CYCLORAMA STRIES .new textile collection from Veronese studio.

A friend suggests the new textiles collection be named in honor of   Performing Arts  people of lasting influence.  So many names  and only ten new patterns.  I guess  i have to work harder.  Ten names, ten voyages of exploration,  thousands sources of inspiration:

Euripides,  Classical Greece Drama playwright .  Terentius, Roman comedy playwright.  Kanami.  The creator of Japanese Noh theatre.  Kuan Hanqi, ” the Chinese Shakespeare”. Miguel Cervantes.  Spain. creator of Don Quixote de la Mancha .  Shakespeare ” the Maker of words”.  George Bernard Shaw : The Irish “Prince of wit”. Sholem Aleichem, creator of Tevye the Milkman.  Russia.  Bertholt Brecht.  Germany, father of the Three penny Opera.  Lillian Hellman. An American writer and playwright, mother of “The little foxes”.

cyclorama stries collection . copyright 2013 veronese bellarte studio

cyclorama stries collection . copyright 2013 veronese bellarte studio

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Chinese nursery rhymes compiled in Peking. 1900

These pages are copies of a book of Chinese Nursery Rhymes, orally transmitted till compiled in Peking ( Beijing)  in 1900.  Those were terrible times for China,  the government in disarray,  the country invaded and parcelled by western countries, the people starving to death and in rebellion:  The famous Boxer Rebellion.  yet some enlightened souls had the foresight to preserve  bits of Chinese cultural heritage,  one of the most precious bits:  nursery rhymes orally transmitted through generations. By and by i shall illustrate them and tell you about them.  Nursery rhymes  represent the best of the human spirit,  I believe, and they belong to all of us.   the only one i remember  ” big head, big head” ( earlier blog), I found the rhymes again.  lucky me, now i have lots of nonsense to bother you with….. ciao.

chinese nursery rhymes compiled in Peking ( today Beijing) 1900.

chinese nursery rhymes compiled in Peking ( today Beijing) 1900.

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the full flavor of life for those who dare

” To enjoy the full flavor of life, take big bites”  ( Robert Heinlein).

2013 heinlein

jotted  down years ago , interesting wording and imagery.

then i discovered the giant that was Robert Heinlein.  American Science Fiction writer (1907-1988),   “The Dean and Grand Master of science fiction writers”. He single -handedly,  set the standard of scientific and engineering research  in science fiction writing,  a visionary world rooted in the reality of the present . He loved writing science fiction, a marginal literay genre at best, and single-handedly raised the  genre’s  literary standards and  made it into a well respected  …and most popular form of  literature.         He also uses the science fiction platform to address  issues of great concern to him:  the freedom of the individual, but a freedom conditional upon the self-imposed  responsability toward society.  7-6-2011 6;58;42 AM monsieur tending his garden

Life according to Robert Heinlein:  big flavor, big bites , big responsability .

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creativity at work: “be unreasonable” according to Eli Broad and George Bernard Shaw.

” the reasonable man adapts himself to the world. the unreasonable one persists on trying to adapt the world  to himself.  therefore, all progress depends upon the unreasonable man.”  George Bernard Shaw. Irish writer . 1856-1950.  Nobel prize  laureate.  co founder of  The London School of economics.

” The Art of being unreasonable: lessons in unconventional thinking” . published by  Wiley

by Eli Broad . founder of 2 Fortune 500 companies and innovative philanthropist.

Dare to be creative.  it’s the only way out.

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the purpose of existence? A meaningful life.

The Big philosophical question since the dawn of civilization:  why are we here?                    ” The sphere upon which mortals come and go, has no end nor beginning that we know and none there is to tell us the truth,  whence do we come and whither do we go”  (  Rumi. 12th cen. Persian poet and thinker.)

” I believe i am not responsible for the meaningfulness or meaninglessness of life, but i am responsible for what i do with the life i have got”  ( Hermann Hesse.  Poet, writer. thinker. Literature Nobel Prize  laureate 1946)

” D’ou venons nous? Que sommes nous?  Ou allons nous?” ( where do we come from? what are  we? where are we going?)  Painting by French Impressionist painter Paul Gaugin. 19th. cent.

" D 'ou venons nous? que sommes nous? ou allons nous" Painting by French Impressionist Paul Gauguin

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creativity? a piece of cake. part 3.

Remembering Albert Einstein’s thought: ” a hundred times everyday, i remind myself that my inner and outer life depends on the labours of other men living and dead and that i must exert myself, in order to give in the measure as i have received and am still receiving….”

CREATIVITY AND FOOD.  mind boggling subject .  one example:  the journey from bread to cake.

unleavened bread:  wheat flour mixed with water, baked on stone slab. basic basic. remember manna from Heaven?

leavened bread: la french baguette and others.  someone made a mistake: the flour-water mix  left standing. turned sour and bubbly. natural yeast fermentation and leavened bread discovered.   today  each country has its own  humongous yeast bread collection, all humongously tasty. and the baguette has acquired the status of French national treasure! vive la baguette.

sweet bread :     milk and eggs and sugar added to basic yeast bread dough.  the  jewish Challa.  french brioche. italian panetone. greek easter bread etc…  next?

cakes:  more elaborate confection methods.  each type of cake base is actually a landmark  scientific invention. Baking is more than cooking.  it is a science and an art.  very involved with the chemistry of the ingredients.   food science was unknown then,  these bakers inventors were driven by their stomach and  sheer creative energy.   One fabulous example. one among many.

GENOISE SPONGE CAKE : landmark invention, akind to the splitting  of the atom, literally. the result , not the atomic bomb but the fabulous Genoise sponge cake ( 18th cent. birthplace Genoa, Italy)) .   Inventor, unknown.  the Genoise is a delicate fluffy cake base,  cloud melting in your mouth.  the cake batter rises naturally without the action of  added chemical, not even yeast. the secret?  some baker was fooling around with his eggs.  the white , separated from the yolk can be whipped into a firmer foam, then added to the other ingredients.  in the oven the foamy batter rises to its highest best. in this DNA age, we have a scientific explanation for the genoise cake ” atomic mushroom” phenomenon.  Then , it was pure creative investigation and leap of faith.

there is another version of sponge cake,  invented in America,  which uses chemicals, baking soda .  commercial bought cakes and ready cake mix are of the soda type.  in France  and i guess Italy as well,  three hundred years later,   les maisons de patisseries  still use the original genoise cake  method to make their fabulous  gateaux.  good habit dies hard.

Remember  these creative people of our past and enjoy your food.

creativity at work; french baguette and yeast breadsgenoise sponge cake, strawberries and buttercream

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The story of blue jeans. creativity, the only way out. part 2.

CREATIVITY AT WORK.  CHINESE SILK WEAVING ART+INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION+MECHANIZED LOOM+TOILE DE NIMES. FRANCE+CALIFORNIA GOLDRUSH+ MINERS IN NEED OF RUGGED OVERALLS= the blue jeans.

China . by 1st. cent.  (Han dynasty), silk weaving already an ancient art.  most weaving techniques  , as used today already invented(anonymous weavers).  among them the TWILL WEAVE . the twill fabric,  softer  and more drapy than the simpler basket weave cloth.  quality much appreciated  in the making of luxurious  costumes of the chinese courts. AND the twill weave has another quality:  it is more wear resistant than any other weave. Through the centuries ( the Silk Road trading)  chinese silks and  weaving technologies came to Europe.

Nimes. France. centuries old center of hand woven textiles . 18th cent: Industrial Revolution and advent of the mechanized loom. Nimes  at the forefront of the textile revolution.  the wear resistant quality of the twill weave , put to full use by La Maison Andre .  birth of a very rugged yet supple industrial fabric, for  wrapping cargos:  the name of the fabric:  Serge de Nimes ( “serge” comes from “serica”,  latin name for china, the land of silk. serge de Nimes: the cloth from China fabricated in Nimes. “denim” derives from serge de Nimes). the serge  dyed blue, from  left over dye baths of  luxurious cloths,  Nimes was famous for its dye houses of indigo blue, a natural dye with antibacterial qualities.

San Francisco. USA.  The Gold Rush.mid 19th cent.  the BLUE JEANS.  Levi Strauss, a merchand in dry goods.  the miners needed  rugged overalls with indestructible pockets.  a tailor  was looking for a rugged cloth.Mr. Strauss  came up with  the wrapper of his merchandises, the humble serge de nimes!  sewn into  overalls with copper rivets to reinforce the pocket corners.

Voila! A creativity chain  stretching  back thousands of years, and over asia, central asia, europe and america  to give us the today global garment : the blue jeans. .  Not all cinders become tall flames,  but cinders are needed to keep the flame of creativity burning.

indigo dyed twill weave for jeans

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creativity, the only way out. part 1.

what is CREATIVITY?  it is the ability of the mind to  analyze AND to synthesize.

ANALYSIS:  the ability to perceive the different elements that make up  a whole ( thing or idea).  be curious ,  get close and personal ,  dig deep into the nature of things, around you and inside of you.  creativity is deeply rooted in reality, the investigation of reality.

SYNTHESIS: the ability to take elements from  different things ( or ideas) which have nothing in commun, and to put them together to create a totally new  entity.

in other words, TO BE CREATIVE is to have  the” WHAT IS IT? +   WHAT IF….?” SET OF MIND AND THE COURAGE TO MAKE THE WHAT-IF? BECOME A REALITY.

creativity takes courage. Henri Matisse” WHAT IS IT + WHAT IF + YES CAN DO =  CREATIVITY”  .  practice makes perfect.

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veronesecouture is on Facebook

dear Reader, veronesecouture is on Facebook.  dialogue friendly.  we try to answer  your questions but the replies may be hard to find on the blog site. connect with us on facebook.

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real Piglet in my life

i was  7-8. Traditional Chinese New Year celebration. children are given gift-money in red envelopes. firecrackers and wonderful special cooking. tradition must be preserved, especially if you live in a foreign land. the adults bought a live piglet from a farm for the traditional red roasted suckling pig dish. love at first sight. over my dead body , no piglet red roasting. i would buy the piglet with all my new year money.  i threw in some convulsions and asthma attacks. my aunt (  who raised me and whom i called Mother # One ) gave in, on one condition:  i was to take care of the piglet 100%, providing feed and clean-up.  i kept my share of the bargain. every day, rain or shine, after school ,  buckets in  hand, i made the round of neighbouring restaurants, collecting leftovers for piglet …and i now must confess, all sorts of treats for myself, from the kind kitchen staffs (“here comes the piglet kid. she is tiny,feed her too”). the neigbourhood girls walked their dainty french poodles, i walked my  piglet.  Piglet prospered to mega size. they finally took him to the farm, but that is another story.           Morality:  some adults can be very wise.  my aunt was wise and loving. Methink, the piglet saga was  a mighty  lesson in responsability. Piglet is still dancing in my mind and often comes out to say hello. another priceless gift from my beloved aunt, Mother # One.

piglet and la vie en roseoriginal artwork by l.chan. 2013. all rights reserved.

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la vie en rose la vie en bleu

sometimes you are on top of the world. sometimes ten feet under buried in …blues.

piskies feeling good

in Cornwall, England, pixies are called piskies, these piskies are the little wise friends of my childhood. when they are happy, they are happy all over their body.  adults no longer know how to be  properly happy.

blue day when you are blue. pick up your banjo and sing a tune , better create one.

” O susanna, dont you cry for me, am just from alabam  with my banjo on my knee ” (Negro slave  folk songs like this one are called negro reels,  forerunner of Blues and Jazz music).

original artworks by L.chan.  all rights reserved 2013.

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Degas and the Petit Rat Marie van Goethem.

Paris. 1881. The artist:  Edgar Degas.   The sculpture: La petite danseuse de 14 ans ( the 14 years old little dancer).  outraged art critics. the young ballerina was depicted as ” a flower of precocious depravity with a face marked by the hateful promise of every vice”.  Degas did not portrait his model,  Marie van Goethem. through his sculpture, the artist was  bearing witness to the  society of his day and what it did to children like Marie.  Marie did not become a professional dancer,  she ended up as a prostitute in a sordid part of the city. i made a series of paintings to honour  Degas and Marie :  The petit rat, in a better world,  protected by Pierrot,  the character of the Commedia dell’arte.  Pierrot is the symbol of the ultimate goodness to be found in the performing arts.

degas petite danseuse142013aprilpetitrarpierrotcopy original painting by L. chan all rights reserved.

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petit rat de l’opera

degas2petitrarsFrench slang  describing  ballet trainees , 6 to 14 of age,  studying at the  ballet school  of the Opera de Paris.  scurrying about like so many mice,  as extras and goffers during performances. Edgar Degas, French Impressionist painter in later part of 19th cent, painted extensively the world of the petits rats de l ‘Opera.

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Edgar Degas and the ballerinas

Paris  , second half of 19th cent. the birthplace of modern art  and uncontested capital of modern western culture: the culture of money.                          Edgar Degas, artist. one of  the founders of the Impressionist Art movement. mostly famous for his depictions of ballet and the ballerinas.  Degas’ art goes beyond masterfully painted images. the undercurrent of chilling realism and social criticism, makes Degas’ art eternally meaningful. Paris Opera House and its world famous ballet school had a  dark secret:  little girls , beginning age 6 were brought there by their mothers, maybe to have a legitimate career in dance,  more often than not, in search  of generous “protectors”. beginning age  6!                                     in the paintings . behind  froufrou tutus and graceful rehearsing figures , lurk shadowy figures in tall hats: they are the “abonnes” , the regular patrons , evaluating the merchandise.  Edgar-Degas-9269770-1-402degas ballerina

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life and times of a little prince: Antoine de St-Exupery

Once upon a time there was a boy ,  Antoine, Count of Saint -Exupery. born in 1900, in Lyon, France. not focused on his studies, no clue what to do with his life, then he found his passion : to be an airplane pilot.  it was the early days of aviation. the planes , flying death traps.A pionner airpostal pilot, Antoine crisscrossed  the sky, delivering mail and rescueing the many pilots who crashed. WWII, reconnaissance missions for  France and the Allies.  1944,  Antoine and his plane vanished from  the face of the earth.

Antoine , Count de Saint- Exupery, the pilot died.  But Antoine, Little Prince de Saint-Exupery lives with us forever, through his poetry and writings about life and the human condition.  the writings , born during  his long  solitary  voyages high  in the sky and close to the stars. One book, especially wons the heart of millions of people, all over the world:  LE PETIT PRINCE  ( english: “The Little Prince”) .  by and by Le Petit Prince will  visit us, on this website.

The little prince and my own shadow were my favorite childhood imaginary friends. nowaday  i still read the book,  as poetry: ” the eyes are blind. look with your heart”.  Over 20 years ago, i made a sculpture in copper, covered with minerals i collected from the desert, in homage to Saint-Ex ( its how the French call him) . in my mind’s eye, its the topography of the desert, seen  from his open cockpit plane.  titled after another book by Saint -Ex:  “Terre des Hommes”  : World of Man.

7-1-2011 4;12;57 PM wind sand and stars

all rights reserved by L. chan

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idiomatic expressions: a looking glass into the collective soul of a people.

” IDIOM” : a group of words , an expression, peculiar to a language,  cannot be translated word for word.  an idiom has a figurative meaning  that paints the collective  cultural experience  of the people  who speak that language.  i like to look up idioms : a journey into the collective soul of a people.  will share with you by and by.heaven on earth: wine and cheese

” il ya un os dans le fromage” .french. literal: ” there is a bone in the cheese”. idiomatic meaning:   unexpected disturbance.  cheese , appreciated for  smooth texture.  a bone in the cheese!  sacrilege. witty idiom,  a reminder how much the French love to make ( around 400 types of cheeses and counting!)  and savor cheese… with wine. c’est si bon.

” can eat bitterness”.  chinese idiom.  figuratively:  capacity for long  endurance  of  adversity.  The Chinese pride themselves for being bitterness eaters.      The word “eat”  often used in chinese idioms.  food, the lack of it,  most  important concern in chinese culture.  Chinese greeting: ” have you eaten rice yet?” . have you been able to fill your  belly yet.  yes, my belly is full, thank you.

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yin-yang symbol: topdog-underdog.

the imperfect circle: the law of the universeZen Circle:  always drawn free-hand , never a perfect circle.  symbol of the Universe, symbol of Life, in its glorious imperfect state. There is no such thing as perfection.  Look for and enjoy the beauty and harmony of the imperfect.yin-yang symbolYin-Yang symbol:  symbol of the Law of the universe : opposite yet complementary    aspects of the universe.  The harmonious whole is made of two opposite but equally important parts, completely intertwined,  in each part there is a seed of the opposite part. each seed carries within itself a smaller seed of the opposite , on and on .  awesome imagery, awesome symbol. no?

every day parlance:  we are , at all time, both topdog  and underdog.  some time more topdog , sometime more underdog . life experienced from different angles.  i guess the Big Boss up there is teaching us to be humble and compassionate.  we try.

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the beauty of the desert: then and now

the beauty of the desert…THEN:  “what makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere, it hides a well.”  ( Antoine de St-Exupery)

“Oye hijo mio, el silencio.  es un silencio ondulado.  un silencio donde resbalan valles y ecos y que inclina las frentes hacia el cielo.”               ( Garcia Lorca,  Spanish  poet )

__________________________________________________________________________                                The beauty of the desert…NOW : nobody gives a damn about the hidden water , only  about the hidden oil and minerals, for which the war is worth waging. thousands of people worth being killed and  maimed.

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eyes are blind: look with your heart.

” here is my secret:  one sees clearly only with the heart.  anything essential is invisible to the eye”  “mais les yeux sont aveugles, il faut chercher avec le  coeur .”                               from The Little Prince  ( author: Antoine de Saint-Exupery.  French National hero.  writer, poet, pionner international airpostal pilot )

Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint -Exupery

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life and times of an underdog: big head

long forgotten chinese nursery rhyme:  ” big head, big head,  i have big head.  when it rains, people  needs  a cover,  i have my big head”.    chinese nursery rhymes, orally transmitted and compiled in 1900, by a missionary.  i had a copy of the precious book.  whereabout now unknown. will share some more rhymes when i find the book again.

Alice in wonderland. big head queen of heart.

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my shadow

” No matter how fast you run, your shadow more than keeps up with you,  sometimes he is ahead”  (  forgot the author of this  witty remark)

as a kid, i loved to play with my shadow,  as an adult and an artist:  i am inspired by the shadow puppet theatre from around the world.

painting. commedia dell arte. moondance. all rights reserved l.chan-veronese 2010

all right reserved. l.chan and veronese studio. copyright 2010

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life and times of an underdog: reach high

” Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for”                     ( Robert Browning. 19th cent. English poet).

Robert Browning. 19th century English poet

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for you my love

” i went to the bird market.  i bought birds for you, my love.                                                         i went to the flower market, i bought flowers for you, my love.                                                     i went to the metal yard , i bought heavy chains for you, my love .                                               i went to the slave market, looking for you, my love.                                                                 but i did not find you ,my love.”

translated from the poem” Pour toi, mon amour”,  by Jacques Prevert, beloved French poet extraordinaire. below:  silkdress with written poem:  pour toi mon amour.silk dress with Jacques Prevert poem: pour toi mon amour

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Socrates: the way of the philosopher

” By all means marry.  if you get a good wife, you will be happy.  if you get a bad one, you will become a philosopher”.                                                                                                 (Socrates,  Greek philosopher of the classic golden age of Greece. 5th century BC. one of the founding fathers of Western  philosophy.  Socrates commited suicide by drinking hemlock, not because he had a bad wife! but as a protest against a bad ruler of Athens, Critias.)

the death of Socrates

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thirsty fish.

“I have a thirsty fish in me that can never find enough what it is thirsty for”

Rumi, 13th century Sufi mystic and poet of Persia.

thirsty fish

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the song of the reed flute

”  Listen to the story told by the reed of being separated:  since i was cut from the reed bed, i have made this crying sound. anyone apart from someone he loves, understands what i say. anyone pulled from a source longs to go back.”   (Rumi.  Sufi mystic and poet.  13th century Persia )

reed flute

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life and times of an underdog: my ancestors the Gauls

French Lyceum. third grade. learning by rot the history of France and the French people.   called to the blackboard , i began ” our ancestors the Gauls…..”  i stopped:”  teacher, i don’t think my ancestors were the Gauls!!!”  teacher looked up from her rimmed glasses,  gave me a zero mark and sent me to my desk.  to this day, am still confused…  to be or not to be a Gaul? that’s my  question

2013gallia

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the pathway of silence.

” There is a pathway, between voice and presence, where information flows.  In disciplined silence it opens.  In wandering talk, it closes.” ( Rumi.  beloved Sufi mystic and poet.  13th century Persia.)

“Have you heard the voices whispering on the desert winds?  they whisper silence,  they whisper stay, they whisper peace.”  ( J.A. Christensen)

2013silence

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Little People Big Friendship

Fear and hate entering children’s life.  the adorable little angels turning into pint size monsters . One of our neighbours : a special young man, in his twenties, super strong  extremely short for his age and stature. Relentlessly,  we children ganged together to harass him : ” dwarf dwarf!”     one afternoon,  walking alone,  came face to face with our victim .  ” that’s the end of my short life ” i thought.   he just smiled: ” Hi, grasshopper,  i hear you train in martial arts.  very useful to know self-defense.  show me how good you are”  i mumbled all sorts of excuses,  from being a worthless- weakling- of- a- girl – with- thick- skull- good-for-nothing … to ” i cannot demo any technique,  you do not have the proper outfit!”  he obliged, took my schoolbag as hostage , went home to change :  he had on a kung fu practice garb!  Cornered, no way out, i sprang and kicked and saw him… on his ass on the ground.  I bursted into tears:  now he has another reason to make dead meat of me.  Again, he smiled:  ” very good, grasshopper.  you can come and train with  me  if you want and i shall be your friend. ” my cousins and i, we stopped harassing him.  the “dwarf” somehow vanished forever, replaced by a friend and a teacher.

little people big world

coy salutes you, Little People of the world.                                                                                                                                                               More about the Little People .  visit The Little People of America   www. lpaonline.org

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life and times of an underdog: Tarzan to-be.

i grew up in the household of my aunt.  the youngest child and a girl . my cousins  all boys,  barely tolerated my tagging along. Little me ,the underdog tagged along and played boys’ games, trained in kung fu, and watched action movies .  sunday matinee movie:  Tarzan and the Amazones.  our idol, Johnny Weissmuller. diving from the high cliff into the sea , shouting his trademark cry …. aho…o…o…o!  Back home, we decided to play Tarzan.  in the garden there was a huge tree, the trunk in inclined position.  the  “cliff” from which to dive. all the tarzans- to- be piled up on the highest part.  ”  i want to dive too” . my cousins:  ” no room. we need someone  on the ground to give us the signal .  ok?   sad- faced i said :  ” well,  o…kay.  ready…  get set… go!”  They all dived head first. we had forgotten there was no sea. That evening , at the dining table,  all the children had bandaged head, except litte me, the underdog.

little me, the underdog

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whereabout unknown

A visit to the temple. i asked the disciple where the Master was:

” Somewhere in the cloud-ridden mountain,  herb gathering, whereabout unknown”

From Ancient China’s masters like these,  came  The Way of Tao, The Way of Zen and The Way of Kung-Fu, the mightiest martial arts ever devised by man.  promoting war and peace at the same time! contradiction of purposes?  not necessarily so.  by and by will explain .

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Master mouse and Master elephant best friends.

Master elephant and Master mouse, best friends meeting to chew the fat.                      master elephant:  ” how come you are so tiny?”.  master mouse:  ” i was sick a lot as a kid.  how come you are so big?”.  master elephant:  ” I too was sick a lot as a kid”.    Master mouse climbs  on master elephant’s head and the two friends ride into the sunset.

two friends; the mouse and the elephant.

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greedy artist -soldier for humanity.

once upon a time,  there was a painter of great talent, who was also a monk. people liked his art but despised the man.  nickname:  “greedy artist”:   charged exorbitant fees and reserved his services to the highest bidder.  A courtesan called for his services. the monk agreed , for a price, to paint in her presence, while she was entertaining her clients.    The patrons asked for another painting, this time , on the courtesan’s undergarment.  the monk, for a price, complied.  how low can he stoop,  for what?

… The monk had three secret  “whats”: his village was in a remote part of the land, no help from the government.  He needed to build a warehouse to store grain for times of famine,  roads needed repair for evacuation in times of catastrophy and the temple started by his teacher needed to be finished.  The three “whats”  completed, the artist-monk laid down his brushes and never painted again. His name: Gessen.                                      Zen monk

Adapted from:  “A collection of sand and stone”.  13 century AD.  compilation of anecdotes and life stories of Chinese and Japanese Zen masters over a period of 5  centuries. transcribed into english by Paul Reps.

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song of the snails

To the funeral of a dead leaf, two snails were on their way.  in mourning mode,  veil and shell  painted black, the twosome  left , on a beautiful autumn evening… alas, when they reach destination, it’s already springtime. the leaves ,earlier dead, have all come back to life.  deep disappointment.  Here comes the  sun. says he:  take it easy, have a seat and a glass of beer if you fancy.   enjoy life and if you please, take the evening bus for Paris and visit the countryside. believe me , death and  funerals  are bad news. they grow black rings around your eyes and make you ugly.  shed all this black, put on  the  colours of life and celebrate the beautiful evening…  the two little snails now  slowly on their way  home, zigging zagging from too much beer, zigging  zagging  happily home .  high in the sky, the moon watching over them.

Adapted from the poem:” Chanson des escargots qui vont a l’enterrement” by JACQUES PREVERT,  beloved French  artist, poet, writer, film maker. father of the universally loved lyrics of the songs:  Les Feuilles Mortes  ( Falling leaves) and La Vie en Rose.

escargot going to funeral

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the wisdom of children: Aesop fable the crow and the fox.

Lyceum . first grade.  the class had to stage a play: Mr LaFontaine’s fable.( 17th century french version of greek Aesop’s fable):  The CROW AND THE FOX.  master crow perched on a branch, a cheese in its beak . master fox , at the foot of the tree, sweet talking : ”  your voice  must match the beauty of your black coat.  pray, let us hear it”.  master crow obliged, opened its beak to deliver a crow aria… the cheese  fell into master fox’s mouth. Critical moment , selecting the actors . With the definitive authority of an” artiste” of long standing experience , i pointed to one of my classmates, a girl from  southern India,  her hair and her skin  blue black,   more beautiful than any  black colour i could  ever paint.  she stood up, proud of being selected and beaming: the most beautiful Master crow, we children had ever seen.  Unanimous approval.                                                                            We children were then wise,  as wise as the day we were born. We saw with our heart and we understood the law of the Universe:  the cohesiveness and beauty of the whole comes from its many parts, all different but all as useful and all as important.  discrimination is not natural. it is man made .

school girl from southern India

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FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS

Queen Elizabeth I England.  17th century. John Donne,  poet , satirist, cleric of the Anglican Church, a contemporary of Shakespeare,  a thinker lightyears ahead of his time.  Poem:       NO MAN IS AN ISLAND

No man is an island

entire of itself

each is a piece of the continent

a part of the main

……………………………………

each man’s death diminishes me

for i am involved in mankind

therefore, send not to know

for whom the bell tolls

it tolls for thee.

John DONNE

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a debt of gratitude

” a hundred time every day, i remind myself that my inner  and outer life depends on the labours of other men, living and dead, and that i must exert myself, in order to give in the measure as i have received and am still receiving”.                                            Albert Einstein,  physicist and thinker.

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made…by the grace of god

Babylon, the capital of the Assyrian empire. 2000 BC. Present day Iraq.

an inscription in cuneiform characters, on one of the ruins:   ” If what you see pleases you, we made it by the grace of God”

A person with special skills  is a “gifted” one.  he is on the receiving end, he has been given gifts of special talents and insight. He was  chosen from above, to bring light to the rest of us. there is an IOU note here.  he’d better work hard to fulfill his share of the bargain and show he is worthy of the trust.  fine thinking, 4000 years ago.

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you have got to be taught…..Seth, the wise child.

South Pacific Musical.  lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein:

” you have got to be taught to hate and fear.  you have got to be taught to be afraid of people whose eyes are oddly made and people whose skin is a different shade.  you have got to be  carefully taught…before its too late.  before you are six or seven or eight. to hate  all the people your relatives hate.”                    what a terrible condemnation of the human race couched in such lovely music!

Seth, the wise little boy:     when my daughter was in preschool,  i rode her to school on my bike.  day after day,  a boy, from her class, hiding behind the trashbin,watched us arrive . just watched, silent, intense then ran away. ”  you like  a bike ride?”   head shake, no. ” this is my daughter, do you want to be her friend and go to class together? ”  head shake, no.  then  ran away.   poor little one, maybe he is mute, or a simpleton. Then , miracle: one day,  he spoke,  deadly serious:

“Are you Jewish?”   ”  well…. i’m not jewish”.  he was puzzled: ” but you dont’look christian!”   ” well…am not jewish,  am not christian,  am asian “.   some more thinking then a big smile: ” i like you anyway” and ran away .

Seth was his name.  the world according to Seth was divided between jewish and christian.  asian did not fit anywhere.  did not matter. he  took me in.  Seth has not been carefully taught to hate and fear.  Bless you Seth, and bless your parents. One of the most profound lessons of my life as an adult,taught by a child.

Seth Liebson,  you deserve your name:  ” Seth loving son”.

copyright by L.chan 2000

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300…spartan shields. a sculpture in progress.

Some words must be said, some gesture must be made…no matter the cost.

480 BC.  Greece. The battle of Thermopylae ( the gate of fire). Massive invasion of Greece by the Persian army, over 200,000 strong. King Leonidas and 300 Spartan elite soldiers made a last stand to allow the small Greek army (2000 men) to escape.

Leonidas and his braves were anihilated ,  But the following year,  Greece  rallied and stopped the invasion.

Of the 300 slain spartans, only DIECENES is granted by the  Spartans the posthumous title Aristeia:  ” most virtuous soldier”  according to the Spartan way of life.  The day of battle.  facing the multitude of Persian archers,  whose flying arrows would darken the sky,  Diecenes’ reply:  ” we shall fight them in the shade then”.

I made a sculpture to honour Diecenes:  a bronze disc pierced with so many holes , it s no longer a shield made of bronze but a shield made of holes.

Diecenes’ shield is done.   The sculpture , somehow has grown to 20 shields.  I guess his slain companions wanted their voice  heard as well.  Dont know when   , dont know how but   the sculpture will grow to 300 shields … and how many holes i would have created by then.   will report to you when the work is done.

battle of Thermopylae. spartan shield of holes.

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make me see… or the wisdom of children

This is one of the most triumphant moments of my life as an artist, nay… as a human being: I am useful.

my second grade teacher noticed my overwhelming obsession for drawing. permission granted to draw on the back of the  blackboard.  Punctually  everyday, in classroom before opening time , propped on a chair,  covering the entire blackboard  with illustration of the poem “du jour”.  It was boring for the children  until my magic power came to play.

Recitation time:  a cry in unison:  ” make us see” , the drawing  flipped frontview.  the children  shouted on the top of their voice the memorized words.  Some  acted out the illustration.  We rocked the day . my little friends loved me for making them see and i loved them for making me the official magician of the class.

Forgive me, it was long ago, i do not remember you individually, but i still see you all, neck stretched toward the blackboard , eyes and mouth wide open,  shouting : ” make us see”. Because you need my magic to see,  till the end of time, i shall hone my magic skills for you.

This website and all the works therein, are dedicated to you, dear wise little people of my childhood.

copyright by l.chan 2000.

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imagination is more important than knowledge.

” Imagination is more important than knowledge.  Knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world and all there ever will be to know and to understand”  Albert Einstein

“Your time is limited, so dont waste it, living someone else’s life… dont let the noise of others’ opinions drown your  own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become.”  Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, walker to your own drumbeat, thank you for reminding us to keep alive the fire burning  within each and all of us.

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la vida es sueno. Life is a dream

“…what is life? a frenzy.  what is life? an illusion, a shadow, a fiction  and the greatest profit is but small: for all of life is a dream,  and dreams are nothing but dreams”

“Que es la vida? un frenesi.  Que es la vida, una ilusion, una sombra, una ficcion.  Y el mayor bien es pequeno:  que toda la vida es sueno,  y los suenos, suenos son”

from the play ” La vida es sueno”.  by Pedro Calderon de la Barca.  Spanish writer, poet, dramatist  of 17th cent. Spanish Golden Age.

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the butterfly and the philosopher.

“once upon a time, I chuang-zi, dreamed i was a butterfly, fluttering either thither, to all intents and purposes , a butterfly….suddenly i awoke, there i lay, myself again.  Now, i do not know whether i was a man dreaming he was a butterfly, or whether i am a butterfly, dreaming  it is a man.”

Chuang-zi.  philosopher of 4th-3rd cent.BC China ( the time of the Axis Age). proponent of the philosophy of Skepticism, Relativism: absolute  truth is beyond the grasp of human consciousness.  we can only grasp partial aspects , a cock eyed view of the universe at best.  enormous influence on the western thinkers of later generations:  Nietzsche,  Einstein,  existential philosophers, quantum physics, astro  physics and more…

links: http://www.humanistictexts.org

chuangzi. philosopher. 4th cent BC China. dreaming he was a butterfly.

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frog living in the well and the philosopher.

” you cannot speak of ocean to a frog living in a well- a creature of narrow sphere.

you cannot speak of ice to a summer insect-a creature of season…..

but now that you have emerged from your narrow sphere, and have seen the great ocean, you know your own insignificance.  i can speak to you of  great principles.”

Chuang-zi.  mystic, moralist, social reformer.  4th-3rd cent. BC. the time of the Axis Age.  a follower of the teachings of Lao-zi (  Taoism): follow the way of nature, live at one with nature and do not impose on it.

chuangzi. 4th cent. BC .China. mystic philosopher social reformer.
EASY ENOUGH NO? Why can’t we follow this simple advice? because, we human are forever living in the narrow well of our self-importance.

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Monkey Equal to Heaven and the Journey to the West

Monkey:  in Chinese culture, represents the creative, playful and often rebellious side of human nature. left unchecked,  it is destructive. with the right  mentorship,  it is the instrument to great achievements.

“JOURNEY TO THE WEST”  written in 15th cent. : one of the 4 greatest literary masterpieces of China. it is an allegory of Man’s journey toward wisdom .

Monkey, endowed at birth with extraordinary physical ability and  intelligence. mastered the magical arts.  self appointed title: Monkey Equal to Heaven.  created havoc on earth and in heaven for his own amusement. “Born Again”:  a Buddhist monk .  pilgrimage journey westward ( India) to fetch the Buddhist scriptures, for the salvation of mankind. Monkey’s born again name: Suen Wu kong ( Monkey who understands the Void).

I am Coy, a spark of the Monkey spirit .  i am the Blogger to the galaxy and the alter ego of Chan,  the half duck-half chicken of this website.  by and by, will tell you about the  adventures of Monkey .

what’s the use of wine ,if no one wants to taste it?  what’s the use of a storyteller, if no one likes stories?  because of you, dear readers of near and far away lands,  i ,Coy exists and salutes you.

“Monkey” by Arthur Waley. english translation of the Chinese novel “Journey to the west’

coy, the blogger to the galaxy and alter ego of chan

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stand by me

at least one  is standing……………

coy and rhino stand by me

all rights reserved by veronesebellarte studio and L. chan.

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social conscience. massage profession reserved for the blind

centuries old tradition in China and related asian cultures:  in olden days, the profession of therapeutic masseur  strictly reserved for blind people.  they  walk ( yes,  THEY WALK)  their neighbourhood beat,  sounding a rattle . people  make time to invite them in.    nowaday,  the venerable profession is freely robbed from the blind and more often than not,  massage parlours  are a front for prostitution.  sad time.

turning tide .   South Korea,  decades of court battle,  finally, constitutional law passed to  protect the livelihood of blind masseurs.  Nepal,  giant effort to train the blind  into the profession and constitutionally  guaranty their right .

next time you need  massage therapy,  demand … at gun point if necessary,   the service of a professionally  trained  blind masseur.  their hands can see  as well as feel .

Bravo South Korea Bravo Nepal.

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a Danish oyster named Thorkil Sonne

once upon a time,  a Danish oyster named Thorkil Sonne discovered a lethal grain of sand in his system:  his son was diagnosed autistic. a  black hole of hopelessness, that’s the life of  families involved with the illness:  no hope to help the patient and no hope for the patient ever to be useful to himself  or society.

Thorkil Sonne  turns the lethal grain of sand into a precious pearl:  SPECIALISTERNE ( Specialits in Danish).  a company to assess and train ASD people  ( autistic spectrum disorder) so their special talents can be put to use to the service of the business sector . matching  special skills to special needs .

Now on to the second pearl:  SPECIALISTERNE FOUNDATION. goal is to  create a million job for ASD people  through social entrepreneurship .  on its way to create a string of pearls encircling the globe. see more  www.specialisterne.com

i like pearls, especially pearls with a social conscience.

why do autistic employees excel in the workplace?  extreme concentration on their current task.

autistic employee excells in work place

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the song of the oyster and the pearl

Once upon a time,  oysters were on the verge of extinction:  the sand churned by the waves gets into their system : a slow but sure death.  the oysters fought back,  slowly but surely:  they secreted a special substance and turned the lethal grain of sand into a  pearl. death replaced by a precious stone.    lethal  sand blowing our way?  what we decide to do with it, is the measure of our worth as …an oyster and a human being.

sandstorms coming?  i listen to the song of the oyster  and begin to create my pearls. the more sand , the more pearls.

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the ballad of Blind Tom Wiggins

1848-1904:  the life and time of Blind Tom Wiggins, born a slave . blind at birth, an autistic idiot savant and a musical prodigy.  exploited to the tilt:  world wide acclaimed concert performer and freak show superstar  at the same time from age six,   amassed a huge fortune for his masters and the Confederacy cause. death  shrouded in controversy. buried in an unmarked grave.

John Steinbeck  attended his concert and raved about his performance.

” The ballad of Blind Tom”  biography  by Deidre O connell

“John Davis plays Blind Tom:  The Eight Wonder” .  CD

“Oh Susanna dont you cry for me. ‘m just from Alabama with my banjo on my knee. Susanna, dont you cry for me.”  Negro Reel

Blind-Tom-400w

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man and his conscience, according to Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

” my soul knows my meat is doing bad things and it is embarrassed … but my meat keeps right on doing bad dumb things”.                                                                                                  Kurt Vonnegut Jr. American novelist  and sharp tongued  satirist of  the human condition.  the day  he passed on,   my universe is less one bright light,  bright and insanely funny light.

kurt vonnegut jr

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Woodstock, The Yellow Canary and the Artist

There is a theory that artists are useful to society because artists are supersensitive to currents of thoughts, yet to come,  the good the bad  and the ugly . artists are the harbinger of catastrophies very much like the yellow canary.  the canaries keel over in coal mines filled with poisonous gases:  they die to warn of the imminent danger.

…..ON THE OTHER HAND,  artists are keeling over by the thousands every day, and nobody seems to pay the least attention.

this line of thought came my way . do not remember from where or from whom. seems worthy to pass it on.

keeled over canary

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Moonlight Serenade from China . 8th century AD

Li Bai,  the greatest poet of Tang Dynasty China ( 7th-10th cent AD) and the most accomplished ” hippie” of his time :

“A pot of wine,  under the flowering trees,

alone I drink, no friend nearby.

raising my cup and beckoning to the  moon,

for she , my shadow and I  make us three.”

Li Bai’s nom de plume ( pen name)   ” the  Great  White”.  nothing to do with the great white shark.  his mother , when pregnant of him,  dreamt of a white star falling on earth.   the newborn was believed to be the earthly reincarnation of a celestial spirit,  the white star.  Li-Bai’s death, as well , clouded in legend:  he drowned,  trying to catch the reflection of the moon on the water of the lake.

will tell you more about Chinese and other “hippies”  dear to my heart.

LiBai

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the emperor and the nightingale.

Folktale. ” The Emperor and the nightingale”.  the bird with the  singing that melts the heart of men.  i looked for a likeness of the bird .  greatest disappointment,  no bird of paradise plumage to match the divine singing.  instead the drabbest grey bird.

Years later,  i was at a  Jet-setters party in Paris.  the Beautiful People  of Tout Paris was there.  every one  elegant  and handsome except for one young lady,   homely and  shy.  To entertain themselves,  the ” beautiful people”   picked on her :  ”  what is the hunchback of Notre Dame doing here? her parents must have deep pockets …”  out of pity,  i went to keep her company.  then we walked to the piano, there  she stomped the keyboard and belted out  blues melodies like the best of  pros.  rocked the house . the queen of the party for the rest of the evening.  Some time later i saw the movie ” Au revoir les enfants” by Francois Truffaut.  a shy young boy becomes the hero of the day when he hits the keyboard to the sounds of jazz.  was Truffaut there , witnessing the event?

Nightingales of the world, stand up and sing your song.

nightingale

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the conscience of children is merciless

i am from the old school . love and discipline. physical punishment , not out of anger, but  as a physical reminder to the child not to  repeat reckless actions.   when i was 5,  my cousin and i loved to romp around in the kitchen.   boiling water  knocked off the stove.  my cousin was disfigured for life.  i forbid  my daughter to come near the stove . i explained the possible consequences . I put her hand on the hot plate, to feel the burning pain.  ”  you are a big girl now,  you can do many things by yourself,  before you do it,  think if it’s going to hurt you or any one else. do you understand why sometimes i punish you.  the pain is to remind you to think before you do something that can hurt much more.  do you understand?  ”  yes mama,  i understand”.

my daughter liked to draw pictures.  sometimes i found pictures where she described she did something bad and  wrote she deserved to be punished.  at bedtime,  i heard her conversing with herself.  visiting with her imaginary friend?  the visitor was her conscience.  one hand was slapping…  the other hand,  because of some wrongdoing,  nobody was aware of, but her conscience.  then happy she felt asleep.

the big philosophical question:  when and how does conscience come into being in a child ?  why  when and how does it get compromised so quickly ?  we the adults are responsible for  shaping the conscience of the child, for better and for worse. this ,  coy believes.

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