The Snow Man by Wallace Stevens; a multimedia interpretation of a sentence, by LaLa

original paintings Acrylic on 8X10 printer paper w ransom note style courier new font; Video filming, production, directing, reading, editing by LaLa. Sentence by Wallace Stevens.

 

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Fire Poi: last thing I did in 2010, first thing I did in 2011

This is a special video for me. It goes between NYE 2010 at Nathan J’s to an after midnight private party January 1, 2011.

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DJ NaDi and La La at Nathan J’s MI AMOUR NYE party 2010

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Nadi and La La

Nadi and La LaNadi and La La

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Prospectus Précis: Self-Fashioning and the Struggle for Cultural Identity: Orientalism and Occidentalism in the Post-Colonial Writings of Tariq Ali

Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree

Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree

Précis

The fact that Tariq Ali’s fiction is rife with orientalism (an academic term used to describe ethnocentric interpretations of eastern countries by outsiders of the culture) is interesting in regards to his having been raised in a Muslim culture in Pakistan. However, at seventeen, Ali was sent to England and was educated at Oxford, thus indoctrinating him in western culture.
Self-fashioning is the term that Stephen Greenblatt first used in the eighties to talk about the Renaissance aristocracy’s penchant for creation of the public image according to the socially accepted standards of the 1400s and 1500s. Since then though, many readers and writers have discovered that the concept of self-fashioning for an elevated social status can easily be applied to all types of characters in all types of literature, and that it is also a key motivator to real life individuals as well.
Self-fashioning and the healing of political and religious dystopias go hand in hand for Ali and is surely constrained, depending on which audience he is attempting to self-fashion for: the aristocratic West or the aristocratic East. His need to satisfy both power-structures manifests not just as a call for a return to the pluralism during the golden age of Islam as it was prior to the Reconquest of Spain, but also shows up in the way he distances himself from his Muslim roots by orientalizing his characters in his historical fiction quartet that begins with the  first book entitled,  “Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree.”
Furthermore, he orientalizes in his historical fiction and occidentalizes (taking a huge (I realize) liberty with the reverse definition of orientalism here) in much of his political, non-fiction work. Ultimately, his struggle for cultural identity seems rooted in his desire for an Islamic reformation, one that moves away from what he considers to be the anachronistic state of organized religion and to tend towards self-fashioning as a form of resistance against hegemony. He is also an admitted atheist.
The struggle for cultural identity and the need to self-fashion in a way that manifests as reversals is fascinating, not just in terms of what it means for the psychological aspects of the writer Ali, but also in terms of how his work will be interpreted by scholars.
Ali also tends towards extremism in activism in terms of an implied scorn towards localism made clear through his chosen career as an activist journalist. Could the globe-trotting, journalist lifestyle be based more on headline chasing then wanting to make a difference in the world? It seems by lifestyle choice alone, Ali considers the idea of provincialism or localism as quaint, rather than the conscious effort that it is on the part of the local peoples to support causes by other local peoples which historically has brought about the most stable and long lasting forms of change. Ali considers himself to be an activist journalist, but his headline chasing seems more in line with Greenblatt’s definition of self-fashioning than the selflessness that community activism requires.
So Ali is at one moment in history with Malcolm X and another with Che Guevara and all the while considering himself as someone who despises imperialism, colonialism, Zionism, racism, localism and leftism, and who is supportive of socialism, is at any rate a vocal anti-capitalist, who has written passionately on the success of pluralism, but, who, in his current writing, conjectures the time for an Islamic reformation has passed, even though it seems obvious to at least this writer that the healing of the Islamic world would help to repair the rift between the East and the West and maybe even the rift in Ali as well.
Ali’s fiction tends to do the opposite of his journalism by othering his ethnic heritage through maintaining oriental stereotypes perpetuated in the occidental culture of his Oxford education. Furthermore, his persona of a globe trotting activist scorns provincialism as a means to avoid accepting either the East or the West as his heritage.

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Winter Rain Song Sung in the Tub

We all go there in the winter
It’s not something we aim to do
(there isn’t anyone to blame)
But the weather makes everything brand new
Maybe it is the way you hold me in the blizzard
When it’s cold
And I like it when you offer me your coat

But the early darkness coming this time of year
It reminds us of something we never see but hear
It’s the wind howling our names
And everything it claims
It tells us that we’re not the same
Tells us what’s going to change

But this evening when you let me come close to you
On the dance floor
There was no one there we knew

Usually it’s you who kisses
This time it was me

There isn’t anyone to blame
As anyone can see

 

music sampled from IMosaic Mix, Kevin, private collection, Ambient track, “Slow it down to bring it in.”

unscripted, one camera, one take

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Hagalz

Gypsy Rd,photographic illustration and poem by La La

Gypsy Rd, photographic illustration and poem by La La

rainbow colored warnings
on a crescent moon rising
Distances spread wide gaping yawning
branches bare wet black …
On this mad, fruitless plain,
We Say “we would hold his hand,
count the days
of hopes and dreams”
Sunlight moments across a cheek
Our boys when they were a shiny eyed peach
…Before the pitch of frostbitten plum heaven,
we could catch our breath,
our hearts from beating too fast !
Maybe this is days to come;
sensing the work of the detritus
what short work they make of us …
be still for now ?
No ! — yearning,
let the absence in, let hollow winds to seek out
what is lost be found again
We have no end µ
So November I forgive you.

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fighting

When I feel this way like a winding down doll
with wind in the place in between
with the flowers all twisted and brown now
with the meaning obscured so it seems
when everyone hearts are beating too loud
with the sound of their fear and their pain
with the breaking of promises from Heaven
with the clouds forming to rain
When I can’t help
with the anger in your eyes
with your jealousy, regret
with the disappointment of your life
When I feel this way, like a got shot wound
with the wind going straight through the space
with the eventuality we’ll all go mad
with the innocence wiped off our face
When I feel this way, like a stone cast first
with the knowing, you feel worse.

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