Monday, April 30, 2012

Box Painting

The process:
Steph and I went in knowing only 2 things that it would a be colorful piece and secondly, that we wanted images of people, preferably of those in the surrounding community. So on day one we went at it, attacking the box with a fury so colorful it was blinding, the great thing was as we were working on the box curious onlookers started coming around and as they did we took pictures of them. On day two after we'd laid down the base layer of shapes and color we started looking for places to fit the faces and started inserting those strategically. Day three, a friend came by and suggested a reflective layer in the back so we incorporated that too. In the end the final product was just as much about the journey as it is about the completed piece - the box lives in and is composed of the community around. 

We were offered so many things, we didn't accept all of them, mind you: In and Out burger, a shot, a beer, bathroom, a charge for the laptop, 20 bucks, a pair of pears, a pulled pork sandwich, homemade carrot cake, a bagel sandwich, water, something from creative reuse, weed, gatorade, a car (just kidding about the car).

A lot of people came by and said things, this was my favorite, not sure what it means but:

"Artists are like the kids God liked the most."

So I asked him his name as he walked away.
"Yo, what's your name?"

"Paul, like the apostle."

"Dave, like the king."

Me and Juan

Gave us 20 bucks for lunch and when I tried to refuse said, "I'm the same as your mom."

Steve "Wheats Fields" - because he was painting wheat fields in his room. 

On the way to Y - M - C - A

Just off from the Red Cross

"Don't have to worry about everything that is wrong. God is taking care of it. Be blessed."

He asked for money for his birthday. I asked what day it was. He didn't know. I said I'll buy you a sandwich because you're hungry not because its your birthday. 

He said some wise things but the thing that jumped at me was "You're either busy dying or bring born. We gotta be born again everyday."

This guy hooked us up.

Virginia Everett - 3 score and 4 plus - of Everett and Jones BBQ with her daughter and family.

This guy kept wanting me to invest in his business - dude I just paint.

...of the not yet but soon to be famous Kunchtry Bwoys!

Then the surgeon came and showed us the guts.

 It could go into all sorts of configurations. It was rad. Door half open, both open. half closed..the possibilities were endless. 

Other side doors open. 

Even the telephone guys leave their mark on the inside.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Her Name Is B

I met her about 4 years ago. She came by the church and I sat and talked to her for a long time hearing her entire story. I even started a blog post way back then, I so fascinated I was gonna tell her story but never did, it still sits in the queue as a draft. Anyhow that night I let her stay on the floor of the gym (I used to live above an open gym). And for a few nights after the first. She just seemed she needed a few nights of shelter before she could get back on her feet and back to her family. It was all good, we called her family and arranged for them to come and pick her up.  Then after 6 months she suddenly reappeared with no real explanation as to why, when her kids, with whom she lived, were all the way in Stockton. This first reunion was nice but it was the beginning of a trend. She would go for months and suddenly show up one day and stay for months with no real place to crash, each time looking less and less like she used to the first time. There was nothing good for her in Oakland. I'd often ask her why she wanted to live this way and said she had to be here to see the doctor and take care of her papers; social security and such. It still never really made sense. One time one of the guys drove her all the way back to Stockton. For a while, we let her stay on the porch by the door, at least we'd be a window yell away which is fortunate because one night she was nearly raped. 

"B, you can't live this way."

It's strange relationship now.. sometimes burdensome - on the heart. She's back in Oakland again. I was crossing the street and I heard the all so familiar..

"Daaaaave, Daaaave, hi, Dave."  Coming from halfway down the block (she has amazing vision), and because it always comes from a distance I have to stand there for a few minutes til she gets to me.

D:"Hey, Betty." Anticipating a request. Bus fare or a ride. 

B: "Hey, Dave how you doing? I came by to see you but you weren't here."

D:"Yeh I'm usually away at work ... did you ever get your ID?" Last time I saw her she lost her ID for the 20th time - literally.

B:"No" Guiltily

D:"So what's up?"

B:"I need an address, could I use your address?"

D:"No, it's a church, you can't. How about your sisters?"

B:"Then I have to wait so long to get my papers."

B:"Dave, I have the papers, see? What this mean? What am I supposed to put here? As she points to a line on the form.

D:"That's the number of people you support."

B:"Oh okay, just one then. Just me. How about this?"

D:"Your monthly income, you know, how much you make in a month."

B:"(Amount of s.s.i. check - not much)_."

B: "I was supposed to get this in in 10 days. Has it been 10 days?" As she points to the date 3/27/12

D: "Yeah, B, it's been almost a month - that's 30 days."

She did need a ride to the social security office, I didn't have time but I did need to eat so we went to KFC she wanted Churchs. 

And I asked her..
D:"B, you're a mystery to me, why do you choose to live this way?"

B:"Because I want my own place, I don't want to be some nagging in-law."

D:"But maybe the time has passed for you to get your own place."

B:"I used to have my own place. Doesn't everybody want their own place?"

B:"Dave, I saw this house if I had the money I would get it." All of sudden filled with excitement.

D:"Oh yeah."

B:"You know what the address is?"


B:"1952 - that's the same year I was born."


"Dave, the house looks just like me. You gotta see. I want to show you."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Face Book

The man with 2,625 friends on FB still has no friends.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Catching up today with a friend:
The same night of his moms funeral his long time girlfriend cheated on him or at least that's the first time he found out about it. Soon after he got a DUI for which he might need to spend 10 days in jail due to the fact that he couldn't get to the classes he was ordered to take because his dads car broke down. Around the same time he saw on television his friend, a U.S. marine, get his head chopped off by the Taliban - he cried and puked. He lost his job so he's hoping for unemployment soon, sometimes they don't eat, probably will have P.B. and J for dinner. To top it off his best friends girlfriend got back from a trip with the news that she got married to someone she met while over there - they were together 10 years.

Sounds made up but it's all true.

Monday, April 23, 2012

M83 - Midnight City

The best song on the radio right now:

Waiting for the roar
Looking at the mutating skyline
The city is my church
It wraps me the sparkling twilight

On Getting Drunk

Happened again last night (or 2 nights ago because it took me at least one entire day to recover and be at a point where I could write) - got wasted, I'm not talking buzzed - completely obliterated. I don't why. I hate when it happens and each time it does I make a secret vow never to touch alcohol again, realizing for the millionth time that I actually purposely put large quantities of poison into my body, not to mention the physical state I'm left in the next morning. I am convinced at some point even before the first drop hits my mouth I do make a sub-, semi-, fully-conscientious decision to let myself get to that point. A form of self destruction.

The last time I got this wasted was probably 2 years ago - back at a reunion where I went to college. It's always with the same crew, the guys who I came to age with, with whom I conditioned my body to actively grab a container holding some form of alcohol and bringing to my open mouth and then pour it down my mouth. These guys still live this lifestyle of self torture, the cycle of extreme inebriation one night with the full day of hurt the next, not to mention the lack of productivity - which kills me and my "be productive" mentality. I guess it's worth it for most at some level or else it wouldn't be repeated. It certainly was for me in college, in fact I'd say I was drunk 40% of the time I called Davis home. Triggered by what, I don't know, a physical addiction which I doubt because I could go long periods without if needed, I always thought it was some form of mental or a social need, an identity I needed to live or live up to or even a fundamental desire to fit in.

I remember the first time I pissed myself. My first year in college I just found out my high school girl friend cheated on me so I went to the "house" called up some guys, got a handle of vodka and orange juice (more vodka than orange juice and proceeded to drown my sorrows). Woke up wet, the only time this ever happened. Or my 21st birthday where I was put in the "drunk tank" for threatening to kick an officers ass. The second time I had a run in with the law due to alcohol was when I broke into and destroyed the inside of a rival fraternity house, that cost me thousands in restitution, my friend 2,000 in bail and a taint on my permanent record. Being drunk comes at at a literal price. And often times the beast within finds it's freedom when the drink forces your guard to look the other way i.e. after another break up - and lots of drinking I jumped out of a moving cab, threw trash bags and kicked down anything I could, ran off into the dark getting lost for hours - I didn't even know what I was responding to until an entire day later - that's why I'm convinced the decision comes at the semi-conscientious level but somehow directly connected to the conscientious - like dreams. In a lot of ways what plays out when drunk often times is a live action version of what could be a dream.

After all this, it happens again. All the near puking, dehydration, mental and physical fatigue, diarrhea and not the mention the hurt I cause others because for a night I became Mr. Hyde. How to make it stop - forever.