Archives for the month of: April, 2017

As they do, this week went from “great” to “get me out of here” overnight.  And, so, I got out; out of my apartment, city, and head and into the desert and the awesome Desert X art show.  Desert X consists of 14 installation art pieces in the desert between Whitewater, Desert Hot Springs, Palm Springs, all the way east to Coachella.  And, being the Thursday after the Coachella music festival, I avoided both traffic and crowds and had much of the area almost to myself, a small miracle anywhere in Southern California.

I left LA at 9 this morning and headed to the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs to pick up a map of Desert X. Arranged like a scavenger hunt, the maps give you the addresses, intersections or GPS coordinates of each installation but it’s up to you which you want to see and how you do it.  And, since getting in my car with good music, my camera, and the goal of finding something interesting and/or beautiful to look at is basically my favorite thing in the world, this hunt was a dream.

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After leaving the Ace, I headed for the Palm Springs Art Museum and Jeffrey Gibson’s tall piece in the Sculpture Garden. It was underwhelming and I quickly left for Rancho Mirage and Sunnyland. Little did I know that Sunnyland is a famed retreat for Presidents and other important people and is where former President Obama presented the Chinese President with a carved redwood bench in 2013 (I sat on it).

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There, I saw Lita Albuquerque’s (nice last name Burqueños!) piece titled Earth.

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From Sunnyland I headed to Palm Desert and Claudia Comte’s Curves and Zigzags. It hurt my eyes to look at from afar, strobing and giving me a bit of vertigo, but in a good way!

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But, the highlight of the day turned out to be Doug Aitken’s Mirage. Located on a hill in Palm Springs, in a residential subdivision where, judging by the no parking signs, the neighbors didn’t seem happy about the crowds flooding into their neighborhood. Models, hipsters, and fellow Instagramers were just beginning to descend, but I got there fifteen minutes before their 3:30 opening time and was able to avoid some of the masses. It was the coolest. A house made completely out of mirrors, inside and out, reflecting all.

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Sometimes all it takes is a good scavenger art hunt, or day trip, to both get you out of your head and to get your own creative juices flowing once again.

Back in LA now and all is good.

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Woke up feeling more in love with my life than usual, for no reason. No work for the next five days, warm temps in the forecast, the faint flutterings of creative ideas returning, and time for the morning rituals I love and miss when too busy working. 

Post meditation and shower, I stand at my counter drinking piñon coffee blended with freshly grated turmeric, butter, and coconut oil, and listen to one bizarre news story after another; Facebook is moving in the direction of virtual reality, one labor force after another disappearing as machines/robots take over, the impending writer’s strike, Nuclear war, every story to do with our current government, and that’s just during the 8-9 o’clock broadcast. 

And yet I feel optimistic, energized, and happier than I can remember feeling. Because… I’m fully in it, perhaps. Participating in my life, rather than hoping/waiting/planning/watching from afar…? Time is moving too quickly to be a spectator here, I want to jump into the gorgeous chaos of being alive on this fragile planet with all of you fellow, fragile, unique beings. 

With story after story about pain, suffering, and messiness in the world, I am more and more enamored with the incredible power of beauty and community, art, good conversation, home cooked food and cocktails, service, laughter, music, rituals, sweat, stories, jokes, and just diving into the madness to get us through and remind us why we are here. Otherwise, really, what’s the point? 

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IMG_8388Last night I leaned against the railing of the Belasco Theater’s mezzanine in DTLA and watched as two friends from high school played to a packed house, with their band “Minus the Bear”.  And, as I watched and listened, I was overwhelmed by the feeling that everyone I know, myself included, is nailing it. “It” being living.  This “creating a life that makes you happy and feeds your soul and makes it seem like there’s a point to all of the absurdity” thing. The often self imposed angst, confusion, and pressure I so frequently felt and saw mirrored in those I love for the past twenty or so years, seems to be lifting. Not that anything has been figured out necessarily, but, speaking for myself, there just came a point when the choice to be happy and joyful had to be made. Or not.

After the show, one of my friends showed me a picture he’d recently come across of us taking our final Thespian Club bow at the end of our Senior production of Titus Andronicus. The world lay at our feet and all we had to do was be brave enough to catch it and run.  He was meant to play music on stage. I had spent my high school years on stage, in art classes, and studying German and had no idea where those interests would lead me, but trusted it would be somewhere good.

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And then life happened.  Things that sparked my creative light took a backseat and I tortured myself frequently about needing to figure it all out.  And I let enough time pass that I actually started to forget the high of being on stage, rehearsing, improving, writing, collaborating, and creating. Instead, I helped others bring their visions to fruition, made a decent living, and ended up with a career I wasn’t in love with.

But, as they say, the Soul will have its way.  And the quicker we learn to accept that truth, listen, and follow, the less we will suffer.

In my friend’s lives and my own, I see the beginning of that acceptance  and the magic that acceptance then creates.  In some ways it feels like I’ve taken a twenty year detour to get back to my 1997 self, albeit now a more confident, experienced, and (hopefully) wiser version.  And I don’t regret any of the strange and sometimes dark paths I periodically chose, for it all helped me to appreciate and have immense gratitude for the clarity and homecoming I now feel.

Standing in the mezzanine last night, it was as if I could hear our eighteen year old selves rooting us on, proud of the choices their older selves would eventually make, guiding us to more amazing lives than we ever could have imagined back then.

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After a crazy autumn and winter full of action, movement, and change, the past month has been eerily peaceful.  I’ve been sleeping well, have felt bizarrely uncreative, content to go to the semi full time part time job I manifested on a TV show with a crew I love working with, and have felt overall catatonic, foggy, and also calm and happy.  As dust settles after a tiny tornado blows through, my new life is falling into place and, like a spectator, I am watching it,  amazed at the ease with which things can happen when they are meant to and when one gets out of their own way.

Yesterday I attended a storytelling workshop at The Museum of Broken Relationships. First of all, you should go to this museum, in the heart of Hollywood, if you are able. Full of items sent in by people from all over the world, each one is accompanied by a story and I haven’t been that moved by an exhibit in a long time. From sweaters to tickets to bellybutton lint, each of us is made of the heartbreak and beauty of life and living and none would be where or who we are without the previous joy and pain that got us there. Second of all, storytelling, gratitude, and finding beauty within the mundane seem to be the common and recurring threads weaving my current interests together. I am being repeatedly led to the next right person, class, workshop, and idea at the perfect moment and, while I have no idea where it is all leading, I can feel the fog lifting.  There is something in the writing, improv, and stories that is working its way out, percolating and, as my nervous system calms and life settles, slowly finding its voice and path.

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IMG_8091.JPGI want to blame Venus Retrograde, work, a recent trip to Las Vegas, turning 38, the news, and Donald Trump for my recent lack of posts and words, but I know that isn’t fair.  So, instead, I trust that sometime soon I will sit in front of my computer and once again turn swimming thoughts into words. But, until that moment, here are some roses to brighten your Thursday evening and to bring a bit of beauty to your life.

Muah!

More soon.

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