Denise Dances: A Return to Perfect Health - Body, Mind & Spirit!

Saturday, October 24, 2009


AJIACO (Stirrings of the Cuban Soul) -- Lyman Allyn Art Museum, New London, CT. Admission is always FREE to New London residents. Just show your ID. "In 1939, the anthropologist Fernando Ortiz characterized Cuban culture as ajiaco, a rich stew...the ingredients...include Catholicism brought in by the Spaniards; the spirituality of the Yoruba slaves and their cultural traditions from Africa and the Chinese indentured servants who brought Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism...the indigenous people, such as Tainos...were almost wiped out by the Spaniards...Cuban art visualizes the universality of life." Ortiz is the author of such books as "El Engano las Razas," (The Deception of the Races), Havana, 1946 and "Los Bailes y El Teatro de los Negros en el Folklore de Cuba" (The Dances and Theater of the Negroes in the Folklore of Cuba), Havana, 1985. The exhibit featured Picasso style paintings in oils, acrylics and mixed media on canvas, often echoing the theme of "Madonna and Child." "Syncretism" features the blending of religions and cultural heritage. In this avante garde art exhibit today, I found the installation "Crowning of the Earth" by Juan Boza (1941-91), of Cuban descent who lived in Brooklyn, NY, to be the most fascinating. It features "earth and mixed media" to include glitter and acrylic paint. Colorful and vibrant, the installation contains dried corn and gourds at its base, a sphere consisting of cowrie shells and white feathers protruding from it (a planet?), with the only recognizable form a painted snake, and crowned by upright red feather dusters reflecting a bird's plumage. During the 18th and 19th centuries, an estimated 750,000 to 1M African slaves were brought to Cuba to work on the sugar plantations. Upon their freedom in 1866, they agreed to identify their religion with a Catholic saint. Flora Fong (1949), of Cuban descent and living in Miami, FL created one of the more recognizable, familiar and appealing works of art to me, "Eight Red and One Black," (2001), Oil on Canvas. Using bright, primary colors, several red fish and one black inhabit a goldfish bowl, resonating with color as a vase of bright, yellow flowers adorns the table. Belkis Ayon, (1967-99), of Cuban descent who lived in Havana, creates a collograph, using black and white with subtle grays, "Siempre Vuelvo," (I Always Return), 1994. A person in black silhouette whose eyes only show, is dressed in white scales, and carries a domesticated animal over her shoulder. "Belkis Ayon sought, through her prints, to merge the myths and conflicts of the patriarchal society of the Abakua (a secret male society or brotherhood) with Catholicism and issues of feminism "in a postmodern, feminist, secular society." ...Tomas Sanchez (1948), of Cuban descent who lives in Florida painted "Landscape with Shore" (1986), Oil on Canvas. Interested in religion and spirituality, "the philosophical notion of detachment, of remaining calm and objective in order to see beyond the surface of the mundane world to one's own inner spirit...the artist or viewer who is wrapped up in the external form of things may fail to experience the more elusive reality of a work of art." "The power of the artwork to transform the mind and soul." That it did. A realistic style of painting -- the tropical trees, flora and fauna along a lagoon that could be on the Cuban or Florida coast is calm, even primal. WHEN YOU GO: The museum is located behind Connecticut College on Williams Street. This exhibit runs until Feb. 21, 2010. The museum is open weekdays and Saturdays 10-5, Sundays 1-5. For more info, go to: If you enjoy this exhibit, consider going on one of the bus trips offered by Conn College to New York through the Dept. of Art/ Art History. The cost for the bus is $40, open to the public. With many stops along Fifth Avenue/ Museum Mile, midtown and downtown. The bus departs promptly at 8am in front of Cummings Art Center. I hope to make the sojourn on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009.

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Lasting Impression

A LASTING IMPRESSION -- Old Lyme, CT, Thursday, October 23, 2009...."a landscape that was intimate, rural and soothing at a time when America was becoming urban, industrial and restive" is what brought the American Impressionist painters from New York City to Old Lyme, turn of the 20th century. The first artist to arrive on the scene, Henry Ward Ranger copied the Old Master's style of nostalgia for the American past using the Tonalism style of painting with a monochromatic brown color scheme. Ousted by Childe Hassam (1859-19350) upon his arrival in 1903, the well known Impressionist painter deemed the Tonalists "brown gravy school." He deemed the Griswold Boarding House "just the place for high thinking and low living." He introduced the American Impressionist style of painting, derived from French Impressionism, "featuring bright colors and flickering, broken brushstrokes to capture a fleeting impression"of rural New England. The other artists to arrive began painting "en plein air," outdoors in the fresh air. There were about 200 to 300 artists in Old Lyme at the turn of the century. Florence Griswold (1850-1937) for whom "the Flo Gris" or "the Gris" is named was born the daughter of a prosperous sea captain who bought the mansion for his bride. She outlived her parents' and sisters and faced an uncertain future as an unmarried woman at the age of 50. She decided to take in boarders, considered a socially acceptable occupation at the time. "Her optimism was unquenchable and her personality so persuasive that everyone who went there came under her spell." The Lyme Art Colony was one of the largest and longest lived of the American Art Colonies. From May to October, she hosted up to 16 guests at a time, artists who often travelled with their families and solo, as well. For room and board, she charged $7 per week. For the use of a studio, she charged $5 per month. She hired a team of domestic help, usually immigrants. By 1910, after ten seasons of painters, the Griswold House was in need of repair and modernization. She took out a second mortgage for "a rural retreat with romantic associations of a simpler, bygone era." Indeed "I can feel it today." On a balmy Thursday afternoon, I made the easy trip from New London to Old Lyme via I-95. The museum is located just off the highway at Exit 70, where the Old Lyme Art League and the Lyme Academy of Fine Arts reside. I felt as if I'd stepped back in time, as I munched on apples, raisins and yogurt and walked along the Lieutenant River behind the Flo Gris mansion and conclave of museums, studios and galleries. Yes, photos to come soon. It is unfortunate that I didn't have a long white dress to don, along with a white bonnet and paintbrush as I posed on the banks of the Lieutenant River! By train from New York, they came. By the ferry "Colonial," they crossed the River to Old Lyme. By foot or carriage, they arrived at the Florence Griswold House, greeted by Miss Florence herself. "Despite their affection for the town, the artists at times felt obliged to pull pranks on the local elites, such as barking at their carriages from behind the trellis that shielded the side porch." "Often outfitted in country tweeds, knickers and backpacks, the Old Lyme artists carried paintboxes filled with brushes, palettes, tubes of paint, and small canvas boards out into the open countryside to paint directly from nature. They painted under endlessly varying conditions and endured the distractions of both mosquitos and curious onlookers." Just when America was poised on the edge of modernity, these painters looked backward to Old Lyme's colonial houses, churches, old-fashioned gardens, and well known landscape as evidence of a stable, timeless order far removed from the dazzle of the ephemeral. (Yes, I brought my notepad and I write fast!) Indeed, I felt as if I'd stepped back in time, back to my childhood in the country, in Montville in the 60s. The artist whose style I would most like to emulate at this time is Will Howe Fotte (1874-1965) in "Summer" (c. 1913), an oil on canvas which features boldly applied strokes of contrasting purples, yellows, and greens. For more info, go to: P.S. I've known about "the Gris" since Summer 1994 when I worked for the Southeastern Connecticut Tourism District in New London. Yesterday was my first visit. It won't be my last. (Denise...Denise Dances...2009)

On Being an SOB

ON BEING AN SOB -- New London, CT. The next meeting for Save Ocean Beach (SOB) will be held on Thursday, Nov. 19 at 6:30pm, Senior Center, behind the Courthouse on Broad Street, New London. "No one can do everything, but everybody can do something." Coming Soon: "The Beach by Long Island Sound" and "Against the Wind" on MAAP --

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Coming Soon!

COMING's Gold! Coming a theater near you??? (I've got to see this movie. I've got to see it; I've got to see it. Are we going? We're going; aren't we? If we don't go; I'm going to be mad!!!...* * * :) you, Paula!

"I Don't Get No Respect!"

OK. You don't believe me. I'm used to this. But consider this. The first apartment I lived in upon moving out of my parents' house, tender age of 23, Fall 1984 -- Windham Center. A brick two-story Victorian. Owner by the name of Louis Cavannah. Owned Cavannah's Corner in downtown Willimantic -- just across the street from the Willimantic Thread Co. (now defunct). He said it was a "convenience store." Yeah, it was that kind, all right. Attended college, ECSU, 1984-87. Got a degree in English. Paid for my education, cashiering nights in a grocery store. Moved to New York after a two month stint in Hartford upon college graduation. Late Spring 1987. A fire-damaged prewar building just outside Times Square. They called it "Hell's Kitchen" back then. (What're you crazy??! -- to you, Lynne!:)...Take my next apartment. Summer 1987. An art deco-rated studio in the East Village. Down below, the street hustlers chanted "smoke sense" all day long to passersby. Take my next apartment. "Movin' on up!" (yeah, to the East Side) Got a piece of the sky, on East 94th and Third. Moved to a luxury highrise a few blocks away from Spanish Harlem. Room with a view. Former roommate from college and I shared a two bedroom on the 14th (really 13th floor) with a young woman and her boyfriend. Who happened to be the nephew to Ferdinand Marcos. (Don't know what happened to the shoes.) Got used to the men in tan trench coats watching us from down below. Following us to the Surf Club on Friday evenings. What??? You think I'm kiddin'? Ya think you got problems? Are you crazy??? I don't get no respect!!!...* * * :)

Free Ballroom Dance at the USCG

The next FREE Ballroom Dance and One Hour Lesson at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy right here in New London (Leamy Ballroom) is scheduled for Friday evening, November 20th at 7pm. The free one hour lesson at 7pm will teach two different ballroom dances (perhaps the Lambada? :)...Practice what you've learned from 8-11pm to a variety of recorded music. OK, so you may never learn to dance exactly like Michael Jackson or Wilhelmina Triple-Slut-skaya -- but it's easy! Learning is half the fun! Bring your friends! (Once a teacher; always a teacher!!!...* * * :)...For more info, go to: Don't forget your driver's license! No jeans! Wear comfortable shoes!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What Am I Going to Do Next?

OK, I've had a chance to sit outside in the grass outside Groton Library (where no one knows me -- safe from "the mob" and "papparazzi.") Here is what I must do. OASIS (Outdoor Art Studio - isolated scene) has moved indoors, northeast corner for the Fall and Winter Solstice. Start painting about 8-9, most mornings. Increase the studio time to two, three hours in Winter. (Then reward myself with an hour of "Charmed!") I MUST do my outdoor walk AFTER lunch. To me, there are four choices: Ocean Beach Boardwalk (NL), the neighborhood by "Paula" (NL), Harkness Park (W) and Poquonnock Plains Park (Groton) and possibly, Poquonnock River Walk (Groton). The Lunch / Noon Hour when people are out and about seems to be the safest way for me. I still like Subway! Aaand, lay off the donuts! if I want to remain a "perfect" size 12 (which suits me fine). Free Coast Guard Concerts and Free ballroom dances at the CG monthly. ECSO -- in New London -- which I love! Other than that, stay safe! Stay home and watch Turner Classic movies!

Coming Soon...

Coming Soon..."I Don't Get No Respect" (other residences I have lived)...and would like to get a photo of myself with Cider at the Estate Known as Paula, Forgotten but Not By Me...and photos of two completed paintings for MAAP, "Against the Wind" and "The Beach by Long Island Sound." I like 'em, I hope you do, too! There is only one thing left to do. Get busy! I must carry on! Land ho!!! (Denise...Denise Dances...2009)

CSI - New London???

CSI -- NEW LONDON. Here we have the "covert covert;" been the recent topic of my blogspeak; and the place I seek to "avenge" soon. Here lies Denise...Never Found Love??? Here we have (got the knife in my hand; might as well drive it in!) VOCAB: (1) bribe: n [ME, something stolen, fr. MF, bread given to a beggar] 1: money or favor given or promised to a person in a position of trust to influence his judgement or conduct 2: something that serves to induce or influence (2) launder: [ME, launderer, fr. MF, lavandier, fr. ML lavandarious, fr. L lavandus gerundive of lavare to wash more at LYE 3: slander: [ME sclaundre, slaundre, fr. OF exclandre, fr. LL scandalum stumbling block, offense -- more at SCANDAL] 1: the utterance of false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another's reputation 2: a false and defamatory oral statement about a person -- compare LIBEL slanderous adj. slanderously adv. slanderousness n. (Why don't YOU step out from that lens, my friend??? And capsize, with all the lies, that YOU'VE been living in???) (You have to deal with that.) (I'm not responsible.) (I don't know anything.) OK, everyone. It's time to pump out this cesspool of gossip and covert activity. There is only ONE thing left to do. GET BUSY! I MUST carry on! Land ho!!!...* * * :) Denise...Denise Dances...2009.

Groton Fall Festival

GROTON FALL FESTIVAL, Poquonnock Plains Park, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2009. Sponsored by: Groton Business Association (a division of the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce)...Here we have, just in! Dynamic Demo from Gabrielle's Kickboxing Studio, with many locations in Southeastern CT; "extreme fighting;" AVCRAD's Blackhawk Helicopter on display; and "carnival in the park." a local business expo took place here, which I found to be very helpful and encouraging for the future of "MAAP." For booth registration info for Fall 2010, go to:

Waterford Duck Pond

Early October fall foliage hits the Civic Triangle Park at the Duck Pond in Waterford, CT recently.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Burden Lifted

Mmmm whatta ya think of my re-rendering of Edgar Allen Poe's most famous poem, "The Raven?" Funny, but I am just starting to feel the weight of a heavy burden lifting. The weight of the past ten years, a strange situation to say the least. Do I mean what I said in my rendition of The Raven? Every word. I always mean every word I say. OK, so The Residence may not be the mob-controlled cash laundering center I suspect it to be. (Why else would they watch every little thing you do? Try to prevent you from normal, everyday coming and going???) But I hope the truth comes out soon. Just keepin' it real! If The Residence isn't the commie wacko place I suspect it to be, well then. Guess I got back at the old poopyhead's for slandering MY good name. Such is the fate of young and middle aged (hate that word) adults diagnosed with disabilities, some of us forced to live in senior housing and not accepted among those. Not all senior citizens are bad. Many of you whom I've met here in New London are young at heart. My apt building just happens to be filled with the other kind. Idle gossips, busy bodies, backstabbers. It would take pennnies from Heaven, lots of them, and new friends and relationships too, in order to relocate and leave my personal pain of the past ten years behind. Seemingly impossible, but stranger things have happened. So here's to all of you old poopyheads of New London. I'm here to stay! In New London, that is. And when I'm through with you all, I'm going to be a force to be reckoned with!!! (Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun and more terrible than an army of banners? -- Song of Solomon 6:10)P.S. I had a great time at Ocean Beach Celebration at Port 'n' Starboard last night. I saw a few people I know, a woman from Pequot Health Center where I used to go to eat at the Cafe almost every day, now closed. I may join the Save Ocean Beach Committee. I think I would make a great SOB! The band, Rock 'n' Soul Revue was awesome and I had no trouble dancing with a bunch of ladies I met at my table. Rock on!