Friday, July 21, 2017

"The Rivals" by the New York Classical Theatre

The New York Classical Theatre's 18th season started with Richard Brinsley Sheridan's comedy "The Rivals" (pictured below) and continues with Shakespeare's tragedy "Macbeth" (first performance is July 31 at the Battery Park's Castle Clinton.)

"The Rivals" is from 1775; it's a romantic comedy about tension between marriage for the sake of love and artifice for the sake of money. As always, I was blown away by the performances and loved drawing the actors (so much so that I attend 3 shows: at the Rockefeller Park and at the Carl Schurz park).  New York Classical's stage is all of the park, and audiences follow actors from scene to scene. Performances are free to attend - all you have to do is show up at 7pm. It's an absolute treat and delight! Get the dates and locations for the upcoming "Macbeth" performances here>
Lydia: "How charming will poverty be with him!"
David (right) about Lydia: "She has a lapdog that eats out of gold, she feeds her parrot with small pearls, and all her hair-curlers are made of bank-notes!"

Sir Anthony Absolute to Mrs Malaprop: "Madam, a circulating library in a town is as an evergreen tree of diabolical knowledge!" 
Sir Anthony Absolute (right) to his son Jack, talking about his arranged marriage: "...the lady shall be as ugly as I choose"

Sir Anthony Absolute: "..don't put me in a  P H R E N Z Y!"
Julia to Faulkland: "My heart has known no other guardian - we will fly together."
Jack Absolute (right) to Faulkland (left): "You are the most teasing, captious, incorrigible lover!—Do love like a man"
Capt. Jack Absolute (right) to Faulkland: "YOU DON'T DESERVE HER!"
Sir Lucius O'Trigger (right) to Bob (left): "Can a man commit a more heinous offence against another than to fall in love with the same woman? Oh, by my soul! it is the most unpardonable breach of friendship.
-Capt. Jack Absolute [Reads.]:  "As for the old weather-beaten she-dragon who guards you.–Who can he mean by that?"
-Mrs. Malaprop:  "Me, sir!–me!–he means me!"
Sir Lucius O'Trigger: ''Modesty is a quality in a lover more praised by the women than liked.''

The End!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Independence Day at the Beach

Beautiful weather for the 4th of July this year! Here are some pastel memories from the Coney Island beach.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

"Porcelain Grove" Solo Ceramics Show

Porcelain Grove

For the last few months, I've been busy putting together my new ceramics collection "Porcelain Grove" about trees and their meaning. As of today, the show is on view at Choplet Gallery, 238 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY, till August 3rd. Hope you can come see it! Gallery is open Mon-Fri until 11pm; Sat-Sun until 7pm. Here are a few snapshots from the 40+ collection.

Weeping Willow
Orange Tree
Sequoia Trees
Oak Tree
Baobab Tree

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Not My President's Day Rally

On this President's Day, an estimated fifteen thousand people came to the Not My President's Day rally near the Trump International Hotel and Tower at Columbus Circle in New York. According to the Facebook event for NYC, 47 thousand people marked themselves as planning to go. There were two dozen sister rallies happening around the country. The fact that this president lost the popular vote cannot be denied. "A lot of people are angry because he lost the popular vote and is ruling like somebody who won by a landslide," Lexell said (from a CNN article here).

One month into the presidency, We the People resist the new administration's executive orders that ban refugees and Muslim immigrants, that dismantle Wall Street regulations and environmental protections. We the People resist attacks on women's rights, LGBTQ rights, free speech and free media. We the People are outraged at the endless conflicts of interest, murky dealings with the Russian government and demand an investigation into the Russian interference in the election. We the People are appalled by the constant lies and the lack of moral integrity... The list just goes on, and on, and on... We the People do not accept the 45th president as legitimate. We the People want him impeached.

See more drawings by my fellow artists for democracy on Instagram @ArtistsForDemocracy

"You're Fired!"
Trump International Hotel and Tower surrounded by the protesters chanting "Not My President".

Central Park West packed with people from Columbus Circle to 68th street
Swarms of cops with batons, unleashed to disperse the rally

A faction of Trump supporters showed up after the sunset - way after the rally was over - to chant "USA! USA!" and to yell over the human wall of police separating the opposing sides "Snowflakes" and "Go Home".  They still believe in "Drain the Swamp" campaign promise, apparently. And...they are, somehow, angry, even though their "beloved" is now in the oval office.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Muslim Solidarity Rally in Times Square

Thousands of people gathered in Times Square last Sunday to say "Today I'm a Muslim Too". It was a beautiful event, with speakers of all creeds - Hindu, Jewish, Christian - who denounced the Muslim Ban and the xenophobic rhetoric of the government. The message was one of unity and equality: "Make America for Everyone". Check out @ArtistsForDemocracy on Instagram to see drawings of this event by my fellow artists.

#resist #nobannowall

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

LGBTQ Solidarity Rally NYC: A Liberal Diversity Blizzard

This past Saturday, February 4th 2017, my fellow @ArtistsForDemocracy and I were at yet another rally, this time in solidarity with the LGBTQ community. All minorities feel threatened under the new administration, and the LGBTQ rights are as fragile as ever. Many of the rally speakers talked about being refugees, persecuted in their native countries for having different gender identities. So their confluence of sexual orientations, gender identities, countries of origin and immigration or refugee statuses made them that much more vulnerable in present-day America. However, Senator Chuck Schumer, Comptroller Scott Stringer and other officials, who attended this rally, repeatedly vowed to keep New York a sanctuary city. The mood at the rally was most positive and optimistic.

Director of NYU Islamic Center started his speech with "Our Jewish Brothers and Sisters..." He condemned the president for omitting Jews in his speech on the Holocaust Remembrance Day. He ended with "You don't have to be Jewish to stand for Jewish rights. You don't have to be a woman to stand for women's rights. You don't have to be gay to stand for gay rights. You don't have to be Muslim to stand for Muslim rights."
Openly gay New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, who had swastikas etched on his house after the appointment of Bannon. The Senator called everyone to text the word "TAXES" to the 41411 number, as a way of casting a vote for disclosure of taxes for presidential candidates.

Portraits of more speakers. One of them is a Jewish gay man who fights for Muslim rights. Oliver from Nigeria, who was persecuted for being a gay activist there, found his refuge in America; he pleaded with us not to preach to the choir, but to those who support Trump.  And another speaker, whose name I, sadly, didn't catch, said that being called a liberal snowflake is appropriate, because no two snowflakes are alike, and together we create a diversity blizzard. I loved that metaphor.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Rally and March for Muslims and Allies in Foley Square

"Human Beings Will Never Be Illegal" 

Rally under the Triumph of the Human Spirit Sculpture in Foley Square.
The Rally for Muslims and Allies, organized by a well-spoken 17-year-old Hebh Jamal (below), had a crowd of more than a thousand tonight. One of the rally speakers pointed out that the resistance movement is the present-day civil rights movement of the young generation. The high-school and college contingent in the crowd represented by loudly cheering. It was awe-some to once again feel the energy of the city - people coming together and rising in peaceful protest. Tomorrow, Yemenese-run bodegas, that comprise 90% of the delis in New York, will show their resistance by shutting down 12pm-8pm. So many gatherings and rallies are happening, basically, every day, that I hope we, the people, don't run out of steam. It's only been 2 weeks of the new administration, but it feels like 10 years.

Hebh Jamal under the Triumph of the Human Spirit Sculpture

"Nothing in the world 
is more dangerous 
than sincere ignorance 
and conscientious stupidity."
- Martin Luther King Jr.

Freedom Tower was in attendance as well.
Marching towards the Immigration Court
Chanting crowd on Broadway
26 Federal Plaza building that houses the Immigration Court.

The great thing is that people - especially young people - are getting involved like never before. Women are running for local governments, volunteering in communities is on the rise, donations are pouring in for advocate groups like ACLU. Below, I'm pasting something that circulated on FB the other day, for posterity.

For everyone who did something, small or big, your efforts have been successful. Because of you:
1. Federal hiring freeze is reversed for VA (Veteran Affairs).
2. Court order Partial Stay of the immigration ban for those with valid visas.
3. Green card holders can get back in country.
4. Uber pledges $3M and immigration lawyers for its drivers after #DeleteUber trends on Twitter.
5. Affordable Care Act enrollment ads are still going to air.
6. The ACLU raised $24 million over the weekend (normally $3-4 million/year).
7. HHS, EPA, USDA gag order lifted.
8. EPA climate data no longer scrubbed from website.
9. More people of different career/religious/economic/race backgrounds are considering running for political office than ever before.
10. MOST importantly, since we live in a participatory democracy, the people are engaged.
While more is needed, sometimes you have to celebrate your wins.
Stay vigilant, but also take self care seriously. Activist burnout is a thing. Marathon, don't sprint.