Sunday, 30 December 2012

Quote of the Week - Rumi

Inside this new love,


Your way begins on the other side.

Become the sky.

Take an axe to the prison wall.


Walk out like someone suddenly born into color.

Do it now.

You’re covered with a thick cloud.

Slide out the side.


and be quiet.

Quietness is the surest sign

that you’ve died.

Your old life was a frantic running from silence.

The speechless full moon comes out now.

- Rumi

I know!  Go ahead - be mad at me for too much Rumi!  But how could I resist this end of year/full moon quote posted by Daniel Stewart of Rising Lotus Yoga?  Could you?

Become the sky.

What better advice can there be?



Thursday, 27 December 2012


Sunset - Marrakech

I just wanted to give you a present!

Until the 31st, you can download my little Kindle Book 5:  Poems/Images from Morocco for FREE from Amazon!

Just click!

(You don't need a Kindle to read it - just the app or software, which is also FREE!)

Monday, 24 December 2012

Quote of the Week - Cooper

“As an actor, you want to feel like you have a partner. Someone who wants you to jump on your own, but they’re also falling with you. You can’t be coddled, but you want to feel safe enough to jump.”

- Bradley Cooper 

Same in life.  Cultivating safe partnerships and safe spaces gives a new kind of freedom.  We've been hard at work on this over at the Zestyverse and we've discovered a bold and sexy that grows right out of safety, comfort, and shared vision and doesn't require over exposure.

Expect new tings for 2013.  We are, we do, and we will be bringing them, too.

(Thanks to Judith Weston Studio's Facebook page for this from an LA Times article on Silver Linings Playbook.  Cooper is talking about his director, David O. Russell.)

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Holiday Shopping Guide - IndieStyle!

Put your money where your conscious is!  It's the holidays and we all gotta drop some ducats on some shiny for the friends and fam.  How bout this year you put those dollars to work for your values?  You can support small businesses, green businesses, independent artists and visionaries.

Here are some ideas and my personal faves!

The Whole 9 (Culver City or online) - A gallery space (The Whole 9) and a not-for-profit (The Peace Project).  Gifts start at $20 with 25% of sales donated to The Peace Project which has been doing incredible healing work in Sierra Leone...Jewelry, gift items, cool things, and more.  Not to mention the great affordable art!

Brat (Santa Monica) - Okay, those little purses might be on my wish list!  Nancy is style maven, confidante, girl about town, and Brat is my favorite closet!  Gifts for guys and girls and kids and hipsters and cool cats!  A museum of LA Style!

A4DS - Last week's Practivists, Art for a Democratic Society have cool activist gifts!  Check out their Etsy!  Buttons (badges for you Brits), and more more more!  Great for activists on a budget!

Image of ▲▲▲'s . of . Neon . Shirt .

That Young Def Shop - Def Sound is a kind of a happening.  Music.  Life.  Awesome socks.  Check out the shop.  Check out the music.

Victorian cut steel charm necklace 'Dreamland Is Burning'

Millenial General Assembly - Great jewelry from found vintage and antique objects!  They are like stories hanging around your neck!

K. Anderson - The amazing singer/songwriter K. Anderson has put out a new EP just in time for the holidays!  The songs are haunting, beautiful, her voice is so sultry and nuanced.  Check it out!

Sheeluv - Designer Sheeluv makes great things!  From art prints to fab iPhone cases!  I kinda want one for my iPod...

Araceli Silva Jewelry - I love Araceli Silva's work.  Hand-crafted silver and gold pieces with gemstones.  Delicate beauty.

Reciprocity (online) - Body products, candles and more - organic, planet conscious and fun!  I met Lara while we were both working with youth - she has an amazing spirit!

Breathe Bodyworks - Who doesn't want some bodywork, healing, massage, yoga as a holiday gift?  Go ahead and get a gift certificate or book some recovery time for yourself or grab a yoga video!  You will not be disappointed - Jenn is an intuitive and well-trained healer.

Objects With Purpose - Non-toxic fragrant candles!  I met Ianthe in our Creativity Group - this is such a great and unexpected outcome of all of our visioning!

When you're done shopping, make sure to pop into Cafe Bolivar for a yummy drink and some arepas - treat yourself!

Tell them E. Amato sent you!  : )

(If you have a business like this - go ahead and give me a shout out and I will try to include you!)

I might try to do some less-LA-centric ones, too, if I have time to update - but most of these businesses can do online sales!

Disclaimer:  Nobody here asked to be included and I even hope they don't mind!  I just like them a lot. I hope I'm not leaving anybody out.  I admit this is a pretty girl-y list.  Oops.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Quote of the Week - Amato (Me!)

"Poets are just ad-men of the soul." 
- E. Amato

Yeah, don't know.  It came to me.  One of those stray lines that might be a poem in itself, might be true, might have already been said.  

It's also a worry I secretly harbour...

IndieStyle Holiday Shopping Guide coming this week!  Promise!  Get your indie, local on this holiday season!  Stay tuned...come back...

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The Other 50% - Agent Roundtable

Sharing the positive progressions of the Other 50% is the flip side of all the whining about it!

I really liked this Agent Roundtable from The Hollywood Reporter.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Quote of the Week - Rilke

"Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love."

- Rainer Maria Rilke

I so want this to be true.  I've thought it myself, or so I thought, but probably it came to me through Rilke.  But the idea that if you just meet, even gingerly, the forces opposing you, they will melt (like the Wicked Witch!), and become gentle, manageable, maybe even...helpful.  

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Pracitivists of the Week - A4DS!


How old are you, if you don’t mind?

Well there are 6 of us active right now, and we range in age from mid 20s to mid 30s.

What is the main focus of your practivism at this time and how does that manifest?

We focus on the junction between art and politics, so we approach political issues from a cultural perspective, while at the same time we organize an art collaboration in a democratic way and use some grassroots political organizing techniques in our artworks, such as talking to strangers on the street, tabling, and polling. We don't tend to focus on any one political issue, but create different projects based on what's piquing our interest at the time. Generally, we try to create work that opens a space for participation as we want to create an analog for greater political participation in society. And by political participation, we're not aiming to get out the vote, but to reach past that and encourage people to take greater power back into their own hands by organizing themselves. We believe strongly that people do care but feel they have no outlet for their concerns and become disillusioned. Political struggle has been at such an ebb until recently, especially union organizing and protest, that we have no models for how to fight back. We hope that we can provide some models and some encouragement in the struggle.

What route did you take to get here?

Steve (my husband) and I co-founded A4DS in April 2007. Steve has been an activist for many years, and also is a talented illustrator and writer. I had just graduated from art school in Jewelry/Metal Arts, but was being pulled towards conceptual art and social practice due to my frustration with the art world as I saw it at the time. We wanted to reach people that might not be exposed to art, and people who could not afford to collect art. We weren't interested in creating art objects, but in creating situations that encouraged open dialogue and debate. For several years, we created projects alone. In early 2011, we submitted a proposal for a show at Southern Exposure called The Cries of SF, in which people were taking on the personas of town criers and street vendors. Our proposal involved building a cart, and neither of us were experienced builders. A friend of ours, Francois, who creates sculpture, joined us to help build the project and we liked working together, so he became a part of the organization. We also enlisted the help of our friend Sean, who is a gifted poet and actor, to write our "cries" and perform with us, and he has continued to work with us. Through the course of the project, we met two other artists, Jesse and Ethan, who were interested in what we were doing and wanted to join as well. Jesse is a printmaker and Ethan is a photographer, though they had both stretched into performance art and interactive work previously and were interested in social practice. We went from just the two of us to 6 of us (and a couple of non-active members) in the space of a few months!

To find out more about A4DS CLICK HERE!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

The Art of Listening

I completely love this Ted Talk.

Because the more I delve into life, the more I realize that listening is the key.

Listening and being listened to are what create true bonds, community, what imbue people with self-esteem, and empower individuals and communities to transcend divisive issues and solve complex problems.

A lot of what I know about listening comes from performing and directing and working with performers.  A lot of that comes from Judith Weston.  When I'm on stage, talking a mile a minute, I consider it my actual job to deeply listen to the audience.  I create them as a partner in the process of unveiling the text.  Truly this is the only way I connect and the only way I get myself on the stage.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Quote of the Week - Hathaway

"I think women are starting to take more care of each other. I feel like we're moving into a place in the world where we're going to be able to apply it. At least that's my hope." 
Anne Hathaway

This made me happy.  No, that's not true.  It made me cry.  I'm like that.  I hope she's right.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Quote of the Week - Sexton

"Watch out for intellect, 
because it knows so much it knows nothing 
and leaves you hanging upside down, 
mouthing knowledge as your heart 
falls out of your mouth."
-Anne Sexton

Annex Sexton scares me.  She's so gut-scrapingly articulate about the most tenuously indescribable things in life.  Sometimes, I just can't read her.

This one doesn't scare me.  It's just amazing truth.

Happy Cyber Monday!

I've been editing manuscripts...what have you been up to?

Monday, 19 November 2012

Quote of the Week - Paley

"It is the responsibility of the poet to be a woman
to keep an eye on this world and cry out like Cassandra,
but be listened to this time."
Grace Paley

I love Grace Paley.  I think it's time we answered her call.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Quote of the Week - Rumi

"This is love: to fly toward a secret sky, to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment. First to let go of life. Finally, to take a step without feet."
- Rumi
I think I over-rely on Rumi for quotes sometimes!  But how can you not?  They're so great!  And life - inner life - has changed so little in all this time.  Only the trappings (perfect word) have changed.

Have a great week!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Quote of the Week - Roche

"Dare to be intimate with life, find the courage to be tender, and move through this world in touch with the innermost soul." 
- Dr. Lorin Roche

If you want to live a creative life, then intimacy needs to be an open relationship.  One you have with your senses and your intellect and your values (what you might choose to call spirit, or soul, but truly what those define are your core values).  This quote speaks to that and also gives you a way to practice it.

Gentleness in process is a very courageous thing.  It says that you trust yourself and the world around you enough to move at a pace that allows you to engage with heart and mind and body, without pushing yourself, or pulling others in with you.  You are the opposite of the proverbial bull in a china shop; you are a Prima Ballerina in a Swarovski store where you are illuminated by the sparkling crystals all around you and not a hair, or an ornament ends up out of place.  It's a dance requiring grace, patience, light and practice!

This innermost soul, this namaste - these are values.  If we're honest, we all want to set our main core value to love.  We just want to set it there and leave it there.  If we're honest, most of us fail in the doing.  Here is a reminder to check in with that place in you that is the caretaker of who you intend to be.  Do it often.

This comes from this month's issue of my fave mag LA Yoga.  I've quoted Dr. Roche before, and I think this whole article bears reading.  It's on p.42 of the digital version.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Quote of the Week - Morrison

"Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another." 
-Toni Morrison

Sometimes I wonder how many lifetimes Toni Morrison has lived.  She just seems to know in the bone.

Such a simple sentence.  A lifetime of work.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Lana Wachowski and Cloud Atlas

I've never been a huge Matrix fan.  (Sorry.)  As a total cyber-punk head, it felt like a rip-off of the ideas of all my favorite authors and thinkers.  A very cool rip-off, but a rip-off nonetheless.  

The trailer for Cloud Atlas intrigued me, and bringing such a sprawling narrative to the screen seemed ambitious in a good way.  (I'm also not much of a Tom Tykwer fan (sorry).  Run Lola Run is sort of a script supervisor's nightmare, and didn't feel like much of a movie to me, and the other ones, whose names I can't even remember seemed more mess than beautiful to me.)

There's a hair thing going on here...

I don't see lots of movies in the theatre anymore - it's time-consuming and expensive, but I thought briefly about seeing Cloud Atlas.

Then I watched Lana Wachowski's speech before the HRC.  Wow.  Who is this fun, cool, engaging, smart, sensitive person?  She is charming, she is vulnerable, and most of all, she is on point throughout. This is a must-see, not only because of the socio-political issues it addresses so elegantly and personally, but because these issues of "coming out," of invisibility, of being seen, of the gaze - these issues belong to everyone.  In my work and life, I've never met anyone who didn't have a real them that they had to tediously and courageously work to release to the world, or one which they kept under lock and key out of fear of reprisal.

The speech was so wonderful, I went to see Cloud Atlas on opening day.  It had more beautiful than mess, but still had a lot of mess.  It was inconsistent, episodic, ambitious, accomplished, frustrating, annoying, engaging, needed better dialogue, too long, not long enough, maddening, and fierce.  Not surprisingly, my least favorite sections turned out to be the Tom Tykwer ones (and reminded me of the movie I least liked of his and can't remember the title of), but the Wachowski sections, while visually dazzling, often had that stilted feel to them that makes representation plastic instead of supple.  (And what is cinema but the opportunity to take art from the plastic to the supple?)

Definitely a hair thing
So, in conclusion:  see the speech.  Watch the speech.  The speech is important and succeeds 100% on every level.  Then, if you're intrigued, see Cloud Atlas.  For all its flaws, it feels like a companion to the speech - and, sadly, not the other way around.  The almost 3-hour film feels like a declaration of independence, and a mandate for the rights of personhood - not the worst thing to occupy the same cultural time and space as a Presidential election.

(Yeah, I keep linking the speech cause I can't find a way to embed and cause you should watch it!)

Monday, 22 October 2012

Quote of the Week - Anonymous

"'Up in our country we are human!' said the hunter. 'And since we are human we help each other. We don't like to hear anybody say thanks for that. What I get today you may get tomorrow. Up here we say that by gifts one makes slaves and by whips one makes dogs.'" 
- Inuit hunter in Greenland quoted in Peter Freuchen's Book of the Es­kimos

(tweeted by @TedHope via Delancey Place)

What's great about this?  Everything.  In a world of debt and tabulation, a world of accounting, taxes, haves and have not, in a world where we are now identifying ourselves as percentages -- the 1%, the 99%, the 47% (I mean - isn't this exactly how we didn't want to be defined?  What all fear of "the future" is based upon - that we will be nothing but numbers or statistics?) -- here is something simple to remind us that even though we think we have conquered nature and aborted any divine plan that may or may not have ever been in place, life is still seasonal, fortune still cyclical, and humanity based upon open-handedness.

I suppose if you want to be cynical, you can call it enlightened self-interest.  I prefer calling it the instinct for connection and intimacy - perhaps the thing that lead us to tell stories around fires and draw on cave walls.  I prefer to think of giving as the first seed of love.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Missing Nancy Botwin

OMG.  No more Nancy Botwin.

Am I gonna have to grow up now?

Cause, see, no matter how curious my choices were, or - to some people - questionable, I could always tune into Weeds and watch Nancy make some exponentially unsound choices that made mine look like kindergarten drawings to her Rembrandts.  She knew how to f*ck some sh*t up.  For real.

Indestructible as a cartoon character, with mad Cali style - Nancy knew when to take sh*t and when to give it. (Yeah - I have totally not mastered that.)  Somehow managing to be sexy in every situation, whether she was doing a brick dance or being the new mom setting up her husband to take a huge fall.

Just finished watching Season 8, which was pretty great. As unreal as some of the plotlines could feel, the characters seemed to get much realer.  There were some awkward moments that felt ripped out of my own recent life, where I was literally like, "oh....maybe I shouldn't have said that..."

As her life is crumbling around her (again) someone close to her tells her she'll be fine and she's so strong, which makes her look like she's going to disintegrate right there onto the ground.  (In case you didn't know - not helpful - really not.  We know we'll be fine and we're strong.  It's everything in between now and then we're gonna hate like hell, and the becoming even stronger that makes it all awful - no one wants to be that strong and fine - it's a totally isolating universe unto itself.)

I'm not sure where I"ll get my dose of "Oh no, she didn't," but I'm thinking Carrie (Claire Danes) in Homeland.

Her own special kinda brilliant cray cray

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Quote of the Week - Rosemurgy

“Having a core is to the apple
what having a core is to the body,
city, method, circumstances, endeavor.
Having a core is flower-shaped and hurts
in the way that having a shape hurts, which is to say
it hurts ironically, because to have limits
is not just to make a declaration upon a mountainside,
it is also to be the mountainside.”

All Objects Reveal Something about the Body
(thanks to Katelyn Lucas)
I had this moment, a few weeks ago, writing, where the word that just demanded me was "core."  It just insisted.  It was a clear message - I was neglecting my core.  I've always found Pilates super dull, but a girl has to keep her core strong in this world.  How else to extend outward?  Every dancer knows that.  I know that.  Somewhere, I lost it.

When you say core you are not just evoking our physical core - there is the core of our spirit, our core reasons for existing, the core is the place purpose springs from and the place that replenishes love.  It's where centre comes from and it's where chi resides.

Then this quote showed up on Katelyn's FB status and hit me.  I'd never heard of the writer, but I knew she was speaking to me.  That's what poetry does. It hits you in the core if it's the real.

Respect what comes from your core; respect what resounds within it. Strengthen it.  Build a fence around it if you have to, cause some people are coreless and will come try to take advantage of yours.  Let the right ones in, though, and get friendly with crunches.  ; )

Now listening:  Michael Kiwanuka on MBE 2012