Jeff here a few months after our epic journey across the country on a blog you all thought was dead and gone. Low and behold we're still here and still crackin'! In case you weren't sure from our previous posts, I was shooting the documentary of our voyage and all the people we'd met and at long last I have a trailer ready for you to see and enjoy and comment and pass on to your influential friends.
If you'd like to check it out in higher quality I have it hosted here at my production "company's" site American Spirit Wolf!
Dear Faithful Ladystalkers- Please forgive our two week hiatus. Like all good things, The Break Free Project's first survey of small town American innovation, ingenuity and community enrichment came to an end on August 11th with our concert at the Mesa Theater and Club. As Mavi pointed out, it was a complete thrill to share a stage with Crowded Agnes a very cool and promising local band AND with one of our high school musical heroes, Trevor Adams of Jones/Adams Duo. I'm sorry for people who can't see these bands live and psyched that our hometown still possesses such coolness. Unfortunately/Fortunately, this trip was such a tremendous success and overwhelming learning experience that it's taken me-and I'm sure Julia, Mavi and Jeff-a little bit of time to process everything, to reflect on the wonderful people we now call friends and to put my thoughts in order. Once we arrived in Lafayette Louisiana, our days went into fast forward, there was just so much to learn and try to comprehend. We met people and gathered information at a breakneck pace through Texas, New Mexico and Colorado. I can't wait to share it all with everyone here and in the documentary when it's finished. It can't be overstated how much we appreciate the people that we met from Philadelphia to Taos, from Boston to Breaux Bridge, Athens, Tuscaloosa, Jackson, New Orleans, Raceland, Baton Rouge, Austin, Taos, Durango and Loma, Colorado. We were overwhelmed by a few common themes as we went from place to place; kindness, altruism, genuine care and stewardship of the land, and caring, open-minded people who are invested in their local communities and working hard to make them more beautiful, productive, livable and healthy in every sense. A trip like ours would convince anyone that this country is in very good hands. Unfortunately for all of us, we did not see the whole story. It's obvious every time we see strip malls, parking lots, crowded highways, feedlots, urban sprawl and small towns that have entirely vanished that not everyone in our country is able to live their lives in these community enriching ways. It's up to all of us to try to be more like the people that we met, many of whom I'll write more about in the coming weeks. For now, here are a few pictures of us in the home stretch. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more updates, profiles of some of the great people we met and information on future Break Free Project odysseys! ~Kate
Here I sit, enjoying the comfort of my childhood room, myspacing my brains out, barely cognizant of the fact that not two weeks ago, I probably had one foot on a bucket full of strained grease, the other on a grease-saturated sand bag, one hand gripping the towl rack of our RV bathroom as I suspended my rear expertly above it's moving target. I'm also barely cognizant of the fact that for the last month people have had nothing but my crampy mug to look at. I don't have any photos to share because my purse was stolen back in Louisiana, but we made it! In short, the Ladyhawke has some repairs in Durango, we've had a fabulous time in GJ: Sukato flew out from NY and rocked the mic like some kind of musical terrorista, we teamed up with heart-throbs of yore, the Jones-Adams Duo. We're now in the process of finding a home for the lovely Ladyhawke, so if anybody has $5-$100,000 to spend, let us know. Hopefully Kate will have some photos for you soon.
Shortly after our radio interview for KTAO in Taos, NM a since-the-80's solar powered radio station, we decided to get some New Mex-Mex for Breakfex. Unfortunately, we had an unwelcomed guest-CRAMPS! I didn't believe in the healing powers of Julia's hands when she worked her magic on a skateboarder's collarbone back in Athens, GA, but I'll be damned if her hot little hands didn't feel good on my woman regions. I still could've used a whiskey.
Here's us on some road outside Big Springs, TX. We changed a filter here because we didn't have any cardboard and we figured noone would be around to scold us for spilling veggie oil on the road. Noone scolded us but several truckfulls of gentlemen cowboys asked if we needed help. Jeff got a shot of us driving into the distance and some guys stopped and were concerned that Jeff was hurt. Jeff said no, but was unable to turn around and acknowledge them because he was filming.
So then we were merrily, merrily, merrily on our way to Big Springs to check out some wind farms. We found one and drove through the front gate. They had a sign that said you have to sign in at the visitor center, so I hopped out and wrote my name and organization on their clipboard. Most of the other visitors were from GE and the like and had a contact name, but I figured that didn't matter. Fortunately we were able to get some good footage before the turbine police discovered us and told us we were not authorized. I have my suspicions that they heard about us from Exxon in Baton Rouge.
Wind Turbine. Much cooler/larger in real life.
We had a heck of a time finding grease in both Austin and Big Springs. All the grease in Austin was already under contract by biodiesel companies and so we started to get desperate. Much like so many settlers braving the wild frontier before us, we started to see a meal for the Ladyhawke in the most loathsome and rancid of grease barrels. We found two barrels worth that smelled deceptively stomachable behind Hunan Garden of Big Springs but miles and miles of bellyaching from the L.H. let us know that when in doubt, don't fill your flippin gas tank with it!
Since I haven't blogged since Alabama, this blog's all about me! Here's more pictures of ME! Here's some seriously suspect grease which the Ladyhawke turned her nose us at. It ain't no Cafe' Du Monde.
That was the advice that Jim, a local tattoo artist in Austin, TX told me recently when I asked him where he'd like to live most (this was after he told me that he didn't like where he lived). He had a couple of parrots on his forearms to prove just how serious he was about being in that sort of climate. Jim proceeded to tell me, as he was giving me a tattoo, that he accidentally messed up a client's rose thorns recently because he was distracted by a conversation about a television show. Luckily, I don't watch much TV and was able to harness his concentration in that regard. Shortly thereafter, we did not go tropical, but NW through Texas, stopping in Amarillo, TX for the Cadillac ranch which was incredibly meditative. Pictures attached! Love to all, Julia
Things here have been good. We are in Lafayette tonight. The show at 307 went really well and the place was really nice too. Lafayette is interesting because it's apparently much more Cajun, (historically lower-class, more recently-arrived French-Canadian outcasts) and less Creole (like upper-class New Orleans French). We met a guy, Devon, who grew up down on the Bayous south of here and he gave us a tour of Grand Isle and the rest of the swampland. Devon told us that Grand Isle used to be a mile away from the water, but since the Mississippi River was damned in the 50s coastal errosion has brought the Gulf of Mexico within 100 yards of town. Someday, he said, the water will overtake the town.
Then we had dinner with his dad who fixed us a boiled shrimp dinner. It consisted of 20lbs of shrimp and vegetables boiled in a ten gallon pot over an open propane torch in a garage. He stirred it with a wooden boat paddle and it was served straight onto a newspaper-covered folding table. Very authentic and very delicious.
Before that we were in New Orleans and the guy who ran the RV Park we stayed at, Corry, lived in a parish just outside the Ninth Ward. He took us around to see the devastation. At first it didn't look too bad. Most of the houses were still standing in his neighborhood. But then you looked closer and you could see most of the houses were completely vacant, with very few people returning. Every one had an X spray painted on the front of it. Corry told us that the X meant that rescue workers had searched the house for bodies and then there were other marks that meant they had found someone or not, or if they had found pets, etc. Then we drove over to where the levee broke and there were only cement staircases with tall grasses for blocks and blocks. The experience was profound and I hope it transfers over into the film.
All told, Louisiana is, as Kate has said before, the front lines of industry and the economic trade-offs we've made in bringing petrolium into our lives here in this country. Almost everyone here lives off oil money, yet oil has been cause for some of the worst problems the state faces.