Author Archives: Leslie

OTTAWA, Illinois: 1967 – Review from Photo Metro

This review appeared in the magazine PHOTO METRO, in San Francisco, April, 1992. Selected photos from the book are below the text.

The little girl leans against the rail and the carnival ride whirls past her. In Jonathan Clark’s photograph, “Reverie: Carnival,” this image encompasses a sense of time, immediacy and distance that characterizes Clark’s collection, “Ottawa: 1967/1990.” Clark took these photos on a family trip to his hometown in northern Illinois when he was fifteen. He printed them in 1990. The results are a stunning revelation of what was once ordinary life and now lives most in memory and myth: the mid-western American small town. The images are precious for more than his­torical documentation. They speak of the moment the present becomes memory. The girl is still; the ride moves on. She stays in Ottawa; the carnival will travel beyond.
The presence of the black edge of the neg­ative bordering the prints and a white, enor­mous sky emphasizes the encapsulation of time. The artist acknowledges his medium. The frame creates the effect of looking through an old photo album and becomes a window. This is a picture of a very par­ticular place in this instant of time. The vast white space of Illinois sky, however, answers with a contradictory impression as it appears to reach out of the frame forever.
In “Cornhusker,” a man in jeans, workshirt, and cap appears out of a structure and breaks into the perfect whiteness. His irreg­ular form emerges from the line created by the nearly white symmetry of the top of the structure. He is rumpled, real, maybe better than monumental. Gazing past his work, he looks immobile.
“Ernie” is a farmer whose face is the only close-up in the collection. The astounding details of the print show the lines and creases on eyes and mouth, the salt and pepper stubble on cheek and chin, the bits of hay dust on cap and coat, and his dry, worker’s hand. The bill of his cap also juts into that white distance. Ernie is a man entirely of the present moment but with a far-away look in his eye. Neither he nor the cornhusker give clues as to what they are seeing.
“Barn” has multiple surfaces and some secret story. A profusion of underbrush—leafy, flowering, feathery or spiky—climbs a small hill toward the weath­ered boards and broken glass of the aban­doned barn. The artist has achieved a white-on-white contrast of church-like roof and empty sky.
The technique in the entire collection is advanced far beyond either what one might expect from a fifteen-year-old with a half­-frame, 35 mm camera or the current pho­tographic scene and its focus on mixed media and body parts. In that context, this is like leaving a heavy metal performance and walking in on a concert of Bach.
Each image is rich in textures and design. The “Service Station” man creates an immense, heroic diagonal diagram with his arms. A fence made of smaller slats of wood marches up the hill alongside the “Barn.” Its boards are flattened on a differ­ent plane, and a row of ferny growth beside the fence echoes these lines showing both the lightest weight and the darkest value.
The rich growth appears again as the grass between the girl and the carnival ride. The spinning machine has been plunked down on top of the native grass. In “Tractor in Cornfield,” one senses the shape and weight of each lump of earth, the rows of young plants, and seemingly every leaf on the distant trees around the field. The minute detail within a larger design calls the onlooker to wonder at reality, the here and now of the world of these pictures
A philosophy of seeing emerges from the contrast of that cornfield with “Shale Pile.” A bare tree trunk has fallen across a barren black pile with a pitted, rough surface. Its upward curve, cut twice by the angles of dead tree trunks is crowned by a glimpse of a leafy, frilly tree top. That living prize is beyond this pile; the picture promises that it exists, but where is not revealed.
In Ottawa, there is a lot of watching and waiting. The artist, essential onlooker, shows others suspended in their own activ­ities. A woman waits for a tire change, lit­erally suspended in the jacked-up car, and there is no suggestion that anyone but the viewer knows that she is there. A couple looks in a sweet-shop window; a child gazes out of a train window; two men, pro­tected by backyard shrubbery, sit calmly watching a barbecue. The artist captures himself in a self-portrait-with-camera in a rear-view mirror. This is the only reminder that this world is also autobiography. Time is not pushed by the inhabitants of these frames, nor does it ruffle them.
The world from outside Ottawa is represented in the carnival pictures. Two of them present side-show billboards for the viewer to read. Both describe the aftermath of Hiroshima. One proclaims a two-headed baby; the other issues a warning about atomic radiation: “Geneticists State Mutations So Produced Will Go Down Hundreds of Years.” If the denizens of northern Illinois see this as the best the other worlds have to offer, what advantage to corn and hogs?
The effect of us watching them watching and waiting is underscored by the artist’s appearance in the mirror. He is there but at a distance. Now part of the world away from Ottawa, his experience of coming home again is as a reflected reality.
Real time is still in this presentation of Ottawa. It is as though the people, usually alone or in pairs like the two hogs in the “Illinois Landscape,” could hold their breath and, being still, still be there. The artist shows us his “Grandmother’s Window” Through it we see her cut-glass bottles and plants, but not her. The beauty of these objects, glass window lighting glass and reflecting back, tells something about the woman who selected them, but they are still, and she is gone.
In this collection, Jonathan Clark reveals himself as an artist with an eye for the smallest forms of life who is yet not afraid to present such images in the largest world. The Cornhusker enters that vast white sky just as voluptuous leaves of corn break the emptiness with their arching growth. The magic of the here and now within these black-bordered frames is the power to pre­sent a true moment and the promise that these images are solid and real. We can watch like the people in the pictures, but we can never wait long enough to get those moments back. The honesty of the presen­tation, however, also suggests that to have the real is to have real loss as well.
All photos by Jonathan L. Clark. Top row, L to R: Barn, Corn; Lower row, Landscape, Ernie

GIVE LIVELY BOOKS!

It is time to make your list, choose gifts that are just right–time to select Lively gifts! The Lively Foundation helps you by offering three splendid Lively books. They are beautiful to look at, entertaining, and enlightening to read. You will be tempted to give one (or more) to yourself; better buy two of each!

OTTAWA, ILLINOIS: 1967 Photographs by Jonathan Clark, published by Nazraeli Press. This award winning book presents photos of the small town the artist lived in for his first 10 years. He took the pictures when 15 years old. Like the Mozart of photography, his art was already outstanding. Ottawa still exists, but the way of life there is different. You will see a time that is gone in meaningful, beautiful photographs.

THE DANCER’S GARDEN, This beautiful book has text and photos by Leslie Friedman with additional photos by artist Jonathan Clark and one  by Dennis Parks, English actor. Review and comments on this book call it “a treasure,” “a marvel,” and “a wonderful quirky, perky series of ruminations on gardens, flowers, plants, trees, cats, people, indeed life. It has magnificent photographs…It is an exhilarating read!”

THE STORY OF OUR BUTTERFLIES: Mourning Cloaks in Mountain View, Text by Leslie Friedman with photos by Jonathan Clark and Leslie Friedman. Jonathan and Leslie see a butterfly lay eggs on a willow tree. They bring the eggs inside to protect them, care for them through all their life stages, and release the butterflies into nature. Explore cultural ties with butterflies in Chinese legends, Shakespeare’s plays, American pop music, Mozart and Puccini. Climate change threatens butterflies and yet they symbolize hope.

All three books are available now, hardback, fine paper.  Prices include shipping. If you use PayPal, add $1.50 to price. To use PayPal: go to the landing page of livelyfoundation.org  Scroll down to the DONATE button. Follow PayPal instructions OR make your check to The Lively Foundation, mail it to The Lively Foundation/550 Mountain View Ave/Mountain View, CA 94041-1941

OTTAWA, ILLINOIS: 1967                    $55

The Dancer’s Garden                          $45

The Story of Our Butterflies               $36

HAPPY HOLIDAYS from The Lively Foundation!

 

Butterflies Released! Leslie Friedman’s New Book

The Lively Foundation is proud to announce the release of The Story of Our Butterflies: Mourning Cloaks in Mountain View, the new book by Leslie Friedman. It is a beautiful book with many full color, often full page photographs by Jonathan Clark and Leslie Friedman.

Front cover is a close up of the wing of a Mourning Cloak butterfly. Back cover shows Mourning Cloak caterpillars devouring willow leaves.

The story begins when Mr. Clark and Ms Friedman observe a butterfly lingering on a tiny branch of a pussy willow tree. They see that the butterfly has lain eggs and bring the twig inside to protect the eggs from predators. The story continues through all the stages of life: egg, about five different stages of caterpillar, butterfly. More than 125 butterflies were released in nature preserves. The continual and rapid growth of the caterpillars, their vigorous appetites, the beauty of the butterflies make a suspenseful and engaging tale,

The book explores the relationship of human cultures to butterflies through Chinese legends, Shakespeare’s plays, American pop music. It reveals the desperate plight of all butterflies as the climate changes. There are fascinating Appendices which include an array of butterfly information: how a border wall between the US and Mexico endangers butterfly existence; how to say “butterfly” in many languages; how butterflies symbolize hope for diverse individuals and groups. Questions are answered: does the woolly bear predict weather like an insect version of the groundhog? Did Nathaniel Hawthorne write about butterflies and happiness?

CHRISTMAS IS (always) COMING! Remember books from The Lively Foundation: beautiful to look at, enlightening and entertaining to read. Great for birthdays, Mother’s Day, everyday when you want to read a great book. Be cozy this Christmas: shop from home and let Lively package and send your gifts. Ways to buy this book are listed below this picture.

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The Story of Our Butterflies: Mourning Cloaks in Mountain View is available now from The Lively Foundation. Two ways to order it:

#1) Make your check for $36 to The Lively Foundation and mail it to The Lively Foundation/550 Mountain View Avenue/Mountain View, CA 94041-1941   Price includes postage.

#2) If you prefer to use PayPal instead of a personal check, please add $1.25 for a total of $37.25. Go to the landing page of this site, scroll down to see the DONATE button, click on that, follow PayPal’s directions.   Price includes postage.

#3) Hand-delivered book cost is $29.95.

 

Stanford’s Company of Authors presents Leslie Friedman

Congratulations to Leslie Friedman, Artistic Director of The Lively Foundation!  Stanford University’s distinguished program, Company of Authors, honored her by inviting her to talk about her book, The Dancer’s Garden. Company of Authors presents Stanford related writers to talk about recent publication. The program took place over Zoom on October 24. There were 17 speakers all from a wide variety of fields. Leslie received her Ph.D. in History from Stanford. The event was free and open to the public; only pre-registration was required in order to receive the Zoom code.

The Dancer’s Garden, published in 2019, is available from The Lively Foundation and the Stanford Bookstore.

Response to Leslie’s talk was so positive that she immediately received an invitation to present her new book, The Story of Our Butterflies: Mourning Cloaks in Mountain View, in the next Company of Authors, April 24, 2021. This year’s Company of Authors was originally scheduled for May 2, 2020. It would have been live, in person, and on campus at the Stanford Center for the Humanities. The Stanford campus closed because of the pandemic, the Authors’ program, postponed, became a virtual event. With each author appearing individually from his or her home, the relationship of speaker to listeners became even more personal. The hugely successful event was created by History Professor, Peter Stansky. He serves as the moderator of the program. Professor Stansky gave Leslie an exceptionally generous introduction. Christina Fajardo of Stanford’s Continuing Studies coordinated the program and managed the technical direction.  It was a wonderful experience, and we are looking forward to April 24th next year!

Leslie’s Play, The Panel, Given Reading by Play by Play

Lively’s Artistic Director, Leslie Friedman, wrote The Panel, a one -act play, in 2005. It was accepted for performances at the Marin Festival of New Plays and received awards for Best Play, Best Actor, and Best Director. On September 27, 2020, The Panel was read – online – for an audience, also online, as the September event of Play by Play, an organization based in Oakland that presents readings of new one acts. Play by Play was founded by Judith Offer, herself a playwright and poet.

Please see link below to watch a video of the reading. This will be available for two weeks after the reading, closing, we believe, on October 11.

Originally scheduled for a live presentation in March, 2020, the pandemic forced that date to be canceled. Leslie said, “It was great to receive the invitation from Judith to put The Panel’s reading on Play by Play’s calendar.”  The readers all gave outstanding performances even though they were seen in a small screen instead of on a stage. Here they are:


Readers from top L: Pam Wong (The Young One), Laurie Mokriski (The White Ethnic Dancer), Torey Bookstein (The Great One, and The Jive Person), Paul Harkness (The Old One), Jonathan Clark (The Film Guy), Susannah Wood (The Moderator).

The performances were fantastic. The readers created a theater within the small, electronic box and brought their sometimes troublesome, often funny characters into three dimensional life. It was an exciting event! Some comments from audience: “I loved it!” “I loved it and thought it was perfect!” “We enjoyed it!” “The dialogue is incredibly clever! Thanks for a delightful afternoon.”

Here is a link to the recording of the reading. Please remember that this is a second generation recording and the sound may not be consistent. Thank you for your interest and CONGRATULATIONS TO THE CAST!

Share recording with viewers:
https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/zEGhNdHrWYpgk-5c53CR-vfXODBabO1S8tHpzkT7JoIBgIBf5kkxcr9dqm6bnX6a.qzLPJWjNfcNL_0z3 Passcode: !9PW3upU

 

 

 

Registration Closes August 3 at Midnight

You have been thinking about it and cannot decide. The Full Day of Dance© sounds so good but do you really want to commit the time? Can you decide which classes to take? Maybe you need to think about it some more before you go to the Reg. Form. Nope, you do not need to think about it some more. The classes are all amazing and led by gifted artists who are also gifted teachers. Time’s almost up! Monday night is IT.

 

The time is now. Dance is time made visual. Jump in.  You will be dancing in your home, alone, with no one watching you. You will only be watching the artist teaching. This is ideal. While you are here on the Livelyblog, go to

http://www.livelyfoundation.org/wordpress/?p=3418   There you will find the link to the Registration Form.   Do it now; you will be so delighted with the fun you will have dancing.

Time to Dance! Register NOW!

It’s time! Register for Full Days of Dance©! Do it now. August 8 & 9 are only a couple of weeks away even though they are in another month. Strange how that happens. You have such great classes to choose from; you may just want to sign up for them all. This is a unique opportunity to take classes from wonderful artists who are also wonderful teacher, and it is all for FREE! Unbelievable, but true. For more about the teachers and classes please

Visit http://www.livelyfoundation.org/wordpress/?p=3396

To register for your classes please visit

REGISTRATION FORM FOR FULL DAYS OF DANCE@!!!

OR, just go back to the landing page and click on the posts you will see on your right hand side. This is going to be fun. Come dance with us.

FULL DAY OF DANCE© RETURNS!!!

The Full Day of Dance© a unique, wonderful feature of the International Dance Festival@Silicon Valley will be back this August 8 & 9. Classes will be offered over Zoom.  ALL CLASSES ARE FREE! This is too good to be true, but it really is true. Lively offers an array of artist-teachers who are gifted dance artists who also excel in the art of teaching. PLEASE NOTE: (1)  Teachers will perform at the end of their class. You will want to sign up for the class to see the performance. (2) Classes are free, however you need to register to get the sign in code. Here are the artist teachers of Full Day of Dance© 2020:

Chrystal Bella Chen & Oscar Adrian Rodriguez are champion ballroom dancers. They will teach ballroom dance on Sunday afternoon, August 9. At the end of the class THEY WILL PERFORM!! You do not have to have a partner to learn the dance steps. No worries, you will enjoy it all!! The music is great, and Chrystal Bella and Oscar will help you improve what you already know or quickly learn what is new to you.

Audreyanne Delgado Covarrubias will teach Tap Dance on Saturday, August 8, and Pilates mat on Sunday August 9. Audreyanne is a MASTER of TAP. Do not miss the chance to learn and dance with her. She is an excellent and attentive teacher. After her class, watch AUDREYANNE PERFORM! You will wonder how she taps when it looks like her feet never touch the ground!!

Shambhavi Dandekar, Founder and Director of SISK in India and California will teach Kathak on August 8th. Kathak is a classical dance of India. All levels are welcome, beginners and experienced artists. Kathak tells stories with rhythmic feet, swirling turns, expressive arms. This is a GREAT opportunity to take a master class from one of the foremost Kathak artists. If you are a beginner, remember you will be at home! No need to be shy or worry about missing a step. This is your chance! Try it! By the way, Kathak and Tap can make a great combination. After her class, see SHAMBHAVI DANDEKAR in PERFORMANCE!

She’s back! Megan Ivey Rohrbacher teaches Physical Comedy on Sunday afternoon, August 9th. Last seen, she was given a going away party after a wonderful workshop she led at IDF@SV, 2018. Immediately after the cake and hugs, Megan went to Hawaii to get married. Now, all the way from Hawaii she will join in Full Day of Dance©.  And MEGAN PERFORMS AFTER HER CLASS!

Etta Walton!! Etta will lead her fantastic LIne Dances class on Saturday, August 8. Etta’s class is fun for everyone, even the person writing this post who is also the person facing the back wall while everyone else faces the front. Great dancing for everyone. Terrific music–western and soul and pop–and ETTA WILL PERFORM AFTER THE CLASS.

Annie Wilson has got that JAZZ! She taught and performed in the 2018 Festival, and we are happy she’s back! She will teach Jazz dance on August 8th. All levels welcome. Get ready for Jazz. At the end of the class ANNIE WILL PERFORM!

PLEASE NOTE:  ALL THE CLASSES ARE FREE, BUT YOU STILL NEED TO REGISTER. AFTER YOU REGISTER AND A FEW DAYS BEFORE THE CLASSES, YOU WILL RECEIVE SIGN IN INFORMATION.  FOR REGISTRATION INFORMATION AND SCHEDULE DETAILS WATCH THIS LIVELYBLOG!

SENATOR CORY BOOKER EXPERIENCED POLICE PREJUDICE

Senator Cory Booker, US Senator from New Jersey, wrote a courageous letter to his followers about the search for social justice and the blockades against achieving it. In his letter, he includes the op-ed he wrote for the Stanford Daily, the student newspaper. He was a columnist in the Daily. His op-ed recounts the life threatening situation he endured in Palo Alto while a senior at Stanford. He was an extraordinary student then as he is an extraordinary national leader now. A stellar student, he was also a star athlete on Stanford’s football team. He was a Rhodes Scholar (Queen’s College, Oxford), received an MA at Stanford and his law degree at Yale.

He wrote the article after the Rodney King verdict ignited protests, especially in the Los Angeles area. Please read it. It gives an immediate, personal description of the emotional turmoil felt by this outstanding man as a student and conveys the fear that he was forced to experience as he was surrounded by Palo Alto police holding guns on him.  I will transcribe it below. The italics are from the article.

Cory Booker: “Why have I lost control?”

1992: Cory Booker: Why have I lost control?

How can I write when I have lost control of my emotions. Not Guilty…Not Guilty…Not Guilty…Not Guilty. Not shocked–Why Not?

“TURN OFF THE ENGINE! PUT YOUR KEYS, DRIVER’S LICENSE, REGISTRATION, AND INSURANCE ON THE HOOD. NOW! PUT YOUR HANDS ON THE STEERING WHEEL AND DON’T EVEN THINK OF MOVING!”

Five police cars. Six officers surrounded my car, guns ready. Thirty minutes I sat, praying and shaking, only interrupted by the command, “I SAID, DON’T MOVE!” Finally, “Everything check out, you can go.” Sheepishly, I asked why. “Oh, you fit the description of a car thief.”

Not Guilty…Not Shocked–Why Not?

In the jewelry store, they lock the case when I walk in. In the shoe store, they help the white man who walks in after me. In the shopping mall they follow me — in the Stanford shopping mall. Last month I turned and faced their surreptitious security: “Catch any thieves today?”

Not Guilty…Not Shocked–Why Not?

September 1991, Tressider Union, back patio. A woman was struggling with her bags. “Can I help you, ma’am?” “Oh, yes, please…WAIT! You’re black!” She hurried away.

Not Guilty…Not Shocked.

I’m a black man. I am 6 feet 3 inches tall and 230 pounds, just like King. Do I scare you? am I a threat? Does your fear justify your actions? Twelve people believed it did.

Black male: Guilty until proven innocent.

Reactions to my kind are justified. Scrutiny is justified. Surveillance is justified. Search is justified. Fifty-six blows…Justified.

Justice? Dear God…

I graduated from Stanford last June–I was elated. I was one of four presidents of my class–I was proud. In the fall, I received a Rhodes Scholarship–I approached arrogance. But late one night, as I walked the streets of Palo Alto, as the police car slowed down while passing me, as his steely gaze met me, I realized that to him, and to so many others I am and always may be a Nigger: guilty till proven innocent.

I’m struggling to be articulate, loquacious, positive, constructive, but for the first time in so long, I have lost control of my emotions. Rage, Frustration, Bitterness, Animosity, Exasperation, Sadness. Emotions once suppressed, emotions once channeled, now are let lose. Why?

Not Guilty…Not Shocked.

The violence did not surprise me. If I were the powers that be, it would not have taken me three days to call the National Guard. But maybe when you’re disconnected from reality you move slowly.

Poverty, alienation, estrangement, continuously aggravated by racism, overt and institutional. Can you leave your neighborhood without being stopped? Can you get a loan from your bank? Can you be trusted at your local store?

Can you get an ambulance dispatched to your neighborhood? Can you get the police to come to your house? Can you get an education in your school? Can you get a job? Can you stay alive past 25? Can you get respect? Can you be heard?

NO! Not until someone catches on video one small glimpse of your everyday reality and even then, can you get justice?

Our inner cities are stacks of dry leaves and lumber, waiting for a spark. This is but a mere campfire compared to the potential inferno awaiting us. Conditions are worsening and the Rodney King verdict is certainly not the most egregious injustice in our midst.

Why have I lost control of my emotions? Why do my hands shake as I write? Tonight, I have no answers.

Dear God…help us to help ourselves before we become our own undoing.