STUFF I LIKE

Labor Day / Labor Of Love

Writing is rewriting. And so writing is how I’m spending this Labor Day. The familiar excited / daunted feeling of taking a script I’ve “perfected” for a year and tearing it all apart. Looking at it from new angles. Allowing all possibilities. Realizing it wasn’t quite working because I hadn’t quite hit upon the truth of the story yet. The story that wants to be told is actually much bigger than me and my desire to express myself.

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“The writer’s role is to menace the public’s conscience. He must have a position, a point of view. He must see the arts as a vehicle of social criticism and he must focus on the issues of his time. It has forever been thus: So long as men write what they think, then all of the other freedoms — all of them — may remain intact. And it is then that writing becomes a weapon of truth, an article of faith, an act of courage.” — Rod Serling, creator of The Twilight Zone

#cannabiscommunity #legalizeit 👊


When someone you love has Alzheimer’s.

I haven’t posted much of me and my grandma lately, honestly because it’s been pretty tough since we moved her into a home. We know it’s the right thing for her, but it’s hard watching her struggle with having her whole environment change. Her lack of independence. We still do goofy things, like take selfies when I tuck her in on Sunday nights, but she’s not as sharp as she was just a few months ago. To anyone who’s experienced a loved one having Alzheimer’s, or being moved into a home, my heart goes out to you. Its a very emotional process. Even though I know she’s not comprehending as much as she used to, when I tell her she’s my favorite-almost-101 year-old, from the twinkle in her eye I know she understands completely. Because love is the language that lasts forever.

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Summer sucks, unless you’re seventeen.

Lately, I feel grumpy. It’s July, which means days are long and hot. Pool parties. The beach. Short shorts. Blah fucking blah. In other words, a constant reminder that despite my best intentions, somewhere along the line I sold out and became an adult.

I feel nostalgia for the summer of my youth so heavy I can’t breathe. Growing up in the tiny ranch town of Gardnerville, Nevada meant summers were like a country music video on repeat. Especially the sweet spot between ages fifteen and seventeen, when we were old enough to drive but too young to go anywhere.

The launch of summer was Carson Valley Days, the town parade and carnival at Lampe Park. Everyone came and everyone rode the same five rides we’d been riding since we were kids. We spent summer days at Lake Tahoe and summer nights at the river. Cheap beer was usually involved. We rode in the back of pickup trucks, driving too fast down county lanes, nothing but the stars above and our uncertain futures ahead.

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I took this photo a few summers ago on a road trip with my muse Paije. We weren’t in Gardnerville, but the feeling was the same.

The lack of options is what created the bliss. Gardnerville had one movie theater and lots of empty Earth. Social life meant seeing the same movie for the fifth time, or circling up around a bonfire in the desert or the woods, drinking our parents’ purloined liquor and blasting Country Grammar (I know I just seriously dated myself, but Nelly’s debut album was really tight).

I marvel at how we found these bonfire spots. Before Waze, before texting. I guess we called each other on land lines and wrote down the directions?

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That same summer road trip. I wish I had pics of my Gardnerville youth, but I can’t seem to find many.

I could devote an entire book to growing up Gardnerville, and I still might. But for now the last thing I’ll mention here is the scent — summer nights in the ‘Ville are the aroma of hay fields, fresh unpolluted oxygen, cows, wholesome American dreams. I know I’m waxing poetic, we always look back on our youth with a rose-colored lens.

But no matter how many cities I visit, or fancy Hollywood events I attend, nothing feels as great as being seventeen on a summer night, surrounded by my gang of friends, parked at the river, singing Garth Brooks into the night.

 


We made Rolling Stone, MTV, Nylon!

So happy for Rebel and a Basketcase! I was assistant director on their first music video last year and now the vid is blowing up. Director Machete Bang Bang continues to inspire with her vision and execution. I learned a lot during the shoot and know this is just the beginning for Zach Villa and Evan Rachel Wood (well she’s already kinda a big deal but you know what I mean). Watch the vid here on Rolling Stone.

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Happy birthday to me.

imageYesterday 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. 🎉

Photo by @machetebangbang for @valley_high


ARTGASMS: A mysterious party & James Blake

Happy Monday, star seeds.

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?


NEW GIG: I’m an editor at You, Me & Charlie!

Excited to announce I’m now a contributing editor at You, Me & Charlie, a website that’s all about discovering new artists, musicians, and creatives. Check out my first article here (currently on the front page!): http://www.youmeandcharlie.com/listen/artist-to-watch-iamamiwhoami, on the crazycool Swedish multimedia project iamamiwhoami. I’m also going to paste in the article here, because I want to. 

ARTIST TO WATCH: IAMAMIWHOAMI
AUTHOR:    
DECEMBER 19TH, 2013

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.

www.towhomitmayconcern.cc
www.youtube.com/iamamiwhoami