Ventura Chopperfest 2018

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14th Annual David Mann Chopperfest

On Sunday, Feb. 4, I woke up with no intention of heading anywhere. Last year I missed Chopperfest due to an engine problem, so this time, after cleaning my place, making breakfast, and scoping around on IG, 9:30am seemed early enough to still drive to Ventura and see some motorcycles and have a beer.

It turned out to be a pretty good decision. I met up with some friends, hung out, took pictures, and made it back in time for work.

 

 

Paradise Road Show 2018

Paradise Road Show 2018

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A Day in Paradise

A year ago I started a Moto-photo project at the Long Beach Cycle Swap with an old Minolta 35mm camera, but it didn’t pan out the way that I intended. I couldn’t really scan the images with the quality and quickness that I wanted, so, like with a lot of projects, I just left the developed pictures in a drawer and forgot about them.

Last week, I bought a Sony a6000 – lightweight, APS-C, 24.3 MP – in a move away from DSLR’s and film, and to the portability of mirrorless cameras. The Paradise Road Show, held on the weekend of January 20th and 21st, provided the first opportunity to kick start the whole thing again, and breathe new life into old ideas that deserve a second look. All the pictures here are shot using an a6000 and a Sigma 30 mm F1.4 lens.

A Book of Portraits

fiction

I want to take your picture
I want to guide your eye
I want to love you deeply
I never want to die

Let’s run out of the city
Let’s run far from the sun
Into the darkness of each other
Into the void where we are one

 

I wake up in her room around eight on Saturday morning.

I quietly get up and step out to get water from the fridge and the bright morning light immediately washes over the headache that’s brewing and makes clear the taste of lipstick and cigarettes.

The view from the room looks out over most of the small cities in the Arroyo and the world seems to stand still. Her dog sleeps peacefully in a soundless patch of shadow in the corner. I step back into the room.

She turns over and faces the wall to block the sun.

“Close the door babe, yeah?”

Later, when we both get up, we joke around for a bit and listen to Oldies, but slowly, with no cue, we transition and start to catalog an ever increasing list of the previous nights bad decisions.

 

“I don’t want to fuck this up,” she says while we’re laying on the bed, her fingers playing with my hair.

“Neither do I.”

“So what do we do?”

“I don’t know,” I say, “I have no fucking clue.”

 

The house gets warm and the day gets brighter, so we shower together and get ready to leave. We drive towards The City and listen to The Band and Muddy Waters on the way.

We drink Micheladas at a place East of Downtown and they do a good job of clearing up the bad feelings and the air of uncertainty. We talk about going to the batting cages, but then scrap the suggestion and go back to her place where we have sex again.

We drink tequila while we watch baseball and chase the taste with the sweetest limes that I have ever had, and I never want to leave, but we both have to go.

We smoke on the patio and take in the view and both silently prepare for the rest of the day.

 

“How are we going to make this work?” she says, breaking the silence.

“I guess we’re both going to have to be ok with lying and deceiving,” I say.

 

A sense of future moments flashes in her eye and then I lean over and kiss her.

EDR 2017

EDR 2017

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Stop the World and Let Me Off

Everyday moves fast, and lately that seems more true than ever. Living, breathing, Instagramming.

I’ve been busy and there never seems to be enough hours in the day. Riding, working, walking, talking, meeting people, missing people, thinking, going out, staying in. Rinsing and repeating.

I’m trying to play with a few new words everyday, a little time set aside in order to flex my writing muscles.

These are pictures taken on the trip down to San Felipe in Baja on a motorcycle.

The trip was probably the craziest thing I have done so far.

Here are some pics from EDR 2017 (There are more here: Biltwell Blog | EDR 2017).

SIGHT

essay

“Remember, this is a comedy” – Federico Fellini

Last week I re-watched The Right Stuff, Philip Kaufman’s 1983 film – based on the Tom Wolfe book of the same name – about a group of Air Force pilots out in the Mojave who attempt to control the cutting edge machinery produced during a renaissance in American ingenuity. Some of these men become the first many NASA recruits during the birth of the American space program.

I remember watching this film with my Dad at a crucial time when a kid could dream and, while watching it with my girlfriend, remembered all of the movies that shaped my vision of the world over the years from the vantage point of the relatively old city on the Eastside – The Godfather, American Beauty, Apocalypse Now, 8-1/2, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Almost Famous, Back to the Future, Lost in Translation, The Breakfast Club, 2046 – and how all of these records of light and sound have shaped me and moved me deeply throughout the years.

The Godfather

The color palette of The Godfather always stood out in my mind, and I remember watching the film with my Dad during the Holiday season, and how, even if not said directly to me, the actions on screen revealed a little something about the way that love, familial love, is the ultimate social bond.

Back to the Future

Driving to Whittier High School just to see the front of Hills Valley High and where Biff got punched in the face by Marty. Or the fact that if you go to the Puente Hills Mall today, the site of Twin Pines Mall in the film, there’s still the Lone Pine sign logging the date and time of travel to the future.

Or, I recall being younger, 10 or 12, and watching Back to the Future and drawing up every little detail of the DeLorean on green over-sized note cards, trying not to miss any minutiae and explaining to my Mother that when I grew up I would have enough money to hire scientists to build a DeLorean for me so that I could travel through time.

One of my very first memories is of being in my parents room with my Grandmother and, either on Turner Classic Movies or on VHS, watching the scene in Gone With the Wind where Atlanta is burning to the ground. I remember countless nights when I would hang out with my cousins and watch all of the latest scary movies, and sometimes even Disney movies, and we would then share ideas and rough storyboard sketches for films that we one day hoped to make. Saving Private Ryan was a big catalyst for our interest in WWII history and culture, and from that interest came our desire to learn about other wars and what became of the men that fought them, and how that generation then shaped the one that we are now a part of. The whole mess of human misery was teased out of a simple love for movies.

When I was in High School, I use to have a very unhealthy anxiety problem that I always seemed to be doing battle with, so some nights I would stay up really late and draw and listen to music, and at around 4 in the morning I would love to put on Breakfast at Tiffany’s because the simple grace of Audrey Hepburn would always seem to put me at ease. A few years before this, I remember my dad purchasing a copy of Apocalypse Now, and – this was right around the time when every teen seems to be big on Zeppelin, Floyd, Jimi, The Doors, and The Who – being blown away by the artistry summoned in order to capture the mood of the jungle and the war, and the smallness of one mans fight against a larger and much more pervasive, almost eternal, evil that seemed to exist at the edges of one’s vision, just over the horizon, and outside the world of logic and reason.

I remember watching Lost In Translation for the first time and being absolutely and madly in love with all of the little phrases that Sophia Coppola had composed within her scenes. The questions that Charlotte was asking Bob – “Does it get easier?” – were important not just in the context of the film, but also for organizing the increasing messiness of our lives. The daily heartbreaks were never going to be just a passing thing, even then I knew it, and how much more do I know now.

Watching David Lynch with my brothers, or Across the Universe with my Girlfriend – a film that belongs on the above list because I’ve seen it more than a dozen times – or even watching 500 Days of Summer and Step Brothers back to back on lonely Saturdays when I lived in Tucson, all of these little parts of life pop in and out of focus every now and then.

Then sometimes I forget. I’ll be walking down a street, or driving down a road, and I’ll open a door, or take a turn, and suddenly the past comes rushing back to greet me like an old friend, and many times I can clearly remember my past self telling my future self to remember the moment. And I don’t, and I didn’t.

Cities change, neighborhoods change, friends wander in and out of your life, families change, people grow and move. Everything is in flux and everyone is going about their own business and that’s ok. There is no imperative to be stuck in any one particular place in time because we are all subject to time’s ebbs and flows.

I can always go back to my parents house, sit on their couch, in a room that I’m familiar with, and go through their movie library, or if not, talk to them about something from Latin America or Europe that they’ve watched recently on Netflix and maybe watch it myself, and then kick back and disappear for a little bit.

I recently re-discovered Videotheque in South Pasadena, and have started to visit it more frequently. A small and careful care for the art of sight and feeling is something that I’m trying to cultivate in this modern moment.