The Last Day

"When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it - always."

-Mahatma Gandhi

(Marvelous photography is by Tim Walker)

Not Quite Twelfth Night

"And by and by Christopher Robin came to an end of things, and he was silent, and he sat there, looking out over the world, just wishing it wouldn't stop."

- from The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne

Happy Christmas!

Everywhere you go in the UK, every holiday event, every store sale, you'll find miniature mince pies topped with stars being handed out... people line up for these spicy crust-filled treasures.

Kasey and I brought the British tradition home with us... and with no bakery around to supply us with this hallmark of Christmas... found that it's really not that hard to make them yourself.

It wasn't this white last night... view I encountered from the upstairs landing this morning.

Blankets of snowdrifts.

Bear, the snow dog.

Still snowing...

Merry Christmas... every one!

The Nightmare Before Christmas

No, not referring to Jimmy and Leslie (above) - although that was the theme at Bungalow 8 this past weekend...these two just hadn't seen Tim Burton's claymation story, so came, well... a little more North Pole than eccentrically dark and Victorianesque. Ha! It wasn't till they got there and saw people with white faces and dark circles around their eyes that they fully understood...

Anyway, the nightmare before Christmas that I'm actually referring to is something of what the lead up to this year's holiday has been for me. I don't even mean it a smidge metaphorically; the proverbial 12 days of Christmas have been more of a walk through uncertain gloom and doom than bursting with new surprise trappings of holiday cheer. Each day of advent felt like opening a gift of coal, or maybe more accurately, nothing at all.

You see, I applied for a visa to remain in the UK, which involved shipping my passport and plenty of other documents off to the "UK Home Office" - and even though everyone else that I know who applied for the same thing got theirs within a month, mine, for whatever reason (I theorize that the Brits think I could be a Communist spy since I've traveled to way too many subversive countries, and my passport and neither of my visa photos look anything like each other) there was no sign of mine.

As a result, I moved out, but was unable to the leave country the next day as planned, and found myself, not only stranded in the UK sans family, but homeless.

Yet, as my sister told me when she departed for her flight to the States that I was supposed to be on, we wake up from our nightmares. And so we do. On Tuesday my visa came (a day late), and I was miraculously able to get a flight leaving today.

So while you all hold your breath for me that I do indeed end up home safe and sound, please enjoy these pics from one of our last 2008 nights out in London (and Kasey's last as a resident Londoner - for now) - a much more enjoyable version of "A Nightmare Before Christmas" a la Tim Burton at the uber exclusive Bungalow 8. Enjoy!

Madame Kasey caught in spider webs.

Scary snake that Jimmy found on the floor next to our table... after he terrorized people with it sufficiently, it ended up in Kasey's purse...

Who ya gonna call? Jimmy, Kasey, and Bosaina in a wretched struggle over the phone in the St. Martin's Hotel lobby.

Jimmy with me after he figured out that he should rethink the Santa theme.

The group.

Ahh... sisters... (Kasey, London and I will miss you!)

what remained

I moved out today (long story... alluded to, in part, by the very memorable and well-received "cracks" video featured here a week or so ago).

After too-many consecutive hours of sorting and boxing and schlepping, I thought everything had been cleared out, but upon my last survey of the place, I realized I'd inadvertently left a collage/mural I'd created affixed to the wall - a montage of Rodney Smith photographs captioned by bits of a favourite quote of mine from Catharine MacKinnon, renowned scholar, feminist, and all-around intriguingly smart woman.

With movers breathing down my neck, I rushed to take down my makeshift composition; haphazardly peeling off the images as quickly and as delicately as possible; tossing them into an empty box. But just as I was about to tear the last lingering picture from the wall, the final possession of mine to grace the little abode I'd inhabited for nearly a year, I paused, because I hadn't meant for this particular pairing to be the finale... hadn't intended it as the savored last word. But there it was, my favourite part, the quote's true crux.... since it doesn't really matter what philosophical trappings came before or after it, without this fragment, all the surrounding philosophy is meaningless.

"But invent the capacity to act," it said.

Indeed. This is true for everyone... regardless of what you believe. And I'd sort of like to think that the message staring at me was a serendipitous metaphor; a small wink from the universe, rewarding me and egging me on with this symbolic nudge of encouragement; confirming that this move was progression, that I was going forward in a good way.

Almost as if to say, "Well done! But keep it up! Perfect or imperfect, you must continue to take action!"

So I took a picture of the picture as proof. As a reminder to myself, and to you, that thought is nothing without the physical act - just as Catherine MacKinnon insisted, it is in our actions that our power manifests itself. Want to do something? Take a leap. Don't like where you are? Move.


“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”
- Arundhati Roy

(Photo is by Gregory Colbert from his magnificent traveling show Ashes and Snow.)

The Highway Sign of Life

As seen (and taken by) Kasey in the V&A's "Museum of Childhood." She says it's her life's new mantra.

I think she may be onto something... it all looks so straightforward and clear-cut when put this way... no?

This is not a post! It's for my letting agent - a short double feature entitled: The Growing Cracks in My Flat!

I assure you that my *actual* short films center on more thought-provoking material, are better-filmed, and generally possess greater entertainment value... however, if you still wish to proceed... as always - Enjoy!

Crashing Film Premieres

So Kasey and I had called it an exhausted day - having spent the late afternoon viewing archival film footage at the Mediatheque at the Southbank Centre - and were anxiously navigating our way to an under-used exit, looking forward to getting home for some much-needed R&R.

Earlier, as we'd gone inside, I'd seen the red carpet... the crowd of people... the broad-shouldered men in dark suits monitoring the velvet ropes... the cameras and the peppering of women in ballgowns.

"Hmmm...?" I thought, "I wonder what's going on?"

Hours later, Kasey and I were turning this way and that in our attempt to get out of the Southbank complex, fantasizing about the soup we were planning to prepare on this drizzly day - when suddenly, we unmindfully passed some threshold and had the distinct feeling that we had stumbled into *something.* Waiters were carrying trays of canapes and bending to offer us some... arty folks were huddled together... a blonde girl in a strappy gown was talking about "finishing my first film in London."

I looked at Kasey. Kasey looked at me. Without saying a word, we knew the sentiment was mutual: "I have no idea what this is about, but let's stay awhile..."

Feeling sheepish in our winter gear, we quickly located the makeshift coat check manned by slinky girls, and then shed and handed over as many of our layers as we possibly could. We found some hors d´oeuvres (to save us from fainting) and some sparkling water and then stood trying to look as if we belonged. It was definitely a film party of some sort... everyone was talking about film... we tried our utmost best to be social without giving away the fact that, oh, "we so don't belong here, and in fact, we don't even have the faintest clue what is going on..." (Spy skills of the secret agent variety I tell you!)

Before we knew it, the crowd started to dissipate; people were all being herded into another room.

Again, Kasey and I looked at each other, shrugged, and followed. As it became obvious that we were all funneling into a theatre, we held our breathe that nobody was going to ask us for our ticket - our seat assignment. But no, we were in luck... except for a prominently marked VIP section... it was every party attendee for themselves... Whew...

We sat down and Kasey struck up a conversation with the posh British gentleman next to her. He lent her his program and we learned that we were to see a Turkish film called My Marlon and My Brando. Before the film started, as the announcer, and then the director of the film stood to speak, we discovered that we were at the opening night gala for London's 14th annual Turkish Film Festival... and we were about to see the festival's feature selection.

So we settled in and watched a rather unreal tale (although it was actually based on a true story) of a girl from Istanbul who falls in love with a Kurd from Northern Iraq prior to the Gulf War. When the war begins, she goes on a quest to find him... taking her to the border of Iraq and then Iran. The scenery was fantastic... the sense of these rather foreign peoples' humanity was very palpable and real - but the execution of the overarching plot was a little too over-the-top passionate to really be bought. Oh well. No complaints considering that we'd seen it in the context of such an interesting and unexpected night.

We stayed a bit for the party that followed the film before deciding that we should go since we didn't want to miss the last tube home... after all, unlike some of the legitimate and bedecked attendees, no car and driver was waiting for us to walk back down the red carpet in order to chauffeur us home.

Strange Symbiosis

“Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.”

- Rainer Maria Rilke (one of my favourite wise writers ever - who also happens to be a fellow Czech)

The picture above was taken by Tierney Gearon as part of a photo essay collection called "The Mother Project." The monstrous being terrifying the helpless babe with that horrifying mask is actually the child's mother... moments before (sans mask) they'd been frolicking in the field all smiles.