Greetings to our visiting friends. We use this space to comment on important subjects of the day, on the continuing evolution of the EmanPDX story, on some good people we meet along life's journey, and on stuff that's curious, fun. or of deep concern.
It's a beautiful thing to see humans show compassion for another species. In this video shot in Mexico's Sea of Cortez in February, 2011, a group of people cross paths with a giant humpback whale, barely alive, trapped in a tighly wrapped cocoon of nylon gill net. At some personal risk, the humans worked with a knife to cut away the netting. After an hour, they restored the great whale's freedom. The humans were then treated to a joyful display of breeching and tail slapping by a magnificent creature, grateful to be free.
Here is the link...
There was a TV series in the nineties that for some time was the number one television show in the entire world. One of the stars of that series was an actress named Alexandra Paul. I first crossed paths with Alexandra at about that time, but our meeting and subsequent collaboration had no connection with the world of fame and celebrity. Alexandra Paul became a much valued friend as a consequence of our common activist concern about human overpopulation. We both wanted desperately to make a difference; to make a dent in the public's general indifference to the fact that human numbers on Earth have exploded. There are now more than seven billion of us; nearly three times the number there were when I emerged from the womb. Humans are consuming the planet's resources at an unprecidented scale, and shredding the fabric of the biosphere in the process.
Alexandra Paul, and I, along with our friends, Gregory Molina and Michael Tobias, made an educational video titled Jam Packed in 1997. Later, we were joined by Mark and Michelle Griffith on a follow-up video titled, The Cost of Cool. These films were two of the earliest efforts to deliver a wake-up call on overpopulation and consumption to a school age audience.
Here is a link to The Cost of Cool...
These days, Alexandra Paul is at least as famous for her activisim as she is for her acting. She is a passionate champion for clean energy. She was one of the first celebrities to drive around in an electric car. Currently, her preferred transportation is a Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid. She and her husband, a very good man named Ian Murray, are also committed advocates for animal rights. They recently helped rescue dozens of Beagles who had been enslaved from birth, caged and caught up in ugly cycles of canine laboratory testing.
Alexandra Paul is an exceptional human being. She is making a very worthy contribution to evolving a world that is sustainable and secure for future generations. She also gives great hugs.
Here is a link to Alexandra's webpage
I learned about Hysteria, a movie scheduled for release sometime this Spring by Sony Classic pictures, when my path crossed with Tracey Becker, one of that project's producers. Tracey became engaged on Change Agents, a project I am currently developing with my colleague, Chad Kirkpatrick I knew when I saw the trailer for Hysteria that Tracey was the right person to comment on the work we are doing.
The trailer for Hysteria is a hoot. I haven't seen the movie yet, but if it turns out to be as much fun as the trailer is, we're all in for a big league treat. The subject of this movie is a malady a great many women suffered with in the 19th century and before. Hysteria was not any kind of illness, but instead was a reflection of women's frustration over having to deny their natural inclination to sexual orgasm. Built around the story of the doctor in Victorian England, who invented the 'vibrator', Hysteria was directed Tanya Wexler, a young filmmaker perfectly suited to translate this story into a totally delicious movie experience.
Take a moment to look at this. It's really fun.
The link to the Hysteria trailer follows...
'Life out of balance', that is the meaning of Koyaanisqatsi, a word in the Hopi indian language that was applied in 1982 to a remarkable work by filmmaker, Godfrey Reggio. It's hard to believe that 30 years have passed since I saw Koyaanisqatsi the first time, when I was still a very young man. It had an indeliable impact on me, with its relentless montage of troubling images of the Earth and man, punctuated by a powerful soundtrack by Phillip Glass. Koyaanisqatsi helped bring focus to my life. I've traveled a meandering, unconventional path ever since, seeking ways to leave a positive mark.
Here is the trailer for the film.
I had the privilege of spending time with Godfrey Reggio a few years after Koyaanisqatsi was released. He was and remains a remarkable human being, in a life committed to exposing the troubling relationsip between humans and the planet they all depend on to survive. Reggio followed up Koyaanisqatsi with a second film, Powaqquasti, which means, 'Life in Transformation' Here is a link to some moments from that film.
I recently learned that now, all these years later, Reggio is working on what he calls the final piece of his triology. He calls it Naqoyqatsi, 'Life as War'. That suggests that Reggio's final shot across humanity's bow will be rather apocalyptic.
Here is a link to Godfrey Reggio's website.
Godfrey Reggio was a big part of my personal wake-up call. I recommend his marvelous work to anyone who cares about the future of human life on Earth.
My mother, Edna Holland, has had a rich life. She was a young woman when the Second World War began. She married my father after the great conflict was over.
Some years later, I was their first born child, conceived, as my mother tells it, in an unheated beachhouse on the rocky coast of Belfast, Maine. I actually traveled back there with them as an adult and saw that place. Pretty cool to know the exact place where sparks flew, and I became a zygote.
When I was young, my family, like so many families, was financially challenged. When we were kids, there might be one jug of Coca Cola a week for the whole family. When my mother poured out each allotment, my brother, and sister, and I would count the ice cubes in the glasses to make sure they were the same. We would fight over concern that one would get slightly more Coca Cola than the other. Anyway, my mom put up with a lot back then. I was a handful when I was eight years old.
My mom was a housewife, as was the norm in those times. Despite the challenges of making ends meet, she always made sure we had enough good food to eat. She made sure we went to school dressed decently. She put up with a lot of crap from all of us, and kept us going in the right direction. She also provided a safe nurturing ground so that each of us could grow up and turn out okay. I say this not to denigrate my father's love and influence, but to celebrate the reality that I am who I am largely because of my mom.
Through the years, both my parents were always there and always supportive as I carved my own unconventional path through life. Since 2004, when my father passed away, I have talked to my mother pretty much every day on the phone. I like talking to her. She lives now with my sister, Jill, in suburban Houston. My brother, Jay, who lives closeby, visits her regularly.
Even now, i talk to my mom when I need encouragement or pragmatic advice. I want her to know how much I appreciate all the love she has given me and the personal sacrifices she so often endured for me when I was growing up.
Thanks Mom. I love you.