Since the day our daughter came home from the hospital, her world has been virtually overrun with wild things: Gorillas, tigers, lions, chimps, bears, giraffes and whales lead an endless parade of anthropomorphized beasts in the form of books or toys, all focused on helping her get to sleep, learn to read, learn share, play, pee, poop, you name it. My unscientific guess would be that 9 out of ten of people shepherding her to adulthood, one way or another, aren’t people at all, but kindly charismatic mega-fauna, lovingly doling out life’s big lessons. The irony of course, is that nearly all of the cuddly critters populating the pages and injection molded toys of her world are scarce-to-long-gone in reality. And it’s precisely this irony that compelled journalist-and anxious father-Jon Mooallem, to take this brilliant, sometimes disheartening journey into the world of animal conservation. “Wild Ones” is the story of precisely what lengths some people will go to in their attempts to the save the last of God’s great creatures.
Who’s In? This is a pretty cool way to explore- and create – the LA River. As described by it’s creators:
Play the LA River is a come-one-come-all project by the arts collective Project 51 that invites Angelenos to enjoy, explore, reclaim & reimagine the mighty LA River as a grand civic space that can green & connect our communities.
Play The LA River will be running from Sept 2014- Sept 2015
Seth Brundle: You have to leave now, and never come back here. Have you ever heard of insect politics? Neither have I. Insects… don’t have politics. They’re very… brutal. No compassion, no compromise. We can’t trust the insect. I’d like to become the first… insect politician. Y’see, I’d like to, but… I’m afraid, uh…
Ronnie: I don’t know what you’re trying to say.
Seth Brundle: I’m saying… I’m saying I – I’m an insect who dreamt he was a man and loved it. But now the dream is over… and the insect is awake.
Ronnie: No. no, Seth…
Seth Brundle: I’m saying… I’ll hurt you if you stay.
– The Fly (1986, Dir. David Cronenberg)
When we bought our house , our yard was a sloppy rectangle of dead pomegranate trees, dried earth and a riddle of busted pipes. Sian was 6 months pregnant, so the priority was that which lay under the new roof, but my heart was focused on the yard. I was, my wife might say, obsessed. Well, I had a dream. I dreamed of creating a magical, urban jungle that my daughter could get lost in, critters would flock (or crawl) to, and friends would wander, drinks in hand, fully inspired. I dreamed of creating a habitat that would be boldly in-sync with the great Mediterranean Chaparral ecosystem that surrounds Los Angeles, and be a model for bridging man and nature in the 21st Century. Ten months later, I’m not even close. Nature, it turns out, has no regard for my wants. Continue reading Welcome to The Jungle…Hard Lessons From a Small Garden
The great evolutionary biologist, EO Wilson, has a new book out, titled, THE MEANING OF HUMAN EXISTENCE. Speaking about it in this 3 page, frank but nakedly optimistic interview for National Geographic, Wilson makes a simple but powerful point about why, perhaps, we are not hot-wired to ruin our race and our planet: because we make art…
“…what will be of enduring interest, because it’s going to be unique and continuous in its creativity, is the humanities and in particular the creative arts. I realize that may sound strange, because, after all, scientific knowledge is still doubling every 10 to 20 years, carried forward by the immensity of the digital age and the hyperconnectivity of all disciplines and the people within them.
But suppose there were aliens, and they sent in their robots maybe 200 to 300 years from now, which is not even an eyeblink in the geological history of the Earth. And they begin to study surreptitiously what we’re up to. What would they be interested in? Not our science.
Whereas the human species originated only about 200,000 to 300,000 years ago, their own civilizations could have originated a million or even a hundred million years ago, when dinosaurs were on Earth. They’ve had all this time to perfect the generalities of the physical science, and probably biological science too. So what would they be interested in?
They’d be interested in the humanities. How the human mind and emotions work, and what the history of the achievements of that particular organ have been over the brief history of this planet. The humanities are like the soul of humanity, the thing we produced that is probably absolutely unique in the universe. The creativity of humanity is guaranteed in the humanities. It is not guaranteed in the sciences. I realize I’m beginning to slip off the cliff of science fiction here, but I hope I made my point.”
You can read the rest of the interview here. It’s short, rich in ideas, and though blunt, still gives you a little shot of optimism during this profoundly complicated time in history.
Earlier this week, I spent two hours in mid-town Manhattan, wandering Sebastio Salgado’s moving and inspiring, GENESIS EXHIBITION at the ICP. Salgado, if you don’t know him, is a renowned documentary photographer who left the hallowed roster at Magnum Photos in 1994 to hang his own shingle, alongside his wife, Lélia Wanick Salgado, at Amazonas Images in France. GENESIS is the third in a series of major, multi year projects Salgado has produced, starting with WORKERS in 1993. Prior to now, Salgado’s work has largely focused on the lives and working conditions of people in 3rd world countries. Continue reading SEBASTIO SALGADO- “GENESIS” PHOTO EXHIBITION – A POWERFUL AND URGENT CALL TO ACTION
At the age of 42, I was a single guy who’d lived in the same apartment for two decades, riding around in a 1984 Land Cruiser wagon with his 6o pound mutt, Burt. I had no ambition to own a house, no intention of having kids, and lived only to make enough money to load up my truck, go hiking in the mountains, surfing in the ocean, ride my mountain bike and take pictures. And serial date women. I was an LA based, Peter Pan who tolerated protracted and ridiculous battles with his land-lady in order to enjoy doing whatever I wanted, when I wanted. I eschewed commitment like a dog avoids a cattle grate. Then I met my soon-to-be wife, Sian. The gig was up three hours into our first date. Continue reading Enter, Aniko…