Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Midweek Bonus Track: Adam Swanson @ the Zeitgeist Cafe

Distinctive in style, nearly ubiquitous (here in the Twin Ports), often whimsical yet with serious undertones, vivid colors, delightful imagery, and a nice guy to boot. Adam Swanson's current show at the Zeitgeist is yet another good reason to drop in at the Zeitgeist Cafe, with its menu of always delicious selections you just don't find everywhere... or at least not as many places as you find Adam's work. 


Meantime, art goes on all around you. Get into it.

Almost Wordless Wednesday: 15 Pictures from Last Week's DAI Member Show 2018

Another Brian Barber character.
"Rain, Air, Watch, Feel" -- Susan Maguire

"Marimeko: For Women, By Women" Natalie Salminen Rude
"I See You" -- Christie Carter Eliason
"Cadillac" -- Edward Dean Anecki
"Nels J Incarnate" -- Matt Kania
"John" -- Ediward Michalski
"Winter Moon" --Marlene Miller
Karen Owsley Nease
"Alien Spaceship" -- Stephanie Wilcox

"Sisterhood" -- Sue Rauschenfels
There's much to see, and it's all free.
The Member Show in the Great Hall at the Depot

Meantime, art goes on all around you. Engage it.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Frank Holmes' Agony and Ecstasy: 20 Images from the Ohio Theater Project

44"x 66" -- oil on linen 
“Talent is cheap; dedication is expensive. It will cost you your life.” 
 ― Irving Stone, The Agony and the Ecstasy

Many words come to mind when I think of the scope and scale of this project. Breathtaking is one of them. Mind-boggling is another.

In early 2008 Frank's gallery in Los Angeles notified him that a client--an Australian art collector--was interested in his work and that he should contact him. Frank did, sending a portfolio of about twenty-five color reproductions of his paintings, plus a price guide. Soon he heard back by email. The client was very enthusiastic and wanted Frank to create a specific image for him: an ornate, profusely decorated, 1920s movie palace in which he, the client, would be sitting alone. As Frank read the email he kept shaking his head repeating over and over to himself, "I can't do this, I don't want to do this." When he reached the end of the email it was as if the client had read his mind and produced this clincher: "I know you can do this, Frank." And, to strengthen his case, the client offered nearly twice Frank's top price. After thinking more about it, and realizing--like it or not--he couldn't turn down such an offer, Frank softened and accepted the commission.

The next step was to find a suitable theater where he could take reference photos. The client let Frank choose the theater, which was nice but not so easy--suitable movie palaces aren't all over the place. Ron Kroutel, a fellow painter and friend since the early 1970s when they both taught at Ohio University, was instrumental in locating a theater in Columbus that was once a movie palace and had been restored to its former glory. Ron used his connections and Frank gained access.

Armed with a new Nikon SLR, Frank went to Columbus. He had already planned the painting's composition and thereby knew where he needed to be to shoot. He took dozens of pictures from this general area. "If I'd had an ultra wide angel lens, I probably could have got everything I needed in one shot. In any case, I got enough. I used 15 or 20 of the photos to make a mock-up of the entire image. They didn't fit together perfectly but I fiddled with them until they did."

When the client had approved the mock-up, another long-time friend--this time from Frank's Pratt Institute days--Joe Koncelik, who lived in Columbus, came into the picture. He was kind enough to lend a hand and make enlarged prints of the mock-up that could be transferred directly to the canvas.

Next came the actual painting. "Even though I planned to use the photo information pretty literally," Frank explained, "I still wanted the end result to be painterly. I was able to achieve that, but only gradually did I realize what I'd got into--how much there was going to be to do. And, maybe more importantly, I was flustered because this wasn't a painting I was at home with--it wasn't like what I normally did--it was totally off the track. When I was reading the email and saying 'I can't do this,' that's what I was talking about. But I was committed--there was no way out. I love to paint and solve related problems, and I wanted the painting to be good and the client to be happy--but this was like going to the dungeon every day. Painful." Frank was pretty
down. What he thought was going to be more money was turning out to be less money. "In my desperation I got in touch with the client and, as best I could, explained the magnitude of my dilemma. He very kindly sent me a bonus--I sent him a little painting in return which, I was happy to learn, he liked. The bonus helped, but by the time the painting was finished the money was long since gone."

"To survive 'The Monster' as I called it, I also did other paintings as a sort of therapy. Some were my 'Black Shape' paintings, which featured large black rectangles looming far out in or over what seemed to be the sea. Doing that helped, but it was only after years of grinding away on the theater that I saw a light at the end of the tunnel. That was wonderful. At last I would have the pleasure of seeing everything look like I'd hoped it would--and the pleasure of putting on the final highlight!"

Right now Frank is working on a new series of paintings--interior walls with baseboards and hardwood floors, sometimes a corner, maybe a door. Bright colored plinths of various sizes inhabit these spaces.

"These are simple straight forward paintings--not like the theater. What I'm after is something that's compelling and appealing but not the norm." At the moment the paintings are in the 20 x 30 to 30 x 50 inch range.

* * * *

The patron.

EdNote: With the exception of the top picture, the images showing the work in progress were reproduced from 3x5 glossies that I photographed and imported to digital, hence the slight variations in color. The aim of this blog post is to tell the story.

See: For Sale: Frank Holmes' "Big Date"
See: Interview with Prix de Rome Recipient Frank Holmes, Part II

Monday, January 29, 2018

Building Community: The Magnolia Salon at Oldenburg House

There's something new happening at the Oldenburg House in Carlton. It's a weekly gathering called Magnolia Salon. Magnolia Salon is an informal group of questioning individuals who come together weekly for the purpose of creating ‘inter-cultural understanding’ through discussions of ideas such as creativity, peace, freedom, justice, respect, sustainability and community development. Magnolia Salon is initially organized by Oldenburg House, Oldenburg Arts and Cultural Community (OACC), and Magnolia Café. The first season of The Salon will be held on Thursday evenings from 6-9 p.m. in the Carlton Room at Oldenburg House beginning February 1 (This Thursday) and continuing through May 31, 2018.

It's exciting to see such an intentional effort to organically build an extended sense of community, a place where people can gather to talk about things, to experience camaraderie, and the stimulating exchange of ideas, enhanced by beverages and food provided by Magnolia Café.

OACC staff and partners will organize the ‘menu of ideas.’ Oldenburg House staff will set-up the Carlton Room for each salon, provide the service staff, and secure wine and beer through its liquor catering partner. Magnolia Café staff will provide a menu of light supper offerings, coffee and tea.

FOOD AND DRINK MENU: Soup, sandwiches, cookies, scones, coffee, tea, juice, smoothies, wine, beer, soda will be available in the Kitchen. A weekly menu will be prepared and used in promoting the Salon.

SET-UP: The Carlton Room at Oldenburg House will be set up with 6-8 tables of four. The Dining Room will be set up for guests’ unstructured personal conversations. The Living Room will be set up for the ‘Menu of Ideas’ discussion, including screening videos and facilitated discussions. Guests will be able to join in the ‘Menu of Ideas’ or not as mood conduces.

MENU OF IDEAS: "Inspiring creativity in daily life’ is the theme for the first season of Magnolia Salons. The first seven sessions described below are illustrative to get us started, though not confirmed. OACC and Zeitgeist will convene a panel of curators – individuals who are considered by their peers to be both creative, inclusive and generous in their thinking - to generate the weekly menu of ideas for the Magnolia Salons. The curators will also advise OACC and Zeitgeist in developing its Ideas Festival.

Here's my makeshift snapshot of the first two evenings...

February 1: Making It Up 
This is the kick-off, the launch, the lifting of the curtain, the opening act, the introduction of the players, early dawn, part one as the wheels begin to turn. Glenn, Emily and friends are pushing their craft off away from the shore, eager to see what lies ahead. Join them in this fledgling effort to spread their wings. Meet new people, share ideas, and let's begin.

February 8: Rehearsal
It's the evening before Cookin' at the O with Glenn Swanson, Jason DeLaire and Peter Schiemke. The musicians’ rehearsal will be the focus for the Menu of Ideas.

Future guests will present ideas about creativity as a lifestyle and creative confidence. Musicians will share their special gifts as will artists. Follow Magnolia Salon here on Facebook.

in the Carlton Room
February 9 & 10
Jason Delaire will be Cookin' @ the O

Jason is a saxophonist and keyboardist, singer, songwriter and producer. Jason has toured nationally and/or recorded with renowned artists such as Donny Osmond, Michael Bolton, Prince, Alexander O’Neal, Richard Marx, Solo, Oleta Adams and Bobby Brown.
Oldenburg House Emerging as a Northland Hotspot: Read it in The Reader.
Oldenburg House B&B 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Pros and Cons of Doctor Assisted Suicide

This article was originally published as fifth in a series on Ethical Issues in Terminal Health Care in The Senior Reporter, 1992. It was later reprinted and published in Truth Seeker (Volume 121 No. 5)

Since writing this article in the early 1990's a number of changes have taken place with regard to this issue. Five states and the District of Columbia have approved legislation permitting doctors to assist people in dying, and Montana has had it mandated by the courts. Dozens of states have had legislation introduced to follow suit, and many of those debates are still active. Second, when I read about the debate today, a much less volatile name has been affixed to this practice: Physician Assisted Dying or PAD. The word suicide carries a lot of negative baggage, therefore those who wish to pass legislation wish to have it be more palatable. For additional stats and facts visit this page.

Ethical Issues in Terminal Health Care 

Making The Final Choice: Should Physician-Assisted Suicide Be Legalized?

Medical advances have created ethical dilemmas which no previous generation of doctors has ever faced. New life-sustaining techniques and practices are forcing physicians to ask questions that never needed to be asked before. Foremost of these is: "How far do we go to save a life?"

Other questions challenge ethical traditions which have been in place for centuries. "When suffering is immeasurable and a patient's condition terminal, should doctors be permitted to end a patient's life?" "Should doctors take an active role in hastening a patient's death?"

Today, more than ever, the push is on to "change the rules." Dr. Kevorkian, while deplored by most medical professionals for his methods, is heralded as a hero on many fronts for bringing this issue into the public square. By all accounts a time of decision is upon us. When a fully conscious person requests death, should a physician -- contrary to the Hippocratic oath -- assist the person in dying?

It is the purpose of this brief article to present a concise overview of the primary arguments for and against the legalization of physician-assisted suicide. Without a careful consideration of the concerns on both sides, we can find ourselves saddled with ill-conceived policies that do not serve our best interests and will not be easily dislodged.

There are four primary arguments for legalizing physician-assisted suicide. They are:

l. The Mercy Argument, which states that the immense pain and indignity of prolonged suffering cannot be ignored. We are being inhumane to force people to continue suffering in this way.

2. The Patient's Right to Self-determination. Patient empowerment has been a trend for more than twenty-five years. "It's my life, my pain. Why can't I get the treatment I want?"

3. The Economics Argument, which notes that the cost of keeping people alive is exceedingly high. Who's footing the bill for the ten thousand people being sustained in a persistent vegetative state? Aren't we wasting precious resources when an already used up life is prolonged unnecessarily?

4. The Reality Argument runs like this: "Let's face it, people are already doing it."

The combined effect of these four arguments is persuasive. And many people I talk to have been persuaded by them. They can't imagine why we have waited so long to make this an alternative treatment option. The need for legalized physician-assisted suicide is self-evident, they conclude.

But then, as I present the arguments in opposition to these apparently self-evident truths, I invariably hear an "A-ha!" and an "Oh!" and "Well, I never considered..."

And so we give ear to the reverse side of the coin.

THERE ARE A VARIETY OF ARGUMENTS against legalizing physician-assisted suicide. Here are the most widely cited concerns:

l. Medical doctors are not trained psychiatrists. Many, if not most, people have wished they could die rather than face some difficult circumstance in their lives. Doctors who are given authority to grant this wish may not always recognize that the real problem is a treatable depression, rather than the need to fulfill a patient's death wish. Perhaps Bob Liston's posting in the General Debate Forum of America Online said it best when he wrote, "I know many individuals with significant disabilities: quadriplegia, post-polio survivors, persons with MS, etc. A number of them have tried committing suicide in the past and are now thankful that a mechanism wasn't in place that would have assured their death, because they got over whatever was bothering them at the time and are happy with life again."

2. How will physician-assisted suicide be regulated? This is Carlos Gomez's forced argument, developed after investigating the Netherlands' experience, and presented in his book Regulating Death. "How will we assure ourselves that the weak, the demented, the vulnerable, the stigmatized -- those incapable of consent or dissent -- will not become the unwilling objects of such a practice? No injustice," Gomez contends, "would be greater than being put to death, innocent of crime and unable to articulate one's interests. It is the possibility -- or in my estimation, the likelihood -- of such injustice occurring that most hardens my resistance for giving public sanction to euthanasia."

3. The "Slippery Slope" Argument. A Hemlock Society spokesperson acknowledges this to be the strongest argument against legalization. In ethical dialogue, it is conceded that there are situations when an acceptable action should not be taken because it will lead to a course of consequent actions that are not acceptable. Our attitudes toward the elderly, people with disabilities and the devaluation of individuals for the "higher good of society" should be reflected upon. How long will it be before our "right to die" becomes our "duty to die"?

4. The "Occasional Miracle" Argument. Sometimes remarkable recoveries occur. Sometimes diagnoses are far afield of the reality. Countless stories could be told. I know a few first hand. How about you?

5. Utilitarian versus sacred view of life. This is probably a subset of the Slippery Slope argument, focusing on our cultural shift in attitude toward what it means to be human. Huxley's Brave New World vividly demonstrates an aspect of this argument. We need to be reminded of the role social engineers, doctors and geneticists played in 1930's Germany. Are we important only as long as we are making a contribution to society? Or is value something inherent in our being human? History has shown that when we devalue human beings, we open the door to abuse. The U.S. Supreme Court, in its Dred Scott decision, declared that blacks were not persons. This devaluation helped permit slavery and inhumane treatment of blacks to continue.

6. What effect will this have on doctor/patient trust? People who traditionally rely on their doctors to provide guidance in their health care decisions may become confused, even alarmed, when one of the treatment options presented is the death machine at the end of the hall. According to Leon R. Kass, distinguished M.D. from the University of Chicago, the taboo against doctors killing patients, even on request, "is the very embodiment of reason and wisdom. Without it, medicine will have lost its claim to be an ethical and trustworthy profession." Kass asserts that "patient's trust in the whole-hearted devotion to the patient's best interests will be hard to sustain once doctors are licensed to kill."

7. What about doctors who don't believe in killing? Will they be required by law to prescribe a treatment [death] they don't believe in?


If we could live forever, in this world,
would we want to?
The ethical dilemmas surrounding terminal health care will be with us far into the future. There are more than seventy million baby boomers in this country, most of whom are currently grappling with the issue of aging parents. And in the decades to come we ourselves won't be getting any younger.

Ironically, our current situation is due in large part to the successes of medical science, not its failures. More people live longer today than ever in history because we have eliminated many of the diseases that once terrorized us as a society.

But some of the problem is due in part to our love affair with technology. When machines, tubes and computers take over, compassion and common sense sometimes seem to suffer. Fortunately, there seems to be an increased awareness of the intrusiveness of technology. Living wills, ethics committees and hospice care are all responses to this awareness.

How we choose to die in America is a complicated subject that needs clear thinking and a fair discussion of the ethical and technical dilemmas surrounding it. But let's keep in mind that even if we agreed that death technologies are wrong, this would not be an endorsement of the notion that people must be kept alive for as long as possible at any cost.

- 30 -

Any information in this article pertaining to legal or medical matters is not to be construed as professional advice. Copyrights remain the property of the author.

Review of Justice Neil Gorsuch's book on this topic.
The Tuskegee Syphilus Experiment