author: Neal Pollack

name: Steev

average rating: 3.41

book published: 2000

rating: 5

read at: 2014/11/15

date added: 2014/12/31

shelves: children, fun, gentrification, own-it, homesteading, memoir

Just what I needed.
It was surprising how much of the book is about not just "alternative" parenting but about gentrification. The story is the story of a dude growing up and starting to value a way of life (domestic, family-based, child-centered) different than he used to, and trying to reconcile that with his values about class and urbanity and growth and re-development, etc.

Looking Back at Video Work

I don't usually do the year-end retrospective thing. But I've been meaning for a couple of months to write about my recent past as a freelance videographer

The end of this calendar year prods me into actually doing it.

Since getting back full-time into other ways of making a living, I'm spending much less time out in the world with my camera, and I sometimes feel wistful about that.  However, the fact is that if I can get myself to look at the bright side, I can look back and feel a sense of real satisfaction and pride in the number and variety of film/video projects I've been involved in over the last 18 months or so (I choose that period for 2 reasons: 1) just to buck the trend of looking back at the arbitrary unit of one year that is the habit for this season, and 2) because when I open the Raw Footage directory on my newest hard drive, the shoots I've been on stretch back about that far).

It's especially heartwarming to see, as I look back, how much of this work has been for non-profits and other good causes.

Here's a list of highlight clients and/or projects:

  • promotional film for Coaltion for Sonoran Desert Protection
  • documentation of Chico MacMurtrie's show at MOCA Tucson of Amorphic Robot Works' "Chrysalis" piece, a giant semi-intelligent kinetic sculpture.
  • documenting events for Living Streets Alliance, most notably Cyclovia Tucson
  • A promotional film about South Tucson made with Creatista for Primavera Foundation
  • A documentary about homelessness.
  • footage for some short videos about coffee, kefir, and other food things for  Edible Baja Arizona magazine.
  • Two lectures from the Institute for Applied Meditation
  • An educational video series about immigration called "Radical Hospitality" for the Mennonite USA church. 
  • documenting the SAAF Moda Provacateur fashion show
  • a wedding.
  • some bands that wanted me to film them playing live
  •  PSAs for Child and Family Resources
  •  helping a friend with a documentary about Diamond Mountain's 3-year meditation retreat.
  • Documenting the Toward a Science of Consciousness Conference at the U of Arizona 
  • instructional videos on meditation at a retreat center in Cochise Stronghold
  • fundraising videos with Creatistia for  Literacy Connects 
  • documenting the Mayor's Council on Poverty 
  • various promotional footage for the Downtown Tucson Partnership (with Creatista)
  • and finally, one of the last projects that I'm still involved with is videography for a documentary film in progress by Eva Lewis called No Man's Land, about the organizing against the Arivaca Border Patrol checkpoint. 

I was just down in Arivaca yesterday shooting stuff for the last item, so I guess I can also celebrate that I'm still doing some of this stuff. Just not trying to pay all of the bills with it.

Connected Walls Launch Party Opening VJ set

Performed live at the Global Justice Center in South Tucson on November 13, 2014 for the beginning of an event to help kick off the Connected Walls project. Source material is border-related footage produced by members of Pan Left Productions.
Music by Los Macuanos, Systema Solar, Vorpal, Chicha Libre, and Small Rocks.
more info:

Cast: steev hise and CONNECTED WALLS

Tags: live cinema, expanded cinema, video art, borders, immigration, walls, connected walls and mexico

American Psycho

American Psycho

author: Bret Easton Ellis

name: Steev

average rating: 3.80

book published: 1991

rating: 4

read at: 2014/11/16

date added: 2014/11/18

shelves: novels, own-it, fun

This is an odd novel. It's a light-hearted, absurdist satire about rich people and New York and trendiness and fashion. But it's also a violent, misogynist horror story full of ultra-graphic, impossibly extreme gore and brutality. Oh and super graphic, porn-style sex scenes.

It's one of those books where I wondered often why I was still reading, and yet couldn't put it down.

Some things I really enjoyed about it:
1. One running gag is that the narrator is always mistaking people for other people, and in turn he's always being mistaken for others. Co-workers or acquaintances come up and greet him by other names, etc. It happens so often as to be this hilarious and biting commentary on modern alienation.

2. The anachronism of the time the book is set in. It's so clearly late-80s, it almost hurts, to read about the cordless phones, video rentals, answering machines and INXS playing at the clubs.

3. The porn-style sex scenes. Really just because they, along with the killing scenes, are such a stark contrast with the rest of the book, which is mostly vapid recountings of evenings spent dining at trendy eateries and the designer brands everyone is wearing.

Anyway. I hate to admit I've never read any other Bret Easton Ellis, but this makes me want to.

"new" music: Plausibly Live

"Plausibly Live" was a project I began back in the early 'oughts, attempting to represent a sort of simulation of the last few years of my live musical performances. I carefully edited and condensed recordings of the best moments from the improvisational electronic gigs I'd done in 1998 through 2002, but then life got in the way and the results never saw the light of day, til now. There are plenty more details in the capacious liner notes on the Bandcamp page. I hope you enjoy them, and the sounds.

The Baffler: No. 25

The Baffler:  No. 25

author: John Summers

name: Steev

average rating: 4.67

book published: 2014

rating: 5

read at: 2014/10/01

date added: 2014/10/01

shelves: fun, politics, own-it


Timelapse of Arty Show at Rialto Theater, Tucson

One frame every 10 seconds, shot on a GoPro Hero3.
Off to the lower right you can see me as I do the video projections for the set, although it's hard to see much of the projection itself because of the light and fog.

Cast: steev hise

Tags: timelapase, edm, dance music, arty, rialto, live music, dj, vj and raver kids

New Tumblr about urban (re-)development and such

I started a new tumblr called Desarrollos ("Developments" in Spanish), which will be a place for me to stash stuff I find as I research for a new project about urban planning, re-development, gentrification, white flight, and related other sub-topics. Right now this project is at a very early stage, just starting to percolate at a slightly higher boil than the back-burner "I should do that someday" thoughts I've had for years on the subject. I hope you get something out of viewing the behind-the-scenes stack of source material that I will collect at the new tumblr. (Tumblrs, for those not aware, are a weird sort of ready-made blogging tool. They seem like a good idea but then it's easy, for me at least, to waste many hours tweaking themes and header images and whatnot. Which is not very productive.)

Man's Search for Meaning

Man's Search for Meaning

author: Viktor E. Frankl

name: Steev

average rating: 4.32

book published: 1946

rating: 5

read at: 2014/09/08

date added: 2014/09/10

shelves: own-it, spirit-self

This book is everything everyone praises it for and more. Highly recommended. I found it highly inspiring, moving, heartbreaking, and wise. Enough said.

Where I'm Calling From: New and Selected Stories

Where I'm Calling From: New and Selected Stories

author: Raymond Carver

name: Steev

average rating: 4.43

book published: 1988

rating: 4

read at: 2014/09/10

date added: 2014/09/10

shelves: spirit-self, own-it, short-fiction

Carver was definitely a master, and well worth reading. However - and here's where my review becomes more about personal and momentary taste - I'm not sure if he will stand the test of time, or even is doing that now. To me his characters are hard to identify with, although I can sympathize with them. It's just that often, they seem stuck in a time that's thankfully past - the sort of 40s through 60s time of couples who don't really talk, men (and in some cases women) who drink too much, get in fights, play their gender roles to the hilt, and leave their families at the drop of a hat, etc etc. Generally lots of not very conscious, unhappy, low-grade jerks, sadly bumbling through their sordid lives. Perhaps there's still a lot of people like these out there, but to me this feels dated. Carver's a a step up from Hemingway in that at least he recognizes the sadness of these people and isn't just celebrating macho stoic males. Still, I'm preferring, these days at least, fiction that resonates more and is addressing what it's like to be alive now. Perhaps I'll be accused of subscribing to the dreaded "relatability" fad, but I find more spiritual sustenance in protagonists that are more modern - folks that are vulnerable, smart, dorky, and nice, but still get into trouble and have a hard time. Following the mishaps of dudes whose flaws have mostly been addressed by my generation and demographic is interesting, but not necessarily the most useful to me in my quest to become a wiser and better person.
That said, Carver was an expert at his craft, and in the context of his background and time, is worth reading - just like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Shakespeare, etc. It's just not what's floating my boat these days.