Friday, November 10, 2017

New Orleans: Working & Vacationing-ish

{outside of Tipitina's there was this communal work of art:
a staple and flyer encrusted telephone pole}
I am still processing what I experienced in New Orleans. And I'm jet / time change - lagged. So I'm not really processing. I'm just tired and coffee compensation is giving me a headache. Maybe I am trying not to get a cold.

Hugo and I were in New Orleans for one week (only one week!) and it was the best trip we could have hoped for: the city was celebrating Halloween, the weather was like New England summer time, food and drink were deliciously bountiful, rest was attainable, music was everywhere, and yes one could get their work done.

I am so thankful that the Mexican consulate was able to arrange for us to stay at the Joan Mitchel Center. This is a note for artists especially: Check this place out! If you find a way to utilized this space, do so! It is a piece of artist heaven in the middle of Treme. My mouth was hanging open just a bit when we shown around for the first time. I'm an artist used to just having to make do. I mean I've slept in vans, on floors, and atop flat file cabinets. Here we had a pool and longer term residents got their own private studio to work in. There was a huge kitchen (the chef's studio space) and a communal kitchen. The grounds were kept up nicely... dinner was at 7pm... 
And the folks at the consulate AND the gallery people! Just- Wow. I'm bowled over with their generosity. Muy, muy buen onda. 

{Hugo went to art heaven}
Hugo and I were both nervous coming to a new city to show a type of work we'd never dealt with before, but once things got going our concerns quickly dissipated when we figured out what we were doing.

{Pablo's work station}

Most of my time was spent playing a very unofficial second shooter for a professional photographer {insta} documenting Hugo {instaface} doing his mural painting thing. I was by no means bored. Between Hugo painting, the consulate staff going about their business, the photographer doing his thing, the woman painting the walls, the men installing lights, and of course, fellow hard-working artist Pablo Rasgado {insta, face} knocking holes in a wall- I was plenty engaged.

{two unnamed cherubs illuminating the consulate gallery}

Long hours were definitely put in, but there enough leisure time to balance it out. Our consulate hosts would take us out for lunch or dinner at some quality places.

It was amusing to watch people eat food. They would revel in the pleasure of taste, practically dancing in their seats with delight. They say when you move to the city you can easily gain 20lbs in the first month or so if you are not mindful.

At one such dinner, without even knowing what the official local drink was in Nola, I ordered it from the menu. One Sazerac and I was good for the night. To have more than one of those in less than 4 hours is stupid. I'm not that stupid. More appealing than the meh flavor, the drink has a jovial kick to it. At least I felt rather merry and energetic with it's effects on me.

We were shown around the Frenchmen St. area by a Frenchman for Halloween. He was a riot dressed as Ace Ventura in a tutu and motorcycle boots- the ones you can't really walk in. That night was probably the best bit of bar hopping a non bar hopper could do. It was Halloween night and just about everyone had some kind of costume going on. The dancing and carousing and  general carrying on was rather good natured. I blended into the masses of freaks as some kind of Barbe-bleue. It was a perfect costume for a old French port town. And a crochet beard is easy to pack! Thank you Irena! Your beard was a hit! An itchy, itchy hit! 😁

{a successful opening}

We survived the group show opening. We survived New Orleans - and there are already plans in the works to return!

So it looks like Papa Legba can help a white woman out after all. Next time I'll try to sit down and have some black coffee with him. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

the very end of the parade

I thought the parade was done and over. I had gone inside to charge my camera battery. But then my ears heard more noise. I dashed out again with my mobile and caught some video.

I cracked up my friends by describing the style of Mexican music you can hear in the video like all the musical compositions and arrangements are constantly tripping and stumbling over themselves, all over the place. It is like listening to a pack of clowns. Or maybe I've just grown up watching too many cartoons.

(Also note: Banda tuba is the sexiest, most romantic tuba you will ever hear. 😆)

If you look really, really closely at the second video you can see a line of cowboy hats in the distance heading onto a side street. I bet they were all going to go ride on the beach! How much more craziness would that have been?!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

yep, es septiembre. de nuevo.

Yeah, yeah the independence day parade got me all excited. I was not planning to take pictures whatsoever, but then I found myself fumbling for my camera as the trumpets started blaring.

Who would be able to concentrate on anything else will all that racket any way?

I bounded out the door like a five year old.

To try and capture the larger scope of the event is generally stupid, so I worked more with the zoom function to see what smaller moments I could catch. Lucky for me, I didn't need a tripod when I had a metal gate to steady my little camera. Stuck behind that gate, I chose to work with that limited perspective. It yields interesting results when you don't muscle your way in to get that 'perfect' shot.

I tried being quick about taking shots but the camera was not as fast as the action. And I would have lost time finding the right settings. This was another limitation I had to work with.

All in all, I feel happy with the results. It was good to take the opportunity to play at being a photographer.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Returning From LA

13 February 2017

We are parked again now. A spot closer to the water than the first. The beach was one of our destinations after all. I wasn't sure. There had been talk of beating the traffic.  I know so little of LA traffic.

We walk down to a cove. A hidden gem. 

It is easy to find a place a place to unfurl a blanket. 

Young teen girls, blonde, still fair skinned, athletic- California to the core- play pyramid and splash in the surf. I wonder at their two piece suits and that they are not in school.  Older folk, more clothed, sit and let the sun dissolve their thoughts. 

In time, both of my companions strip and aim themselves at the waves.  

They let their bodies be jostled by the water giant. 

Content with my notebook and pen, I do not go be laughingly drowned.

I turn my back to the sun. Under my hat, I feel rising heat tug the water out of me. 

A man sits topless and cross legged in the dry sand to meditate. Or so it seems. 

In the very next moment he is spitting into the sand and laying down. His actions registers as repugnant to me. 

I look away from him uncertain if I want to spend any observational effort on such a self-involved creature. 
But inexplicably he begins to walk on his hands. 
I give him a few more seconds of my time.  

Clearly, he is very proud of his physical accomplishments. If only his spirit were in such capable shape. 

Time is moving differently. How long will we stay here? 
A couple of hours to avoid the general rush to get home? Is that possible to avoid? 

The amused girls squeal. 

A crow calls. 

The freeway is far away. The country I am in is far away. Mexico is far away.  

Adrift thoughts anchor as I my drenched friends return to the blanket. They dry and dress once more. Though I am content to sit and write, I am invited to explore the tide pools off to our right. I accept this offer. 

One agrees stay to watch our belongings. 
Two are free to clamber over rough and wet surfaces. 

I feel unusually certain on this terrain. Using all my limbs every once in a while for balance feels very natural. 

We peer into so many different scrying glasses. Every possible reality just a bit different than the next.

Careful not to disturb any of the pools with an indelicate step, my canvas shoes soak through from the tide's unpredictability anyway. 

A guide is available to explain the shore life to us. On such a lovely day there are three or four of them leading on small groups of curious people with fancy cameras. 

They boast that the cove's ecosystem is recovering after some sparse years. All thanks to their preservation efforts.

In direct opposition to the posted (and guide reiterated) rules, I keep two small shells in my pocket. I remain confident the cove will continue to mend itself just fine, in spite of my transgression. 

Just before feeling that we have over-indulged ourselves in this daydream retreat, we go. Back to the car. Back to the freeway. 

Happy to have been there. Happy to get moving. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

International travel - like a rock star

 {photo credit missing!}
In the company of my fellow artistic collaborators, I finally made it to Canada: the stomping grounds of my French ancestors. We would be there for no longer than a day.

In the Montreal airport I saw many obvious Mexican immigrants. Remind me again- which country has that big green statue and that lovely poem about huddled masses?

During lunch, I sat in a vegan cafe alone in Mile End. I had been ditched there so more errands could be run before show time. It was my impression that no one wanted to share 'healthy' food with me either. 

The clouds gathered enough to let down a spring rain. The musical selection connected me back to NYC. Brooklyn Rider played. I'd been in a performance with those musicians!

The time with my own thoughts, scrawling long hand in a note book was not under appreciated. 

Part of me was wondering why I didn't speak French; part of me wondered why I was born in America; part of me wanted to go to sleep in a comfortable bed, in a lying down position. There was no hostel, motel, hotel or b and b (air or otherwise) reserved for us on this trip.

Pictures weren't snapped. I was not in tourist mode. I was running on a scant few hours of sleep and was expected to get on stage to do a performance. That was why the three of us went to this northern city: we wanted to expose Heroic Procession to a different crowd. It was something they did not expect. Of course. Other performers who stopped to watch us voiced their admiration for our efforts, I can't say how anyone else roving the Rialto received the work.

After the dj's interminable set faded out and the last of the booths were stripped, we taxied over to waste time at a 24 hour dive unremarkably called Joe's Panini. It was right next to a happy ending massage parlor with an honest to Venus barker inviting males to enjoy the heights of relaxation and pleasure. He didn't stay outside of the establishment very long though. He noticed we weren't potential clientele and ran along to find more likely types.

It was the small hours of the morning. The rain of the day was still soaking in. The panini place was quite busy. There were lone super drunks, a lesbian couple, an EMT guy wearing pink camo patterned trousers.. who knew 2 am would bring a rush?

I ate a questionable soy veggie panini. It was absolutely perfect given my setting. 

One of the super drunks went off about bacon being the best kind of vegetable. He was trying to get a rise out of someone he perceived as vegan - I wondered if he pegged me as such? Sometimes drunks have magic powers after all. And he was supra-drunk. 

This large inebriate had ordered a panini. He ate it. Then ordered another panini heavy with bacon, plus a large portion of mac'n'cheese. He ate everything. He was so far gone, I don't think he would even remember that he ate enough for three and a half people. I avoided eye contact.

At the airport: I over heard a couple of gentlemen who sat at the same gate. Their conversation moved between what sounded like Scottish accented English to full on Quebecois. That was a treat for my ears. 

We still had so many hours to kill before our flight. The airport was too loud for me to sleep more than a moment or two. My animal self felt too vulnerable.  

I survived this adventure in one piece. Or so I thought. The effects of stress were merely delayed. It hit me a week after arriving home: Vomiting. The runs. Menses. Missing out on work. 

But anyway- What's next? 

A jaunt to New Orleans?
(Come on, Papa Legba. Help a white woman out.)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

How We Hang

I am no tarot card expert but I have come to this conclusion: 
The Hanged Man card is most representational of the Film Extra. A modern deck could include a card called Film Extra and it would still be all about surrender, non-action, yielding...
Extras are things fluctuating between living beings and set props- Between subject and object- stalled out between heaven and earth. They are 'bound' hurriedly in costume and makeup then left hang around waiting. When they find a comfort zone something is undoubtedly changed and they are forced to redefine their comfort levels yet again. They are able to see the value of hanging around. Their vantage points are always unusual, surreal. 

Many of my days since the beginning of this year have gone into being "awake" and present in this place of suspension. Ready and waiting no matter what the hour. Stuck on the set. Or in holding- which is never too far from the set. 
My reward for this? I play make-pretends with famous-er people who remain as aloof as possible. But then I get to meet a whole host of other folks in the same holding patterns.
My fellow extras, unlike the famous-er people, are get-to-know-able. We spend twelve (and often many more) hours out of a day together sans internet connection. What else can you do but bond?
A lot of sharing happens anyway without social media: stories, jokes (of the delightfully lowest quality), business plans, interpersonal dramas, cigarettes. Then some where in there we experience being placed and directed on set. 
We extras are never considered actors; not even part of the crew. But, begging your pardon Gentle Readers, fuck you -all you production targ dren who uphold pointless hierarchical systems. Systems which keep extras at a sub-human status level. Is the Hanged Man treated as a lesser Major Arcana? I think not.

If you sit me in the sun (I hate being in the sun bloody sunshine!) to "enjoy" a meal made of food I cannot even put in my mouth, then this is acting. I am an actor pretending the sun does not effect me, pretending to dine on "food." 
I am not a field-hand, a pet, or child. Nor am I an idiot. I do notice when the 'umbrella boy' does not give shade to everyone sitting at the same blasted table, under the same yellow hot sun. I do see the trays of food and drinks brought around to everyone else but extras. 

How will this dynamic be broken down so that we become more equal players together? Will there be a revolution for us in the coming months? I can only hope. Injustice is injustice. Especially for us who are now known well enough by face if not by name on the set. 

Apart from the conviviality, at chance moments we retreat into solitary activities: sleeping, reading or, in my case, writing. Con tanto tiempo en mis manos, I don't want it to carelessly flit from me without some record of what transpired behind the scenes- beside the scenes is more accurate. (¡Si-món!) Memory is less than reliable and we are not allowed to have recording devices with us. I also just wanted to keep up the writing habit in me. It's easier to scrawl phrases than to even do any stretches in my fligging uncomfortable camo pants, military grade fanny pack and ploddy-clod stumble boots. Escribo en un cuaderno y there amid my endless remarks about being mentally incapable of conjuring language to express my experiences, I do manage to come up with salvageable kernels of poetry. 

Here's a is light revision of something written while at a holding location; during an unusual weather event:
Adrenal burnout
Feeling nothing when the cup of drug hits
Not even sure if it has hit
A ball bounces off the tarp
Missed marks
Mist today
Whets my awe
The Ocean has heard my railings against the Sun
He sends a fog to sneak around these now green hills
My eyes open to inhale that abundance of green
Irises can open easier and peer through
Shifting, obscuring grey tones
Without excess radiation burning them
The whole of my form retreats from its most expanded borders
Chilled, relieved
Greedy, I breathe water vapors
Horses whinny in the middle distance
They graze as muted silhouettes
Human chatter rises and falls from around the tents
Of those sounds I was heard 
The frisbee flies
Frisbee and flies
Baseball catch and
Fog off the Pacific
Around my shoulders 
Raven wings around my head 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

A Grate Full

{ s elf }

A Grate Full 

-of lint or ash or wet, dead leaves... or something pleasant maybe. 

can you find something pleasant in a grate? or do grates just grate you.

In lieu of a rant post (because tis the fourth year designated for ranting) here below is a collection of words, a listing that- that I thought would be more appropriate than some half crazed explosion of overpowering emotions squeezed into the shapes of symbols and stuffed in between the gaps of those symbols arranged into words and sentences. I understand that sort of display is easily scorned and laughed off- due to misconstrued facts or something. So. As this is the manufactured season (day) of thanks, I thought I'd display a bemused image of the s elf with #nofilter. Because that is an expected and customary thing to do. And then express some gratefulnesses; in no particular order. 

i am grateful for the green fruit and vegetable juice that will sustain me through my fast today as i give thanks and not glut on thanks.  

i am grateful to have learned what it means to be a christian and what is means to be an american.

i am grateful for those standing against the enemy even though they are swallowed whole by it. 

i am grateful for the storytellers who remind me of the deep magic. 

i am grateful for those who can still remember what the dark is. 

i am grateful to those who have done me good turns. may i be able to return the favors to them or pass it on to others in need.

i am grateful for those using their ignorance to illuminate ignorance. a dim bulb is better than none.

i am grateful for the repetition of the times though i earnestly desire something new and genuine to spring forth.

i am grateful to those who have killed me in one way or another. i know now i can rise up from many kinds of deaths. 

i am grateful to those who have failed me and those who have broken my trust / my heart. i would be a far less complex and interesting person without you.

i am grateful for the depression / anxiety i suffer. by it i am already prepped for the worst that life can bring.  

i am grateful to be free from financial debt and that i manage to stay alive within my meager means.

i am grateful to know that wonderful things exist in the world even though i cannot currently experience them. 

i am grateful for the dead who aught to have outlived me. i think of deceased next generation family members and feel more connected to what lies beyond this life. 

i am grateful for not being caught up in car culture. i know what humans are in cars: most like themselves and least like themselves.

i am grateful for my battle with scoliosis. i know an envy of, and see beauty in alignment that most take for granted. 

i am grateful to those who do not understand me. may i ever be a reminder that the universe is so much more than just  you.

i am grateful to those who made the effort to learn my song. even just parts of it. i hope they will remember to sing it back to me when I am lost.  

i am grateful for my empathy though it makes me an easy target for self loathing narcissists who don't even know what they are. 

i am grateful to have been given gifts. now, if i had the wisdom to use them more effectively...