Monday, September 29, 2008


In the early 80s I hung out at a little cafe across the street from where I lived on Hyde Street in San Francisco. Since I was in law school and worked full time it was perfect. I could have company at my convenience without having to make a commitment for the evening, and study if so inclined. I had a boyfriend and he was not much on cafe society so it was really "my" home.
Then a new cafe opened in the neighborhood, Cafe Cine Monde. My friends and I wanted to be loyal to our old cafe, but it was Sunday night and our usual was closed. So we went for the first time. So it started, the usual cafe in the morning and Cafe Cine Monde at night, where they showed films, "what's not to love?" My friends and I had a table, we saw that there were regulars but we did not interact with each other.
Then a burglar was in my friend Jane's apartment, when she came running down the hill to Cine Monde, Peter, coke bottle in his hand (a New Jersey transplant) ran up the hill to chase the burglar, who was of course long gone. But that was the first interactions between the grownups and us under 30s. From that day forward Cine Monde was THE place.
We hung out, became friends, had parties, spent holidays together, occasionaly went to premieres (Jose the owner was a film critic), but mainly just hung at the the Cafe, and if it closed in my very tiny apartment. Since it was before cell phones I even got phone calls there. They were my neighborhood family for the next 5 years at least. The owners, the customers, the waitresses, I have never experienced anything like it. It was our Cheers, where everybody knew your name. I was a magical time in my life.
The photo above is us going river rafting, I don't even know how that happened, and the other photo is of my friend Jose and I on that day.
People came and went from the neighborhood, both the cafe's closed and I have never known my neighbors in the same way. 15 years ago I moved around the corner, across the street from where Jose lived and have seen him now and then thru the years, but we were never close after that time, a drink now and then...
Jose died this month. Thanks Jose for being the nexus of a group of people as diverse as we all were and creating a community.
Here is something our friend Dawn wrote this week about Jose.

My Friend Jose
September 21, 2008

SHARE – that’s a key word when I think about Jose.

From the time I met Jose, while working as a waitress at his Café Cine Monde back in the early 80’s, to our ebay venture selling films and beyond, Jose has always shared his love of food, wine, films and friends.

At Café Cine Monde, Jose created a wonderful gathering place, to hang out, watch and talk about movies with interesting people, some of whom were in the business. There were many colorful characters who frequented the Café, and Jose welcomed any and all to be a part of the “Café Family”.

Café Cine Monde was a place where a group of friends would often stay well past closing to view rare or off-the-beaten path films, good wine and Mama Rose’s wonderful Filipino cuisine. Into the wee hours, Jose would share these films along with some good stories. Lively wine-fueled film discussions would often ensue! What fun we had!

At the Café, I made many friends, several of whom I still have more than 25 years later. The walls of my home are covered with the exquisite art of movie posters I obtained from Jose. Thanks to Jose, my knowledge of not only film, but food and wine expanded, and I credit him with paving the way for me becoming a professional fine-dining chef years later.

Jose always had wild true stories to share, that often bordered on Ripley’s Believe-It-Or-Not. Last year he told me a long twisty story about some shoes and a belt he once had made in London. He said they were very expensive because the leather for those items, came from a centuries-old sunken ship off the coast, that could only be reached by free-diving. AND, the one family that did the diving, retired. Well I believed him, but I laughed so hard when he told me, I was blinded by the tears that streamed from my eyes.

Jose shared his sense of culinary adventure, inviting friends to join him for unusual dining experiences. I remember our excursion to a restaurant in Marin County that served exotic fare, such as lion and giraffe. I also remember our group feeling sorry for the poor exotic beasts that sacrificed their lives, only to end up in a mediocre

We had a plan in October to meet for dinner in Boston, on his way from Maine to San Francisco, as we have done every year – dinner on his way to Maine in the spring and from Maine in the fall. We’d always try to go to the most unique or cutting edge restaurant we could find. Jose would order up many dishes to share, just for the experience of trying new or different food preparations.

Jose was generous to a fault, so much so, that he was taken advantage of a few times, but it didn’t change him. He continued to be a warm, open, trusting person.

I feel so lucky and honored that Jose Carpio, an amazing person, shared his friendship with me.

I miss Jose so very much!


Friday, September 19, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Separated at birth

Does this look like us?? Oh my God.....looks like it to me...but we don't have a dog. Caught in a time warp again.

Air is Coming (May 2008)

Elemental Interactions: AIR!

"If winds are the spirit of the sky's ocean, the clouds are the texture. Their is easily the most uninhibited dominion of the earth. Nothing in physical shape is too fantastic for them. They can be round as apples or as fine as string, as dense as a jungle, as wispy as a whiff of down, as mild as puddle water or as potent as the belch of a volcano. Some are thunderous anvils formed by violent up drafts from the warm earth. Some are ragged coattails of storms that have passed. Some are stagnant blankets of warm air resting on cold. I have seen clouds in the dawn that looked like a pink Sultan with his pale harem maidens and a yellow slob of eunuch lolling impotent in the background." - Guy Murchie (Song of the Sky)

We're pleased to announce the second event in our new lecture series, Elemental Interactions. In appreciation of our members and donors, we've designed these informal evenings to explore topics of art, science and civic participation. Enjoy demos, talks and performances at the eclectic Burning Man headquarters!

Our first event, FIRE!, was an incredibly enjoyable evening for all, full of captivating speakers and entertaining demonstrations, as well as opportunities to meet and connect with our members and donors. Elemental Interactions: AIR! will be at 6:30pm on Thursday, June 12, 2008 and will explore the the nature and qualities of air. BRAF members and donors come for free! We want to meet you again and show our appreciation for your support. Stay tuned for our next Elemental Interaction in September: EARTH. Feel free to spread the word as anyone is welcome to attend-- a donation of $10.00 is suggested for non-members. If you know anyone who wants to become a BRAF member, this is a great opportunity to make this event the first of many enjoyable benefits. Please ask them to contact, call (415) 626-1248, or visit for details about joining our community. Thursday June 12th at 6:30 pm

Burning Man Headquarters. 1900 3rd Street San Francisco, Ca 94158

photo: Kinetic sculptor, David Boyers

Koilos by Michael Christian Posted May 2008

Koilos by Michael Christian is being displayed by the Hayes Valley Art Coaltion on the Hayes Street Green, now known as "Patricia's Green". In 2005, when the Green was dedicated, the San Francisco Art Commission asked the Black Rock Arts Foundation for its support in helping David Best and his crew build a temporary installation in the spirit of the Temples they had been building at Burning Man for several years. Since then several temporary pieces of art have graced Patricia's Green. I think Kolios looks fabulous here!
In addition there have been several other temporary art installations on Patricia's Green:
photo: sfmike

Mon, June 2, 2008 - 2:37 PM
Thanks for the update, Affinity I was at the opening ceremony for the park. It seems like a wonderful situation, to show temporary art instead of permanent. I hope more neighborhood parks pick up this idea.

Painted Ceiling

My ceiling in the living room and dining room had a ring around the base of the light fixture that could not be cleaned. So Brook & Elise came and painted the ceilings and painted that ugly yellow right out of the kitchen, I can still smell the paint a little and it makes my nose run, what a baby.

They did a GREAT job, I could trust them, they were fun, and they both have a great eye and work hard. How great is that....

So I am no longer embarassed by my ceiling, maybe that will move along some other "well since we are going to move shortly" projects, since it does not look like we are going to move anytime soon....

ok, I am going to go to bed now, and hope to go to sleep.

Bulworth 1998 DVD

Love the images, one completely expected the other a little edgy. Warren Beatty wrote, produced, starred in and directed this movie. It was his voice.
It should be required watching for campaign season. cant help but remind you of how silly it all is....

One of those 4 am moments

Ok it is the middle of the night and here I am wide awake. Lots of work to do 4am. that would be a great time to go back to sleep for a couple of hours if I thought it might work, but will I just lay there and think about IRS Code section 403(b) and the project I need to finish in the morning..

So tick tock!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

my weight - the elephant in the closet (April 2008)

I think one of the "elephants in the room" in my life in my weight and my health.

I think people want to know more but are afraid to ask. I am glad they feel that way because the conversation, if raised, rarely goes well.

So here is what I think you might actually want to know:

AS A BABY I was premature and weighed 3 1/2 pounds, I was very sick and frail as a child, epilepsy, asthma, pneumonia, etc. Both my parents smoked heavily and in fact died from cigarettes.

MY WEIGHT At around 12 I developed a HUGE appetite and became overweght, from skinny to overweight in 2 years. From age 13 until about 35 I dieted, binged, fasted, took courses and therapy in listening to my hunger, anything I could think of, I continued to put on weight. Then I decided I was going to be happy however I was, and I still put on weight. According to my doctor's records, in 1990, 18 years ago, I weighed 284 pounds, this is the most I have ever weighed. Today I weigh 272 pounds.

EXERCISE I have exercised off and on all my life, I used to swim as a kid (Palm Springs, everybody swims). Stopped exercising in my early 20s. Then in 1984 or so after law school I became enamored with aerobics, even trained to teach aerobics for large women in about 1990 or so...I exercised 2 - 4 times a week, it varied...Posed for a leotard ad for large women, went to an aerobics conference with my teacher, was on tv 4 or 5 times dancing with my teacher and a couple of other people. Was always the "fit" big girl and proud of it. In 2001, my knees started giving me problems and then a couple of years later my hips started to hurt after walking more than 2 or 3 blocks, I have less stamina. I have exercised less since 2001. I still go to the gym most saturdays, 30 minutes on the bike and workout with the fat girls. I know if I did more it would help, but I seem to be unwilling to make it happen in my life.

MY HEALTH Until a few years ago I was VERY healthy. Great heart, no problems except mobility and then about 18 months ago I had some symptoms that looked like diabetes. I was not surprised because of my weight, age and body type (barrel shape) I am a good candidate for diabetes and other problems. After some tests, I have struggled the last 18 months with pre-diabetes. I have lost about 10 pounds, eat far fewer carbs and more protein and vegetables. I still have a sweet tooth and desserts are my favorite, but I try to be conscious of what I eat. Today the doctor called and I have pushed back my pre-diabetes for the time being. All my tests are normal. I am pleased and he is pleased.

MY LIFE So, yes, I know I am fat, I have lost and gained lots of weight in my life, I am no longer doing that. I try to be friendly with food so it is not a struggle all the time, but it is my biggest foible. I do not know how to lose and keep off weight. The success rate is about 3% after 5 years. So, if you are concerned about my weight or my health, know that I too am concerned and doing all that I can to be healthy, but I will continue to be a human being that is good at some things and bad at others.
Thu, April 10, 2008 - 8:34 PM


Thu, April 10, 2008 - 9:56 PM
you know, I've not thought about your weight... my mom was big, my brother big, and I'm no skinny girl. I've just really liked you for who you are... and next time I see you, we will just split a carrot drink.. hugs to you cuitie!

Captain Paula...
Thu, April 10, 2008 - 10:59 PM
I'm mostly just happy that you are a part of this wonderful group, and i know that struggles with weight can be life long and torturous. It sounds like you've made some peace. I Hugs

Lying Bare..
Thu, April 10, 2008 - 11:54 PM
I love and admire and respect your candor, and just want to say, I think you are beautiful, I have a personal issue with my lack of teeth, and people want to know but never ask... sometimes that's good for my ego if they don't and other times I wish they would just ask what they want to know and get it over with, but maybe thats just me and really not them, I never really know.... in any case, sometimes, I think we are just meant to be a specific way, and if you are feeling well and are healthy, and comfortable, then why stress on it... I have heard that with stress hormones coursing thru your veins it actually keeps the weight on... so, if ya can reduce the stress aspect of it, ya may lose what ya wish without even having to give it much thought..... but no matter what, YOU are still you, and loved dearly for that fact, and I hope ya have an extra hug available when i see ya next time..... Bare

Fri, April 11, 2008 - 1:24 AM
thank you so much for sharing and being so open...i have not legitimately worn a belt in probably close to ten years and have strong self worth and failure issues with my own weight, and when i met you i fell in LOVE with your belt, and i thought "fuck, if i can look half as hot as affinity..." thats when i contacted you about your belt...thanks for including me on this and sharing so rock, sweetness!!

Fri, April 11, 2008 - 7:14 AM
Thank You!Thankyou for sharing! I am so happy that you have your helathissues under control! Just before reading this, I was obsessing on how much weight I have gained. I really need to get it under control. Thank you for the inspiration!

party radar...
Fri, April 11, 2008 - 10:56 AM
i've actually never thought about your weight b/c when we're together your personality is all i see. i think it's wonderful that you've been bringing up taboo conversations in your blog. i like how we're free to talk about things now that 10 years ago were out of the question. and i'm also glad to learn more about you. good job on warding off the diabetes. i hope you stay healthy so you can live a long time.

Fri, April 11, 2008 - 12:35 PM
Yay!I'm so glad that your pre-diabetes is no more. I've heard you be vocal about it and that was one of the few time I've worried about you---because you were worried. Keep up the good work! I love that you are unapologetic about being big. I *love* that you wear the cutest outfits and that your definition of beauty includes all sizes. I think it's amazingly brave for you to post your weight-numbers in your blog--which is definitely my own headtrip! I haven't been on a scale in probably over 15 years---I have eating disorders and the only way that I can avoid being obsessed with numbers (scale, calories, etc) is to avoid them, all together. So, my weight is either a huge issue in my life or not an issue at all, if that makes sense. I choose not an issue at all. :-)

Capitan Paula..
Fri, April 11, 2008 - 4:14 PM
and yes, I love your cute outfits, keep'm comming!

Fri, April 11, 2008 - 11:48 PM
what a great blog you've written girl. I'm constantly amazed at you. It's hard losing weight, I've been stuck at 240, but I know most of it is due to drinking beer. I'm going to the gym at least 3 times a week now and I've also got glucose levels from fasting blood tests that border on pre diabetes. Yes, cutting out carbs is important. I'll tell you this. Even though I'm having problems getting my weight down, going to the Y and doing 30 minutes of stairs (broken into two 15 minutes each) and then doing a complete workout makes me feel stronger. Getting the heart rate above 120 for 15 minutes is evidently key. That and all the freaking drugs don't hurt either. Lipitor, Niaspam, Linosopril, Toprol. All cholesterol and heart related shit. But I've got to shed some pounds. I don't want to ride another ambulance off the playa this year. Our last roommate James weighed 400 plus and he's got all kinds of knee issues. Too much stress on the joints. below 300 is manageable and not something insurmountable without surgeries (my cousin was up to 370 and got that stomach surgery and he's down to like 220 now). Weight issues are a pain in the ass. I've got them too. But I've got a good body image and so do you. I'm not sure why you wrote this blog, but it's pretty damn cool to read, mostly because I know you and I just think it's cool to read what you've got to say. Man, it'd be nice if I could shed 40 lbs in 3 months and be all buff on the playa this year. Congrats on getting the glucose down. Be active and keep off the sugar. I started using splenda, you can eat all that you want. You need to keep taking care of yourself because health issues are real (I know after abusing myself almost to death) and the world would miss you so much if you weren't around. I know I would.

Sat, April 12, 2008 - 6:58 AM
Thank you for inspiring me to talk about the 'elephant in the room' with a dear friend of mine...

The Monkeys June 2008

So this is how the real world gets Burning Man art!!!
from Elecktra:
So during my 2 shifts as a docent today, Sunday, I met a couple who were staying at the Marriot which is 2 buildings PAST the convention center, they were on the 26th floor on the observation deck and heard monkey screaming!! so they went for a walk to see where they were...... and found the art !! thought it was too cool!! I also met a long time burner from the comic convention who hasnt been since `99 and lives in Mendocino... came back later with more buddys. Also met a couple who had built the first greeters stations.... and their daughter who had her first burn at 8 months old... She is now 2 1/2... She had been wanting to get involved with the south bay burners but wasnt sure how... .. we met and she was thrilled!!
From Neon:
I had sooooo much fun on my shift last night! The tourists and people of San Jose are really ppreciating the monkeys being in town. One woman, visiting her son in San Jose, said in a long Southern drawl, after he told her the monkeys had been at Burning Man, "Well I've never even heard of Burning Man before, but now I want to go!" Then she turned to me a minute later and said, "Are we allowed to make noise on those drums?" And when I said yes, she ran toward them squealing like a child. Maybe you had to be there to see how cute this was, but, I tell you, it was a beautiful moment. An earlier moment had a group of about 5 young kids, around 5-8 years old, all running around and around the drums, hitting each one as they went by. We had a few cars pull was a group of people who had just been tattooed, they were in that semi-altered post-tattoo state and they stopped because they thought the monkeys were actual people swinging from pole to pole...
We also had a few people from a comic book convention who were really appreciative of the work.
Then there was one woman who was asking me a lot of questions and it took me a minute to figure out where she was coming from...see, she thought that the monkeys were actually swinging from branch to branch, so she was asking me if it was the speed or the centrifugal force that would make them start swinging. I could see that she didn't understand any of my explanations. Then when I finally said, "Do you see how each monkey is in a slightly different position?" and then when she saw that, I said, "They are stationary in that position, they don't move at all, they just look like they move." Then, she was so surprised, she screamed! It was so funny....her mind was so blown, and she screamed and I laughed and we high fived and then the monkeys started up again... i love that 3 minute down time!
And I look forward to my next docent shift! Neon
photo: Golddust

Alan Ginsberg: An Elegy DVD

Much poetry, much beat, open discussion of LSD and various other drugs, he got to sing his poetry with Paul McCartney, but my favorite moment was when he called William F. Buckley a Bircher (a term you don't see much anymore) and himself a faggot individualist in 1968. Talk about out of the closet. YIPPEE for radical self expression! his true love, Peter Orlovsky

*Ali Baba.

Wed, June 11, 2008 - 2:47 PM

Very cool!I had somehow completely missed that info about his personal life. Hooray for them! ...and, I don't recall knowing 'Bircher'. Very interesting.

photo: Elsa Dorfman

The Mangrove

We went to Reno last weekend on the train, home from Burning Man and then back up to Reno. We went for the Mangrove Opening, photos are over here.
There was also a baloon event in Reno and the view out our hotel room was fabulous.
In the middle of the week, Ali Baba and I took her friend Nod from London to Burning Man Headquarters for a tour. Visiting luminary and all that. She had a great time.
We are home, today is our first morning home together since Late July. It is a delight.

Beautiful Losers at the Lumiere today

This movie is still in theatres. A chance to see a new movement in art being formed by the kids that are making it.

This was dubbed a DIY movie (do it yourself) so I thought I was going to go and see the Maker Faire or tshirt reconstruction, my definition of DIY. But no, it had a little grafitti but it was mainly about the evolution of these artists and their impact on art and the impact of art on how they see the world.

I loved it, of course I thought it was a little long but the chance to see this on the large screen, go if you can.

Bomb It (DVD) 2007

Facinating movie about current graffiti all over the world, South Africa, Japan, New York, some history but mainly focusing on the artists and why they do what they do, the anger at the commercialism in the world vs. making a living being a grafitti artist. I seem to have a particular facination for all of this counter culture and how people live, always have so I will just keep watching these movies because it gives me a view of a culture that I am certainly never going to be a part of.

Loved it, a must see if you are interested in street culture or art, loved the process and international aspects. Wish I had seen it on the large screen.