Palabras Ajenas [The Words of Others], of León Ferrari

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(Redcat is located on the third parking floor of the Disney Center in Los Angeles)

Dear friends: I have been invited to participate in the collective reading of Palabras Ajenas [The Words of Others], of León Ferrari, at REDCAT at the Disney Center in Los Angeles after they interviewed me. They sought activists in the LA area in a letter sent to Vietnam Vets Against War (VVAW) that I have been a member of since 1968 and volunteer to respond to letters to them asking for interviews with members. I will read the words taken down in history of LBJ collected by these remarkable people. The group of readers will comprise, apart from some VVAW members, art professors, journalists, artists, students, and activists from Los Angeles community as well.

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(Another view of the Disney Center)

They thanked me for sending my bio that revealed my civil rights background as a lawyer for 34 years after leaving the Navy. Human and civil rights were also at the center of Ferrari's career, a position that got accentuated when the military government murdered his son during the dictatorship in Argentina.

 

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(Christ on a jet bomber artistic rendition [Westerns and Christian Civilization (1065) by Leon Ferrari)

 

Published in 1967, Palabras Ajenas [The Words of Others] was a direct response to news and images of the Vietnam War and the violent expansion of Western culture during the years of the Cold War. It was composed from quotations of the Bible, speeches from the President Lyndon Johnson, Pope Paul VI, and Nazi leaders, as well as reports from the Vietnam War taken from various newspapers and news outlets.

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       (Author of  Palabras Ajenas (Words of Others) 1967)

This project is curated and directed by Ruth Estévez, Miguel López and Agustín Díez Fischer, and Carmen Amengual as Associate researcher. The script of this reading has been translated into English by Antena (Jen Hofer with Tupac Cruz and Román Luján) after two years of work, looking into the original sources, and it has been adapted for the reading by Jose Antonio Sánchez, a Spanish scholar that has been writing extensively about political theater and Juan Ernesto Díaz, from Mapa Teatro (Mexico).

  PALABRAS AJENAS/THE WORDS OF OTHERS Performance/Public Reading Author: León Ferrari  Directors and curators: Agustín Diez Fischer, Ruth Estévez and Miguel López Script adaptation: José Antonio Sánchez Sound design: Juan Ernesto Díaz Research Associate: Carmen Amengual Staging: Juan Ernesto Díaz, José Antonio Sánchez and Ruth Estévez. Translation: Antena, published in 1967, is a literary collage composed by the Argentine artist León Ferrari as an extensive dialogue between real and fictional characters. President Lyndon Johnson, Hitler, Pope Paul VI, and God, among others, enter into conversation through quotations selected by the artist from history books, literature, the Bible, newspapers and magazines. redcat-leon-ferrari-artistic-work

By means of a cut-and-paste exercise, the artist correlates the atrocities of the Vietnam War, the horrors of Nazism, and the representations of redemption and punishment in Christian doctrine. The piece was composed during the Vietnam War, at a moment when the Cold War was used as a justification for the intervention in foreign countries by the American military, and the establishment of the cruelest dictatorships in Latin America, with the support of the CIA. The news from Vietnam, and specially the photographic documentation of torture on the field, mobilized the artist who began collecting and combining a huge amount of clippings. The result is an enormous oratorium conceived to be read in public. Through it, Ferrari raises his voice against the war using the words of others. 

 

(Artistic rendition by Leon Ferrari)

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(Many Cal Arts Students participate in The World of Others) 

The Words of Others is not a theater piece written to be represented, but a conceptual art piece, consisting of words to be transformed into voices, but not into characters. Even if it might resemble documentary theater or certain political theater from the sixties, it doesn’t require a theatrical treatment, but only the consideration of a political art. Consequently, the participants are invited to read focusing on the rhythms and the words editing rather than on the identity of the characters, even when some of them are very well known: Hitler, Johnson, Goebbels, Christ, Paul VI or God. The intention is not to construct a character, nor even to propose a fixed identity. Therefore, different speakers will read the same characters along the performance. The group of speakers/readers will consist, approximately, of thirty people. Distributed in successive shifts of eight to sixteen speakers at a time, they will give voice, along approximately eight hours, to the words of almost two hundred characters, both real or figured. In order to make the task of the speakers as easy as possible, we are preparing a very detailed script that will allow minimizing the time of rehearsal: in some cases, just one session previous to the performance will be enough. The goal of the rehearsal will be to explain the rhythm, tone and position codes used in the script, to make clear the identity of the voices, and to clarify some contents and intentions of the author, when necessary. The reading will be supported by a soundtrack, which will create some atmospheres. Providing tones or rhythmic keys, the soundtrack will reinforce the critical intention of the text, bringing the historical words to the present and helping to identify the voices. In some cases, a historical recording will be used instead of the live voice: for instance, Pope's Paul VI speech at the UN assembly in 1965. Since that speech was pronounced in French, we will project English subtitles. The same will happen in other specific moments in which the text will be read in original Spanish. The speakers will sit around ten tables (two to four speakers per table), distributed all over the space: one/two table(s) for the Press (max. 4 voices), two for the Historian, the historical Press and the Bible (including God, Christ and St. John), one for L. Johnson and A. Hitler, one for the Pope, Paul VI, one for the Nazis (Goebbels, Göring, Himmler, etc.), one for the US Administration (State Secretaries, advisors, senators, generals, etc.), one for the Priest and the Missal, and one extra table for other different voices. Some voices will be identified through small plastic elements (tiny figures, books, models….);

 

 

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some others will be identified through projections on the lateral walls (it will be the case of US, Germany and Vietnam Administration members, Generals and Priests). The audience will receive a map of the space, with a brief description of the reading device. They may sit at the tables very close to the speakers, circulate around them or sit down on different chairs distributed all over the room. Eventually, a spectator could read some lines. On the tables we will dispose plenty of documentary material: copies of the original newspapers, magazines or books pages where the words were found, contextual documents, documents of León Ferrari work as well as some other documents that bring the performance to the present: current conflicts, economic neocolonialism, criminalization of migrants, practice and acceptance of torture. Spectators are not expected to stay in the reading for a long time, although they may. In any case, they don’t need to keep their attention on the reading as if they were attending a theater performance; they will instead inhabit the space as long as they consider. Even if the text was conceived by Ferrari as a continuum it is possible to recognize in it different rhythms and intensities.

 

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(Artistic rendition in Spanish by Leon Ferrari) 

The last section is without a doubt the most lively: more voices intervene and more speakers will be needed. In order to make easier the preparation and rehearsals, we have divided the script in 8 acts and 43 scenes. Each act lasts around one hour. Scenes will allow a more effective distribution of the rehearsals and will make easier to organize the shifts. This division will not affect the final reading which will be continuous as Ferrari conceived it. This public reading of Palabras Ajenas constitutes a big challenge: it will be the first time that the piece will be read from the beginning to the end, without cutting it. Previous readings, realized by Maler in London and Asquini in Buenos Aires, used shortened versions. Our current political situation offers unfortunate parallelisms with Ferrari’s context during the preparation of Palabras Ajenas. For that reason, we consider that the realization of this piece and the participation in the reading should work not only as a way of recalling the artistic and political work of León Ferrari, paying homage to him as an artist, a citizen and a person, but also as a gesture in defense of culture, democracy and civil rights. Public Reading: September 16th, 2017. 

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(Artistic rendition by Leon Ferrari)

From 12 to 8 pm. Rehearsal: September 11th. From 10 to 2 pm (TBD) LOCATION: REDCAT THEATER Contact: Ruth Estévez: restevezgomez@calarts.edu Carmen Amengual: carmenamengual@alum.calarts.edu Collections of clippings from the 1960´s containing quotes that León Ferrari used in Palabras Ajenas/ The Words of the Others. Courtesy Pablo Ferrari. PALABRAS AJENAS (1967)

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(Disney Center from a different view)

Daniel C. Lavery djasb@aol.com

www.danielclavery.com

https://www.facebook.com/danielclavery (Facebook) https://www.linkedin.com/in/daniel-c-lavery-00551a11 . (Linkedin prime) https://twitter.com/Danielclavery  

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The Universal Force of Love: Einstein

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    In the late 1980s, Lieserl, the daughter of the famous genius, donated 1,400 letters, written by Einstein, to the Hebrew University, with orders not to publish their contents until two decades after his death. This is one of them, for Lieserl Einstein.

     

    (Albert Einstein and his daughter, Lieserl)

     

    "When I proposed the theory of relativity, very few understood me, and what I will reveal now to transmit to mankind will also collide with the misunderstanding and prejudice in the world.

    I ask you to guard the letters as long as necessary, years, decades until society is advanced enough to accept what I will explain below.

    There is an extremely powerful force that, so far, science has not found a formal explanation to. It is a force that includes and governs all others, and is even behind any phenomenon operating in the universe and has not yet been identified by us. This universal force is LOVE.

     
     

    When scientists looked for a unified theory of the universe they forgot the most powerful unseen force. Love is Light, that enlightens those who give and receive it. Love is gravity, because it makes some people feel attracted to others. Love is power, because it multiplies the best we have, and allows humanity not to be extinguished in their blind selfishness. Love unfolds and reveals. For love we live and die. Love is God and God is Love.

    This force explains everything and gives meaning to life. This is the variable that we have ignored for too long, maybe because we are afraid of love because it is the only energy in the universe that man has not learned to drive at will.

    To give visibility to love, I made a simple substitution in my most famous equation. If instead of E = mc2, we accept that the energy to heal the world can be obtained through love multiplied by the speed of light squared, we arrive at the conclusion that love is the most powerful force there is, because it has no limits.

     

    After the failure of humanity in the use and control of the other forces of the universe that have turned against us, it is urgent that we nourish ourselves with another kind of energy…

    If we want our species to survive, if we are to find meaning in life, if we want to save the world and every sentient being that inhabits it, love is the one and only answer.

    Perhaps we are not yet ready to make a bomb of love, a device powerful enough to entirely destroy the hate, selfishness and greed that devastate the planet.

    (Einstein with first wife, Mileva Maric)

    However, each individual carries within them a small but powerful generator of love whose energy is waiting to be released.

    When we learn to give and receive this universal energy, dear Lieserl, we will have affirmed that love conquers all, is able to transcend everything and anything, because love is the quintessence of life.

    I deeply regret not having been able to express what is in my heart, which has quietly beaten for you all my life. Maybe it's too late to apologize, but as time is relative, I need to tell you that I love you and thanks to you I have reached the ultimate answer! ".

    Your father,

    Albert Einstein

    (Article in part from Robert Vancina quoting Einstein's letter with all but one photo added)

     

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Long Way Out by Nicole Waybright by Daniel C. Lavery for VVAW

After eight years of writing and research, Nicole Waybright finished her memoir, Long Way Out that tells the story of her coming-of-age struggles while deployed as an officer on a U.S. Navy destroyer. Waybright reports the psychological critical moments that she experienced when she discovered she was not cut out for a naval career during her five-year military commitment. Her book sets forth the factual detail based on her service as an officer in the Surface Warfare (SWO) Navy when the initial group of women was stationed aboard naval ships. This intense offering gives the reader a view into a deplorable and tragic account of an egregious executive officer criticized by her seniors when removed from command for "cruelty and maltreatment" of her crew. Nevertheless, she was the first such United States female to command an Aegis destroyer and was infamously known as the female “Captain Bligh.”
(Female Naval Officer saluting an Admiral in the Surface Warfare Group)  

The author of this "fictionalized" story while true, uses the name “Brenda” regarding her 18 months aboard Navy destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG-54) in 1997-1998. She reports the incredibly stressful Navy life during five years of service before her honorable discharge. Her nightmare removed the adventure, romance, and excitement her parents and others, including herself, thought would await her in a world of opportunity for a woman so few had previously had the opportunity she earned. This intense ordeal forced her to find her authentic self after studying the military for her career. That catalyzed her discovery when she submerged into an intense study of self-realization and Jungian psychology.

(Surface Warfare Ships cruising on a mission at sea)  

At Boston University on a Naval ROTC scholarship, she graduated with an M.S. cum laude in Mechanical Engineering. Later as a summer intern with the CIA, she had sea duty on a summer cruise aboard the destroyer USS Spruance (DD-963). After college graduation and then six months of Surface Warfare Officers School in Newport, RI, "Brenda" flew to Sydney, Australia to rendezvous with her first ship, whose home port is the U.S. Naval Base at Yokosuka, Japan.

(Surface Warfare Destroyer launching a missile)  

A determined daughter of conventional patriotic parents, "Brenda" absorbed their goals and planned a practical career in the US Navy. She even dreamed she might attend Naval Nuclear Power School and hoped to serve on one of 10 U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carriers since women were banned from serving on the 70-plus nuclear submarines. To qualify for nuke school, she had to earn the essential Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) pin. However, she experienced chronic sleep deprivation, difficult technical duties, sea-sickness, and discovered her past academic success was insufficient for complex shipboard problems. Then she had to deal with a new Lieutenant Commander XO who made her life miserable.

(SWO pin ceremony for a naval officer who has earned the revered pin!)   Midway through her memoir, she meets the new Executive Officer, Lieutenant Commander Heather Gates: A woman's blue eyes piercing her "like daggers." The XO's routine of profanity and screaming at subordinates destroyed morale and endangered the ship. The Captain ignored her outrageous conduct since the Navy hierarchy wanted the XO to help recruitment of the new women naval officers.
(Task Force of Navy Jet Aircraft with the Surface Warfare Ships)  

Not surprisingly instead, after twelve years Gates was relieved of command and discharged from the Navy for cruelty toward her crews and conduct unbecoming an officer. Yet her record appeared unsullied until her discharge when enough was known to end her disgraceful naval career. At the end of her story, Waybright became a full-time writer, featured speaker, and resided in New England. She found her radicalized self as she explored building a culture of peace. This was truly an inspirational journey of determined woman to find herself under the most excruciating circumstances and achieve what in the past was only for hearty male Naval officers!

(Surface Warfare Navigation room with navigator and female naval officer working to earn her pin!)  

Published by SpeakPeace Press Copyright 2016 ISBN: 978-0-9972161-0-3 the first edition of Long Way Out was printed in the United States Softcover / 552 pages

(Nicole Waybright author of Long Way Out)  

BIO: Daniel C. Lavery graduated Annapolis, navigated a Navy jet, and then a ship to Vietnam. He resigned, turned peace activist and became a civil rights attorney for Cesar Chavez's UFW and the ACLU. His memoir, All the Difference, describes his change from a pawn to an advocate crusading for justice. HTTP://www.danielclavery.com(Author website)

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Whose history are we really talking about?

 

 

That question requires us to focus on where we came from, our history, and everyone else's. We have all learned some form of history from different teachers in school, from books, and from the media. The history many of us grew up with involved powerful kings, queens, wars, governments, and the development of parliamentary democracy with some historical and romantic novels. But for the British, for example, when England leaves the Catholic Church in 1534 major changes occurred after Henry the VIII that changed how we approach the subject.

 
 

By the time some of us entered a university our perspective began really changing. Marxism had arrived bringing a heightened attention to the arc of class and economics. The Russians with the horrendous record of brutal killing under Stalin suddenly became our ally against the vicious Nazi regime Hitler led in a world that featured three fascist countries against what we called loosely “the free world”. Many treatises on history have helped to revolutionize our view of the past, but surely began filling up with depth from new historical knowledge that modified what simplistic patriotism taught our children about such issues as slavery, racism, and war and how we were exceptional.

 
 

After WWII things drastically changed and our military industrial complex with the aid of the CIA launched a series of military actions that were far from helping build up weaker countries. Supporting unpopular dictators because third world countries might lean towards communism, like in Vietnam brought us into a war of choice built on a lie that two of our Navy Destroyers were attacked on the high seas by North Vietnamese torpedo boats when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee unraveled the truth. We had provoked the attack the night before by sending Norwegian fast boats with Vietnamese crews attacking North Vietnamese torpedo boats while U.S. Navy ships bombarded them from the ocean!

 
 

(Fulbright Senate Foreign Relations Committee Hearings on Vietnam )

 

Soon we were involved in a widespread peace movement, nearly one half million deserters, draft dodgers, and our President Nixon carried on a secret B-52 bombing campaign into neutral Cambodia followed by an invasion he called a “protective reaction!” A few days later the nation responded with a series of loud protests around the country from thousands of colleges and with anti-war veterans’ groups expressing their outrage at Nixon’s expanding an unpopular war. When five students were killed and nine injured by national guards at Kent State, the numbers of protestors dramatically increased as did the rhetoric of the Nixon Administration attacking the protestors as slime. Christian Appy’s American Reckoning is one of only a few histories of the Vietnam War that describes how it ended America’s exceptionalism-the broad faith that the U.S. is a unique force for good in the world-for most people and had a profound effect on our national identity.

 
 

Another force connected with women involved half the population followed by equally powerful questions about race and racism. The idea of history as a procession of dead white males written by live ones may sound ridiculous now, but the war to open up a wider perspective was a real one. So writers of history began demonstrating different point of emphasis and views. Soon the teaching of science and engineering became increasingly important.

 
 

All exposes the current assault on the humanities within higher education as even more uncultured. The thinking goes like this: the study of history, English, philosophy or art doesn't help anyone get a job and does not contribute to the economy to the same degree that science or engineering or business studies do. I believe most of us say that is nonsense and obfuscation.

 

(My Lai Massacre killed 500 Vietnamese lives of unarmed men, women, children and babies)

 

The humanities, including history, teach people how to think analytically while at the same time appreciating innovation and creativity. Isn't that a good set of skills for most jobs? Yet we have a Black population clearly left behind even after a vigorous civil rights movement under Martin Luther King Jr, and those who followed his lead with a variety of militant and peaceful organizations that led to civil rights amendments to the Constitution and civil rights laws involving anti-discrimination in schools, employment and police interactions.

 
 

One could wish that the historians were all more accurate. Why would some dare doubt climate change when the science has established it’s truth as one of our most serious problems? Toni Morrison brought to life the inner life of slavery, and pushed the modern reader to confront this reality. Another confronted the same difficult history from a white woman's perspective. One memoir produces anti-war feelings from the righteous revulsion against gross misuse of power. Another accuses those who cringe at the horrors of Hiroshima as "hand wringers". Any society that fails to pay proper attention to whose history we are exploring, and from what perspective, maybe starving his/her own imagination and missing an opportunity to participate spreading useful historical knowledge so mistakes of the past may be understood and avoided in the future. 

 
 

(Hiroshima the day after we dropped an atomic weapon on that city followed by another later on Nagasaki despite many generals who conceded they were completely unnecessary since we had decimated their cities with Napalm, owned the skies for bombing anywhere, and Hirohito was ready and willing to surrender.)

Book Review of All the Difference from Author USNA Class of ’71

Book Review of All the Difference from Author USNA Class of ’71

4/8/14

Hello Dan,

Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your book.  I jotted down a few things that resonated for me.

My dad was a Beta at University of Cincinnati.

Reef Points!  How can we ever forget them!

Naval Academy indoctrination of plebes in etiquette

Rifle range.  Who can forget those Marines!Scientist CliffsTarget for BB gun

Heinz Lenz was still there for me, too.  (I think he died only in the last couple of years?)

Joe Duff.  He still coached baseball, but he and I never crossed paths.  I made the plebe and varsity sailing teams while I was there (1967-1971), but was not the athlete you were.  But those T-tables plebe year were a Godsend!  And for the sailing team, it was for BOTH fall and spring sets.

Joe Bellino.  I loved watching those games.  And Roger Staubach, how lucky you were to be there during his era, too.  Roger came and talked at our pep rally in 1967 before the Army/Navy game.  (He was trying to make it with the Cowboys at that time.)  We won that year and received "carry on" like you did.

Bancroft Hall Mishipman in Whites parading to meal

Like you, I thoroughly enjoyed being on the "plebe detail" second class year.  As luck would have it, the very next summer the Academy decided to put first class in charge of the detail, so I got to do it again!

Bancroft Hall USNA 1960

Pensacola.  Great times!  I certainly wasn't the "ace of the base," but finished high enough (4 of 30 that week) to choose any pipeline I wanted (helos, jets, or props)---and they were all open that week.

Vigilante Clamshell Cockpits opened

My A-7 primary instructor  in T-34's nearly shot me for picking helos, but guys from '68 and '69 were telling us how much fun they were having flying them (while we were still back at the Academy).  Plus, I found that whenever I climbed above 5000 feet, I lost the real sensation of flying.  I also found that to be true as a second class midshipman flying in the back of an F-4 at Oceana (the "Diamondbacks").  In helos I knew I would spend most of my flying career at 500 feet and below.  (In Desert Storm we frequently flew at 10 feet and as fast as that Blackhawk would go!)  I never regretted my decision.

Army helo pilot Hugh Thompson.  What courage!  (I used his example in my first book, Inspiring Leadership: Character and Ethics Matter, now used in the Leadership/Ethics curricula at Villanova and Regent Universities.)

Vietnam Hugh Thomspon forgotten hero

Olongapo!  Amazing place.  If you closed your eyes, you actually thought the Rolling Stones were playing---or any other big name group for that matter.  And those kids diving for pesos!  The helo hangout was the Roofadora Club, as I recall.

CHAPTER 27-Y RA5C landing on aircraft carrier 1965

Our helo squadron aboard the USS Constellation in 1974 made three daily trips ("liberty runs") to Bagio, Manila, and Clark AFB while we were in port at Cubi Point/Subic.  We charged a dollar per person (which went to the rec fund).  Needless to say, we were the most popular squadron on the ship, especially among the Filipino stewards!  LOL.

Cesar Chavez and dogs Huelga and Boycott

And last but certainly far from least, your amazing work as a lawyer for the UFW.  What a legacy for you!  You can be justifiably proud of those years!

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Anyway, Dan, thought you should know how much I enjoyed your book.  One of these days we'll have to meet for lunch.

All the best,

Stew Fisher (USNA '71)

book cover all the difference
 

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