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A creative blog by Arthur Kegerreis on The Whole 9

Arthur Kegerreis – aka Liberal Art, aka Himat Singh – is interested in way too many things, although curiosity has not killed this cat yet. In LA for 14 years now, he has lived in NYC; VT; Amherst, MA; Santa Fe; Madison, WI; and grew up on Long Island. Arthur has been a cabinetmaker, guitar maker, Kundalini Yoga Teacher, Pilates instructor, graphic designer, composer, and playwright, though he now spends most of his time taking photos, writing songs, making video art, and building websites. Having fought his night-owlish tendencies all his life, he is fascinated by the creative process, so jump in and talk shop into the wee hours…or not.

Summer Solstice 2010

Tonight, Golden Bridge Yoga in LA hosted an evening with two Indian Yogic Saints, entitled, “Drops of Nectar: An Evening of Divine Teachings with Pujya Swamiji & Sri Shankaracharyaji.”

Pujya Swamiji, aka “Muniji,” runs the largest yoga ashram in Rishikesh. I have to admit, by nature, I’m a western skeptic about spiritual masters, yet my encounters with Muniji have given me a different perspective about him. He gave a series of spiritual counseling sessions at a home in the Sutdio City hills, and a lot of nervous neurotic frenetic preparation preceded his arrival, but the moment he walked in the door, a mysterious palpable transformation took place. Suddenly everyone became more friendly and peaceful, and it truly became a magical evening.

Tonight’s presentation might have been titled, “Living in the Holy Woods of Hollywood,” as Muniji described his experience living in the Indian jungle with snakes and scorpions, having to experience a spiritual surrender of trust; something he encouraged everyone to do in Hollywood. He spoke of the value of silence and carefully chosen words, and laughed about how people have to exhibit friendships on Facebook as they neurotically “twitter” away. “Why do I have to be your friend on Facebook? I already know who my friends are!”

Sri Shankaracharyaji, whose name I couldn’t say once, much less ten times fast, told funny tales about how people will ask what’s wrong if you’re sad, but not ask why you’re happy, and then proclaimed that the yogic path will completely enable you to conquer frustration and suffering, revealing the divine beings that we all are. I’ll try to remember that when I’m 10 minutes into a difficult posture.

The evening opened with a tale of a clay buddha that was being polished by monks, and one discovered a shiny spot under the clay. As they cleaned the clay around the spot, they discovered the entire buddha was gold underneath, and had been covered with clay when the temple had been overrun and looted. We’re all like that gold buddha, they said, if we clean away the clay.

Yes, that was model Kirsty Hume – how could you miss that hair? – and was that Donovan Leitch with her, paying respects in the green room afterwards? I think so, but what was really great was seeing all the beaming yogis and yoginis I hadn’t crossed paths with for years.

The Swami’s visit preceded their honorary presence at Peace Prayer Day, part of the week-long 3HO Kundalini Yoga Summer Solstice Celebration in Espanola, New Mexico. This event is held at the edge of sacred Indian land in the Jemez Mountains near Espanola. I’d heard strange reports about it, then I went, and began making those reports myself.

A group of Aztec Indians ran miles up the dirt road into the mountains, did a rain dance at Peace Prayer Day, and a thundercloud of rain followed them back down the road as they left – amidst one of the worst droughts NM had seen.

Then all the yogis and yoginis proceeded to do three 8 hour days of White Tantric Yoga, which isn’t a “sex yoga,” as the NY Times reported, but a form of meditation where partners meditate together, holding a posture and chanting for 31 or 62 minute sessions at a time. 2500 people were doing Sat Kriya, with interlaced palms extended straight above their heads for 2-1/2 hours, and as they continued, a thunderclouds formed over the roof of the shelter and torrential rain proceeded to fall. A quarter mile away, the security guards at the entrance to the grounds stayed dry. Go figure.

The Summer Solstice is actually Monday – the longest day of the year, and supposedly a great day to instigate major change in your life. If you’re in LA, can’t make it to NM, and are not up to a week of 4AM yoga, chanting, meditation, camping, cold showers, Bhangra Dancing, and a diet of potato onion soup and watermelon flavored with black pepper, there are still other fun options for the weekend.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s grandson, Eric and his wife Mary, hold a solstice celebration Saturday night on their spectacular ranch overlooking Malibu. This opens with a Native American Indian Medicine Wheel Ceremony, and is followed by a potluck dinner.

Saturday, June 19th, 2010 – 5:00PM – 9:00 PM
Summer Solstice Potluck Celebration
Potluck dinner, season greeting, music making.
Please bring your favorite dish to SHARE!
Gather together around 6:30pm
$10-20 suggested donation

If that is too “woo woo” for you, there’s the Summer Solstice Ballyhoo at the Santa Monica Pier Saturday and Sunday. If you’re scared of the beach, and downtown is more your flavor, you might enjoy the Cal Plaza concerts Saturday night, which include the wild Dakah Hip Hop Orchestra (8PM), Andree Belle (10:30PM), and Natives of the Dawn (11:45PM).

So here’s hoping you have a great weekend and solstice!

  1. The celebration at Eric Lloyd Wright’s place should be a blast. I was up there for a wedding a couple years ago and it is truly a cool place with a spectacular view. There was a wedding circle where the rings were passed through a long ribbon everyone held followed by a feast, champagne and dancing under the stars! Have they finished the house yet? It was still a work in progress when we were there. PS: Always thought Eric was Frank’s son, am I incorrect about that?

  2. Eric’s father was Lloyd Wright, who was Frank Lloyd Wright’s son. But he apprenticed under his grandfather. The lineage had me confused too. There’s a bio at the first link. They have an organic architecture internship program there, and Mary has painting workshops and organic gardening workshops, I think. The sweat lodges are also legendary among the Malibu/Topanga crowd.

    Last time I was there (1-1/2 yrs ago?), the house had progressed a bit from my first visit 6 or so years earlier, but it really seems like they aren’t trying to finish it. It’s basically been a concrete awning with a view for years now. I don’t know why they haven’t made more progress on it. As long as it’s incomplete, the visitors can hang out in it, though, so that’s sort of a plus side to the construction.

    I posted some of my early video collages shot at their Spring Equinox ceremony on one of my sites, but they’re a bit unwieldy to view; large files, not originally intended for web viewing.

    One of my friends got married there too, a fact I discovered after sharing the collages with him. Apparently it’s a popular spot for that, and certainly one of the most spectacular I’ve seen around LA.

    Their potluck events have always been really nice gatherings. I used to like to climb up to the small caves in the rocks above the pond, but they’ve closed off the trails to them as a safety precaution, I guess.

  3. Hey, I like your video collages. Very interesting. Equinox loaded up just fine (but then I’m on a T-1 line at the studio). They seem a lot like the Hockney photo collages but in motion; a brilliant idea! Did you shoot them with a single camera or did you have multiple camera’s locked down here and there? I see the individual sequences looping every few seconds, so I assume the former. By explicitly adding the time element through movement, you make them all the more ‘cubistic’, if that’s a word. I find the stitching together of static camera sequences with just an occasional bit of movement in one frame or another fascinating. In “Malibu Coast at Dusk” it creates a kind of psychedelic, somewhat comic, ‘breathing’ effect of the hillsides. “Santa Monica Coast Night” is almost Warholesque in its lack of animation, although the rare and random slight shifts of lighting inside a frame subtly break its’ quiescent fixity. How much of this was intentional (vs my reading my own responses into the work)? Anyways, I might see you there if you’re going. Cheers. Marcel

  4. Thanks! They’re shot sequentially with a single camera. That presented a lot of audio challenges, as the looping audio clips become too intense to listen to simultaneously. I shot a collage at the Topanga Film Festival that treated the source audio differently; the visuals loop over a continuous asynchronous audio file, which may or may not sync up with the various clips as they loop.

    Here’s a statement about the whole process:

    If you navigate up to the video category on the blog with the Malibu files –
    – you’ll see the more recent works, the “Ecstasy Unveiled” series, (all the older ones are on there too) which were resized for display on a single monitor. Most of them were underscored with single songs, a choice I’m not satisfied with. They seem to fight with each other, or the songs overshadow the visual elements. You end up listening to the song and not noticing the visual development of the individual components. I haven’t undertaken original scores for them yet. But I will.

    The “breathing” effect was unintentional, and a side-effect of the process and camera I use. It adds a character of it’s own, which some people seem to like.

    The “Cubist Arthur” collage was the transitional one for me, and the newer ones seek less to simply create panoramas and more to create new views, spaces, and juxtapositions of people and places – a cubist experience of time and place.

    Hockney actually tried a film for the BBC, but never continued with it.

    As for Saturday in Malibu – I’m hoping I can make it. It’s always been well worth the trip.

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