Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The long weekend

Oh sleep. The weekend started the middle of last week (all nighter of a test, game company. Didn't get it. Blast. Sniff...Fine, maybe not my dream job. But getting any pay check not signed by mom is rather like a dream right now.) From there came a flurry of sleepless activity including preparing for an art show (Healdsburg, Sonoma County). But was fine by Friday afternoon when my friends and I set about the town. I wouldn't get a good night sleep though until Saturday. I can't sleep, it seems, in unfamiliar places, (we stayed overnight) not even after two glasses of wine, two beers, a few hours in a Santa Rosa dance club and two Tylenol PMs. If all that couldn't knock me out, I was hoping it would at least kill me, spare me the misery that is insomnia. So basically, I had a sleepless, but fun and interesting, weekend. It's amazing what reserves of energy I can pull up when I need it.

Paintings from a Healdsburg gallery I wouldn't mind getting into...the Erickson Fine Art Gallery. The owner had taken my card as a courtesy, but I hope, with my work showing down the street, she will walk over there and realize she must, she must make me one of her gallery artists. She must.

My paintings, at the Plaza Arts Center (wine country nibbles & wine, most excellent), Ginza Monk, Ottowa Flower Market, Toy Shop Window, & At The Temple (see online portfolio) won this...Yay me. When L. asked how I felt about it I said, "it means...I didn't win first place." No, of course that's not what it meant. I had no idea they would give out awards so any award came as a very happy surprise. And what it means is I will soon make a full living off my paintings, able to travel round the world looking for inspiration with collectors eagerly anticipating my next collection...
Powell's candy store, after the reception.L.'s dance instructor. He performs around the bay area and that night, Saturday night, he was performing at the Brazilian place we dined at.And this, of course, is the Castro. Gay pride week.These guys...were just a few of the dancers to be found in this hot, sweaty and unbelievably crowded dance club we went to. This also being the first ever post Michael Jackson weekend, they played a lot of his music. I've always loved his songs. I'm used to him providing us with music and gossip at regular intervals. A few years back, I was even in a bad Thriller remake (long story) as a dancing zombie. (There's something that'll pop up to haunt me one day. At least I was two sizes thinner then.) So hearing his music everywhere was unexpectedly moving.Looking around us that night we were especially struck by the beauty and creativity we saw all around us. Here was a collection of what my family would call freaks who should all burn in hell. But...let a person be who they really are, without constraint or judgment, what beauty results. But here...
the Angels of Castro Street come to the rescue of a young woman. One of them had seen her boyfriend (?) hit her so hard that he knocked her against the wall. We saw you hit her! they said. The spindly chicken shit, wide eyed and gesturing frantically, said, no, I was just reaching out to her and she fell. - We saw you! (to her) What happened honey? Do you need help? Unfortunately, her fear (which was palpable) or perhaps an inability to speak English kept her from speaking up for herself though if she'd but said one word, even in another language, or had grabbed an angel by the hand I'm sure they would have given her whatever help she'd needed. After they left, I saw the cs drag her off in a headlock, push her against a wall holding her there by the throat, then drag her off again, then stop to talk to a rather sleazy looking character.

My friends said it was just an argument. But my gut said no, this is something else...the cs was willing to hit her in public then drag her off in a head lock. Cs was not her boyfriend. Or maybe that's not all he was...

Sorry to tell that rather hopeless story. But I haven't been able to erase it from my head since it happened. Could I have done something? Probably not, I suppose, if a flock of angels, each twice the size of the spindly chicken shit, couldn't. It was just so striking, the contrast between all that joyful expression - and this!...this truly ugly scene.

I cannot leave you with that though. I ran across these incredible folks...on our way back to our car when we stopped for a slice of pizza. Hanging out in front was the man in the aquamarine t-shirt. With his fist against an ice cream cart, he kept a steady beat as he improvised a rap song. Then the other three joined him, the young man coming up with rhymes so easily I was in complete awe. And so glad to be able to witness this spontaneous and joyful self expression.
(lone protester I spotted after a day of plein air painting Sunday)

Sadness and joy. Creativity and cruelty. Freedom.



  1. Is this an experiment, Cheryl? OK, I'm game... no verbal influence to trip up my own projections... Hmmm... I like this...

    1) First 4: Opening night of an artist's gallery exhibit. I love these things, always so exciting once you have people mingling and that soothing sound of multiple conversations. Torture before them showing up, but pure pleasure once it has kicked off. Also love the paintings... the landscape being my favorite... Wayne Thiebaud(esque). I'd like a closer look at #4.
    2) A thrown-in photo of a candy shop? Nice to see Willy at the opening of that! Must've cost a fortune.
    3)LGBT Film Festival -- I remember going to a little restaurant in the Castro district... think it was called Little Orphan Andy's (that was in 1988, so maybe long gone by now)... it was on Halloween night (right after a Jerry Garcia concert) and the experience was Castro on steroids... this reminds me of that night.

    Was I a good guinea pig?
    Magnificent photos, Cheryl!
    PS -- "Nice" ;)

  2. A candy shop and having fun with less clothes on. Where can I sign in?

  3. Oops! Not an experiment. I thought I'd reset the publish time (4 am to 4 pm) but must have closed the window before the new time had been saved. text to come tout suite!

  4. Long time nae hear there, lassie! How the divil are ye? I'm finished my trilogy and ready to take on the lit establishment with my word bazooka!
    Love and peace,
    Seanie AKA Psychonaught xxx

  5. Great images, Cheryl! Lots of fun, frivolity, and vitality in them. x

  6. Hey David, Novelista Barista, Dutch donut girl, Carol Ann and Elizabeth, thanks for stopping by to see my pictures. Always good to hear from you.

  7. wow...what a day! Colorful indeed, especially the Castro scene!!

  8. Awesome pics!

    I was at the Pride Fest in Denver this past weekend and am becoming increasingly alarmed by the number of mimes who have infiltrated Pride festivities (Exhibit A: Picture 9 & 13). As we all know, mimes are the most hated demographic in the world. I think these leeches are trying to get in on some togetherness, tolerance, peace, and love while we aren't looking.

    I'm onto them.

    Unless that is I've totally missed the point of the white makeup. It wouldn't be the first time.

  9. Hi De Campo, he, he, yes those pesky mimes must be watched out for!

  10. I love coming here! You do such vibrant story telling. It's heartbreaking to see such melancholy and joy at the same time. You're right...life.

  11. Hi Embee! Thank you, what a compliment! That just made my day. And the sad parts...I wasn't sure whether to include that bit or not. But then omitting it would make the story of my weekend a bit lopsided. Since that image, the terrified and weeping girl on the sidewalk, has stayed with me more than all the others. I'm hoping karma comes pounding down on that cs's ass. Or the young woman will find the strength to run away.

  12. lovely lovely post.

    i'm a new follower (with OCD tendencies :) so you may find me reading everything you have ever written on this blog and then leaving retrospective comments, thereby assuring you know I am stalking you in a hopefully-flattering-but-mostly-uncomfortably-creepy way.

  13. Well everyone certainly looks as though they're enjoying themselves. Amazing costumes some of them are wearing...!

    CJ xx

  14. Hi LENORENEVERMORE, it was pretty amazing. Not fun though, wading through that sea of people, going from one end to another....looking for a restroom.

    Hi sas, welcome! I love your blog.

    Hi Crystal Jigsaw, they were for sure, and so were we. maybe I'll try dressing up next year...

  15. hey! honorable mention is a GREAT THING!!! don't forget that!! it is rad!!!!

  16. Thanks Drollgirl, I appreciate that!

  17. A few of your pictures aren't showing up for me. Anyone else have that trouble? I would hate to miss any of your pictures!

    I am so sorry that image of violence and abuse stuck with you. Thank you for this post filled with the complexity of life. I am left feeling the spontaneous and joyful self expression that is your blog.

  18. HI La Belette Rouge, thank goodness you told me that! Seems I forgot to optimize a few of the photos I uploaded. Hopefully now all the photos will show up.

    Oh...I'm fine now. Suffering major PMS now, oh boy am I ever, but am otherwise fine. Some chocolate indulgence and some more sleep should set me alright. And am also working on some artistic therapy, channeling my political frustration into a new illustration I hope will turn out alright. Will publish results soon as possible.

  19. beautiful post documenting a slice of life!

  20. Ah, I need to get back to SF. I just love it there and reading your words brings back all the pleasure and pain we've witnessed there. Thanks for some fantastic pictures and beautiful words.

  21. Hi Lianne, thanks and I hope you do get back! And if you do don't hesitate to let me know if you want a local to show you around.

  22. What a horrific story about that poor woman. I get so fiercely angry when I hear about terrible things like this. I welcome you fantastic ability to balance the cruelty of life with the beauty. The photos are just wonderful. I would have loved to hear the impromptu rap song.

  23. Hi Sophia, it was pretty horrific. I kept wondering, was she being forced to sell herself? What would account for that level of fear? It was the sleaze the cs talked to that solidified everything. Still, how can I know for sure? I might be wrong. God I hope so.

    Yes, thank goodness for those rap performers. I wish I'd taken a video too. But by the time I thought of it their song was half over. I guess I should have taken even a portion of it anyway, though. It was like that UR beautiful message on the sidewalk I saw in the Haight, a reminder not to dwell on misery especially when there was nothing to be done.

  24. fantastic and inspiring photos looks like a fun fun time

  25. Thanks Amy, it was fun. I'm gla you enjoyed my photos.


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