Eclectic. Eccentric.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Occupy LA Eviction Tonight

A photo I took at Occupy LA.

November 28, 2011, LAPD stand off with LA Occupiers.

Right now, there are a reported 900 cops at Dodger Stadium prepping a booking station. Numbers project around 1,000 people at Solidarity Park right now

Thursday, November 24, 2011

North Hollywood Orthodox Jews

I went on an excursion to see what the North Hollywood Orthodox Jewish community was all about. As someone who doesn't have much religious frame-of-reference, it was a good experience. Here's a mini-cross-section of some of the personalities I met along my journey. 

Cambridge Farms, a kosher market serving the local community.

Shimon, Cambridge Farms' masgiach. He identifies as an Orthodox Jew and has lived in LA for 12 years since his immigration from Israel. 

Maurice Moshe Gabay, owner of local bookstore, House of David. Moshe comes from a long line of Jewish educators. An immigrant from Morocco, Moshe is proud of his family's role in proliferating Jewish life in LA. Two of his brothers are rabbis at local synagogues, one of which boasts 400 children enrolled in its day school. When asked how he managed to keep his family Jewish over the generations, he emphasized the importance of Jewish education through adulthood. His children all attended boarding schools with seminary programs. He attends temple three times a day to pray and one of his daughters also is a teacher at his family's synagogue.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Corset Connection

Some shots from the shoot this weekend for Corset Connection



Stop by the shop here

Finding Myself

Letting go.


That familiar warmth stirring.

Solar plexus vibrating.

Opening up again.

Reaching out, letting go of fear, of expectation.

Valuing every moment and being here right now.

Every second a microcosm of wisdom waiting to be tapped.

Learning from every blink, every word, every thought.


Hair standing on end.

A spiritual dowsing rod.

Here I am.

Back again. 

No matter, I will always be here, right now.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Things Fall Apart

She lay in bed, sinking into her memory foam thumbprint. Imprint. While her eyes grew heavy and she sedately drifted away, she violently jolted back to conscious reality. The phone rang- vibrating, shaking molars in their sockets. Her head spun, hazy, as she failed to recall her place here.

“Hello?” she asked shakily.

The voice answered, “You sitting down Catherine? It’s your father. He's... he's...”

She felt her knees buckle as she slumped onto the closest piece of furniture.

“Go on.”

The voice narrated a story; a story that as surreal as it sounded, she shook the news off like an inconvenient swarm of horseflies. As much as they flitted around, tearing her skin, sowing seeds of parasitic doubt, she was numb. Nothing. It felt like a fishbowl was on her head, warping her vision like a mirror in s twisted, sick fun-house.

His wife, a woman who was nearly Cathy’s age left for a trip, and upon her return came to realize she was done. Fed up with his dysfunction. He’s a drunk. Always a drunk. Completely dependant on others. He’s blind in one eye and his anxiety robbed him of his sanity and autonomy. He can’t leave the house without falling victim to a crippling attack. Walls closing in, everything going black, chest crushing his lungs. All he does now after losing his mind his intellect is blather on about conspiracy theories and cryptozoology. A far crty from the brilliant, self-taught civil engineer he once was.

His new “project” is making cardboard box “condos” for the homeless. Founding a defacto Hooverville in their backyard.

She’d had enough.

Oh, the tangled webs we weave.

She rang him from the seedy train station.

“Don’t be afraid, Jaime. I’ve fallen. Three times- there’s blood everywhere,” he slurred.

Scared shitless, she called the local police. It’s a sleepy town in the middle of nowhere. They know Roger. Oh, how the know him. This sad man.

They escort her onto the property. Caked in his own filth, teeth rotting out of his skull, matted and mangy. Vodka bottles and pills scatter the floor like confetti while a rat scuttles by- an innocent bystander.

He screamed. He begged. Sloppy, inebriated droll dripped down his face, glistening in the moonlight. He can’t do this again. Not again.

“Hello? You there? Hello?” the voice spoke.

“What? Oh, yea, sorry,” Catherine answered, coming to.

“I love you, Cathy. It’s not your fault. Please don’t blame yourself. We know he’s been gone for years. You haven’t even seen him yourself for what, almost eight?” the voice said.

“Yea, sure. Listen, I gotta go.” She hung up the phone.

Listening to the sound of her breath, her chest rising and falling. Ribs framed her helpless vulnerability. She looked like a house of cards. Her frailty tempted savory miscreants. Like ringing the dinner bell for proverbial jackals to come and indulge in a carnal buffet.

Her heart beat. Consistent. These things were unchanging, for now.

Using what little strength she had left, she lifted herself begrudgingly off the couch; collected her disheveled self and thought… Well, nothing. She thought nothing.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Goddess Bunny

Fiercely rolling down an Inglewood sidewalk in an electric wheel chair, she sports a tight, silver spandex dress and holds her head held high, working a flamboyant, black fall perched atop her head like a teased glamorous crown. Sandie Crisp AKA “Goddess Bunny” is a transsexual drag queen living with polio. A unique individual who conquered the odds, Crisp has as much sass as she has stories.
“Rolling down the street, men are honking their horns. I still got it, I guess,” Crisp says.
She calls Centinela Skilled Nursing and Wellness Centre home. Crisp, 51, is an international underground star. A YouTube sensation, one of her videos has almost 3 million hits.  In it she’s decked out in frilly lace and holds a parasol, tap dancing away. Her frail body holding herself up precariously, one hopes there’s an invisible armature to support her.
A SAG and AFTRA member, she has a long history of working with famous artists. Such as her cameo in Marilyn Manson’s music video, “Dope Show.” She also modeled for one of Joel Peter Witkin’s most famous images. Crisp said she also appeared in the porn, “The Boys of Venice” in 1979.
Needless to say, the span of her experiences dances across a Technicolor spectrum of bizarre. The funny thing is, she comes across as a calm and collected individual despite her unique experiences. Past and present.
A knock at her bedroom door comes from time to time. A patient shuffles in. They ask for cigarettes or spare change.
Crisp’s friend, Dianne Vaughn drops by. She wears a huge green shirt, pendulous breasts hanging.  She isn’t wearing her teeth. She’s quiet and says that they’ve been friends since she moved in.
“She still has her mind, unlike most of the residents here. We’ve always gravitated toward each other,” Crisp says.
Crisp gripes the majority of the patients in the facility are senile or have mental problems, so it it’s difficult to make friends at the facility.
            Vaughn joined the home when her sister committed her. Apparently Vaughn tried strangling her to death. She was thrown in jail for 27 days and was charged with assault with a deadly weapon.
 Vaughn shifts on the mattress nervously, coils creaking.
“You’re here for a reason. You can barely take care of yourself,” Crisp told Vaughn.
A head pops in, clad in yellow scrubs. Cynthia Warren, a caretaker at the home starts rambling about Crisp.
“I work 16-hour days, eight days a week, I love my job. What else do you want to know?” Warren cackles.
Looking around, more questions come to mind. There’s a cosmetology certificate hung, a portrait of Jesus, a license to preach and a picture of her late mother.
Despite the religious symbols littering the room, Crisp says “this is it” and religion is used to control the masses.
One of her favorite past times is making “art” on her laptop. Using her delicate atrophied hands, she crafts pictures of male celebrities’ heads composited onto explicit images of male porn actors. She proudly shares one she recently made of Mario Lopez hodgepodged on a guy with a raging hard-on.
“He said it was close to the real thing,” she shares.
Apparently, Crisp and Lopez are friends, along with a myriad of other household names.
The lines of reality start to blur the more time that’s spent with Crisp.
Crisp has been living full-time as a woman since 1984. When asked if she had plans to go under the knife to go “all the way” she said no, as she is covered under Medicare and the procedure costs upwards to $55,000. She also expressed that it can be difficult to find a doctor who will do the surgery in the U.S. Considering that Crisp is living off of disability and social security checks, this simply isn’t a feasible option.
“Like Chaz Bono, I myself have a problem, the body’s the wrong thing,” Crisp said.
Her resilience was reflected in her stories about her past addictions to crystal meth and crack. Crisp was homeless on the streets of Hollywood for a time and had to resort to prostitution-- her boyfriend Tom Draws coerced her to hit the streets to support their habits after getting her hooked on meth.
Crisp said the deal-breaker was when she came home one day to find Draws in bed having sex with a 13-year-old girl. She said she called in the gay bikers that lived upstairs and “had a gang-bang on his ass.” This lady has been through the ringer.
For a time she was living in a garden shed in her boyfriend, Carlos Gilbert Sandoval’s driveway. She had an extension cord running from the house to her shed charging her wheelchair and had to use a port-o-potty. When the conditions became deplorable, she turned to PATH (Peoples Alliance to Help the Homeless) where she lived for nine months. From there she moved to the New Image Shelter in downtown LA.
“There are close to 85,000 homeless people living in LA,” she said.
During her time at PATH, Crisp was a member of the resident’s council and helped open a computer lab to help people living at the shelter find work.
She paints an eccentric picture filled with fantastical stories that push the envelope. The party’s just begun.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


Occupy LA- Juan, a lovely man who shares his ideas on how to conquer homelessness and his experience being a homeless individual.