It is at precisely 1:14 a.m.1 that I’m suddenly awake, staring at the ceiling. I know every crevice in the spackle like every nerve in my leg; scars painting the accident that took me down as a child. Not sure how long these severed and sewn limbs will serve me. Sleep ebbs and floods with the spasms. By 5 a.m., I’m done. I don’t care what day it is . . . tired of feeling so bad. I take another look at the hydrocodone bottle in the medicine cabinet.1a I slam it shut, grab my towel, sling goggles around my neck and drive to the beach to find relief in the cold winter water. As I drive east, the moon races to the horizon behind me.read more
“Soft-hearted people can’t work with kids like that.” She’s right. A dear friend of mine said that to me today when I told her this story.
On the first day of summer camp Angie was having problems.
waterworks TTS3 FlipHCrop_VIBRANT fI’m sitting in a gazebo, having a chat with my friend Dr. Marie Bailey. Marie is a yoga therapist, former clinical psychologist and my meditation coach. We’re talking about healing and we’re located precisely where we need to be. This gazebo sits on the St. Johns River between the water and St. Vincent’s Hospital. The tide is ebbing, the water taking the shape of the river bed, making its way to the ocean . . . the constant sculptor, slightly changing the shoreline at every moment. As a healer, she nourishes all along her way. I observe that water takes the shape and changes the shape of its container: Two of the most powerful elements of healing – empathy and change.read more
When you have a writer/performer/artist born into your family, or you get married to, or you’re the child of, you don’t sign up for being fodder for their writing: it not something you think about . . . you just want that relationship with them, or in some cases you’re stuck with that relationship. You don’t ask for the world to hear about your ups and downs, your most private and painful moments; but as an artist, that’s what we do.read more
Earth is a system like any other. Birth, peak and decline. There isn’t a system in the universe that doesn’t perform the cycle: Real estate, dot com booms and crashes, populations, cultures and super novas. On a physics level it’s a property of the forward motion of time. It’s pretty much in our face.read more
When my children were younger, I co-owned an art gallery called Spiller Vincenty on King Street in San Marco. I won’t deny my kids had an avant-garde upbringing, with artists coming and going, performance pieces being enacted on makeshift stages (and once in a blow-up baby pool), and the aspect of our home ever-changing as paintings were recycled and works of art were sold off of the living room walls like gewgaws at a church bazaar. There were times when one of my children’s friends would titter at a Laurie Hitzig nude, or startle at a realistic Jeff Whipple sculpture, but for the most part, our lives and the lives of our friends and family were simultaneously enriched and desensitized by the barrage of artistic expression that surrounded us. Spiller Vincenty Gallery is long gone, but I still do some consulting and I had the good fortune to place art in a fabulous beach house recently with curious result. We were in the middle of renovations and there was a surfeit of workmen, designers and technicians scurrying about, the air rife with the dramatic sturm und drang of missed deadlines and impending renters. I’m blithely hanging a Jim Draper oil on canvas portrait over a banquette, minding my own business, when the job foreman says, “What is that? That guy’s eye is poked out. You can’t put that up there. It’s disgusting. It’s not even beachy.” The painting has a robin’s egg blue background. There is a swan involved. There is also a man looking distressed, with a shadowy eye that might be a bit gouged and disturbing. The painting is gorgeous to my eyes, but it would never be described as “beachy”. I ignore the critique and walk down the hall with a Kurt Polkey oil on canvas. The painting is divided into three sections; the largest image is of two blondes who appear to be smiling or sneering, depending upon how you see the glass of water. The other images are an incongruous light bulb and a motorcycle. l begin to measure sixty inches to the center of the painting; as I measure to the center of the wall, someone says, “That’s gonna be too high. It should be lower – and are those Siamese twins?” A couple of people have gathered and another guy says, “I think that’s supposed to be blood slashed across the front.” Oh for heaven’s sake. Is everybody Vito Schnabel on this job? By Marilyn...read more
I’m unpacking from a recent trip when a call comes from my host: “You left your toiletries bag,” she says. Those five words strike dread in the heart of any woman of a certain age. What about my regenerating cream? My warm glow blush? My super blendable liquid foundation, my tweezers nestled in their box with the built-in magnifying mirror!!! Suffice to say I am in the drugstore early the next morning to replace what has been temporarily lost. When one purchases a dozen toiletry items, it is glaringly apparent that they’re packaged like plutonium, or soft-core porn in an airport newsstand: impervious to opening by human hands. What in the world are the makers protecting? Me or the brow plumper? When I get home, I find that every item is shrink-wrapped, triple-plasticized, clam-shelled and hot-melted; the mascara is in a container so impenetrable a sharp knife cannot puncture its surface. It’s as if the items I have purchased are for display only, like museum pieces in hermetically sealed time capsules. I use my teeth, a stray nail, an ice pick and a carpet knife to little avail, thinking, “Even monkeys can use rock tools with better results . . .” At some point I am actually bleeding and whimpering, and I just don’t care if my face is micro-refined or not. Wrap Rage is the common name for what I am feeling: frustration and anger resulting from my complete inability to unearth anything I have purchased. I am not alone. In a survey conducted by the Cox School of Business, almost eighty percent of households express “anger, frustration and outright rage” with plastic packaging. Why has this phenomenon occurred? Why do manufacturers seem reluctant to change even with the resounding environmental impact and societal fury? As a friend of mine used to say when caught with his hand in the proverbial change jar, “There are no excuses, only reasons.” Some packaging is regulated, such as over the counter drugs or items which must be child-proofed; some is intentionally difficult to open, to reduce shoplifting, pilferage and tampering; and some containers are designed for protection in shipping. Aesthetics is also a key factor in product packaging, and it’s the reason for the double whammy of excessive cardboard fillers and props. No manufacturing company worth its salt wants to see the depilatory cream they are pitching looking powerless and crooked in its box, or worse – settled with the label obscured. Studies abound regarding the perils of attempting to open containers with found objects such as steak knives, razor blades or hatchets. The Daily Mail reports two-thirds of all Brits have fallen victim to injury due to Wrap Rage. The Institute for Good Medicine says seventeen percent of all adults over the age of eighteen report they have sustained injuries opening holiday or birthday gifts. The most common injuries reported are cut finger, cut hand, sprained wrist, bruised hand and strained shoulder muscles. But I bet there are unreported popped, porcelain laminate incidents, and makeshift shiv fatalities. I head to the hardware store to find the ultimate package-opening apparatus, because I know someone must have thought to produce one, given all the Wrap Rage brouhaha. I find several tools which look like gardening shears, but with a multitude of functions...read more
Long before I started working on ‟State of the Re:Union‟ (SOTRU), poet Sekou Sundiata told me, “One of the biggest issues in America is the country’s collective amnesia.” Our ability to forget whatever didn’t work in the narrative of these United States.read more
I’m walking the river by Memorial Park with a friend. The river is ebbing back to the ocean, the wind is moving gently, and opposite of the current, and the sun is creating millions of glistening stars on the surface. Walking under a tree close to the bulkhead, we see the caustic reflection of this meeting of light and water beaming off the leaves. They move in the light breeze, further randomizing this beautiful show. We name it river lightning.read more
Host of “Tonight with Jim Alabiso” at MeeMeeTVJax.com, 18.1 WVVQ ~ Writer ~ Swimmer ~ Meditator I’m your host, like the person that greets you at the restaurant, but the show is really inside. A viewer tells the station, “I saw this music segment on your channel then started playing my keyboard for the first time in three years.” That’s why we are here. Inspiration, where arts and culture start. Photo by Laura Evans lauraevansphotography.com Set Design by Michael...read more