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Yearly Archive for: ‘2017’


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    PHOTOS FROM THE BROAD: AS  MOTHER TERESA WITH KAE WHALEN CURATED BY RON ATHEYhttps://www.dropbox.com/sh/t48qzv9hapxcjs1/AABIxD6CvsBI9GPSuPceVwnTa?dl=0Priscilla Rodriguez. Courtesy of The Broad.

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    “ART: Art is a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts (artworks), expressing the author’s imaginative or technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power. In their most general form these activities include the production of works of art, the criticism of art, the study of the history of art, and the aesthetic dissemination of art.
    The oldest documented forms of art are visual arts, which include creation of images or objects in fields including today painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, and other visual media.”

     Schmoozing/drinking/eye avoiding/art acquiring/twin frocking/knowledge brandishing/social guffawing/eye meeting/body showing of plumage as well as cleavage are some of the activities that happen at art openings which occur at places housing sometimes great, sometimes good, sometimes mediocre, sometimes vacuous “art”  for a day, week , month or sometimes forever.  At these gatherings,  depending on the carriage of the presenting artist in question, hoards of culture aficionados and critics and rich millennials and those wanting to taste the appetizers crowd rooms teeming with objects d’art but what always transpires is not just  art but a magical transfer of attention from the artist’s work to the people looking at the artist’s work.
    It is totally embarrassing because it becomes a game of who’s here, who’s not here and there are always overheard, sniped, back handed comments like:  “Oh Kevin, (nudge nudge) there’s Karen. I thought that she and Ana broke up!”  These not uncommon, mean spirited  parlances  and free floating quips about the artist, or quips about the other fan based guests there, or quips about the era that the art reminds them of, or quips about the methodology employed by the artist are often overheard as  people cue to see the “ART.”  But wait, forget the artist’s sculpture, forget the artist’s  tapestry because those non breathing objects are not really being seen but are  recorded on iPhones for further perusal and then thrown up on Facebook as proof of one-up-man-shipped, envy producing attendance at this historic event. Almost with overarching pride the post might say:  “Guess where I went  Saturday night!  To  _________’s opening!!!!!  It was fabulous.” ( Inner voice: ” Ha, ha.” )
    In the meantime, at the opening in question, performances of people crowding into intolerably hot, summer-of-no-AC rooms playing tribes-r-us,  smelling each other’s stale breath and very sweaty August weathered underarms wet with excitement and pheromones is what is really happening. And after all of that cajoling , that brushing against each other and after a pretty good champagne buzz comes the internal-secret mantra: “Hmmmmmmm maybe I wont go home alone tonight.”   Art openings are about sex.


    “Belongingness is the human emotional need to be an accepted member of a group. Whether it is family, friends, co-workers, a religion, or something else, people tend to have an ‘inherent’ desire to belong and be an important part of something greater than themselves. This implies a relationship that is greater than simple acquaintance or familiarity. The need to belong is the need to give, and receive attention to, and from, others.
    Belonging is a strong and inevitable feeling that exists in human nature. To belong or not to belong can occur due to choices of one’s self, or the choices of others. Not everyone has the same life and interests, hence not everyone belongs to the same thing or person. Without belonging, one cannot identify themselves as clearly, thus having difficulties communicating with and relating to their surroundings.”

    Was that why I was there that hot August night? Was I in need of a hit of Belongingness? Not sure. All I do know is that I had morphed into teen angst and excitement because I might see “HER,”  that is the artist “showing” at the museum that night. A big cult favorite. In fact, I actually dressed a little better because I wanted to 1. meet “HER” for the first time and 2. co-celebrate our mutual friend who came to us both via a college internship. Those January and February months, a bright star young woman named R, brilliantly worked herself into our mutual art/lives. Yes that’s why I was there, not to find  someone to go home with but  to see HER.  And I would have said, because I rehearsed saying this: “How could someone so young ( R ) be so shining, be so smart, be so talented and so willing to joyfully help us both with our work?” I assumed and was assured by ( R ) that artist 1, ( HER/SHE ) was happy to get up in the morning and play art=life with R. I definitely was. So I was on the lookout, smelling the air. Where is SHE? I’m sure she will like me because I know  R, right?


    “An internship is a job training for white collar and professional careers.

    Internships for professional careers are similar in some ways but not as rigorous as apprenticeships for professions, trade and vocational jobs,but the lack of standardisation and oversight leaves the term open to broad interpretation. Interns may be college or university students, high school students, or post-graduate adults. These positions may be paid or unpaid and are usually temporary.
    Generally, an internship consists of an exchange of services for experience between the student and an organization. Students can also use an internship to determine if they have an interest in a particular career, to create a network of contacts, to acquire a recommendation letter to add to their curriculum vitae, or to gain school credit. Some interns find permanent, paid employment with the organizations for which they worked upon completion of the internship. This can be a significant benefit to the employer as experienced interns often need little or no training when they begin regular employment. It also helps an employer in gauging a student’s aptitude, since grade inflation has undermined the reliability of academic grades. Unlike a trainee program, employment at the completion of an internship is not guaranteed.”

    Usually I run in and out of openings so as to avoid the schmoozing and slobbering pecks on cheeks but this one, not so. I was a girl on a mission. I wanted to tell HER about R, remember? Typically, in the past, never wanting to impinge on the privacy of the artiste, I became an adept at giving and taking space, coming and going to openings in ninja fashion, always passing up the opportunity to net work for a show, chat up a colleague for a book contract or pass around a home-made business card to a dealer. There are reasons. Once, when I was in my twenties, I had overdone it with a “Famous” artist and embarrassed myself and so vowed never to do that again. How could I overdo it I wondered since that was so long ago and  encounter styles, customs and methods of social interactions had changed? Now my exuberance was probably cool? Back then I smiled too broadly, talked about their work without knowing shit, I even alerted them to my new project in an unpronounceable back water village. By the way, the list of opportunities to bully another with one’s equally great  greatness is endless.

    But I surprised myself that night by being  glad to see a few friends, actually hugging  three of them but was incessantly looking, scouting, keeping my eyes peeled for HER. Didn’t she know that I had something important to tell her?
    Because I don’t chat people up, a term someone I know  says she does and I notice that she does it ad nausea, I  finished all that I could do/see in the museum and then winds shifted  as if I were enveloped in a cult classic movie scenario. I could FEEL IT. A storm was in the air and the psychic weather changed although it didn’t create rain or hail or blow over precariously rooted trees. What I felt was a massive focus on ME! That is, people began looking at me in doppelganger fashion. WTF i’m not her!!! Was it my orange Kurta that stood out like neon in that all black world of art opening goers? Didn’t they know that I never wanted to upstage the artist being honored that night? And then I got it, it wasn’t my Kurta but my almost white HAIR!!!!!! They were hungry for HER white hair but  I was so unconvincingly  “convincing ” as HER that the  group began scapegoating me, suffocating me, wanting me,  photographing me and one group of Asians even asked me to  stand with their Doll daughter for a photo op because, “We LOVE Your work.”  (They were talking to HER in me.) I stupidly said, “I’m not HER,” although i’m a doppelganger-Warholian adept and could have sucked up the mistaken identity and enjoyed the conceptual twist of transference. That is, their hunger for HER had morphed me into her double. It was all about the HUNGER FOR THE ART GENIUS. And when the friend I was standing with said, ” Why are all these people photographing us?” I frantically ran for my car, frightening those folks still pouring in the gates, thinking the star of the show was leaving even before they got there. Confused by my fear-display, they clutched each other’s hands tightly while walking up the hill in their search for HER, no doubt.

    Once in my car, hyperventilating from the escape, I assured myself that honest to God, I didn’t do it on purpose, I didn’t wash my hair or style it to look like HER HAIR but that’s what happens when you keep your fans waiting; they seize the moment and that night, I was a seized moment. 
    Another persona has been added to my growing list.


    “A big-box store (also supercenter, superstore, or megastore) is a physically large retail establishment, usually part of a chain. The term sometimes also refers, by extension, to the company that operates the store. The store may sell general dry goods, in which case it is a department store, or may be limited to a particular specialty (such establishments are often called “category killers“) or may also sell groceries, in which case some countries (mostly in Europe) use the term hypermarket.
    Typical architectural characteristics include the following:

    • Large, free-standing, cuboid, generally single-floor structure built on a concrete slab. The flat roof and ceiling trusses are generally made of steel, and the walls are concrete block clad in metal or masonry siding.
    • The structure typically sits in the middle of a large, paved parking lot, sometimes referred to as a “sea of asphalt.” It is meant to be accessed by vehicle, rather than by pedestrians.[1]
    • Floor space several times greater than traditional retailers in the sector, providing for a large amount of merchandise; in North America, generally more than 50,000 square feet (4650 m²), sometimes approaching 200,000 square feet (18,600 m²), though varying by sector and market. In countries where space is at a premium, such as the United Kingdom, the relevant numbers are smaller and stores are more likely to have two or more floors.

    Commercially, big-box stores can be broken down into two categories: general merchandise (examples include Walmart and Target), and specialty stores (such as Menards, Barnes & Noble, or Best Buy) which specialize in goods within a specific range, such as hardware, books, or consumer electronics respectively. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, many traditional retailers—such as Tesco and Praktiker opened stores in the big-box-store format in an effort to compete with big-box chains, which are expanding internationally as their home markets reach maturity.”

    My car-tomb-studio became a cooling station of retreat and I thought while driving: is it because I was born in a small village, to a family verging on working class, having never gone on vacation with them as a child, or even to a restaurant, that I was 456% more comfortable stopping at the big box Price Chopper to buy groceries and chat-up the woman shelving the green beans? That visit to her produced in me a much happier mental state  than the one I felt going to that swanky opening for the arty entitled rich? She cried when she told me that she didn’t get to say good-bye to her father in law who died suddenly at the VA hospital Friday night. He had COPD and had choked on a piece of chicken the week before.


    In philosophy, happiness translates the Greek concept of eudaimonia, and refers to the good life, or flourishing, rather than simply an emotion.
    In psychology, happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being which can be defined by, among others, positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. Happy mental states may reflect judgements by a person about their overall well-being.
    Since the 1960s, happiness research has been conducted in a wide variety of scientific disciplines, including gerontology, social psychology, clinical and medical research and happiness economics.
    The United Nations declared 20 March the International Day of Happiness to recognise the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals.”

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     12 STEPS OF PERFORMANCE ARTISTS ANONYMOUS circa 2010: Linda Mary Montano(All steps to be read in a whisper or slurred voice.)   1.   We admitted that we are powerless over Performance Art and that our lives had become unmanage…

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    Dear Jarrett Earnest and The Rail,I am overjoyed that you, Jarrett have found this interview and that you, the Rail, are printing my interview with Kathy Acker from many years ago.It was resting at the Fales Library in my archive along with many other …

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    THE STORY OF THE GEL WRIST BRACELET, Linda Mary Montano 2017

    Gel bracelets, or jelly bracelets are an inexpensive type of wristband often made from Silicone. They come in a variety of colors, and several can be worn on each arm. They have been popular in waves throughout the Western world and elsewhere since the 1980s. One style of these wristbands, known as “awareness bracelets”, carry debossed messages demonstrating the wearer’s support of a cause or charitable organization.

    Maybe I went to see my neighbor. Maybe an elderly neighbor. Maybe my classmate from grade school. Whatever. Obviously I don’t really want to reveal the reason but no maybe’s about it, visiting the local nursing home  is never anything but  an occasion to participate in Buddhist/Hindu practices of Impermanence-R-Us. And revealing that my friend, my age is there with dementia is not an easy reveal. Not Maybe!! She is.
    But always the spiritual seeker, I factored in and thought: isn’t it true that Gurus/Rishis/Rimpoches/Lamas and aware spiritual teachers would send their chelas to graveyards to accelerate the student’s focus/concentration/practice and dissuade clinging, desire and attachment to this mortal coiled body? Some charnel grounds were more Hollywoodesque than others, that is, in Tibet, nuns and monks would sit with the dead’s severed body parts cut into smaller bites so the vultures would have an easier feeding frenzy. This nursing home was none of that, not a charnel ground but it was not the site of a girl scout sing along. It was a nursing home.


    The majority of Tibetan people and many Mongols adhere to Vajrayana Buddhism, which teaches the transmigration of spirits. There is no need to preserve the body, as it is now an empty vessel. Birds may eat it or nature may cause it to decompose. The function of the sky burial is simply to dispose of the remains in as generous a way as possible (the source of the practice’s Tibetan name). In much of Tibet and Qinghai, the ground is too hard and rocky to dig a grave, and, due to the scarcity of fuel and timber, sky burials were typically more practical than the traditional Buddhist practice of cremation.

    Although I pride myself on my ability to wear death on my left shoulder as Don Juan suggested in his Yakui Way, it is never really easy for me to witness, pass by, observe or try not to see toothless mouths open for air or a liquid meal; it is never easy to see anorexied elders cemented to wheel chairs or oversized lazy-boys; it is never easy to see elders silenced by off the chart medications or a big lunch; it is never easy to see the forgotten rehearsing death while maintained by harried, phone answering/poorly paid CNA’s running down the hall to bring life back to one of their “residents” who might need to be toileted, fed, picked up from the floor, medicated, hoyer-lifted or turned.
    Although I am always burning these scenes into my memory to be re-dreamed at night, prayed about at prayer, re-alchemized by video, re-told as written memoir or simply forgotten, I can never really disregard the images. One of my most burned into memory pictures is of the “tribe” of residents 3 feet from the circle-nursing-station, vying for added attention and never really watching the old movies projected from a neck-hurting high video screen…movies from the 30’s and 40’s when 40 women swam in swimming pool unison and men smoked Camels; movies that would bring the comfort of having ecstatically lived. At that scenario, always there would be an elder who wasn’t drowsing, drooling or watching but calling Ma, Ma, Ma or Nurse, Nurse  sonically and loudly, touretting it over and over before their voice of impotence was transformed into  tearless, whimpering coughs in the pillow at night. For some that Final Silence would not come for dozens of years; years without hugs, cards, Domino’s Pizza, beer or an ocean swim.


    Nursing facilities offer (by county planning process) the most extensive care a person can get outside a hospital, if one discounts regional medical centers, alternative programs in the community (sometimes now, medical homes, and 24 hour care programs), and the newer assisted living facilities. Nursing homes offer help with custodial care—like bathing, getting dressed, and eating—as well as skilled care given by a registered nurse and includes medical monitoring and treatments. Skilled care also includes services provided by specially trained professionals, such as physical, occupational, and respiratory therapists.
    The services nursing homes offer vary from facility to facility. Services can include:

    • Room and board
    • Monitoring of medication
    • Personal care (including dressing, bathing, and toilet assistance)
    • 24-hour emergency care
    • Social and recreational activities (posted schedules)

    Always swayed by seeing, I remember that I am mid 70’s and am noticing people there younger than that! People who maybe did not injest glycophytes or antibioticed milk as I do; people who bought Organic chicken and  swam in private salt water pools as I don’t; people there who watched the fecal count at local lakes and were well versed in the consequences of swallowing dirty water into their lungs. I do/don’t. People there who knew about dry drowning. That is, people who once ate well, exercised, were professionally competent and now were the players in the dastardly days before the Endgame.
    But I wasn’t there to think about death but to see my classmate, now swept into delta waves way too early and silenced by her own mind-memories/drugs ordered by the medics in charge; silenced by her inactivity but most of all by an inner/secret desire to leave her unmendable nightmare?

    I previously said I didn’t want to see but I did see too much: the walk from the entrance door to my grade-school classmate’s “pod” went past a 100 square foot dining room that encapsulate all of the best site specific qualities of a Bergman film, a scene richer in theological teachings than a $550 a week Tibetan teaching on Phowa and Chud.


    Phowa has many different meanings; in Tibetan it means “transferring consciousness.” The highest form is known as the phowa of the dharmakaya which is meditation on the great perfection. When you do Dzogchen meditation, there’s no need to transfer anything, because there’s nothing to transfer, no place to transfer it, nor anyone to do it. That’s the highest, and greatest phowa practice.
    When my inner and outer time stands still it’s usually an indication that I am getting my money’s worth. It indicates an Ahaa moment. And that day was a money’s worth day because I got to look but not look because staring would be a sin and allowed only in zoos but not nursing homes. But I wasn’t staring as I would in a zoo, I was caught in a zone of no return, a Satyajit Ray film approximation that included not only visuals but a sensorium of nursing home non-meat soft food aromas and equally scented faux gravy elixirs swimming next to blanched greyish once frozen/boiled to death green peas.
    And there in that one room, all of them sat, eating. How many? I can’t even estimate. I just know it was enough white hair to create a memory singed into my dream scape forever. They looked up in unison, tremoring spoons dancing in arthriticed fingers; all of them dressed seemingly in the same dress/same sweater/wearing the same nursing home costume and coif. All of them eating in silence. All of them eating the same meal: meal number two. Probably their “Big Meal” with Wonder white Bread, ham and cheese coming later at 4:30 or 5pm. Meal three.
    And there they sat, feeding mouths most likely sore from once meticulously secured but now poorly fitting dentures. There they ALL sat with mouths opening at odd angels. There they all sat like good newborns approximating “aren’t I a good baby” breast memories of their first milk. There they sat, content and either being fed by an aide or feeding themselves. There they sat not retired from eating but retired from law practices, retired from scientific research, retired from housewifery, retired from relationships, retired from accounting firms, retired from pastoral duties, retired from political activism, retired from life. Now they embraced, not by choice but because of advanced medical necessity, the only jobs left to them: eating, sleeping, going to the bathroom, eating, sitting, sleeping and eating.
    I wasn’t there to cry or judge. I wasn’t there to shudder with the realization that this “might” be my fate one day. Simply put, I was there to visit a friend and by default and because of this view of the residents’ syncopated and contented sameness, I was moved into a sincere sacredness, a silence, a concentration that was breathtaking. This was holy art at it’s best and they were performing a slow-mo, high-level conscious awareness and syncopated magic that only  Merce Cunningham dancers might approximate at a good gig. This was Holy Communion, the Eucharist secularized by genericed time/space and everyday context. 


    The Eucharist (also called Holy Communion or the Lord’s Supper, among other names) is a Christian rite that is considered a sacrament in most churches and an ordinance in others. According to the New Testament, the rite was instituted by Jesus Christ during his Last Supper; giving his disciples bread and wine during the Passover meal, Jesus commanded his followers to “do this in memory of me” while referring to the bread as “my body” and the wine as “my blood”. Through the Eucharistic celebration Christians remember Christ’s sacrifice of himself on the cross.
    The elements of the Eucharist, bread (leavened or unleavened) and wine (or grape juice), are consecrated on an altar (or table) and consumed thereafter. Communicants (that is, those who consume the elements) may speak of “receiving the Eucharist”, as well as “celebrating the Eucharist”. Christians generally recognize a special presence of Christ in this rite, though they differ about exactly how, where, and when Christ is present.

    And it was sacredly silent, like at Mass. None of the many, many synchronized eaters was squabbling; none were discussing the low price of chicken thighs at Sams Club; none were asking for a ride to a doctor appointment later that day; none of them wondered whose turn it was to do dishes. All of these issues were now moot points and the job at hand was to eat NOW and eat later at “supper” having eaten breakfast a few hours before. The job at hand was to sit with those exact same people at  the exact same place and trance out while shoveling in soft meals meant for mastication-light.

    Student that I am of paths to enlightenment, I noted that days at the nursing home are not much different from time that students of meditation devote to intense Sadhana ( spiritual practice) in contemplative settings like monasteries, caves, contemplative convents and Tibetan/Hindu retreat rooms. Maybe, yes maybe I can scout out and try to locate that one or maybe tenth person whose eyes betray their purpose, whose eyes gave light-out not took it in, whose eyes signaled me that, “Hey lady,  guess what? This isn’t such a bad deal. When your family sends you here we can hang out together? I sit/eat/shit/sleep/eat/sit but I also pray and use this safe and secret holy place to practice The Art/Life of Meditation.” A hallucination? Believable message?


    The Hermit’s Cave, situated on Scenic Hill on the northeastern outskirts of Griffith, New South Wales, Australia, is in fact a complex of stone structures.
    Misleadingly called ‘The Hermit’s Cave’, the site in reality comprises a complex of shelters, terraced gardens, exotic plants, water-cisterns, dry-stone walling and linking bridges, stairways and paths that stretch intermittently across more than a kilometre of the escarpment. Made single-handedly by a reclusive Italian migrant,Valeri Ricetti, these structures involved the moving of hundreds of tons of stone and earth, together with the ingenious incorporation of natural features in the landscape.

    As my friend Karen and I left the nursing home after visiting our once critical-care-nurse-classmate, I heard someone say as they ran to rescue me, “Mam, Mam, you can’t leave here! let me see your wrist band!” Turning around I realized that she wanted to shepherd me back inside, thinking I was delusionally abandoning ship. She grabbed for my left wrist. But I, not quite ready to give up all of the creature comforts of my second hand clothes stuffed into three different closets; or give up my car that jettisoned me all over Ulster County; or give up the thrill of owning and paying for my iPhone and computer which had become surrogate plastic friends-in-a-box . I was not ready to join their secular “monastery” and surrender my ability to be able to walk to Church, the bank, the grocery store, the park; and I certainly was not ready to give up my magical back yard and those 5 glorious  trees…. my nature family in disguise.
    I assured her that I was not  escaping, although a sucker for signs that I am, for a moment I thought her right.
    My wristband says PRAY, HOPE, DON’T WORRY: PADRE PIO 
    Maybe theirs says, POD OF NO RETURN
    Linda Mary Montano, 2017

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    NOTES FOR WE ARE ALL HUNGRYNAME: LINDA MARY MONTANOTITLE: WE ARE ALL HUNGRYSENSE: TASTEWHY 14TH STREET COMPELLING: Food is so expensive. We eat to fill our bodies, minds, fears, desires and not our soul hunger. The poor suffer from no access to good an…

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