All God’s children are not beautiful.

mood: almost there | drinking: agua

homogeneous_startBreak out the confetti cannons. A new cinépoem has arrived.

I’d like to present the latest This Blank Page poetry production, Homogeneous, featuring the voice and face talents of the lovely Emanuela Quaglia and the always fabulous Jim Doll.

This is a cinépoem like no other. Not only because you get to actually hear from the guest stars, but also because we filmed it “in triplicate.” Just take a look, you’ll see what I mean. You can view it on The Cinépoems page or on YouTube. (If you do head over to YouTube, be sure to leave us a star or five, yeah?)

Thanks to my fellow compatriot, Michelle Brown for her continuing dedication to the art of cinépoetry, which sometimes includes getting in front of the camera, and also to Kathy Azada (who served as production assistant AND extra). And special shout outs to Melissa Fondakowski and Darren Rodriguez for their sparkling cameos.

Go. Watch. Enjoy.

-Lo, trying to make herself presentable.

“We’re all mad here.”

Mood: mad like a hatter | Drinking: melty ice cubes

graffito1

Mush.

This is what my brain now consists of. Absolute mush. Like congealed oatmeal sort of mush. Worms in rain puddle mush. Soggy cornflakes mush. You get the picture.

I have procrastinated on blogging because of said mush brain. What do I have to contribute when I’m a soggy mess? And I have, on general principle, refrained from posting here when I have nothing to contribute…

But sometimes when you sit in front of the blank page (or text box) and just start writing, something satisfying takes shape. Something that needed to be said. You make an appointment with the muse, as the workshop leaders say, and then you wait.

Of course, you probably shouldn’t do this waiting in public. But I shouldn’t have had french fries for lunch, either. And I did. And here we are.

I’m nearly 3 weeks into the new job and less than 1 week away from opening my home for strangers to tramp through. In the last 2 weeks I have spent more time and dollars at Crate and Barrel (votive holders), Cost Plus (vases, curtains, wall decor), Pier One (more vases), SatinBox (mirrored fruit), Target (sheets, silk pillows, curtain rods, and more curtains), Marshall’s (candles, throw rugs, more silk pillows), and Restoration Hardware (real fancy bookends) than I have in my entire previous lifetime.

It feels very adult. And sometimes I have trouble believing that I am a “real” adult. You’d think I’d be getting over that soon.

Anyway, Boy and I decided to save ourselves the thousands required to hire a professional stager and just stage our house ourselves. (I’m hoping that one of the benefits of this decision is that I get to keep all of the aforementioned vases and fancy bits. I will cut anyone who tries to make me return those mirrored apples, I swear.)

I’ve enlisted the eyeballs of my trusty pal Kathy, asking her to critique the results of my shopping and furniture scooting. She’s well qualified for this task due to her own formidable decorating skilz and vast experience with HGTV consumption. My neighbor Roy the Art Director has also pitched in. They both agree that I apparently have excellent taste. Well, duh. *polishes fingernails on lapel*

Meanwhile, in the midst of all this hullaballoo, LeeLoo’s getting stressed out. She’s all, “WTF is my comfy couch?” I have explained that the comfy couch is not gone forever, it was just less visually appealing than the teeny leather couch that now takes its place. The Loo is not pleased. I can’t blame her, but I don’t speak dog well enough to competently explain what’s going on. I’m hoping extra rations of pupperoni will do the trick.

In times like these when your head is up your own ass and all you can think about is the next 15 things on your to-do list that MUST be done yesterday, it’s easy to forget that the rest of the world is carrying on. NPR cures me of this delusion.

Just today on my way to work, I was reminded that a hateful racist murdered someone at the Holocaust Museum, Iran has possibly world-shaking elections tomorrow, Swine Flu (a.k.a. “Hamthrax”) is now classified as a global pandemic, New York is arguing about gay marriage, the FDA is going to regulate tobacco, Detriot is still fucked, 17 ethnic Uighur prisoners from Guatanamo Bay now have refuge in Palau, and the economy continues to give people aneurysms.

So you know, there’s a few things going on out there besides my own small personal hurricane. Good to remember.

Wow, 2009, you’re hardcore.

Clearly the muse has nothing truly profound to deliver today, although I am on draft #2 of two different poems, one about religion and one about dogs that begins with the lines:
“After yelling at my dog,
I decide I will be a terrible mother.”

So there’s that.

Apologies for the continued random nature of my blog posts. It’s gonna be this way for awhile. Perhaps I’ll break it up with some poetry when the dog poem is finished.

Meanwhile, you can enjoy some equally random grafitti apparently crafted by some dude named Kevin Harris, although I have a feeling that all he ever did is sign his name with a blue spray can. Correct me if I’m wrong, mister Harris, wherever you are.

-Lo, who’s becoming a designing woman.

Getting Your Feet Wet

Mood: Celebratory | Drinking: *Clink*

water1

Come on in, the water’s fine!

I’m so very pleased to introduce you to ladonnawitmer.com, version 4.0. She’s been a long time coming — nearly a year, in fact, and I couldn’t be happier that I finally get to show her off to the world.

I’d like to give you a quick tour, but first I have to thank a few people who pulled a lot of strings and spent a lot of their late-night and weekend time to make this happen.

First, let’s talk about my far-away friend Eric Oehrl, working his Flashmaster magic out there in the wilds of Michigan. The nifty navigation over there on the left? That’s Eric. The amazingly awesome Flash movie that now introduces this site (lovingly dubbed “the cinébyte”) — that’s Eric, too. EO, my friend, without you, none of this would have been as moving. I bow down before your mad skilz. You rule.

Next, the ever-lovely Miz Kathy Azada. My partner in various crimes, misdemeanors and art projects. Kathy has already brought one miracle to life in the form of our art & poetry book, The Secrets of Falling. And have you seen all those must-collect postcards in our shiny new Store? Those are all designed by the fabulous Kathy, too. My friend, you make all things lovely. Thanks for dreaming with me.

None of these dot com shenanigans would ever have happened if not for one mister Chris Brown, my fearless web guru. It was he who came to me sometime last year and said, “We’re gonna redo your website.” And I was all, “Pshaw, why? I like it the way it is.” And he said, “No, trust me, we can make it better.” And I’m so friggin’ glad I listened! Chris, if this site doesn’t get you a truckload of new clients, nothing will. Thank you a thousand times over.

If you’re wondering who shot all these gorgeous underwater photos, may I direct your attention to my all-too-often behind-the-scenes husband, Bruce. One day last summer whilst on vacation in Mexico, I pulled a red ball gown out of my suitcase, handed him a waterproof camera and said, “Let’s go down to the pool.” One hour and lots of “1-2-3-holdyourbreath” counts later, we had a roll of film (yes, old school) full of aqua and red. (Check out Bruce’s gallery to see all the photos from the underwater shoot.) Thanks for going along with my crazy scheme, Bruce. As always, I owe you one.

Be sure to click around this site from top to bottom, starting with the home url, www.ladonnawitmer.com, where you’ll be instantly immersed in a mini-cinépoem called “Submersion” that will take you on an underwater adventure. Be sure you have your sound turned on for that one.

You’ll notice that some things that are familiar — The Writer still contains some foul language pertaining to one Mr. Johnny Depp, but check out the wee seahorse for a new treat. The Library still contains music from Franky & Wil, along with poems for your reading pleasure, but the poems are new.

The Others still contains links to lots of old friends, and a few new ones, too. And you can still send me an email via Says You, but you can also now comment on this blog — I know lots of you have asked me about that over the years, so you’d better make use of it!

Speaking of this blog, She Says is now a fully functional weblog with an RSS feed and everything, so you can add me to your blog roll and all that fun stuff. You can also search the archives via keyword for old entries, if you’re into that sort of thing. All of the old entries made the migration to their shiny new home.

The Cinépoems have a lovely new page with an upgraded and higher-quality video player for your viewing pleasure. We’ll be making ongoing improvements to that page over the next few months, too, because we’re not satisfied with mere perfection. Must. Keep. Tweaking.

Oh, and notice that the newest cinépoem is one you haven’t seen yet… Bright Neon Love was shot in Las Vegas over the holidays and gets to debut with the big site unveil, that lucky little poem.

The Gallery has been completely retooled — all the old photos are still there, but they’re much easier to view now. There are new photos, too, from Bruce, from a fabulous young photographer named Caitlin Bellah, and from recent cinépoem shoots as well, so be sure to check that out.

And finally — my pet project — our Store. My two books, Shedding the Angel Skin and The Secrets of Falling are available for purchase (and well worth the asking price), as always, but now you can also get yourself some of those pretty postcards I mentioned earlier, as well as a few photographic art prints.

The Store lives on etsy.com, which is an amazing site in its own right and one of my new favorite things ever. Lots of very cool artists hawking their wares on Etsy, so be sure to explore. After you purchase a book and some postcards, of course.

So that’s the tour. Please make yourself at home, get a little wet, and let me know what you think. I’m off to go splash around a little myself. I just don’t get tired of playing with all these new toys!

-Lo, who should mention that it’s not really about drowning.

Zine It All

zinefest08
Mood: Hooey
Drinking: Blooey

This weekend is the big old San Francisco Zine Fest. I expect to see all you word lovers, crafty bitches, art farts, and don’t-got-nuthin-better-to-do peeps out and about!

Here are the dirty deets:
LOCATION – SF County Fair Building (in Golden Gate Park at 9th & Lincoln)
HOURS – Saturday 11am to 8pm, Sunday 11am to 7pm
STUFF TO SEE & BUY – Zines, Arts, Crafts, Small Presses, & Poetry trinkets from yours truly

You know me and mine are gonna get bored sitting at our little table for 9 hours a day on the weekend, so stop by, say hi, and please, please, pretty please, buy some stuff! (We have some free stuff, too, for all you cheapskates.)

Speaking of cheap, did I mention that this whole event is free? Free, people. No admission charge for the masses. How can you resist?!

OK, I’ve gotta go prepare.

See you there.

-Lo, who is folded along the dotted lines.

Making a Splash

colorsplash2
Mood: Steady as she goes
Drinking: Watery tea

I’m on TV.

I’m small, I’m sideways, and I’m in black and white, but I’m on TV nonetheless.

My friend Kathy, she of The Secrets of Falling design fame, alerted me to my TV appearance last week.

There’s a bit of backstory required: Kathy went to art/design school with David Bromstad (he of HGTV’s Color Splash and Design Star fame).

They’re good friends from way back, which is why David came to our book release party in San Francisco last May. (Yes, he is even more adorable in person!)

David left our party with several pieces of art in tow — 7 of them, to be exact. He chose his favorite photographic art prints from our book, and ended up hanging them on a wall behind the couch where he is often filmed sketching his brilliant design ideas on Color Splash.

So nearly every week on HGTV, I’m hanging there on the wall behind David’s head. Granted, nobody but me and Kathy actually know that it’s me. Well, you know too, now. But it’s a sweet little thrill to see my poetry and Kathy’s design (as well as the fine photography of Boy and my friend Patti) up on the screen.

Oh, and that repeating photo of the grafittied brick wall that the camera loves to linger on as David sketches away? I took that photo from a scooter on our first trip to Rome! …There’s some useless trivia for you.

By the way, if you’d like to have a print just like David, you can find two of the prints that he has, So Make Believe It and Invincible at our Etsy store. There are a lot of other cool prints up for sale there, too!

So. Yay us, yay David, and HGTV better give Color Splash another season! (Boy and I are now addicted and have gotten ourselves a season pass on TiVo.)

-Lo, who is sometimes sideways in real life, too.

Old Enough to Buy Art

artshow_cardbook_front1
Mood: Chilled
Drinking: Agua

I apologize to all my readers who don’t live in San Francisco.

There’s so much cool stuff happening here right now, I’m sad that you’re missing out!

For example:
I and the lovely Miz Kathy, the artist genius behind The Secrets of Falling, are in an art show which opens next week.

Three of our pieces will be featured, and they’re actually spreads from the poetry book: Crash Protocol, Epic, and Like a Duck in Thunder.

The show is called Old Enough to Buy Art 3, and it features a lot of great mixed media from local artists. The show opens next Wednesday, September 19 at the Melting Point Gallery and runs through September 26. The address and hours are listed here.

So support your local artists, get some fun new pieces for your collection, and benefit the National Parkinson Foundation, all in one fell swoop.

And as if that wasn’t exciting enough all by itself, I’ve got more swanky local happenings coming up in the next couple of months, including cinepoems at two film festivals.

Speaking of cinepoems, Michelle and I are finishing up our latest, titled Kiss & Fly, which will be online in the next week or two. So that’s something to be happy about, even if you don’t live near Fog City.

While we’re on the topic of happy things, all of you must MUST go see a little movie called Once. I don’t care if you have to drive 100 miles through hail and sleet to get to a theater that shows it… I swear to the almighty powers that be, you will love it.

It’s easily the most amazing movie I’ve seen in a very long time.

Doesn’t hurt that it was filmed in Dublin, and Boy and I were there just a couple of months ago. It was like seeing old friends to recognize Grafton Street, Temple Bar, and St. Stephen’s Green — which, coincidentally, is where the next cinepoem-in-waiting was shot. That one is called Apres un Reve, and we haven’t started editing it yet, so I shouldn’t tease you too much.

…So much goodness in store for you! You watch. You wait. You’ll see.

-Lo, who thinks that, last night at the VMAs, video killed the video star.

About Last Night

partygirls

Mood: Done!
Drinking: Celebratory Iced Tea

Party? Check!

Thanks to everybody who came out to The Secrets of Falling Book Release Party last night… you made it a roaring success. Thanks for buying books and prints and for helping Kathy and I celebrate in so much style!

If you missed it, we missed you, and you missed out on the party of the year. BUT! You can still get the book online, in person, or in bookstores soon.

I can’t thank everyone who was there, because there were too many of you (which is in and of itself a wonderful thing!). It really meant a lot to both Kathy and I that you came.

I do have to give special mention and big hugs to the following kick-ass people:
Kimberley – the amazing girl who helped us set up all day and made sure the gallery was sparkling
Sarah – for moral support, from dawn to dusk, and for extremely talented twinkle-light wrapping-upping
Bridget – for expert assistance in picture hanging and gallery design and end-of-the night pancakes
Johanna – for making strawberries look even sweeter than they are and wielding a wickedly-awesome serge stitch
Jason – for smooth wine-pouring skilz and protective police action
Michelle – for video camera documentation, unending smiles, and late-night cleanup help
Chris – for Bruce back-up, gallery appreciation, and heavy box lifting
Dave – for scandalously sexy moves on the dance floor
Lani – for being the best and hottest cash box lady there ever was
Melissa – for a smooth and suave print-selling operation
Carly – for coming and smiling and wearing a cute-ass skirt
Patti – for traveling all the way from Chicago and bringing her sharpie
Jocelyn – for the amazingly adorable party favors, and for wearing that hot Madonna outfit
and most of all,
Bruce – for being the best man, always and all the time. for being my back-up. for being so tech-savvy. for running the lights and the sound and the cinepoems and the show.
and
Kathy – because NONE of this would have happened without her.

-Lo, who will be sleeping for a few days now.

Tomorrow, Tomorrow

girls_forblogMood: Tired
Drinking: Tea

The time has come to party.

Tomorrow (Thursday), is the big shebang for The Secrets of Falling… Wine, women, song, possibly an interpretive dance from our friend Melissa. (But only if we spin some “Billy Jean”.)

Seriously, folks, it’s a big deal.

The fabulous miss Kathy Azada and I have been working on our book for over a year, and it feels like we’ve been planning our party for about that long, too, but that would be crazy.

We’re exhausted. We’re exuberant. We’re tired. We’re terribly excited. We’re both little bundles of sleep-deprived joy. (Perhaps that’s why I’m rambling so?)

Onward to the point! To all of my fellow San Franciscans and outlying Bay Areans, we’ll be so happy to see you tomorrow at Space 180 (from 6-9pm). We’ll be so thrilled to unveil our book. And show off all of Kathy’s artwork. And introduce you to all the other people who made this book happen.

For all our further-away internet friends, we promise that the book itself is almost as good as the party.

I’ve wanted to follow up Shedding the Angel Skin with a second book for years now, and Secrets is well worth the wait, even for me.

The theme of the book is the double-edged nature of hope. How impossible it is to live without hope, but how painful it is, how slippery it is, to hang on to hope. Secrets is built around a four-part poem titled “Spei Captiva Sum,” which means “I am a prisoner of hope.” (I have it tattooed on my right wrist as an ever-present reminder.)

Many of the 53 poems in Secrets were written for or about or around two of my very dear friends, who have both been on their own separate journeys to hell and back over the last three years.

I almost lost both of them, at different times. Watching them struggle and fall and climb back up and fall again — watching them, and struggling with them, and hoping against hope that they would get back up again — it inspired many of the words now printed on pages for others to read and maybe even take comfort in.

I think it matters, it makes a difference to know that in the midst of your bleakness, in the depths of your darkness, hope still flickers somewhere. Hope can be yours, once again.

I’ll be reading a few of my favorites from Secrets tomorrow, around 7 p.m. So be sure to stop by — new friends, old friends, internet friends and strangers. …It’s only a day away!

-Lo, who still knows all the words.

Boxes o’ Books

Mood: High
Drinking: Teaboxesofbooks

It’s your turn. The boxes (and boxes and boxes) of books have arrived.

If you live in or around San Francisco and can wait until next week, come to The Secrets of Falling Book Release Party at Space 180 on Thursday, May 17 from 6 to 9 p.m. and get your books.

If you’re elsewhere, you can still get yours. Just go to The Books page to place your online order.

The Secrets of Falling will also be available in a few bookstores soon. I’ll let you know where and when.

I can’t begin to adequately express how excited we are. Secrets is a really beautiful book — Kathy Azada’s design is jaw-dropping, and the photography by Patti Monaghen and Bruce Willems really brings each poem to life.

But don’t take my word for it. (I’m clearly biased, anyway.) See for yourself!

-Lo, who thinks that brown boxes are a sight for sore eyes.

Exclamation Point

bookishere
Mood: Ebullient
Drinking: Effervescent

The book, it is here.

Well, yours isn’t yet…the big truck bearing the big skid of 14+ cartons of books won’t arrive until next week. But Kathy & I got our little box of advance samples yesterday.

We have scrutinized every single millimeter of every single page, and we’d like to report that The Secrets of Falling is perfect and beautiful in every single way.

If you’ve placed a pre-order, your book will be mailed out as soon as the big truck makes its delivery next week. If you haven’t placed an order yet, what are you waiting for??

If you live in San Francisco or thereabouts, you’re probably waiting for the book release party to buy your book. A wise decision. Then you can get your book AND purchase a lovely framed photographic print as well.

If you haven’t heard about the party yet, you can get all the party details here. (And yes, you’re invited.)

Now I have to go sniff my advance copy again. Fresh ink, it smells so good.

-Lo, who is the very picture of giddy at the moment.

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