February 28th, 2003

Hearing War Drums, Iraqis Still March to Their Own Beat

(from NYT article)

BAGHDAD, Feb. 27 ? A revival of the classic “Epic of Gilgamesh” is scheduled to open in about two weeks at the Rashid Theater in downtown Baghdad. The troupe, rehearsing every afternoon in a dusty, ill-lighted space upstairs at the government-run General Organization for Theater and Cinema, realizes that its ancient odyssey about life and death along the Euphrates may be overshadowed by an all-too-vivid, modern version right outside at just about the same time.

“If the war happens, we will present the play, even if we only draw a small audience,” said Kasim Al-Sumary, the director, optimistic that a few brave souls might wander abroad even in the face of an American attack. “If we only thought about war, we could not go on with the rehearsals.”


February 27th, 2003

‘Madness of George Dubya’ a UK hit

Wednesday, February 5, 2003 – CNN article

British theatre-goers are flocking to a new
farce which mocks U.S. President George W. Bush as a pyjama-wearing buffoon
cuddling a teddy-bear while his crazed military chiefs order nuclear strikes
on Iraq. “The Madness of George Dubya” — which mercilessly satirises British Prime
Minister Tony Blair as well as Bush — has proved such a success at a fringe
theatre in London that it is moving to a larger venue next week for an
extended run. “As war comes closer, the mood among audiences has changed,” actor Nicholas
Burns, who plays Blair, said after a performance this week. “The audience is
actually laughing more, but the tension behind their laughs has grown.
People are scared.”

Director Justin Butcher wrote “The Madness” in three days after Christmas —
then rehearsed it in six — in a fit of pique against the American
establishment following a brush with some U.S. security agents on a trip to
Romania. The agents were in Bucharest preparing for an imminent Bush visit and
interrogated Butcher and a friend in a hotel after overhearing a
conversation between them that they said they were “not comfortable with,”
the director said. “That was a key influence in my feeling that in the arts scene we were in
need of a wakeup call about the influence of American imperialism in the
world,” Butcher told Reuters after a full house had again cheered his play
to the rafters. “This is not a racist, anti-American thing. It’s a satirical attack on what
the U.S. and British governments are doing.”

As well as echoing in its title a 1994 film, “The Madness of King George,”
about Britain’s 18th century King George III, Butcher’s satire re-works plot
elements from Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 classic “Dr Strangelove.”
Throughout the play, Bush — with a cowboy hat and Superman T-shirt as well
as his pyjamas — wanders around uttering an idiot’s commentary from the
bunker (or “bunkbed” as he calls it) where his “special guys” have put him
for safekeeping. “Often times I get confused and forget stuff,” he says, as he rails against
the risk from “Islamic tourist states.” “Tourists are brown folks who get on planes and come to America and do bad
things, so we’re having a war on tourism,” he says in one of various risque
wisecracks in the play.


February 27th, 2003

Fred Rogers, host of ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,’ Dies at 74

(condensed from NYT article: may require free registration;):

PITTSBURGH ? Fred Rogers, who gently invited millions of children to be his neighbor as host of the public television show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” for more than 30 years, died of cancer early Thursday. He was 74. Rogers died at his Pittsburgh home, said family spokesman David Newell, who played Mr. McFeely on the show. Rogers had been diagnosed with stomach cancer sometime after the holidays, Newell said.

Rogers composed his own songs for the show and began each episode in a set made to look like a comfortable living room, singing “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood,” as he donned sneakers and a zip-up cardigan. His message remained a simple one throughout the years, telling his viewers to love themselves and others. On each show, he would take his audience on a magical trolley ride into the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, where his puppet creations would interact with each other and adults. Rogers did much of the puppet work and voices himself.

Rogers taught children how to share, how to deal with anger and even how not to fear the bathtub by assuring them they’ll never go down the drain. During the Persian Gulf War, Rogers told youngsters that “all children shall be well taken care of in this neighborhood and beyond — in times of war and in times of peace,” and he asked parents to promise their hildren they would always be safe.

Rogers’ gentle manner was the butt of some comedian’s jokes. Eddie Murphy parodied him on “Saturday Night Live” in the 80’s with his “Mister Robinson’s Neighborhood,” a routine Rogers found funny and affectionate.

Official PBS site that includes songs, pictures, and stories.
IMDB cast list for Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood.
Lengthy Capt. Kangaroo vs. Mr. Rogers grudge match site.
About.com has a nice collection of links.
Nice Salon.com article from 1999.
Click on sound collage for an, uh, sound collage. Kembrew calls it “Mr. Rogers – Satan = Elvis”
    requires RealPlayer, which means I haven’t heard it yet
Another collage from
Escape Mechanism
Jack Bowman’s Mr. Hitler’s Neighborhood
performance piece uses the show’s format. Creepy.
AlterNet article: Goodbye, Mister Rogers
GetYourWarOn has a nice tribute

G’bye Mr. Rogers; we’ll miss you.


February 26th, 2003

talkshow from the living room

Michael Essany may still be in college and may not even have a driver’s license, but he has convinced stars like Tom Green, Kevin Bacon and Jewel to appear on his local cable access talk show — in his parents’ living room. Essany’s cable access show, which he started at the age of 15, is far afield of reality shows like The Osbournes, The Anna Nicole Show and The Bachelorette: There’s no swearing, scheming or skinny-dipping. The shock value lies in its wholesomeness. Essany’s a kid with an uncommon work ethic, supportive parents and big dreams.

“He’s a straight-A student, but he’s not like a regular kid. He’s a kid with a mission,” said Gibbons, who appeared on Essany’s show as a guest in absentia in 1998 (she was on the phone while her headshot was propped on the chair reserved for guests). Essany’s mom, who also takes care of the show’s food services, hair and makeup, isn’t the only family member involved: Dad also works, running the camera and sound. “I always want to work with my mom and dad, even when I have a big gig on late-night TV,” said Essany. “Mom and Dad will always be part of my career.”

“One thing that defines Essany as interesting is he’s on cable access. Once he makes it to the big time, will it be all that interesting?” asked Robert Thompson, pop culture professor at Syracuse University. “You like the show because it’s quaint and charming and low tech … That will be taken away once it gets a budget.”


E! Online’s pages for the Michael Essany Show.

February 21st, 2003

found in parking lot

found in parking lot across from Afa Gallery, Feb 20, 2003

February 21st, 2003

Make Love, Not War?

Electric City pub’ed my
“letter to the Editor”
responding to a Gene Padden column from two weeks ago (not currently available on-line):

Mr. Padden,

You live in an interesting universe – one where if protest and dissent is so widespread and committed as to have “web-rings” created for it – that it must therefore be pointless and trivial.

Somehow your belief in predestination helps inform this – but other dissenters and protesters have not been so limited – protesters such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatmas Ghandi, and Jesus of Nazareth.

“Love thine enemy” and “turn the other cheek” are difficult principles to put into action in a world plagued by weapons of mass destruction. But when faced by maniacs who view war as “cleansing” or an “honorable” method to dispose of masses of people, sometimes principles are all that we can cling to and, perhaps, strive for.

It’s interesting that you like that 50’s expression “cool” while denigrating those like the next decade’s “hip” – because the “hippies” are those most-often credited with the phrase “make love, not war.” And the thought behind that is at least as old as Aristophanes’ “Lysistrata” – 400 B.C. The women of Athens, under the leadership of Lysistrata, unite with the enemy women of Sparta in their disgust for an unending war. The women “withold their favors” from the eternally fighting men, until the men realize there is something much more productive they prefer to making war.

Perhaps you are at peace, compassionate Mr. Padden, knowing that the poor and the hungry are poor and hungry because they are being punished, and that the coming war will cleanse the world of masses of people. But not all of us are at peace with these issues. On Monday, March 3rd, 2003, communities around the planet will raise their collective voice for peace by producing readings of Lysistrata in order to provide a humorous entree into a healthy community dialogue: What CAN we do on a local level to stop “diplomacy by violence” in our world? Please join us at the Afa Gallery, 514 Lackawanna Ave, on March 3 to participate in NEPA’s reading of Lysistrata – and to think about making something other than war for a change. You can find out more about the reading by visiting

Sorry Mr. Padden – no web-ring

Peacefully yours,
Michael Paulukonis

Gene Padden responds:

Michael, thanks for reading – I know you to be one of the faithful. We support everyone’s voices, not just my maniacal rants and I will try to attend your meeting. It sounds like you misread some things. I never detracted from King, Christ, etc. I am speaking strictly of today’s anti-war protesters. Further, dying for one’s country in a war is indeed honorable. It should also be known that I do think about issues other than war. In this situation, however, I believe it’s a last resort that must be considered. We can agree to disagree on that.

I think I could have been briefer and more coherent. So it goes.


February 20th, 2003

Thanks, Jack!

And my apologies for the late mention, but Jack Bowman’s
Performance Art News
has been featuring the NEPA-Whirl site for the month of February. As well as the
Artists for Art site and the a2n
performance series.

Jack’s got a quirky listing of news & information, and his own site
features video of a number of his pieces and others in the apparently quite-active Dayton, Ohio performance scene.


February 20th, 2003

Finding Miss Kubelick staged reading of the new play by Mark Zdancewicz
4 pm, Sunday, February 23 $5 suggested donation ($3 students & starving artists)
Afa Gallery 514 Lackawanna Ave, Scranton

On Sunday, February 23 at 4pm, Artists for Art presents a staged reading of Finding Miss Kubelick, the new play from regional playwright Mark Zdancewicz. Due to adult language and themes, this material may not be suitable for all audiences.

Finding Miss Kubelick is a black comedy that takes a very cynical look at love and the many forms it assumes. Focusing on “Charlie” and “Austin”, two friends who have recently lost more than 300 pounds and are only now beginning to date, it poses the question, “Is it possible to love someone without wanting anything in return?”

The reading features the talents of Ron Araya, Rachel Andrelka, Jack Evans, Jane Fagley, Ellen O’Brien, Dan Rossi, Michael Paulukonis, and Alicia Grega-Pikul.

Mark Zdancewicz says “I’ve acted in some plays around here, directed some plays around here and written some plays. I’m a better director than I am an actor and in my own humble opinion, I think I have the potential to be a good playwright. The end.” Billy Wilder’s The Apartment, starring Shirley MacLaine as Miss Kubelick, is his favorite movie.

“Finding Miss Kubelick” is presented as part of Artists for Art’s alternative to noise performance series. For further information or to schedule an audition, please call Michael Paulukonis at 570.383.0251 or contact via email.

Like I said, I’ve been busy…..


February 18th, 2003

Terra-Cotta Army From Early Han Dynasty Is Unearthed

The Chinese have raised another army of remarkable dimensions, hundreds of foot-tall terra-cotta warriors, along with horses and chariots, that come from the depths of a tomb site south of Beijing. Archaeologists and conservators are working overtime to preserve the colorful painted decorations of the 2,000-year-old figurines as they are being exposed to air and removed from the ground.

This is not the first or the biggest such find. The most famous one, excavated in the 1970’s at a imperial tomb outside the city of Xian, included 7,000 terra-cotta figures of soldiers, all of them life-size. A second company of clay soldiers, including farm animals, was found in 1990 in the vicinity of Xian.

The Weishan site, as archaeologists are calling it, may spread over as much as 10,000 square feet, Archaeology magazine reported in its current issue. If so, excavators predicted, the site may hold several thousand of the figurines, an impressive funerary display indicating that this was the burial place of a nobleman or close relative of a ruler of the Han dynasty, one of China’s longest and most powerful, extending from 206 B.C. to A.D. 220. Experts said the tomb appeared to date from the first half of the Han rule.

cf. Egyptian Fax Chamber.


February 17th, 2003

Williams Mix

Saturday, March 22, 2003, marks the 50th anniversary of the premiere
performance of John Cage’s Williams Mix (1951-53) for eight monaural
magnetic tapes, the first octophonic tape music composition in the
world, created and performed with eight speakers surrounding the

To celebrate this historic piece and its first performance 50 years ago,
Austin will create the Williams [re]Mix[…stallation], a continuously
performing octophonic sound installation to be installed at Engine 27,
implemented with Austin’s recently developed Williams [re]Mix[er]
(1997-2001), an interactive I Ching composing program. The program, in
operation, creates ever-newer versions and realizations of Cage’s
original work, calling on a recorded sound library of hundreds of
sounds. The program’s functionality is modeled on the compositional
processes used by Cage to create his Williams Mix, these processes extrapolated
and applied from Austin’s analyses of Cage’s 192-page score, his
sketches, and the eight monaural, analog tapes for the piece.

From February 14 to March 16, 2003, everyone is invited to

upload soundfiles via the web
for inclusion in the library to be
used during the new multiple Williams [re]Mix[ed] realizations to be
played during the installation.

History of the Williams Mix
Some good resources
Essay on the aesthetic behind the “silent” composition 4’33”
British composer charged with copyright infringement over silent track.

John Cage is one of those figures that generates great love and great hostility. I don’t know that I understand but a fragment of what he was all about, but he was a big influence on my work and thinking.

February 16th, 2003

Tudor Poetry Series

Every Third Friday of the month, 7:30pm–Tudor Bookshop, Kingston.
Each evening will feature one or two live’n’kicking hipster poets
reading their poetry interspersed with a free-for-all open mike where all are
welcome to read their own work! MC & host: Mike Lindgren (288-9697)

February 21–Helene Caprari & Michael Paulukonis

you heard it here, first


February 16th, 2003


Nicholas Primich 5/11/02

random excerpts

Between 1962 and 1965 (De Domizio 1997:28), Beuys was part of the Fluxus
movement, which based itself on a connection between art and life and was
directed towards a new order of human society. Often working with
the concept of chaos Beuys awoke to the idea that a new situation could be created from it.
Another idea of Beuys’ by which art is available to everyone and
useable anywhere and everywhere came from this period (De Domizio 1997:28), namely vehicle

In a certain sense, Beuys was an anarchist (Stachelhaus 1991:106). He had
no time for the mind-set of democratic compromise, but was rather interested in
breaking through the limitations that had been imposed on democracy.
Beuys meant very seriously when he said (Stachelhaus 1991:106) that he had
nothing to do with politics but that he only knew art, this keeping within the principles of
his expanded concept of art, the idea that art is the primary factor governing
our existence and our actions.

In 1974 Beuys (De Domizio 1997:49), together with the Nobel Prize
Winner Heinrich Boll, established what could be considered the artist’s most
important creation, aimed at a real form of progress with respect to existing educational
institutions: the ‘Free International University’, (Luckenbach 1997) which
admitted all students and function outside of the existing academic system.
Often using the blackboard as a demonstrative tool, his actions became
lectures in which he directly addressed his audiences.

Another large part of Beuysian thought was the concept of ‘Social
Sculpture’ (De Domizio 1997:83), whereby art is a daily act, a broadened and dilated
action, not localised, not univocal, not limited to the relative content of the art
object but art as the creative commitment of living, entirely incarnated in
behaviour. A way of transforming the world into ‘Social Sculpture’, in which no
man needs to acknowledge himself, but rather is and acts as an ‘artist’, the
demiurge of every moment of his life (De Domizio 1997:83).

February 15th, 2003

the (re)making project

Charles Mee:

The plays on this website were mostly composed in the way that Max Ernst made his Fatagaga pieces toward the end of World War I: texts have often been taken from, or inspired by, other texts. Among the sources for these pieces are the classical plays of Euripides as well as texts from the contemporary world.

Please feel free to take the plays from this website and use them as a resource for your own work: cut them up, rearrange them, rewrite them, throw things out, put things in, do whatever you like with them?don’t just make a few cuts or rewrite a few passages, but pillage the plays and build your own entirely new piece out of the ruins?and then, please, put your own name to the work that results.

February 14th, 2003

Goodbye, Dolly


February 14th, 2003


The next planning meeting for the NEPA/Scranton Lysistrata Project
(“the world-wide theatrical event for peace”) will be Sunday,
Feb 16, 1pm
at the Afa Gallery, 514 Lackawanna Ave, Scranton.
Contact Michael
for more information.

February 14th, 2003

have I told you about
Rally of One?
: activism begins with you.

February 13th, 2003

My kid-sister-the-doctor and her husband are going to be adopting
two Russian babies. That’s the plan, anyway. Read all about the plan
and it’s progress at her new blog.

February 13th, 2003

> > > > Synopsis: The 12hr-ISBN-JPEG Project began December 30, 1994. A
`round-the-clock posting of sequenced hypermodern imagery by Brad Brace.
The hypermodern minimizes the familiar, the known, the recognizable; it
suspends identity, relations and history. This discourse, far from
determining the locus in which it speaks, is avoiding the ground on which
it could find support. It is trying to operate a decentering that leaves
no privilege to any center.

Pointless Hypermodern Imagery… posted/mailed every 12 hours… a
stellar, trajective alignment for the 00`s! A continuum of minimalist
masks in the face of catastrophe; conjuring up transformative metaphors
for the everyday… A poetic reversibility of exclusive events…

A post-rhetorical, continuous, apparently random sequence of
imagery… genuine gritty, greyscale… corruptable, compact,
collectable and compelling convergence. The voluptuousness of the grey
imminence: the art of making the other disappear. Continual visual impact;
an optical drumming, sculpted in duration, on the endless present of the

view ’em

or here

~ This interminable, relentless sequence of imagery began in earnest on
December 30, 1994. The basic structure of the project has been over
twenty-four years in the making. While the specific sequence of
photographs has been presently orchestrated for more than 12 years` worth
of 12-hour postings, I will undoubtedly be tempted to tweak the ongoing
publication with additional new interjected imagery. Each 12-hour posting
is like the turning of a page; providing ample time for reflection,
interruption, and assimilation.

ISBN is International Standard Book Number. JPEG and GIF are types of
image files. Get the text-file, ‘pictures-faq’ to learn how to view or
translate these images. ftp site

found via rumori

February 13th, 2003

found on the sidewalk

found on sidewalk
outside Afa Gallery
Feb 7, 2003


February 13th, 2003

Lysistrata Project–NEPA version

Planning continues for the reading of Lysistrata on Monday, March 3.
I’ve been casting this week (in-between work on V-Day), and hope to announce
the slate soon. In the meantime, click on the Lysistrata Project icon
over on the left to get more information over at the a2n site.

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