Monthly Archives: July 2007

oregon / washington / san diego

16 july

soaring back again straight into the sky… i press play on janes addiction and fast forward thru the spanish to feel the rush just as we take off…’HERE WE GO!’ destination holly, destination faerieworlds… i bounce in my seat and my heart bursts rhythmic. i eventually collapse against tilted plane windows.

this morning, shawn with a nest for hair, shirtless in the chaos of his post-loj house. shrapnel of plaster, wild eyes and a sense of a tornado met. he hands me a blue velvet box while driving me to the airport and inside a coin. he tells me stories of violent meade and julia roberts’ smile at the ball. his passion for his event, for his projects is such a mirror. through all we’ve been thru together, thru all the rooms and hallways, we live our best in art speak, in the satiated next one… next event, next shoot, next project. our collaborations seem effortless as the years go by.

as i wandered the stairways at loj i felt so proud of the sypher crew, for the community that makes such amazing efforts and costumes and circumstance. a forum for a girl with a boat on her head, five-foot wide dresses, masks, wings, feathers and headdresses… the celebration, the dancing, the performances, the marionettes, the unicorn, the fountain, the knights, the drum circles, the proposal, the harp, the vixens that touch my cheek, the leafy breasted women that shimmer and smile, the glances on rooftops and the spark that happens when a creature ignites my camera…
25 july – washington state with hollyfae

wicked smiles… “make the next right…” and so we do… and we park… and we go hunting for waterfalls in the rain…. talk of cairns as we ascend, saturated colors on mountains. we could hear it, that punishing water… and we quickened our pace… and when we saw it, we broke out into giggle fits and full on running… a cave, more cairns and the waterfall sacred above it all…. mossy rocks, dark water, silent awestruck fae…. the wind from the powerful current moved the ferns and our hair…

we’d arrived the night before, meeting up in the airport in portland, our annual gathering point… we went to play with carl (solovox) and melissa, in the house they’d just moved into. views of active old bridges with trains crawling to a standstill, haunting headlights and timeless sounds throughout the night. at dusk, carl lit incense coils and tiki torches as skewers of halibut and salmon cooked on the grill. wine and laughter and connection, and after dinner we laughed bellysore at carl’s favorite cat photos.

the next morning was operation puck birthday. i’d been in cohoots with where she was staying to surprise her… but her spider senses and full bladder brought her out to ruin the surprise just as we were sneaking into the house. red balloons and sprinkle cupcakes and a steamroll and it was like i saw her yesterday.

adventure soon took us north and we found our way to kasia’s farm, aptly named ‘farmeggedon’. there was much excitement over six chicks being hatched just a few hours before our arrival. the two mothers sat close together as little fuzzy-headed critters scampered beneath their protective feathers. the cats licked their lips in anticipation but joel and i secured a hasty fence around the new fuzzies. my excitement of meeting the new lama turned quickly to fear as we entered the pasture. the lama towered over me with wild eyes and abrupt postures. the goats acted like puppies coming when called and getting into trouble. i was mesmerized by their eyes, those floating rectangle golds and blacks and a sense of the unpredictable. there was a punk chicken that i fell in love with. it had a big plume of rock n roll atop its head which shifted erraticly as it pranced around pecking at things. joel showed us all the contraptions he’s working on for films. he is sparked, ignited, happier since last year when we visited. the barn itself is burning man incarnate; a bunch of curious projects in all corners and no matter how long you explore, there is always something you missed….

holly and i had important talks at a nearby lake… talks of motivation, stories and sharing… as the sun dimmed behind thick clouds i felt the water calling. i left my clothes at the shore’s edge and walked in, aware of ripples and temperatures. i felt connected to everything… all that was under, above and within…. holly soon joined and we became a moment frozen in time, faeries skinny dipping… other visitors from farmeggedon apparently were there at the same time and yet we went undetected. i am practicing becoming invisible at will…

as night fell, we drank wine and explored the barn. there was an old car like a faded coffin begging to be pounced. i threw open my suitcase and set up my lights. holly did hair and make-up and it was on. impromptu photo magick…

we slept in kasia’s bed and awoke to torrential rain. it held me down on the bed with eyes closed in half dream states for hours. i haven’t felt that way in a long time. the wish for a lover and cabins and forests, love frenzies to add to the deafening sounds of the rain on the roof… holly made faerie pancakes with strawberries and extra sugar. we ate family style with new friends.

a snuggle of the cats, a check on the fluffies, hugs goodbye and more roadtrip fun was soon underway… we’d found a flyer for a lavendar farm in mount hood and made a bee-line there. we walked in low fields of lavender.

i held the palms of my hands out over the buzz of vibrating bumble bees. they led us to a victorian gazebo where we actually sat still for a while. a visit to a winery and then another spontaneous right turn into an english pub where we sat in soft big chairs drinking a glass of wine and reading the bar journal. we went hunting for the museum of carousel art… “find mike’s ice cream. you’ll see a giraffe.” but as we went up and down the main street of the small town, it became apparent that there was no giraffe. a local soon informed us that it had moved.

so more adventure… back to portland where we made pests of ourselves at fredrick’s place. threats to shave his dog and clean up his house. then we had a day of shoots at the egg, march fourth’s rehearsal space. between shoots, holly and i had mimosas and walked to see bodyworlds at omsi. i’ve seen bodyworlds in so many places since my first time in austria in 1999 that iw has become a way that i check in with mortality. i have to restrain myself from poking hands and brains. opting instead to jump in front of them making limbs flicker and reminding them of what it is to move alive. even after my fun, i always leave these exhibits haunted….

the next day we drove to eugene. redcap was my assistant for the shoot that day at a dance studio before we head to the campground. last year we’d met patrick who had the campsite next to us. we had been struggling to make a campfire and he saved the day with his boy scout know-how. and when he brought out his super-deluxe professional marshmallow sticks, our friendship was solidified by awe. my theory of thrusting the white gobbers into the fire was corrected instantly and i was eternally grateful. last year he was in transition. this year he was content, bringing along cynthia, his new girlfriend and source for happiness. we laughed for hours around the campfire as we waited for kristen to arrive with our tent and smores. cynthia kept trying to retire for the night but holly was just too hilarious, had me in stitches, that girl. every word out of her mouth that night was funny. we all just got on so well… redcap and patrick looked like brothers from another mother. it was shocking.

two days of the faerieworlds festival were much fun. i had a menacing headache on sunday though, lasted 9 hours, brought on by some anxiety when i realized my carefree days of travel were soon over and i had a mountain of 14,000 images awaiting surgery… with only two weeks before i leave for burning man… many pills later and my cloak of invisibility firmly in place and i rode it out… healed and mesmerized by the wicker men and giddy over sj tucker lyrics about alligators…

night fell and toby froud gave me my annual piggyback ride. i danced with brian and wendy froud in their tent as we were packing up, played with experimental settings and tricks of flash… and the weekend was over…. sweet hugs and words from kelly and emilio. i breathed in gratitude and look forward to speaking to them in the images captured to reflect it back to them…

morning brought more goodbyes, the hardest ones as it’s never certain when i will see my playmate hollyfae again…. and i boarded a plan to san francisco to continue on my shooting frenzy…. right off the plane i was brought to a studio to shoot a vocal ensemble group. big open space, lights, gear and assistance of which i didn’t need. just me, them, my strobes and positive energy. 3 hours later and 3 full memory cards and i was dropped off at bodhi’s warehouse. veggies and fruit and a stiff drink inside his liquid diet lounge bar. i played trapeze over the pool table, rode the dog around like a horse, and listened to bodhi’s beaming contentment, toasting it with glee and mirrored acceptence. i then crawled onto a futon and slept like death. i awoke a few hours later stepping over burning man projects to play with cats and put a dent in my inbox.

cindy soon picked me up and we drove to love manor for more shoots. we climbed the twisting steep roads above san francisco into the mist and fog, moving fast like rain. a hasty set-up and playtime was afoot. muscular back of bamboo tattoo meow and bold abstract formations. modern dance and stoic expression… much learning for me. a few more shoots that day and night had come…. no one was home as i moved into the top level of the house. marilyn, the absynnian, lept into my arms with an expression not unlike recognition… he perched on my shoulder like a parrot on exstacy. pearl crept low and cautious around my feet as i explored the house. it had been renovated since last i was there. strings of disco ball prisms hung down like chandeliers, buddha statues replaced bunny heads on motorcycle seats. flowers in illuminated vases, mirrors and new gargoyles in the bedrooms.

i stayed up late watching the wind move the trees. i sat wrapped in a blanket with marilyn on my lap and i breathed deep. there is a rushing that happens, almost a panic, when i’ve been traveling too much, when i am behind on emails and editing and yet i can’t stop shooting. it’s a pressure that if i gave myself over to it, could quite possibly harm me. i’ve learned to recognize its coming, that speeding up of pressure and thought and i… just breathe…. i make lists… then i breathe some more… i long for the time that i don’t have to travel so much… where i have an assistant that i trust to keep pvp running smoothly, someone who cares as much as i do about it… i long for the time i don’t have to do this all myself….

i slept with marilyn under the covers and when i woke up i whispered to him it was time to pack to go home finally… he seemed to understand and helped by sitting on my bags… jd still hadn’t come home but victor was there. he made me kale and apple juice from his juicer. i drank it fast as my airport shuttle pulled up. my gay dads and their advice and concern…. i love them so… such magick in that house… i’ve shot dozens of people there, shot magazine covers and had vivid dreams there…

on the way to the airport i met a girl who sells vintage clothing. i retitled her an ‘estate archeologist’ and she seemed to like it. i had put out the SOS to the mutaytor band list that i was in need of a friendly face at the airport… i was worn out, exhausted. ‘just throw my sugary carcass on my doorstep’ it read and rev kate did just that… she took me home and the earful that i was expecting from peter meowface was much less than deserved. he had been well looked after it seemed.

a few hours later brady’s car pulled up the driveway. i flew out of the house, passed my landlord’s small talk and right into his arms before his seatbelt was off, crushing the flowers he’s brought for me. he held them overhead as i attacked him with kisses laughing. excitement to passion and back again… and soon it was 3am… i could feel him kissing my shoulders, saying goodbye as he was leaving for work for 4 days up north… i couldn’t stir awake… in my head i was still holding him softly by the back of the head telling him the best part of traveling is coming home to him… but i woke up and he was gone… soon we will have our 3 weeks in the desert… soon….

27 july

i poke mosquito bites with tea tree oil on a train down to san diego, a reminder of marshmallow time and pinot noir in the forest last week in oregon. i clip my ipod to my chest and r.e.m.’s ‘fall on me’ comes on… my best friend is getting married tomorrow… the song brings me back to when we were in high school… i remember listening to it in my headphones, a camera was on my shoulder, my old ricoh. i was walking through the golf course behind the school, shooting the track team for yearbook and she came over to me and we walked together and ate french fries from the cafe there. when i was in college and i missed her i would play this song… along with the replacements, the ramones, the alarm, the smithereens… and when i am sad she reads me the velveteen rabbit and when i’m off-course she guides me. she’s getting married tomorrow and i’m proud of her life… of all that she’s become through that love…. i’m excited to see her family. when we were little her parents didn’t want her hanging out with me… they locked her up in her room and i would throw things laughing at her window. times have changed and her parents now consider me their daughter. i can’t wait to see them…. to bare witness to this day tomorrow…. all is love and evolution…

28 july

sipping chamomile tea in a courtyard in encinitas. live jazz echoes off buildings and i pick cherries from my teeth as i assemble paper doilies to write on. this morning i woke up with a stiff back in a hotel where the same art deco picture was hung around the room at various heights. i curled my hair, had coffee at the potato shack, and walked to the salon where jen was getting her hair did. she grabs my hand, i feed her saltines and spearmint to calm her. she closes her eyes, breathes and smiles. her dress was gorgeous, talbes of bougenvilla and familiar faces from childhood. small, sunny and heartfelt. i wished away the tears that fogged my viewfinder. we are witness to each other’s rites of passages, both big and small, able to remind each other of where we are based on where we’ve been.

the best part of the day for me was when we danced together to john lennon’s ‘in my life’. she nuzzled into my neck and i spun wishes and hope around her like a prayer. so nurturing, so present. i wished for like energy to meet her always. it was a beautiful day…

the jazz band ends their set and patrons finish their wine, tug on their dogs’ leashes and prepare to leave… i’m exhausted but i’m not sure where i will sleep… my train home is at 6am, a few hours off… i walk through the streets by the light of the full moon… i call brady and remind him to look up…

birthday journal / new york musings

5 july

we found our way to a stretch of sand flanked by the still waters of malibu lagoon and the churning of the pacific ocean. ducks as sillouettes made trails in the algae of the lagoon as sunset turned to mist, hovering against mountains in the distance…

brady and i wrapped ourselves up in my celtic tapestry and made out as the colors of the sky exploded in hazy purples. decades of seeing fireworks on my birthday and i still gasp and scream at each one. a reminder of my entry into this world. riding tendrils of glistening fleeting bursts of light, nothing left but smoke…

i held the hand of my most precious lover and watched my birthday light up the night. big strawberries, green cubes, smiley faces, planets and shimmering willow trees… these were designer fireworks. this was malibu… it was incredible… i shuddered at the feigned thunder and snuggled against him feeling safe and loved.

afterwards, the sand took on strange forms in the dark. the shadows became alligator eyes, the ducks were still and watching. we found playgrounds and kissed on swings. we laughed until it hurt. we are such funny creatures, my dragon and i. we exist most often in our own bubble oblivious of our surroundings.

we drove thru the canyon back to our campground and had a picnic at midnight… a beautifully wrapped gift appeared. silver sparkly paper and a fantastic blue bow. inside was a box, the kind of box you keep forever, a burnt sienna chest and within it, candy and a disc with a song on it. he pressed play and my world shifted. brady recorded a song for me… forehead to knees and holding his hand, i listened to it smiling. “i have never been more in love with you than this moment” i beamed into him.

2 more listens to it and we found ourselves alone in a field. bright stars, swaying dry grass and outlines of dark mountains. we heard a rustling next to us… “shine the light! shine the light!” a pause, a fear… “it’s…eyes…” he said, “and they are spaced wide apart…” we booked it down the road. my heart raced and i had the fear. a mountain lion? a bear? either way, it had no business eating us, especially on my birthday…

safely back at camp, he ceremoniously opened our coveted bottle of red wine, the one we bought in mexico two years ago, the one we brought to burning man and various parties intending to open it but never did. we waited two years to open that bottle… he unwrapped the foil, worked the wine key, all the while talking about the paintings in the winery that we bought it at. a sip… and a laughing fit… we’d waited too long… the wine was spoiled…. that was our lesson… not to wait too long… to jump in, to savor things… and that we did… all night long…

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6 july

i clip my ipod to my sleeve and smile at clouds outside the plane window. harsh midday sun creates perspective. the dotted lines on the screen tell me i am creeping towards origin, new york city…. my family waits there… my old friends… i haven’t been home in years… soft messages and anticipation… my palms sweat…

sometimes i feel as if i’ve split myself, popped out from one reality to create another, like cells multiplying to create a body. i am a nesting doll with discarded selves… the selves are still within me, those molten dopplegangers of my past…

i have grown so much since my new york life, since walking circles around the iron gates of gramercy park not knowing how to wish for more than my emotionally caged life. i longed for distraction. i was impatient for life to start. it was disappointing to me to discover that life was happening already and that i was not in sync with it. i did not know myself. i had no desire to. i wanted time to speed up. i had no tools, just frantic blips of insight. i wanted comfort. i wanted an older sister that would slowly brush my hair and smile on me. i lived in a newly renovated convent taken over by art school students. i hardly spoke… i watched, i waited, i wrote… i hid in corners at clubs at least three nights a week. i wrote about characters i envied, the free-spirited flashy vixens that danced wild and pressed their bodies together against velvet walls. my clothes smelled of amber and photo chemicals. i practiced magick and had a tarantula called ‘imagination’. i used to love to watch him molt. i put him in films. i lit him with blue light. i painted with wax and made love to neubauten.

five of my friends died within a two year period… all in car accidents… i was disjointed, depressed and terrified of mortality, for things to be over before they even began. i wanted answers no one could give. traveling saved me… to be out in the world was the beginning of finding myself. i began to ask better questions about life. i found the pulse of adventure and met content people leading amazing lives…

new york has always represented a box that i needed to escape from. after 15 years of living there, i memorized its underbelly, all its cracks. i also learned to search for sanctuary within its chaos… the trees near cleopatra’s needle in central park, early mornings at integral yoga on 13th street, writing at the mona lisa cafe, the rolling hill outside the cloisters… i spent many afternoons there drinking wine and thinking about my life, my friends, why i felt so haunted.

i wanted to leave, to start new. i didn’t care where… and, in hindsight, not being specific was an almost fatal mistake… i longed for a reason, any reason to leave.. i wanted a fire to burn down my apartment and office building or for something equally undeniable to cause me to throw a match over my shoulder… i found it in the form of love… i fell in love with a man from the middle east at a time where i desired great change. i left everything and moved to israel. i lived there for two years. it was the most important time of my life. i learned more about myself in those two years than i had in my entire life. mostly what i learned is that i cannot live without creativity, without positive influences.

i had many adventures but i cried daily. i experienced explosions. i heard death. i saw blood on sidewalks. i did not belong. i went against my instincts. i was not honored. i had made a mistake.

i found myself truly only after relocating to los angeles, when all that was withheld came screaming up to the surface… i found people that did not judge me, that fully accepted me, that encouraged me… i think often on this and how important it was that i experienced that loss, that fear and lonliness all those years so that i would have something to compare this joy to.

each year as i get older i experience life more clearly… 33 was about realizing that i am completely in control of my emotions… to react or overreact is a conscious choice that i am more easily harnessing than ever before. i’ve always been able to see the reverberating ripples, the immediate flow of positive and negative energy but i never knew how to control the origin of them. i read books, made new friends, lived my art and my life, exactly as i wished… i found happiness, the only thing i wanted, the missing link to actually living. “i just want to be happy” that was all i asked for behind closed eyes in front of all my birthday candles each year. i wasn’t specific back then though. i didn’t ask HOW to be happy…

returning back to new york stirs up these emotions. it’s the place i fought against to get where i am now…. my original challenge, the first gate. to make that first leap away from it was like learning a different language, activating undiscovered regions of my brain. it was chemical. it was new. it was mine to create. it was a process that i only saw clearly once i realized it was permanent.

i will never again live in new york city. that nesting doll layer is sealed… it’s empowering to know that… and i sit here where the dotted lines move quicker over forms of smaller states and i tell myself it’s just a visit, a way of physical reconnection with my family and friends. it is strange to anticipate seeing their faces as i feel that by living so fully now that they are these angel entities inside me… comfort and mirrors, timeless thriving reminders of the journey… i am excited… and nervous…

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11 july

confined inside a capsule… for hours… on a runway at jfk… torrential rain runs erratically down the plane window and pulses with thunder and lightning like illuminated veins. all week i’ve been waiting for rain, envisioning running out in it no matter where it was… i have been so thirsty for rain for months now that it’s almost comical that this is now my exit song.

more overhead announcements and my immediate future is looking pretty bleak. i ask for wine and am denied. several passengers get boisterous as their knickers twist up all into bunches. i listen to ‘tricky’ and watch rain drops wondering why there aren’t any two alike…

this week i created good art. i met new, beautiful people and helped them to shine. dancers and musicians traveled from virginia, boston and wisconsin for shoots. i had meetings with record labels. i played skeeball. i spent time with family in new jersey, new york and long island. it’s been many years that all 4 of us sisters were together. we hugged in a circle in my mother’s kitchen and i felt more connected than ever to them, realizing we are older now, and that our lives are just how they are, and that we can spend time together and be accepting of each other. i kissed my father’s face. my uncle eli taught me how to hold a ping pong paddle. cousin stef made me laugh. i slept on our old couch in my sister, diana’s apartment in brooklyn. she wore my clothes. i hid her doll, ‘clownie’ in the freezer… ah, old pasttimes… i steamrolled her awake for work and rode trains to cody’s studio for the shoots. i showered no less than 4 times a day, the humidity like a soup i had to work through. on subway platforms, my elbows dripped sweat and i felt dizzy. at night, my back hurt from all the studio antics and being hunched over as i shoot. in the studio though, as various vixens showed up, i was so excited that none of it seemed to matter. i spent time with cody, who i met when he was 17 years old thru shayde his older sister. he says he is melancholy but i think he’s hilarious… i’d like to see him happier, thriving more… he made me english muffins on a pan with grapes and plum wine. he held my back light and tried not to stare at my models. i saw maxene, alan & steph. i laid on the concrete near my uncle’s pool with brian. it was nice to spend time with him, my photo agent, the one who sends me magazine articles and emails that spark me, the one that still shoots film and has been there for me for so many years…

throughout the week i had several clear moments realizing what a directly positive influence all the people i still keep in touch with have on my life. by sharing what we learn, by being so supportive of each other and tapping into each other’s needs and desires, we actually grow stronger and more content as individuals. without these people, this foundation, these mirrors, i would be an entirely different person…

as thankful as i was to reconnect with everyone, as inspired as i was by the endless cycle of beautiful models in my studio, i had a very difficult time in new york city. breathing in the soup of the air, stepping over vomit, turning my head away from rats, being harrassed on the street, avoiding the eyes of the insane, it was clear to me that nyc is all about self-preservation. i looked deep into the faces of people riding the subway… almost everyone i saw looked upset, annoyed, suspicious… there is no space. i felt like a void moving within a herd. tears came to my eyes often. i used to think that walking in nyc was an art. move quickly, move serious, keep your elbows in. as i walked through the discomfort and heat, i sometimes would close my eyes and envision the mountain above my apartment in los angeles, imagined the big blue sky that is easily seen and i felt better… until i opened my eyes again into the energy of the rushed, impersonal reality of the city…

i had no time to myself this trip. i had models booking me right up until my flight left. i was happy to do it but now i writhe at the end of patience listing all i’ve yet to get done. one day to catch up with 487 urgent emails, upload nyc photos, run errands, and then two nights of LOJ, a week in oregon and then my best friend’s wedding. i must plan my redbull attack…

thimble forests

Deafening bells of saturated yearning,
Secret knots and plumes of haunted song,
These are the halls, the roads, the tide,
Newly made universes shown through
An eye of a needle.

I dip into teacup dreams and
Unfurl like petals,
Opera spectacles whirling.

A pause, a formation
A quickening as sheer wonder turns to lessons and awe.

Hovering shoes and
The right to bear thorns,
Dripping caves and pristine
Ladies on pin cushions,
Lost in thimble love forests,
Found only where the bark of the sea,
Turns to hourglass whispers.

Within random hedges of torn lace,
Faeries as lamplighters scamper like
Typewriter keys,
Striking wildly, ceaselessly,
Their words are of jester balances,
And gold leaf water.

We are the edge of the world,
Told as much by the wink of her eye,
Lull of posture,
Kaleidoscopes for eyes.

Goose-necked men,
Those prodigies from the underworld,
Romance the sprites as fierce oddities,
Sublimely purified,
By creatures to enchant.

The mists are suspended by
Spider silk bridges,
Elvish dervishes drift on ether scales,
And I am locked in boxed futures
And faded telegrams,
Big frightful things.

They finger the trinkets of mind,
They wake the great fire into
sonnets and praise.

There is no separation between wonder and play,
No abalone vision to awake from.

Within these realms are ways to imitate the wind,
There are offerings of tea and
two crooked canines,
Polar in size,
Panting excitedly
Atop the velvet stair,
Frozen figures in thievery.

There is a maestro asunder,
Caught within his own evaporated tomb,
There are sunsets in shadows and
Cause for alarm.

I am haunted by breath
And eye sore from mosaic summoning.
I am a lucky, whimpering faun,
I seek promises of biscuits, cats cradles,
And hushed caterpillar secrets.

Beneath the legs of the departing sun,
There is no logic, only rhyme,
No harmonies that dare to surface,
Only the belief of them that stirs,

Whether cherub or true memory,
Whether dust or the hollow,
The melancholy lies in wait,
Meandering like mirrors and eggshells.

I beckon sally twigs and elder sticks,
I summon the thick hides of bees,
I traverse foul mockeries,
For the sake of the unanswered call…

on tour with cyndi lauper

non-stop days of traveling and shooting. home is a place i dump my memory cards, do laundry, confirm the shoots in the next city and then i’m off again. i never question the why because i make time for breathing… most often this happens in airport bathrooms or just before the dreamtime pummels me.

i had an incredible time on the true colors tour. one of the highlights was sitting on stage in berkeley behind a speaker a few feet from cyndi lauper, who calls me her ‘little buddy’ in her thick new yawk accent. she is like a brooklyn-born aunt that knows how to deflect energy when she is not performing. she is driven by her heart, by causes and music.

another highlight was backstage when debbie harry was asking about my ponyfalls that i had just put in. the show was yet to start and we were standing in the vip lounge. i was explaining to her what they’re made out of and how i put them in… and as i’m showing her, i realized…that i’m talking to friggen debbie harry… and i stopped mid-sentence as if i suddenly forgot how to make words and i just stood there… i couldn’t talk. i don’t know what happened. i just smiled, hugged her and ran away….

the lighting was a real challenge, an abundance of reds, strobes, fog and blacklight. i was told by several cast and crew how they had no real usable photos so far on the tour. that fact alone propelled me to test boundaries and bypass house rules. on stage as close as i could get was exactly where i intended to be. camera to eye and all was a blur of f-stops and iso configurations. camera down and i was aware i was on stage next to musicians that inspired me when i was growing up… from watching the ‘she-bop’ music video over and over again on an old vhs tape recorded from ‘friday night videos’ and defending cyndi lauper’s hair to my parents who would soon ahve the same reaction to my hair… to listening to erasure in my cassette walkman on the bus to high school… to rocking out to debbie harry at nyc clubs when i was in art school, passing cbgb’s and identifying with her angst. on stage there were a few times i pretended to adjust my camera strap while wiping away tears. it was all just so unreal. photography as an all-access pass to meet icons… there is only so much i can plan for, knowing i was going to shoot the tour and who was on it… but as it’s actually happening a wave swells up and i can’t help but freak out silently.

amanda from dresden dolls and i had a photo shoot in san diego in a room where the carpets had just been cleaned. we set our compasses to parody and reached our goal of specific shots, right down to glints of eye and soft smiles. surprises we both guard… six looks in an hour and a half and a rush back to stage. we work so well together. we are both constantly on the edge of present focus and salty rebellion. we are both driven and open, stirring shit up and pushing limits, both within ourselves and of those around us. those elements make for intense photographic experiences. mix that with the longevity of our collaborations, over three years now, and there is a trusting love and artful respect that we have come to rely on in each other. i am grateful for the experience and where it’s taking me….

speaking of amazing women that propel me, i could not have done san diego without my assistant, superkate. not only does she give the best hugs that melt tension but she’s a powerhouse of detail-oriented ambition and forethought.

after the show, after hugging david j from bauhaus no less than 10 times…. we crashed at my best friend, jen’s house, sneaking into her house late like bandits and resting a few hours. in the morning we had brunch and drove to la jolla to watch the seals and stand on the sea wall where ocean spray comes up like fireworks. i was very aware that this was my last bit of calm until the playa… i savored every moment of it.

exhaustion hit after the berkeley show… having been up to my gills in planning and flights and sleep deprivation, i made a deal with myself to sleep 4 hours. vegas and i went on a scavenger hunt in the form of finding my crashpad for the evening. a sweet friend who was away for the weekend left me his house to crash at. my pirate coordinates of ‘blue house across from ugly red sun’ started our adventure. ‘lift the bell in the planter and dig for keys’. yar! keys! vegas was amazed. treasure found and house accessed, his amazement soon turned to prankster as he went around leaving clown notes in hidden places all over the house. in the toilet paper rolls, behind framed paintings, under contact lens cases. i was too tired to protest. we drank baileys, drew on the chalk wall and talked about our lives until i passed out and he got a ride home.

my alarm went off a few hours later and i rushed around getting dressed for a wedding, curled my hair, gave the kitty some love and waited for my ride to san jose. friends of the groom on their way down from napa offered to pick me up. a happy couple married over 26 years. we ate kettle korn and bananas for breakfast and talked about art theory. they are artists that belong to a spiritual group based on the art of adi da samraj. i noticed a book on the seat next to me by him. ‘transcendental realism – the image-art of egoless coincidence with reality itself’. something in me jumped at the title, as this had been exactly what i had been struggling with lately. ‘…reality itself is truth itself is the beautiful itself is….’ he writes about how these three absolutes together are the one indivisible and necessary measure of all art… and that is inspiring to me…

we soon arrived at the spiritual center early before anyone arrived. i occupied myself with glistening morning dew on saturated leaves. i found the bride meditating inside the labyrinth and the day began. during the vows, as promises were spoken, there was an unforgettable energy shift. i’ve never experienced such a wide-eyed, soul-expanding gaze, as if the words bore straight thru them. portraits were taken and we raced to the reception which i had to leave early as my first commitment was to the tour, which took to a stage for the final show in los angeles, 20 minutes after my flight touched down.

in los angeles, the experience was made real… because brady was with me… to watch his face light up when he met cyndi, to see him shuffle his feet next to debbie harry and look away…. it just made me happy… to be able to share this with him… the one whose support and love make it easy for me to live this life, to have these adventures… brady’s so amazing… i love him more and more each day…

amanda and brian from the dolls brought us to the after party that night. a small rooftop party for cast and crew. amanda drank my wine. brian and i tangoed. debbie harry showed me she had my business card in her front pocket. talk of a shoot next time our paths crossed and hugs goodbye. brady was like a little boy watching cyndi on the dance floor. all throughout the night we would stare at each other, say ‘SILENT FREAKOUT!’ and shake our heads laughing. we left the party late and made our way thru dozens of rabbits, to our parked car in the grassy lot of griffith park.

once home, i dismantled my outfit and crawled into bed… i was dreaming before brady could tuck me in….

two days of home and then off to nyc… i turn 34 years old tomorrow… time is racing…