Oh Manchester, so much to answer for. But why? It seems great there. Jewlia (that's me) performed at the Festival of Muslim Culture, specifically in a symposium on Faith and Identity that was held at the University of Manchester. I hope there will be another time that Homi Bhaba and I can be on the same bill, because that was pretty cool. I dug his spiel about art as both addressed to something in the world and a way to make the world rock on. Also was hip to his notion of cultural transmission as a series of journeys, border crossings and exchanges.

DawoodGenerally the presentations were extremely interesting--lots of exciting and Shezad Artfresh engagement with cultural politics. My Lord, these Brits are so sophisticated! I felt like a country cousin. It was especially good to see the cultural commentary/agitprop/performance art of Shezad Dawood, a Bowls collaborator with whom I am very excited to work. Before Manchester, we had only corresponded, never met.

The program had me as Jewlia Eisenberg, Jewish Artist, the one and only, baby! This was my first solo show ever, so I was a bit nervous. But it was well-attended and received--even though in the middle of the set I stopped being able to use my electronics, which I had been using every day at Djerassi. But that’s par for the course for a first solo show, right? At dinner and drinks afterwards, I met a bunch of British South Asian and Arabic artists, heard about their work, politics and takes on the art scene in the UK. And on the British Pakistani actor who plays Sayeed on "Lost."

The whole megillah was at the Whitworth Gallery, home to beautiful textiles relics of when Manchester was Cottonopolis, the global center of the cotton trade. My pops had a thing or two to share about Manchester:

Condition of the Working Class"Friedrich Engels, son of a bourgeois owner of a Manchester cotton (grown and harvested by black slaves in the U.S.) textile factory owner, went off to Manchester around 1840 to work in his father's factory. There was a German colony there and he could have spent his time after work riding horses. (he was a good rider) around the Manchester suburbs. Instead he walked the streets of Manchester, from Irishtown to the central business districts, led by a young Irish working-class woman (whom he later lived with, unmarried, until she died 25 years later). He saw how crowded and ill-made the houses were, how dangerous and mind-deadening the factories were, how epidemics of cholera and typhus ran rampant through the streets, how people lived literally in shit when it rained because the outhouses were never emptied. A new kind of person and a new world experience were being created -- people who did not own the means of production, who had to sell their labor power in exchange for wages in order to survive -- the proletariat, the working class destined, as Engels saw, to change the world. Three years later, before he was a revolutionary and before Marx worked up what Engels had written into a manifesto, Friedrich wrote, "The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844", a warning to the German bourgeoisie of what might happen in Germany if they heedlessly followed the path of the English bourgeoisie. Which, of course, they did.

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