Friday, January 30, 2009

kick the dog syndrome

Did anyone else see Blagojevich scold the woman, I believe it was his wife, as he was on his way to yesterday’s Illinois State Senate hearing? She ran to the door, holding a baby and apologized. You can read her lips, “I’m sorry.” He’s derisively telling her there is ice on the stoop stairs (in Chicago!!) as cameras flash. Hope he didn’t return home from a long day at work (hearing day) angry, and scold more, you know, kick the dog syndrome.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

bubbly day

champagne contributions, I mean, campaign contributions

Lilly Ledbetter Act

I tell you what, it is difficult to find out how much less you are making than the others. Especially in light of today's National Outsourcing temping.

When solicited Americans' thoughts on changes we need to make as a country, I threw this bone in:
Want to really show the world what we, Americans, are made of?
Want to really scare them?

Pass the Equal Rights Amendment.

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

Put the negotiated deal, made pre-1920 to allow black men to vote and then, working together, get women's rights via the ERA, taken care of, put to rest, Constitutionally.

Show the world, "take this!" We, the United States of America, honor our women standing with our men and our men standing with our women, and ALL that this stands for ... We honor the balance of the feminine with the masculine.

See? It's written in our Constitution of the UNITED States of AMERICA.

Thank you.

I kind of laugh today. I met the last two living suffragists. Alice Paul (watch the movie Iron Jawed Angels to get an idea of what it took to get American women the right to vote; forced feedings are truly ugly) gave me, my mom and sisters quick mentoring in how to effectively lobby our Senators. I was in High School at the time. We drove to DC. My Senator laughed as I recited the amendment. It takes longer for me to make a man's dollar, a man's recreation, a man's retirement, a man's food. So, Best Wishes Lilly Ledbetter Act!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Yo Ho Ho

Yo Ho Ho
You and Me
Little Brown Jug
How I Love Thee!

this brown jug is fragrance

more on exceptional juices

  throughout this site 

Illustration: Perfume Bottle Lura Astor

Monday, January 26, 2009

Declaration of Independence

Thomas Jefferson often told how the Declaration of Independence of the United States had been ratified and signed so quickly ...

The committee overseeing the document had their rooms near a stable, and members were much annoyed by constant swarms of biting flies who were adept at getting into their leggings.

So impatient did the members become, waving at the flies and running from the aggressions, that their hurry to be done with the pestilential place insured the Declaration’s signing.

- Bartlett’s Book of Anecdotes eds. Clifton Fadiman, Andre Bernard

I wonder, what is the equivalent today - a perceived pestilence of journalism? no money from lobbyists? disasters? hope? transit of Pluto?

Today I wear the appropriately named Jacomo fragrance Paradox.

photo:  United States Declaration of Independence. Fascimile on velum, one of 201 produced in 1823 by William J. Stone from a copper plate engraving of the original 1776 manuscript.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

WorkShops For YOU

Creativity & Imagination
Art & Writing
Collage ~ vision & dreams

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Holly Street Installation

Photographer Stanley Newton took this photograph of me sitting in front of my window for the Holly Street Art Windows Oldtown Pasadena, CA 1998ish 

A series of windows were reserved for art displays and I took a multi-media installation tack. 

My favorite moment from this experience was driving by to see the windows glowing in the night.

I saw a father stooped by his young son who was pointing here! there! Look! and the dad did. It warmed my heart.

Frags & Fumes™

Once I read Chandler Burr's book The Emperor of Scent: A True Story of Perfume and Obsession, I was hooked. Because of his story of Luca Turin's use of metaphor to explain the science and art of fragrance, scent, perfume and laundry soap, my scientific, artistic, sensory mind kicked in. A modern understanding of an old art form!

Thus began my research, and the archiving of a library of smells and chords into my imagination. The way musicians can hear notes in their heads, an artist can compose with color in the imagination, a choreographer choreographs in the mind's eye, someone involved with fragrance, such as perfumers, can smell fragrance in the mind's nose.

Thus began my journey seeking out the smells I read about and along the way I found a new way to enjoy history, my readings, and art. I met new people, discovered dusty bottles with resinous elixir left in them, and most importantly, a filter was found and integrated into how I move through life.

Scent informs so much of our experience. Life definitely becomes more entertaining when scent can be accessed consciously. An analysis can take place where you play the notes of scent like a musician plays, or hears, scales or chords or fragments of song, all this from the vapors of sillage while riding an escalator. You can smell the artistry of perfumers, how they sculpt the air with color through the medium of scent. Metallic, pastel, smooth, chrome, static, smoky, red then blue, vaporous, snakelike, all these are possible with the painting and sculpting of scent.

Ever since I was a kid I've been crushing leaves and peels and petals into my hands and putting the pills into pockets. Now
I have a language with which to better understand the intelligence and humor transmitted by smells, captured in scent.

Written under the influence of Pamplelune Guerlain Aqua Allegoria in the air (doesn't work on my skin), Dirty English juicy couture on wrist, Highland Lilac on my fingertips, lapsang souchong in the black tea.

make a splash

Woodstock 1969

NY Post August 20, 1969  That's me, top left, caption: some kept the starry look.
When you have 250,000 meditating together, that was some levitation!
And, in a crowd twice that size, I kept bumping into people I knew. Chaos Theory?

Woodstock = an uplifting experience. Young, hippie, a performing dancer, an artist and deeply affected by music, the music. Loving fashion, mixed textures and colors, velvet with lace, brocade and denim. With mid-thigh length hair, mom had already taken us on many marches and vigils for peace and civil rights. I wrote, listened and still tend to see the future. 
Dad, commutes into NYC on the train with our neighbor, a fellow commuter who looks over at the paper and asks, "Why, isn't that your daughter?" Dad looks, "Why, yes, it is." 
In my Woodstock Essays. You'll read about the suction effect of knee deep red mud mixed with sharp crystalline sands and chards as you move through it listening to Canned Heat, the Who, jimi hendrix, Grace Slick, Melanie, Richie Havens, Janis Joplin and all the others. Music to the horizon, wet and rainy.
For a crowd that size, surprisingly gentle within the rocking. People shared.
... and there was color.

Rhapsody for the Lake

Chicago Daly Plaza 1976
courtesy of the Chicago Tribune

I was one of 250 artists selected for a one-year artist-in-residence grant representing the City of Chicago on a CETA-AIR program, based on WPA projects, during the Carter administration.

The outreach of this program was vast. Artists of all media collaborated. We performed everywhere. Outside, such as here, was a joy. The balance is different when your focus can go out into the city's architecture, the sky, and the huge, wonderful sculpture, in addition to the live audiences.

This dance was created in honor of Lake Michigan! First performed at the very end of Navy Pier. The program cleaned up Navy Pier, put in a Summer Arts Camp for underprivileged children. At summer's end, a weekend of performances and art showings highlighted their triumphs. The Pier has been culturally active ever since.

My memories include: the sound technician pulling me aside one afternoon when I was sweating away, rehearsing at the end of the pier to the crashing lake waves on the jetty rocks, visible through the large windowed arena. Come here, listen, he said, and clapped, showing me where to stand to hear the one dead spot in the place.

Another day I finished rehearsing - this was an incredibly strenuous dance with huge leaps out of a lengthy turning in place to create a vortex of motion and stillness, using ballet, modern dance and Tai Chi - to the applause of the janitors. That brought a huge smile! They complemented me, "She's a pro. She's the one rehearsing." I was one of those performers Fred Astaire talked about, the ones who love the rehearsing and practice as much, but differently than, the performance.

I used live musicians whenever possible. The Navy Pier performance combined a piano piece transcribed for xylophone and viola.

During the CETA program the artists went into all the public schools, including the magnet schools for the performing arts and for the deaf, mental care homes, senior homes, day care centers and more, teaching and performing. It was magical and a lot of hard work.

We created Beautiful Chicago a theater dance piece that was performed about, and for ... beautiful Chicago! Our collective Valentine to the City we love/d.

And, I got to work with video artists, continuing collaborations after this program. We were asked to push the limits of what Sandin synthesis could do and ended up winning world wide awards for Stereopticon and more. These were video techniques that ended up in later years in MTV. The other dancer in the videos, Linda, then moved to join the Dance Theater of Harlem in NYC. We recorded our musician friend's music and used recorded music, including Alice Coltrane's Satchitinanda. Memories, anyone? The colors and effects we pushed in these videos were cutting edge, wonderful and ahead of their time. I remember people not "getting it" and then 13 years later people "got it". Ah, art.

Begin Again

Mister Lui's contagious laugh was more than a belly laugh ... it was a deep-rooted tan tien laugh!

Man, he could do a Snake Creeps Down!
seen here with the UNLV Tai Chi Chuan Club 1983

inch by inch

the practice of inch by inch

breath by breath


From January 1975 until his death in January 1995, I knew and worked with Hubert Lui.

Beginning as his student, I trained as a class assistant, and once I began teaching, flew him in several times a year as a Guest Teacher, Lecturer and Inspirer.

His students, from around the globe, met for yearly Tai Chi Chuan Reunions in San Francisco, where he and his wife, Elsie, had retired from Chicago. 

Tai Chi Chuan Reunion San Francisco 1985

Same movement
Pull Down  

Pasadena, CA 2000
photo: Miguel Munoz

Tai Chi Reunion San Francisco 1983 or '84
I loved practicing in this city grove of eucalyptus trees.

The air was delicious ... fresh scrubbed from morning fog and mentholated with the leaves.

Hubert Lui was a great believer in the group energy of the classroom and outdoors practice. I too experience this in my practices as teacher, student, guest lecturer.



Begin again

Thousands of times practice

Tai Chi Chuan in Las Vegas, Nevada
throughout the 1980's

Instructor Lura Astor

Mister Lui, you live in our hearts
and in our practice

Friday, January 9, 2009

intimate ally

Translated from English into English

The voraciousness of love
the fiesta, the fiasco

The audaciousness of
kindness, the soulfulness, the grin

The chagrin of thoughtlessness
the lost moment, the lost touch

The consciousness of the future
the hope, the help

- Intimate Ally
- by Lura Astor

Illustration: Hearterial Lura Astor

Viscous by Lura Astor

Thursday, January 8, 2009




continuous surprise
meetings of
juxtaposition and serendipity.

Juxtaposing elements frames the previously invisible, allowing us to see something that has always been there, but the attention was elsewhere.

Juxtaposition as the core of collage, can smooth, surprise, transport, humor, and wake us up.
collage: Music Circuitry Lura Astor


is a way to tap into the unknown and have it made clear.i
Is a way to make sense of feelings, confusions, pure beauty, oddities, complexities and simplicities. 
is a way to appreciate deep beauty, the beauty where assymetries, wordlessnesses, and zits exist.

Living life as an artist is a way of allowing life to imprint one's self.

To imprint my s*elf is signing one's soul signature across life.

Partial Bio

Growing up in a stimulating environment with exposure to the arts and artists, both in the home and with access to the galleries and museums of New York City and New England, I am particularly grateful to the art teachers in the public school system who influenced me from childhood on, and to public libraries.

Beginning as a child, I was a performing dancer and a long dance/theater career included choreography, directing, teaching, and costume, set and lighting design, techniques of improvisation from Living Theater, Viola Spolin’s Theater Games, Dream Theater, and more. I’ve worked with terrific artists from many fields.

Though I studied jazz and jazz piano with some greats in Las Vegas, I am not a player! it deepened my love of the craft. One teacher shook his head with conundrum, “You can dance to 9/8 time (my choregraphy/performance to Carmen McRae singing the great lyrics to Dave Brubeck’s Take Five) but you have a hard time with it at the piano. Hearing his trio was like hearing 3D chess being played live.

Work with whatever I get my hands on: time, space, materials and energy converge at the same address
acrylic, paper, fabric, canvas, wood, pen, ink, crayon, cray-pas, watercolor, fabric, papier mâché, plexiglass, driftwood, stones, hornets’ nests, beads, candles, feathers, carving foamcore, woodcuts, textiles, dye, linoleum cuts, hand built ceramics, fine thread wearable macrame, crewel work, knit, knit-lace, sew, grow vines up neon strings, masks, words, conceptual, installations.

Early work includes black and white photography, 8mm and super 8 film, early video. Even in those media I worked with superimposition, re-shooting film within the camera, utilizing film within video, and a variety of 2D and 3D projection “screens”.

Dream Artist consciously work with dreams, since childhood. I offer workshops on creative techniques to access one’s dreams, visions, daydreams and practical goals using images and words for fun and practical applications.

Harvesting dreams is as real as picking up seashells on a shore, stones off land, or hunting for empty birds’ or hornets’ nests; as well as getting insights into daily problems, the nitty gritty.

Love Wins!