Monday, November 20, 2006

An Nou Allé + Donadio on Literary Feuds + Artists' Stamps

Here we go again...the Blogger server has been down for much of the afternoon...sheesh! Come on Google, what the hell is going on?

An Nou Allé
Louis-Georges TinA while ago I wrote about the remarkable Louis-Georges Tin (at right, the founder of International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) and a leading figure in CRAN (Conseil Représentatif des Associations Noires en France), the first network of Black activist organizations in France. Another organization that Tin has founded is An Nou Allé: Comité Gay et Lesbienne Antille & Guyane/Association des NoirEs LGBT en France. An Nou Allé, as the creole name suggests, is an activist, umbrella organization that not only champions the lives of African Diasporic LGBT people in France, but also calls attention to and organizes protests of various kinds while also serving as a clearinghouse for important LGBT-related information. The organization hosts rallies, meetings, and a listserve.

Some of An Nou Allé's recent actions include a protest at the offices of the Partie Socialiste, which just nominated the telegenic, Tony Blairesque Ségolène Royal as its presidential candidate, to call out and denounce George Frêche, the former mayor of France's very diverse southern city, Marseille, for his racist comments about the French national soccer squad. The organization also met with the Socialist Party's Secretary for Overseas Departments, Victorin Lurel, to present memoranda calling for the party's support in combatting government-sanctioned homophobia in places such as Guadéloupe, Martinique and New Caledonia. The organization also called again for the release of three young Cameroonian men who were imprisoned for a year's term for the "crime" of homosexuality in February 2006.

Oh--and they note with excitement that Noah's Arc will run on PinkTV this upcoming January. There's a lot more on the An Nou Allé website--but it's all in French. Unfortunately they don't yet have an English-language page.

Literary Feuds
My colleague Reg Gibbons forwarded me a link to Rachel Donadio's piece, "The Art of the Feud," from yesterday's New York Times Book Review. The title is somewhat deceptive, because rather than discussing literary feuds (of which there have been quite a few throughout history), it's really an American-centric piece about the negative responses certain writers have had because of negative reviews of their books. In almost none of the cases does Donadio really discuss "feuds" per se, or even the kinds of publicly recognized, ongoing contempt, disdain, enmity, and envy that certain writers hold for others. Well, except for the anecdote about how Richard Ford spat on Colson Whitehead several years after Colson had unfavorably reviewed one of Ford's short story collections. This story is very much in keeping with another story I once heard about how Ford--whose two novels The Sportswriter and Independence Day I think are excellent--responded to a negative reviews by a young writer in a university newspaper. Yet in the other cases Donadio mentions, I have to wonder whether the "feuds" really qualify as such; does Salman Rushdie really dislike John Updike, or was Rushdie's response to Updike just that? Does Rick Moody have a feud with Dale Peck, who once called Moody "the worst writer of his generation" in his review of Moody's Black Veil (and I must point out that any writer who can produce a story like "Demonology," in Demonology, 2001, ranks as one of the more talented writers of his or her generation), or might it be the case that whatever particular feelings Moody has for Peck as a response of that infamous "Black Veil" review, he's gone on with his life as has Peck? Is there anyone's work that Thomas Wolfe does like or consider to be on his aesthetic level? What does one call the mutual and often intense disdain many "formalist" poets have for many poets whose work falls into the "language" poetry camp, and vice versa, outside of a few notable figures? And what about uniformly strict reviewers such as the ones involved with Cosmoetica, who regularly go for the gusto? Are the feuds fiercer in the poetry world than in the fiction world, where the opportunity for commercial success is so much greater? I had rather hoped based on the title that we might get some accounts of some of the more famous past and contemporary feuds, but alas, no such luck, which on another level is probably for the best. (And speaking of caustic reviews, Michiko Kakutani carves up Pynchon's new novel severely, just in time for Thanksgiving. Against the Day indeed.) These things surface anyways down the road.

Artists' Postage Stamps
Have you had the desire to create stamps? If you answered yes, NURTUREart has a project for you:

Dear NURTUREart Registry Artists, I thought this open call would interest you:

Cabinet magazine is currently accepting proposals for artist-designed postage stamps to be included in a book coming out in the fall of 2007. Each of the 15 artists included in the book will design a full sheet of perforated, full-color adhesive stamps (not valid for mailing, of course). Each sheet will accommodate between 40 and 60 stamps, and the design of each stamp can be different.

The project is funded through the Greenwall Foundation's Oscar M. Ruebhausen Commission. The Foundation's arts program focuses on the creation of new work and emerging artists in the NYC area. In keeping with the Foundation's guidelines, approximately half the artists represented in the book will be emerging artists based in New York City (from any of the five boroughs). A panel will select the emerging artists from among proposals responding to this call. The remaining artists in the book will be commissioned directly by the panel.

Proposals from NYC-based emerging artists must be received at the Cabinet office by December 1, 2006, and should include:
- a statement about your intended project (500 words max).
- 3-4 supporting sketches and images of the proposed project (in color or b/w).
- 3-4 images from past projects that you'd like the panel to know about (these need not be related to the stamp project). Each can have an explanatory caption, if needed.
- a CV.

Please send all proposals to Cabinet magazine, 55 Washington Street, # 327, Brooklyn, NY 11201. All material must be printed out. We cannot mail things back; please do not include any slides or original materials.
Selected artists will be notified by January 15 and the finalized projects are due on May 1, 2007. All included artists will receive an honorarium. To learn more about the book, visit hp To learn more about the Greenwall Foundation, visit

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