Archive | June, 2010

GUEST BLOG: Red or Blue: Which Party Truly Needs Its Women?

30 Jun

Guest blog from San Francisco:


from the Huffington Post

We are intrigued by the sudden surge of Republican women candidates at the national level. As founders of EMERGE AMERICA, an organization that trains Democratic women to run for office, we are keenly aware of the ebb and flow of support for increasing the percentage of women in elected office. But if creating a more transparent government and moving a progressive agenda are the goals, increasing the number of women Democrats in elected office should be a central strategy.

Traditionally, women are viewed as more liberal than men. This gives the advantage to Democrat female candidates and hurts their Republican counterparts. When women are elected, they play a significant role in shaping progressive policy. They are more likely than men to bring citizens into the political process, to opt for open government, and to be responsive to groups previously denied access.

Women also introduce more legislation and co-sponsor more bills than male members. While female electeds lead the charge on “women friendly” issues like child-care, they also are at the forefront of policies regarding the economy, health care, the environment and human rights. Looking at the recent Senate land mine ban, 68 members supported it, which included 100% of the women but only 51% of the men. With President Obama’s landmark health care reform, all Democratic female senators and members of the House except for one congresswoman insured its victory. And the historic American Clean Energy and Security Act passed with a tight vote supported by 66 Democratic congresswomen’s votes, while 40 Democratic congressmen opposed it.

While the United States holds itself out as a model democracy, it ranks 82nd in the world for women in elected office behind Mexico, China and Pakistan. We push other countries such as Iraq to insert a 25% quota for female representation into its constitution, but the United States opposes such requirements for its own government and at 17% falls far short of its mandates for other countries.

What’s missing? Women, like men, need to be recruited to run for public office. Emerge America is the only organization that gives Democratic women the tools to win: an in-depth training program and a powerful political network. Unlike Republican recruitment, we actively outreach to diverse female leaders and 40% of our graduates are women of color. Founded in 2002, Emerge is currently in 9 states with plans to expand its program across the country. In such a short time close to 50% of our alumnae have already run for office and 60% of them have won.

While supporting women candidates may seem a secondary concern for many, electing more Democratic women is the most effective long-term strategy for shaping and passing a progressive agenda and for creating a more transparent democracy.

Dorka Keehn

Dorka Keehn is the Board co-Chair and a co-Founder of Emerge America. She is currently writing a book, ECO AMAZONS, on American women environmental leaders to be published in Spring 2011. Marya Stark is the Board Chair and a Founder of Emerge America.

The Collision of the World Cup, the Ojai Music Festival, AE, and the LA LAKERS

18 Jun

flags of WORLD CUP SOCCER teams 2010

by Veronika Krausas

I’m not usually a sports watcher but something interesting happens every four years when it’s the world cup.  For the last 10 years I can remember where I’ve been for the the final games, what city , and who won …  an interesting feat for someone who only watches soccer every four years!

Ensemble Moderne


There’s an energy of community and celebration that happens. It’s like being at a music festival.  In fact, I was just at the Ojai Music Festival and the air of camaraderie is contagious. Ensemble Moderne performed and hearing them play, whatever, was so inspiring.  Their precision and level of musicianship was outstanding.  One of my favorite concerts was the young pianist Eric Huebner performing Messiaen’s Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant Jésus. It was sublime.  At the final concert, the final piece was again Messiaen, L’Oiseaux Exotique, and the birds chirped, as if on cue.

Even though I attended all the concerts and really enjoyed everything from George Benjamin to Frank Zappa to Purcell to Messiaen, I have to  admit that I snuck out during one concert to watch the  second half of the Australia/Germany  soccer game.  There was another Canadian and a bunch of German composers in the pub.  Yes, an English pub and everyone was drinking stout beer … except me, because I’m one of those weirdos who unfortunately doesn’t like beer, so, I drank the next-best-most-English-thing, tea with a little milk.  Australia lost badly 4-0.  Everyone was quite happy if not a little lethargic, probably because it was Sunday and we had all been at the same after party the night before with lots of free wine. I was a little sad, because I was born in Australia and although I’m quite Canadian (being raised in Canada) my patriotism towards all things Aussie (like vegemite) is still in my bones and I was sad for the Australians.  They had lost one of their players for a red card (this happened before I got to the pub).  But in the spirit of sportsmanship, I celebrated with my fellows soccer game watchers.

Music and sport had another interesting meeting back in LA.  This afternoon while I was working in my music studio I heard a huge uproar coming from my neighbors.  I quickly checked online  for the status of the world cup and Mexico had scored a goal against France.  In fact, what seemed like 30 seconds later a second cheer went up and it was the 2nd goal.  The  final score was 2-0.  It’s wonderful when joy is contagious.  I got excited and happy that their shouts had spilled over to my house.  I think when you have nothing really vested in the actual game you can celebrate with whoever wins.

Æ (Aurelia Shrenker and Eva Salina Primack)

This evening I went to a fabulous concert at the The Velaslavasay Panorama Theatre with Æ (Aurelia Shrenker and Eva Salina Primack) performing with video by the LA-based Georgian filmmaker and artist NANUKA (aka Nana Tchitchuoa, who also runs the Tula Tea Room at the Museum of Jurassic Technology).

Nana & Wade

The concert was sublime and then about 2/3rds through the concert there was a blasting horn outside and I glanced at my friend Matt.  His eyebrows when up and he smiled – the LA Lakers had won the 7th game against the Celtics. As the concert wrapped up there was more and more noise outside – everyone was driving by and beeping and screaming. After the final applause he checked his iPhone.  The final score was 83 to 79.We celebrate concerts and the performances we hear and the artists share with us, and I guess it’s the same for sports – we need to express ourselves and the happiness is the sharing and both are the same – they’re each a spectator sport.  The only thing with sports is there’s a looser versus a music concert, there are no loosers. (Unless of course it’s a horrible concert and you’ve paid a lot of money, that’s an irksome situation.)

I’ve quite enjoyed the collision of art and music and soccer and basketball in the last few days.  Here’s to the round things in life:  soccer balls, basketballs, and music notes!

the happy concert goers (Robin, V & Matt)

Waterland at PIE

6 Jun

BY VERONIKA KRAUSAS Last night PIE (People inside Electronics) had a concert at the Boston Court in Pasadena, in conjunctions with CATALYSIS PROJECTS. This marks our first performance event, and we are pleased to announce that it was sold-out show.

In the introduction, one of the two founding directors, Isaac Schankler, talked about the solitary existence of composers and mentioned that working with electronics sometimes gives composers a false sense of not being alone!

Composing, or many creative processes, are quite solitary but I think we often don’t realize this because our brains are so busy and entrenched in the process that it’s not until afterwards, when we look back, we realize that we were all by ourselves and spending perhaps too much time with just our own brains and thoughts and selves!

Then when the piece is finally performed, that sense of isolation really is front and center, because you realize it’s you and your music that’s going to be standing with your pants down in front of the whole audience!  I’ve had my share of wonderful and not so wonderful experiences but I have to say that last night, the premiere of WATERLAND was definitely in the “happy” category!

Waterland was originally an electronic work created in 1990 on some very forgotten and very long gone equipment in Toronto to accompany a great text by the Canadian writer André Alexis.  Aron Kallay (the other founding member of PIE) asked to perform the work but since it was on a cassette (last century’s technology and a very low quality recording) he offered to help me recreate it using LOGIC.  And poof, we did.  John Payne was amazing reciting André Alexis hallucinatory text.  The video was by fellow Catalysis Projects Core Artist Quintan Ana Wikswo and it was brilliant in its vividness and beauty.

So this solitary venture turned out into a wonderful collaboration with all sorts of amazing people & I think that this was a much less solitary venture than normal!

Make sure to check out PIE’s next concert in the fall.