Category: art

What I want to say I can’t even put into words today….  But I’ll try anyway and probably lose a few people along the way.  So let me get some great stuff to share off my chest first!

In a photography forum, I found this great photo of Pyramid Lake in Nevada.  We pass it going to and from Burning Man, and last year we spent the day swimming there to wash off the week of dust on our way home.  I asked the photographer, Scott Thompson (no relation) for permission to post it here…

(Side note! Since I’ve been studying up on photography, I’m going to crack down a lot more on making sure people understand copyright protection and photographers rights. If you want to use ANYONE’S photo but your own, and it’s not publicly listed with a Creative Commons license or a statement that you can use it, ASK FIRST! And always credit/link to them! I’m no expert, but if you have any questions about what you can or can’t do and don’t have time to look it up, you are welcome to email me and I’ll do my best to help you find an answer.)

Copyright Scott Thompson. Click for larger image!

I also need to share this blog post by Amanda Palmer on Lady Gaga, freedom, and authenticity.  A must read!

We celebrated July 4th at the second annual PEX Fest – I worried as we were on our way that my expectations were too high, based on the amazing time we had last year.  I had nothing to worry about as it was blown out of the water again, and it was definitely one of the best weekends of my life.

Despite this time being bittersweet – my Grandma Betty who passed had annual July 4th gatherings – I know that divine intervention or whatnot had a role in how things turned out.  I never had to risk her wrath for missing her picnic for PEX fest (or, more likely, miss PEX Fest), and the first summer that the picnic didn’t happen after she died, I was surrounded by my second family and felt so full of love.

PEX fest is summer camp for burners.  It’s a little like Playa Del Fuego (PDF) but it’s completely different.  It’s not community run, but PEX has wonderful vision and core values that overlap with Burning Man’s principles.  There’s a little commerce, but mostly just for food/ice (except for an unfortunate vendor agreement with the camp property, which had a tie dye t-shirt vendor on site – I went from being annoyed to feeling sorry for them because this was NOT going to be a killer sales weekend for them with mostly burners in attendance!) (And I’m tie dye loyal, I ONLY get mine from my awesome friends in Reno!)

As usual, the schedule was chock full of amazing workshops but despite best efforts, I attended 2 and Random attended 3.  Quality outshone quantity, as they were absolutely amazing experiences.

Random attended Lucky’s contact staff workshop, and we both attended the Porno Jim Show (hysterical, shows the best and worst of porn and talks about how bad porn is bad for expectations/sexual practices in real life) as well as a class from Camp Chemistry.  And without going into any details too embarrassing for the general public of the internet, the class was life changing.  Really!!!!!  I was a bit nervous going in, but knew that it was a safe and respectful space and that we could leave at any time.  We stayed through the whole class, and it was definitely worth it.  If it sounds intriguing to you in any way, please consider checking out their events and classes.  They are good people, and no matter how much you think you know, you’ll learn something new!  And that’s all I have to say (publicly) about that 😀

Between sunny days in the pool and long nights on the dance floor until sunrise….  Living on an angle and having a constant beat 24/7….  PEX Fest is a place of love, beauty, joy, creativity, fire, sensuality, music, dancing, authenticity, acceptance, laughter, family, and more.  There’s no better place to celebrate freedom than here.  I am STILL on cloud 9 and loving it!  See you all next year!

Helen’s Own Bench

Wisdom is a life that knows it is living.

(Unknown, from a film on Frederick Franck)


Pacem in Terris 2009 Makes me wonder who Helen is...

We do a lot of looking: we look through lenses, telescopes, television tubes…Our looking is perfected every day, but we see less and less. (Franck)

One of the joys of Pacem in Terris is that there’s always SOMETHING different.  I would have expected that to change after Frederick Franck‘s death in 2006, but it hasn’t.

A short film is set up for viewing in one of the display rooms off the main house, and for the first time I heard Frederick speak, about his art, his inspiration, his love of his wife.  It was so touching to experience it, especially since I never saw him in person.

Artwork is relocated and added, and the garden always looks different as well.  It now has a spiral path, which we walked, and we meditated with a lap labyrinth in the middle under the sculpture that reads “The meaning of life is to see”.

Art is neither a profession nor a hobby. Art is a way of being.


IMG_8319 copy

Playing with a new camera technique. The brightness was increased in post processing but the motion effect was all done with the camera.

I took photos, some purposely similar to my last photo excursion there (see the last post), and the rest I tried to do something different – with a few happy accidents and successful experiments as shared here.

When you go on a pilgrimage, you set out from where you happen to be and start walking toward a place of great sanctity in the hope of returning from it renewed, enriched and sanctified.

Pacem in Terris is not tied to any particular religion, but to all. . . and to none. For I hope that it may speak also to those who, while shunning religious labels, share fully in the specifically human quest for meaning and for values to live by.

For to be human or not to be, that is the question!


Pacem in Terris





(New photos from Pacem in Terris)

On Creativity and Compassion

Inspiration of the day – my friend blogged about artist Merce Cunningham who passed away, and it highlights several artists who helped re-define what art is.  My favorite part is the last sentence, but had to quote the entire section –

It was their relationship of the creative life to all life that has drawn me into their work.  They would focus on bringing the creative process into what are often times considered “non art” activities….they would have festivities in a moment’s notice, carry with them a feeling of always creating something, of everyday adventures.  They believed in living out loud in front of others so the world would wake up and see that the smallest things in life can be a celebration.

That is how I choose to honor Merce, to continue to live my own life with that kind of imagination and authenticity, and to encourage others to do the same.  We are ALL artists, constantly creating.  No matter what our medium..even if we don’t have a definable medium…it’s the way in which we author our lives that is so important.  Art is not to dazzle others as M.C. Richards, a contemporary and friend of Merce, once said. “It is to reveal the secrets of our hearts so that others seeing that witness, will have the courage to reveal the secrets of their own hearts.”

This is the path I’ve been on as well – while I’ve always loved doing creative things, this way of looking at art, how we live, and how we express who we are really started at Burning Man for me.  I was always drawn to it, but never found it in such abundance until then.  And I’m still struggling to do this, as lately it seems not much that I do is very creative.  Lately I’ve been absorbing inspiration, but it’s just kinda sitting there building up.  But to figure out exactly how to put this inspiration and energy to best use is challenging, and I feel like there’s never enough time in the day.

However her post reinforced in me that it’s a 24-7 thing, even if I’m not creating a tangible piece of art.  I just need to remember that.   And when we are tapped into that realization, and live with intention, I think that’s being in the flow.

ETA:  Excellent timing, universe… a friend just linked to this on facebook.  Great video, but stay for the end credits and story!!

The past week has also had an emotional journey.  A man went missing, and I followed the story on facebook as I know someone who is a close friend of his.  As I reposted messages from friends and family, asking for prayers or help with the search party in California, I learned a little about him and his life.  But the message that touched me was one that was related to his mother through a psychic.

If you do not generally believe in such things, I dare you to just suspend those thoughts and listen to the message.  Just for a moment think about what it would mean to embrace it and make it part of our lives.

Elias says repeatedly that what happened was like an unfortunate accident. It shouldn’t have happened. The person involved needs compassion.

Elias is adamant that he wants everyone to react with love and compassion. He wants a circle of people, whoever is capable, to hold space at the same time every day for compassion meditation and to let him know what time that will be so that he can join us.

He does not want so much energy put on what happened. Put energy into love and compassion. People are digging, he says, seeking with too much frustration to find out what happened. Surrender and allow it to be revealed. Taking action is good, but don’t focus too much on seeking.

He says that this whole event is a lesson. He wants us to learn the lesson! If we focus on the wrong things we may not learn the lesson.

He is grateful that I am open to allowing this lesson to be learned. He wants us to show love for all – not just him. And to have no vindictiveness. He wants there to be complete forgiveness.

Elias wants us to proceed with compassion every step of the way.

Emotions need to be released, to be honored and allow them to flow through like a stream, but don’t let them constrict you. So the key is to honor your emotions without holding them inside.

He wants to raise the vibration. Use less intellect. Keep returning to the love or we will miss the lesson. The lesson is about love.

(excerpts – for full text see here)

At a time where you can imagine his friends and family are frantically searching for him, hoping he is still alive, full of fear…  His main message is of love and compassion, not for him but for those who did this to him.

I know most of us hold grudges for far less serious offenses.

I don’t know if I can have love for those who did this, but looking at the faces of three men arrested in association with this case, I tried to hold compassion.  I wondered what happened in their life that led them to where they are today.  Was it an accident?  Or, had they been hurt so badly that they only know how to hurt others? Were they even the ones who did it?

Lyrics from a song by Kristin Hoffmann called “No Love” run through my head – she ponders what hell someone went through to get to the point where they abuse (or do worse) to someone else.  “there`s no right or wrong to decide just the cause and effect of life”.

The mystery of Elias’ disappearance is still unsolved.  Police are treating it as a homicide although his body has not been found.  While I hope anyone found guilty in the investigation is charged and serves an appropriate sentence, the message of being open to all possibilities has stuck with me.

Elias (through the transmission) asked his mother to choose a Sufi poem, and she shared the following.

A poem of Hafiz

The violin
Can forgive the past

It starts singing.

When the violin can stop worrying
About the future

You will become
Such a drunk laughing nuisance

That God
Will then lean down
And start combing you into
His Hair.

When the violin can forgive
Every wound caused by

The heart starts

So yeah.  The dance continues.  Love and compassion.  Creativity and authenticity.  Intention and celebration.  Heavy thoughts for a Monday, but then Mondays when you are stuck somewhere that is the opposite of many of those things need this sometimes.

I may have posted this quote before, but want to post it again…  and upon doing so I realize that “art” (the kind of art discussed up top) could replace the word “faith”.  I’m trying to embrace this fully – as well as exploit it as a reference that nowhere does “clean house” or “laundry” appear on the list…   😛

This is my living faith, an active faith, a faith of verbs:
to question, explore, experiment, experience, walk, run, dance, play, eat, love, learn, dare, taste, touch, smell, listen, argue, speak, write, read, draw, provoke, emote, scream, sin, repent, cry, kneel, pray, bow, rise, stand, look, laugh, cajole, create, confront, confound, walk back, walk forward, circle, hide, and seek.
To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.
~Terry Tempest Williams

And so I leave you with this tribute to the lives of those who affect us, and may we remember that how we live each day is the message we’ll leave behind us as well.

Self Assessment

A compilation of my alter egos and costumes over the past 4 years since my first Burning Man (compiled for my unravelling e-course)

For all the navel gazing I do, you’d never know that filling out my self assessment form for my annual review at work sends me into a panic attack.

I used to take it seriously, I thought hard about it and poured my heart and soul (as it relates to work) onto a piece of paper.  But it’s grown to mean nothing, it’s just stuck in a file somewhere, and my true thoughts – I don’t dare voice those even here, let alone on that form.

(Though, I took a risk and set one of my goals to be increasing awareness in the office about recycling, as I just dug through the trash can to pull out cans that were thrown away. One was in a can NEXT TO THE RECYCLING CONTAINER! UGH! Our office also stopped recycling waste paper – I’d like to encourage individual efforts in reduce/reuse waste paper, and get a petition to request the office recycles it again. Obviously I’m much more excited about this than anything else at work.)

So I figure, I don’t object to this task, I just can’t say what I want to say and no one is listening anyway.  And even though it’s not New Years or any other time when people traditionally re-evaluate their life, I’d like to do a self assessment on everything BUT work.

Review of Previous Period’s Objectives/Goals

Since this is my first time doing this, I don’t have a previous list of goals.  But a few ones that I have met over the past year:

– Take a hooping workshop and fire hoop for the first time

– Make a hoop video (I did this last night!)

– Create interactive art for Playa Del Fuego

– Help run an official Theme camp at Playa Del Fuego

– Cohabitate with my love 😀

– Perform fire in a group at Burning Man (wasn’t for conclave, but our dress rehearsal was a performance.)

Major Responsibilities/Accomplishments

Well, my accomplishments are listed above.  Responsibilities? Hmm. What are my responsibilities outside of work?

– Take care of my kitties (check. though they need brushing and I can’t find the brush, they are happy and healthy!)

– Pay bills and stay on top of finances (eh still struggling but I’m mostly responsible here)

Seriously? Those are the only “MUST DO” responsibilities that I can think of, but if I get into “SHOULD DO” I can think of more. This is brainstorming, not necessarily all of these were accomplished, but they are all things I’m working on.

– Responsibilities to self:  Eat in ways that sustain me and improve my health.  Get some movement in, every day hopefully.  Get enough sleep.  Spend time doing things that nurture and sustain me, and improve/educate myself.  Be aware of needs, desires, and boundaries.  Learn to say no to things that will only cause stress, and yes to things that scare me but are good for me.  Keep home a cleaner, nicer place to relax and rejuvenate.  Make sure financial basic needs are met (pay bills on time, keep roof over head, improve credit rating).

– Responsibilities to family/friends:  Love and care for kitties.  Love Random, spend quality time together, work on mutual dreams and goals.  Call and visit family.  Often.  Spend quality time with friends/family of choice, be there when they need support.

– Responsibilities to community/world:  Participate in life, don’t just spectate.  Contribute discussions, time, art, and effort to events that matter to me and to issues of importance in the world.  Improve my “green” efforts.  Bring joy and awareness to those around me.  Help create things/movements as a group for larger reaching efforts.


I have great ideas.  I can help others make their ideas happen. I have a harder time making my own ideas happen 😛

Love learning and experiencing new things.  A sense of adventure.

Curious mind, always wanting to know how things work and how to do new things.

A sense of responsibility to community and the planet.

Willingness to look like a fool in public for the sake of fun.

Never underestimating the power of fun, camaraderie, good food, or good sleep.

Development Needed

Knowing and trusting my strengths.

Making decisions.

Balancing what goals I can set and accomplish on my own to improve my life, and what ones I should set and work on together with my love.

Incorporating my passions into my job/career.

Pursuing bigger picture adventures without getting bogged down with the daily grind.


Balancing responsibilities and fun time.

Incorporating good ideas and lifestyle changes permanently.

Being gentle with myself for doing things poorly or not at all.

Watching where I spend/waste time.

Next Period’s Objectives/Goals and Target Dates

In the next month/s I shall:

– Make progress on cleaning/simplifying our home.  (Make a game plan with my love, figure out what we can do together to do this.)  Two weeks to a garage sale, so the incentive is there.

– Bring/create some joy into my work life, even if it’s tiny ways.  Be more present and productive at work.

– Set some short and long term individual and mutual goals with my love, and figure out ways to keep part of our efforts focused on them.

– Enjoy every moment of summer while it’s here.  It goes so fast.  Be present in the moment.

– Continue to increase healthy habits and decrease unhealthy ones.

– Increase calls/visits to family.  Decrease guilt about it never being enough 😛

In the next year I shall:

– Find a way to enjoy my job or find a new one.

– Relocate (if/when it suits both of us & our jobs).

– Have a routine to keep our home simplified, cleaner, and more green.  Reduce the amount of things I own and use/enjoy the things I do own.

– Leave time/space for unplanned adventures and spontaneity.

– Explore my creativity in old and new ways.

– Contribute time and energy to the groups that matter to me – PDF, PEX, fire community, etc.

– Whether through the above or not, work on creations/artistic acts that make a public impact in some way.

– Never stop growing or improving, but always allowing me to be gentle to myself when needed.

– Focus on what matters most.  Release things/people that don’t matter, that are more harmful than beneficial, whose time is just past.


Ack.  OK.  This was quite the onion peel.  I had been thinking I couldn’t afford an acquaintance’s new ecourse, but after seeing this I think I should sign up (I only have today left to decide 😛 I also worry about the workload, as I finish an e-course that I fell behind on, and summer is a crazy time…)

I’m going to turn this around to you.  Questions or ideas for me?  Did this raise any thoughts of what you can do in your own life?

I have a million ideas but can never decide on ways to implement them.  I find tons of amazing resources online like the happiness project (I even have a starter kit to start a group), creative every day challenge, joy rebellion, 29 day giving challenge…. Too many to choose from and commit to them all.

Do you want me to share more things like this with you? Would you be interested in a virtual or in person effort to pursue one of these things?  If you are anything like me, you may say YES! and even pick one, but without serious commitement to it, our efforts will fall apart.  And being spread too thin over many efforts does the same.

I’ll continue to share these things in case they strike a chord with you, but if you think that you and I should start a new community effort and you are willing to help, let’s talk.  Maybe it will be a slow start, being summer and all.  Maybe we can create something amazing.  Maybe we’ll just have some amazing brainstorming and go on with our lives better for it.

I’m not feeling like LEADING this at this moment, but I look for those who want to CO-CREATE with me.  To conspire with me.  Or hell, just to console and have a cocktail on the rough days.  I don’t know.  If you are already in my life chances are you already do one of those things at least.  I’m just planting a seed, and seeing what comes from it.  I’m focusing on that which I want to nurture in my life, and I need some people around to support and remind me of that so I don’t get too far off track.

So – now that I wrote this huge ass post on my own time and just finished posting it during a brief break at work (*wink wink*) I should get back to my real task at hand.  Which is of course, procrastinate and plan for the weekend trip!


Something is percolating.

Ideas.  Concepts.  Small ones and big ones.
I hesitate to share, to write or speak out loud.  Fear of imitation? Eh, I’ve stumbled on someone else’s project today that FEELS a lot like what is percolating. And while I’m namedropping, this blog is inspiring me along similar lines.  I don’t think it’s that – because there’s so much similar out there, but it’s not MINE, that of course I’ll have my own twist on it.

I’ve been thinking on keywords that are at the core of this idea.


Authentic (self).






Succulent. (SARK’s keyword)

Waiting for a word to jump out as perfectly describing what I want, and unique enough to be a “buzzword” of sorts.  I don’t know where this is going, but I’m afraid if I don’t record it/share it, it may slip away through my hazy memories and disappear entirely.

Looking for a philosophy, a blog theme, something.  Where I HOPE it goes is somewhere like the joy rebellion, or the projects the other Katie creates (both links above) – something both small (meaning: unintimidating, easy to do with very little time/materials/costs) and BIG (meaning: spontaneous, public art, limitless possibilities, open to anyone to participate).

I don’t know. I’m always drawn to these kinds of projects and wish I could come up with something as simple yet with a big impact – at least on those who eyes/ears/hearts are open to the message.

So I’m letting it percolate. Adding inspiration. Adding time. Hopefully adding ideas that others have. Letting it all blend and mix and become part of ME, not just a collage of “other people’s work”.  No idea if anything will come of it, but let’s just wait and see.

The art of photography

What does it mean to be a photographer rather than taking snapshots?

Photography is a hobby of mine that is surrounded in some mixed up feelings.  I remember being in a club at high school and developing my own photos – it was really enjoyable, but I didn’t pursue it much because I have so many interests.  Later on, my cousin went to college and grad school for photography, and now teaches it out in California.  I have always had huge respect for her creativity and quirkiness – but especially during the college years, family frowned upon her going to art school, switching schools, pursuing further degrees.  I was the “good” one, going to one college, one major, graduating and getting a job in a good field.  (Forget the fact that by that point I didn’t want do that, but once started, I finished it.)  Photography was “her” thing, and I wanted her to have that spotlight.

Me and Jack, C-Print, 20x24" 2005 by Diane Meyer. (Totally posting without asking permission first, which I normally would do, but that's what family is for right?? :D)

Me and Jack, C-Print, 20x24" 2005 by Diane Meyer. (Totally posting without asking permission first, which I normally would do, but that's what family is for right?? :D)

Since then, growing older and wiser, and having one great drunk night with her where we were honest about those family dynamics and what we each secretly thought while growing up, I’ve accepted that I can pursue it as a hobby with no threat to her art.  After all, I am not trained in it or teaching it, and we’ll always have our individual view on the world.  Plenty of room for everyone and all that jazz.

I think the next thing that affected how I saw photography was actually Burning Man.  At this point I didn’t have a fancy camera, although I’d upgraded often (35 mm to the Kodak Advantix APS with panoramic prints to digital) and always tried to have a creative eye in snapshots, I never set out to improve my picture taking.  At my first Burning Man in 2005, I decided to go with disposable cameras rather than risk mine, and shot about 10 rolls.  Most of the photos were disappointing in quality, and they did serve as reminders but I preferred looking at the semi-professional shots by others.

It was also there that I truly felt the difference between experiencing an event through the lens or without it.  My second year (2007) I took a few disposables but only filled two and one was mostly a specific project.

Debates on Burning Man forums would often call photographers spectators.  Granted this was usually in relation to those who gawked and took photos of topless women during the Critical Tits bike ride.  I still stand by the fact that photography is an art, and IS a way to contribute to the community – though I doubt the gawkers contribute anything desirable.  While I’ve never considered myself a pro of any sort, I do feel that my photography is an artistic expression and not just spectating.

But at what point does someone cross this line?  In 2007, I went with a friend to participate in the Coney Island Mermaid Parade.  And for the first time, I felt how photographers can truly be invasive, regardless of how pure their motives.  My friend and I are burners, so we felt no hesitation in being IN the parade, not watching it.

As we arrived early in the staging area, with an acquaintance of hers who was topless under a lace cloak (pictured above before taking off her bikini top), we were surrounded by paparazzi (that’s the only way I can describe it) who snapped away – some asking us to pose, some not.  (The majority of photographers at burn events are respectful of asking permission first.)  We did our best to escape and returned to the staging area once most of the participants had arrived. The photographers were still there but at that point, soley focused on those showing the most skin.

I’m not denying that there are beautiful photos/art out there of this event.  I have seen them before and after.  But it was the first time I was ever overwhelmed with being photographed and had a hint of what celebrities must go through on a larger scale.  It got to the point that I rarely brought out my camera, didn’t want to ask anyone to pose for my photo, because they obviously had been through enough of that.

I’ve always strived to be unobtrusive with photos – turning all sound on the camera off during quiet concerts, shielding or turning off the LCD screen so I’m not blinding or distracting those behind me.  But since that parade, I associate large groups of photographers as predators of a kind, regardless of their intentions.

Now, I have a digital SLR and I’ve actually been trying to use it more and improve my skills.  I enjoy taking photos, but I still fear being a nuisance – I was dismayed when after a recent concert I realized how loud this camera shutter can be, and it can’t be silenced.  I don’t want to be “that” person who ruins a show for everyone around them.

Last weekend I took photos of the fashion show at Wicked Faire.  I went up and took them from the front corner of the stage, while other photographers sat/kneeled directly in front of the stage.  After the intermission I joined them on the floor but deferred to them as they held the position before I arrived, and in my mind they had better equipment therefore were more “serious” than I.  And something about it just felt wrong.  I don’t know what.

I know that there are a few shots I’m really proud of and that I love.  I know I did my best to not block anyone’s view, and I had as much right to be there as anyone.  But whether it’s because I don’t feel I’d be taken seriously, or that I would be viewed as a spectator, there’s a nagging feeling there.

I’ve been craving feedback/praise on my flickr, but it’s hard to ask to be taken seriously for some shots when others were taken with my boyfriend’s point-and-shoot on a drunken night.  I could separate accounts, but people know me under one name and I wish to keep it that way.  I do think I’ll separate the collection of my favorites into favorite snapshots and favorite artsy pics at the very least.

There’s no real point to this entry – just rambling and trying to work out my thoughts for myself.  I suppose I see photographers falling into two categories, and I’m afraid of being thought of as the “wrong” one.  I don’t like being one of many, maybe it’s just the rebel in me, but I’d rather find something else to shoot than what everyone else is shooting.

While I got some decent shots of that fashion show, photos by others look almost the same, only slightly more consistent due to experience/equipment/luck/editing.  (I was in a rush and uploaded them all, I usually weed out the “rejects”.)  With digital cameras improving in quality and coming down in price, seems like everyone on the planet is now an amateur photographer and it’s hard to find my place among them.  And there’s a difference now between being happy with my photos, and being satisfied with the result but disliking the process in some way.

I think that’s what this is coming down to – figuring out what subject matters I like to shoot for myself – regardless of what I like to view as artwork by others.  Trying to find my place in this little world, where I don’t want to be taken as a serious professional as it’s just a hobby, but I don’t want to be considered a spectator taking snapshots, or another wanna-be amateur.  Is there room in this gray area?  Is the answer as simple as just being me and my camera, and taking walks in nature or everyday life rather than special events?  Considering my mixed feelings, do I want to pursue this hobby to the next level?

Food for thought, but for now my thoughts are turning to food and dinner.  Til next time…

All is full of love

(post title due to my musical tourettes… never actually heard bjork’s version of this, but Charlotte Martin sings part of it with one of her other songs.)

This weekend was full of wonder and joy and love and music and adventure…

Friday I helped take pictures of the Morristown Critical Mass bike ride.

Full flick set here.

The art show afterwards was fun as well, despite the heat (an ice cream from the ice cream truck helped ;o)

Saturday, Random and I had an adventure in NY – Figment was going on, an arts festival run by burners and artists on Governor’s Island. It was the second year for it, and apparently Saturday they broke the record for the most visitors to the island on one day! While we didn’t get there until early afternoon, and we ended up staying in one area (Just like at Burning Man, when an event is limited in time, you always miss something really cool and feel like you didn’t do/see enough!), I had such a blast. 

There were art installations everywhere, the rose petal pool was in action again, and we settled down at the Disorient sound stage. Groovehoops had hoops out for everyone to enjoy.  I didn’t bring mine, thinking I wouldn’t use it enough to warrant carrying it.  Well I was wrong… The music was perfect – mellow yet you wanted to move to it, and picked up in energy a little later in the day. 

Now I’ve been learning the hoop, I obviously enjoy it when I pick it up, but often I am discouraged by the lack of “tricks” that I know, or that I can’t keep still facing one direction or the hoop will fall (I dance/move with the hoop).  But a combination of the perfect day, perfect music, perfect mood.  I LOVED hooping there.  Even with hoops that were too small/light/slippery (no gaffers tape) for my taste.  It was seductive, it was sexy, it was… pure joy and love.  And seeing the crowd of people hooping, from hoop dancing pros to hoop virgins, it was so wonderful. 

I think this woman couldn’t waist hoop, but she was so joyful just hooping above her head like this!

With poi, I’ve moved into a place where I’m more into the flow and dancing with it.  And there are times that energy feels really great. But the hooping I experienced that day just had a different energy to it.  I’m sure it was a combo of many things, the music, the energy, my emotions… I plan on bringing my hoop (new collapsible! yay) many more places with me.

See the resemblance?

When we weren’t hooping/spinning/sticking (Random is getting amazing at devilsticks!) we lounged and watched/listened, or chatted with friends. I enjoyed spending some time with Scratch – who I’ve met twice at NYC Santacon and friended on tribe, but finally got to have a real conversation with him.

Thumbnails (click for larger version) – first meeting with Rudy-tooty (Scratch) was a pic with a stranger in ’06, and running into each other on subway in ’07. Missed getting a pic with him this time! 😦

 12-16-06 039 12-8-07 025

I loved Figment because while it totally had the burner vibe, it was a public event and it was clear people were there who didn’t know what was going on and it was their first experience with anything like this.  I wish that every town, every park, every city was more like this.  Artwork surrounding you and found in every crevice when you looked carefully.  Strangers smiling and laughing with each other over hooping attempts, the weather, anything.  Back on Manhattan it was hard to repress the openness to strangers and urge to smile and hug everyone.  Which could be dangerous there.  But Figment gives me hope that this “vibe” I keep mentioning IS possible in more areas of our lives, and not just at events like Burning Man and regional burns.  

So yes, it was time to leave the island… It was getting close to the end of the event, and we could smell/feel a few raindrops.  By the time we reached the ferry, it was a full blown thunderstorm.  Because it was so hot and humid, and we were dancing/playing around, it felt really nice actually.  From the ferry we could see that the NY waterfall installation was blowing so hard in the wind, it was adding to the “rain” people fought through to reach the boat!  Wanted to take a pic, but moreso wanted to keep my camera as dry as possible…

In Manhattan, we grabbed an awesome dinner (Beckett’s bar & grill, Stone Street, NY) and went to the afterparty at Castle Clinton in Battery Park. The band was good, but didn’t fit the mood I was in so much (what??? I’m preferring house over a live band? I’m being brainwashed…. ;o)  Of course they were back to the DJ by the time we decided to head out. But the party would be wrapping up and moving to Brooklyn, and I did not have the energy for that late of a night.  Played with poi (and soyboy’s triangular hoop! that was a blast) and taught someone else some basic moves, and then we wandered home.

Damp from rain/sweat, drained, but still smiling from the amazing day.

(All Figment pics here.)

There’s so much more to this amazing weekend, but that’s all I can attempt to put into words for now.  But next year?  Get your ass out to Governor’s Island.  It’s worth it! (Free ferry to the island and no admission fee for Figment. MORE THAN WORTH IT!)

not artThis is a very serious matter…In 2007, the ‘artist’ Guillermo Vargas Habacuc, took a dog from the street, tied him to a rope in an art gallery, and starved him to death. For several days, the ‘artist’ and the visitors of the exhibition have watched emotionless the shameful ‘masterpiece’ based on the dog’s agony, until eventually he died.

(The original email had graphic images of the exhibit. It’s very disturbing. To see some for yourself click here.)

Does it look like art to you?

But this is not all… the prestigious Visual Arts Biennial Central America  decided that the ‘installation’ was actually art, so that Guillermo Vargas Habacuc has been invited to repeat his cruel action for the biennial of 2008.


It’s free of charge, there is no need to register, and it will only take 1 minute to save the life of an innocent creature.

Thank you for your time.

Update – snopes article here. Whether this is a true account or not is undetermined.  (Yeah I usually check snopes myself, but I didn’t this time…)  Regardless, the chance that it is true is worth signing the petition and doing what one can.  Worst case is that it’s not a necessary effort – we can only hope!!!