Sunday, December 04, 2005

Serial Killer Art and Grass Roots Innovation

BOSTON (Reuters) - An online auction of artwork by a serial sex killer triggered outrage in Massachusetts on Tuesday where lawmakers proposed to block criminals from profiting on what they called "murderabilia," setting off a debate on free speech rights of prisoners.

A colored pencil sketch of Jesus Christ kneeling in a desert by Alfred Gaynor, a serial killer serving four life sentences for sodomizing and choking to death four women, went on sale on Tuesday on a Web site operated by a prisoner advocacy group.

It was one of nearly 300 artworks offered for auction through December 18 on The Fortune Society's Web site. If sold, nearly all proceeds from the work entitled, "A Righteous Man's Reward," will go to Gaynor, the group said.

Protests from the families of Gaynor's victims about the possibility of a convicted murderer profiting from his criminal celebrity prompted state Rep. Peter Koutoujian, a Democrat, to submit a new variation of a "Son of Sam" law in the state legislature.

But the legislative proposal triggered its own debate over the prisoners' constitutional right of free speech...

... The Fortune Society said its online and studio art show draws work from a wide range of prisoners -- not just killers -- and most items sell for less than $100.
"It's a misconception that we're selling this art for thousands and thousands of dollars and that people are making all these profits," said Kristen Kidder, project manager of The Fortune Society's art show.

The paintings can be found at www. ociety.
11/16/05 09:05

I personally feel most threatened by those who will play on people's fears in order to get re-elected. To that end, they enact another piece of legislation which chips away our freedom of speech.
Yeah, you guessed it...I'm a liberal.

You can read
this entire article here. I found it posted on a message board on the Experimental Behavior website.

I highly recommend this forum for anyone who suffers from the misconception that Cleveland lacks a creative, free thinking, community.
You folks are looking in the wrong places. Experimental Behavior will give you a glimpse into the edgey soul of Cleveland's creative community.

New ideas and innovation often come from the fringes of society, where things aren't always comfortable. They might seem unsettling, or even disturbing. In fact, sometimes the fringes can be down right scary. Necessity is still the mother of invention.

There is a new breed of emerging artists, inventors, and entrepreneurs who create because their survival depends on finding new solutions. They don't have PhD's, MFA's, or MBA's. They aren't coming from the cultural ivory towers of academia.
You can find them on the shop floor, or driving a taxi. They make music in their garages, and art on the dining room table. They write stories on laptops, and do research where ever they can find free wifi.

Clevelanders got used to looking for it's establishment to fund our salvation. Old money doesn't like new players unless they follow the the old rules. Cleveland's establishment gives some lip service to grass roots innovation, as long as that grass is growing on a lovely manicured suburban lawn, the kind that requires the right type of seed, carefully chosen by the caretaker, and depends upon continued grooming and maintenance for sustenance. But it is the grass that can be found growing between the cracks of the sidewalk, the tough, deep rooted species, that springs unbidden, without permission, that can and will survive, and eventually create a new landscape

Friday, December 02, 2005

"We don't see things as they are, we see things as we are."

Anais Ninn

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Close To Home

"I'm really not feeling well. Can I put my head down?"

"Sure, darlin'. Come and sit here, you can be by yourself." I motioned to a seat next to my desk.

As I sorted through papers, she raised her face from her forearm. A red imprint of her cable sweater was visable on her cheek. Her voice was barely above a whisper, and I moved my chair closer to her as she spoke.

"I was awake all night. My parents were fighting. My stepfather hits my mom when he gets drunk. I'm afraid to go to sleep. She might need me to call 911 or something. I really want to move out of there. Part of me can't wait. I'll be 18 in July. But, I don't want my mom to be left alone. My dad was an alchoholic too. He's in prison now. I don't know why she puts up with these men. I wonder why we don't just leave."

I only half wondered. This conversation was a little close to home.

I've lived with alchoholism in a household. It is shameful, painful, and eventually destroys the people who live alongside it.The families of alchoholics often feel like they have something wrong with them. They must deserve the life of embarrassment and dysfunction. It is hard to break away. Just like the drowning man will pull his rescuer under the water, the person who thought they would save the alchoholic can become a victim of the disease.

Disease. Damn it.
Why did the medical profession decide to call alchoholism a disease?
How do you save yourself, when the only way to do it is by walking away from a sick person? The guilt is unbearable. The scars are slow to heal.

The physical abuse issue is much harder for me to comprehend. I was hit once by a boyfriend in college. One time...that was all it took ...I was outta there. No apologies, no begging, no tears could bring me back. That kind of anger scared me way too much. It is very hard for me to even listen to the stories of some of these women sometimes. I find it way beyond my understanding.

The bell rang, signaling the end of the class period, and as my student stood up to leave she said, "Maybe I'll be able to sleep when I get home."

I certainly hope she can.
"Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat."

Mother Teresa