a short rundown of our galavanting since arrival that is definitely missing some things. i’m pretty sure that i will not continue to keep track of all the where/what/when we’re gonna do here, but this is special because Neal and Shelby were with us for 8 days!
picking up where we left off… (keywords: little dragon, prospect park, ecstatic dance, highline, upright citizens brigade, w. kamau bell, ezra furman, sprinklers, humans of new york, museums, sleep no more, purple rain dance party).
mon 8/6 – thurs 8/8: mostly apartment hunting in daytime, wandering around brooklyn at night, scoping neighborhoods
thurs 8/9: awesome welcome vegetarian potluck at m&c’s, stayed up a lot later than anticipated. noted: the table was filled with all kinds of super delicious fruit and vegetable dishes and salads, but as far as i recall, no one brought dessert. in SF, half the table would have been filled with desserts. conclusion: people in NY don’t eat dessert.
fri 8/10: went to see free Little Dragon concert in Prospect Park. i am not so much into little dragon (a little too synth pop for my taste) but it was a fun time.
sat 8/11: we had some people over at our temporary place, spent a nice night on the roof until midnight-ish and then walking around bklyn late in the evening.
sun 8/12: more apartment looking, watched Lost in Translation again.
mon 8/13: n&s arrived
tues 8/14: morning: signed a lease!!! we are brooklyn residents! vintage shopping in wmsbg, where i bought a ridiculous pageant gown in a bright swirly psychedelic print and covered in rhinestones on the front. it could’t be helped. there will come a time for it, i know. then in the evening, we went out with the other j & a, and they took us all for a surprise to Upright Citizens Brigade improv night. was pretty funny, although i can’t imagine wanting to go over and over again like i’m sure some people do. had dinner/drinks afterward.
wed 8/15: it was a rainy day but we headed out into the city for wandering and shopping. i bought another gown. because 1. i needed another black dress and 2. gowns are important for poor art school students in NYC. right? went to Wash Sq Park, ate at one of my fave vegan places, Sacred Chow, gave up when it got too cold and rainy to wander around and went home.
wednesday night neal and i went to Ecstatic Dance NYC and due to freak metoerological circumstances our SF friend Kathryn was delayed overnight on a flight out of at JFK and joined us there! Ecstatic dance NYC is like Ecstatic dance oakland except 1. WAY HOTTER IN THE SUMMER and 2. way less contact improv.
thurs 8/16: thurs AM ran some errands, met up for lunch with aB, then met the rest of the crew at the FX studios to see a taping of our old Oakland friend W. Kamau Bell’s new show “Totally Biased” on FX! was super funny, and fun to see a show being taped, which i never had. *HIGH FIVES* to kamau for making it big!!!
afterward we walked to the HighLine and hung out and played in the water sculpture foot fountain thingy. later that night, we went back to brooklyn to see our man Ezra Furman play at the Knitting Factory. superlative, as always. if you are not listening to Ezra Furman i feel sad for you.
fri 8/17: it was hot so in the afternoon we set out to find some of those playground sprinkler/fountains they have all over NYC. technically adults without kids are not supposed to play in those things but \whatev/. took large quantities of margaritas to go. maybe that’s why adults like us aren’t allowed. anyway, went to Ft. Greene, had some sushi, played in some sprinklers.
later that evening we went to the upper east side and it started to rain really hard and we didn’t have umbrellas and so we found a long piece of cardboard and the four of us ran down the street holding this cardboard over our heads. it was fun, actually. other people laughed and those also without umbrellas said “hey we should be doing that”. and then tried to go to the Whitney Museum of American Art, but so did everybody else and the line was around the block and it would’ve closed before we had enough time to look around, so we bailed. fail.
but on the WAY to the Whitney, a photographer approached us and said, of the 4 of us, to jay, “hey can i take your photo? i really like what you’re wearing.” at first we were all confused because he was with ME and i was dressed up and almost NO ONE ever asks to take jay’s photo and not mine ; ). after he took the photo we said “who are you?” and he said “i have a photoblog, Humans of New York” and i SQUEEED. we wondered if jay would make the publishing cut and the next morning, there he was! conclusion: another one of the differences in NY is that i am pretty much invisible compared to all the beautiful women, but jay ranks pretty high among men.
“We’re heading to the Whitney.”
“What’s happening at the Whitney tonight?”
after the failed attempt at the Whitney, it was still raining, we had 3+ hours to kill before our next thing, and we needed a drink. we went to the fancy Carlyle hotel because it was right around the corner. the drinks were good. the hotel was fancy.
then back downtown, and at 11pm we went to the acclaimed Sleep No More. this is where this blog post could get really long, but i’ll try to keep it short.
**SPOILER ALERT*Filed in autobiographical, friends | Tagged with NYC | Comment (1)
my grandfather, Cecil Morse, passed away from old age, last Thursday, June 21 2012 in Harbor Springs, MI. he was 91 years old, a WWII veteran, and progenitor of a very large family (note that i have 22 first cousins and 27 second cousins listed in that obit.). on Tuesday morning at 4:30 am i got up and took a flight out of SFO, through Detroit DTW, and to Pellston, MI, the small airport nearest Harbor Springs. i went directly from the airport to the visitation at the funeral home, had late dinner with some of my relatives, and slept in a bed beside my mother.
the funeral service was at 11:00am the next morning at the church down the road from my grandparents’ small farm in the rolling hardwood hills of the northern michigan countryside. i won’t go on about it except to say that it was difficult. it was all very exhausting physically and emotionally and i couldn’t quite let it sink in. i felt cold, even in the summer heat.
i had downloaded the Fly Delta app for my phone, as recommended by Delta the previous morning, and it told me my flight out that afternoon was delayed. so with a couple of hours to spare before i needed to be back at the airport we hung out in my uncle’s yard, spurring on the youngest generation to dares and complete feats of endurance and strength in the waning summer afternoon.
we then headed back to the small airport, where i quickly panicked when realizing that the phone app was wrong. the terminal – a small place with only 2 flights in and out per day – was obviously empty of people waiting to board a plane. the TSA agent quickly informed me that i was too late – my flight was not delayed and it had already boarded. i pleaded, noted that i had no luggage, and they did, this time, make an exception. i was hurriedly rushed onto the plane, with no time to hug my mother goodbye. i arrived back at SFO late in the evening wednesday night.
thursday morning i got up and went to work, with a pile of things waiting to be addressed because of 1. the unexpected 2 day absence, 2. my impending leave after 12 years of running the office, and 3. i would be out Friday – Monday to attend/work a festival. i worked, quickly ran some last minute errands, went home, and we packed and loaded up the car and drove 4 hours to the Feather River canyon, arriving late in the moonlit night.
Priceless is a music festival/campout that False Profit has thrown in a small mining town in a canyon on the feather river for the past 7 years. every year it gets bigger, and better. and this year, it was more or less serving as our going away party. it’s definitely the last time that large of a number of our extended community will be in the same place at the same time before we go. it was the last DJ set that jay will play in California for a very long time. it’s a beautiful place with beautiful people and something we look forward to every year.
but with the ongoing mental stress of the process of moving to NY, of training my replacement at work, compiled by family stress and the emotional toll of my grandfather’s death and the 2-day early-morning/late night trip to Michigan and back the same week as prepping for this festival, i was tired. when i woke up there in the woods in my tent Friday morning, i almost didn’t want to be there. i didn’t feel sociable. i wanted to be in a tent alone in the woods. not in a tent surrounded by 600 people that i couldn’t disappear from in the middle of a festival.
i did my best to buck up and remind myself that this would be the last for a very long time. it took me a long while to adjust to being there Friday, to graciously engage people offering condolences for my grandfather and wanting to know all about our move to NY and also muster the energy to help do all the manual labor setting up a huge festival takes. as the gates opened and the work buzz settled down and night began to fall, i started to feel OK again. tired but ok. good, even. i danced as hard as i could that night, working it all out, and finally falling asleep in the chill music tent around 1am.
the weekend went on, with beach parties in the daytime and dancing all night within a community of people who are helpful, courteous, invested. invested in happiness, in the future, in creating beauty and levity in a world filled with all darkness and confusion modern civilization has wrought, the good and the bad. this combined with hot summer sun and cold river water was medicine. a faith restorative.
the people who live/work in the location where we have this festival see many groups come and go all summer, from biker picnics and family reunions to more hardcore EDM crews that are less invested in sustainability and basically bring in 2x as many people and totally trash the place. the woman working the small store on site told me that we are the best crew that comes there. we are all so nice and organized and respectful and everyone seems really happy and she was really enjoying it, she said.
it is really great to hear the townspeople say they are impressed by our community, by our work ethic and our collective vibe, and i’m glad our community values are reflected outward and spread to those on the outside.
i felt adulthood weighing on us. now there are babies and mortgages and careers and divorces and deaths and histories and tangled relationships. these things are heavier, harder to shrug off than the worlds we had at 25. but i think instead of tearing us apart, although yes some people have disappeared from the community for those reasons and more, they are bringing those of us still together closer. and i felt that. i felt that we were there for each other, not just to party. there to take care of each other.
this is probably the cheesiest thing i’ve written in quite some time, and maybe it’s because of the leaving town soon, the knowing there is no Burning Man for us this year, no Halloween in SF or NYE, that what i felt more than anything this year was that yeah, we may be good at throwing parties. after 10+ years as a crew i would hope so. but what i felt more was that what we are REALLY good at is loving each other.
i felt it in the offers to help, to feed each other, to carry eachother’s stuff, to sit with one another during angry moments and emotional meltdowns and psychedelic breaks, and represented in small gestures – a hand on a shoulder, a hug, a smile across the table, and that fact that whether it’s a beer or a cigarette or a sandwich or a water bottle or a hug or a kiss or something more intangible, when standing around with these friends you can reach out your hand and they will, without pause, hand you whatever it is that you are reaching for, offer what is theirs to you in your time of need.
not all communities are like this. not all families and communities feel safe, supportive, full of love.
that, people, is what is really priceless.Filed in autobiographical, friends | Tagged with false profit, priceless | Comment (0)
we lost our friend Robert last night. it was a bicycle accident in SF, a few days ago. we gathered and sat for hours, praying and waiting to embrace those who were at the hospital when they came home. when she arrived, late in the evening, it was to a room full of warmth and love. we could offer nothing more or less.
this was the poem that was shared and read for him.
When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps his purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering;
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.
~ Mary Oliver ~
for me, despite the intense sadness, experiencing the space that was held for Robert and Mary last night made me feel so safe – to know that if i were ever in that situation – having suddenly and without warning lost my love, my best friend, my light – so many people would be there to catch me. it means a lot to know that.Filed in friends, not poems | Comment (0)
butoh contains all of the things that i usually avoid. group activities. games. rituals. prayerformance. contact dance with other humans. separately, in other contexts, i do not often engage in these things. but the philosophy, the intention, and the aesthetic of butoh makes these activities therapeutic for me, like yoga. extreme mindfulness. patience. stillness. giving your all with every breath, every movement. putting it all out there, especially the things you might not want to show.
i had no idea what this was when i first met Anastazia in 2006. our first interactions were fashion related, as she was making and selling costumes when she first moved to SF. but time went by and she moved her focus back to her primary art, performance, and i moved with her.
and now this weekend we are in the midst of the largest production in SF to date – First Breath – Last Breath: a full theatre production, all our own, sharing the bill with no one else, 90-100 minutes on stage.
this cast is really amazing – seasoned butoh dancers, aerialists, a contortionist, an opera singer, sets by SF artist Shrine, and the live music with is incredibly unique and beautiful. i feel so lucky to be a part.
the title refers to the cycle, and cycles, of life, but it is also personally very fitting for me right now. BadUnklSista was my first real breath as a non-fashion-performance artist on a stage, and due to life shifts, this is likely going to be my last performance for a long while.
“about the liminal spaces between the defining moments of our lives.”Filed in art, autobiographical, bay area gems, events, friends | Tagged with badunklsista, butoh | Comment (0)
yesterday was a strange day. well, most days are strange, but sometimes it seems more acute.
as noted, my chronic pain has flared up again, now for over a month with little relief. so i’m not sleeping well, taking various pills and trying all the therapies again and trying to walk the line with my yoga/workouts between doing nothing and overextending, both of which are bad. friday night we went out dancing and i danced as hard as i could while trying not to hurt myself (not *too* ecstatic), and i felt great when i went to bed, but woke up saturday morning feeling tired and broken, and the pouring rain did nothing to lift my spirits.
1. the little match stick girl
sunday morning jay got up before dawn and went to tahoe, which was only a couple of hours after i had finally fallen asleep. i tossed and turned until i needed to get up to go to see my friend Anastazia’s performance with the SF Lyric Opera in a production of The Little Match Stick Girl Passion at ODC.
The Little Match stick girl is a story by Hans Christian Andersen (1845) about an abused child who dies in the snow trying to sell matchsticks on New Year’s Eve. it’s a puritanical tale about the homeless, and it is heavy. i had planned on going Saturday night, but i was already feeling terrible on saturday and seeing such a thing sounded like a bad idea. and, as it is a reverent morality story, i thought it was more appropriate for a Sunday afternoon.
the piece was minimalist, with a choir of 4 singers (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) singing the David Lang vocal arrangement of the story, a cappella besides a few percussive instruments, and Anastazia, all in white, embodying the child. i have seen and performed with Staz many times, and had also read her description of her preparations to take on this role, which were personal and intense, and so on top of the subject matter, my personal connection to the performance as deep. the haunting vocal arrangement, the visceral embodiment of a scared dying child by my friend – by the end of it, i was full of tears.
and then the producer came out, also trying hard to hold back tears, and gave a short speech about how it was no accident that they chose this story to perform at this space – near 17th and Capp, a neighborhood plagued with prostitution, drugs, and homeless problems – as their return to the stage, and asked us to remember the homeless, remember the downtrodden and the dying. do not just walk by. and then i really lost it.
in Staz’s preparation for this, she said
“I feel the role of a contemporary artist no matter the medium used is to reflect our history, personal and planetary, and offer through that reflection another way to view the present while navigating a positive affect on the future.”
this production definitely achieved that goal.
the combination of this emotional intensity, my body pain, my fatigue – i was a mess. i could barely talk to my friends who were there, and i didn’t stick around to mingle.
2. the litterer
after some deep breaths back out in the sunshine for a bit, i met up with reagan, and we had a respite for a while, and then since it was a sunny day i decided to take a long walk from the mission through mid-market to powell street to get back on the train. at 9th and market/civic center, the man standing in front of me waiting for the walk sign threw his emptied single-serving liquor bottle into the intersection. oh how i hate flippant littering!! it took some restraint not to say anything, but i wasn’t just going to let it go by either. so right when the walk sign came on, i stepped directly in front of him, swooped down and picked up the bottle mid-stride and then kept walking directly to the waste receptacle on the other side of the street and plopped it in. i never looked back behind me, i never made contact, so i don’t know if he saw me, but if nothing else the other people in the crosswalk did.
this decision to not confront the litterer was a departure for me, as i usually do speak up to people like that because i think letting it slide reinforces the behavior. sometimes they really are ashamed “oh, sorry i wasn’t thinking” but sometimes they are defensive “who the fuck are you?!”
but last weekend, on March 17, i took a 1-day women’s personal safety course at Bernal Yoga, as i often find myself either confronting people, or being confronted, on the street and on the train and in clubs/at parties. and it was taught that your first priority is to de-escalate any situation, even if it means saying sorry when you’re not in the wrong, and definitely never provoking people. so i decided there to not provoke the situation, but in the few seconds before we crossed the street figured a way to make my point without ever interacting or making eye contact with the person, and that was to step in front of him and pick up the litter and keep walking.
3. the misogynist
a short time later, unfortunately, i had a much more intense situation in which to practice de-escalation. as i boarded the train home at Powell street, *immediately*, and without any provocation whatsoever, not even eye contact, a guy on the train started talking at me, loudly and aggressively, from a few seats away. “who the fuck you think you are, girl? why you dressed like that?” it was so obtuse that at first i didn’t even realize he was talking to me. his companion tried to calm him down with “come on, man, don’t say things like that. chill out” but the guy kept at it. “who you think you are? so what you got sunglasses? i got sunglasses too, BITCH” and his companion got up and moved down the train, telling him to “shut up, man, you can’t talk to people like that”.
then the guy broke into song to the tune of “i’m sexy and i know it” except that he sang “i’m a rapist and i know it”. WTF. the entire train could hear this. he was loud. i sat unmoving, looking forward from behind my sunglasses, wanting DESPERATELY to say FUCK YOU DUDE but instead deciding to get up and get off at the next stop. the companion kept asking him to stop, but the guy kept it up and i could hear him still yelling things at me as i stepped off the train.
in retrospect i am glad i didn’t say anything to the angry misogynist, except that i wish i would’ve said a very direct Thank You before exiting the train to the companion friend, who at least wasn’t just letting it slide (positive reinforcement).
i wish this was an isolated incident, but it’s not. i deal with street harassment at least 50% of the time that i leave my house alone, and that is unfortunately not an exaggeration. it’s usually not as aggro as that dude, more like the guy 5 minutes earlier before i got on the train that leered and swerved uncomfortably toward me and said “hola rubia……..” as i walked by on the street. but that guy is why i took the self-defense class, because while nothing serious has happened yet, with this rate of incident, i’m scared that it will. SIGH.
in the vein of the recent “shit X people say to Y people” meme, there is a “Shit Men Say to Men Who Say Shit to Women on the Street” PSA video for International Anti-Street Harassment Week. if you have a friend who does this to women, make him watch it.
after all that, i needed a beer. so jay picked me up at west oakland and we went to the Trappist and had a couple nice dark microbrews.
another rabbithole complete.
doorway at 19th and Mission, taken yesterdayFiled in art, autobiographical, friends | Tagged with badunklsista, pain management | Comment (0)
wearing a Tamo Designs dress and at the Opel Productions 10 Year Anniversary party fashion show – 2/11/14 @ Mezzanine. the print on that dress is *so awesome.* her stuff really is gorgeous, hand crafted, soft, sleek and beautiful.
backstage with Alexandria Von Bromssen, the star and creator of LoveSick
here is a whole beautiful set of LoveSick photos by C&M photography. i won’t repost them here, but i think this one is the keeper.Filed in events, fashion, friends, photos | Tagged with AvB, lovesick, Tamo | Comment (0)
it seems a local team did something and sports fever is taking over again. cool, i guess? < shrug> . i was thinking about this, how some people are really into being BIG FANS and things like fantasy sports or phantasy phish where you create (and try to manifest?) the best possible team/game/event EVAR. i’m more into Fantasy Life, and this morning i feel so grateful that i have so many other people not only playing along with me, but into making it FANTASY REALITY, from #occupy to fashion to fitness to art to music to education to policy to travel to procreation. dreaming ain’t good if you don’t try to make it real, and if we play it right it looks like RealLife 2012 is going to be an epic win. GO TEAM! you know who you are.Filed in friends, resolutions | Tagged with #winning, optimism | Comment (0)
as seen in NYC: this may or may not be your thing:
Superhuman Happiness was founded in 2008 to seek joy and love through shared rhythm and melody, composed and improvised. To pursue a happiness greater than that of an individual. They have one CD, Stuart Bogie’s Superhuman Happiness – Fall Down Seven Time Stand Up Eight, and two 45 records entitled GMYL/Hounds and Human Happiness (Electric Cowbell). Members are known for their work with Antibalas…, the Sway Machinery, TV on the Radio, Battle Apples, The Phenomonal Handclap Band, Caural, The Roots, Nicole Atkins, King Expressors, Minerva Lions, Passion Pit, Celebration, Holly Miranda, Iron and Wine, Foals and the inimitable MC Chris. The band regularly rehearses, composes, and records together, engaging in various improvisatory musical games currently being compiled for implementation in widespread applications.Filed in friends, music | Tagged with hippies, NYC | Comment (0)