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Dance or Die

a little dose of politics

Posted on 2010.02.02 at 20:51
As I sit in a Chicago airport I am reading an article about full body scanners introduced in the UK. After the “Christmas day” attacks last year, western industrial nations have been in a frenzy over the newest security fad. These scanners, recently introduced by Rapiscan Systems which is a representative of the Chertoff Group, a security consulting firm that is headed by none other than former Dept. of Homeland security Michael Certoff. Like any of us are surprised, nor should you be surprised to discover that this group as secured an 700 million dollar spot in Obama’s 2011 budget. This would increase the number of full body scanners in airports threefold, and at $150,000 a pop, guess who that cost is going to be passed on to, that’s right, you.
My friends over at jaunted.com have made the argument that these scanned imaged do not have the resolution to be considered an intrusion of privacy, regardless of the fact that these scanners capture a complete nude body profile. Don’t believe me check it out here: Invasion? You decide

In the UK children under the age of 18 were exempt, but now that restriction has also been removed. Supporters (read politicians and manufacturers) claim these images will be immediately deleted, and that the resolution is not high enough to claim an invasion of privacy. These arguments miss the point. While I am not confidant that these images will be immediately deleted, the point is mute, the real point is that as law abiding citizens we should not be subject to what amounts to a strip search every time we wish to fly, nor should our young children. This hysteria is unwarranted and unnecessary, and all in the name of the elusive “safety”.

Are we so careless with our privacy that we willing hand it over to multinational corporations without a second thought? The explosion of voyeuristic images on social networking sites like facebook and myspace seem to say yes. Do people not see that the companies that make these machines stand to make HUGE profits, the senators (who have their own jets, so they do not have to worry about full body scanners) that support them stand to get HUGE kick backs, and the media stands to keep pushing its fear agenda with the implementation of these security measures? Have we become so lazy that we merely take the path of least resistance, when did the land of the bold and free, the fighters of tyranny become a flock of mindless sheep? When travelers were asked to comment overall they seemed to have no problem with the new measures. One woman stated, “I don't see any problems with having my body scanned. Anything that makes flying safer is a good thing.” Anything? Really?

What is happening to our world, to our privacy, that we so readily give it away under the illusion of safety or momentary internet fame. Have we become so complacent in our comfortable society, so removed from the actual world to realize that danger is everywhere? What’s next? In ten years will we have to fly naked, in order to gain a mere 1/10000th of a percent of extra “safety”. In all the reports I have read, in all of the videos I have seen, not one person has actually described how this makes us safer. Safety is subjective, what is safe to me may not be safe to others, to make blanket statements about full body scanners being “safer”, is not only illogical, its irresponsible. Our elected officials and media have pumped our society so full of fear that people cannot make objective decisions.

I have reached a point that I am scared about the direction of our union. The youth are disillusioned and apathetic, our leaders have become corrupt, and the older generations have become selfish conservatives in order to save their precious cash. When will we wake up, people forget that the plunge into despotism does not happen overnight. Will we wake up and realize that we are no longer free? Will we be able to look in the mirror when we realize that the terrorists were ourselves bowing at the alter of bureaucracy and false security? To quote my good friend Benjamin Franklin “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” The action is in the streets people. Time to stop flying and start acting. We have grown too complacent, this is a call to arms. I’ll see you in the streets.

Dance or Die

This is a long time coming

Posted on 2010.01.23 at 17:25
I have neglected my writing due to contamination, I will try to be more attentive in the future...

A crisis of conscious

Today I cried because I realized I’ve been a fool
Distracted by the promises of broadband popularity
Distracted by straight boys clad only in jock straps and gym shorts
Distracted by the fleeting glances in coffee shops, and book stores and movie houses
No longer am I grounded to the obtainable I have been infected like so many of my peers with the insatiable craving for lusty embraces in the streetshade night
Oh lament the fortune tellers, the bank tellers, the William tellers who all point to the ever expanding gut of American pride
Where our folly has gotten us to and I along for the ride
Hypocrite
I have been a hypocrite hypnotized by my own self indulgence
The poster boy for American denial
Never moving forward yet claiming absolution,
Where has my dignity gone
Oh the electrified youth chastised by unreal reality illuminated in boxes and rectangles and hearts across the wasteland of doubt and longing
The wolves behind the towering sub prime walls feasting upon our young
As we give them over greedily accepting rewards in plastic utopias
And I am an accomplice
We are all accomplices, accessories in our own fashionable demise
By opting out I bought in
Unwilling to face the man in the mirror, denying his existence, paying lips service to my own enlightenment
We are strangers never reconciled and now on the eve of our marriage I cannot trust myself
I have been polluted, sinners, artists, lovers, we are caught in a web of self deception
And I am no better
I offer no answers, for my answers were false
I set out on foot, walking across rivers and streams, foot bridges and concrete, hot coals and barefoot babies lying naked in the park
Green grass grows only in the summer and we have been fooled by facsimiles and cheap cardboard copies
No one is immune
We are the lost children playing with bombs on the school yard recess swing sets
We know not what we do
And in the shadows of mounting ignorance and indulgence I have parted with the soul
Souls sold for fragments of pixilated delights and organic erotic stimulation
Looking for love yet denying it to ourselves
Grasping, groping and clinging to the hopes of furtive transitory embraces
So caught up in ideas that we have forgotten to practice
And now with clocks and calendars under my belt I realize that loss is compounded upon the awareness of opportunities casually slipping through so many fingers like snakes in the leaves
And I wake up
And I wake up
And I wake up
Only to have forgotten it all again.

Dance or Die

It's just your fatal flaw...

Posted on 2009.11.20 at 14:42
I'm feeling: crushedcrushed
and your writing him back, lying here on your back
your as serious as a heart attack
all those picturesque moments, the sunsets a-glowing
through the back of the van
and the water is diamonds there's something you're hiding
its just your fatal flaw
smile and composed but just being this happy is like
walking around in somebody else's clothes

and you all think I'm stupid, too nice, too aloof
there's no winning here at all
been on the road for so long, singing self obsessed songs
I'm always coming as I'm going
and the water is diamonds there's something your hiding
you wish you could just scream it out
just fucking love me I'm tired of leaving and
waking up in somebody else's clothes

and my dad's been gone for two halves of a year
got my first letter today
it was simple and sad, it was painfully clear and this how it read:
"well my darling, this time well the water's not diamonds.
I'm a fraud and I've grown old. They found me out, just being your father is like walking around in somebody else's clothes."

I'll be back by the first snow
wearing somebody else's clothes...

My beloved facsimile
I want to breathe smoke and to consume the world starting with you.
We traveled across the universe to find that we have the same parts but differing hearts
Pass me cards filed with Tabasco shotgun blasts
Chose me to be your broken hands
You always got me to try new things
Now left with salty pretzels pouring down
And
I spilled letters all over the page
The summer sun cant even warm me
What happened to the days of facing the burning
Drowning in yelps of ecstasy enveloped by the hand of god
Bucking up on two wheels to feel the streams of air caress my face forever
Nothing is as disappointing as your wasted genius
I can still feel your bittersweet excuses pumping in my veins
I’m glad that you got away, but I am still stuck out here

Dance or Die

Same-Sex Marriage: As Vermont as Maple Syrup

Posted on 2009.03.26 at 18:59
Hey Everyone, Check out the press release below and join our facebook group!
If you live in or around Vermont, come and participate. Everyone is welcome!!
http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/event.php?eid=72495014784


Thursday March 26, 2009 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Oz Skinner
http://www.vtfreetomarry.org/
http://theyesmen.org/
Telephone (802) 287-9212
Cell Phone (646) 884-0061
Email – Diversity@greenmtn.edu

Marriage Equality: as Vermont as Maple Syrup
Green Mountain College students to demonstrate in support of the Marriage
Equality Bill during annual tree tapping ceremony with Governor Douglas


Poultney, VT

A coalition of students, local residents and supporters from across Vermont will demonstrate on Saturday in opposition to Governor Jim Douglas’s plan to veto the Marriage Equality Bill, which passed by an overwhelming majority in the state senate earlier this week.

Saturday at 10am Governor Douglas will tap one of Green Mountain College’s maple trees during the highly publicized “Maple Fest”. Green Mountain students have been working around the clock since the veto announcement to display their support for equal civil rights for all couples. The student demonstration will be creative and respectful and is not intended to disrupt the Governor’s appearance, but to call attention to this important civil rights issue.

Student organizers were recently inspired by political activists and satirists “The Yes Men” to engage in creative political activism. Green Mountain Student clubs Diversity (a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender advocacy club) and PANTS (People Are Not Their Sex, a gender studies club) have taken the lead, noting that “It’s not every day that we have an opportunity to affect historic and political events.” Students have been working with local Vermont residents, Vermont Freedom to Marry, Central Vermont Peace and Justice, and local schools and businesses to speak out against the governor’s pledge to veto the Marriage Equality Bill. Diversity and PANTS encourage all supporters to attend Saturday’s demonstration as a way of engaging the governor in this political conversation. Information and materials for the demonstration will be provided on the Green Mountain College campus before the tree tapping at 10 am.


Dance or Die

Spring has sprung

Posted on 2009.03.19 at 21:45
This entry will be long, I apologize. From exploding computers and hard drives, to spring break and almost constant travel, I have been insanely busy. It has been hard to find some time to myself let alone time to post. I have been up and down the east coast in the past month stopping in North Carolina, Georgia, new York City and Washington DC. Not bad for a kid whose in college full time. I am just getting over midterms and a nasty cold. Here are the musings you have missed…

Day 50 – Drink me silly day – When I was in Salt Lake City for sundance, I stole some really sweet stella glasses from a bar. I now like to drink from them and pretend I am royalty.
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Day 51 – Midnight doors day – I came home one afternoon to find a door sitting on my kitchen table. There was no explanation. So I photographed it, and left it there. Mysteriously, it vanished during the night, reinforcing my belief that our house is actually built on a secret underground colony of gnomes.
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Day 52 - Invisible lamp day – I walk past this light everyday on my way out the door, I never noticed it til today. It’s odd how certain things fall into the background.
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Day 53 – Museum hair day – My roommate leaves her hair in the shower, I don’t know if I am disgusted or fascinated by it. It looks so abstract when I am taking a shower that I sometimes feel like I am actually in a museum and expect to see patrons watching me with avant guard fervor.
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Day 54 – Veggie song day – i leave for DC on a veggie bus. 12 packed in tight and no seatbelts to make a 13 hour drive. The only way to fight the claustrophobia is acapella singing at rests stops in New Jersey.
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Day 55 – Reflection day – I like the framing of this photo, the bus provided me with interesting way of seeing the world again. It was like getting new glasses, so much inspiration.
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Day 56 – Hot rod day – while passing this car in the parking lot in DC, I coxed my friend into posing in front of it because I thought that she could channel an 1980’s model on the cover of a music magazine. She did not disappoint.
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Day 57 – Secret eating day – My roommate eating in the dark. Little did I know he planned on hiding that bowl until I found it 2 weeks later. How time sorts things.
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Day 58 – Flatmate love day – The roommates trying to look cute. I have avoided using my flash because of the way it makes people look washed out, but I recently took a class about strobing and am excited to put it to the test in the “field”
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Day 59 – Big hair day – I am shooting models this semester in an effort to get better at art directing. I am doing a series called big hair, these are some captures from that. The problem is I need a really big fan, but I can only find small ones. If anyone know where I can get a cheap industrial fan, your help will not go unnoticed.
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Day 60 – Behind the wheel day – I went back to the bus. Again i like the symmetry and abstractness of it all.
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Day 61 – Noir lighthouse day – On my way home I passed this building. The light made it look so mysterious. Particularly around the tower. Like the legion of doom was planning some dastardly plot with an intergalactic death ray. It was then I realized that I do not have enough 1) poetry and 2) mystery in my life. I want to be a part of esoteric adventures in the machinery of night.
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Day 62 – Old timey radio day – My friend has this old radio in his house. I stood on a chair to photograph it while he was in the bathroom, he returned to see me photographing his things and it was awkward.
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Day 63 – I saw the light day – nothing more than lights, but they sometimes shine the way.
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Day 64 – Guy Debord day – Some beautiful detournment, someone has to keep those advertisers honest, and it wont be the government.
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Day 65 – Say no to coal day – A protest in DC against the capital coal plant. I chanted and lost my voice. But I did find that they committed to switching to natural gas. Who says a little protest ever accomplished anything.
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Days 65 – 75 are missing cause I was in Georgia on spring break and didn’t bring my digital, but I did photograph with my holga, be on the lookout for the missing week!

Day 76 – Lonely twin day – I saw this guy on the street and I was amused. He seemed a little lonely and though we may have that in common I neglected to give him a hand. I wish now that I have at least removed him from the dirty pavement.
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Day 77 – swerves and curves day – shooting through other things can be cool, no matter what anyone says to you. I only wish that the lens wasn’t so heavy
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Day 78 – Sex is dirty day – Part of a series I did for the gender and sexuality art show, this is entitled “Sex is Dirty” I think you can tell why. I don’t think I fully nailed this one, I might try again with different models. I just have such a hard time directing models, cause some of the things I want from them makes them uncomfortable and you can tell, cause they are stiff in images. Any suggestions from more experienced photographers out there?
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Dance or Die

Winter Wunderland

Posted on 2009.02.21 at 12:09
This last week has seriously kicked my ass. I was out of commission for a few days with a bad flu thing. Now I am way behind on my work, and I haven’t been taking as many pictures. Hopefully good health will lead to more photos. I have been playing around with my new holga and trying some cross processing; hopefully I will be able to get those up here soon. Also, I just scheduled the models for the spring sessions yesterday, so keep your eyes peeled for some good portraits.

Day 43- spring cleaning day – its time to clean the fucking mess that is my room. To do this, I take everything and throw it on the bed, then I neatly put everything back. This process usually repeats every 11 days
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Day 44 – cold as ice day – warm up, cool down, warm up cool down, I am getting pretty tired of the meteorological schizophrenia here in Vermont. I am counting the days till the sun comes back to play.
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Day 45 – Clarkson day – Went to play Frisbee in Clarkson but my camera battery went kapoot. So instead I have a photo of cute little professor tiny cat the third.
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Day 46 – Bowl of Sex day – we have this bowl of condoms next to the front door in our house, and I was stuck recently by how awesome it was. Mysteriously, however, many of the condoms have gone missing, and I am sure that no one here is getting any. It must be gnomes. Horny, horny little gnomes.
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Day 47 – Lay in bed day – The death has reared its ugly head, so I spent most of the day in bed taking photos. I discovered that my room is not that interesting in the dark.
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Day 48 – manipulation day - I am not big on photo manipulations, but I took this photo of a flame and blew it all out of whack, and I liked it. Its like an eye, looking at you, from the abyss.
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Day 49 – head in the clouds day – One of the cool things about laying in my bed is being able to get lost in the clouds. My head has been in the clouds recently, both metaphorically and quite literally. I cant seem to focus, the siren call of love and summer beckons me. Its sound lights me a flame.
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Dance or Die

uggg

Posted on 2009.02.16 at 08:35
Day 36 – Guild day – worked in the art building today and noticed the added flare for jennas show. I subsequently realized how rare it is to see actual candles in buildings, they are usually just made of plastic.
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Day 37 – Art show day – Jenna has her art show, I take photos and buy some art. The food is amazing and I eat myself silly. Tom acts as the curator except that he just points and stares at the art awkwardly hoping someone will buy, or at least ask him what he is doing. We retreat to the apartment where I entertain her New York friends on tales of booze.
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Day 38 – Thrift Day – Make plans with Liz to go to Burlington and go thrifting. Find some cool tights and blankets, I spend too much money at American apparel. Find cool TV’s at the recycle store.
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Day 39 – Packed day – Mondays are always packed for me. Too much class, too much conversation, too much drama. I just want to retire to a shack in the woods for 6 months out of the year, and spend the other 6 months in a densely populated city like NYC. Is that too much to ask? I almost get run off the road by this gigantic snow plow.
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Day 40 – Secret compost discovery day – While making cookies, we hear noises coming from the compost. Upon closer investigation, we discover a little critter has come to feast. The whole house was in a tizzy. We lead very simple lives here in VT.
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Day 41 – Visibility day - there have been some recent anti-gay messages floating around campus in the past few weeks. So I organized a reading of ten years worth of hate crime victims as part of a day of diversity awareness. To tell you the truth, all the people who wanted their names attached to the event and wanted it a certain way, didn’t even show up to participate or to help out. From now on, I do things alone. I am a loner, Dottie, a rebel. However, a few people, like Jon, pictured here were spectacular.
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Day 42 – Warm winter day - The weather has been on the fritz today, it was like 60 degrees, its febuary for gosh sake! I wore a t-shirt outside and was teased by dreams of summer. I cant wait for the floodgates of ramshackle traveling to be unleashed and the hitcher to come out. I am going to see the world in may.
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Dance or Die

Winter of our discontent

Posted on 2009.02.05 at 11:22
Oz: Winter of our discontent

It has been cold as balls here in VT. Blasted groundhog tells me that we will have six more weeks of winter. I hope to cap it off with a boy and some hot coco. I have been photographing more than writing recently. Is that a cop out? I want to hear symphonies of words echo from my pen, but language fails me in winter. Perhaps thats why bears hibernate and why my mother fears them so. Another thing, the earth moves beneath our feet…are we really walking? We do not choose our destinations.

Day 30 – Magic wand day – Slow shutter speeds can be fun. I am experimenting more and more. I want to do something with fire. There is magic in the frozen air.
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Day 31 – Fire walk with me day - I have been watching twin peaks religiously since my return. I like to eat lunch and stare into the fire place. Elements flicker and dance and recite esoteric poems in moonlit foyers.
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Day 32 – Super bowl day – it’s the super bowl and I couldn’t care less. I sneak to parties to drink and eat free food. I spend the rest of my evening putting together enlargers. As I walk home buzzed this lamp post seemed so lonely. I gave it a hug.
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Day 33 – Mundane day – The sky has been the most fantastical shade of blue recently. I wish that I had gotten some better shots, the framing on this is all off, but aren’t the colors pretty. Note: I need to get a tripod. STAT!
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Day 34 – Icicle day – The Icicles hanging off the fire escape on my walk home were awesome. I couldn’t just post one. I took a bunch. They just seemed so impermanent.
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And another
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Day 35 – Where’s my bike day - Oh I see, its buried under 100 feet of snow.
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Fin.

Dance or Die

The Return to the Land of Oz

Posted on 2009.01.28 at 17:47
Day 21 – Take my picture day – While at an after party at sundance this women drunkenly approaches me to take photos of her. I tell her I am a famous photographer from New York. She demands that I give her instructions on how to pose like a famous model. I am drunk too, and fumble with the controls and the framing. I tell her she is naturally beautiful, I believe this to be true. She is dissatisfied, with my photos of her, she is ugly she states. I have failed again…
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Day 22 – Summer in winter day – The warehouse lets out early, so I skip across the street and photograph the windmills made of tin. They look so cool against the stark blue sky.
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Day 23 – Close to the end day – Things at the fest are winding down and I am tired. I am waiting to go home to my Vermont home. Posters are everywhere screaming about the last showings before it all ends
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Day 24 – The last day – The Egyptian looks so cool at night. I trip and fall on my face after meeting a film maker. They can’t all be gems. It starts to snow around 12am. I get drunk and make out with a boy who cannot dance. Mistakes are around every corner. I choose the less complicated of two evils and am subsequently disappointed.
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Day 25 – Lucky Travel day – I used to love to fly, now I hate it. It seems like every trip I take lasts an eternity. Due to sleep deprivation and possibly a hangover I leave my camera at the gate in Utah, and don’t even realize until a flight attendant makes an announcement. The camera is returned to me, and out of sheer panic I photograph the gate to prove to myself how fucking lucky I am that my device didn’t get stolen.
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Day 26 – Welcome home day – If feels good to be home, and we have a potluck for Jenna’s birthday with delicious cake. Joey looks like a goof, and makes a big mess, but I love him anyway.
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Day 27 – fortune day – The irony of finding this fortune upon my arrival from a 6 week expedition of self discovery is not lost on me. Perhaps I am destined to be a wandering soul…
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Day 28 – thermometer day – Everything is frozen and looks like jewelry.
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Day 29 – snow day – The snow keeps coming. It looks beautiful. It looks like it will never stop. I secretly hope it dosent…
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