Friday, September 30, 2005

Just Another Day - Smoking In Burbank

I knew about the fires in Los Angeles but around this time of year we always have fires. It is like birth and taxes, expected.

Smoke Behind BuildingI live in the city so it doesn't worry me like a good quake does.

Quakes don't worry me. They scare the hell out of me. And although I would prefer a quake to a tornado or hurricane if I could select "None of the above" I would. This isn't great video but I wanted to show how big this thing looked in relation to everything else.

How quickly fear can set in from a glance. So fires were semi-real to me. Except when there is a potential fire coming across the hill. Click the above photo for the Windows Media version.

This is link to the QuickTime Dial-up version

This was at Pacific noon time. I had just come back from lunch and folks were a little agitated. I go take a look and thoughts of the past five weeks come rolling back. The firefighters are excellent here, so is the Conservation Corps, the Job Corps, there is a city to city mutual help agreement so the Los Angeles area can take care of 99.9% of fire season.

But I thought, what if the state has to call FEMA? And I am not talking about ground level FEMA workers. There are our neighbors. They know who we are and we know where they live.

I mean those chuckle heads in D.C. What if Dubya comes to town in a PR look see? Trust me, they have to sneak him in and out of Los Angeles. They do this even in non-emergency times. Maybe they will bus up some Orange county supporters or invite the entire L.A. staff from Fox News.

I was worried. But it is okay. For now.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Take Me To Another Place - Creative Anger

It is a week later. I am still angry.

But the good thing is that other people are angry too. This includes people who sometimes don’t have anything in common. Here is what is linking us in anger.
Human decency.

Some of those people are channeling their anger into creative action. This is very important. To know that folks are attempting to deal dealing with this madness through their art or craft is helping me to cope. So, let me share what I have found so far.

The Legendary KO has lit some flames by using Kanye West’s rally cry “George Bush Doesn't Like Black People.” It is a powerful rap track. I tried to download the raw version but folks must be maxing out the servers so click the link to download the radio safe version. It is a legal mp3 so go get it - http://www.k-otix.com

Afrika Bambaataa has some observations on the purging of the true history of hip hop and rap and his thoughts on Katrina-cide. This is a huge mp3 interview so you will need to have broadband to download and hear it. http://odeo.com/audio/229590/view

Zadi Diaz did a video collage of the news reports and matched it to a tune by Green Day. She had an article written up in the New York Times (which is where I found the link to The Legendary KO) To read the article and bypass that registration nag click the Tiny URL link - http://tinyurl.com/c2ufr To see the video visit Zadi’s blog at
http://smashface.com/vlog/2005/09/wake-me-up-when-september-ends.html

Color of Change is asking for a commitment from 250,000 Americans to make sure what happened in the gulf states to poor people never happens again. They are at this point asking folks to sign a digital declaration - http://www.colorofchange.org

The Vanguard Foundation has put up $200,000 for the Peoples Hurricane Relief Fund. On the day that I visited the site there was an excerpt from speeches from Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte. You can read more about it at http://www.vanguardsf.org

Pave Paradise - Essay #3

Sunday. I'’m running around doing the necessities. I don'’t want to do anything. It hits me. I need another dose of dirt and sky. Plus, I know that there is an informal drumming circle on Sundays. I bag my duties and go back to the cornfield.

I get there and I can hear the music from the gate. Sounds all right to me so I make my way. When I get there, there were some a-percussional, hmmm, how can I say this?, rhythmically challenged beats being dispensed. It was primal then organized but then zoomed into the uncharted territory.

People were birthing free form music from non-professionals. There were men, women, and a kid from a cross section of Los Angeles. People were weaving in and out and pulling their own positive energies.



QuickTime Dial-up Version

Well as it happened, there was a person who was not happy. He said, That's it! This is too much! You'’re not listening to each other, you are loud, uncontrolled?

One guy asked, "“What did we do wrong?"” and tried to plead with him to stay.

He took his stuff and went home. Folks said, "Oh well" and continued to make music.

I stayed for a little while longer but I was mad again. Why can'’t humans accept things and people for what they are? We are not perfect. In this situation, we did not have to be.

Why couldn't he see the beauty of people who came together from all ethnic and racial groups to make music? I walked between the cornrows again. At a junction, this is what I saw:



QuickTime Dial-Up Version

Yep. A perfect metaphor for what humans beings do to nature. We love nature, then we pave it, then foul it up, and keep it at a distance.

We have got to get back to the garden. Not totally back. I'’m not a Luddite. But we could cure a lot of ills if we could remember that we are a part of the earth and not the rulers of it.

Don't Know What You've Got-Cornfield #2

The sky is a joy of blue and white. I am walking through cornfields. The corn stalks are a foot taller than I am, planted thick so all you can see is green, yellow, sky, and earth.

I find the circle area in the meeting place. I sit and feel warm air wash over me. I look up, more sky. I look to the left; the Gold Line train is passing by. I look right I see industrial Los Angeles. Behind me is Chinatown.



QuickTime Dial-Up Version

Los Angeles is a source of constant contradictions. A few folks come by with cameras in their hands. One guy snaps one photo, looks hard at the land. I can see it in his eyes, “How much can I shoot of a cornfield?” But he keeps shooting and walks deeper and deeper into it.

I am alone with the elements. I like it. A lot. I start to heal a little bit. I have been too long from real land. Most of us have been separated from the healing powers of the earth. This is a quiet reminder of what we are missing. There are choices. We need to make better ones.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The Billows Are Tossing High - Prolog

This is a beginning of a text/video essay. I don’t really know how it will start or end but I have to follow this out. This will take a few days. This is new ground for me.

Sanctuary is a place of rest and safety. It is a permissible hiding place where you can lick your wounds and mend your soul.



After the past couple of weeks, I needed to find sanctuary. Because, quite honestly, I don’t know what to do with my anger, my rage about what is going on in the Alabama, Mississippi, and New Orleans areas of the country.

I know that the most Americans, even some of the ones that say they can’t abide liberals, are, at their core, good people. Honorable people. But something dreadful has happened to all of us. The American us. It is still happening. I can see it but others are rushing to put the scales back on their eyes.

The people who held guns at the crossing so as not to allow black folks to cross the bridge into their towns were evil. Pure ancient racists evil. I know it when I see it and hear it and no amount of justification is going to cause me to forget what was done.

The lack of preparation, the lack of communication, the plays for power and control and the hatred and continuous victimization of people in the least control of their situation. And the spin doctors working triple time to convince us what did and did not happen before our eyes.

The current American government did nothing. They let people die – of all colors, men women, children. It didn’t matter if they were conservative or liberal. There was no recognition of this event being a federal, national or humanitarian problem.

Not all of the victims are innocent. Perpetrators attacked other victims. Where did you think they placed ex-offenders in New Orleans? They dumped criminals in with the poor and the poorest of the poor. I’m not surprised assaults and looting of non-food/medical items happened. It was pre-ordained by current policies in effect across the nation. Not in my back yard, remember?

What am I to do with this? As an African-American, Black, Negro, Colored (I am old enough to have been labeled with all of the above descriptions) how do I keep rage, hate and distrust from dissolving me into my base nature?

I trust in Spirit but humans make me queasy.

I was riding the train and I saw the Cornfields. “Sanctuary," I thought.
Green stuff, dirt and air. I need real dirt. I need to sit in the sun. I need to reconnect with solid ground.

This is a bit of video taken Sunday September 18 at the Cornfields. Be warned. Sanctuary is elusive. It can be deceptive. Or it can be what it is. But for now it is a beautiful Sunday afternoon. The sky is blue. The cornstalks are high. The sun is warm. The beat goes on.

This is the link to the 160x120 QuickTime Version

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The-Hold: poetry, prose, art, multimedia

It is funny. A week ago, Zadi Diaz and I had a brief discussion about making contact with poets or trying to find them to share videoblogging skillls with poets.

And by poets I mean anyone who choses to present themselves as poets; text, written word, audio, visual, the whole range of the craft.

I know some of them would be interested. It is on my to do list to seek them out.

http://the-hold.blogspot.com is a blog portal that is hosting some of the new found work in blogs and web sites. These are poets using audio blogging, podcasting, video blogging, vloging, videocasting and all the other words that discribe personal media production.

Make so and go with the flow.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

My Heart Went Boom, Boom, Boom-Cell Memory

This work is the result of my inability to record one of my mammograms. I got the run around no, no, no.

"It isn't done."

Why not I asked?

"You don't have permission"

I then asked for permission.

"The machine is copyrighted, no one can take a photo of it."




I didn't want to take a photo of the machine, I want to show my friends what it is like to have your breast pressed between two plates and made to look like a pancake. It wasn't even about the recording so much as my need to have some control over the situation. I needed something positive.

"Liability Issues"

I know when to yield in the face of administrative wall. There were other women waiting and this is one place you don't want to linger.

Don't medical people understand about transmutation of purpose? Short answer, no.

I did the next best thing. When the technician was out of the room I took a photo of my x-ray. Later, I ran it through Photoshop. I discovered that either the universe is made of women or women contain the blueprint of space.

We have connections, the universe and I. This is me on the cellular level.

I Love L.A. - The Apple Store Meet The Vloggers

We did it! Five people who never met before planned the first Los Angeles Meet The Vlogges at The Apple Store, The Grove, Fairfax Village, Los Angeles, CA, Earth.

Wow. We had a good turn out.



This is a brief impression of the area and three of the presenters. They are in order Zadi, Aaron and Joshua. I was so worried I forgot to turn the camera on for Markus.

If you get the chance, stop on by and say hello to any vlogger doing a presentation. I will try to do a better job of keeping folks in the loop. We are going to do it again.

We have to.

We forgot to take the group photo of the participants. Can you believe it? We all had cameras and camcorders. Next up is Santa Monica and Irvine.