Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Today in Dink Blog a selection of community-based writers respond to the Creative Cities Initiative and lingering discrimination.

Artists add colour to life

Creativity is getting a big boost in London, and I'm not just some connected guy churning stuff out for easy money! Creative City speaks for the Londoners who tell London's stories to Londoners, in all of the different and equally valid media and communities. The truths we must tell are so important that we lack both the time and temperament to hold jobs like ordinary people. But already, these grants have enriched our artistic lives. With my Creative City gift certificate, I have purchased the material for a piece that will bring many supposed truths into question, and have enough left over for a small celebratory crack cocaine binge before I start exploring the possibilities.

And Creative City has made so much possible. Local progressive volunteer coordinator Earnestine Hose and grant philanthropist partner Jami Ballantine joined forces to produce Kendrick Dinehart's controversial new Arts Project play, directed by author Iilleen Knknown. I was a little skeptical beforehand about the rumoured audience participation component of the performance, but I found myself chanting along by the middle of the third act. And that's the magic of the Creative City, the opportunity to step outside of things you'd normally never do.

Witnesses to this moving one-man drama, "Spare None", face the dilemma of a militant leader forced to choose between saving the life of a captured fellow militant being held in a doomed city, versus being faithful to orders, received in a dream, to obliterate all life in that city with a massive chemical weapon strike. If the friend is saved, then the letter of the vision is betrayed and all of the people he has killed in the past will count for nothing on Judgment Day. We follow his inner struggle and feel his pain. Transgendered actor and Creative Cities negotiation heavy Brutus Pine stars in this play, a twist on the American propaganda film "Saving Private Ryan" and the old folk tales of Sodem and Gomora, but on a more spiritual level.

My pottery, this eye-opening play, the excruciatingly transgressive "shouting art" performances of Gervie Muscato, the hip-hop styles of White Oaks-area rap gang 2 Shotz 2 Dead, and the gorgeous new spraypaint makeover of your wall were all made possible by the Creative City. Think about that if you're tempted to grumble when you pay your property taxes. Without art, you have nothing but the most corrupt White House of my lifetime.

Aloysius Krane is a visual artist specializing in transgressive pottery.

Make the right move with CMS

Sometimes, it causes intense social embarrassment. Other times, it brings maiming and death. In its wake it leaves ruined self-esteem, ruined property, ruined lives. Red wine glasses overturned on white bearskin, burning rubble where a building once stood, and unintentionally deleted files are among its least painful symptoms.

I'm talking about careless motion syndrome (CMS), the chronic disorder that causes one not to look where one is going or pay attention to what one is doing. The symptoms of CMS can cause great discomfort to the sufferer and to those with whom he interacts. As a result, in our society, those who suffer from this disorder have often felt alone, shunned, and blameworthy.

Stigmatized as "clumsy" for "refusing to watch where they're going", sufferers may repeatedly knock their heads on door frames or low ceilings, trip down a flight of stairs while trying to carry too many things at once, spill ink on a favourite book, or even break a leg while balancing in a weird way on a chair. Experts say they engage in such self-harming behaviour to kill the emotional pain of ridicule for being sufferers from CMS. Some estimate that up to 24,000 Londoners may have this disorder -- almost two thirds the number of weekly crack cocaine users in the city.

The increasing recognition of CMS as a cost to our beloved health care system and provincial funding of "Safe Spaces" harm reduction centres is also bringing increasing hope to sufferers and their worried people closest to them. An awareness campaign is in the works at the grassroots and NGO level to bring understanding of CMS to the primary school curriculum. Activist and CMS expert Polly Pott says the immediate priority is to require the new Family Health Teams to be trained by a CMS expert.

The next time someone pokes their pen out and accidentally writes on my shirt, I won't think "clumsy". I'll think, "CMS touches us all."

Chris Mealy is a statistician for the Ethnoscopy department of the Census Bureau of Canada.

1 Comment:

Pietr said...

Spekaing as a man who suffers fro PMS, I would just like to say that is is no laeughing matter.
Yuoi shouldn't make fun of MPOS suffererers.