In 1999 we had a windfall (for us at least) from my stock options at E*TRADE. At the same time, I was offered a job in New York with Oncology.com, a new company supporting cancer patients. That was too good to turn down.
There were only a couple of big considerations. 1. We’d just purchased a home on the beach on Kauai 2. We had recently gone through cartwheels to buy our first house in Boulder Creek, California. So I had a job and apartment in New York, a house we rented out in California, and the new property on Kauai we needed to prep to rent out until we could be there.
I agreed to take the Oncology.com job for one year, and after six months I would be on Kauai for 2 weeks every other month. 6 months in is also when Lucky headed to Kauai driving our pickup across the country, shipping everything across the pacific. He also sent our beloved dog Rex in the cargo hold of his flight. Poor Rex would be quarantined on Oahu for 6 weeks.
Aloha Dude Vacation Rentals
We would call it Aloha Dude Vacation Rentals.
Aloha Dude Internet Hut
Around July of 2001 we got the big idea to open an internet hut – a hangout spot for visitors looking to log in while on vacation (this was pre-iPhone). It was also a stop on a cruise through the small town of Kapa’a. There was a hostel around the corner, restaurants, and other shops along the single road around the island.
We would suspend the *iconic 4′ wide disco ball on a pulley apparatus each morning. The team would spend the first hour dusting all of the hip … more
Check out Animation Obsessive. Each issue is always a welcome surprise. This issue covers the history of Ukrainian animation.
This medium is always tangled up with culture, history and politics, both local and international. It’s not just escapism. Animators have something to say in dark times, and it matters. As Ukraine fights for its freedom, we’re celebrating the country’s huge contribution to animation, and the Ukrainian animators who’ve overcome so much.
If you’ve ever discovered the back streets of Honolulu you’ll remember the Lei shops. They are usually tiny storefronts where they pump out the flower necklaces for the thousands of tourists pouring into Hawaii each day.
This first-place poem from a school competition really captured the vibe.
In late 1979 I was a Production Manager for the “alternative” newspaper New Times Weekly in Phoenix. I’d just done a stint at the Santa Barbara News and Review as a production artist, so this was a step up for me plus my gang was running wild in Phoenix and I didn’t want to miss out on that.
While the Art Director took a vacation I got to step into the role for a special issue on Disco. I remember that it was a real big deal for me at 22. While putting the editorial together, I worked with a creative gang of freelance photographers, stylists, models, and other creative types. They were a few years older than me and took me under their wings.
There was symbiosis from the start.
The most gregarious was Jimi, a photographer that was making a name for himself in the dusty old cow town. He persisted and ended up in New York managing photo studios and expanding his portfolio.
There was Carole who traveled the world modeling and joining in the theatrical antics of “art band” The Tubes. Her brother was the synthesizer player and did some very cool airbrushed pieces for the performances.
Then there was Ed who I knew informally from his vintage shop “Sunset Boulevard.” He had a keen eye as an art director and stylist. He also dressed me since I was mostly wearing wrinkled army fatigues in those days. I was nearly stripped of my gay badge, but Ed quickly remedied that.
Ed’s business partner was Lee who had east coast sensibilities and also weighed in on my disheveled look. To this day he’s one of the smoothest dressers I’ve ever met.
For a minute I am reminded that I have known these … more
Ed, Todd, and I were all working in the photo studio of the Emporium Capwell department store in downtown San Francisco. The budgets were over the top and the Art Director hired me to build and paint special set pieces for the ads and catalogs. The largest undertaking was building a faux stone patio. I used mountains of masonite, glue and crumbled styrofoam and then weeks of painting it. I think it was used once. I built it on the rooftop of the Emporium which used to be home to a Christmas village for kids and there were still pieces of that history long-ago abandoned.
Ed was a fashion stylist who played by the rules during the day and at night and on weekends we were able to use the studios with photographers who wanted to experiment.
Ed had become friendly with the two founders of the hip Martin-Weber Gallery, which is still around as Artists’ Television Access.. They let him know that the enormous warehouse next to theirs at 8th and Howard was for rent by a very artist-friendly lawyer named Mark Rennie. We quickly rented it and named it Tons of Meat.
The place was so big we even installed a trapeze and a bathtub in the middle of the place. Todd built his own room floating a few steps up. Ed was bunking in a bed up on scaffolding. I slept in a loft and had a sprawling office setup (seen above). I built a two-story set for over-the-top theatrical entries. I filmed a friend Jan Taylor as a “seen-better-days” singer with a slow, boozy performance of the Doris Day song “Let’s Be Happy.” Boy, do I wish I had that video.
Mark was running an “art restaurant” at 9th and Folsom. He was tuned … more
Spring 2021: We’re in Arizona looking in on my mom’s condition for a while. It has been an opportunity to revisit my coming-of-age life from the late 1970s to 1980. Things really accelerated after this.
After a swift escape from the confines of high school life, I couldn’t imagine committing to four years of study when there was a wild world out there that I wanted to be part of. After a few months in a converted garage apartment on the west side of sleepy Phoenix, I landed in the middle of the city, where, if anything was happening, it would be happening there.
My new apartment was walkable to the two jobs I had, making it easy to get to work without driving since my old Dodge station wagon was overheating regularly, and I eventually just left it somewhere and moved on.
The Sombrero Playhouse was a half block away and was a very cool scene. Patrons would gather and parade their looks in a front desert courtyard before heading in to see the avant-garde films of the day. Of course, there was Harold and Maude, Eraserhead, and Andy Warhol reels, but there was The Rocky Horror Picture Show for my growing awareness and toe-tipping into gay culture. I remember the surprise at seeing so-and-so there with a gaggle of their eccentric friends. The crowd I was running with blossomed in this environment.
Two Jobs and Liberace
At job one, Aaron Brothers Art Mart,I quickly tuned into the skills I needed for the constant visual adjustments, x-acto knifing, and final fussy touches of framing. I loved it. The staff was packed with artists doing their own thing led by an inspiring manager guy (another artist). I remember him telling me not … more
After moving into the lower Haight Street flat of my then saxophone-playing boyfriend, I soon found out he was having a romance on the side. I suppose that I made him so miserable that he eventually moved out of the sunny apartment and it was mine.
I enjoyed the raw art scene happening in the neighborhood.
There was a marble sculptor on the ground floor. A friend down the street had a storefront selling his futuristic “Bodyware.” He had a great record collection so the vibe was always happening in the place. Another friend had a storefront art gallery that sometimes became an after-hours scene when the bars closed for the night.
From my 3rd story deck, there was a staircase down to the ground floor where there was a small room with the heaters and gear that made the building run. It became my painting studio. I was making 3-dimensional paintings from illustration board scraps I got from my job and built *stepped-up layers from stacks of square bits to give elevate one level to the next.
One piece lit up in a box with floating painted shapes. I then played with the shapes being 3 dimensional. More and more complex to piece together seamlessly. Hot glue bonded it all. I would continue with this direction when I moved into a huge studio downtown and made full-sized room facades with the pieces.
It was the Spring of 2000, I was finishing up a project in New York and then would join my husband Lucky on the beach in the town of Kapaa on Kauai. We were opening “Aloha Dude Vacation Rentals” on a property we had just gotten.
I notoriously have a reputation as having a low tolerance for tedious or uninteresting people. Lucky was laying the groundwork, meeting all the people in a small circle of gay folks and the extended ohana on the island. He would give me updates on who was interesting. He kept bringing up a character named Alexander. He had attended a Baby Luau for Alexander’s new son Makanakai. I was intrigued.
Once I landed on Kauai I got the chance to meet him. He was a striking figure with a bright glow about him. Like brotherhood magnets, we connected quickly. I swooned for his stories of showbiz talents on all the rungs of celebrity. He had a sly way of telling his stories and we laughed and laughed with each tale.
Quickly his family became our family. We relished in the amazing development of this kid Kai. Alex was a natural dad, smiling, laughing and all the while being zoomed in on the responsibility he had taken on with an enormous heart.
There’s so much more after this, but that time on Kauai was magical with Alexander and was the foundation of a great long friendship.
Happy Birthday, Dear Alex. We miss you Brother but you’re always right here in our hearts.