Sprint LivePro: The True Multipurpose Android Projector, but is it right for you?

Live Pro

Sprint’s LivePro

Billed as the “Swiss Army Knife” of projectors, Sprint’s Live Pro packs a plethora of capabilities into a rather diminutive device. Measuring 4.7 inches square and weighing in at 14.1 ounces – or 0.88 pounds — it may not fit into a shirt pocket, but it certainly won’t be a burden to carry. The big question that you have to ask yourself is “Will you have a need for it?”
Feature wise, this Android projector is loaded. It comes with a Micro SD card slot, connectivity to the Sprint network 3G and 4G LTE, HDMI port, Bluetooth, Hot Spot capability, MicroSD card slot, MicroSIM card slot, can operate as an external battery charger and comes with its own cables, which is a nice convenience. In short. It does everything you would want a mobile projector to do.
The Live Pro uses a somewhat stock version of Android Jelly Bean. I was bit surprised it did not at least have Kit Kat installed. That maybe in the pipeline. As anyone who has Android phone can testify, their os upgrades are painfully slow in arriving.
On the plus side, this projector can operate in a way similar to a smartphone. Installed are the basic Google apps most people would need, and there is no “fluff” wasting space. This is a blessing in that the internal storage available to users is just 2 Gigs. This could be a moot point. This is a primarily a projector. When you factor in how much it does, it doesn’t seem too farfetched to see calling abilities as well.
Hardware wise you are looking at a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, clocked at 1.2 GHz, and backed by 1GB of RAM. Operations are swift, but do not expect flagship responsiveness. For what it is designed to do, the layout, speed and handling are decent.

VIDEO
Aesthetics, or as I like to call it “the cool factor,” the Live Pro is not hard on the eyes. The body is plastic, but I did not find it coming up terribly short in the looks department. When sitting on a desk, it will draw attention to itself, in a positive light.
The native resolution is 854 x 854 and can be projected up to a 120 inch display on a wall or other surface. For optimum viewing, the placement range is anywhere from ten niches to ten feet from the surface you are projecting. Go further and image quality is compromised.
The Live Pro does come with speakers, and it also comes with a somewhat loud fan. Once it gets going, it tends to soften, but be prepared for a bit of noise.
Although presented as a device that families and general tech consumers can use, the real application for the device is more suitable for business professionals: in very specific.

In situations like small conferences in the field, or in a place where one should bring their own equipment, the LivePro could fill a need. When I gave it a test run in a real world situation where it would be an appropriate fit, it worked well.
The Achilles heel that prevents the LivePro from being a sound choice for pure entertainment are the limitations of the screen. Projected image quality is not sufficient for viewing video for extended periods. The quality is acceptable for a power point presentation and a video of brief duration, but not more strenuous activity. In brief, image quality is decent, but not spectacular.
For some educational purposes, such as teachers in remote areas, I could see the LivePro being a real life saver. The only serious caveats are that you should always carry the power cord and confine use to a dark room. Dim lighting renders images projected simply too pale.
Once you have answered the question about the practicality of the projector, the second question regards the price points. Tech like this does not come cheap.
The full retail price is $ 499.00, which feels a bit high even taking into account its multitasking abilities. Reducing sticker shock, Sprint offers it at $ 299.00 with a two year service agreement. There is also a 24 payment option of $ 18.75 with the last being $ 18.74—they are precise.
Data plans are always shifting. It just depends time and specials. When I checked on line the lowest price it was $ 35.00 monthly. Numbers can add up fast, so make sure you are aware of the long term cost of ownership.
One idea that struck me was if it was possible to simply buy the LivePro without a service plan. If you’re primary function is projecting, you could dispense with service plans.
I did not find anything on the Sprint site offering it without a service plan. Then again, things change in the mobile world, and there is no harm in asking.

Summation

Advertised as something general consumes may want, the reality of the LivePro is that it is very much a niche product. If you are a professional on the road in some very specific situations, the LivePro could be the right fit. Even if it does fit your needs, there are limitations. As much as I liked the device on one level for its ambitious stance, I felt there were compromises that a nearly $ 500.00 projector should not ask.
Short battery life, just acceptable image quality and price points that are high, I don’t see this as a mainstream product. It has a very defined place in the tech market for some very specific needs.
Even though it does just about everything that one would ideally hope for in a projector, that does not make up for some serious limitations that general consumes may not be willing to accept.

DATA:
• Dimensions: 4.7 inches x 4.7 inches x 1.1 inches (120.6mm x 120.6mm x 28.5mm)
• Weight: 14.1 ounces (400 grams)
• Display: 4-inch WVGA touchscreen display with 800×480 resolution and Gorilla Glass
• Projection Display: 10 inches to 10 feet
• Projector Type: DLP
• Lamp Brightness: 100 lumens
• Lamp Life: 20,000 hours
• Contrast Ratio: 1,000:1
• Aspect Ratio: 4:3 or 16:9
• Battery: 5,000mAh Lithium-ion battery
• Memory: 4GB internal memory (ROM), 1GB (RAM) microSD™ card slot supports up to 64GB
• Ports: HDMI; USB

Kurt von Behrmann,  Artist

If you like projects like this one, please check out my GoFund Me page.

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Bipolar as Inspiration?

Artist uses his own mental illness as a theme for a solo art exhibition

acyclic on canvas painting

A work about self harm, cutting, a subject not often discussed.

Phoenix, Arizona – Friday, April 24, 2015 – When artist Kurt von Behrmann was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, he decided to use it as a source of inspiration for a solo art exhibition.
“Education myself about this illness revealed that many artists have had this affliction. Unknowingly, I had expressed the classic symptoms in my paintings,” said von Behrmann.
Bipolar is a serious brain disorder marked by episodes of depression and mania. Characterized by extremes in mood from uncontrollable “highs” to suicidal depressions, it is disruptive and sometimes fatal. Approximately 5.5 million Americans suffer with this illness.
Struggling with depression and drug side effects, von Behrmann submitted a proposal to the Shemer Art Center. “I had something meaningful to say visually about mental illness, and I was hoping someone one would hear me. I wanted to be heard,” said von Behrmann.
Apparently, The Shemer Art Center was listening, and took him very seriously.
Scheduled for February 4th 2016 from 5 p.m.-7 p.m. at the center’s location at 5005 E. Camelback, Road, Phoenix, AZ 85018, (www.shemerartcenter.org), his solo Exhibition “Between Two Poles: A Bipolar Themed Exhibition,” will open. The event is free, open to the public and closes March 10th of 2016.
A graduate of The Cranbrook Academy of Art and the Art Academy of Cincinnati, von Behrmann works appear in both corporate and private collections. He has launched a GoFundMe  for support. “I have been working on a shoestring budget, but minus the string,” joked von Behrmann.

Contemporary Racism in America

Ferguson and The University of Oklahoma’s  Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity

April 4, 2015

By:  Kurt von Behrmann

In what some deem “Post Racial America,” overwhelming evidence to the contrary indicates we are anything but a racially equitable society.   Overt discrimination is still with us.  When tensions reach a breaking point, or when what has been private is made public, the notion of an America minus prejudice sounds like the ludicrous piece of fiction that it is.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s secretive chat celebrating the exclusion of African-Americans from its ranks became known, and an embarrassing facet of Greek life reared its head.  It was a decidedly ugly one.  Given permission by concealment, feelings and attitudes from America’s past made themselves loud and clear.

Picture of demonstration

Am I Next? 

 

The fact that some fraternal orders exist along racial lines is nothing new.   Given that they are social in nature and private, Universities and society in general has allowed this type segregation.  As long as one does not make it “obvious” that a Frat is “White Only,” or for that matter “Black Only,” integration is placed in a permanent holding pattern.

The values, or the reputed values, of academic institutions are in contradiction to the Frats that they co-exist with them.  It is that very conflict that puts Universities in the unenviable position of allowing what it does not accept among its own ranks, at least on a surface level.

The pull and tug of that which is tolerated in public versus what is allowed in private delves into the very deepest core of the type of racism that permeates American Culture.  It is acceptable to move into an all-white community.  It is not acceptable to be vocal and proud about the fact.  The same holds true for restricted country clubs.

Amongst the Patrician Caucasian Class of America, expressing hatred for Blacks and wishing they were systematically removed from the United States, or lynched, is fine, in private.   Chanting about it is decidedly “in poor taste.”  It is a key separating factor that divides “Patrician Whites” from “Hoi Poli” Whites.

Contemporary racism is now clouded in new terms.   “Entitlement Programs” mean any and everything that would allow Blacks economic, educational and social advancement.   Anything that would reduce crime, violence, sexism, teenage pregnancy and any other social problems in the inner City is transformed into government overreach that always fails.

Another interesting element of the New Racism is encouraging Africa-Americans to eschew any form of social and educational advancement.   One sure fire way to do this is to encourage the most misogynistic music possible that values money, guns, flashy cars  and girls girls girls galore above everything else.

The “Gangsta’ world is the high culture of the African-American community designed to define it and sell itself as authentic.   Create the most negative, depressing self-hating cultural climate possible and then sell it to Blacks with the idea that this is the penultimate achievement of Black intellectual achievement.

Let me add, I am not putting down literature and art that have something substantive to say about the Urban Black Experience.  There is culture there, but it is hanging on by a thread.  The degradation of Black intellectual achievement has been an ongoing, and successful, project.

                There are “Patrician” well meaning whites in America.  I have never purchased the simplistic idea of “Whites” are all evil and Blacks are perfect.”  This is a racist view.  People are complex and circumstances are complicated.  My point is that “SOME” elements in America are committing acts that fly in the face of a decent society and are making a profit from it to the detriment of Black cultural life . 

Social racism protected by the traditions of Greek Campus Life are not easily seen by the outside. It can give the impression that racial hatred has vanished from Campus life.  It is a little harder to ignore when it is systematic, visible and part of a legal system that that has exploited Black communities.

When Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo, that one event was the catalyst for protests from a community that had endured years of mistreatment by the Police.

The incidents of unarmed Black youth finding their lives ending at the end of a gun has been too frequent.  The repercussions of another incident where an unarmed Black Youth found his life ended by an overzealous Block Watcher George Zimmerman left a bad taste in the minds of the American public after he showed a continuing history of violence.  It seems that these events were happening way too often to be just happenstance.  It was a point noted by all, conveniently ignored by some.

There has been a long held belief that the Police are above and beyond reproach. It is buried deep in the American psyche.  Politicians running on “law and order” platforms have no interest in finding fault with the Police.  In the minds of most they are there to “protect” and “serve.”  The assumption has been that they are above politics and beyond the need for oversight.

That attitude maybe slowly changing.

Old beliefs die hard.  In an America where some find it hard to find fault with the system, where the belief that racism ended with President Obama, Ferguson was a glaring sign that it was still with us in the ugliest way possible.

What truly set nerves trembling in Missouri’s Black community was the idea that Officer Darren Wilson was not going to be tried by a jury of his peers.  It was as if the powers that be wanted to rush this matter under a very thick rug.  The excuse given for the fast paced decision was that there were no reliable witnesses.   Well, there were witnesses.  Wouldn’t it be up to the jury system to discern truth from fiction?   Instead, the whole affair was brushed aside like a hiccup.

 

As investigations found cold hard data, it was revealed that the entire Police Department of Ferguson was engaged in practices that were decidedly racist.   Blacks were profiled and found guilty of minor infractions and given unusually large fines.  The entire department was using this system of harsh punishment as a revenue stream.   So much for protect and serve here.  The unconscionable part is that this is an economically challenged community.

Coming to light were the emails that mocked the President and African Americans in general sent via office email systems.  The remarks were crude, dehumanizing and filled with vitriol.  There was no mistaking this was a Police Department that viewed the community it served with contempt.

The one time I saw Officer Darren Wilson I was struck by his youth, and the overwhelming feeling that he lacked the “gravitas” one would expect in a law enforcement official.   His speech and demeanor was more like that of a young teen thrown into a situation that was beyond his ability to comprehend.  He had the classic “Deer In The Headlights Look” when interviewed.  He looked easily shaken.   He looked scared.

I recall a police officer telling me many years ago that experienced seasoned officers would be leaving the force.  Their replacements will be young, and more than likely ill equipped to handle urban crime.   His words were prophetic.

Clearly, racism is a problem in Ferguson.  But, the makeup of the department and its total disconnect from the community it is supposed to protect has created an adversarial environment.  It is an “US” versus “Them” mentality.

Stats from Mother Jones Magazine http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/08/10-insane-numbers-ferguson-killing

One clear solution is to hire African—American Officers, recruit from the community and start to establish a less combative stance on the part of the Department.   Having citizens on advisory boards,  taking input from the community, having members of the community cooperate with the Department, all of these could have and should have been done.   These things do work.   It was not like none of this did not exist in the country.  These things do work. The reality is that no one cared, and it showed.

When I think of Officer Darren Wilson,  I start to think about the circumstances that place Whites into environments where they have no connection.

Picture the circumstances and one starts to see why this happened, and how it happened.  I think it is safe to assume that those White Officers in Ferguson come from White communities.   They are largely around people who think, act and look like themselves.

Now, place those same Whites deep into Black communities where there are enormous social ills and historic racism and you see the disconnect.

Consider those same White Officers encountering day after day Black people behaving badly and its long term impact.  The view that emerges is that all Blacks are violent.   Now they have proof positive that all their racist views are backed by facts, experiences and cold hard data. Even in the poorest of communities, not everyone is violent, cruel or so soaked in the crime culture that rehabilitation is impossible.   The reality of Black humanity is not what these cops witness.

Over time Black crime becomes the Black identity.  The idea that they deserve to be punished because they have no value as human beings can justify maltreatment.  Racism backed by slanted experiences provides the justification to do as one pleases.

When racism meets anger meets the worst ills of society, do not expect the meeting to be a good one.   Without a type of training that views communities as U.S. communities in a more balanced light, it is easy to see Black Communities as enemy territory.

The surreal nature of College Campuses becoming sanctuaries for racist Frats and Police Departments openly hostile to the Black communities they are supposed to protect and serve,  it all paints a picture of a society that espouses one set of values, but secretly houses something far more sinister.  There is something perverted about a Police Departments and a judicial system that is basically “shaking down” their communities for money.  There is something profoundly disturbing about College Campuses where racist chants take place but are not known until accidentally made public.

How out of touch are the institutions created to protect, serve and educate really are when beneath the image lurks something so dark, and so disgusting?

 

Kurt von Behrmann is an Artist currently working on an exhibition dealing with bipolar Disorder.

It is slated to open, February 2016 at the Shemer Art Center, Phoenix, Arizona

He is at work on raising funds for the project at GoFund Me.

 

 

 

 

Between Two Poles: A Bipolar Themed Art Exhibition

Horse

Also titled Pferd and Caballo, a horse between the two poles of bipolar

 

“Between Two Poles: A Bipolar Themed Art Exhibition”
Help me make it happen

A few days ago I had composed a document outlining my ideas for this exhibition.

 

The version I first placed on line was a truncated version.

I added much to this today, February 9th at 4: 15 p.m.

 

My GoFund Me Link For Support for this exhibition.

 

This is my Bipolar Story.

 

When I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 2013, it was as if someone had just died in the room, me. It was both a surprise and a relief when I realized I had a serious mental illness. The many problems I had experienced over the years made quickly made sense. However, knowledge did not stop the power of this crippling illness.
I tried to commit suicide.
Having support, going to support groups, therapy and medications, none of that was able to prevent me from committing suicide. For me, there was no real use in living. All thoughts were dead ends. The things that mattered so much simple ceased to do so.
Suicide attempts, in my case, lead to my first hospitalization for mental illness. Carried in an ambulance, tired and what empty, I spent an entire day in a waiting room hoping for a hospital bed. There was high demand, but low supply.
The first day was numbing. The second filled with groups. One followed the other. At the tie I did not have insurance. That ensured my stay would be brief. After three days I was released. Although the Psychiatrist was emphatic that I had a serious mental illness and that I needed intensive therapy.
That did not happen. I was released from the hospital, but there was no exit plan. I went from a behavioral health facility right back into “the real world.”
There were many difficult ups and downs having and not being able to afford treatment. I would heal, and then relapse. Drugs that were intended to help had my briefly lose my equilibrium.
Acquiring insurance provided care. But the drugs I were taking simply were not effective. The wonder drug “Lamictal,” was totally infective. Depressions and hypo mania were bound in a restless cycle that had me up and down. My emotions transformed into a violent roller coaster.
When the day started, I might feel optimistic, happy, even filled with bliss. Rapid thoughts accompanied fast thinking. Ideas were flowing so fast I stumbled on my words. At the high point, I was a jester spilling jokes all around me. Nothing could stop me. I was invincible.
The downside was that this euphoria did not last. Within a day or two, it would slide into depression. What goes up, must come down. The trajectory I was on always lead to a fall.
Pain turned into days and weeks of me laying on a sofa unable to do anything. I was falling into immobility. Every day I was suicidal. There were times I wanted to kill myself, but I was literally too exhausted to do it.

The pain of hopeless, depression, anxiety and lethargy are hard to describe. They are powerful but elude any kind of crisp description. When I was at the lowest, everything shut down. I felt pain, but not a physical kind. Nothing hurt, but there was a powerful pain. It was both intense and cold. The very idea of the world had no appeal. Nothing mattered except the depression. I could not pull myself out of it because my entire mind had become this void.
There were tools given to me by therapy. It my worst state they were of no use. The drugs that were supposed to at least alleviate the pain enough to get some kind of grasp of things were not powerful enough. I had contemplated, seriously, ending drugs, therapy and any other support. When I need support the most, there was nothing to grab. There was no substance to anything.
The only thing I had in depression was depression. The grasp of this illness was reaching a point where I started to feel nothing at all. There was only me wanting to end all of this insane jumping from high to low.
As all of this was happening, my identity was drifting away. All of the things that made up me, the artist, the writer, the educator, the politically aware person, everything that made up me was taken away. It was not slow. Depression moves quickly. It leaves nothing untouched.
My life was becoming surreal. There were moments where it felt like a film. I was either starring in it, or removed from the action. Simple events were monumental moments.
Then there were times when I just felt myself pulling so far inward. I was rejecting the world, other people and to some degree myself. It was like drowning and no one was hearing your screams.
Now that I look back, I had often felt like I was screaming, but no one was listening. I was in my own personal hell but no one knew I was in it. I either kept it hidden, or it resulted in some odd behavior on my part.
My life reached a new kind of low when I started cutting myself. I wanted to see if I could endure the pain of slitting my wrists. I am not a person who likes pain, but I was just feeling so much of it lately that I wanted to see how much physical pain I could endure.
I can’t say that I thought of cutting as a deliberate act. The idea to get up and cut myself was not a formed idea. The impulse to do was that. Without a lot of emotion at the time, I was jumped up from my sofa, walked into the kitchen and started.
The first marks were tentative. I really wanted to slit my wrists, but I was not sure if I had the willpower to do that. This was like a test run for the real thing is how I saw my cuts.
I started, slowly and I kept going up my arm cutting a little bit deeper every time. I was totally transfixed by what I was doing. I was drawn to this. There was an addictive side to this. I hated the pain, but I could not stop.
The scars created by the knife fascinated me. I kept cutting. Briefly, they gave me a release. The scars were expressing the intense pain I had no other way to express. The escape those marks offered was short lived.
I would stop, realizing this was not a good idea. Rational thinking intervened. Consciously, I knew I should stop. Emotionally, I felt like I shouldn’t. I broke away to call a support person from my support group. That borrowed time.
I called the warm line, a phone line that offers support for 15 minutes to people in crises who need to talk. I think I actually reached a former cutter. That only borrowed more time.
Self-preservation stepped in. I called a friend of mine and we talked about things other than cutting or bipolar. I had stopped.
That was only for a while. I resumed again. No one knew it until well after the fact.
Much was taking place, but I had reached a point where I wanted to change health care. I was seeing a Nurse Practioner whose healthcare plan was clearly not working. I felt weak, really weak, but I was up when I made my last visit.
My feelings made no sense. I was cutting, then left to see this “buffoon.” I was happy, really really up knowing feel well this was my last visit. My feelings were totally out of sync with everything. I was cutting, and then very happy.
Eventually I did find a “Psychiatrist.” I am really not an advocate of Nurse Practioners at all. I really do not believe they have the medical knowledge to deal with mental illness, at all unless under the strict eye of a Psychiatrist. Even then, I have grave reservations.
Under new care, a new therapist, things started to move forward.
Bipolar can offer you a few days of mania that can jump start your motivation. I was slow moving and tired, but I was making progress in November of last year.
Now it is February of 2015, and I am starting to put the pieces back together. The current combination of medications and therapy seem to be working. I still have bad moments. But, the addictive cutting has ceased.
I can paint. I finished a work in January, and about to complete one this month and I know I am create more innovative pieces.
The only problem is that I do need funds. Between not being able to work or even find work in my state, I have fallen behind with bills.
This is why I am asking for support for my solo exhibition of new art “Between Two Poles, A Bipolar Themed Exhibition.”
Before I became seriously ill in late 2014, I had created a proposal for an exhibition that talks about bipolar disorder from the perspective of an artist with the illness.
The works would be centered around the idea of expressing the euphoric ups and the damaging downs of Bipolar.
The idea for the exhibition came about when I realized how many of my pieces dealt with canvases being divided in half. Works literally had a dark side and a light side. This has been a salient feature of my work for some time.
After looking over my recent creations I began reading Dr. Key Redfield Jamison’s book “Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament.” I started to see strong connections between Bipolar and creativity. There is a good case made for it in this book. The unusually high number of artists with this affliction makes a compelling case that bipolar is connected to high levels of artistic achievement.
The list of artists who have suffered from mental illness, depression and bipolar, is extensive. The artistic temperament is a live wire that ignites everything it its path.
There was a study in Sweden, and I cannot recall the details. In this study they examined high achieving student’s psychiatric records. They discovered that a number of them were bipolar.
What I have experienced is that Bipolar can literally send you a million and one ideas at once. It can create wild associations between ideas and visuals. It provides the “fire” that sparks the imagination. When in a hypo manic moment, you get added inspiration and drive. Your sense of purpose is extremely drawn. The only down side is when the depressions hit so hard you cannot move, let alone create a piece of art.
For me, my artistic temperament was fueled by yet another diagnoses, Borderline Personality Disorder. That brought another element into the “mix.” From what I have read thus far, a number of bipolar people also have this personality disorder as well. There is the belief among some in the psychiatric community that Borderline Personality Disorder maybe related, or even on the same spectrum, as Bipolar. This is speculative on my part, but I do feel that there is a connection between the two of some type. I am not a psychiatrist so I can only offer what I have seen, but mood and personality tend to be connected.
Amid all of the anguish and chaos, my proposal for a Bipolar Exhibition was approved by the prestigious Shemer Art Center in Phoenix, Arizona. If all goes well, I will have a show there opening June 25th to August 6th of this year.
The show is really the one thing that has kept me going. Knowing that my identity as an artist is intact and that my work and ideas are taken seriously by a well-respected art institution in Phoenix Arizona is confirmation at a very good time.
I believe my recovery, which is permitting me time to create this document, is in large part the result of this upcoming exhibition. Advance response to the new pieces has been overwhelmingly positive. The content and imagery in the new work is different from anything I have done
A positive sign of my own “renaissance” is that I will have work at a new art center opening this March. The Director invited me to participate. I am very thrilled about this. It will be my first showing of 2015.
This month I also completed a small commission. It was small. But at least it was something. I am grateful for small things. Bad times make you appreciative.
Sadly, I had tried to apply for a grant. Due to my inability to fully function at the time, I had made a mistake and the grant was rejected. This is what Bipolar and Borderline personality can do to you.
I know that if I can get through the next few months, I know I can get back to where I was creatively. I do want to teach again and make art and write
What I need, desperately need, are funds to purchase paints, frames, canvas and the like to continue. Funds are literally spent. I mean zero. So anything you can throw my way will help make this possible.
Whatever you can do, a few dollars, or just spreading the word helps. I would love to see my web site go viral. Links to my web page, looking me up on twitter and facebook, my web site has the links, all of this counts. I would like to go viral.
Aside from me for a moment, Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness. It can literally kill you. Awareness is increasing. This is good. Alleviating stigma is still a problem. It prevents people from seeking treatment or even knowing what to look for with regards to mental health.
We tend to ignore mental health. If things in life are not working out as planned, or your are depressed, the assumption has always been that you have a character flaw. If discipline is engaged, your difficulties will vanish. “Pick yourself up by your bootstraps,” and “ Just plow ahead, “ are the standard assumed answers.
Life has never been that simple. There are instances where simply plowing ahead will get you ahead. Not everyone suffers from a mental illness.
But, when you think of suicide, when your behavior becomes erratic, when you moods change for no reason, when your so depressed that suicide seems like an excellent option, it is time to seek professional help.
No one, myself included, wanted to believe I had a problem. I was somewhat functional in the world. I had overcome obstacles as most people do. I had set backs. I buckled down and moved forward. I just assumed everyone becomes suicidal. I assumed everyone becomes depressed for weeks on end. I assumed everyone becomes restless, reckless and takes risks. I assumed a lot.
As long as the bills were paid and nothing terrible happened, I was alright.
I was terribly wrong. If I have ever made a huge mistake in my life it was not seeing the signs. They were painfully obvious for a long time. The moodiness of High School. The suicidal thoughts at a teenager. The frequent bouts of suicidal thoughts off and on over the years. Manic behavior that would keep me up all night and active during the day for weeks on end.
When I went to my first Behavioral Health Facility my first thought was, “these poor people, and thank God that is not me.”
The joke was totally on me. I was just like those people and had been.
No one chooses to be Bipolar. But, if you seek treatment, persist and become your own advocate, you can hope for a positive outcome. Bipolar can do a lot of damage, a lot. But there is hope.
I can tell you that there maybe ups and downs. Everyone is different. For some, recovery comes with medications. In time the pills go from several a day to just one. For some people, that is realistic.
For others, Bipolar means taking care of oneself. For me that means a healthy life style. It means no smoking, no drinking, eliminating certain foods and certainly no drugs other than those prescribed.
I have not been in recovery long enough to know what it means for many people. What I have seen informs me that it does require vigilance.
I do know for certain that not taking psychiatric meds, not altering your lifestyle, or ignoring Bipolar is life threatening. No one gets better without psychiatric meds, therapy and support groups. People may say they do, but I have only seen cases becoming worse, a lot worst.
If you think, even suspect, that you are Bipolar and/or Borderline Personality Disorder, please seek professional help from trained professionals. Talking to friends is great, but that is not enough.
Thank you for reading this document. If any of this helps just one person, I feel very successful in my goals.
I am actively seeking support for what I know will be a unique exhibition. Help me make it happen. I have much to say and this is a subject that demands a public dialogue.
There is are
many myths and misconceptions about mental illness. There are just as many about what constitutes “good mental health.” There needs to be a conversation about Bipolar.

American Sniper: A commentary on American Culture

Thursday, January 29, 2015
REEL VERSUS REAL: When cinema becomes reality

American Snipe

American Sniper, an unexpected hit

American Sniper, Clint Eastwood’s adaptation of Chris Kyle’s memoir about his Iraq War service has been an unexpected financial success. It has also become a magnetic for decidedly sharp criticism.
Some have faulted Eastwood for his lack of depth in dealing with the complexity of the subject matter. Others have seen the film as simply a chronicle of one man’s experiences. There are those who have viewed it as thinly veiled pro war propaganda.
When heroism is in short supply, one can at least find solace in the dark comfort of a multiplex.
Eastwood, who has actually held elected office, has made no mystery of his political leanings. Whenever a director becomes closely connected to politics like he has, it should come as no surprise that his work is going to be filtered through a decidedly political lens.
Are Eastwood’s efforts art of art’s sake, or is there an agenda to be found between the reels? The question automatically arises when any artist takes stances on divisive political issues. Given the subject matter here, there is really no way to avoid the question of how much is art and how much is message.
The Iraq War has still left deep wounds in the American Psyche. This is still a nation shaken by domestic and global terrorism. The fears of what is to come next cast a dark shadow.
The intricacies of Middle Eastern politics are a confounding web of ambitions, megalomania, religious fanaticism, economic inequality, opportunism, botched colonialism and extreme shortsightedness. The only reliable truth here is that when Elephants fight, ants are the first causalities.
I have yet to see Eastwood’s latest. Therefore, I am reserving judgment until I actually see his creation. I do not believe in condoning or condemning anything until I have experienced it firsthand.
Images, as well as words, are powerful tools. They are the first things tyrants squash. Censorship has always been the chief arsenal of the intolerant. In our culture of constant visual images and an always on internet, video, images and text do sway public opinion.
What has increasingly happened over time is that the world created in entertainment has become a replacement for reality. The world of carefully constructed images have become American Reality.
The proliferation of media has created a world where we judge beauty by Hollywood images and seek value in how well we stack up to those images. The brave soldier, the femme fatale, the macho man, the seductress, the pimp and the “ ho,” are all archetypes that describe a type, but omit the subtlety of detail. We have constructed an entire reality based on stereotypes that we have accepted as truth. The truth of any of these individuals is far more compelling than a simply drawn construct.
The problem with basing reality on popular entertainment is that the entertainment is not education and education is not entertainment. The two have become merged to the detriment of both.
When Television merged entertainment with news, it is as if this was a prophetic prediction of what would happen next, the blurring of reality.
Now, we all expect to be entertained no matter what we are doing. Taking time to do research, to be introspective, all of those things have been replaced.
Instead of looking at current events, world affairs and the like directly via “actual news” and looking at history form “actually history books,” we have substituted entertainment for reliable information. Entertainment, by definition, is designed to amuse. It is not always suited to be the best vehicle for accurate information, insight or the sometimes ambiguous world for reality where there may only be shades of gray.
This is the kind of problem that Americans have a lot of difficult with, and it is easy to see why.
Films, television shows, even the most insubstantial fluff, offer at the end conclusions. The hero wins. Good triumphs over evil. Hard work pays off in the end. There are always good guys and bad guys. At the end of the reel, the hard working win. Virtue is rewarded. Vice is always punished.
In a cultural zone built on so many absolutes, there is no room for truth. There is space for only confirmation. We are fed a television show reality and we expect our lives to correspond.
In the neat T.V. world, the ideal is a home, two cars, beautiful clothes, endless supplies of adventure and never a dull moment. We are given an American Dream that is simply not attainable. No one has it all. No one ever has.
Even education has been infected with the “Eduotainment’ bug. Classes are expected to make learning “fun.” Learning maybe enjoyable, fulfilling and worthwhile, but it is seldom fun in an entertainment way. Entertainment is passive. You sit back and let the “magic” happen. Learning is proactive. One has to be engaged.
In the blurring of the lines, we are looking at major Hollywood Films about the war to become accurate depictions of it. Sure, fiction can touch upon reality, but fiction is not a substitute for reality.
If you want to comprehend what the Iraq War was all about, you need more than one source of information. Seek out the historians, the politicians, even those who were actually there. Gather your facts from reliable sources, both right and left. When you look at both sides, the truth has a funny way of appearing.
One can criticize film from any number of perspectives. There is always validity in that. But, the big point to keep in mind is that ultimately American Sniper is a big budget Hollywood film designed to entertain. The objective here is to tell a story and have you the viewer walking away happy at the end. There is no stated intention of saying that this is the real war. This is not a documentary.
In the end, big budget films are created to entertain, not necessarily inform.

Eighty-Six A drawing from the past

Eighty-Six

A prisma color from when I lived in Central Phoenix

Eight-Six took several years to acquire a name.  It sat in my collection of drawings for years. It was never placed on exhibition.  When I spent time looking at it, this drawing felt as if it were miles away from where I am now.  In contrast to what I had created in graduate school, this really felt like a glance backward.  The figure had been absent from my work for sometime.  When I returned to it, there would be a decidedly “surrealistic” element to my creations.

Of all of the work I had ever created, I had a series of drawings that I had created that felt that they were really more for me than for patrons or the public, this one felt intensely private and somewhat cryptic .  Only in retrospect did I come to understand that for several years I was creating some art for myself without the intention of ever placing them on exhibition.

Usually when I create work, I have some thought that it would be work placed on display of some kind.  Why I created work only for me is something of a mystery.  During the time I was working on my “underground” collection, I was exhibiting work.  There were several figurative works completed during this period that found their way to exhibitions.  Several found homes with new owners.  But the works like this were never brought out to public view.  I think only I ever saw them.

I was not sure about placing this work on the internet, but I also thought why not?

There will be more from this unseen collection placed online soon.

Check out my web site for more information, http://www.behrmannart.com