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December 4, 2016 / betweenstops

Oakland Artist loft fire kills 9, or is it 40?

I’m the type who might build a staircase out of discarded wood palettes. After all, when I want to change the color of my eyeglasses, I paint the frames. With nail polish. Looks great; can’t even tell. I know because people say “I like your glasses” and I say “Thanks”.
I can’t buy eyeglasses in a store for $500 to $800. At Kaiser they consider my glasses a luxury (dispite the fact that I can’t read or drive without them). I think hard before I pay out of pocket for the eye exam, much less the glasses. So, I understand an artist loft in a bad neighborhood and a house full of what not that burns easily.

Truth is, in the Bay Area (home of all things tech)  housing has moved from a right to a privilege; soon to be a luxury. There are some nice tents under the freeways. I even understand the appeal. The freedom. Still, it’s not a way to live.

Nowadays when I see a picture of Obama, I get teary eyed. He’s an intelligent, graceful man. A cool guy even. There was such hope! And now all my people are stunned and afraid of apocalyptic things with a madman at the helm.

These days I feel I could I could burst into tears over any number of situations in my country and in the world at large. But I don’t cry, I sing instead. I sing because neuroscience has shown: a person can not sing and be negative at the same time. The Ah, O and E sounds work best. So I sing because I choose happiness because with that I may be able to do something. 

This morning I went into my copy shop to make the gouache painting I did last night into a holiday card. This shop is close to my house and small. It is owned by an Arab man. He and his son work there. As I am waiting for him to finish my job I look around the shop. Usually I look at the artwork hung on the walls as it changes monthly because the shop is across the street from an art school. Today I am further back in the shop. I am looking at the posters on the walls. They are from “Amnesty International” and “Greenpeace” and “Doctors without Borders”. I say “Hey, we donate to the same places!” and he says back, “They need us now more than ever, right?” And I say “right.”

October 5, 2016 / betweenstops



September 23, 2016 / betweenstops

Up in the Air

Tools of the trade

August 17, 2016 / betweenstops

What people live for

This woman was born in Barcelona. She lived in the United States for ten years before moving back here.

She said, in the US people live for the work and here the people live for the people.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t disagree.

If anyone reading this blog is in Barcelona and wants to exchange a story for a portrait, let me know                                          Offer only valid in Barcelona, preferably in Spanish.

August 17, 2016 / betweenstops

Trying to explain

I came to Barcelona to do an artist residency at JIWAR in the Gracia district. What I proposed to do here is to draw people and while drawing them to get their story. Of course, in the exchange there is a bit of my story. As I’ve yet to draw an American, the conversation often involves the comparison of counties.

This is a 24 year old super cool guy who was traveling alone as his mother got sick so her and his 14 year old brother (who is on her passport) couldn’t come. He is going to move here and be successful with a perfume store. He was fully, get that? Fully confident (something you can’t be at my age) that he would move here and do that. 

I’m sure he will. As ancient greek Virgil  said                                                                                                                                         Whether you think you can or you think you can’t                                                                                                                                                You are right

But that’s not the story. The conversation was not completely understood, as both of our spanish was sub-literate and his English was not fluent

I was trying to explain to him that the USA is still a racist county. This came up in conjunction with the African American best-in-the-world gymnast. I said something to the effect that I was so happy for her and that she showed up the way she did for herself and (consciously or not) for her skin color and culture because people of color still don’t get a fair shake in the USA.

He didn’t get that… Obama and all. I tried to clarify and explained that a white policeman in any city (or not even police in stand-your-ground Florida) be it Baltimore or Oakland or Furguson or New Orleans or anywhere really; can wrongfully (as in proven by footage from cellphone bystanders) kill a black person (usually young and male) and get away with it free as a bird.

I don’t think he believed me.

March 13, 2016 / betweenstops

Daylight savings time on my desk in the morning


August 4, 2015 / betweenstops

Where to compost dead bodies?

Recently, I replaced three glass lights that had been gracing a path for many years along the coast of Big Sur, California. The insides of these lights had natural debris in them from all those years. It is funny white stuff, like imaginary attic fuzz, like cobwebs but stickier. Lighter than air almost. It is Similar to the dust that miraculously assembles itself out of nothing in usually missed corners but it’s meatier. It also resembles a tissue like paper, so I am wondering if I can get away with putting this webby junk in recycling. The compost can is down the hall.

On closer inspection, which I’ve never done before, of this “stuff” I see something. Yes, a bug, a bug like a bird, all off white, tiny and papery. I pick him out and clean him off. I look for more. I see one and then another and then I see, that it is ALL a mesh of tiny preserved dired up off white bird bugs.

now I know they go back to the earth in compost.. 

Or does it matter? 

Not to those bugs who were traveling towards the light.


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