A Combat Artist Goes to Afghanistan

fay-combat-1 (1)I’ve been to war seven times. Tomorrow will mark the start of the eighth trip. A twelve hour flight from Dulles Airport to Kuwait International shoe-horned into an economy class seat will be followed by a shuttle bus ride out to a coalition air base called Ali Al Salem.

Read more ...

A Greek on the Silk and Dragon Road

bita-greekdragon-1 (1) My summer travel was not, as it usually is, to my native Greece. Odysseus wanted to see new places, and so did I. And so it was that I found myself in a group of twenty-two people who rendezvoused in Beijing, on our way to the Silk Road that had once been the world's greatest trade route.

Read more ...

African Roots in The Andean Highlands – The Shaman of Cotacachi

angiejoy-africanRoots-3 In the cool white-washed room, a small, wooden block dripped with candle wax, a wooden box decorated with saints, and an ebony-black spear surround a red plastic lawn chair. Unable to resist peering into the shaman’s box, we take a peek at his tool-box containing sticks, leaves, and several smooth earth-colored and black stones. Joy quickly snaps a photo and we sit down on a bench against the opposite wall.

Read more ...

Anatolia – Istanbul’s Flaming Horn

Anatolia (Editor's Note: Istanbul was chosen as the European Capital of Culture for 2010.) There you are and there it is: Sunset fast approaching. You are outside Istanbul’s Egyptian Spice Bazaar, part of a crowd of people rearranging packages of Antep pepper, cumin, coffee; sipping glasses of tea, talking on cell phones as you pass through a swirl of more than a hundred pigeons who fight greedily for scraps of bread.

Read more ...

Bailout Blues

Bailout BluesThe first "bailout" went to the US government in November, and European governments weren't very far behind with their own bailout deals that same month. China announced a bailout package of $586 billion on Nov 9 which was more wide ranging than the US one, to stimulate growth. Even the Indian government declared a "stimulus" package (i.e. bailout by another name) on Dec 7, to stem the cascade effect of the crisis.

Read more ...

BREXIT: I’m Sorry We Failed You: A Letter to My Daughter

Brexit - excerpt

Dear Daughter,
My world changed when you came into it last year, and now the world has changed again. When the decision was made by our nation on the 24th June 2016 to leave the European Union, I saw the implications not for me, but for you.

Read more ...

Camp Delhi, Helmand Province

fay-dispatchfour1-manningpost (1) It’s such a simple thing. After fifty plus years you’d think I’d have a handle on it, but I don’t. I can’t tell my right hand from my left. I have to physically make the writing motion to cue myself.  I can add another bit of brain malfunctioning to an ever growing list of idiosyncrasies, the word Delhi, or is it Dehli?

Read more ...

Cuban Couch

pidal-couch-1We gave my old couch to a family of Cubans who came to America, a family who could no longer go on living under Castro and still call their lives their own. It was tan (my mother called it beige) with brown, orange, and green stripes embroidered on it, and it pulled out into a bed, complete with a matching armchair. It was ugly.

Read more ...

Dispatches from Berlin: The Mechanical Nightingales or SuKuLTuR

excerpt from Dispatches from Berlin Nightingale If you are waiting for one of the elevated trains in Berlin, you ought to scout the vending machines. Not because German potato chips are better than any others or because the Twix has an aftertaste of cinnamon in the Berlin air, but because displayed between the two snacks, you are liable to find a bright yellow pamphlet: food for thought during the time it takes to travel between most points A and B in this wide, flat city.

Read more ...

Fear & Wishing a Bridge of this “Innocence”

august-Istanbul-1 (1)A peaceful weekday mid-September morning on our seaside terrace in a working class Istanbul neighborhood. I make the coffee: Kurukahveci Mehmet’s finest, brewed in a French press, a method that would bring reproach if I were a Turkish housewife. But I’m an American who has learned to blend my independent Californian ways with more established Turkish traditions into a hybrid life, in my nearly 14-year residence in Turkey.

Read more ...

Fear and Loafing in Paris

kraut-paris

A message from Sue arrived today through my website: “My husband Phil and I are considering visiting Paris this winter… I’m wondering if I’m concerned that the French are so anti-American?”

Read more ...

For Better or Worse: An “Of Fawlty Towers and Minarets” Essay

z-sarnic-hotelMy first visit to Istanbul was a happening of chance, perfectly in sync with the city itself. For Istanbul is a city where coincidence and spontaneity reign high; a city full of ups and downs, a continuous rollercoaster with all the fear and excitement of such. Istanbul easily becomes an obsession, an addiction that gets into your blood and keeps you on a continuous high.

Read more ...

Girl Runs With Bulls

1I arrived in Pamplona for Sanfermines with flimsy shoes, blistered feet, and no intention of running with the bulls. It was a Monday afternoon in July, and the streets were jammed with revelers dressed entirely in white, the sobriety of their ensembles punctuated by splashes of red fabric around their hips and necks

Read more ...

Here is Your Neighbor: This is Mexico

august-Istanbul-1 (1)Whenever I enter into a house in Mexico, I look for it: the stopped clock in the living room or kitchen, a clear sign that Si! we are on Mexican time. Some clocks are completely stopped. Others have shaking hands wanting so badly to reach for that next minute, held back by the tangible time change that happens south of the border.

Read more ...

La Tienda de Violeta

photo-violeta_3En la vida de la folclorista, artista y poeta chilena Violeta Parra, la intimidad de una carpa fue sinónimo de creación, su vida y tal vez incluso una cruz.

Read more ...

La Tunda, Child of the Devil and Other Traditional Afro-Ecuadorian Stories

constance-latunda-1 (1)One much-told Afro-Ecuadorian tale takes us back to the 1530s, during early Spanish colonial times. A Spanish merchant ship traveling from Panama to Peru foundered on reefs on Ecuador’s northern coast. The cargo included 23 enslaved blacks who jumped from the deck, swam ashore, and headed inland.

Read more ...

Letter from Athens – The Wound Creates: An American Teaches Filmmaking in Greece

zinis-athens-3-cheap-art-university-of-athens In 2012, these were the first words I spoke to my class at the University of Athens where I was teaching Film of the Sixties as a Fulbright Scholar. I wished them Good Morning, told them my name, that I was from the United States, and my grandfather had been born in Greece, but I did not speak Greek very well.

Read more ...

Letter from Crete

Psillakis - Crete Wild and rugged, hardly touched by tourism, the southern portion of western Crete embodies the bond between the island and its people in the way nature touches our lives. Mountains rise from the sea, our gardens produce abundant organic vegetables, and our villages carry history from the time of the Minoans. My favorite village to visit is called Loutro, which is accessible only by ferry and has neither roads nor cars.

Read more ...

Meet Me in Tetouan

bishop-tetuoan-2 Ok, I admit it, Tetouan is my favorite city in all of Morocco. Who would not fall in love with a town that has a dove as its emblem and by large sculpted doves at round-abouts throughout the city? How can you not fall in love with those majestic Rif mountains all around you?

Read more ...

No. 56 Good Fortune

baldwin-fortune-1 (1) Yuko sat on the floor, cross-legged. She was text-messaging her beau, Ton'. In the kitchen 12 feet away, her mom, dad, and twin sister, Nuriko, were preparing the noodles. Nuriko multi-tasked, singing and dancing along with the Japanese version of American Idol while filling small ceramic bowls with chopped green onions and shredded carrots.

Read more ...

On the Road to Tarascon: Francis Bacon Meets Vincent Van Gogh

cotton-vangogh-1 (1) What if Francis Bacon (1909–1992), whom art critic David Sylvester called the “monster of depravity,” ran into Vincent van Gogh (1850–1890), the mentally unstable Dutch painter, on the road to Tarascon in the south of France?

Read more ...

Postcard from Haiti

nagy-postcards-haiti-0 "Ever since I started creating collaborative art twenty years ago, I've wanted to do something that represented the whole world - our shared humanity," says Lambertville, New Jersey-based painter Kelly Sullivan, the brainchild behind "FingerSmears," large commemorative paintings created with dabs of paint from hundreds, sometimes thousands, of participants under her direction.

Read more ...

Report on the Financial Crisis from Crete

Psillakis circle I awakened yesterday morning to a sound that heralded an event for me. The cicadas, or tzitzigas as we call them, were singing their first song of summer. I leapt up, made my first frappe of the summer and knew this would also be the day of my first swim in the Aegean. That first swim is like no other, believe me. The sea is crystal clear, refreshingly cool, and when you finally take the plunge, you are cleansed of the memories of winter rains and gray days. Summer in Crete, and all of Greece, is magic.

Read more ...

Shakira’s Last Fortune

rabbits

According to the North Cyprus weekly newspaper, the Cyprus Observer, Swedes have taken a hop toward solving two of their critical problems, overpopulation of rabbits and the high cost of fuel

Read more ...

Shrimp Shelling & Tuna Canning in Mahachai, Thailand

Kaung Shrimp Canning article On the morning I was about to leave Bangkok, Ingjin, a Burmese dissident, who had shown me around Bangkok, brought along a young man friend of hers to help me with my luggage. As a refugee, I cannot go back but once I am so close to Burma ... I tend to buy crafts and textiles that remind me of my homeland.

Read more ...

Still Life with Eiffel Tower

eiffeltower-circleMy friend Monique is tall, thin, recently single, and recently blonde. She’s invited me to a play at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, 8:30 curtain. We’ve met first for a quick dinner at Chez Francis, the ever-decent brasserie at Place de l’Alma. We have a window table with a large view punctuated bright in the distance by the Eiffel Tower.

Read more ...

The Brazer and the Brazen

tattu-brazen-1 (1) This I have seen. This is true. Martin is a brazer. He hails from Philippines. He brazes metal parts in a Dubai factory. He has worked there for ten years. Of late he is quieter than usual because he recently spent two months behind bars.

Read more ...

The Eagle of Ararat-Part I

aratrtThe ferryman steers his skiff across the surface of Lake Van toward Akdamar Island. In a lustrous wash of color, the alkaline water mirrors a blue-white sky and ripples topaz, reflecting the mountain range surrounding us.

Read more ...

The Eagle of Ararat-Part II: The Meaning of Freedom

photo-ararat2-ishak-PashaDesolate land unfolds in layers of burnished hills toward the Iranian border. We are headed to Ishak Pasha Palace, a fifteenth century castle straight from a fairytale and built by a Kurdish chieftain. A caravan of dust-covered trucks carrying vegetables within their red-slatted sides leads the way toward a military checkpoint blocking the road ahead of us.

Read more ...

Time Travels in the South Pacific

paulsen-timetravel-4 (1) The phone rings at 2:00 am. This no longer surprises me. I know it’s my 27-year-old son Paz, calling from Vanuatu. It is 15 hours later there. I jump out of bed and pick up the phone, pulling my glasses on. “Hi!” he says.  I measure his voice – It’s strong, optimistic.  He asks me to call him back.  He’s almost out of credit on his prepaid phone.

Read more ...

Transcending Boundaries – The Poetry of Kabir

tattu-kabir-1-windowpictureKabir was an Indian poet and philosopher in the Sufi tradition. Although not much is known about Kabir, scholars agree about certain broad aspects of his life. Kabir was born into a so called ‘lower caste’ of weavers who earned their livelihood by weaving shawls and clothes on handlooms.

Read more ...

Violeta’s Tent

photo-violeta_3 In the life of the Chilean poet, folk singer, and artist Violeta Parra, the intimate space of a tent was synonymous with imaginative expression, her life, and perhaps even a cross to bear.

Read more ...

Share This