Jewish Book: Saving Myself, a Los Angeles Childhood
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Jewish Childhood Blog

"This blog carries the voice of my memoir, past and present, into the future. Feel free to fill out the form with a question or comment. I look forward to a dialog with you."

  —L'chaim, to life, Jeanne

A Jewish Childhood – “Never Forget” The Deportation Memorial, Paris, France Part 2
Monday, 24 June 2013 19:25

How many times have I heard this story, told it, eaten and slept it. I placed myself in mourning.

How would I pack and ready myself for a trip from which there is no return. Only death hopefully, will be that for me. But to die and come back. To be held in bondage and then freed. What would that look like, taste, smell. Would I carve out a new life or like so many others, hollow, bereft with a name and a number on my arm. How many numbers do I memorize? How many passwords do I have? Would I look at my arm with that control? How do I tell it? Like a social security number tattooed, that stays with me or do I embellish it, surround it with a vine, breaking free, with words of praise or go to my death, venom in my mouth, like a mortician’s embalming fluid, that no matter how I try to defrag my being, I cannot.

I have heard stories such as this, that people tell when it is dark and we are in a sound proof room. Only then do they bring them back, all those others who died rather than go through what they had, slit their wrists to bleed out any chance of being used for dire experiments or worse yet consumed, the small of sweat that will never wash off or out.

A Jewish Childhood – “Never Forget” The Deportation Memorial, Paris, France
Saturday, 22 June 2013 08:25

Today after 5 years of coming to see this memorial again, it has been closed. No notations or explanations as to why it was chained up. But today, a beautiful, glorious day I decide to drop by Shakespeare and Company to find out if they have any of my memoirs left. The answer is that no, they are sold out, so I will check to see if they want more.

Then I go up the street, cross over and walk down the side of Notre Dame, across the street with the bridge that has thousands of locks with names on them, declaring true love, walk past that, the sax player who plays melancholy jazz and into the park with the memorial. It is open. The guard allows only a few people at a time as it is a small intimate place, once you go down the steep stairs. I was told when I first came here in 1984 that there are bone fragments in the walls and stairs taken from the camps.

I have been here twice before this being my third time and each visit, I am so moved to tears.

The concentration camps open in 1933, and 160,000 were arrested in France, French and foreigners, women, men and children and deported.

A Jewish Childhood- Paris 2013 Jour 5 Keith Haring Part 2
Thursday, 20 June 2013 19:36

In the section Religion, we find out that Haring was raised in a traditional Christian setting. He looks at history, and colonization/religion. Haring states, “a lot of the evil in the world is done in the name of good (religion, false prophets, bullshit artists, politicians and businessmen”.

The works are divided up into additional areas, Mass Media, Racism, Ecocide, nuclear threat, apocalypse, and the last works, Sex, AIDS and Death.

One of the rooms has paintings done with fluorescent paints and displayed in a dark room with black lights. His message: equality. Remember black lights, psychedelic posters done for rock shows, or am I the only one who remembers?

There is a wall size photograph with a Sign: you are now leaving the American sector, with Russian, French and German translation, U.S. Army.

A Jewish Childhood- Paris 2013 Jour 5 Keith Haring
Wednesday, 19 June 2013 19:43

Over the years I have seen images of Keith Haring’s work: on T-shirts, Stationery, political buttons, in articles both in Los Angeles and Paris, not sure about Santa Fe. So when I saw there was to be a retrospective of his work in Paris, I googled it, wrote it down, and with much anticipation, got on the 38 to the 72 bus to get there.

The day is overcast. I am still wearing my Polartec vest over a Tencel shirt and long pants. A hand woven scarf b y Jennifer Moore sets it off. Of course, comfortable Merrell walking shoes, what used to be called old lady shoes until they became popular with women at various ages.

I push the button to get off the bus and the driver passes the stop without hesitation and I end up walking back about 6 blocks. No problem as I pass a US and Russian School, and promptly think of Rachmaninoff, and the other Russian composers I have heard since childhood.

On to Musee D’art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and Keith Haring: A Political Line (April 19-August 18, 2013). Haring is one of the most celebrated artists of this time, and had a great influence not only on the gay movement and his political stance on acceptance and in a big way, the normalizing of AIDS as an international disease when it was yet new knowledge for most of the world. He put it out there and as they say “on the map”.

A Jewish Childhood – 2013 Jour 3 Centre Georges Pompidou and Simon Hantai, plus a Special Concert Part 2
Monday, 17 June 2013 21:27

Last year on June 21st, Fete de la Musique, we heard public school groups and orchestras. Click here: Fete de la musique jour 11 and Click here: Fete de la musique jour 11 part 2

This warms my heart especially since I started playing violin at 6 or 7.

Many boys are playing the cello with a few girls. The girls are more advanced and play in that group. Some boys, one who is the son of one of the parents I spoke with just continued to play one note and get the timing for the music down. This is a first step toward learning.

Next we hear a group of flutes. I sat next to the mother and grandmother of a six year- old girl who was performing. The first song is TWINKLE, TWINKLE LITTLE STAR, followed by a few not too complex English folk songs.

Next we hear the cellos. A great piece by Mozart for advanced students. Very advanced. They compete with birds singing in the tall trees. Then violins join cellos. Most of the violinists playing in the first group look about six.

Strings hum. Birds flying through chestnut trees, one small child clowns the music restless because it is not yet their time to play.

A Jewish Childhood – 2013 Jour 3 Centre Georges Pompidou and Simon Hantai, plus a Special Concert
Sunday, 16 June 2013 11:49

I had not heard of Hantai but being an adventurer and loving the Pompidou, I decided to go. Hantai was born in Hungary in 1922 and studied at the Fine Arts school in Budapest. He moved to Paris immediately after the World War I. His method was known as ‘pliage’ what he called ‘folding as a method’. He did this by folding the canvas before it was painted, concealing a view of the entire surface. He painted the parts accessible.

In some of his work, he used icons, such as crosses. Once you see how he works, it will all make more sense. Click here: Simon Hantai exhibitions at Paul Kasmin Gallery and Centre Pompidou : Architectural Digest

I enjoyed the ETUDES and BLANCS. I conjure up tunes played on a small wooden flute. I sit on a chair where I can peer from the paintings into a small showing room where people gather to watch images and a biography. I then sit on a slatted bench in a room covered mostly with Etudes and Two Blancs. The minor part of the film I can see above the heads of those watching in the room does in a way give a sense of Hantai and his art. I saw the top half of a Tabula (1973-82), which means board in Latin. I am glad I have come to this exhibit.

Of course, being close to the Pompidou, I must have an Amorino Gelato. I try intense chocolate and raspberry.

A Jewish Childhood Paris 2013 Day 2 – A Visit With Marc Chagall
Thursday, 13 June 2013 15:47

What a grand experience, La Musee du Luxembourg, and Marc Chagall. It was great seeing the exhibit, BETWEEN THE WARS. WW I and II. I have seen his paintings over the years at different museums. The first time was also in Paris I believe in 1984 or so.

Because Chagall is Jewish, I find his work infused with Jewish symbolism, such as the name for God written with four Hebrew letters once in a moon and once by the feet of an angel.

I was intrigued with his interpretation of the first world war, the soldiers and the devastation, in black and white, stark, real, how such images can tell a story no amount of words can.

A Jewish Childhood - How to get ready for a worldly experience. Preparation.
Tuesday, 11 June 2013 19:17

Gather warm socks, euros, a photo of my dog, the seashell my grandma gave me. These are talismans. They will go with me along with the notebook on the Queens of France in Luxembourg Gardens. I will pray for a few hours of sleep on the plane along with watching movies all night or is it afternoon or morning.

I get so turned around when I travel. So here is something to look forward to.

Everything is good on the home front. The dog is giving the guests what for. The tomatoes growing as I write.

Next on the agenda is what I found when I got to the apartment. Waiting for me was a note from Verizon of a $50.00 charge because I forgot to turn off data when I got to Dallas Fort Worth. And then when checking emails, there must have been at least 50 my computer picked up as don’t send, and a couple where kind souls sent me an email telling me to check my emails for hacking.

A Los Angeles Childhood - Breaking All The Rules - Margarete Bagshaw
Friday, 07 June 2013 20:34

Since we are going in the lineage of Pablita Velarde, I want to give those of you who haven't had the opportunity of reading the Blog about Margarete a chance to do so.

This was originally posted in October 2012 right before the re-election of Barack Obama.

I have had the privilege of watching Margarete paint in the gallery, Golden Dawn on Galisteo Street in Santa Fe. It is amazing to watch a canvas come to life.

I am so intrigued with the three of these amazing artists and how each one built on the shoulders of the one before.

I would love to hear from you. I am interested if you are writing, painting, cooking, making music in the lineage of someone who has come before you.

Thanks for your continued reading of my Jewish Childhood Blog.

Back in April 2011, I blogged about Pablita Velarde. I am watching a documentary made in 2005, one year before her death. Pablita used to tell her children and grandchild stories. It was not until she illustrated the stories that they began to understand what she was truly saying.

Pablita talks about trying to understand, first her daughter, Helen Hardin's paintings, and then even a step more abstract, her grand daughter Margarete.

Both Helen and Margarete grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and not in the Indian way. Margarete takes her grandmother to art museums because Pablita tells her, "I don't walk that great anymore."

Pablita talks about her children: "I had two kids to raise, put them in Catholic School, pay tuition, chauffeur, cook, baby sitter. What I made in painting was a godsend."

Her daughter and her granddaughter were rebellious, just as Pablita was growing up.

A Los Angeles Childhood - Pablita Velarde Museum of Indian Women in the Arts Part 2
Wednesday, 05 June 2013 10:49

Pablita studied with Dorothy Dunn at the Santa Fe Studio Art School at the Santa Fe Indian School. She received a commission in 1939 by the National Park Service under a Grant from the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Her paintings, which I had the honor to see in 2007 at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe, had scenes that depicted traditional Pueblo life for visitors to the Bandelier National Monument. It was 58 of these 84 works that were on display. The web site has wonderful examples of Pablita's work.

I read a 1979 interview in which Pablita said, "Painting was not considered women's work in my time. A woman was supposed to be just a woman, like a housewife and a mother and chief cook. Those were things I wasn't interested in."

Pablita Velarde died January 12, 2006 at the age of 87 in Albuquerque New Mexico. She had a daughter, Helen Hardin, who also was an artist and died young. Helen had a daughter, Margarete Bagshaw. During their lifetimes, Pablita and Helen won top honors over 25 times at the Santa Fe Indian Market, top honors 23 times at the Gallup Ceremonial, Heard Museum, Scottsdale National, the Philbrook Show, Eight Northern Pueblos, taking top honors over 40 times.

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