Making Your Plants Meditate and Other Selected Works Zine

zine

Bad photo alert

I made a 8-pieces of paper folded in half zine. That’s 32 pages if you include the cover. I was inspired by my coworker at the chocolate factory. She’s a zine-maker.

I handwrote poems and recent performance works and a description for a workshop that I am going to run called “Making Your Plants Meditate.”I also included collages I made using an old Life Magazine (classic weird stuff in those, always).

It was a new process working with the photocopiers at FedEx. I liked the feeling tho. Considering that I have two years of formal graphic design training, it was great not using any of those computer programs to create the zine.

It was liberating when I decided that my new zine should just be called “Selected Works.” I am working on a variety of things and couldn’t figure out how to consolidate a theme. Some stuff in there: John Cage’s Ten Rules, A collage that says “A Demon Dog Made You Do It”, poem called “Moon Valentine” and more!

 

It’s for sale at EM Wolfman for $5.

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Dance Therapy Notes and Performance

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A page from my notebook, feedback from the Field on Dance Therapy

Dance Therapy (this particular exercise) is highly dancer dependent. I really appreciated the feedback. That day I was feeling a bit under the weather, didn’t get enough sleep and so I just went through the motions on some of the prompts and it showed. It was a good thing to get these notes before the performance.

The performance went well. Afterwards a teacher came up to me and said she was inspired to do a version of Dance Therapy for her students in elementary school. One person said I totally “hammed it up.” There was a prompt where the good thing of the week was “sliding through the mud at Strawberry Canyon” and the corresponding movement was me on the floor, joyously pretending to breast stroke, and paddle and make mud angels.

I split my pants on stage. They were just my street pants and I was enthusiastically going down to a prayer pose for a movement based off of a good moment sharing a difficult time and getting support. I’m gonna get some nice dance pants soon. Still, I regret no photos of me dancing were taken during the sessions. I’m planning on doing this exercise and documenting the movements.

Some of the Field were asking about how I came up with the movements. In the process of getting the prompts, I occasionally ask questions to get a clear idea in my notes that I then scatter about the stage. A lot of it feels like charades, where you find something to communicate, something part of the scene unfolding visually in my head and just go for it and make changes, improv.

Some memorable moments from my point of view over the 6 times Dance Therapy has been performed

  • prompt: conversation with son about college tuition | movement: gesturing the movement of the tassel on the mortarboard hat becoming heavy and drug around like a ball and chain
  • prompt: being sick | movement: lying down on the stage for a long satisfying while without moving.
  • prompt: finding a parking spot at the women’s march | movement: miming being in a car and walking around the stage in perpendicular directions (like streets)

 

 

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Dance Therapy #3

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This week’s Dance Therapy (last Sunday)

I asked everyone (small session, only 5 people) the best parts and worst parts of their weeks, jotting a few words for each on a receipt roll and then ripped it up and scattered the moments, folded on the floor, announcing each as I picked up the scraps and read them, putting some in my pocket and throwing others back on the floor and doing a little movement for each until all were in my pocket. For those familiar with improv, this idea was inspired by the game Blind Line, where the audience suggests lines and then they are strewn about the stage and randomly interjected.

Feedback, the audience remarked on the unpredictability, would it be a good or bad one? and the phrasing, some movements were literal, abstract, etc.

After the session, one of the field members suggested to me that I try a summarizing sequence where I put all the moves (I can remember) into a dance at the end. I think I’ll try that.

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Moon Valentine

Moon Valentine is a performance piece I developed based on my own experiences with what some would call bipolar (read manic episode). It has sound art (live and pre-recorded), projection art, prop work, improv (I used a wireless mic for the first time), and audience participation.

 

Process

I signed up for another quarter of the RAW (Resident Artist Workshop) with SAFEhouse for the Arts in San Francisco. I created Moon Valentine inspired by my desire to process my psychotic break I had two years ago into art. It was also in January that I went to the Emergency Room and then the Psych Ward to begin treatment of a slow building shift from reality. In Moon Valentine, I portray this in 4 parts.

Moon Valentine

projection

The piece starts off with a poem I wrote based off of drawings that I made (in the projection art). Numbers are prominent in this poem. It talks about being 5 together or when I was 3 and you were 6. I like that it might imply age, but for me at the time of my mind going, I had come out to my friends as a plural being. Later on in the piece, I was going to talk about the 9 god-children that came out of my mental processes at the time, but I didn’t get there. I think it deserves more time and thought for mapping that out. I went to Ocean Beach to film the waves, particularly the sea foam left by the waves receding. I’ve been into using receipt tape rolls to write poetry on. They give a sense of length that remind me of journeys and how art is a map to a mental journey.

Spaceship

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I commissioned Cassidy to do an audio piece about my spaceship cruising and crashing. I made these forking lines on notebook sheets and laid them out on the floor. I also handed out small cups of rice and soft card protectors as sound props for the audience. I enjoyed the sounds of the people making noise around me while I was quiet.

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basking in the sounds

Jungle

plantingIn my story to connect the different scenes, the spaceship lands on a planet where I plant seeds (Styrofoam balls) in my home-world’s soil (scraps of ribbon I took home from work– I do ribbon tying at work and we trim the ends and these things usually go in the trash). My seed carrying case was a silver shower cap. There’s a part where I sing a wordless song. That’s a nod to when I went mental. I was inspired to sing a lot. I felt like it filled the air with meaning and beauty. The way I asked to go to the hospital was through song. This section is also about how I moved from Seattle to the Bay Area a little while after and I had to leave a lot of my things and friends at a time when I was very vulnerable and not all there.

I read a poem that’s mostly gibberish but also has little snippets like “theory one” and “they are” and “must not”– hinting at a dire line of thinking, trying to communicate– navigate– in a world where people tell you you’re not making sense and when you try to explain they just look at you with sad eyes.

The Institution

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In this section, I recruited two audience members (scientists), suited them with lab coats, and briefly demonstrated how to “diagnose” people. They cuffed (using a stapler) audience members with receipt tape with hand-written words like “becoming” and “gift present” and “beauty sail”. The previous night I had diagnoses that were positive and negative. I talked to the diagnosing scientist afterwards and said that he did not give out the negative ones like “broken.”

Special Thanks

This was a “one-woman” show but by no means was I the only one on the team. Dmitriy helped with prop sourcing, Cassidy was the projector operator, mic dresser, hair dresser and make up artist and composer of a section of the prerecorded audio. Ben encouraged me to use the wireless mics to create some live audio (and helped me procure them). Cory was costume consultant. James worked the tech booth and a great thanks for SAFEhouse for the Arts, giving me an opportunity to create and perform.

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Dance Therapy, 2nd edition

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This week’s dance therapy session. Asked worst and best parts of the week to my Field mates. Did a gestural dance bit for each one. I read the words out loud before each one so my audience would know what was what. I ran out of time and didn’t finish the last 4 good moments of the week. A few repeats because of politics. Best: Womxn’s march. Worst: Trump inauguration. One person was sick this week. I replayed that by lying on the ground for a longish time. They found their worst moments humorous in my retelling. I’m thinking next week finding a way to make it easier to read. How can I keep the text off the floor and handy?

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Live Painting at Morning Yoga Dance Party

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Did this in about 3 hours. I started with an orange and yellow base with movement lines I did at home. I painted on the color, listening to cool dance music. Improvisational painting. At first I was going through the pattern of creating circular modulating rainbows and then I started a different situation at the corner. Added some sparkle pecan (which reads as brown) and a black border. When doing this I was surprised (for some reason) that warm yellow and blue makes a muddy green. I’m glad I brought my different colors of paint, haha.

When I stepped back and looked at the painting, I thought it was intriguing. I didn’t hate it but I wasn’t transported to a good place right away. It gave me pause. It was darker than my usual work. I like it now. It goes well in my dark bedroom.

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The Field, Dance Therapy

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I’m doing another cohort of the Field (read: workshop where we perform and get feedback from each other). This time at Luna Dance Institute in Berkeley! Some of the group has changed. Some has stayed the same. It was great watching the others, some familiar pieces, some not.

For this run, I am working on a piece called “Dance Therapy.” In this group of seven, I asked everyone the worst thing that happened this week and the best thing that happened this week. I took notes on on a receipt roll and then laid it out on the ground and performed a gesture/dance movement for each thing.

Feedback: a couple of people thought it was too fast, one person thought it would be nice to know when it was their thing they contributed, one person said it was very literal, all of them expressed a gratitude for the experience, going through their week and selecting a moment, and also hearing from the group, it made the group feel closer to each other.

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