Interviews, Essays, Podcasts, Video

BLOG: SWANS LAST DIVE (inactive) Please see my Crooked Mirror blog www.crookedmirror.wordpress.com

Father and Son Reading

December 22, 2009

Tags: Majid Naficy, Azad Naficy, Evin Prison, hiphop, spoken word, Iran, Annenberg Beach House

Tonight is the longest night of the year. Mithra will be born in the morning, riding on the chariot of the sun. That I learned from my dear friend Majid Naficy, a poet, who read tonight at the Annenberg Beach Center with his beautiful talented son Azad.

"Azad" means freedom and Azad's father escaped the minions of Khomeini over the mountains of Kurdistan by horseback. His first wife, Ezzat Tabaiyan, was murdered in Evin Prison. In America, to his second wife Esmat, Azad was born. I've seen him over the years, an intense sometimes brooding boy with beautiful dark eyes. I heard him read his first hiphop poem at the memorial for his grandfather, who died in Isfahan. Azad was surrounded by mourning dissidents and he stood and read of his fury: "in sixth grade, my father went blind, and my eyes went grey." His exiled father could not visit the country of his birth, or of his own father's death.

Azad has grown up. He is a beautiful young man with a powerful stage presence. He read his work from memory. He said he was "from a long line of unbelievers,"and that his father was still blind, "but more sighted than me."

The wisdom of the father passing to the son. Mithra arriving by chariot on the longest darkest night of the year.

a murder of crows

December 21, 2009

Tags: crows, Silver Lake, nutcrackers

This morning Lloyd and I saw two crows using the traffic on Silver Lake Blvd. as... nutcrackers! They would hop out into the busy street ahead of the oncoming cars, drop their walnuts, then flapped away and sat on the curb watching as the tires crushed the nuts. Then they dove back in for the meat. I'd heard about this behavior, but never witnessed it.

A bravura performance.

Light, Loss, Moving On

December 18, 2009

Tags: Virginia McKinney, Sylvan Katz, Larry Sultan, loss

These last weeks, months some very dear and important people have passed away. One of them was Virginia McKinney, a salty intrepid tireless educator of the deaf. I wrote about Virginia and her Center for Communicative Development for the LATimes years ago. Virginia lost her own hearing as an adult, as a reaction to a medication she was taking. She turned her insurance settlement into good works for helping other adult deaf learn to lip read and sign. I hope her son Walter will be able to continue the school.

Last Sunday, after attending a Chanukah party, Sylvan Katz passed away. Sylvan, a WW II vet, was a retired judge. I interviewed Sylvan for "The Souvenir." It was Sylvan who first told me that my father would be "rolling over in his grave" because I wanted to return the flag. We became good friends. He was a true mensch. He helped so many Filipino students go to college, repaying a debt to the hill tribes who assisted his Red Arrow Division during the Pacific War.

And Larry Sultan, a great photographer. Larry died too young, in his sixties. I didn't even know he was sick. We have one of his photos on the wall of our living room, two blind swimmers at ease in the water. Virginia, Sylvan, Larry... may you all be at ease wherever you are.

Here's to the light that these people brought into the world, and the afterglow we can still feel.
The Crooked Mirror-- check out my wordpress blog

Great Horned Owl, Benson's Grove, Malheur Sept 2010

Scotty Mitchell www.scottymitchell.com

Buster in our kitchen

Lloyd's sculpture "Capsize" at Cardwell Jimmerson Gallery

last glow, Chatham Cemetery, Jan 4, 2010