Oakland’s Spring and Robert Raushenberg at the SF MOMA

Perfect for spring; blooms in Oakland and inspiration from the SF MOMA…large and memorable, the Robert Raushenberg retrospecitive.

Happy Spring Everyone!!

Here is what’s ‘growing on’ in the garden.

I know, some of you may be rolling your eyes, fed up with the blustery winds, sleet, and snow of this week where you live. But allow me just a few photos of the Northern Pacific Coast to cheer you up; this is what is soon coming your way: warmth, Sun, and color!!

And ever so spring-like, I’m happy to say that inspiration is also coming round to my studio lately, especially for writing and poetry (which is always the precursor, the sister Muse to my musical inspirations. Whew!)  I do have projects to finish this Spring. I think I alluded to the lull earlier; family stuff last year kind of drove things quiet for a bit. I’m not one to to make art in times of intensity or drama. Not for public consumption anyway. So hopefully my Muses will honor me with some quality time this month.

But I’m excited by one major spark to my world lately- seeing the art  retrospective of Robert Rauschenberg: Erasing the Rules at the San Francisco MOMA last month. It roused my artistic doldrums with curiosity about other art mediums, got me dusting off pens and ink wells, and has me journaling lots of late. Woo Hoo!

If you are close to San Fran, you must go see Raushenberg’s work: It’s wonderful! Big color, wild textures, giant works and small zippered pieces, a feast of artistic styles, photography, and sculpture.  I just love it when a museum is filled wing after wing, room to room with the chapters of an artist’s life. Those are always the most powerful exhibits.

Artwork image, Robert Rauschenberg, Port of Entry

In the MOMA’s words “From the 1940s until his passing in 2008, Rauschenberg worked with everything from photography to items scavenged from New York City streets to vats of bubbling mud. More than 150 of Rauschenberg’s artworks, including prints, sculptures, paintings, and Combines (works that incorporate painting and sculpture),” are on exhibit. And he was a rule-breaker of sorts. He “broke down boundaries between disciplines, anticipated many of the defining cultural and social issues of our time, and redefined what art could be…”   Exhibit details.

And give yourself a couple of days to enjoy it all; this really is one of those exhibitions where multiple visits benefit; the shear magnitude of offerings is huge. I know I’ll catch things I missed the next time I see it.

Oakland Drummer- I

We hear him first

two blocks away, past Grand Avenue

the din of a parallel freeway, his bass and back up.

Loud, small, young, maybe 14       he plays     alone,

nested in a 5-pc kit, on a throne, sidewalk street corner 

while hundreds run, tightrope-walk-balance, drive

play soccer around him.

 

Hard hitting and lush

his tempos tame time in waves that roll 

connecting our smiles from inside out before moving 

across the Lake      into open windows and back through

the Farmer’s market and up      on beyond blue where

hungry stars and planets await this little gift

of rhythm.

 © Tara Linda 2016

 

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Rain Lilly

rainflower8152Lilly-8144m lilly8158-L-tall-S lilly8137-M rainlilly8136-mHappy Spring everyone!  El Niño rains have brought us early blooms and thriving gardens here in Northern Cali. Except for a little unexpected flooding of basements and such, excess rains have been the greatest gift.

These happy lilies were transplanted from San Fran to Oakland some 30+ years ago. Taken in early morning light between storms.

Shake and Shimmy~East Bay / Oakland 6.1 Quake.

This morning’s 6.1 quake was the strongest I’ve felt in my 12 years living in Oakland. More than the usual light shakers and tremblers, this lasted longer: 7-8 seconds of movement, and was more intense. The house moved sideways and back, over and over, as if someone was trying to push it in one direction, only to have it roll back; like trying to push a house onto a trailer. The dogs went crazy, startled awake in the dark, seeing nothing they ran to doors, jumped up on beds to gain vantage, to protect us. But they were scared. The first response: comforting them, all the while wondering if a bigger one would follow this set of small waves.

This kind of movement is consistent with my last post about Earthquake readiness.  For some quakes along the East Bay faults, like our Hayward Fault, seismic energy runs horizontally, due to the bedrock substrates- so say geologists. Many places along the SF San Andreas Fault have a type of bedrock that transports shock waves vertically, so you would fall trying to walk during a tremor. For many quakes in the East Bay, you would sway from the side to side movement.

The media  is telling us this maybe the first wave, the ‘sleeper hit’ that preludes the ‘big one’ predicted to occur within a week. Ha! Hard to say if this is meaningful geologic logic, or media sensationalism. Unfortunately, it is true that many of the East Bay faults, like the Hayward Fault, are overdue for a large release;  it’s been over 130 years since the last one on this fault line. So I welcome these little shimmies, shakes, and shudders, and I hope that we have enough small tremors and quakes to add up to a significant release of energy- with a minimum of harm to people and property, of course.

This kind of activity always makes us think of the emergency plans we are supposed to all have in place in CA. We do the usual now; check emergency kits: flashlights, batteries, candles, fresh water, radios, blankets, propane tanks, emergency shut off gas valves and wrenches. We remind ourselves of the first contacts on the family/friends call list, posted inside the pantry, and the first call or text we hope to get the opportunity to make, before cell tower circuits overload and shut down.

The first call/text you make in a disaster of any kind- is an important topic. Judging from past catastrophes, time is always a factor.  With only cell phones and no land lines in most homes these days- options are further limited and timed. If you can only make one call, to whom should it be? Mos def someone who will help get the word out to everyone in your clan, yes? We decided that it should be someone fairly savvy with texting. And if local cell towers are damaged, each one of us in our house needs one person outside the area whom we can mutually reach, in case we cannot reach each other. They say that calls outside the area can be easier to make than call across the Bay- if local cell towers are down.

For the first time, today, we talked about what we should say: if you only have a few seconds; tell your condition and location. Something like “We’re on the 880 between San Jose and Oakland, caught in traffic, but fine,” works. Since Boy beast works in SF and I work in Oakland, the status of a bridge can mean everything, as we all know.

Speaking of bridges, with our new retrofitted Bay Bridge, I am counting on a better outcome with this bridge, than with the last one during the big ’89 Bay quake the Loma Prieta. So, how does one go about ‘retrofitting’ a bridge with shears, baffles, and shock absorbers to make it ready for action for “the big one”? Here is a glimpse of the engineering and construction that took place over the last 11 years, to earthquake retrofit the new Bay Bridge linking SF and Oakland. I think it’s kinda cool. Just click on the map to enlarge. Source: BA News Group & CalTrans.

Bay Bridge-New contruction graphic- BANG 9-1MED

Poet Rescues Song: Abducts Musician

I’m writing lyrics now for at least 5 of our new songs, and wasn’t quiet finished with 3 of them by last night. This is ONE fun thing about writing poetry (and one great thing about writing more often in April): As a poet, you get into the habit of seeing poetry everywhere…

Last night, I did something fun.  I played a small show, our first in Oakland, with new project “Fistful of Stars”.  We’ve played radio spots, making ready.  We go on tour next month to Europe- so it’s all coming together fast.

I’m writing lyrics now for at least 5 of our new songs, and wasn’t quiet finished with 3 of them by last night.  This is ONE fun thing about writing poetry (and one great thing about writing more often in April): As a poet, you get into the habit of seeing poetry everywhere; in couples drinking coffee, overheard conversation, positing scenarios from across the room, and just plain imagining things. And if you don’t have that gene for remembering lyrics (I don’t), or you haven’t quite finished the words-no worries: Poet-in-You will deliver, often taking you utterly over, hijacking your body, setting sail in your soul, borrowing  your lips to say things you never dreamed before ;). This is pure bliss, of course.

Last night, for one amazing song written by guitarist Rafael- that I didn’t quite finish lyrics to- I called it Mesa Song, and strung together all of the poem pieces for my one poem called “Unravel”. I read/talked the words as a single poem over the verses instead of singing. For the choruses, I sang (moaned) like the wind. Yes, Unravel– the poem pieces I haven’t yet posted all here, beyond the first because I didn’t think they were finished enough. 😉  Surprisingly, friends said that Mesa Song was their favorite of the night: it had a story they said, some mystery, and they got lost in the poem. Yay!  I promise to post another piece of Unravel for my next  poem post. Not tomorrow though- off to a Pow-wow.

So- I usually do a wrap-up post for NaPoWriMo.  I have to say, this year, I wasn’t as engaged in publicly participating as in past years. In fact, if there was one word to sum things up for me this year, it would be a verb:

 

REBEL-OaklandBethE

 This time, I was loathe to do anything on cue. And I didn’t want to follow anyone’s prompts. Hahaha!  But I still wrote lots. AND best of all, I don’t want to stop!! And so I won’t. Yet another good rule to break.

 

You held us last night-

soft woods, laughter,

warm arms that offered sweet

champagne and love.  We drank it all

down, and from across the room

 I gave you a poem 

like a kiss.

taralinda c.p. 2014

Almost Inside

Wild turkey waiting
outside this downtown cafe
followed a small child…

Wild turkey waiting
outside this downtown cafe
followed a small child
almost inside, so we ask-
young tom- do you think us tame?

Tanka form 5-7-5-7-7

True but strange, of the wild turkeys in the park near our house, there is one that loves children. I mean Loves them; he lets them pet, feed, and HUG him (!!)

The child whom turkey is most attached too, a toddler, is pushed in one of those loud, bright yellow  wheeled plastic toys down the sidewalk. The parents swear that it is the loud wheely toy that draws the turkey.  And so, when they begin their walk to town some mornings, turkey appears from the brush, and lines up in tow behind them all, all the way to cafe. We’re talking- a half mile away. I didn’t want to name the cafe in my poem but it is one of those big tacky coffee chain places common in most large urban centers, making it even stranger of course. 😉

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Pardon My Spring: Beauty with a Cost

Yes, I do feel a tinge of guilt, seeing my friends in the Midwest and East Coast regions experiencing this….

I started to call this post “Pardon my Spring: or Don’t Hate Me ‘Cause I’m Warm and Beautiful”; but that seemed a bit obnoxious.  Yes, I do feel a tinge of guilt, seeing my friends in the Midwest and East Coast regions  experiencing this:

AndewsWinterSource

chi-ugc-North Ave. Beach-chicago-below-zero-2014-01-29Chicago

Marinas ChicagoSource

chi-ugc-photo-chiberia-2014-02-07ChicagoChicago

chi-ugc-photo-icy-flying into Nashville-2014-02-05 Source for 1st & 3rd, 4th photos.

…when we on the Pacific side, Oakland, SF Bay CA are experiencing this:

OaklandSpringTaralindaMusesG_0241

OakPelican_3177OaklandSpring_0314

~ 60 deg. F, and a Spring that started in January.

But all this beauty has come at an ugly price: for the first time in my lifetime, we’ve experienced a Winter with no rain. Our two small drizzles brought us this early Spring, yes, but they have also left us 90% below normal rainfall. Our ground water reserves are unreplenished, reservoirs are at 30%, and everyone is bracing for a busy fire season.  River levels for our salmon are at all time lows, and Central Valley fields lie fallow. Gov. Brown has declared all of the state a drought zone, and Obama brought emergency funds for farmers- on Valentines Day.  As a former fisheries biologist, I worry about the fish: no one has come to their aid. So our salmon runs will likely be badly reduced for the next 4 years.

But we’ll take this embarrassing blush of beauty while it lasts. 

flowers0922Tulip Trees

If you are in the cold dead zone of Winter, come out and spend some sunny warm days on the West Coast. Oakland was voted top 10 US cities to come visit. 😉

Either way, Warm thoughts to our frigid friends to the East; hang in there- your Spring will come soon!