It’s not funny: Trump’s Locker Room Talk

shutupWhen Republican Presidential Nominee Donald J. Trump said the words he used in an old videotape that surfaced Friday (Oct. 7) were essentially locker room talk and that he was sorry if anyone was offended by his talk, I could not help myself but I felt hot tears rise in my eyes.

It was a kind of visceral reaction to this clown’s idiocy I had not expected. Yeah, I had heard his rough words about Rosie O’Donnell, and yes I was aware of his deep-seated fear of the bleeding from the “where ever.”

But listening to the blistering nastiness of the words he was using about women he wanted to fuck simply because they were attractive and in front of him and that gave him the right, not only to desire them but also “when you’re a star, they’ll let you do anything.” What he was saying is, if he was suitably inspired, he would not only tap that, he would fuck it, then piss on it and move on to the next.

I made myself a cup of coffee as the late-breaking news played the video over and over. I realized my hand was shaking as I poured the boiling water over the ground beans. Why was this so upsetting? I wondered.

With my newly made coffee, I went to my computer and opened Twitter, which I knew would be swarming with news, jokes and innuendo about the breaking story. This Republican and that Republican were making statements tooled to distance themselves even further from this flailing orange buffoon. Paul Ryan said he was “sickened” by what he heard today and Reince Priebus said that no woman deserves to be spoken about in such terms.

Yes, guys, you are right, but something you don’t know is any woman who goes out or speaks out in public is thought about or even spoken about in just such terms, every day. And if she is homely, that’s a component to the inner or outer chatter about her. If she is attractive, she can expect the chatter to have an extra measure of praise and shame heaped onto it. If she is old, she can expect her sanity and her ability to comprehend simple things to be questioned. Last of all, her dried out, no-longer-interesting, superfluous “whatever” might even become a part of the conversation depending on how crude the talkers are.

shame-on-oldThis is every day.

Donald Trump may be sickening, it’s true. But the real sickening part of all of this is that women live in a strange half-world where we are expected to be attractive, yet we are berated for being attractive. If we are not attractive, we are called pigs or worse. If we give you what you want from us, we’re bad and if we don’t give you what you want we’re fucking cunts.

Maybe we find ourselves in the companionship of good men who don’t think of women like this, and that’s wonderful. But we all know guys who are like this. Showing them your tits after being pestered won’t make them leave you alone. Telling these men they will never ever see your tits, ever, is just permission for those same men to punish you at every turn for having a … “whatever.”

And don’t think having a well-grounded opinion is going to save you. You’re hysterical. Calm down. Etc.

After about 30 to 45 minutes after the news broke about “Trump’s locker room talk,” I stopped shaking. I eventually stopped thinking about all the times I had been exposed things like this during my career. The times I unknowingly entered a room still echoing with the words “cunt” and “pussy.” Even during activities that were supposed to be fun but turned into a referendum on a woman having a “whatever.”

Earlier this week I had made a joke about being a man in past lives and how “great it was for people to listen to what you had to say, hang on every word. So imagine how disappointed I was this time around.” The whole room laughed.

Nov. 11 appearance at Black Mesa Winery

songwriterMelwell (Melody) Romancito will be performing at the Black Mesa Winery Tasting Room in Taos Friday, Nov. 11, 6-9 p.m.

Romancito has performed rock’n’roll, jazz, and blues as a vocalist for many years but it was when she moved to Taos in the mid-1980s that she took up the guitar again as a way to accompany her unique singing style.

Now she plays a nylon string Guild guitar, a small instrument that is unelectrified and only amplified through a microphone. Her singing style has been likened to Sarah Vaughn and June Cristie but she is also known to call on electrified powers of singers like Annie Lennox and David Bowie.

Taos Mesa winery is located near the center of town on Ranchitos Road. Come sit and sip a glass or bottle of some of the best wines available from New Mexico and listen to the Americana, Blues and more from singer-songwriter Romancito.

The room is a great venue for folks who are interested in listening to the music instead of talking over it. They play host to many of the local singer-songwriters and acoustic performers in the area and offer live music on the weekends. They feature an open mic on Tuesdays hosted by Bittersweet Highway from Colorado. Sign up for the open mic is at 5:30 p.m. and the music begins at 6 p.m.

 

Venus in Leo

leoI remember one year, when I lived in Eugene, Oregon, I was studying astrology with a good friend who was teaching me about personal transits and also how inner planetary transits through signs impact whole communities of people.

During this time I had a new digital watch from Texas Instruments. It was a total geek watch for the time (this being the early 1980s). One thing I would do is set my watch for a major transit, even set it for Eugene’s Sun time which was actually about 12 minutes after whatever time is listed in the ephemeris you’re using.

At the time I lived in a little garage studio that had been converted into a charming tiny house on an alley between the numbered streets near campus. I slept in a little loft and above my head was a lovely little glass-lined cupola where I could view the thick canopy of Eugene trees and rooftops.

I remember it was hot. I had the windows opened and a cooling breeze was sifting down through them. I lay there in bed and thought about this and that, forgetting for a moment that I had set my watch to beep when Venus slipped into the sign of Leo.

The watch beeped, and at that moment I heard a door slam from a couple of blocks away. Then I heard a young man yell into the quiet of the night.

“I love you, you BITCH!” he yelled.

Somehow that simple phrase helped me to understand one side of the idea of Venus in Leo. Of course, the other side of Venus in Leo is art and its expression to the larger community. Think in terms of public art, performance art, theater, and the communication of song and living life as though it were an art form in itself.

But in that moment in time, in that period of my life, “I love you, you BITCH!” paved the way to my greater understanding of things and how the observer always will change the observed, and how life is one maddening, love-worthy bitch.

magpie wake

angelsThree times today I had to rescue my pets from a gang of magpies that were clacking and scolding from the large crabapple tree in the back yard. Again, I went to get my tall stick and wave them off.

This last time, however, I was going to lurk under the branches of the tree and startle them again once they settled. Then I noticed the black and white body of an adolescent laying in the grass.

They had been mourning and trying to warn the dogs off the body, I finally realized. I felt bad for trying to startle and scare them.

I went into the house for gloves and returned to the spot. The body was limp. Hard to say how long it had been there, but the magpies had been making a racket since sunrise so I’m guessing it had been there for a while.

I picked up the dead bird and carried it off on the opposite side of the yard. I couldn’t just toss the body anywhere.

I decided what had to happen is I had to take it to our pet cemetery. I also had to let those other magpies know the body had been moved, so I set it up on this old wooden rocking horse. Below the rocking horse leaned retablos of Saint John of the Cross and Saint Francis.

After a few hours, I will bury the magpie and hope the other birds would take their mourning session to the other side of the yard, set up a memorial service in the wild plums.

I was sorry for the bird and I was sorry for the ones who clacked and cried so loud.

The sound of crickets

Fence-FilteredImagine, if you will, a world where an artist making art or music feels connected and supported by their community.

In this world, the indicators of connection and support are made up of simple forms of acknowledgement. Nothing elaborate and time-consuming. In this world, it is as simple as pressing the play button on an embedded widget, or pressing on a link in order to look at and become engaged – if only for a moment – in that artists work.

 

But imagine what it must feel like to work on something and not get any kind of feedback. Even though this world had made it so easy to engage, encourage, support and give feedback, imagine how disheartening it must be to not receive any kind of social kibble in response to a finished work.

Also, imagine what it must be like for an artist trying to explore the leading edges of their art and not have anyone to exchange ideas and enthusiasm with – except for a smattering of people in far-flung places scattered throughout the globe. This artist gleans a sentence of encouragement here – thumbs up and hearts there. These nourishing breadcrumbs of encouragements mean a lot to this isolated artist, but they don’t go very far as a foundation of support.

But also, imagine that this artist wants to break through to a place in creation and exploration where little bits of encouragements from others – though nice – mean little. Even though their artform is decidedly wrapped up in having an audience to receive their ideas, they have had to learn how to survive (indeed, thrive) enough to produce a staggering body of work.

At some point, the artist is going to ask themselves if maybe they have just been deluding themselves from the very beginning. Maybe all that self-talk about being a creator and an exceptional being are just the tawdry dreams of the mediocre. Then, the artist must decide they know their taste in art and music, or what-have-you isn’t totally rooted in banality. There is no hiding from the intrinsic urge to make more art, and that is what they do.

I am trying not to sink into the heartbreak and alienation of this emotional place. I am seeking a vibration in my heart that doesn’t care or need encouragement or support from others to keep making my art. I have been here again and again, and I keep making music. I clearly can’t help myself.

I welcome the day when one of the people I share life with – beyond my kind and patient husband, or my daughter who loves me – has a little something extra in their hearts to press play and not be afraid to listen. Maybe even give me a little social kibble for my efforts. I’m not going to muscle my way onstage at your gig or embarrass you in front of the cool kids. I just want a little pat on the head and a cookie every once in a while – just like anyone else making art.

So I wonder, is there a reason for the lack of interest from others? Does it matter? Will I ever get what I want? What is it about myself prevents this deeply-desired connection? How can I stop pinching myself off from the support I think will make my life better in the having of it?

Romancito & Autumn’s short film selected for 2016 Taos Shortz Film Festival

LaurelsOfficialSelection2016WHITEM. Elwell Romancito and Christine Autumn short film “Nigger Jim” has been selected to be part of the 2016 Taos Shortz Film Festival. The festival is scheduled for April 7-10 in Taos, New Mexico.

Poet, artist, musician and teacher Christine Autumn collaborated with M. Elwell Romancito last summer to make “Nigger Jim,” a short video/film which explores the recent and past incident of racial violence. It features a spoken-word performance by Autumn with music composed by Romancito in the background. The film was edited by Romancito and is made up of moving and still images mostly from the Prelinger Archive.

The subject matter is not for the faint-of-heart, says Romancito, who confesses watching the film has raised goose bumps on her arms or made her cry every time.

still-comp“At first, I didn’t think I was up to the project, but after I started researching, name upon name of the sacrificed came to mind, and as the project stretched into summer, so did the newly dead. I know some people will have a problem with the subject matter. They will say I should not make videos about the bad things in the world and stick to pretty pictures. Others will say, as a white woman, I have no business stepping into the discussion,” she said. “I feel it’s necessary to examine our culture and question things if this is the way we’re headed.”

Autumn said the poem was written back in the early 2000s. People were reacting to high-profile cases like Michael Richards racial outburst, among others. She says she was surprised that so many of the people she shared the poem with appeared to be either offended by it or incapable of addressing the subject matter. This, she says, is why she felt it was so important to revisit the poem and its sentiment in light of recent racial tensions.

The film, which is only a little over 2 minutes long, will be shown along with other short films as part of the Taos Shortz Film festival’s local showcase. The festival was featured on Moviemaker Magazine’s “Top 50 Worth the Entry Fee” list and has garnered international attention and has become an eagerly-anticipated community event.

For more information about Taos Shortz Film Festival, visit www.taosshortz.com

A dream disguised as a lesson about the flow of energy

Copyright Cultural Intrigue

When I was on the verge of my adulthood (getting ready to turn 27 or 28, the eve of the Saturn Return — not the usual measuring stick of 21) I had a dream which has always mystified me until recently.

Let me explain. I am a long way from 27 now, but the details of the dream are so strong it has stayed with me through the rest of my adult life and as I stop to remember the way it made me feel, I revisit the giddy, buoyant feeling it engendered in me.

One of those “afternoon nap” sort of dreams, I had fallen asleep while working on an important project. I was doing architectural renderings for initial grant work for The Wow Hall in Eugene, Oregon. I had a studio i shared with other artists and architects on 12th near the university.

In the dream, I had just moved into a basement apartment. Even though it was a basement, it was very light. Light poured in from the casement windows very near the ceiling. The walls were painted a stark white and I was moving my things into their new places.

As I was putting some figurines and coffee cups holding little paper Chinese parasols onto a little niche-like shelf, a man appeared in the hallway. The front door was opened and he peered in.

“It’s too late,” I said, “I’ve already taken it and have started to move in.”

“I’m not here for the apartment,” he said and took out a violin and began to play.

His playing was exquisite. It stopped me in my tracks. I stood there, holding these coffee cups with their little parasols and listened to him play.

As he played, the man’s face changed from the handsome young man he appeared to be to a face lined, not only with age, but with a rainbow-like, slightly vibrating light.

“How long have you been playing?” I asked.

He laughed and put down the violin and as he did his face rippled with this vibrating, lined light.

“Oh,” he said, with a smile, “I’ve been playing for a very, very long time.”

As he said this he gestured that he wanted to gather me in his arms. I went to put the coffee cups down, because after hearing him play, I wanted to be gathered. He playfully began to spin the parasols with one of his fingers.

I reached up and stopped the spinning.

“Why do you always do that?” he wanted to know, looking into my eyes. I was sure were going to kiss. I could feel myself drifting into the kiss.

Then one of my studio-mates started knocking on my door and woke me up, which I still, even now, don’t forgive him for doing.

I am finally letting the parasols spin. I am.