Monday, November 19, 2007


I love shooting digitally, but once in awhile it's nice to slow down and do things the old school film way. The only problem with me shooting film is the rolls tend to sit around for quite some time before I can get them off to a decent lab. Just got back a roll from my Olympus XA - a rangefinder from the late 70's with a fast f2.8 lens and cute as hell black clamshape body. This roll was TMAX and I really love the dreamy, hazy yet kinda sharp look. It's weird though to see grain again. These images were taken by me on the Victory Trailhead in Woodland Hills - a fantastic place to hike that actually makes you understand what the Valley was like back when it was inhabited by Native American tribes like the Tongva, Chumash, and Gabrielino. The Victory Trailhead has rolling hills, Oaks trees (btw, my hometown Encino is the Spanish word for Oak), and the perfect amount of quiet and serenity to make you feel like you actually escaped the city. B/W shots are TMAX, the rest are a mix of digital and some color film.

Update: Directions to Victory Trailhead. You can take Victory Blvd at any point in the Valley and just go as far West as you can go. Victory actually ends at the Victory Trailhead (just West of Valley Circle in West Hills). From the 101 freeway exit Valley Circle Boulevard. Head north to Victory Boulevard. Turn left. Park entrance is approximately one mile at the end of Victory Boulevard. There are other entrances too, go to for more info.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


First I finally got a myspace page, then I started this blog, and NOW, drum roll please, I have a You Tube page. Well I should say the documentary I'm making has a You Tube page - its a little ahead of me on that curve. I just posted a sneak peak interview clip from DESERT HEARTS MON AMOUR, the documentary I'm making about the cult status and social impact of Desert Hearts, the first romantic lesbian film. Here's me interviewing the stars of Desert Hearts, Helen Shaver & Patricia Charbonneau.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Last night I was at the historic Beverly Hills Hotel for Power Up's 7th Annual Power Premiere Gala interviewing celebs on the red carpet for my Desert Hearts Mon Amour documentary. My interviews included: the stars of "Desert Hearts" Helen Shaver and Patricia Charbonneau; "Dante's Cove" stars Michelle Wolff and Jill Bennett; founder/editor Sarah Warn; LOGO channel's "Exes and Oh's" star Michelle Paradise; "L Word" star Daniella Sea; and Michelle Clunie who played Melanie on "Queer As Folk." I got some great interviews for my doc, but the HIGHLIGHT of my night was queer film archivist, writer, and filmmaker Jenni Olsen running up to me to say "Hi" and to show me that she's using my Rudy's Hardware photo as her iPhone screensaver. How cool is that!

Friday, November 9, 2007


When people outside of L.A. think of Hollywood and where the stars live they think of Beverly Hills but the truth is tons of celebs have always lived in the Valley. Don't believe me - well one random night eating dinner at Tony Roma's in Encino I had the original Batman Adam West sitting in the booth across from me and Mr. T sitting in the booth behind Batman. When you see a celebrity in the Valley it's not like some crazy scene out of Extra or Access Hollywood with a throng of Paparazzi and fans going crazy. Sure everyone notices these famous people but they're pretty much left alone except for a random hello. Unfortunately Britney Spears has brought her own Paparazzi hellstorm to the Valley - I'm just glad I've never been unfortunate enough to be at the same location as her at the same time. This week she was in Van Nuys looking at buying a Mercedes SUV, awhile back she shaved off her hair in Tarzana, and last week she ate at the Sharkey's on Reseda Blvd that I go to. The management, obviously not used to this kind of celebrity shitstorm, actually allowed the Paparazzi inside - and they were completely surrounding Brit as she at her fish taco or whatever it was. What I like about the Valley is that it's laid back in comparison to anywhere in the city (and you don't have to take a ticket and pay to park to go to a mall or shopping complex!). Anyway I've had my own celeb sightings in the last week. First I saw Teri Nunn of Berlin in the Laemmle Town Center 5 (or as I like to call it by it's old name, the Town and Country) in of all places the bathroom!
Well anyway, Teri was looking as sexy as ever with her two tone blond/black hair. I just said a quick hi and told her how much I enjoyed her music and that I'd just seen her at The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano earlier in the summer. She was super nice and wanted to shake my hand but I refrained as I'd just come out of the toilet stall when I saw her LOL. I worked at the Town and Country when I was around 17 or 18 and just starting college. I once served popcorn and candy and soda to David Crosby. He was super chill and very nice. For my second celebrity sighting this week, I saw David Lander, "Squiggy" from "Laverne and Shirley" on Thursday afternoon while I stopped by Topz in Woodland Hills for lunch. I'd spotted "Squiggy" another time a few months ago driving his Prius out of a strip mall also in Woodland Hills. I went up to him at Topz and just quickly thanked him for all the great laughs he gave me as a kid watching "Laverne and Shirley." He was very gracious and said he appreciated it. Growing up in L.A. and working in entertainment for so long, I honestly don't care a whip about celebrity or famous people. I've pretty much interviewed anyone I was ever a fan of. There's plenty of times I've seen celebs and never said a word to them. But in the case of Teri Nunn and David Lander - both have given me plenty of pleasure in my life - each has seen super famous times and now just are still doing their thing without being on the top 10 of Billboard or the Nielsen ratings. I don't need or want a photo or an autograph, just the satisfaction of just saying hey I still appreciate you and haven't forgotten you.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


One of my favorite photographers, Lauren Greenfield, has a new short documentary film out called "Kids + Money." I caught a sneak peak at the Vll photojournalism conference at Art Center in Pasadena this last weekend. The film already screened today at the AFI fest and will rerun on Nov. 9 at 7:30pm at the Arclight as part of the Shorts Program One. Just like Lauren's books "Fast Forward," "Girl Culture," and her documentary and book, "Thin" - "Kids + Money" hits a serious nerve for me. Having grown up in Encino (pretty much the Beverly Hills of the San Fernando Valley), I've experienced firsthand how wealth and status are conveyed through fashion, homes, cars - you name it. My parents were never concerned with "keeping up with the Joneses" and as a result I've never been either. My Mom especially instilled confidence and most of all self-esteem in me from an early age so that I was never concerned with being like everyone else or even worse, "better." That self-esteem carried me through growing up fat, not having new cars (me or my parents), not having every new household gadget, and barely ever wearing designer, brand name clothes. The one time kids in my 4th grade class tried to tease me for my Mom and Dad both driving old cars (this was 1979 and my parents cars were from the early - mid 1960's), I didn't care. The fact that I stood up and told my classmates that our cars were cool and still good and my family still liked them was enough for the kids to back off. If I had confidence in my station in life, then they did too. While I was left alone, a girl in the grade below me took hell because her Mom drove a leased Rolls Royce. Now I'm sure that the 8 year olds in her class had no clue what it meant to lease vs own but I'm sure they must have heard their own parents making cracks about it and then they just brought it back to the schoolyard where they could be mean to her. The first time I was aware of kids having to wear certain clothes to be the leaders of the clique I was in third grade. I knew instinctively that I didn't care to be like everyone else and I didn't need Brand X, Y, or Z to be cool. I've always managed to have my own style, look good, and still have people want to be friends with me for being me. At my high school it was commonplace for Jewish girls to get nose jobs for their 16th birthdays and come back to school still wearing bandages or still having the effect of being swollen or bruised (like having racoon eyes). I always thought it was sad that these girls didn't just accept their noses and be proud of their heritage instead of trying to look non-Jewish. The problem with kids getting every single thing their heart desires is that there's no room to go up and on the rare occasion that you don't get what you want, your life is "ruined" and horrible. My parents happened to buy a home in Encino at a time when it was affordable to them, but they never really were at the economic level of their neighbors. I even see it now when my Dad drives his 1992 Buick Roadmaster (bought used) and his neighbors are driving brand new Mercedes and BMW's. Lauren's film "Kids + Money" is a cautionary tale and unfortunately after seeing it I think things have gotten monumentally worse since I was in grade school or even high school. Now more kids have eating disorders, can't wait to get all kinds of plastic surgery, and just in general aren't happy or secure. Forget about all this consumption - what ever happened to teaching kids about self-esteem!?!

Two Articles about "Kids + Money":

from the AFI Fest website:
By JOHN WILDMAN, Contributing Writer

The title says it all: KIDS + MONEY. How frightening that combination is depends on whether or not you are a parent (or about to become one). Or more precisely, whether or not you are a parent with a lot of money. Director Lauren Greenfield's documentary features a series of interviews with kids at various levels of the economic strata, with each one doing their level best to weave their way through the materialistic minefield that is Los Angeles. It may convince you to put the place up for sale and move to a safe fly-over state before starting a family. Or if you're entrenched in La La Land with kids already, maybe it will convince you to skip the golf game or take a day off from that cash cow job and check in with your own kids.

J.W.: KIDS + MONEY follows your book "Fast Forward: Growing Up in the Shadow of Hollywood." Why are you personally drawn to the issue of consumerism with kids?

L.G.: I started working on my first book "Fast Forward" when I moved back to my hometown of Los Angeles in 1992. I had studied visual anthropology at Harvard and interned at National Geographic and my focus in my documentary work had thus far been the "other," the exotic. I realized when I was living abroad that the culture that I grew up in - Los Angeles - was worthy of study and documentation as well. When I was photographing Maya Indians in Chiapas, Mexico for my first assignment for National Geographic, I started re-reading Bret Easton Ellis' book "Less than Zero." It reminded me of an exaggerated version of my own high school experience growing up on the west side of Los Angeles.
So when I started photographing kids growing up in Los Angeles, my primary focus was the influence of materialism and Hollywood values (cult of celebrity, importance of image) and how the culture causes kids to grow up quickly. I guess the origins of the work were my personal memories - both exciting and ambivalent - from my teenage years. (To see excerpts of "Fast Forward," go to

J.W.: Do you think this film will help lower the birth rate in Los Angeles?
L.G.: I have made a short, independent, very low budget film so I am unfortunately confident that it will have little effect on the overall culture in Los Angeles, let alone the census. That said, kids are amazing (I have two of my own) and I hope that the film will not discourage people to raise children in Los Angeles (as some have told me was the effect of my first book). I think we need to be aware of the toxic effect that the culture of consumerism has on children. We live in a time of very aggressive direct marketing and advertising to children and teens. Our President told us that an appropriate and patriotic response to 9/11 was to go shopping to support the economy. Our media is very influential on young people but parents and schools can have an important countervailing influence to the values of the popular culture. I showed a preview of KIDS + MONEY online and as a result received many educational requests for a copy of it from high school and university educators. I am always pleased when my work is used to promote discussion, especially in an educational context.

J.W.: Have the parents of any of the kids seen the film? And, if so - did it inspire any "mommy and me" time?
L.G.: We are still finishing post (but I promise it will be done by the festival) so no one has seen the finished film yet.

J.W.: What will happen in the feature-length sequel to KIDS + MONEY?
L.G.: Should I make one???? In all seriousness, all my books and films are related and part of an ongoing inquiry about contemporary culture. I have no doubt I will continue to explore the themes of KIDS + MONEY, but have no plans for a sequel at this point.

From L.A. Times Calendar Section:
Buy, buy

In the documentary ‘kids + money,’ Megan, 11, and Ashley, 13, say clothes are important at school. Megan, who has 32 pairs of designer jeans, recently had a birthday party with massages and facials for friends.

In her short film, 'kids + money,' Lauren Greenfield trains her lens on adolescents caught up in the Catch-22 culture of consumerism.

By Monica Corcoran, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
November 4, 2007

PHOTOGRAPHER Lauren Greenfield is always watching our children. Her acclaimed 1998 exhibit and book "Fast Forward" chronicled the excesses of youth culture in L.A. In last year's documentary "Thin," she took an unflinching look at the effects of eating disorders. Greenfield's latest focus is the economics of adolescence in her short film "kids + money," which premieres Wednesday at AFI Fest.

M.C.: What made you tackle this topic?

L.G.: Boys feel it as much as girls do, Lauren Greenfield says. (Clay Enos)
I have been really struck in my own life by how kids are affected by consumerism, and I know that many kids are really articulate about this -- both in terms of what they want in a material way and being critical of it.

M.C.: You have such an array of kids in the film, from private-school students in Brentwood to teens from East L.A. How did you find them?

L.G.: That was what we spent the most time on. I have been shooting kids in L.A. for 15 years. I went back to my contacts. We also just walked up to people at the Santa Monica Promenade and Fox Hills Mall. We wanted to cast in different parts of the city.

M.C.: And yet they all seem to be confronting the same issues, no matter their backgrounds.

L.G.: One of the things I noticed in East L.A. and South Central was the over-the-top consumerism in those areas. The strange thing is that this consumerism is what brings kids together too. One of the kids in the film, Matthew, says that he thinks it's a good thing. It's not about race anymore, he says. It's about money.

M.C.: The level of awareness among teens is encouraging.

L.G.: I know. When I did "Fast Forward," this kid Adam talked about how money ruined kids. He went to Crossroads [School in Santa Monica] and he said his friends spent up to $50,000 on bar mitzvahs. It struck me how perceptive kids were about what is going on. But that awareness did not give them immunity to it. They still felt like they needed to compete even if they knew it wasn't right.

M.C.: Is this just a local epidemic?

L.G.: No. This culture of celebrity and image really affects kids all over. L.A. is the place where you can see the extremes because we're closer to the fire. For "Girl Culture," I went around the country and saw that 16-year-olds in Edina, Minn., were very similar to girls in Beverly Hills.

M.C.: How are they alike?

L.G.: We share this national and international media culture that is the biggest influencer on kids. We share information so there is this homogenization among kids. The rich and poor are sharing very similar values.

M.C.: Everyone thinks girls are worse than boys when it comes to materialism. But is gender really all that relevant?

L.G.: The boys talk more about sneakers; the girls talk more about jeans. The boys feel the same pressure as girls to shop in certain places and wear certain clothes. For girls, it goes beyond the clothes and it becomes about body image. They think that if they have certain jeans, their butt will look OK too.

M.C.: The parents deal with this pressure too. They want their kids to fit in.

L.G.: It's a Catch-22 for us parents, I think. But we live in a country where our president told us that shopping was our contribution to the world. There are very few of us who are not part of this culture of consumerism and we do pass it along to our kids. I see it in my son who is 7 and constantly asking for stuff, and it's a struggle to say no.

M.C.: Ironically, it would seem that shopping malls have become the safe havens of the 21st century for kids. I don't know that kids even go out to play anymore.

L.G.: My husband and I were laughing last weekend because we had nothing to do on a Saturday and we decided to go to the Santa Monica Promenade because there would be something for everyone. I could look at books and my son could go to the Apple Store. "Let's have our family time in a consumer environment."

Friday, November 2, 2007


My family adopted/rescued ROXY from a private shelter almost 12 years ago. When we got her she had been placed and re-adopted into a few homes and already had puppies that had been taken away from her. She was only a year old. A black lab / Weimarenar mix, she was the largest female lab mix I had ever seen. She was 90 pounds and all muscle with tall, long legs, a long body, a tall, stout chest, and she had the softest ears I have ever felt on a short haired dog. Her coat was naturally shiny and she had these glowing golden brown eyes - one of her Weimarenar traits. She would follow you from room to room just to be near you and she still does that today. You can kiss her face over and over, lie cuddled practically on top of her, and she always comes when you call her. She loves going for walks and loves going for rides even more. She's super quiet (except when she's sleeping and snoring) and barely ever makes a sound or even barks, but she makes the cutest howling sounds whenever she hears an ambulance or fire truck nearby.
The first time I took a nap cuddled next to her with my face nuzzled into her neck I knew it was love. She's the only dog I've ever owned who would even let me do that. Why other families who had adopted her rejected her I will never know or comprehend. After all these years ROXY is getting old. She's approximately 13 - really old for any dog, but especially for a large one. She's slowed down considerably. Some days she has more pep and other days she's a bit pooped out. Her favorite place to be (besides lounging on one of our couches) is to sit perched on the porch or just inside the entryway to the house and just observe the cars and people going by on the street. When she was younger, if she saw a squirrel whiz by in the yard she would take off like a rocket. Now she just watches them walk on by - not enough energy to be the pursuer. About five years ago she started developing these tumors on both sides or her body. After running blood tests, the Vet informed us that surgery was risky for ROXY. My Mom had just died and the thought of possibly losing ROXY's life to remove the tumors wasn't worth it. And the thought of ROXY possibly dying right after my Mom probably would have killed my Dad. So we decided to let ROXY live out her life as long as that was going to be and not have her suffer through surgery. Well now it's five years later and ROXY has lots of tumors and cysts all over her body. The largest one on her left side is about 12 x 12 inches and hard as a rock. The tumor is stealing nutrients from the rest of her body so her weight drops little by little and she keeps getting skinnier in the middle. Sometimes the tumor affects her appetite and she doesn't want to eat much. On days that she does want to eat her dog food, I give her a bowl of my Peanut Butter Puffins cereal followed by a milk chaser - one of her favorite meals. She's been an amazing companion as I've grown from 25 to 37. ROXY isn't pure black anymore - she's earned her gray hairs - and her white eyebrows are the cutest. I'm just happy to still have ROXY here. I cherish the days I have with her.

Roxy Going For Rides

Dad, Lydia, Roxy, 1966 Buick LeSabre photo by Hugh Hamilton

Roxy Sleeping

Roxy Lounging

Roxy & Dad at Lake Balboa

Lydia & Roxy

Roxy Portrait - 2005

Update: Roxy died at home on December 7, 2007. I was at her side comforting her and she went quickly. That she survived to the ripe old age of 13 (very old for a large sized dog), and despite all the tumors, is a testament to her strength and strong will to live. To say she will be missed is an understatement. I now have a new dog in my life, another rescue - Lucy, a 2 year old boxer/lab mix. As this post is a tribute to Roxy, I will elaborate on Lucy in a future post.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


This year I decided to dress up as "Ugly Betty." The idea actually popped into my head last Halloween but I'd already committed to being Andy Warhol. I've been waiting a whole year to pass so I could finally get ugly. For my look I needed red glasses, bangs, clothes in garish colors, & braces. My old glasses were red, for bangs I had my mom's old hair extensions, I remembered a yellow vest my grandmother knitted in the 70's was hiding in a closet, and a paper clip could simulate braces. For as long as I've had long hair as an adult (since 18 or so), I've never had bangs. The last time I had bangs I was 5 years old. I clipped the hair in & wow was amazed. My haircut suddently looked a lot more hipster. I may actually consider this for my next haircut. This bangs photo shot into the mirror reminds me of shots I see in Craigslist "Women Seeking Women" section, only more arty. LOL. As much as I was enjoying my new look, I had to take the scissors and shorten them because Betty's bangs are just above her eyebrows. So here I am post bangs trim plus using my paperclip braces, officially a big nerd! Lydia vs. Betty As I mentioned in my previous post, I was forgoing the annual WEHO Halloween Carnival to go to Shotgun Space where two of my images were selected for their Night of the Witch show. My photos selected were: a Polaroid montage of me & my family wearing wax lips & devil's horns, & the photo of a girl dressed like "Carrie." My Dad, who's not much of a late night guy or socializer, really surprised me by saying he wanted to go to the show with me.

Here are two humorous photos of my Dad - totally out of place in a Gallery setting.This werewolf is really Star, who co-owns Shotgun Space. So thanks to Ian & Star ( from Shotgun Space for selecting my photos for the show. This Halloween was really mellow compared to the insanity & claustrophobia of the WEHO carnival, but it was cool to have my images at Shotgun Space. Especially to have a photo of my Mom featured - not only is she there in spirit, she's really at the show! Here's another Polaroid of Mom - probably from our last Halloween together 5 years ago. Enjoy!