SILENCE HAS A NAME - Poetry Chapbook and CD, with Music by Mark Hanley

Friday, October 19, 2012


Among my many great presents this year was the opportunity to photograph and attend a talk by HH the Dalai Lama at Hunter College on October 19. HH the Dalai Lama is a renowned peacemaker and scholar, who, until recently was Tibet's political leader in exile. He has turned over that role to a notable Harvard scholar, but remains the undisputed spiritual leader of Tibet and an inspiration to millions around the globe. Addressing a special congregation of Chinese artists, activists, scholars and friends, he posed the following challenge in his own inimitably diplomatic and direct way: "It is time for 1.3 billion Chinese to see the realities. Let them see the realities and decide for themselves what is right and wrong." By realities, he was of course referring to the oppression within China by its own government and the Chinese government's ongoing persecution of Tibetans and imposition of oppressive policies in Tibet.

The discussion with HH the Dalai Lama involved scholars in a panel as well as members of the audience. HH the Dalai Lama reiterated the importance of Tibet's maintaining a middle way approach with China, one in which the neighboring countries see themselves as interdependent rather than separate from one another. But he also challenged all people to practice ethics and humanity, stating what he has said often--that he respects those of all religions and even those who have no religion. Religions are institutions that are fallible and often corrupt, he said. Even so, we can all be warm-hearted with one another. "Even animals appreciate warm-heartedness," he noted.

An audience member asked: "How can we practice compassion in our society, which is so cutthroat and competitive?" HH the Dalai Lama was quick to answer, "I don't see millions of Americans as being cutthroat."

In his usual warm, positive and all-inclusive fashion, HH the Dalai Lama embraced panel members and artists and warmed up to the audience with his incisive remarks and humor. A Chinese artist gave him a painting at the end of the panel, and afterward, HH the Dalai Lama received an honorary degree from Hunter College, adding to his collection of honors from around the world.

Monday, October 8, 2012


My idea of a great weekend is driving to Cold Spring, New York, walking along Main Street, enjoying a meal at Cathyrn's Tuscan Grill and an espresso afterwards at Cup-o-ccino's. At the end of Main Street is a grand view of the Hudson.

Main Street, Cold Spring, is chock full of great antique shops and galleries. One of the coolest galleries and a recent find is Marina Gallery at 153 Main Street. It's small and intimate, and the current exhibit, "Drawn Together," features dramatic and original works in charcoal by several of those who belong to the cooperative space. The show runs until the end of October.

Maria Pia Marrella, one of the artists and designers whose work is being featured at the gallery, is a member of the cooperative, which includes artists Flavia Bacarella, Monica Bernier, Abby Goldstein, Lynn Kotula, Martee Levi and Maria. Maria works in a wide range of styles and in various media. Her oils on linen in an exhibit titled "Pentimenti" that ran last year at the gallery, recalled the work of Giorgio de Chirico's. In another exhibit titled "{mis} appropriation, the artist played with religious symbols and allegory, for example, creating her own version of the "Visitation."

If you feel like taking a drive and enjoying the gorgeous fall foliage in the Hudson Valley, check out Cold Spring. To get there from Fort Lee, take  9W to the Bear Mountain Bridge, make a left on 9A and follow to Main Street, Cold Spring.