OnCreativity: Ann Hamilton interview

OnCreativity visits with visual artist Ann Hamilton on location at her massive installation’ the event of a thread’, to discuss flexibility, trust, and risk taking.

With the “OnCreativity” series, Plazm explores the nature of creativity and how it works via informal interviews with designers, artists, musicians, animators, and educators. Like creativity itself, their differing points of view inspire, provoke, confuse, and delight.



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We all have the ability to create. But what is creativity? How does it work? With the “OnCreativity” series, Plazm explores these and other questions via informal interviews with designers, artists, musicians, animators, and educators. Like creativity itself, their differing points of view inspire, provoke, confuse, and delight.

Since our founding in Portland in 1991, we have believed that creativity can change the world. “As human beings, we have to get over the period of competition,” as Arturo Vega says in an upcoming OnCreativity interview, “and we have to replace it with one of collaboration and compassion.” 

For our launch today, we are pleased to present graphic design legend Milton Glaser, graffiti writer/fashion designer Claw Money, art director/author Steven Heller, and filmmaker/photographer Andrew Zuckerman.

Welcome to OnCreativity.

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Who is this slimy creature?

Twenty years ago, in Plazm issue #9, we invited the Guerrilla Girls to do the inside front cover. They provided this nifty educational ad about Newt Gingrich.

Back then Newt was Speaker of the House in the mid 1990s. When he was elected he came up with the slick marketing term “Contract with America.” In our office we referred to it as a “Contract on America.”

Well, the slimy creature resurfaced this year as Chief Planner in the new Trump administration. He rehashed his marketing ploy calling Trump’s first hundred days a “Contract with the American Voter.” We can say the same thing now as twenty years ago: It’s a contract on the American voter.

Newt is no more moderate today than he was then so we are republishing the Guerrilla Girls ad. He continues to happily erode common decency and enrich the corporate class. Newt helped us get here, in his special slimy, hypocritical way.


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Just be

I finally got a chance to see Gimme Danger—the Stooges documentary by Jim Jarmusch. I can’t specifically recall the first time I heard the Stooges. I came of age on the punk rock that was inspired by them. But somehow it seems like they have always been in my subconscious—a kind of visceral, kinetic energy waiting to be unlocked. It’s hard to dispute their purity and power. And hard to argue with Jim Jarmusch’s thesis that the Stooges are “the greatest rock and roll band ever.” He says it in the first few moments of the film and proceeds to prove it over the next hour and a fourty-five minutes.

If you like Iggy Pop, if you are inspired by cultural creativity and innovation, if you’re a fan of music history, then this is a good film to experience.

Iggy, as always, has a way of cutting through the crap. There’s a point in the movie where he says “I don’t want to belong to the glam people, the alternative people, to any of them. I don’t want to be a punk. I just want to be.”

It’s hard for anyone to live in a way that aligns with personal purpose and values—to stay true to one’s self. There are demonstrations of this throughout the film. Like when Iggy talks about “cultural treason.” He’s referring to bands that try to sound like what’s already popular. A band like that is committing cultural treason.

That Stooges arrived in the late sixties—a period with many examples of cultural treason. When asked in an old interview clip if he influenced anybody, Iggy says: “I think I helped wipe out the sixties.” And he did. Five years after the Beatles sang “I want to hold your hand,” Iggy sang “I want to be your dog.” But I believe his idea of cultural treason is broader: It applies to all mediums. The ease of capitalizing on a trend, on momentum in the popular lexicon—rather than staying true to the uniqueness and wisdom that’s inside each of us. That is cultural treason.

I had the honor of interviewing Iggy back in 1994. We sent him our magazine and he liked it. That’s pretty much how we got the interview. In the pages of Plazm we always tried to do more with musicians than basic Q+A. So during the interview I asked if he would send us a rant or manifesto of some kind. He faxed a page from Warsaw to our offices that night. It’s scrawled on Delta Airlines letterhead. Nation of Midgets. Our Gods are Assholes. A revolution is coming, and in reaction a strongman will emerge. Indeed. We scanned it and published it as it arrived to us in the pages of Plazm #5. My interview is now online here.


Also, here’s a conversation between Jim Jarmusch and Iggy Pop at the Film Society at Lincoln Center on the making of the film.

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Dear Electoral College

federalist1Since Alexander Hamilton didn’t have access to email, I went ahead and sent this letter to all the electors via this site: Ask The Electors. Also submitted it to the Electoral College Petition folks.

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Mourn Heal Act


Like many of you, I have spent this week feeling a mixture of fear, nausea, and shock. Now there is someone at the upper echelons of government whose stated views about everyone that is not a white Christian male—not to mention our planet earth—is disdain. I’ve had a hard time knowing the best way to respond. I would like to share ten thoughts that are guiding me now:

We need to take good care of ourselves in this time. Eat well, drink water, nourish yourself. Being healthy means you can help others in need.

Find strength in each other. Community magnifies our power. It is a dark moment, but we must never let our hopes and dreams dim.

Be vigilant. Pay careful attention to those under attack: Women, Muslims, immigrants, Hispanics, Native Americans, Jews, LGBTQ, and Mother Earth. Attacks have already dramatically increased since the election. There must be zero tolerance for condescending, racists, misogynistic behavior. An attack on one is an attack on all.

Bring healing to this moment. I refuse to believe that the millions who voted for Trump are all racist and misogynistic people. There are some, to be sure. But many working class people across the country are suffering. Their vote this week shows it.

Commit to kindness and compassion. We must build bridges in our society, not walls. An us versus them mindset is counter-productive. Seek to understand first.

Be creative. Write. Make art. Make media. Facilitate the voices of others—especially those in targeted communities. These stories will connect people and enrich all of our lives.

Be active politically. Mobilize now. We need to quickly determine what organizations will be most useful in this time and build connections between them. ACLU Nationwide350.orgMoveOn.org. There are many. Let’s share resources, not work in silos.

46.9% of eligible voters did not vote on November 8—that’s 20% more than either Clinton or Trump received. It doesn’t help that Congress did not reauthorize the voting rights act. The years of Republican redistricting and suppression through voter ID laws are designed to make it harder for working people and people of color to vote.

From where I sit today I think we should immediately focus on increasing voter access across the nation, elect progressive candidates and retake control of both the House and Senate in two years.

Use your limited time and energy wisely. Facebook is a great way to network and build community, but it can also be an eddy—leaving us swirling in circles and not moving downstream. Act intentionally and thoughtfully with your very finite resources.

Resist. Obstruct any regressive policy. If actions are proposed or enacted that will hurt people, that will hurt the planet on which we all depend, they must be emphatically and actively resisted. The November 9th joint statement from California’s legislative leaders was powerful, as were Governor Jerry Brown’s comments to “lead the resistance” against Trump’s possible changes on climate and health care. Oregon, Washington, let’s join forces with California on this. To the nation’s first LGBTQ Governor Kate Brown: Your November 9th statement was a good start, now let’s turn that into the entire Pacific coast.

When it comes to resistance, violence is counter-productive. The petty and misdirected vandalism that happened in Portland last night plays directly into the hands of those who would like to seize power by force. The news calls it a “riot.” It gets seen around the world. Not only is it misdirected (What does smashing cars in a Toyota dealership have to do with Donald Trump?), but it allows the entirety of the protest to be painted in a negative way. We must not give someone with authoritarian tendencies this kind leverage. We hold the moral high ground. Let’s act like it.

The Trump election can be a catalyst for a positive movement.
Tomorrow we begin.

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Silkscreen Voting Party: Calling Bad Hombres & Nasty Women!


Plazm has made some demented calligraphy inspired by Donald Trump’s demented words. Take them back and send him packing.

The screens are burned!  BYOB—Bring Your Own Bag or Shirt and pull a print Sunday night at Beacon Sound from 7-9 pm.

Green Line Press will be on hand so YOU can silkscreen our ‘nasty woman’ or ‘bad hombre’ designs onto your own t-shirt or bag— free.

E*Rock will be DJing.  

Enjoy the tunes.
Fill out your ballots with friends.
All ages.

7-9 pm
Sunday 11/6

Beacon Sound
3636 N Mississippi Ave

nasty 1bad 1

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Making Portland Work


Chloe Eudaly in her store, circa 1998 from Plazm magazine feature.

I remember the first time I met Chloe Eudaly in her small store just north of Hawthorne Blvd. on 37th Avenue, a few blocks from my house. I was already a lover of ‘zines and printed matter of all kinds. PLAZM was a few years old by then, we started in 1991, I think the first Reading Frenzy location opened in 1994. It was always inspiring to see what could be found—the myriad of voices, subjects of deep geeky inquiry, and the seemingly infinite number of ways a person could express themselves on paper.

Within a couple of years she expanded her business moving downtown to SW Oak Street. I visited frequently since the Plazm studio was kitty-corner in the second floor of the Myler Building in those days. I could see Reading Frenzy from my window. I have fond memories of Umbra Penumbra, Galleri 8, Michael Russo coming to work every day with his thermos lunchbox (he paid month-to-month rent in that building for like thirty years)… Portland was a different place then in many ways. I have often thought that Plazm magazine would not have survived if we had started in NYC of a larger city where we couldn’t afford the rent.

On the side of Portland city vehicles it says “The City that Works.” In many ways, it does and has for a long time. These days, the spotlight is shining bright here. If you would’ve told me twenty years ago if Portland would be looked to as a cultural beacon in the global landscape, I would’ve asked what you were smoking. Portland is big in Japan. We are written about seemingly every other week in the New York Times. The city where young people go to retire. The spotlight is here. But it will pass. The important thing is, as Kristy Edmunds said to me a year ago—not to be distracted by success. We need to stay true to what makes Portland a city that works. For everyone. That means affordable rent. Housing, of course. But also affordable workspaces for artists and makers and creators of all types.

As a small businesswoman, as a supporter of all types of voices through shelf space and gallery shows in her store, to publishing works, to helping found the Independent Publishing Resource Center in the mid-90s, to being the single mother of a physically disabled child, as an advocate for fair housing policies, Chloe has shown her true colors over and over. She has given so much to this community. She is a shining example of Portland being a city that works. And she is committed to making sure it is a city that works for everyone. I can think of no better person to sit on the Portland City Council. Vote Chloe.

Helpful links:
Official Chloe for Portland website get your lawn signs, buttons, stickers, and more. Or stop in at Reading Frenzy
Plazm magazine interview with Chloe, circa 1998
Rent Crisis – Joe Socco + Chloe Eudaly ‘zines

Rent Crisis 'zine - Joey Socco & Chloe Eudaly

Rent Crisis ‘zine – Joey Socco & Chloe Eudaly

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failure. discounted.

come fail typeFailure is part of the human condition, yet many people are paralyzed by the thought. What do mistakes teach us? What is a beginner’s mind? Plazm’s Joshua Berger and Niko Courtelis lead a “Come Fail With Us” workshop at the Bend Design Conference which features Ashley Shaffer, Brad Cloepfil, John C Jay, and Victor Saad, among others.

Friends of Plazm may use the following code to receive $25.00 off the full conference pass. Purchase by October 1. Code is: PARTNERBDC2016

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