This week I have in my hands a beautiful little camera, the Sony a7ii with a 55mm 1.8 Zeiss lens. I rented this setup from Borrow Lenses and so far I am happy as could be with the results. Here are some photos from my first two days with the camera.
The Blues are back. Santa Cruz is one of its unlikely new homes. How do these things happen? How do cultural scenes coalesce? Bigger than the sum of its parts, a cultural movement is the product of people who will it into being. Big Jon Atkinson is a large part of the reason why the Blues is prominent in Santa Cruz, these days thanks to Larry Ingram, owner of Aptos St BBQ and Mission St BBQ. Larry is the huge force behind this development, bringing Christopher “Preacher Boy” Watkins, Big Jon Atkinson, and a deep pool of legendary Blues talent on board. Larry has live Blues music in both restaurants 7 nights a week from 6-8. Big Jon and Larry have been My last two art exhibitions have had the Blues as part of their theme, explicitly and implied through tone. The first was a series of experimental paintings with poems that was entitled “Pogonip Blues.” It was a series inspired by the idea of the Blues expressed visually and with words, in response to things that were happening around the world and here in Santa Cruz. The next extended series I worked on was entitled “Dark Fields, Bright Spots.” The Blues have historical roots in the US American South, but they speak to a universal spirit of resilience in the face of uneven odds and challenging times.
There’s a lot to think about, these days. Being thoughtful is usually considered a good thing and in an age of phone-scrolling zombies all too rare. Mindfulness, we mainly agree, is a technique that everyone could use a little more of. We can’t forget about the body, though. Sometimes, it’s ok to let go and let the body have its time at the wheel. That’s one of the goals of meditation and one of the effects of beer; freedom from mental slavery.Physical discipline is also a path to freedom. Every kinetic form has its own unique ways of getting the body to grow dominant during the time of practice. It’s not just about building the body in a pleasing form, but attuning the mind to the body and giving the body control in relation to the mind.Medical Cannabis is truly a panacea. It helps with so many things, including: building a strong appetite, creating restful sleep and providing pain relief. Training and living in the contemporary world can be enhanced by this medicinal herb.
There is so much more to food than meets the eye. Food is an expression of culture, of life itself. Food is about connection. Arctic Char, for example, is a fish related to Salmon and Trout. It is loved for its flavor and chosen for its sustainability. This fish was served at the Cremer House and it came from Royal Hawaiian Seafood.
You always heard older people talking about how fast time moves, but it wasn’t until you actually had experienced enough years to feel it for yourself that this mysterious element of time began to take shape: acceleration. My dad used to share an explanation for it. He thought that you always feel the same age internally and can remember what it was like to be younger, so the more time passes the faster it seems to go. It’s mostly an effect of the conflict between knowing that a lot of time has passed and feeling that it was just yesterday. He has a rare capacity for memory, though. He can remember slight plot details and character points from novels he read twenty years ago. When I stop to remember things that vividly stand out in my memory, like the earthquake of 1989, it doesn’t feel like yesterday, at all. For me, it feels like a different lifetime.
Blues music is a world music. Its melancholy theme of unrequited love is felt by people from all walks of life. The power of the Blues is to turn depressed feelings into beautiful sound and to transform feeling through the alchemy of music.
Gary Irving in his natural environment: the studio. Don’t be fooled by his adventure-machine (the ultimate van for exploring): he’s not all safaris and mud-flaps. This guy has compelling ideas about art, too. He’s a technical wizard who does things with Photoshop that make people scratch their heads with a dazed-by-jealousy smile. It has been a real treat to work with Gary while he is creating a masterful series depicting the Seven Sins as things we have done to the environment. Making art today would seem pretty hollow and shallow without considering our global contexts. Climate changes, nuclear proliferations, genetic modifications: there are plenty of concerns facing every human, and every living thing for that matter. Gary has a vision and it is a dark one but one that is full of intelligence and wit. For anything to change, we need first to face the problems confronting our times and that is what Irving is attempting in this series: it is a self-portrait of humanity’s vices on the edge of the brink.