Thursday, July 31, 2008

Self portraits by the sounds of the philharmonic

I just returned from listening to the LA Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. My friend's parents have box seats and for classical, that means you are sitting at a table with a "waiter" serving your every whim. We had our own food, and wine, lots of conversation so we were pretty self sufficient . As I sat there with glass in hand, I wondered what the others were thinking when they listened to the sound. For me classical music clears my head of the muck of the mundane - work, stress, problems, errands - and goes straight to the creative. How am I shooting the trailer? The words came to me, the visuals in place, the way I imagine it to be. I faltered on a few "maybe this is too specific" but this blog is all about commiting the ideas to paper and then decide.
I was thinking about how my artwork has always been self portraits. Oftentimes mixed media but more specifically I thought of the series I shot around 1998. I guess it was after the fall, when I moved to Park Slope. I shot a series of self portraits in a white eyelet cotton slip and a big illuminated stomach with a cord hanging from the edge of my slip, down to my feet and plugged into the wall. I took the images and made photo transfers, ironed and sewed them on to the original slip and performed a surgery to make the round illuminated stomach permanent in the dress. At the time I was fascinated with the simple idea of lights on/lights off, communication flowing/communication severed. At which end?I spray painted silk roses and stuck them into the stomach. This piece was really about the death of an unborn. I didn't think of it that way, I didn't really think at all but I called it "orbed" and another "unplugged" so yeah, I guess we are talking about abortion, or really just losing a life before it began. Let me be clear about this: about abortion does not mean against abortion. The piece was picked up by Hofstra College for a show produced by SAF, Survivors Art Foundation. I was out of town whent the show went up and despite my directions, the pieces were installed completely wrong. They lost their meaning. But I still remember.

Tonight I realized how personal this story needs to be - because that's what it's about - being adopted and wanting to know where you came from. If I am going to interview family members, shouldn't I "interview" myself? The artwork is a direct connection to my yearning to know where I came from. While the film is about baby brokers and adoption in the US, it is specifically about my experience as an adoptee and finding out that I was sold. Even though I didn't know this until recently, it was never right and I've explored this in my work many times. So that's my jumping off point- the self portraits, the self. People have such difficulty accessing information, their subjects - I have mine right here. Thousands of images. That's where all the questions begin to take a shape of their own. So that's where I will begin.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What stuck together

Originally uploaded by chutes and ladders
Two of three of the photos.

I have nothing else to say right now. I just feel sick.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

virginia wolfe's room has broken angels

In reading, researching and writing about adoption, adoptee's rights, baby brokering and probing into my own family history, I'm unearthing details I couldn't write for fiction. This space - my blog- I think of as an online "room of one's own". And that is two-fold: it is the place where I can express my thoughts, and it is actually about my history. Not the one I've created but about my creation. Where I am from. All of those N/A's on my registry papers.

On Saturday morning I woke up and dug into a large tub filled with negatives and photos. On top of the tub was a Converse sneaker box filled with mostly letters from my friend Gillian, concert ticket stubs from high school and college, and some random photos. The first thing my hand pulled from the box were a group of photos stuck together from age. The photos were from different years, different subjects - I had never put them in this order- but they were together for a reason. A polaroid of me at 7 months (clearly marked in my 8 year old cursive), a self portrait in a white sequin tank top and a pink tiara from college where I had added wings and the word "angel" across my head in white out, and a snapshot of me as tinkerbell in a flying accident, our friend Bryan and David at Barney's Beanery on Halloween after my car accident in 1999. I had eccentuated the bruises on my face and had band aids on my arms. One of my wings was broken.

So what was similar about the polaroid baby photo? There were no angels in the photo, unless you count children as angels, which according to my parents and friends of the family, I was the most good natured baby and well behaved child. That's not it though. It is the bruising around my face, as if I had been in an earlier flying accident. This was no accident though, no normal child bruising. A doctor could tell me what I already know. How far back do you remember? Some things leave permanent marks.

And so if there is any grey matter with SM, it is that his "practice" whether it served people well, was still the selling of babies, not to people who were necessary perfect parents - he wasn't in the business of determining that. Did I have opportunities created by my parents economic status? yes. Did I get to become who I am today because of it? no. I have gotten to where I am despite it.
This is going to be a very nasty road to dig up. I hope we - adoptees and birth parents separated- find it worth it all.

all sold

all sold
Originally uploaded by blinkeke.
jesus christmas.

"i want to be the girl with the most cake"

enough said.

Little Red Riding Hood

Originally uploaded by Ragazza*

I don't know if it's because the three things that frequent a Flickr adoption search are cats, pandas and these freakybeautiful dolls but I'm becoming crazy obsessed with them.

This is Goldilocks but I call her Little Red Riding Hood. We all know what happened to her: she went searching for answers, found her grandmother before the killer wolf, dressed in her grandmothers bed clothes, tried to eat her too. Oh yeah, she was saved by some guy with an axe.

And that's a fairy tale, kids.

ISO of the shell

136/365 I wish...
Originally uploaded by spring_peeper
I found this heartbreaking image about infertilty posted by spring_peeper on Flickr. I imagine every month to be as fragile as an eggshell. We are such complex beings sometimes yearning for that something that should be simple.
I look at this image and see myself hatched from the egg, trying to to find my way back in to one of the four black corners.
Being an adoptee with endometriosis, I get the heartache from the other side. And that makes me think of birth moms too, what I'm reading in Lynne McTaggart's book and the birth mothers confused, coerced and threatened into giving up their children and realizing, that yes, my mother was/is one of them. So I dedicate this to her, wherever she may be.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Table: 1st Meeting

Hollywood Creative Directory


1. Find a "mentor"
2. Go through NYU's back door by asking for a letter to interview NYU filmmakers for video archives
(more direct - email Lorie for contacts)
3. Shooting in other locations: using a college student (GA: Savannah, UGA, Circus)
4. Watching DOC films: Amoeba, Jerry's Video on Hilgard
5. Documentary suggestions: Barbara Cobble (Harlem County), Ken Burns (photography+Film), Richard Brash
6. Trailer examples: Apple Trailer - Documentary (on a wire), YouTube, MySpace
7. Celebrity adopting children - involvement, possible voiceover
9. WIF Malibu Breakfasts: speak to Candice Bowen (VP Membership), referred by Robert Anicko

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

So that's where I came from

The "Made In Taiwan" stamp on Ken's butt has new meaning to me.

Meeting with Tien Nguyen

How lucky am I to get advice from a smart and talented woman who looks incredible just a few months after giving birth.? Today documentary filmmaker (The Story of Spirits) Tien Nyugen and I met to talk docshop. I believe my first words were "Hey, the last time we were together, you were puking in the bathroom from morning sickness" That's so charming of me! I can't wait to start interviewing people!
I so get what I need to do right now, and I've got lots of work to do. I am absolutely determined to secure funding - through online marketing and grants.
Here's my right now list of things to do:

  1. Research NP's for sponsored funding
  2. Research and buy a camera!
  3. Listen and read online successful pitches
  4. Watch every documentary on parents and children
  5. Invest in a basic seminar

First 3 goals

  • Shoot 2-3 footage/trailer
  • Write the perfect pitch
  • Align w/NPs
Thanks Tien!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

If you are in or near New Orleans on July 22nd

There will be an adoptee's rights demonstration during the National Conference for State Legislature's Annual meeting on JULY 22nd (yes, that's next week).
The Adoptee's Right Committee's protest is in effort to end discrimination against adoptee's basic right to their history and to unseal birth certificates (this is state legislature so right now only a few dates have unsealed bc's). They have three slogans to get their point across:

Stop discrimination against adopted people.
Equal Rights for adopted citizens.
End birth certificate discrimination.

To find out more information about the demonstration,please visit The Adoptee's Right Demonstration

for adoption: darling diva SOLD

Some days I feel like darling diva. Now more than ever...

Kid art....

Kid art....
Originally uploaded by CleverGirlBek
On the subject of children and creative energy (it starts early!), I love when parents take the fridge magnet off their children's art work and make it a focal point of the home.
There's a direct connection between CleverGirlBek and myself that I am exploring now that makes this image even more special to me
More on that soon!

Adoptees Lifting The Fog

Social Networking and support for adoptees and birth parents

View my page on Adoptees Lifting The Fog

what am I doing here?

about me/about my film:

I was adopted at birth. At age three, my adoptive parents divorced. My adoptive mother is bi-polar; my father remarried four times. Growing up I began to question who negotiated this adoption; had anyone screened my adoptive parents or was the price just right?

I began searching for my birth mother and found very little information until I got the name of the lawyer who handled my adoption. He is a notorious baby broker who coerced young and terrified girls into handing over their white babies and (unbeknownst to them) selling them to affluent Jewish families for 25,000 per child. He has been disbarred in three states, written about in "The Baby Brokers, The Marketing of White Babies in America" by Lynne McTaggert, and even sold the babies of female innmates.

I have been connecting with birth mothers and learning of their experience and adoptees like myself who found their birth mothers or who are still searching. My documentary is about the selling of white children as commodity and the lengths that others will go to profit from the pain, exploit the embarrassment of a pregnant woman who in these cases, were lied to, treated like garbage and threatened that if they did not "deliver", they would go to jail. My birth mother is one of these women.

My journey begins by interviewing Jaymie, a birth mother exploited by the baby broker, who became a police officer, and then committed her life's work to reuniting over 2000 successful adoptees/birth parents (including her own), to other birth mothers and adoptees who were casualties of the baby broker. The subplot is my own search for my birth mother (with the help of Jaymie), interviewing my estranged adoptive family and adopted friends who've chosen *not* to search for their birth parents.

The end goal is not to find my mother, but about the relationships lost and found, those who unknowingly sold their children, finding out that you were bought for a staggering amount of money, and those who orchaestrated and profited from a profoundly personal and painful experience. Whether it is $100 or $25,000, should people make money from selling children?