I was super-jazzed to capture these images last weekend. We were hiking a short but completely enchanting woodland trail; the entire path was covered in a carpet of emerald-green moss and strewn with a mosaic of fallen leaves. Some of the leaves boasted colors and textures that made them stand-alone works of art. I wish I could have recorded the sounds; a chorus of little frogs sang their wee hearts out the whole way, and at one point, we heard the repeated cries of an eagle on top of the chirps of other little birds loving life in their enchanted forest.
Having grown up on a steady diet of William Blake and Robert Louis Stevenson, I was just all excited when we spotted toadstools. Seriously. I was waiting for the elves to appear. Or not. One way or another, capturing three spiders in their webs on a single frond of dried milkweed was just as good. Enjoy!
Anishinaabekwe, the Daughter, You are the keepers of the water.
I am Nibi…water…the sacred source, The blood of Aki, Mother Earth,
The force filling dry seeds to great bursting. I am the wombs cradle.
Nibi, the life giver… Forever the Circle’s charge
I have coursed through our Mother’s Veins. Now hear my sorrow and my pain
In the river’s rush, the rain…
I am your grandchildren’s drink.
Listen, Daughters, always.
You are the keepers of the water.
Hear my cry,
For the springs flow darkly now Through the heart of Aki
American Indian, Ojibwa, Minnesota
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”
The following images were taken last weekend at Ebey’s Landing on Whidbey Island, Washington, USA. The preserve features hiking trails that make up a five-mile loop and boasts views of Mt. Baker, the Puget Sound, and the lush, fertile farmland that falls in-between. The trail is moderately difficult and not for those who suffer from vertigo. For me, it is like church.
( chicken photo courtesy of www.innovationdiaries.com)
It’s official. My dream reality is an urban dwelling with either a rooftop deck or a wee patch of land that I can turn into an urban farm. I want chickens! And bees! And my very own organic produce at my fingertips!
I have to be honest: apartment dwelling in the heart of West Los Angeles did not bring with it any sort of expectation that I would be able to successfully maintain any sort of garden. It was literally the furthest thing from my mind. But since moving to the city, I have been compelled to “green up” my surroundings.
I can happily report that my dwarf Valencia orange tree (her name is Imogene) is covered with heavenly-scented blossoms and is happily thriving on my balcony next to the baby Hass Avocado tree I rescued from a local grocery store (her name is Winifred), my herbs are flourishing in their wee pots, and my tomatoes are being tomatoes.
Although I think I’ve maxxed out the gardening potential for this particular living environment, success stories from other urban gardeners (combined with an ever-increasing focus on our need to become more self-sufficient) set my imagination on fire. There is nothing better than the power of possibility.
I recently ran across a fantastic company called Omelet. They offer super-practical solutions for maintaining chickens and beehives in small-scale urban and country farm environments. Just imagine…
Two chickens will provide you with between 10 and 12 eggs a week. They lay these in the integrated nesting area which you can cushion using straw or shredded paper. To collect the eggs you simply open the rear door and slide the roosting bars towards you. Once you have collected your eggs the rear door can be securely closed by turning the handle. Two strong steel arms securely lock it in place.
The Eglu Go has a double walled construction providing excellent insulation and it also has draught free ventilation so your chickens will be warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Food and water containers The Eglu Go comes with food and a water containers that are specially designed to complement the house. They attach to the run and hold enough food and water to last 4 chickens 2 days, so you can top them up on Friday night and go away for the weekend.” (www.omelet.us)
Customer comments on Omelet’s site praise how easy the products are to keep clean and to move to different parts of the yard, as well as how sturdy and safe and sturdy they are.
For those who are a little unsure of their farming skills, Omelet offers courses in keeping chickens, bees, and other small farm animals in urban and rural environments. You can find a complete schedule of course offerings around the country on Omelet’s website.
I sincerely look forward to the day I get to post about my new chickens. And bees. And my fabulous rooftop garden. Bring it on!
And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything. William Shakespeare
These images are the product of an intensely spiritual afternoon; I refer to them when I need to remember the world is a magical, beautiful place… which seems to be happening more and more frequently these days. Taken around Grandview Beach, in Leucadia, CA on New Year’s Day 2010, I felt as though I was walking within a dreamscape and all the world had been rendered to watercolor; the walls between worlds seemed thinner and blurred somehow, the temperature never varied and was neither hot nor cold, and the light remained in a constant state of in-between.
It is true that Nature can quiet even the most broken of hearts; this gallery is dedicated to everyone whose heart is breaking from the horrific violence and senseless death in Norway, in India, and everywhere else; to everyone whose mind is reeling from the climate of overwhelming disrespect so perfectly showcased by our media and our political leaders, and to those who simply wish to live, separate and apart from the madness.
One of the most intensely spiritual places I’ve ever frequented is Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, CA. In the evenings, as the sun makes its majestic descent into the horizon, the locals gather on the shore. Some practice tai chi, some practice yoga, others just walk for miles along the edge of the water, immersed in the white- noise- crash of the waves. This is a series of images I took there last November.
Man, it’s been ages since I’ve been to a play. Sad but true: I’ve been to concerts, operas, dance performances, museums, galleries, festivals, and about everything else you can think of, but I think the last time I went to a play was when I saw I Love You – You’re Perfect – Now Change at the Denver Center for Performing Arts ten years ago. Happily, all that changed around the stroke of midnight Friday night.
I had the wickedly awesome opportunity to go see the wildly popular hit show Re-Animator – The Musical now showing at the Steve Allen Theater. I could have gone to the “safe & sensible” 8:00 show, but, determined to truly savor life in this giant city where you CAN experience great theater after midnight, I opted to see a rare “Midnight Madness” cast benefit performance. I grabbed my teenage night-owl-theater-tech-lighting-designer of a son and off we went.
The Steve Allen Theater is much smaller than I expected. In the world of theater, this is a good thing; small venues render big experiences. Every seat makes you feel like you’re sitting in the front-row, the environment is incredibly laid-back and intimate and the acoustics are fantastic. I sat in the very back row and could clearly see every facial expression and hear every single word, even over the din of an incredibly engaged and animated audience. Dedicated to the late creative visionary Steve Allen (first host and creator of the original Tonight Show), the theater was established in the basement of the Los Angeles Center for Inquiry in 2002 as a “multidisciplinary stage that premiered bold new work, uncategorizable performance, and creative explorations of science and theology; a place where comedy, drama, horror, music, and the bizarre could share a stage with the basic foundational principles of the Center itself.” No lie: Re-Animator – The Musical was all that.
The original story was written by the infamous H.P. Lovecraft as a parody of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Years ago, legendary Producer/Director Stuart Gordon(creator of Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, and its sequel,along with a list of additional stage, film and writing credits you really should check out here) decided to adapt the story for film and, in 1985, it premiered at Cannes and took a Critics Award. The film has since become a cult classic and Gordon’s name has been lovingly attached ever since. Thankfully, Gordon brings his genius and an amazing creative team to the stage adaptation, delivering an unforgettable evening filled with completely hysterical, inappropriate humor and super-gory special effects. Interestingly, “all those special effects are being delivered by the same folks who executed them for the 1985 movie: Tony Doublin, John Naulin,andJohn Beuchler. The “blood” flows so freely that the first few rows are designated as the “splash zone.” (Quote courtesy of Lynn Tejada, Green Galactic PR) Yep. If you sit in the first 3-4 rows, be prepared to be splattered with “brains”, slimed with “intestinal nastiness” and bathed in “blood”. The audience loved every bit of it – and my son and I had a wonderful time watching them get slimed.
It was fantastic fun all the way ’round.
Re-Animator – The Musical, is about a brilliant, young, ambitious and completely amoral doctor by the name of Herbert West (played by Graham Skipper) who has made a medical discovery that will allow him to bring the dead back to life. West is desperate for a laboratory in which to further develop his green glowing mystery serum – and for subjects to test it on – so he rents a basement room from an aspiring young medical student by the name of Dan Cain ( played by Chris L. McKenna). Dan happens to be dating the Dean’s daughter, Megan Halsey (played byRachel Avery), who immediately distrusts West and begs Dan not to become involved with him. Alas, poor Dan is broke, and West is willing to pay cash for the space, and so the story unfolds. West first involves Dan and Megan in his research by murdering and then re-animating their beloved cat – twice! Dan, realizing the enormous potential of West’s research, agrees to smuggle him into the hospital morgue, which results in an orgy of bloody mayhem that includes the gory death and subsequent gorier re-animation of the Dean (played by Harry S. Murphy), the morally-corrupt and lecherous Dr. Hill (played by Jesse Merlin), and ultimately the rest of the morgue. I’m not going to tell you anything more; you have to go see it for yourself. (“Bwaaaa – haaa- ha – ha!”)
The entire cast was brilliant, though in my opinion last night’s standout performances include those of Graham Skipper as Herbert West, Jesse Merlin as Dr. Hill, Chris L McKenna as Dan Cain, and Cynthia Carle as Dr. Harrod. The call-outs are in no way meant to slight any of the other performers in any way; it’s just that the performances of those listed were charged with an unwavering energy and overall magic that made me swear I wouldn’t let another ten years go by before attending another live production. Thanks, guys.
And to everyone out there who might be “turned off” by the fact that this version of “Re-Animator” is, indeed, “The Musical”, let me assure you: the music isn’t “sappy” or “girly” or anything else you might wish to label it- it actually adds an incredible feeling of intellectual depth and dimension to the overall production – so much so that I can’t imagine the production without it. Composer/Lyricist Mark Nutter, along with Music Director/Sound Designer/Arranger Peter Adamsand librettists Dennis Paoli, Stuart Gordon andWilliam J. Norrisdelivered consistently humorous and completely engaging dialogue packed with innuendo and satire. (BTW – librettists are, when reduced to their most basic role, the folks who tie all the primary songs together with song-based script, essentially filling in all the ‘blank spaces’ with script that enhances and flows with the music and provides overall stage direction. Tough role – in this case, masterfully rendered…)
I know lots of you were originally thinking I’m a crazy woman to be out accompanied only by my teenage son after midnight in Los Angeles. While I was a little worried about being able to find parking close to the venue, it was a non-issue. I parked for free in the small, well-lit lot on the premises of the Center For Inquiry/Steve Allen Theater; even if that had been full, there was ample parking along the streets and even in a reasonably-priced lot a couple of blocks up the street. And, as I suspected, half of Los Angeles is out after midnight; the scene is vibrant, the traffic is the same as always, and as usual, you just have to have your city sensibilities about you (i.e., keep your eyes open, have your keys in your hand, and don’t park in any dark alleys. Duh.). Don’t let anything get in your way; go see this. Have fun.
“RE-ANIMATOR” NEWS: EXTENDED THRU AUGUST 14th BY POPULAR DEMAND! PLUS MIDNIGHT CAST BENEFIT SHOWS ON FRI. JUNE 24th, JULY 1st, & JULY 8th!”
Here’s the details:
LOS ANGELES, CA – Re-Animator™ – The Musical, the horror-comedy based on the 1985 cult movie hit and earlier H.P. Lovecraft story, has extended its run due to popular demand through Sunday, August 14, 2011 at the Steve Allen Theater. The new performance schedule for this funny, bloody and tuneful production includes three shows per weekend: Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 8:00pm. Additionally, the production that refuses to die will hold three special Midnight Madness shows with opening bands on Friday, June 24th, Friday, July 1st, and Friday, July 8th. Midnight Madness shows cost $15 and doors open at 10:45pm for the all ages preshow. Bands to be announced on the Re-Animator site. Ticket prices for 8:00pm shows are $30 for general admission, $15 for students (with ID) as well as all Center for Inquiry members. The Steve Allen Theater is located at 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90027. For theater information please call 323-666-4268 or visit http://steveallentheater.com. For ticket purchases only please call 800-595-4849. For more information on the musical please visit http://www.re-animatorthemusical.com. Online tickets can be purchased through the Re-Animator or venue web sites.
“Re-Animator, the Musical is unexpected. This outlandish adaptation of the 1985 cult classic should have fans storming the Steve Allen Theater… a bloody good time.” – David C. Nichols, Los Angeles Times