Thursday, March 12, 2009

Checking In, Stories A-Brewin'

Firstly, I miss you.

Do you ever feel like you're a complete bore to your significant other? Like you talk and the words hang, then melt with no spark to catch onto? You talk and the words sludge through the air of a tough audience never really reaching that audience? I think he's been too busy lately. I then check on the girls and listen to their stories, help them with their stuff, feeling unsatiated in conversation. I think I bore the girls sometimes too.

I've got trapped stories. I gotta let them out. Here's a good place, I think. I'm all excited about stuff but I fear, again, that I'm only talking about a few things as of late, possibly saying the same things repeatedly. Feh, I don't blame him, them. When the words come, they do lose a little fire. I have a good blog-story brewing about my Aunt Remie, my mother's little sister, who found me on Facebook. FB became it's weight's worth in gold when I got her friend-request out of the blue. I saw her name and nearly burst into tears. She has great stories. I'm polishing up the words now to them share soon.

This weekend, I'm taking the girls to see the The Great Wall of Los Angeles. Mina has a project due in the next couple weeks about a great Californian. I influenced her to pick Judy Baca who was on the list to my happy surprise! Judy Baca is a world-renown muralist and activist who is one of the founders of SPARC, the organization who created and painted the Great Wall. She recruited 35 artists and 400 kids of diverse economic and cultural backgrounds from LA communities to help paint the wall. The mural is a half mile painted history of California, but it represents the history of non-Anglos; always the most underrepresented of histories. The mural depicts the foundation of California, the very roots of which lie in ethnically diverse cultures, and continues the thread of cultural influence through the time-line of the mural. The piece is a triumph. I didn't just influence Mina to pick Judy Baca because of all these great reasons -- certainly reasons enough -- but also because in the late 1970's, after working on Judy Chicago's Dinner Party, my mother worked at SPARC with Judy Baca. The Great Wall was almost completed by then or just finished, and many other mural projects were in the works. I spent a lot time hanging around the SPARC halls too which is a converted jail in Venice. I remember Judy Baca had a similar, powerful energy to her, like Chicago, but it was more selfless and goddess-like. Not necessarily a kind goddess, but a powerful one. PCP was big back then and SPARC would organize theatrical anti-PCP outreach programs for the community. SPARC and Baca were a whirling force of influence. That's what I remember the most. Mina was thrilled to choose an artist and one we had known no less. I can't wait for her and Maya to see The Great Wall. I hear it's in need of serious restoration, but I'm sure it's still iconically mind-blowing none the less. I'll post a grip of photos from our adventure.

Lastly, I wanted to report that the studio where I take my spin classes has installed a prototype "Green Bike." The spin bike is hooked up to a generator that charges a battery. The alternating batteries are used to juice the stereo and microphone! Man, I love that. They'll hook up more bikes to generators as they figure out how to juice everything else.

Talk to you later.

16 comments:

Deirdre Cross said...

Hi! That's awesome that your gym has installed one green bike. A friend of mine in Portland has opened a Green Gym! Check it out: http://www.thegreenmicrogym.com/.

Have a great day!
Deirdre

Molly said...

Oh Definitely. My stories bounce off John's forehead and slap me in the face ALL THE TIME, but I do think your right that it means they are super busy. When he calms down, I tell a story no different than any other story - he laughs, smiles and I think, when did I get so funny? I walk with a little extra skip in my step. When he is busy, I fight with myself as to why I need his approval or recognition, but I just do... And, FYI, John is in a uber busy period right now... so I am speaking from experience! Do we do this to them? Probably, but I wouldn't notice. I'd be too busy.

madness rivera said...

Super cool, Deirdre. Thanks, I'll check out that site now.

Thanks Molly. Haha. I was picturing John as I read your comment. I know your pain shouldn't make me feel better, but thanks. Yea, we probably make them feel that way too -- or they don't give a shit, which is more my guess.

Karen said...

Just remember your blog readers love your stories! :)

Becky said...

The green bike is very cool! When the Super Bowl was here in 2008, AMP energy drinks had a bunch of local cyclists come pedal a bunch of stationary bikes in one hour shifts for a couple of days prior to the big game. They used the energy from that to power (part? all of?) the pregame show. It was a pretty cool thing to be involved in and my ponytail made an appearance on national tv!

Maven said...

For about ten years, I have been saying that the machines at gyms should power the gyms themselves. All that hamster-wheel energy being expended to produce nothing has always bugged me about gyms. So hell yeah on the green bike.

nec said...

I am going to be driving through LA in April, I will try to check out the Great Wall.

Whenever you have a new post, my day gets a little lift. I love your stories and your writing style. :o)

Very cool on the green bike!

madness rivera said...

Thanks Karen. I appreicate that. I like to tell stories here too.

Awesome Becky: You fueled the SB! Sick!

I hear you, Maven. It seems like such a Duh Concept that shoulda been implemented many moons ago, but what do you know.

Thanks Nec. Oh my gosh, I hope you do. I'll definitely post photos after the weekend.

Julie said...

Oh, how I love love love that you just shouted out The Dinner Party. I have loved Judy Chicago's art for a long time, in undergrad as I was first awakening to the concept that the personal could be political and my own feminism, I devoured books about Womanhouse and The Dinner Party. I tracked down and acquired an album of polaroids and notes about the construction and the opening night of the show. I was thrilled to my toes when, two years ago, The Elizabeth Sackler Center for Feminist Art opened in Brooklyn just blocks from my apartment, for which The Dinner Party is the centerpiece of their permanent collection!! Seeing it in person was a watershed moment for me. I identify so strongly with First Wave feminists of the 70s, and I am completely in agreement with you and so captivated by the kind of energy - uniquely feminine, community based and cooperative - that seems to accompany so much of that legacy. I just sat down and read and studied my way through the entire Great Wall site. Wow. WOW. What an amazing achievement to tell such marginalized stories in such a public forum. I also love that the meta element of the work, that the construction and birth of the project reflects accurately the nature of the work, and the communal and co-operative way it was created. I had never heard of SPARC, and now I definitely want to visit. Over the last year I have struggled so much with this question; I work in the non-profit sect, and have done much work with the ex-offended population. It has been disheartening to me over the years to see that so many agencies that purport to work for social justice have shunned co-operative models of operation, and still rely on hierarchical structure that frequently obstructs the mission. There is a lot of meanness and power-tripping, which to me works against any work for peace or justice. More and more I feel called to reject those spaces and find work that is meta in the same way as the great wall, that calls upon and builds from my own personal work for peace in a more sustainable and community oriented way. I don't know what that means yet, but I know that is the work of this next phase of my life. What a wonderful inspiration and compliment the discovery of your post was today. Thank you!

Here is something else I discovered in the last few days that hits these same themes for me, it is a recording of Pat Parker reciting her landmark poem Woman Slaughter. My favorite poem of all time is called A Woman Is Talking To Death by Judy Grahn, and she has always said it was born of her love of Woman Slaughter. The overlap, the chords, the strength and steady, unwavering ways of knowing shake me right down to my bones. She said: ...I will come to my sisters not dutiful/ I will come strong. I hear those voices and I just feel that so deep. Anyway, if you're interested: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Deon32kNSEg

Melinda said...

I miss you too.

Your b-ball tourney is a respite from the storm. Except that my Irish are a bunch of jerks without heart this year and, unless hell freezes over, won't even make the dance.

But still. A respite. Hi.

DJ said...

I sometimes fantasise that Rupert works offshore - four weeks on, four weeks off - and that seems to coincide with whethers he's listening to me or not, so... Green bike, what a great idea!

Madame One Tree said...

I remember Judy Chicago's Dinner Party....now you have given me something to research in Baca. I will be so looking forward to pictures.

I also know what it is to talk though sludge... only mine is 103 years old. I feel very alone sometimes with my words careening off the barrier.

I am glad that you are writing again. I love your irreverence.

madness rivera said...

Hi Melinda, mama. ND, feh -- it's not like my UCLA will be lasting long in the tourney even though they did make it. Putzes . ..

DJ & Madame, your spouse stories made me laugh.

And hi Julie. Loved the inspired comment and the poem. Thank you. "Passion them to death" . . .ug, so good. I had so much to say about nonprofits and the political gossiping & dissent I heard around the Dinner Party and SPARC even as a kid . . .but all in all it was the projects that rose above it all and continues to mean something today. Their art transcended the bullshit -- and there might always be bullshit -- for a greater cause of empowerment even if a small few came out bruised from it all. Anyway, I was close to it all and very young, but I heard my own mother's grumblings, and still I'm a better woman for both experiences. Thanks again for your thoughtfullness, and in your work you'll find your way. You have what it takes.

Ali la Loca said...

I had no idea Thomas Edison was born in Mexico, to Mexican parents, and adopted by a white American couple.

I was so shocked by this - it's exactly the kind of fact that I tend to know, and am proud to share - that I did some internet research.

Everything I've found so far says Edison was born in Milan, Ohio and is of Dutch ancestry!

Help!!! Which one is right? Is there some version of history out there hiding from us? Or is there a massive rumor going around that Edison was Mexican when really he is Midwestern?

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