Saturday April 13 saw a lot of activity on Calle 24. Between Paseo Artístico, Cesar Chavez Day Festival, and Flor y Canto Literary Festival, there was too much to be captured, here’s a sample.
In July of 2014 I met Anna Maria Gesine Schreiber, a German actress and Frida Kahlo enthusiast. She was in San Francisco to celebrate Fiestas Fridas. I remember noticing her as the most regal of all the Frida impersonators that day, with her mother at a table with their art pieces for sale. But they were putting out a terrible energy, their stress and insulation made them come off as stock-up and cranky. No body was stopping at their booth, and the ones who did were met by very dry tone from the vendor. Anna Maria's mother Petra was tending the booth, while Anna Maria walked amongst the crowd, seemingly so unapproachable. But I braved the frowns and started talking to them. When I learned they were German I was even more fascinated by them, as it brought me back to my time spent in Berlin. From that moment I became far more tolerant of that serious energy, and soon I realized the two were so stressed by all of the problems they had encountered in San Francisco in their travels. Once I got to know them however, i realized how dedicated they both are to Anna Maria's career and her opportunities to express herself. She seemed more natural, more herself, when she was dressed as Frida. Her normal street clothes were mild earth and neutral colors. It would not suit her to dress colorfully as Anna Maria, but as Frida, as Frida she shines.
I visited the Heartwood Institute last month. It started as a holistic healing arts school that included things like acupuncture, massage and yoga. People would move out to the residential center in the remote mountains of Humboldt County. As these disciplines became more mainstream, it became less necessary for people to have to go on a remote retreat to pursue these certifications, and their student numbers began to dwindle. Today, Heartwood is reinventing itself as a Permaculture institute that will integrate things like culinary arts and nutrition to draw a new crowd and make the best use of its location. They will also be open to things like yoga and meditation retreats. I had been thinking of coming out and documenting their work since at least 2008, but circumstances just didn't quite allow it until now. Timing is heavenly and I just happened to approach them during a time of great transition, and they would love for me to come out and start photographing right away. And to think I hesitated and thought they would think I'm weird for knocking on their door and asking to take photos of what they do.
I visited in mid May to meet their team and to see if it would be a good match. I visited, and it was. They seemed to be very excited to meet 'the photojournalist from San Francisco', even though it's so not like that. But it still felt good to feel welcomed by them. I took a few snaps during my visit, though at that time classes had not started yet, so the photos are lacking in human subjects, but hopefully in the next few weeks I will return to Heartwood while things are in full swing.
Here's to a dream more than 7 years in the brewing!