Well, I’m home now, back up in Big Bear, cuddled in bed in my Airstream, with the dog laying on my feet. It’s good to be back.
I would’ve written on Sunday, as I said I would, but I have a new secret that I’ve just learned in the last 36 hours or so. The secret is: Despite what Hemingway led us to believe, copious amounts of alcohol are not conducive to writing brilliant tomes! At least not for me! Copious amounts of alcohol ARE conducive to having a great time with good friends, and going to parties and making new friends. Also, generally just enjoying the heck out of yourself! Hangovers, I’m afraid, are also not good for writing brilliant tomes. Hangovers are good for sitting around playing on the computer and letting your’ eyes glaze over…and, when I say playing on the computer, I mean simple stuff, like checking Facebook and playing solitaire. Anything else would just require too much energy. And too much focus!
It’s crisp and cold here, at 7000 feet, with more stars than you ever thought you could see through the smoggy skies of the Southland. One star blinks at me, red, blue, gold…it must be Sirius, the Dog Star. I don’t know any other star that blinks like that, a binary star, or so I’ve read, the blinking and colors caused by gases being pulled from one star to the other, since they’re in close proximity. I’m not an astronomer, so I could be wrong about this…if I am, and any of you know better, feel free to re-inform me, as learning about all things scientific is one of the things in this life that delights me.
I had a wonderful drive down the Central Valley yesterday and today. Summer’s in full swing, but it wasn’t too hot in my poor old Tahoe with the broken AC. I really love looking at the rolling hills, in summer, in California. They look like velvet, like a lush, antique, velvet blanket of mottled gold, thrown casually over the curved arm of an overstuffed chair. I always feel like I want to reach out and run my hand over the dry grasses as I speed by, and feel them tickle my palm, brittle yet soft in the mid-afternoon sun. The sparsely spaced oaks stand out in relief against the lustrous nap, like medallions of color, regal and proud. The whole effect is like a tapestry of pretty, a tapestry that frees something deep in me and makes my mind move a million miles from where I am now, or where I was then.
Yeah, I was listening to singers with deep lush souls as I drove…can ya tell?
But, I’m getting ahead of myself, I want to tell you about what I did in the Bay Area!
Friday night, movie night. What a blast. A screen put up in the yard of a couples house in the Santa Cruz hills, a rental movie played (“Team America”, what a hoot!) popcorn popped, dogs ran around making friends, people sat around making friends…okay, so, really, I may have been the only human making friends, as I think most everyone else knew each other, but they were all so gracious and inviting. I felt absolutely welcomed.
I do believe most people at movie night were from the high tech world, which would make sense, proximity to Silicon Valley and all. Conversations reflected that, mostly in sophistication. Towards the end of the evening, movie done, a small group of us sitting and talking in the living room, the host decides to make Crème Brulee. And what Crème Brulee it was, silky and rich, made with eggs from their own hens. Oh the richness of eggs from your’ own chickens! It got me to thinking about being stuck as I was way out in the country in Bumphuck ,Oregon, amongst people who thought the only life worth living was country life…yet, here I was on 42 beautiful acres, 25 minutes from San Jose! Now, this is the life! The beauty and peace of being out in the country, but you’re minutes from a supermarket or movie theater. The best of both worlds!
And the eggs! There is no reason you have to be ten miles from the closest country store and thirty miles from the nearest supermarket in order to have chickens and eggs! These people, so close to everything have twenty chickens! Hell, my son and his girlfriend in OAKLAND, smack dab in the middle of the city, have two chickens and two ducks! Best of both worlds, I tell ya…yep, that’s the way to do it!
(Oh, geez, that old song by Marie Osmond just popped into my mind “I’m a little bit Country, I’m a little bit Rock and Roll” My mind is evil, evil I tell you!)
Saturday night was not spent in the country, not even the close-in country! Saturday night Laurie and I went to Oakland, to a huge warehouse for a fundraiser for one of the camps at Burning Man. It never occurred to me how much it costs to put one of these camps together, but, apparently, it’s thousands! (this camp had a list of costs, conveniently posted in the bathroom, in the toilet stall, on the door, facing you as you peed…perfect placement, you bet, captive audience and all!)(the list added up to $17,000 give or take!)
So, walking into this warehouse, with all the art around, and bits of art, and pieces for art, and tools and machinery, and supplies for making art, and space, and stuff, ever so much cool, cool stuff….it was, quite simply, a blast from the past for little old me. You see, back in the punk rock 70’s and 80’s there was a tight tie-in between the music scene, which I was a part of, as a fan at least, and participant, and employee at ALL the clubs; and the art scene, which I really REALLY wanted to be a part of! Los Angeles and San Francisco both had thriving music and art scenes that intertwined and inter-tangled like spiderwebs or the weaving of a fine silk gown. I never was a fine artist. Always wanted to be, but never quite had the chops. As far as painting goes, well, I’m best with a two inch angled sash brush, or a pad painter, or rags or sponges; walls are what I’m good at, nothing figurative or meant to hang ON a wall, not art, but design, perhaps even Deco. As for sculpture, mine ends up pedantic and pedestrian and probably a plethora of other “P” words that I can’t think of right now. It’s fun, but I’m not particularly good at it. Design, Design is what I was always good at…I always felt slightly less than, being good at Design, and not at Fine Art, and, back in the day, quite a few Fine Artists would look down their noses at Designers, as being not “quite” artists…ahhh, angst, always a part of my life, always a part of ANY creative’s life…But, lucky me, living in California, I discovered the film industry, and, the ART department in the film industry, and I got to feel that angst melt away as I melded DESIGN into FINE ART for the sake of the silver screen. I didn’t work long in the film industry, about seven years I think, but it was long enough for me to let loose of the idea that Design is somehow inferior to Fine Art, and realize that they are part and parcel; and that, maybe, in the long run, Design is actually more important when it comes to tiny little things like changing the world!
So, there I was, at this amazing warehouse. For a PARTY!! And the COOLEST people were there! The coolest!
There was this old man, wonderful and sweet, eighty-seven years old, and about to embark on his fourth Burn. He described to me the bar he made to take to the Playa, built on a boat trailer, with a disco pole on one end and a shower on the other, the perfect combo for a week in Black Rock City. I wanted to introduce this man to my favorite Aunt, Mary, a widow, who lives in Reno, who, at 91 is simply the most wonderful woman ever to have been born. I imagine her at Burning Man (aware of the fact that I,myself, have not yet gone,* sigh *)and wonder if she would delight in the experience as this man does, this young spirit in an old body. I think she would! I know I would, and will someday. I’m thinking 2013.
Next Laurie and I met this wonderful Japanese Girl (woman is probably more like it, but, you must know that, just as any boy/man below your’ dating range automatically becomes twelve, “girl” is synonymous with “woman” or “female” in my lexicon.) This girl, who became our fast friend, took us to the warehouse next door to show us this fabulous Tiki bar that she and her man built inside a semi-trailer. Oh my goddess. I am a lover (and builder) of tiki bars, and, I have to tell you, this was a tiki bar I was envious of! It was better (way better!) than the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland, with tropical delights draping every corner of the room, fishing nets, and teak, portholes to nowhere and woven grass mats on ceilings and walls, island ephemera everywhere! The Tiki Bar at The Fairmont in San Francisco should be jealous! (though, I don’t think this bar rains every twenty minutes, like the bar in The Fairmont does, but, man oh man, THAT would be an amazing effect for the desert!) Everything was just perfect!
We sat, and had Mai Tai’s, and talked deco (they used, as a source, one of my favorite places from back in my set decorating days, Pacific Arts, in Whittier, which can supply you with all things Polynesian, from bamboo to dried pufferfish lamps!)and the politics of Burning Man, which I, I’m afraid, know nothing about! Martin Denny rang from the cd player as we talked and laughed and drank our’ drinks.
Before we knew it, it was two am, and time to head home, but not before our darling new friend extended an invitation to join them on a boat in the San Francisco bay for the 4th of July. I don’t think I’ll get to go, four hundred miles is a long way to travel for a party, but the invitation was sweet, and I’m going to keep in touch with my new friend. I end up in the Bay Area frequently, so we’ll get together again, I’m sure of it!
So, here I am, back in Big Bear, and it’s time to get back to work. I’ve got the Long Beach Pirate Festival, aka Pier Daze this coming weekend June 30th -July 1st, so, if you’re in southern California, come on by. It’s on the Belmont Pier, and it’s really a fun event. In the mean time I’ll be sewing my little fingers to the bone making corsets and bustles and bodices galore.
I want to take just a moment to let everyone know something exciting that just happened to me. I have been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award, by and I am just tickled pink, and so excited and gratified. My next post will be all about that!
Goodbye for now!