Archive for the ‘images’ Category

Letting Go

Posted: September 6, 2013 in Dark Phase, images, motherhood
Tags: , ,

I am teaching my children time travel.  It works like this:

Wherever you are right now – pay attention.  Close your eyes.   Notice how your feet feel on the floor; move them around a little to get the full texture.  Listen to the sound your feet are making as they move.  What other parts of your body are touching your surroundings?  Move ever so slightly to take in the sensation.

Listen. What do you hear?  The whoosh of cars going by?  Dishes clinked together while being washed?  Someone typing on a computer?  Music playing on the stereo?

Now take a deep breath.  The air doesn’t just carry the scent of your surroundings; it has a quality to it. It might be heavy with humidity, or thin and cold. But also pay attention to the smell.  Scents are evocative; they can be powerful triggers of memory.

Finally look around and look closely.  See the whole area from the large objects to one or two tiny details you may have never noticed.  And really look at those details.  If you look long enough it will be like seeing something for the first time because perhaps it is.

When you’ve captured your surroundings like this, in a mindful way, tell yourself you’re saving this for later.  I can’t guarantee that everything you save will still be there, but you will find some of it again years from now.  And when you find it, for a second you will be back in that space.   And maybe, depending on how much time has elapsed between the initial imprint and the playback, that place won’t really exist anywhere but in your memory.  And it will feel like time travel.

I tell this to my children but I’m not sure they fully understand.  When you’re a child it can feel like your world is a rock, solid and unmovable.  But as an adult you come to realize how quickly things can change.  Something that seemed certain on one day is already gone the next  and then you need to learn to let go of it.  But if you weren’t really paying attention in the first place  you can get all messed up.  You start making substitutions for what it is you thought you had.  You imagine it bigger or smaller or more or less important than it actually was.  You start having feelings for it that you didn’t have at the time.

And so it’s good to take a moment, wherever you are, to really look around to see what is it you have right now.  Later, when it’s gone, you can visit with it as it really was, or at least as close to what you perceived it to be,  and you can be there again just for a moment before you let it go.

memory board

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Wednesday night found me on the other side of the Bay Bridge on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland where I discovered a cozy little dive called The Stork Club.  It’s true, I had booked a show at a venue sight unseen and I was thrilled to find a nice large room with a working video projector, a pull down screen at the back of the stage, and a very accomodating sound person who upon seeing my set up suggested I check out Amy X. Neuberg, Polly Moller and Joan La Barbara.   Although a lot of my friends couldn’t make it out that night, it still turned out to be a great evening.  My set went off really well, Snow Angel did not dissappoint, Ziva Hadar was effortlessly amazing, and Silent Motif had us all dancing to their other-worldly beats.

Snow Angel

Ziva

Silent Motif

You can still catch me live online this weekend.  I’ll be broadcasting into the virtual world of Second Life twice tomorrow (Sunday 2/25), once at 1 pm PST at The Notes Shack Pub,  and then in the evening at 9:30 pm PST as part of the Metaverse Music Expo. Signing up for Second Life is free, but if you want nice shoes, it will cost you!

2012 –  so far so good.  Sure, there’s already been a big earthquake in Japan and dead birds in Arkansas, but that doesn’t mean the world is coming to an end, or even worse, 2012 will just be a repeat of last year (unless God, like Hollywood, is sticking to what sells and just remaking the previous year because it tested so well in Encino).

My resolutions for this year include trying to stay positive, getting more sleep and exercise, practicing more and complaining less.  Oh, and I resolve to be photographed while looking ridiculous more often, too!

 

Holidays 2011

 

New Year’s Eve

First show of 2012!

Gina drivesI grew up in Pennsylvania watching  movies about  ordinary girls who run off to Hollywood, get discovered and become famous.  By the time I was in my teens I had decided I would move to Los Angeles as soon as I could, to start my music and acting career.   I finally moved to California in my 20’s, but to Northern California, which is a separate beast from Southern California.  I love the Bay Area and would not live anywhere else, but I still feel a tingle of excitement over the prospect of LA, so when I saw an opportunity to play a show in Southern California I jumped on it.

Nette Radio, an internet radio show dedicated to promoting unsigned female artists, is hosted by Annette Conlon.   Annette has combined her passion for music with her desire to make a difference in the world by putting together benefit shows once a month at The Talking Stick in Venice, CA.  Any artist who submits music to Nette Radio is invited to play a show, and that’s how I came to be traveling down Highway 5 on a Thursday evening with my friend, Gina.

Taking a road trip sans les enfants is a bit hedonistic, so I was particularly glad the show I was playing was benefiting the Los Angeles Veterans Hospital.  That helped balance out the guilt.  Gina had suggested we stay the The Standard, a cool hotel in downtown LA. I had no idea how the hotel was going to tip the scales of hedonism versus altruism way over in hedonism’s favor.

We had an easy drive down to Los Angeles and pulled into the parking lot around 8:30 pm, except I couldn’t tell if this was actually a hotel or a disco because even with the car windows rolled up I could hear the thumping bass of dance music coming from inside the lobby. People in club wear milled about outside while the valets helped us unload the car and take our things inside.  As far as I could tell we were checking into a nightclub.

Once we had our room key we headed up to the 6th floor.  Despite the party in the lobby, the red carpeted halls were deserted. “We need a big wheel to ride up and down these halls like in The Shining,” Gina joked.

Hotel RoomOur room turned out to be quite spacious with a 70’s minimalist flare.  Two mattresses sat atop of dais, a phone sat on the floor between them.  One of the mattresses was just a foot or so from a plexiglass wall which turned out to be part of the shower stall.  Upon further inspection of the sparse, European style bathroom, there were two floor-to-ceiling shower curtains that made up the shower enclosure.  The see through shower wall gave me pause, but upon inspection of the mini-bar I realized my suspicions were correct.  In addition to full bottles of Patron Tequila, and splits of Veuve Clicquot champagne, one could also purchase condoms and scented candles, all at moderately outrageous prices.  Spontaneity is expensive.   It would appear we were staying at The (One Night)Standard.

The Bathroom

Gina and I were starving so we decided to head up to the roof where there was food and drink to be had, but first we had to go back to the lobby and get a wristband to prove we deserved to be on the roof.

Beirgarten

I'd like to be under the sea in The Standard's Biergarten in the dark

The rooftop bar provided an amazing view of downtown LA.  There was a pool, cabanas and a large lounge area, all very crowded.  Due to extreme hunger and the need for immediate gratification, we chose the Biergarten.  Yes, I said Biergarten. Nothing says downtown LA like a good liter of Hefeweizen and a bratwurst.   We sat at a white table surrounded by an ivy draped trellis, astro turf beneath our feet, 80’s pop music sung in German blaring from a nearby speaker, and for no reason we could discern, a movie projected on the wall of the parking garage across the street.   It was sensory overload-a-go-go; completely surreal, like Disney World for drunken hipsters.

After our boozy, greasy repast, we headed down the street to catch the remaining few moments the Downtown Art Walk, did a bit of shopping at a nearby bazaar and then headed back to the hotel. I wish I could say we then turned in for the night, but we didn’t . . .  “Early the next morning” describes both when I went to bed and when I woke up.  It doesn’t get much rougher than that.

Gina in the bathroom

We shoulda been sleeping!

I spent most of Friday morning recuperating, and then finally pulled it together enough to set up my equipment and practice while Gina went to the hotel gym, which is apparently just as surreal and kitschy as the rest of the place.

Puching dummy

Actual photo of Gina's workout. Check out the wristband.

We lunched at The Abbey in West Hollywood, where everyone was fit, beautiful, and potentially famous, before braving the late afternoon traffic over to Venice.  I couldn’t help but feel star struck driving down Santa Monica Boulevard through Beverly Hills, although some of the awe was buffered by not moving more than 15 miles per hour for most of the trip.

I arrived at The Talking Stick a little after 6 pm.  My good friend, Erika, and her family were already there, having made the two hour trek up from San Diego to catch my 25 minute set.  Having both Erika and Gina there to show their support made me feel truly blessed to have such amazing friends.

Erika and Fam

Erika and her BoyZ!

The Talking Stick is a nice coffee shop venue with a full stage, PA and fun ambience.  The tables filled up quickly and I was up first.  One of the biggest challenges I face in my life is learning to speak up for myself and ask for things I need; in this case I needed more of a sound check than the other performers.  The others were using acoustic instruments, save for a keyboard player using the venue’s keyboard.  My electronic instruments are a bit more dynamic than the average acoustic guitar.  When I hit the Roland sampler to trigger the drums for Fulcrum at the beginning of my set, the beat crashed through the PA in an auditory assault, causing everyone to cringe and jump.  This was not my first time to cause an audience to cringe and jump, and sadly it probably won’t be my last.  Still, I lost a bit of confidence right away, which never makes for a great performance.  I did my best to pull out of it and put on a good performance, but my vocals felt off, and when I got to my final song, Fan Fic, the Roland sampler gave me more volume level problems.  In a button-mashing panic to get things under control I screwed up the beat.  I really should have stopped and started over again, but I pressed on, embraced my failure and sang like I didn’t care.  Gina claims it worked, but I wasn’t so sure . . .

Talking Stick

On stage at The Talking Stick

You can watch it all here on Nette Radio’s Ustream channel, as it was broadcast live.

The other performers were very good: Gypsy and the Merry Mystics played some beautiful acoustic rock that incorporated two guitars and a keyboard player who doubled on flute; Ann-Marita used soulful country music to tell stories of her incredible life, having found her way to America from Norway by way of Australia; and The Red Herring wailed out some blues with punk rock rawness on acoustic guitar and harmonica.  The Conlons, comprised of Annette and her husband, Doug, finished the evening with joyful Americana music that showcased soaring harmonies and thoughtful lyrics.

I also picked up a cool Susan Nichole bag which was auctioned off as part of the fundraising for the evening. It was money well spent for a good cause.

Gina and I left the Talking Stick around 10 PM and the night was still young.  We went back to downtown LA and walked around LA Live for a bit looking for a place to eat.  We settled on Trader Vic’s and enjoyed some tropical drinks with our food.

Rum drink

Mai Tai me up, Mai Tai me down!

On the way back to the car we came across a tent city.  Thinking it might be an Occupy encampment we moved in for a closer look.  It turned out to be people camped out for the “Twilight:Breaking Dawn” Red Carpet event that was taking place on Monday.

Twihards

Occupy Team Edward

Twihard sign

A small percentage of the 99% does this kind of thing

After that we were back at The (One Night)Standard.  Gina and I both enjoy photography (which is not the same as “Photography, know what I mean?  Wink Wink Nudge Nudge”) so we wanted to make use of the spectacle that was The (One Night)Standard.  Camera in hand we went on a photo safari of the 70’s kind:

Organ keys

Vintage organ in the lobby

Playing Organ

And made a friend who was feeling the vibe of The (One Night)Standard something fierce:

Friend

After our friend was escorted out by his friends, we continued with the photos:

trippy

The next day we woke up late-ish, grabbed some breakfast and hit the road by noon.  I’ll admit I felt just a touch sad that I’d had no brush with fame during the visit; no coincidental chain of events sent Michael C. Hall into the Talking Stick for a soy latte just as Fan Fic began, where his eyes would meet mine as I deftly hit the “sexy serial killer” trigger on my Roland.  . . Nope, didn’t happen, but  a Pennsylvania girl can dream.

Thanks to everyone who came out to the show on Tuesday, October 4th!   It was a completely enjoyable evening, having the chance to play some music, spend some time with friends and make a few new ones.

Picture courtesy of Gina Montel

 

Picture courtesy of Damaris Whitfield

 

Picture courtesy of Gina Montel

 

In the past 72 hours I have:

– Donated supplies to the Occupy San Franciso base camp.

– Eaten wasabi coated roasted seaweed. Yum!

– Been amazed at how well my 4 yr old can swing on his own.

– Completed 7 videos to accompany my live performance at El Rio on Tuesday October, 4th (7 pm sharp, in case you are wondering).

– Engaged in melee combat with 4 other fighters, all of us armed with bokkens.  I was defeated in every single round.

– Completed many loads of laundry and dishes.

– Practiced music for my El Rio show and also the show I will be playing in Second Life tomorrow afternoon.

– Promised my 11 yr old that this afternoon when he gets home from school I will play the level of VVVVVV he created.

– Hiked up Mori Point and marveled at the color of the ocean.

– Read about an Oklahoma woman, a mother to 11 children, who is now attending  Harvard and thought to myself, “I should be doing more.”


I’ve been a fan of machinima since I discovered the built-in movie making feature of The Sims 2.   I’ve been a resident of Second Life since 2009.  And  I’ve been a fan of the Eurythmics since the 80’s.  This video came together almost effortlessly, thanks to the very talented creators of the Mysterious Waves Sim.  The vocals are actually produced using programmed midi notes and TC Helicon’s Vocal Works Plus vocoder effect. The rest is just minimal synth-pop played real time.  Hope you enjoy it!