Raphie Frank :: business artivist

Tomorrow’s Melody: A Letter (not) Lost in Translation to Brian Naughton

Christine Lebrasseur
photo by Christine LeBrasseur (France)

Hello Brian,

Indeed, as you say, “the spaces between things are important i feel! the spaces between each musical note.” Think about it. What’s the present if not tommorow’s melody in the making? And what are all our yesterdays but a series of notes that guide us towards tomorrow’s composition? In other words, the space between the musical notes is right here and now, the choices you and I and everyone make at each and every moment are as infinite in their possibility as the universe.

Speaking only for myself, I’ve no desire to live life in a minor key. Do you?



Bonjour Brian,

En effet, comme vous le dites, “les espaces entre les choses sont importants je le sens ! Les espaces entre chaque note de musique.” Pensez cela. A quoi sert le prsent s’il n’est pas de mlodie des lendemains ? Et qu’est ce qu’hier sinon des sries de notes qui nous guident vers la composition de demain ? En d’autres termes, l’espace entre les notes musicales est juste ici et maintenant, les choix que nous faisons vous et moi chaque instant sont aussi infini dans leur possibilit que l’univers.

Je parle seulement pour moi, je n’ai aucun dsir de vivre la vie dans sur une note mineure. Qu’en est il de vous ?



Translation by PhotoPoetiste Christine Lebrasseur. Christine on Flickr.

Visit Picture Post: to observe the talented Editorial Eye of London Photographer, Musician & Humanitarian, Brian Naughton. Brian on Flickr

December 14, 2007 Posted by | Art, Photography | Leave a comment

All Alone is All We Will One Day Once Have Been: A Generation X Response to Thomas Friedman’s “Generation Q”

Jace Cavacini
The Lonely Puppet by Jace Cavacini (Highly Functioning Autistic: Asperger’s Syndrome)

At least one of the anthems of my generation is “All Apologies” by Kurt Cobain of Nirvana fame. The refrain which repeats over and over again in the collective mind of our generation is “All alone is all we are. All alone is all we are…”

My dream is that in the not so distant future, we will be able to update that riff by giving it a happier, more hopeful ending. To do that, however, is going to take a little work, and a little working together in a process I call “social cogeneration,” because only by working together will we be able to stand together and tell the world:

No, Kurt got it wrong. All alone is all we will one day once have been.

All Alone is All We Will One Day Once Have Been
A Generation X Response to Thomas Friedman’s “Generation Q”

As a leading edge member of Generation X, a generation I affectionately refer to as the generation trapped between idealism and despair, told by our parents we could do anything we dreamed of doing, then told “no” every time we tried, I feel uniquely qualified to comment on Thomas Friedman’s October 10, 2007 column, Generation Q, in which he termed the current crop of college students the “Quiet Generation.”

It’s not so much that Mr. Friedman got it “wrong,” but that he could have gotten it more right. The younger generation — also known to marketers and within popular culture as “Generation Y,” denoting those born between 1981 and 1995 — is indeed quiet now, but this does not mean they will be quiet later because they are also very much the “Quick” Generation, brought up in the age of Information Explosion, Internet learning by association and Social Software.

Fractal, “object oriented,” relational thinkers in the mold of noted technologist Ray Kurzweil, a self-described “patternist,” they “get” things, intuitively, in a Malcolm Gladwell “Blink” of an eye, even before they have language by which to frame those thoughts and, sadly, one of the lessons they have learned, perhaps a bit too fast, is that nobody is listening.

In my view, many members of Generation Q are not so much “quiet” as frustrated and, possibly, even a bit depressed.

I don’t know this in theory, but in practice, in anecdotal, but all too tangible, form, because for the better part of the past three years I have spent thousands of hours interviewing and talking to and corresponding with, not just members of Gen Q, but with people of all ages, across all economic and geographical and race divides.

I communicate with these people here in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and on the streets of Manhattan, and on social software sites such as Flickr and Friendster, real life “participatory action research” by an aspiring professional human being who has made more than his fair share of mistakes. I tell these people stories — mostly in private, but also sometimes in public — stories about being a bit too “different,” about being a right-handed, right-brained thinker trying to follow a path with heart in a left brained world and not wanting anyone to know because I know what happens to those who dare to dream with the heart of a ten year old child…

They get trampled.
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December 12, 2007 Posted by | Art, Non-Partisan Activism, Philosophy, Sociology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Imagination Into Action

Olga Blowing Bubbles by Brian Reisinger

I said please, she said Yes, I said Thank you.

Please    View it
Yes    Do it
Thank You    Glue it.

That’s a clue to how the artists knew it.

Or to put it another way, the Boojummy went to the circus and was told to call the moon, and that is where he found his heart.

November 15, 2007 Posted by | Art, Photography | 1 Comment

The Weave & the Darn (aka “The Poetic Essence of Boojummy Business Artivism”)

Dreaming is Composing
Dreaming is Composing by Mattijn Franssen

Courage. Hope. Care. Boojummy. The term is derived from Louis Carroll’s Hunting of the Snark. The Boojum, the most dangerous kind of snark, is found on an island many months sail from England, betwixt and between the dark crevices and crags. When you find one, so they say, you disappear. Forever. I kind of like to think it’s because you find yourself. In addition to courage, hope and care, you also need thimbles and forks – think Robert Frost two roads in a wood, not last night’s dinner – when you set out on a snark hunt.

Because, you see, it’s all about the weave and the darn. The doomed and the damned need not be either. They can be better than they were. Better. Stronger. Happier. In themselves and for us, if only we give them choices and alternatives to light moons and mommify all those hardened hearts.

Now, you can ask yourself, what the hell is this guy talking about? But you’d kind of be missing the point because the whole point is that there is no single point and so you’ve got to kind of go elliptically around and about and through and over and under and around, zigging the light and zagging the fright and tickling the dark and missing or maybe making the mark because, you see, it’s all connected, the big and the small, from the round, smooth marbleized Universe of Einstein right on down to every darn gluon, quark, atom and molecule of the woodified mind of man and woman and blade of grass a hummingbird wind sways back and forth in oscillating rhythm beneath the thousand million blossoms of that cherry tree rocking to the rhythms of a white house gale.

We can make it better. And we can make it even betterer together. I’d like to figure out a way because the weight is a gift when you’re strumming the nada surf riff, but it’s hard as hell to carry it all on your own, so tell you what…

… let’s take it back to 1.

It’s a called a PROGRESSION.

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May 9, 2007 Posted by | Art, Business, Economics, Politics, Storytelling, Theater | 2 Comments

Letter to Mattijn re: Art, Money & Morality

Boojummy Business Artivism Grand Vision
The artist the devil and the manager by Mattijn Franssen

An interesting question I have to ask you Mattijn. Are you AGAINST making money? I will tell you my feeling and I know it is not “healthy,” but it is the way I am and I believe you will perhaps identify with me on this. For me, I can only make money and feel good about it if I am doing something I believe can make the world a better place.

Money as exchange for spirit bothers me greatly because it makes the world less, not more insofar as the terms of exchange are not in accordance with the lessons I was taught as a child such as: a) do what you love b) it is better to give than receive c) do unto others as you would have them do unto you d) love thyself e) try your hardest; and so on…

However, I also do not like to give and not receive, which is what has been a common occurrence for me in my life and it can make one angry and bitter, something I have had to fight against, believe me, for most of my life.

Do you see how people become paralyzed? They neither create for fear of being taken advantage of, nor do they make money because they are morally opposed to the terms of the exchange. Such people are in metaphorical “purgatory,” trapped in the rut of inaction, what Hegel termed the “dead end of possibility.” To act or not act is to fail, but in no action remains at least the proverbial pipe dream.

Do you know that line “I could have been a contender?” from “On the Waterfront”? These are the words of such a person, a person who didn’t try. But for people like me and you, Mattijn — and tell me if I am wrong — it is, or can be far, far worse. We live in a form of hell — because we see the light so many others do not and have no choice but to follow it — like Robert Johnson to the devil, and it is lonely, very very lonely. I know all about it. It is a place no one can lead you, so few will follow, but there is rarely a dearth of those who will readily attack.
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May 4, 2007 Posted by | Art, Business, Philosophy | Leave a comment

Queen Esther: Unemployed Superstar

If Keith fired Mick and decided to let Tina Turner front the band with Gram Parsons riding shotgun, they would sound a lot like Queen Esther.CDBaby.com

Album cover shot for Talkin' Fishbowl Blues
Album cover shot for Talkin’ Fishbowl Blues

You grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina. And now you’re in New York making your career as a vocalist, actor and writer. What brought you here?
You have to understand the myth that is New York. It’s like the Emerald City. I can remember wanting to live in New York when I was very very little. I can remember watching old Saturday Night Lives with John Belushi and seeing the beginning and seeing little pieces of New York and thinking “I want to live there. I want that energy.” Watching things from the Harlem Renaissance and thinking “I want to be a part of that.”

It’s hard though because it’s so much worse when you’re imagining how horrible it can be. When you’re living in a little town and all you have to go by is Scorsese movies and the rude people you meet that come through and all the stories you hear about how expensive it is and how everything smells like urine – you can intimidate yourself out of even coming for an extended visit.

But you came here. How did you get past that intimidation factor?
I put the fear of not fulfilling my destiny, of carrying regret around for my whole life before the fear of living in New York. I didn’t want to have to say “What if.” I didn’t want to have to live with the idea that I could have done something wonderful if I’d just gone to New York.

When did you come to New York?
I came to New York from Austin, Texas in the early 90’s. After college.

And you came to be a superstar?
I think I already am a superstar! The question is whether or not everyone else is going to find out about it. I’d like to, you know, I’d like to take my little arrow and shoot it into the air and I want it to go as far as it possibly can. If I hit something, hooray, but if I don’t, hey, at least I came to New York and I tried.

Read Full May 6, 2005 interview Queen Esther, Unemployed Superstar on Gothamist.

Visit Queen-Esther.com



May 1, 2007 Posted by | Art, Gothamist Interviews | Leave a comment

Fighting for the Zight: Angels, Tricksters & Light

design and concept by Raphie Frank and Mattijn Franssen

Coming Soon, one voice, one idea and one dollar at a time.

Full Size Mockup
Photo Page Mockup

NOTE: A portion of proceeds raised will go to yet TBD non-profits, including CIVIC, because the work that Marla Ruzicka began is work we should all continue.

Read: A Christmas Story for Marla Ruzicka, part of Flitter, Glitter, Jiggle & Jag: 11 Compositions, Progressions and Impressions in the key of Z.

April 28, 2007 Posted by | Art, Business, Internet | Leave a comment

Flitter, Glitter, Jiggle & Jag

11 Compositions, Progressions & Impressions in the key of Z
for translation into sound, image, movement & light
choreography by Caribeth Klemundt somewhere in New York somewhere some time…

“pink” by Chrisseserville

If I can I will mold your heart straight past the stone
To the Michaelengeloed koan
On the left side of tears to the right side of home
Where left is just right and just left is all gone.

Your inside my right side, my left side your out
We can flitter and glitter and jiggle and jag
And then I’ll always be with you as you spin through my light
Like thunder of plunder feathered blossoms of lime
Lotused blind rapture I promise never to hide

As you flitter and glitter and jiggle and jag
Your skiff, scuffed glassed spirit back to the top of the crag
Where the spun lake of silk honey-toppped by soft milk
Lets you flitter and glitter and jiggle and jag
Dancing to tunes we both hear from inside

On top as below, in rhythm or stag
Inside from the inside and outside the same
Angel and Monster, guide through the gloam
Your body I want just when you are home

My inside your outside and my left side your out
We will flitter and gltter and jiggle and jag
And tumble through terror knowing neither nor lag.
I know what I want my sweet angled angel inside
She’s already mine and feels so free she is blind.

That flitter, that glitter, that jig and that jag
Are her very own heralds that the pumpkin inside
Has finally popped open jacko-laughingly laughingly
Like a cracked corn on skylight
Through the gloam came her light.

A Christmas Story for Marla Ruzicka
Visual Thinking in Bea Flat: Orange, Yellow Progression to the White Side of the Zight
Ghost Writers in the Sky
A Thousand Points of Light Through an Ariadne Maze
Tomorrow’s Melody
I See… Living People
Art as Light and a Smiled Melody
Korean Kickboard Terrors
By the Morning Light
And I Haven’t Danced Since He Died (by Mariana Tomas)
Dancing With a Ten Year Old Teacher
Picture From a Long Ago Dream: The Red Desert

April 28, 2007 Posted by | Art, Storytelling | 2 Comments

Hope on Hope: Flitter, Glitter, Jiggle & Jag @ Williamsburg’s Hope Lounge

Williamsburg Brooklyn

Contextual Productions presents…

Flitter, Glitter, Jiggle & Jag
1000 Points of Light from the Ariadne Edge

Sunday, April 29th
7:30 pm – 11:30 pm
@ Hope Lounge in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Music, Poetry & Community

Annie Lin (+ friend) (story folk with an edge)
John Epperly (country grunge)
The Ravages (unplugged indie rock)

And readings from the Ariadne Edge

ZIGHTLIGHT, The Asylum Roundtable, and more…

$5.00 suggested donation, more or less, or whatever makes you comfortable.


Visit the Hope Lounge Website designed by Eric Zill

Map and Directions



#1 A Christmas Story for Marla Ruzicka
#3 Ghost Writers in the Sky
#8 And I Haven’t Danced Since He Died (by Mariana Tomas)
For more readings from the Ariadne Edge please go here

UPDATE: 4/28/2007

#1 was movingly performed last night by method actor Brett Fleisher
#3 was performed to individual small groups by Raphie Frank
#8 was performed by a feisty Carolyn Fischer, who quieted a heckler in decisive fashion

Thank you for all those who attended and special thanks to Mr. Jonathan Cohen, owner of the Hope Lounge, for taking the first step with many local Williamsburg artists to start something special.

April 24, 2007 Posted by | Art, Business | 4 Comments

Sophinette asks: Is Bono Fooling Us All? My response? NO!

from U2 by U2 book via mybono on Flickr

Sophinette posts on her WordPress blog Has Bono Been Fooling us All? and links to a Bloomberg News article: Bono, Who Preaches Charity, Profits From Buyouts, Tax Breaks related to U2 frontman, Bono’s burgeoning Business Empire. She says:

Shaking my head in disapproval…

Aside from the fact that Bono makes no claim to be a saint and publicly revels in his rock stardom (see NYT profile link at bottom of post), I look at it a bit differently than she does.

In my view, Bono is practicing what I call “Business Artivism” aka Business, Art and Non-Partisan Activism, the subject this blog. The New York Times calls this philanthropreneurship in an article entitled ““What’s Wrong with Profit?.” Here is an excerpt:

A new generation of philanthropists has stepped forward, for the most part young billionaires who have reaped the benefits of capitalism and believe that it can be applied in the service of charity. They are “philanthropreneurs,” driven to do good and have their profit, too.

Truth be told, the world could do with many more Bonos. He invests a tremendous amount of time and energy into his humanitarian pursuits — to the point that at one time his efforts almost torpedoed U2 — and ought not to be condemned for making money as well in the process and/or minimizing his tax burden. Bono is human like the rest of us and, recognizing that, sees the need to push others, governments and individuals alike, to step up to their social responsibilities.

Think of it it this way: Bono has been instrumental in attaining billions of dollars of debt relief for African Nations — an initiative George W. Bush actually mentioned in his most recent State of the Union Address without mentioning Bono by name — and has helped to save thousands if not tens of thousands of lives or even more over time (i.e. aside from AIDS funding, that money the African nations save is able to go towards food, shelter, medical, promoting enterprise etc.).

You all don’t think that’s worth a paycheck of 500 million or so, especially considering Bono actually creates something based on hard work, initiative and enterprise? What if Bono did NOT do what he is doing? What would be the opportunity cost? We’ll never know for sure, but there are a lot of living Africans out there you might be able to get an “I don’t know” from who might otherwise not be around.

Altruism and egoism, selfishness and selflessness are NOT incompatible concepts. Furthermore, in my view, we are ALL hypocrites to one degree or another. Bono is far less the hypocrite than many and uses his wealth, relative to many, very, VERY responsibly.

Related Post:
The Evolving Principles of Business Artivism
New York Times Magazine Profile:
The Statesman

January 27, 2007 Posted by | Art, Business, Economics, Philanthropy | 2 Comments

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