Downtown Container Park

Notes From Las Vegas: A Break From Reality

I’m in Las Vegas until the end of March to help my parents while my dad recovers from  major surgery. It’s been an intense experience, but I am glad that I am here. I have been reflecting a lot about my life and how I want to live it going forward. That is another blog post for another day, but for now, check out another awesome-sauce find in the downtown area. You can find out more about Downtown Container Park on their website: http://downtowncontainerpark.com/

Downtown Container Park

inside Downtown Container Park

inside Downtown Container Park

Welcome to the Life Cube Project

Notes from Las Vegas: The Life Cube Project

It’s been quite a tornado for the past few months. I can’t believe that I haven’t written a blog post for three months. I guess I have been a wee busy:

  • 1st semester as a teaching assistant with my own lab
  • My own school work
  • my art work… filming… scheming… designing…
  • oh and. . . a little side diversion to Las Vegas since the end of Feb.

My father became sick about two weeks ago and my parents live out here by themselves. It’s a tough situation out here for them, so my youngest brother and I came out to help my mom out while my dad was in the hospital.   My other brother will be coming at a later date to help maneuver them into a good place.  I won’t go into my dad’s surgery just yet, or their other stuff, because frankly, that is their stuff. I will say however that the systems in place for disabled/not-so-elder people is extremely frustrating. I am trying to make heads and tails about the systems here in Nevada, and I hate to say it, but I feel like Illinois with all of their issues seem to be more straight-forward.   However, that is a WHOLE other conversation that may happen here in the future (once my mind has decompressed from this trip).

What I will say is that I stumbled on something that has been my saving grace this week.  It’s a community art project called “The LifeCube Project“.

from their website:

THE LIFE CUBE PROJECT HAS TWO MISSIONS:
1) Encouraging people to write down what they want to accomplish in their lives; and
2) Connecting art with community, involving as many people as possible!

My first visit was on Saturday night with my one of my closest friends, Kelly. We have been friends since our 20′s and she has always been one of the most supportive people in my life that a girl can ever ask for.  She  flew out from LA to be with my mom and I during my dad’s intense surgery on Saturday.  To say I was grateful is an understatement. My wife couldn’t be here because of the crazy cost to fly here from STL (crazy spring breakers) so to have Kel here with us during the wait was above and beyond one of the best things a friend has ever done for me. :) After the intensity of the day, I needed to decompress and I was so excited to visit the project for the first time with one of my besties.

We drove up to the parking lot, walked towards the cube and it was surrounded by artists adding their own artwork to each side of the cube.  Paints and chalk are provided and visitors are encouraged to add their own flare to the piece.  It was such a freeing moment after a day filled with so much stress.

I returned the next evening with my cousin who came to visit my dad. Again, it was a magical experience, and again artists were continuing to share their vision with the community.

again, from the website:

The Cube will be covered with murals and a tapestry of paintings by local students and artists, write boards for
interactive messaging, slots for dropping in written goals and wishes, and photographs of historic Las Vegas. It will
be filled with music on the weekends, and lit up at night like a rock concert. And after a month on site, we’ll burn it all
in a fiery ceremony on March 21st, 2014.

I plan on visiting every day and will continue to edit this post until the 21st with photos and maybe video from my visits every day.

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nicgtyd

CrowdfundingGeek: LGBT20

In the upcoming weeks, I am going to be sharing stories from different artists who are using crowdfunding to share amazing stories. First up is Nic Adenau.

Nic Adenau

Photo by Olivia Ashton

GTYD: Tell us, who is Nic Adenau? :)

NIC: I’m a commercial and fine artist. I also consider myself an activist and advocate for human rights.

GTYD:   What is LGBT20 and what prompted you to tell these stories?

NIC:  If funded successful, starting this January,  I will embark across the west coast to capture & share the stories of LGBT teens affected by peer bullying. I will be documenting 20 youth through the mediums of photography and verbal interviews. The end products will be a website, LGBT20.com,  to share all of their stories and an art-book. 100% of proceeds will be donated towards combating the issue of LGBT Youth Bullying.   The issue of LGBT youth bullying is a huge issue that has yet to be told through these young people’s voices. Everything I found on the subject was through the scope of journalism or promotional material. So, I wanted to see that changed.

GTYD:  Why did you choose to use Kickstarter to raise the funds?

NIC:  I like the pressure for both others and myself to get the project funded. It’s all or nothing. That is the type of pressure I work well under so it just made sense to use Kickstarter over other platforms.

GTYD:  What is the biggest lesson that you have learned during your crowdfunding campaign?

NIC: I’ve learned that the hard hustle of social media works but a well crafted plan will work even better. Whatever you do, be smart about spreading your campaign!

Learn more about the LGBT20 campaign below and head over to Kickstarter to help support this project!

 

stacyandmelissa

Burning Q’s About Our Marriage

This week, the Illinois Legislature passed the marriage equality bill.  It was an amazing moment and while we are so happy about the fact that we will be legally married in our home state, we have received some very interesting questions from friends and family this week. We thought it might be fun to clarify a few things for y’all:

stacyandmelissa

  1. We are already married!

No, we are not having another ceremony. Been there, done that. We had a small intimate ceremony in Iowa (where it has been legal for a few years), and then had a beautiful, larger ceremony with friends and family in Chicago.  However, if you are interested in purchasing items off of our registry, feel free! :)

2. No, we don’t need to get married again in Illinois.

For our currently married friends. . .did you need to go to every state in the US to get married? :) We are married. Period.

3. However, we are still not recognized in most of the US. 

While we are ecstatic that Illinois is going to be come the 15th state to support marriage equality, this isn’t over.  Every state that currently surrounds us in Southern Illinois doesn’t support us. Heck, you can’t even utter the word “gay” in Tennessee schools.   Until we are fully, federally recognized, this fight is far from over.

4. Marriage is a Class Privilege 

We fully believe in marriage being a right for all who wish to partake in it. However, we feel that it’s vital to acknowledge that marriage is a privilege of those that can afford it. There are many other issues that affect every queer individual.

Honestly, this whole marriage business is another notch to add to that “class privilege belt”. Once we are afforded legal status in our federal government, we will receive a slew of benefits that single people don’t get to partake in. I call bullshit on that. Why should we get tax relief because we are married? There are a ton of other “perks” and don’t even get me started on if you have kids. That’s a whole ‘nother bucket of crazy that I can’t even begin to get into right now.

5. On that note, marriage equality doesn’t make us equal. 

It’s a nice step in the right direction, but honestly, in our opinion, there are some major issues that need to be reconciled. Some queers can be fired for being out on their job. Some members of our community live in fear, ever single flippin’ day because of threats of violence. Oh yeah, and some education systems think we really don’t exist.

The fact that more and more states are legalizing marriage equality does not mean we are suddenly equal and don’t have any more problems in our society. Don’t confuse ‘marriage equality’ with ‘equality’

6. We do exist. Deal with it. 

Finally, we want to say that we really do appreciate those friends and family who have supported us from the get-go. For the most part, we have some amazing people in our lives and we get all smooshy when we think about that. However, for those of you who think our marriage is a farce, or not the reality, well you really need to just get over it. We are here. We do exist. Oh yeah, and we are legally married. We’ve heard some crap recently that kids don’t understand us. I call bullshit. Kids understand love. They understand two people who care about one another. They get it. Still don’t believe me? Check out this video. . . the reactions are fantastic.

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Geek For Hire: Video Editing @ Google Helpouts

I’m really excited to announce that I am an official provider on the brand new Google Helpouts! Here’s a quick video to introduce you to this fantastic new service:

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My helpout is called Video Editing 101. Do you need help figuring out what to do with all of your footage? Or, do you need a one-on-one session in the steps to editing your first video? Come on by and schedule time with me!

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TravelGeek: AmtrakRideWithPride.Com

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I’m so excited to share the news about Amtrak’s new blog, Amtrak Ride With Pride. I’m one of their guest bloggers and so is my good friend, Deb.

Go, don’t collect $200 and check out Deb’s post about riding the California Zephyr, and my post about my tips for incoming LGBT college students.

There are also some pretty awesome travel deals too!

Here’s a quick little video of my beautiful ride down the coast of California from LA to San Diego. #WishingIWasThereNow

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