Saturday, December 31, 2005


A picture named theresa.jpg

Theresa Spiess (Montalbetti)
April 24,1958 - December 21, 2005

sister lost
currents run deep and quiet
a bond ardent beneath the pulse of life
voicing hope and strength your last words possessed a fierce caring
"saw the perfect gift for you" you spoke
soft, full tones betrayed all the suffering that tore at my gut
till when parting tears clenched my breath
echoing a merciless hollow cry

salt water flowed between us
now silence

flying to the place you called home
clouds below stars above

Is this what you gentle souls see departing?

hope rests resigned as if in transit
knowing redemption will come

i have no gifts and carry a vast void
an emptiness that embraces the living

memories soothe little
for the struggle whispers beauty
is to be present
where presence is tangibly lost

dearest Theresa
blood sister
ascend, descend, ascend
a thin rose line caresses the horizon between the sky and heaven
like a lock of your most delicate and fine red hair
the thin rose line
an angels path fleetingly clear fading into the invisible thread
guiding a tried and true love

eyes close in prayer
give peace a chance
to rest, to sleep, to awake
a new dawn born
in your eyes
sister found
at last
(morning of December 23 on plane to Hope,BC)

:: note :: . . . the picture above was taken a year before i left my family at nineteen departing on the journey called life . . . that was the face of the sister no matter how she aged i always remembered . . . an intense childhood contact was followed by sporadic adult meetings as our ways seldom crossed . . . many questions haunt . . . the largest being why do i miss her so much . . .


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

to dream the green

green green green
under a green banana tree
angels come & go

guardian flashing lights
flicker past into present
beyond to dream the green

dance dance dance
the steam off the water
the frost off the branches

dazzling currents of care
prototypes for new understandings
to the brown around the center of the eye

Monday, December 19, 2005

Word jewels

"Chinese poems are like strings of jewels."

"The jewels are Chinese characters, each of which represents a one-syllable word."

"These little word-jewels are hard and unchanging, but when they are translated into English, each one seems to have several different meanings."

". . ."

"The heart of the jewel never changes but its surface reflects the light in many different ways."(Greg Whincup. The Heart of Chinese Poetry)

:: note :: . . . reading the poems of Li Bai . . . Quiet Night Thoughts & many more . . . the above was written about Question and Answer on the Mountain . . . the link has not the word-jewel translation that Whincup creates . . . some poems are jewels . . . some days are jewels . . .

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Drama Journal excerpts

(from '05 class)

. . . For me, I was kind of confused as to what I was supposed to be doing. I tried working with my text, but I didn't really understand where I was supposed to take it, what I was supposed to do. It seemed that working with full power, really high was working for me. But still, I was confused. I decided to stay after class for the extra session. And I am so thankful that I did!!!

. . . It was great to work in a smaller group, to be able to see more people's work and how the emotions, and sounds, and actions tell the story. Raymon asked me near the end if I wanted to go. And as I was still sort of confused, I said, "I'd try". So I started with a vibrating tone, although, I didn't go as high as I could. I started saying my text and working my way up, louder and with more power. I tried to fight against my obstacle and gain power from that.

. . . Raymon pulled on my shoulder and pushed on my back and I fought against him. My voice went louder and more powerful. It was really interesting to hear it. At times it seemed disgusted, or frustrated. It had a quality I can't describe. It was strange. I reached this point though, where I just broke down and started crying. This was much to my surprise. There was just so much emotion and power and force and then BANG I was crying. So I said my text while I was crying and then slowly lowered to the floor.

. . . Raymon told me to get a hold of myself, which I could do relatively well. I don't know what I was feeling, because I wasn't "feeling" sad. So it wasn't difficult to get out of my tears. Then Raymon tried taking me to say my text slow and high. I couldn't really get into it. But this is something I will work towards. I am not sure I can reach that emotional peak by myself, without the physical resistance. It kind of scares me in a way. Although, I haven't been scared during this entire experience, which is incredibly strange for me. I am really surprised that I am not so incredibly shy when it comes to performing by myself. Normally, I would be incredibly freaked out. I am in a safe environment, and have learned the tools I need in order to do it.

. . . But I also think that I have grown, I have a new confidence in such things. And that is truly amazing! I am really impressed by my progress. This class has far exceeded my expectations, and I, myself, have exceeded my expectations. I don't feel like I have any particular boundaries or limits at this point in time. Or at least, none that I am aware of or have come across. Ya, today's class was really great!

. . . This class has been really great for me. It was paced in such a way that I felt comfortable and capable at almost every point of this class. I feel like I have really learned more about my body and its capabilities and limitations. I have learned not to be afraid to move my body and imagine and improvise. I am no longer afraid of my voice, which is quite surprising for me. It is really surprising to find that my text work is so loud and that it is full of power, which is not me on a daily basis. I have always been quiet. It seems like this side of me just needed to come out and was only natural that my voice led me in that direction for my text work. It is really interesting how your voice will guide you and will change your emotion and actions.

. . . I was trying to reach the emotional peak where I begin to cry. I found it incredibly difficult and frustrating. My voice would break part way through, and sound like I was crying, but no tears would come. I think I was putting too much pressure on myself to reach that point. I also think I was putting too much pressure on the wall, my shoulder really hurt afterwards. I talked to Raymon about my difficulties. He said that I should just try to reach that peak, that it is my goal and that it is ok if I don't reach it. This helped me a lot. It took away some of the pressure, and I could remove the pressure I was placing on myself in order to duplicate what I've already done. This is an important lesson. In theater, sometimes you can't duplicate everything. Each performance will be different. The actions may be the same, the words might be the same, even the emotions perhaps, but there are subtle differences whether it be speed, sound, or intensity. It's important to just let it come, to let your voice to find itself and to guide you rather than force your voice and body to do something that it is not ready to do. No two performances are exactly alike.

. . . I was so nervous before this class, I just wanted to scream to get some of this nervous energy out. I thought before class through what I needed to do, the motions, my voice, and just thought of ways I could better my performance. Class started, and we did our warm up of our bodies and voices. . . . When it finally came to my turn, I took a deep breath and started my vibrating tone. I started at about a medium power and ascended to full power rapidly and started into my text. I was saying it with full power, and imagining my obstacle of someone pushing on my lower back and pulling on my shoulder. My voice got louder, more disgusted and frustrated and even broke a couple times. Then I just reached this point where my voice seemed to lose its power, so I just followed it. My voice started to get quieter and I continued with my text, even though I think I was still going a little fast.

Raymon came up behind me, I never even noticed. He put my head against the wall and then lifted my left arm and placed it against the wall. He said to speak slower. So I spoke slower and quieter. Then he told me to use song. I kind of laughed because I don't like singing in front of people. So I made the voice more song like and stayed slow. And then we moved on to the next person. Raymon told me I did great. That is something that I needed to hear.

It's not that I felt unsure of my performance, but it was just nice to hear it. I entered this class scared and nervous and unsure of what I could do. Then I reached this point where I can use text, and movement, and where I'm not scared of my voice and people are telling me I'm doing well. I never expected that. I think I was more so afraid of people telling me that I was 'no good'. I had a fear of other people's opinions and judgments. Now, if someone tells me their opinion of my performance, I can always take what the say and use it to improve my work. This was a really great day, really great class and performance.

The Final Drama Class

We performed our texts again today. I didn't feel nervous which was great. We warmed up our bodies and voice. As we were in child pose, Raymon told me to focus on the part where I start to get quiet and into the song part. When it came to my turn, I started high and full power with my text. I felt that I was getting more out of it, really using my body and obstacle to get more power. Then my voice again naturally started getting quiet on its own. So I let my voice getting slower and quieter. I put my head and my other hand against the wall. Then I moved into song.

. . . I think we have all come a long way, myself included. I liked how Raymon talked about the last circle being 'the empty space'. Our first circle is filled with preconceived notions, expectations, inhibitions and biases. It takes the entire semester, all of those exercises, to get rid of it. We need to remove those things in order to be able to let ourselves act. I agree completely. . . . an important class. I am really going to miss everyone. There is really such a trust between everyone, and I feel a connection to each and every person. It was a really great experience.

(student entry)

exploding conversation

"What is more valuable than gold? Light. "

"What is more precious than light? Conversation"

- J.W. von Goethe

Emerging Out of Goethe: [PDF]
Conversation as a Form of Social Inquiry
Allan Kaplan

(via wood s lot)

:: note :: . . . pdf files (present personal technology) does not allow easy cut&paste quotes . . . Kaplan moves Goethe principles into new realms exploding conversation . . . suffice to say the ideas are a feast . . . & Mark thanks for feasting the eye with Klee and Kandinsky . . .

Saturday, December 17, 2005


"The idea of improvisation means that we confront ourselves with our own individual creativity."(EDN | Improvisation: Keith Jarrett - The Köln Concert)

:: note :: . . . street theater, teaching & listening to coltrane taught me about the above principle of improvisation: retrieving the mystery . . . spent the day reflecting, through reading exams & journals, a tightly structured & at the same time a purposeful improvised class journey . . . the thread between discipline&spontaneity . . .

Friday, December 16, 2005










yourself &



Thursday, December 15, 2005

emotions & thoughts

"Some people walk away from creative endeavours when they're feeling emotional, or by taking a break and getting some distance. Others use their art to process challenging emotional experiences; pouring their heart out into their work or using it as a cathartic experience."

"..."Many of the artists described highly creative times when they are responding to strong emotions and want to express them through their art [~] transduce them from one form of energy to another."

"...When we feel, we begin to be alive. When we express a feeling, we share with the rest of the world that we are alive. When we express a feeling through music, we invite the rest of the world to share in our experience of the feeling, and to be alive with us."

"...Sometimes I hear people say that they'll get to their creative project, their creative dream, as soon as things "calm down" in their life. And yet it's the creative process itself that's usually the most effective at bringing about the calmness of mind and emotional stillness that we crave."

"I think the sharing of feeling through various forms of creativity is the strongest tool we have for communicating and fostering change."(mousemusings|Emotions and Thoughts in the Creative Process)

:: note :: . . . (wish the citations had links) . . . feeling . . . the intelligence of feeling . . . the creative process itself creates feeling or rather questions/challenges/responses . . . feelings may be dialogues . . . sun&moonlight dialogues . . . rising and falling . . . ebb&flow tides . . . the creative process involves expression which induces reflection . . . reflection & dialogue on feeling . . . a dialogue with oneself and the Other . . .

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


"Beauty, it seems, is immutable, at least when incarnated - fixed - in the form of art, because it is in art that beauty as an idea, an eternal idea, is best embodied. Beauty (should you choose to use the word that way) is deep, not superficial; hidden, sometimes, rather than obvious; consoling, not troubling; indestructible, as in art, rather than ephemeral, as in nature. Beauty, the stipulatively uplifting kind, perdures."(Susan Sontag | An argument about beauty)

"The death of Susan Sontag, in 2004, served to point out just how much things had changed . . . She spray-painted on the walls of the academy the incendiary line, 'In place of a hermeneutics we need an erotics of art.'" (The Chronicle of Higher Education|Literary Aesthetics: the Very Idea)

:: note :: . . . last december reading of her death felt a sense of loss . . . spent decades perusing the thoughts, ideas, politics, essays & actions . . . always an activist & forever an artist she personified beauty . . . bringing beauty into life is a creative act . . . is generous . . . is a sensibility . . . celebrates . . . recognizes . . . whether it be four seconds, minutes, hours, years, decades, milleniums . . .

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

enigmatic form

"Enigmatic form is living form; like life, an iridescence, an invitation to the dance, a temptation, or irritation. No satisfying solutions, nothing to rest in; nothing to way us down."
"Meaning is in the play, or interplay, of light. As in schizophrenia, all things lose their boundaries, become iridescent with many-coloured significances. No thing, but an iridescence, a rainbow effect. An indirect reflection; or refraction; broken light, or enigma."
"Meaning is not in things but in between; in the iridescence, the interplay; in the interconnections; at the intersections, at the crossroads. Meaning is transitional as it is transitory; in the puns or bridges, the correspondence." (Norman O. Brown. Love's Body. Chapter: Freedom, 245-46)

:: note :: . . . do you know how to live with love . . . to give life & love meaning . . . provoke and not hurt or cause pain . . . the rainbow is broken light . . . does the light break willingly into the iridescence . . .

Monday, December 12, 2005

shu ha ri

A picture named shuhari.jpg

shu ha ri

The three phases to mastership: To learn by rote combined with spontaneity, to come to an understanding of the problems by constant practice and relinquishment of spontaneity, and masterly treatment of the problems and spontaneity on a higher level.

:: note :: . . . life weaves breathlessness these days . . . thrown into blood streams that swirl dizzyingly . . . trembling the spirits play . . . caught of guard nipping at the edge . . . a circle bead caresses the mouth . . . swallow the world . . .

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Documentation of A Ble Wail Reenactment

November 1: Rehearsal starts. I have used pictures from The Dream of the Audience as starting points.
November 17 - 18: Shopping for fabric.
November 22: Making costume and props: white dress, white ribbon, red and black ribbons and white screen.
December 9: Reenactment A Ble Wail Room 636 at 9pm Tisch School of the Arts, NYU.

I have been wondering about the title A Ble Wail.

Dictionary defines: -ble from Latin a suffix meaning result of the act of, means of, place for. A Ble Wail can be comprehended as result of the act of wail, means of wail and place for wail. Also A Ble can be read as Able, and Able means a suffix that forms adjectives meaning to have enough power, skill, or means to do something. So, A Ble Wail can be interpreted as to have enough power, skill and means to wail.

What was Cha wailing for?

I went to the undergraduate costume department in order to ask to use one of their sewing machines for my project and they were kind enough to lend me one. While I was making the costumes and props (the white dress, white ribbon around the head, the white screen, red and black narrow ribbons) I recognized something about white, the whiteness was strong in Cha’s work. In another of Cha’s performance, Aveugle Voix (1975), the white costume and props were noticeable. What does “white” mean to Cha? It seems to relate to the wailing.

In Modernity, Legality, and Power in Korea under Japanese Rule, Lee writes that Korean costumes have been banned during Japanese colonization and Koreans have been forced to wear colored clothing instead of Korea’s traditional white clothing (39). It may be Cha was returning to and recovering her Korean-ness by wearing white.

Was she wailing for erased Korean-ness during Japanese colonization? Or her silenced Korean-ness while living in America? Maybe both. She was probably wailing for how history repeats itself.

I wailed for her unacceptable death. From the beginning of the rehearsal her death haunted me.
Her death rendered me helpless. Reading reports from Belle Randall, The Random Murder of Theresa Cha, I could follow the time before her death.

She was turning thirty-one at the time in 1982. Graduated from Berkeley University with a BA and MFA and newly married to photographer Richard Barnes they moved to New York. Dictee was just about to be published. On November 5th 1982 at 4:30 pm Cha left the Metropolitan Museum of Art where she worked. She was going to meet her husband at his office. On the way she dropped by a gallery to chat with the owner who was the last to see Cha alive. Before dark Cha left the gallery and headed to her husband’s basement office.

Richard Barnes waited for Cha until 7 and by 10 he set out to find her. At 3 am he went to the police station to report her missing only to identify her body at the morgue. Joey Sanza, a security guard at Barnes’ office was identified as the murderer. He had officially 3 previous rapes in Florida and 12 according to the press. Cha’s corpse was dumped in the parking lot ten minutes from Barnes office as he waited for her. She was found naked except the belt and scarf around her neck and one boot. I couldn’t bear to imagine the lost time between 5 pm and 12 am. What had happened in those 7 hours became too far to reach and too hurtful to imagine.

Cha mentioned that in A Ble Wail “I want to be the dream of the audience” (Cha quo. from Constance). The screen may be effective for the dream. Something real is happening not in front of me but behind the screen so even though it is present it is filtered and distant. As a performer the screen gave me an enormous safety. Performing inside the screen I felt a tremendous freedom not as an escape from life but rather a revolutionary revelation.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

A Ble Wail

Dear all,
I invite you to my reenactment of Theresa Cha's A Ble W ail. December 9th, Friday at 9pm. Tisch School of the Arts, 6th Fl. Room 636, New York.

:: note :: ... :: note :: . . . am humbled by your following the destiny laid before you . . . congratulations with all the joy and love you deserve . . . the trials and tribulations seem so worth it . . . still much work as we breathe into Cha . . . take care & feel the support . . . & many thanks ben for the documentation . . .

Friday, December 09, 2005

intuitive thought

"2. Intuitive Intelligence. Intuitive intelligence is the ability to learn complex skills and solve problems on a subconscious basis; for example, a child learning to speak without learning the rules of grammar. The rules of grammar actually were learned, but the child cannot tell you want they are. This type of intelligence is particularly powerful at picking up patterns in a seemingly chaotic situation. When the right answer to a complex problem pops into your head but you can't figure out how you came up with it, it's probably the product of your intuition. Important: Intuitive intelligence is better at solving certain types of complex problem than our conscience, sensory intelligence."(Born to Explore! The Other Side of ADD | The Intuitive Brain)

(originally found at mousemusings Complexity and Intuitive Thought)

:: note :: . . . the practice: it is important to actually place yourself in situations which demand intuitive responses . . . to stand face to face with unanswerable questions & answer them . . . to engage in creative exchanges . . . i articulate this process as being open hearted . . .

Thursday, December 08, 2005


a cup of coffee
a gaze divine
so many thoughts & words entwined

kneeling rest the rhythm of the heart
for yours is thine to shine


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

poetics of space

"Immensity is within ouselves. It is attached to a sort of expansion of being that life curbs and caution arrests but which starts again when we are alone. As soon as we become motionless we are elsewhere; we are dreaming in a world that is immense. Indeed, immensity is the movement of motionless man. It is one of the dynamic characteristics of quiet daydreaming." (Gaston Bachelard. The Poetics of Space. p184)

:: note :: . . . when dreaming with the Other the motionless makes motion . . . a playful, prayful dance of intimate immensity . . . the Other side of dream . . . active tranquil dimensions evolving into vast perspectives . . . correspondances as transactions . . . Bachelard writes: ". . . two spirits that are identically sensitive can sensitize the center and horizon in different ways. In this connection a sort of plains test could be used that would bring out different types of reactions to infinity." . . . yes we may hold Blake's " Infinity in the palm of (our) hands" and different "Eternit(ies) in an hour" . . . so let the paprika plains exalt us & the plains river sand float fluid absent and nowhere to wide open spaces to calm and humanize . . . trust, concentration, respect and love . . .

Monday, December 05, 2005

creative conversations

"there are several things you can do to design conversations that matter: 1. Be present. 2. Work with real questions. 3. Invite the edge. 4. Pause, reflect, discern. 5. Harvest deeper learnings."( Conversation changes the world | Parking Lot)

:: note :: . . . saw this in action the other day . . . yet chris articulates the steps in a brilliant manner . . . in fact Parking Lot is a dazzling gem which when held in the gaze opens the poetics and practice space . . .

Sunday, December 04, 2005

as the curtain falls

"Last week saw the end of the mystical autumn drama, The Little Mermaid. It began six weeks previous with a small group of high school students and an exuberant young teacher with a simple script. No one imagined what complex and amazing results would come."

"Somewhere between the early line runs and the final bow, the spirit of drama touched our lives. In such a short time, this cast grew to a point that I have never seen before. It was a blossoming of talent, energy and passion that I will never forget."

"I have never seen a cast grow so much in my four years of acting. I saw once silent, serene individuals break through with new voice that shattered the stage and enveloped the auditorium. I saw characters come alive within the actor, as young women's faces filled with tears on that stage. I saw some, who once stayed hidden beyond the lights, break forth into the bright beams. I saw my fellow actors flourish in a way that I have never seen. Everyone reached new, fantastic heights: both as actors and as people."

"We were all touched in some strange, spiritual way. This performance shall remain forever in my memories: the thoughts, the prayers, the dances, the tears, the heart, the love. I have never felt love in the way that I felt it in this performance. I felt the love for another person: a neighbour; a friend. I have formed many friends in these last six weeks. I love each and every one of you. This piece shall live in my heart forever because of your work, your dedication, your heart. Thank you" (student writing in school newspaper)

:: note :: . . . neither will I . . .

Saturday, December 03, 2005

in praise of

A picture named inPraiseof.jpg
response fragments to dance performance . . .

intimate immensity / concentration of the wanderer / wisdom of the "old ways" & practises being passed through very specific modes of movement - voicing / correspondance of lyrical spirits / intensity of evolving / transforming intensity into being / the exaltation of space beyond frontiers

. . . shall articulate towards a statement . . .

Friday, December 02, 2005


trust falling into trust
feathers lifting into dancing
shells of heartfelt thanks
words of honour & sandalwood scent bathes the day

. . . sometimes when you just give others space traces of beauty follow you to eternity . . .