Berlin Rocks!

After an amazing week in Berlin I’m ready to sit down and write it out of me… Berlin is such a cool city, alive with the pulse of potential and creativity. I had the rare opportunity to catch up with many family members: sister, 6 cousins, their other halves, my Grandmother, Aunt and Uncle, Great Aunt and Great Uncle.

My sister and I found a fantastic rooftop apartment in Prenzlauerberg on airbnb that only cost 40 euros a night. Every morning began with a meditation on the rooftop and most sunsets too. It was really magical to see Berlin from the perspective of a private rooftop. Airbnb is where it’s at for me if I’m going to spend a week or more somewhere and so far all of my experiences with it have been great.

I re-connected with Nick Mockridge, the Creative Director of Like A Wild Beast’s Fur which is a monthly event fusing techno and conceptual theatre at Berlin’s notoriously hard to get into nightclub Berghain. We got to celebrate his birthday twice- once at an intimate dinner in his art loft, where I was very happy to make a massive salad for the night; and on another occasion in a huge loft event space which was catered by some very creative gourmet chefs with several Berghain DJ’s, Nick Mockridge aka Anonymous Love and his 17 year old brother “DJ Thumbsucker” hitting the decks so we could dance the night away dressed in “Shabby Chic” eclectica.

I also made it down to dive into the street party celebrations- 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. There were white balloons all around Berlin, where the wall once stood and at 7pm on Nov 9th they were all released and floated up to the heavens whilst people cheered and cried and Peter Gabriel sang “We could be heroes” which David Bowie had originally recorded in Berlin.

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A new friend Louise took us to a beautiful yoga studio- Spirit Yoga- where we did a very hardcore power yoga class with Adam Rice. He’s a great teacher and his advanced class highlighted for me how easy I like to take it and how quickly I can loose my strength. I have been doing Iyengar yoga in Italy-in Italian and it is very much about realignment which is what I felt I needed after spending many hours transcribing video footage and editing on the computer. Getting back into ashtanga was very intense for my body but also motivating as I am determined to get stronger so I can hit the waves and surf when I return to Bali next year. Strength is a must for surfing along with balance which I seem to still have from my lighter almost daily yoga practises. I think it’s time for me to step up though and return to Birkam or Ashtanga yoga training- for the physical and mental strength it catalyses. Where in the world is my favourite AShtanga yoga teacher Danny Paradise? It’s important for yoga teachers to have a daily practise but it can become a lot maybe even too much when teaching on top of it. Luckily my teaching is mostly one on one and is a mix of life coaching and yoga, so I’m not physically pushing it by practising and teaching everyday… I’m really looking forward to 5 Rhythms dance and Yogabeats when I’ll be in London for a few weeks.

I got to hangout and have an art day and visit a ton of art galleries with music producer Lenny Mockridge and Izzie Baxter, the lead singer of my favourite new band “Black Honey”.

The highlight of the gallery tours for me was visiting Blain Southern’s massive gallery in what was once “Die Zeit” newspaper headquarters- a HUGE space! That whole area is full of galleries and the area even offers a gallery map- definitely a great way to spend a day in Berlin.

I caught up with Matthew Mockridge who is the co-founder of Neon Splash Paint Parties which are massively taking off in Europe and drawing huge crowds for their interactive colourful raves.

My sister and I hit several vintage shops and found them full of amazing pieces. I picked up two long 1970’s dresses, a thick Tirolean sweater and a yellow knitted cape.

Being with family for my Grandmother’s birthday was so comforting- just completely being myself and feeling such gratitude and wonder for us all being in the same place at the same time to celebrate with her- she is incredible and her life story is unbelievable.

My Godmother Margie Kinsky was in town too, doing her new one woman show. It is based on her new book which has made it onto the German bestsellers list- Go Girl! Ich bin so wild nach deinem Erdbeerpudding

On a slight come down after such a fun week in an exciting action-packed culturefull city but today was a really inspiring day back in Italy too, so I’m going to write a seperate blog post just about today.

One last thing please checkout, rent, buy, download, share this Independent movie that I was involved in making 5 years ago in NYC. We are all really happy that it is finally available worldwide so more people can learn about the internal struggles and PTSD faced by soldiers returning from war. It was appropriately released worldwide on November 11th 

Bye for now

BERLIN ROCKS!!!

Hoopy Halloween

Collage by  Darling Clementine

Collage by
Darling Clementine

So many people- adults and kids, floating through the streets of Rome in spooky costumes; it was all very Fellini. I didn’t dress up this year- well I wore my very “so bad it’s good” Moschino fleece jumper, sewatpants, a woolly London Underground hat and trainers…I guess I might have been a “Rude Girl or a “Chav” more by accident then intent. It’s kind of one of my comfortable looks- tacky vintage sweater, sweatpants, trainers and a beanie- it’s a very London look, or it makes me think of London and is all about the trainers really.

This Hallows Eve I set out to meet Darling Clementine to buy a collapsible bronze polypro hoop.

I love the global hoop tribe phenomena. In every major city, there is a tribe of hoopers and there hoops are a portal into some very interesting dimensions of the city. I usually try to track down the hoopers and find out where I can buy a hoop if I am sticking around a city for a while. Hooping has become a moving meditation for me and a part of my workout.

Darling had been so understanding when I was unable to meet up due to the film festival shenanigans and then some late nights transcribing video rushes. I was grateful that she kept a sense of humor about it and being an American in Rome, I figured she might like to finally meetup on Halowwen.

I pickedup a deliciious little Halloween candy gift of some amazing Raw Chocolates from Grezzo Chocolates in Monti- maybe my favourite area this time in Rome, for all it’s little vintage shops, weekend market, bio and vegan cafes http://www.grezzoitalia.it/cioccolateria-grezzo/

Darling and I had inspiring chats about Psychology, Ayurveda, Yoga, Tantra and Circus skills whilst drinking decaf soy cappucinos.  She is a super interesting person and founder of the Rome Hula Hoopers Network

https://www.facebook.com/groups/131910233665909/

We had fun hooping in the streets outside the funky cafe, while a man played a saxophone and another man in a wig started hooping too. Every hooper I might around the world has an interesting story and I love connecting to this magical tribe, making new friends and learning new tricks.

It was fun to watch her spinning the psychadellic LED hoops on the street, the patterns the create are mesmerising and I also love my new bronze hoop I have named “Diva”.

It was fun dancing back through the streets of Rome and the many people in costumes, occasionally throwing “Diva” high in the air or spinning around my head like a lasso.

Definitely plan to shoot a video of Clementine hooping with that LED at night around Rome, she’s got some good tricks and she taught me many in a short space of time.

So this year it wasn’t a big wild fancydress night for me but I’m glad I got out, away from the computer and transcribing documentary footage.

Hope you had a fun one

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Collage by Darling Clementine

Rome International Cinema Festival

I’m here attending the festival on a last minute decision as a Producer and am grateful to be recognized as one worthy of giving a last minute pass to. It wasn’t easy though, there was a lot of paperwork involved in getting a last minute pass but it reminded me of that familiar old lesson- doing the paperwork mostly pays off. That goes for funding opportunities, artist residencies, festival submissions and more. Putting time into the paperwork and doing what needs to be done can help to open doors to the expected and the unexpected.

Now here and midway through this festival, feeling a need to start blogging… if nothing else to keep track of all that I am seeing and learning and doing this week.

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I kicked off the festival by watching the sunset on the rooftop of The Bernini Hotel, where many people in suits had gathered to say hello to each other. It’s always a bit intimidating to go to a party unsure of knowing anyone there but I am getting accustomed to rocking up to events on my own and just looking around at people’s energy. Within moments of stepping onto the rooftop I got into conversation with a major Israeli film distributor and a French film sales agent. We swapped cards and were abruptly interrupted by a Producer who wanted to tell me about a very big budget film he has been developing and is seeking a co-producer for. I had to let him down gently and say that I was probably not that big player Co-Producer he was looking for but that I would love to read his script. He turned on me and asked “Why should I let you read this script?” and I replied “because you just came up to me and started pitching it to me and the only thing I can offer to do is read it. When I read it ideas and connections may pop into my head and if I like it and can help you make it I will.” He told me about the director he wants to attach and as it happens I have met that director a few times and he immediately offered to cut me a deal if I could get hima meeting with that Director. It was such a whirlwind and I found myself thinking “Why have I got myself into this schmooze game…I really find it all kind of bullshit”. Though I coached myself out of negative thinking and announced that I had to go and attend my first of many film screenings, the premiere of Italian romcom “Soap Opera”. We swapped cards and as he walked away an even better suited Director for his movie popped into my head so I sent him a quick email about that- 4 days later and he has not replied to my email so I am glad I didn’t waste my time getting involved in his slightly paranoid way of operating and in reading or become somehow involved in the goose chase of trying to help attach a big name Director’s to his script.

Here’s the trailer for “Soap Opera” it was cute and full of very modern Italian clichees and subversive dark humour which I felt good to be able understand. It’s something like an Italian take on a “four weddings and a funeral” or an “Almodovar” film with hints of “Shallow Grave” and “Delicatessen” in the art direction, set and costumes. I’m not sure if it will reach a large audience though but definitely Italians around the world would enjoy it and fans of European cinema.

I wanted to go to Asia Argento’s book launch because I really like the thought of making a film in Italy with her, but I couldn’t leg it over to the other side of town in time for that as I had to get dolled up and head over to another huge auditorium cinema for the red carpet European premiere of “Trash”. I gulped when I arrived and saw just how big and long the red carpet parade was (apparently one of the biggest red carpets in the world!) and just how many paparazzos and fans had gathered for it.  I have walked up red carpets before with friends to celebrate their work on big pictures but this was my first walk alone and I looked for another way in before being told to walk up the red carpet- much less painful then waking a plank obviously but still pretty intimidating… I took a deep breath and stood up straight before stepping onto the carpet, half pinching myself that this was really happening- that I was dolledup and walking alone like Alice in Wonderland at a glamorous movie premiere. I love it when life gets wierd in a glamorous way!

I met the Director, Stephen Daldry on the red carpet, maybe he thought he knew me as he said hi and we shook hands and I congratulated him for all his great films and told him I was taking part in a masterclass with him the following day. And then I stopped for a moment as a ton of flashbulbs went off around us, I felt a bit dazed and confused by it all. The film was incredible, also to see it on a huge screen. I felt on the verge of tears a few times throughout. The three young stars were incredible and the story was an interesting mix of a brilliant screenplay and improvised authentic documentary footage. I learnt more about this process and concept of fusing documentary and fiction in the masterclass. IT made a lot of sense to me as I have made both documentaries and fiction and it was inspiring seeing the two forms fused so powerfully together on such a big scale. See this film if you can. It will do for Brazil what “Slumdog Millionaire” did for India. I think the best part of the evening was seeing the expressions on the kids’ faces when the entire audience gave a standing ovation at the end. I felt stunned as I left the screening, I had been hit by an epic and important film- a movie with a social message that was also gripping and entertaining. It definitely gets my vote for The “Best Foreign Film” Academy Award.

Here is the trailer for “Trash”:

The masterclass with Stephen Daldry was insightful, to learn more about how he works, to learn tips about brining the best out of child actors, to learn learn learn and soak up his knowledge with space to ask questions and to give him my buisness cards. I would love to do a “making of” “behind the scenes documentary” on one of his films, but I learnt that his next project is a tv series called “The Crown” so it could be some time before I might get to do a “making of documentary” on one of his films.

I wanted to attend a masterclass with Wim Wenders and the screening of his documentary “Salt of The Earth” but again that event was far on the other side of town and public transport is slow in Rome so I knew I wouldn’t make it. I walked instead to the Bernini Hotel to attend a pitch session where 20 young Italian screenwriters had received funding to develop scripts and were pitching them to Producers hoping to go into production. It was interesting to hear some great ideas written and developed by writers under 30. I may have found one or two I’d like to work with on an idea that has been bubbling in my head every time I come to Italy, for a film I’d like to make in Italy…maybe with Asia Argento.

I heard very good reviews of the Wim Wenders & Juliano Ribero Salgado co-directed documentary “Salt of The Earth” and was a bit sad to have missed it so I will definitely try to see that when it is publicly available.

Here’s the trailer:

I then went to the screening of a Japanese film that just happened to be premiering at the cinema on Piazza Barberini shortly after I left the script pitches so I thought why not just watch this film- there were a lot of people linedup to se it and one of the benefits of a Producer’s pass is being able to just walk in and watch any of the films (other then the big red carpet Gala premieres which have to be pre arranged or invitation only). The filmmaker Miike Takashi had been awarded the “Maverick Director Award” as he has made over 100 films in Japan, many of which are live action manga adaptations and very stylistic violent films. Italy also has a track record of producing stylistic violent films and there is definitely an audience for gore- although it is not my genre of choice to create or to watch.

Here’s the trailer for “As The God’s Will” :

This Japanese film was very surreal and very violent, I don’t like watching violence or gore particularly but this was mostly done in an over the top or artistic way; such as red marbles pouring out instead of blood when people got killed… at the beginnig at least. It just got darker, gorier and more twisted as the film went along. It was like a live action version of a wierd manga cartoon. It felt like a social commentary on voyeurism, reality tv, violent video games and the sort of Japanese schadenfreude gameshows where someone is being chased by a giant bowling ball afraid for their life yet laughing hysterically whilst being sprinkled with giant evil giggling kitsch killer toys and a jpop all star looking cast of beautiful and talented young Japanese actors. God in this film is a man locked into his bedroom coding scripts for these teenagers to act out like they are his puppets and writing dark games for them to play where inevitably someone dies at the end of each game or test. At one point during the film I scribbled a line down on a piece of paper, about how they were all being tested on their intelligence, fitness, imagination and luck. I know I am going to have some crazy dreams after seeing that nightmarish film. It was definitely too long at 2 hours. I found myself squirming in my seat feeling tortured by beeing forced to watch the violent and sadistic “killing games” they were playing over and over again and considered getting up and walking out but nobody in the cinema left their seats and I was kind of both disgusted and fascinated hoping it might resolve itself have a deep moral story and a happy ending… I’m sure it will be banned in America for it’s violence and killings in a highschool setting and it’s not a film I feel people will benefit from seeing. However, it does have all the ingredients to become a cult film appreciated mostly for it’s wierdness, art direction and violence that particularily video gamers, horror/gore and Japanese Anime/Manga cartoon fans will appreciate.

Tomorrow morning I have an early start with Italian grammar lessons yuck I really do not enjoy studying grammar but it does make me a better speaker. Then I’m going to do a couple of back to back skype coaching and creative consultancy sessions before dressing up in a vintage and New Romantic-inspired look for another walk down that long red carpet and the European premiere of “Soul Boys of The Western World” about Spandau Ballet The Movie.

I have taken a lot of meetings with international distributors here to discuss my Guerrilla fiction feature film made in London and the documentary I have been independently producing and filming this year in Indonesia. This seems to be a market for more mainstream yet still experimental films- people are definitely signing deals her to international distributors and it’s been great to connect with so many, especially the ones who are known for purchasing film rights early before a project gets popular! It also gives me new energy for future projects- to be able to run them by and possibly get a distribution deal before going into production- even to finance the production… this could take filmmaking to a new level for me and so it makes it seem worth the while to go to festivals and connect with distributors for everything I have already made and everything I will go on to make- it’s also good to meet people face to face and look for real connections that will be energizing and have longevity rather than dealing with emails and anonymity.

Distributors look at my a bit blankly when I raise the topic of a documentary or tv series about healers and in particular sound healing. I have expressed how my interest is also on the varied journeys people have taken to become healers. One distributor suggested that it would be more interesting if I made an investigative expose film called “Shamans or Charltans?” to expose the dark side of lightwork: corruption, lack of integrity and money driven side of “healing” but that’s not the kind of work I am on a mission to make and that would also drag me down to investigate and expose corrupt healers. I am sure there are of course healers taking advantage of people who are troubled and or sick but I have been very lucky to meet so many healers who live and practise with heart and great integrity. I feel compelled to shine a spotlight on the good ones and currently feel some fusion of Anthropologist, Musicologist and Promoter of the concept and benefits of “Sound Healing” and and quite literally Sound Healers. The Sound of Healing : Project Page

A major TV Channel expressed an interest in the Guerilla feature film I made on a shoestring budget and very quickly in London. That film really needs one last edit, a polish, colour-grade and sound mix for me to feel good about sending it to a broadcaster for their consideration…although it is currently being submitted as a work-in-progress to festivals for a premiere. I’m hoping it will be accepted to a good festival and then I will be able to get the support to have these essential final stages of post-production carried out….and it would of course be incredible if it ended up being broadcast on television!

Ah life is fun with one foot in a platform heel and one foot in the lotus position!

To be continued…

Hi again so part two…

I thought to make this a separate blog but really it’s a roundup of the rest of the festival so prefer to pack it into one.

I attended the Spandau Ballet premiere, with another slow-motion walk up the long red carpet. Secutiry was tighter for this one and clearly Spandau Ballet are massive in Italy as the throngs of fans behind the barricades suggested. I wore a vintage balck and gold spandex 1980’s shoulder padded catsuit with my red recycled leather jacket and a lot of heavy eyeliner, hair backcombed and flipped over to one side. I was going for a New Romantic inspired look. It’s really so much fun to dress up for movies- especially when there is a theme. Getting ready for this premiere reminded me of going to see “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” as a teenager and the imaginative effort that went into creating a look for that. It was exciting to see the whole band together again on the red carpet and as they made a parade into the auditorium to introduce and sit through the film the audience were screaming and going wild! The film was good, I particularly loved the archive footage from the early pre-famous Blitz Club days also featuring Boy George, Leigh Bowery, Steve Strange and Philip Sallon (who almost became my manager at one point when I was making music. I love that man!)

It was a moving story of a band of London teenagers suddenly hitting the big time, then breaking up and then making up. It was also interesting to learn about the rivalry and then strong friendships with Duran Duran. One quote that stood out from the film was “There are only three things that breakup a band- sex, drugs and ego” In their case, as in many cases it was ego that brokeup the band and the songwriter’s need to control that only he would write the songs “for fear that someone else might do it better than him”- which eventually meant that after years of handwork all the other band members got screwed by his ego. It was very humble of him to admit that awareness and ill possibly be a cautionary tale to current successful bands- not to let drugs, sex, money or ego breakup the band. It all got much more positive towards the end when the band decided to reunite and return to what they loved doing in the first place -making and performing hit songs and lifting the spirits of the audience. This movie and premier was also an announcement of their comeback tour.

On another note…

I am slowly getting over the shock of the terrifying events that took place in Ottawa and in Canadian Parliament. A crazygunman ran through Ottawa shooting and killing a soldier, then ran into Parliament shooting open fire, shooting several people with a big gunfight culminating in Parliament and ultimately the gunman being taken down. It was very scary for me as my brother is working in Parliament and he was in that building, instructed to hide under his desk through the gunfight. The entire building went into lockdown after the gunfight as they tried to assess if their were more gunmen around and then also to deal with the chaos of hysterical people being in lockdown all day. I was very afraid and just prayed hard all day to know my brother was in the building but not to know if he was ok. I am beyond relieved to know he survived the ordeal and my heart breaks for Cpl Corillio and his family who suffered a great loss at the hands of a crazy gunman. I hope that there will be some sort of ceremony of healing for all who spent a day in fear for their lives and lived through the ordeal as well as to heal the building itself- the space needs to be cleared of negative energy…how are people supposed to just return to work as normal without experiencing some kind of trauma/PTSD?

It also made me feel that I have no more tolerance for sensationalized gore and violence in movies. When this traumatic shit happens in real life and someone very close to me was forced to deal with that kind of reality, it just makes no more sense to me to be entertained by sensationalized violence. I suppose it is a part of life- the shadows of the world but right now it would only make sense to me in movies if there is an underlying moral message or is based on real-life events as a factual account- still not my chic of entertainment.

After this day of praying and feeling terrified…I lost a bit of steam for the whole film festival networking thing and most of my enthusiasm for geeing out to watch more movies…still it was quite a full cup and inspiring experience at this year’s Rome International Cinema festival.

My head is down now in right-brained Producer organizational mode as I lineup the final stages of post-production on my my feature film shot in London- aiming for a cast,crew and friends premier there before Christmas. Also, very happy to learn that a feature film my company Co-Produced a few years ago, finally has distribution and will be publicly released on November 11th- very fitting as it is about soldiers returning from war and suffering from PTSD.

Will be back soon with some hopefully inspired learnings and reflections.

I leave you with this funny rap about meditation and to promote the “21day meditation experience”:

“Happy New Now & Cowabunga Namaste”

Top 13 Favourite Albums

Ah the time-wasting joys of Facebook. I was asked to compile a list of top ten albums and when I sat down to write them out it took some time…much more than I wanted to spend compiling a list just for fun. The friend who asked me to do this is a dear old friend and budding DJ Liam Mockridge so for him, I made the effort and it was fun. I realised that choosing my top ten all-time favourite songs would have been much easier because there are so many artists that I love listening to, depending on my mood. Choosing top albums involves loving at least several of the songs on there so, in the end I was able to whittle it down to my all-time top 13 albums plus 3 compilations. I am quite tempted to compile another list of my top 10 spiritual/yoga/meditation/world music albums too because there are so many great artists that I love in that genre alone and that’s what I listen to mostly these days but I don’t want to spend all day compiling lists of music I love – there is too much to do today! The albums on this top 13 list have stuck with me as great loves over the years and I never get sick of hearing them.

Depeche Mode- 101

Madonna- True Blue

Nine Inch Nails- The Downward Spiral

The Velvet Underground & Nico

David Bowie- Hunky Dory

Eek-A-Mouse- Wa Do Dem

The Doors- Strange Days

Patrick Wolf- Lycanthropy

Peaches- The Teaches of Peaches

Yoav- Charmed & Strange

M.I.A- Arular

The Beastie Boys- Check Your Head

Tchaikovsky- The Nutcracker

These are my favourite compilation albums because I have loved playing them from beginning to end over the years and still do- they have stood the test of time for me:

Nouvelle Vague- Nouvelle Vague

Hotel Pelirocco- Compilation

Kashpoint- Compilation

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Dream Journal : Whale

I’ve become increasingly fascinated by the concept of lucid dreaming and lately I find myself feeling conscious in my dreams just before I wake up I am aware of summarizing what I have dreamt about, or maybe it’s just the tail end of a long dream I am capturing. In any case I have noticed some synchronicity in the things I dream about lately. For most of this year, especially when I was in Bali- I was early to bed and early to rise and I did not remember my dreams. More recently, I have found myself sleeping through 3 alarm clocks and waking slowly, consciously running and capturing the essence of my dream as I wake. I think this is lucid dreaming and am interested to learn more about the art of lucid dreaming and being able to be conscious through more of my dreams to acess the knowledge of the subconscious world and maybe of some psychic intuition. Someone once told me that “dreams are like going to the movies for free” and I think that’s an interesting take on dreaming and maybe it’s the thing I love about filmmaking and it’s potential to visualise the inner and sub-conscious realms.

I am going to start writing them down here as blog posts in between writing reflections, experiences and observations. I want to write them down as an experiment, to see what synchronicities appear in waking life that correlate to my dreams.

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Last night I had a dream that I was on a dock by the ocean and a super creative friend (Art Director and Interior Designer Jamie Stimpson) was loading things into a small motorboat. Out of nowhere a huge whale slowly surfaced and swam up to my feet and started tapping the dock with it’s mouth. It opened it’s huge mouth and I stared straight into it. I knew that if I stepped inside the whale’s mouth he would go back underwater and I would be stuck for the rest of my life living inside his stomach like the legend of Moby Dick. For a moment I saw all that possibility playing out and saw myself living inside of the whale’s stomach. I didn’t feel afraid, I felt fascinated and a bit lonely. then I was on the dock and I consciously chose not to step inside it’s mouth and just looked on as it kept banging it’s head against the dock in front of me. It was a huge whale maybe 30 feet long and I was calling to my friend to come and look at the whale but he seemed to have completely vanished. I was afraid he might have already been swallowed by the whale. Then I woke up.

I went online to look up animal totems and their symbolism in dreams.

“To see a Whale in your dream indicates that you need to be more social or more vocal about something. Step up and speak up. Alternatively, the dream symbolizes spiritual guidance. You are ready to explore your emotions, but you need to make the connection between the conscious and subconscious aspects of yourself.”

I often look up animal totems when an animal randomly appears in my waking life too.

Here’s a good link for insights on animal totems Animal Totem : Whale

Baroque n Roll

Firstly, let me begin this post with saying that the “no complaints” experiment was awesome and I committed to it all weekend- not for just 24 hours. I have experienced some serious magic and serendipity occurring in my life since that experiment too, so I am truly mindful now of any complaints that might tumble from my voice box and just sort of biting my tongue if I feel something like a complaint pouring out or even sayng “wow that was me complaining” – in a way to own it and dissolve it. I have realised how complaining is essentially dumping energy onto the listener and I have also realised how often we modern day humans tend to bond through complaining. I don’t want to bond with people tat way- to do that to people or to have people dump their negativity on me. It feels as though in not complaining there has been so much space for positivity opening up in my life and recently it has all been looking and soundeding fantastical…and very baroque.

The highlights of life and learnings recently…

An invitation to the most AMAZING inspiring place I have been to in Italy: Castello Ruspoli where I attended the annual competition of young classical musicians from all around the world.

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DSC_0110DSC_0102 I dove deep into a 5 hour Baroque immersion as the 6 international finalists delighted our intimate group of writers, musicologists and judges with their mind-blowing talent and professionalism. I particularily enjoyed hearing each of them perform a new and never before performed piece, assembled from archive manuscripts as a composition by musicologist and a previous Ruspoli music prize winner Ana Lombardia Gonzlez. Each gave their own flavour to their own interpretation in premiering the “Tocata Number 3″ as well as performing 2 solos and 4 pieces accompanied by my new favourite instrument- the harpsichord.

( the finalists waiting nervously to hear who is the winner below)

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After much contemplation and deliberation between the judges, a new Baroque star was announced- 24 year old Amandine Solano a classic beauty in high stilettos and a biker jacket who was accompanied by her mother on the harpsichord. In between performances I took every opportunity to wander through the intriguing centuries old labyrinths of sacred geometries outside of the fortress-like Castello.

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I honestly felt as though I were in one long lucid dream with an endless score of Baroque performances or instruments being tuned or pieces being rehearsed endlessly echoing through the vast corridors. I also recalled the days of preparing for exams as a teenager and the reccommendation of our in house “learning expert” who taught us to listen to baroque music as we studied for our exams because apparently Baroque helps people to focus and is particularily useful for people with short attention spans or ADD.  It was a great treat to be in a fairytale castle, surrounded by musicians and musicologists – an experience I will cherish greatly. Also of course, the lunches and dinners- the Italian food was “da morire” to die for. And on the final day, classical music appreciators from all over Europe arrived to experience the prize winners performance, which was also recored to be released soon as a cd.

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It also thematically and experientially complemented the subject of sound healing that  I have been focused on with my own research and documenting of the Sound Healers and Shamans I met in Indonesia. I immediately bonded with a film crew from Brazil Owl Filmes who were there making a documentary about the castle’s musical history and the career-changing annual Ruspoli music prize.

All I can say is that after this intense baroque experience my whole body was buzzing and my heart felt as if it had burst wide open. Castello Ruspoli is a very magical place!

I also learnt that they are creating “Fugga Experience”- beginning with a cycling tour, where guests will stay at the Castello, cycle through the stunning landscapes by day and enjoy delicious food and wine by night. They also very kindly suggested I should consider to host a wellbeing retreat there, which is something I would definitely love to do with them and for you! That is something now in the pipelines for 2015. I think it will be a week of yoga, meditation, creative writing, dance, delicious food and some silence- to walk the labyrinths in silence and see what inspiration arises. Many years ago, Handel lived in the castle as an artist in residence and he composed some of his most well-known works whilst there.

I also discussed getting some recordings of the classical baroque instruments to have a play with some electronic-baroque remixes…so I have some interesting sonic experiments ahead of me too.

Before heading up to Vignanello I had been listening to music along these lines by Benjamin Skepper and Gabriel Prokofiev- so perhaps I had actually put the law of attraction into action by manifesting my Baroque immersion experience at Vignanello!

Upon returning to the hustle and bustle of city life, I was invited to attend the opening of an exciting classical-contemporary fusion exhibition by British Art Star Mat Collishaw in the  Galleria Borghese Rome.

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The main work presented was a very large scale sculpture that also functioned as a zoetrope which would sporadically spring into action with a whir and as it began to spin with lights flickering all the miniature marble sculptures became animated- they literally sprang to life. It was mesmerizing and a true masterpiece. He also presented large elaborate black framed looking-glasses throughout the museum, where after a few moments of gazing at myself surrounded by great masterpieces, a classical renaissance style painting would emerge on the mirror’s surface and slowly begin to move- to come alive. He was literally breathing life into the classical masterpieces and explained that it was all created in response to what he felt and imagined when looking at the classical pieces in the museum. To see his works sandwiched between famous masterpieces by Titian, Caravaggio and Bernini amongst others seemed to make an official public statement that his works are recognised as great contemporary masterpieces in their own right and in my opinion they are works that will stand the test of time and live on in the future as classical works of our time.

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Here’s a great little film about the new exhibition: Mat Collishaw : Vogue

I am truly blown away by witnessing all this classicism-futurism fusion in art and music and in my life at the moment too as I skip through the streets in vintage dresses and a recycled red leather biker jacket.

It seems that most Italians prefer new designer brand name clothing, which means there are a lot of great designer vintage wardrobe treasures to find in Italy. I have always found great pleasure in having an eagle eye and being able to spot jems amongst masses of vintage rails. It’s also perhaps a conscious style- to source second hand and vintage shops and recycle for individual chicness. Rome has some great vintage shops full of old Gucci, Missoni, Valentino, Moschino as well as many small “artigenale” shops where the designers can be seen inside working away on their sewing machines and are also very happy to customize their creations to your colour preference and tailor to your size.

I am loving everything about life here and now.

I am bursting with gratitude and wonder.

Definitely no complaints. Baroque n rollin’!

No Complaints

I realise that my blogpost from yesterday was a fragmented, streamofconsciousness rant and there was a bit of bitching in it- about L.A bulldozers… I want to keep this real and for me being conscious is being human and being aware/mindful…even if it is in hindsight/upon reflection. I strive to put this mindfulness into practise every waking moment but sometimes I slip up.

So I tried and failed to do this challenge today because the water system was shut off in my entire building, it’s sticky hot here and I couldn’t have a shower…so when I arrived late, sweaty and stinky to my language course and they asked me why I was late- I had to explain and apologise, which sounded more like complaining about not being able to have a shower- FAIL- which makes me appreciate how I took endlessly available water supplies for granted…and how challenging it is to go 24 hours without complaining!

Tomorrow is a new day and I am really going to go for it with this positivity challenge.

24 hours- No complaining…maybe I’ll be able to go all weekend…

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