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The final week of October marked the final days and passing of two notable characters of the 20th and 21st Centuries. As with all remarkable characters of any time and place, their names may not be remembered one hundred or two hundred years from now (I believe in this case they will), but the effects of their lives will be long felt. The two people of whom I write are Deborah Turbeville and Lou Reed. I never met either one of them, but I readily remember what I felt the first time I looked at one of Turbeville’s photographs that atypically captured a spectacular blend of sex and death – so mesmerizing I never forgot the images or her name. I got the same powerful impression when I first heard, then played and replayed Reed’s ”The Velvet Underground & Nico,” produced by Andy Warhol. Couldn’t get enough of it then, and some days still can’t. Without a doubt, they left us with something that stirs the soul… and who could ask for more.
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What else? In the column to the left, you’ll find the standing Pages. Beneath them, the latest posts of all the stuff of which we’re made.
In a separate piece examining Brazil’s contemporary art and culture, Professor Dinah P. Guimaraens posts a review of the country’s transformation from a post-colonial agrarian society to a member of the global socio-politico-economic community. The concern being, what about the past, what about the people? What is happening in this transcultural event that many fear will change the face of the nation forever – and not necessarily for the better? Art editor Jose Rodeiro provides an overview in News/Haps/Snaps of the ongoing exhibit of New Jersey landscapes at Drumthwacket, the New Jersey home of Governor and Mrs. Chris Christie.
Regular columnists humorist Galanty Miller, gay life writer Mircea Filimon and adventurer Bill Dixon are back with their various takes on life in earth’s ether, joined by JH Mae who brings us the ruralist’s view from New York state’s North Country.
Music editor Jeff Katz, taking a break from writing a book, takes aim at the annoying behavior of a free spirit run amok at a small-venue concert. Contributing music editor Fred Roberts, in “Soundscene Europe ” and “World Out of Control,” gets behind Felix Kubin, Mary Ocher and Gustav, and goes deeper into the black hearts of men with a timely retrospective of “Decoder,” the 1984 German film inspired by the writings of William S. Burroughs with an equally dark sound track by Soft Cell and Einstürzende Neubauten.
Politics editor Jim Palombo poses a series of rhetorical questions you can answer on your own time about where we as Americans are on the scales of justice, equality, and other civic concerns, including the degree of critical thinking that takes place – or doesn’t – in our everyday lives. He also points to several organizations that are currently at work trying to improve our civic understanding and public dialogue prospects.
On the literary side, poets Nicole Broadhurst and Teresa Sutton bear witness to events very often beyond their control; Alex Straaik blends fact and fiction reflecting on the whereabouts of a long-lost friend who took the other fork in the road; and Michel Collins takes us to a western desert where a team of young anthropologists discovers how wide the divide between digital and analog. John Smelcer offers up two pieces, one a poem written years ago with Ted Hughes over a couple of drinks in an English pub, illustrated for this occasion by Micah Clarke, and a memoir recounting how his acquaintance with the famed Irish poet Seamus Heaney got off to a shaky start.
A raft of book reviews includes “Ekphrastia Gone Wild,” “The Natural History of Asphalt,” “Poised in Flight,” “Coffee House of Confessions” and “Strange Borderlands.” Thanks to Reviews editor Alan Britt for recruiting the able talents of Silvia Scheibli, David Fraser, Miriam O’Neal and Boris Dralyuk.
On the visual side: An interview with Gabriel Navar, and galleries of recent work reflecting the worldwide obsession with smart phones, add another dimension to the West Coast art scene… Particularly gratifying: Rod Serling, and “The Masks.” Then there’s photographer Jennifer Georgescu, whose “Sand, Stones, Dead Leaves & Bone #13” is one of many images that swim in the river of nature’s chaos. the Photography Spot features images from a new book by Belgian Photographer Marc Lagrange; contributing writer/photographer Ginger Liu interviews ex-rocker Andy Summers about his life on the road as a photographer; and from place to place you’ll find the work of Walter Gurbo, Lynda Barreto and Jonathan Kelham. Bottoms up!
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Speculative Fiction by People of Color Contest
We are very thankful to the writers who entered our Speculative Fiction by People of Color contest, and offer our sincere congratulations to the winner and runners up, whose stories will be critiqued by our final judge, Sheree Renée Thomas, announced on or about December 1st, and will appear in Ragazine.CC in 2014.
Best wishes for the holidays, whatever holidays they might be in your part of the world.
Thanks for reading… spread the word.
– Mike F.
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