Archive | October, 2014

Dr. Wilda Reviews Gabby Giffords’ press conference: Billionaires, guns & common sense

22 Oct

Moi attended a press conference today which was headlined by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. The press conference featured:

Tina Podlodowski, co-founder of the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility and former Seattle city councilmember.
Brian O’Neill, former police officer with decades of law enforcement experience with several departments, most recently in Auburn on the gang task force. Brian has also served as a volunteer for the YWCA Women’s Shelter since 2009, recently moving from the Public Policy Committee to a position on the Board of Directors.
Rory Graves, a survivor of gun violence and an advocate for domestic violence victims.
Trese Todd, co-founder of Thrivers Action Group who has spent the last decade working with domestic violence survivors.
Rep. Laurie Jinkins (D) 27th LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT, a sponsor of House Bill 1840: Concerning firearms laws for persons subject to no-contact orders, protection orders, and restraining orders

The press conference was held at the Washington Athletic Club (WAC) a private club. Moi mentions this because of her observation of the event. It was not very colorful. Essex Porter who reports for a local station and who is Black, was there. Moi was there and the other bit of color was Zoe Ann Moore, a Black woman whose daughter was killed by gun violence.

Rep. Giffords was making the last stop of a nine stop tour. Gun violence robbed the US of her gift to be in Congress. Although, she has recovered from the gun attack which caused her to leave Congress, she walks haltingly and speaks as a result of great determination and grit. Still, she lights up a room.

The event was billed as woman’s event because of the danger unregulated gun access poses to domestic violence victims. Moi had an interesting conversation with a veteran political journalist about the lack of diversity evident in this progresso crowd. Moi’s question was Black folk are evident at marches and the occasional Black minister gets play, but when it comes to strategy formation, leadership, and gatherings at the WAC, well…   His comment was interesting, Blacks have veto power. Still, there were no folks of color in the room with their hands on the levers of power.

The speakers took great pains paint the initiative as common sense, a public health issue and not an attack on the Second Amendment. Rep. Jinkins compared gun safety to motor vehicle safety. Both are incremental issues. She mentioned auto accident deaths decreased as a result of DUI controls, seat belt laws, texting laws, and auto safety design.

This is what the I 594 campaign says about the initiative:

The initiative makes sure anyone buying a gun in Washington State passes the same background check, no matter where they buy the gun and no matter whom they buy it from.

You can download the entire initiative text here.                                                                                                                 
Download an independent non-partisan legislative analysis of Initiative 594 here.                                 

Of course, gun violence statistics were quoted as a reason for voting yes. See, Firearm Deaths in Washington

This was a pep rally for the converted. No information was presented which the any random audience member would not have been able to recite. Maybe it was simply a You Go Girl for Rep. Giffords to acknowledge everything she has overcome and the fact she keeps on keeping on. The WAC crowd was there and the little bits of color were in the audience, observing.

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Dr. Wilda Reviews Seattle Art Museum’s Pop Departures

12 Oct

Moi usually goes to the press preview of upcoming exhibits at Seattle Art Museum (SAM), but she was unable to attend the press preview for Pop Departures. SAM generously provided moi with tickets to view the exhibit at another time. This was good because moi not only reviewed the exhibit, but got to go on the FREE exhibit tour with other patrons conducted by a SAM staffer. The tour was informative, funny at times because of the I PAD info and double entendres. The tour group was about twenty five to thirty and people seemed to enjoy the tour. Here is information about the exhibit:

Pop Departures

Oct 9 2014 – Jan 11 2015

Seattle Art Museum

Simonyi Special Exhibition Galleries

First, many folk do not think that pop art is art. The Art Story has a very good synopsis of pop art:


Pop art is now most associated with the work of New York artists of the early 1960s such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist, and Claes Oldenburg, but artists who drew on popular imagery were part of an international phenomenon in various cities from the mid-1950s onwards. Following the popularity of the Abstract Expressionists, Pop’s reintroduction of identifiable imagery (drawn from mass media and popular culture) was a major shift for the direction of modernism. The subject matter became far from traditional “high art” themes of morality, mythology, and classic history; rather, Pop artists celebrated commonplace objects and people of everyday life, in this way seeking to elevate popular culture to the level of fine art. Perhaps owing to the incorporation of commercial images, Pop art has become one of the most recognizable styles of modern art.

Key Points

By creating paintings or sculptures of mass culture objects and media stars, the Pop art movement aimed to blur the boundaries between “high” art and “low” culture. The concept that there is no hierarchy of culture and that art may borrow from any source has been one of the most influential characteristics of Pop art.

It could be argued that the Abstract Expressionists searched for trauma in the soul, while Pop artists searched for traces of the same trauma in the mediated world of advertising, cartoons, and popular imagery at large. But it is perhaps more precise to say that Pop artists were the first to recognize that there is no unmediated access to anything, be it the soul, the natural world, or the built environment. Pop artists believed everything is inter-connected, and therefore sought to make those connections literal in their artwork.

Although Pop art encompasses a wide variety of work with very different attitudes and postures, much of it is somewhat emotionally removed. In contrast to the “hot” expression of the gestural abstraction that preceded it, Pop art is generally “coolly” ambivalent. Whether this suggests an acceptance of the popular world or a shocked withdrawal, has been the subject of much debate.

Pop artists seemingly embraced the post-WWII manufacturing and media boom. Some critics have cited the Pop art choice of imagery as an enthusiastic endorsement of the capitalist market and the goods it circulated, while others have noted an element of cultural critique in the Pop artists’ elevation of the everyday to high art: tying the commodity status of the goods represented to the status of the art object itself, emphasizing art’s place as, at base, a commodity.

The majority of Pop artists began their careers in commercial art: Andy Warhol was an highly successful magazine illustrator and graphic designer; Ed Ruscha was also a graphic designer, and James Rosenquist started his career as a billboard painter. Their background in the commercial art world trained them in the visual vocabulary of mass culture as well as the techniques to seamlessly merge the realms of high art and popular culture….                                                                                                                                           


How Pop Art plundered consumerist culture

Lead with Interactive®

Pop-Art Movement

Second, one thing struck moi is the role of women and the use of women in the pop art movement. E-flux really summarizes the gender dominance:

The exhibition focuses on three decisive artistic as well as social and economic moments. It opens with key works from the 1960s by artists who first defined our understanding of pop—including Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, James Rosenquist, Robert Indiana, Ed Ruscha, and Tom Wesselmann. Their interventions in the very fabric of commercial imagery and consumer goods came in reaction to the buoyant consumer optimism of the post-war period. They prompted an engagement with that media world, its materials and techniques, and they negotiated the status of the artwork within art history and a larger market economy.

The exhibition then considers the criticality towards photography in the 1980s and 1990s, a time when growing deregulation led to changes in the media industry and a merging of advertisement and entertainment. Artists such as Robert Heinecken, Barbara Kruger, Lynn Hershman Leeson, and Richard Prince appropriated commercial images to craft messages that exposed the quiet seduction of the photographic image in establishing norms and shaping identities.

With the shift into a digital era, consumer culture has again undergone profound changes with large volumes of purchases conducted online. The critical approaches by contemporary artists such as Josephine Meckseper, Elad Lassry, and Rachel Harrison focus on the aesthetics of product display. Much of their work is predicated on making the easy consumption of objects strange, and forcing us to look slowly, carefully at a time when our consumption of images seems increasingly accelerated. In this brave new world, the status of the artwork appears more precarious than ever….

The exhibit shows the art of women in the 80s and 2000s. The 60s were about the men with a little help from wives and girlfriends. Women were objects just like a can of Coke.


Where Are the Great Women Pop Artists?

Pop Art: 8 artists every designer should know

Regarding the technique of producing the art – well, it depended upon the artist. Some, like Lichtenstein were precise in his Ben-Day process, others like Warhol who used for example, the blotted-line technique, which was not as precise. Pop art is accessible to many because it harkens to the familiar which is found every day in advertising. Whether pop art is art that an individual likes or a gigantic inside joke really does depend upon the eye of the beholder.

Other reviews:

The Power of Pop Art at Seattle Art Museum’s Pop Departures

Pop Departures

Dr. Wilda gives Pop Departures a thumbs up.

Dr. Wilda also recommends: City Dwellers: Contemporary Art from India

Aug 30 2014 – Feb 16 2015

Seattle Art Museum

Third Floor Galleries

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Dr. Wilda Reviews: HBO Documentary: ‘Private Violence’

10 Oct

Moi was invited to a preview screening of HBO’s Private Violence which will premier on HBO at 9:00 p.m. on October 20. Here is information about the film from the HBO site:

Private Violence is a feature-length documentary film and audience engagement campaign that explores a simple, but deeply disturbing fact of American life: the most dangerous place for a woman in America is her own home. Every day in the US, at least four women are murdered by abusive (and often, ex) partners. The knee-jerk response is to ask: “why doesn’t she just leave?” Private Violence shatters the brutality of this logic. Through the eyes of two survivors – Deanna Walters, a mother who seeks justice for the crimes committed against her at the hands of her estranged husband, and Kit Gruelle, an advocate who seeks justice for all women – we bear witness to the complicated and complex realities of intimate partner violence. Their experiences challenge entrenched and misleading assumptions, providing a lens into a world that is largely invisible; a world we have locked behind closed doors with our silence, our laws, and our lack of understanding. Kit’s work immerses us in the lives of several other women as they attempt to leave their abusers, setting them on a collision course with institutions that continuously and systematically fail them, often blaming victims for the violence they hope to flee. The same society that encourages women to seek true love shows them no mercy when that love turns dangerous. As Deanna transforms from victim to survivor, Private Violence begins to shape powerful, new questions that hold the potential to change our society: “Why does he abuse?” “Why do we turn away?” “How do we begin to build a future without domestic violence?”                                                         

Watch the Trailer for Private Violence, HBO’s Documentary on Domestic Abuse           

One knows that they are in for an intense experience when the filmmaker issues a disclaimer and lets the audience know that some of the scenes and content of the film might be disturbing. If you need to go outside, please feel free to do so. This is a very personal film about the many facets of domestic violence.

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Tolstoy may not have been specifically talking about domestic violence, but each situation is unique. There is a specific story and specific journey for each victim, each couple, and each abuser. There is no predicted endpoint for domestic violence; each situation will have its own outcome according to the film. The film suggests certain behavior for those concerned about a domestic violence victim:


1. Are you afraid of your partner when he is angry?
2. You are not alone; there is help for you, your children, and him.
3. May I help you find some local resources?
4. You deserve to feel safe in your home at all times, especially when you and your partner disagree.
5. I’m not here to judge you; I’m here to listen.

1. Why don’t you just leave?
2. I’d never put up with that.
3. What did you do to make him angry?
4. He/she seems nice to me.
5. It’s just stress.

This is a very timely discussion with headlines which regularly detail incidents of domestic violence involving sports figures and other prominent people. Domestic Violence is a societal problem. According to Safe Horizon:

The Victims

  • 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime.

  • Women experience more than 4 million physical assaults and rapes because of their partners, and men are victims of nearly 3 million physical assaults.

  • Women are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than men

  • Women ages 20 to 24 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence.

  • Every year, 1 in 3 women who is a victim of homicide is murdered by her current or former partner…..                                                                                                                             –facts-52.html

Abusers come in all races, classes, genders, religions and creeds. Moi won’t spoil it for you, but ignorance comes in all classes and incomes as well. A statement from a female judge and comments on Kit’s paper from a professor show how much education must be done on the issue of domestic violence.

Although, the primary focus of the documentary was on Deanna and Kit, there were glimpses of the various shades of domestic violence from stories about other victims. This is intense and tough stuff, but well worth digging into the issue and your own particular set of emotions. The goal is to not only raise awareness, but to give courage, support, and understanding to the victims and hidden victims of domestic violence.

Dr. Wilda gives Private Violence a thumbs up.

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Dr. Wilda Reviews: A Day With Dutchess: Life Lessons From A Blind Therapy Dog

2 Oct

Moi recveived a complimentary copy of A Day With Dutchess: Life Lessons From A Blind Therapy Dog. Marianne Richmond writes in What Makes a Good Children’s Book?

1. Strong characters who evoke strong emotion
Good children’s books, no matter how simple or complex, offer a sense of joy. They can make us laugh or cry by giving us a character we want to care about….
2. A Story that Teaches
Good stories can teach simple concepts about numbers, letters or colors — OR they can teach about diversity, love, manners, and acceptance.
3. Mind-expanding illustrations, vocabulary or concepts

Here is information about the book:

A Day with Dutchess: Life Lessons from a Blind Therapy Dog
Condon, Mark
Media Type: Book
Format: Paperback
Pages: 46
Publish Date: 2013
ISBN: 0615764290
ISBN-13 / EAN: 9780615764290
Language: English
Dimensions: 21.08 x 0.51 x 21.08 cm
Weight: 140g
Condition: Brand New
Postage: Free!
SKU: MM-00345437

First, the book is a story of compassion and it teaches children about compassion. Dutchess begins life as a frisky puppy who had a hereditary disease and later went blind. But, the blindness did not prevent Dutchess from her mission of helping others. She works with autistic children and is able to reach them in a way that many can’t. Dutchess not only connects with people, but she has compassion for her fellow creatures. Penny the cat finds a forever home because of Dutchess. This is more than a sweet story about an appealing pooch that is well written and illustrated; it is about life lessons and values.

Thomas Plante, Ph.D. wrote in the Psychology Today article, Can You Teach Compassion?

Yet research also suggests that compassion can be taught throughout the lifespan too….
Additional research in my lab and elsewhere also highlights the power of observational learning and modeling of compassion. We watch and learn from important others and do what they do. Often these models are close to home such as friends and family, co-workers, and so forth. Yet, we also value and observe the more famous models too…
Books like Dutchess model life lessons of compassion and overcoming life challenges. That is why this is a useful book for teaching values and gives parents the chance for a teachable moment.


Raise a Compassionate Child                                                                                                                                          

How to Instill Compassion in Children                                                                                                             

The Dutchess book site: See, When a Therapy Dog Becomes Blind: Meet Dutchess, the Subject of a New Children’s Book

Dr. Wilda gives A Day With Dutchess: Life Lessons From A Blind Therapy Dog a thumbs up.

Other Reviews:

New kids book shares tale of blind therapy dog                                                                                                

A Day with Dutchess: Life Lessons from a Blind Therapy                                                                       

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Dr. Wilda Reviews: Polarity Bear Tours the Zoo: A Central Park Adventure

2 Oct

Moi recveived a complimentary copy of Polarity Bear Tours the Zoo: A Central Park Adventure. Marianne Richmond writes in What Makes a Good Children’s Book?

1. Strong characters who evoke strong emotion

Good children’s books, no matter how simple or complex, offer a sense of joy.  They can make us laugh or cry by giving us a character we want to care about….

2. A Story that Teaches

Good stories can teach simple concepts about numbers, letters or colors — OR they can teach about diversity, love, manners, and acceptance.

3. Mind-expanding illustrations, vocabulary or concepts                                 

First, the book has a story that is a sweet story for kids, but asks the very adult question about the effect of living in a zoo has on animals. For a good discussion, see Should wild animals be kept in captivity? and Arguments For and Against Zoos

Most children will not be drawn into the discussion of zoos, but will likely focus on Polarity’s fun and playful time away from captivity. Still, the message of the book is there.

It is well written and will appeal to younger children. It also gives the parents or guardians reading to the child something to think about.

Dr. Wilda recommends Polarity Bear Tours the Zoo: A Central Park Adventure for children from three to eight, but Polarity could provoke discussion among all ages.

Here is information about the book from the book’s site:

About the Author

Sue de Cuevas has been telling children’s stories all her life, but this is the first one she wrote down. As Sue Lonoff, she spent thirty years as a teacher and administrator at Harvard University, retiring in 2011. She also writes scholarly books and articles and is a specialist on the Brontë sisters.

About the Illustrator

Wendy Rasmussen developed a passion for drawing people and animals as a child growing up in rural New Jersey. After graduating from Drew University with a B.A. in biology and art, she worked as an art director in the advertising industry for 14 years. In 1989 she became a full-time freelance illustrator and established Mill Race Studio. She has illustrated over 25 books, most of which involve animals.

Download Free Sample

Format:  Hardcover,

36 pages

Publisher: Partners Pub Group

Publish Date: Dec 2011

ISBN-13: 9780692015520

ISBN-10: 0692015523

See, The Birth of a Bear and a Book

Dr. Wilda gives Polarity a thumbs up.

Other Reviews:

Polarity Bear Tours the Zoo: A Central Park Adventure

Bullock’s Buzz:

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