Tatyana Fazlalizadeh

Posted: March 30, 2015 by Paul R Solomon in Uncategorized


Please read carefully below, before commenting!

We had two very different classes with Tatyana Fazlalizadeh on Monday. In the AM class many people, women and men, had a lot to say throughout class. Women spoke of their experiences being harassed in many locations including: on campus, on the street, in bars, in Waldo Library, in New York, in Detroit, alone, with parents, with a boyfriend, in middle school, in high school, and in other places and situations. Men in the AM class talked of the complexities and additional dangers that occur in big cities like Detroit, and what can happen when verbal harassment triggers violence. Time ran out with many people still waiting for a microphone. The afternoon class took a bit longer to get going, but when it did, women had many stories. In an attempt to open the discussion to men,I told a couple of personal anecdotes.  I then read two comments from last week’s blog about Adi Paz’s dance POST-IT. In these comments, two men talked about how they feel a women’s appearance might at times be “inappropriate.” This triggered a lot more discussion, though again, almost entirely from the women. I also shared with the PM class, a letter posted this week to Facebook about a ban on leggings in Kalamazoo schools. I mistakenly said Portage schools. If you look online, you’ll see that leggings have recently been banned in many places across the country.

So: If you are a man: where are you on these topics? This is, in my opinion, as much a topic for men to discuss as it is for women. If you are a woman, and didn’t have the opportunity, or were not wanting to talk in front of everyone in class, what do you have to say?

When commenting please place your comments in context with what portion of class you are referencing. I anticipate that least a couple of your comments on this blog will be referenced in class on Wednesday. If yours is selected, you will be awarded ten extra points. This policy will stay in place for the rest of the semester. BTW: if you left class early on Monday, do NOT comment on this blog – your points will not be counted.

One more thing, added after reading the first 20 comments: I would like to see more dialogue on this post. If you read someone else’s post and find yourself either strongly agreeing or strongly disagreeing -- click the red REPLY button and respond. If you do a good job responding – by which I mean you explain precisely WHY you agree or disagree, you will likely score higher points.

This post will be open until Wednesday at about 8 am.

Man of La Mancha

Posted: March 25, 2015 by Paul R Solomon in Uncategorized

Picasso, Don Quichotte.jpg

This is a drawing of Man of La Mancha by Pablo Picasso. It’s a very simple drawing but it includes all the iconic elements one would expect: Don Quixote de la Mancha, his horse Rocinante, his squire Sancho Panza, his donkey Dapple, and the sun, and a few windmills. Picasso made the drawing for the cover of a French magazine for what was then (1955), the 350th anniversary of the publishing of Cervantes’ novel.

Are you looking forward to seeing this musical? If yes, then tell us specifically why. What did you learn of interest from one or more of the designers? What is your reaction to Jay Berkow’s words about the state of humanity? (Something he especially stressed with the morning class). Are there reasons you are not especially looking forward to this production? If yes, be specific.

This post will be open until Sunday at about 10 pm. The post closed at 10:04 pm

Dance with a Message

Posted: March 23, 2015 by Paul R Solomon in Uncategorized


Above, Adaya Berkovich, dancing in a rehearsal for POST-IT, by Adi Paz

We were very fortunate Monday to have three artists in class: Adaya Berkovich and Adi Paz, via Skype from a theatre in Tel Aviv, Israel; and Sam Assemany, right on our little stage here on campus. Choreographers Adi, and Sam have created dances that tell a story with very personal dimensions. Adi’s dance is also intended to get people to engage; think about; and talk about issues to do with sexual harassment. From what we saw of Adi’s choreography and Adaya’s dancing, do you feel it is successful as a way of talking about sexual harassment? If it was, please discuss specific ways the dance and the dancing communicated. What most surprised or intrigued you about the dance (the choreography)? What about the ways Adaya moved on stage? Try to imagine seeing the entire work on stage, much the way we saw Echad Mi Yodea, and other works in the Winter Gala Dance Concert: How do you imagine you would feel at the end of the performance of POST-IT?

With Sam’s work you have had the advantage of hearing her talk about her process in February and again on Monday in class – and having seen the entire work on our stage. What, very specifically most moves you emotionally about her dance and her dancing? Again, separate her choreography from her work as a dancer: talk about them separately.

Now that you’ve had the experience of the Winter Dance Concert, as well as this class with these choreographers and dancers, has your appreciation of dance changed? In what ways? What has surprised you about dance as an art form? Be specific. What kinds of dance would you like to see in the future?

This post will be open until about 8 am Wednesday. It closed at 8:01 am.


Posted: March 18, 2015 by Paul R Solomon in Uncategorized


JD Brink and Carl Brown came to DEARTS on Wednesday. Neither of them are artists in a conventional sense, but I believe they are: Art is about transformation. These guys are creatively working to transform the world around them.

What surprised you? If you didn’t get to contribute in class: What is your Kalamazoo like? What did you learn about other people in class when they talked about where they grew up? Do you think about where you might want to bring up kids?

Did you leave class wanting to do something? (Remember that JD said that in the motto Do Something Proper that the most important word is Something. So what ‘something’ do you want to do? In the morning class some people said they have ideas about doing something similar to the Are You Enough campaign. This blog post is a good place to start talking about it. You will have time in class coming up to work on this.

This post will be open until Sunday at about 10 pm.  Post closed at 10:07 pm

Paul Robeson: Here I Stand

Posted: March 16, 2015 by Paul R Solomon in Uncategorized

Paul Robeson – Renaissance Man of the 20th Century:


Key, clockwise beginning upper left corner: Paul Robeson, All-American football player at Rutgers University; Robeson, Phi Beta Kappa laureate, Rutgers, 1919; Robeson as Othello in New York production, 1943; Robeson leading Anti-Lynching Campaign in front of statue of Abraham Lincoln, Washington, D.C., 1946; Robeson leading Civil Rights protest in front of the White House, Washington, D.C., 1948; and the cover of The Undiscovered Paul Robeson, Vol. I, by Paul Robeson, Jr., published 2001.

A significant portion of class filled in the context of Robeson’s life by discussing what you were asked about in the Daily: information about underlying reasons for the persecution of thousands of artists, teachers (and by the way, scientists such as Albert Einstein as well) by the US Congress during the McCarthy period; the Spanish Civil War; the Cold War; and more. To what extend was this information new to you? Do you think you might be more inclined to learn more about contextual historical or present-day events and ideas in the future to further either your academic or personal pursuit of ideas?

What emotional reactions did you have in this class? What do you find most compelling or surprising about Paul Robeson’s life? What does it say about our country that Paul Robeson, who in my opinion, was one of the most important Americans who ever lived, has been erased from American history? Are you able to make any connections to material we’ve covered so far this semester? Any and all other comments are welcome. Please made your comments as personal as you are able.

This post will close at about 8 am Wednesday. Oops – the post closed at 1:10 pm.

On the Barricades

Posted: March 3, 2015 by Paul R Solomon in Uncategorized

Class content Monday brought strong opinions to the surface. Some of you may have things to say that there was insufficient time to express during class. You may also want to respond to the following:

The Newsroom: The character played by Jeff Daniels questioned American civilization and the nature of our democracy. Do you agree with his statements, or disagree? Why?

Bread and Puppet Theater used satire to address police brutality in the news in a segment entitled “How to avoid an attack from your local police officer”.  As mentioned in class, the text was taken from a guide on how to avoid an attack from a bear.  How does the appropriation of that text affect your interpretation of the piece?  Do you believe satirical performances like this should be censored?  Why or Why not?  In satire, stereotyping of a group of people might be used to execute a point.  Do you agree with this generalizing in order to make a relevant point? Many people in class may not know enough about the history of police brutality to have an informed opinion on this topic. Only yesterday, it was made public that the US Department of Justice is about to release a report “criticizing police in Ferguson, Missouri for unfairly targeting black residents with tickets and arrests in the years before an officer killed teenager Michael Brown.” Link to article here. 

The next focus of class was Banksy’s work in Gaza. I am concerned that most or all of you don’t have enough knowledge of Banksy or of Gaza to have an informed opinion. Banksy is a provocateur. His images are designed to create controversy. His work does not shed light on the issues behind the tragic situation in Gaza. Gaza is governed by Hamas, an Islamic Palestinian group that claims to represent the Palestinian people. Israel, Egypt, the United States, and other countries consider Hamas a terrorist group. The civilians living in Gaza are victims of continual strife between Israel and Palestinians; between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority; and between Egypt and Hamas. In recent years Hamas has used Gaza as a base from which to launch rockets aimed at Israeli towns and cities. The rockets are exclusively aimed at civilians. 70 Israelis were killed in the past year. Israel has struck back. The Israeli military says they have attempted to hit only military targets but rocket launching sites and other military targets have often been located next to schools, hospitals and mosques. The results have been tragic: 2,000 civilians killed. If you feel you are sufficiently knowledgeable about the situation, please comment on Banksy’s work.

This post opened Tuesday at noon. It closed at 8 am on Thursday.

In the Mirror

Posted: February 23, 2015 by Paul R Solomon in Uncategorized

The daguerreotype was called the ‘Mirror with a Memory’ because of its shiny metal surface, and its miraculous ability to capture life itself. One might say that photography is the mirror we hold up to ourselves. In a photograph we see what the camera records – but how faithful is that reflected image? We’ve been discussing in recent classes things that at first seem to have an obvious meaning, but can be misleading. 

To what extent should we rely on photographs in order to know what our world — our reality, is? Can you cite examples not shown in class in which a published photograph has one apparent meaning, but in context, has another? Why do we often look at photographs, on Instagram for example, that are posted with minimal context? What does that say about what we know about one another? Did any story related in class today resonate with you? Why?

This post will be open until about 8 am on Wednesday. The post closed at 8:13 am


All of the following are details of larger images. Left to right, top: Daguerreotype, 1850’s, deceased child; child worker, 1911, Lewis Hine; Migrant Mother, 1936, Dorothea Lange, commissioned by the Farm Security Administration, a US government program; Middle: Fashion photo by Horst, 1950s; Kent State killings, May 1970; Grandfather and grandson in US detention center, 1942, Dorothea Lange; Bottom: Dali by Philippe Halsman, 1951; Thanksgiving dinner pies, 1940, Jack Delano, commissioned by US government; John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Annie Liebowitz ,1980, Rolling Stone Magazine