together we

MEND Season 3 - Episode 47

Taking Poetic Action with Leslie Castellano

IMG-6034.PNG

“Artists to my mind are the real architects of change, and not the political legislators who implement change after the fact. ”

William S. Burroughs

When it comes to leading lives of passion & creativity, we tend to believe in a set binary.

There are those of us - so we say - that are meant to write, paint, dance, create - make the world a bit more vivid and beautiful by our voice, our touch, our presence.

It is the work to which we are called to in this life.

Then, the same story goes - there are those who are meant to engage in matters of policy.  Civic discourse and dialogue. Who can best affect change at the structural, boardroom, nuts-and-bolts, dare I say, utterly artless side of cultural exchange.  

There are the artists.  

And then there are the policy makers.  

And ne’er shall the two entwine.  

They are made for such entirely different things in this life.
My guest today is someone who tosses this limited theory out on it’s head.

Leslie Castellano is a local performance artist, teacher, dancer & businesswoman - who also happens to be running for City Council - Ward 1, in Eureka, to be precise - this year.  

In this talk, we discuss her decision to venture out of her long-tenure as contributing artist to her local community to a person who is striving to affect policy, as well.

We talk about the intersection of Art & Politics.  

About shifting out of our individual and collective comfort zones to lobby on behalf of the type of world we want to live in - which sometimes means canvassing, making phone calls, and going door-to-door, rather than simply writing a song or creating a dance piece.  

At the heart of each of these impulses, Leslie states,  is a driving desire to care for people and build community.

Through her efforts as an activist, artist & community organizer, she longs to build a society where all people are valued.

We talk about where this impulse has taken her thus far and the places she’s venturing into just now.

I hope you’ll be inspired, as I am, by the work and presence of this wonderful woman.

She’s a reminder to me that even though we all have our designated comfort zones - we can step out of them.  

We can take on new roles, new languages & new possibilities to begin to mend the culture where we live.  

There is a place for ART.  For beauty & symbolism & delight.

And there is a place for re-writing laws and by-laws.  For upending the current structure and mapping out an entirely different system than the one we’ve known.

And there is a way to synthesize the two - so that together they - we - all of us - can THRIVE.

MEND Season 2 - Episode 42

The Culture that We Create..

with Anne & Amy

IMG-5122.PNG

First, let's define our terms.  

(With a little assistance from our pal, Wikipedia.) 

Culture.  

As in...

..."the social behavior and norms found in human societies"

As in...

..."the set of customs, traditions, and values of a society or community, such as an ethnic group or nation"...

As in...

..."the set of knowledge acquired over time"...

As in...

..."the development of a philosophical soul, ... (or) the highest possible ideal for human development"...

As in...

..."all the ways in which human beings overcome their original barbarism, and through artifice, become fully human."

As in...

..."to inhabit a place sufficiently intensive to cultivate it—to be responsible for it, to respond to it, to attend to it caringly"..

As in, something We create.  Inhabit.  Something we must be constantly tending, examining. sifting through and excavating what is useful, what is good, what is worth keeping and what is now ready to leave behind.  

This week, we sit down and ponder what is happening right now inside this country and the dominant culture there.  We look at our responses.  And examine it all through the rich and multi-faceted lens of our earlier conversation with Lyla June Johnston - poet, activist, scholar, and proud conduit of LOVE.  

What is an appropriate response to injustice?

How do we react when we feel the anger rising just beneath our skin, but in our hearts we wish to conduit peace, and lasting transformation?

How do we respond to the braided truths that we carry?  Do we abscond with the pieces of our selves and our past which we can no longer stomach?  Which we can no longer abide?  Or do we willingly and bravely turn towards them, confront them and gently start to shift the way the tide is turning?  

Apologies, in advance for the sound recording herein.  As usual, we had some kerfuffles with technology and ended up just sharing this conversation as is - A phone call between friends.  Two women, shooting from the hip, and speaking from the heart.  Grappling with the questions.  Somehow attempting to live our way - with you - into an Answer.  

Enjoy.