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Archive for the ‘entertainment’ Category

My (somewhat) Intentional Life

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

a so-called comic strip

The debut of My Intentional Life: Somewhat true stories of attempted sustainability

Since the Gulf oil-saster, I have been laying low in my please ‘let me live my fantasy!’ foxhole – I’ve got my supply of kombucha, organic wine and a deck of tarot cards – I’ve been getting more into the questions than the answers these days.

So, I’m not devouring the news on either side of environmentalism — but devouring creative experience in a whole new way. Hey, there’s a connection, of course. Oil may be flowing through the gulf, but the energy flowing through the counterculture right now feels stronger.

But if, like me, you aren’t quite ready to come completely out of hiding yet, start with this smile-friendly “so-called” Comic Strip, “somewhat true”, debuting on Grist. Hipsters will love it and hate it – it sets the stage in an urban collective in a Brooklyn brownstone. Visit My Intentional Life here.

Hey, it’s a start.

Feelin’ It

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Connection. Is. Everything. As perfectly imperfect human beings, we crave experience and energy that comes from connection. And we get it through our experiences – either directly or indirectly – with other people. We also get it from connecting to a place inside ourselves. There’s a balance between the two – an edge we have to walk in order to fulfill our intellectual and emotional needs.

The difficult part about the inner world is that it often feels incomplete until I connect it to another person’s energy, one who can mirror my own thoughts and desires. Yoga teachers need students, and  want to connect with other yoga teachers. Musicians and artists need an audience – and they need other musicians and artists. Even our everyday experiences carry the desire to be shared. (If you doubt this, spend a little time on Facebook.)

Just like anything, walking the middle path can be tricky, as addictions apply to just about anything. But, I’m enjoying the ride and hoping that we can keep pushing ourselves to that idea of oneness and all that goes with that.

Here’s one music video, called, YES!– that got me thinking about all of this (along with a few other more personal experiences). It comes from Colourmusic, an OK-based indie rock band as part of the Oklahoma Creativity Project and directed by band member, Nick Turner. It’s really simple. It’s kind of sweet. It will describe everything I tried to to say above, but a lot better. You’ll be feelin’ it.

It’s Not About The Hat – an ode to Billy Jack

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

It looks like the legend of Billy Jack lives on in the West today! I am reminded of my recent discovery of the re-release of this iconic movie and its anti-hero’s hero of an important civil rights movement. Read below.

The 1971 movie, Billy Jack and it’s prequel, Born Losers, will be screened by Cinefamily in Los Angeles on July 2nd. Director, producer, and star, Tom Laughlin will be in attendance.


by Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC

I watched the re-release of Born Losers over the weekend, the 1st of a series of 4 independent films featuring the character of Billy Jack, released between 1971 and 1977. I had seen the better-known three that followed this one the week before – for my full report, go here. It was then I found Born Losers and decided I wanted to complete my viewing experience.

This film is definitely more rough than the sequels, but what can I say? It was still the peaceful but fierce Billy Jack in his full but quiet glory. Despite the dated tone of all the films, I have had Billy Jack on the brain, complete with some intense episodic dreams. This morning, I woke up with this in my head – sort of my “ode to Billy Jack”:

Billy Jack fights quietly and steadily against what is unjust, with just a bit of swagger in his stride and a steely glaze in his eye.

Billy Jack knows when it’s too late, but it doesn’t ever stop him from tilting his hat to the sun and squinting, as if there is something he has missed.

Billy Jack doesn’t need to be liked, loved or revered. Because of this, he is liked, loved and revered.

Billy Jack owns many demons – they are internal warriors who protect rather than torment him.

Billy Jack always, but always, knows exactly what to do.

Billy Jack knows a good fight when he sees one and knows when to turn and walk away (cue swagger).

Creativity, Work, and Music

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

What comes first? The music or the muse?

Music is in our souls. I believe we tune in to music not just for the art, but in the secret hope of your own creative passions and talents being awakened through some kind of energy exchange. The allure of musical performance is as much about the seer as the doer. We don’t want to be them or possess them as much as we want to be own creative selves.

If you want to know more about the creative process, watch and listen to Jack White. I relished his 2007 documentary, Under Great White Northern Lights. As the White Stripes trekked across Canada, we are given clues to this “strange and dirty work” and allowed a peek into a creative process where “passion and desperation” are everything. Still, Mr. White insists that “creativity and work ethic walk side by side” and sometimes you have to simply go in and do the work.

The documentary release last August of It Might Get Loud blurs the lines between work, play, passion and talent as three musical artists bring their stories together – Jack White, Jimmy Page and The Edge. These men all eat creativity for breakfast, but it’s younger Jack that appears to approach the entire process with “aggression and attitude”, saying that playing the guitar is a battle between the man and the instrument, one in which the musician must emerge victorious.

Fight for your creativity. Your soul could depend on it.

Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance – and the beat goes on

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Music. Moonlight. People. Passion.

Music Festivals seem to have a life of their own these days, fed by a culture’s desire for both connection and escape – possibly in equal amounts. I arrived at the Silk Hope grounds (by bio-diesel shuttle) ready to leave it all behind, in order to find it all again.

Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance, once a bi-annual locally-inspired 4-day event on a rolling 72 country acres in NC, has grown into an internationally-fused tradition of music, community, and the arts. This year’s Spring festival included as many as 50 bands/performers on 4 stages from all over the country and the world. Well-organized and well-run, shows and events ran continuously and on-time, a huge amount of the waste generated was recycled or composted, and solar panels sparkled in the middle of it all.

A shining example of spontaneous and relatively sustainable entertainment and fun, there were impromptu (and sometimes all night) drum circles, poi and fire hooping, poetry jams, and other expressions of energy, including solitary morning yoga. This festival has increased in acclaim and diversity, all while maintaining it’s grassroots appeal and atmosphere, all with a big dose of sustainability.

Music. Moonlight, People. Passion. Pass it on.

Of, or pertaining to, Life.

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

by Tao

“of, or pertaining to, life” …this is the definition of “vital”.

I admit it. Maybe it’s the planets stirring things up, maybe it’s Spring, but I’m starting to feel lured off into a new landscape. And there is not a hemp, organic, or recycled product anywhere. But it holds a part of me I need.

For simplicity, I’ll call it artistic Inspiration, though a musician and friend I came to know recently said it better. It is that pull towards, at all costs, what is “vital” to your very being. It comes in many shapes and forms but always involves our creativity and our passion. And it sometimes creates chaos in an otherwise orderly life.

I’ll tell and show you more about my recent inspirations. But in the meantime….

Share in the joyful chaos of Charlie Todd, founder of Improv Everywhere, producing, directing, performing, and documenting the group’s work – “causing scenes of joy and chaos in public places” – for over eight years. He is also a teacher and performer of improv comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in NYC. This guy has found “vital” and I am inspired.

His missions involve just a couple people or sometimes thousands. There are dozens of videos to watch on his web site and you’ll get the idea. I especially enjoyed, “Invisible Dogs” (2000 of them!!) and “No Pants Subway Ride”.

Jackson Browne on plastic water bottles – more fun my way

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Jackson Browne doesn’t drink water out of plastic. He says this supposed convenience that we are overcharged for is actually inconvenient for everyone, considering what it is doing to our health and the planet. In fact, he has a lot to say regarding this issue when interviewed by Beth Terry of Fake Plastic Fish following the recent screening of the documentary, Tapped (a documentary which trails the path of the unseen and unregulated world of the bottled water industry).

Jackson isn’t just playing around. He keeps his metal water bottle attached to his belt, takes it on airplanes, takes his own metal coolers for his band and crew on tour, and declines the flats of bottled water left for him in hotel rooms. In fact, to be certain to get his message across, he tells us his latest idea is to leave a note saying, “This water’s being declined by a member of the worldwide movement to protect the planet and our own health and to take back our right to a clean environment.”

And, he’s having fun, In fact, he says “fun” at least 3 times in the same interview:

“It’s more fun to do it my way. It’s strong, it’s healthy, it’s empowering. It’s more fun than taking that crap.”

I’ve always loved the music. Now I love the man.

There is more to the bottled water issue than meets the eye. There are major health risks posed from BPA – the chemical building block of clear, hard plastic  – which wreaks havoc on our entire hormonal system – and from much smaller amounts than previously considered (go to Plastic Pollution Coalition for more. Our oceans and rivers clogged with plastic, our landfills overflowing, and baby albatross are dying of starvation from a belly full of the stuff – a metaphor for our entire society, Browne points out. Watch the video and find out why.

(Photo from

Sea Shepherd, At the Edge of the World

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Paul Watson, founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, the pirate-protectors of whales, knows how to get things done. Although many animal protection agenices, like the Humane Society, resist condoning militant tactics of rescue groups, they can’t deny the effectiveness and determination of Paul and his crew of so-called “Pirates”, as they pursue whaling ships who who defy the world-wide anti-whaling treaty (transgressors are listed as Japan, Iceland and Norway). In his own less than state-of-the-art ships and in less than ideal antarctic conditions, the Sea Shepherd crew patrols the oceans with a mission – “to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species.”

The idea of Sea Shepherd was formed when Captain Paul Watson founded the Earth Force Society in 1977 in Vancouver BC, Canada. The original mandate of both organizations was marine mammal protection and conservation with an immediate goal of shutting down illegal whaling and sealing operations, but Sea Shepherd later expanded its efforts to include all marine wildlife. Dedicating his life to protect the environment and animals since the age of 10 (read his full bio here), Paul was also one of the co-founders of GreenPeace.

Now you can see just what it takes to stop illegal whalehunters in the documentary, At The Edge of The World, released August 28th. Director, Dan Stone bankrolled this film himself – to the tune of 1.1 million dollars – after being exposed to the horror of seal slaughters. He was drawn to the story of Paul Watson when he heard him described as, “Someone who’s actually doing something.” When asked to describe the film, Dan said, “The action and adventure that unfold in the film also bring into play the larger questions of ends and means, injustice and indifference, idealism and greed, laws and politics and life and death.” Insisting that the camera is the most effective tool in fighting whaling, he has since helped create (as exec. producer) an Animal Planet Series called, Whale Wars.

Maybe sometimes it takes a little pirate to be a real hero and to get things done. Namaste and more, Paul and crew.

Photo from

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