Monday, 25 June 2012

Quote of the Week - Slotkin

"Money is always attached to people -- it doesn't have any power by itself. You can't really run out of money, you can only run out of people -- they are the source of money. So fear of running out of money, is the fear of running out of people, or being abandoned and alone. Difficult financial situations are often characterized by feeling alone and abandoned. When you address your deep-seated feelings of abandonment and aloneness, your financial difficulties will begin to fade. A seemingly simple solution for a complex problem." 
- Joan Slotkin

Wow.  I found this pretty powerful when I first read it. I stumbled across it again today, and in light of the last few weeks, it's much more resonant.  Money has never been more about people to me than it is right now - in the midst of this tragedy, people's generosity feels like a direct challenge to all we know and resist about money on a daily basis.

What if community equals money?  Sharing equals money?  Giving equals money?  What if it is all about the Benjamins...and the Matthews and the Lauras and the Ellens...what if money is transactional energy we can share at will?  What else could it possibly be?

Monday, 18 June 2012

Quote of the Week - Chopra (again)

thanks to v. kali for this one.

i think the lesson here is you don't have to only choose 1 purpose.  don't get locked up - balance. as best you can.

stay real this week.  even when it's hard.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Rogue Machine Benefit for Max June 24th

Tucker Smallwood in Where the Great Ones Run

Thanks to the generosity of Tucker Smallwood and the Rogue Machine Theater, there will be a special benefit performance on Sunday, June 24th at 3pm for Max Petrakos, who was killed by a drunk driver on June 2nd.  Max was thirteen and already performing at youth and adult open mics including Downbeat 720, the Rapp Saloon and Redondo Poets.  He also loved making movies with his brother and his friends, and was constantly creating something.

As a friend of Max's Aunt, Tucker initiated this and Rogue Machine immediately responded to the call to help.  Not only will the tickets be discounted from the $30 price, but for the $20 ticket for this performance, $10 will be donated towards Max's fund and the family's ongoing needs.  This discount and donation will be activated when you use the code MAX upon ordering.

Rogue Machine is a warrior in the LA theatre world presenting challenging original works and US premieres.  They have a long relationship with the spoken word community through their Rant 'n' Rave series and their presentation of new works by poets like Steve Connell and Sekou Andrews.

Attending this performance is a way to support LA's arts community and Max.  His aunt had planned to take him to see this show, so it is very special that this event is happening.

Please feel free to share this information as widely as you can.  Rogue Machine's generosity to the Petrakos family deserves a full house.


Sunday, 10 June 2012

Quote of the Week - Paramahansa Yogananda

"God's whole creation is intended to disillusion you; and thus cause you to draw back to Him"
-Paramahansa Yogananda

Try not to quibble with the God part here, if it's not your thing.  Let's go for the larger idea...all that obstacle is to make you dig deeper.  All the disillusion is to disavow illusion.  Not easy.  Not at all.  It's the work.  Getting closer to the core - however you define it.

Peace on the path.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Sunday, 3 June 2012

For Max, If You Can - Updated June 11th - 11:50am

Update June 11th 11:50am

Initially, when we started fundraising, our immediate concern was Max's funeral, and we believed we were on a very tight timeline to raise the funds, so we set a goal of $10,000 and a deadline of June 15th.

The overwhelming support of the communities touched by Max’s passing means that we have more than met that goal, in much less time than we could have ever hoped.

As we've gone forward, it has become obvious that there will be many other costs and demands for the family as a result of this terrible crash.  Both Max’s brother, Alexander, and his mother, Sunny, will need care and upkeep for some time, and there may be special needs we have not yet thought of or encountered – from wheelchair and accessibility, to pet care, small and not so small things have been cropping up daily for the family to handle.  While Alexander has been released, Sunny remains in the hospital.

We would like to extend our fundraising deadline through to June 23rd with the understanding that anything received above the expenses of Max’s memorial and funeral will be given to the family to assist in maintaining and caring for Alexander and Sunny’s needs.

In all honesty, it is quite possible that these costs will far exceed those of the service for Max.

Donations can be made several ways:

via PayPal to

via check to:

Brenda Petrakos
1055 Lincoln Blvd, #2
Santa Monica, CA 90403

via check to:

“The Max Petrakos Trust Fund”
c/o Alexandria Alamango
1214 14th Street, Unit 203
Santa Monica, CA 90404

or dropped at the Lincoln Middle School (15th and California, Santa Monica)
at the following times:

There will be a lock box at the front gate for donations
10am - 3pm Wednesday 6/13
8:30am - 3pm Monday 6/11, Tuesday 6/12

There are also several benefits and celebrations pending for Max, in addition to the actual Memorial Service, which will be at The Vineyard on Saturday, June 23rd at 6pm.

On Tuesday, June 12th, the youth open mic that Max loved, Downbeat 720, will set aside time for remembrance of Max during its regular open mic.  Downbeat 720 takes place the Miles Playhouse, Lincoln and Wilshire, at 7:20pm.  Youth are encouraged to sign up for the open mic, adults may attend in the audience.

On Friday, June 15th, Elena Secota will host a special Rapp Saloon, dedicated to Max.  The Rapp Saloon is an all ages open mic and is free to attend.  You may bring donations for the family.  The Rapp is located in the Santa Monica Youth Hostel, 1436, 2nd Street, Santa Monica, 90401, sign ups begin at 8pm.

Lastly, we are overwhelmed by the generosity of Rogue Machine Theatre Company, who have offered to donate a portion of the ticket sales from one performance of their current production, Where the Great Ones Run.  Tucker Smallwood, who is in the cast and a member of Rogue Machine, made all of this happen out of his friendship with Brenda.  The special performance will be Sunday, June 24th at 3pm.  Ticket cost will be discounted from $30 to $20, and $10 from each ticket will be donated to the family.

Details and purchasing information may be found here:

Please share the information on this performance as widely as you can.  In addition to being one of the few small theatre companies in Los Angeles to present new and challenging works, Rogue Machine has been a partner in the spoken word community, presenting the monthly showcase Rant ‘n’ Rave and new works by Steve Connell and Sekou tha Misfit, among others.  This is a very fitting tribute to Max, and we are grateful to Tucker and Rogue Machine for creating it.

We are in the process of collecting photos and video of Max for the Memorial. We would like to receive everything by this Wednesday, June 13th, if possible.  You may send me photos or links to videos via email (, you may post links or photos to my page, you may request permission from me to join a Dropbox folder where you can deposit photos of video, whatever is easier for you. If you have questions, or special circumstances, please just send me a message. We will also be creating an archive of photos and videos, so even those that might not make it into the tribute for the Memorial will be available for the family for years to come.

We are, each of us, completely in awe of the response you have all shown to this crisis.  You have given so much love and support in a terrible time, from mailing cookies, to making Get Well cards for Alexander to come home to, to donating, to just stepping up in ways so generous.  I don’t think it’s possible to thank you all individually ever in the degree you deserve, but know that you are all in our hearts and we wish you only blessings.

As always, please share this information with all concerned.

If you feel you are missing any information it can probably be found below.

Update June 7th 13:01

Just wanted to let everyone know that the date, time, and location have been set for Max’s Memorial Service. 

Max Petrakos Memorial Service
June 23rd
The Vineyard

The Vineyard was Max’s church and it is wonderful that they are able to host the service.

We will get you more details soon.

We are hoping to collect Max’s work – performances, films, art – and also great photos of him.  If you have pictures of Max, or videos, or any artwork of his, we would love to be able to share it.  Anything that you have that can be linked or posted on his FB page would be great.  Alternatively, you can email things to me.  If you’re unsure of how to post video or send it, just contact me and I’ll walk you through it.  If the photos or artwork are not digitized or scanned, let us know and we’ll see what we can do.

The love you all have for Max is absolutely felt in your generosity of spirit, time, and energy.  Again, many thanks.

UPDATE June 7th 12:23am

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to post an official update for you.  (Scroll down to read the original post and details.)

The outpouring of support for the Petrakos family has been overwhelming.  In fundraising and warmth and aid, the response has been tremendous.

For those who prefer not to use PayPal or would like an alternative way to donate, a legal trust has been set up by one of the parents at Lincoln Middle School for Max. 

Checks may be made out to:

“The Max Petrakos Trust Fund”

They can be dropped off at Lincoln Middle (15th and California in Santa Monica) as follows:

There will be a lock box at the front gate for donations
10am - 3pm Wednesday 6/6 and Wednesday 6/13
8:30am - 3pm Thursday 6/7, Friday 6/8, Monday 6/11, Tuesday 6/12

or mailed:

c/o Alexandria Alamango
1214 14th Street, Unit 203,
Santa Monica, CA 90404

If anyone needs another alternative (like international payments, etc.), please message me.

Arrangements for the Memorial Service and funeral are in process, and there should be a date and information available shortly. 

Zander is out of the hospital.  He will have a long recovery at home with his Aunt Brenda, but he will be fine.  At this time, the family is not ready for visitors, but we will let you know when they are.

Sunny is stable at this time, but no significant change.

All the offers for dogwalking and general help and bringing over food have been noted and appreciated.  We will try to get this all going in the next week or so. There will definitely be a need for assistance and support over the next months, and it is great to know that the communities that love Brenda and Max and Zander and Sunny are ready to help so much.

On top of everything that has been offered and gifted, people in the community are gathering to create fundraisers.  This is wonderful and we are grateful.  We will keep you informed once they are solidified.

Max had begun attending Santa Monica’s Youth Open Mic Downbeat 720 and he really loved it.  The next Downbeat 720 will be this Tuesday, June 12th, at the Miles Memorial Playhouse in Christine Emerson Reed Park (Lincoln and Wilshire side) at 7:20pm.  As part of the regular Downbeat, there will time set aside for remembrance of Max (stage name Baxter).  Youth and adults are able to attend and youth may sign up for the open mic.  Details may be found at:

We have learned that the driver of the vehicle which struck the car Max was in has been formally charged with murder, vehicular manslaughter, and leaving the scene of an accident.

I hope this answers a lot of questions and helps in your healing processes.  Marie and I and the family are doing the best we can to respond to everyone in a timely fashion, and will continue to do so.  Please forgive any lapses on our parts.

As always, please feel free to share and post this information.

Thank you again!

For more information, or questions, please feel free to contact me, or Marie Lecrivain:


Dear Family, Friends and Community:

On Saturday, June 2nd, Brenda Petrakos’ nephew, Max, was killed in a car accident.  The car he was traveling in with his mother and brother was hit by a drunk driver.  His mother and brother are in the hospital.  Max was 13 years old.

As many of you know, Brenda’s role in Max’s life went well beyond that of Aunt. This is a devastating time for her and her family.   Max was beloved.  He was insightful, smart, irreverent, creative – much like his Aunt.  He had a sweet spirit, a curious mind, and a perhaps odd addiction to Scrubs and Sanford and Son.

As a community, we have come together before to buoy those who need it, and steer people away from rough shores.  We are asking if we can do that again.

The family needs your prayers and support at this time.  They are also in need of financial assistance.

A funeral for Max may cost up to $10,000.  This is a burden that the family cannot bear.   We are asking for donations to raise the money so that Max may have a funeral.  He deserves one.  We must also raise this money as quickly as we can, and have set a goal of June 15th.

Donations may be made via PayPal  to  For those who prefer to write a check, or drop off cash, you may do so to:

Brenda Petrakos
1055 Lincoln Blvd., #2
Santa Monica, CA 90403

For more information, or questions, please feel free to contact me, or Marie Lecrivain:

We will do our best to post information about the funeral, and the fund.  We hope that you will help to share this message, as well as any future information about services for Max, with the community.  Those of you with venues, if you would be kind enough to either read an announcement and share the information, or post this to your lists, it would be much appreciated.

On behalf of the family, thank you so very much for your compassion.

Max's last performance at Downbeat 720 Youth Open Mic