FROM THE EDITOR
Over the summer break (I'm a teacher), the next three editions of this newsletter will be monthly. So consider this the June issue. Comes at the right time, after 20+ newsletters it's good to slow down, catch my breath, and look at next steps. I've always conceived of this space offering a variety of resources beyond the digest, so I'll be talking with people who have been helping with that. As you may have noticed, the content here evolves and shifts somewhat in its ratio of original material and a compilation of what's out there. All of it is in service of art's relevance to the world, cultural shifts, and the future we want to help create. If you ever have feedback or a content idea, feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. - Bill
Chichibu, Japan - by Ashley Yoshida
Last weekend in Tokyo I saw a show of the Great Masters on loan from the Met. There was a revolutionary genre that emerged in the 1800’s in Europe. Painters rebelled by painting everyday life instead of idyllic pastoral scenes and portraits of the elite. They showed poor people on crowded public transportation, broken, abandoned boats, desolate scenes of poverty in Europe.
There was also one small Van Gogh. He has always been one of my absolute favorite painters. In the description it said that Van Gogh had adored Ukio-e, the Japanese painter and printmaker. It has even been speculated that some elements show up in his work - pastoral scenes painted in the south of France with undertones of “Ukio-e”.
On Tuesday, out in the countryside walking the dog, I saw the kind of pastoral country scene Van Gogh might have painted, in Japan, home of Ukio-e cluttered with the kind of junk created by “progress”.
“This should be so very obvious; without birds we would be knee-deep in worms, swarmed by bugs, the trees bereft of song. The least we can do is raise our voices in praise or lament.” - Elvis Costello
AURORA is one the leading voices when it comes to the topic of music, nature and our climate crisis.
Hosts Fay Milton and Greg Cochrane met up with the Norwegian singer + songwriter in London to talk about the restorative power of nature, why she thinks activism needs to be reframed as "sexy" and how she's gone from feeling like an outlier discussing climate in music to feeling surrounded by community. AURORA also discusses her hopes for the future, including the role of individuals – "we don't all need to be Greta Thunberg" – and the type of world she would like to be writing songs about in 10 years time.
As the environmental crisis accelerates, contemporary artists have taken up the mantle of addressing the precarious present.
New York Times Style Magazine | March 25, 2022
DC peeps! This doesn't sound like just banging on pots and pans. I'm hearing about drum kits. Lots of drum kits, playing in unison. Positive Force is the organizer, they have tremendous street cred going back to the heyday of 80s DC punk. This could get good.
When every day brings news of a new atrocity, it is surely time for a:
Punk Percussion Protest against Putin
Friday, June 3rd, 5-6:30pm
across the street from the Russian Embassy, 2650 Wisconsin Ave NW
Bring your outrage about Putin's war and something to make noise with! More info, email@example.com. Sponsored by Positive Force DC.