fotos: it’s the sky…

When I stop to snap a photo on my phone, nine times out of ten it’s the sky. It draws me in from the park bench or the back deck, from behind the wheel at a stop light…there it is, constant as it is changing.

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fotos: fire

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It was a little dark still
when I noticed you
reaching in
fingers wrapping either side
of the slender, south facing
window
fiery red yellow fingers
reaching in
above and around and through
the branches
of what might have seemed a
long dead tree
but I knew better
as I peered through the screen

 

fotos: friends

308422_10150422813081667_1626045117_nI have a two-part interview of one Sarah Masen up on the Image Journal “Good Letters” blog this week. It led me to this foto and I felt all kinds of sad, grief stuff for having left Nashville and the tremendous beautiful people we are now missing and then I was able to circle around the block and park in front of grateful once again, thankfully. I hope you’ll take a moment to check out the pieces on Good Letters and ultimately to listen to (and purchase) Sarah’s work. She really is remarkable and I’m not just saying that.

 

fotos: lullaby

It’s been a while since I posted an entry for “friday fotos.” It’s appropriate that I ran across this beautiful picture of the culmination of my husband’s recent work with Opera-matic, a small non profit street opera company he’s been developing. You’ll be glad to know that you can see more pics from the event held last weekend in Humboldt Park on the Facebook page. You can see more of Jim’s great photography on his site: http://www.jimnewberry.com  

Years ago, when the idea of Opera-matic was very young, the idea of the Lullaby Parade was percolating in the minds of a number of artists we knew and worked with on other projects. Dave and his partner, Mark Messing (who you’d know from the amazing Mucca Pazza fame) would often stoke the fire of this idea in between paying gigs, in between deadlines and the daily pressures of being creative small business owners in Chicago.

I saw the maiden voyage of this parade before we moved to Tennessee I think. My kids were small, some still toddling, some clinging to me. The bikes began it on that side street near the office we kept for Maestro-matic, Dave and Mark’s sound design company. The bikes rolled out, slowly on those dark streets in the Humboldt Park neighborhood. The name of that neighborhood even now gives Chicagoans pause. They shake their heads at the sound of it, it’s a place you wouldn’t catch any decent person after dark, they’d say. But the truth is that there are and have always been decent people, even in the roughest of neighborhoods. Humboldt Park is no exception.

There were children here, playing and singing, long before the attempts at gentrification. There are families everywhere-  good people, loving folks, needing beauty no matter how gang infested, graffiti covered or low income. In the food deserts and the abandoned lot riddled areas, in the places where the city shrugs its big shoulders and throws up its hands, here we hold the first essences of the Lullaby Parade. And we roll out the bikes first, like an ice cream truck without the dairy treats attached, and the singing begins as they pedal down Talman Avenue from North. And the Paper Moon is projected on, the face singing sweetly, an easy song to catch, to hold, to carry. We are a small group at first and I am, I admit, a bit afraid because my children are small, some still toddling, some clinging to me as the parade makes its way down the road.

Then a child comes to the porch, then another, then a parent, a caregiver, a grandmother and they all wander down to follow along. And we sing as we wind our way down one street, then another, never going far, never going fast. The singing continues and the streetlights burn above our heads and the Moon smiles and the stars feel closer than they have ever felt. There is some laughter and some head shaking. There is some apprehension and some unbridled joy. There is confusion and honesty and the feeling that something important started here with something so small as this, something lasting, something truthful and beautiful.

There were more tastes of this between that first Lullaby Parade and the one held last week in Humboldt Park, more small starts, more important moments, lasting, truthful and beautiful. And it’s something, that given the chance, you should not miss and I mean that. Take some time and check out the amazing work of Opera-matic and the lovely photography of Jim Newberry (and others on our Facebook page.)

See what it stirs in you.

Momentum Muri

Momentum Mori OCT 30TH 2010:Opera-Matic in the Haunted Paseo Boricua Parade.
The procession featured a Crossing Guard, Ghost horses, and Ghost bikes and was performed in collaboration with West Town Bikes and Cyclo Urbano.
Photo credit: Jim Newberry

fotos: safety fifth

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Two words you should know:
Mucca Pazza

Maybe you understand Spanish and can translate this to “Mad (as in crazy) Cow.”

Perhaps you understand what’s cool and can translate this as “30 piece Circus Punk Marching Band.”

Certainly you should buy their new CD “Safety Fifth.”

Without a doubt your life would be infinitely better if you actually got off your couch and saw them live.

Somehow. Someway. Make that happen.

fotos: being there

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This space
I populated
with young plants
in early Spring
ready, and
not quite ready,
to root-
to bloom-
to open their leaves-
to the sun’s hard work
but there it was
within a month,
like breath-
like prayer-
like promise-
a rush of color
on carpet and concrete.

harvesting the air…

There is a wind farm on either side of I-65 near Lafayette, Indiana and each time I drive through that patch of interstate I pine for those giant turbines. One summer day, I vow, I will stop at a little place I’ve seen from the road, a picnic shelter overlooking a man made lake, surrounded by cars streaming by and wind turbines turning, great arms swinging slowly singing some tune I think I ought to know, some rhythm I ought to recall but can’t because I have someplace to be. And then, as quickly as it appeared it’s gone again.

I often wonder if they are as valuable to the scientific, environmental world as they are to me in those brief few moments while I drive by. I hope so. I hope they serve some utilitarian purpose because it’s my judgement that in general the world needs to see the material value in a thing, a practice, a person, in order to want to keep it around for any length of time and I’d be gutted if the wind farms came down before I have the chance to sit at that picnic shelter on a warm summer day and pray.

In my head I plan that trip with the hope that there will be simply one moment in which I will hear the wind being collected by those long arms harvesting the air, that I will know myself as that which is being gathered in and also that which is gathering. I don’t know, it’s a little crazy that all I really need from that picnic shelter is that one sweeping moment, the moment that feels like the sudden intake of oxygen that comes before I start crying in earnest and then the complimentary exhale that arrives when the grief is ready to recede again, for a little while, for a long time but never forever. I wonder if my cells become permanently altered by grief like the lines that take up residence around my eyes after years of living, worry lines, side effects of smiling and squinting into the sun.

I imagine then I’ll leave, reluctantly, nodding some silent or maybe quietly spoken ‘thank you’ to the windmills for their time and conversation, for harvesting the air I needed to breathe again just then and always.