Posted: December 3, 2014 by Paul R Solomon in Uncategorized


Please take time to evaluate your experience in DEARTS by completing the ICES Course evaluation  for Professor Paul Solomon and Instructor Melissa Sparks. Questions/answers about the ICES evaluations are here.  The last post of Fall 2014, YOU ARE ENOUGH  is immediately below and open for comments until Sunday night at about 10 pm. Also see the Announcements page!


Posted: December 3, 2014 by Paul R Solomon in Uncategorized

DEARTS on Ice  or  The Viewer Completes The Work  or  It’s Crazy to Think Anybody can do Anything!* 

*Jacob Porada

Including: Memrise, F. Ocean; ? (the value of questions)What Makes It Difficult to Engage in Your Life (courtesy of Mariah Laure); Newsroom rant about why the US is not the best country; Emma Sulkowicz’s Carry The Weight goes international;Kristi Spessard and a Public School flashmob celebration ; questioning identity, Paul SolomonSally Mann (film); Frida Kahlo (you’ll find many sources on library shelves and online!)

Hopefully the images you saw are lodged in your mind, and the words above (and links provided), will empower you to comment on this, the last post of the term. Any and all comments are welcome.  I’ll be especially interested to read about what you have learned about your life and your world – viewed through art, that may have helped you discover that:

1. You are enough.

2. You have ideas about how to move forward in your life being true to your best possible self.  

Thank you, Paul Solomon 

See the Announcements page for important reminders and FREE tickets to shows this weekend in the Department of Theatre. 

Julia Haw

Posted: December 1, 2014 by Paul R Solomon in Uncategorized

Julia Haw is a remarkable artist. She is also a remarkable and generous person. If talent and guts are rewarded as they should be, Julia will become a huge star in the art world any minute now. It’s not possible to sum up the work of any great artist in two images, but the two below illustrate the incredible scope of her ability and need to portray truths about life. They also show off her stunning capacity to make paint fool us into a state of suspension of disbelief. For those of you who want to look again at images you saw in class, and see many more, visit her excellent website: http://www.juliahaw.com/

If you choose to comment on this post please follow the example of Julia Haw: Speak clearly, and don’t censor the aspects of your responses to her work that make you human and vulnerable. Please also do your best to look back over the entire semester and write about links between Julia’s work and her world – and other topics we’ve explored. This post closed Wednesday morning at about 9 AM with 73 comments.


The Death Painting, Oil on Canvas, 2013


Power Pussy, Oil and Swarovski Crystal on Canvas, 2013

News story about Power Pussy in the Chicago Reader: hereThe story includes a link to the 1866 painting The Origin of the World, by Gustave Courbet


Posted: November 17, 2014 by Paul R Solomon in Uncategorized

HairposterWe’re finally almost to Hair – after a series of classes spread out over a month that took us on a complex trip from Robeson’s birth in 1898 to the off-Broadway opening of Hair in 1967, to this week in 2014 when you’ll experience this landmark work of art: a ‘Happening,’ in Jay’s words.

After meeting Jay and the designers – and on Wednesday, the cast – what has surprised you about the process of mounting a musical like this? Do you have any strong personal feelings about being in the midst of the kind of show Jay described? In good DEARTS style, Jay set the stage for an argument about the need, he said, for the current generation of college students to step up and get more involved in shaping our future. What do you have to say in response?

The poster was created for the Broadway opening of Hair, just a few months after the US landed men on the moon, and Woodstock, and during the most costly year of the war in Vietnam.

This post closed Sunday night a few minutes after 10 pm with 143 comments. 

A Hero’s Life

Posted: November 13, 2014 by Paul R Solomon in Uncategorized


Maestro Raymond Harvey was our guest Monday, as we prepared to attend A Hero’s Life, a concert with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra at Miller Auditorium Friday night.

What does the idea of the hero, and the hero’s journey mean to you? Do you spend time visualizing the path your life has taken thus far and what you want to create in your life in the future? You might address it within the context of what we’ve covered in recent classes, or in the context of what Maestro Harvey told us about Strauss, his life, and his work Ein Heldenleben. OR: think about it in more personal terms. Perhaps your idea of a hero is Lebron James. I can imagine Lebron having plenty to say to his critics! Or perhaps it’s Katniss Everdeen. Please feel free to respond to this topic as you wish.

If meanwhile, there are aspects of what you learned about classical music, the symphony orchestra, Strauss, or Raymond Harvey that particularly interested you, please comment on those topics. After Friday night’s performance you’ll also be invited to post about your concert experience.

This post closed Monday morning at about 8 am. with 50 comments.

The Age of Aquarius

Posted: November 5, 2014 by Paul R Solomon in Uncategorized

with guest professor Lynne Heasley of the WMU Departments of History and of Environmental and Sustainability Studies.  Thank You!


Perhaps we can best summarize the complex, beautiful and violent times of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s by contemplating these five photographs. The four above show a total of about one and half million people gathered on four different occasions  as follows, (beginning at top left and moving clockwise): The March for Civil Rights, Washington, DC, August 28, 1963; The Woodstock Peace and Music Festival, August 15 – 17, 1969; the Mobilization Against the War in Vietnam, Washington, DC, November 15, 1969; and the First Earth Day, New York City, April 22, 1970. I can’t help wonder if any one person was at all four events. .  .


The photograph above was taken on December 24, 1968. That spring Dr. Martin Luther King and Senator Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated. That year 16,592 American soldiers and approximately 200,000 Vietnamese were killed in Vietnam. The people of what later became the Czech Republic were the victims of a Soviet crackdown. Riots burned in American cities. The population of the world was 3.5 billion people. Three of those people left the planet for six days and saw what no human had before.

On Christmas Eve, aboard the Apollo 8 spacecraft, astronauts Borman, Lovell, and Anders became the first to see Earth as a whole planet, the first to see the far side of the Moon, and then the first to witness Earthrise. Poet Archibald MacLeish later wrote: “To see the earth as it truly is, small and blue and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see ourselves as riders on the earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the eternal cold — brothers who know now they are truly brothers.”  Perhaps all 7.25 billion of us on the planet now in 2014, need to make a trip to the moon and take another look at Earth.

How have recent classes including Here I Stand – Paul Robeson; Proper; Dionysius Triumphant and The Age of Aquarius tied together? Can you think of links with art you saw at the KIA? What about in earlier classes this semester? Did you change your mind about any events or issues based on what you learned in recent classes?  What surprised you most about this most recent class? Think back to all the elements of you saw and heard.

This post closed Monday at 9:34am.

Dionysius Triumphant: Rock ‘n’ Roll 1967 – 1970

Posted: October 29, 2014 by Paul R Solomon in Uncategorized

Professor Dan Jacobson shared with us a lot of information about the events that inspired the creation of some of the most powerful enduring music ever in the history of the United States. And he shared some of the music with us.

Dan had hoped to end his presentation with this photograph and the anthemic song by Crosby Stills Nash and Young that memorialized what is sometimes called the May 4 Massacre in Ohio. Below is John Filo’s photograph (that won the Pulitzer Prize for news photography), taken on the campus of Kent State University on May 4, 1970.

Kent State May 4, 1970 Mary Ann Vecchio beside the body  of Jeffrey Miller. COPYRIGHT jOHN  FILO

On May 4 the Ohio National Guard shot to death four college students and wounded nine others, one of whom was permanently paralyzed. In the photo, Mary Ann Vecchio, a 14-year-old, kneels over the body of Jeffrey Miller, a Kent State student, minutes after he was shot dead. A few days earlier, President Nixon had revealed the previously secret invasion of Cambodia by the United States, and announced that 150,000 more American young men would be drafted. Protests erupted across the country. The day after the killings at Kent State almost 500 other colleges and universities, as well as many high schools, were shut down or disrupted by student strikes and protests. A national poll reported that 58% of Americans blamed the students for their own deaths. 11 days after Kent State, 40 Mississippi highway patrolmen shot and killed two students and wounded 11, at Jackson State University. The African-American students were in a woman’s dormitory. They were hit with at least 140 bullets fired from shotguns at a range of 30 – 40 feet. Many in the US were dismayed that there was almost no outcry, as there had been for the white students of Kent State. Please be certain to read the Wikipedia entry on the Kent State and Jackson State shootings. They are, I think, reasonably balanced accounts of that history. Also listen to the song Ohio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MN_9VqfVQ9c

As Dan made clear, the music of the times – folk and rock – expressed the hopes and fears of the youth of the country then. Do you feel you ‘missed out’ on being part of that time? Have you had conversations about this with parents, other relatives or friends who were young during the 60’s and 70’s? What is their take on the Vietnam War, the assassinations of that time, and the music? Would you like to be part of a more activist culture here and now? Do you listen to the music we sampled Wednesday? Comparisons were made in the afternoon class between the music of Drake, for example today, and the singer/songwriters of the 60’s. What singer/songwriters today are talking about social issues?

Depression and suicide:In class Wednesday, Professors Solomon and Jacobson spoke about how important it is to seek help if you are experiencing depression, something that may be more prevalent at this time of year. Solomon spoke of experiencing deaths from suicide of friends and former students. If you find yourself needing help –either because you have suicidal thoughts – or because a friend is talking of suicide, please DO SOMETHING.

Western has an excellent, well-staffed Counseling Center. They can be reached at 269 – 387-1850 and: http://www.wmich.edu/healthcenter/counseling/

Separate from WMU, Kalamazoo has an excellent source for help called Gryphon Place –available 24/7  They offer emergency support and have ongoing counseling for people who are having difficulty after experiencing the suicide of a friend. Their emergency number is 211.  Their regular phone number is 269  381 – HELP (4357)   And are at: http://www.gryphon.org/

Dial 381-HELP for help, even if you think there’s no way anyone can help you. There is someone you can reach out to in those times when you feel desperate, overwhelmed, emotional, or hopeless. There is someone who will listen, who can help you sort through your thoughts, who can let you know where you can turn for help or can directly send help to you, or can show you compassion and empathy to help get you through the moment, the hour, the night.

This post closed on Wednesday Morning, November 5, at 8:20 am.

Note: There will not be a post after the class at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts on Monday, Nov. 3.