cat sitting

April 10th, 2000

I am the catsitter for Kim Cooper, the editrix of nasty Scram magazine, the first ‘zine to be distributed by Hearst, due in no small part to Kim’s superior writing skills. Kim is in Europe for ten days, and unable to celebrate the tenth birthday of Evel, the world’s most affectionate cat. He looks scary, but he just wants to kiss you. I bought him a bag of organic catnip and sprinkled it over him while singing Happy Birthday. I knew this would please Kim, and it put Evel in to cat ecstacy. Kim, in spite of her big city media jobs and masterful sarcasm, has a plot in the community organic garden these days, only a half block south of Sunset Strip. I water it for her every other day.

I met Kim while teaching at Heartlight (alternative) School in Canoga Park in 1982. I was hired on the strength of my publishing career as the school registrar, but ended up teaching art to the K through 2 group, jazz dance to the girls who didn’t want to play baseball, Spanish One to the high school kids, and one music class for all of the students, of which there were thirty aged four through eighteen. We made a recording of my send-up of Kenny Loggin’s tribute to the school, Welcome to Heartlight, and sent it to Dr. Demento. I was the only staff member willing to recognize that, at sixteen, Kim was more intelligent and more well read than anyone working at the School. We have remained friends ever since.

bohemians

April 9th, 2000

What are bohemians?

Before the hippies and the beatniks, there were countercultures, and this was the appellation. I have decided to use this word to include all generations of this particular social phenomenon, but in doing this I have to create a definition.

I think there are three defining characteristics of a person I would describe as a bohemian:

  1. An ethic that values compassion over profit or convenience.
  2. An ethic that values freedom of expression over conformity to an exterior norm.
  3. A fascination with the relationship between the physical and non-physical aspects of the universe.

After that, everything is up for grabs. People come in endless variety, which is one of the aspects I appreciate most about being alive.

Ciudad de Nuestra Senora, La Reina de Los Angeles

April 8th, 2000

I wanted to be in a city closer to nature, is what Anais Nin wrote in her diary in explanation of her move to Los Angeles after World War Two.

Los Angeles has a reputation for crowded freeways, Hollywood phonies, toxic air and hundreds of miles of seemingly undifferentiated suburban sprawl. This is not undeserved. However, my personal experience of Los Angeles centers on its other, much more appealing aspects.

The look of the neighborhood of my birth is of rounded forms, in the flowering shrubs and trees, Spanish architecture, pools, lawns, wide shady streets. Even Watts, now known as South Central, the famous ‘hood where violence often erupts, has this look. Ferral parrots–escaped pets–eat the tiny dates from the decorative royal date palms. Squirrels, racoons and opossum roam even downtown neighborhoods. The California chapparrel–the biome covering the mountains of the upper Sonoran desert of which LA is a part–is fragrant with herbs year ’round and brilliant with wildflowers in spring. You can still commune with nature on a day hike in the Santa Monica mountains or along the wide, golden coastal beaches.

Los Angeles is a place for doers. The artists who choose to perch here in the smog and mayhem move with purpose. They participate in big projects to be seen by huge audiences, both locally and internationally. While the acknowledged center of highbrow culture in the United States is New York City and the low brow center is Las Vegas, America’s middle brow cultural center is Los Angeles. Network television, major recording labels, commericial movies–LA knows its audience, or “market”, as it is called locally.

That is not to say that LA does not have a bohemian tradition as well. Health food and yoga first caught on here in the’twenties. My grandmother, ever the Lady of Fashion, followed the example of the movie stars of her time. She was sharp as a tack when she passed on at ninety-six. LA was where my mother studied modern dance with Lester Horton in the ‘thirties, where West Coast jazz filled my ears in the ‘fifties. LA is still the home of Pacifica Radio Station KPFK, the voice of the left in Southern California for several generations now. The very first Renaissance Pleasure Faire was a fundraiser for KPFK, and I was there (at age fourteen, playing a guitar shaped like a lute). At the Faire I met Art Kunkin, publisher of the LA Free Press, who gave me my first paying job, doing graphic layout, in 1966.

Living Out of Suitcases

April 5th, 2000

Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like where your stuff is.

So what do you bring for eight months of driving through twenty-three physical states and untold metaphysical states, while updating a web site, performing live music, selling four kinds of merchandise (each with its own display), teaching a few classes, running a small business, and making occasional forrays into wilderness? If you are a Taurus, the answer is Everything. So, I am now perfectly equipped–for developing upper body strength.

The biggest challenge is remembering where a specific thing is, and not to space anything out when I change crash location. I acquired six suitcases, each a different color, all with wheels and pull-out handles. They have names by now: “The Tool Shed”, “The Steamer Trunk”, “The Costume Department”, “The File Cabinet” and “Supplies, Supplies!” I tried to put things of like use together and inventoried each bag.

The coolest item I bought for the tour is an inflatable bed that travels in a small duffle bag. I never have to wonder whether I have a comfortable bed anywhere I go. And, of course, I fitted it with purple flannel sheets. This is not a tour of motels. This tour exits only through the generosity of my fellow artists, who are putting me up in their homes as I travel North America. Somehow I am blessed with an absence of allergy to pets, a willingness to help out with the dishes, and a sincere appreciation of even rather humble circumstances.

How do you know if hippies have been staying at your house?

They’re still there.

Pharoah of the Sun

April 5th, 2000

Mom and Ralph treated me to the Ahknaten exhibit at the L A County Museum of Art. I instantly loved Ahknaten. He revolutionized Egyptian art, religion and social politics. His artists portrayed people and animals with much more natural movements and shapes than the proscribed Egyptian stylized forms and poses. I particularly loved this stone carving of the royal family, inwhich the parents are cuddling and kissing their children. Archeologists believe he recognized his wife, Nefertiti, as an equal because she is depicted as equal in size to him in these images. This alone puts him thousands of years ahead of his time.

He was the only pharoah to worship only one god, Aten, the sun, and even that god was not anthropomorphized. He worshipped the sun as White Light that also shines from within, the creator of all beings as one family. This concept did not re-emerge until the advent of Judaism, and is still under discussion. Where previous–and succeeding–pharoahs demanded that royal artists depict them in physically ideal form, with perfect faces, square shoulders, muscular torsos, and slender hips, Ahknaten allowed his artists to reveal his slender torso, convex abdomen, full hips and oversized facial features. His faith must have imparted a humility unusual in a monarch. His innovations in art, architecture, religion and social form were immediately destroyed after his death, by his son Tutankamen. That’s King Tut as in King Tut’s tomb.

There are banners for the Pharoah of the Sun exhibit all over West Hollywood, just in time for Passover, the feast with a story inwhich the pharoahs are visited by locusts, lice, plagues, and other things you normally wouldn’t mention at the dinner table.

welcome to my new site

Welcome to my new site.

I hope that you find it easier to get the content you are looking for and used to.

My old site is now here, and will no longer be updated.

The e-commerce engine should be working in a day or two, so as to facilitate purchasing my CDs, books and art.

Stay tuned for that and much, much more, including podcasts, a blog, and new ways to stay connected to people who are living on the earth 21st century style.

beginning the journey

I have been living on Maui since 1984, and, before that, from 1974 to 1981–most of my adult life, really. I have friends there I’ve loved over twenty five years, even some who were my "sort-of stepkids" (boyfriends’ children from previous relationships that I parented) who are now parents themselves. In 1988 I started a wedding planning business as a venue for my art. I made my own floral arrangements and decorations, sang and played guitar, designed and wrote my own advertising and promotional materials. It was difficult to get away for a few weeks during those years. I had promised myself that, when I got out of the wedding planning business, I would take a road trip around North America and visit the friends I had seldom seen since the ‘seventies. I sold the wedding business last July, after 3000 weddings and untold hair-raising experiences. The publication of the revised Living On The Earth provided another appealing reason to travel. Since the fans of my book are often of a bohemian persuasion, and the friends I will be visitng are as well, why not read from the book at my friends’ favorite bookstores when I visit them? And then, why not write about what is going on in the bohemian world all around North America as I am doing that? And why not sing the songs I wrote at the time I wrote the book while I am at the book-signings? Shouldn’t I also make a CD of these songs for the people who enjoy the singing? Since I am selling books, why not also sell my art? Maybe I can, at least, keep myself in tofu and gasoline for the trip.

 

Aikiko Akioshi, founder and leader of a famous big band, said in an interview that do ambitious art projects one must be a little naive. Leap before you look. That is my credo, yet I am methodical. I packed my household goods into labeled boxes in a storage container. I spent hours on the phone booking gigs, lodging, media. I found a good home for my pets. It is the naivete that things will work out that keeps me going. I have had setbacks galore, but I am also blessed with unexpected assistance along the way.

 

Rabbit Moving Day

 

We moved the rabbits today. The rabbits have been scheming to move to Haiku ever since I sold the wedding business. Through their powers of deliberate creation, they have managed to attract an invitation from the fabulous Diana Dahl, founder and president of the Maui Organic Farmers Association. They will live in their current spacious rabbit condo, but next to Diana’s garden, where they will turn her weeds into fertilizer, amuse her grandchildren, and meditate. I knew they would be cool there, but I cried all day during the move because I will miss them.

I wrote this letter of instruction to Diana and her partner Roy Smith:

Dear Diana and Roy:

I thought I would give you a little introduction to my two houseguests-for-life.

Nijinsky, whose name was inspired by his light-footed movements and fawn-colored fur (harkening to Nijinsky’s most famous role in Afternoon of a Faun), is the personality rabbit. He prefers being petted to eating food, provided the food is being offered at his normal feeding time. He is a Libra, sociable, intelligent, even-tempered. He has a palpable sense of humor considering he is a creature who expresses all things in pantomime. He is six and a half years old, which, in human years, would be 65–a spry older man. He has lived with me since he was 10 weeks old (a Christmas surprise from Chip). He had a little stroke a couple of years ago, which is why his mouth is crooked, like Popeye’s.

Moonlight is a Taurus–stubborn, beautiful, slow on her feet, fond of food. I got her "free to a good home" at the age of one, already spayed after two litters. Now she’s nearly 5, or 50 in rabbit years, and still a bit traumatized from whatever occurred before she came to live with me, although much more trusting than she was four years ago. After I got her I had to get Nijinsky neutered because he was all over her and she wasn’t into it. He eventually forgave me. Sometimes he forgets and humps her anyway. She fights him off, which is why she sometimes has a bald spot on her back. Nonetheless, she loves him devotedly and bathes him frequently. He knows this and shoves his head under her chin to let her know when he wants to be bathed.

The reason I had walls put in around the bottom of the cage is to prevent cats and dogs from coming close and scaring them. I made the cage close to the ground with screen all around so that predators can’t nip at their feet from underneath. I suspect this is what Mrs. Bunny suffered from in her last home.

They need their water changed every day, so that algae doesn’t grow in their water container. They are accustomed to sharing one whole carrot and some greens each day. They crave variety. Whatever you weed out of your organic vegetable garden ought to please them mightily. They love ha’ole koa. They enjoy most flowers; here, I pick the hibiscus flowers and leaves from the hedge, and some cane grass. Mrs. Bunny is wild about her greens. Mr. Bunny likes sweets–banana chips, or an occasional slice of apple.

They also get three scoops of Kay Tee Rabbit Food, a sort of granola that has their very favorite treat, banana chips, blended in, along with a variety of nuts, seeds, and dried carrot slices. I buy it at Long’s. If insects try to get into the food, place the food dish inside a larger dish and fill the larger dish with water to form a moat. The best vessel for this purpose is a round, flat-bottomed plastic florists’ design tray, available at Of Land and Sea in Kahului. If that doesn’t discourage them enough, I sprinkle some pyrethrum powder on the wooden parts of the cage to kill the bugs. So far that has worked well.

They need their toenails clipped every month or so. This is something they do not like, but if you don’ t do it, they catch their long toenails on the cage floor and hurt themselves. It’s a two person job. One person wraps the rabbit up in a towel and holds it securely; the other person clips. The rabbit doesn’t mind being held as much as fearing being dropped, so support them well. You clip so that you don’t cross the pink part at the bottom of the nail where the blood is.

Cage cleaning: put the rabbits in a travel cage (together), and hose down the inside of their condo. Let it dry a bit before putting them back in. Keep the caged rabbits out of direct sunlight; it can kill them.

If they need a vet, the rabbit specialist for Maui is Dr. Cindy Krach at Animal Care Hospital in Kula. She neutered both of them. Hospital records show Moonlight under the name Babette, a name she hates, that I gave her years ago. Her former owners called her Roxy. Her mother
belonged to Candle Summers.

The whole rabbit dance requires about ten minutes per day, plus the monthly toenail and cage cleaning time of 30 minutes. Of course, they are happy for the break from boredom any time you want to get into the house with them and pet them, unless it’s nap time (mid day and mid night), in which case they will let you know they feel you are imposing.

Thanks so much for your time and love in undertaking this mission. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Alicia