Archive | September, 2014

Predatory Psychotherapists from Outer Space

Disabling the mind’s higher functions in the name of therapy.

The psychoanalyst had an agenda. Jonathan had been found to be too intelligent. Janice Williams, the therapist, had been told to use an intelligence reducing unit during the session. Janice’s commander, who went by a number and not a name — Alpha Centauri aliens didn’t use names — had ordered John’s intelligence reduced.

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Beautifully Composed Art with a Social Conscience

“Wet Night On Sutter Street.” A homeless person sleeps in a cardboard box outside an expensive clothing store in San Francisco on a rainy night. Painting by Christine Hanlon, oil on canvas, 20” by 32 1/3”

Christine Hanlon’s beautifully composed images of outcast souls struggling to survive in barren urban landscapes seem to be ripped from today’s news stories about increasing poverty in America. Yet, her deeply felt paintings also are timeless in their portrayal of classic themes explored by great painters through the ages.

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Artists Encounter the Poor in Image and Imagination with the Photography of Dorothea Lange

Today’s artists joined with Dorothea Lange to document the side of American life that is forced to live in the shadows — in the brush under an overpass. The writers in the Encounter with Lange project try to give voice to these images and to see the human faces of the poor.

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Shining New Light on the Desolate Streets of ‘The Other America’ — Dong Lin’s Photographs

A policeman tries to nudge awake a homeless man on the streets of San Francisco, but the man cannot be awakened. Photo by Dong Lin from his book One American Reality.

In one of Dong Lin’s chilling images, a policeman stops to nudge a homeless man lying on a San Francisco sidewalk, only to find he is already dead, just another accident statistic. The faceless fatalities in our midst are almost never seen. They live and die in a faraway place — the Other America.

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Photojournalism Hits the Streets: The Photography of Lydia Gans

A row of homeless men sitting on a San Francisco sidewalk. Photo by Lydia Gans

My sense of identification with the struggles and the dreams of people is as intense as ever. I am connecting with people right here in my neighborhood — the less visible people who are disabled or poor or homeless and whose images and stories need to be brought to public attention.

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Haunting Art Portrays the Human Face of the Poor

“Dumpster Dive” Art by Jonathan Burstein

Jonathan Burstein’s reveals the humanity of the homeless people, panhandlers, and down-and-out workers who appear in his paintings like saints walking among us unseen. His art is most beautiful and shot through with transcendence at those moments when it portrays people seemingly crushed to the earth by poverty and hopelessness.

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Berkeley Artists on the Fringe

cartoonist who is bound by a higher principle. Art by Ace Backwords

Artistic creativity arises from those trampled down by mainstream society. Artist Moby Theobald said, “There’s sort of a history of the starving artist. When a person is poor, they turn away from the outside world, or they feel turned away by the outside world; and so it maybe sparks their creativity.”

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An Invisible World Made Visible: The Art of Lenny Silverberg / Stirring Art from the Streets of Heartache and Loss

This close-up of a homeless man's face reveals the torment and suffering of a man sprawled on the sidewalk trying to live through a cold and fearful night. Art by Lenny Silberberg

Those on the street have been forced to live close to the bone of a profound and hidden meaning. In their presence, one is close to the truth of the terrifying yet liberating sense of transience which ought to teach us a generosity towards one another, a kind of care and love.

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The Poetic, Prophetic Art of Michael Creedon

Michael Creedon (at left) and Tim English speak at St. Mary’s Center in May 2008.

Michael Creedon poetically chronicled the lives of those exiled onto the cruel streets, until he himself fell victim to that same fate. His poetry was full of love and mercy for the poor and dispossessed, and expressed his deeply held belief that each one of those lives was of sacred worth.

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Writing for the Street Spirit: My 17 Year Journey

Writing for Street Spirit has awakened in me a sense of responsibility toward others. Street Spirit is a way for people silenced by big money and big media to have a voice.

Animal Friends: A Saving Grace for Homeless People

“I wrapped her in my jacket and promised I’d never let anybody hurt her again. And that’s my promise to her for the rest of her life. In my mind she’s a little angel that saved me as much as I saved her.”

A Testament to Street Spirit’s Justice Journalism

The game was rigged against the poor, but I will always relish the fact that Street Spirit took on the Oakland mayor and city council for their perverse assault on homeless recyclers. For me, that was hallowed ground. I will never regret the fact that we did not surrender that ground.

Tragic Death of Oakland Tenant Mary Jesus

Being evicted felt like the end of her life. As a disabled woman, she saw nothing ahead but a destitute life on the streets. She told a friend, “If I’m evicted tomorrow, I have no choice but to kill myself. I have no resources, no savings, no money, and nowhere to go.”

They Left Him to Die Like a Tramp on the Street

Life is sacred. It is not just an economic statistic when someone suffers and dies on the streets of our nation. It is some mother’s son, or daughter. It is a human being made in the image of God. It is a desecration of the sacred when that life is torn down.

Joy in the Midst of Sorrow in Santa Maria Orphanage

This amazing priest not only housed 300 orphaned children from the streets of Mexico City, but he also took care of 20 homeless elders in his own house and started a home for children dying of AIDS. Father Norman also ran a soup kitchen that fed many people in the village.