Sunday, November 22, 2009

Getting high then dropping low

I had always suspected I might be an adrenaline junkie, my grandmother definately was and my impatience and habit of exhausting my reserves (she seemed to have more of those into her early 80's than me) leads my family to draw comparisons between us constitutionally....all of which makes me feel good and proud. Back to my story. 
This adrenaline thing has been confirmed, completely confirmed due to a fieldtrip I took last Tuesday and Wednesday to Lake Elsinore California, about an hour and 1/2 SE of home. Gabe organized things there for work and I came along to help and rekindle some curiosity. I ended up having the chance to take a ride with the pilot and a plane full of skydivers up 13,000 to drop them out into a solid minute of freefall before opening their chutes. OHHH SHIT!!! I was thrilled and really not scared when I was being given a quick lesson on how and when to deploy my chute. I was about to have my entire body elevated in a profound new way and for the first time I felt like if something happened on this plane I could get out alive and have some control with my hand on my parachute cord. So we loaded up and I swear my face had a 4 year old cheshire grin for the next 30 minutes. I felt like a little girl being taken on the ride of her life. 

The inside of the plane was cool. Very old with handles and bars that moved up and down in front of me like on old roller coasters when they click the bar in front of you. The seatbelt was ancient and solid and needed me to spin the big metal dial to unlock it. The noise was intense and beautiful in my head, getting me all rattled inside as we made out way into the sky. The pilot is co-owner of the company and said he bought their two planes about 15 years ago and started things up. They do about 12-14 drops a day and with the constant sun and almost non-existent rain they can keep it up and running year round. People from Britian were there in full effect taking in the sun with their shirts off between drops.  Badass subculture to say the least. 
I loved watching the altitude dial spin, 3000, 5000, 8000 feet. Each time I looked over I wanted to cry and eventually did shed a little wetness behind my sunglasses. I was just so happy to be above the ground in this precise fashion.
This is the pilot Carl. I really appreciate his letting me come up and observe. Life really is all about perspective and this one set me up for....I don't know how long,....but I am still feeling the after effects. We all need new vantage points and whether it be stuck in traffic or flying out the door of an airplane, it's all useful to appreciate. Life is short.
Here's the bunch of badasses I got to film jumping into the huge open atmosphere. The chutes are beautiful when they open but I think it's that inital moment when you surrender and jump into the ether that makes this sport as relentlessly cool as it is. What is going on in your body when you first let go and fly? What does that feel like? There is no doubt about it, you are flying and that must on one level make you feel more powerful and free than you ever have felt but clearly more vulnerable than usual. That fight or flight thing is in overdrive and hopefully you are sharply focused on what your next steps need to be to avoid death. The relief and sense of pride as you float and direct yourself safely to the ground after the chute opens must really allow you to swim in relentless bursting happiness while coming back to earth. I watched several groups land while there. They come in fast and do such cool shit as they glide back to the ground. 
I knew after the last group jumped out, that I too was going to have to make a plan, save up and experience this more directly in the coming year....hopefully in 2010. As much as I wanted to dwell in this now empty, loud, windy space behind the cockpit that once had folks just like me filling the seats, I couldn't. Carl maneuvered the plane and took a sharp nosedive down,which definately got my attention. I focused on what was going inside me and was filled with a calm, surprised at how happy I was as my tried to adjust and gain equilibrium. The mounting physical sensations got me shedding tears....let's call them thrill tears. A type of gentle release (from a non so gentle scenerio!!) I had not experienced before. I felt like I could do anything. I guess that sums up the attraction. While it is dangerous and quite ridiculous, it really allows a most perfect vantage point of our lives down here. Again, perspective. 

I could barely calm down on my drive back to LA or at work that night, seeing that same thrill coursing through me into my Friday night adventure. No photos from this one but I highly recommend getting your hands on some Fat Freddy's Drop, a group out of New Zealand. 3 horns, which I love, a synthesized, sultry voice and presence on the mic who plays guitar,a  bassist and a guy manning the huge motherboard behind all of them producing the deep and varied electronic splendor. This night of dub and dancing was shared with my friend Elle from work. Lately I have been aware how nice the world is when you share experiences with others and this was a great first hang out for she and I. She happened to know and like the group and was happy I invited her. After some yummy Thai food we headed to the Roxy and found our space on the dance floor. We spent the next couple hours working out the kinks from the week (more specifically for me, coming down and trying to get low, low, low or at least settled back on earth!!). I hadn't danced that fully, soaked scalp and all, in a long long time and it made me realize there are plenty of good times ahead with friends and sound to absorb here in LA. I gotta say, there are some amazing people and ballzy experiences to be had here in Southern California. 
I have to send out thanks to the universe and those people who came into and out to play with me last week. 
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. 

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Moving images meet Mia

I studied and appreciated art in college like a good liberal art student and spent alot of my free time in NYC either with friends or on the job with kids taking in the amazing museums and galleries. I even got to witness some pricey art auctions at Christies and Sotheby's several years ago, but lately I have been a spectator of a new sort of sport. My eyes have taken in some foreign fun here in LA LA land. Gabe produced a movie that was in the Hollywood Film Festival at the end of October, which we were very excited to finally see on the big screen. I had yet to see the finished product and fell hard for the story and cast and even harder for my Hungarian honey. It was so strange to be dressed up and at the movies. 
Gabe and I toured the famous La Brea tar pits the following day taking me back in time when mammoths roamed the area. The tar pits are still bubblin' after thousands year old work of preserving these ancient creatures remains. I kept picturing those giant animals passing over mountains as we cruised along the interstate that afternoon. I saw them. They were here too.
We headed to Pasadena later that day to get in line for the U2 concert at the Rose Bowl, along with 96,000 others! Pete and Kathy were our buddies along for the trip. It was fun to shuttle over and land at the round room where we were given some VIP tx (that's how we got tickets in the first place). We ended up meeting the base player, Adam, backstage before the show which really made me  snicker. What was I doing and why was it so fun? I was in hysterics though as we were led by special security onto the floor of the bowl toward our seats. I had had a couple glasses of wine and was feeling the crowd as we crawled through folks. We saw Slash and Paris Hilton before the lights went low. I thoroughly enjoyed what I heard and saw. The energy from that many elated fans blew me away. Thank you Aileen for spreading this unique vantage point with so many of us.

The following night after work, I drove to the Beverly Hilton all dressed up again (this was twice in 3 days!!!) for the after party to the film festival. Gabe and the gang from the film were fun to share the pool party with, but I have to admit, I soooo wanted a girlfriend to acknowledge the 90210-ness of the surroundings with me. I expected to see Brenda and Dillion by the bar. Tiny, tiny ice cream cones and slow moving men dressed in Roman outfits made these few hours of my Monday night pure novel eye candy. A place I would never have seen myself enjoying became fun to ingest simply by moving through it with a smile and some open eyes.
To top it all off, this afternoon, I sunk into the little black couch at the Cal State Long Beach art museum watching Brian Eno's exhibit 77 million paintings. This consisted of slowly mutating, rich and randomly selected patchwork  of color and sketch. It was a digital quilt that actual warmed my insides as I listened to the sounds he had pumping through the space with the same name as the exhibit. I had heard the bells and dings and deep electronic scrapings before but never put them to visuals. It was a wonderful meditation on what is manifest and destroyed in a moment while you watch.  Each event offered me a chance to take life in like gone. here. gone. here. gone. here. gone. here. gone. here. gone. here. gone.