As some of you may recall, I introduced the Monkey Lung Cancer Awareness Association (MLCAA) early in this blog and have yet to provide any further updates, because, quite frankly, there were none!
A stunning development in the MLCAA has been made, an actual case of monkey lung cancer has been reported. Riveting.
Potentially a tall-tale recounted by a mischevious co-worker, this is the story of Riad, a Chimpanzee in Saudi Arabia kept by a young man who we’ll call Mohammed, 21 years old, a friend of a friend that Jeremy, my co-worker, met in college in Kansas.
According to Jeremy, the Chimpanzee was purchased as a baby and was 1-2 years old by the time he developed his smoking addiction and lung affliction.
Apparently, Mohammed at first shared cigarettes with his Chimpanzee pal, but over time Riad learned where to find the materials to roll his own cigarettes, and even learned how to light them himself and ended up chain smoking all day. Eventually Riad had to be chained up to prevent him from stealing and to curb his habit. It is reported that he preferred spliffs.
Not much information was given on Riad’s ailment, but apparently his health soon began to suffer, perhaps losing weight and appetite. Signs point to lung cancer but I have no further information to back that up. His health condition could also be due to loneliness, not having other Chimpanzees around, or malnutrition, among other things. In general, Chimpanzees are NOT recommended as pets because they are wild animals and have complex emotional and physical needs that the regular human, ie Mohammed, are not trained to know about or address. Also, purchasing a Chimpanzee is illegal and supports the Illegal Pet Trade which is responsible for the mistreatment of many wild, endangered animals.
Let this story serve as a lesson that #1 Chimpanzees are not meant to be pets, and #2, feeding them cigarettes can make them sick.
This message has been brought to you by the MLCAA, Brooklyn-Santa Cruz Chapter.
Up late after a relatively short day of work and a trip up to Harlem (I swoon) for an Earth Day art show put on in a fancy apartment, showcasing the work of another garbage artists named Daniel Lanzilotta.
He makes work using all sorts of plastic bits he finds strewn about the streets of the world:
This piece in particular includes Tropicana orange juice bottle caps (the orange disks) among other items he has collected around Brooklyn and melts down into funky shapes.
Lanzilotta uses art to speak about plastic pollution and how it is affecting our oceans. He mentioned lighters as being the number one harmful litter he finds due to the butane and other chemicals inside which leak out onto the street when they inevitably break, eventually making their way into our oceans after rains and such.
He is collecting 1,000 lighters for an upcoming piece which he described briefly and which I’ll keep an eye out for and report back about. Coincidentally, lighters have been on my radar lately, as I have been collecting lighters and Juul pods (e-cigarette butts) during my walks around Brooklyn and Manhattan. I recently assembled these colorful items a canvas (also found in the garbage). One man’s trash is another’s treasure, no? Take a look:
Ok, enough about me. The takeaway point I got from Lanzilotta as he spoke about his work is #1 don’t use plastic. Is that possible? Hope so!
As a group, the gallery attendees were encouraged to discuss ideas of things we could DO to raise awareness in society about plastic waste. The main idea I heard was to try to have a plastic free day, and to invite others to do so as well. May be harder said than done, considering most of our clothes, our shoes, our brooms, our toothbrushes, etc etc have plastic in them. I even heard plastic is now being found in salt chrystals…so we are eating it. Oy vey.
Well, lets stay calm. Remember, it’s all about baby steps. Identifying the items in our lives that are made of plastic and slowly replacing them with non-plastic products is a good way to go. Doesn’t have to be an overnight transition! Baby steps…
So, to close for the night I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Earth Day.
This year marks the 49th celebration of Earth Day. To commemorate the day, Jane Gooddall released a video wishing everyone a happy day. In the video she thanks us for even thinking about Earth Day and encourages everyone to think about our “blue and green planet” everyday, to “make a commitment as individuals to do all we can to get together with other like-minded individuals so that we can ensure a healthier planet for future generations.” So, here’s to doing that for the rest of 2019 and beyond!
And now to really close it off, some tap videos!
Leo Sandoval, Artist in Residence at the American Tap Dance Foundation and member of Dorrance Dance at the Something’s Afoot New Choreography Showcase this past Saturday:
And me and my teacher Christina Carminucci at ATDF last week, working on a piece Christina is choreographing for this class for the adult showcase in June. The song is called Stormy Weather by Oscar Peterson. Enjoy!
Oh, and I saw this the other day and liked it as a message to stand up, sit down, speak up for what we believe is right:
This past Thursday was the late, great, crazy Queen of Soul Nina Simone’s birthday. I was lucky enough to catch this celebration on the radio, hearing many songs she recorded that I’d never heard before. So good!
I’m not sure when I first heard Ms. Simone’s work, but have grown to really love and enjoy her music over the past few years, since one of my favorite tap teachers (Derek Grant) used this song for an improv exercise in a class. This was the song:
Another favorite teacher, protégé of Mr. Grant, the young and always so lovely Chirstina Carminucci, used the following song in a class once, which was great for whatever across the floor excercise we were learning at the time that got me all turned around, as usual. This was that song: (ignore the smoking, its bad mmmmkay)
And another great example of Nina Simone in a live recorded performance:
So good! Ok ok, one more video which I love because it uses glitter! Plus it will give you a visual for Christina Carminucci (red pants), a dancer that I’ll likely be mentioning in the future because she performs a lot and is just great:
Alright, next topic:
Fire Safety for DIY Spaces
Tonight I went to a free talk hosted by an NYC artist and fire safety expert Tara McManus. I’m mentioning this because I learned some basic fire prevention tips that I’d like to share with you in case you don’t know, and especially if you’re like me and reside in communal spaces that may or may not follow official codes but want to be safe.
#1 Fire Extinguishers: know where your fire extinguishers are and check them frequently (maybe once/month) to make sure they have pressure. It is important to keep them in a place near an exit as opposed to in a dead-end space like a bedroom; you want to be able to spray the fire as you are making your exit, as opposed to getting stuck in a bedroom.
#2 Extension chords: if you’re plugging in equipment or appliances like heaters that take a lot of energy, plug them into wall outlets and disperse them, so they’re not all plugged into the same outlet. If you have to plug something like a heater into an extension chord, make sure you use a chord meant for higher powered appliances, as opposed to the dinky 2 pronged ones. Also, unravel the chords as opposed to keeping them in a coil (in a coil the chords will get hotter and are more likely to catch fire). And finally, if using multiple extension chords, do not mix 2 pronged chords with 3 pronged chords.
Those are the two main things I think are useful for anyone to know…here is a link to more information if you’re hungry for it: Fire Safety Resources.
Which leads me to my next point:
**E-waste Art: Model of NYC by Zayd Menk
The Jane Gooddall Institute (JGI) has released a new campaign to encourage people across the globe to become more aware of the impacts of technology on wildlife. That’s what I’ve been talkin’ bout! This campaign is called “The Forest Calls” and I’ll include a snippet from their latest email update to clue you in:
The forest is calling, can you hear it? It’s been a long time since you’ve listened – really listened – to its call. What is it saying? It’s a faint mummer, but if you try you can still hear it’s message: It’s saying that our endless consumption and reliance on new technology is silencing ecosystems, humans and wildlife. It’s saying that you are the only hope the forests have. The forest is calling, and the power is in your hands to answer the call.
The international technology industry is devastating human and wildlife communities, while destroying vital habitats, particularly in the Congo Basin in Africa. Right now, you can do something about it. JGI is launching ‘The Forest is Calling’, a campaign to inspire action around recycling, reduced consumption and extending the useful life of used electronics. The annual campaign will culminate with Mobile Recycling Day on February 26th, getting JGI’s friends and supporters around the world to help protect chimpanzees, people, other species and their habitats.
So, if you’ve got any old, broken, un-used phones tucked away somewhere, February 26th: Mobile Recycling Day is a decent choice of day to recycle them, or at least research how/where to do that and get the ball rolling. Also, its a good time to think about if you really need a new phone or if your current phone can still serve you. The Chimps will benefit from your conservation efforts as will the chimp part of you (ecopsychology concept to be expanded upon).
More info about The Forest is Calling can be found here.
That’s all, have fun out there, be safe, be creative, and locate your fire extinguishers!