Yesterday was my birthday. Two highlights of the year were having the first screenplay I ever wrote optioned and having the original series I wrote and starred in picked up for development by Electus. I never “announced” either of these accomplishments because I wasn’t sure how they would pan out. And as so many projects do in this town, they gently fell apart before production. Now I wish I woulda said something, rather than first needing them to be a sure thing. Because nothing is a sure thing. And I was able to put the option money toward a car (even though being car-less in LA for 5+ months was actually fantastic). And I got to brainstorm with really smart development execs and make my series even better than it was. So actually, these milestones did “pan out.” This year, I’ll celebrate accomplishments as they happen, because the present is a present and I like getting gifts. Happy birthday to me. 🎉
I had an inspiring weekend…spent Friday night watching an artist I admire paint a massive mural on a wall. We hung out til 3am in an empty parking light under a street light, goofing around, doing improv spoken word and trading ideas. You could hear the bass and trap from a busy stretch of bars just a few blocks away. I felt happy that I’ve finally figured out I’m more content being weird with the artists than I am getting drunk with the masses. Maturity: 1 point. Here are some Artgasms, to get your week started right.
The beginning of a short story I’m writing:
We held the event on Wednesdays. The day started around 2pm, when we’d wake up and not get out of bed. I’d reach for my velvet money clip into which was pinched three hand-rolled cigarettes. I’d look at Jett and say “The sun is up, buttercup.” We’d smoke and share a watermelon juice, then fuck til 4pm.
I’d get up and sweep our apartment, while Jett stayed in bed. He’d begin choosing who got the invite based on a system of social credit only he understood, then he started making calls. In between calls I could hear him scribbling in a notebook, and I knew he was revising the rules.
I loved listening to Jett, the way he spoke, tough-guy twang coated with a cadence all his own. I didn’t always agree with the rules. I thought guests should be allowed to just observe the first time, but Jett was adamant everyone partake. “Go deep or go home,” he liked to say. I think that rule prevented some worthy people from getting involved. But I didn’t have much time to think about it. Our wait-list was already four weeks long, full of philosophers and candy kids, scientists and celebrities. Psychedelic warriors all of them, brave in their quest to lift the veil.
A music video I love … “Retrograde” by James Blake … the video is eerie and abstract, song is insanely beautiful:
Hope you have a good week, everyone! What’s inspiring you these days?
A beguiling mix of electronic music, performance art, and savvy viral marketing, iamamiwhoami is the multimedia project you’re about to fall in love with (if you can learn how to say it). The brainchild of Swedish artist Jonna Lee and her longtime producer Claes Björklund, iamamiwhoami has been very busy since their first YouTube upload in 2009: at least two albums, 20+ music videos released in “real time,” sneaky marketing tactics (like keeping Lee’s identity shrouded in secrecy and sending MTV a package with lock of blond hair, a piece of bark, and a pictogram of the six animals featured in their first six videos with the question “Says what?”) awards, tours, and even their own record label–To Whom It May Concern.
The sound is ambient, a dance-y blend of synth and trip hop. The true entertainment value is iamamiwhoami’s live performance. I saw their U.S. debut at September’s Symbiosis Festival. Lee wore a giant coat covered in fur and danced in front of a white screen, the lights playing at her silhouette, her white-blonde hair like flying around like a sorceress. Her dance moves were borderline dorky, her energy captivating.
At its core, iamamiwhoami is what can happen when creative minds embrace the publicity potential of the internet, like the live concert they streamed for three hours from a forest on their site towhomitmayconcern.cc. Check out these cross-genre Swedes and watch their video for “play” below. You’ll be glad you did.
Want to bottle it/want to burn it/want to love it but haven’t earned it.
I wrote that phrase a year ago to describe the feeling of my different creative ideas noodling through my brain, clamoring to be expressed. I keep returning to the phrase, because although I’ve gotten better at channelling my ideas into projects, they still threaten to consume me.
A big problem is that I’m equally passionate about writing, filmmaking, and being on-camera. Breaking it down even further, I love the depth and freedom of prose, but have the most fun screenwriting. I love producing, really pulling a project together, but know ultimately I’ll want to direct for full creative cohesion. I still want to be the heroine/ingenue on-screen, but know I’m more of a comedic character actor.
It’s a good problem to have, being lit up by multiple mediums. But I’m dividing my creative energies, and to get anywhere I need to laser focus. But there are lots of successful “slashies” these days, Lena Dunham, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, David Lynch, Sam Shepard. So do I really need to pick just one?
I’m also just back from a camping and music adventure, been sleeping under the stars with the electro hippies. I’m always grumpy when I have to return to the grid. Always questioning my life and the choices I make.
The adventure was called Symbiosis, and many magical events transpired. I witnessed the first ever iamamiwhoami performance in America, she’s a Swedish multimedia artist and absolute inspiration. Saw my first Butoh dance performance, it was bizarre, chilling, terrifying, mesmerizing. I got a massage for my danced-out muscles, at the end I opened my eyes and realized I’d met the bodyworker a year ago in Bali. Leaving the fest, I picked up four hitchhikers, the kind of professional travelers who move through the world without money or a plan. An hour down the road I got tired and we all took a nap in the grass in front of a church. Two kittens appeared, my spirit animals. Cats always appear to keep me company.
Out at the fest it doesn’t matter what medium I’m pursuing. No one’s pursuing anything other than that night’s good time. Good friends, good music, a good buzz, a good life. All that matters is sharing a flashlight with my neighbor a few tents over, if the line for breakfast burritos is too long, that we’ll meet stage left if we get separated.
I stayed in this past weekend, since getting home. Working on these different mediums, listening to James Blake, letting his creative output dance with mine, reading through old notebooks, because reading old stuff is important, it’s staying in the swirl, the place where ideas are born. Muse/use absorb/be born. Writing at night is my truth. I like to take breaks and go outside, observe the electric streetlight competing with the moon.
I’ve been thinking about this blog, that I don’t want it to be generic, bland, or afraid to offend. It grinds my gears to reread something and find my writing is general. I do this when I’m suffering from I-want-everyone-to-like-me-itis. I don’t dig deep, I go for the easy out. Oh shit. Blogging is a whole other medium, ain’t it? And so I return to my original question, because sometimes this blog is a forum to set forth ideas, and sometimes it’s a place to receive answers. What do you think? Should an artist pick one creative medium?
Golden light through paradise windows. Spiritual offerings by women in lace. Motorbikes to ride, nasi goreng to eat. Smell of petrol, of seaweed, of burning trash. Sand, yoga, tourists. My nails are painted yellow. My nose is burned red.
Bali was a very good idea.
The guy at customs on Bali saw California on my passport and told me he won a trip to Universal Studios when he was a kid. He’d won a worldwide competition that was a promo for the movie “Space Jam,” winning a 5 night stay in L.A. for him and his whole family. I asked him how it went. He smiled the glorious Balinese smile. “L.A. was paradise.” Funny. I left L.A. for his island in search of the same thing.
This is my first trip to Indonesia, or Asia in general, and I’m fascinated by everything. Driving on the roads is a unique experience…
Over the weekend, I went to Gallery 169 in Santa Monica for the opening of Chris Burkard’s show “Dispatches.” Chris is a magician with a lens (he also happens to be my nephew). The show features some of his radical surf photography from around the world, places you don’t usually associate with surfing like Russia and Iceland. He’s a staff photographer for Surfer, shoots for Patagonia and Quicksilver, is a yogi, family man, and all around cool human. Oh, and he just published his THIRD photography book. You might say I’m really proud of him (and inspired by him, and he’s younger than me–sigh!).
Here are just a few of his incredible images, surf and otherwise, check the show at Gallery 169, it’s there til September 21st!
Over the weekend, I was confronted with a choice: go inside and join a group, or hop a fence and be with nature.
I’d been invited to a gathering by a friend, and was *supposed* to be acting sociable. But I wasn’t in the mood, so I hid in the bathroom. A woman came in. Her name was Uma and she had pixie hair. She said she was going outside, did I want to join? We pushed open a heavy door. The afternoon air was fresh and warm and a grove of trees rustled just beyond a chain-link fence. We sat and talked in the sun, then reached through the fence to pick blackberries.
More than once, someone asked us to come back inside. Our rebellion seemed to bug them. But I was ready to take it one step further. To me, a fence doesn’t represent a barrier, it begs a challenge. You might say I have a problem with authority.
Yet, I didn’t want to disrespect the friend who’d brought me there, and I know group mentality comes from an essentially positive place of wanting to protect the tribe, so I just about relented and went back in. Then a cat ran out of the trees! A little tabby with bright green eyes! She stopped and stared at me, daring me to come play. And I thought, if I’m an artist then my whole m.o. should be defining myself as separate from the group, and other existential reasonings that boil down to this: I’m not a fucking joiner. I hopped the fence!
And spent a soul-satisfying, life-affirming afternoon with the trees. I picked more blackberries. I peed in the bushes. I laid in the grass, looked at the clouds and knew the truth: our human experience is as infinite as the moon’s daily pursuit of the sun. What I mean is, happiness isn’t reserved for some people, only some of the time. I tend to forget this.
Uma didn’t hop the fence, she let me do my thang. The best teachers know when to let a wild one roam. As the sky shifted and I made my way back to The Fence, I found myself getting caught in brambles. When I looked up from tugging my clothes free, I saw a well-worn path illuminated by the sun, just a few feet away.
Sometimes we choose a more difficult road, but it only takes a moment to walk back in the light.
I’m loving this book by David Lynch on his creative process and experiences with Transcendental Meditation. Organized in short chapters with delightfully Lynchian titles like “Suffocating Rubber Clown Suit” (on overcoming depression and anxiety to find your creative flow), the book provides insight into the wild mind of a brilliant filmmaker who’s a pretty deep dude. I highly recommend!