Friday, September 29, 2017

Joseph Durant on Ivy Street in San Francisco around 1982

Joseph Durant in my apartment on Ivy Street in San Francisco around 1980. We met at Cafe Flore on Market Street a couple years earlier and became good friends. He began the Aids Quilt with Cleve Jones. The following fragments about Joseph are from an interview with Cleve Jones by PBS show "Frontline":

""I was with my friend Joseph Durant, and I remember saying: "I wish I had a bulldozer, and I'd knock these buildings down. Maybe if this was a meadow with 1,000 corpses rotting in the sun people would see, and they would understand, and if they were human, they would be compelled to respond." …
So the night of the candlelight march, Joseph and I had stacks of cardboard, lightweight cardboard placards and sacks full of magic markers. We asked everybody to write down the name of one person they knew who had been killed by AIDS. People were ashamed to do it. They would put initials or just the first name, and then finally one guy took two pieces of paper, taped them together, and in big block letters wrote, "Thomas J. Farnsworth Jr., my brother -- he's dead."

Then I hadn't seen Joseph in a while, the fellow who was with me when we were putting up posters for the candlelight march. I hadn't seen him in a few months, and I saw him on the street, and he was skinny, and his skin was gray, and his eyes were yellow. I asked him, "Are you OK?," and he said: "I don't want to talk about it, but it's time for you to get off your butt and start that quilt. It's a good idea." He was still working part time in I think a theater supply company, and he stole a couple of bolts of fabric, and I went down in the basement and found a box of spray paint left over from Ronald Reagan's last visit to San Francisco, and we went in the backyard, and we made the first quilt panels. I made mine for Marvin Feldman, and Joseph made his for a man named Edward Mock.

That's how it started. It grew slowly, because it was very difficult for people to visualize it, even though I had this picture in my head that was as clear as a photograph and drove me quite crazy for a long time, because I could just see it so clearly, but I couldn't communicate it verbally to people.

Dianne Feinstein, who is now a U.S. senator, was mayor of San Francisco at the time. At that point Joseph and I made I think 40 panels for friends of ours, and a couple of other people had contributed some, and we were permitted to hang those from the mayor's balcony at San Francisco City Hall during the Lesbian and Gay Pride Parade. I believe there were about a million people that day who saw it, and then they had the visual understanding of how this could work.""

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Zacatecas (With Black mat and frame from Imagekind)

Striking Monochrome Design in Vivid Red. Fill your space with heart energy! This would make a good printed mural for a wall in a store, office, or home. Shop for it at Imagekind:

Friday, September 08, 2017

Driving Across Silverlake (Tote Bag from Society6)

I practiced yoga followed by meditation in Elysian Fields (Elysian Park north of downtown L.A.) this past week and enjoyed views of downtown skyscrapers looking south and hillside suburbs and distant mountains looking northeast. Then I drove to a meeting at the admirable AT center in Silverlake.
Lots of ants on two legs running around the anthill called Los Angeles.
A energetic design resulted from the experience.Here it is on a tote bag from Society6.…

Monday, September 04, 2017

A Remark about the Culture of Older Gay Men in Palm Springs, California

Maybe our friend in Texas wouldn't like being with other old queens in Palm Springs.

It is a reality check being in the midst of them, like having close-up mirrors everyway you turn. This is a dangerous place for fantasies and illusions.

It's the opposite of a foreign adventure to an unknown place.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Response to Hoarder friend who doesn't want to be compared to another Hoarder friend who recently died.

Why not compare people with one another? Animals, human and otherwise, do it to estimate risk and reward. Actuaries use statistics from a group of individuals to predict probability for a particular member's outcome. And then set prices for insurance accordingly, among other real world applications. A quantitative analysis of data predicts future behavior. A well designed algorithm (noun: a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer) can analyze facebook pages from around the world and determine who is homosexual with accuracy. That's an interesting example of data mining. Our behavior is predictable; yours, mine, and the stranger sitting next to me at Starbucks.

My deceased friend had one heir we know of, his sister. She wasn't at the memorial service since she lives 800 miles away. She was in contact with him while he was ill as a caring sister. Now he's dead so it makes no difference to him what she does heretofore. His house is for sale, as is, and his physical effects will be thrown out or donated, if they already haven't been. We assume the sister will receive the proceeds from sale of house and any other money. Perhaps his church will too. I imagine he had a will. No one from our community breakfast group was interested in going through his physical effects as they did that for another member of the group who died a few years ago and it was too much work to repeat. 

If anyone wants to leave me some money, i'll be happy to receive it, and have fond thoughts of the donor. but i dont want anybody's personal effects. I had my own precious items and got rid of them because i know they would have ended up in a dumpster after i die. I've saved my heirs the trouble. My heirs will appreciate a simple check, like most people, after the death of a loved one, and remember him or her fondly while they enjoy the freedom to spend it however they choose. There will be no driving or hauling, expense of storing or selling involved. That's as considerate as one can be of the living. Money is the best present. 

Older people don't need more stuff, they need money. Especially if they are short of it.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Day in Los Angeles

I overdid driving into LA yesterday and kept changing the plan. That resulted in a melt down in the evening at the artists underearners meeting at the gay community center (in my own head, i didnt share with group). I had driven all the way to Point Dume in Malibu. It would have been better as the passenger, or not having already spent 2.5 hours coming from Palm Springs to Santa Monica.

The high point of day was riding my bike in Venice after returning from Point Dume. First I rode along the beach boardwalk (cement, no boards). The boardwalk is the only part of Venice that looks the same, aka rundown, as in 1976 when i lived there.

Everything else in the area has been replaced, or tarted up to rich man's dessert. But, I still had the feeling that Venice, Ocean park, and Marina del rey become somewhat desolate and boring at nite. Even though i didnt stay that late. Reason being is all the people action is still along the boardwalk and Main street. There is one new commercial street inland, called Abbott. Otherwise it still had a neighborhood feel. Albeit super rich,  genius cute, and very safe. I remember the inland residential areas as dangerous at nite in the old days. That's entirely gone. Its all rich kid cool and movie starlight today.

I'd already had some traffic on the freeway 10 coming in and on the Pacific Coast Highway to Mailbu and was still frustrated when I arrived in Venice. I left one hour to get from Venice to the gay community center in West Hollywood and be on time for the meeting. It took 1.5 hours. The exceedingly slow traffic ruined my schedule.

Then on way back to Palm Springs something happened around West Covina after 8pm and traffic stopped for an hour. it looked like a little drone was whirling around the sky above the freeway with a small beam focused on the earth. finally, traffic was released.