In My Lens …

August was World Photography Day and I wondered if I should Participate:

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Image + Words from the Linda McCartney Website.

(as always Click the Pink for the Link and best viewed on a Desktop or Laptop)

Every Day is World Photography Day.

It is my life long Tonic.

On My Photography Site , I posted some early words about my Life through the Lens:

From L to R: With my First Camera, a Kodak Ektralite 110 in London + With my First 35mm Film Camera, a Minolta Maxxum 7000 +  a Polaroid of Me (taken by my Friend Joanne) with my First (Impulse) Polaroid Camera.

Click here to read about My Passion and then here for my Love of  Film.

Looking back at my Life, Photography has been my World. The Camera is the Narration to my Life,  how I make sense of the Minutiae, how I define who I am.

It’s my Bridge from the Divine, My Prayer to the World.

As many Creatives know, however, we can have a Complicated Relationship with this Muse. I am unabashedly, no exception.

Sometimes, it’s easy.

From that Moment of perception, to framing that shot in the viewfinder, to that feeling of pressing the Shutter down and hearing,  t  h  a  t   s  o u n d.

Bliss.

Sometimes it’s complicated.

From feeling inadequate because of that perfect shot thrown up on Social Media, to someone pulling out their new Gear, to hours spent on Editing Pics, and no one making a comment on them, ever.

Pain.

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Photo + Quote from Eve Arnold via shootdotedit.com

These days, there are a Plethora of ways to take Pictures. Mobile Devices, ‘ D’ Series Cameras,  Mirrorless Cameras, and now, back to Film Cameras. There are even more Photography Apps, Editing Programs, Social Media Platforms, that make it easy for you to Snap, Create, and put your Work out there.

By that Definition, everyone can be a Photographer.

So, I Posit this.

I went to School for Photography.  I have Instagram on my iPhone. I ingest an (un) healthy amount of Books and Magazines on Photography.  I use Three Editing Programs when I edit Pictures.

Does this make me a Photographer?

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Via shootdotedit.com

We just lost Peter . Thank You Dear Man, for your Gift, your Legacy. His Work, defined the 90’s for me  and  h  o  w   Black + White Photography should be.

Well done Peter, for bringing it back to Center.

Photography has nurtured my Altruistic view of the World around, and the World within. It single handedly, makes me a better Human.

This feeling seems to run deep in my Family.

My Beloved Grandma Balantac :

Taken with this Camera:

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Other than the Family Nostalgia (that’s my Dad, Uncle Moreno, and Auntie Josie in the Photos) they capture an important era in Filipino American History.  Whilst raising three Children and making a living as a Migrant Farm Worker, she became an instinctive Documentarian. And since October is Filipino American History Month, her Photos are more relevant than ever.

My Beloved Dad:

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His Shots from the Early 1950’s when he was Stationed in Europe, hands down, have inspired my need for Wanderlust and taking Pictures of it.  He has the ability to capture the Heart of the Moment as well as the Offbeat. He bought me First Camera, and to this day, still encourages me to look for the Different in things.

I have been taking Pictures since I was 11, and have shot with 5 (4 of which I still have) Film Cameras into my late 20’s (can you guess which ones they are?):

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In My recent move back home on the River, I’ve Rediscovered some Gems.

In my Teens, 20’s + Mid 30’s, I lived through Black + White Film:

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Me … Queens, New York, 1985

 On our way out for the day, I asked my Auntie where these steps led. She said that’s where we keep our Bins. I loved the light, and I asked her to take my Picture. It wasn’t until I got the Film back, did I realize, how cool the Juxtaposition was of me, all clean and put together, sitting next to the Trash. Thus, my life long habit of hunting for Randomness, began.3885050805_d80ef67ee8_o

Waiter … NYC, 1985

I was walking around Little Italy with my Minolta around my neck, when I heard a voice bellow ‘ Take My Picture !’ I can’t recall his name, but I do remember the energy on that street. I love that ‘John’ was walking out of  Frame and the other Waiter in the background.

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Wee Lad … NYC, 1985

It was only a Split Second, but when he walked by me I knew I had to take his picture. I have always been careful of taking pictures of Children and asking for Permission. But, this Photo I took on the sly and I feel it made it more Quirky.

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Guitarist … NYC, 1985

Walking fast amongst the Crowd, I caught sight of this Musician strumming in the doorway. I stepped back, snapped, and kept on walking.

On the Move … Coney Island, 1985

In traffic, I looked up and saw this intense Conversation. I love how the Window framed them.

On a Bike … Merida, Mexico, 1987

After the Pyramids in Chichen Itza, we walked around Merida. His bike caught my eye.

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Michael Hutchence … Madison Square Garden, 1988

My Late 1980’s + Early 90’s are defined by INXS. I saw them 3 times in 1988. This Gig was the most memorable, as we were able to sneak close to the Stage. RIP Michael, you were big, bright Shooting Star.

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Mom + Dad … Muir Woods, 1988

Simply put, the light. Still my Favorite photo of my Parents.

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Mama … Miami, 1995

My First Trip to Miami was with my Dominican Professor/Friend to visit her Familia. I absolutely fell in love with them, her Culture, and Her Mama.

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Playing … Bohol, Philippines, 1998

My First Trip to the Philippines was on a Medical Mission. We did get some time to explore, and whilst we were driving around, I looked out the Window, and saw these kids crossing a path. One of my Favorite shots from the whole Trip.

Some Random Black + White  Favorites:

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I did Shoot Color Film as well:

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At my Grandparents Farm, I distinctively remember seeing Dad in between the edge of the window and the top of the trunk lid. Daddy saw me taking his picture and smiled!

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At the Tower of London, we were walking around and I remember how Proud he seemed. After I took this, he waved at Me!

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I had just been gifted my new Minolta Maxuum for my High School Graduation, when we visited my Friend Ruth’s Family Farm. This is her Sister Kathleen and still is my Favorite Portrait I’ve taken with this Camera.

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When we arrived at this Small Village in Cebu, there was a long line of people winding around the whole of the building. As the building began to fill up, people started to peek in through the Windows. I gave these Kids School Supplies after I took this Picture.

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A Beach in Cebu. I remember just gasping when I saw the above view.  It doesn’t get any more picturesque than that.

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In Manila, children come up to cars waiting in traffic, selling things or asking for Help. I looked up and saw this young girl carrying her Sister and she seemed so, troubled.

I Shot Color and Black + White Film with my Fuji Film 312 Zoom on My Trips to London + Paris (2013 + 2015):

I remember being SO excited about going to Walgreens and picking up my Prints! How times have changed.

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Crockett, CA

This was taken with my Rocket Spartus Camera, that shoots 127 Film. I love the shape and how the Images overlapped. I had the Film and Prints done at The Darkroom.

Then I also took stock of my Photography Books.

These have Inspired me for 33 Years, have been in 4 Different Homes, and I suspect will come with me when I Live Abroad:

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From Bottom L to R: Robert Freeman + Herb Ritts + George Forss + Top: Linda McCartney

These Books inspired Me through the 90’s to Mid 2000’s …

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Dan Eldon, Sabrina Ward Harrison , and Viggo Mortensen particularly inspired me during this Period.  Because of them, I started Visual Journaling, making Mixed Media Pieces with my Photography, and created my First Website, Just Genie:

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In my Mid 30’s , I Started Shooting Digital with a Canon A630. It’s the Camera I used to get signed to a German Photo Agency ( click for my Gallery). I am Humbled and Chuffed they see something in my Work:

… then I Graduated to a Canon XSi (because the Agency wanted me to Shoot Raw):

… onto a Canon 6D (because Photography School wanted me to Shoot Full Frame) and also when I started Watermarking my Work:

… to my latest Edition of a Leica Delux for my Solo Trip to Europe last December:

Pics from Barcelona (more to come in my next Blog Post).

I was impressed with it’s Detail, the Full Frame + Raw Capabilities, and how unbelievably light it was!

But, I don’t always Document with a Traditional Camera.

In my Early 40’s (I know),  I got my first Mobile Phone, a Nokia, and I remember being so excited that I always had a ‘Camera’ ready:

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On to iPhones:

5s …

6 Plus …

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7 Plus …

Even with this wealth of Images, however, I could have never imagined how my relationship with Photography would evolve, and literally, save my Soul.

It started with the ending of my Marriage in 2011 …

In the Depths, Photography was my Divine Light:

It healed me, opened me up, made me humble:

In the Last Couple of Years, it has become my Benediction …

Sometimes, I do make Portraits.

I love that Buzz when I can Connect with someone and we Create something different, together:

My True Passion, however, is Traveling. In the last Two Years, I’ve been Blessed to have been able to do just that.

London, Oxford, and Edinburgh:

A bit of London again (My Spirit Animal) + Liverpool + Barcelona + Amsterdam ( More Coming):

Click here for more of my Travel Photography …

During this current Renaissance, I’ve devoured Books and Magazines …

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From Top, L t R: Sally Mann, Walker Evans, Harry Benson, and Steve McCurry 

… And lately, I have been Inspired by:

One. Shaun Evans

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 His Film Photo for the Liverpool Art Book …

As well as being a Photographer, he is a Brilliant Actor and a Poetic Director:

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Stills (taken from my iMac) from the Apollo Episode of Endeavour that he Directed (and Acted in).

What I love about his Storytelling is how every shot f e e l s like a still photo, his meticulous attention to Detail, and his subtle use of Color. The last few shots of the episode where he pans from Endeavour in the Car, then slowly up to the Moon,  I gasped.  It was Beautiful. Dear Mr. Evans, Well Done! I can’t wait to see more of your Vision, you Inspire Me.

Read this for his words on Story Telling  (I Love that he shoots with a Leica) and watch Endeavour if you love Lyrical Story Telling.

Two: Iddo Goldberg

Please go to his Website for the full effect of his Stunning Work:

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I was first Introduced to Iddo with his Acting in ‘ Secret Diary of a Call Girl ‘. Then onto the brilliantly addictive show Salem, with his lovely Wife, Ashley. It was around that time, that I stumbled upon his Instagram, Iddo Photo. I was/am moved by his innate way of tapping into the Humanity of his Subjects, by his singular Aesthetic, and his incomparable Skills (I believe he shoots mostly Film).  Mr. Goldberg, I am in Awe.

Three: Patti Smith

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I first came across her Music in my first Year at University, and then her Verse and Photography, in my Late Twenties. I have since revisited her work, and have been blown away by her shots taken with her vintage Land Polaroid Cameras. Her photos coupled with her prose, verse, and narrative, is just plain Intoxicating.

Now along with Linda McCartney and Yoko Ono, she is my Creative Hero. As I embark on my own Journey of writing a book (with Photos shot with Film),  Ms. Smith, you will be my Guide. You are a true Renaissance Woman.

And with that, my ode to Photography ends. What started out as a small nod, has grown into a heartfelt conversation on one of the biggest Loves of my life. I hope in my sharing, I may have rekindled someone’s passion for Photography , inspired someone to go out and shoot, or go to the Library and check out that Photography book.

 I am always on the hunt for new projects and/or collaborations with my fellow Photographers! A joint show somewhere? Sending a Visual Journal back and forth in the Snail Mail to each other? Chatting about new Photography Books, editing Techniques, Shooting Film with Vintage Cameras, on my Podcast?

Are you interested? Let’s chat!

E-mail Me:  geniebalantac@gmail.com

… Where will you take me, Dear Photography?

I have no idea, but I can’t wait to get there.

BIG Love, G XXX

PS: Wanna see my New Magic Studio?

 

… Filmed Last Month, I have since added more + rearranged!

Expect more Vlogs soon!

Liverpool and Living As Art …

 

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Edit October 8, 2019:

Just a Shout Out to all of You Lovely Readers that pushed me to over 40K Clicks!

Thank YOU, I am Humbled and Well Chuffed!

All LOVE XXX

Drop me an E-mail: I would love to Chat with You and hear what You Think (Particularly, those in the UK!)

geniebalantac@gmail.com

Check out my Instagram Account, Yawping, for My Recent Posts …

And if on a Mobile Device: Click on Title, Scroll all the way down, and check out the Sidebar Bits!

My Next Blog Post ( Before my Musings on Barcelona ), will be on my Photography Life:

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Scanned Polaroid: Ocean Beach, CA, 1989

Stay Tuned!

 

… We are always searching for a Group of People, a Tribe, a ‘ Family ‘, to Inspire, Empower,  Lift Us.

This is why I am drawn, attracted to, certain People, certain Places.

Click here to View My Travel Photography …

( And as always, Click the Pink for the Link )

It’s why I Love all things John, Paul, George, and Ringo. It’s why I am a Full Blown Anglophile .  It’s why I needed to visit Liverpool on my ’50th Redux Trip’.

The First time I ever heard of The Beatles, was when I was in 7th Grade, and we were told that John Lennon had died. I vaguely recall a Classmate saying ‘ Who’s John Lennon ?’.

Fast Forward to Sophomore Year in High School, and I became enamored with the 1960’s and began to Voraciously Devour anything related to that Decade. Of course I came across the Fab Four, but it wasn’t until:

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… These Albums, some of my most Prized Possessions, from a Box Set bought from Price Club, did I finally fall in deep with the Lads.

As I made my way through each Album, every Track; I was Enthralled, Mesmerized, Seduced.

I began to Read, Research, and become immersed in their Wondrous Journey together. And for the very first time in my Young Life, I became attracted to the idea of surrounding Oneself with Like Minded, Creative Folk. To give Birth to something greater than Yourself.

Making Art, and Living Life as Art.

Thank YOU, Fab Four. You Hooked Me, line and sinker.

I became an expert on all things Beatles. I bought, borrowed, bartered for anything on The Four:

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… I even did an English Lit Paper, comparing Chaucer to John Lennon’s Books with an accompanying Cassette Tape with Beatles Songs!

I borrowed this Movie hundreds of times from Tower Video on Watt Ave:

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… The above scenes single handedly defined why I Parade.

And then because of The Four, I was Introduced to these Women.

Women that helped shape, continue to shape, my Creative Life:

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Linda McCartney and Yoko Ono.

Photos by Linda McCartney

Quite unexpectedly, Linda had a Show of some her Film Prints, at the now defunct, ’Darkroom’ here in Sacramento in the Fall of 1985. Seeing her work mere Inches away, blew my mind, and in one fail swoop, I wanted to be Her, and she made me fall in Love with Photography.

Endlessly, Thank You Linda.  You are why I am a Photographer.

Then there was Yoko Ono. I fell for her Sensibility, the Bravery in her Art:

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She is a Formidable Asian Woman and I was enamoured.  I was so moved after visiting Strawberry Fields in NYC in the Summer of ‘ 86, that I wrote her a long Impassioned Letter.

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This is what I got in return.

Thank You Yoko, I will sing your Praises, Forever.

Fast Forward to London, 2003. I finally made it to Abbey Road:

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Another Aside, I could have gotten into Abbey Road if my Ex would have used his Connections with Tape Op Magazine. I Threatened to go knock on the Door and say that he works for the Magazine, but it was not a happy alternative. A few years later, I did get to hear some Top Secret Vintage (Unmixed) Beatles Tracks Recorded at Abbey Road: I call it even.

I have also Followed the next Generation of the Four with Awe + Admiration:

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Bond Street Store, London 2003

I have Loved Stella McCartney since her Days at Chloe, and I am fortunate to have some of her pieces from a  w i l d Sample Sale in London.

Mary McCartney follows in her Mum’s Footsteps, In Her Own Right  and then Julian Lennon is also a Brilliant Photographer and overall, Renaissance Man. And Julian’s Brother, Sean Ono Lennon ? He is just Transcendent on every Level. I’m waiting OH So Patiently for all of them to Collaborate Together, can You  i  m  a  g  i  n  e ? But in the Meantime:

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Pics like this will keep me Blissful.

Image via Google Search

… so, going to Liverpool? A Pilgrimage.

After my Week-End in London, I made the Mad Dash to Euston, Rode the Best Train in the World into Liverpool and had my First Airbnb Experience:

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Then I took the first in a long line of Memorable Uber/Cab Rides that I had during my Sojourn in the ‘Pool. What made them so Memorable, you ask?  It was like each and every Driver knew what (Philosophical) Question I was going  to ask before I did and knew the Answer I needed to hear! Each and every one of them exuded such Kindness, Warmth, and Tenderness to this Wanderer so far from her Comfort Zone, that every time I bid them Adieu, I did so with pieces of a Well Fed Soul.

Here is an Example of my many Wonder -Filled (Unedited) Talks and I was Respectfully Careful, to not film their Faces:

Then I was finally on the River Mersey …

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And whilst I waited for the Ferry:

It was Windy, it was Cold, it was Magical:

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Had an Intimate Tour with a Liverpudlian Lass that Introduced me to the City’s Rich History + Shared with me Secret, Local Only Places + I Quickly fell in Love with the ‘Pool:

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As the Sun set, it became increasingly colder,  but I didn’t let it deter me in finding something to Eat.  True to form, however, I  Stumbled upon The Tate Modern Liverpool just before it closed ( Turn Sound Up! ):

… and I felt like getting into the Holiday mood, so I took an Uber to The Liverpool Christmas Market:

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Before I left for my Trip, I stumbled upon this Article about an Organization Selling Scouse Pies at the Market. I was on a Mission, to have that be my first Liverpool Dinner! I finally found the stall and I struck up a conversation with the kind Lad who wrapped up my Steaming Scouse Pie. He lit up as he started to talk about how the Organization helped him off the Streets, how through it’s Football Club, he’s gained back his Self Esteem, how he’s Empowered to start looking for work, and how he has healthier Living Skills.  It hit me, as he happily wrapped up my Pie and told me what Stall to get the best Hot Cider at, that our very Human, Humbling exchange, is the reason why I Travel.  As I paid and prepared to walk away,  I said he was incredibly Brave and that he has Inspired Me! He ran around and gave me a great big bear hug and said, ‘ Love, You’re Brave and Inspiring for having an Adventure all on your own!’

… and My Dinner:

 

… Back to Downtime at the Airbnb:

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( Turn Sound Up! )

Then in the Morning, the True Celebration Began:

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This 51 Year Old is ready in Pink + Leopard …

As I waited for my Uber down in Front, I was Chatted up by two Friendly Builders, asking me where I was from, because I didn’t look ‘ Local’.  I answered ‘ I’m Californian and I came to Liverpool to Celebrate my Birthday, Today! ‘.  To wit one of them answered, ‘ What a Brilliant way to Celebrate your 21st! ‘. Really, that was the  b e s t Gift, ever. Went into my Uber Beaming, and the Driver said, ‘ It must be Your Birthday Today!’ … Really, I kid you  n  o  t  , and we Preceded to have the Second Best Uber Conversation of my Solo Trip. We discussed Trials, Triumphs, Living Free, and Traveling ‘ Open ‘ . I stepped out, elated by our Deep Connection, and I Thanked him for the Gift of His Wisdom.

He Answered,  ‘ You have the right way of Living, don’t let anyone take that away from You!’.  Needless to say, I stepped onto the Bus, High:

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It was 2 Hours of Nervous, Excited Energy, and feeling like I could jump out of my Skin at any Moment.  A  l   l   Bucket List.

I was Bouncing up and down in my seat, gasping, crying, listening to Stories, I’ve heard a million times before.  And in the place where they were Birthed.

Nirvana, Full Stop.

What follows, is how I Documented such Bliss, even with a Stubborn Instax Camera, and one rapidly dying Leica Battery.  Lesson hereafter,  A L W A Y S carry an extra Camera Battery and Thank GOD for the iPhone. Nothing could deter me from my Happiness, however:

One.  At the Start of the Tour …

Two. Love Me Do …

Three. … George’s House:

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… Around the Corner:

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Four. Penny Lane …

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Five. Saw a bit of Local Liverpool:

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Six. Strawberry Fields

Being an Advocate for Social Justice, my Heart swelled to hear all the Empowering things they were going to do with their new Facilities! They open their gates for the first time this Summer: Click here for more details.

I know John would be Chuffed and I’m putting it back on my Bucket List.

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Seven. Paul’s House …

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This pic? See the smear of Tears on my Glasses? I had just had one of those ‘Spiritual’ Moments that would reoccur throughout the rest of my Day …

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Eight. Cemetery that Inspired Eleanor Rigby …

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Nine. John’s House

Next Time I’m in Liverpool, I want to book a Tour of the House …

Ten. Then this Moment …

I was Joyfully Singing to ‘ Help ‘ and Recording what I saw, when we drove by this Park. I saw the Soft, White Mist, hanging just slightly above the Grass, like a layer of soft, sticky, Cotton Candy. It was then I noticed random people with their Dogs, boldly making their way through it all, totally unaware that it looked like they were actually, floating.

It was Bewitching, it was Beautiful.

It shook me.

If you listen closely, you can hear Me saying ‘ Wow! ‘ …

Lastly:

My All Time Fave Beatles Song that I want played at my Wake.

My Review of the Tour? Sweet, Addictive Icing, surrounding the Layers of Cake, that was my most Brilliant Day.

After the Tour, I took a Taxi back to my Airbnb to grab my Extra Camera battery.

But really, this Liverpudlian Cabbie:

Before heading back out, I took Advantage of the Bright Mid Day Light and did a bit of Honoring my Mate Kat’s Beautiful Airbnb:

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Click Here for More Pics …

And no Birthday would be complete without a visit to a Church, not one, but two Churches. I mean, come on, it’s Europe and a Street called Hope, I had to.

At one end of the Street, the Catholic Church,  The Metropolitan Cathedral . Truly, one of the most Beautiful, Modern Catholic Churches, I have ever seen.

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I Prayed, I Cried, I always feel at Home in a Catholic Church.

On the way to the other end of Hope Street …

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… Liverpool Cathedral:

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This Statue: Please Read the Inspiring Story Behind It: It’s Made of Used Switch Blades …

I was Mesmerized.

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When I walked inside the Church, I automatically  k  n  e  w  who’s work this was.

The very First Female British Artist that I Fell in Love with, Tracey Emin. 

Whilst in London for My Art Show, I accidentally saw her, and I was Flabbergasted. I hid in a Toy Store, and took this Film Pics of Her from afar. Hereafter, if I meet someone (Famous) that Inspires me, walk right up to them and tell them so:

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Then to Another Spiritual Place, The Cavern Club ! 

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As I walked down the stairs, I could literally hear my heartbeat over the Guitar Music playing in the distance. And with a Deep Breath, I stepped down into a Space that I have dreamt of being in since I was 16:

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I’ve been to Hundreds, if not Thousands of Gigs this Lifetime, Click Here …

But to have been to one at the Cavern Club, Indescribable.

I touched the Walls, I had a Pint.

I listened to a Liverpudlian Musician.

I was Chatted up by some Lads, and I could have stayed there all Afternoon + Night.  But I had an Exhibition to make before closing:

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When I started to make Art, she was a Major Influence on Me.  At Various Points in my Career, People have said that I reminded them of Her.  I don’t see it, but Truly, I am always floored by the Compliment …

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Visual Journal, 2000

… So You can Imagine what this Exhibit meant to me:

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That’s me Crying in the Elevator going up to it.

Before going into the Heart of it, a few Collaborative Art Pieces from Yoko:

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My Contribution to the ‘ Wishing Tree ‘ …

‘ Peace is Power ‘

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Shhh, I snagged one of the Crayons.

My Soul was Bursting:

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I saw the Original of this in Central Park in NYC the Summer of 1986. I was so Moved, that I wrote Yoko that long Impassioned Letter.

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And Random Brilliant Bits taken on my iPhone:

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As I walked through to the end of the Exhibit, I was Empowered, Floating, Buzzing. I also swore, that I will have a Dynamic Partnership like John and Yoko did, one day.

After buying many Bits from the Gift Shop:

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… I headed back to my Airbnb to Regroup, pick up this Card from Kat:

Then it was off to:

The Art School Restaurant

You know I chose it for the name, and did do a little Research, but nothing could have prepared this Foodie for my 2 1/2  Hour Dining Experience.

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See that? Pure Happiness.

I was a bit apprehensive about my very first Fine Dining experience ( not to mention in a Foreign Country ) all on my own. But from the moment they took my coat, to making me a Custom Gin Drink, to all the various people that came and chatted with me between Courses, I felt taken care of, Loved.

The Food? Brilliant British Cuisine.

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When in Liverpool, Go to ‘ The Art School ‘!

They will make you Happy, they will Fill You up.

Then it was back to Kat’s Lovely Airbnb, for the most perfect Night Cap I could think of, Listening to her Vinyl Records!

Exactly these Angel Numbers as I started Spinning …

Good Luck ...

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Blissful End to Hands Down, the Best Birthday of my Life.

The Next Morning, I was off to Barcelona!

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As I connected and chatted Happily with my Dear New Mate, Kat, I realized that I was going to miss Liverpool, Her SO Lovely Airbnb, and Her.  I had Tears in my Eyes as I drove away, and I have to say, I left pieces of my Heart as I did.

Although, this Chat with my Uber Driver on the way to the Airport, made Me feel better:

And Airports always makes everything Much Better:

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Next ’50th Redux Trip’ Post, Hola Barcelona!

But back to the Earlier Idea of  ‘Living As Art ‘.

I felt it on this Trip, when I met Filip, Kat, Ali + Guillaume, Marc, Fiorella, Carla, Agostino, Rea + Leo, and Lulu:

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I always feel it in Europe, truth be told. It’s the Reason why I will live there one day. As I stated at the beginning of this post, it was The Fab Four that first Introduced me to the idea of having a Tribe, of being Inspired by the People in your Life, and ‘Creating’ something larger than Yourself, because of them.

As I enter into yet another Renaissance this Lifetime, I revisit when my Life was Art, Literally ( as always Click the Pink for the Link ):

I made Art …

I had Art Shows and Ran an Art Gallery …

I Taught Art to Children …

I started my first Blog that got 7k Hits a Day …

I even Published a ‘Zine entitled ‘ Life As Art ‘ …

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In all these Experiences, I have Met, Bonded, Connected with, SO many Inspiring People. I wasn’t consciously aware of it at the time, but I was adding to my Tribe. They have all permanently shaped my Creative Muse in some way or the other, no matter how Long or Brief our Time together was. And since then, I am always searching for that kind of Connection.

And sometimes, if You’re Lucky, You find it at work:

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One. I Developed and Ran an After School Program …

Two. I was a Retail Specialist at the Local Apple Store …

Single Handedly, Two of the Most Rewarding + Challenging Jobs I’ve ever had, but the perfect Examples of working with a Group of People to ‘ Create ‘ something larger than Ourselves, and forever being Inspired by that Experience.

An aside, I am Currently Looking for my next Big Creative Endeavour in California, the UK, and Europe at Large: Give me a Shout and let’s Chat!

… Thank YOU for being with Me on this rather Long ‘ Rabbit Hole’ of a Post!

Next up, My First Visit to Barcelona …

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Until then, Live Thankful, Live Big!

All LOVE …

G XXX

Shift …

 

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Most people are on the world, not in it …

John Muir

(Click on the Pink for the Links)

Dear 2019, did you see that shift?  Those past 12 months that just flew right by ya? The most Sublime, the most Heart Wrenching stretch of time in my Life. To be fair, I have never been the type to skip lightly through anything, but damn it all if I wasn’t savagely thrown, headfirst into the lot. In Deep? I was consumed.

 

 

I turned a Half A Century Old, I lost Life Long Relationships, I was on the receiving end of Unfathomable Hatred and Callousness,  I lost My SO Beloved Sadie Girl, and then  I  Sold Our Magic Cottage.

 

 

But as there is no Darkness without Light, I was also Gifted with profound Strength, an Unwavering Sense of Creativity, and Unconditional Love from my Tribe. In Deep? I was consumed.

  I then moved back to the River: Rogue River Drive, my Childhood Home to be with + take care of my Beloved Parents. After 20 Years of being away, 7 of those Years being completely on my own (with Sadie Girl of course) and becoming Ferociously Independent, it has been the biggest Shift of all. My Parents are my Best Friends but learning to share space with people ( I edited down a whole house into Two Rooms + a Shed ) again has been Profound to say the least:

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One of thePerks of moving back, however, is I have fallen in Love with the River Again.

It’s quiet Beauty has not lost it’s Magic on this River Rat, and I can’t want to Document, Explore, and Share my Adventures.

It was and still is my Haven:

 

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Before all of this Shifting, I was planning on going back to Europe. And when I was unpacking the day to day necessities, switching out warm weather clothes for winter clothes, I was subconsciously packing for the Trip. However, I was still toying with the idea, should I go? Do I deserve to go? Am I taking on too much in an already jam packed year?

But after a disappointing, almost heartbreaking trip last December, I was empowered to rewrite a new Narrative for this Birthday. So I planned my 13 Day Trip in 2 Weeks. London, Liverpool, Barcelona, and Amsterdam:

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This Film By My  Brilliant Mate Marc  was made whilst I was in Barcelona! It epitomizes the Vibe of the Whole of My Trip …

But First:

Hastily placed Boots, Bag, Pink Tights, and my new Leica into my Luggage and off I went.

Any Trip to Europe, has to start in the UK.

It is my Spirit Animal:

 

I only fly Aerlingus: SFO to Dublin, Dublin to London. The Irish Hospitality, all the Free (Included) Food +Entertainment makes the 15 hours go by fast:

 

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Then, on the way to my Fave Part in London:

 

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I knew I wanted to stay in East London, because last Year, I did not get to explore it properly.  Going back to the Qbic again, was the most obvious choice. Right in the mix of it, affordable, and Stylish.

 

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In Hindsight, I had made Dinner Reservations at their Motley Restaurant, and really one of best things about staying in a Hotel? Going Downstairs for some Noshing! I was at the Qbic in 2017, and I have to say the improvements to the Bar and Restaurant make it more Inviting, Open, and Warm. But the best part of my stay at the Qbic? Meeting my Birthday Twin, Restaurant/Bar Manager, Filip. He was Inviting, Open, and Warm and we became Fast Friends! Check out his Music, he is a Brilliant Singer!

 … And a True Testament to how the whole of my Trip was from the moment I landed in Dublin to the plane trip back to the States.  The People, the Tribe that I forged in 13 Days, it’s the Reason why I was lead there, to feel the Shift.

Then there is the Brick Lane/Shoreditch Area. How do I adequately describe these stretch of Streets? After my first Art show at Truman Brewery, I have deeply loved East London.

… There are ways to document, it seems. One is to go into ( a new country or) a new situation and hit it like a hot wind, not stopping to think — simply to feel.

Eve Arnold

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My Version of ‘ Humans of New York ‘ which, again, set a Precedent for the Whole of the Trip:

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In front of the Beigel Shop, I met this Lovely Man whilst I was taking pics … :

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… We had a Brilliant Wormhole of a Conversation that included Nick Cave, Bob Dylan, Brexit, Microbiology, and Taoism. It was the Proverbial Shot that my Broken Self needed, to ‘ Let Go’ and Fricken OPEN UP. After our chat, I asked him if I could take his picture and I gave him one of these:

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… I walked away with the most Tangible High and for the rest of the Trip I ‘ Attracted ‘ dozens, if not more, types of these Experiences.  Lesson learned though, I have not heard from him, so when I met someone I wanted to stay connected with, I gave them my Phone and asked them to add me on Social Media and/or put their Contact Info in!

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I bought that Black Wrap ( I eventually gifted it to my Liverpool Mate Kat )  in the background from this Wonderful Woman, Josephine! Check out her Website for more of her Beautiful Work! We connected on a Creative Level and our Conversation of Making a Living as an Artist, Fashion Photography/Gear, and our Shared Love of the Artistic Community in East London, left me flying High once again. I need to reach out to her, to keep our Conversation going …

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 Towards the end of my Parading, I ran across this  Fabulousness. I thought I was the sly one snapping away, when the Chess Master said to me ‘ If you want to take a Picture you have to pay me!’ As I profusely apologized whilst digging in my pocket for coins, he said ‘ No! With a Kiss! ‘. I thought about it for a split second, than ran over and gave him a peck on both of his Cheeks. As I walked away, he said ‘ Look she’s Blushing, she wants to Kiss me again!’ And with that, the whole lot of them burst out laughing! The Cherry on Top? The night before, I texted my BFF that I wanted to Kiss someone on this Trip! Be Careful what you wish for and  w h o  is the Lad with the Glasses taking a picture of ? I scuttled away, High from all that Flirtatious Energy, and carried it into a Monumental Meeting with some Editors.

After my Meeting, I gave Filip a Wee Christmas Gift + had a Good Bye Drink with him + packed for the next Leg of My Trip, Liverpool.

Feel that Shift, London? You gave me back my Swagger.

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How do I describe what going to Liverpool meant to me? Let me get back to ya on that one, but first, I stayed in my Awesome Mate Kat’s Airbnb . I fell in Love with the Lot:

It was my very first Experience in an Airbnb, and I am now totally Enamored with it all! On my First Solo Overseas Trip, I absolutely loved having a ‘ Home ‘ to come back to. Kat is Dynamic, Kind, Caring, and we quickly became Friends (Truth be told, I had Tears in my eyes when we hugged Good Bye)! I Highly Recommend Kat’s Abode if you’re in the Liverpool Area!

+ Go to my Website for High Res Copies of my recent Travel Pics + my Portfolio.

++ Updating Blog Features in the next Month or So: Check back often!

+++ Starting to work on my Art Shed this MLK JR. Holiday … It’s Time:

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Up Next, My Birthday in Liverpool!

Big Love, G XXX

Edit: April, 2019: If on a Desktop/Laptop, Please check out My New Sidebar Features. If on a Mobile Device, Click ‘ Menu ‘ for the New Features!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With Love, 6th Avenue: Part Deux

Before I start u n p a c k i n g ( when all I want to do is plan for my Europe Trip next Month )  I had to get the last bits from the Magic Cottage + Clean + Say the final Good Byes:

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Dad’s last visit was on Monday, a Man of few words, but I had to Document him saying something, as he was Instrumental in Gifting me with  a Wonder Filled Space:

 

 

 

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Brought Sadie for the Final Good Bye …

 

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Got my Last Fave Meal of Green Panang Curry from the Thai Place down the street where after 14 Years, they always remembers my Name!

 

Vlog on my Front Stoop that is a little blown out + a bit blurry but is still Heartfelt:

 

 

 

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Good Bye Pink Room:

 

 

 

 

But most of all I will Miss the Light. The Fall Light in the Magic Cottage is the most Sublime. I am Blessed to have experienced it well into November:

 

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Then walked around the Emptiness, one last time:

 

 

 

Saw Wes today after work, and as I walked up to the open door, he bellowed ‘ I am taking apart your House!’ … sob. All the Shelves were gone from my Pink Room and the Side room and all the Inside Doors were off. SO Surreal, as Yesterday it was all intact. I asked him if I could Document the Process of the Remodel, and he said yes! I feel like it’s something I need to do for more Closure and I am excited, as I used to do/enjoy Architectural Photography: Photos coming soon!

As I drove away, Wes ran out to my Truck and said, ‘ Here, you need to have this! ‘ It was a Hello Kitty pencil that I had lost ages ago, and then it hit me, this is truly Good Bye, and I cried all the way to Rogue River Drive. It will take time for me to adjust to my new/old environment …

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Lastly, as the above piece has been Gifted already, I wanted to share it here. One of my Fave last pieces I made at the Magic Cottage. I fell in Love with Box Wood Canvases! Where have you been all my Creative Life? I like this size and I will be buying a bunch to make Art to take on my Trip next month!

This weekend is a Three Day one ( Thank YOU Veterans ) and my Goal is to have my Office/Inside Studio all set up, most of the inside boxes unpacked and most of my Bedroom put together. I refuse to show ya’ll what it looks like now, HA! but will post Pics of the Finished Rooms, as well as a Vlog in front of where the Big G is, and of my first walk on the River, just a few blocks from here. Little known secret, I used to be a River Rat , and I am SO looking forward to being that again!

Click the Links Below for other Blog Posts on my 6th Ave Journey:

With Love, 6th Avenue

See Ya 6th Avenue

Home : This Post will be Published in a UK Print Magazine, early 2019!

LOVE, G XXX

With Love, 6th Avenue

As I sit here listening to ‘ Here Comes The Sun’ on my new Portable Record Player on a Beautiful Curtis Park Sunday Morning, I pause …

My Last Day is finally here.

Family + Friends are coming to help + pack up + take away the bulk of my bits still left. I will come over after Work the next few days to get the remaining small bits, and to finally, say Good Bye.

I have taken SO many Photos + Videos this last week, on my DSLR + iPhone, that I will have to share over the course of the next few weeks: probably on my Instagram, Stay Tuned.

I am OK at the moment.

I have had S O much L  O   V  E from my Tribe + from the Universe, through Strangers amazingly enough, that I know I am on the right Path, this Journey.

And for that, how can I not be Thank – Full?

My Final Week here in Our Magic Cottage on 6th Ave in Curtis Park in some of my Favorite Photos + Video Bits:

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Scanned Instax with my Grrrl Ms. Flanagan …

 

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A bit Crooked, but I still Love this Bit:

 

 

 

 

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My Favorite Neighborhood Pizza …

 

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Forever, Gunther’s

 

I will Miss these Faces:

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Thank YOU Charlie Girl, for the Love …

 

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15 minutes before I walked to work the last time + the last time My Big ‘ G ‘ is at Our Magic Cottage …

 

Took a wee Road Trip to Our Fave Place in the Delta, because we’re still close:

 

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And Yes it’s out of Focus, but it’s about the Content, Right 😉 :

 

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My Fave Fish + Chips

 

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THIS, floors me. Do you see what I see?

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Favorite Neighborhood Sushi for BFF Time

And this Interview between Me ( in my new fave Red Dress, sorry a wee bit short!)  + My Sis BFF Gay, epitomizes what the Magic Cottage has meant to me. If anyone knows Me + what the last 14 Years has been like for me here, it’s her:

 

 

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Photo Booth Fun

 

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Always wanted to take a Pic in front of this Mural, Thank YOU Sis BFF!

 

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And in front of this Sign!

Last bit of Alone Time:

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Sadie’s Bed that I will be taking with me

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Onwards to Rogue River Drive …

BIG LOVE, G XXX

12:15p:  Sammy with his Kick Arse Parents came and took My/Their Blue Chair + My Old Bike! I LOVE that I have such Good People in my Life + that I can Gift them with things!

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3:33p:  Our last Jimboy’s Run together. It was our Thang, Daddy + I …

 

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5p: I am Finally Here

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See Ya 6th Avenue …

Had one of the most B E S T Parties of my Life, and surprisingly, I gave it!

It was full of people from my Current Tribe + full of Love + full of Laughter + a whole lotta Dancing!

All of you helped me Honor + Celebrate the ending of one Chapter into another, Brilliantly: Thank YOU + I will be forever, Grateful:

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Crooked New Art …

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Yes, I made Signs …

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Photo Booth Ready

There was Food:

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And of course, Photo Booth Fun:

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I love my (still, will always be) Neighbors!

I  L O V E  my Wide Instax Camera:

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Me + My Grrrl Estelle

 

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Me + My Brotha Patrick

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Me + DJ Tony!

 

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My Favorite Lovebirds by Me

My Brotha Patrick took some Awesome Photos …

With my DSLR  (and how did my Kitchen fit all those people):

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With his iPhone:

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From my DSLR:

 

 

Still on a b u z z from last night, I played this  L O U D today + Danced on my Own:

 

 

And I even was Inspired to go for a walk in the park. I haven’t done that since Sadie passed away:

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Of course I Vlogged with the wind blowing + leaves falling:

 

 

And will take as many photos as I can before I leave:

 

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It was the  p e r f e c t  last Weekend: onto My Last Week Here at Our Magic Cottage …

LOVE, G XXX

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home …

 The idea of home is both definable and deceiving.

As I start to write this post, I sit here at the Library, wrestling with that duality, as our beloved Magic Cottage is possibly being shown to it’s new owner.

I absolutely love going to the Library. I absolutely love being at our Cottage.

Is it the structure itself or what lies within, that makes me count both as home?

Is it a place at all? Or is it a feeling that resonates deep down, when you meet a person that just, fits.

Is it something that you do that fills up those cracks that Life pitch at you?

The longer I am blessed to walk this Earth, I have come to realize that ‘ Home ‘  isn’t just one place, one person, or one thing.

It’s your Dog greeting you at the door. It’s hearing a Loved One’s voice on the other side of the line. It’s that track on that album you’ve played for the millionth time.

It’s where you find pieces of your Heart.

My formative understanding of home, is rooted in my Filipina American experience.

I carried Vinyl Lunch boxes, wore Knee Socks with my Hair Rollers, had Piano Lessons once a week, and spent weekends Ice Skating:

I had Family in (which usually meant a lot of us, a lot of parties, and way too much food)  Stockton, San Francisco, Hawai’i and even New York City:

Each and every one of these experiences, people, and places still resonates within me.

I can hear the Aunties ‘ talking stories’ in Ilocano in the kitchen, I can smell the food as they walk by on the way to the dining room. I can feel those rollers in my hair, the touch of satin from my Ice Skating Dress. I can still sink into Grandma’s strong arms lifting me up, and into the smell of the powder she used to dust her skin with. I can taste the dripping heat of the North Shore sun as I play with Princess, while at the same time, feeling the comforting softness of her muzzle.

Pieces of my Heart, all Home.

As I began to venture out into the world, Home was where ever I was:

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I found it in NYC in the Mid 1980’s, where I began my life long obsession of parading with my camera.

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I found it on the beach after a day of visiting the Ruins + Pyramid in Chichen Itza.

I always find it on this Staircase + in this Hammock and if I say I’m coming Home, the whole of O‘ahu would say, Where YOU been?

And as always, Home is the minute I put feet to ground in the UK:

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Pieces of my Heart, all Home.

I left my Childhood home ( I did have a brief year away in the City) later in life, a few months after my 30th Birthday.

In those 20 years, I have lived in three places.

A wee tiny ( t i n y ) 1930’s Cottage on V Street:

 

In my first foray into ( late ) Adulthood, I became a Musician’s Girlfriend, then a Band Wife, survived running a Homeless Shelter in the not yet Gentrified neighborhood of Oak Park, as well as the aftermath of the brutal Rape + Attack of my Mother In Law.

The meaning of Home during this time of my life was Independence, Refuge, and True Partnership.

My second home was a 1930’s Top Floor Apartment on 24th Street:

 

 

The entirety of my/our time on the Upper Floor was all Creative. I had left my Oak Park Job and became a Full Time Working Artist. I started a Semi Popular Blog, Self Published a Magazine, taught at the Crocker Art Museum , and got my first Art Show in London.

The meaning of Home during this chapter of my life was Art, full stop.

Which leads to my (still) current home, My Beloved 1923 Magic Cottage (more of why that is, later) on 6th Avenue in a slice of Americana that is Curtis Park : 

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My Parents wanted to help us get a House to call our own, so a hunting we went. I vividly remember the Ex calling me at work saying ‘ I think I found us our piece of Heaven ‘. I remember gasping this first time I saw it in the dark, and we walked around the neighborhood feeling like we were on a Movie set.

Financial Issues + Me surviving an almost Fatal Car Accident aside, we moved into our little slice of that American Dream:

 

We built me a Pink Art Studio with shelves:

 

 

He built a Recording Studio:

 

 

Chelsea Wolfe  + Sister Crayon + Agent Ribbons recorded here. Not to mention maaany issues of Tape Op Magazine were made in his Studio as well.

During this time, I got my first Solo Art Show, ran an Art Gallery, taught Art within the Public Library System, and got my second London Art Show. Home was again a place of Creativity, but it was also a constant whirlwind of activity. The energy was palatable.

But then Home became something else.

It became dark, it became painful, it became something that tore me down.

I changed all that up rather quickly and made my Home a Sanctuary:

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And for the next 7 years, with my Beloved Sadie Dog by my side, I began to embrace the pure bliss of being on my own and worked hard at making the house full of light, love, and inspiration:

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Visitors would inevitably comment on how the house had this intangible quality, something that they couldn’t quite put their finger on.

Magic, I call it Magic.

And then there was the Magic outside our front door. If you’ve visited me, you know.  If you’re anywhere near Sacramento, drive through Curtis Park, then you’ll know.

Pure unbridled, Americana. And just like that first fated night I fell in deep for the house, I started falling for our glorious neighborhood all over again.

Sadie + I loved discovering new things about our neighborhood on our hundreds of walks …

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I miss those walks, I miss Her.

 

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In April of this year, I lost the biggest Love of my Life.

My Heart will always be broken and quite simply, there is no Home here without Her.

Along with Her Passing and other extenuating circumstances, I decided it was time to let go of one of the singularly most important chapters of my Life.

To let go of a Home that saw me fall, a Home that saw me fly.

A Home that will always have pieces of my Heart.

And since June, I’ve been documenting and slowly saying Good Bye:

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Go here for early pics of My Magic Cottage …

Go here for more Recent Pics, and check back often, as I am still Editing …

I am trying to fill up the remaining 40 Plus Days I have here with positivity: I am making Art for a possible show in November, writing my Third Issue of my Zine, and planning a Record Party to say Good Bye to 6th Avenue!

Onwards + Always Up,

G XXX

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good Bye Summer …

It was the First Day of School Today, and it felt more like Fall as I walked to work this Morning.

As I sit outside, the early evening light is a muted blue and it’s the kind of breeze that leaves grab rides on.

My Summer was both brilliant and brutal, and I am far richer because of it.

The following is just a wee bit of the 2k Plus I shot the last 10 1/2 Weeks:

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Back to Collage, Visual Journaling, and Zine – ing

 

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Purging

 

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I never wanted a Club Membership …

 

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I heart Solomon’s Deli on so many levels.

 

Went to the CA State Fair:

 

 

Loved on Our Magic Cottage,  Full Stop:

 

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Had way too much fun with Self Portrait Photography:

 

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Nothing beats Mother Nature:

 

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Do you see what I see?

Scanned Instax

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I get a visit every Fall …

And nothing beats taking Props + a Tripod on a Road Trip, though:

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Then a Vlog ( with Sunglasses + a Crown ) on My Summer past and moving forward:

 

 

Up next, life on 24th Street …

All Love, G XXX

Transition …

I am in the midst of a major Transition.

God, The Universe, the Powers that Be, have predestined my Journey these past 8 months with so many twists and turns, you would think I was a Ride in an Amusement Park!

I am Blessed, I am Strong, and I am going to honor and document it all.

Since June 15th, I’ve taken 2,380 DSLR Pics + Video Bits, 500 iPhone Pics/Videos/Snapchat/IG Story Bits, 50 Instax, and currently making my way through rolls of B + W Film:

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And OH the Summer Light …

As I purge, pack, and go through a Lifetime of Bits, I realize that everything in the last 20 years has led me to where I stand. And in looking back,  it also gives me comfort for what lies ahead.

I left home in 1998 to live in an 1940’s Cottage in Midtown Sacramento:

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Not a good pic, but most of the V Street Cottage Pics are packed away already: more to come! 181777345_df97f2d401_oScanned B + W Polaroid

I was a Manager of a CPS Homeless Shelter in Oak Park at the time, but I will not be posting those pics! In those two years, I tried to help Reunify Families and instill them with Life Skills. It is hands down, the hardest Job I ever had.

It’s where I lived when I proposed to my Ex Husband, whilst I was away on a Medical Mission in the Philippines and it’s where we would come home after many a Gig :

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Then my Ex Mum In Law was violently Raped and Attacked down the street from Us:

 

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It was a High Profile Case and it tested all of us on so many levels. We will be forever connected, because of it.

Then we Eloped in 1999:

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He turns 50th Birthday today and I send out Happy Vibes where ever He is …

Not long after the Wedding, we moved into a 1930’s Apartment two blocks up from the Cottage:

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We had the entire upstairs + I grew that Big Tree in front.

It was in this Apartment that I began one of the biggest Adventure of my Life:

My Creative Journey …

Musings on that, coming soon! Until then, follow my Instagram for daily updates!

 BIG LOVE XXX