Monthly Archives: November 2006

impermanance, sparked by spirits

midnight… we drive the desolate streets of pasadena after a movie, ‘the illusionist’… satiated finally by a good movie. love and magic… we kissed at all the kissing parts and held hands in the darkened theater. in the car we talked of impermanance, sparked by spirits and illusions in the film… brady thinks we just return back to energy… the thought alone makes my brain seize up staccato… i want to take something more with me, like the penny in ‘somewhere in time’, to be reminded where i go, of where i’ve been. for something to bring it all back. all this learning, all this metamorphasis…

“i don’t want to forget all this,” i tell him as i stare at traffic lights changing from red to green… maybe that’s why i am obsessed with photographs and journals… maybe if i do forget, someone else somewhere will remember it… there is safekeeping in reverberation, to have life work continue on in any form… paintings, stories, emotions, thoughts… that is why i work so hard now… that is why i cannot sleep… i’m afraid of time slipping by unnoticed, uncaptured… “isn’t it enough that your work affects people now?” brady asked… ‘no’ i tell him… it is not enough for me to believe that we just return to source, blank, faceless forms, systematic aliens ready for repeat… to believe otherwise would be to live as if i were a blob on a conveyer belt… or worse, to hesitate… i feel strongly no matter what truth lies at the end of this labyrinth, that we must make our individual marks and leave our pearls purposefully behind… for me, that time is now…

i am in the process of forming quiet, of realigning ambitions and segueing into writing my books, shooting music videos, directing… i have drawers of ideas, dusty books in closets, bands that are now not just distant inspirations but my friends… all i need now is time to do it all… i will make that time now…

 

in the thick of it

“i traveled to a mystical time zone,
and i missed my bed,
and i soon came home…”

the predicted avalanche descends… i’m in the thick of it now, seeing no way out but through it… all these long overdue unedited images from as far back as 4 october… i’ve never been so backlogged in my life, yet i refuse to rush thru not one single image… to treat each one as it’s the only one i ever have to do… pure focus, a juggling thing with blinders on… i sometimes admonish myself for taking on too much… but i love this life, these people that blossom in vixen form before me, that allow my lens to strip them of doubt and fidget stance. i search for pearls in the editing process, those moments of confidence, that glimmer of eye, those flicker peaks when we are in the zone, where they let me in…..

i haven’t been sleeping… i stay awake until my eye twitches… brady sometimes comes over to sit on me, forces me to bed… like a drug or a secret lover, i find myself waiting for his breath to slow and deepen to slip out from under our shared duvet to play with these images waiting like patient children…

the weeks i’ve spent in europe have created not just this jet lag but a vicious honeymoon as well… deep desire, wicked reunion, bursting love that rages past dawn…. we baracade ourselves in my room, shutting doors, drawing curtains, keeping neighbors up in kitten love… we ignore the half light of the new day in favor of passion that leaves us breathless on the floor… i have never been so in love…. this man knows me, really knows me… accepts all that i am and asks the same… he loves me untethered, a love that says ‘yes, go out in the world…. come back to me fulfilled’… i hold nothing back with this man, no fantasy, no thought… he brings me purple flowers, picking the most perfect one for the small bedside vase… we are partners, true partners… we prowl, prank, align, comfort, challenge, advise, listen, express and love… we’ve decided never to marry though, to not fold this love up into legal boxes… we will just spend our lives together as best friends and bring up little hopscotch creatures to pour this happiness into…

holland

such an incredible time in holland… days of walking old towns, inspecting crumbling cherubs and demons on leaning fascades. feeling like a puppy in a car window, wanting it cracked just a bit more, the wind in my ears, in love with new places and people. cheryl met me at the airport with balloons and a beautiful smile. a stranger with a familiar name, a generous, nurturing love of a girl. we had been internet pals for 5 years and a face-to-face meeting was overdue… instant bond, constant laughter.

together with her sweet friend, pauline, we headed straight from the airport to a coffee shop in amsterdam. a dim smoky den of untethered people. we were soon to join them as i pressed a button that illuminated a menu and ordered the only familiar item to me… white widow… the weathered girl at the register repeated my request, brought out a box from a shelf and with raised eyebrows and averted gaze she slid it over towards us. cheryl was hesitantly intrigued, pauline teetered on the edge of adventure but opted out and i, with no where i needed to be, sparked it up and passed it over. the next few hours were a hilarious blur as waves of oversensed counter-time hit me as we walked for miles in the park, entertained by colors of leaves and sky… what a welcome to amsterdam…

of all the places to continue the experience i was taken to a blood bank, where another of cheryl’s friends, denise, was working the graveyard shift. denise enjoyed opening refrigerators to show us red blood cells, packages of placentas and gyrating white plasma. “touch it!” she prodded as she brought out the packets. i was in no headspace to do such a thing but did it anyway… “the plasma… it’s alive…” she said. she held it up to the light so we could see it swirling and pumping.

the next day, cheryl and her husband ronald took me to the old part of their town, dordrecht. twisting canals, a market with an absurd amount of cheese, herring and classic dutch wonders called stroopwafles of which i lost my mind over. thin warm waffles with some orgasmic caramel thing between. ronald, a teacher, indulged my ceaseless curiousity, told me fascinating things… one of them that cobble stones translated to dutch literally means ‘skulls of children’. the pulleys and hooks above almost every house along the canals were for lifting market goods from boats into the houses. he pointed out various homes with dates as old as 1600. some of them were leaning forward as if being drawn catatonic back into the canals. reinforcements held them upright and people still live in them. my imagination went crazy there, imagining ghosts and times past. we had photo playtime in richly saturated doorways and along waterfronts. houseboats were all the rage and stroopwafles made me bounce.

the next day, we traveled to belguim to have waffles from the source. another amazing old town, antwerp, teemed with orthodox jews and diamond outlets. the statue in the main square told the story of the meaning of the name of the town… something about two feuding giants and one that tore his hand off and threw it to the sea. an old man stared at me under graffitti… the sky threatened to spill, the clouds moved fast and the wind sent me into eskimo mode, intent to stick with it to explore more of the essence of the town. the belguim waffle was all i had hoped for, sold by a cafe with ridiculously insecure marketing. also laughable were stores called ‘mobistar’ which i kept called ‘mobster’ and a chain of banks called ‘rabobank’, which with a little vowel trickery became ‘rob a bank’.

our last sunset together was spent at kinderdyk which i called ‘child lesbians’, a bitingly cold trail surrounded by dozens of old windwills, most of which have families still living in them. the sky was insane, dark puples and bruised blues, an egg yolk horizon, swaying dry reeds rustling and bending with the force of a storm whose brunt seemed to be all around us, yet not fully over us… we saw hard rain in the distance, dark slanting torrential skyscapes yet just a few fleeting drops grazed my lens. when our cheeks froze, we ran to the car. as we thawed out, a strange thing happened… from all directions birds began to wind together like psychic ribbons against the hazy dewdrop sky. churning and traveling, coming together and then thinning out.. i jumped out of the car then and stood staring at this, my second feathered sunset ballet… such a gift…

pyromancer showed up to pick me up… i then became his problem 🙂 we drove his car on a ferry and made our way back to rotterdam. steep flights of stairs to his new house, with freshly painted red floors and housewares still in boxes. we ate mayoinaise sandwiches and chocolate and then headed out to burn things. a stop at his workspace, a place reminiscent of the house in ‘fight club’. so too was the place we did the shoot in… a dark flooded celler with kitchen items and words on walls. i warmed myself near his fire mohawk helmet as he burned an old color of fuel off in favor of the newly anticipated green fire. he dressed industrial, did make up, lit a torch and i followed him behind him thru a few rooms. moths beat against my cheek and i was spooked. my camera fell in love instantly with the place and we soon made magick there… a build up of ideas and options, metal ladders, squatter art formations, quotes on walls… he breathed fire on the walls, the ceiling…. it was just madness… even more so as we hit the kitchen…. he dropped a bit of fuel into the water all over the floor and sparked it… a frenzy hit and i made him pour a ton of fuel in a line between him and i… the entire room seemed to be on fire… “do it!!! do it!!!” and then he turned dragon all over that space, so much so that both had a moment of fear… the whole room was on fire… i looked behind me and it was a black smokey cave. the fire died down and we made our way out giggling fiendish at the last shot… we bounced and spoke gibberish excited all the way back to rotterdam where he cleaned up and we had dinner. he’d gone out from 1am-9am the night before to catch a fish for me. we called her ‘henrietta’ and i asked him to cut her head off… “i can’t look at the eyes” i explained. the sadistic sound of the head being cut off was perhaps worse… i drowned it out by eating chocolate and staring at that last shot in the celler… as henrietta cooked, pyromancer would sing ‘fishy, fishy, fishyyyyy’… he separated the meat from the bones and we enjoyed henrietta as we talked about life, love, art and ambition… i curled up on a couch that his father made to dream away a few hours before heading into amsterdam for my last day with cheryl…

she made the mistake of giving me coffee and all our plans of anne frank house and van gogh museum went out the window. i needed big open space, rushing sidewalks and she was happy to explore the town with me caffeine-style. before my flight, we threw our passports down in a parking lot for a photo… big hugs and tears and promises of playtime in america next year…

i walked thru amsterdam airport pinching my boarding pass and passport together, protective of my camera bag and hugging my external hard drive fill with memories of these past few weeks abroad. from dollars to pounds to euro’s and now back again… i now begin my long journey home where a kiss from brady is promised right off the plane, no passing go, no flyaway shuttle, just straight into his arms from the gate where i intend to stay before i can even begin to fathom the avalanche of email and unedited images amassing on the other side of this pond…

london

last night we walked the cobblestone streets of greenwich, a town over 300 years old. smoke curled around alleyways reminiscent of venice. we walked the thin lamplit path along the river thames and ate asian food… we then walked back along the thames to a pub called ‘the cutty sark’, 300 years old, named after a tea clipper ship in dry dock nearby. the greenwich maritime college was lit up and barren. polly and martin pointed out the greenwich observatory, a dark shadow on a distant hill where the time zones separate. i was filled with questions like “why is the river thames pronounced ‘temz’?” (because a king couldn’t pronounce it correctly, came the reply.) and “why is it ‘mean’ in greenwich mean time?” of which they didn’t know. after a baileys, i tried to lift an anchor and took up too much space on the thin pathway as joggers and dog walkers tried to get by… i am such a tourist…

britain is amazing if for nothing else than these two things… free healthcare and free gallery admissions, both of which i have taken full advantage of this week. today i was even more of a tourist… taking on london’s sights on my own… camera in one hand, map in the other. i found myself pressed up against the gate at buckingham palace this morning, intrigued by horse drawn carraiges arriving and the intricate walk that the guards do. i nibbled a spinach pastry and bought postcards. i sat in the park next to the palace and poked my bruised foot, willing it to heal faster… amsterdam awaits and i have no time for faulty walking parts… i sat under a tree and watched commuters with stern faces rush everywhere before heading to the national gallery where i went like a sponge from room to room absorbing inspiration… i visited covent garden where i found street performers and a wicked toy store filled with music box innards, sadistic dolls and paper circuses. i listened to the bells under big ben, sat in a cafe in the theater district, looked at dance photographs in the museum for the performing art, got lost in lewisham (again) and had veggie food back at home with polly and martin, my last night before leaving early tomorrow for holland…

london – on tour with the dresden dolls

it’s my second day in london…. a perfect day until a speaker fell on my face.. a day filled with arriving artists rehearsing, soundchecking, hugs and giftiez with the dolls. brian liked his brick-patterned tights and amanda seemed to like her stripeys. the venue was the sickest place i’d ever shot in… a huge round echoing chamber, 300 years old, crumbling brick exteriors, renovated interiors, posters of historic concerts that happened there; debbie harry, the doors, jimi hendrix. it used to be a train turnstyle, where at the end of the line, the train would get turned around. but the history since the renovation made my trigger finger itch to get the show on….
i watched and waited for hours… soundchecks and preparations. jet lag hit and i fell over onto my camera bag and stayed still for 20 whole minutes. i fell asleep there without ear plugs on the floor in the production room in the middle of soundcheck. i awoke as emily, the tour manager, was rolling with the punches, having to re-do the entire schedule an hour before showtime. i left the room so she had space to think and i dressed in the girl’s bathroom outside where people from france knew me… so surreal….

on a whim yesterday i began planning a trip to paris in a few days… i was so excited to hear it was only an hour and a half from london, but now i debate the cost and my current injury situation… weighing it against the excitement of a new country, one i’ve been fascinated with for ages.

coils properly secured into my ponytails and patent leather dress on, i hit the long line outside, met up with polly and shot such beautiful brigaders lining up around this epic venue. inside before doors opened, i helped orchestrate a photo shoot for the press where fans pressed themselves up against glass windows. the giddy fans, the ones i used to be. the show began quickly, a succession of perfect entertainment, the best dolls show i’ve ever shot! i was even more in love with them for gathering such talented people, for inviting me over to shoot it all. it was a playground for me, there was no where else i belonged that right there, stage right snapping away, zooming in across the stage to amanda and singing her words back to her. i’ve shot many dolls shows but there was something about tonight, the energy there, the crowd, the number of brigaders, the talent, the way it all flowed from one stage to the other… it was kinetic, it was special….
5 songs into the dolls set though and i got smushed by a speaker… i was walking behind a stack of speakers, shared a smile with the sound guy and then BLAM! incredible pain across my face. a speaker had fallen on my freakin face! i couldn’t beleive it…. i did a quick body scan which tested positive for pain. i knew i was hurt. blood dripped down my face. i didn’t want to interupt the show so i did my best to gracefully exit to backstage, hand up to my face and fingers coming away wet with blood. i screamed then. the paramedics told me i needed stitches… a funny thing happened then i felt that i had the power to negotiate this… i slapped my knee… “NO!” i said just plain NO! i got them to agree to just superglue my face instead. i couldn’t feel 3 of my teeth and worried they were messed up. then my foot began to throb. getting angry felt good just then. i got all american for five minutes and huffed all big that i’d sue the venue… adrenaline was coursing thru me, i knew breath was my only option for centering… so i stopped… i breathed… i felt better…. the fierce chemical bursts were receding like a tide. when i could think straight i apologized for being a brat but wondered how the FUCK a speaker could fucking FALL on me?!?!? shooting shows at least a few times a week for years now i suppose it was overdue but i needed to know just who was responsible for this? why weren’t they secured?

so off to hospital we went, my face swelled and bled, my foot turned blue, 2 of my teeth gained feeling. polly and i took photos on gurneys. i tried to find dead people but no luck. the security guards raised eyebrows and pretended to ignore us, me with my coils in my hair and high boots. i caught my battered reflection in the mirror… what a mess… rock n roll… polly and i agreed that this was all very punk rock…. there was blood and wine on my lens, i was in an emergency room in a foreign country in patent leather, fishnets and smeared eyeliner with a bloody face… she warned me against shooting tomorrow night again… i cut her off, no way in hell i’m missing that show…. “edward ka’spel will be playing…. i love him… i’m going…”

xrays and nothing broken, taped up my face, gave me crutches and done… my second day in london…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 BRIGHTON
sunset at brighton pier in england… one of the most beautiful things i have ever seen in my life…. black charred structures in ruin, one an intricate victorian burnt out skeleton pulsing with the decomposition of sand and sea, the other a body long dead on its side. the sky a myriad of color, pinks and yellows…. when the reds came, the pan pipes began… and then the people came… and then the swarms of starlings came… and we all stood and stared… someone commented that this was the lowest tide ever in brighton, that there is never this much sand, just stones. i took my shoes off then and ran into the surf. my bruised foot absorbed the frigid temperature, froze the pain long enough to do a few cartwheels. a man drew circles in the sand with a shovel. a child stood timeless within them.
i have never seen a more amazing sunset… ever. i have never seen starlings dance… no one knows why they dance each night at sunset there but there it was… so magestic, such a gift… they came from different directions and morphed into one huge cloud, swooping and channeling… i stared at them speechless, mouth hanging open… i wiped tears away to shoot…

there was fire in the sky then, brilliant flaming reds, bursting blues. i ran to find polly and we stood there hugging looking around in wonder only to scatter again like photo-mad marbles. just when i thought i couldn’t take anymore, fireworks went off in the distance… cascading birthday candles falling fast over flickering carnival lights on the victorian sister pier nearby, the one still holding memory, the history… the one still alive, a hazy mirage keeping watch over the dead one, the charred one that the starlings live in.

the sun finally set and the full moon was fierce. polly and i lit sparklers and did cartwheels til the dark told us we were exhausted and had no business standing upright… 10 hours sleep in 3 days, a trip to the hospital, jet lag… i’m done… such full days of living, of exploration… the body, like a scolding parent, begs for mercy…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
FUCK CRUTCHES!
(3 days later and here’s my non-speaker-dented side of face
& foot is a-rockin and healin quick-quick!)


west norwood cemetery
i lean against a decrepid family vault invaded by vines and time. i wring my socks out, a stream of morning dew falls into a fox hole. crosses and stars and squirrels unaccustomed to the living. high grass, gates broken and ascending ringing bells. i am here with ulli, a fetish photographer that i met last month in san francisco. i love my photographer friends. there is this unspoken understanding of time apart together in the name of kinetic exploring.

we met outside west norwood train station, took 10 steps into the cemetery and smiled as we parted ways knowing the maze would reunite us somehow. i climbed trees and watched him snapping away in the distance. i watched grave diggers and wondered about their lives, where they lived, what brought them to this calling, if it infects their dreams. i met the eyes of pale mourners in the backseats of limosines clutching limp tissues, a veil of life-pleading across their faces… and as i wandered the stones with dates and names that define lives that are over, i was reminded of how borrowed this time is… how important to live now, before dates and stones come for us… to follow our passions and not just bear the burden of waves and tides that make up the day-to-day… we are more than that and it makes me sad that most people are unconscious…
3pm ~ nunhead cemetery
headless statues, mossy and muddy. ulli warned me it is easy to lost. soon after, i did just that… i found myself disoriented among the stones, some of them cracked open graves as old as 1865.
nunhead is a spooky cemetery, sleepy hollow incarnate. thin old twisting pathways that darken the more curiousity worked its magick. as dusk fell, i followed one overgrown path to another denser one… to another… traversing thorns, brittle leaves and slippery dead tree trunks to inspect grave poetry and thick vines choking the words… strong snakes enveloped overturned angels… i soon found myself lost in a forest of graves… i only realized my situation as it was almost too dark to shoot in. i turned around trying to remember from where i came but there was no path… it was like the stories of dark faerie antics i was told while i was in ireland where only when the four elements were called on could i be released. i turned around again… there was this sound, the kind of sound that only breezes stir up… but there was no breeze… nothing was moving… i panicked like i used to as a child running from bogeys up the basement stairs. i jumped unthinking over stones to a clearing with one single willow tree, old as time. its loose whisper tendrils still and calming… i eventually found my out and sit now as dusk rewinds out in the open waiting for ulli… i am spooked…

london – rampaging the city

“we were off our tits that night!” polly says, talking to a friend at ben crouch’s tavern in central london about a blue-tinted drink she’d had. awake now for 32 hours, the world turns surreal. surrounded by old dark wood in a pub with gargoyles, intricately-lit beakers and test tubes, 4 new friends and polly who i’ve known for 12 years. a year to the day that our mutual friend danielle died, i opened my mailbox to a friendship book that danielle started for me, that polly finished. i wrote her to thank her and tell her the news, that there’d been a car accident. she’d been on the tube reading my letter and so began our friendship… another of danielle’s gifts. shortly after, polly took her first flight to america and we drank tequila in paper bags on the brooklyn bridge.

the la’s come on and my heart expands. “open your mind, open your mind”. smoke curls towards the geiger-esque ceiling and thoughts come in succession in a surprisingly accurate british accent. it never takes long for british accents to infect me… there’s something so clean and heady about it… infectious…

light flickers and reflects off the teeth of griffins. wooden spikes and howling wolf sounds in the bathrooms, talk of school and bohemian poetry, talk of cassette mixes we’d made each other in 1995. her tattoos are too familiar; her hair mod and soft~ we may need to do a photo shoot…

after ben crouch’s we rampaged the city… long exposure photos in trafalgar square, fountains and big ben, climbing lions, red telephone booth hugs… the tube home and then walking a cinematic street where wild foxes make friends with local cats and factories have seemingly no purpose. fireworks go off in the distance… this is london, giddy london…