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NAKED MAN IN PARK LARGELY IGNORED BY VISITORS

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naked guy  alka

WHO CARES?: Above left, a sculptrue of a naked man, seated in DeWitt Park. RIGHT: Alka Veid Menon, a park visitor, who didn't notice. 

TINY TOWN, USA ––  It was Alka Veid Menon's first visit to DeWitt Park. And a warm sunny Saturday it was. Ms. Menon brought along some reading materials -- to wit: "What is Marriage For?" by E.J. Graff.

Ms. Menon's bench faced the back of a sculpture that's been loitering in the park for a few years now. The figure is that of a naked man, seated on the ground, quite possibly a Vegan, and his head is craned upward. He has an ambigous expression on his face as if constipated in perpetuity but not unpleasantly so. If such a thing could be imagined!

Artists! Who understands them? 

Asked if she was offended by the site of naked man in the park Ms. Menon said she hadn't noticed him until he was pointed out and had no idea, upon seeing the work, that it depicted a naked man. However, she did agree that it would be kind of park stewards to cover him in the winter so he didn't freeze to death. 

Others in the park were indifferent to the naked man. "It doesn't bother us," said a father, accompanied by partner and child. 

At least three people, including Ms. Menon, were sitting on benches and reading books – a good sign we think. 

"What is Marriage For?" is a fetching title -- some would leave it stand as a rhetorical statement much the same way one might ask "What are Children For?" 

Ms. Graff's book examines the many ways the institution of marriage manifests in society. There is a focus on gay marriage especially, but judging by reviews she appears to explore the subject in a compelling and objective way. Ms. Graff is a lesbian so the bent of the book it is not surprising.

Asked if she'd found the answer to the book's title, Ms. Menon said: "I'll tell you when I've finished."

We are waiting.

–– C. Penbroke Handy 

 

 

Last Updated on Monday, 17 August 2009 23:16
 

"Faces Touched By War" a welcome contribution to Tiny Town culture

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TINY TOWN, USA –– Jaded are the aesthetic gatekeepers here at tinytowntimes.com.  But now and again we are caught offguard. 

Case in point: Kyra Schugt's stories with accompanying images, "Faces Touched by War" now showing in Bröetchen, an uncommon cafe in the middle of The Comons.  

Schugt lays no claim to being an artist. Her intention is to tell a story. And that she does. Eight large, rough portraits, collaged with multiple images in each frame line the walls at the back of the cafe. The work, indeed, is not necessarily fetching as living room art -- but more importantly, it is arresting for its powerful intention.

Each image is accompanied by a story in loose verse. One is about a young military mother who is doing a tour in Iraq. Beside it a portrait of a daughter whose mother is serving in the so-called war against terrorism. Another image portrays a shell-shocked face with the words of the mother of the horror-stricken young man, who welcomes this phantom of a son back home.

Other images portray an injured child and an Iraqi mother who survived the bombardment of Samarra. Collateral damage accumulates.

Not all images describe the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. A man born in Germany recalls the beginning of World War II. A young woman, his daughter -- Kyra Schugt in fact -- is portrayed. The piece is a distillation of Schugt's 100-page graduate thesis. She just became an alum of Wells College this past spring with a degree in Art History. 

Schugt also works at the cafe and it was this reviewer's moment to put a foot in his mouth when she asked him what he thought of the show. Not knowing just yet that it was Schugt herself posing the question, the critic said it was not something he'd want in his house, but the work was authentic and approached a difficult subject from many angles and that in itself was refreshing. Schugt took the slight kindly and explained her intentions and that she knew little about making art or handling a camera.

Maybe so. But she clearly knows something about history and the power of storytelling and is genuine in her effort to connect WAR to the here and now, the ongoing tragedies in Afghanistan and Iraq having almost become an abstraction for too many Americans.

"I didn't just want to do something about art History," said Schugt. "I wanted to do something I really cared about, that had a message for our times." 

On the wall beside her artistic statement is a quote from the Indian spiritual teacher and philosopher Sri Chinmoy, who died in 2007: "The entire world may not change. The entire world cannot change. The entire world even will not change. But your tiny world can and will change at this very moment with the help of your confidence-heart. Yours will be the unparalleled victory."

Schugt's work has a message and in the moment you read and contemplate these images -- leaving the critic at home -- your tiny world will be altered. 

We like to goof around here at tinytowntimes.com. But we also know when it's time to take something seriously. Check out Ms. Schugt's work.

–– Franklin Crawford 

Last Updated on Saturday, 01 August 2009 00:16
 

Duo Performs With Still Life, Crowd Attentive

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wvbr EAST HILL EDUCORP, TINY TOWN, USA –– A clean, respectful audience listened attentively to the powerhouse duo Jeni & Billy during a broadcast of WVBR's Bound for Glory, Sunday evening, July 19.

Jeni was smartly attired in a light summer dress with a sunflower motif while Billy wore  a tastefully contrasting white, button-down Oxford and dark slacks.

The performance was a welcome departure from the Altamont-like mayhem at the Grassroots Festival in the Tiny Town Satellite of Trumansburg, N.Y. Rumors that area psyche wards and detoxes were running at max following the four day blowout could not be confirmed. As usual, a lot of money was made and most went right into the pockets of the organizers who have been living off the festival since it first began.

A portion of the Grassroots proceeds allegedly went to an area non-profit. Jeni & Billy played for free; no members of the Bound for Glory audience appeared to be drug addled.

–– C. Penbroke Handy

–– Photo by mhaithaca

Last Updated on Saturday, 11 April 2015 13:10
 

George Johann blows into Tiny Town with Angry Mom

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RETURN TO TINY TOWN: George Johann is back and he's brought his Angry Mom business with him. Mr. Johann deals in  vintage albums. He's also handy with a ball point pen and is the creator of Reynolds Rocket Comics, rendered completely with a ball point pen. We look forward to running some of Mr. Johann's work in the TTT.com's Funnies.  

 FETCHING: Window display for Angry Mom Records, in Autumn Leaves Bookstore, The Commons. 

TINY TOWN, USA –– George Johann is back. Where he was before is an outside issue. The point is, he's here and he brought along his Angry Mom Records and Rocket Comics and that's all anyone really needs to know unless we find him on the county Sheriff's online list of offenders.

Mr. Johann just signed a 5-year lease with Joe Wetmore, owner of Autumn Leaves Bookstore. Mr. Wetmore is not only a savvy businessman, he's an activist AND a landlord. No one can accuse Mr. Wetmore of not knowing The Game. At any rate, Mr. Johann is open for business below decks in Autumn Leaves. Some items that caught TTT.com's Arts & Entertainment reporter's hawklike eye: Lots of old records, including Never Mind the Bollocks by the Sex Pistols, a Marx Brothers album and an original Funky  Parliament LP. That about sells us on the place.

Then there's Reynolds Rocket Comics the "100% Ball Point Wonder" handily drawn by Mr. Johann. He mentioned some collusion with another artist on this work but we didn't catch that person's name. We look forward to running selected Rocket Comics works in our Funnies section. Check out Angry Mom Records and tell them tinytowntimes.com sent you!   

–– Franklin Crawford 

Last Updated on Saturday, 01 August 2009 00:36
 


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