June 27, 2006
For gentler, less injurious living


Shopping in Holyoke on Saturday for a birthday present for Mr. Bill Myers I had a crazy and surreal experience. I went looking for the religious artifacts store but in its place was a "for rent" sign and an empty window. Dejected, I drove around Holyoke hoping to find another religious artifacts store but had to settle for the "Plus Dollar" store on High Street.

I was standing near the register looking at the assorted things when all of a sudden I spotted "Benign Girl" and suddenly I heard the mermaids singing. Two Latina women were looking at Benign Girl and reaching forward as if to grab it and in a flash I knew this was something extremely precious and rare and that I needed to act fast!

So I reached around the women and snatched BG. And before they knew what happened I had paid and fled the scene, adrenalining all the way.

On the side of the package were the bullet points:


The instructions on the package:
"Beautiful girl, press any button!"

Complete with pirated Barbie likeness and logo style were the enigmatic words, "Benign Girl". What a find.

Before I came to my senses I had actually handed over Benign Girl as a birthday gift and I knew immediately by Billy's reaction that I had been right about Benign Girl which he now keeps in a sealed plastic bag. BG made the rounds of The Smith Museum of Art Monday (like a little kid who can't wait for show and tell was this birthday boy) and she made such an impression that her image is burned into the minds of all who have beheld her and the halls resonate with her aura. I hear Acquisitions is salivating over BG.

Intrigued and a bit obsessed, (Why "Benign"? What Chinese characters did they type into the free babelfish Chinese-English translation tool to come up with "Benign"? "Shy"? "Gentle"? "Non-malignant"? What made this accidental genius think using "Benign" would make this a hot item here?) So I googled Benign Girl and found a blog with the following posts:

Spotted by F near the bus station in Siracusa, Sicily.

yep, i found a benign girl retailer in the town of jiou-fen in taiwan.
Posted by: margaret at July 12, 2005 12:47 AM

I found Benign Girl in a Boy Howdy in McAlester, OK. Go figure.
Posted by: Jai at November 15, 2005 11:26 PM

in Frankfurt, Germany. She freaked me out
Posted by: Ap at January 31, 2006 06:00 PM

I saw the same package in Silver Spring, MD! Malign Girl gets around!
Posted by: Marie at April 14, 2006 03:55 PM

And now my post is at the bottom of the list. I have joined the imaginary cult of Benign Girl (because I *am* imagining myself in a cult of BG at this point) and am a different person for this experience. I have not stopped thinking about Benign Girl since that moment when the earth swayed. I went back to the store today and it was as if she never existed. I think I dreamed the whole thing and I fear I will never find another Benign Girl. But, since Uranus is retrograde I expect the unexpected.

OPENING RECEPTION: FRIDAY, June 30, 5:30 - 7:30 PM
Zea mays Printmaking germination - New Work by Liz Chalfin and Alison Williams
June 20 - July 21, 2006
OPENING RECEPTION: FRIDAY, June 30, 5:30 - 7:30 PM

The Gallery at Zea Mays Printmaking is pleased to host the exhibit, germination - New Work by Liz Chalfin and Alison Williams. The gallery is located at 221 Pine Street, on the third floor of the Arts and Industry Building in Florence, MA. Please call the gallery for summer hours - 413.584.1783.

627_fryguy From astrology.com: "Rest up while you can!
On June 19, Uranus turns retrograde, bringing his flair for the unusual to a planet near you. Until the ruler of rebellion returns to direct motion on November 20, you may notice an increase in personality transformations or oddball news reports; indeed, the conventional wisdom for the next few months is 'Expect the unexpected.' Expect Benign Girls and other odd gifts from above. .

Now, those of you with well-worn PDAs and perfectly up-to-date planners might find that advice less than reassuring. But the key to success these days is to go with the flow. That mind of yours is brimming with untapped talents and innovative ideas, and Uranus is bound and determined to set them free!"

Including our Peter Dellert of Holyoke
620 pete Contemporary Sculpture at Chesterwood is on view through Columbus Day. Walking tours of the exhibit on Fridays at 1:00 p.m. beginning June 30 and running through August.

The guest curator of this year's exhibition is Sharon Bates, visual artist, and curator and founding Director of the Albany International Airport Art & Culture Program. Bates organizes rotating exhibitions, site-specific sculpture projects, and satellite museum exhibitions that showcase regional artists and cultural institutions in the Albany International Airport Gallery and throughout the terminal.

May 22-October 15, 2006, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm Six Guided Tours throughout the day: 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30
Early closing at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 2, 2006

Artist work included in this years exhibition: William R. Bergman, Paige Bradley, Rick Brown, Ben Butler, Peter Dellert, Anthony H. Garner, Richard Garrison, Alexander Graham, Lucy Hodgson, Gwendolyn Holbrow, Ann Jon, Paul Katz, R. Elliott Katz, Jim Lewis, Paul Mauren, Lillian Mulero, Amy Podmore, Michael Rivera, John Ruppert, Stacy Latt Savage, Leon Smith, Eric Stein, Gampo Wickenheiser.

July 6 through August 4

NORTHAMPTON, MA -"Works on Paper," a juried show of photographs, watercolors, prints, drawings and mixed-media, by 11 local artists, will be featured from July 6 through August 4 in the galleries at The Northampton Center for the Arts.

Participating artists are: Karen Alstadt, Ellen Augarten, Elizabeth Bannish, Elizabeth Diamond, Taiga Ermansons, Carolyn Horan, Rhoda Juels, Ronald Juels, Rachel Lepine and Burns Maxey.

Galleries are open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with an artists' reception that coincides with Northampton's Arts Night Out on Friday, July 14, from 5 to 7 p.m. The first-place prize will be awarded to the winning artist during the reception.

The Northampton Center for the Arts is located on the third floor at 17 New South Street, opposite the Academy of Music.

"Call for Artists: One Last Chance to Submit"
620_artfair "Call for Artists: One Last Chance to Submit"
2006-06-19 until 2006-09-19
Inspired Art Fair
London, , UK United Kingdom

Haven't submitted to Inspired Art Fair 2006 yet? Well here's one last chance as we are opening an extra submission period from 19 June -18 September 2006. With the Whitechapel as our chosen charity for this our fourth annual fair, Inspired Art Fair 2006 will be taking place in the magnificent Christchurch, opposite Spitalfields Market E1, from 8 - 12 November. The Inspired Art Fair (IAF) is a launch pad for emerging independent contemporary artists. Our selection committee changes with each display to ensure that IAF reflects the most innovative talents in the visual art world. For 2006 our committee is Susan Brades (Ex Director Hayward Gallery), Kirsten Dunne (Arts Council) and Jo George (Managing Director IAF).

The IAF has showcased over 180 emerging contemporary photographers, painters, sculptors, drawers and digital artists from all over the world. To review our artists have a look on http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=ay8tpwbab.0.ba6ylwbab.jrfsprbab.164&ts=S0187&p=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.inspiredartfair.com

Here's what artist Ben Mosley has to say about last year's fair-

"I have excelled this year due to being included in IAF 05. I have had a commission, and a solo exhibition at Gallery 93 in London, which was televised on MTV's Base, on Trevor Nelson's show 'The Lick'. They also interviewed me as well!! An agent has shown a lot of interest in my work, which looks to be very promising. I can't thank you enough for accepting me because without that chance this would never have happened to me."

For details on why and how to apply go to:-
http://www.inspiredartfair.com%2Fartists/why.php and http://moringey.com/newsletters/

Wendell, MA
I got this very cryptic text from Richard Chase so I tried to fill it in. Sounds like a great gig at a really sweet place!

Reads like "cable-ese". Is Richard the new Hemingway?

Anyway--here it is:
Richard Chase at De Ja Brew, Wendell MA - with trio -good sheet -100% original. Check it out. Pass it on. June 30 2006. (makes me think of this guy from Argentina I used to work with who referred to things he liked as "really good sheet")

I have an idea. Richard should get some girls to stand behind him and fake guitar playing like Robert Palmer did. It could be "Richard Chase and his Benign Girls" They could wear whipped cream. His gigs would be packed!

I found this additional info via google:
Deja Brew Cafe & Pub

57A Lockes Village Road
Wendell, MA 01379

Draft Microbrew Beers-Wine-Personal Pizzas-Panni Sandwiches and more! Wed, Thurs, Sun, 4pm-10pm Fri and Sat, 4pm-11pm

If you are an Easthamptonite
627_eca Call for Artists in Easthampton

If you are an artist/musician/writer/film artist/dancer/arts organization, etc, living or working in Easthampton, MA, you are invited to join the Easthamptoncityarts.com website. Members can create a personal web page with up to five images and one audio sample, list events on the master calendar, be included in a high quality printed directory, and more! Visit the site and check out the quickly growing member list. Don't get left out!

The Easthampton City Arts website is dedicated to promoting the artists and arts organizations of Easthampton, Massachusetts. By creating a comprehensive and dynamic platform showing the depth and creativity of the arts, artists and art related businesses have the opportunity to showcase and market their work, and the public has the opportunity to discover emerging and established artists. In addition, the website introduces the visitor to the many other attractions within Easthampton: its diversity of shops, restaurants, cultural resources, and recreational offerings.

If you'd like to join Easthampton City Arts, just click the 'Apply' button on the home page to fill out an online membership application. Be sure to check out the eligibility and requirements section too. You must complete the entire profile AND upload images before your member page can be approved and listed live on the site. For questions contact info@easthamptoncityarts.com. Thanks, and looking forward to seeing everyone there!!

Arts & Culture and you?
627_new New England Watershed Magazine

"New England Watershed's essays, articles, photographs and artwork examines issues particular to life within the Connecticut River watershed. But our regional identity is just one aspect of our involvement with the world. New England Watershed explores the crucial dividing points or lines of our times, articulating what it is to be American, in all its complexity.
Russell Powell, editor and publisher

FAB DEAL! APT NOW! (<--yes. apt.)

As a Mo better Living subscriber you can subscribe for a 33% discount off the newsstand price ($31.95 rather than $47.70) by replying to this email with your name and mailing address and you will be invoiced.

And it's a write-off of course.
On the NEW site you can also submit art and poetry for consideration. And as of last week I am the acting Art Editor and am building a database of artwork for possible use in future publications.

To submit artwork you can either send a cd of images to: Mo Ringey
PO BOX 6109
Holyoke, MA 01041-6109

OR you can email images. BUT, if you decide to email images please keep them to 500 pixels high by whatever size that means for the width at 72 DPI. If we can use your art in a future issue I will request a higher resolution image at that time.
Please don't crash my server with giant, malignant images.
Thanks! ~Mo

July 12th deadline for proposal submissions
Turners Falls call for public art

The Turners Falls RiverCulture Project is seeking 3 qualified artists to create non permanent works of public art that will serve both decorative and informational functions in locations in the heart of downtown Turners Falls.

In order to obtain artistic diversity, submissions are limited to one piece per artist. Geared toward pedestrians, they should create visual interest and provide a display place for project information about local history and culture (approx 1 sq ft), a map (approx 4-5 sq ft) and a space to accommodate printed fliers and public event postings (approx 4-5 sq.ft).

Possible themes can include, but are not limited to, the natural environment of the Connecticut River watershed, New England mill town architecture, industry along the hydropower canal, or Western Massachusetts Native American presence.

Sculptures must withstand severe outdoor weather with wind, cold and hot temperatures for up to three years and should be low maintenance and durable. Site locations present a wide variety of viewer options, from people walking and shopping, to theater, art and restaurant patrons to those living, working, recreating and visiting in Turners Falls. Site locations include the 'common' at Peskeomskut Park, the main intersection at the corner of Avenue A and Third Street, and the canalside bike path near Unity Park.

Please visit http://www.turnersfallsriverculture.blogspot.com for site pictures and a complete description and history of Turners Falls.

Three pieces will be chosen. The budget for each commission will be $3,300, ($1,000 for artist's fee and $2,300 for construction materials, delivery, assembly and installation requirements.) Any adult artist 21 years or older may enter artwork concepts for consideration by the selection committee. All proposals must include:

1) a resume and artist statement
2) a one page written description of the work and enough simple drawings of the concept to give an accurate visual impression of the finished work.
3) plan for construction and installation
4) disc containing a maximum of 10 digital jpeg images of recent work.
5) A detailed budget of how funds will be utilized.
6) Optional self addressed stamped envelope for return of materials
7) Up to three relevant reviews, essays or catalogues (optional).

Any information to be viewed on a computer must be PC compatible. A selection committee made up of Project RiverCulture partners, town officials and outside jurors specializing in the field will review proposal submissions and background information to select the winning proposals.

Project timeline:
July 12th deadline for proposal submissions
July 26th award notifications
September 26th installation of selected work


Proposals and related materials should be sent to RiverCulture Project, One Avenue A, Turners Falls, MA 01376. Proposals will not be accepted via email. For questions and to respond with interest, please email Lisa Davol at riverculture@montague.net

June 9 through the end of August
SNEAK PREVIEW: A Gallery A3 group show

Exhibition dates: June 9 through the end of August
Gallery hours: Monday Friday, 8:30 am to 4 pm
Place: Oresman Gallery, Smith College, Northampton

This summer Oresman Gallery at Smith College will host an exhibit by members of Gallery A3, the Amherst art cooperative. The group lost their exhibition space last year, but now has plans to reopen in a new location. In the meantime, Smith has offered Oresman Gallery for a summer exhibition entitled "Sneak Preview." The show offers a view of each artist's work and a promise of exhibits to come.

"Sneak Preview" opens on June 9 and runs through August. Oresman Gallery is located at Smith College, Northampton, in Hillyer Hall at the Brown Fine Arts Center. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:00 p.m.

I would do this just for the food credit, yet such a worthy purpose
620_last ("Last Supper" by Leonardo Da Vinci, "Julia Child" by Amy Johnquest, Photoshop trickery by Mo.)

A Call to Artists!

The Green Street Café announces a call for proposals by artists interested in creating a two-dimensional wall mural to be located inside the Green Street Café on Green Street in Northampton, MA

GOAL ­ The goal of this project is to highlight the decision of Smith College and the City of Northampton to discontinue Green Street in favor of the development and construction of an engineering complex.

SITE DESCRIPTION ­ The wall chosen for the project is located inside the Green Street Café and is 28¹ L x 8.5¹ H in size.
There is overhead lighting and large street-side windows that flood the space with light. The wall surface is painted plaster.

SELECTION PROCESS ­­ A panel of three judges, Michael Kusek, Bob Antil and Steve Calcagnino will review submissions and select the winning proposal. The winner will be announced on July 5th.

SELECTION CRITERIA ­ All proposals will be judged on the following: 1) artistic merit 2) suitability of the proposal in relation to the project goals and the artist's ability to carry out the proposal within budget and on schedule.

ARTIST ELIGIBILITY ­ Artists from all walks of life are invited to submit proposals. Excluded from participation are staff members at Green Street Café, members of the mural project and their families.

APPLICATION PROCESS ­ All applications must include:
A.) A one-page written explanation of the concept.
B.) Sketches or other visuals that convey the proposed mural idea. If submitting a CD or other digital media, all should be Apple compatible.
C.) Up to ten 35mm slides in a plastic sheet or 8.5² x 11² portfolio sheets. Slides/portfolio should be labeled with the artists name.
D.) A resume/CV that lists any previous public art experience or commissions.
E.) All artists are strongly urged to visit the Green Street Café and pick up additional information and background materials.
Hours of operation are M-F 10AM to 10PM; please call to make an appointment at 413.586.1650.
F.) For materials to be returned, all artists should include a stamped, self-addressed envelope

BUDGET ­ A budget of $350.00 covers the costs of all materials with $1,000 cash for the artist, plus an additional award of a $1,000 food credit at the Café

Submission deadline: June 30th
Proposal Review & Artist Notification: July 7th
Project Start July 10th to be completed by October 1
Unveiling: October 13th during Northampton Arts Night Out

get a job!

Arcadia Players, Inc. is looking for one or several part time workers. We are seeking:

Office Manager
Oversee all office functions at the South Congregational Church Office in South Amherst
c. 20 hours/week

Box Office Staff
Concert Ticket Sales and Distribution

Database Manager
Oversee Access Database including Entering Data and Making Reports

Financial Manager
Oversee banking functions and management of QuickBooks

Administrative Assistant
Answer telephone, write letters, distribute promotional and fundraising materials, order printing and mailing and other office duties

Please contact the Arcadia Players Office, P.O. Box 387, Northampton, MA 01061 with your cover letter, resume and names and telephone numbers of 3 references

August 4, 5 & 6 from 9 am to 4 pm
botanical workshop Botanicals in Watercolor, August 4, 5 & 6 from 9 am to 4 pm at the Barbara Johnson Studio School, Easthampton $195

Contact bjohnson2001@charter.net for registration.
Class size is limited to ten. A three day workshop with Camille Doucet, Botanical artist from Plantations at Cornell University, President of local Guild of Scientific Illustrators of the Finger Lakes.

The workshop will be an overview of flower painting in watercolor, pen and ink, colored pencils and gouache and techniques like glazing, texturing, masking, drybrush and wet on wet. Introduction to color theory.
There is an emphasis on scientific botanical illustration as a style and as an excellent practice of good drawing.

July 7th and 8th at The Bookstore & Restaurant. Really good sheet.




Call for Artists: Outdoor Public Art Exhibition

The City of Pittsfield's annual Artscape outdoor public art exhibition program invites outdoor sculptors and public art creators to submit work for consideration for the 2006-07 Artscape exhibition in downtown Pittsfield. Pittsfield is the geographic and population center of the culturally-rich Berkshires of western Massachusetts, where over two million visitors come each year. A $500 honorarium is provided to artists whose work is selected for display.
Application deadline is August 1, so don't delay, click here for complete guidelines!


Exhibition Opportunity
Child's Play: irony & consequence

The Student Union Gallery at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst is seeking proposals for an upcoming multi-genre exhibit in October 2006 on the theme of Child's Play: irony & consequence. The exhibit will be held from October 23rd - 27th. The opening will integrate a brief cross-genre reading on the theme.
We invite artists to submit artworks in any medium or format-photography, sculpture, video, painting, interdisciplinary.

Submissions must include:
1. Artist's statement.
2. Current resume.

3. Self-addressed stamped envelope (materials will not be returned without a SASE).
4. Up to 3 slides (numbered and labeled with artist's name, title of work, date, media, dimensions of work, and red dot indicating top of slide); or digital slides on a CD; or CD for audio submissions; or DVD for video submissions.
Deadline for entries: August 1st, 2006. Entry Fee: $5.00 (checks payable to: JC Tibbo/INSIDEOUT ARTS)

Shipping: Artists will be notified by September 1st. Artists are responsible for shipping/delivering their artwork to the gallery Friday, October 20th (12-6pm) and retrieving their work Saturday, October 28th (12-6pm).

Installation: All work MUST be received ready for installation with proper hanging devices ATTACHED and instructions where necessary.

Agreement: We reserve the right to photograph accepted works for publicity and educational purposes. We reserve the right to reject works that differ from the slide. We are not responsible for works left after the pick-up date.
Submit entry materials to: JC Tibbo/INSIDEOUT ARTS
18 Dewey Court
Northampton, MA 01060
413-552-6462 insideoutarts@verizon.net


June 26, 2006 - The U.S.-Japan Creative Artists' Program provides five-month residencies in Japan for individual creative artists in any discipline. While in Japan, artists work on an individual project that may include the creation of new work or pursuit of other artistic goals. When planning the stay abroad, artists should consider how exposure to Japan's contemporary or traditional cultures can influence their creative work. Five awards are made annually. This program is administered jointly by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission. Guidelines are available at http://www.jusfc.gov.

July 15
The International Center of Photography's W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography is a $30,000 cash award with an additional $5,000 in fellowship money to be awarded at the discretion of a jury. The grant is awarded to photographers whose past work and proposed project follow the traditions of photographic essayist W. Eugene Smith. For full information on how to apply, visit http:www.smithfund.org/.

July 17
The Newark Museum's residency program is open to visual artists in the areas of fiber and textiles, clay, fine metals, jewelry and metalsmithing, enameling, sculpture, painting, photography, printmaking, and works on paper. The residency provides the opportunity to use the museum's professional facilities for creating new work. An honorarium of $1,000 will be paid at the conclusion of the residency. For more information about the program and on how to apply, visit http://www.newarkmuseum.org/.

A nice offer from Joe Blumenthal of Downtown Sounds who generously would like to have artists display their work there. (Downtown Sounds, 21 Pleasant St., Northampton, next to the Pleasant St. Theater)

The window is quite large, and has three panels, each one about 6' X 6', and is about 24" deep. It is exposed to intense sunlight in the morning; the heat of the sun plus the narrowness of the window make it inappropriate to display most musical instruments.

However, the sunlight doesn't hurt most artwork since it's only exposed for a month to six weeks. I normally pay $150 to the artist who installs the window, and work out a consignment agreement for the store to take a percentage of the price if the art is for sale and we manage to sell some of it.

The artwork can be freestanding, lean against a wall at the back of the window that's about three feet high, or (if it's not heavy) be hung from the ceiling.
It's great when the art can have a musical theme, but it's not necessary. Because of its highly visible commercial location, the work should have a mainstream appeal and not have themes which could be offensive. Small pieces don't work well since the window is so large.

If one of your readers is interested in displaying in this context, please have them contact me via email: musician@downtownsounds.com, or via phone at 413- 586-0998.

New York City Department of Cultural Affairs + Image Registry The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) is the largest public funder of arts and culture in the country. The Percent for Art artist slide registry is an up-to-date and important component of the Program. The registry is consulted by the architects, panelists, and City agencies for each project. The Percent for Art staff prepares a slide presentation from the registry for each panel meeting. The registry is open to any professional visual artist residing in the United States. Deadline: On-going Information: http:www.nyc.gov/html/dcla/html/panyc/slide_reg.shtml

Pithy Sayings as Suggested by a Poetry Calendar


They dreamed of collecting a dance from the Costume...
Love is like the fish
that became a popsicle
No matter how much you try
grey is not a shade of apple
You have to be serious when
you spin sizzle a bloom
There is no known match
between a squirrel and light
A nice snap of blue
fills out any collection
You can only play a flower and shell game
on the beach for so long.............
There is something quite natural
about a fire buttered cold
Not long afterwards; the hot colored sky
started to seethe ice
Easy grass can make a memory
cry on a cyclical stem
Even an artist will group
weather with a petal
Beware the orange and gold
just above medium fair
Whenever you take a pen in your hand
close down any open drawbridge
Time can be held in an open palm
when carefully bathed in exuberance

.... but the shed was completely empty by then.

This week it is Mo posing as dwight:
I've Heard the Mermaids Singing

This is probably my most favorite film evereverever. They have it at Pleasant Street Video in the GLBT section but you won't be able to get it for a week because after my life-changing Benign Girl experience I needed to see it yet again so I have it.

The title is a reference to a line in T. S. Eliot's poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" that reads: "I have heard the mermaids singing each to each / I do not think that they will sing to me."

From IMDB:
"This canadian masterpiece staring Sheila McCarthy is one of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen. McCarthy's character will touch young starving artists in many ways. The film which is very low key has some amazing scenes that keep your eyes on the screen and your mouth wide open. I feel this movie is very misunderstood by some critics. It cannot be taken too literally. the "daydream sequences" are just that, daydreams. They are there to show you polly's (McCarthy) true inner structure. If you can find this movie, and you like artsy movies that make you think, buy it. Don't bother renting it, because you will just end up buying it anyway."

Previous picks:

"An inconvenient truth" with Al Gore.
Ellie Parker
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeousie.
"Nine Lives."
The Girl in the Cafe
Travellers and Magicians


OLD NEWSLETTERS ARE POSTED HERE. TO SUBMIT AN EVENT: Simply email me with text and an image. The image should be no larger than 300 pixels on its longest side. Please send loose text. I won't retype all the text if it is contained within the image. Just type it into an email so I can cut and paste it into a newsletter. My typing skills are not stellar. Please submit entries by Monday for inclusion in that week's (Tuesday) newsletter. Thanks.

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