Thursday, December 26, 2013

A love letter to the Bay Area

With every loss there is a gain. With every gain there is a loss. Perhaps it is simply the Holiday season, yet I've been really missing the Bay Area and my friends/community there. Thus, I wanted to write a love letter blog post to the Bay Area.

When I was a child my family and I would visit Berkeley a few times a year if not more. My Uncle Joel lived there as did good friends of the family that were like family. The Grossmans; Laura, Knut, Anya, and Jessica. We would visit with them in Berkeley. We sat outside of the French Hotel, Saul's, and other cafes on Shattuck Ave. I remember all of the cafe aromas and delicious pastries. My Mom, Uncle Joel, and Aunt Heidi grew up in Berkeley, CA. My maternal Grandparents moved their family from Miami, Florida to Berkeley, CA in the 60's when my Mom was 13. They lived in Berkeley for 6 or 7 years before they relocated to Paris, France. My Grandparents chose to move to the Bay Area for their political activism and for the overall progressive hub that was the Bay Area in the 1960's. Shirley and Bernie Hutner were civil rights activists, peace activists, and anti-nuke activists. Thalia Broudy, one of their close friends who was and still is an activist is in her 80's and currently lives in Berkeley, CA. She is the Mother of Laura Grossman and Karen Stern. Bay Area family friends that are like family.

Contemplating my family history, the 60's were an exciting time for my Grandparents, Mom, Aunt, and Uncle to be in the Bay Area! The past two years, when I often walked to downtown Berkeley from my home on McGee Ave. I sometimes thought of my Grandparents and Mother walking on these same sidewalks. Here we all were in the same area, yet at a different time. I thought about what it would be like to travel back in time to the 1960's. What would I tell my Mom if I saw her in Berkeley? Would I stop her to say something? Like, I'm your cousin you haven't met. That's why we have a strong resemblance. I wondered if there was anything that I could say or do that would impact my Mom's life in a more positive way. I don't think there is anything that I could've said or done that would be helpful for my Mom to hear or that could improve her life in anyway. Thus, if I could travel back in time I would simply look at her and smile. Her life and how she lived unfolded from her actions, decisions, and free will. A word from a time traveler cannot take or add lessons that one acquires and gleans from lived experience. The only way is through. To continue onward on one's life journey.

I always felt a strong affinity and connection to the Bay Area. I loved visiting when I was a child and teenager. I often wondered why we didn't live there. I loved the food, the culture, artistic opportunities, the gardens, and our family and friends there. Berkeley in particular felt like home to me.

The Bay Area was like a beacon of light to me. It was the city of my dreams. The place where I always wanted to live since I was a child. It was a dream come true when I had a purpose and it was my time to move there. It was 27 years until it was my time to live in the Bay Area. I was immensely excited for my chance to move to the Bay. My Mom said that it was a battle to get to the Bay Area and a battle to stay. I have found truth in that. For all of my excitement and enthusiasm, the reality of living in San Francisco was tough to say the least. It was the most urban and biggest City where I have ever lived. I went to college at UC Santa Cruz. I grew up in Clovis/Fresno. I lived in Portland, Oregon for almost 3 years before I moved to the Bay Area when I was 27 for graduate school at San Francisco State University.

Challenge after challenge after challenge came my way. I saw the worst in people in San Francisco. It was like witnessing the shadow side of humanity in a way that I had never seen before. The city was harsh and the people were harsher. Housing challenges, housemate imcompatibilities, and the hectic hustle bustle of every day life. Never really feeling settled and then having to look for new housing again and then again. Only to find a new place to live and have clarity a month later that my housemate was toxic and needing to move yet again.

I learned that housing isn't a right in San Francisco it is a privilege. I was almost in tears during the end of my first year of graduate school at SF State when I told the trans guys in a trans group that I went to that my housemate at the time was toxic and I needed to find a new place to live. I felt displaced and felt like I was on a continual search for resonant housing. One of the guys in my trans group mentioned that all of the Native Ohlone people have been displaced from this land. He expressed something to the effect that there was and is continual displacement from every group of people that have settled here since. As much as I loved the City; it's culture, art, beauty, radical politics, food, parks, urban planning, architecture, vibrant queer/trans community, it was an uphill battle getting through my first year living in San Francisco.

I'm not sure when during the past four years that I lived in the Bay Area that I finally developed a thick skin. I became hardened in a sense. I feel that I developed this as a queer/trans man and also being in the highly competitive field of film/media. I am tough and I can withstand living in the harsh environment of the city. Hardened so that I could withstand the critiques and feedback from professors and colleagues in my MFA Cinema graduate program. I have hardened so that I could survive and thrive in the dense and competitive environment that is the City. Also, my experiences of homophobia, transphobia, and queerphobia while living in the City have had an impact on me. Going through the ringer, again and again of feedback, critiques, and graduate school challenges as an artist was an initiation, indeed. To say the least.

I find that one must be tough and hardened in a sense to be a creative professional. Life is more challenging for me as a queer/trans man. I knew it was difficult at times, yet I've had long conversations with dear friends who are cisgender and straight in the last 6 months. Their lives are easier in a sense. Their lives are validated. For me as a trans man who is an artist, I aim to be kind yet I'm hardened. Hardened to be empowered and express that I do deserve to be here. Even if I'm the only one validating myself and my existence. I, as a beautiful queer/trans man who is an artist/filmmaker, can live my life and carve out a unique path that is my own to walk upon. Away from the mainstream. Just because I'm not on this mainstream path doesn't mean that I'm invaluable or do not deserve to be here. I exist and I'm making my time and energies here count. Even if I'm the only one validating myself. Thus, I have become hardened.

Once, before I found a parking spot, I saw a man carrying a bottle of wine in one hand and I watched as it slipped through his fingers and smashed in the middle of an intersection as he was walking halfway across the street. He just walked away, not bothering to pick up the pieces out of shame and embarrassment. While people nearby quickly picked up several large pieces of glass so that cars wouldn't run over them. I watched car accidents happen right before my eyes. I saw a man with blood and alcohol on himself passed out on the street in the Mission. I was yelled at by an upper class white woman in a grocery store parking lot for driving the wrong direction into the parking lot. I apologized, yet she rolled down her window and swore at me.
I came up with a phrase that I would often say when I worked at an upscale grocery store in Noe Valley. "People in the City." It's a good line that can be used for a lot of instances and experiences depending on one's tone.

I aimed to write about the light aspects and what I loved about the City, yet this blog has turned into more of an examination of my initiatory challenges and experiences in the City. In particularly during my first year living in San Francisco, expressing dark aspects, the shadow side of humanity. Through it all, I was meant to be there. I didn't know how for how long. Yet, I did my best to enjoy the moments of joy. Or simply all of the moments. I was as present as I could have been. For that I am proud. For all of my lessons, I am a richer man. For all of my experiences I can definitely say or exclaim, I have truly lived! Oh, the City. The Bay Area! My time there, all of my experiences, and the land itself. It's a part of me.

I do miss dancing amidst a sea of queer/trans folks at dance parties! I miss the energy, the excitement! Even if it is exhausting to live in since it's non-stop. The beautiful fog, the beautiful bay, the beautiful bridges! The chocolate crossiants from Tartine that I only indulged in on special occasions. Yummy pizza from the Cheese Board or Arizmendi. The feeling that anything is possible and that anything can happen in the City. The fashion, the art, the film, how many concerts or shows are always happening. There are queer/trans things to do everyday. The gayborhood. East Bay queers, faggy trans guys, feminine trans boys, radical politics, the Berkeley rose garden. The farmer's markets, bike rides, the OCEAN. The SEA. The BAY AREA. The Berkeley marina. Highway one. Tide pools. Living in a queer centric area. These are some qualities and experiences that I miss and that aren't in Albuquerque.

Dear, Bay Area. I will visit you at a resonant time! I'm not sure when. I blow you a kiss all the way from the High Desert of New Mexico! I am meant to be here now in Albuquerque. I look forward to embracing you when I visit next. You are in my heart and soul. We will meet in the present. I love you and I always will. You are the City of my dreams. A soul mate City in a sense. Although our relationship has come to an end, I think of you everyday. The relationship ends, yet my love for you still goes on. All of the things that I miss that I wrote above, I will experience when I visit you next. At some unknown time. Good night my love. Good night, Bay Area. I love you,


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The beginning of my adventures in New Mexico

The most difficult part about writing for me is simply beginning. Well, it doesn't have to be difficult it is just carving out some space and time to write and then actually doing it. I've been thinking about writing a blog about the cultural and climate comparisons and differences between the SF Bay Area and Albuquerque. I've written several lists in my journals already for myself. I've had more than a few conversations with established friends in the Bay Area and elsewhere about some of the culture shock that I've been experiencing in the Southwest. It is a gradual acclimation. That is for sure. I am acclimating. Slowly. I am grateful and glad to be here. I am exactly where I need to be. It's exciting and exhausting to begin a new chapter, a new epoch, and for me to experience new-ness in every realm of my life. A new state, new city, new home, new job, new freelance business that I've recently launched, new to me furniture, new website that I created, new friends, new queer/trans community, etc. Newness in all of its many facets, forms, and experiences. Wow! It's exciting and also tiring at moments too.

My intention with this specific blog post is to share my musings and thoughts about my subjective experiences in the Southwest and the contrasts as well as comparisons with the Bay Area. Also, so I can simply refer friends and family to the kinds of experiences that comprise the feeling of "culture shock." I personally feel that the Southwest is a different world. Or a different dimension than the Bay Area or California. It's fascinating. The Southwest is part of the United States, yet it feels like a different country! It was a different country before 1848! In fact, this land was Mexico! In 1848 the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed which meant that California, Nevada, and the entire Southwest came under the ownership of the United States! Just a little over a hundred years ago, New Mexico became a state in 1912!

New Mexico is the amalgamation of the Spanish colonists, anglo settlers, Mexicans, and Native Americans. I work part time at a new cafe in Old Town, Albuquerque. Whenever I go to work, I walk by signs, museums, and a park with many different historical markings and remembrances of the past. There is a historical sign with names of the Spanish colonists that founded Albuquerque over 300 years ago! Old Town, Albuquerque is the oldest neighborhood in Albuquerque. The oldest church in Albuquerque is in Old Town. It's a fascinating area and it feels a bit like I've stepped back in time depending on the area where I am in Old Town. I really like the architecture of Old Town and the feel of the area.

The landscape in New Mexico is vast. It is incredibly beautiful and powerful. Every sunset or sunrise I see, the word incredible escapes my lips. I speak it out loud. This is big sky country. All of the people that I've met thus far are as open as the vast landscape. This is in comparison to most people I met in the Bay Area. A lot of the people that I've met in Albuquerque and Santa Fe are genuine, open, warm, inclusive, and super friendly. There is a nice small town atmosphere in Albuquerque. When I was in the Bay Area, I felt that a lot of people had fronts and were closed off. It took quite a while to get to know people and to cultivate a close, emotionally intimate friendship was rare. A heart-felt and genuine soul connection was also rare to find in the Bay Area. I know a lot of people in the Bay Area. I love my Bay Area friends and community. I appreciate and love the Bay Area. Yet, I feel that the Bay Area and a lot of the people that I met there were harsh. There was an expression that I would think to myself when I experienced a challenge living in the City. "As harsh as the city." It's also a super competitive area, materialism is rampant, it's a stressful place to live (you know 1 hour commutes), densely populated, expensive, hustle-bustle, and an overall challenging place for me to live as an artist and emerging creative professional with an avid Earth based spiritual practice.

In Albuquerque, I can work part time at a cafe and utilize the rest of my time and energies to launch my still photography and video production business. If I was still living in the Bay Area, I would need to work full-time at least just to cover my rent and basic expenses. It would be very difficult for me to start a business and to get it rolling in the Bay rather than in Albuquerque. Plus, I can name five or more professional still photographers in the Bay Area that I know of. It's highly saturated with all of these bright shining stars. As my Father told me, "It's hard to be seen when you are in the midst of all of these bright shining stars." So, yes. The Bay Area is full of amazing, incredible, talented, and creative bright shining stars. It is hard to be seen in the midst of all that light!

I did have a calling to come to the Southwest. I love the desert landscape. I am enjoying living in a calmer and quieter area. I'm still adjusting to how quiet it is in my neighborhood and apartment. I can afford to live in my own spacious one bedroom apartment.
From what I have observed and gathered, most of my new friends in the queer/trans community either live on their own or with partners. It's interesting. I thought that there would be a housemate culture here like there is in the Bay Area. Most of my friends in the Bay live with housemates.

The weather. OMG. The weather. My goodness! I was braced for warm summers and heat in the high desert. What I was not aware of or expecting was snow! Thirty degree weather and below. An ice bottle freezing in my car. Having to scrap snow and ice off of my car before going to work. Driving in the snow on frozen streets when I was coming home from working long hours on a film shoot. Wow! My experience with the snow before moving to Albuquerque consisted of intentionally driving to the snow. To recreate, to frolic, to play in the snow. Then to leave when my visit with a snow covered natural location came to a conclusion. How magical it was to watch the snowflakes fall and blanket my front and back yard with a gentle layer of snow. So beautiful!

I am grateful to live in an apartment with heating that works!

Here are more short observations thus far. I will go into more detail when I write more blog posts.

*Most people that I've seen who ride vespas, scooters, motorcycles, and bikes DO NOT wear helmets!!! Is it illegal to not wear a helmet on a scooter or motorcycle in New Mexico? Probably not from what I've seen. Yet, I still need to google it.

*Red or green? This question one will be asked ALL the time at a taqueria or when enjoying New Mexican cuisine. This is in reference to chili. Green chili for days. There is even Red chili wine! Some of which I had during this past Thanksgiving.

*Crazy drivers. DUI's are an issue in New Mexico. Maybe it's due to the vastness of the landscape. I don't know. Many drivers do not use their turn signals as well. I've seen a handful of car accidents and more cars and trucks that had recently been in accidents than I have anywhere else that I've lived. Drive with awareness.

*The Land of Manana. Yes, the pace of life here is slower. This is in reference to people taking a very long time to get anything done. My philosophy is, "carpe diem in the land of manana!" I'm here to get stuff done yet at a sustainable pace.

*Fashion. Oh my! I was with my friend Jason at a restaurant several weeks ago. I commented to him about the fashion in Albuquerque. Regarding that I had seen a lot of people wearing 80's and 90's outfits. My new friends in Albuquerque have great fashion sense. Yet, comparing most outfits and fashion that I see everyday in Albuquerque to what I observed in the Bay Area. There is no comparison.

*Produce (or lack thereof). The produce is more expensive in Albuquerque. Most of the leafy greens that I love and purchase from the Coop in ABQ are from California! There are some yummy vegetables grown in Colorado as well. Thank the G-ddess that Lily's hummus from Portland is available here.

*The power of the landscape. The landscape is incredible! Through showing humility, vulnerability, and reverence to the landscape and elements here, I feel the land has accepted me. I've heard stories from locals here that if one is not meant to be in New Mexico, then New Mexico will spit you out. For example, your car tire will blow out. Or a series of events will happen that will definitely show you that you are not meant to be in New Mexico.

*The land of entrapment. Apparently, if New Mexico accepts you, it is hard to leave. A new friend told me a story in reference to this. An example would be a person who is passing through Albuquerque who decides to stay here for a little while. 6 years later, the person is still in Albuquerque and wonders how they got here and is amazed at how long they've lived here.

*People have more time for interpersonal connections. Living in an area that is affordable and less stressful allows people to have more time to connect with friends and loved ones.

*Craigslist. My city and urban tools do not work in New Mexico. It's great that I have these tools, yet I'm acquiring different one's in the Land of Enchantment. For example, Craigslist isn't used like it is in the Bay Area. Most things happen here through word of mouth. i.e. housing, procuring furniture, meeting people, etc. Since there is a small town element here, word of mouth is the way to hear about jobs and other opportunities. It is who you know. Craigslist is of little use for all of the above. Which I found very surprising.

*Country paced phone conversations. At least a handful of times, people who I've called up via craigslist or word of mouth who I intended to have a short, concise, several questions phone call with have turned into a 10 minute to 20 minute drawn out conversation. People who I haven't met have started talking to me like I'm their friend or neighbor. This is in stark contrast to the Bay Area where most phone calls regarding housing, jobs, furniture, etc. would be short and succinct.

*Commuting. What commute? There is hardly any traffic. There are no bridge tolls. I have an extra two hours in my day to be creative and live!

*Friends help friends. I was super surprised and in awe when two new friends in the queer community, who I helped move, had 8-10 friends show up to help them load and unload all of their belongings to their new home in Albuquerque! This happened on a week day! Wow! I have never seen so many friends show up for friends in this way. I am very impressed with the strength of the queer community here.

*Neon lights. There are a lot of neon lights and Route 66 signs in the Nob Hill neighborhood in Albuquerque. Neon lights are in style here!

*More chili! Earlier this week, I enjoyed delicious chicken enchiladas with green chili sauce. Yum! I was super hungry and it was super delicious. I didn't realize how spicy the green chili was until I was halfway through with my plate of yummy food. The waitress came by to ask how the food was. I said, "It was great!" Yet, there were tears in my eyes from the green chili. She said that, "the chili will help keep me warm." I nodded as the tears streamed down my eyes.

That's all for now! Thanks for reading about the beginning of my adventures and explorations in New Mexico! More cross cultural comparisons will be examined and expressed in upcoming blog posts!

If you feel inspired to comment, then do so.

In light,


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Forward Movement On My Journey

Once again many changes and a HUGE decision have happened in my life since my last blog post. I thought that I would have a chance to catch up on my blog posts in a way, since finishing graduate school. Yet, life isn't like that. Catching up and all. Life, change, and movement continues on its path. My blog posts can be non-linear. I'm sure that I will write about my thesis crunch time-period and other experiences I've recently had in years to come. My blogs do not have to be written in a liner time-line.
Oh, life! Big decisions, indeed! After much rumination, contemplation, inquiry, and meditation, I've made a HUGE decision, it's a BFD (Big Fucking Deal) to move to the Southwest in early October 2013!

Currently I'm packing, gleaning, and preparing for my departure! Woo! I've been feeling really tired the past couple of days. I've also begun a new documentary project about my late Grandma Shirley. The project is titled, JUST ASK SHIRLEY. I have a calling to hear different perspectives about my Grandma Shirley and to create a documentary about her. I have a yearning to know more about who she was. This past Thursday, I interviewed Thalia, a very dear friend of Shirley's. One of her best friends and a fellow activist. I also interviewed Karen and Laura who are good friends of the family. Thalia is their Mother. My Aunt Heidi was in town from New York and after much convincing, I got to do a short interview with Aunt Heidi. Aunt Heidi is a professor and has been working on a book about Shirley for the past 5 years. When the book is completed, I look forward to reading it and also interviewing Aunt Heidi in depth about Shirley's activism.

Shirley Hutner was Jewish, had leftist politics, was an activist in the Peace Movement, Anti-Nuke Movement, and Civil Rights Movement. She was an intellectual, world-traveler, Wife, and Mother.

I'm still processing and digesting the stories and experiences that I heard on Thursday. 4 interviews was a lot. I do look forward to the transcribing process when I'm in New Mexico. More will be gleaned and understood when I listen to the interviews and transcribe.

There are more family members that I will be interviewing next week. Reed, formerly known as Uncle Joel will hopefully be available to follow through with his interview on Monday. I will also be interviewing my cousin Elle next week as well. She was very close to Shirley my Mom said.

Aunt Heidi said in her interview that Shirley wore brown like a lot of people wear black today. One of the questions that I had for the interviewees pertained to her favorite color(s).

The short answer to my upcoming relocation to the Southwest is that I have a calling to go there. The landscape is amazing and I really resonate with it. I love the desert. There is a slower pace of life, employment opportunities in my field of film/media, and queer/trans communities. I've been doing my research. I do look forward to this momentous new chapter. Yet, I'm also experiencing the gradual closure and shift of completion of my time in the Bay Area. Many feelings have arose and I've been really surprised with the outpouring of love and sadness from my friends and community.

I've realized that I'm an important person in my community in the Bay Area. I do intend to continue to stay connected with my friends and community here. It's not a goodbye, it's more of a farewell. I've received so many reactions from friends, family, and community in regards to my decision that I was not expecting.

I did make the right decision and I do look forward to a new chapter in the SW. Yet, I will miss the Bay Area. I do look forward to visiting and having more time for art/cultural opportunities and connecting with friends when I visit.

Movement is life and the packing, gleaning, and preparation for departure are in motion. There is so much to do! Yet, everyday I have more clarity of the next step on my journey.

Onward and upward. Cheers to forward movement in my life and the next adventure!

Thank you for reading.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The sounds of stillness

Hello, All.

Wow! So much has happened since I last blogged. I was looking through the archive of my past blog posts and the last blog that I wrote was in late March after my birthday. It's rather synchronous that I went hiking yesterday on a wonderful and lovely trail at Redwood Regional Park in the East Bay. It was the same trail that I hiked on during my birthday hike with friends. Yesterday was only the second time that I have hiked on that trail. It was a much needed hike for me. I have been really craving peace and stillness. I can and do create this peace and stillness within myself when I'm meditating, practicing yoga, gardening, or sitting near my plants in my backyard garden. That stillness is so important for me. External stillness and peace is a core need of mine. I do love the Bay Area, yet I do feel that I need to be very intentional about carving and co-creating a time and space to be in nature to receive the external peace and stillness that I need.

It was really amazing yesterday to be on a trail amongst the Redwoods. The second or third generation of Redwoods. All of the forest in a 5 mile radius where once old growth Redwoods had thrived for thousands of years were all clear-cut in the 1840-60's. I stopped by a gigantic stump of an old growth Redwood along the stream trail. I put my hand on the stump and thought about what an amazingly beautiful tree it must have been. Redwoods are one of my favorite trees. While I do enjoy hiking and being amidst them to rejuvenate myself, I do feel a tinge of sadness and also a bit of anger that most of the old growth Redwoods have been logged. The anger sometimes rises up when I'm driving and in front of my car is a truck with Redwoods on the flatbed of the truck. Mostly it just makes me sad.

I thought about this as I walked along the stream trail before hiking up onto the french/mill trail that wound up into the forest. I walked with ease and intentionally. Enjoying the fresh air, the ferns, the second or third generation Redwoods. Imagining and envisioning the history of the landscape itself. I thought about the contemporary artist, Andy Goldsworthy and his relationship to landscape and the elements; Earth, Air, Fire, and Water in his work. I re-watched the beautiful and wonderful documentary, RIVERS AND TIDES a couple of months ago. I first watched this documentary when I was a student at UC Santa Cruz, focusing on my undergraduate education. I haven't seen the entire documentary in years. A chapter or two was shown in one of my experimental documentary classes taught by the fabulous professor, Greta Snider at SF State. One lesson that I got from watching RIVERS AND TIDES recently was that Andy Goldsworthy really looks, feels, and attunes to the landscape where he works. He reflected on the layers of history; the people and live-stock that have shaped the land. This is especially true of his work in his Native Scotland. He said that the sheep have had just as much of an impact as people have had on the landscape. That you can't just see the landscape without thinking about the relationship of the sheep to the land. As well as people and sheep to the landscape. He created a sculpture of sheep wool wound around a stone fence and other work. To reflect these relationships of humans, sheep, and landscape. I contemplated this. Since re-watching that documentary I've really been thinking more about the history of landscapes.

I stopped on the trail and I heard stillness. The slight breeze, some trees gently swaying, and mostly the stillness of the forest. This trail hardly had any people on it in comparison to one of my favorite trails at Joaquin Miller State Park in the Oakland hills that also has beautiful Redwood trees. I stopped to hear the stillness and I thought to myself; peace. External peace. Here I am in the forest and the only sounds I'm hearing are that of nature. I would like to live like this everyday and also retain connection to a queer/trans community and the art, cultural, and culinary highlights of living in an urban area. Peace. Stillness. Being-ness. How lovely. Ah, the fresh air. Then I heard a plane or two above me. I continued on the trail. Enjoying the ambiance of the forest and the healing elements of nature.

Thank you for reading.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

And so it goes......

I just spent over an hour writing out a lovely blog about my birthday weekend and all of my experiences. I saved it repeatedly and when I tried to include another picture, all of my writing was deleted somehow. How disappointing! It was a long and detailed blog about my parents visit, hiking with friends, delicious food, etc. This reminds me of the Buddhist monks who create the sand paintings and then when they are done, the entire sand mandala is destroyed! Brushed away. Thousands of colorful sand particles. Well, I suppose this post was for me and the Great Spirit to be in communication with. My goal is to blog more often to share my experiences and to write about my life. The waters have washed away what I've wrote and it is in a liminal space. Thus is life. Well, enjoy the pictures below. I took these pictures yesterday during my hike at Tilden park in the East Bay.


Friday, March 22, 2013

A Joyous Spring season to all!

It is Friday, March 22nd. The Spring Equinox was yesterday. This is the time of equal light and dark. It is the beginning of Spring. What areas of your life are you birthing anew? Today I just composted four kale plants that I planted around this time last year. Kale is an annual plant and it was past its time of harvest. One of the kale plants had gone to seed and was flowering. The pots where the tomato plants grew last year have some weeds in them. The sticks are still in the soil that had once held and supported the flourishing greens. The white string is still tied around some of the sticks that supported the once thriving tomato plants.

There are two strawberry plants that are alive and flourishing. Also, Rosemary, Sage, and Thyme are growing in the garden. I'm still not sure yet if I will plant more kale and tomatoes. I need to discern. I've been immersed in the flow of working on my thesis film, CHANGE OVER TIME. I do love to garden, to put my hands in the Earth, to touch the soil, and tend to plants. This brings me into contact with the natural world, to connect, and to tend my little plot of Earth. I do enjoy writing as well. Here I am, tapping away at the keypad writing. This is the first blog post that I have written this month! That is how busy I have been!

Yes, I've been super busy and immersed working on my thesis film, CHANGE OVER TIME. The film is coming along and I'm focusing on the post-production right now. I feel grateful and proud of myself that the film is where it currently is in the creative process. The BENEFIT EVENT that I planned for over a month was a rollicking success! I did almost all of the planning/organizing for the EVENT and it took so much energy, time, and commitment on my part! I feel so grateful and appreciative to all of my friends and community for their support and love. I felt that during the BENEFIT EVENT it was successful simply by how I was feeling. Everyone was having fun, enjoying themselves, the performances were great, it was wonderful to connect with friends and community through art and film, I felt proud of myself and honored that the EVENT was flowing so well and that I had manifested this experience! It was a rite of passage for me as an artist/filmmaker. I feel that through this EVENT I was celebrating with my friends and community my commitment and marriage to my art form. A commitment to live a creative life, to continue to make films, to make art, and to contribute my art to community! This is one aspect of my soul's purpose. To creatively express myself.

I did not simply plan the EVENT to fundraise for CHANGE OVER TIME. That was one aspect. The other aspect was to connect and engage with community. I'm grateful that so many friends and folks in my community came out to support me and my film, CHANGE OVER TIME.
I've been working on CHANGE OVER TIME for almost two years. The journey to create this film has been full of ups, downs, and all kinds of experiences and feelings in between. I feel grateful and proud of the shape and form that the film is taking. I am currently focusing on the sound design. Thinking and contemplating ways to convey emotion through sound design for the different parts of the poem, in the film.

I've been in the flow of the rushing rapids of life for a while. I feel and know it's amazing how much work I've accomplished the past few months and during my entire four years of being in graduate school. For the next two days, I will have a pause and simply be. My parents are coming up tomorrow from Clovis/Fresno to visit me in honor of my birthday. This Sunday, March 24th is my birthday. I will be thirty wonderful! Time and age is interesting.

I am still young and inhabit a beautiful, healthy body. My elder self came to me. Old man Ewan told me to slow down. To stretch out the moments. To savor life. Time can be stretched out at moments. During the BENEFIT EVENT I aimed to be present and to enjoy every moment. There were some moments that I stretched out and really savored, like eating a delicious bite of food slowly and deliberately. I have been slowing down, yet actively working and very, very focused. It helps me to light a candle and to write my intentions on a piece of paper that I tape to a candle. Then I light the candle on my alter and this is one aid to support me in my work and with focusing on the task at hand. This has been helpful for me during this time of work, work, work, and being super focused so that I can graduate with my MFA in Cinema at the end of the Spring Semester.

I feel that I usually move slowly in life and that my natural pace in life gets usurped at times by the rushing pace of industrial society. I do my best to work, live, and be at my natural pace as much as possible. Through being, living, and working at my natural pace I do get everything that I need to do done in a sustainable pace/rhythm of time. I simply work intuitively and trust my body and core in regards to when I need to do what. This internal structure and rhythm works for me in regards to how I choose to co-create, sculpt, and build my life. Yes, my Elder Ewan self came to me and I listened to him. The body never lies, neither do the emotions. If I listen to my body and my emotions, I can readily hear the wisdom that is expressing itself. A wise person heeds the wisdom of their body and emotions.

Who knows what being 31 has in store for me? I envision a successfully created, finished film of CHANGE OVER TIME! I simply keep getting older in regards to temporal time. Yet, I feel ageless at moments. My essence is a timeless being of love and light. I am Ewan and I will be 31 this Sunday! Wow! Life simply keeps flowing. There is never a dull moment in life for those who are awake, aware, conscious, and on their paths of personal growth!

May we all enjoy the Springtime and be aware of the areas of our life to compost, to release and the areas of our lives to nourish, grow, and tend! So mote it be!

A joyous Spring season to all!

Light and gratitude,


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

This moment is beautiful.

Wow! It's been a while since I wrote a blog post! My last post was during December 2012. January 2013 has been very, very busy for me! I finished one of my internships; as an assistant editor on Jenni Olson's current film, THE ROYAL ROAD. I've been working on a new internship with Frederick Marx transcribing audio from The Rites of Passage conference. I've been actively working on my thesis and in the flow of creative energy! It's been a surge of energies to work on my creative work. I'm grateful for the flow of energies and creativity. It was what I was waiting for. With the ebb eventually comes the flow. Many thanks to Jason Joseffer, a friend and colleague from UC Santa Cruz. Jason is a professional director of photography and camera operator in the SF Bay Area. Not only is he a wonderful, kind person he is an excellent DP and camera operator. We were in the same thesis video class to complete our undergraduate projects in college. Jason gave me a tutorial on how to use the Canon T3I DSLR so that I could do time-lapse cinematography on my own. I rented the T3I, lens, tripod, and tripod head for a week. I captured time-lapses all over the Bay Area. Today, I just screened the first rough cut of my thesis to the Advanced Editing class that I'm currently taking this semester. Greta Snider is teaching the class. I feel/know that CHANGE OVER TIME is continuing to be sculpted and to take its authentic shape and form. I feel proud and grateful with the forward momentum and growth of my project!

I feel grateful that I completed this first cut of CHANGE OVER TIME so that I could apply for the 2013 Pride Of The Ocean CineSLAM last Thursday. I went on the Pride Of The Ocean cruise during June 2011 with my buddy, Samuel Berliner. It was an all expenses paid cruise from NYC to Bermuda! SPIRAL TRANSITION, my first year graduate film was picked to screen as a part of the CineSLAM during The Pride Of The Ocean. All of the folks who participated or were a part of the program were LGBTQIA filmmakers. I received input and critiques from peers, filmmakers, professionals, programmers, etc. It was a great opportunity! I'll see if it's in the cards for me to go on the Pride Of The Ocean cruise this year from Seattle to Alaska!

Work, work, work is currently in the cards! Yet, I'm determined to continue to work and sculpt my thesis so that I can finish it by the end of Spring 2013 and graduate with my MFA in Cinema from SF State! I do want to honor the natural pace of my creative work. There are moments and times to gestate, to be slow, almost seemingly still. Yet, nothing is ever completely still. Movement is life! We are all spinning on this big, blue, ball called the Earth throughout the Infinite-verse!

I've been thinking about the person who I was when I began the MFA Cinema program during the Fall of 2009. I've been thinking about the person who I was when I began the program and first moved to the SF Bay Area 3 1/2 years ago. I stand face to face with my prior self. I'm looking at him, embracing him, and saying, oh, buddy you are in for quite a wild, wild ride! Wow! It will be so difficult at moments, so painful with so much human doubt, fears, and plethora of emotions. You will transform and be transformed again. I emerge from the fires of initiation, again and again with more certainty in myself, more confidence in myself as an artist as a creator. I know that part of my soul's purpose is to create, to express myself, to tell stories, to share my perspective, experiences, to be seen with clarity and compassion. To be heard with ears of love. Can one truly go forward without looking back? Embracing the temporal past self and selves? It's all one spiral of birth, death, and rebirth! Rebirth, indeed!

There are many unknowns for me when it comes to what I will do post-graduate school. Finishing graduate school will be a major ending. Completion. Death. Yet, there will be a re-birth of new experiences. I'm looking forward to this shift. I wonder where I will direct my energies when I complete what has turned into for me a 4 year program! Wow, indeed. I've worked so, very hard. I've come so far from where I've been. Graduate school is a chapter within the many chapters of my life. It was my dream, my vision, and I'm living it and I've lived it. I've learned so much about myself, interpersonal dynamics, and just like the thesis film, CHANGE OVER TIME, I, as an individual am being sculpted as an artist into an emerging film/media professional. It's rather exciting. I have dreams to make a movie about my Grandma Shirley. That will be a journey, indeed! To know one's roots, where one comes from, to honor the ancestral lineage, and ancestors is to be connected to one's self and one's history. It is also to learn about one's self. I honor my ancestors and I'm grateful for their support with my creative work and life. Blood pumping through my veins, I honor my physical/earth ancestral lineage.

I look forward to working on a feature when it is a resonant time in my life to create a trans romantic comedy. That will be a journey, as every film is a journey within a journey within a journey. Life's unknowns. For me, to be an artist means to continually step out into the unknown again and again....and, well again! With certainty and solidness of myself in my core. To be empowered and to know that I'm an important person and that what I have to say and do matters. Every action has a reaction. I can and am making a difference in this world through writing, my thesis film, making art, and simply living with awareness, sustainability, and consciousness. One step at a time, I continue on my path. Emerging, believing in myself more and my gifts, skills, and soul purpose that I'm here to share and express!

Thank you for reading!