Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Glendale Vigil - Part 1

This is the first video of one of the vigils held around the nation to honor the 2000+ (there will be more) soldiers who have died in Iraq. I asked this young man to tell me the reason he was at the vigil. Someday I will remember to ask folks names as I record.

I wish the quality was better but my ole putt-putt does not like the dark. This was a compromise brokered via Ulead Studio 9. I am getting close to being able to get a quality camera but in the meantime the adventure continues.

This is the link to the dial-up QuickTime version.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

2000+ Soldiers Fallen - Vigils

Just want to pass the word that there will be vigils around Los Angeles to remember soldiers who have died, were killed or were put in harms way in Iraq.

If you have the time, grab a candle and light the darkness in support of those that have paid the price.

Some say for freedom, others say for oil.

For more info:

Monday, October 24, 2005

Peace Rapping In MacArthur Park

There came a point in the program for the "children's section." A young man and his sisters approached the stage. The youngest, age two, was a force of nature. Her mother held her in her arms. Soon as she got wind that her siblings were performing without her she fought her way on stage. I'm not kidding, I saw her do it. The kid knew she belonged on stage with the rest of them.

The family did a few songs and then it was time for the young man's solo. I'm sorry I don't remember his real name but he goes by Phantom. He also belongs on stage, it was a second home, his workshop and place of business. Phantom is 17 years old.

He explained to the audience that he did positive raps and understood if some in the audience might not understand what he was saying. Like the jet that bears his name he took off and it wasn't quiet in the park anymore. It was a peaceful rap, just a young man sharing his feelings about his world, his nation and a people needing to move forward.

Peace can be defined in many ways. Sometimes there is a culture clash. Not intentional just happens. What if the one things that soothes your soul makes another person disjointed?

True loving beings work it out. The rest of us do what we can. Some folks left. People from the other side of the park took their place. Just another day in Los Angeles.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Peace Singing In MacArthur Park

The park was cleaner than I expected.
The water smelled of chlorine but compared to what it use to smell like it was an improvement. I wasn't able to get to the park until the afternoon. A lunch was to be eaten in silence. I've never seen so many people in the park.

As near as I can figure out, in order to have peace in the world you must first be at peace with yourself. Sounds good. In order to find the peace within yourself you must stop fighting and harming yourself with endless mind chatter. No argument there, I intellectually understand.

Young People In Robes Singing

In practice, I got a long way to go before I achieve any form of inner peace without the aid of (legal) pharmaceuticals. I have my moments but I need the special ed version of meditation education.

Not from lack of effort either. You'd think of years of listening to tapes from Dharmaseed, Sounds True and that excellent tape series called Shambala Warrior something would have taken root. Yeah, I'm going to be recycled back here again for sure.

After lunch there was a performance by young folks who I assume belong to the faith or are connected with the organization that planned the event. It was a transition from the quiet of lunch. It was a lovely song, here is a sample of it.

Looking For Peace In MacArthur Park

A few weeks there was an ad in the L.A. Weekly about Thich Nath Hanh having a
walking protest in MacArthur Park. It was to be a silent walking meditation for peace. No protest signs, no verbalization just a walking exploration of quiet and humans attempting to manifest a huge amount of peace.

The park is located in the Mid-Wilshire district, just outside of downtown. That song, MacArthur Park was about this section of town. This is the same MacArthur Park that was a haven for hippies for what the calendar say it was a century ago.

20 years ago it was a haven for prostitutes, all types of addicts, bad, bad and extremely wicked people and a resting place for poor souls who had no where else to go.

It had such a reputation people didn't go near it in the daytime. Not through it, near it or around it. It smelled awful. If you could go someplace else, you wouldn't be caught dead in MacArthur Park. Folks were found dead; the former occupants of the park had a tendency to kill people.

So having a peace walk in such a place got my attention. I also knew that because of the Red Line train and the hots for land and lofts (not to mention the added police patrols) many of the former citizens of the park had been forced or strongly encouraged to move on to higher or lower ground.

It is not the same place. This is the view of the current surroundings. I got there in time for the silent lunch.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Ebb and Flow - Inner Peace Outer Action

I'm not a twinkle in any body's eyes at the moment. But there is a quality about some people that is sweet and wonderful. Most of us have learned to hide that quality because contemporary life will do its best to stomp out of you. You have to fight to get it back. Some never do.

If you are lucky or stay connected to your source this doesn't happen.

I got reminded of a part of me that I now keep hidden. Check out a new vloggers video at

Remind yourself of who you use to be.

Art Walk #2 - Name That Band

The past week has been one that I am happy to say is in the past. Whew! I have a mid-term coming up that I am 3/4's prepared. I have a day job that I am glad to have but I need to convince myself that I should *want* to go instead of having to go. If I had a choice, I wouldn't go.

I guess that is why I tear into the weekends and bounce around town. I need to know that there is the other life. So I am working my way through the Art Walk videos. There will be more after I regain my sanity from the fear of flunking out of a class that I really enjoy.

I'm not in any real danger. The fear of getting a "C" is enough to get me to read the entire text book just to be safe.

The event started at 12 noon but I'm not sure when I arrived. This band is either "Also" or "The Glowbars". So if you know who this is give a shout out.
This is the QuickTime Dial-Up Version.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Go Downtown - OBD Art Walk #1

Any fool who says Los Angeles has no art or culture is probably sitting in New York working on his/her third cancer stick in a deep smoke filled dive.

There is no lack. I have discovered there may be too much stuff going on, more than the average person without a car can handle on a weekend. Man, my dogs (feet) are barking.

The premise of the Old Bank District Art Walk is to get folks to take a new look at Downtown Los Angeles, to discover the hidden gems that this city has to offer and maybe even sell a loft or two.

I've got a better reason. One of them is the people. I walked into Ryan's loft and it was filled with people, music and a dual projection on the wall of a man dancing in the street. Ryan has books, actual LP's and not bad guacamole. As I remember, he is an editor (film/video) and he really likes where he lives. Ryan likes the sense of community that he finds in the area.

Seems like a nice guy. He appears at the end of the video. Not only is he a nice guy but he had a DJ that uses albums, real vinyl. God bless her. And somehow she had a pink album and pink nail polish.

Too cool.

This is the link to the 160x120 Dial-up friendly QuickTime version.

YAAMC #2 - It Takes A Village

There is a role for parents and the community to guide young folk into adulthood. Observing the parents with their children, I learned that repetition is still important. Junebug may be six feet and eight inches tall but you still have to reminded him to say please and thank you.

Katrina T-Shirt

I learned that parents might have to escort young Ray-Ray to this kind of event because parents can see further down the road than the beloved son can – he wants to be on the basketball court. Parents are trying their best to keep young men out of Superior court.

I know that this society spends a lot of time demonizing young black males. It is profitable to do so. It is a cash money business. But not every teenage male is going to be a rapper, ball player, or gangster. Some will be doctors, teachers, mechanics, and programmers. How visible are these folks on your television screen?

Despite the messages spewing from advertisers and pop culture, young teens cannot raise themselves. Let me rephrase that, they should not be forced to try to raise themselves. Some have no choice; they don’t have the kind of parents and resources that the need.

The good news is that there are thousands of people who are fighting to make a difference. So here is a just a snapshot of some of the folks who, after a long work week, made sure there was a counter balance to the negative messages poured into our young folks heads.

This is the link to the 160x120 Quicktime version.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Young African American Conference - Part 1

I wasn't sure if I should be attending. I'm not a guy nor a young person. But I kept getting the feeling I should show up and take a few snaps, at the very least. So I took old faithful down to Pasadena City College early on a Saturday morning not sure of what I was going to find.

I stepped up to the table and the gentleman in the photo above, asked me if I was from the press. "No, not exactly. I would like to record the event and place it in my blog." I could tell he didn't quite know what a blog was but he pointed out to me some of the highlights of the day.

There would be workshops in leadership, self-esteem, how to decode the messages in music videos, how to get into college. There would be workshops for parents on the nature of gang and how to keep young men safe and alive.

There was one other person taking photos. But there was no one from NBC, ABC, CNN and dang skippy not a soul from Fox News. They wouldn't have believed what they would have seen anyway, parents with their children, young men who were interested in college information, a community collectively raising their young men.

This is in the morning at registration/breakfast.

This is the link to the 160x120 QuickTime version.