Archive - 2006 - Blog entry

Gee Whiz, Been 6 Days since Last Entry

Sun in CloudI'm posting this from a spare cube in an office on the 26th floor of a big big building in Universal City, Los Angeles, California. Like magic I find myself here though I woke up 10 hours ago in Tucson. I'm here for the launch party of the website I've been helping to build for the last 4 months.

It is 80 and breezy here in LA and sunny and beautiful.

I've been busy:

  • Still looking for a place to live.
  • Just did my taxes yesterday (filed an extension in April). I managed to almost live under the taxable limit last year! This year will be very different.
  • Went camping again last weekend, with Jessica. It was awesome. We went back to Feral Visions just for a day. Lots of Tucson folk we thought would be there were not.
  • Been spending a lot of time with her. Things are really good.
  • both of us have been travelling a lot. We're flying to Portland the weekend after this, for a wedding of 2 friends of mine, and just so I can show her Portland.

    Anyway. Will try to post about the party or whatever else is interesting, soon. chao...

  • Review of 'On The Edge'

    An actual review of my film that doesn't just cut and paste my copy, in the Canadian music ezine "Exclaim." They obviously actually watched the film. Cool.

    Back and Busy

    steev stretching at 10,000 feetWow I've been too busy to blog for the last few days, since getting back from Feral Visions, but I am back and feeling great. I had a great time up on Mount Graham at 10,000 feet for 3 days. It was so beautiful and wonderful. Except that the Forest Service goons harrassed us pretty hard.

    The time out there inspired me for some reason to fast on Tuesday and part of yesterday. I feel pretty great now. Sometime soon I want to do a fast for the real recommended 3 days. Really detox myself.

    Working a lot on work-work this week. The site I've been coding for is launching Friday. It's actually already soft-launched, but no public announcements have gone out. Next week I'm flying out to LA for the launch dinner party, Just for a night. I've never done that, that I can remember, just jet-setting out to somewhere for so little time, but they're paying for it, so, fine.

    Gotta remember to take all my gels and liquids out of my bag before I go, I guess. damn.

    Went bowling last night. It was my first time in awhile. The friends I went with call it "Guys Night Out." Which meant, I found out, that whenever anyone wasn't bowling a frame they were talking about relationships. It was fun and kinda good but kinda odd too, cuz it was a very male way of talking about relationships. I haven't decided if I want to repeat the experience.

    By the way I noticed on the activity log that someone was searching for the word "girlfriend" on this blog the other day. Someone in Tucson. Kinda interesting. Not that I just sit and check my logs all day. no really.

    Jessica gets back from New York tommorrow, which makes me happy. She was there doing some indymedia stuff. I won't go into the details. I think I need to watch more what details of others' lives I write about here, even if I'm all about being totally open with mine.

    Is it possible to respect someone too much? I don't really think so.

    Whether To Go Feral

    I've been on the fence about going to the Feral Visions Gathering, an annual primitivist get-together put on by Green Anarchy magazine, with a week of workshops and skillshares that is this year up on top of Mt. Graham, a sky island (which is basically an alpine ecosystem surrounded by a sea of desert). This is a 3-hour drive from Tucson. It's going to be a lot of gas money, and it's going to be crazy cold up there at night, and it might be really wet too. But it might be super awesome. John Zerzan and Chellis Glenndinning and other luminaries of the neo-primitive will be there. Not that I really call myself a green anarchist. But I've been interested in learning some stuff, some survival skills and whatnot.

    So, anyway, yeah. I dunno. If I go I'll leave tommorrow (saturday) and be gone till wednesday morning, so that will be why you won't see emails or blogging from me in that time.

    A Videographer's Disaster

    Yesterday, my first day back to Tucson, I went over to Jessica's old house where my most valuable posessions were stored. They were there and not in my storage space because they're stuff that is sensitive to heat; DVDs, CDs, and videotapes, and electronics, like cameras and hard drives.drying out my media

    Well, it turns out that during my month away, the toilet backed up in the bathroom adjacent to the room whose closet held my stuff, and water flowed out of the bathroom and across the floor of the bedroom. Jessica and her housemate thought
    it did not reach into the closet, but when I arrived and started loading stuff into the truck to take somewhere else (because they're moving out), I realized they were wrong. Who would have thought I would be a victim of a flood, in Tucson?

    To my horror, one end of the closet had been a little lower in elevation, encouraging the water to flow in and slightly soak the bottoms of 2 boxes. This flood was not deep. Apparently just a big shallow slick of water. But the cardboard of the boxes wicked the moisture up, which then in the heat turned the interior of the boxes into a miniature sauna. Every single piece of paper or paper product (like j-cards of miniDV tapes, other boxes, paper sleeves of CDs, etc) became slightly moist. One box was full of copies of my film, DVDs wrapped individually in shrinkwrap, so I'm not worried about those. But the other was full of about 3 years worth of raw footage from all sorts of finshed or unfinished video projects. I was terrified when I opened up that box.

    I still have not had the heart to actually test any of the discs or tapes. Again, nothing was soaked. Just sort of bathed in a steam bath. Condensation was on lots of tape covers, but it was impossible to tell from visual inspection whether the tapes or discs were actually damaged. I opened up all the tape cases and laid them out to dry with a fan blowing on them.

    Hopefully I have not lost anything, or anything important. There's easily 60 hours of stuff there!

    Boundary Enforcement and National Security

    Dissident Voice printed a speech given in Tucson by Joe Nevins, an academic from Vassar who wrote a book about Operation Gatekeeper and spent a couple months in Tucson this summer doing press stuff for No More Deaths. I have not finished reading it ( I would have been present if I'd been in town), but it looks good, and here's a really interesting excerpt:

    That migrants are constructed as geographically -- in addition to socio-politically -- outside helps explain why fears about terrorists and criminals from abroad translate into a focus on territorial boundaries to a much greater extent than fears about purveyors of violence from within the United States. Consider, for example, the case of Timothy McVeigh, who, on April 19, 1995, bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 167 people and injuring hundreds more. McVeigh was not from Oklahoma City, nor even from the state of Oklahoma. Indeed, he crossed state boundaries to commit his crime. Had such movement been restricted, it might have been more difficult for McVeigh to do what he did. Nonetheless, his horrific act did not result in any attempt to restrict movement across state boundaries within the United States. The reason why is clear: he was a U.S. citizen (and a native-born one) with the right to unimpeded travel across national territory. He was not an outsider. He was a white male and a military veteran. He was -- in terms of the dominant perception of what an American looks like -- one of "us." Thus, his crime did not involve a perceived geographical transgression even though movement across space was a key element of his act. Given this perception, territorial security -- at least one conceived in any way similar to that applied along the U.S.-Mexico boundary -- is not the response. In the case of threats -- real or imagined -- emanating from south of the border, however, they are perceived as being primarily territorial in nature and thus necessitate a response involving a build-up of physical boundaries.

    The Femicide Continues

    Via Amigos de Las Mujeres de Juarez:

    Sadly, another woman

    Tour done; Returning to Tucson Tonite

    Well, the screening tour is over and I am about to head to the airport and catch my plane back "home" to Tucson. In this case "home" just means the place where most of my belongings are stored - I don't know what the future holds. I need to couch surf a little and find a new place. Annoying, but, oh well. And I need to figure out so many other things, too. sigh.

    Anyway, the last 2 screenings, on Friday and Saturday, were both interesting in their own way. One was in Tijuana for a group of sex workers who organized to resist police abuse, called the Mary Magdalenes. Most of these women are peasants from the south of Mexico who were recruited by pimps and brought up to TJ. They weren't mislead or told they were getting maquila jobs, they new they were coming to El Norte to be prostitutes. Wow. Anyway they seemed sort of shy and still processing the film afterward so there weren't a lot of questions, but the leaders were appreciative. I also got to meet Victor Clark, from the Comite Binacional Derechos Humanos. He's a major major figure in human rights work in Tijuana and he is who set up the show for the Mary Magdalenes. He has a bodyguard, who went to the screening with us, gun tucked under his shirt at his waist, scanning the surroundings constantly as we walked down the street.

    Saturday evening was a pretty different event. I rented a car and drove 2 hours to El Centro, a small town about 10 miles from the border, north of Calexico/Mexicali. A group called MANA arranged the screening. They are a local chapter of a national organization that is sort of professional/career group for white-collar latina women. Or that's what I understand it to be. Anyway, they were really good people and judging by the record number of signatures on the mailing list signup sheet that I always have out, people were really enthused. I also signed my autograph on like 4 copies of the DVD, and sold about 8 copies, all the rest that I had on me. Interestingly, all these purchases were made with checks except for one in cash from a high-school girl. At all other screenings combined only 1 other purchase was by check.

    Anyway. Just got back from the beach, my first San Diego beach experience. was fun. now off to airport. back to tucson. I hear it's been raining A LOT there. 7 inches in the last 7 days. crazy. wetter than Portland lately! Hello global warming! Hello chaos!

    I just want to travel all the time and life to be one constant adventure. But I also want to just sit still and lie in someone's arms for a long long time. suspira.

    San Diego Indymedia Rocks!!!

    Things have been going really well here in San Diego. I've had 2 screenings, one here on Wednesday and one last night in Tijuana. Both were great, both attended by about 80 people, which is the record for this tour (interestingly, the only screening I've done so far with bigger attendance is the one in Albuquerque at The Guild. 105 people. My theory is that this is because that's the one screening I've had in a "real" theater, in other words, a place where the general public is conditioned to expect to go to watch movies. A church, an infoshop, a dance theater, lots of people just don't go to those places to see a film, or to those places at all).

    Not only that but both these screenings included the involvement of local groups. The San Diego one even had donated food and beverages for the audience. The Tijuana screening had 2 mothers of girls who'd been killed or almost killed in Tijuana and had been experiencing similar problems that the mothers of victims in Juarez have been facing.

    So this is a shout-out to San Diego Indymedia Center. Especially to Yolanda, Miguel, Jonathan, Jenny, and Mark. They have all really been super enthusiastic and dedicated to making these events happen and they did such a great job, promoting and organizing. It's just incredible and touching to me, to see that something I've made inspires people enough to put real work into getting other people to see it. So, thank you, everyone. And thanx too to Lotus and Kat and Matthew and everyone else at the 2-house compound where I've been staying. Your hospitality is much appreciated.

    By the way, last night's screening was the Mexican premiere. It was really nice to see that a Mexican audience really got something out of the film, and it was fascinating during the question and answer period to hear pretty much a completely different set of questions and comments than what I get from gringo audiences. There was much more of a sense of personal responsibility for the cultural and social factors. There were people who talked about how important it was for parents to protect their daughters and educate them about dangers, and a few men that mentioned gender roles and family and how men needed to work on improving how they treat their wives, their daughters, other women. It was amazing.

    One young hombre who looked like an art student or something asked how I felt about art and media being able to change things. I replied that of course since I was doing it I believed there was some possiblitiy for a positive effect from it, but the important thing to remember is not to make art in a vacuum but to communicate and collaborate with grassroots people who work on and are effected by the issues that you're addressing, and make sure you're actually serving their interests and telling their stories accurately and compassionately.

    Toward the end someone said, I wish there was a film by a mexican about this. I told them there are at least 2, "Batalla de Las Cruces" and "Preguntas Sin Respuestas," both done in the last year by Mexican directors. I think for Mexican audiences either of those films would be better than mine, but both of them appear to be in pretty limited availability.

    The evening really re-energized me, I think. It was great to show it. I want to show it in Juarez soon, though I'm a little nervous about safety concerns. I wonder how scared I should be.

    Tonite, I screen the film again in Tijuana, in a private event for a sort of union of prostitutes; a bunch of sex workers who got together to organize. they're called the Mary Magdalenes, because there are theories that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. That's pretty cool, and it should be very interesting.

    Then tommorrow I go to El Centro, a little town about 90 minutes from San Diego, to show the film there to a Latina women's group called MANA.

    I still need to get to the beach one of these days.

    World Love

    I've been in the thrall of another Magnetic Fields song for the last few days. When I originally ripped a bunch of their stuff from a friend last fall, I only grabbed some of the "69 Love Songs" album, thinking that I didn't like them enough to warrant taking up that much diskspace. Since I'm obsessed with them now, when I was back at that friend's house in Portland I ripped the rest. I totally love, earnestly and ironically, the song called "World Love." It's got this hilariously cliched "world music style" guitar riff going on underneath the whole time, I can't remember the name of that style but it's that African really bright bouncing guitar style. And then there's lyrics that are sort of snidely about overthrowing governments and also being happy at the same time. It's a biting critique but somehow i find it really sweet and profound too.

    All things must pass
    So raise a glass
    To change and chance.
    And freedom is the only law,
    Shall we dance?

    So if you're feeling low,
    Stuck in some bardo,
    I, even I, know the solution:
    Love, music, wine, and revolution.

    I love the unlikely use of the word "bardo." I had no idea what that meant till I looked it up: in Tibetan Buddhism a bardo is a waiting period between death and rebirth into your next incarnation. I kind of feel like I'm in a sort of bardo right now, so that's another reason that I like this song so much. But anyway, who the hell would ever think of using that word in a pop song? Stefin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields, that's who.