one day.  Everyone in the Enas coach seemed to love his work, his wit & intelligence. His work is inspiring. I love the way he tumbles the barriers over, pushing stultified tradition over yet replacing it with new possibilities. I can’t indeed won’t show any images of his work as a protest, a BIG protest about this crap many galleries have about not taking photos etc. It’s such a negative ting. I aks you when you come see my works to take photos, as many as you likes.

fiona fouhy

Then I wandered around the town and saw some nice art, especially  Fiona Fouhy’s etchings.

fiona fouhy2

Here’s some shots from me Margate trip:

peter pizza

that’s me hungry fer petesa

I enjoyed Heidi Plant’s heidiwork at the Resort studios and may go back to do some work in their print studio. And when we arrived back at Firstsite wur we set out from the moon was out and the gallery looked so good. moon site

Next day I was back on my bike and over to London toon to do ‘Poetry’ with a visit to the Poetry Library first to deliver a signed cover for my collaboration work with David Jury. Saradha http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/saradha-soobrayen introduced me to the books of Anne Carson who seems to be an artist writer after my own art. There are lots of parallels in our books’ materials & looks. She were born in Toronto, Ontario in 1950, I was born in Glasgow the same year. Her Antigo Nick has a very similar feel to my Apulgold book, and the similarities don’t stop there. There’s a staggering resemblance in the way she made a book called Nox and the new version of my Shrewd Idiot. So much so you’d think I have copied her, not so, I never heard of her til Saradha introduced her work to me. But the way she has cut & pasted images and words is identical to my prep work already done. I just find that so encouraging and supportive, showing me I am on the right track. Of course the subject matter is very different. Mine is all about me, hers is about her brother.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2006/dec/30/featuresreviews.guardianreview7

I finished off at Enitharmon where I still couldn’t find William Blake but I saw a launch of a book on Ed Dorn with his wife Jennifer and others reading poems of his. I bought her poem Eastward Ho, The Saga Of Vitus Bering wherein I discovered that the Bering straits were named after a man called Bering! Bright that.

Did you know that the Boss had done a song about my youth? Enjoy- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8i5A1Pn0z6k

Now down to some hard graft, polishing ma dancing boots, shaping ma cowbouy hat, donning ma spurs, covering ma buks, learning ma werds and preparing ma presenting skills for BALTIC nex Saturday at High Noon. Bring yer camras, feel free to take them darned photos of Outlaw Pete and his outputs.

Firstsite new beginning, Part 2.

For Part 1 go to https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/06/13/91326/

On Sunday I dropped in to hear Anthony Roberts do a guided tour of the building and all who sail in her.

ant gets on his hoss smAnthony gets on his horse

He has a good way with words but more importantly he has a good angle on the possibilities at the gallery.

ant desperate for banana smHere he goes for a bite of a lady’s banana

He began with an intro in the foyer.ant happy familysmHappy families

He explained that Hunt & Darton have come in to serve as the café, but they are really a performance art gig.

hunt an dart sm

He took us round to the side of the building which has always seemed out of bounds. It gives us a lovely view of the architecture which is, despite all the differing opinions, still a landmark building which we should admire and spread the word about.

tree view sm

I feel that this side of the ‘park’ needs to be made more accessible, so that people can just spend their time lolling around it, picknicking and all. Maybe live outdoor gigs?

red umbrella sm crowd sm

Hold on a bit it’s not the only good architecture around here, there’s that old church too

ant thechurchSo we get the best of both worlds here

Anthony explained he’s actually been involved with Firstsite since it was first dreamed up by a lady he once knew. He must have been distressed to see it as it went through the pangs of despair in the original build and the subsequent mis-direction. Some of the old guard seemed to think it more important to appeal to about ten people in London than to get the local populace incorporated into its projects.

We went thru the office area into the ex-café zone. It’s rather unfortunate the proprietors of the Whitechapel café left too soon, If they had stuck around a few more weeks they may see a surge in visitor numbers. Now it seems the Hunt and Darton girls will have to fill that bill. And very entertaining they are.

hunt an dart entrance sm

We stood on the veranda overlooking a ‘field’ which access to and through is severely limited cos of histoirical issues which need to be ironed out and left behind for the gallery to grow with quick access to a public car park.

ant hold back the lightLet’s work together and get this place on the map.

Outside the morris dancersmorris dancers sm morris dancers bang the drum sm morris dancers 1 sm did energetic jigs and the street dancers joined in.

come together sm

And the new staff seem lively and very friendly too.new lauren sm

Triumphal Buzz

Triumphal Buzz

firstite bloonmoon

In one fell swoop Anthony Roberts has turned the juggernaut that was Firstsite gallery around.

ant stands

(In many ways) Misused & Underused Confused & Abused (MUCA), The Golden Gallery seemed interminably Directed in constant collision with calamitous disappointment NOW it has been re-Directed and appears to be heading for the success it should have always known. It will be hard, rough seas will be born however there is now Hope, hope for the future of Colchester as a great centre of art which attracts not only the local populace but people from far & wide. Much work to be done tho’.

firstite crowd 6 firstite crowd 5 firstite crowd 4 firstite crowd 4 sm firstite crowd 3 firstite candy

firstite mirror firstite david firstite crowd2 firstite crowd

firstite bus firstite crowd 7 firstite treefolks ant wit flowas

ant wit flowas ant strider ant full swing ant cranks up

And Virtue comes from Oswaldthwistle!

jon virtu hands up

The artist who has been fortuitous enough to benefit from Anthony Robert’s advent (the feeling’s mutual I’m sure) is called John Virtue who hails from my neck of the woods, the home of Accrington Stanley. His work is very good. This show is all B&W. My favourite work is in the display cabinets in his sketchbooks wherein the images are drawn on location. These images have everything; vitality, washes of greys and the flurry of a variety of marks and lines that describe the swishing and swooping of the waves and wind.

jon virtu skbks

I’ll say no more, just look at these images from the opening (Friday 12th June 2015). Look at the happy crowd of all ages giving rise to a Wonderful Golden Buzz!

firstite bus

Ps I won’t be showing at Firstsite, not just yet yet but I shall be showing at The Baltic Gallery (Gateshead/Newcastle) on the 10 & 11 of July 2015. There’s a lot to learn from the Baltic. Vatch dis Kevin Spacey for more on that soon.

Moving on, letting go.

Image featured above shows a strange bird looming over the slanted side of firstsite gallery. What will it be a harbinger of? What does it presage? Only good I hope in the end but that is going to be a challenge which must be worked towards wholeheartedly and in unison by all the stakeholders; the council, the gallery, the public and art lovers from all over this land. It’s gonna take time and investment.

Recently (12th Feb?) I saw a pretty damning report on BBC Anglia tv in which the footage they used was several years old, altho they did have a reporter there to interview the director that day. They reported that the ‘Arts’ Council was threatening to withdraw support for the gallery. I decided to write to the several parties (excepting the Beeb as they never seem to take any notice, you get this thing that says they get millions of letters and sorry they won’t bother to reply) showing my concern that the true picture of the valiant efforts made by the gallery in the past few years has not been recorded and to offer direct help to its director Matthew Rowe from my 50 years’ experience in art and gallery visiting since seeing the big Henry Moore show at Tate in 1967. On 13 Feb I said, ‘Dear Matthew, I believe with my experience and qualifications I may be able to help you. Please see the attached. Also, please acknowledge receipt as I have guessed at your email address.’

I felt that local MP Bob Russell’s take on the gallery was quite negative when he cited how much millions it costs each year. OK compare that to how much the Castle takes? He replied saying I should contac the press with one of my less positive points. But he had replied within 24 hours!

I contacted the arts council in the guise of Hedley Swain and sent him the above list of links to my blArts. He replied within 24 hours and thanked me for my ‘other’ views, ‘It is useful to us to have different opinions and view-points to draw on. I assure you that Arts Council will do all it can, working with other local stakeholders, to improve the current situation.’

matthew rowe

The Director did not respond to my offer to help. Not yet, 28.2.15, but it’s only 15 days since I sent my offer.

I’d like to update the story so far on firstsite gallery in Colchester. I hear they are preparing a new launch with a fresh approach, I wish them well and I pray that it works not just for them but for all the interested parties. I believe they need more help from Colchester Council not less. There is a need for parking right next to the gallery in the space down which buses used to turn in their scores daily. At present parking is totally banned there and it is a total missed opportunity. Our society is used to ‘on site’ parking like at all the big supermarkets nowadays. People are loathe to walk more than 50 metres to a place. I know that’s true and the council’s refusal to provide on site parking is adding to the gallery’s problems in the past several years. There was supposed to be an art college coming very close to the gallery as part of the plan but that fell through. The whole area was supposed to be being built up with a multi-million pound development which never materialised. Then the gallery opened with its slanting wall and very little natural footfall. I believe the gallery needs a re-structure/build. Getting in some consultant architect the likes of Richard Rogers may help. There’s a need to get rid of the slant and to somehow introduce a mezzanine floor something like the one at Barbican gallery which can add space to exhibit more stuff.

outsite leans

Strange flying tings seen looming over firstsite

There is still a lot of space around the gallery which could be used to provide amenities for the local population which would also bring more folk in proximity to the gallery but it seems that nobody has enough imagination to propose any ideas. At least I have not seen any moves on that front, but I am not local and don’t get all the local news. I have offered to meet the Director to put forward some of my own ideas but he is obviously too busy hatching the re-launch plans. Or he just doesn’t want to know what a fool believes.

in the not too distant past I was called an ‘advocate’ of firstsite gallery Colchester but in fact I am a commentator (a common ‘tatoe). I’d like to play in their team or at least help the team but they don’t select me. Last week I was told my latest effort to gain a place on the hallowed walls was unsuccessful. They invited bids for a wall space 8m x 3m and once again I gave it my best shot, but I  didn’t score this time.

Now, personally, I am ‘Moving on, letting go’. I done e‘nuff’, I tried and tried agin and cannot suck seed. Am not moving on, letting go through any bitter feelings, I still have sympathy for their plight but I feel I have done more than the average commentator in my effort to assist. Picture me standing outside the gallery banging my head against the wall. I believe I deserve a bit more respect but of course what I believe and what actually happens are rare bedfellows.

It’s not hard, there’s lots of evidence.apul gnum wall

ps You have to replace the brick wall with a gold tin wall.

Well it may surprise some of yez but yes it hurts. But I am almost a Buddhist and am learning not to cling on, I’m no clingon!

Before I go let me give some links to the blArts I done about firstsite:

About Bruce McLean- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/bruce-mclean-not-trendy-but-twitchy/

 

Bruce McLean said- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/this-is-the-best-exhibition-of-my-work-ever/

 

Two part report on firstsite symposium- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/so-we-live-in-a-digital-cage-part-2/

 

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/06/01/so-we-live-in-the-digital-cybernetic-age-the-d-c-age-digital-cage/

 

Krzysztof Fijalkowski, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, Norwich University of the Arts gives a  talk about Henri Chopin- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/henri-chopin-and-others-who-got-forgot/

 

The Man from New York talk- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/andrew-roths-talk-at-first-site-last-saturday/

 

Ann Stephen from Australia’s talk- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/first-site-talk-success-but/

The gallery is going to find it difficult to re-connect with the folk who once frequented it as it has been empty now several weeks and the café has disappeared and the continuity has been discontinued. If you pop in there at present not only do people keep coming up to you asking if you had permission to venture thru to where you stand perusing the 8×3 space before you apply but there is an eerie silence and emptiness which is going to hard to re-fill or even firstfill. I hope I have filled you in with my fill. Eugh that’s Awe-fill!

 tward entrance

Some more images of firstsite gallery at present

skylites

lookin out

 

17.03.15- I managed to spend a few minutes in conversation with the Director who came over as an amicable man with a basketful of challenges which I must say he is approaching with a good degree of patience and positive planning. The gallery has re-launched and re-branded with a wonderful new show which I like but I fear the local population won’t be won over with. The four artists local(-ish) at least to Essex I am reminded chosen to fill the 3x8m space are all very good practitioners, evidence of which is shown in a display of some work from each in the 8×3 space. the new cafe proprietors look to be setting about setting it up beautifully with local suppliers being utilised. Good luck for the future!

some new pics of the new set up, still quite empty of footfallers.

Image043

Image041

Now for something completely different but I believe relevant, especially for my regulars and  you know about my ‘what I believes’:

When I was 30 year old I scored two goals in 2 minutes (big head), one headed into the top left hand corner from a corner and t’other straight from the re-start when I nicked the ball as they kicked off, ran half the pitch length evading a lunging leg of a desprit full back and rounded the goalie to chip it in against Ingatestone for Maldon Saint Marys second eleven in a cup game which we won 2-1. Later in the same cup the manager left me on the sub’s bench for the Final aginst RHP which my goals had gotten the team to, playing a kid of 16 in my stead. Earlier that season, in the winter cos the ground had an inch or two of snow on it I had headed a goal in from a corner in a melee and felt a deep pain in my belly, so deep I thought someone had kicked me, it turned out this Charlie had decided to thump me in the stomach as I headed the ball.

a bad tackle(beyond the pale)

Unlike Nemanja Matic of Chelsea v. Burnley last week who took this bad (beyond the pale) tackle from Ashley Barnes I withheld my desire to retaliate*, I took his number, I remembered his face. Ten minutes from the end of that final I aksed Old Bill the manager if I was going to get a kick? “Oh sorry Pete I forgot you, get on now.”

a fyutballa peteHow could you leave this fella out?

PK in 1981

Sadly I couldn’t pull back the goal deficit in the 5 minutes left (which meant in the 30 odd years I played football I never got a winner’s medal!) but I had my eye on Charlie. I am not sure he remembered me without snowdrops on my head. Anyway I re-introduced myself on the half way line. It was a fair but hard tackle (NOT beyond the pale). He didn’t get up but only missed the last three minutes of play. I never returned to play for Maldon Saint Marys second eleven, not ‘nuff respec’. I did return to football 20 years later and scored loadsa goals as a veteran, well the ball is still a sphere and the goals are still in the same place and I still loved the game.

But ‘respec’ is wattam talking about. * Matic was sent off and banned from a Wembley Final for retaliation, Barnes got off scot free. Talking about the dinosaur attitude of institutions the FA have done FA about the ref’s ineptitude; he should have sent Barnes off before Matic took the law into his own hands and then the FA should lift the ban so Matic can participate in the Wembley Final . It’s not as if his shove on Barnes was life-threatening, more like a person in the isle at a supermarket pushing a trolley. (ps Chelsea still won!)

 

My ‘Artist’s Books’ From Slack Space to BABE (11 & 12 April)

So what is an artist’s book? Or what is my artist’s book? In answering the former I can point to some beautiful examples of the form, well no it’s not a ‘form’ as form indicates rules to bind you by, there isn’t a ‘form’ there is just the ‘difference’. The difference is such that  artist’s books are often difficult to file in a library. They often have no side panel recognizing ‘title’. They rarely have isbn’s or all the detail about who published it and the artists’ rights. AND THEY CAN BE UNIQUE IN THE COMBINATION OF MATERIALS THEY JUXTAPOSE. So in Slack Space this week there are artists like Chris Rushton

chris rushton sm

and Miranda Campbell (& Others) who stretch the ‘form’. Chris’s work exquisitely combines her dyed textural papers and folds and tears and cuts into forms.

slac 020

Miranda makes leather bound books but also creates these wonderful things with cracked logs, feathers and curled paper with words on which would look odd on a library shelf. Anselm Kiefer makes unique books in which he uses plasterboard or lead or paper or photos as his base and then he sticks them in acid and throws mud on them and buries them and all sorts of stuff as he approaches each book as an individual work much as he does his ‘paintings’ (he’s not at slack!).

keif bukbird merged

I find his work inspiring with its freedoms and its ignoring of norms and mores (moreys? Morays… moray eels are like his books scarey). But I guess one day when I have shed the fetters of the ‘books’ I have in the pipeline I shall follow his example and make more one-offs and make em big and make em so cumbersome they can’t leave my garden where I’ll mekem wid loads of rubbish and muck and I’ll burn em and kick em and all that cos I once did karate so I can kick like a gud en. I joke but am not joking. I love it when I see the craft in book artists like Kate Bufton at Book Transformations https://twitter.com/BuftonKate and  Fiona Dempster at Paper Ponderings http://paperponderings.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/purely-pencils-part-ii.html both of whom produce voluminously but there’s a sense of control and craft there which altho I admire I wish to break free https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEKVLjXO2Fk I’ve fallen in love with difference, in fact I’ve always loved her. My work is different. At present I am not cutting and folding and binding with dexterity but I am writing about my heroes, what I call mystics; artists, poets, thinkers and Joseph Beuys the shaman. And that leads me to my ‘performances’ which are part of my books. In fact I can cut the strut, fold my limps and unbind my-self thru the dance I do at my ‘talk’ or ‘reading’. And what are books for if not to be read, or scanned. In fact at the first (Slack) reading from my collaborative work with David Jury which is on display at Slack I realised something wonderful. His prints are stupendous and my words are whatever you decide they are

ves 6 sm

but when I put them into an amalgamated form where I could read them as one piece the possibilities are enormous. There’s no video of me doing that yet, so you’d have to invite me to your place if you want to see it for yourself. Last year or was it 2013 I did an article in which I promoted the idea that a pot with writing on was a book cover

the book of gnolidge
the book of gnolidge

and the scrolls around it or dropped in it were the pages. Now am saying my reading is part of my book. Beat that Anselm!

I am not taking the pot to BABE but you should see it on the powerpoint projection in the entrance to the Arnolfini. I am really looking forward to meeting you all at BABE.

 http://www.arnolfini.org.uk/whatson/babe-2015-bristol-artists-book-event

I shall be the last one of BABE’s ‘Performances and Readings’ (Meeting Room, Arnolfini) on the second day, Sunday 12th April

cast in arranged order:

 2pm Judy Kravis of Road Books

2.30pm Graeme Hobbs, Colva Books – Hill Pond. The pieces I wrote were instead of photographs – written photographs.

3pm, Field Study International – Emanation action.

3.30pm Nancy Campbell and Donna Williams – Poems in BSL and English about language learning and extinction.

cover of six mystics intro
cover of six mystics intro

4pm Pete Kennedy ‘readings’ – Inspired by Kabir’s poem ‘Inside This Clay Jug’ (transformed from Rabindranath Tagore’s translation by Robert Bly and recited by Pete) Also, various renditions (with masks) from the original book on Six Mystics- G Batch (G…iorgi Ivanovitch Gurdzhiev. B…euys Joseph. A…ngeli Silesii. T…enzin Gyatso. C…arl Gustav Jung & H…ermann Hesse.), and Inside This Clay Jug and Inside This Great Jug.

Here’s Mercury going into the mystic with one of the most beautiful and touching moments ever recorded. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3RJLOyGVf0

Namaste

ps The featured  image at the top is of Paula MacGregor’s book in the show presently on at Slack Space.