Thursday, June 16, 2016

2016 Michigan Notable Book Author in South Lyon

Doreen Hannon and Donna Olson
South Lyon, Michigan recently hosted a
Josie Kearns and Joe Matuzak
Pulitzer Prize-winning author for a talk and book signing. David Maraniss' newest book Once in a Great City: A Detroit Story is one of 20 Michigan Notable Books for 2016. Chosen by the Library of Michigan each year, this year's authors are visiting 50 libraries throughout Michigan during April, May, June.

I was in The Lyon Theatre, listening. How did this extraordinary event happen? A notable book author in South Lyon?

Dedicated people made this happen.

South Lyon has a 3-year-old Cultural Arts Commission and the commissioners are working to bring more arts and humanities to South Lyon. Pictured lower left is Josie Kearns, South Lyon Cultural Arts Commission.

Ten months ago Donna Olson joined staff as Adult Services Department Head. SSLDL became a Michigan Center for the Book (Library of Michigan) affiliate. You can meet Donna at SSLDL. Her enthusiasm is catchy and her smile is instantly recognizable (see pic top right.) Doreen Hannon, SSLDL Director (pictured top left) brought Donna to our library from Howell Carnegie District Library.

The Michigan Humanities Council has used surveys in the past after cultural events. In connection with SL CAC, Joe Matuzak, University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (pic bottom right) volunteered to help design a survey for before events. Not how did you enjoy what you just experienced, but what experiences would you like to create?

And David Maraniss came to the South Lyon Theatre for a free presentation. Thanks to all the entities mentioned in the Hometown Life news article. These encounters, free to the public, are brought to you by the Library of Michigan, Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Humanities Council, the Library of Michigan Foundation, Meijer and the Michigan Center for the Book. Kudos, all!

I have, and will continue to, personally thank Doreen Hannon, Josie Kearns, Donna Olson and Joe Matuzak. You can too, whenever you see these energetic and involved people in South Lyon.

Our library is a living member of the community. Arts and art events make it breathe, and the heart of our town, dedicated to bringing more memorable cultural events to South Lyon, is a marvelous working engine.

You can be involved in this endeavor, this cultural renaissance. What would South Lyon residents like to see more of in town? You can share your thoughts here through the end of June. You can participate in events scheduled as as each occurs by checking the South Lyon Cultural Arts Commission website, the City of South Lyon website, and the Salem South Lyon District Library site. I just created a South Lyon folder on my bookmark toolbar. I'm so proud of us!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

How I Am A Patriarchy Enabler

A guy brought a flamethrower to the garden. Already that sounds bizarre. He began his stated intention to use it on the entire 60 feet of his section of community farm, but his nozzle broke. I smelled the burn before I saw it. Shocked, I brought another man over to take a look at it. Was this an accident? Nope. Looks like he used weed killer and then started to burn the poisoned field. The guy I asked sounded impressed, called it a controlled burn. The farmer across the way told me about the failed nozzle. He was okay with it. I went to city hall to ask about flamethrowers in public gardens, and got more of the same from the fire chief. To be clear, there is no burning allowed within city limits. But all the men were fine with it. Including my father's home health worker. Doesn't see what the problem is. And my father was okay with telling me that his HHW was okay with it. I'm tangled up in this flaming stuff. Who even thinks of flamethrowing a garden? Guys. I looked at a site that sells these things, and the video shows the outfitted flamer setting fire to couches, a car with paint cans on top. What's it good for in the text? Clearing land. Getting rid of pesky insects.

Herein lies the enabling piece: the guy who knew that no one would object to him torching the ground. The fire chief who knew he could get rid of the woman at the desk who approached him to ask the question (and he tried to shoo away). The me standing there in my dirty coveralls insisting he deal with this. That ended in him handing over his card, and dismissing me with "call me, ma'am, if you have any other questions." Scram, li'l lady.

We did this. I've done it. By not speaking up. By playing along to get along. By not reporting that boss who threatened me with my job if I didn't sleep with him on a business trip. By raising children who are entitled, and dismissive of those who question that privilege. By not teaching and insisting that people in our lives abide in community with all others.

My dad pitches in with any household duty only when he knows I'm pissed. Then there's a perfunctory and short-lived effort. He sits at the table waiting for dinner to appear in front of him, and watches me cook. Then I put dinner on the table in front of him. And I stew. This is how he was taught to operate in the world. Women are taught to put the dinner on the table. And not stew. Patriarchy isn't good for any gender. Men go to war because that's how supremacy and colonialism works. Guns are an epidemic in America because of patriarchy.

And gardeners are fine with flame-throwing a garden plot. I wasn't going to pursue this. I was going to swallow it, and tamp down the corresponding flame in my belly. Why? Because I am afraid of retaliation. Because that's another thing patriarchy encourages. Women understand early in life the consequences of speaking up and out. Patriarchy counts on that mightily. When we don't speak, when we are silent and afraid, we are enabling the flamethrowers of the realm to run our world.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Women Warriors WisCon 40 Urim

Urim is the 13th of the scifi women warriors going to WisCon 40 in Madison, WI over Memorial Day weekend. This character will be a leading actor in the Stellar Repo universe, although I wonder if Urim will keep the dark humor alive. We'll find out together.

My abridged theory of how women lost the power 5,000 years or so ago: we humans stopped wandering; built, cultivated, fenced, domesticated animals and ourselves. A priest class rose to assure that whatever was working continued to work: sun rising in the east, rain falling, crops growing, babies aborning. Check. Cultivation took and then there was surplus. The priest class added a notch on its CV to defend the wealth. Warrior. Warrior priest class. And women were shoved into the back office. Read domesticated. Think domination.

Enter the warrior priest who is going to upend all that shit.

Stellar Repo is about returning stuff to the rightful owner. She is selective about what stuff and rightful means. Tikkum olam - repairing the world. Urim will be a prominent player in educating Stellar on the intricacies of gathering the pieces together. Urim is a devotee of cleromancy.

This figure is painted with stainless steel paint. Her torso is adorned with beaded glitter which represents an embodied tattooing. Her skirt is made from copper mesh and cinches with a copper clasp in the back. Her sandals are clay with copper mesh straps. Her labrys (doubled-bitted ax) is a copper tube with jewelry findings. The jewel at her third eye is a lemon pear-shaped faceted crystal, surrounded with hammered copper. Her earbob is heavy gauge coiled copper. The cloak is a sewn fabric remnant, as is the stole.

Urim wears a chest medallion that is argentium I fused to a copper oval, and is the symbol for the Cosmic Egg. The image can be found in Barbara Walker's Woman's Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects or by searching images on the internet. The medallion can be removed and makes a swanky human pendant.

You can read more about the Stellar Repo universe on this blog.

Urim will be appearing with her 12 sister warriors at the WisCon 40 Art Show in Madison, WI during Memorial Day weekend.

For those who will not be attending WisCon, a 4x6 art print of Urim is available in my etsy shop.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Women Warriors WisCon40 Stellar Repo

The lead character in the Stellar Repo storyline. Stellar is an intergalactic retriever of swiped stuff. She has an attitude problem which is perfect for breaking and entering and putting the habeus grabus on purloined property. Her tools and - when necessary - her weaponry are bolt cutters and a long crowbar. Her story is space noir.

The plot is based on an odd promotion in my banking life to aircraft loan collection manager. I was such a neophyte - I think the entire commercial loan division shared jokes about the bonehead moves I made early on. One repeated around the office: a man in Kentucky was suspected of using his de Havilland as a crop duster. The bank's loan contract forbade use of private aircraft for commercial purposes. So Boyd Burnett was in violation. He refused my calls, disguised his voice, dodged my investigators. A private airport operator took pity on me and ratted Burnett out. Next time I called, I said, "Mr. Burnett, I know this is you. You are in violation of your agreement with Big Bank, and you leave me no choice but to take the aircraft." <Guffaw> "Mr. Burnett?" When he stopped laughing, he drawled, "Li'l lady. You find that sumbitch, you can have it."

I had no idea where the plane was. I told the B. Burnett story while in a TV studio sound room, and the young engineer said "why don't you write it in space?"

This character is wearing traditional ninja attire, carrying the tools of her trade. Her goggles are SGT Leigh Ann Hester eyewear from Rattlesnake Toys. She is a fully poseable action figure. I just noticed you can't see her goggles. You'll have to trust that they are cool!

I am crazy about Stellar Repo. You can read more about her on this blog. Episode 1. Episode 2.

Stellar will be appearing with her 12 sister scifi warriors at the WisCon 40 Art Show in Madison, WI during Memorial Day weekend.

For those who will not be attending WisCon, a 4x6 art print of Stellar Repo is available in my etsy shop.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Mai Women Warriors WisCon 40

Bieggolmai is the Saami goddess of summer storms and wind. This small action figure radiates fierce. When I was working on her, I had to turn her head to the side because her stare was so daunting. I stopped redesigning her face when she started looking back. Look at her - posing her, she stomped on her nameplate. I left her that way. She came in a group of action figures, and as luck would have it, fit a pair of pants I made that were too narrow for normal 1:6 scale figures.

Mai is anything but normal. She has no assignment in a storyline, but she will be as transient and memorable as a summer storm when she does appear.

Her sword was acquired from an eBayer who recently lost a good job, and has to sell his handmade collection of gear and weaponry. The sword is hand forged, and buyer beware, quite sharp.

Mai will be joining her 12 sister warriors at WisCon 40 Art Show in Madison, WI over Memorial Day weekend

For those who will not be attending WisCon, a 4x6 art print of Mai is available in my etsy shop.

Women Warriors WisCon 40 Kala

This character has no assigned role yet. She is a metabolically modified mermaid who can fly. Kala is the Finnish word for fish.

You can undoubtedly tell she was a Glenn Close 101 Dalmatians doll-one of the few molds based on humans that actually looked like who it was supposed to be. I removed most of her exaggerated make-up and that awful hair. She is hardwired in a skullcap with watch parts and thread.

So. What story doesn't need a metabolically modified mermaid who can fly?

I'm wild about wiring and fusing wings. I see dragons in my future. Storm dragons, underwater dragons...

Kala will be joining her 12 sister warriors at WisCon 40 Art Show in Madison, WI over Memorial Day weekend

For those who will not be attending WisCon, a 4x6 art print of Kala is available in my etsy shop.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Women Warriors WisCon 40 Rock Star

This weary beauty is one of my oldest and a favorite. She has no name yet, but she will surely appear on stage in the Stellar Repo universe. She is an entertainer, and I have some insider information about her I am unwilling to reveal just yet. Entertainers hear many dangerous secrets because audiences forget celebrities have ears. And brains. And histories. And agendas.

This character has a wire armature, a rolled up masking tape head. Her hands are wrapped in thread. Her purple boots are sculpted from clay. The jean jacket and pants are from a favorite pair, threadbare and well loved. The jacket has a fake fur collar. Her turtleneck is from a castoff tshirt. She has doll's hair and human false eyelashes. She is the smallest of her sisters at about 9-1/2 inches high.

She posed herself and I love the way she stands on her own.

One last bow before saying good night.

Rock Star will be joining her 12 sister warriors at the WisCon 40 Art Show in Madison, WI during Memorial Day weekend.

For those who will not be attending WisCon, a 4x6 art print of Rock Star is available in my etsy shop.