Brad Goins Thursday, April 30, 2015 Comments Off on ‘NEIGHBORHOOD DANCES’

Local artist Victoria Bradford is once again treating the Lake Area to a month-long exhibition of experimental art. You can see her “Neighborhood Dances” through April 24 in the Art Associates Gallery (suite 208) on the second floor of the Central School at 809 Kirby St. Hours are 9 am-5 pm, M-F.

Like Bradford’s last long local exhibit, this one mixes video, installation and performance art. Bradford worked nine months to put it together.

To complete the project, she had herself filmed while she did short dances on front lawns and in front of houses and buildings “in neighborhoods across Lake Charles and beyond.” She wound up with 168 fifteen-second videos. These videos are the “raw material” for the work in the exhibit.

Video is projected onto two walls of the gallery. One video shows films of neighborhood dances superimposed on each other. The dances in this video, says Bradford, are “layered into one elusive, ghostly image” and “[function] like a kinetic painting.”

The video projected on the other wall shows one dance at a time. These images, says Bradford, offer “a more concrete vision of each dance, one moving image scrolling across the screen followed by another.”

As in her previous show, other works on display function like an archive of catalogued and numbered items — in this case, the items being the dances Bradford performed. Artifacts include such things as still images of dances, written scores, texts on the dances and a “conceptual map” identifying the neighborhoods where the dances took place. (You may recall that dance figured in the first show in much the same way. In that show, a dancer crawled into and out of cabinet cubby holes; people who weren’t watching her could look at still photos of her extremely nimble moves.)

Bradford will deliver two live performances on the evening of the show’s closing reception, which will coincide with the Spring Art Walk. You can see these performances at 6 pm and 7 pm on April 24.

If you need more information, visit neighborhooddances.com or victoriaeleanorbradford.com.


‘Fury, Outrage And Disgust’

In the last edition of “Up Front,” your faithful correspondent reported that LSU President King Alexander had used some rather strong language in rallying LSU students to oppose further budget cuts to their school.

Well, it looks as if this is going to be an ongoing story. In other words, as we journalists say, it has legs.

In one of his recent columns, Times-Picayune writer and political commentator Bob Mann demanded the resignation of the LSU Board of Supervisors on the grounds that the board had failed to vigorously oppose the cuts made to the school’s budget during the Jindal administration.

Somebody must read Mann’s stuff. The LSU board didn’t even wait a day before it fired back. Board member Stanley Jacobs wrote the Times-Picayune, “I understand the significance of these draconian cuts. I feel like I am standing on the Titanic and that the LSU I graduated from and love so much is about to go under academically.”

That much might have been OK. But a little later, the LSU board issued a joint statement that contained this passage:

“The entire LSU Board of Supervisors stands solidly with President King Alexander … in expressing our collective anxiety and concern relative to the potentially devastating cuts facing our colleges and universities.”

That was apparently a bit irksome to Mann, who delivered this impassioned rebuttal on his blog “Something Like the Truth”:

“Anxiety and concern?? Gents and lady, I hate to tell you this, but anxiety and concern are emotions you should have expressed six years ago, when state appropriations made up about 60 percent of the school’s budget. Today, it’s 13 percent. If Jindal’s additional budget cuts take effect, that number will plummet to 2 percent and the university will cease to exist. Anxiety and concern is what I feel as I’m teaching my teenager daughter to drive. The proper responses to what Jindal and the legislature are doing to LSU is fury, outrage and disgust.”

The Daily Dime ran this not-very-flattering headline about the story: “LSU Board of Supervisors tries to grow a spine.”


We Beat Mississippi

OK, it may be true that Louisiana isn’t doing especially well in the education category. But here’s the good news. We beat Mississippi. Again.

I guess the AP scores for the various states for 2014 weren’t supposed to be released to the public. But Stephanie Simon, the education writer for Politico Pro, got hold of the scores and Tweeted them near and far.

Poor Mississippi. Only 5 percent of the students in Mississippi who took AP tests passed one.

It should go without saying that Louisiana beat that. In this state, 6 percent of students who took AP tests passed at least one.

Let us savor the flight as we soar aloft on the wings of learning.


Moral, But Relaxed About It

There’s finally a Louisiana ranking we can be proud of. From the highly reliable Gallup organization comes word that 23 percent of Louisianans use mind-altering drugs to relax at least once a day. That puts us at No. 5 in mind-altering drug use among the 50 states.

Who finished first? West Virginia, natch. There was no competition there. I am a little bummed that Alabama beat us out; they finished at No. 4, with a 24 percent daily usage rate.

Would you believe that California was the third-lowest in mind-altering drug use among the states? If you find it hard to believe, here’s one thing to consider: what it all amounts to is that there’s basically one in five people all over the country who uses mind-altering drugs daily. Anybody still looking for a source of additional tax revenue?

Louisiana: first in moral conservatism; fifth in mind-altering drug use. If that’s not diversity, I don’t know what is.


Suspiciously Similar

I’ve been reading about the Louisiana Rising PAC, which was set up to contribute money to Scott Angelle’s gubernatorial campaign.

I don’t want to be a whiner. But when I read about Louisiana Rising, I couldn’t help but wonder whether someone was borrowing a little too liberally from the name of my PAC — the Mojo Risin’ PAC — whose funds may go towards my potential candidacy for the office of coroner in Wagon Rut.

As you other candidates name your new PACs, please do me a solid and steer clear of the names of the PACs I’ve already established for my candidacies of 2015. These are the names:

— Get Your Motor Runnin’ PAC for my possible candidacy for tax assessor of Wagon Rut.

— He Come Groovin’ Up Slowly PAC for my possible candidacy for sewer commissioner of Wagon Rut.

— Gitchi Gitchi Ya Ya Da Da Gitchi Gitchi Ya Ya Here PAC for my possible candidacy for sanitary engineer of Wagon Rut.

— Ra Ra Na Na Ha Ha La La Mama I Keep That Blam Blam PAC for my possible candidacy for commissioner of muddage in Wagon Rut.

Would you believe that my Mojo Risin’ PAC has already raised a million dollars that could be contributed to my candidacy? You wouldn’t? Well, don’t be surprised when you look up at year’s end and see me doing whatever it is a coroner does.


Voodoo Therapy?

Can Voodoo leaders engage in Western therapy with Voodoo practitioners? Some Western researchers believe they can, and they’re trying to put this belief in action by training Voodoo leaders the basics of Western therapy.

What’s the reason? It’s a simple one. Poor countries have a lot fewer psychiatrists and therapists than rich countries do. The U.S. has 135 psychiatrists for every 100,000 residents. In Ethiopia and Ghana, the rate plunges to fewer than 10 psychiatrists per 100,000 people. On the other hand, in sub-Saharan Africa, there’s one folk healer for every 500 people.

Bottom line: if you want to spread Western therapy to poor countries, you’ll reach a lot more people with folk healers than with psychiatrists.

Haiti’s one of the world’s poorest countries. It’s also a country marked by widespread practice of Voodoo.

Akwatu Khenti, an assistant professor of global health at the University of Toronto, is teaching Haitian clergy, including Voodoo priests, the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is the go-to therapy in the U.S. right now. He’s teaching Voodoo practitioners to translate some of the concepts of cognitive behavior therapy into everyday Creole words and pass them on to the faithful.

At the same time, Dawit Wondimagegn, a psychiatrist at Addis Ababa University, is training Ethiopian herbalists and spiritual advisors  in interpersonal psychotherapy.

In parts of Ethiopia, schizophrenics are warehoused in Christian monasteries. Traditionally, these people have been kept in chains in order to protect others members of the monasteries. In 2013, Wondimagegn taught the nuns to keep offering their usual forms of spiritual guidance, but to add Western medications that corresponded to the symptoms of the schizophrenics. Within six months, each of the 26 schizophrenics in Ethiopian monasteries was out of his chains. Some were participating in the daily life of the monastery.

Kwame McKenzie, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto, says Western researchers can “get traditional healers to do not exactly what we want, but get them to do a bit.” Just that bit, he says, will “hugely expand” the number of people doing Western-style mental health work around the world.

If you want to know more, read the article “Dr. Prozac, Meet Dr. Vodou” by Melissa Pandika, which recently appeared on the news blog OZY.


White Girl Problems

Here’s the hands-down winner for the white girl problem of the issue:

“Finally, the refrigerator will talk to my smartphone to tell it I need to order milk before I am out.”

That statement by Tiffany Shlain of the AOL series The Future Starts Here was seen on Twitter at the end of March. She was speculating on what sort of technology might exist in 2025.

AOL has a series? Gee, technology really is dangerous when it goes to far.

I’m curious as to why a futurist would assume we’d still be using smartphones in 2025. However, I’m not curious enough to Google the matter.

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