The Migrant Quilt Project.

TUCSON SECTOR 2004-2005, 282 deaths.
Made by Carol Hood, Sunny Klapp, Phyllis Sager, & Virginia Wenzel, of Prescott, Arizona.

Picked from the desert, I’m gazing at the tiny pieces of Jeans. These are what’s left of real lives. They had hopes and dreams of better and safer futures. (Virginia Wenzel)

There is a wealth of heartbreak at The Migrant Quilt Project, but it’s heartbreak all should feel. No one should be able to turn a cold heart and hateful mind to the mute witness of so much death.

The Migrant Quilt Project.

The Anti-Trump Hotel.

Oh, this place sounds fabulous! From what I’ve read, I might want to live there. :D

The first thing you’ll see when you walk into Eaton Workshop, a hotel opening in late spring 2018 in Washington, is a custom-commissioned video art installation by AJ Schnack, shown on a series of vintage-style television screens. All day long, it’ll broadcast a montage of footage from the presidential elections of 2012 and 2016 that’s built around one pointed question: How did our country get where it is today?

It’s not a subtle statement, and it’s not meant to be.

In Trump’s Washington, Eaton is planting a clear flag as a haven for Democrats. It’s the world’s first politically motivated hotel, the flagship for a global brand that’s built around social activism and community engagement. And it comes with a pedigree: As the daughter of Ka Shui Lo, the creator and executive chairman of Hong Kong-based Langham Hospitality Group Ltd., founder Katherine Lo knows a thing or two about luxury hotels and world-class service.

Lo firmly believes that hotels ought to be catalysts for good. In a world where we can be conscious consumers—of everything from clothing to food to baby products—she argues there’s a place for conscious hotels, too. This isn’t a revolutionary idea: Already, 1 Hotels has built a small collection of luxury properties entirely around the idea of sustainability, and Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts has made a significant, brand-wide commitment to bolster community programming for disadvantaged children in all of its destinations. It’s one of many five-star brands that have a conscious ethos but choose not to flaunt it.

Eaton Workshop is different. With a premise that’s built around liberal activism and civic engagement, the brand will weave a liberal philosophy into every aspect of the guest experience, some more obvious than others.

[…]

Among the Washington location’s programming signatures will be a sort of TED talk series driven by the liberal agenda, consisting of fireside chats and rooftop lectures that Lo hopes will be free, open to the public, and streamable as Eaton-branded podcasts. Then comes the art program, which—aside from the political statement piece at check-in—will include commissions from at least a half-dozen up-and-coming local artists and a street-facing exhibition window curated in partnership with local museums and institutions. A co-working space will prioritize memberships for progressive startups, activists, and artists, while a wellness program will offer “inner-health-focused treatments” such as Reiki and sound baths, rather than facials and massages. (Some of these features will roll out a few months after the hotel opens.)

Just as important, partners and staff will be brought on board, both for their skills in the food and beverage worlds and their activist track records. For instance, Lo saw the cocktail director of the famed Columbia Room, Derek Brown, as a perfect fit to be the hotel’s beverage director—not just because he’s won such awards as Imbibe magazine’s Bartender of the Year but because he “cares deeply about social justice.” To wit, Brown actively champions policies that fight sexual harassment in the bartending industry and acts as chief spirit advisor for the National Archives.

Similarly, Lo says that the “amazing life story” of house chef Tim Ma “perfectly expresses our brand ethos.” The Chinese-American culinary up-and-comer was an engineer at the National Security Agency for years before discovering his true passion in food. At Eaton’s to-be-named restaurant, Ma is planning a menu with a heavy focus on vegetables from an on-site garden.

A guest who does nothing other than check in, sleep atop Eaton’s organic mattresses, and check out will still have a sense of the hotel’s mission, says Lo. “We plan to have new ideas in the minibar—an activist toolkit, for example, that includes sheets with information to help you call your congresspeople. And if we’d been open during this year’s Women’s March, I could have seen us putting poster boards and markers in the rooms!”

Political statements such as these will be tailored to each property. In Hong Kong, for instance, Lo says she’d like to replace Bibles in the nightstand drawers with copies of the United Nations Declaration for Human Rights.

Raw Story and Bloomberg have this story.  Eaton Workshop.

Happy Indigenous Peoples Day.

In celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day, have a book! Nothing like some good reading. Give As We Have Always Done by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson a read, you won’t be sorry! Ms. Simpson’s site is here, Peter d’Errico reviewed here, and the book can be purchased direct from UMN press.

Peering Down Trump’s Lie Hole.

Kate Kretz, “Lie Hole IV” (2017), colored pencil on black Rives BFK paper, 10 x 8 inches, from the “Lie Hole” series.

This mouth has bullied and cheated its way through the world.

This mouth has claimed self-invention, but was born gnawing a silver spoon.

This mouth blusters and brags.

This mouth promises to pay the builders of its empire; then refuses, counter-sues, and laughs.

This mouth can’t suppress its instinctive, arrogant sneer.

This mouth incites hatred and violence, spreading intolerant aggression like a cancer.

This mouth expresses glee at its own retaliatory cruelty.

This mouth will say and do anything to win.

This mouth is oblivious to its own stupefying ignorance.

This mouth, wet with slime, has forced open countless unwilling lips.

This mouth degrades the women he can’t manage to get  his tiny, swollen hands on.

This mouth has a predatory predilection for young girls (daughter included).

This mouth…

Head on over to Hyperallergic to read the rest of Kate Kretz’s piece. Blunt, and brilliantly done.

In other Trump-based artwork, check out ‘As a satirist, I can barely keep up’: the stories behind the Trump magazine covers.

Targeting Twitter.

A man takes pictures of “hate tweets”, a part of the art project “#HEYTWITTER” created by Shahak Shapira, outside Twitter office in Hamburg, Germany August 4, 2017 in this picture obtained from social media. Youtube via REUTERS.

BERLIN (Reuters) – A German-Israeli artist who accuses Twitter of failing to delete hate speech tweets has taken matters into his own hands – by stencilling the offending messages on the road in front of the company’s Hamburg headquarters.

A post on video-sharing site YouTube showed Shahak Shapira and fellow activists stencilling tweets saying “Germany needs a final solution to Islam” and “Let’s gas the Jews” – clear references to the Nazi regime’s World War Two genocide of Europe’s Jews. [youtu.be/jzMTBINlLFU]

Shapira said he had reported some 300 incidents of hate speech on Twitter but had received just nine responses from the company.

“If Twitter forces me to see these things, then they should have to see it as well,” he said in the video, posted on Monday, describing the comments as violations of the social network’s community guidelines.

A very clever idea! You can read more about this at Reuters.

Faust 3: The Turd Coming, or The Fart of the Deal.

Aidan O’Shea, Regina Strayhorn, Ayun Halliday, and Ben Watts in Faust 3: The Turd Coming, or The Fart of the Deal (all photos by Jonathan Slaff).

We do not live in a time of subtlety. If you need evidence, take a look at the news. Shaded, nuanced criticism of President Donald Trump would sound like a whisper next to a tornado. It was refreshing, then, to see a play that dispenses with elegant critique of the president in favor of a gloves-off battery. Faust 3: The Turd Coming, or The Fart of the Deal combats Trump’s logorrhea of vulgarities with its own. Trump is never actually named in the script, but the title alone tells you who it’s about, and the text gives plenty of indications. It is replete with scatological jokes; the story tells of a society that makes a Faustian pact to choose a king who will supposedly better their lives, but then shits on all of his subjects. Having made this deal, the citizens are forced not only to live under the shitty reign (and rain) of this despot, but also to pretend they love it, even as the king ends the world in nuclear war. To describe this play as a scathing satire of Trump would be putting it mildly.

[…]

In addition to adopting the rhetorical position of Biblical prophecy, it also plays with Biblical material in clever ways. Jesus’s lines from the Gospels are articulated as ironically inverted versions that resemble Trump’s likely misinterpretations of them, such as: “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall save it, and whosoever shall lose his life is a loser and deserves it.”

[…]

The piece is not subtle, and that’s probably fitting. When the president of the United States of America has condoned sexual assault, has publicly said that he would date his own daughter were they not related, has boasted about the size of his penis during a debate, and has both said and tweet-spewed other horrors too numerous to name here (I won’t even go into policy), comparing him to Caligula and Nero doesn’t seem so far-fetched. A play like this would have been too heavy-handed if it were directed at any other recent president, but these days, the rules of public discourse seem to have been thrown out. Now is not the time for art to play nice.

Performances of Faust 3: The Turd Coming, or The Fart of the Deal continue through June 26 at Judson Memorial Church (55 Washington Square South, Greenwich Village, Manhattan).

John Sherer’s full review is at Hyperallergic, and well worth reading.

Nurturing Hate.

Christian Picciolini, founder of the group Life After Hate, is pictured. | AP Photo.

If there is one thing the Regime is good at, it’s nurturing hate, encouraging bigotry, and fomenting unreasonable fear. Life After Hate is a small organization dedicated to de-radicalizing those in violent, extremist groups. They have lost their funding, because the Tiny Tyrant & Co. don’t believe in domestic terrorism.

The Trump administration has dropped federal support of an organization dedicated to countering white nationalist and neo-Nazi extremism, a Politico report revealed on Friday.

The organization, Life After Hate, was founded in 2009 and is run by a small staff of men and women who were once part of racist activist and extremist movements, and who now work to de-radicalize others involved in violent extremist groups.

In its final days, the Obama administration awarded the group a $400,000 grant as part of its Counter Violent Extremism (CVE) program. Life After Hate was the only group dedicated to fighting white nationalist extremism to receive a grant under the program.

It’s also in increasing demand: Picciolini told Politico that since President Trump’s election, Life After Hate has seen a 20-fold increase in requests for help, coming “from people looking to disengage or bystanders/family members looking for help from someone they know.”

But Life After Hate Founder Christian Picciolini told ThinkProgress in February the group never received its check from the federal government. And now, the organization has been dropped altogether from the list of grants associated with the CVE program, which the Department of Homeland Security announced on Friday.

[…]

“It sends a message that white extremism does not exist, or is not a priority in our country, when in fact it is a statistically larger and more present terror threat than any by foreign or other domestic actors,” Picciolini said at the time.

[…]

“We can simply look at recent history, from Dylann Roof to Wade Michael Page to countless others who killed innocent victims in the name of white supremacist ideologies,” Picciolini added. “We have hundreds of thousands of homegrown sovereign citizens and militia members with ties to white nationalism training in paramilitary camps across the U.S. and standing armed in front of mosques to intimidate marginalized Americans. The terror threat is already within our borders, yet we refuse to even call it terrorism when it happens.”

Picciolini told ThinkProgress that the Trump administration’s decision to shift away from efforts to combat far-right hate could actually make future terrorist attacks more likely. And, the shift comes at the very moment that reports indicate far-right hate is on the rise.

Think Progress has the full story. Life After Hate.

Pollution Popsicles.

All images © Hung I-chen of Polluted Water Popsicles.

Initially appearing to be a new artisanal food trend, these popsicles are actually a creative approach to spreading awareness of Taiwan’s issue of water pollution. The project, entitled ‘Polluted Water Popsicles’, was initiated by Hung I-chen, Guo Yi-hui and Cheng Yu-ti–a group of art students from the National Taiwan University of the Arts. To create the popsicles, the young artists collected water samples from 100 locations in Taiwan, with each sewage specimen then frozen and set in polyester resin for preservation. The project is successful in its innovative and deceptive conceptual approach–each counterfeit ice treat contains waste and domestic refuse extracted from the samples, 90% of which was plastic. The students also designed wrappers for the popsicles, and their work has been recognised by the Young Pin Design Award, as well as being exhibited at Taipei World Trade Center’s Young Designers Exhibition 2017.

All images © Hung I-chen of Polluted Water Popsicles.

Polluted Water Popsicles.  Via iGNANT.

Taco Power!

Steven Georges/Orange County Register.

This is nice, I get to say Hey, that’s my hometown! Go Santa Ana! Any native SoCalian can tell you the wonder and pure mmmmmffff oh gods so good, can I have more of Mexican run food trucks. Some of the best food in the world, that. Back when I worked in Costa Mesa, the only time you took your life in your hands was the rush to the food trucks at lunch.

Good food has a way of bringing people together around a table. You could say food trucks do the same thing, but on the street and sidewalk.

That’s part of the idea behind an ongoing campaign in Southern California called Taco Trucks at Every Mosque, timed to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. And it has caught on fast in the parking lot outside the Islamic Center of Santa Ana, California, which largely serves the area’s Indo-Chinese community (Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim populations).

“It was so exciting to see people that have that have fasted … break their fast — many of them for the first time in our lives  to tacos,” says community activist Rida Hamida. She co-organized the campaign with Ben Vazquez, a history teacher in Santa Ana, and Resilience Orange County, a community non-profit. The campaign launched on Twitter as #TacoTrucksAtEveryMosque.

With fasting during daylight hours being one of the demands of the celebration of Ramadan, they arranged for the community’s iftar meal to arrive in a brightly painted, green taco truck.

This is wonderful and warm story, full of wonderful and warm people. A lot of Americans might want to note that it’s those brown peoples who are making inroads at community, peace, acceptance, and togetherness. Lots of pasty types could take a lesson. Full story here.