October 4th, 2012
For the past 3 months life felt like I was wigging out; I could've checked myself into an institution. But for the past almost 2 weeks, life is looking up.
Later tonight, Iím heading to Puerto Rico with my siblings and in laws for a belated birthday in honor of my amazing little sister Blanca. Itís beautiful to have siblings and in laws like I do. We have times to remember.
This past Tuesday, in preparation for Mr. Blacks Masquerade Ball, I re-watched Wigstock: The Movie. Itís been a little over 10 years ago since I was lucky enough to be at the taping of the movie in both Tompkins Square Park and at the Christopher Street Piers. it was truly a gay and happy Extravaganza! Iíll never forget it. The list of performers was unbelievable: Lady Bunny, Leigh Bowery, Debbie Harry, Joey Arias, RuPaul, Mistress Formika, Lypsinka, Dee Lite, Crystal Waters, Ultra Nate, Candis Cayne. The list goes on and on. During RuPaulís performance, I have a mille second appearance when the camera scans the crowd. (I look so serious and mean). Itís not my 15 minutes of fame, but the memories of joy are priceless.
The piece here is titled, ďThe Lady Bunny.Ē Itís from my LITTLE series. Sometime in 1991ish, I first saw the Lady Bunny in San Francisco when Gus Bean threw an amazing party at the Palladium. I had VIP passes and everything. And speaking of SF, a few years later when Wigstock traveled west, I even came oh-so-close to performing with Mona Foot as Wonder Woman. I was soooooo nervous. It happened last minute; a dancer had not shown up and I was wearing the right attire, leather pants and a black tank top. At the time, thankfully, the dancer showed up, but now looking back, I wish he hadnít.
In 1992, a year prior to the filming, I told my boyfriend, thereís a drag queen that sang this song called ĎSupermodel.í I think sheís going to be huge. A year later, RuPaul said, ďI had a dream and I never faltered.Ē Because if God has bigger dreams for us how can we falter.
Todayís post is dedicated to my siblings, my in laws, and to all the drag queens who have made my life colorful. You all inspire me to dream!
September 29th, 2012
On my birthday this past Tuesday I had a mini breakthrough moment. This is what happened.
I spent my day in Santa Monica/Venice. At Barnes and Noble, I found a book called Ishmael. At first I walked away and didnít buy it until an hour later when I couldnít stop thinking about this Gorilla named Ishmael. He places an add in the paper, ďTeacher seeks pupil. Must have an earnest desire to save the world. Apply in person.Ē How could I not be curious? Plus the name Ishmael reminded me of my first creative writing professor at UC Berkeley named Ishmael Reed. Thanks to him, I learned to write using my own voice. ďWrite like you speak,Ē he said. At the time, it was an a-ha moment. And since, my writing has evolved.
After buying this book by Daniel Quinn, I went for a long walk on the beach, reading it as I went along. When I came to a stop, I had this realization: I spent the first 30 years of life soul searching, as if finding or even understanding this Ďthingí called a soul would bring me happiness. And then came the idea of Ďbeing a pure observing spirit.í It allowed me to breathe and live freely. But somewhere along the way, I lost sight of this idea and I started searching again. For what reasons, I donít know.
British philosopher John Stuart Mill wrote, ďAsk yourself whether you are happy and you cease to be so.Ē How brilliant is this! Happiness doesnít happen in an answer or in a search for meaning as I had again started looking. Itís in Ďbeingí that happiness happens. When I surrender, observe, and just be, happiness is. It is in searching/ looking that I lose sight of whatís already here. Happiness is not lost or somewhere waiting to be found. Itís in front of me.
The piece here is titled, ďLennon.Ē John Lennon inspires it. The Beatles sang, ďThere will be an answer, let it be.Ē Were they onto something? Iíd like to think so.
If the question is as Shakespeare asked, "To be or not to be?" I'll BE.
September 25th, 2012
Joy to the World!
Itís notís XMAS, but weíre exactly 3 months away.
Iím just coming home from my super-duper-early morning walk. There were tears in my eyes. Of joy or sadness, I couldnít tell at first.
But before I begin, a very special Happy Birthday to one of the most amazing people I know, me!
Iíve spent the last 44 years of life, getting to know myself. ĎKnowingí doesnít happen easily; itís a process of solitude, reflection, and observation. Luckily, Iíve been willing to sit through the dark parts; itís in these darkest hours that my heart opens and makes life worthy.
Viktor E. Frankl wrote, ďBut there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.Ē He couldnít have said it any better. Iíve come to understand the meaning of these words, especially in the last couple of months. If I am worthy of life, I am worthy of suffering, of love, of joy and everything else. Other than recently, I canít remember crying more than when first reading his book, Manís Search For Meaning. It remains to be my favorite book of all time; it changed my life.
And as for life, thank you Mama for bringing me into this world. On the day I was born, Mama said I had the biggest brown eyes she had ever seen. I canít imagine there NOT being joy in her eyes when she saw me then and now. Iíve often wondered if there was joy in the eyes of nurses and doctors who helped bring me into the world. More than any gift or birthday wish, I want to have joy in my eyes when I go out into the world, everyday, every minute, every second. I think its possible. And I canít imagine living life any differently than believing it possible.
The piece here is titled, ĎBirthday Suits.í Itís inspired by my 1-year old birthday portrait at the Sears in East LA. Itís this little boy I imagine when life gets tough. Along with wonder and curiosity, there was joy in my eyes, then and still now. My great friend, Robert, likes to quote Bugs Bunny and say, "Tell me more about my eyes." They're words I've never forgotten; they make me smile and remind me to see beauty all around us.
As for the tears so early this morning, they were tears of joy. I felt alive and blessed. I felt worthy. If I were to count my blessings, Iíd be here forever.
Cheers to you all. To braving our world with courage, love, kindness, and joy.
September 22nd, 2012
I donít want to be Jane Fonda.
On Wednesday, I had a little meltdown. And so I called my great and beautiful friend, Micah in San Francisco. It had been a long time since we had talked. He told me, that many years ago, a close friend of his mothers told her, ďWhy you gotta be Jane Fonda.Ē He was referring to this idea of always having to save the world. I started laughing; the truth of it hit the spot.
Though I havenít been an activist, I carry the weight of the world on my back. Concerned about goodness and Ďalwaysí doing the right thing down to how I even think about everything. Even my intentions have to be in alignment with the greater good. Itís impossible.
The next morning and still today, Iím thinking about this phrase. It makes me laugh. 'Why you gotta be Jane Fonda." Itís one of those things that Iíll take with me throughout the rest of my life. Itís a reminder to NOT take life too seriously, seriously.
After all, I donít want to be Jane Fonda. Weíll maybe I do, the Ďnowí and improved version of her. I find her honesty about life, aging, and her zest for life inspiring.
The piece here is titled, ďItís Gay World After All.Ē Itís said Disneyland is the happiest place on earth. Maybe dreams can come true and happiness can come back to me after all.
September 17th, 2012
Ah yes itís Monday and another hot day in LA. But in less than 3 weeks we wonít be complaining about the heat, my siblings, in-laws, and myself are heading to Culebra Island in Puerto Rico. Weíre celebrating my little sisters Blancaís belated 40th birthday. Woohoo!
At a young age, Mama instilled in us the importance of family. After all these years, we still love being together.
My sister and I were never super close growing up. It wasnít until I moved to LA almost 15 years ago that we bonded. I feel very close to her; I can be myself, no matter what, and I can tell her anything. Itís a gift. Sheís an amazing sister, friend, daughter, and mother. I love her greatly.
The piece here is titled ďSnow.Ē Itís inspired by my sisterís love for this Disney character. Growing up we called her Blanca Nieves- Snow White. According to Wikipedia, the tale originates in Germany and the best-known version is by the Brothers Grimm in 1812.
In ĎThe Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire,í Deepak Chopra writes, ďÖLive a life more wondrous than any dream.Ē These words have left me thinking. What do I dream about? Though I dream every night, what dreams do I have for myself during the day? If my life were a fairy tale what sort of character would I be? What sort of life would I want? As of right now, it all feels blurry and vague. I need to figure this out.
If youíre life were a fairy tale come true, is happiness now?
All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. Ė Walt Disney
September 14th, 2012
Iím waking up feeling hungry and lazy on this already beautiful Friday day. What to eat, what to do?
This week I started re-watching Damages. I first watched this show a few years back. I'm hooked yet again. One character tells another, ďYouíre only as happy as your saddest child.Ē I thought of two things. First, I thought of Mama. She internalizes any of her childrenís unhappiness. Since I donít have kids, I canít even pretend to imagine or understand. It brings me to my second thought. Since I donít have children, where does my happiness depend on? Am I as happy as myself? If there is sadness, how do I deal with it?
The past couple of months havenít been easy, but Iím managing. For the first time in my life, I couldnít answer the happiness question with a yes. Itís weird. For almost 44 years of life, I would have answered YES! No question about it. Now, I wonder how to change this NO into a YES. Looking back I could tell that doing my art was a reflection of where I stood on life, on happiness. When I painted there was joy. Now, I Ďm doing so much of it and itís not equivalent.
The piece here is titled ďMama La Nina.Ē Itís a portrait of my mother. Itís the first photograph we have of her almost 74 years of life. Was she happy before she had any of her 5 children? I wonder. She calls us her 'vitaminas', her vitamins. I love this. Itís like we nourish her spirit.
If we are without children, how do we nourish ourselves? Where do we turn to? Is it by adopting the world as our children? If our world feels damaged, how do we feel any different? I realize that I canít carry the worlds problems on my shoulders, but somehow I feel like I do. The self-help books may say to look inward, but it doesnít always help. Iím doing my best.
Andre Agassiís coach once told him, ďStand on my shoulders and reach for the stars.Ē I would love this for myself and for everyone. What if we all stood on each other shoulders, how many stars can we reach?
Thank you for listening and have a beautiful weekend.
September 10th, 2012
TGIM! I love my Mondays; especially that I donít have to work. Itís like I get to start off the week with time for me; itís important.
Iím just coming back from my morning walk; I was thinking about words. I wasn't lost in translation; I was lost in inspiration. I love it when this happens.
This past week Iíve been obsessed with a LITTLE new project; Iím calling it LITTLE Pop. Iíve spent hours on my computer working with old photographs. One night, I was up until 4AM. Though the pieces have a little Warhol/ Lichtenstein, some of my very early work while in high school included drawing with dots before I even new of Lichtenstein. Interesting! At least thatís what I thought.
The piece here is titled. ďChela.Ē My older sister Glicelda inspires it. The image is taken from a family portrait we did when she was about 7. I have always loved this photo; there is something very haunting about it. It even reminds me of the Mona Lisa. The enhancement of these photographs is not to make them better, but rather to see them from a different perspective.
As I digitally enhance these old photographs with clicks of a button, I wonder if we can do the same with our lives and with one another. How can we enhance one anthers life? With different perspectives, can we shed light and meaning? Itís something to think about.
Spanish poet Miguel de Unamuno wrote, ďArt distills sensations and embodies it with enhanced meaning.Ē This quote made me think twice about art and life and how we observe it all. do we embody love? Have we been kind and compassionate?
With my art Iíve always thought that when Iím gone, it can beautifully enhance the lives of those who come to own it. There is love in it.
September 7th, 2012
I was going to write about something else this week, except that I found myself watching live coverage of the DNC. In all my years, I donít ever recall watching this and I have to admit that I didnít watch the RNC; I probably would have gone into a dark hole.
Through my almost 44 years of life I have not been politically concerned until the recent future. And though I respect individual beliefs I canít see how the Republican Party is concerned with basic human rights. I donít get it. So much is based on greed and establishing moral standards based on overtly religious principles. How could anyone in the 99% vote Republican? What about our basic human rights?
The piece here is titled, ďFist Pumping First Lady. The Obamaís inspire it. Though I donít completely understand all the verbiage behind politics and in someway believe that both parties are corrupt, I will no doubt be voting for Obama. I truly believe he Ďcares.í
Rodney King once said, ďCan we all just get along.Ē How simple is that. The key word here is Ďwe;í not in party lines, but in human lines. What if instead there were no parties and we had ONE Human National Convention. It would be a place where we could share our differences with respect and compassion. It would be about truly working together and making this a WORLD not just a place, but an AMAZING place.
Clinton said, "We believe 'we're all in this together' is a far better philosophy than 'you're on your own.Ē Michelle Obama said something to the effect of when you go through the door of opportunity, you donít slam it closed behind you; you reach back and keep it open for the person behind you. I got teary eyed. How could we do any differently? I donít see the Republican Party doing this: I donít see the same care and concern for our rights and well-being. I don't see love?
WE are ALL in this TOGETHER.
September 4th, 2012
Ugh! After a 2-hour walk at 4am this morning, I'm now just getting up. Itís almost 10 a.m. Iím not sure why, but I couldnít sleep. It feels like itís going to be a strange Tuesday and the full moon has already passed. Iím I feeling the after effects?
I normally work today, but I covered on a Monday for Digby. Today, aside from doing laundry and some light cleaning, Iím not sure what else to do with my day? I may do some painting or some digital stuff.
Since this past Friday, Iíve had this idea to digitally work with words. Thereís something about the simplicity of ONE word, in standing alone, meaning so much. Who knows where this will take me. Is it art? I donít know. Time will tell. The piece here is an example of what Iím thinking. Itís titled, ďNo!Ē By looking at it, it can mean so many things to different people. I donít even know what it means to myself? What do you see? I'm curious.
My coffee tastes a bit bitter. My stomach is growling. And the cleaning ladies are already vacuuming the hallways. Itís going to be one strange Tuesday day.
Albert Einstein said, ďHow strange is the lot of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people.Ē
Thank you Albert for some very beautiful words. Though I often reflect on this thought, my actions arenít always up to par and I tend to beat myself up for it. Iím doing my best; I always have.
With Love, Ricky
August 31st, 2012
As human beings, we can speak through our eyes, with our hands and body, but why do we have languages? Why do we speak? Is it a simple question? And what is Ďití?
Iím curious to hear some thoughts on this, please. Pretty please. If you're reading this please let a thought out.
Today Iím spending the day with a great and beautiful friend of almost 25 years, Christine. The piece featured here is in here honor; itís titled ďMi Negra.Ē Itís my funny way of calling Ďher my ďNĒí word. Itís a portrait of her from when we spent a day together a few years ago. Aside from wearing a black dress and black Prada sunglasses, she has a Hello Kitty tattoo near another tattoo of a cherry blossom tree. Upon request, I asked her to have a fallen cherry blossom tattooed at the bottom. She did. Thatís what the red Ďstuffí falling from her dress represents. Itís me, the fallen angel.
Again, why do we speak?