Sunday, July 15, 2012

The external manifestations may have changed since the days of MADMEN, but the fundamental issues remain the same...

CHECK OUT this link. WATCH this kickstarter video (the project has already been funded). And while you're at it, check out the rest of ANITA SARKEESIAN's website: FEMINIST FREQUENCY.

This is unreal.  Shocking. Disturbing. Inspiring...

These comments are such outward and unmistakably hateful representations of clear cut issues and yet somehow, they can be so difficult to effectively and intelligently refute. It's all right there, the whole gamut - anger, hatred, fear, attempting to turn the issues back in on themselves by attacking the messenger with skewed versions of the message ("Claims women should(n't) be sexualized and then wears a low cut top in most videos." "Why do you have long hair? Why are you playing into the stereotype that women should have long hair? Why don't you have a buzzcut? Are you sexist or something?"), not valuing the addressing of social/cultural issues as important or as art - and subsequently not recognizing the making of art as a VITAL occupation that costs money and deserves compensation...  

I feel the hit this woman must be taking in receiving these comments. While I receive much love and respect from women and men alike through my work with KULTUR SHOCK, there is another, very predominant side to the public position I am in as a female musician writing, recording, producing, and touring in the rock world, that all too often brings me face to face with this mentality, this language, this treatment, and these issues. Subtle or blatant - from male sound engineers who ignore me, to women who question/judge/make fun of the hair on my legs and my choice not to hide it, to audience members who think shoving a camera up my skirt while I'm performing is their right - the danger is the same.

The most disturbing part? Even though these comments (a reflection of comments/messages/interactions that I receive/experience on an almost daily basis ranging from subtly subversive and objectifying to wildly offensive and inappropriate) are so clearly hateful and illustrate the exact points SARKEESIAN is making, I can still observe a convolution within myself at the level of internal reaction as to their validity - their 'right' and 'wrong.' If I wear a tight skirt, is it my fault? Am I 'asking' for it? As soon as I let myself even ask those questions, the answers scream back, but clearly something remains unresolved at a deep level in even needing to ask...

PROGRAMMING. It is a huge player in this game. And in my opinion, at the root of why in 2012, we are still dealing with these issues so predominantly. The external manifestations may have changed since the days of MADMEN, but the fundamental issues remain and the subtle, unconscious ways they are perpetuated are almost more dangerous then the obvious and irrefutable.

At the moment, I'm not even necessarily talking about the pop-culture/media/advertising worlds (which are clearly HUGE components in the orchestration, perpetuation, and shaping of this mentality). I'm talking about the roles we continue to carry out even as we actively speak out and fight against them. I'm talking about the thoughts we continue to have in the privacy of our own minds, unaware of their toxicity and implications, because they are that deeply embedded into our social/cultural norms and belief systems. I'm talking about the difference between the advancements at the surface level of our minds that have given women a lot of power and freedom to choose their path and explore it as any man could, and the reactions against this that continue to surface from the depths - surprising us, driving us, holding us back. I'm talking about my personal beliefs that strongly expand the most common definitions of physical beauty to include leg hair on a woman and my gut reactions of disgust or embarrassment in seeing it on myself.

These are the real dangers - the aspects of internal programming that have been formed and shaped at such a deep level, they haven't caught up with the changes in our personal belief systems. Lurking in the shadows at the unconscious levels of reaction, they keep us from truly moving forward. They keep us silent, they make us hostile, they keep us accepting and acting out the same patterns. And when I say "us" in this context, I mean all of us - men and women, equally. We are all contributing to the continued acceptance and perpetuation of these issues. It is what SARKEESIAN is addressing through analyzing women's roles in pop culture and it is what I am working to address through my research, writing, making, and performing.

As I search for effective, non-aggressive ways of calling out and clearly communicating these issues - and how we as a global community can shift them - I take great inspiration in the discovery of this woman and her work. Let us all lead by example and non-aggressively attack these issues at their core with TRUTH.


Friday, July 6, 2012

Friday, April 27, 2012

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

shame - in action.

shame is so interesting....SO INTERESTING. i am currently working on a piece about shame and about women. about women's participation in misogyny - in their own oppression. about my forming theory that shame is at the crux of why we (women) perpetuate these stereotypic roles and the unrealistic standards we're held to - the unrealistic standards we hold ourselves to...

i had this image of a wedding dress that gets rained on and dragged through the mud, collecting debris as a dance ensues, a path weighed down with burden is's meditative. it's soft. it's heavy. it's trapped. at times, it's a bit violent.


i got my hands on a wedding dress today. i put it on and started experimenting in the garden and surrounding areas where the piece is being built/shown. i took a photo of myself to document this process, this emerging character, an image of this dress in action, in its new environment. i took a few photos. and i decided i wanted to post one on facebook - to show process, and as promotion for these upcoming performances i have yet to officially announce. i struggled with which to pick - i wanted to show an accurate representation of what i'm working on, but i didn't want to show anything that could be objectified. because if it was objectified, it was my fault. i asked for it by wearing that dress in the first place, by showing some of my bare skin, by allowing myself to be in a photo and then publishing that photo.


there it is, right there - SHAME.


shame means we don't allow ourselves to be beautiful. shame means we don't allow ourselves to be powerful. shame means we require ourselves to be beautiful. shame means the definition of beauty is very narrow. shame means put on makeup, do your hair, shave your legs, loose weight. shame means hide yourself - hide your uniqueness, your true self. shame means don't wear clothing that reveals your shape or your skin. shame means wear clothing that reveals your shape and your skin. shame means don't speak up. shame means don't be too good at anything, or at least don't advertise it. shame means don't need or want or seek being seen. shame means being seen equals fulfillment. shame means mold to the status quo. shame means rebel to the extreme opposites of the status quo. shame means don't be you. shame means i am bad...


(*men experience shame too! i'm just more interested in how it affects women at this particular moment...)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

thoughts on performance - an argument for the importance of multiple performances of a work

in the performing arts, the evolution of the work continues through the performance itself. things happen in performance that just don't happen any other time. discoveries are made through each performance of a work that deepens the work, deepens the experience for the performer. through the repetition, it becomes a deeper meditation. there is a life that is breathed into a work when it is being witnessed that grows the work in a way creating and rehearsing in isolation just cannot. the accumulation and growth of knowledge about a work through the medium of the performance itself is so great that in every piece i have ever created or participated in of this nature, it is only after the last of multiple performances that i feel i know enough about the piece to perform it. after.

performance is not like many other art forms - it can be filmed and photographed, but beyond that, there is nothing tangible that has been created. there is no artifact to take with you. it is transient. it only truly exists for the span of the performance itself. and in filming a performance (which is very different than filming something that wasn't created for and presented to a live audience), the essence is lost. the spirit and energy coursing through the environment cannot be captured.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


the xertube is my new jam! these arms are getting ROCKED.

xertubing accompanied by episodes of the x-files = my new favorite thing.

notes from mr. washington...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

patience and perseverance

last tuesday morning, i got real brave and went to an intermediate/advanced modern technique class. i flailed around, desperately trying to integrate the onslaught of information. my heart pumped. my muscles screamed. i felt an immense heaviness as i attempted to move about the space. i exceeded the point of exhaustion. tingling. dizziness. the feelings that come just before passing out... i sat out the end of the class with my head between my knees and left on the verge of tears. so defeated. feeling as if i was about to break.

i want to clear out space to dedicate myself to this thing i am TERRIBLE at?! i want to move further and further from the violin - a thing i have quite a bit of knowledge around and a natural ability with - to do more and more of this thing i am TERRIBLE at?!??

i left thinking - i am never going to another class like that again. ever.

a humor started to grow. images of myself flailing around, trying to keep up, trying to hoist myself into that rotating shoulder stand....increasingly more hilarious with each flashback.

for the rest of the week i teetered between focus, commitment, dedication and total defeat. perseverance. get this heart healthy. get this body in shape. work those physical muscles. exercise those creative muscles. EVERY DAY.

i decided to go back and try again this morning. willing to show up, work hard, let myself be where i am, not compare myself to the others in the class and basically flail around like an idiot in the spirit of perseverance.

much to my surprise after only one week of committing to myself and working in these ways, I DIDN'T HAVE TO PUT MY HEAD BETWEEN MY KNEES!!! i was picking up the phrases! and in some places, i was even finding flow, momentum, connections, starting to work with qualities and dynamics...!!

okay. i am officially a believer.
i am ready to commit.
i am committing.
i am committed.

patience and perseverance.
patience and perseverance.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

andy goldsworthy

how have i not know about this man and his work before now?!? i can't count the times my jaw dropped when watching this film. i literally gasped at the magnificence and the beauty. multiple times. rivers and tides - a documentary following andy goldsworthy. SEE THIS FILM.

"when i make a work, i often take it to its edge of collapse...and that's a very beautiful balance."

"what lies below the surface effects the surface."

"words do their job, but what i'm doing here says a lot more."

he makes sculptures in nature using only materials he has found within that particular environment. they are all changed by time. some are incredibly transient - covered or washed away within only moments of completion. at times, he will spend hours with the work - meticulously building, crafting, shaping - only to have it all collapse before he has even finished.

what an incredible lesson in patience and dedication...i am in awe.

thank you, andy.

meditation seat

directly behind me:
directly above me:
i plan to spend much time with this new friend over the course of this month...she has much to teach me...


my last residency had mice. this one has ants. giant ones.

"ant can carry a leaf over hundreds of miles just to get it back to the anthill. ants in africa will strip a forest bare when food is scarce, if it takes them a year. ant's medicine is the strategy of patience. ant is a builder like beaver, is aggressive like badger, has stamina like elk, scrutiny like mouse, and give-away like turkey.

every ant in an anthill is part of the ant 'group mind,' as all of the ants work for he queen ant and the hive. self-sacrifice is a part of ant medicine. greater than ant's other medicines, however, is patience.

ant people are active, community-minded folks who see the greater future needs of their town. ant people are planners, like squirrel, and are content to see their dreams being built a little at a time. in today's society that is a rare quality.

in the desert, one type of ant will burrow a conical hold with its apex at the bottom. the ant will cover itself and patiently wait for some unsuspecting insect to fall in. as the sand crumbles, the prey eventually falls to the bottom, only to find ant's open jaws.

patience does have its rewards!

ant people have a knowing about the sweet victory at the end of the line. there is never a concern about 'going without' if they are late for the opening of a sale. if what they want is sold out, they are sure that something equal or better is available.

if you have ant medicine, you eat slowly and deliberately and are content in knowing that 'what is yours will come to you.' this knowing is good medicine. it shows a trust in the universe to provide.

if ant meandered into your spread today, it is time to show a little trust and patience in some life situation. you may have forgotten that you will always receive that which you need, at the time you need it most. if it is not on the horion or just around the next anthill, you may need to use some strategy. how can you put to use your power of creation until 'it' arrives - whatever 'it' means to you at this time?

ant is working for the good of the whole. are you? if you are, be assured that the whole wants te same goodness for you, and that it will be provided."

lean into the discomfort

there is this recurring dream sensation that defines and eludes...i am running, but i'm not. it's not a heaviness as much as it's a lot of effort that isn't translating into the motion it 'should.' it's like my thighs are moving through cement. the lower half of my body feels very separate from its upper extension. it's much effort and energy and force translating into sluggish movements pushing through leaden air. i never run in my waking life. never. so/because this is what running feels like to me - all the time. there's a disconnect between what i logically know about the possibility of running through experiencing others doing it and my perception of its actual possibility within my own body. last saturday, in the freezing cold and rain, i danced in sand and water - an attempt to recreate, experience, and explore this dream sensation in my waking life. it was the closest i've come.

these and other explorations took place at golden gardens in seattle, wa with actor/director, paul budraitis on saturday, march 31, 2012. a short film will be made out of our experiments.

top five regrets of the dying

this photo was taken in a bathroom stall i visited to load up on toilet paper tissues at a memorial service last week. there are messages everywhere. sometimes, they are screaming.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Monday, March 26, 2012

we need our artists to make their work. need. much like we need our doctors to study and practice medicine. we need our artists to explore and learn and be in their process, too. when all else falls away, creativity remains. it is one of the foundational aspects of humanity - a through line. it is how we express ourselves. it is how we heal.

what do you value? how much do you pay for it?

Friday, March 23, 2012

dear violin: can we just be friends?

for some time now, i have been struggling with my relationship to the violin. to playing the violin. to music. to playing other people's music. to making my own music. to art. to making art. to dance. to what i want to do and make. to why. to how... and i think i just figured a little more of it out.

i think it's time to take on dance as my lover and allow violin to shift from lover to oldest and dearest friend.

with this simple - yet within my world, totally radical - thought, a lot of things suddenly make a whole lot more sense. this deep internal unrest and nagging question of, "what am i doing??" instantly feels like a knot that's been loosened and now has the space to untangle, separate, release... if things are structured this way, i can allow my passion for dance to take root and grow, and i can let go of my old ideas around the violin, and subsequently music, that have rigidly kept them at the center of my universe - more out of habit, as a perceived symbol of self, and 'shoulds' then from a place of passion, curiosity, and deep fulfillment. by letting it walk next to me instead of held out in front as a symbol of all i am, there is more internal space. and even more powerfully, i can release the guilt that i've felt around this shift.

by letting this relationship actually be what it is (vs. trying to hold it to standards that are more about a learned perception of what it should be, or trying to hold onto it out of fear that i am nothing without it), it no longer causes the same kind of inner turmoil, it no longer takes something away from something else. i immediately feel my repulsion towards the violin, and therefore my misguided reactionary impulse to shun it entirely, subsiding. and i feel less attached to it as THE font, my ultimate contribution, my main form of expression and communication - a shoe that has not fit for some time now, which i interpreted as a lack of creativity, voice, and artistic 'ability' - and not as being the wrong shoe, or a shoe that actually belongs on the other foot, or just one of many shoes...

by letting go of this false sense of identity held in being a violinist, it feels so much less important whether or not i am a dancer.

i can just dance.

and by psychologically shifting my relationship with the violin and music to a deep friendship and lifelong partnership, i once again am able to see that i love music! i love making music! i love playing the violin!

but at night, i dream about dance. i see dance. i am making dances for other people. i am communicating through dance. i am dancing.

dear dance,

will you be my lover?
it doesn't have to mean forever...


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

the james and janie washington foundation

i am incredibly excited and honored to be in-residence at the james washington house throughout the month of april! earlier today, i visited the space (the house mr. washington and his wife lived in, their beautiful garden, and the sculpture studio he created for his own work which has been turned into part museum, part library, part artist residency) and have been completely flooded by inspiration. upon first seeing the grounds in 2010, i was instantly drawn to the unused glass greenhouse in the backyard. it has worked its way into my dreams ever since, and when writing my application in 2011, i proposed a solo dance/music installation/performance created specifically for and performed from within this space, to be experienced by an audience from the other side of the glass. after my official tour today, i now know this will be just one of many facets...

mr. washington's presence permeates the entirety of the grounds. peaceful, spirituality-based living and making. i am in the right place...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

questions, questions. confusion. clarity?

does anyone else have trouble identifying themselves as an artist? difficulty knowing what your process is? difficulty knowing what to do when you 'sit down' to create?

am i making something? what am i making? what is my practice? when i get into the studio, what do i do? what are my interests? how do i explore them?

on one hand, i feel very new to creating. on the other, i can look back and see that i have been involved in many creative processes - those of others and my own. what is this confusion? is this just a part of the process of creating? is it always like this, no matter how many years you've been doing it - how deep you've gone within yourself and your practice? or is this a sign of being a beginner?

i'm starting to think it's a bit of both.

as i do more and more, i'm coming to realize that i need tools - i'm in a tool gathering stage. observing and absorbing how others explore interests and inclinations, develop vocabulary, build phrases. this feels like a beginning stage. but, perhaps one that i will revisit repeatedly as i grow and evolve, as i exhaust the tools i have already spent much time exploring. musically, i'm realizing i don't think i have an interest in making albums or writing music for others to play (in terms of my own self generated projects - not in terms of what i participate in of other people's projects), but that my personal interests in music are in conjuncture with other mediums. music to be experienced aurally and visually. and perhaps in general, i'm interested in creating living cinema - a filmic experience for live audiences. at times, feeling like you are watching a film in person, and also as though you are in the film - in the experience that is unfolding.


as i step into and own my creativity and desire to make, i simultaneously honor the groundwork i've been laying in this realm for the last 8 years, in particular, and realize that i'm a beginner. i've played music for many years in many contexts. i've danced for many years in many contexts. but i have not been flexing my creative muscles in a regular practice for very long at all. and it is a practice as much as any other.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

5 and a half days of hibernation and its exact opposite as this strange and slow and sudden transition into spring unfolds: the after continues

i purposefully don't have an internet connection or television at home to encourage a continually deepening presence and dialog with myself, but i will admit it - i have watched something like 8 movies in the last 5 and 1/2 days. some of them twice.

day 1:
go. go. make. make. don't stop. don't lose momentum. what's next? what do i want to make? how do i integrate and further codify all i have discovered, all i just made?

day 2:
this couch has never felt so good.

days 3, 4, 5, and 1/2:
exhaustion. inspiration. confusion. relaxation. nuturing. attempts to be 'productive.' couch potato-dom. tears. joy. attempts to numb. feelings of great fulfillment and achievement. excitement about the future. worry that i'll never leave the couch and make anything ever again. 3, 3hr dance rehearsals back to back.

i'm going to make a dance film. no, wait - a solo performance. no, i want lots of bodies on stage. but, wait, i don't think i'm interested in stages anymore. i'm going to write a book. a collection of short stories? autobiographical fiction? but first, i'm going to write letters to all of the people i've never stood up to on behalf of myself.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

exit ritual - oh, and massive amounts of growth, too.

these are my final moments in the space. i feel so full. any pain and sadness felt in the last 48hrs has melted away. i have restored the space and it is time to pass the torch. i am leaving the space in better condition then i found it, which feels really, really good. so often in my past i haven't accounted for or tended to the ending of something. i have procrastinated. i have resisted doing the work. i have burned myself out scrambling towards a goal (a performance, an application deadline...) rendering myself totally incapable of properly cleaning, restoring, moving, archiving, thanking, or taking care of the exit/ending/transition phase of a process. so often. more often than not. okay, really, probably, in every instance of 'after' to some degree throughout my life up until this point.

this time i planned well. i accounted for the ending, the exit, the transition. i built in a day off after my final performances. i built in a take down, pack up, move out day. i built in a space restoration day. and i built in a day to just be in the restored, neutral space to reflect, sing, dance, give thanks, celebrate over a home cooked meal with the people who have supported me throughout this process, and say goodbye.

not only did i plan well, but i actually followed this plan!! (which in this sense, is HUGE for me). i didn't procrastinate, drowning myself in internet tv and oven pizzas, until 4pm today then stay up all night stressed and crying, cutting corners, leaving without even being present for the goodbye...this is monumental for me. MONUMENTAL GROWTH.

and not only did i take care of my exit, it wasn't some huge struggle to take care of my exit! i just did it. without resistance.

and not only did i do it - without resistance - but i took care of myself and didn't burn out along the way.

and not only did i do it - without resistance - and while taking good care of myself along the way, i found a way to make an offering of thanks to those who had provided such massive support throughout this process.


i have been wanting to be this kind of person - the kind who does the work, who doesn't cut corners or make excuses, who takes care of their responsibilities, who acknowledges and gives back to those who have provided support. i have been working to be this person. for YEARS. and as of tonight i feel i can truly say: i am this person.

i think this is called maturing...facing, embracing, and stepping up to another aspect of my adulthood...who knew that giving kid paris / tucson paris the permission to come out of hiding would allow for new levels of interaction with my adult self...

i am so grateful...there are no words...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

little ghosts

as the space is emptied, cleaned, and prepped to be painted, the infinitude of unrealized possibilities are starting to seep in and take hold - little ghosts of potential, haunting me. "i didn't take advantage of that enough! i wish i had... i wish i hadn't... i wish i could walk into the space for a 2-month process now. now, i'm ready. now, i would use my time and the space so differently."

i know better. i know i took full advantage of this opportunity every step of the way. i explored many nooks and crannies - within the space and myself. i turned things on their head. i experimented. i shared. i clarified. i ritualized. i actualized. i grew. wow, did i grow. i know that everything happened as it needed to. i feel proud of the process i underwent and am continuing to experience. i feel proud of what i created. i feel proud of how much i shared. and i know that all was necessary for my growth and evolution. i am where i am - in every moment. (where else is there to be? and why is it often so challenging to be okay with that?) it's actually really amazing that after 2 months time and clearing much of myself out of the space, i feel so inspired and flooded with interests for exploration.

all of these things are true.

haunt away, little ghosts.
you are seeds for the future.

this happens, too

no one talks about the process of dismantling. well, people do, i'm sure, but there is certainly much more focus put on beginnings, on creation, or on the 'product' yielded. the impermanence of time-based, site specific work is such an interesting twist in the process of creation...

there's always a sense of loss, letting go, acceptance, closure, and moving on at the end of a phase in any creative process. always. it's an inevitable and crucial part of the process. and yet for some reason, this difficult - and potentially debilitating - phase is the least talked about, shared, processed or accounted for. so often, this is the phase that destroys artists.

there is this general aversion to showing the process behind something - on either end of creation. don't go out of the house without your makeup on, without your hair done! you'd better shave those legs everyday. certainly don't let anyone see that you don't know what you're doing! don't let anyone see you in the process of figuring something out - that part of the process where you really don't know, and you just may (and most likely do) look or sound silly or inarticulate, that part of the process where you are discovering, clarifying, or refining... and when it's over, it's over. pack up. move on. there's nothing more to see or talk about or depict or share here.

it's such an interesting model we've that places value on product over process and doesn't allow much room for that crucial time after something. it makes sense, i suppose - you see it everywhere in our culture. we are future and goal oriented. we strive for bigger, better, faster, stronger, more, more, more...results! find a person, get married, get a house, have children... go to elementary school, middle school, high school, college, get a job, produce, yield profitable results... but what's in the space between all of those landmarks? those 'destinations?' why is there this emphasis on hiding what is real and raw and constructing a neat and 'perfect' package for others to consume? why do we hide our humanness - one of the only things that is truly shared within our existence? by not actually processing pain, or endings, we do ourselves a great disservice and actually keep ourselves in our pain. in our past. defined and limited by our wounds...

this is my 2nd to last night of a 2-month performance/installation residency. last night, i dismantled my installation. i gathered up all of my tape players/recorders, pens, books, artifacts... i took down 250 photos of my childhood that were hung with string and tiny clothespins on a single wall. i removed my sheets and blankets, revealing the tan upholstery of the futon once again. i took down the lights i had hung. i removed each push pin, watched each string fall to the floor. i placed the ruby slippers handmade by my mother back into their boxes...

this was a bittersweet process. i felt life leave the room with each item removed. i left the room with each item removed. i felt a sense of loneliness - the deep kind. the kind that has nothing to do with how much love or support you actually have in your life. i ached for my family. somehow, having them on that wall meant i was having an intimate relationship with them. there, they knew how much i loved and appreciated them. the warmth and the transformational residue that had built throughout my 8 weeks in the space was instantly gone - a light turned out. part of me so wanted a distraction - internet tv or a companion in the space - so i could just go through these motions i was required to go through without feeling the sadness that accompanied them. a bigger/deeper part of me knew staying present was the answer.

take your time. be with the feelings that arise. no shortcuts.

today has felt very different. in just 12 hours, i let go of that sort of object oriented relationship with the space and feel a detachment starting. i feel more ready to leave. i packed up most of my things and loaded them into my car. the few remaining items will be used in tomorrow's exit ritual.

it will feel very strange to not get up and 'go to the office' everyday. i think that is one of the things i have valued most - that kind of daily purpose and direction.

everything feels exactly right. i am dismantling. and with dismantling, comes those feelings of loss, letting go, acceptance, closure, and ultimately, moving on. it's okay to feel those feelings and move through those states. healthy, even! honor, reflect on, hold space for, and share this part of the process as you would any other. oh, and take care of yourself in the process...