Puppy Invasion…….Part 1


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On Friday morning I spoke with John, the gentleman who would be transporting the girls from Texas to California.  It turns out he had a drop off in Lancaster, which is actually closer to me than Bakersfield.

I got to bed early for me but like a child waiting for Christmas morning I could not sleep.

My alarm was set for 7:00 am as I was supposed to be on the road by 8:00 AM.

I talked to John, he had a slight delay in New Mexico so I went back to bed for a couple more hours of sleep.  I am really good at falling asleep when I am supposed to be getting up.

I drive up to the San Fernando Valley to pick up my mother as she is going to drive out with me.  I am also borrowing one of her metal crates to transport the girls.

We head on out to meet John and the girls at a Wal-Mart in Lancaster.  I am wearing pink and he is driving a green pick up towing  a converted horse trailer.

John started transporting doggies from Eugene, Oregon across the states to Florida and back again about a year ago when he got his own rescue pup.  This is when he discovered the network of people who all work together to save dogs and get them into their forever homes.  They say it takes a village to raise a child but it takes a nation of people working together to save the lives of so many doggies.

John was traveling with his brother Joe as his helper in doggie transport.  I even got to the meet the doggie he rescued as the doggie travels with him.

My two little girls came out of the trailer and I just sat there on the ground of the parking lot getting attacked by puppy love.

John said he was happy to see this because they were skittish around him and his brother–he thinks that they may have been abused by a male.

Well it turns out that my mom’s kennel was too small for the girls.  Luckily there was a Petsmart down the road.  We put the two puppies into a shopping cart and took them into Petsmart to find a more appropriate size travel crate….

We found one that would fit the both of them together on sale for $60.00.  It was very easy to put them in the crates.  Poor babies had been traveling for 3 days stuck in a crate.

We made a pit stop back at my moms.  We put them in my mom’s backyard and they just started flying all over that back yard.

The first order of the night after we fed them was to give them a bath.  They were quite the stinky puppies.  I got a change of clothes from my mom and got into the tub with the girls. Between my mom and I we managed to get them bathed.  Now the puppies did not get my soaking wet–my mum did.  Yes, she has one of those shower heads  that are on a bendy type of pipe so you can wash your head and manuever the shower head well she turned the other way and was not looking at me but had the darn shower head pointed in my direction.  She got me soaked.

The above picture is of the girls at grandma’s house after their bath.  Oh and don’t be deceived by those innocent looks…..the rest of the story to be continued…….

The Art of Magic


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The Art of Magic

     My induction into the world of magic occurred 30 years ago via, a boyfriend who at the time was a rising star of the junior members of the Hollywood Magic Castle. We were dating and I would see him perform at the Castle and hang out at Hollywood Magic store with the likes of Max Mavin, Christ Hart, Lorenzo Clark, George Tovar and many others that came through the doors of Hollywood Magic.  He would talk a lot about “real magic” and being a “real wizard”. Having come from a Catholic background I had no idea what he was talking about at the time but he gave me the book, Illusions, by Richard Bach which opened a portal into another world for me.  The relationship didn’t last but my love for magic and performance ensued.  I would eventually create, “Pinky the Clown” performing magic for little tykes.

The million dollar question in the world of professional performance magic appears to be, is magic an art, craft or neither?  There are two components that must be examined independently of each other in this question.  The first component is magic and the second component is art.  In order to be able to say that magic is art or that magic is not art one needs to define what is magic and what is art. In this article I will look at the idea of magic and art in society and culture and in their inception.  And then we can examine where is the intersection of magic and art if at all.

While pursuing my M.A. in Religious studies I took a course called, “Gender, Magic, Witchcraft and Religion.”  For the first class my professor asked me to perform my kids party act to open up the discourse on what is real magic?  In religious studies magic and religion go hand in hand.   Emile Durkheim, in The Elementary forms of Religious Life states, “that magic is full of religion just as religion is full of magic.” [1]  He also states that, “the magician is for magic what the priest is for religion.”[2]  Durkheim is referring to magic as ritual practice but the birth of the performance arts had their inception in the early religious rituals of the shamans.  Joseph Campbell states, “The myth makers of earlier days were the counterparts of our artists.”[3]  Mr. Campbell is referring to shamans.  Bill Moyers posits the following question to Campbell, “In these early elementary cultures, as you call them, who would have been the equivalent of the poets of today?”  and Campbell responds, “The shamans.”[4]

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The shamans were the first storytellers and the first performers acting out myths to inform the tribes. These first performances were the religious/spiritual rituals in which the shamans led the community.   Theater grew out of  myths, ceremony and ritual which took place in daily life and theatre evolved from the performance of ritual in which the community was not a participant but a spectator. “According to the historians Oscar Brockett and Franklin Hildy, rituals typically include elements that entertain or give pleasure, such as costumes and masks as well as skilled performers.

As societies grew more complex, these spectacular elements began to be acted out under non-ritualistic conditions. As this occurred, the first steps towards theatre as an autonomous activity were being taken.”[5]  The shaman/priest was the magician.  Magician Christian Engblown states, “That when you have the ancient shamanic drawing in a cave depicting the end of the world, that’s magic.”[6]   Now some of you may be saying but magicians are not shamans.  Shamans by definition travel between altered states of consciousness to do acts to the benefit the community or society. (We will come back later to this idea of altered states of consciousness as it pertains to the ideas of art and transcendence.)

Mircea Eliade states, “For of course, the shaman is also a magician and medicine man; he is believed to cure, like all doctors, and to perform miracles of the fakir type, like all magicians, whether primitive or modern.”[7] In ancient Egypt and biblical days  the priests were magicians.  Go back to Moses battling it out with the magicians of pharaoh in his attempts to free the Hebrew slaves. In Exodus 8:7 it states, “But the magicians did the same by their secret arts and made frogs come up on the land of Egypt.”  In Acts 8:9-13 we find the following, “But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great. They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, ‘This man is the power of God that is called Great.’ And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic.” Johnny Thompson, has stated that, “At one time we held a lot of power until they caught a guy switching bricks at the last second, a gold one for a real one, you know.  But till then we were held in pretty high esteem now we have had to turn it into an art form instead of  a religious form.”[8]

post44 roberthoudin                                                                 roberthoudin

In the 1850’s Robert-Houdin, the father of modern magic combined magic, religion and politics to stop a simmering war.  The country of Algeria was rebelling led by the Marabouts, a religious sect with supposedly magical powers. They wanted the country to break its ties to France.  By request of the French bureau in Algiers, Robert-Houdin, was asked to prove that French magic was stronger than that of the Marabouts.  “Performing for the local chieftains, Robert-Houdin caused a warrior to seemingly lose his strength. By suggesting that the warrior could no longer lift a lightweight box, the warrior couldn’t. And at the end, the warrior shrieked and ran from the stage. He was secretly shocked with a jolt of electricity.”[9] The rebellion was effectively quelled by Robert-Houdin who was acting in the role of shaman/magician. Magic is the seeming representation of supernatural powers by a shaman/magician.  These representations were elements of religious/spiritual rituals performed for the community.  Religious ritual paved the way for the development of theatre.  The shaman or the magician can be said to have been the first performer, who engaged in a form of storytelling which sometimes made use of magic.

            But how do we define what is art? Art is form and content, which means that all art consists of these two things. Form is defined as the elements of art, the principles of design and the physical materials that the artist uses. Content is idea based and has to do with what the artist meant to portray, what he did portray and the spectators reaction to the work. Art can be painting, sculpture, poetry, music, dance, theatre but not all of painting, sculpture, poetry, music, dance, or  theatre is necessarily art.

These are definitely the components or elements of a work of art and in that sense magic does utilize many of these elements. Magic encompasses all of the performance arts. Dani, DaOrtiz, states magic, “plays with concepts of the arts, plays with colors, music, dance. A lot of art in one art of magic.” [10] A magic show can be visual, use props, music, dance and choreography so in a sense one can say that magic is art but we have also stated that not all so called art is “art.”  What then elevates a piece or a work to that which we call “art”? Tolstoy states that ,  “Art is one of the means of intercourse between man and man. Every work of art causes the receiver to enter into a certain kind of relationship both with him who produces or is producing, the art , and with those who, simultaneously, previously or subsequently, receive the same artistic impressions.”[11] “It is on this capacity of man to receive another man’s expression of feeling, and experience those feelings himself, that the activity of art is based.”[12]

The artist is the person who has the ability to rip out his heart and soul and to place it on a silver platter and with arms outstretched to his audience say, here take this and consume it, devour it.  Think of the art work of Frida Kahlo, who took her pain and transformed it into art. Yes, the ability to transform pain both physical and emotional is the transmutative power of the artist. We take the pain of being in relationship with life and turn it into art–whether in song-poetry-music-writing or magic. We are sharing our pain or our point of view with other’s so that they can go yes–yes that ‘s it what you created is what I am feeling –what I too have gone through but I did not know how to say it……..that is the power of the artist—It is not celebrity or fame —it is the power to connect with another human being on a soul level such that not only are you transformed by the creation of the art–the releasing of the pain into something beautiful but also the observer is too transformed and taken to another level of spirit. That is what I feel artist’s are about—well at least that is what I intend in my art with the end result of looking for the higher spiritual truth that is contained in that pain. Art can then be defined by having the quality of transcendence from the mundane to a higher spiritual realm.

The question then remains is magic an art?  Does magic have within it the element of transcendence?  Brad Henderson states that ,”magic is inherently pornography because it’s so easy to get a WOW or an AHH.  That the lowest form of magic and all magicians care about is reactions. It’s about how you make people feel. And if it’s just the wow, then you are a pornographer, a magic pornographer.”[13] Jay Scott Berry has said that, “Magic is, by its very nature, is a mind expanding art form. Even the simplest illusion demonstrates that the boundaries of perception are not necessarily the boundaries of reality.” Starhawk defines magic as, “the art of changing consciousness at will”.[14] But how would this idea of transcendence translate into magic.  Lupe Neilson states, ” Eventually, the goal of any great performer … is to transcend the mundane and create a sensation of true Wonder.” [15]

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     Such is the art of René Lavand.  If anyone can claim the title of master artist in magic it would be René Lavand. He does with one hand what I could not even conceive of with two.  I had the pleasure of seeing him perform at the Hollywood Magic Castle. I am fortunate that I speak Spanish and was be able to understand him in his native language as his words were sheer poetry and the translator missed the beauty of his words. I was in awe and wonder. I left that show feeling as if the magic was real.

And therein lies the key to art.  Art is the experience that the participant walks away with.  It is that moment in time however brief where one feels connected to the mysterious, to the divine via one soul to the other. Magic is the most ancient and mysterious of arts. It was via the shaman/magician that the tribes connected to the mysterious.  This tradition continues with modern-day artists. Yes, Magic can be an art in the hands of an artist.

The best thing that we can do as artist is to rip off our masks and to expose the soul that lies underneath and there we find the words, the songs, the music, the art, the poetry  and the magic.  And in that communion and sharing we uplift the planet and others. Our experiences are merely the point of reference for our art. It is in that creative space that we find resonance and transcendence  with life.

Ivonne Perez Montijo, M.A.

References:

http://arthistory.about.com/cs/reference/f/what_is_art.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Eug%C3%A8ne_Robert-Houdin

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/houdini/peopleevents/pande03.html


[1] Durkheim, Emile, The Elementary Forms of Religious Life, p. 58

[2] Ibid, p. 60

[3] Campbell, Joseph, The Power of Myth, p.85

[4] Campbell, Joseph, The Power of Myth, p.85

[5] Brockett and Hildy (1968; 10th ed. 2010), History of the Theater.

[6] Wilson, Paul, Is Magic an Art? video 2012, ConCam Films, http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=GNGDoroJtYw

[7] Eliade, Mircea, Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy

[8] Wilson, Paul, Is Magic an Art? video 2012, ConCam Films, http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=GNGDoroJtYw

[10] Ibid.

[12] Ibid, p. 48

[13] Wilson, Paul, Is Magic an Art? video 2012, ConCam Films, http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=GNGDoroJtYw

[14] Starhawk, The Spiral Dance p. 7

Puppy Update………Part 2


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Puppy Check list:

  • Metal Kennel √
  • Doggie Bed √
  • 2 Doggie Outfits √
  • 2 Pink Blinggie Collars √
  • 2 Pink Leashes √
  • Puppy Toys √
  • Doggie dishes √
  • Puppy Pads √
  • Pink Poop Bags √
  • Muzzle for Missy √

2 Puppies,

Maddy & Marly arriving on Saturday March 23,2012 in Bakersfield, California!!!

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Verstile Blogger Award.


Versatile Blogger Award

Versatile Blogger Award (Photo credit: It’s Great To Be Home)

On March 2 I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by Terry over at http://terry1954.wordpress.com/

 

The rules of  the Versatile Blogger Award are:

Add the Versatile Award photo on a blog post.  Thank the award-giver and link back to them in your post

Share 7 things about myself.

1- I am Vegan for 3 months now!!!!!

2- I love the Beach

3- I have quite the temper.

4- I am reading a great book on the brain.

5-I won $11.00 in the lottery last week.

6-I would love to own a pink smart car.

7-I am getting two rescue pups this coming friday.

Pass the award along to 15 favourite bloggers. Contact the chosen bloggers to let them know about the award.

This time around, per Missy’s suggestion I am nominating Miss Harper Lee in honor of her Birthday today!!!!!

 

Happy Birthday Miss Harper Lee at http://thek9harperlee.wordpress.com/

Very Inspiring Blogger Award!!!!


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On Feb 19 2013, Bird of http://everyonehasastory.me nominated me for the very inspiring blogger award for “Keeping the Blogisphere a Beautiful Place”.

That is so sweet and it is so lovely to think that I can be inspiring to someone.  The funny thing is that Bird inspires me.  She is one tough cookie and I hope to meet her in person one day.

 

The rules of the award are as follows:

Rules:

1. Link back to the blogger who nominated you.

2. Post the award image to your page.

3. Share 7 facts about yourself

4. Nominate 15 other blogs and inform them about it.

7 facts about myself are.

1- There is a side of my that is a goofy clown, aka Pinky the Clown

2-There is a side of me that is a fierce warrior.

3-I love to dress up to the nines.

4- I also love flannel and sweats.

5- I love hot weather and wearing barely nothing at all.

6- I love clothes that keep me warm, scarves, gloves, fuzzy socks and  sweaters.

7- I believe that one must always have a goal/dream to strive for in order to make life worth living.

There are so many wonderful bloggers out there that inspire but I am picking two and for the same reason.

There are two bloggers out there that inspire me–they inspire me to take a more gentile approach to life.  It is very easy for me to take out my sword and chop off a head or two but these two women through their blogs show me that in life there can also be a gentle, soft approach that can be just as effective.

Ok–I have not mastered the “gentle ivonne” yet working on it.

These two women are:

http://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/

http://thewhyaboutthis.com/

 

Posted in Blog Awards. Tags: . 5 Comments »

Happy St. Patricks Day 2013

Christmas Caribbean Cruise….Part 6


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This is the spot where I was face painting, right across from the statue, under the bridge.

The second day of cruise I was scheduled to face paint in the afternoon from 2:00-4:00 PM, so I was able to work out in the gym and up for a yoga class in the morning. That gave me enough time to grab lunch, shower and change or maybe it was shower, change grab lunch and then go to face paint, honestly I don’t remember exactly.

Now being a vegetarian traveling and eating is always a challenge. And while the carnivores had plenty of variety for their breakfast and lunch meals the herbivores did not have the same variety available.

And I am used to having my soy bacon or soy sausage in the morning. Be that is it may I did find food that I could eat. Now if you wanted soda or drinks or fresh juice that was an additional fee that even I had to pay. I am not a soda drinker so that is not a problem but it certainly meant I wasn’t going to be doing any drinking of liquors on this trip. And once I found out that the flavored waters were no more than soda without the carbonation I figured $4.00 for a fresh squeezed orange was not so bad after all. Yes, I did ask to see the cartoons so I could read the ingredients lists. I am one of those people. I like to know what goes in my body.

Lucky for me I wasn’t a vegan yet on this cruise as I am now. Breakfast and lunch were okay but to be truthful I much prefer the variety of food when I have gone to Jamaica all-inclusive resorts.

I fared far better at dinner where there was always a creative vegetarian option on the dinner menu. Of course I did not realize I could order more than one entrée until the last couple of days of the cruise. But when I did find out I was ordering like two desserts for dinner. The first time I got a chilled fruity soup it tasted just like a smoothie to me. Hmnnn, so from that point on I asked the waiter to bring me the soup in a wine glass and I would have myself a fancy dinner drink sans the alcohol. I did not take pictures of dinner. I guess next time I will have to do a better job of journaling, especially if I want to write about my travels. But when I am hungry I am thinking eating and not documenting.

As for my first day of face painting it went something like this. I went to the spot on the promenade deck where I was to be face painting and there was no table or chairs anywhere. Hmnn, this is not good, I thought but I was about a half hour early. They asked me to be 15 mins early for my shift but I like to be super early. Of course no one was around that knew anything of my tables and chairs. I somehow managed to locate someone who could get me a table and two chairs. I like to start on time and end on time. The young kid that came to assist me did not really seem to know much of what was going on. I think he was an assistant entertainment director 4th down the line. It’s like ten minutes to my start time and still no table.

I am quite perturbed as it takes me about 15 minutes to set out my face paint supplies and they are the ones that stressed that “I” had to be punctual. I think I may have said something to kid like, “I am a professional and this is unacceptable.”  They had me face painting where they would have tables set up with items for sale.  I guess the thinking was while I painted the kids faces mom and dad could go shopping.

Other than the missing table the second day of sailing was rather uneventful. Honestly I don’t even remember if I went to see a show that night. I think I went in search of a piano that I could practice on.

Below are some samples of the face painting I did on the ship. The kids were really cute and I would have my regular customers show up for each shift.  I brought extra sparkles, jewels for princess faces, and made sure I had lots of christmas themed designs.  I had about 15 lbs of face paint supplies with me.

There was a single dad that came up with three children.  The kids mother had recently passed away and she was a face painter.  She would paint her kids all the time.  And they had not been face painted by anyone since the mother died.  Talk about putting pressure on me!!!!!  This was the first Christmas without the mother which is why dad and the grandparents and uncle and his kid were taking this cruise together.  My heart just broke for these kids and I so wanted to make them feel a little bit of joy.  And Dad was pretty handsome as well.  He showed me a picture of his wife and some of the things she had painted on the kids.  Wow, truly not the kind of story you expect to hear at Christmas.

 

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