Friday, October 3, 2008


"We are Family"
by Richard Schemmerer

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

SPURS: Roses and Doorways by Becca Pierpont

Roses and Doorways

I am standing on a white limestone paved street, staring at a garland of red fabric flowers.
In the middle of the garland is a photo of the smiling face of Sally, a young woman that many in my community adored.

She was killed here in Oaxaca, Mexico sometime in the last couple weeks. Her friends say that because she was actively working to support Oaxacan's in their struggle against corrupt government, she was killed for political reasons.

The government reports that her death was a random act of sexual violence. In either case, we are left in rage and mourning that her life was taken.
During her brief life, she fought to transcend ingrained oppression amongst people and in our social and political structures. To create a world where families could be made of love; these are true family values.

Family, it seems to me, should be a form of community that helps its members grow and learn. Not, as many would have us believe, a microcosm of corrupted government with an executive father, judicial mother, and dysfunctional legislative siblings.

But because interpersonal and familial power dynamics are so reflective of our larger social structures, it is quite a task to build love in our families, and to overcome oppression in our communities.

I was lucky to have met Sally, and to have learned small lessons from countless other people, which have created space for real love in my life.
I was lucky that my mother taught me about the value of transcendence.Throughout her whole life, my mother struggled against familial and cultural patterns that tear down its members.

She was a brave woman, who though shy, would clear her throat and stand up to speak, when others found it easier to go with the flow, and let injustice enfold them.

Despite the rocky times that are almost inevitable between parents and children in the process of growing up, my mother and I developed a really powerful relationship.
We helped each other sort out turmoil from ourlives, see our strengths in a new light, and heal old personal and family wounds.
There was no more hiding from each other.

To me, it is sad that I write about these two amazing women in the past tense, but it seems to me to be another important family value that we remember and understand the legacies of those that have passed on.
I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the impact of history and all those positive and negative aspects that are rippling out into the present from years, decades, and generations ago.
Yet, if we give up the work of communicating, remembering, thinking and dreaming about our families and communities, we abdicate all the most beautiful and noble things that parents have ever done for their children, or children for their parents,or people for other people in general.

My mother told a friend of hers about a dream she had one night, in which we were standing at an open door that stared out into a void. My mother`s task was to open the door, and though she succeeded in the dream, we had not yet exited through the door when she awoke with a start.
She recounted to her friend tearfully, that perhaps it was left to others to figure out how to get out of that door.

I feel that precipice, because people whom I love and have loved have opened that door for me, helping me see my way out of fear and alienation; but it is up to me and up to every individual to figure out how to step over the threshold.

Part of the fear about that gaping doorway is that once you're out of it, there's no going back in and it is unknown.
We assume that what we know is safer than what we don't.
But I think that illusion of control has been pulled out of me pretty thoroughly by now. The values I choose to keep will open windows for next generations, and not close them.

Nothing is promised, nothing is fair, and it is up to us to take responsibility for what we can in the healing of our society, even if by all rights it should not fall on us.
Because it does anyway.
Even if we feel too small, we have the obligation to live true to our hearts, despite the preposterous odds.

Roses and Doorways by Becca Pierpont

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Spurs Viewer/Readers platform Jackie.T. Gabel

In response to "send me your thoughts:

"In this time and place "equality" is the most overly sold iconic "value."

The notion that "everyone" can be "anything" they wish is phony, yet, retains immense sales value. Numerous projects are lavishly funded, based primarily on this notion.

The spurious logic at work is the misinterpretation of the concept "equal opportunity" into the message "equality." Over-selling "equality," is the classic work of apparatchik, social engineers. The only true measure of their success is in their retaining their own positions, salaries and benefits, while doling out phony hope and recognition to armies of poorly educated, marginally trained aspirants, but from which once-in-a-million a star does rise.

Finally, when these career bureaucrats (public or private, no difference) socialize, it's rarely, if ever, with the "equalized" masses they presumably serve. They prefer to move among the "elite," whose guilt, due to their success, due in large part to their privilege, it is their real mission to ameliorate. Mission success does then, hopefully, lift them out of so-called public servitude, into the realm of the "elite."

Better than "equal" any day, but never mentioned as it is proscriptively "off message." Indeed, some really are "more equal than others."

© 2008 Jackie T. Gabel

can you give a bit more depth like are you talking about equality under the law

>>>>>>>>>>> I wrote "icon." That's what I mean.

who are you talking about when you say elite

>>>>>>>>>>> in the US social milieu, elite = monetary wealth; where virtually everyone knows the price of everything and the value of nothing; and though you might reply,
"what value(s)?"
I would say this, "As an artist I focus on human values as determined culturally, intellectually, artistically, (i.e. aesthetically) and in that respect I am elite, as I have over decades of study, work, creation, editing, production and evaluation, refined the "value" therein (i.e. the aesthetic)" to which I aspire.

Aren't we all an elite in someone else's eye that is below uslike someone from another country?

>>>>>>>>>>> "...below us like someone from another country?" curious notion.
Most of my professional colleagues are 'from another country" and generally they don't hold Americans in particularly high regard culturally, intellectually, artistically.
On that we fully agree. And, the roughly 15% of my life lived outside the US confirms it.

In fact, I'm seriously considering leaving again, probably forever.

of course you right saying everyone can be anything is false and naive
so what's the alternative to that

>>>>>>>>>>> that is a reflection, not a problem to be solved. I'm not a social engineer. I'm pointing out the "oversold" status of the "equality" icon, the hypocrisy in it, the specious concept that, for example:
a ballet made by people with zero professional training and zero experience is artistically and aesthetically valuable. [not an idle speculation, it was done at the TBA:07 Festival]One might make the case that it's "socially" valuable as a unique experience.

On the other hand, I would make, in my opinion a stronger a case for it being only "conceptually" valuable, in that having pondered the concept for, say 1 minute to be generous, there's no longer any need to experience its execution.
Phony naivete of this sort is nothing for which there is a burning need of an "alternative." It's symptomatic of the "oversold" status of the icon of "equality." It's not a thing to be made into a cause célèbre (as say, US sanctioned torture, to offer an extreme example), but it is phenomenon which posing creative-somethings should be made aware.

The most curious aspect of so-called post modern art is that such naivete becomes something of an aesthetic unto itself and the presumed "equality" in the concept actually elevates the self delusional naivete of the "creator" (conceptor?) into something of a ridiculous, onanistic ego trip. Finally concepts like a "less-than-dilettante ballet" are voraciously gobbled up by the uber-posers who fund them, as a sort of feel-good placebo, in service to the "over-sold equality" icon.

What I mean is go over your written thoughts and elaborate on your main points but maybe also come up with some solutions

>>>>>>>>>> actually I spent enough time editing that little piece already - to me it's more artistic than didactic -
not to diminish your role as an editor, but I feel the Orwell quote with which I closed the little ditty, qualifies the piece.
I don't find Orwell offering "solutions," and I don't feel the need to do so either.

Sorry, if I seem garrulous and cranky here. It's probably a symptom of my age and I think the already-edited piece avoids that.

Sincerely, Jackie T. Gabel

Monday, September 29, 2008

Spurs viewers/readers comments: Justin King

My name is Justin King.
Here is a painting that I thought would be appropriate considering your title.
I have been a stay-at-home Dad for the last three years. That is probably the driving force behind my newer paintings. I found that it was difficult to pursue the large scale abstract paintings that I had prior to having children. I slowly transitioned into working small scale and started working from images that I discovered in my daily surroundings. The image that I sent you is of our bath tub with my oldest son's toys (some broken and some not). Emotionally, I have mixed feelings a about the picture. It reminds me of my son and his toys seemingly everywhere I step, while It also reminds me how confining being a stay-at-home parent can be. I doubt anyone would perceive a sense of confinement in the picture but that was certainly in the back of my mind while painting it. Aside from the painting's content, I fell in love with the beauty of the subtle color transitions caused by Oregon's soft winter light.
I hope that I answered your question. Please let me know if you have any more questions

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Spurs Editor's letter

to SPURS edition
" Family & Other Values"

Each issue will deal loosely with a subject until the "the Well of inspiration" runs dry and another header bubbles up to the surface of the worlds mind to be observed and explored.

The Experiment

Life is an experiment and comes at you fast and furious. As soon as you take your first breath it's all about survival. Without a nurturing environment our chances of becoming a healthy human being are slim.
We are dependent on others to provide us with the essential means to grow physically, mentally and emotionally into independent beings. Lots of things can happen on the way to adulthood and not all of them are like a joy ride in Disneyland as we all know.

Some of our memories of "family" and what it means left a negative imprint on our psyche and we still carry subconsciously the culminated baggage with us and superimpose it onto our world.
Forgiveness comes to mind and sharing if you had an amazing upbringing.

Lately a part of our society has catapulted them selves into the limelight as the experts on family values and have taken on a position of superiority to label others as less qualified even indulging in some condescending language of outdated down right hateful stereo typing.

Luckily many of us have learned how to patch or heal the wounds of the past and how to built new supportive alliances in the form of a so called extended family a bit like the Ohana principle in the ancient Hawaiian culture.
Never the less I have become aware of a comer sum trend of isolationism and ghetto thinking that is caused by a media driven hyper individualisation that of course profits mostly capitalistic structures by making as feel inadequate and puts us in a mode of perpetual competition thinking.
Like who is smarter, holier, prettier, slimmer, has more muscles, money and stamina. You get the point I am trying to make.

On a happier note I see a trend, a desire, a return to community based thinking. Slogans like "we are the world" start to resonate with the old and the new generations as humanity awakens to new challenges that can only be adressed if we realized how interconnected we realy are.

That brings me back full circle to our theme. It's like climing a mountain that we climbed once before but this time we are trying to find a more efficient path to the top with less hard ship and enviromental impact.
So I invite you all to help eachother on the way because I know from my own expirience that a shared moment is a moment filled with a deeper satisfaction then an individual one.
Together we are greater then the sum of our individual abilities.

Together we form human-kind.


Richard Schemmerer

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008




magazine for a thinking population