Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tal Spirit : Shirone, Japan 1971 to present day and beyond.

My mother and I received a very special letter last week from Shirone Japan. Back in 1971, Tal's introduction of this incredible community and their tremendous festival of Giant Kite fighting really rocked Western imaginations. It was The Art of the Japanese Kite's first chapter.

In some sense it recounts in a macro way Tal's own introduction to Japan. The train north, the except from Kawabata's Snow Country, the arrival in this tiny farming village, going to the gymnasium to see these giant things being readied, which were going to fly? It seemed impossible ! Tal wrote in extraordinary detail what it was like to encounter these mammoth O dako or "Giant" kites. His descriptions of the actual kite fighting were engrossing and unforgettable.

In the years that followed the publication of The Art of the Japanese Kite, American publications like National Geographic came to Shirone and filmed the festival, wrote articles on the kite crazy Japanese  

  So it was particularly touching when two of the   present day exponents of the Shirone Odako         made a visit to Tal, in July 2013, a year before     his passing. While he was greatly depleted of       physical energy , he was very moved. Kazama Masao, one of the Odako Master kitemakers      and Endo Hiromi head of the Shirone Odako      Museum reignited his memories of those first  experiences with these spectacular kites.

When Mr Endo, today's present director of the Shirone  heard of Tal's passing, he wrote offering his condolences. And this past month he sent us another message saying that Tal had "put Shirone on the map. Had introduced the Odako far beyond the island of Japan and for this, the town was eternally grateful and they were dedicating this years 2015 Odako Calender to Tal's spirit.
Tal ended the chapter on Shirone with these words : "The sight of the Shirone Kites hanging in the afternoon sky is indescribably beautiful. Their combat is exciting and their death poignant. For me, and for many others, the festival need not ever end."    


Lissa, looking out on a light snowfall in Santa Fe New Mexico
December 2014. 


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Tal Friend : Otto Piene 1926 - 2014

Otto and Tal were fellow Brothers of the Sky, each influential in promoting and conceptualizing "Sky Art". Otto directed MIT's Center for Advanced Visual Studies from 1974 to until the early '90's. He invited Tal's participation in many Sky Art Conferences the world over as well as inviting him to become a CAVS Fellow.

And as you all know, Tal passed away on April 17, 2014 and his friend Otto, three months later on July 17, 2014 while preparing for a Sky Event and retrospective of his work at Berlin's Neue National Galley.

In preparation for Otto Piene's memorial service this coming November 8th 2014 at MIT's Kresge Auditorium 3:30PM. Friends and former CAVS fellows were asked to submit writing celebrating Piene's life and contribution.

Tal wrote this poem for Otto last September, 2013 on receiving Otto's gift of the huge book on Otto's life's work up until that date. He dictated* this letterpoem the next morning to Romig. She recently passed a copy to those organizing the event.

"For Otto"

Thank you for your wonderful book, Otto Piene.

Thank you for being so hard for us other mortals to keep up with.

Thank you for having a wonderful wife, your Elizabeth.

Thanks for keeping your neighbors, us, awake with your light.

Someday I hope your light will shine to the moon

when you have figured out that trip.

People most often are disappointed to see

This lump of far from the earth.

They forget that our perception of the moon

Is all about the beauty of light reflected from the sun.

The beauty of the moon is in

This fragile piece of light.

Day after day,

Night after night, Otto.


For further reading on Otto Piene, I would suggest having a look at the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies - CAVS website.

Here is a selection of Otto's books that Tal had in his library (Now at Dream of Flight Museum and Library, Santa Fe NM) :

Lissa - Fall 2014 Paris

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tal Riff : Red Line to the Sky c.1973

Post Endless Column, post Flying Red Lines, on his return to the United States, Tal began development of a piece called  "Red Line to the Sky". 

Red Line to the Sky continued his boyhood fascination with towers, beacons and other tall structures seen from a great distance. Not yet  built (Ha ! ) this work went through many transformations. Red, not red, mirror finish steel, lasers emanating the top...anything to get off the earth's surface and up up into the sky !

His later proposals for "Prairie Beacon" and Kwanju Korea's "Great Tower of Light" all stem from this first light "tower".  

Red Line to the Sky drawing c.1973
The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC collection has an early pencil drawing of Tal's Red Line to the Sky with the following notes on the back: 
 "Somewhere between these two dimensions is the optimum, minimal height. 

Polished Chrome "mirror" four sided or single surfaces to be 2'- 0 (4' - 0) or 4' - (8' - 0 ) 

ie : really the needle, the skyscraper, the Empire State Building is the most dramatic contemporary statement - from skyscraper back to menhir in the "Cock" and Endless Column / Brancusi believed he had achieved something approaching ultimate perfection 1.1: Scale 1/4 - 1' SCALE : 1/4" = 2 - 0 ..."

I've found other Tal notes in SD magazine / Space Design Magazine May/June 1971  regarding Red Line to the Sky : 

"To put a mark in the sky with the finest of brushes. a Red Line to the Sky beginning somewhere deep in the earth but without end, continuing noiselessly on into the heavens. "

Tal's last riff on a "light tower" were his discussions with architect Gustavo Bonevardi of PROUN Space Studio in the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy. Tal suggested "two towers of white light". 

Yes you read that right. A proposal for two twin towers of light post 9/11. 

Tal considered the "Tribute in Light" which Bonevardi and Co. then organized and installed, a beautiful piece, making multiple trips to see it.  

I've never seen Tal's name mentioned as part of the team of other architects and artists that collaborated with Bonavardi. 

Romig says they met one evening at friends and Tal offered his idea of light towers. There you are.

Looking through the artists generally mentioned with this piece, none had ever done anything remotely like this in their previous works. 

Looks like a Tal "riff" that someone else carried to beautiful fruition. After all, It is one thing to have an idea and yet another to "make it happen".

Monday, August 18, 2014

Tal Riff on Kites : the chiringa !

Some late night writing of Pop's that I found in his pre-stroke emails. 

"It gave me the idea of teaching prisoners to make the little Chiringa* folded paper kite, which they could fly up and over the high prison walls. This idea didn't come about; a victim of worries of untrustworthiness and abuses (which did seem not completely unreasonable) but also, perhaps an underlying thought, a primary punishment, the loss of freedom in both spirit and substance.
It's something perhaps still possible in a more gentle and generous time.

This kite suggestion or proposal is something which might come to fruition on the web, reaching such a big audience..

Another kite-related thought, unrealized, in this similar subversive vein, one which has yet to see the the light of day: plans for a simple paper kite, in the shape and three-dimensional rendering of an old fashioned bomb. Black, with a yellow "Have a Happy Day, smiling face image" on it---which I imagined as anonymous “lesson,” several of these Happy Day Bomb kites flown  over small town centers (parks), the insurgent flyer catching the end of the kites flying string, high in a tree limb.

I see this as bringing to light a very emotional response from viewers, a consciousness-raising, for several quite different viewers both good and evil, The good response: "My god, will you look at that," The evil, calling the sheriff, “Hey "get that damn thing down from there.

Raising the question, “How's it feel to think of bombs raining down on your little community, pretty much anywhere throughout our United States.

Still, I don't “rightly know” as we say here and there, that this is an acceptable project for me to suggest: I've fairly frequently been asked to put well-meaning social messages on kites (a save the whales kite, for example and advertising (which I never seriously considered, although it’s a common practice).  

I've always turned to the thought that kites should remain in a kind of primary, pure formsomething beautiful flying in the sky."

* What might a Chiringa folded kite look like folks ? Any idea ? - Lissa  Verbank , 2014 

found this : "la chiringa es diferente al papalote o cometa, la chringa es hecha solo de papel, no tiene armazon de madera" . Lissa guessing translation : la chiringa is made only with paper and doesn't have wooden "bones".    
So still looking for a picture of just what this Cuban kite called a chiringa looks like !  

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Tal Humor : On Collecting

"One is nice. Shows interest and that you have a eye. Two ? Its just a pair, Bruce. Three ? Now you are getting started !  If you want someone to take you seriously, to take your collection seriously, these are the first three rules, a beginning collector must follow. "

Another nugget of Tal humor that came to Bruce as he packed up yet a third copy of this or that. 

Verbank, August 2014 

Tal Humor : Brigadier Generals

Bruce George is here in Verbank helping us pack up and he is a goldmine of Tal Humour. 

One that I liked : Pop answering Bruce when he asked him how he wanted his beard trimmed : "Like an artist ? Or an insurance salesman ?" 

Pop replied : "Neither ! I wanna look like a fuckin brigadier general !" 

Bruce persevered : "Like from the Civil War ? " You got it ! he replied " 

Having been a second lieutenant in the Signal Core in the fifties and sixties, stationed in Fort Riley Kansas with BIg Red One, Pop had unexpected affection for his days in the Army.

He was famous for having lost his rifle in his first week as an enlisted man. He wasn't issued a second one. As second lieutenant, his responsibilities included drilling the guys during parade. Apparently the first time he went out to this chore, not one man followed his instruction. So thereafter, his Sargent did all the marching orders and Pop was relieved from that duty for the rest of his career and could concentrate solely on filmmaking AND writing speeches for brigadier generals. Aha moment ! So that's how we get to the "brigadier general" ! 

He ended up being discharged as a Captain. 

Post-stroke, as his left brain spun out of control, he believed he was preparing to reintegrate and participate in building the "New Army ". 

One idea was for a "Green Core " where the military helped needy farmers with their crops.

Another : military cemeteries with spots for both enlisted parents. 

Pop was very concerned that children that had lost both parents would have to travel to two different places to visit the family grave. This last one he told all his aides in Manhattan ! Many of whom had a spouse or family in Iraq or Afghanistan.

His heart was in the right place My mother and I would say apologizing to yet another person recounting this each morning ! 

Verbank, 2014 

Monday, July 14, 2014

"Sky Boy" ... and Moving On !

There is a Link below to the wonderful BBC 3 radio series : Between the Ears, a kind of radio montage of interviews, bit of music and "found" sound. It's free to listen to. You can even download individual episodes for later listening when you are off-line.

This is one that I think Pop, a radio lover if ever there was one, would have really enjoyed:  

Between the Ears - "Sky Boy" - BBC 3 Radio

Back to the nittygritty as Romig would say. I apologize to all of you that come over here...looking for news of Tal ...

It's been so difficult for us. Overwhelming. I'm not sure we have ourselves all that organized. It's been such a slow process,  more like we are being taken up there and are skitting around on a thermal like some beautiful bird...or a kite!

In the immediate month after Pops passing, there was the cremation (!!!), the obituary writing, the calling friends and telling them moments (very very difficult), starting in on the things that need to be done. Organizing Pop's four archives : the writing work, the photographs, the kites, the scultpture. Each a separate thing in and of itself.

Thinking about how to republish the books, online, as ebooks, Wikipedia page for him, insuring the sculpture out there is in good shape and cared for, that Dream of Flight has what it needs to become established and functioning.  And that just skimming the surface! I'm sure there is a myriad of stuff yet to be discovered and dealt with.         

On one hand, each of us, in our Dream of Flight Family, is getting on with "life" . Making a living. Doing things that are important to our daily lives like cleaning the house! Mundane, everyday stuff.

Romig has been doing that which brings her the greatest sense of satisfaction and therapy : Potting! Touching clay! 

We have been brainstorming about what to do, what to concentrate on in our future. Tal had so many areas of interest. As do each of us! So it's a matter of organization. Going along as you can. Sometimes ploddingly, sometimes with bursts of energy...preparing the next steps together.

Bruce George and I have been looking into where and how the large scale sculpture is doing all over the world. (Yikes!) If any of it needs repair? Who is responsible for it ? Etc.  

On our immediate schedule :

First off is moving the library and collections from Verbank to Santa Fe.

That will be done in the first weeks of August.

Any help would be much appreciated ! Either on the Verbank side or along the route ( like places to stay for the truck crew driving NY - NM ) or helping recieve and unload the truck on the NM side.  

We could use help with:
packing book boxes, organizers : taking down what is in each box and getting that on a wordfile or other, photographer of each piece being crated. I think most objects already have a number but I'm not sure they have a quick photo. I'll check on that. 

Feeding our group ! That could be another helpful thing.  Encouraging Music/Sound DJ's for our working environment...truck loaders.  Things like that.

I'll be with Romig from the 3rd of August til the 8th of September in Verbank. We have room for folks to stay and we will figure out how to feed everyone I'm sure.

So I'm opening this up to all friends and family ! You are welcome in the widest sense of the word !

That's it for the nittygritty.

I'll turning this blog towards some new areas of interest, looking into "Tal Loves".  Subjects, friends, people, he was interested in or that we have updates on, or that I think he might have enjoyed.

That "Sky Boy" radio program that I opened with is my first offering post-Pop passing. I think he would have loved it. Hope to hear your impressions and opinion. 


Friday, April 18, 2014

Tal Streeter : August 1, 1934 - April 17, 2014 .

Tal's body left this world yesterday afternoon, at 1:45 pm , April 17th 2014.  He had passed the previous night with the Dream of Flight Family visiting.  I saw no further evidence of stroke. His right side was not paralyzed and he recognized each of us as his eyes fluttered open on hearing a new voice. He spoke only a few words in the four days . He tickled my arm when I helped aides move him. He seemed not so much in pain, as in a deep sleep or perhaps deep concentration. His breathing was even but it stopped every five or six breaths for what seemed like forever. 25 seconds of apnea and then he would start again.

Romig and I slept beside him that night and the next morning we stayed gathered 'round him taking turns sitting beside him. He had visits from many of his friends.  Gerry came and his eyes fluttered open as we listened together to Chopin and a quartet of  Robert Schumann  with Pablo Casals and Rudolph Serkin on the piano.

Romig and I started to sing songs that we loved, listening to a bit of Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley and Randy Newman. We read from the Philosopher's Kite and started telling him the story of Little Talkite.

How we walked out line and with a tug, launched Little Talkite, Romig and I . We started letting out kiteline as he started to pull to go higher and higher. We described the creatures he would see up there : a bumblebee, a dragonfly, clouds and a moon . A small white butterfly came and sat alight on his right shoulder. We described how the clouds would come buoy him up, so light was he...he found thermals and started to climb even higher. He was so far up, we told him he appeared to us as a tiny dot. We let out more line. I told him that I had a pair of scissors in my pocket . When he was ready, I said I would cut the line and release him. He said the words "higher and higher"...and he seemed to just float up there for awhile.

Ellen Ambujam Verkerke, his massage therapist,  someone he trusted so much, came. She shown a small light on his chest and he visibly calmed even more. She offered council to mom and I, that perhaps we shouldn't try and stimulate him too much more. that it was difficult for someone to allow themselves to go. She left.

Then Virginia Gilstrap, his hospice nurse came in. She listened carefully to his breathing.and took us aside for a few moments and described how the process would look. Not five minutes later, I saw his eyes open as if startled, we went back to him and held his right hand, mom and I and sat quietly beside him as he took his last breaths. He clenched my hand tight and pulled it up towards his chest and then...was no more.

I cry as I write this now, but at the moment I felt a great well of release. We all did I think. He had great peace on his face.

David and Gerri (Tal called her "Gigi") came back in and Virginia helped us the four of us wash his body and dress him in simple white shirt and pants. Gerry put a black jet bead necklace with one red bead on him that she had made and was precious to him. We put two paper airplanes his godson Tiger made for him in either hand. One was the "Swallow " that Toki -san had taught Tiger to make, carefully curling the wings like one curls a mustache. Fiona put a packet of licorice tea in his sock. Mom put a ring on his left hand that his friend Chimney Butte made him.

His aides and more of his friends came to see him...and we sat around telling Tal stories. Where and how we had met, his flight on Tom Odai's small plane when they flew him down from Manhattan, Kansas to Santa Fe almost four years ago this coming August,  We wished all of his friends could have come and joined us for what was a really happy moment.

We will certainly be holding a memorial service for Pop in the coming months to coincide with the opening of the Dream of Flight Museum and Library. I will let everyone know well in advance so that you may all join us, in celebrating this life and ongoing legacy that Tal leaves us with.

Look Up! You will see him up there flying very very high!

Tal's Dream of Flight Family

Santa Fe, New Mexico April 18, 2014

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Wind Comes for our Tal Moon

Yes, Tal had another stroke. At some point during the night of the 15th of April, 2014.

He appears to be in very deep sleep yet his eyes fluttered open to look at Tiger lying quietly alongside him and Fiona standing near. 

He hasn't said anything nor has he shown any signs of distress or discomfort. "His breathing is calm and even" says Romig who spent the night of the 16 th sleeping beside him. 

His friends visit : David and Fiona Wong-Wagner, and their son Tiger, Tal's godson, as I mentioned earlier. Gerry Egan, his friend and closest confidante at El Castillo spent quite awhile with him yesterday. Marie Cash came and spent a moment with him. 

Lissa is flying over the Atlantic and will be there on the evening of the 16th . 

He is accompanied by his team of Ambercare Hospice Nurses : Virginia Gilstrap  and Josepha and Hospice Doctor Tron, : as well as his El Castillo nurses, Kris, Cathy, Ted, Hans and Anna. His aides : Dan, Jackie, Carol, Sandra, Dolores and Brenda 

I will update you all on what hospice means for Tal in his current condition as soon as I have any further information. That should be at about 10 pm Santa Fe time. 

sending this from Dallas Fort Worth airport stopover : 3 PM 

Endless Smiles at Hongik University Seoul, Korea

Tal Moon Streeter was visiting artist in residence at Hongik University in the 1970's.

South Korea at the time was under the dictatorship of a man who's name I can't recall.
It was a pretty hard place. People barely surviving the bitter winters, living in shipping compartments, no insulation. With only a charcoal brazier for heating.

Nothing like the South Korea of today. A wealthy, bright metropolis with an enlightened mayor who has pushed through inspired community building projects like the opening of the Han river walkway. This has dramatically changed one's experience of the city.

Tal has many friends there. He was/is deeply touched by Korean culture. Loved its artists,writers and musicians. He still loves listening to traditional and contemporary Korean music. He calls himself "Tal Moon" (that translates to "Old Moon" ). We are sure there is an important part of him that is deeply "Korean" as amazing as that may sound. 

I know he feels a special connection to this sculpture which while cerebral in nature, encourages you to "look up" towards the blue sky, a better future. Yes, it moves/pivots and turns in a wind.

Endless Smile (also translated as Eternal Smile ) is how he saw Korean spirit and the welcome he received from this culture.

I wanted to ask if he wished to add something to his published writing about the piece for the students and passers-by of today's Hongik circa 2014 but I don't think I'll have that chance.

Found this Tal Friends Card in the "precious things" area of his library in Verbank, New York.

It is dated 8/1/1992. His 58th birthday which he celebrated in Seoul.

And this in the catalog for his Total Museum of Contemporary Art exhibition - "At the Far Place of Sky's End" :

"In speaking of his appreciation of Korea : I note that though the modern super highway looms on the horizon, a Korean woman still plants flowers in its path. In my quiet moments here I read old Korean shino poetry looking for the place of my heart. I derive much of my inspiration from the poetic spirit and the appreciation of art and nature which I find in Korea. I am very great full (sic) for all my Korean friends and colleagues who have given me encouragement in Korea...and a second home, one which I love dearly. "

Brice Gordon ( pseudonym of Tal Streeter )

Monday, April 14, 2014

Google Glass and Tal : The Big Wish

April 15, 2014

What is Google Glass ?  

Basically it's a pair of glasses ( actually one glass on the right hand side) with a lens that reflects directly onto the right eye's retina. 

Google Glass uses something called "Bone Conduction Transducer (BCT).  So if you were sitting next to Tal while he was wearing these, you wouldn't hear anything but he would be able to hear Glass speaking clearly. Wow! 

Google Glass* offers access to a search engine, camera and connection to the web via existing Wi-fi. For those with Bluetooth and Android phones or Iphones, Google Glass connects with/via these too. 

Pop, being in one place could use the simplest and least costly system: Wi-fi.   

A typical day might start like this: 

Pop could be lying in bed, reach down and put on his Google Glass. It senses automatically when it has been put "on" . This is called "On - Head Detection".   
He turns on Google Glass using the "Head Wake Up" feature by lifting his head slightly. It is pre- set to react when you lift your head to an angle of 20°.  You can also set this angle to whatever is comfortable.  

It uses voice recognition software or a scroll pad device that is part of the right stem of the glasses. He wouldn't have to shout (!!!) just speak w his normal voice. 

For the moment there are 8 Basic Voice actions of which 5, look like they would be most useful to him. 

They are:

"Ok Glass..."

"Google..."  (Google search engine")

"Send a message to...

"Make a call to...

"Make a video call to"

"Take a photo" 

These are is just some of the basic options !

Pop would be able to hear his email via the Glass "Read Aloud" function. 

Pop could write this blog using Glass' blogger app

Hear your comments read back to him. 

He could write and read poetry, haikus and short stories. 

Write letters and send them! 

He could listen to a radio program/web cast. 

He could hear the New York Times read to him.  

He could listen to music of his choice. 

Google Glass could offer him up to 7 hours a day of this kind of basic usage

So here I am sending this big, big wish out into the universe : 

Google Glass + Tal Streeter would make a great pair !  

Today, April 15 2014 Google Glass goes on sale for 24hrs to anyone living in the USA that wants to "Become A Glass Explorer".**

Now how to come up with 1,500 Dollars?  Hummmmm. 


*Lots more things that Google Glass is capable of doing: getting directions, facebook, twitter, Reddit...the list of apps is phenomenal but this is what I think Pop, with practice, would be able to use.

**At present there are something like 8,000 Glass Explorers in the United States. They are used by people in all walks of life. 

How We See ? The Eye - Brain Connection

I'm thinking Tal "sees" pretty well ! As far as I know, he incurred no damage to either hemisphere's thalamus, nor to either hemisphere's occipital lobe. But the damage to the right parietal certainly has affected his general understanding of what he sees. No doubt about that. 

In gathering more information about seeing/sight and how our brains process this information, I found an excellent description of the eye + brain = sight in a conversation over on "The Straight Dope"

user njtt offered this overview ..."all talk of the brain, let alone parts of the brain, seeing anything at all is merely loose and metaphorical.  Brains do not see anything, nor does conscious visual experience arise solely because visual information from the eyes arrives at some location in the brain....People and other animals (whole organisms)see things.Their brains play alarge and essential role in the process of seeing, but brains themselves do not see (let alone hemispheres, visual cortices or whatever) 

Much the same could be said of eyes." 

Another user, heavyarms553 offered this explanation of brain anatomy with relation to sight:

"First lets define some words. Medial or nasal means towards the middle, or closer to your nose. Lateral or temporal means towards the sides or closer to your temporal bone.

Lets consider this situations. A doctor shines a light in your eyes on your left side. Light from the light bulb travels to your eyes and hits both of your retinas. Because its coming from the left, it doesnt hit the entire retina on either side. In your left eye, the light hits your medial, or nasal, retina. In your right eye, the light hits your lateral, or temporal retina.

If you look on that diagram, you see that the nerve fibers from both medial retinas cross at the optic chiasm, and continue in the opposite side of the brain. Because of this, information from the left side of both eyes travels to the right brain. Similarly, information from the right side of both eyes travels to the left brain.

So while yes, both eyes are connected to both hemispheres, information from the left and right sides of your visual field go to the right and left hemispheres, respectively.

At the occipital lobe, the rearmost part of the brain, the information received from the retinas is processed, and your brain attributes "what", "where", and "how do I feel about this" to the things that you see. Without the occipital lobe, your brain can't understand the information it receives. Losing the occipital lobe is sort of like trying to stream a video with the wrong codec. You get all the raw information, but you have no way to interpret it.

Interestingly, lesions of the occipital lobe can cause a phenomena known as cortical blindness. Patients will swear up and down that they can see just fine, but will be unable to tell you what they are seeing. You can predict what areas of their visual field will be affected by the extent of the lesion.

So yeah, that diagram explains it all pretty well. The corpus callosum is not involved with vision until after it has been processed by the occipital lobe."

So where does that leave Pop? 

As I understand it with "sight" ! But perhaps not insight

Again the missing right parietal means that interpreting information in his left visual field is indeed lost or not possible. Any way around that? Another path to be developed and explored ? 

One more piece of the puzzle to work out!  

Tal's daughter,

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Tal on Time

Just a quick followup on that previous post :

Found a Tal message elsewhere that he wrote in responding to someone's query...

"Time just seems to slip by like a piece of fine silk, you can't hold onto. Caught by the lightest breeze, it flies away into the sky, leaving you behind, your head to the sky."

Sound like someone we know?

His daughter counting the days when she will be speaking to him in person!

I've got several plans for reconnecting Tal to the wider world ! So keep posted!

I'm hoping to find a pair of Google Glass in Santa Fe for Pop to try out. See if he can learn to use this kind of system?! I'm thinking with all I know about his condition/situation this might  just be possible!
Am looking into it at any rate. And you all know how I am. Like a dog with a bone.

Wish me luck! And please get in touch if you have any ideas 'bout Google Glass for Tal ? Know someone that can help us ?!

My next post will be about this phenomenal new path for communication with others: friends, family most importantly the wider world. I think Tal Streeter has an awful lot to offer.


Sunday, March 30, 2014

John Berger About Time

Pop has always held in high regard, the writing of John Berger.

When he and I  met up in one of our yearly visits to London, we would hunt for Berger's writing in the used bookstores of the city. Charingcross Road, in the neighborhood of British Museum, even in the charity shops 'round Victoria Station! We left no stone unturned.

Then, each evening, we would take our days treasures and read them, side by side in our hotel room. Hotel room is a big word. We often stayed in some pretty meager places. School dormitories where the bathrooms and showers were down the hall. But there were beautiful cricket grounds out the window, good Indian restaurants in the neighborhood...On entering our room, Pop would put up his "groundfindings" along the window ledge and perhaps move what furniture there was into a more pleasing arrangement. The window ledge would become that days gallery of precious pebbles, colorful wrappings, a child's pacifier. He is, as you all know, an inveterate and unapologetic collector of street stuff.

And our books! So many treasures! Extra copies of John Berger, Angela Carter, stuff on circuses, flight, favorite architects James Stirling, Le Corbusier, et all, Leonard Cohen poetry, Japan, Korea.

I mention this aspect of him, because Tal Streeter is not someone that has an interest in just the one thing. Kites interested/interest him. But only as part of the wider picture. The sky, the universe, the phenomena of flight, play, childhood experience, those were just some of the things that kites lead to.

It's something that I hope all of you kite enthusiasts will remember about Tal Streeter. He has opened up thinking about those wider subjects, the wider world via a thing, a kite. Japan? India? China? Southeast Asia? Same thing. He described these mysterious and fascinating cultures via this thing, a kite !But it shouldn't end there!

Why kites ? Well I think kites and he have one very long ongoing history together.

Pop can reach into his memories as a boy flying a kite on the Kansas prairie. He would put one up and leave it there for days on end. Not able to see his kite as it was so far, he would "pinging" the kite string with his finger. It was still up there ! Traveling the world !

I think that cerebral connection Pop has with kites, indeed with all flying things, is one reason he wasn't all that bothered as to whether a kite would "fly" on command during a kite festival.

So what is important to him ?  What a kite represents/offers. A ticket to other cerebral worlds very much anchored in this natural one.  

I'm paraphrasing him here but I think he would agree : Don't get lost in the thing (a kite) itself. Let it be your passport, your map and entry ticket to something far larger.

But back to books.        

Pop has never liked hearing books "read out loud" or it isn't something that I remember him doing. But he did like that kind of reading in close proximity one another.  Passing writing to the other after finishing a chunk of it. It is something that i sorely wish he could still do. Read. Share what he is reading. But the damage to his right parietal has taken away that experience forever.

Last night, a serendipitous afternoon visit to the Centre Pompidou offered up my first, in person sighting of the writer John Berger . He was there, showing a film "Play Me Something" made some 25 years ago by the poet and writer Timothy Neal . John is the character of the "storyteller" who comes to serenade a group of waiting passengers in a small Scottish island airport. Tilda Swinton plays/is a luminous young woman listening...

How to describe seeing someone in person for the first time that you literally revere? Who's readings awake you on the ipod each morning. Someone for whom you have every book that they have ever published... What did this human look like?

Well I can report Mr Berger seemed have good humour, was dynamic and lively. He had plenty of generosity towards his companions. His french was passable. Odd that, for someone that has lived in this country for more than 50 years !  

Pop introduced me as a teenager to John Berger by giving me a copy of Ways of Seeing, the book drawn from the seminal BBC series of the early 1970's. I also saw two films for which Berger had wrote the scenarios: "La Salamandre" and "Jonah Who Will Be Twenty in the Year 2000" both by Alain Tanner, a Swiss director, around the same time.

Pop gave me Berger's novels: "G" and the Trilogy "Into Their Labours" Then years later, I gave him "To the Wedding" and "Here is Where We Meet" and "Hold Everything Dear". Along the way we shared numerous essays of Berger's gleaned from any number of publications.  On Matisse, on drawing, on photography/photographs and Berger's political interests...  These were/are important building blocks in my life certainly. In Tal's too. I think Berger was one of the only people writing art/photography criticism that he had any respect for.

So I'll be excited to report my sighting of him when next with Pop as well as show him the copy of "Play Me Something" that came with the republished version of Berger's book of writing that accompanied the photographs of Jean Mohr. I think he will appreciate the cadence of Berger's storytelling.

Happy happy generous moments ! John Berger, London with Pop, all very positive ...

Request for help/brainstormin' from our friends :

Pop's aural environment. He used to love old radio shows and listening to all manner of program as well as music on the radio. I 'm thinking it is time to offer him something a little more interesting.

Several years ago, Rob Wood set up a magnificent BOSE speaker system for listening to DVD's and music, but then the CD player went bust. etc. We have a small radio that Pop's friend Hall gave him and he listens to that with great pleasure, especially at night.   But it occurs to me that this needs work.

Pop is, after all, still( !!!!) someone with a remarkable intelligence and creative thought. I'd like to help that side of him as much as possible.  

Lissa in Paris, thinking of her Pop.      

Monday, February 24, 2014

Nothing Like Friends !

For those of you that haven't yet seen Tal since his stroke or perhaps not recently, you might want to plan a visit.

It's not like these are his last days or anything like that. Goodness knows, Mom and I think he is in a stable place physically speaking. He is on hospice and has been for some six months now. What hospice means for Pop is that he will never be going to the hospital ever again. He is as comfortable as he can be, given his situation.        

One thing I've noticed ? Pop's friends have an easier time helping him get back to his old self than newer friends of whom he can be wary. It's as if he doesn't have to figure out who you are ! Seeing a friend, he can rely on his memory of what you have done together, of what he knows about you from the past. Imagine just how reassuring that is for him !

He knows he can trust his friends.

Trust is a big issue for Pop ! Trust is a big issue for anyone with Anosognosia.

Especially when Pop is not quite sure about new people in his environment. Why are they talking to me ? Are they someone trying to impress me or someone I should be trying to impress ? Where do these people fall in the hierarchy of importance to my situation ?

With his old friends, things fall back into place very quickly as he doesn't ask those questions. He just picks up from where you two last left off.  Even if that was twenty years ago !

It goes without saying that there is alot to get used to, to organize beforehand. Speaking one on one, sitting on his righthand side, allowing time for him to answer. Coming at a good time when he is rested. But it's all doable. And very much appreciated.

As you can imagine, for anyone with their intelligence intact, days that lack meaningful conversation are deadly indeed.

Dream of Flight Family Gathering January 2014, Romig House, Zocalo :  
Part 2 of Dream of Flight Family : Ken, Fiona, Suzanne, Virginia, Tiger, David and Rob  

Sunday, January 5, 2014

"Learning to accept the transitory nature of good fortune and blessings." - Tal Streeter Jan. 2014

January 2014 Santa Fe, New Mexico

Tal's thoughts on his situation. And yes, it came out just like this :

"The closest thing that I might have with you, Mark, and one is I've tended to discount, is a major brain injury. At first I thought : a brain stroke, huh?!  Early on, I felt I could continue to work despite it. I now assume strokes are not as bad as I previously thought.

I am passing through this injury without a second thought, working in spite of it. It wasn't even six months after my stroke and I was back at work.

This injury may have had an affect on me but I'm not aware of it.

I'm full of magnificent short circuits !

This is part of a letter Pop wrote to Mark Saxe, a wonderful artist who recently sustained quite an injury. Mark and his wife Betsy Williams, a potter, live near Taos New Mexico. 

Their Rift Gallery is such an inspiring place and we suggest making a stop if ever you are in the area.

Rift Gallery, Rinconda New Mexico