Archive for January, 2010

I became aware of this film during a workshop with famed video artist Charles Atlas. Sergei Parajanov was one of the great Soviet film makers, and one of the more controversial for his time. After breaking with the institutionally approved “Soviet Realism” style, Parajanov was routinely persecuted, denied funding, and eventually imprisoned for homosexual acts. “Sayat Nova,” “King of Songs,” was the moniker given the 18th century Armenian poet Harutyan Sayatyan (the film is marketed to the English speaking world as “The Color of Pomegranates). As luck would have it, the whole film is on Google video:

It is indeed a feature film of about 70 minutes. If you’re pressed for time and want a taste, I suggest the Prayer Before the Hunt scene at around 19:00. It may give you an appetite for more, as it did for me.

What I love most is how Parajanov uses the still frame and the choreography to activate iconic portraiture. The work is a remarkable marriage of 20th century film editing technology with the image production of the 18th century Persian empire. Fans of Meredith Monk or Christopher Williams should get a kick out of it, as should anyone else who enjoys the poetry of image – it is beautifully composed.


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Sweet Sight

As I intend this blog to be a resource for my community of artists, I hope that it can serve to spread the word when a member of that community is in need. My long time friend and colleague, Cadence Dubus, shares her life with Sugar, a five year old pitt bull. I know Sugar as a friend, a rehearsal assistant, and a treasured companion for Cadence. Sugar has struggled for the past year or so with genetic diabetes, complications of which have resulted in chronic cataracts over the last few months. If you know Sugar or understand the very special relationship one can have with an animal companion, please read what Cadence has to say and consider helping her in her campaign for Sugar’s surgery:

“Dear Friends,
As most of you know, I have a lovely dog, Sugar, whom
I adopted 3 ½ years ago. What some of you might not know is that Sugar
ironically developed Diabetes 10 months ago. Her diabetes is most
likely genetic, much like human Type 2 Diabetes. It was not because of
her diet or weight – in fact Sugar has always maintained a very sleek
and athletic build and during her diagnosis we struggled to keep her
weight up instead of trying to lose.

Sugar’s disease means that
I give her an insulin injection twice a day, every 12 hours and that I
bring her for regular vet check ups and maintain her weight on a simple
formula food as well as regular exercise to make sure she burns off her
excess blood sugar each day. I also have a lovely dog walker who comes
3xs per week when I am teaching at 7am, before Sugar’s shot time, so
that she gets her breakfast and injection on schedule.

Sugar’s disease has been life altering for both of us, I have welcomed
the personal growth that the new responsibilities and strict regime
have afforded in my life. I have always felt that Sugar and I were
destined to be together and there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for her
happiness, which is also my happiness. 

A dog with Diabetes has
the same life expectancy as a healthy dog. With her Insulin well
regulated she has no more health problems or concerns that any other
dog would have. There is one issue which occurs in 80% of diabetic
dogs, usually within the first year of diagnosis; cataracts. As of 2
weeks ago Sugar has developed cataracts in both her eyes. They develop
surprisingly fast and make daily life increasingly difficult.

is only 5 years old and as most of you know extremely energetic and
playful. Her blindness has been extremely stressful for both of us. We
now struggle with our evening walks, as she is more prone to knocking
into objects when she doesn’t have light to help distinguish objects or
movement. The Veterinary Ophthalmologist described her vision as being
like looking through frosted glass. It will only get worse and she is
now knocking into things in our apartment as well as struggling to
recognize people she knows very well who come through the door. 

can sense her frustration and confusion and it is heartbreaking. The
first time I noticed that her vision had significantly deteriorated she
was trying to fetch her favorite toy and came back to my feet with her
tail between her legs looking upset that she wasn’t able to find it in
the small space where we were playing. 

After consulting her
primary Diabetic Specialist and the Veterinary Ophthalmologist I have
decided to have her receive cataract surgery. It is the same surgery
humans receive; a quick and safe surgery with excellent results. It
would be the only time she would need it and she would never have this
problem again. It is also the last major health issue we will have to
deal with that relates to her illness. I have pet health insurance for
her but they do not cover her Diabetes, as it is a ‘pre-existing
condition’ at this stage. 
The surgery would take 2 hours with a
24-hour vet stay and a 1-week recovery at home wearing a collar and
using eye drops. She will be able to see immediately. 

I have
decided to do this because Sugar could easily live another 10 years of
vital health. Our childhood dog, the same breed, lived to 16 with no
slow-down in energy or health till her last day. Sugar is only 5 years
old and most who meet her think I meant to say 5 months old. She loves
to walk at the Red Hook docks and run off the leash in tall field grass
where she likes to do both her favorite things at the same time; eat
wild grass and run – by running with her mouth open, taking big bites
as she leaps! The fall before last she learned to swim by imitating my
boyfriend’s dog and has since developed a love of water and playing
fetch in the open waves. She is truly a joy to be around, a sidekick
and an animal that is my friend as much as my baby. 

Cataract Surgery must be done within 1-2 months because her eyes are
healthy now and the cataracts can cause pressure to either build or
drop in the eye, causing complications for the prospective surgery. The
cost of the surgery is 5,000$. They do both eyes at the same time and
we have opted for the hard lens replacement which costs about 600$ less
than the newer soft lens replacement, but with the same effect, same
safety and sight.

I am asking for help from my friends and
colleges because 5,000$ is more than I have to put towards this
necessary care. Though Sugar is my responsibility, there are times in
anyone’s life when certain cares are more than they can handle on their
own. I believe we live within a community that has the ability to rise
to help those in struggle. Please help me give Sugar the life she
deserves and give her back her sight. If you have any fundraising ideas
or abilities, if you think your place of work, your place of worship,
your co-operative, your other friends, would be open to passing the hat
for Sugar please let me know. The ChipIn tab goes directly to an
account used solely for this purpose. If everyone on this invite gave
25$ the goal would be reached. If that is too much please donate
whatever you feel you can and please pass this on to family or friends
you feel might help. Thank you so much, I will keep you updated with
Sugar’s progress. 
Thank you for your kind support. 


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