I am very pleased to say that Photofocus has chosen me to be their Photographer of the Week! Click the link below to read their interview with me :)
- Along the shore the cloud waves break,
- The twin suns sink beneath the lake,
- The shadows lengthen
- In Carcosa.
This is a preview of a new set I’m currently editing for DreamWorld. This set will be important to the entire series as it marks the entrance of the first non-benevolent character.
At first I had envisioned this character, whom we only get a glimpse of for the moment, as a more Puckish, trouble-maker character, but as I worked on the costume and planned the shoot, I was also watching the first few weeks of True Detective. True Detective (one of the most original, mythic, challenging, well-acted and completely-fabulous-in-every-way show I’ve seen in a long time) had already begun making dark allusions toward The King In Yellow, and I found it seeped into what I was doing. And the darker I took the character, the more right it felt, so it was perfect timing on the part of the universe.
My model for this shoot is the incomparable Dan Donohue, an actor known for his extensive stage work, including just about every Shakespeare play you can think of and Scar, in Disney’s Broadway production of The Lion King. Dan is currently rehearsing for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival where he will play Richard the III in Richard the III, along with Mr. Murry in A Wrinkle In Time. While Dan himself is one of the sweetest, sincerest, most lovely and generous people I’ve had the pleasure to work with, he has the magical ability to summon inner darkness on whim. I had him start the shoot a little more Puckish and less evil, and let him get more and more dangerous as we progressed. And, of course, I ended up loving the darkest shots the best.
I have the wonderful problem of having too many wonderful images to choose from, but I’ll get by somehow. I wanted to send this one out into the world today, not only to harken the rest of the set, but to celebrate Dan’s appearance on Brooklyn 99 tonight! It’s a fantasic comedy in its own right, and Dan will be a great addition. He’s one of those all-talented people who is good at just about everything. It should be a lot fun to watch, especially since Stephanie Beatriz, aka Rosa is his real-life girlfriend! Think Rosa will warm up to him? Let’s find out by watching tonight! :)
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In other news, there are some new ME/CFS developments which could be incredibly damaging to how the medical communities, and in a trickle down way, the public in general, think of us and treat us. The short story is that the government has hired a new commitee to come up with a new definition for ME/CFS. Not only is this completely unnecessary as we already have two extremely comprehensive definitions in the International Consensus Criteria and the Canadian Consensus Critera (both PDFs), but because the team of 15 people they have assembled is comprised of only 8 ME specialists. I’m having trouble finding the data at the moment, but the remaining specialists in the team may not all even be doctors. This does NOT seem like the optimal group.
With the pittance given to ME research in the US, it seems absurd to spend nearly 1/4 of it reinventing the criteria wheel, and even more absurd when so many of them had no prior knowledge of ME as an illness. The ineptitude of the group can be read about in the sample letter below.
There is something we can do to combat this nonsense. You can go to: http://www.contactingthecongress.org/, type in your zip code and find your representatives. Email them the following:
Recently, the IOM released its report on Gulf War Illness recommending that the illness be named “Gulf War Illness” and that the two existing case definitions be used. In short, the IOM has done exactly nothing since they were hired four years ago– for $840,000 – to come up with a case definition.
The illness, they said had “too many symptoms.” HHS has now hired IOM to “define” Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) – another complex illness with many symptoms – to the tune of 1 million dollars. And, like the committee hired to review GWI, the IOM committee for ME/CFS is primarily composed of non-experts – people who have no research or clinical experience with the disease.
Fifty of the world’s top ME/CFS experts have formally protested the IOM contract to Secretary Sebelius. They have pointed out that there already is a case definition for ME/CFS designed by experts, the Canadian Consensus Criteria, and that having non-experts devise a new definition will set research and patient care back by decades. These experts are backed by thousands of patients, some of whom publicly voiced their opposition to the contract on January 27, 2014 at the IOM public meeting.
Jim Binns, chair of the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses says, “The conclusions of the report show that it was a waste of money. The committee never had the expertise or the process to do a case definition.” The current IOM process to review and redefine ME/CFS is an even bigger waste of money. It also a waste of time, which patients who are desperately ill with this disease cannot afford to lose.
Please support us by asking HHS to cancel the IOM Review of Diagnostic Criteria for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and to follow the recommendation made by the experts: Immediate adoption of the Canadian Consensus Criteria for ME/CFS.
The implications of what this group decides could be devastating to the already disadvantaged ME/CFS sufferers. You can, of course, add your own details, but the letter above is a good sample. One thing we have seen is that this group can respond to public pressure and outcry, so let’s make them respond!
My deepest thanks to anyone who is willing to do this!
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged activist, antlers, art, artistry, atmosphere, brooklyn 99, Carcosa, Cassilda's Song, CFS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, cinematic, clouds, crown, Dan Donohue, dark, define, definition, dramatic, dreamworld, email, evil, exile, fan, fibro, fibromyalgia, fine, flare, gold, gulf war illness, hands, HBO, headdress, hidden, horns, IMO, institude of medicine, International Consensus Criteria, IOM, king, king in yellow, leaves, lens, letter, light, man, matthew mcconaughey, ME, ME/CFS, movement, myalgic encephalomyelitis, mysterious, myth, mythos, nic pizzolatto, oregon shakespeare festiva, protest, robert w chambers, sarah allegra, secret, show, sinister, Stephanie Beatriz, sunset, suspense, true detective, tv, warm, woody harrelson, write, yellow, yellow king | Leave a Comment »
My dear friend and frequent collaborator Katie Johnson has recently started a new video series which profiles the artists she works with frequently. I was honored to be featured in the first of her videos! She put a great piece together which includes an interview with me and lots of behind-the-scenes peeks into how we work.
Take a look!
I often think of lines from the song the princess sings in Peter S. Beagle’s legendary work The Last Unicorn:
“Oh, I am a king’s daughter
And I grow old within
The prison of my person
The shackles of my skin
And I would run away
And beg from door to door
Just to see your shadow
Just once and nevermore“
“The prison of my person, the shackles of my skin” perfectly describes how I feel about my physical body most days. Though I doubt Mr. Beagle had ME in mind when he wrote it, it resonates so strongly with me. And I’m sure people with other chronic illnesses will be able to identify with it; it’s a pretty universal problem across the chronically ill spectrum.
Feeling so trapped has always made me instantly know something of what Amalthea felt at finding herself in human form. I imagine it was even harder for her though. The disharmony we chronically ill feel with our body was something I’d wanted to express in my Enchanted Sleep series for quite a while and I was glad to finally bring the image to life!
There’s something more visceral about images than you often can’t replicate with words. Words are powerful, they can build and tear down mountains, but the visual world offers the same information in a different form. One that, if used well, can strike like a snake and bring instantaneous understanding. That’s my hope with this series; to illustrate the life of a person with myalgic encephalomyelitis in a way that reaches where words cannot.
I will admit… I’d beg from door to door just to catch a glimpse of a unicorn’s shadow too :)
Here’s a look at the final image from our shoot:
And a detail shot:
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged actress, art, artist, artistry, awareness, beauty, behind the scenes, body, book, bts, CFS, chronic, close up, coping, disease, drama, eye, fading, fatigue, fibro, fibromyalgia, flesh, flower, ghostly, girl, illness, imprisioned, interview, katie johnson, last, macro, ME, model, myalgic encephalomyelitis, Peter Beagle, Peter S. Beagle, princess, prison, profile, q&a, quote, sarah allegra, soul, spirit, story, strength, syndrome, trapped, unicorn, video | 6 Comments »
Something a little silly and fun for today….
One of the very cool things that Geoff and I got to do over our Christmas road trip was drive by the house used as the exterior shots of Walter White’s house in Breaking Bad. To both of us, it was a mini pilgrimage, a holy shrine dedicated to one of the best shows television has ever produced. (Seriously; we were talking about it the other night and couldn’t think of ONE single time the show had miss-stepped even slightly in its entire run. What other show can you say that of?) I brought my Heisenberg hat along the entire trip just for this one moment, and it was completely worth it.
I tried to be cool, but inside I was fangirling and squealing over the fact that I WAS STANDING IN FRONT OF WALTER WHITE’S HOUSE OMG. It ended up being a very Breaking Bad Christmas all around; AMC ran a series marathon right around Christmas, and Geoff and I both gave each other some very fun Breaking Bad gifts. His stocking contained some “blue meth” sugar candy from a great shop on Etsy :)
While running the marathon, AMC’s website had some really fun Breaking Bad extras for fans to enjoy, such as a quiz which would tell you which villain you were most like. I was perversely proud and pleased when the quiz told me I was most like Gus Fring.
I even saved my results because they were so fun. And you know? I can kind of see it. Were I to take the path of the bad guy, I probably would be that scariest kind of quiet, seemingly peaceful villain who, when the mask is dropped, threatens to kill you, your wife, your son and infant daughter, then slits a man’s throat with a box cutter in front of you just to prove his point.
So who am I? Gus Fring? You’re goddamn right :)
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Albuquerque, all hail, amc, art, bad guy, blue meth, breaking bad, fan, Fring, fun, gus, hat, Heisenberg, home, house, king, New Mexico, photo, queen, quiz, sarah allegra, self portrait, show, silly, sugar candy, television, test, tv, villain, walter white | Leave a Comment »
Sundance Channel’s new six-episode drama last year had my attention when, during the trailers, I heard the words “from the producers of Breaking Bad,” and “How does it feel to be free but not exonerated?” My ears were sufficiently pricked.
Starting intentionally slowly-paced, the show gives you time to warm up to it, get to know it and its characters well. You come to love or loath them all quite intensely by the time the end of episode five comes and leaves you gasping. The first time I watched the show, I’d recorded them on the DVR and was watching while I edited; I rarely watch TV without editing. I was enjoying myself the whole time, but at the end of episode five, I literally stopped breathing for a few seconds. And I was so glad I could immediately launch myself into episode six. It was compelling enough for me to set my editing completely aside, and I wept through almost the entire second half of the last episode. To say it hooked me would be a dramatic understatement.
I kept those beautiful, perfect six episodes on the DVR for a long time. In fact, I recall only feeling comfortable deleting them when I knew that the season would be released on DVD soon. I was compelled to go back and watch them over and over again. Like the very, very best story-telling, there is enough for you to grab onto the first time through, but it has so many layers and levels, you pick up new details and nuances each time you experience it again. And good heavens, how ballsy is Ray McKinnon, the show’s creator, for waiting until the very last moments of episode five to sink that hook into your mouth?
Rectify follows the story of Daniel Holden, a man who has spent the last 19 years of his life on death row for the brutal rape and murder of his highschool girlfriend. New DNA evidence has emerged to show that Daniel at the very least could not have been the sole perpetrator, and possibly wasn’t involved in the murder at all, so he is released from prison but his name is not truly cleared. Back home in the imaginary small town of Paulie, Georgia, everyone has an opinion on Daniel’s guilt or innocence. The town has been steeped in this murder for the past two decades and everyone is prepared to fight for what they believe is the truth. Is Daniel truly guilty or innocent? The show bravely decides to not supply the viewer with the answer outright, but leaves you with enough breadcrumbs to follow if you wish.
Rectify is perfectly cast. I was new to Aden Young, but his strikingly soulful eyes and body language say so much for him without needing words. Daniel was always shy and not much of a talker and spending 19 years away from society hasn’t helped that any. To those who believe he’s guilty, his awkwardness is another nail in the coffin. To those who believe he’s innocent, anybody would be a little awkward in his situation. One of the most brilliant bits of the show is that through some very clever plot points, Daniel himself does not know whether he’s guilty or innocent. The waters are murky for everyone.
I have to say, I love Daniel, in a way which almost rivals my love for Richard Harrow. There’s something similar about both of their characters too; by no means are they interchangeable, but the Venn diagrams of their personalities overlap in some significant ways. They both have an innocence, a sweetness and purity about them, despite some of the bad thing we know (or suspect) they’ve done. I can strongly identify with both of them for their shyness, their introversion, their outsider-ness. But while they both seem to have hearts shining bright with solid gold, we know there’s deep pain within them both, and we’ve witnessed them doing some bad things. Often, I would venture, for good reasons, or at least what their character believed was a good reason, but they are not fresh, untrampled flowers of purity. I think that dichotomy is what makes them such fascinating characters.
There is a religious undercurrent to almost everything in the show, and if you were raised in a Christian house like I was, you’ll pick up on them. Ray McKinnon deftly uses these subtle metaphors and allusions to underscore various points, sometimes answering your question for you, adding extra layers of meaning, or purposely confusing things even more. Kerwin’s declaration to Daniel that he knows Daniel is innocent “Because I know you. Because I know you. Because I know you,” brings to mind Peter’s thrice-over betrayal of Jesus, and subsequent thrice affirmation of his love and devotion. Even the fact that the show takes place in exactly six shows, over six days; this brings to mind “on the sixth day, God created man.” The story is ultimately about Daniel’s new life, his rebirth into society, so the metaphor makes perfect sense.
The clarity over what’s real and what is not is always in question and only gets murkier as the season progresses. The Goat Man, played by W. Earl Brown, is a perfect example of both those points. Does he represent God, wrestling with Daniel in the wilderness, or Satan tempting Jesus in the desert? There is no ivy on the stature the Goat Man shows to Daniel, but there is the next day when he visits it with his sister Amantha. Was the Goat Man real or not? If he isn’t, where did that big wad of cash Daniel has come from? God, Satan, real, not real… I could believe that the Goat Man is all these things at once.
The end of the last episode by no means wraps things up tidily, but was incredibly satisfying nonetheless. I was ecstatic when I heard that Rectify had been picked up for a second season, this time being given an entire 10 episodes to mesmerize us and fuck with our heads. Will we find out the truth behind the murder Daniel was convicted of next season? I hope so. And I have my own strong theories about what will be brought to light. Rectify, I will be glad to see you back.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Aden Young, caged, channel, daniel, female, Goat Man, guilty, holden, implied, innocent, longing, nude, pain, patch, Ray McKinnon, rectify, religion, review, self portrait, Stranger, sundance, television, trapped, tv, W. Earl Brown, window | Leave a Comment »