November-December 2017 | Volume 13 Number 6
A Common Life
The year is quickly coming to a close; a lot’s changed since January, as everyone who is conscious surely knows. The ongoing state of personal affairs, however, those tenuous microcosms in which each of us lives, may not be so drastically touched as what the sea change rolling up on shores around the world is bringing. The tragedy is largely that the majority of voters swayed by this President’s bombastic rhetoric remain steadfast in support, while spineless politicians brought publicly to their knees seem not to have gotten up. Someone, please, scrape those mollusks from the floor!
Fortunately, we are able to dance while Washington and much of the progressive legislation passed in the last 50 years goes up in smoke, further enlarging America’s carbon bigfoot print. Easy to deny when bigfoot sightings never have been confirmed. Thus the mythology of global warming remains just that, at least in Washington’s eyes. Where are those transcripts from the years at whatever Ivy League school Mr. Big Himself attended (and where are those heralded, hidden tax returns, too)? There’s truth in them thar’ lies, I know there is.
And where is the anchor to this heaving Ship of State? In the Arts, of course, where it’s always been, pushing back. While Might is Right barrages continue endlessly as the long night into which goes the fading Past — when naivete, perhaps, kept Hope alive — the Arts sustain. And when People of Right Mind return to steer and lead (ironic, isn’t it, when Right and Right can mean such different things?), when respect for all and not just the powerful, when the burdens of a common life are tended to with understanding, when violent experience is at the whim of nature not of man, perhaps then again we can enjoy adventures in imagination that bring together riven worlds.
“Pie in the Sky,” you say? Or fruit of the tree of life?
We’ve got a great issue for you to close out 2017:
Fiction from Alexis Rhone Fancher; Poetry by Richard Livermore; Art by Fred Bendheim; Retweets from Galanty Miller’s huge and growing huger archives; David Gittens’ recap of a peace-bridge effort to South Korea; Michael Jantzen’s latest project — a proposal for eco-friendly building projects; Book Reviews; A Crack in the Sidewalk by Barbara Rosenthal; Fiction by Daniel Dragomirescu translated from the Romanian; Greg Stewart’s NY, a performance review of Odetta Hartman and Jack Inslee at Rough Trade in Williamsburg; Allen Forrest’s artful take on a conspiracy theory about “the Simpson case,” and more! Stay tuned.
SPECIAL THANKS to all those who contributed to Ragazine’s Summer and Fall Fundraisers. They’re the reason we’re still here for you — no kidding!
As always, thanks for reading — and for spreading the word.
— Mike Foldes
Alex Wolkowicz: Viscera Artbreak Gallery New York by Carl Oprey Contributing Arts Editor arlier this year I went to two illuminating exhibitions within a few weeks of each other....read more
Gangster capitalism and nostalgic authoritarianism in Trump’s America In one year, the Trump regime has wrought immense damage to democracy, culture and thought. But there’s new hope. by Henry A. Giroux Contributing Editor Just one year into the...read more
by Galanty Miller here are way too many holidays that obligate us to spend time with our families./ I went through the 5 Stages of Death. I saw the musical CATS in five different theaters./ I...read more
The photographic medium, for me, is most effective when it reveals our cultural environment. The bond which exists between identity and culture is a measure of the present, a reference to the past, and a signal to the future.read more
About Allen Forrest: Cartoonist/Illustrator. Born in Canada and bred in the U.S., Allen Forrest has worked in many mediums: computer graphics, theater, digital music, film, video, drawing and painting. You can read more about him in...read more
Michael Jantzen says of his work, “I want to reinvent the built environment in order to extend the reach of consciousness.” That underlying sentiment is the foundation for work that challenges spatial relationships, material science, social relationships, architectural norms and artistic purpose.read more
Photo: Kisoon Choi “Only Hearts” Art/Peace Project Sharing the peacemaking visions of 3,500 Sarasota, Florida students with students in Chungju, South Korea aking our Florida-grown art/peace project to...read more
A Crack in the Sidewalk: Journaling by Barbara Rosenthal — NYC, Nov. 1, 2017. Welcome back again to this monthly column. Looks like the way it began last month is the way it will go every month. That particular incidents will trigger the topics, some of...read more
About Consciousness by Heath Brougher (ISBN #1974100529) 2017 46 pages, 12" x 8.5", paperback, full color ($14.99) Alien Buddha Press. Middleton, DE (https://alienbuddhapress.com/) About Consciousness by Heath Brougher Review by Eli T. Mond ...read more
Unsplash: Henning Witzel photo *** His Full Attention by Alexis Rhone Fancher duardo’s exceptionally large. When he drives too fast up the mountain, yanking me to him on the curves, his body is an...read more
The more I wished to go on that journey, the longer the waiting seemed. My father’s stories about seeing the Danube, Saligny’s bridge and everything else were not enough and I was burning with anticipation. I wanted to see myself on that train once and for all.read more
Greg Stewart photo Jack and Odetta, Stage Left 2 Odetta Hartman Rocks the House at Rough Trade Review and photos by Greg Stewart detta Hartman and Jack Inslee take the stage under blue...read more
Artist Statement: My current work spans the boundaries between painting and sculpture. They are abstract, shaped paintings and relief sculptures, usually on wood or PVC, which I call "shapings". My subjects are usually abstract: they are made of...read more
The following poem by Richard Livermore is excerpted from his book in progress "New Selected Poems", which will be published in Bibliotheca Universalis, a series of chapbooks organized and published by Daniel Dragomirescu in Bucharest, Romania. by RICHARD...read more
Prisms, Particles, and Refractions by Carol Smallwood Finishing Line Press, 2017 85 pp. $18.99 www.finishinglinepress.com Reviewed by Judith Skillman arol Smallwood’s new collection, Prisms, Particles,...read more
Celebrating Rumi: An Alchemical Feast of Food Poetry and Music by Greg Stewart n a blustery autumn night in the Lower East Side I found my way into a birthday celebration for the beloved Sufi poet, Rumi. In...read more
Princess Nokia and Suzi Analogue Rock the House at Villain by Gregory Stewart y name is Suzi Analogue! We gonn vibe tonight!" A whirlwind of light beams out and around the crowd. A wall of sound comes...read more
The geographic wonders of New York never cease to impress. After our sight-seeing bike ride, we took a walk around and ended up in an old building. Many of the buildings on the island have a military history. After all, it was a fort designed to protect New York Harbor.read more
Those days everybody was heading west to California, to the Rocky Mountains, so I went east to the Adirondacks, New England, the Maritimes. I hitchhiked over 30,000 miles, off and on, over three years. I’d head out from Buffalo in Spring, return in Autumn, work again till next Spring and head out once more. I backpacked on mountain trails for days on end. Hitched on expressways, highways, small country roads. Stayed a third of the time in peoples’ houses without ever asking once. Spent time with folks who lived in the country and had gardens, chickens, put food up and lived simple lives close to nature. Through all of those hitchhiking miles I never had a bad experience.read more
Summer's Over, but Don't Let That Stop You... from burying yourself in these fine reads by Mike Foldes Took awhile to get enough traction to settle down and actually plow through anything but a few hundred emails containing repetitive updates on...read more
Meter is often challenging for any poet to handle and it is discussed with easy to understand examples, definitions. It has the best chapter on meter I’ve run across and should help even the most timid poet—or even those accomplished in using it.read more
The name Knockdown Center comes from the fact that the “knock-down” door style, which could be assembled from a variety of pieces on construction sites, was created here in this factory space under the Manhattan Door Factory. Before that it was a glass factory under the auspices of Gleason-Tiebout. The open courtyard space has an overloaded bike rack, a handful of cars, and a few twenty-somethings milling about with cigarettes dangling from their lips and fingers. The theater-style sign draws in anyone who may walk past, with the name of the venue, the promise of a bar, and nothing more.read more
three poems by holly dayread more
There are many in the world who simply don’t care for us, especially in regard to our “empire” status. They see us as a country that continues to bolster its own power at every turn, a country that whether through its power over diplomacy or military strategy will do whatever it needs to do to maintain its global supremacy, especially relative to economic benefit.read more
Violence runs through the United States like an electric current and has become the primary tool both for entertaining people and addressing social problems while also working to destroy the civic institutions and other institutions that make a democracy possible. Needless to say, Trump is not the sole reason for this more visible expression of extreme violence on the domestic and foreign fronts. On the contrary, he is the endpoint of a series of anti-democratic practices, policies and values that have been gaining ground since the emergence of the political and economic counterrevolution that gained full force with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, along with the rule of financial capital and the embrace of a culture of precarity.read more
Currently the circulation of Esopus is about 30,000, with readers in all 50 states and 23 countries. The very loyal base of subscribers is about 2,000. The consistent success of Esopus has been its ability to provide the readership with an eclectic mix of art, as well as the good publicity that has been following it since its early editions. It has been reviewed in The New York Times, along with many international publications which have spread it around the globe.read more
Floating Tales by Jeff Friedman ISBN 978-1-941196-46-5 $21.95, paper. Plume Editions, MadHat Press Asheville NC https://madhat-press.com/collections/plume-editions Floating Tales by Jeff Friedman With an introduction by Daniel Lawless ...read more
Full disclosure: Jonathan Penton is this reviewer’s fraternal twin. That’s right. The author currently under examination was parturated clinging onto my red-hairy ankle. He entered upon this particular incarnation all primed to fuck me out of my birthright for some dribbles of lentil soup the color of blood, salsa and unpainted rust. So, how have I managed, in this strange critique, to approach my rival sibling’s stuff with such an unjaundiced eye? Is it due to the magisterial disinterestedness of my critical faculty?
Perhaps it’s just because—as I’ve suddenly come to realize, now that Bradley’s Complaint has been duly lodged and I’ve delivered myself of my authorial pet peeve—I don’t give a fuck. I don’t even recognize the notion of birthright.read more
A Crack in the Sidewalk Barbara Rosenthal — NYC, Sept 1, 2017. My monthly column A Crack in the Sidewalk is by this first sentence here now, back upon the Earth. Greetings, dear readers! The column logo is what it looked like when it first...read more
Invisible Departures —internally displaced persons, Crimea, 2015 How long before choosing to kiss an angel’s hand, to reach for heaven’s fruit-bearing boughs— the bee not disturbed too drunk— How swollen the seeds of heavy-headed...read more
R: The Delaware Water Gap is a beautiful, scenic area that people usually just pass through on Route 80 or stop nearby for the shopping mall. How did you happen to find a home there?
LNS: I wasn’t aware of a mall.
I saw a picture of a place on a wall outside a building in the East Village . I was desperate to escape, and it felt like a good idea. There were loads of heavenly crawling and hopping and flying creatures in the area so I knew it was for me indeed!read more
THE ORE HOLE By Thaddeus Rutkowski During a school day, a science teacher took my class on a field trip. We hiked to a patch of trees growing in a crater in the ground. “This was an ore hole,” he explained. “Iron ore was dug here; then it was...read more
The senior nurse leads the march out of the room, clutching the garbage bag to her
respectable spare tire, leaving the night table open and empty.
How to Save Your Manuscript Before It Leaves Your Laptop: An Interview with Cindy Hochman by Ann Cefola indy Hochman peers over a manuscript. On the first page, she has already discovered...read more
“… we have an education system that seems most focused on verifying its own worth, making it ‘too busy’ to be concerned with developing ongoing, civic dialogue. (Especially in these turbulent political times, this should be a top priority, at least on par with developing technological skills.)”read more
My photography work recently published in L’Oeil de la Photographie is part of an older series, which I once created on the theme of “Sheet” (as in bed linens) and the body. Similar to many of my images, I show only details, not a whole body. In hindsight, I notice today that quite often I focused on the bottoms of my models!!!read more
Axid Rain was my highlight of the 4th semi-final night. They call their genre flatrock, which I attempted to google but finally gave up. They’re a hard rock band, in the classic vein of MTV or Huey Lewis and the News, with a fantastic live show. Frontman Yannick Mense, in his leather hat and seaman’s jacket was all over the stage. Pure charisma and wild guitar riffs. All in all an electrifying performance.read more
Democracy on life support: Donald Trump’s first anniversary by Henry A. Giroux Donald Trump was elected president of the United States a year ago today. His ascendancy in American politics has made visible a culture of cruelty, a contempt for civic...read more