May 13, 2012

Gary Snyder & The Judith Lee Stronach Poetry Lectures

This is a VISUAL presentation of this year's Judith Lee Stronach Poetry Lectures series which was held at the University of California, Berkeley, on May 11, 2012, in the Morrison Memorial Library. The event featured the lecture by Gary Snyder, Cold Mountain: the Life of Creative Translation.

I wanted to convey the visual grandeur of the event and too many words would get in the way (I know, a contradiction). For those who want more information, the links to other sites (words in green) tell the substance of the event. The beauty of the interior details are near the end of this entry.

(click on any image to see slideshow)
Raymond Lifchez, Professor of Architecture,
welcomed the audience and introduced the guest speakers.
 photo by Styrous®

Gary Snyder, born in San Francisco and raised in the Pacific Northwest, worked as a logger, a seaman on a Pacific tanker, studied Asian (Japanese, Chinese) languages At UC, Berkeley and Zen Buddhism. He was contemporaries with Beat writers Alan Ginsberg, Kenneth Rexroth, Jack Kerouac and Zen philosopher, Alan Watts.

Mr. Snyder read from some of his poems, some humorous, some poignant. He mentioned his association with the Beat poets and writers but his focus that evening was his association with Han Shan, whose poetry he translated in his book, Cold Mountain: The Life of Creative Translation.

The audience was transfixed.


The Library was filled to the rafters for the event. 

Before the proceedings had started, I found myself sitting next to a charming and lovely young woman who turned out to be the Spring 2010 winner of the The Judith Lee Stronach Baccalaureate Prize, Irene Kucherova.

An architecture major, Ms. Kucherova was awarded the Stronach Baccalaureate Prize for a social outreach and enrichment project at an orphanage in Kherson in the Ukraine.

Irene Kucherova with the childresn
photographer unknown

The  Judith Lee Stronach Baccalaureate Prize was established in Stronach's honor by her husband, Raymond Lifchez.

After the reading there was a simple but elegant reception.

The event was conducted in the elegant Morrison Memorial Library, (one of 32 University of California, Berkeley, libraries) opened in 1928 as a traditional library reading room. It is nestled within the Doe Library, a Beaux-Arts Classical building designed by campus architect, John Galen Howard. It is complete with coffered ceilings, overstuffed chairs, Oriental rugs, busts, brass reading lamps and fine art.

It is beyond words to describe the intricate architectural beauty of the space, so, images will have to do it for me.

Doe Library entrance
What a beautiful evening it was.

 ~ ~ ~

Judith Lee Stronach donated to many organizations including the largest gift the National Organization for Women has ever received in its 38-year history. She founded the Judith Lee Stronach Human Rights Award which is given annually to an individual or organization who has made an outstanding contribution to the movement for global justice.

The Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, a public interest law office located in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, received the 2009 Judith Lee Stronach Human Rights Award from the Center for Justice & Accountability. Founded in 1995, its mission is to work with victims of human rights violations and to force open the doors of Haiti's justice system for the majority of Haitians who are poor,

Judith Lee Stronach was an arts advocate and rights activist as reported by SFGATE. I remember house-sitting for her on Cedar Street in the late 80's and early 90's; at some point she published a book, Visible and Vulnerable, the People We See on Berkeley's Streets. It was an innovative effort to provide assistance for the homeless to earn money by selling the books. It was written to encourage them to open choices that enabled them and provided them with the skills they needed to problem-solve for themselves. She published the books and paid for them out of her own pocket then gave the books for free to the homeless to sell on the streets and keep the money for themselves. I remember the homeless people who picked up the books and drifted through the beautifully simple but elegant house. It was quite a contradiction of life styles, to say the least.

The Judith Lee Stronach Poetry Lectures series, an annual event, are available in print at the University of California Press.

Styrous® ~ May, 2012

May 12, 2012

All of Us or None

    Political Posters of the 1960's 
                      photo by Styrous®

This is the second blog about two exhibitions showing at the Oakland Museum of California. The first blog was, The 1968 Exhibit.

The exhibition, All Of Us Or None, features posters that protested the Viet Nam war, corporate greed, political corruption and the employed homeless; advocated workers rights, Indian rights, women's rights, gay rights and  .  .  .  .  hold it just a damned minute there!!!

Doesn't this all sound way too familiar? I guess some things just never change.

(click on any image for slideshow)
photo montage by Styrous®

The posters range from the horrific (of course) . . .

After the Cambodia bombing and murders at Kent State and Augusta, public silkscreen workshops organized on dozens of campuses, producing at least 450 designs at Berkeley alone. Here an image, taken from Francisco Goya, of the god Kronos eating his children reflects the anger felt at the moment.

print by Jay Belloli
Amerika Is Devouring It's Children
photo by Styrous®

(Hitler with Nixon Mask)
photo by Styrous®

. . . to the hysterically humorous . . .  

Virtue Hathaway  (Shirley Boccacio) ~ artist
Fuck Housework

. . . to the beautifully nostalgic.

The fist is a predominate theme through the posters.

Frank Cieciorka ~ artist (1939-2008)
Untitled (woodcut "Hand")
circa 1966

Frank Cieciorka ~ artist (1939-2008)
Untitled (poster version of 1965 woodcut "Hand")
circa 1966
photo by Styrous®

In addition to the omnipresent fist
there is a plethora of penis references, such as . . .

photo by Styrous®

The All of Us or None exhibition draws from the All Of Us Or None (AOUON) archive project which was started by Free Speech Movement activist Michael Rossman in 1977 to gather and document posters of modern progressive movements in the United States. Though some early works are included, its focus is on the domestic political poster renaissance that began in 1965 and continues to this day. When Rossman died May 12, 2008 his family donated the collection to the Oakland Museum of California.

All in all, I spent several hours browsing through the many images. Most I'd never seen before. Some brought back memories, some pleasant, some not. It's an exhibition for entertainment, nostalgia, historical observation as well as education. In other words, it is not to be missed.

Styrous ~ May, 2012