Friday, October 31, 2008

Early Voting: How Cool Is That?

I just returned from dropping off my early mail-in ballot at the local City Council Ward 6 Office. Today is the last day in Arizona for early voting. I was shocked how many people were waiting in line to vote or dropping off completed early ballots. About 25 or so people were waiting in the noon-day sun to vote--before election day. Nina Trasoff, our local city council representative, and her staff were busily putting out chairs to keep the voters comfortable. Nice touch.

When my brother and I were kids, I can remember waiting in line in bad weather (in Ohio) with my mom when she went to the polls after work. It's great that we now have early voting in person and by mail-in ballot.

Now, let's get the rest of the voting hassles and barriers out of the way! I heard on NPR that the US has the most constrictive, convoluted voting system of any democracy in the world (ie, voting on a weekday, requiring registration in advance, requiring identification, challenges to voter registration, etc.) For example, Here are some items that I believe should be changed.

1) Do away with the electoral college.

2) Standardize voting procedures. It's absurd that in some states counties make the voting rules. Come on, people, can't we agree on nationwide procedures? Other countries can!

3) Make paperless voting systems illegal.

4) Make your birth certificate your voter registration. I heard Michael Moore on Democracy Now today. He said that everyone born in Canada is automatically registered from day 1. Seems like a simple idea that would actually save a lot of money. Only naturalized citizens would have to be registered.

5) Mandate shorter campaigns! In most countries, they campaign for 6-8 weeks. Why do we need 2 years?

6) Make campaigns publically financed... period.

Regarding next Tuesday, all I've got to say is, "Si, se puede!"

Image credit: I love this illustration of Obama. I saw it on the Free Will Astrology website. Here is the blurb about the illustration: "Artist Scott Siedman created this painting of Barack Obama, titled 'The Man from Illinois,' as a tribute to this extraordinary candidate. By placing him within the traditional American "heartland" mythologies, he celebrates Obama as a son of the Midwest, linked in metaphor to the land, to books, and to the possibility of connecting to Lincoln's 'angels of our better nature.' Prints are available at"

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

New Feature: the Blog List

I was busy last night adding by Day of the Dead post and pictures (below) and updating the format of my blog. I added a new feature-- a Blog List-- below on the right.

I had always had a list of blogs and websites, so what's the big deal you ask? The big deal is that the blog list not only shows the blog name but also shows the last post and when it was made. In some ways, this allows blogs to act more like social networking sites. It helps me (and other readers, I hope) keep up with posts on other blogs.

So, any of you who are reading out there, if you you read my blog and you have a blog, maybe we should link using this new Blogger feature? Let's talk...

Monday, October 27, 2008

El Dia de los Muertos

One of the most unique holidays in Tucson is El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Historically, November 1, the Day of the Dead, has been a day where primarily Hispanics honor loved ones who have passed on. They bring food, drinks, music, flowers, and momentos to local cemetaries and have parties or picnics graveside.

Several years ago, a band of local artists started the All Souls Procession in Tucson to honor the dead. What was once a small rag-tag procession around downtown has turned into two weeks of events, with a huge procession as the finale. The link here goes to the main website and calendar for this year's events. The procession itself is November 9, 2008.

Last year, I walked in the procession (in costume, at right) and took tons of pictures with my Nikon Cool Pix. That camera has a "party" setting which allows for two flashes within one long time exposure. I used this setting for most of my procession pictures. At top is "Danny Boy, the Pipes Are Calling"; this photo will be hanging in the Go Boldly Exhibit at Central Arts Gallery in November. There are some here and more on my Flickr site. I'm looking forward to seeing how my new Nikon digital SLR does at the procession this year.

On the weekend, my daughter and I shopped around on 4th Avenue for costume accessories for this year's procession. I bought a red petticoat and long red satin elbow-length gloves. What fun! Stay tuned for 2008 DOD pictures.

Nail Art: a Small, Personal Protest

In this highly charged political year, we all have our own ways of expressing our poticial views. Some people have yard signs or bumper stickers. One of my friends decided to express her views with nail polish.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

'Tis the Season to Forsake the Chinese Children and Buy Local

It's almost Halloween in the US, which means it's time to start shopping for the holidays! :-)

Seriously, folks, with all of the economic doom and gloom, retailers around the world are quaking in their fur-trimmed Santa boots for fear that we will cut back our holiday spending this year. Although I agree that prudent shopping is a good idea, I'd like to suggest that you forget about buying cheap goods made in the world's sweat shops and instead shop locally for your holiday presents.

Tucson has many fine artists, crafters, galleries, and gift shops, which all have one-of-a-kind locally handcrafted goods that would make memorable holiday presents.

Besides shopping the local galleries and gift shops that have regular business hours, there are art openings and arts/crafts shopping opportunities in the coming weeks-- including the Tucson Pima Arts Council Studio Tour, the Tucson Museum of Art Holiday Craft Market, the 4th Avenue Street Fair, and the Cascabel Christmas Fair.

Here is a list of art openings where you can buy or view my work:

- My studio will be open for the Tucson Pima Arts Council Studio Tour, November 8-9, noon to 5 pm Saturday and Sunday. I have several new mosaic pieces and lots of jewelry for sale. I will be offering a studio sale special on jewelry and beaded wall hangings-- buy one piece at the regular price and get the second piece (of equal or lesser value) at half price! Such a deal. You know what I always say, "You can never have too much jewelry!"

- Celebrate Life mosaic wall hanging at the Tucson Pima Arts Council Studio Tour Preview Exhibit, October 23 - November 6 at Galeria Mistica, 2318 S. 4th Avenue. Artists' reception on November 6, 6-8 pm.

- Dove of Peace mosaic shrine at the Artists for Obama Exhibit and silent auction, Saturday, October 25, 6-9pm at Representative Raul Grijalva's Campaign Office, 452 S. Stone Ave.

- Danny Boy, the Pipes Are Calling digital photograph in the Go Boldly Exhibit at the Central Arts Gallery, 274 E. Congress St., November 8 - 28. Artists' reception on November 8, 6-9 pm.

- Mi Corazon, Mi Vida mosaic wall hanging currently showing in the Basically Simple Exhibit at the Central Arts Gallery, 274 E. Congress St.

- I also will be participating in the Cascabel Holiday Fair again this year, December 6-7.

As the dates approach, there will be more details on these future shows.

In addition to these special events, I have a number of mosaics at the Bohemia, Tucson Museum of Art Gift Shop, and the Triangle L Gift Shop.

So with all of these opportunites, I urge you to forsake the Chinese children this holiday season and buy local!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

New World Order?

To date, I have resisted the urge to comment on the collapse of the financial markets in the US because the story was evolving too fast for me to collect my thoughts. Now it's not just the US economy but the world economy that is crumbling. This is a fitting end to George Bush's disastrous presidency.

I heard one promising story this morning on NPR. Nicholas Sarcozi, president of France, called for a complete overhaul of the world economic system. The current world banking system was devised after World War II. According to the NPR story, the new world order will rely less on the health of the US economy-- good idea-- and it is likely the Europeans will play a larger role in developing the system-- also probably a good idea, since our politicians seems to have a hard time making politically unpopular decisions that could help the country but cost them their jobs.

Mulling over all of the recent ups and downs and bailouts, there are a few questions I still have:

1) Who ever thought it was a good idea to allow financial institutions to borrow $30 for every dollar they had in the bank? That's not banking. That's gambling.

2) If the banks had been a little more lenient with defaulting homeowners a year ago, wouldn't everyone be better off now?

3) Will our new president and Congress have the guts and know-how to solve the crisis and cooperate with other countries?

4) How many more financial instutions will be saved with taxpayer funds?

5) Who will want a bailout next? I heard one NPR comentator say that unless business turns around in a major way in the next year, GM and Ford will go under. They are expecting the automakers to ask for bailouts next. I really object to this. It was their bad decison to continue to make primarily gas-guzzling vehicles. They should be held responsible.

6) Is capitalism dead?

A final word... here is a link to a thought-provoking NPR story, "Are We Teetering on the Edge of Depression 2.0?", comparing the current state of financial affairs to 1929. You should check it out to see the pictures of the tent cities, if nothing else. Chilling.

Friday, October 03, 2008

New Work, New Show

Basically Simple, the new show at the Central Arts Gallery will open Saturday, October 4. The artists' reception will be from 6-9pm. This is a special evening because the Central Tucson Gallery Association is holding an art walk that evening. Several galleries along Congress Street and 6th Street will be open for the art walk. I have contributed Mi Corazon, Mi Vida to the show. Stop by at 274 E. Congress to view the new work, enjoy eclectic conversation, and have a glass of wine.

On a personal note, I have been very busy in the studio. I finished several new pieces last weekend and have been busy distributing them to galleries and shops around town. Bohemia, the Triangle L Ranch Gift Shop , and the Tucson Museum of Art all have a whole new set of mosaics. Here is a photo of new work in the final stages.