For this Mothers Day, I offer an excerpt from the current draft for IDOLATRY, Part III, The Fruit of the Tree (working title):
The lines had shuffled forward. Paige found herself standing next to the mother. The baby, bundled in her arms, had settled and calmed. He was so beautiful, so right, his blue eyes as clear and complete as little planets, encircled with rays of long blond lashes. His lips were ripe petals, formed for ready suckling. His ivory skin as of the most translucent, softest white marble imaginable, a glowing blush in the cheeks only the most accomplished painter might capture. Every little hillock and vale of his little body’s topography, every rise and fall, every curve and round—it was all mere suggestion of the man to come, all mere promise, and yet, here he was, already present, already real. And flawless. To mothers everywhere, in all times, all but the most unfortunate babies are perfection, but Paige simply couldn’t imagine any woman wanting anything more or less than what this woman held in arms—a complete little world in himself, needing and wanting nothing more, lacking nothing, being everything. There was nothing to add, nothing to subtract, nothing to change. This—this perfect little thing should be untouchable, undefilable, always and forever. How could anything on earth or in heaven be more perfect and whole, in and unto itself? If only it could remain so, if only he might never come to know a moment of sorrow, of pain, of evil, of disappointment. Paige wanted to draw a circle of protection around him, an impenetrable halo of sacredness, to suspend time.
She was blinking away a welling wetness in her eyes. An ache had come to her heart, her stomach: she herself would never have that. She would never have what this woman had. She had never really even wanted it until now, never wanted a child, but at this moment, she found herself wanting it more than anything in the world. How could any woman not?
She looked up to find the mother watching her. Her eyes understood. Woman to woman, the one knew the other’s ache, recognizing the depth of the longing in a woman-child who had lost her own mother, a daughter who wanted nothing more, in that moment, than to be a mother herself.
The mother glanced down at her child, and back up to Paige. Wordlessly, she asked the question.
Paige could only nod, blinking back tears, stunned at the kindness of the offering, a place inside her heart breaking open.
As she accepted the baby, her arms naturally, gently formed around him. It felt so right. She felt her entire body warm with joy. He was so small, so light. She gazed into the blue orbs, perfect worlds of their own, as they gazed back into hers. She marveled the beauty of the little face in all its wondrous glory. He was staring back into a face that was new to him, too, seemingly as fascinated with her as she with him. Her rocking sway, the gentle bounce, had started without her realizing or intending it. She began humming a melody. Her lullaby. Skye’s lullaby….
Spirited gods of body and mind,
Cleaving the earth and taking the find,
Arranging the atoms above in a bend,
Beneath which to dine, to dance, and attend
To desirable ends and needful things,
Burning the coal, inventing the wings
Upon which to soar like winged beasts do,
While raising fat herds for the savory stew,
Weaving silk threads, carving bone combs,
Harvesting timber for warm and dry homes,
Gathering the knowledge to hold in one hand,
On tablets of plastic and metal and sand,
Harnessing horses and nuclear parts;
Rocket plumes rise over rickety carts;
From building mud huts to high towers of glass,
From warring with spears to debating with class,
Climbing from caves to the moon and to Mars,
Masters of nature, eyeing the stars.
The sun had risen high. The breeze was warm on their faces. Ian produced a bottle of chilled white wine and two glasses, removed the cork, and poured. He raised a toast.
“To another day in paradise.”
She touched her glass to his. They drank, the sunbeams reflecting off the wine and the glasses, dancing across their faces, splashing in their eyes. The wine was crisp, light and good.
“Paradise . . .” she mused aloud.
He had used the word without a trace of sarcasm or irony. The dry ruins beneath their feet, the surrounding hills, and the alkali flats were predominantly in chalky browns, yellows and whites. The sparse native vegetation was all of the scrubby, hardier varieties, evolved over the eons to survive the long droughts, blazing summers and freezing winters of the high desert. From the reservoir, her eye followed the river, the presumable source of all things green in the valley proper. There were bends in the river’s line, but other segments were unwaveringly straight – it wasn’t a natural river at all, but a manmade canal.
“Paradise – ” She smiled at the epiphany – “just add water.”
Ian had laid out an offering of cheese, olives, fruit, and finger sandwiches. “When the first explorers came through this way,” he said, pausing to sample a strawberry, “the valley was a desolate wasteland. There was hardly a reason to even note it on the maps. Most of the early settlers passed north of here, following the Humboldt River west. The few who detoured this far south saw little if anything to recommend the valley – they barely paused on their way to California.”
Paige watched his eyes. They were shaded by the brim of his cowboy hat, following the lay of the land with an easy acceptance and steady intent. His body was relaxed, at one with the place, as if he too had sprouted from the earth here, watered and grown by the river that was a canal. She followed his gaze, trying to imagine the unwelcoming, harsh emptiness that the valley must have been.
“But one man came,” he said, “and that man stood alone on the top of this hill, above where we are now. He envisioned a paradise in this place – and proceeded to make it so.”
There was solemnity in his voice. Paige set her glass quietly on the stone. “Do tell. . . .” she urged.
He glanced at her, studying her in the same steady way he studied the land. Adjusting his hat, he took a bite of an olive, followed it with a sip of wine, and looked out to the horizon and beyond.
“At the time, that man wasn’t even a man yet – ” he said, letting the story begin – “but a boy.”
ICE and the FDA are sister organizations, existing on the same plane, born of the same philosopher-king father and nanny-state mother. Both agencies were brought into existence on the same principle, to serve the same end: to stand between the individual and a class of things the individual might value, on grounds that only the government can properly judge whether the thing is good or harmful for the individual. Both agencies employ the same means. Through both organizations the government is to be the tester, the judge, the maker of standards, the sole decider as to the acceptability and appropriateness of the thing in question.
ICE stands between the individual and the immigrant, on behalf of the collective. The FDA stands between the individual and a drug or food, on behalf of the collective. The value to the individual of the thing in question can only be of secondary importance to the safety and welfare of the collective — and it is the collective that should decide what the individual may interact with and what he may not. The object in question is held as guilty until proven innocent, deemed unacceptable and illegal until tested, vetted, and shunted through the line of the government’s screens and the bureaucrats’ in-boxes, to be stamped as safe and acceptable, perhaps, but only as weighed against arbitrarily set governmental standards, and only after the arbitrarily established process has been exhausted. If individuals suffer or die in the meantime, this is of secondary concern to the safety and “good” of the collective.
This is preventative regulation, and it stands in stark contrast to rights-protective law. Preventative regulation violates the individual’s right to use his own mind as the sole judge of what is good for him and what is not. Proper rights-protective law goes after rights violators and rights violators only – and strictly contingent on objective evidence. Where there is objective evidence that a country, organization, or individual has violated the citizen’s individual rights or is threatening to violate the citizen’s rights, it is the proper role of government to act on the individual’s behalf against the threat.
Properly, government does not deem a medicine as dangerous until proven safe. It does not deem a surgeon born in India as dangerous until proven safe. It does not deem a field worker born in Mexico as dangerous until proven safe. It does not deem a friend, a lover, a fiancée, a spouse, an au pair, a student, an employee, or a potential business partner born elsewhere as dangerous until proven safe. It does not come between the individual and the product or person the individual has decided, by his own judgment, to value and to interact with. It does not use force to violate the individual’s own reason, his own judgment, his own choice as to what or who is good for him and what or who is not. It does not deem a potential cure for influenza or cancer or canker sores as dangerous until proven safe. It does not regulate opioids or ophthalmologists or Omanis.
“The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man’s rights, which means: to protect him from physical violence. A proper government is only a policeman, acting as an agent of man’s self-defense, and, as such, may resort to force only against those who start the use of force. The only proper functions of a government are: the police, to protect you from criminals; the army, to protect you from foreign invaders; and the courts, to protect your property and contracts from breach or fraud by others, to settle disputes by rational rules, according to objective law. But a government that initiates the employment of force against men who had forced no one, the employment of armed compulsion against disarmed victims, is a nightmare infernal machine designed to annihilate morality: such a government reverses its only moral purpose and switches from the role of protector to the role of man’s deadliest enemy, from the role of policeman to the role of a criminal vested with the right to the wielding of violence against victims deprived of the right of self-defense. Such a government substitutes for morality the following rule of social conduct: you may do whatever you please to your neighbor, provided your gang is bigger than his.” ~ Galt’s speech, Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand
Join us FRIDAY JULY 6th & SATURDAY JULY 7th for a weekend of art, wine, music, drama, art history, music theory and more!
Reserve your seat for only $25 total cost. Call the gallery today. 707-255-2242
~ PROGRAM SUBJECT TO CHANGE ~
FRIDAY EVENING, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Art, Wine & Music Reception
A reception in the gallery, with excellent wine, splendid art, and live music on the grand piano by a platinum-award winning composer.
We are pleased and honored to announce that platinum-award winning composer/music producer Mars Lasar will be joining us at the grand piano Friday evening.
Born in Germany, raised in Australia, Mars Lasar is a prolific keyboardist and composer. Mars started playing piano at 11 years old, and over a few years of extensive classical and jazz training, he rapidly became drawn to all kinds of music. At 14, Mars began composing, recording and publishing his own music professionally.
The lovely and talented Tori Anna Sophia, Napa Valley singer/songwriter, American Idol contestant, is scheduled to join us to share a sampling from her Doris Day repertoire. Tori Anna was the top female finisher in Michael Feinstein’s Great American Songbook Highschool Vocal competition in 2012.
Turn-of-the-Century Artist-Entrepreneurs: Saint Gaudens, MacMonnies, Parrish
Dianne Durante, PhD
“In the late 19th and early 20th century, the most capitalistic era in American history, it was considered normal that the immense popularity of Augustus Saint Gaudens, Frederick MacMonnies and Maxfield Parrish should earn them substantial wealth. MacMonnies’ annual income in the mid-1890s reputedly reached $300,000 (about $7.5 million today). In 1925, one of every four American homes had a print of Maxfield Parrish’s Daybreak.
“This lecture gives a brief overview of the life and notable works of Saint Gaudens, MacMonnies and Parrish, within the historical, political, economic and philosophical framework of the period between the Civil War and World War I. If you enjoy hearing about intelligent, hard-working, innovative, highly skilled and profit-minded men making piles of money by creating beautiful works of art, then this lecture is for you.”
Dianne Durante, PhD in Classical Philology, is an art historian, independent researcher, freelance writer, lecturer, and tour guide.
SATURDAY 1:00-2:30 p.m.
Music and the American Left ~ A Study in Subterfuge
“In 1943, Ayn Rand exposed the intensity with which the American Left sought to inject socialist propaganda into literature and film by observing, ‘In the last ten years, the Reds have done a good job of building up literary celebrities for their own purposes. … These celebrities then appear on Red committees, endorse Red causes, build up other Red names, and the racket works as the radicals’ best propaganda method. … Look how savagely they have defended the art field from all intrusions of conservatives. They know its value.’ But literature was not the only fine art which American leftists (supported spiritually, and often financially, by the Soviet Union) conspired to dominate, and the full story of how socialists worked from behind the scenes throughout the twentieth century to transform American classical music into an instrument of communist propaganda has never been told. In this presentation, the covert methods employed by statists to control this country’s concert artists, symphonies, opera, and even ballet companies will be explored with reference to specific case studies. Images and recorded excerpts will also be used to help illustrate the power of the philosophic ideas that govern the marketing of art—and their inevitable political consequences.”
Stephen Siek is a pianist, musicologist, and piano historian; former professor of music at Wittenberg University; author of England’s Piano Sage: The Life and Teachings of Tobias Matthay and A Dictionary for the Modern Pianist.
SATURDAY 3:00-4:30 p.m.
An Introduction and Discussion: What Music Is and Does
Based on the speaker’s monograph, which includes essays inspired by Objectivism on music. A brief overview of a theory of music esthetics, with time for interaction with the audience on issues of interest.
David Berry is the Professor of Music History, Theory and Composition at the School of the Arts/Petrie School of Music, Converse College
SATURDAY 7 p.m.
Wine Tasting & Education with winemaker Chris Daniel
Learn the nuances of wine tasting with a winemaker who makes Viognier, Rose of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Syrah.
Smell, swirl, taste, and ask questions.
SATURDAY 7:45 p.m.
“An Uncomfortable Silence”
A short play written by Quent Cordair, performed by Hunter Schaufel & Elizabeth Brazil.
Elizabeth Brazil is an 18 year old singer, songwriter, and actress from Vacaville, California. She has been in over 15 productions at her Alma mater, Justin-Siena High school. Her favorite roll was Miss Adelaide in her senior year production of Guys and Dolls. She plans on pursuing her Broadway dreams in the fall and will be attending Marymount Manhattan College in the heart of New York City, New York.
Hunter Schaufel is a dedicated actor and recent graduate of Justin-Siena High School, where he studied and performed under the direction of James Thomas Bailey and vocal director Vivian McLaughlin. He has benefited, additionally, from five years of vocal instruction under Connie Lisec and foundational instruction in dance under choreographer and teacher Lisa Clark Schmeling. He recently received top marks in his acting exam administered by the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.Hunter looks forward to pursuing a career in product design and engineering, and is excited to begin classes as an undergraduate in the Georgia Institute of Technology’s mechanical engineering program in the fall.
SATURDAY 8:00 p.m.
A Program of Russian, German & American music
Stephen Siek, piano
Thomas Shoebotham, cello
David Berry, Composer & Commentator
American conductor and cellist Thomas Shoebotham performs the Bach Suite for Solo Cello #1. Equally at home on the concert stage and in the opera and ballet pit, Thomas Shoebotham conducts frequently with professional, community, and youth ensembles, collaborating with notable singers, dancers, and instrumentalists to bring “rousing, colorful” presentations to a variety of audiences.
Stephen Siek performs works for piano by Borodin, Scriabin, Reinagle, and a reprise of David Berry’s “Cordair Gallery” Suite, inspired by art in the gallery, first performed on the 2008 QCFA Arts Cruise.
Cordair Gallery: Suite for Piano by S. David Berry
Touching the Surface (Tom Seirak)
Henry’s Night Out (Quent Cordair)
Prometheus (Danielle Anjou)
Young Builder (Bryan Larsen)
Gaia’s Breath (Martin Eichinger)
The Anchorage (Bryan Larsen)
SUNDAY 10 a.m. Mimosas, coffee, delectable treats, and of course art!
Additional lodging can be found that weekend starting at approximately $160 per night (at the time of this post) at other area hotels and bed and breakfasts. Groups of friends might consider an AirBnB home rental.
Attendees will receive goodie bags filled with local coupons, dining information, and sightseeing options.
Let us know if you would like to explore Napa while you are here and we can connect you with delicious wine-tasting opportunities at some of our favorite places.
Check back for additional program updates, lodging, dining and sightseeing suggestions.