Cruising down TX-71 blaring The Black Angels, I start to see the lights from Bergstrom International Airport and my heart begins to race. This is the first time in six years that I feel like I am coming home for a visit. Every other time I have come through Austin, I have done so with limited visibility to a large portion of friends by being very selective with who I let know. This time is different because I have laid all my cards on the table and was totally overwhelmed by the positive responses that I received. So, my heart races as I realize that I am coming home. Austin will always be a home to me. It is a place that has seen me through many transformations and some of the best times and worst times of my life.
That evening is spent getting settled in Jeffery’s house and meeting my roommates for the next 12 days. I am very grateful for being able to stay in one place for the duration of my trip. It allows me to empty my car and to actually see everything that I have brought and more importantly to be able to touch the stuff. One thing I do that first night, is set up an altar. The first time on this trip that I have been able to do this and I can feel the grounding effect this has on me. I feel connected to this spot in a way that I have not been able to so far along my journey and climb into bed for a night of restful sleep.
Ellen waves in the distance, I smile and head in her direction. She is one of my favorite people in the world and some one I admire beyond belief. Not only is she an amazing artist but she is a fantastic person that has been a source of comfort and knowledge for me along my own journey as a woman. I can only hope that I can match her generosity and friendship. We are at the Architects of Air show at the Long Center. As we stand in line for entrance, I see long lost friends of all stripes and get to say my first hellos. We enter the buildings and are teleported into another world. I have brought along my camera to take photos and I am not disappointed. I take several photos of the obvious geometric patterns but then as I walk around looking for more things, I notice that if I look at just a slightly off angle the patterns become more dynamic. This observation launches me off into a whole new direction for looking at what I am seeing. I pull focus while shoot a still and get an amazing photo. As I ponder all of this, I realize that the discovery I just had in Houston about participatory experiences needs to have the focus pulled on it to create new ways of understanding the direction I have started to head on this film.
Wednesday = Church Night in Austin, TX. Church night is a weekly gathering of the local burner community for socializing and sometimes to do some work. It goes as expected until I see someone I have not seen in years and that has not talked to me in just as long. My first instinct is to turn from her out of fear and as soon as I have done that I realize what a mistake that reaction was. I had hoped that I would see her so we could talk and put things behind us. However, my action has now made that a hard reality to bring into being. A mistake I must live with for the time being. I can only hope one day that time will heal all the wounds of the past. I know that I am ready to move on and forward with my life and my relationships to everyone. Beyond that, I spent most of the night talking with people about the film and letting them know that I am planning on filming at Flipside and being available if anyone wants to ask questions.
Due to an extremely heavy schedule getting face time with lots of the leaders, movers and shakers of the Flipside community, I ended up only getting one interview and some decent b-roll of a Combustion Chamber meeting. “The Combustion Chamber (CC) is a group of Burning Flipside community members who provide feedback and direction from the Flipside community to the LLC and the Flipside volunteer organization.” I believe that the CC model is a great way for communities to self organize as their events begin to grow either in size or quantity. It was the main subject of the interview I did get with Pat Wheaton. I felt the interview went well but I was a little off my game that day. The other person I was hoping to get some time with in front of the camera happened to be traveling during the time I was in town. And I made the decision to hold off on my re-interview with George Paap because I had just done an interview with him in August and I knew that I would be reshooting some when I returned to Austin. I am comfortable with what I did achieve because I am planning on coming back for the two weeks leading up to Flipside and I believe that most of my footage will come during that trip.
One last moment I want to immortalize. I got a chance to sit behind some drums for the first time since DC and the aqua jam. It felt so good to be able to hit the skins again. I was a touch rusty and really need to break out the practice pad I have been lugging around to at least keep my stick work in some kind of reasonable shape. But that is not what really stood out that evening. I have been working on singing for some time now, nothing serious but I have been known to get in front of the mic from time to time at Go Camp Go/Strawberry Jam and generally at the coaxing of Gogo, David or Maic. At some point, the other woman, Ashley Ewing suggested we cover Long Snake Moan by PJ Harvey and I stood up to mic. I was not prepared for what was about to happen. Ashley is way more talented than me, can sing and play a guitar, at the same time even. As we played the song, I felt my voice lock in with hers and felt the flow while singing for the first time in my life. For the 4 or so minutes we sang, I felt like I could actually do this singing thing and people wouldn’t run out of the room screaming. It was the highlight of my time in Austin. So thank you Brian Rush for inviting me. It RAWKED!