“I. Consider the artist as a researcher (anxious, stubborn, enraptured) who finds at times a worker free from all ambition.”  Francis Ponge

Besides making film and video narratives, art and documentaries, are the jobs, side projects and various outgrowths of expression that I have undertaken over the years and continue to do.

In the beginning of the 1980s, we founded I AM EYE, independent film forum, in Washington, DC. Paul Bishow, Pierre DeVeaux (an extension of their film partnership) and I (worked at the venue, d.c. space, and was an emerging experimenter of film and storytelling and partner in some ways, too) held an open screening for film and video every other Monday night in the restaurant/performance area of d.c. space. It was $1 or one film to get in, and went on for nine years. From there on, it seemed natural to put shows together of many sorts, and network with filmmakers and artists around the world—at least, at the time, throughout the U.S. and Europe. I also formed a series of open readings called, A Bunch of Drunks Read Their Shit. That lasted a couple of years.

In the 1990s I was basing myself in San Francisco and then New York. I continued to be part of organizing, producing or curatorship for live and film shows. I come from the world of DIY, and that world is a group and cultural cooperative zone that supports the short- and long-term brainchildren of many people. Think small pop-ups and large burning mans for the extremes of frameworks in which people can get out there with their work, independent of and finding little or no relevance in the mainstream methods of the culture providers. Our friends in San Francisco had a performance space, Studio 4 that was also a living space. They put us up and then we lived there. From Studio 4, Sabot music duo (Hilary Binder and Chris Rankin) moved to the Czech Republic and started an international art center, CESTA (Cultural Exchange Station at Tabor). CESTA did truly bring together artists from around the world into temporary collaborative space from 1993 to 2013, completely grassroots. In 1990 Sabot named their second album Pam Kray. Top that, why don’tcha?!

In DC, San Francisco and New York, I worked as a film projectionist or a/v tech. In New York at Anthology Film Archives almost all the projectionists were/are filmmakers, too. And even in the straight world of tech work, I run into the artists, and again, the cooperative zones are established. I love New York. It has changed lately, but the incredible new spaces that open up are furthering the work of groups that came before and are showing how far the possible can go.

When I got into mushroom hunting, I got into digital production. I also became an involved member of the New York Mycological Society. As amateur mushroom clubs, groups, or societies go, the New York group is made up of authors, journalists, artists, musicians and doctors and other professionals. John Cage was a main founder of the group, and his anarchist manifesto of least codification of rules for the future made the NYMS my home, too. I had a great time editing the newsletter for about 5 years!

And since I’ve moved about 100 miles north of the city, I have joined a very small group of artists in a theater workshop at a men’s maximum-security prison 20 miles from where I live. The work we do there has revealed itself as life changing for me as well as for the inmates. For them it creates a space for expression and for planning an outside life back in society. It is transformational and wonderful to see the possibilities expand before our eyes. For me it is transformational as well to be part of art that does seem both for its own sake and necessary to the survival of those taking part in it. Performing to 150-250 inmates and seeing their and the guards’ reception goes against every stereotype regarding prison populations.

I teach media classes now and then at colleges, and have a small production/post-production company, Black Slate Studio, as well.

These are the interlocking worlds that make up this life. Sometimes it is compartments apart from one another, but mostly it is a network of interrelated activities and creations. Thanks for that opportunity.