Category Archives: Laurie and Debbie’s blog

This Is What Resistance Looks Like

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Debbie says:

NYC subway riders erasing swastika graffiti

One of my immediate reactions to Trump’s election was to think about acts of resistance and what they will look like. We can count on the media to make everything look as divisive, nasty, and disorganized as possible, because “if it bleeds, it leads.” We have probably literally millions of people who are new to political engagement, new to activism, new to protest. We certainly have millions of people who feel frozen and don’t know what to do.

Because we are not born knowing anything, there’s no shame in not knowing what resistance looks like. But we tend to feel shame when we are frozen, feel that we are somehow supposed to know (just like we’re supposed to know how to behave in sexual situations, how to parent, how to manage a bank account, how to cook, even if no one has ever taught us).

So, looking at what people have actually done is incredibly helpful. Gregory Locke found himself on a New York City subway train where all of the maps and advertisements had been covered in hateful anti-Semitic graffiti.

One guy got up and said, “Hand sanitizer gets rid of Sharpie. We need alcohol.” He found some tissues and got to work.

I’ve never seen so many people simultaneously reach into their bags and pockets looking for tissues and Purel. Within about two minutes, all the Nazi symbolism was gone.

For me this story has three messages. First, the haters are out there, and they have no shame about spreading their message, usually anonymously, usually in some situation where they can’t face repercussions.

Second, our numbers are much larger than theirs. If we know what to do as a community, we will largely do it.

Third, nothing happens until someone unfreezes, makes a suggestion, takes an action. That whole car could have been frozen and the graffiti could still be there.

Practice makes perfect. If you have the opportunity, take a stab at being that person.  One group that will help you learn how is Hollaback! and there are many others.

If you hear about acts of resistance like this one, or bigger, or smaller, share them.

Thanks to danceswchopstck for the pointer.

Norm “Nomzee” Maxwell: Great Paintings

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Laurie says:

No life is precious unless all life is precious (Trayvon Martin)

I saw this exhibition a few days ago in the Luna Rienne in my neighborhood at Luna Rienne . It’s called “Made in the Ghetto”. It’s been a long time since I saw unfamiliar work that moved me this much. The pictures are mostly paintings and of some size. Seeing them on the screen will not do more then give an impression of the work. The textures and contrasts in the art are extraordinarily vivid and complex and need to be seen in the originals. Unfortunately I saw the show almost at the end. It’s been extended thru this Saturday. If you can see it in the Mission in San Francisco in this short time do. There’s an excellent selection of his work and also a video on the Luna Rienne site that gives a fuller perspective on the work.


After having a varied and successful career in multiple fields and mediums. he opened his own gallery in LA. He sold and exhibited his work worldwide.

Norm Maxwell: Made In The Ghetto (1969-2016) honors the life and body of work of the recently-deceased urban contemporary artist and long-time Luna Rienne Gallery collaborator.

Born in Philadelphia, PA on January 25, 1969, Maxwell and his two brothers had a rough upbringing in a broken home. He was fully susceptible to and influenced by street life, finding his expression in writing graffiti as “Ice”. His mother’s artistic inclinations, frequent visits to the Philadelphia Museum Of Art, and encouragement from teachers led him to pursue an academic degree in art…


Maxwell was a prolific artist whose skills and subject matter spanned the extremes of painting. From acrylic spray to oil brush, street life to ancient myth, and urban strife to family life, Maxwell addressed both the evil and beauty of humanity – a duality that he personally struggled with during his short and magnificent life. He is survived by his wife and two children.


Norm “Nomzee” Maxwell was a visual artist whose education came via the streets (Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Los Angeles) and the Hussian School Of Art. His combination of urban upbringing and fine art training resulted stylistically in an esoteric combination of color, light, and subject matter. Culturally, Maxwell was a quintessential urban contemporary artist, with a portfolio that included graffiti, street wear design, club flyer and album art, graphic design, set design, and fine art painting. He passed away in 2016 at the age of 47.

I’m going to go back again to see the work. There is so much there it requires multiple viewings.