Dear Best Pest:

I live on the fifth floor of a brick building near Harvard Square–and have mice. The WHite Mouse, pink backgroundbuilding management has given me traps–but these being Cambridge mice, they appear to be outsmarting us.

Last night, a big one ran across my living room; last week, a small one scurried halfway across the kitchen. When I jumped, he scurried back under the dishwasher. Three have succumbed to sticky traps, which has been horrible.
Can you please advice me on what it might cost to seal off a 750 Sq. foot apartment with a living room, bedroom, kitchen, hallway and bathroom? Thanks–Anita Harris 617-576-0906
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I’m still voting for voting for Martha Coakley but am dismayed at the attack ads her campaign has unleashed on her Republican opponent for the Massachusetts Senatorial Seat– Republican State Senator Scott Brown.

Unfortunately, the  ads fail to emphasize the important things Coakley stands for: health reform, civil rights, regulating greed, and finding intelligent ways to fight terrorism.  They disseminate untruths about her opponent who, on Monday’s hourlong televised debate, said that he supports abortion (albeit not late term) and  emergency contraception for rape victims (albeit not if it goes against health provider’s personal beliefs) and, despite earlier statements,  that he believes that global warming is not only natural, but also manmade.

Worse yet,  the ads give Brown  a perfect opportunity to appear reasonable, dignified and unflappable–Senatorial, if you will, compared with the ham-handedness evident in ads Coakley apparently approved.

A  Brown win could end possibilities for health reform in the current Congressional session and beyond.

I’m very concerned that the ads will backfire– and, given my  own strong reaction against them I believe they will. (I don’t want to contribute money that could be used to fund them).

I just hope that Massachusetts citizens will look beyond the ads to Coakley’s strong record of accomplishment amd her belief in a government based on human and civil rights –hold their noses–and give her their votes.

–Anita M. Harris
New Cambridge Observer is a publication of the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, MA. We also publish HarrisComBlog and Ithaca Diaries blog.

Kaddish, Morgan Paintings Metal, materials  and process bond the largely abstract  landscapes  of  Timothy Kadish (New Paintings) and Jessie Morgan (Night Tides)  in this month’s intriguing show at the Clark Gallery, 145 Lincoln Rd,  in Lincoln, MA.

Both sets of works provoke the viewer to ask–“What is this made of? And how  did the artist do that?”

Night Tides II, MorganMorgan’s  elegant abstract, monochromatic work appears, at first, to be photographic or  film-based  but the explanatory materials attest that it is acryllic painted on  aluminum or plexiglass–with wide brushstrokes seeming to form landscapes-sky, ice, water, snow, trees exhibiting  a  shiny, reflecting (and reflective?)  quality.  A few of the works use vibrant blues and greens.

Kadish’s colorful paintings– primitivistic, childlike and seemingly whimsical,  are full of Kadish Redsuprises–geometric shapes, animal figures, thick goopy coils of oil paint, metallic  oraments  painted, glued, stapled, pressed or otherwise  attached to the canvas…which isn’t  necessarily canvas.

Neophotosynth – 2009, for example, is an 80 x 60 oil including all of the above,Kadish-Large lead as well as  gouache, silver and gold leaf on silver-colored lead on copper that completely covers a frame .

The longer I stood in front of each painting, the more I found in it and the more I enjoyed it.

Both artists involved me in a process of  discovery that allowed me to absorb,  one step or  stroke at a time, how their concepts and motions brought their work  into being.

The exhibit is worth seeing.  It will be up through January 30.

—Anita M. Harris
New Cambridge Observer is a publication of the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, MA. We also publish HarrisComBlog and Ithaca Diaries Blog.

Photo of Les Femmes du Moroque

Les Femmes du Moroque-Reclining Odalisque

Lalla Essaydi’s Les Femmes du Maroc  is a must-see. Today is its last day at the DeCordova Museum, in Lincoln, MA, but it will be soon travelling to the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum in Rutgers, New Jersey.

In her large-format photos of women in chadors, and, sometimes veils,  Moroccan- born Lalla Essaydi presents a beautiful and provocative challenge to  perceptions about Muslim women going back centuries.

The limited palette photographs in henna, black, and gray on white, depict individual or groups of women in chadors and, sometimes, veils, in poses or situations modeled after  paintings by great European masters, reproductions of which accompany most of the photos. Les Femmes du Maroc #4

But instead of  emulating the rich color and sexual innuendo of the paintings, Essaydi changes  gestures, replaces men with women, and covers much of the surface area with arabic writing–illegible even to those who know the language.

As described on the DeCordova Web site, These women inhabit a place that is literally and entirely circumscribed by text, written directly on their bodies, apparel, and their surroundings by the artist herself.

Les Femmes du MarocIn commentary provided through cell-phone dial in (difficult to hear because Lincoln has limited cell service)  Essadi explains that she wants to make clear that the work of male artists of centuries past has done a disservice to Muslim women by objectifying them as sexual objects, often in harems.

She points out that writing was a form reserved for men, and that one of the original  painting is so extraordinarily beautiful that one can easily overlook the subject matter: a naked woman being sold as a slave.

She brings up the difference between private and public space–that painters would never have been allowed into women’s homes, which were considered private space–but thought nothing of bringing women into their studios and showing paintings of them in public spaces–which were ordinarily reserved for men.

Les Femmes du Maroc #4 Essadyi also provides a complex interpretation of  “the veil”. On the one hand,  its use is sometimes considered a way of subjugating women, of keeping them out of public life, of denying them equality,  full citizenship. On the other hand, she says, she herself sometimes appreciates the veil and finds it freeing–because it protects her and her privacy from a potentially dangerous outside world.

Organized by Senior Curator Nick Capasso, Les Femmes du Maroc will travel to the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, January 30, 2010 – June 6, 2010.

——-Anita M. Harris

New Cambridge Observer is a publication of the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, MA. We also publish Harriscomblog and Ithaca Diaries blog.