This is my first BTS update in 2018. The longer I put off doing one of these, the harder it becomes. After this I plan on going back to doing weekly/bi-weekly updates.
One "resolution" I made is to take more casual phone videos, which still have the feel of a home video rather than a professional videography. There's charm and sincerity to that, and having those videos to look back on in the future will be very valuable. So in this post I will feature some videos that capture some intimate and private moments of the first month of the new year.
PART ONE - NEW YEARS
"Love - In my heart, in my mind, in my gut"
New Years is the one holiday that I absolutely have to come home for. I appreciate it as a yearly ritual - an opportunity to check in with family. Because the Soviet Union officially had no religion - New Years became THE holiday. In a lot of ways it's similar to Christmas: New Years Tree, Grandpa Frost (our Santa), gift giving, a feast - family. As children we would dress up in costumes - we haven't done it in many years, but maybe next year. Since I was coming home for New Years, Sequoyah and I organized another album release on Jan 7th in Brooklyn. He came up with me from Atlanta and was with my family and I through the Holidays. My friend Emily also joined us for NYE, which I'm very grateful for. My cousin got engaged, his fiance Maria was there. Overall a packed, and very festive new years. I got everyone my favorite books from the past year as presents, so I hope they resonate with everyone as well. (Books: Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde, Of Woman Born by Adrianne Rich, The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin, Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin, The Coming Insurrection by The Invisible Committee and Dreams, Memories, Reflections by Carl Jung.)"
PART TWO - NYC DREAM SEQUENCE ALBUM RELEASE
Sequoyah and I put on the second iteration of our Dance Dream Tea Room (name still in the works). The week leading up to the show broke records in how cold it was. It was compounded with a bomb cyclone. Through the frigid conditions, Sequoyah and I spent stressing, laughing, shivering, indulging and exploring as we schemed the show. Ultimately the show gave me a huge high - my family, friends from middle school, high school, college and from Atlanta, were all there for a wild clashing of worlds.
One of the best aspects of the show was that I finally shared some of my footage from Ukraine, during the INCREDIBLE opener, Natalie Moses + Monster Truck. The reception of the footage has motivated me to finally start working on the installation work.
PART THREE - TURN 25
"I have a lot of joy in my heart. Power in my muscles. Love in my veins. Thankful and Grateful for the opportunities life has and continues to offer me. Relationships are the most sacred bonds I can create and cultivate. My art helps in that journey."
I'm officially in my mid-20s. At my current age, my parents had a 2 year old child. In another 2-3 years (perhaps at 27?, an important year I've been told) , I will enter a new stage in life where I will be the same age as my parents in my memories. I wonder what kind of psychological effect that has on people? I wonder if adults having children later and later in life, meaning that their children don't have memories of their parents their own age until later in life, effects their overall maturity. Or preparedness for parenting. I wonder if anyone has ever studied this phenomenon in any detail.
In any case, I'm very excited for this year. Looking back I'm very happy with how many collaborations I was able to manifest. I have forged some really powerful bonds in the process, which I am carrying into my 25th year. Decisions compound and life becomes more and more interesting. This bring me to a new challenge that I'm very excited to tackle:
PART FOUR - SUNDAY MORNING AT SEVEN
This project has definitely been at the forefront of my mind. I was discussing the script with close friends before I left for NYC and was one of the last things my sister and I discussed while I was there. Their insight was really invaluable.
As soon as I got back to ATL, I jumped into the script and made a solid rewrite, which I shared with Anicka. She loved it. So now I'm fine-tuning it and am starting to reach out to people to build a crew as I also apply for grants and funding.
As part of my process in developing this film, I've been watching films directed by women, starring strong female leads and/or about the erotic. Some of my favorites are: The Meetings of Anna by Claire Denis, Home by Ursula Meier, The Marriage of Maria Braun by Reiner Fassbinder, and the Piano Teacher by Michael Haneke. (Isabelle Huppert is an absolutely stunning actress).
I've also been watching a lot of dance shorts and this is one of my favorites:
PART FIVE - THE BAKERY/THE LIBRARY
While I was gone, The Bakery threw a very succseful NYE Masquerade Ball inspired by David Bowie's The Labyrinth. When I got back The Bakery hosted Power to the Polls AKA Womens March Year 2. It was the most number of people I have ever seen there, close to 3 thousand? It all went very smoothly thanks to everyone involved. Because I'm out of space on my Vimeo profile for the week, I'm linking a life Facebook video that I recorded during the event.
The Library also officially opened while I was in NYC.
While you can learn in detail what The Library is about on the Patreon, here's a quick rundown:
It's a Co-Op (multi stake holder) organization (official legal status to be determined) that will be home to 4 main initiatives: Citizens Consumers United, Digital Sovereignty, Next Economy Alliance and the Seasonal Convergence.
Citizens Consumers United An association aimed at galvanizing the tremendous untapped purchasing power of individuals and communities. Through education and community accountability, we hope to change buying habits away from exploitative, extractive, monopolistic industries, and instead nourish ethical alternatives while forming a symbiotic relationship between producers and consumers.
Next Economy Alliance An educational series providing a space for a variety of discussions and educational series centered on how to make a just transition to a more equitable and sustainable socio-economic system.
The Digital Sovereignty Collective A forum for diverse individuals from the tech, arts, wellness, food, civic and social justice spheres to converge and discuss how decentralized, p2p (peer-to-peer) tech can facilitate the emergence of bottom-up economic alternatives, enable sovereignty over our own data, and empower grassroots coordination for exchange and decision-making.
Finally there will be a quarterly Seasonal Convergence on the solstices and equinoxes. I co-founded this with Sophia with the first Winter Solstice end of 2017 and it was a great turn out of local creatives and activists that has already led to some really exciting collaborations.
BONUS: IS TACO A SANDWICH
Happy to be back home in 1254 with these fools.