“The fact of storytelling hints at a fundamental human unease, hints at human imperfection.
Where there is perfection there is no story to tell.” ~ Ben Okri
“The way you do anything is the way you do everything…” ~ Tom Waits
I’ve been telling stories my whole life. Some written down, for my eyes only, others created to go out into the world ~ that have lives of their own. Stories like All I Remember (made in grad school) about a recollected past through the eyes of a mother a, grandmother and myself ~ about where I thought I was from, the father I never knew ~ about hurt, longing, forgiveness.
Then there were the stories woven in the clothes I made. The never-ending collections that one day, ended. Moments translated into silhouettes ~ My Fair Lady, Twilight, Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train, Coppola’s Dracula, the vegetables and tastes of Chez Panisse, an evening of an installation inspired by Oscar de la Renta.
Parallel to the stories in cloth, cut on the bias, and worn ~ were the ones I began 5 years ago ~ through the power of gathering (below ~ salon dinners #58, #95 and #99), the menus that we made, and quotes found, that literally became in the moment what I happened to be thinking of and sorting through, surrounded by people that came into my life, and touched the beauty of the studio that held the secrets of the process of creating. We came together on a cutting table, a couple thousand story-tellers over time, to eat and exchange little bits of the self ~ to then go away, satisfied and possibly transformed. They became moveable feasts and in December of 2015 an edible installation at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and they are still happening around the Bay Area (the 99th salon happens this evening with Lisa Mueller in Orinda), NYC and LA ~ with the newest conception to be manifested through the Prince Edward Island Film, Food and Idea Festival this July 2017.
There has also been a series of collages in visual essays that juxtapose video clips into new narratives, connecting the dots around themes that continually hold my interest. Four Walls was a part of ArtHotel Sacramento and centered on the literal (and filmic) space of the hotel room, Becoming Me (around the power of dress and clothing) was part of the De Young Museum installation and Reverie (on the union of food and drink) was part of the backdrop to one of the NYC salons I did with Susan Sakin and Ronnie Peters in Tribeca.
But it was salon #95 at 32Ten Studios that gave life to this newest collaboration ~ The Deep Sky, written, directed and shot by Frazer Bradshaw is an elegant and poignant portrayal of “our desire for more.” The starting point of the story can be heard and seen in the 2 minute trailer, here… but basically it is about life and meaning and the search for self. It’s a love story and a story around sexuality and desire and anyone who knows me or has a piece of clothing or has come to a dinner, runway show, exhibition, or was a colleague or mentor in the grad school anthropology program at UC Berkeley or SOAS ~ know that this has been a thread in all the work I have done, at times solo but mostly with others ~ collaborators and people who come together to make beautiful things that go out into the world and make us question and yearn and desire, for more ~ to do more, to be more…or, to be more succinct ~ one of my very favorite moments in cinema that still rears its head every now and again ~ Robin William in Dead Poets Society ~ “that the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse…what will your verse be?”
So, to start with why, as in Simon Sinek’s masterful concept of The Golden Circle… I ask myself why ~ why this film, why now. And to you ~ why support this project today? You can ask yourself the questions that I ask my own self when I begin a project that others might see as a risk or not quite understand the process, or even fully comprehend the final product. I guess I still believe in small stories that are intimate and beautifully told. Stories that can be made with a handful of people ~ done well, with focus and determination, attention to detail. Stories that are about the way we love and why ~ about two people who encounter a third, about the choices we make and the amount of control we have over those choices, the way we really feel and how, in the end, it plays out. It’s about trust ~ both the idea of trust and the trust of the process, quite literally.
“I know that there’s something that’s bigger than me, and i want that… but in a mortal life and an animal body ~ how do I do that?” ~ Lenora, The Deep Sky
I have learned so much by being a part of The Deep Sky ~ working with a crew and a cast for the first time ~ dressing characters that I needed to interpret and then see the arc of their relationships. Years ago I got to spend a week with the amazing Eiko Ishioka, whose work in Coppola’s Dracula was truly unforgettable. I thought of her in thinking through the drama of a story ~ the way we change internally and externally as we become more ourselves, or maybe, even, want to be like someone else. Clothing is a skin that mutates and transforms and so much can be said through the choice of not only what we wear, but how we wear it ~ who we wear it with, and for. The making of The Deep Sky was a short and sweet clip of what it might be like to work in the larger context of film. BUT because it was only a handful of us, we got to keep it where we wanted it to go ~ with Frazer’s vision of the silence and moments of pause and reflection that truly reflect our thought processes. We could let it be what it was meant to be because it is an indie feature in the old-school sense. And I guess when it comes down to another reason WHY ~ it’s because I want to believe in the power of movies to be able to still be made AND circulate AND get distributed, with a budget under $100K. I believe in this and these stories that are meaningful and touch those of us who spend the time searching for more, finding those little meaningful encounters in the sound of the seascape and grass. How often does a director give us those moments of contemplation these days? Frazer does; as well as an hour and a half of thinking about our own relationships with loved ones and lovers, with ourselves ~ and the capacity and reality of what it means to want more, to do more, to be more.
As a co-producer of The Deep Sky I see my role as being very much a part of the social life of the film. Like my clothes, and salon dinners, and most recently my role as creative director for She-Can (one of my very favorite non-profits), and as a practicing anthropologist in all that I do ~ it’s about the completion of an idea or thing that goes out into the world and transforms people, inspires people to “think different” about the HOW and the WHAT but most importantly the WHY… I hope you will join the rest of the cast and crew and backers of this film, and be part of making it not only happen (we picture locked it last week), but help it get legs and do the festival circuit, finding the right platform for being communicated and let out into the world. Like Meister Echhart says below ~ please help “give birth to it.”
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“Become aware of what is in you. Announce it, pronounce it, produce it, and give birth to it.” ~ Meister Eckhart