Saturday, December 26, 2009

Green Christmas Trees?

CHRISTMAS trees are big business: more than 31 million were sold in the United States last year, for $1.3 billion, according to the National Christmas Tree Association

I would love to have my wood-burning stove set up (though I am looking into how environmentally friendly that heating option really is, even when using very efficient stoves) so that I can have a great use for all the Christmas trees that end up on the curb... it is quite disgusting to see these beautiful, noble trees cut and used as decorations and then discarded as trash after a couple of weeks. I am just waiting for the wreckage to pile up as I walk down the New York streets these next few days.

I would love to have a company that goes around and collects all these trees... and reuses them. Better yet, I would love if folks would consider "renting" a sapling for the season - i.e. using a potted tree for a few weeks that would then be planted in the ground. No waste (except some transport... but even that can be greatly reduced if the trees are grown and planted nearby). Is there already someone doing something like this?

Here are some resources to consider next year, if you do decide to buy a cut tree and want to support local farmers and environmentally-friendly growing practices:

How Green Can a Christmas Tree Be? (New York Times, December 4, 2008)
Locally grown, pesticide-free food is gaining sway these days but how many of us give the same kind of thought to the Christmas trees we bring home? If you are looking for a Christmas tree that has been certified as organic or chemical-free, there are several Web sites that can help you.
Local Harvest, a national network of local products, in Santa Cruz, Calif., lists sources for Christmas trees and wreaths, both organic and conventionally grown;, (831) 475-8150.
Toxic Free North Carolina,
in Raleigh, N.C., lists sources for sustainably grown trees in the state, and has information about pesticides commonly used on Christmas trees;, (919) 833-5333.
Beyond Pesticides,
a nonprofit group in Washington, provides sources for organic and naturally grown trees, as well as up-to-date information on pesticides;, (202) 543-5450.
Green Promise,
a group in Pingree Grove, Ill., that distributes information about sustainable products, lists sources for organic trees around the country on its Web site,
Agricultural extension offices often keep lists of local growers; consult the Department of Agriculture’s Web site,
The Council on the Environment of New York City
keeps a list of farmers’ markets, many of which sell Christmas trees;, (212) 788-7476.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Stupak on the Stupak Amendment

As the health care plan moves forward, anti-choice legislation is getting into the bill:

Friday, July 17, 2009

WHACKED LADIES: Female Victims of Political Assassination

A new art exhibit by our friend and one-time NEIGHBORS collaborator & artist-in-residence, Makeal Flamini. Whacked Ladies is a series of prints and papercuts. It focuses on women who have been assassinated for political and religious reasons.

Opening July 24th 2009 5-9pm
823 W. National Ave, Milwaukee, WI

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Beautiful Hand-Embroidery

Just stumbled across this company that works with Indian artisans to hand-embroider beautiful patterns: Lost City Products

Friday, April 10, 2009

Gutai (Note to Self)

"Yet what is interesting in this respect is the novel beauty to be found in works of art and architecture of the past which have changed their appearance due to the damage of time or destruction by disasters in the course of the centuries. This is described as the beauty of decay, but is it not perhaps that beauty which material assumes when it is freed from artificial make-up and reveals its original characteristics? The fact that the ruins receive us warmly and kindly after all, and that they attract us with their cracks and flaking surfaces, could this not really be a sign of the material taking revenge, having recaptured its original life?..."
- excerpt from the Gutai Manifesto (1956)

To Be and To Be Blessed (Northern Missouri)

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Thank you and Goodbye, Helen Levitt!

Helen Levitt, one of my favorite photographers and a real inspiration to my art-making, just died. Here is a link to the NY Times article about her life and work.

Helen Levitt, Who Froze New York Street Life on Film, Is Dead at 95
By Margarett Loke
March 30, 2009
Ms. Levitt was a major photographer of the 20th century who caught fleeting moments of surpassing lyricism, mystery and quiet drama on the streets of her native New York.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Duncan and Levertov

Summer reading...

The Letters of Robert Duncan and Denise Levertov (2003)
Edited by Robert J. Bertholf and Albert Gelpi

This volume presents the complete correspondence between two of the most important and influential American poets of the postwar period. The almost 500 letters range widely over the poetry scene and the issues that made the period so lively and productive. But what gives the exchange its special personal and literary resonance is the sense of spiritual affinity and shared conviction about the power of the visionary imagination. Duncan and Levertov explore these matters in rich detail until, under the stress of dealing with the Vietnam War in poetry, they discover deep-seated differences in the religious and ethical convictions underlying their politics and poetic stance. The issues that drew them together and those that drove them apart create a powerful personal drama with far-reaching historical and cultural significance. The editors have provided a critical Introduction, full notes, a chronology, and a glossary of names.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Experimental Communities

An interesting blog:
This blog is associated with 16Beaver

16Beaver is the address of a space initiated/run by artists to create and maintain an ongoing platform for the presentation, production, and discussion of a variety of artistic/cultural/economic/political projects. It is the point of many departures/arrivals. 16BEAVER is an independent self-sustaining project. The Residents of the space maintain the space by using it as their place of work/work/activities.

Friday, January 30, 2009

White House Farmer

The White House is considering transforming part of the White House Lawns into an organic farm to raise fruits and vegetable to be used not only in White House Meals but to donate to local food pantries. Several farmers across the country have been nominated, including Will Allen of Growing Power . Growing Power conducts workshops and demonstrations in aquaculture, aquaponics, vermiculture, horticulture, small or large-scale composting, soil reclamation, food distribution, beekeeping, and marketing. Will turns compost into energy to heat his green houses in the winter and has been integral in educating inner-city dwellers about the importance of organic farming and energy efficiency.

Here is Michael Pollan's article in the NY Times that inspired the conversation about a White House Farmer and further consideration of US food policy:
Farmer in Chief

Learn more about the inspiring farmers who have been nominated to be White House Farmer and cast your vote: (After Jan 31, names of the top three vote-getters, plus all their information and comments, will be forward to an Obama staffer).

For info on Obama's rural planning: barackobama.come/issues/rural
By the way, Sam Kass, a proponent of local food, will become one of the White House chefs.

Friday, January 09, 2009

The Laundromat Project

An exciting new project from the folks at "Create Change"...

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: 2009 Create Change Public Artist Residency Program
Applications are due by February 20, 2009

The Laundromat Project is a community based arts organization committed to the well-being of communities of color living on low incomes. We understand that creativity is a central component of healthy human beings, vibrant neighborhoods and thriving economies.

Every year our Create Change program invites artists to mount public art projects in laundromats throughout Brooklyn and Harlem as a way of increasing the quality of life in communities of color living on low incomes.

Artists who participate in the Create Change program are able to use their creative practice as a vehicle to build relationships with and among their neighbors. They are charged with placing art-making in the context of everyday living by:
producing a site-specific, socially relevant installation at a laundromat in their neighborhood; engaging neighbors and fellow laundry patrons as participants in their
creative process; increasing their own visibility as an artist and a neighbor

Program participants receive a stipend and a materials budget to complete their Create Change project; professional development and access to a supportive network of colleagues; as well as opportunities to share their work with a broader public.

To learn more about the Create Change program, download an application and get answers to frequently asked questions, please visit:

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Off the Grid in Milwaukee

Here is an exciting project (and blog) that some friends have started in Milwaukee:
Currently, they are looking at creating urban water treatment systems and training as well as book club focusing on DIY health. There are also lots of interesting links and information about a variety of topics - from aquaculture to composting to wind power.