Four Years of Marriage in the age of Polyamory 

Millennials (1981-95, that’s me!) grew up with parents, Baby Boomers (1946-64), who came from families from the Silent Generation (1928-45) where marriage was a lifelong bond and until the no-fault divorce law came to be in 1969, they needed a reason to get divorced. As things changed, the Baby Boomers had the highest divorce rate ever, spiking from 1990-2012 (my parents were part of this statistic). There is no wonder why marriage is less common for Millennials and self-development takes over importance. It may seem “new age,” but more families have kids without getting married or wait until later in life to tie the knot. Some are opening up their relationships to avoid the devastating regrets of being cheated on or, worse, being the cheater.

My father being closer to the Silent Generation than my mother, a Baby Boomer, instilled in me the Christian ethics of marriage and lifelong partnership. When I met my husband at 26, marriage was the last thing on my mind. I wasn’t sure how to be in a committed relationship or end my many friendships with “benefits.” I was conflicted between “if you want me to commit to you, we need to be dating” to “I can still make out with my friends, right?” Influenced by the Burning Man polyamory scene that my peers were partaking in. 

It wasn’t long until I met my husband’s three-year-old daughter, and things changed. I suddenly needed commitment. Not just from him, but I longed to change my single ways and craved stability and family. I suddenly wanted kids so they too could grow up close in age to his daughter. After helping my husband obtain full custody of his child, the ball started rolling even faster. It wasn’t a matter of, I love you so much, let’s get married! Even though I loved him so. I was now questioning how I would play the mother’s role in his daughter’s life and how I wanted to go about it. Being fully committed to my husband and his daughter by raising her, taking her to school, keeping in touch with her grandparents, and helping her expand her social life, there was no doubt in my mind that I would do anything to be her mom. 

We got married in 2018, and eight months later, I adopted her. This was the biggest miracle in my life, but it was a full-time commitment. I saw walls being built between me and my friends. As if overnight, I went from a social butterfly to being a mom while sustaining part-time employment. Reality sunk in, and being unable to go to this or that show or party created resentment within me. The first year of marriage was the hardest. He was working toward his career, and I was obtaining a higher education. We struggled to get on our feet as we worked, spending time away from our child, living in small, unkempt one-bedroom buildings with two dogs and two cats. Things became very stressful. So stressful that I wanted to leave. 

Not my family, just the life we were grinding to achieve. So, we did. In 2020, our second year of marriage, we moved. We left our families and our friends to live in a more affordable place that offered us job security and a home where we got our own rooms. I had always promised our daughter when we had enough space for another child, it would happen, and it did. Our family continued to expand; even though children cost money, we began to make more. We became more stable by the day. Our stress levels decreased, and opportunities became more abundant. 

I enjoy being married to a partner who allows me to be me. The constrictions society had fifty years ago has been broken with gender identity, sexual orientations, and ways of life broadening. People are finding new ways to conduct and maintain relationships. I’m not saying jealousy, rules, and boundaries aren’t in action, but I believe more acceptance and a willingness to try to please the ones we love for who they are and not who we want them to be helps sustain a relationship.

What advice would I give to the younger generations? Don’t push commitment without reason, a dying desire, or a meaningful purpose to marry. Otherwise, you are feeding the government more money off a concept they sell as “love.” Love yourself, love your partner, but most of all, love your life. Love your day-to-day routines. Be thankful for the life you’re living because it is beautiful! Everything else will come together. Not only will it come together, but you will notice things becoming abundant. Love, space, time, we control all of this subconsciously. It’s up to you how you use it. 

Most of all, don’t feel trapped. We are not trapped in the lives we live. We weren’t back then (history), and we’re not now. It takes honesty with yourself, what you want in life, and if what you are doing is making you happy. If you find yourself unhappy, then there is no reason to keep doing the same things every day, which calls for change. I don’t despise my parents’ divorce- it was time for a change. And who knows, my marriage is still young. Yet, if you enjoy your partner, if you don’t want to change them, if you appreciate them for who they are and how they compliment you in achieving your goals in life- then put a ring on it. There’s no documentation necessary for that. 

101 Best Friends

As a thirty-two-year-old, I reflect on my eight-year friendship with my best friend. 

The Value of having a Best Friend

The best part of having a best friend is that you’re never alone. With a best friend, no matter rain or shine, you always have someone to call on, who will always answer to help you or tell you everything will be alright. 

Attributes of a Best Friend

1. Cracks jokes in awkward situations.

Sometimes I say something out of line, embarrass myself, or I’m just in an anxiety-ridden situation, and my best friend always makes me laugh (sometimes too loudly.) 

2. Makes you feel better when you messed up. 

My best friend will admit my faults, rub my back, tell me it’ll get better, put on my favorite movie, crack open a beer, and sit with me as I circle in negative thinking. He will eventually pull me out of it. 

3. Encourages you to do it, even when you think you can’t.

Before I do anything I’m passionate about, I consult my best friend. I tell him all the reasons I’m scared to do ‘this or that’, and he will tell me why everyone else who does ‘this or that’ sucks and how I could do it better if I put my mind to it.

4. Keeps your secrets to the grave. 

You learned this one in elementary school. 

5. Doesn’t talk badly about you to others. 

I have had good friends that talk shit, but my best friend always has my back.

6. Spends time with you and your family even when you don’t want to. 

Spending time with family can be challenging but having your best friend with you makes it a boatload easier, especially when they seem to be having fun.

7. Picks you up when you’re stuck.

My best friend has picked me up all over California. I am so lucky to have someone who will drive fourteen hours to get me, to go to a party in the direction he came from.

8. Exaggerates all the bad qualities of an ex when you break up. 

After I met my best friend, ex-lovers never had a chance to bring me down for long. He knows how to make them sound real lame and for the future without them to seem real bright. 

9. Cooks you meals when you’re drunk. 

I’m not the best cook, especially when I’m drunk (you can say burnt toast again.) My best friend taught me to enjoy the finer foods in life. I think he’s everyone’s best friend when he’s cooking. 🙂

10. Corrects you when you are wrong. 

My best friend tells me when something isn’t right. He will give me a look like I’m crazy and say “no” sternly like a parent to a child.

11. Never says no to an adventure. 

On a whim, my best friend has taken me to really cool places, like the middle of the desert, just to watch the stars. 

12. Helps with your projects. 

No matter how much of an asshole I can be, my best friend always engages in all my projects, promotes me, and encourages me. He will pick me up when I fail and push me to do better. 

My favorite part about having a best friend is:

Having Inside Jokes

Ex. My best friend smells really good, but my ex smells baddd. 

Maintaining your Best Friend

  1. Best friends love food and drinks. If they are not drinking, they love when you don’t drink too! Best friends love when you tip well. 
  2. Best friends love when you express yourself in your style. Your best friend wants to wear their most outrageous stylish clothes too but only if you do!
  3. Best friends don’t care when you fart, but you must clean up after yourself, like your hair in the shower or your mess near the sink. Being stinky is one thing, but to maintain a best friend, you must keep their area clean.
  4. Best friends love best friend things. Best friend bracelets, hats, shoes, tattoos. Best friends love having symbols of your friendship.
  5. Best friends want you to understand their family. Even if they don’t like talking about their families, being part of their family is part of being a best friend. 
  6. Best friends love cuddles. Best friends are not normal friends, and they’re not your boyfriend or girlfriend, but they still love cuddles, and no one should get in the way of best friend cuddles. 
  7. Best friends love honesty. If the person they are dating is no good, the outfit is no good, their direction in life is no good, it is the best friend’s job to tell their friend this. Even if the friend is very mad now, in the long run, it is the right thing to do. 
  8. Best friends exercise together because we want to stay in good health. 
  9. Best friends are not mean to their friends’ other friends because they know they can’t be the only friend. 
  10. Best friends like vulnerability. If you can’t be honest with your best friend, are you even honest with yourself? 

Conclusion:

You don’t need a best friend to be happy. Sometimes you are just in between things in life or haven’t connected with anyone since High School. Hey, life is life. But, when you find a best friend, fight for your best friend, treasure your best friend, and don’t let them forget how much you care about them. Life can suck, but a best friend makes all the hard stuff that much better.

Malakai Turned One!

Malakai

Last year on August 10, 2021, my husband, Jeremy, delivered Malakai, at our home in the seaside town of Eureka, California. I am very grateful for the beautiful experience and the baby it brought me. Malakai is developing quickly for his age and is rather a large (2-3T/tall) boy. He is kind and plays well with others. Malakai’s birth has also been a transformational experience for me; I have found myself much more organized and future-focused. I have taken up business classes and organizational skills I didn’t have before. I had a summer off from substitute teaching and played in the sun with my children going from one campsite to the next, one town to the next. 

It was a beautiful mothers day in May when my son started repeating his first word, “Dada.” The ramblings of “Da Da Da Da” went on for months until Halyaya (his sister) and I couldn’t help but reply, “I am not dada!” Toward the end of the summer, my son started saying, “Mama.” I might close the door behind me, and he will stand with his arms outstretched, screaming, “Ma ma! Ma ma!” Or he will be in a sour mood and ask to be held with his hands opening and closing and a crying plea “Mama, Mama,” snuggling his head into my chest and rubbing his nose against my blouse. This little victory was exciting for me, just as much as his little first step, which led him to run through the house with other children or play outside in the backyard. 

Malakai started eating food which felt like it took forever as my friend’s babies were being fed bananas, strawberries, and avocados, but Malakai refused it all. He eats meals with us, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. He loves snacks. Like Halaya, he prefers warm foods over cold foods. On my birthday, two days after his, Malakai fell into the fireplace and got a cut on his eye that bled profusely. We rushed him to the ER, and by the time we got there, he didn’t seem fazed by it. He is one tough cookie. 

I love the community I have met, the friends and acquaintances my son draws in at festivals or parks. Even at the grocery store, I can have a sour attitude, and a lady will approach me and comment on the kindness in my son’s eyes or how much they love his smile. At his daycare, where I picked up a shift or two over the summer, I watched as his cheerfulness and playfulness spread amongst the teachers and infants. It will be hard for me to return to work and place my one-year-old in daycare in a week when summer comes close. Halaya, Malakai, and I have had two months of intensive bonding.  

Even though we are no longer breastfeeding, Malakai still cosleeps with us. My husband and I want him to sleep in the cradle, but it is hard for me mostly to separate from him. He no longer sleeps next to us but more like against us, on top of us; sometimes, we find him at our feet. He will whimper or cry in the night, and one of us will get him a bottle. I love to soothe his cries. I expect that the cosleeping will be coming to an end shortly. 

Now that Malakai is one, and I look back, I had thought the first year would be more challenging. I was surprised to have gained somewhat of life back, to continue to have a healthy relationship with my husband, and still have time to spend quality time with my daughter. Even though I have to commit more time to raising my child, I have learned to cut out certain times of the day to get things done, like writing my blog. Things that are harder than I assumed would be going out in public or leaving my children with someone else to watch. If I were to do it again, I would have breastfed longer, introduced solids sooner, stuck to using cloth diapers more often, and maybe would have been less eager to go out in the town. But in all, it’s just been great, and I couldn’t be happier with the little family we have created. 

Abundant Self-Love Spell

Practicing paganism.

Photo by Yan Krukov

Burn four candles in each direction.

In meditation, say to yourself,

What makes you feel most alive?

I want to ask you a few questions, and while doing so, I will give you my answers as an example.

First, sit and take a deep breath.

Now…

What makes you happy?

            (ex. I am happy being with my tribe

            when I am showing love,

            and when I am being productive.)

Now…

What really makes you happy?

            (ex. I am really happy when I am surrounded in nature. When I am in ceremony. When people around me are getting along. Also, being in trance.)

What change would you like to see in the world?

            (ex. I would like to see people live with less anxiety.)

            Take a deep breath, hold, hold, and breath out. Repeat those three times.

What do you want?

            (ex. I want to be separated from the stress and needs of society. I want to be with my loved ones living self sustainably.)

What does your deeper self-desire?

            (ex. I desire to draw inspiration from my loved ones, creating deep, passionate art while living in “flow.”)

            (ex2. My deeper self-desire to apply my education to feed, cloth, and provide for my tribe while spending as much time with them meanwhile being heard and appreciated.)

What puts you in a trance like state?

            (ex. Reading puts me in a trance like state. Dancing, music, sex, and movement put me in a trance like state. Massage and touch can get me in a trance like state. Art, poi, yoga and sitting in meditation help me fall into a trance like state. Being in the middle of the desert under the stars, a fire these things contribute to a trance like state.)

            What are you afraid of?

            (ex. I’m afraid of how my words and actions hurt myself and others. I’m afraid of failing. I’m afraid I’m not good enough.)

            What are you chasing but not achieving?

            (ex. I am chasing higher education, luxuries, and travel.)

            Who are you?

            (ex. I am a woman, living in America with a loving tribe. I love nature, animals and kids. I am a writer and an artist)

            Where do you want?

            (ex. I aspire to be a published artist and to work for animation. I want to spend my life traveling and living self-sustainably. To have an abundance of knowledge.)

            How are you going to get there?

            (I’m budgeting my money. I’m giving 100% at work and I work whenever I can. I have a savings. I am practicing my art. I am committing to a higher education, when I can afford it. )

            Now sit in meditation and allow yourself to transcend into your future self. Letting your passion and the motions fall into your skin and settle within you. You have the ability to become the person you desire to be. You do not give up. You see the adventure within.

Thank you for reading my Waxing Gibbous moon meditation. Coming soon, I will be interviewing Adam Schluter CEO of Hello, From a Stranger. A man full of the stories of strangers spreading positivity, acceptance and truth.

LGBTQ in Children’s Animation

Living in a liberal state, I am surprised to hear the uproar in the mom’s’ community on LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) in Disney, Pixar, and children’s animation in general. Children’s’ cartoons have always had heterosexual lead roles. As society becomes more accepting of people in our community, diversity is inching onto the big screen. Yet, some parents insist that homosexuality is being pushed onto their children. For years the princess will one day meet her prince was the “only way” that a child’s movie would play out. I want to ask, “How long are we going to keep homosexuality in the closet?”

In 2013, the hit movie “Frozen” came out, a coming-of-age animation about two princesses, Elsa and Anna, one of whom is overcome with the powers of winter. Frozen was the first Disney movie to portray witchcraft in a positive light, a significant progression compared to Disney’s bias towards Christianity. The hit song “Let it Go” was said to have been an innuendo for coming “out of the closet” and a piece on self-acceptance. Even though I did not find any correlation with to homosexuality in this film, this song started the buzz. When will Disney include everyone in their movies, not just heterosexuals? 

In 2020, the Pixar animation “Onward” was released with a butch lesbian supporting character as the father figure. By no means was this character a leading role. Now with the cat out of the bag, we’re not all made to fit into generic categories. I witnessed mother’s’ taking offense to this character like she was invading their children’s perspective on how they might feel about themselves. If this is the root cause, then these parents also need to reflect on how they view their children, and whether they would love them if they are different. Perhaps that is what Disney has tried to teach people through diversity in their movies: to love everyone and not just those that fit into your category. 

“When The Proud Family premiered on Disney Channel in 2001, it was not only the first original animated show on the channel but one of the few all-ages animation programs on television at the time centered around a Black family.”

(-Radulovic, polygon.com)

Bringing backThe Proud Family” was nostalgic to all 90’s babies. What kind yet strong-headed lead would we want on television for our kids, other than 14-year-old Penny ProudDisney brought it back asLouder and Prouder,” and accompanying the Proud family, in a supporting role is a gay couple with non-binary siblings. They brought in voice actors that also identify as their characters—bringing work and awareness to the community. I am an open space, but it pains me to hear other mothers take offense to this rising trend and the feeling that we can’t be honest with our children about treating people as equals. Let your children follow their hearts instead of making them feel like they have to hide. 

So on that note, is it just a rising trend? This is a rebuttal I heard the other day. “I would be okay with it [homosexuality in animation] if they [animation studios] weren’t doing it to make money from a fad.” 

Well, I hate to break it to you, but as a bisexual female, I have been waiting my whole life for homosexuality to be in children’s animation. I honestly found heterosexuality kind of gross growing up. Seeing the go-to man marry a woman scenario over and over; got me sick. There are so many things we should be protecting our children from,: war, violence, hatred, negativity, but love? If we shield our children from love, what kind of hope are we giving them for the future?

Lastly, Disney released a short film called “Out,” about a man having difficulty telling his parents he’s in a relationship with another man. He switches lives with his dog and they play cat-and-mouse, almost exposing his live-in boyfriend to his folks. My husband didn’t like the movie when he saw it. The situation was all too familiar to him. We’ve all heard of the struggle LGBTQ people may have coming out to their parents. He wasn’t seeing what I was seeing. This was the first step. There it’s “out,” it’s been spoken. For a story to be told, it has to build from the beginning. Otherwise, the audience may not understand the world’s laws, but here it was. I would expect Disney to prep their audience to understand the struggle of queerness through this simple short, so that more complex characters can come into play in the future. Instead of immediately judging the characters, the audience may show compassion. We all live on this earth together. 

Radulovic, P. Feb 17, 2022. Polygon.com, The Proud Family creators: ‘There’s not just one view of Blackness or a Black family.’ https://www.polygon.com/disney-plus/22939385/proud-family-louder-and-prouder-creator-interview

Camping with Young Ones

Last month I went on three camping trips with the kids, to the Summer Music and Arts Festival, Grizzly Creek campsite, and with my partner to Ruth Lake. We had a great time and no one got sunburned! Here are a few quick tips on how I made it camping for a month with my kiddos!

The Sumer Music and Arts Festival was the hardest of the trips. We were vending and had a fairly large pop-up behind our booth but it’s not easy keeping a ten-month old in the shade. He enjoyed walking around and listening to music. I brought ear muffs for the kiddos so they could enjoy the stage and a wagon to pull the baby in. We were placed next to a yoga dome that was never built so there was less traffic our way. My daughter got poison oak in her eye on Sunday and we had to rush to the ER and they dosed her with steroids. I’d say we reacted properly and got her help as soon as it was obvious the swelling wasn’t going to go down with over-the-counter drugs. I came back to pack up without the kids. We brought lots of water to this event and had friends camping with us to help along the way.

Grizzly Creek Campsite we were able to cook on the fire. Check-in took a little while but the kids played with the freshwater spickets. Friends came and went and our dog Zed protected the campsite. Halaya set up her first tent which was a huge accomplishment. I took the kids swimming and Malakai had a blast in the water. He wasn’t a fan of his LifeVest but we had a lot of fun in the shallow area. I didn’t bring enough formula and the surrounding stores didn’t have any but I was able to contact a friend to bring it before it was too late! Camping with the kids isn’t nearly as hard as it might seem. The baby wakes up twice a night and I have extra bottles made. I made the bottles with hot water but I might have made a bottle or two during the day without making a fire and heating it. We brought baby sunscreen and a little sun hat. Halaya read to me at night and wrote a haiku in her journal. On Sunday we went hiking and explored the forest and river. I used my Ergobaby backpack to comfortably hike with the baby. It was a path off the road that doesn’t look like it gets a lot of foot traffic and leads to a beautiful clover field.

My husband got jealous of all our camping and wanted to come with us on an excursion. He loves to fish, so we went to Ruth Lake. Ruth Lake is beautiful. You can see the trees on the hilltop are burned from recent fires and have a white tint. The valley had come back, with lots of greenery and life. We wanted to camp at Boy Scout Camp but so did everyone else because it was full. I would recommend getting a reservation for that one, word says it has great fishing. Instead, we settled for the first campsite Fir Cove Campsite. The sites were more spread out than the other sites, there was easy access to the water and hiking trails. We brought both the dogs on this one and they did great! Halaya and I walked the trail closest to the water and it lead to the next campsite. We swam in the water which was mushy and full of tall grass. I swam pretty far out and the weeds continued to tickle my body. We cooked hot dogs and let the dogs swim after the beach was clear of other guests. We drove around looking for the perfect fishing spot but couldn’t find it. I recommend reserving a boat, fish are released into the lake seasonally.

Overall camping with the kids is magical. In the forest, no work and time spent together. I loved every moment I got with my children, friends, dogs, and husband. I appreciate everyone that was a part of my camping excursion. The biggest tip is not to forget sunscreen, lots of water, and formula. Don’t be scared to sleep in the tent with the kids and spend time under the stars.

Till next time!

Renascence Music Festival Laytonville 2022

(Image by Lyjia)

Renascence means the revival of something that has been dormant.

A transformational festival is a music and art event that wakes the unconscious, resonates the soul and unleashes the skills trapped within.

June 10-12 (Laytonville, CA)- Renascence has been a music festival that has been thriving to come to existence through the creative minds of artist that have been attending transformational festivals since 2016. Aspired to have been in production since pre-covid, taking a major hit when the gathering was indefinitely postponed in 2020. The name Renascence resonates with attendee’s as they have been forced in their homes and away from community gatherings for the past two years due to COVID. The festival brought what we’ve been waiting for, a healing and rejuvenating experience. It was a beautiful relief and intimate reunion as we came into flow with the Renascence crew.

Volunteers began streaming in on Thursday, although the build crew had arrived the week prior. Gates opened to the public on Friday and people weeded through the quaint hippie town of Laytonville and on to the outskirts to the event.

Renascence was held at Mendocino Magic, an exclusive 600-acre campsite at the Holland Reservoir, which provides clean water to neighboring farms. With plenty of room to camp, attendees dropped off their gear and had the option to park in general parking or car camp. Glamping was also available! Cheerful camp host-squad was present and proud to share their “burning man” inspired foundation where they host other events such as stargazing, campouts, and paintball.

Three stages were conveniently placed within comfortable walking distances from camping areas. The Basin stage was hidden at the furthest North corner near RV camping, headlining DJs such as Angelic Roots, SUDS, Alien Kitty, and Bioship who threw down phat beats into the early morning, turning off its speakers at 8am. At Meadow Stage, across from artist camping and surrounded by vendors, live artist, and Couch Fam, hosted several more DJ’s including Beat Kitty, AN-TEN-NAE, Dev Step, and AHEE. The third stage, the Reservoir, hosted live music and EDM, situated along the waterfront under a comfortable shade structure, with amazing musicians such as Reverend Stefen Sams, Ancestree and LaPostive. With such incredible music comes fun, loving vibes.

Vendors, performing artists, and live artists filled this space with creative endeavors. Wire wraps and fine jewelry by Or Original’s, pipes and bongs by Leafy Green, and hand sewn jackets from Zuvuya by Representz Clothing. Headlining live artist, Joe Mallory (who painted at Renascence pre party), and guest artist Gabriel Welch. Alongside Elliot Bliss, Katie Rose and many more. Fire performers, aerial silk dancers, LED flow artists and exotic dancers left each stage a unique experience. Talk of the town was that the first Renascence was an artist party, we were left in awe flooded with talent all around.

Hiking trails, kayaks, clean swimming water and art sculptures made this more than a music festival but an exclusive experience. In between stages stood a tea teepee with psychedelic black light art and a patio where ayahuasca inspired music by Eostar and the WEB of ONE rang into the valley. Healing from the community coming together must have imprinted the land, by the time Sunday rolled around so did the heavy rains, which is always needed and appreciated in Mendocino County.

Co- founder and producer Tori Love made a statement on June 20th reflecting on the festival,

“We have been pouring our hearts and souls into creating something that is rooted deep within the magic that lies within all of us and nature divine. Curating an experience that juxtaposes wholesome and hyphy, creating a container for rejuvenation, love, inspiration, silliness and play, reflection and clarity, unification, and diversity…

We intended Renascence to be a releasing of old stigmas and selves whilst taking empowering steps together towards a brighter, more loving self and world…

These powerful intentions and this pure hearted magic that has been weaved into the birth of Renascence was overwhelmingly present at this year’s first Renascence Festival just a couple weekends ago,

We look forward to continuing to curate and bring forth an even more beautiful experience for all for many years to come!

This is just the beginning of a new era of gatherings based in love, community appreciation, integrity, diversity and inspiration!”

Tori Love

Volunteer lead and co-producer Jordan @santacruzceramics also states after processing the event, “My experience was humbling and gratifying. Being able to provide the experience of Renascence for our community was the single biggest undertaking of mind, body and spirit I have ever done. Working with Tori to bring our dreams into reality was a blessing along every step of the way and we’re so excited to do it again next year!”

Party-goer and old-school DJ, Lyjia (Tom Core) states, “Beautiful grounds and staff were welcoming. Had no idea what to expect and was pleasantly surprised. I had heard a joke that people party to bass music in the forests and didn’t realize it was true!”

I highly recommend checking the Renascence Festival IG (@renascencefestival) to view all the talent that attended, and I hope to see you there next year!

Kinetic Sculpture Races

“For the Glory!” The crowd cheered at the finish line of the Kinetic Sculpture Race in Ferndale, CA on May 30 2021. Fifty three participants created a Kinetic Sculpture and raced from Arcata to Ferndale within three days, over hills and through water. There are no set rules on  building a kinetic sculpture race car besides that there shall be no motor! Sculptures may have any number of wheels or pilots, they can not be bigger than 8’x14’, all steering wheels are welcomed, must be able to move through land and sea, and most importantly your chassis (a.k.a frame). Kinetic race sculptures should also acquire chains, wheels, welding, axles, bearings, sprockets, gears, brakes and a whole lot more you can find here! Growing in interest, you can find people from all over coming to Humboldt county to participate in the national, grand championship Kinetic Sculpture Races!

Hobart Brown, founder of The Kinetic Sculpture Race in 1969 began building his art in local Ferndale studio, Mind’s Eye. He started the Sculpture Race with his own contractions and kids down Ferndale’s main plaza. This home of magical inventions and contraptions did not cease with Hobart but continued on as Marc and Lieah Daniels, current owners  of Mind’s Eye, offer studio space to local crafters and artist while maintaining a hub for Marc’s True North Boats, as stated on his website, “We create one-of-a-kind custom kayaks, teach skin boat building workshops, and are committed to helping traditional skin boat building thrive in the Native communities where it was originally invented and developed.” Over coffee we chatted about the beauties of Alaska and I got a sneak peak on a newer project, a wide frame boat they will attempt to use a skin in replace of wood panels. Anyhoo… back to the races!

If the art cars don’t completely take you away then allow it to be the celebratory finish line where my family and I awaited for the cars to zoom to their final destination! The Kinetic Sculpture band was a hoot. The bandleader led with a spatula as the announcers on a truck bed hollered, “If you like the band buy them a beer, if you don’t like the band buy them two. They play better when they’re drunk!” Colorful misfits and sparkle ponies, fairy godmothers, and “Kops” with bubble guns stormed the street. Performers playing with hula hoops, unicycles and poi. The historical buildings have a magical lust for such a festival. 

Kids and adults of all ages danced to the music and as the cars came in one by one the audience collected memorabilia from the Kinetic Sculpture’s squads, ranging from balls, stickers, to the “Bear Minimum” (a piece of paper stating just that!) Everyone was in great spirits and people from all over opened their hearts to this incredibly artistic event after such a long silence of COVID.

The sculptures and riders don’t have it easy and I would assume their following posse do not either. Starting in Arcata at noon all racers take off as onlookers cheer for their favorite stylized and sustainable art car. They finish day one at Halvorsen Park in Eureka. Day two starts off at Wharfinger Boat Ramp. Art cars must test their skill through the waters and finish at Samoa Bridge. On Memorial Day the racers started at Crab Park through the Eel River bridge, to the valley and ending on historic Main Street. Through the finish line came glory steelers and then our actual winners, in first place was Lemonheads, second was Live Wrong, and third place with Wing Nuts. Speed is not the only ranking place that the judges look for but also the Grand Champion, Best Art, Best Engineering, Best Pageantry and many more (that have yet to be posted!) You can find those results here! Our favorites being the three humped camel and plan bee! Thank you kinetic sculpture championship for such a family friendly and exciting event.

Renascence Festival Pre-Party

[Contains Adult Content] 

May 21, 2022- Arcata Theater Lounge hosts the Renascence Festival pre-party/ Mad Hatter Tea Party. With room to breathe, festy goers mingled and got down to dirty bass music. Headliner Ahee, known for his dubstep and 90’s smash mixes, drew in an eccentric crowd of all ages. Jewelry, merchandise, and crystal vendors lined the walls: local artist Joe Mallory painted acrylic on canvas with abstract surrealism concepts that opened the viewer’s third eye. Fire dancers and performers set the stage for theater doll Tori Love as Alice, who took away the show. Despite the teenyboppers, this was an adult party, and we can expect the Laytonville music festival to live up to this raunchy dance hall. 

Arcata Theater Lounge

Arcata Theater Lounge was opened in 1938, showing six films at a given time. Since then, the theater has expanded its offerings to include concerts and other events but still cherishes its vintage form. Drinks are affordable. Three levels from the stage allow for a pit, a dance floor with high chair seating, and a top-level for vending and coat check. The theater’s sound is crisp, without reverb despite the heavy bass. A comfy bean bag in the VIP lounge for the festy snoots. 

Ahee!

I was honored to speak with Chris Adams, a.k.a. Ahee, who has performed at music festivals like Infrasound, Excision, and Lucidity. His particular style could be categorized as “Alien Music.” While he makes the booties on the dance floor drop, he explores mixing his tunes with songs such as Eiffel 65’s Blue (Da Ba Dee) and All-Star by Smash Mouth. Besides his dirty bass and dubstep tunes. You can also find psytrance tracks and collaborations on Soundcloud. This DJ stands out for his relationship with his audience, feeling the crowd and recognizing them in his Facebook posts, never missing a group photo. Ahee creates tutorials on youtube so that you, too, can become a dubstep DJ with wubby bass. A lot of respect goes out to Ahee for being personal. When I asked him where he was from, it wasn’t a surprise that he answered, “I’m from here [Arcata, CA.]” Aliens like this come from out of the redwoods. 

Live artist Joe Mallory is nothing close to ordinary, inspired by psychedelic art and surreal nature. When asked, “What is this all about?” He replies, “Psychedelics play a big part but, as of recently, so does past life regression.” He explains to me that we come to this earth to experience and how each lifetime, we learn something new through life and death. He continued to share his past lives with me as a ceramics artist and his death by scooter. When asked how I could tap into past life regression, he replied to find an excellent psychic or look further into past life regression with a combination of psychedelics. Joe paints redwood trees, snowy mountains, and ocean landscapes with “moai” statues, oceans, and sacred geometry patterns. You can find Joe Mallory vending on the streets of Arts Alive in Eureka frequently. 

What would a Mad Hatter Tea Party be without Alice? And what better Alice than burlesque dancer Tori Love. Along with juggler Wiley, poi performer FigBungus and a fire spinning duet couple, these performers took the stage! Tori’s specialty twerk made this a randy R-rated performance! We can thank these performers for bringing the audience onto the stage for a costume contest. The winner, Mr.Komboujia, aroused the audience with his goldilocks wig and renaissance dress sporting and supporting Humboldt’s LGBTQ community. Also in the crowd were Little Lost Forest top hats that will be set up at a DIY station at the Mateel’s Summer Arts and Music festival. 

Are you dying to see more of the Renascence’s Crew? The festival will be held in Laytonville on June 10-12. Initially postponed due to COVID, Renascence’s team has been working hard to bring you a spiritually enlightening experience. We can expect to dance under the stars along with, aerial arts, amazing DJs, and vendors at this exquisite northern California event. Headliners include but are not limited to An-ten-nae, Mimosa, Atyya, Suds, and Beat Kitty.

600+ acres, fifteen minutes from downtown Laytonville. They encourage carpooling for parking is limited. Camping and glamping on site. They are still accepting vendor and volunteer applications. 

See you there!

Student Show; Humboldt High School and Humboldt State Artist Exhibit

Saturday, May 7th 2022 RAA (Redwood Art Association, 603 F Street,)– showcased Humboldt County High School students from Arcata, Fortuna, and Eureka alongside Humboldt State University. It was a beautiful mix of emotion, progression, and styles brought on by these inspirational artists. I found my heart over stimulated with a variety of art techniques, media, and themes. High school students expressed in-depth, mature, and well analyzed concepts along with impactful self theory, imagination, and creativity.

(Redwoods Art Association, Eureka)

(All pronouns unless otherwise given remain they/their)

Naia Ponzo won first place out of the high school showcase for their drawing Through the Woods. They were complemented on its use of texture and detail using pen on paper. A scene of a porcupine captures the depth of a small woodland area and the complexity of nature and life. 

(Naia Ponzos, Fortuna)

This exhibit was a great reminder for any adult to not give up on their creative drive. Artistic spark can be drowned out by the need to survive. While stories are told through creative endeavors.

(Natalie Rodriquez, Fortuna)

Natalie Rodriquez, Lily of the Valley, a fantasy painting of a woman holding a harp in the forest accompanied by woodland creatures. Reflects life in the redwoods and finding wellness in isolation.

(Louis Marak, Arcata)

Louis Marak’s Night Skull linoleum print won third place. A creature with a hut attached to its body with smoke lifting from the chimney. The artist left room for the interpreter’s mind to -=their own story. 

(Nico Headlee, Eureka)

Honorable mention of Nico Headlee and the unique medium, tempera, Untitled impressionist painting of a castle. The depth and dull colors makes you feel like you could step into this world. A sense of playfulness and realism. 

The styles of these student’s show through their work. Specific choices to use mediums, canvases, and themes that will surely reoccur in their future projects as well as reflect their passions and mindset of their youth. As an observer I am reminded of how talented humans are and how heavy the critique ego can be on the heart.

(Natalie Rodriquez, Fortuna)

Natalie Rodriquez, drawing Forget Me Not, a well executed cartoon like depiction of lesbians embracing. The shading is well placed and defined. Framed and characterized with flowers. 

(Chloe Asness, Arcata)

Forgive my picture taking. Chloe Asness Untitled, surrealism ink drawing. A woman’s mind blown out with searching eyeballs, perhaps symbolizing the fear of how one is interpreted by others. 

(Mariza Guimares, Fortuna)

This magnificent painting by Mariza Guimares called Deep End, a woman underwater in a yellow dress. The soft colors and reflection in the water, another well executed impressionist piece. 

(Cassidy Thorpe, Arcata)

This picture got a lot of shine but Cassidy Thorpe, Untitled, oil painting of vases and flowers similar to the Old Master Rachel Ruysch’s style with a dark background and an exquisite floral arrangement. The painting almost looks wet in the smooth strokes where the petals hit the water. 

(Tasuki Kato, McKinleyville)

Tasuki Kato, Untitled, graphite portrait. A young woman, hair and facial depth well defined. So life like you could pick this character out at a grocery store. Something in the eyes, playfully bringing on the future. 

(Alden Mauro, Arcata)

Alden Mauro won first prize, Untitled, a two piece floral oil painting. Experimenting with a variety of flowers and fitting detail and color into the vase while keeping a sense of space around it. The fallen petals can be interpreted as a reminder of a temporary form. 

(Mirian Wheeler, McKinleyville)

Walking into the RAA you would have been greeted with ceramic art. Here is Mirian Wheeler’s ceramic jar Feeling Peachy. I really enjoy the surreal gore aspect here. The metaphoric use of a peach may speak to you as the sweetness of a child’s life is full of chaos. 

(Samuel Hood, Arcata)

Samuel Hood’s Untitled colored pencil portrait of a flower woman in the nude. Being one with nature and producing the flower.

It is easy to relate high school with innocence. A lot of first times, fewer responsibilities, and less worldly knowledge, we can easily forget that our experiences are built from a core experience. Many of which start in high school. Themes of money aren’t very common here but I think many of us can still relate to the depictions in these pictures and our very own first experiences and how they shaped us to be who we are today. 

(Keigen Shaykett, Arcata)

“This is living.”

(-SHAWNA CHANCE)

Keigen Shaaykett’s Hot Wax Rider, a graphite drawing, has a clear similarity to 50’s cartoons while expressing a fast drug life and party scene. A candle burning on top of his head, as if the birthdays are coming so fast, he might as well keep the candle lit. A broken hula hoop framing a character on a bicycle’s face. A bottle in this mouth, holding a pill bottle spilling drug content. His other hand is in an almost yogi zen position, waving high. Accompanied by five other hands, a mix of pop art and surrealism. 

(Keioni Young, Arcata)

Keioni Young, Untitled, a beautiful Graphite drawing of a young man going somewhere. Bag in hand, smile on his face, dressed in comfort, this picture captures a moment, a feeling of freedom and adventure. 

(Paycie Holland, Arcata)

Paycie Holland, Gliophorus Psittacinus, modern art, digital painting of a green mushroom woman dancing. Themes of body acceptance, and therapeutic mushrooms are expressed here against bold contrasting colors of orange and green. Bringing up a controversial topic of allowing medicinal mushrooms to be widely accepted and the healing that can occur when we accept all body shapes and live in self love. 

(Abigail Garcia, McKinleyville)

Abigail Garcia, Untitled, watercolor uses blends of colors to draw emotions out of the young woman’s face. A fun, playful, coming of age image.

The following images are from Cal Poly Humboldt students.

(Valie Ward, Arcata)

Valie Ward’s outstanding image, Bliss, an acrylic painting on canvas with crystals. This image captures feeling and sound. It provokes an emotion of soothing comfort like when you give yourself a hug.

(Karina Juarez, Arcata)

Karina Juarez honorable mention, Nido De Abejas (Honeycomb,) ceramic tea set. Life sized bees and a beautifully presented soft curved honeycomb.

(Jolie Chaidez and Catalina Carlton, Arcata)

Jolie Chaidez ceramic vase, I’m your Venus (Left) blue and purple colors, rounded edges flowing gracefully, this piece looks like the liquids not meant to be trapped inside but can easily pour out. Catalina Carlton, Untitled, a sinful creature with tattoos, smoking a cigarette, the devil in all of us. Fun and excitable.

(Jacqueline Vasquez, McKinleyville)

Best in Show went to Jacqueline Vasquez, ceramic piece, Slab City. A tower, similar to a magician’s top hat, indented with many lines, waves at the brim, folded into its sides and open at the crown. This image represents a city built up by nomads towering for sustainability, and fighting for security. This piece has so much to say and represents it in texture.