26 May 2009

In mtgs in LA all day 2day but got text w/ct decision literally rt b4 I had 2 shut off 4 takeoff. Prepared-but still can't believe: what game r justices playing w/law, rts, + ppl's lives???

25 May 2009

QTP (quick thought post): Tomorrow

I am definitely still hoping and visualizing that the California Supreme Court strikes down Prop 8 as unconstitutional and unjust.  But I also know that no matter what happens tomorrow at 10am PST, it won't be the end.  If the justices do the right thing and follow up on their May 2008 decision, those against marriage equality will renew their fight and there will still be misunderstanding and ignorance to overcome.  And if the court upholds Prop 8, I know that it will be hard work and it may take time, but that it will happen in California as it is happening in other places across the country and around the world.  Good people, civil rights, and justice will prevail.

Photograph: "Towards the Sun/Yachats" W.J. Dong, Jr. (c) 2007

22 May 2009


Quick, late-breaking news: The California Supreme Court has just announced that it will be issuing its opinion on the validity of Prop 8 this Tuesday, 26 May at 10am PST.  

We all know they may very well uphold Prop 8, but I'm still hoping justice will prevail.

And amidst all of this, some very cool news about an Oregon Native American tribe ruling to recognize marriage equality.  Thanks to Dena for sending the news from 'Gene, OR.

18 May 2009

California Dreamin' or Rainy Days and Mondays? Another Week with No Decision on Marriage Equality

I cried last week when I listened to NPR playing testimony by straight allies in Maine before their state legislature took their historic vote for marriage equality.

But another week has passed since I last posted about the much-awaited decision by California's highest court on the validity of Prop 8 (see my 6 May post). And the one-year anniversary of their momentous decision to grant marriage equality came and went this past Thursday too. And the justices have to issue a decision by June 3rd. What does the delay mean?

As the calendar pages flip by, the good news continues to flow westward: the governor of New Hampshire has announced that he will sign marriage equality legislation, and the New York Assembly added five new supporters when they voted to pass a new marriage equality bill. The momentum continues to grow: soon tiny Rhode Island will be the only New England state (okay, Massachusetts is a commonwealth*) without gay marriage.

I continue to hope that our court will do the right thing. And perhaps naively, I keep thinking that their delay is a sign that they are taking the time to reflect, rewrite, and harness the groundswell of change that is happening in courts, legislatures, and people's hearts and minds across our country.

I want to take the opportunity to point you to an organization that has done so much to fight for marriage equality: NCLR. Check out this blog post ("Fasten Your Seatbelts"**) by its incredible executive director Kate Kendell. NCLR works everyday to help build a more just and fair America for all queer people. I have the honor of knowing well some of the amazing people who provide community leadership and legal acumen and services at NCLR, and the equally amazing people who raise the money to make that important work possible; and I have had the added honor this past year of helping them fundraise. If you click through to their website you can even sign up to receive a text message as soon as the court schedules an announcement.

Keep up the positive visualization!

*Four U.S. states are technically "commonwealths." Do you know the other three?

**And here's some cultural background you'll only get on a blog written by a gay man: "Fasten your seatbelts...it's going to be a bumpy ride!" became famous as the warning by Bette Davis' character, Margo Channing (based upon Tallullah Bankhead), to Marilyn Monroe's character in a New York soiree scene in "All About Eve." But the film was released in 1950 and seatbelts in cars weren't common until the late 50s--the audience would have understood that the characters were tossing around high-society banter, because only airplanes had seatbelts. Okay, bet you didn't know I was that kind of gay man...(Don't get me started on the original "A Star is Born...")

17 May 2009

My Photography, This Blog, and Two Upcoming Shows

"Cafe Society" Lisboa, 2003

The Big News is that I have two individual art shows scheduled this fall: the tentative dates are a show running this September at 18 Reasons Gallery in The Mission, and then a show at Awaken Cafe in downtown Oakland in November.

"Lines and Arcs" Minneapolis, 2008

I'm really excited about the shows and one of the reasons I finally launched this blog recently was to help document the path toward these big events.  Over the next several months at least some of my posts will focus on my creative process and putting together and hanging the shows, and I will give more specific info on the shows and openings as the date nears.  So please check in to learn more, get a behind-the-scene look at putting a show together, and please come see the shows if you are anywhere near the Bay Area.  In the meantime, you can also check out my small art website to see some of my existing body of work or learn a little more about my process and influences.

18 Reasons Gallery at 593 Guerrero Street at 18th in San Francisco's Mission District was founded by Sam Mogannam, a member of the great family that owns the incredible Bi-Rite Market devoted to good and sustainable food (and community), and this wonderful gallery adds art to that mix.  Joyce Engebretsen at 18 Reasons has brought incredible artists, shows, and events that really foster and explore the relationships between art, community, and food.  

"Elevated" Chicago, 2007

I'm still working out the final format of my show at 18 Reasons, but what I've discussed with Joyce is a multi-media portrait of the local community.  For me it will be an opportunity to work in some of the ways I have in the past as an artist: photography, collage, book art, painting, and decorative and ceramic art, but I would also like to experiment with some media new to me like video/film.  And I'm really excited about bringing together my art with some of the tools and processes I've used in my design and community work like oral history, mapping, and cultural landscapes, and maybe even a version of a charrette for one of the show events.

Awaken Cafe at 414 14th Street near Franklin in Oakland is a great local business founded by a great group of people including Cortt Dunlap, and Shalene Rose Dunlap who curates their art program.  They have great coffee, food, staff, and vibe and are really committed to fostering community and art in Oakland. And they have featured great local artists and shows and really support the shows with great openings and getting the word out.

"Continental Divide" Seattle, 2008

Because of the size of the space and length of the show, I'm going to focus on my photography in my Awaken show, probably choosing between eight and sixteen new and existing pieces to hang.

"Shadow and Juxtaposition" Healdsburg, 2002

So I hope to be able to share some of my creative process in the coming months, and I hope you will check in to see more, comment and let me know what you think, subscribe and follow the process, and if you find it interesting please share my blog and art--and info about my shows--with anyone you think may enjoy it too.  Thanks!

"Across the Pond" Charlottesville, 2005

06 May 2009

Waiting for Gay Marriage

Please click through and scroll down for an added multi-media feature to this post...

Okay, I couldn't resist the "Waiting for Godot" allusion, even though I prefer to use the terms "marriage equality" and "equal marriage rights."

So a great number of queer people, people who care about queer people, and people who just care about civil rights in our society--in California and elsewhere--are holding their breaths. Waiting. Trying to think positively. Because while the highest court in our state has until June to decide the validity of putting civil rights up to a popular vote, the scuttlebutt is that the decision on Prop 8 may come down as soon as this coming Thursday.

And this is something--as a queer Californian who very much would like to be able to legally marry my partner, and who believes that I should have the opportunity to those rights and responsibilities as part of being a Californian protected by our state constitution--this is something about which I care a great deal. It's personal and political, and it's about relationships and civil rights.

I guess I'm coming out...as a Unitarian Universalist--this is from the wedding of our Reverend Greg and his spouse Stillman in San Francisco last summer--and as engaged--David and me at Coastanoa when we decided.

I have been trying to stay positive, even when the scene that unfolded in court seemed so negative earlier this year. And as the incredibly amazing news keeps flowing westward from Iowa (Iowa!) and Vermont and now even Maine and New Hampshire, along with strong efforts in New York and DC and other states, I feel myself believing that our court has to do the right thing. And trying not to be afraid of believing that. And I know for a fact that so many other people, leaders and activists and allies and everyday folks are feeling and/or trying to focus on the same thing.

The purple--appropriately--is where marriage equality is now the law.

I know this is incredibly Californian of me, but I'm asking you to join me in visualizing our court doing the right thing and adding our home state to the list of places that says that queer people are not second-class citizens and queer committed relationships should be legally sanctioned, valued, and protected.

I completely understand the feelings, the preparations, and the call those who are working to plan events in response to the court upholding Prop 8 are making. I just think it's important for me to believe that justice will prevail.

Here's the added multi-media feature in this post: In January, David and I sat for a Storycorps interview in San Francisco. My dear friend Dena had passed along the call to participate because she knew I'm a huge fan of Storycorps and oral history, and because she knew I had been trying to figure out a way to process how I was feeling and seeing in our community in reaction to Prop 8 passing. It was a powerful experience, and helped us clarify how we've--together and individually--come to feel about wanting to be married and wanting everyone to have the right to marry. I'm including our interview in this post to give you a little more background on why I feel the way I do.

I hope you enjoy it and please comment and let me know what you think of it, and please be kind about the editing--I cut it down from forty minutes and I've just been teaching myself how to use sound-editing software.

P.S. David bought me the great Storycorps book, Listening Is An Act Of Love, this past Valentine's Day; the interviews are incredible and moving and I highly recommend it.

02 May 2009

Quick Thought Post: On Weekends and Private Time

So, in an effort to "start as I mean to go on*" in my blogging as far as sharing my feelings and not just relating events and opinions,  something my good friend Martha said reminded me about a dilemma that we face that I'm sure many other people share: when you work hard and long hours and have other commitments during the week, how do you balance the need for privacy, rest, and recuperation at the end of the week with the pull of traditional weekend 'socializing' and the fact that it may be the best or only time to see or do things with friends or have people over?

We tend to keep the weekend as private time with some regular things we like to do, and by planning way ahead try not to over-schedule.  So I did wonder how a weekend away with another couple would feel, especially because we always go away alone.  But it was really nice: we had plenty of private time and space, and the hiking, eating, and hanging out by the fire was more enjoyable together; definitely because Donna and Dan are such fun, easy-going friends and have their camping down pat, and also because of the rustic setting and relaxed timing of the whole trip.

Also, thanks for all the emails and support I've been getting on starting my blog and my first posts--it really means a great deal and gives me ideas and juice to move forward.  But please go ahead and share your input as comments on my blog--I would really appreciate it and I like to think it helps keep the conversation going.  And don't forget to subscribe or follow or share if you are enjoying it...

*I love archaic phrases like this and "giving it the old college try," or "excuse the boardinghouse reach..." Do you have some faves???
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