Thank you Norm, for shining a light on the beautiful work the Yoga Seed Collective is doing for all the bodies in the community. It is truly come as you are. I’m really proud to be part of it.
Two living legends of the rapidly diminishing black and white film process are showing at the Viewpoint Photographic Art Center through the month of October. I thought I would shamelessly stump for them since their work is truly exceptional in the land of selfies and GoPro.
These delicious silver prints are like magnifying glasses held up to a California that is no longer; there is a richness and lyricism that digital, in all its glory, cannot hold a candle to. It is worth it to see these lush landscapes and nature studies in person and you can at Viewpoint Photographic Art Center in Sacramento from October 10-November 1, 2014.
Taylor will be offering his new book: Robert Taylor 40 Years.
#blackandwhite, #RobertTaylor:40years, #art, #photography, #Sacramento
A somewhat mythic presence in the the Sacramento art community, Lola Mo (or Lola Magnolia, as I have dubbed her) quietly absorbs, watches, tastes, documents and describes all things delicious and daring. Not only does the woman make her own gin, she gives historic walking tours in Midtown and is a veritable fount of artful facts.
Wherever Lola goes, she leaves a faint spell in the air; people need to know who she is and what she does. Her photographs are often poetic traces of her primal impressions. I don’t know her very well, but I am always impressed by her vision, her painstaking aesthetic and her ravenous appetite for new concoctions. Her blog is a litany of interesting discoveries and awakenings. This particular page is about the creative process and feeling somewhat bogged down creatively, I took quite a bit of inspiration from it. However, I recommend following her since she always has something beautiful to offer. And I should warn you, I almost always come away hungry.
“I Left My Heart in San Francisco,
high on a hill, it calls to me.
Little cable cars, they climb half way to the stars
the morning fog may fill the air, but I don’t care…”- George Cory
It’s been almost seven years since I moved away from San Francisco. And yet, I still dream, just like this morning, that I am there. It’s usually the mayhem of Chinatown or the Mission and I am with a group of people desperately trying to coordinate an outing of some kind. Or I am looking for housing. This morning, I was trying to talk my other single mom friend into moving in together.
I get an article in my FB feed once a week about a beloved venue, an old school restaurant or some other pivotal cultural institution coming down to make way for more upscale housing and wine bars. The most heartbreaking so-longs recently have been Elbo Room and Cafe du Nord.
Like many of my friends, I feel like the San Francisco I loved is no longer. Most of my artist friends have made the exodus to Oakland or Berkeley. On the scale, I don’t think I am terribly sentimental, but the great architecture, the dive bars, the magic hole in the wall cafes and most of all the live music, all seem to be evaporating.
However, just as a counterpoint, I just finished reading #FrogMusic by Emma Donoghue, which is about an unsolved murder that happened in the City during a heat wave in the 1870s. A bigger-than-life character named Jenny Bonnet was renowned city-wide for wearing men’s clothes, riding a boneshaker bicycle and generally causing a disturbance. The story is about her unlikely relationship with a lady of the stage, Blanche Beunon, and Jenny’s mysterious murder. http://www.sfchronicle.com/entertainment/books/item/Frog-map-28408.php
At one point, Jenny is in the as of yet undisturbed edge of town called San Miguel Station (known to you San Franciscans San Jose Ave and Alemeny Blvd) when a construction crew suddenly emerges to dam a pond and Jenny rants about how the whole city is changing. So it ain’t new news.
There is another line in the story when the investigating officer sniffs at Blanche’s french origins and makes a cutting remark about how her kind flooded into the city around the Rush, threatening the City’s dignity. The French, for godsakes.
San Francisco has always walked the line of defining civilized society and opportunity while hosting the shadiest of markets; it has always lauded it’s reputation for bohemian inclusion while cordoning off whole segments of its population. Like any other American city that has prospered, it is a crystaline reflection of how the system fails most of its people.
I am far from defending the tech influx that has driven working people, retired people, disabled people out of their homes. Where the charge of the City used to excite me, it now makes me acutely claustrophobic; the traffic is a nightmarish sea of cars at any time of day and the sidewalks are the same, just with people instead of cars. Every good idea you have: “hey, let’s go to the De Young” is exhaustive with time/money/logistics because everyone else had that same idea, and a latte is like, ten dollars now. If I’m going to live in New York, I want to actually live in New York.
I will not spoil the end of Frog Music for you, since it is a wild romp, truly delicious with details of a San Francisco of yore, but I relished the fact that Sacramento is the greener pasture, in the story anyway. That is not to say that we don’t have our own version of gentrification here, but we still have reasonably priced housing and a middle class. For now.
When I was an 11 year-old girl, my parents used to take us on family vacations driving up the length of California. San Francisco was always my favorite and I would look out at the wild dips and dives of the streets and see myself at 21: long-legged, stylishly dressed, on my way to a gig singing jazz in some smoky dive bar. I really believed San Francisco would be my forever home. And while I have no urge to return again, not even in my older, billionaire fantasies, there is still a way in which “it calls to me.”
#SanFrancisco, #SiliconValley, #Emma Donaghue, #Bay Area, #SFmusicians
I am lucky enough to be one of the teachers in on the ground floor of a project that provides #yoga to the patients at Sutter Center for Psychiatry. It has been an enormous challenge and a third eye-opening experience. The #YogaSeedCollective, the non-profit that organizes the outreach effort, is a quietly powerful force in the community, offering classes at the local prisons, drug rehabilitation centers and now at Sutter. Getting involved with this community of hardworking, no-nonsense yogis is one of the best things that has happened to me since arriving in #Sacramento. I feel inexpressible gratitude to them, on my own behalf and on behalf of all the people they serve.
I wrote a short piece about my experience at Sutter, you can read it here in the Yoga Seed’s Outreach update:
Also, I want to say, of my own volition, how impressed I am with Sutter’s facility. The dedication and level of understanding I see every day with the staff is awe inspiring. I recently lost someone in my life to suicide, and while that person was not part of this community, I wonder if his situation would have changed had he access to care like Sutter provides. If you or someone you know is suffering from mental illness, I would strongly urge you to seek help and based on my limited experience, I would not hesitate to recommend SCP. (I have not been paid or am in any way affiliated with Sutter; I am an independent contractor through the Yoga Seed.)
To visit Sutter’s website, vist: http://www.suttermedicalcenter.org/psychiatry
#mentalhealth #mentalillness #psychiatry
I recently started teaching an outreach class through Yoga Seed Collective a non-profit studio on the 1400 Block of E street in Midtown Sacramento. I teach at-risk teens one day a week at a charter school called Heritage Peaks in Oak Park. The Yoga Seed handled all the paperwork, got me in there teaching immediately and got me paid.
The first time I walked into the studio, I knew there was something unique about this place. The room is large with exposed beams, it feels old and solid, very peaceful. I attended a class called All Bodies, and it is exactly that. There were people recovering from injuries, obese people, young, old, all colors, shapes and sizes. The class was slow and methodical, but rigorous at the same time. It was also what you might call an open dialogue class, where people were free to ask questions or make observations. I loved it when ML, the teacher said something to the effect of “we are not trying to wrap our leg around our head, we are trying to prevent slipping in the shower.”
The thing is, most yoga studios are trying to turn a profit. So while they employ the gentlest form of capitalism, there is still a tension there between wanting to offer the community a service and making money. We all wish we could rise above the system but we all have to pay the rent.
The difference with Yoga Seed is that the money comes from donors, big or small, so whoever wants to practice, can. It’s kind of like, dare I say it, socialized healthcare, where those who can pay in, do, and those who can’t still get care.
The team of people who work there are not just good teachers, they are advocates. Yoga is the platform for a larger social awareness. They teach in the prison, at rehab centers, they even offer a class to the employees at the Department of Education.
I’m impressed by this approach because it loosens the financial grip that prohibits a lot of people from practicing. I’m also thrilled to be a part of the goal, in my small way.
Yesterday I took B to the Sacramento Zoo. I took the stroller out of the car in the parking lot. I put a foot on it to snap it open and a wheel snaked away from me. The stroller lunged in my direction and me, being on one foot, fell on my ass, hard. I drew my left hand back to catch myself and fell on my elbow. I felt like I was still rattling for a few minutes afterward.
Blossom swung into action: “Aw, Mama you fell. It’s okay, you’ll feel better soon. Here’s a hug. Did you get an Owie? You’ll be okay, Honey.”
I didn’t feel pain immediately. I was distracted by meeting our friends. It struck me as funny that Blossom just repeated the things I say to her when she gets hurt.
We went to the Zoo, which is always a mixed bag for me. The animals are now dependent on these simulacrums of their natural habitat because we turned that habitat into timeshares. Just like everyone else, I love to see the animals. But they seem listless. Unless they are lemurs or otters. Of course, the kids when out of their continental minds.
Anyway, we had a great time but I could feel my hip and my arm tightening in response to the injury. It was the weirdest pain I’ve felt in a long time. It was as though I had done a thousand curls and I had intense muscle fatigue. And kinda like a bad tooth, I couldn’t leave it alone. So I would stretch and groan. Blossom said: “I think you’re gonna live.”
When she was really little and she first started talking, she would call everyone “My Darwin.” Especially when we did something she liked.
I think about how we hope and expect that our children will take care of us when we are old. But they actually take care of us now.
They are feedback loops of our behavior, our worldview, our expression. We get back directly what we put into our children.
This morning, B climbed into bed and I was still having trouble moving the arm.
She hopped back out of bed and I heard her pad down the hall to her room. She came back in with a jar of salve that I sometimes put on her scratches or bug bites.
“I’ll put some medicine, okay?” she asked. She opened the jar, dipped her tiny finger in and rubbed it on my elbow.
“That will make it feel better,” she informed me.
“Thanks, B. I do feel better.”
I just published an article in the Elephant Journal about my experience teaching at the juvenile hall. Many of them were taking Adderall or some other stimulant and so I decided to do some research. You can read the article here:http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/01/monkey-mind-a-yoga-teachers-experience-with-adderall-miranda-culp/
and please feel free to comment either here on my blog or on the site.
There is a dark part of me, the ego-driven, socially conscious, bossy side of me that sometimes surfaces while I am reading to Blossom from the cannon of classic children’s literature. I feel this deep-seated need to rewrite the story. I find myself tsking the writer, or the dated, unPC character:
“So what made you think you weren’t going to come home to a disaster if you left a monkey alone all day, Man with the Yellow Hat? Hmm? That’s what you get for taking a wild creature out of his natural habitat.”
While my corrections might not be as entertaining, they would certainly satisfy the part of me that thinks modeling is important:
“I’m sorry, Son, that was my bad, I really am a terrible dad, Papa Bear admits he doesn’t know how, so maybe you should show me now.”
I secretly resent that most children’s programming tells them that as long as they are polite, and follow the rules that everything will go according to plan. We keep it so nice for them.
I want Dora to sing a song about how she didn’t do it, she tried everything, she had all the help in the world, but no, she failed.
“We failed, we failed, we tried it but we failed!”
I want my kid to understand that often there is no resolution. There are often desires that go forever unsated. The world is highly unstable. I remember the horrible feeling when I was eleven upon realizing that I was going to be required to do more and more math, that there were no longer any unowned pieces of the planet, that the social mesh we live inside just tightens with time. It was not a slow realization, it was a car wreck.
To have a child in this lifetime is to really upgrade your level of denial about the state of the planet, our country, or even more fundamentally, about human nature. We hope, as parents, to ease them slowly into these dismal truths, like the frog in the hot water. That is why we lie to them in the stories we read them.
And honestly, as a person deeply committed to the literary tradition, I understand that these stories represent a time and place, that they have merit even when some of the particulars are no longer applicable.
My friend Gan Golan illustrated a great parody of Good Night Moon, called Good Night, Bush, http://www.goodnightbush.com/ and while it is a dark satire of the Bush Administration, it also deliciously satisfies the part of me that wants to call out the weirdness of the old stories. A bunny in a nightgown, a bowl of mush even though it is night time. ?
There is another, unsettling thing that happens to me when I read her these books: I take them way too personally.
My mom gave Blossom a copy of Mr. Seahorse, a lovely Eric Carle book about all the Daddies in the ocean who take care of their babies:
“How are you, Mr. Kurtus?”
“Perfectly fine, Mrs. Kurtus just laid her eggs and I have stuck them on my head. Now I am taking care of them until they hatch.”
“You’re doing a good job, ” said Mr. Seahorse.
I read her this book right as my ex-husband was moving out. In my mind it went more like this:
“How are you, Mr. Kurtus?”
“Perfectly Fine, Mrs. Kurtus just laid her eggs and I am going down to the Bay Area to do god-knows-what while she changes 100 diapers.”
“You’re doing a totally predictable job.” said Mr. Seahorse.
Somehow knowing there are all kinds of male creatures out there holding it down for their offspring just made me bitter and sad.
In The Owl and the Pussycat:
Pussy said to the Owl, ‘you elegant fowl, how charmingly sweet you sing, oh let us be married, too long we have tarried, but what shall we do for a ring?” I want to pull her aside and say, “you know, he is going to use this against you later, saying you pressured him into it, you’re going to let him pay that pig an entire shilling for a ring you won’t want to wear when you divorce, just sayin’, Lady. Besides, don’t you think there is some symbolism in your buying the ring from a pig and getting married by a turkey? Think it through!”
I get to the end of that book and I experience a pang of melancholy: “And hand in hand on the edge of the sand, they danced by the light of the moon…” It’s wonderfully romantic story. But in real life cats eat owls, a tiny boat like that wouldn’t survive a week on the open ocean and there is no island that would support their inter-species relationship.
It’s getting a little out of hand, I admit. I get that it is a metaphor, a glorious one.
I really do manage to keep this impulse under control for the most part. I could get away with making comments when she was a babe, but now she cocks her head at me and says: “that’s not what it says, Mama.”
So if you have suggestions for Kid’s Lit that deals with real life, please send me some suggestions. All this internal revision is exhausting.
Some of my favorite realist Kid’s Books:
The Tenth Good Thing about Barney by Judith Viorst :http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/140185.The_Tenth_Good_Thing_About_Barney
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible no Good, Very Bad Day, Judith Viorst
Red Tree by Shaun Tan
Spinky Sulks by William Steig