Thursday, March 19, 2015

"Milk" Video Art 1976

For a limited time you can watch "Milk" on Tom Sherman's Vimeo page.

Video Still "Milk" 1976 10.15 b/w

Here's the link. Check it out: Milk

Diane Spodarek: "I first made video art in the MFA program at at Eastern Michigan University from 1973-1975. Using a Sony PortaPak I made black and white videos using myself in autobiographical 'stories.' After graduation and the birth of my daughter, Dana, I continued to work independently making solo video art works that became part of the early video art of the 70's.

One of the best is "Milk" (1976, 10 min, b/w) Description: While expressing my own breast milk into a glass I reflected on society’s attitudes toward breast-feeding in public and my husband’s reaction to the milk in his coffee. This tape was censored from many exhibitions at the time following public reaction - in particular death threats from patrons at The Detroit Institute of Arts exhibition "New Video and Performance Art in Detroit" in 1978."

Digital copy made from 1/2" VHS dub, March 13, 2015; digitized by Tom Sherman.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Update Hearing 3-11 for Prezidor Probini on the tragedy of killing Guler Ugur 12-31

Today was a hearing for Preizdor Probini for which the DA's office had informed anyone who inquired that nothing would happen, that there would be no plea deal, that it was not necessary for anyone to attend because it was a simple postponement for an actual court date.

But something did happen. The fact that "friends of Guler Ugur" attended resulted in an article in the new york press.

This proves that if you stand up for those you love, if you let the courts know that someone's life matters, like Guler's did to so many people, something happens. In this case, more press. Why is this man's attorney saying that it is a simple interpretation of the law, the fact that he was entering an intersection on a green light and that IF he had stopped he would not have been charged with a crime. Why is anyone treating this as an accident? It is not an accident.

When Probini killed Guler he: 1. was driving with a "suspended license" 2. was illegally passing on the right; 3. was speeding (proved by the fact that when he hit Guler she flew 80 feet); and 4. was driving his mother's car (what is her liability?)
and what about these facts:
  • Probini had two previous felonies prending: He punched his girlfriend in the stomach when she was pregnant and choked her until she could not breath
  • He had a previous felony charge of armed robbery (this makes two previous felonies that involved him threatening others' lives.)
This was no accident. It was a preventable tragedy.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Guler Ugur update info

Correction (?)

I have been sent an email from someone who attended a meeting in the DA's office about the charges against Prezidor Probini who killed Guler Ugur. Apparently, Probini turned himself in earlier than the press reported including "The New York Times." There is also speculation about a previous felony charge of "armed robbery."

In my earlier post I did not publish the link to the court documents that I read that stated Probini had two previous felonies pending against him including "armed robbery." This is unfortunate because now these sites no longer carry "free" content.  I will continue to check. The March 11th hearing will determine what charges will be made against Probini based on "evidence." There is no mistake that Probini killed Guler Ugur. His whereabouts before and after constitute evidence.

I am not a believer in "internet" info. How often do we hear people say "I read it on the internet," but don't know and/or cannot site the source. One third of all internet content is inaccurate, (James Fallows, international writer for The Atlantic, did the research). Most of my blog is simple writings about personal experience. When I write about "other" information that I find interesting or hurtful to people or the environment, I like to share it and usually provide a link. The story about the death of my friend however, makes me realize that even court documents that are previously published as "public info" can disappear.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

February 2015 - Birthday - Drinking - Florida - Guler

 I missed the opportunity to post during the month of February (due to a very long flu illness) and now it is March 1st. February, my daughter's birthday month (as well as my own). We always celebrate with a birthday dinner. This year, we went to the restaurant on the corner of Washington and Bethune, only a half block from our front door. Above affordability, it is a once a year treat.  And it was the first time I have had a drink (red wine) with my daughter because I quit drinking 18 years ago. Now, after realizing getting drunk is just as over-rated as sobriety, I enjoy drinking again. Friends ask: "What is it like to drink after 18 years?" Simply, it's okay. Obsessing about not drinking was actually more harmful - for me - than now that I'm drinking occasionally. (But I did write a good show: "The Drunk Monologues.")
Here's one of Guler's favorite photos she took from my show at the NY Fringe performance:

Photo by Guler Ugur from "The Drunk Monologues" (As a pigeon from "The Ugly White Building" monolouge.)

I have been sad about Guler's death. I was in Florida when I heard about the man who killed her in his mother's car, while he was on bail for two previous felonies. This is the part I can't get over. It was no accident. Everyone calls it an accident. No, it wasn't. An accident - by definition - has unknown causes. If a two-time felon drives without a license in a borrowed car, (and illegally passes on the right and is speeding), all the causes of the unfortunate event are known and preventable. I flew back to NYC from Florida  for the memorial but got the flu and was in bed for days and unable to go out for weeks.

 I was helping my parents out in Florida, a place that is very alien to me after being in New York. There, people throw out racist and anti-Obama comments as often as they talk about the weather.  In this mix my parents - who voted for Obama - said they keep their political beliefs to themselves because the vitriol from the senior set is extreme.  My mother, who has dementia, however, says everyone she knows in Florida are Republicans because they want to pretend they are rich despite their working class backgrounds. My parents, 92 and 87 are living together in different ways.  My father plays tennis every other day and my mother struggles to put words together to communicate what she thinks and feels.

There is a hearing for Prezidor Probini on March 11th. There and then perhaps some justice will begin for Guler Ugur.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Guler Ugur extraordinary Photographer killed by Prezidor Porbeni

Guler Ugur in red at Harriman State Park, 2014

Guler Ugur was my friend, one of the most extraordinary women I knew. Full of spirit and talent, she always brought me flowers when we met. The last was a single large yellow sunflower. Her memorial will be at the Tribeca Synogogue for the Arts February 8th.

Guler Ugur was killed by Prezidor Porbeni, who fled the scene after hitting her in his mother’s SUV on December 31, 2014 at 6 pm. Guler was crossing 113th Street and Amsterdam Avenue on her way to St. John Divine for the annual New Year’s eve concert. He was driving with a suspended license, illegally passing on the right and speeding. When he hit Guler she was thrown 80 feet and declared  dead at St. Luke’s on the same block.

Porbeni turned himself in (ten days later with his lawyer), only after the SUV he was driving was posted on the Internet for five days. Porbeni is 28-years-old and has a criminal history including two pending felony cases: an armed robbery and a separate crime of beating and punching his pregnant girlfriend in the stomach and choking her until she couldn’t breath. (Source from police reports filed on court website.) When he turned himself in, he was charged with leaving the scene of an accident in a fatality and driving with a suspended license. (As of this date there is no further information on his case.)

In a police report I read that Porbeni said he left the scene because he was scared. This is pathetic. Before he killed Guler he was free to live his life despite two pending felony cases.  Should his mother be charged as well? Is it a crime to give your car to someone with a suspended license?

Guler was a beautiful woman. Her personal life is as extraordinary as her professional life.  Born in Turkey to Muslim parents, she was the oldest of eight. Her family moved to Germany where, (she told me), after years of sexually abusing her, her father sold her into marriage when she was 12 or 13. She ran away and was placed in foster care, where her foster parents kept her home from school and used her as a domestic slave.  Running away again, she was able to eventually grow up away from adults who were supposed to protect her. She came to New York as a very young photographer and I met her in my job as an immigration paralegal and was able to help her obtain a working visa as an extraordinary photographer.  She supported herself (and others) with her successful career and converted to Judaism. She was more than a friend, she also photographed my gigs and head shots for many years.

More recently, before it got too cold I went hiking with Guler twice. Days before she was killed, we spoke on the phone. She was happy. We made plans to spend some time in Florida. Her death was so sudden. It is impossible to understand the senselessness of it. I often think of the absurdity of the press calling her death an accident. In this case, there is no accident, but there is the law of cause and effect. 

In the law of cause and effect, Guler would be alive today if it wasn’t for Probini's previous criminal activity and his actions moments before he killed Guler. Shouldn’t he be charged with manslaughter? He didn’t have a license, he passed on the right, and he had to be speeding for her to be thrown 80 feet. He shouldn’t have been driving period. And why was he even free with two pending felonies? Who paid for his bail? If you drive with a suspended license and you kill someone, - and flee the scene - (can't help but wonder what or who was in his car when it happened) isn't the appropriate charge manslaughter? In his two priors, he threatened the lives of others. Killing Guler is no accident. One felony. Two felonies. Now Three. This is an accident? This is a man with a history. Unless a judge can get him off the street, sadly his next crime is predictable and it will not be an accident either.