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Monday, June 30, 2008
Sunday was the 2008 San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration & Parade. Upon arriving downtown before the festivities started, The Boy and I decided that this must be the biggest party that San Francisco has ever had.
The air was ebullient, full of excitement. Rainbows and feathers were in abundance. The crowd was truly a melting pot of every age, sex, race and religion, and everyone seemed to share a common spirit of goodwill.
What struck me most of all is how happy such an immense crowd of people could be.
Since the California Supreme Court recently struck down a ban on same-sex marriages, the crowd and parade had couples announcing their newly minted marriages. Many couples I saw proudly proclaimed their engagements of 15, 20+ years, having waited so long for the day that they could legally be married. I did get misty-eyed a few times seeing the joy on people's faces as they proudly walked past me, legally married or soon to be.
It's unclear whether this ban will survive past the elections in November, but for the people I saw today, so happy in a way that many others of us take for granted, I hope we continue to live and let live.
See the rest of my pics here.
Going to the chapel and we're gonna to get married. Going to the chapel and we're gonna to get married. Gee, I really love you and we're gonna to get married. Going to the chapel of love.
Spring is here, the sky is blue. Whoa! the birds all sing as if they knew. Today's the day, we'll say, "I do" and we'll never be lonely anymore.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
I forgot, did I show you guys the little "trailer" I made for Christian's upcoming show at The EXIT Theatre?
I think it turned out pretty cool (with a little added music magic from Wes Anderson).
I'm going to see his show again, and I'm really looking forward to it. I hope you will come to the show too, if you're in town. Let me know if you are!
Reviews are here and here and The EXIT Theatre's info is here.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Her beautiful photo of sunflowers (she is one of my photography-inspirational cheerleading angels), the lovely poem and her personal fairy tale are something I think you'll enjoy. And make you think about what kind of seed you might be.
Give the Gypsy Girl a visit here.
Gypsy Girl's post reminded me of some photos I took last week at the Chihuly exhibit that is currently on display at the deYoung Museum. These magnificent works of glass, vibrant exotic gardens of shapes and color, all lovingly and painstakingly grown from grains of sand birthed in fire...if you can make it to see these works, you will be astonished by their incredible beauty.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
The photo shoot I had over the weekend gave me a magnificent opportunity to practice my developing photographic skills with a gorgeous, willing and effervescent model, but also to dip back into my recent past as a professional makeup artist.
I had not realized until then how much I missed doing makeup on someone else.
Like any profession, once you're in it, you get used to things that at first struck you as incredibly exciting and wonderful.
And like any profession, you find that it calls for a wider range of skills than you initally imagined it would.
In many instances, a makeup artist is a confessor, confidant, advisor, therapist. When you gently cup someone's face in your hands to smooth on a primer or thoughtfully gaze at the face before you, thinking about what technique or color you will choose next, the effect on the person in your makeup chair can be extraordinary.
Not only do you develop an eye to paint and sculpt the features, but you develop an ear and a sensitivity: to the Other sitting right in front of you. Their insecurities, their hopes, their heartbreak, their desires. Being both a witness and creator of their transformation brings out their need to explain, to wish, to share. Not all the time, but it happens. Sometimes that was a nice part of the job, sometimes it was a burden.
There are two kinds of faces: the ones that barely need the touch of a brush or a whisper of lipstick and they are done, perfect. And there are the other faces, where you look for the beauty and plan your work as a surveyor would gaze out to the horizon, mapping the terrain. Those faces have the eyes that look to you with a mixture of admiration and trepidation. They already feel incomplete, and expect to be disappointed. But it is for those faces that you pull out all the stops, to make them realize they are so much more in reality than the jumble of brushes and products.
That it's not a fluke that they are worth noticing.
All those little memories came flooding back as I did the makeup for the shoot, as my brain started to remember the process and the details of technique. Not that she needed much to enhance her loveliness. It was just touching a face again, looking at beautiful eyes (always my favorite) that made me realize how much I missed my old world.
Another thing about the world of makeup artists is the sense of family and comaraderie. There can be fierce competition, to be sure, because makeup artistry can also be as much about the ego as it is about giving to someone else. The performance and cult of the artist is definitely part and parcel of this business.
But there is also the other side, the understanding and sisterhood (and brotherhood) that develops between artists who enjoy each other's work. Through blogging, I have made the acquaintance of a very talented and generous makeup artist whose love of makeup and all things vintage mirrors my own: Katie of Old Hollywood Glamour. I encourage you to check out her blog, and if you're in the New York area, perhaps you'll be lucky to have her create her magic on you.
The day before my photo shoot, I came home to a large envelope that had arrived the mail. In it was a stockpile of goodies: pristine, new-in-the-box bronzer, blush, lipgloss, lipsticks, eye shadow. (You don't know what the sight of brand new product does to a makeup artist. We get all fluttery and weak in the knees.) All perfect shades and products that could be used for the next day's photos, and enclosed with a sweet note and a heart, to boot.
How did she know? Ah, the wisdom of the makeup artist. To provide the unexpected, with a flourish.
Thank you, Miss Katie. You were the cherry on my Sunday sundae!
Sunday, June 22, 2008
My only sunshine.
You make me happy
When skies are grey.
Sunshine brings more sunshine into the world.
(And lovely sunshine is here, too.)
Friday, June 20, 2008
I just borrowed this video from mackin ink because it's too sweet and original not to share with my friends, too.
You'll love it when you see it.
If you haven't read mackin ink's blog before, you're in for a gigantic treat. She's a young mom living in Jordan with three lovely little girlies.
I'm totally hooked on this gal. You'll see why when you read this post.
happy weekend, world!
I don't think there's a good answer.
It's a trick question.
Last night The Boy tried to convince me to go to The Fillmore with him to see Ted Nugent. I had an idea that I do not like Ted Nugent, but since I could not name any of his songs, I couldn't say exactly why I do not like him.
First, The Boy said, "You know, he's the guy who sang Cat Scratch Fever." (And then he sang the riff and played his air guitar: Nah nah nah-nah!)
That was not enough to convince me.
Then he thought I might want to go, "not to listen to the music, but to see the historic Fillmore." (Playing on my love of history and historic places. The Fillmore was host to all the great legends of rock. The Who's playing there? You bet. Cream? Sure. The Doors? Absolutely.)
Nice angle. No dice.
I stayed home and futzed around with my photos and enjoyed Clark Gable razzing Claudette Colbert in It Happened One Night. (I like it when he calls her "Brat.") And The Boy went off alone, dressed in his concert garb (black tee shirt) to hopefully scalp his extra ticket and see "The Nuge."
This morning I got the lowdown on the show. Apparently the audience who goes to see The Nuge is not incredibly diverse. "A bunch of white guys who look like car mechanics" and about "twelve women" who absolutely did not register on any Babe-ometer. I am not going to describe them.
I'm sure you can imagine my relief at not having gone, even to admire the historic Bill Graham posters.
When I asked The Boy to tell me a little more about the music, he said that this music "is the kind you would listen to if you were in an army tank." And he played me some songs. I think he's right. We tried to dance to The Nuge. (It's impossible.)
The Boy said, "You know, it's funny how I really like Cole Porter, too."
I told him that it's the sign of a crazy person to be able to hold two diametrically opposed things in one's mind at the same time and like them both equally, and after he stopped laughing, he said, "You're going to miss me when I'm gone."
Someone else can have The Nuge for their tank.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
I'm sure you can tell right now that my Canon has got me wrapped around its dear little lens.
I didn't want to turn this blog into a photography blog and further confuse those of you who used to come here to read about tango and wonder what the hell happened to that.
So I'm trying to keep my meat and veggies separate and stop mushing things together on my plate.
I've made up a new blog, where I can post photos in groupings that please me and not have to worry when I'm at a loss for words. I guess I can do this on flickr, too, but that's a whole other black hole and I can't even get started on that.
Please do stop on by--femme:fotographie. I'll be glad to see you there at my new blog, too.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Lovely Cyd Charisse now lives on only on the big screen.
For those of you who enjoyed this clip, and this one, you might want to read about Cyd from her obit in the New York Times.
Although the Times highlights some other of her more famous movies, I've included another scene that I think is completely fabulous and shouldn't be missed.
(And, if you didn't know that Ricardo Montalban was as gorgeous and as hot as can be--your only recollections of him are from Star Trek II and Fantasy Island--then you are in for a huge Latin treat.)
But perhaps this is the most romantic remembrance of Cyd (I think):
Oh, to be that beautiful and graceful. She was a goddess.
Darśana (Darshan) is a Sanskrit term meaning "sight" (in the sense of an instance of seeing or beholding; from a root dṛś "to see"), vision, apparition, or glimpse. ~ from Wikipedia.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
“Logic only gives man what he needs...Magic gives him what he wants.” ~ Tom Robbins
On Saturday, at 8a.m., on a fogged-in San Francisco morning, I think I started a whole new love affair...
These photos are from my very first real photo shoot, not with a building or a flower, but with a willing human being, a fabulously talented and quite photogenic man named Christian Cagigal.
Christian, you may remember from an earlier post, is a magician. (And an actor as well with the famous/infamous San Francisco Mime Troupe, but right now to me he is Christian the Magician.) I met Christian after seeing his highly imaginative and enthralling one-man show, The Pandora Experiment. And now, I'm happy to say that he's a new friend, too.
Christian and I arranged to take some photos for the next production of The Pandora Experiment, which will be opening in late July, and then to take new photos for his show that will be premiering in New York at the Fringe Festival and which is still in development.
We wandered all over Golden Gate Park, in the mist and fog, amongst the carousel horses, thickets of trees and underground passageways, carrying two trunks filled with his magical devices. I blew through two sets of batteries and filled a 2GB memory card full of images (that's a first) and came home with several hundred photos.
I am so thrilled with the outcome. It's more than I could have even asked for on a first attempt. I feel like I've been given a magic box, and when I hold it in my hands, I can communicate with anyone in the world.
My magic box is my camera.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
For those of you who were so sweet to write a comment recently on my post, "The Ejection Fraction of Love," I wanted to give you an update on how your kind words and thoughts really helped.
The day before yesterday, I talked to my mom and she and my grandma were at the doctor's again, for another round of tests. My grandma is out of the hospital and has been staying with my mom, but it seems like the docs still haven't really figured out Grandma's medications and she really isn't feeling that well yet.
They were sitting in the waiting room and my mom was whispering in the phone to me. I could hear the tiredness and frustration in her voice. She told me that Grandma has been crying--she's just so tired of being sick, and she's frightened.
I told my mom that as soon as they got back home, that she should read Grandma the post I had written about her, not so much my story, but to see all of the wonderful comments that YOU had written back.
So she did.
I talked with my grandma last night after work, to check in with her. I asked her if Mom had read the post and your comments to her, and immediately her voice brightened. She was SO happy--really, she was. I told her that people wrote to her from Paris and New York and the Phillipines and Scotland and Morocco and all over the USA, and I could hear the astonishment and wonder in her voice, unmasked.
I asked her if she wanted to dictate a personal message that I could post on her behalf, and this is what Grandma wanted you to know:
"Hello, all you wonderful people out there in the world. Thank you so much for your wonderful messages. You made me so happy. You have no idea how much they helped to perk up an old lady! I am so grateful that you cared about me and wrote to me. You made me feel so much better. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."
So, my friends, what can I add to that, except thank you from the bottom of my heart, too.
PS. Setting the historical record straight: Grandma wanted you to know that she was three years old when that photo was taken, and that her mother made her dress and knitted her little socks. The dress was made of black velvet.
She doesn't know for sure if she won any money in the Beautiful Child contest, but she did win a little trophy. At some point, burglars broke into the house and stole the trophy (!) and her mother was heartbroken. So my grandma never remembered seeing the trophy because it all happened when she was so young, but she's still very proud of the photo and is super thrilled you liked it, too.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Red vs. Blue, Me Against You.
(Which is still probably about 99.9% of the planet. I don't think the US has this category locked up, although we're doing a damn good job as a frontrunner.)
"Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader", every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known." ~ Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot
And one last very cool version here.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
From Reuters: "Friday 13th not more unlucky, study shows"
(Usually a title like this would immediately make me think of an Oreo or a jelly donut, but not this time.)
"'Beauty,' i.e., that which makes something interesting, is related to a mixture of regularity and irregularity. When things are too regular, we usually find them to be uninteresting because they yield no surprises for us. Complementary to this, highly irregular things are often uninteresting because they make no sense. In the middle, between regularity and irregularity, lies a place where things can be understood, but not completely." ~ Title and excerpt from The Computational Beauty of Nature by Gary William Flake.
I can't say that I'll even begin to understand half of what this guy talks about in his book, but I liked the quote above and found it interesting and true in an Alice in Wonderland kind of way, when you sit down and give it a bit of a think.
I love it when a concept, however fleeting in my little noggin, sparks a flash of insight and then I say, Oh yeah! I get it.
Even if the concept swiftly disappears again. At least for a moment, I understand. It's like a pop quiz to see if my brain can rise to the occasion.
I was looking for some text to accompany a few photos I took the other day on one of my lunchtime walks, photos that turned out all fractal-ly cool and unintentionally cosmic. I was trying to apply the author's concept to these photos to see if it could help me determine which one was the most beautiful. Which one do you like best?
I love having the ability to see an altered universe sometimes, without anything else except for my trusty camera.
One of my favorite and visually entertaining ways of getting a mind-bending view of the universe is here.
The Elegant Universe is a fascinating fall through the Rabbit Hole, and you can see the entire program here. For free. No strings attached. (Ha ha, my little string theory joke for today.)
Not that I'm trying to be a physics pusher or anything.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
"Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly." ~ M.F.K. Fisher, An Alphabet for Gourmets
Tonight I just had one of the culinary treats of my life. Not only was it a night of delicious food, but even more memorable, it was an unexpected experience of sheer generosity and welcoming and sharing.
You might remember my little friend C. Tonight I was keeping The Boy company at the salon while he got a manicure, with little C chatting up a storm (she and The Boy get along famously, like two peas in a pod). She was telling us in great detail about her first visit to the bowling alley.
As The Boy was the last appointment, C's mother and aunt were closing up shop while C's dad, grandma and grandpa waited so the family could go home after a long day. C's aunt Mai asked us if we had any plans for dinner, and then invited us to join them for a "real" Vietnamese meal.
What a treat.
They took us to a restaurant called Tay-Giang (2543 Noriega). Mai said that it's one of the only Vietnamese restaurants in town that they think is truly good enough to visit often, and to bring guests.
Since our experience with Vietnamese food only extends to iced coffee, pho and spring rolls, we were excited to hear about the extensive menu, with specialties we would never know to order or that aren't even offered in most Vietnamese restaurants.
As C's aunt ordered in rapid-fire Vietnamese to the waiter, The Boy attempted to practice his nascent Vietnamese to the delight of our hosts. Almost immediately, the first treat arrived, my fresh coconut drink. Of course, I had been expecting a drink in a glass, but to my astonishment, the drink came right in the coconut, just as nature had intended! Mai explained how to drink the water inside with a straw and then eat the meat with the small spoon.
Then came dish after dish of the most incredible food. I stopped taking pictures after the first few dishes (they were very amused that I am toting a camera around for all eventualities) but seemed pleased that I was documenting our feast.
Mai explained how to soak the translucent, hard rice sheets in the bowls of hot water to soften them, and then how to roll the delicious fried catfish with the fresh mint leaves, basil, pickled onions, mung bean sprouts, carrots and cucumbers. Already a fan of fish sauce, I am now enamoured of the preserved fish sauce with garlic, which Mai wasn't going to let me try until I convinced her I would like it.
Plate after plate of glorious food, full of fresh vegetables and vitality, kept arriving to our crowded table. But more lovely than the food was the sharing of information: about this food compared to the food in Vietnam (sign me up and I'm already saving for plane fare), the people of Vietnam, the money exchange, the weather there.
Every question we asked inspired a smile from our hosts and sometimes a giggle. In between questions, we stuffed ourselves silly.
At the end of the meal, we were not allowed to pay for our portion. They insisted: No! We wanted you to know what real Vietnamese food is like.
Real Vietnamese food and real Vietnamese hospitality. My tummy is full and my heart is fuller. Who could have guessed that a little nail salon in a nondescript neighborhood would bring such a wonderful exchange of culture and thoughtfulness? Sometimes I feel my life is truly, truly charmed.
On Sunday, The Boy and I made a pilgrimage to Mission Dolores. I should say it was something of a cinematic pilgrimage because, as Hitchcock devotees, it's one of the rare places where Hitch did film on location (he was loathe to film anywhere outside of a soundstage).
Aside from being a scenic star in the film Vertigo, Mission Dolores is the oldest intact building in San Francisco, opening its doors on June 29, 1776. This is the only remaining mission chapel of the twenty-one missions established under the direction of Father Juniperro Serra. The Mission has been present for the entire course of San Francisco's "modern" history, including the California Gold Rush and the 1906 quake.
It was a peaceful day, inside and out. The cemetery was serene. It's a rare sensation to be in a place that truly spans generations of history. Those places feel more real to me than any others.
Inside the small adobe mission building, the light was quiet and golden. The air was cool and smelled faintly of incense. The mission itself has the air of history more so than of worship. The original altar from the late 1700s is flanked by various priestly figures made of plaster, some in aspects of adoration and others more worldly. The statue I remember most seemed more of a soldier in a monk's robe, holding a cross in one hand and a raised sword in the other.
The basilica next door is much newer than the mission, constructed in 1918. It was deserted and beautiful in its purity of total quiet. The space is full of gentle arches that swell to support the dome, annexes filled with saints and candles that wait for the devoted. Some walls are covered with tiny, glinting mosaics of gilded and colorful tiles that delight the eye.
While we sat inside the basilica, The Boy and I quietly discussed what it means to have a community of spirit. The Boy feels that a church is a good and valuable place for people to feel uplifted and share a common purpose. I too am all for that, as long as those beliefs do not come at the cost of another human's freedom (and by freedom, I mean of one's own physical person, education and opinions) or their life. As someone who has personally experienced religious intolerance at different times in my life, the flip side of a mission's purpose has more prominence in my sensibilities.
I believe that the certain spiritual feeling that people crave can emanate from other endeavours and other places, too, where people are drawn together, perhaps work together, and feel inspiration from a larger purpose.
The missions especially distinctly embody the intersection of two cultures, European and Native American. But certain cultures are now extinct, consumed: the Ohlone and Miwok Indians. Who speaks for them?
Below is a selection from my bedtime reading lately. More than anything, I think it is that sense of awe we crave above all else.
"By far the best way I know to engage in the religious sensibility, the sense of awe, is to look up on a clear night. I believe that it is very difficult to know who we are until we understand where and when we are. I think everyone in every culture has felt a sense of awe and wonder looking at the sky. This is reflected in the world in both science and religion. Thomas Carlyle said that wonder is the basis of worship. And Albert Einstein said, 'I maintain that the cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest motive for scientific research.' So if both Carlyle and Einstein could agree on something, it has a modest possibility of even being right." ~ Excerpted from The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God, by Carl Sagan.
Photos all happily taken by me: part of the Mission Dolores Basilica, Fr. Serra in the cemetery, sunlight on science books at Adobe Bookstore on 16th Street. More photos of the day can be found here.
For those of you who want to learn more about the intersections of expansion and the Native Americans, please read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. Although it doesn't speak directly to the Miwok and Ohlone experience, it is an important book, hearbreaking and necessary reading for all.
Monday, June 9, 2008
I received this very lovely award from The Elementary last week. I was so touched by her heartfelt recommendation, and having the feeling that you actually make someone's day, that someone looks forward to checking in with you and seeing what you've written...and that person might be me, is sublimely wonderful. It does give you the giggles inside a little.
But then part of receiving this honor is to choose five other blogs that you feel the same way about. That's when I got stuck. I really was quite torn and then it became a much bigger issue in my mind (I think it was bringing back some residual memories from elementary school). I couldn't pick just five. I had a really hard time narrowing it down to the ones I did pick.
Some of these blogs might be new to you, but they are ones that I look forward to reading on a daily basis. Thankfully, I don't have to pick The Elementary again, because I've got her covered as the person who bestowed this honor...
In no particular order (except for alphabetical), please enjoy the delightful blogs of:
Aurea: Mary-Laure's blog covers a beautiful gamut: life in Paris and other locales, musings on fashion, art, love and she even has a puppy/Oracle named Benjy who will consult with you on matters of the heart and warddrobe.
Come Sit by My Fire: Sweet Relyn, who is like sunshine on a cloudy day. Or like gentle, soft rain when you need to cool down and relax your mind.
FogBay: Fantastic daily photography (how does he do it?!) and incredibly interesting anecdotes of San Francisco's varied and colorful past and present. Truly a must read for anyone interested in our fair city.
Octavine Illustration: Someday I want to have a gallery wall of her work. I love her stories behind the paintings. A very talented lady who seems to draw things just for me.
Paris Parfait: Brilliant, insightful writing and poetry, and eye candy galore of Paris' antiques and shop windows. Great for an afternoon's daydreams.
Primitive Culture: Xander's amazing photographs and equally fascinating narratives make me want to follow in his tracks wherever he goes.
What Possessed Me: Where I go first when I need to be amused by someone who's very funny and very smart. And very smarty-pants.
The rules, for those of you above...kind of one of those taggy deals. Please mention me in a link, and then choose five of your favorite blogs that make your day, letting them know in a comment or email. If you can, that is...either way, you make my day!
Why not learn to enjoy the little things - there are so many of them. ~ Author Unknown
I'm just getting ready for work and wanted to dash off a little something and wish all of you a good day. Don't really have much to say this morning as I'm still waking up, but I saw this little friendly guy yesterday and thought he'd make you smile, too.
(Finally taking photos again after a short hiatus, yippee!)
Catch you later, my peeps.