what is a voice in a chorus of artists

what is a voice in a chorus of artists
what is the purpose of a painting
is it possible to understand a work all on its own
is there a separation between my words and yours
how to understand an image you’ve never seen before
when your words inspire me to try to find my own
do you feel proud humble vulnerable
what responsibilities do you bear when you claim to be an artist
when setting sail do you focus on a narrow course
or travel wherever the wind blows
what is your intention when putting pen to paper

what is a voice in a chorus of artists
can i really claim my voice as my own
isn’t it true that if i stay open and attentive to an underlying current
i can become one with the rhythm of an ancient tide
how do you enter the flowing river
do you dip in a toe
do you cling to a root
do you regret never learning to swim
do you let yourself go and hope for the best
do you find fault in what has no right or wrong
it’s not always easy to honor without getting bent out of shape
how true so often what we honor is not the other or the whole
but some warped view of our own egos
is it better to blend in or to stick out in a crowd


Ekphrasis Film Fest 2016!

join director

Len Borruso

Friday, December 30th, 7pm

The 602 Club, Appleton


John Fleckner (Society of American Archivists) as Moondog

and Joanna Dane (A Wisdom of Wombats) as Tranquility


from the director:

The Ekphrasis coterie invites you to our Film Fest. Please join us as we take a look back on the short films we made in 2016, including from the Tranquility Series: “Zeno Effect”, “S P R I N G”, “discovery”, “The Beast” and “Moondog”. We will also screen “Homage à un Rêve”, our tribute to Surrealism. The coterie wishes to thank our collaborators of whom we begged, borrowed and asked permission of after the fact, especially Dewa Ketut Alit Adnyana, Matt Turner, Elyse-Krista Mische, Loren Dempster, John Fleckner, Therese Joanis, Luke Jacobs, Andrew Dane, Dane Richeson and Rory Olson. 

Note: Total running time of the Film Fest will be approximately 30 minutes. Movies will be screened on the big screen at The 602 Club on December 30th, 2016 at 7:00 pm. 

Seasons Greetings! 
The Ekphrasis Coterie


the devil's truth

tad neuhaus, guitar
loren dempster, cello
joanna dane, vocals

mama don't want to know a thing about you

and the way that you stab her heart

forsaken child of the devil's truth

for shame for shame the devil's truth

oh floozy you can't drive too fast

along the road back home

while mama stands at the gate

while you slip through the door

before you could say how sorry you are

for all the disappointment you've conjured

you didn't grow up like your mama wanted

instead you turned out just like her

forsaken child of the devil's truth

for shame for shame for shame

the devil's truth

the devil's truth


Art School Teacher: Ten Questions for a New Critique

What did you notice while making this work?

What was your intention?

How is it similar to work you've done before?

How is it different?

What surprised you?

What discoveries did you make?

What could you do with this work?

How could you use this work to launch another?

What works have recently inspired you?

What links can you make between your work and the work of others?


a New Critique, what is?

a New Critique:

instead of judging the work of others,
learn how to notice our own

rather than labeling good or bad,
practice discussing what we notice

instead of evaluative judgment,
substantive observation


Art School Teacher: A New Critique

Why do we teach self-expression
as a commodity
with the ultimate goal being
to get money and attention for what we create?

Why are artists like Henry Darger, like Vivian Maier
 who keep their creative practice private
considered somehow deficient
depraved, insane?

Why do we continue to critique self-expression 
in a way that causes so many to quit 
with bitter feelings?

Why not teach self-expression
as a life long practice, a skill
like brushing your teeth,
eating healthful foods,


Art School Teacher: Teacher Lounge Talk - Nihilism

When she suggested to the cinematographer that 

perhaps its alright to let the students make plotless movies,

if that's what they want to make,

he said it was nihilism. 

How will they ever learn the rules

if you don't critique their work?

There are many ways to learn the rules,

if learning the rules is what you are after.

But what if being an explorer is your practice,

then who is to say what your practice should be?


Art School Teacher: On Subbing in Yoga for Rebels

The first girl off the bus strides through the Boys and Girls Club
excited to get to yoga class
until another student stops her to say 
Ms. G won't be teaching, Ms. D will.

The girl slumps, all the energy draining from her body.

I run to catch her and apologize that Ms. G is not here,
and I promise to keep it light and easy, no pressure to participate.

Everyone is disappointed that we aren't going to finish watching the Happy movie,
groaning as they roll out their mats.  

"What's a rebel?" I ask.  
"Someone who doesn't do what she's told," says a girl, lounging by her backpack.

So, if we want to be rebels, we have to learn how to stand tall,
to be at ease in the face of conflict.

We practice mountain pose.

We shift our weight and notice the reactions in the muscles.
We try to find our center, where we are tall and most relaxed.

Then we practice lifting the arms without raising the shoulders.
A boy in the back yells, "Contest!"
I am immediately game, confident of a win.

But as the minutes wear on, I realize there is no possible way for me to win.

Feeling my shoulders starting to cramp, I give in,
and we continue with class, though nearly half choose to chat instead.

Finally in corpse pose, everyone is silent, even the three who are left standing, 
arms held high for nearly 40 minutes now, 
their faces twisting with pain and determination.

The bell rings and the three walk to the bus, arms up
their friends helping with coats and backpacks.

The girl who had been so disappointed 
comes to me to say she's been under a lot of stress
trying to figure out what's the best college for her.

Only on the bike ride home
do I think of what I wish I would have told her:

It's not where you go that matters, but what you do once you get there.

The irony of having fallen so quickly to competition
in a class that practices non-competition
doesn't occur to me until after dinner.