Monday, November 30, 2009


BLUE COAT, originally uploaded by Justin Davis Davanzo.
Often times taking pictures can feel very voyeuristic. I sometimes have a hard time with that and don't want to invade too much, but that is what makes a good photographer...I was visiting Santa Barbara late this summer and had a chance to walk around State Street with my camera alone. Of course I did the usual and took pictures of the things that I usually see and then I had something happen. I stopped walking and sat down at the edge of a sidewalk cafe and just watched the street like a movie. I put my camera on the table and started playing with settings and taking candid shots of the things going on outside. Some of the pictures turned out and some didn't, but it was easy for me to pretend I wasn't taking them as I sipped my coffee and secretly hit the shutter.

Across the street I noticed this old lady in a bright blue coat just standing there....doing what I was doing it seemed, but she didn't have a camera...she was just observing the world and I wondered what she was thinking about....dressed up and out on the town...her life so filled with experience and age. Me on the other side of the mirror watching her watching the world. She was so still the whole time and in front of her was constant movement...and then I noticed something funny. The guy on the left of the frame walking to the right had walked by a few times and as I watched he would walk by her a few feet, turn around and walk started snapping pictures of them and this one finally arrived in my lap...the vision of the old and young, the stillness and the movement, the chaos and the perfect design, the color and the drab world we live in all came together for one second in my lens.

I am pretty sure the man on the left was either homeless or had some sort of disorder as I could tell he was talking to himself and obviously stuck in some pattern of movement...then I imagined both of them young and it made me think that we are all traveling together and some of us will be a beacon and others will never stop moving.

She seems so perfectly still and put together and regal...almost like she wasn't there at all...maybe she wasn't...maybe she was an angel watching over him...or me...or the street....sometimes i don't know if she was really there at all...she seems so out of place in this world of distraction and movement and life...the calm stillness of a watching eye....I wish I knew her name and her history...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Turkey Day

moulin, originally uploaded by Justin Davis Davanzo.

well, it is here....just like that...the day that I wait for all year...the day of the feast and the weeks of leftovers...this year Nita and I are hosting a big one at the new house. When I think of Thanksgiving, i think of a holiday that is the most family and friend oriented out of all during the year. It is a chance to connect with people with no worry about giving presents or crap like that...just a time to be together and eat and enjoy each others company...of course there is always the fact that not EVERYONE can always be there due to space and time, but at least we are all doing the same thing on the same day...that counts for something, and in a world these days, where it seems that human beings are less and less connected, Thanksgiving is the one day that brings them together. I am always surprised by the amount of people who actually don't like Thanksgiving because of "having" to be with family, i won't pretend to understand not getting along with my family, and I am sure this day is a burden for some, but I have to say that the obligation is only once a year and for this year i wish and hope for people to realize that life is more important than not being with the family. This is not to say that family is always easy or pleasant, but they are family and the only one you have so deal with it...look outside of yourself and don't be so selfish...spend some time listening on Thanksgiving and not being so sensitive. Enjoy the food and the drink and if it is too much to bare, than drink a bit more than others, but at least enjoy life for that day.

this will be my first thanksgiving with my "own" family...what I mean, is that I have a wife now and this will be our first Thanksgiving together...the beginnings of a larger family that has already begun to take shape...the extended joy of those who are now considered family that were once not a part of my life. I am thankful for them and for what they have given me. This year will be a year of many firsts for sure.

Of course, I wish they could all be dad and Swirly, Taylor and Christos and Lisa, Jesse, Kai and Ruby and Gus and...where do I stop..there would be 100's that is something to be thankful for. the day we can't wish for our friends and family to be there will be a day that is sad indeed so even if they can't be there in body, they will be in spirit.

As i write this today, i feel it is a bit of fluff and I am emotional from a good place...i am trying to drill down and get to the meat of what i really want to say and i think it is very very simple.

I am the luckiest man in the world.

May your Thanksgiving be filled with laughter, love, life, food and wine, children, and the occasional moment of realization that life is a magical and strange concoction that we will never fully grasp, but we can make every effort to let it lead us by the hand like a parent and a child crossing the street for the first time.

Love and Understanding

Monday, November 16, 2009

well snow part deux, or part two, or Part II...this time not as much, but still a good storm.  Thankfully my house guest, who stayed the night due to the storm, shoveled me out in the morning...His wife did Yoga, I made coffee and breakfast, and Nita did laundry.  Worked out just fine.

The snow for sure does something to me.  I am not sure yet what exactly, but it is not the same effect as rain or a cloudy cold day.  I went walking for about 2 hours in it yesterday down by the lake near our house, and even managed to see a flock of geese (Gander?) heading south...well sort of.  I stood on a bridge that arched between two bodies of steel grey water that reflected the white mountains to the west that were solid and quiet and softer with the snow.  All the trees had been kissed by the white crystals and it was almost like another world.

Then I noticed the loud bang and thud and scrape and was reminded of the city plows at work further up the hill.

During this walk and time though, i was thinking of all things quiet and loud and how life can change so day it is sunny and warm and the next it is 30 and snowy.  Kind of like my brain and my world.

I have decided that being in a creative lull is somewhat difficult for me.  I don't like being quiet and i have to work on it and trust that it is a time for rest...a down time.  When I don't have anything planned I get restless and start to feel insufficient and sort of like a loser.   But standing on the bridge in the snow helped me remember to take time and listen and look and enjoy the quiet.  Don't rush the melt...because soon enough I'll be super busy again and I'll be on the other side wishing i had time to walk slowly in the snow and see my breath coming out in slow large clouds of warm air puffs.

I went to bed last night on that bridge.  My thoughts were like the two bodies of water and I was standing over them calmly taking them in.  The mountains were my struggles and the geese were my dreams.  I slept soundly and awoke in the sunlit room feeling very rested.  Today is Monday.

Love and Understanding

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Muse of Van Gogh

To be good – many people think that they’ll achieve it by doing no harm – and that’s a lie, and you said yourself in the past that it was a lie. That leads to stagnation, to mediocrity.Just slap something on it when you see a blank canvas staring at you with a sort of imbecility.
You don’t know how paralysing it is, that stare from a blank canvas that says to the painter you can’t do anything. The canvas has an idiotic stare, and mesmerises some painters so that they turn into idiots themselves.
Many painters are afraid of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the truly passionate painter who dares – and who has once broken the spell of ‘you can’t.’
Life itself likewise always turns towards one an infinitely meaningless, discouraging, dispiriting blank side on which there is nothing, any more than on a blank canvas.
But however meaningless and vain, however dead life appears, the man of faith, of energy, of warmth, and who knows something, doesn’t let himself be fobbed off like that. He steps in and does something, and hangs onto that, in short, breaks, ‘violates’ – they say.
  Let them talk, those cold theologians.

-Vincent Van Gogh

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


colored, originally uploaded by Justin Davis Davanzo.

woke up feeling a little off today...a little blue...not really sure why, but it may have to do with Monday or possibly a shift in priorities over the past few weeks...

my new studio is in the basement of this new house and it is at garden level which means there is a window that looks out onto the grass level and out to the open space, which is nice. It gets great morning sun and it is quiet and a good place to mediate a bit first thing in the morning. I am feeling like today is a quiet day. A day to not worry too much about what to do or how to do it. It is a day to maybe reflect or think on the now and not worry about the future i suppose.

I can't beleive the holidays are coming up so fast. is that what it is? no... i think I just can't believe how fast time seems to be flying least the weather has been nice these past two weeks since our huge storm here.

I need some inspiration today and I don't quite now how to find it yet...of course, that is usually the way it happens.

so for today, all i can do is show up and go out and keep my ears and eyes open for the inspiring spirit of life.


Love and Understanding

Monday, November 9, 2009

Calamity Jane

Calamity Jane, originally uploaded by Justin Davis Davanzo.

Sometimes you need to be reminded of the simple things in life...Last night I had the pleasure of seeing Calamity Jane....A Facing June Production (Nita's new production company...she's the producer I might add and an amazing one at that). Calamity Jane is a small production that takes place in a great bar/cafe called The Rock n Soul Cafe here in Boulder. It is really a music venue but a perfect setting for this production that takes us on a journey in time with Calamity Jane. The two actors, pictured to the left, (photo credit: Justin Davanzo) use the small stage and the limited props and set to build us a picture of life in the old west. The Musician is Calamity's sidekick from the future, who is helping her clear up some of the possible myths and legends of Calamity Jane and the life she led. Calamity's spirit is larger than life and as you learn about the times she lived in, you realize that she was one of those souls not ready to simply lay down and be content with the normal existence. No matter the level of hard times and hard life, she was her own person, for better or worse. Sometimes during the play, you get the feeling that being a raging drunk prostitute might have actually been fun...later, we see a Calamity who never quite lived the life she really wanted to and as she died she was a broken down spirit that had succumb to the long life of failed efforts to prove herself to no one but her. The music and songs reached am emotional chord in the very end as the analogy of her life was "like a river flowing downstream", which, as you know, is always one of those analogies that I relate to in life. Life just is....and sometimes no matter how hard you try and change it, it is what it is and unless you are happy with it, there is no body else who will be happy for you.

It was great to see a show so raw and up close in such a small setting that didn't make one feel unsafe as an audience member. What I mean is that when you have two capable actors on stage that lead you along a story, you take the journey with a full suspension of disbelief and travel with them through the world they have crafted. that is a rare thing these days and as "grown ups" we need good story tellers to help us remember that we are all still kids waiting for a good bedtime story.

thanks for the great show...

Love and Understanding.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Return of Paul it's the second year in a row for Paul...big whup...anyway, if you were paying attention, he had a brown beard last year and this year he is fashionably sporting a black beard, which happens to double very well for a Hasid with right me...all I needed were the curly things hanging down...People either thought I was a weird axe murder dude, or they got the Paul right away...few things about the beard...notice in the photo Paul is drinking a Fat Tire through a straw?  well, that is because trying to find your mouth through the beard is difficult to say the least, not to mention you get a mouth full of hair that comes from lord knows where...I did invent a straw slipper...wrapped a rubber band around it ( you can see it in the pic)  so the straw wouldn't slide down into the to me for the patent.

two...the can't eat for the same problems as above with the drink...

three...chicks dig it.

Being a trained thespian, I look forward to Halloween as it is the one legitimate excuse to dress up and parade favorite part is driving to the party like it is no big deal...nothing like receiving accolades from college kids on the way know you are still cool and haven't lost it yet.
When I put this outfit on, it makes me walk like a lumber jack, talk like one and think like one...a sensitive one at least...hence the straw in the beer.  I think i've found a costume that will keep on giving and for only 11.99 the cost of the beard, it is an economical one too....important these days. here is a quick update on some things...

i can't go into too many details as of yet, but I have been asked to write a piece once a month on a great blog that I will link you to when it is up...just one more facet and opportunity for the writing which has been a great experience.   I am also being interviewed by the Boulder News Team...i think it is students from CU Boulder, about my use of Etsy and my photography, which will take place tomorrow at Topo Ranch where my show is currently good press these days!

I also want to acknowledge all of the new readers that have been finding my blog and enjoying it and I am so grateful that you find this a part of you daily ritual...thank you.

for now, I am going to enjoy the rest of my friday morning and coffee and work on some new photos...

have an amazing weekend....

Love and Understanding.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bus Rides and Inspiration

I took the bus yesterday...for the first time in a long time.  I mean, I took the bus to work and back home....let me back up a bit.....

I am back to my morning ritual after a long few weeks of moving, backaches, slight constipation, confusion in life, and the occasional, albeit minor, nervous breakdown...but all of this has made me better and stronger of course and full of more ideas and inspiration.  Some of the inspiration is new and some of it is an attempt to rekindle the older ideas, like the one man show....which if all goes per plan, should be up in spring of this year....Nita will for sure be a task master and not let me slack off and make excuses, which i love and need.  So back to the bus.....

Working for the city has some perks.  Besides the fabulous grey cube and worn out chairs (we actually may get some new ones, which is very exciting indeed) and the too many sweets and donuts, there is an all expense bus pass for the City of Boulder.  In a city like Boulder, this is actually a pretty cool thing to have as there are buses everywhere all day...well almost, but more on that later.  In the past year or so, i didn't have much need for it as we lived smack in the middle of downtown and could walk and ride our bikes that we are living in the sticks (not really, but there is a large hill and its cold) the bus is a viable option.  Also, with Nita teaching and on a different schedule, we both can't possibly plan our days around who has the car when.  Enter the bus....

I am 37 years old and grew up in don't ride the bus there for a number of reasons, some bad, some just because you don't.  Here, it is a part of the culture, much like my shoveling of the snow....still feeling lame on that one.  I had to sit down and actually research the times and locations and routes of the myriad of stops and starts...the time table was like the worst math word problem I remember having as a kid, but I was able to finally get some understanding of the timing.

The Skip comes by our new place on the 7's (bus lingo for timing)...which is pretty good and the walk to the bus stop is a mere 75 yards give or take a touchdown.  I walked out yesterday feeling like a kid on an adventure and stood in the somewhat cool air with anticipation....when the bus came i was the only one on it for a few minutes and managed to strike up a quick conversation by asking the simple question, "so, how do I get to 30th from here?"  Well this awesome driver not only answered my question, but for the rest of the ride spoke to me about all the tricks and trades of the routes here...he even told me I could catch a "Deadhead" back to the depot since I work for the city...huh?

A Deadhead is a bus no longer in service with a one way route back to the depot...i could, if i wanted, catch a ride on the Deadhead which would drop me off in front of my work as it so happens to be right next to the bus depot...I think i will reserve this option for the James Bond moment that will for sure appear when it is needed....

I also learned about the airport bus that would only cost me five dollars with my that is a bargain...

anyhow, the bus....I hopped off my first bus, The Skip, walked a block, and got on the Jump...confusing I know...this took me a few minutes and that dropped me off at Starbucks...well, sort of...but damn if the whole excursion took me 30 was so easy...i got a little car sick cause I suck, but i had stress, no gas, no nasty post environmental was great!  and on the bus, i observed all sorts of people, which got me thinking about my one man show....this is the inspiration part in case you were the bus is a venue for some inspiration and for some relaxation....

now the ride home was a different story and I will keep this brief.  After 10PM, the busses only run on the 30's (see the lingo again?)  which means I froze my ass off twice while waiting for the two new busses...not including the third bus that I got on by mistake and had to jump off and run back to the other bus that would take me to the final stop of the day....and at that time of night, there is a whole different crowd.  Not a good or bad one, but just an interesting slice of society...the late night workers which includes me....mostly men...some quiet, some chatty but all wanting to get home and get warm....

The bus is a bit of a contradiction...on one hand you feel responsible and resourceful and kind of like a kid...on the other hand, more so at night, you feel a bit downtrodden...maybe it was just me, but it felt a bit like the march of the that what I want to say?  I think...I'll stew on it if you will....

I like the bus.  I will take it today again and maybe see the same faces....but I may call Nita for a ride home....

Love and Understanding.