Archives for category: Interviews

 

With an election in Seattle fast approaching, we are honored to share this conversation with Jon Grant, running for Seattle City Council Position 8. A big thank you to my friend Nigel Weiss, who assisted me with these questions.

DD Greetings Jon! Thanks for stopping by Disco Droppings for this conversation. How are you?

JG Doing well! We’re in the final two weeks of the primary campaign and feeling good heading into August 1.

DD Growing up, did you envision yourself on a path like the one you’re on now?

JG Not really no! I’ve always had a passion for housing justice though, so in a way it makes sense. When I was a teenager, I produced a zine called “Section 8” that was mostly about punk music with some political articles sprinkled in. As an adult, I’ve focused my career on housing justice. In 2015, I ran because we needed a progressive to replace Tim Burgess. Now, with the Democracy Voucher program, my campaign is even more focused on elevating the voices of Seattle’s most marginalized communities.

DD How has 2017 been so far in your eyes, in terms of Seattle and nationally?

JG It’s been a challenging year obviously, but yet, I think in the face of a despotic national government, we’re seeing an amazing resurgence of local activism. It’s clear to me and many others that we can’t count on the federal government to protect us. Instead, it’s going to be cities like Seattle that set the standard for progressive policy.

DD What and/or who are your main influences, inside and outside of political activism?

JG In Seattle, I was first inspired to run for office by Nick Licata. We talk now about having a progressive bloc on the council; for many years, it was just Nick holding it down. Locally, I’ve also always been impressed with Tim Harris, who founded Real Change. On housing issues, I’ve been influenced by Peter Marcuse, a political thinker and urban planner and Randy Shaw from the Tenderloin Housing Law Clinic. Outside of housing, my social justice values are influenced by writers like Michelle Alexander and Lindy West.

DD You have many views that would be substantially different in some ways from the current direction of Seattle City Council. What is your approach to engaging with that? What are your thoughts on working as a team in such an environment, versus staking out principled disagreements?

JG What I’m hoping to accomplish with my campaign is to build a progressive voting block on the city council. Right now, we’ve seen a number of votes that fall 6-3, with Kshama Sawant, Mike O’Brien and Lisa Herbold representing the minority. I believe that if I get elected, it will be a lot easier to find common ground to win that 5th vote on issues like immigration, housing affordability and tenants rights. My goal once elected is to pass bold legislation, not just taking protest votes. I’m confident that by partnering with community groups on specific issues, we can work with the council at large to pass policy.

DD I first met you DJ’ing one of your house party events. How have those been going?

JG Great! We’ve raised tens of thousands of dollars just from people getting their friends together in a living room and talking local politics. We’re a people powered campaign and house parties are one way we build that power. And thank you for DJing an awesome set!

DD You’ve mentioned being the first to qualify for the Democracy Voucher Program. Can you explain why the vouchers are important for Seattle?

JG The Democracy Vouchers are changing the game in local politics and I hope they eventually change the game for state and national politics too. Last time I ran, our campaign was outspent 8:1 by big money who backed our opponent. This time around, we’re actually leading in fundraising and 90% of our money comes from vouchers. The vouchers are hugely important in a city-wide race but I think we’re going to see them have a big impact in district elections and especially in the mayor’s race next cycle. Anybody who is organized, who can build support in the community will be competitive with the voucher program.

DD In a state like Washington, and city like Seattle, we are surrounded by and immersed in so much beautiful nature. How much importance do we put on protecting the environment around here, from your perspective? What is your campaign focused on in regards to climate justice? And, what can people do in their own personal worlds to make a positive impact?

JG Climate justice is a central part of my platform and it’s clear that it is at the forefront of many people in Seattle. Back in February, I wrote an op-ed in the South Seattle Emerald asking the City of Seattle to end business with Wells Fargo, because of their support of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Later, I met with local native organizers Matt Remle and Rachel Heaton and asked how our campaign could support the No DAPL movement. They invited our campaign to participate in a city-wide action against Chase Bank, to urge Chase to divest from DAPL and me and one of our volunteers got arrested in that action. I would encourage anyone who wants to protect our natural environment to get involved with local environmental organizations like 350 Seattle and Rising Tide who are working to keep Seattle beautiful and equitable.

DD Affordability is on people’s minds more every day in Seattle, and you’ve got some big plans to address that problem. Can you talk about some of your ideas to support people who are struggling to stay in the city, and what are your thoughts about a long-term solution to the high costs of everything in Seattle? Also, when a building has a certain percent affordable housing, how much cheaper is it?

JG I’m presenting the boldest housing platform of anyone in my race. Our campaign is calling for 25% of new development to be affordable to working people (up from the 2-7% the city has passed so far), giving renters the right to collectively bargain their rents, creating an Office of the Tenant Advocate and raising the top B&O tax rate (while raising the exemption for small businesses) to build thousands of new units of deeply subsidized and low-income housing. It’s critical that we add tens of thousands of new units of affordable housing, in addition to preserving what we have already from displacement, to keep costs down long-term. Buildings that are covered under the 25% mandatory housing affordability requirement usually have affordable units targeted to people making about $40,000-$50,000/year. That’s why my housing plan also calls for constructing new housing that will be affordable to people making less than $40,0000.

DD You’ve been a big supporter of alternatives to policing and incarceration so far, in particular you’ve been vocal in support of No New Youth Jail and the Block the Bunker movement to prevent the city from building a new police precinct in North Seattle. Overall, what do you think city has done well in terms of criminal justice and policing, and what would you like to see changed?

JG One program that I’d like to see kept and expanded is the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program. The LEAD program provides caseworkers to chronically homeless individuals, low-level drug dealers and users, and sex workers, instead of pushing those people into the criminal justice system. The LEAD program has reduced criminal recidivism rates by up to 60% among the population it serves. We should expand the LEAD program citywide to better serve our communities.

We should invest in rebuilding the Community Service Officer (CSO) program, which places unarmed Seattle Police Department employees in communities to respond to low-level calls like property crimes and landlord-tenant disputes. The CSO program was dismantled in 2004; it’s time to bring it back. CSOs could play an important role in working with houseless people and individuals dealing with drug addiction by connecting people to services instead of routing them into the criminal justice system. Instead of investing in 200 new police officers, the city should direct funding to expanding the CSO program.

I also support alternative forms of accountability for crimes of poverty like loitering/disturbing the peace and driving with a suspended license and crimes like DUIs, sex work, drug-related offenses and any offenses that take place in public schools or public educational facilities. Arrests for these types of offenses funnel vulnerable populations like undocumented immigrants, people of color, transgender and queer people, and the homeless into the criminal justice system. Identifying alternatives to arrests and incarceration is a crucial immigration, racial and social justice issue.

DD You’re running as a Democratic Socialist for this campaign and not a Democrat. What led to this, and how do the Democratic Socialists of America tie into your campaign?

JG I wanted to make it very clear to Seattle voters my views on the relationship between the market and public benefits. We’re in a housing crisis and yet our elected officials are focused on relying on the market to provide a basic good like a roof over your head. I believe we need more people in office who recognize that the government has a role to provide for people’s basic needs. I am a member of Seattle Democratic Socialists of America and have been endorsed by SDSA. I’m happy that SDSA has played an active role in recruiting volunteers for our campaign.

DD What problems in Seattle deserve more attention in your eyes, and how does your campaign address those areas?

JG Some big issues I believe we need to address are expanding municipal broadband, gender pay equity, stopping the sweeps of homeless people, and protecting immigrants in our community from ICE. These are all issues featured on my platform.

DD Who makes up your team, and how much time do you spend working on your campaign and areas connected to it? What’s the balance between how much work you do, and the assistance that you get from staff, volunteers etc?

JG We have three full-time staff (our campaign manager Kate, our field director Manya and our field organizer Shaun) and two part-time staff (Erin, who runs communications and Deyland, our field canvasser). Right now, I’m working full-time on the campaign. My focus is on talking directly to voters, whether that’s going to a community meeting, a candidate forum or hitting the doors.

DD How can people help you out, whether in Seattle or outside?

JG First, vote! You should have gotten a ballot last week. Please get it in as soon as possible. Second, donate your Democracy Vouchers to the campaign. You can mail them to People for Jon Grant, PO Box 21551, Seattle WA 98111. Finally, we’re up against some big money in this election. Big business has already spent almost $100,000 to back my opponent. We’re asking people to donate just $22 to help us stay competitive. You can donate at electjongrant.com/donate

* Disco Droppings and myself, Jimi Jaxon endorse Jon Grant for Position 8. Cheers !

– JJ

Advertisements

12657766_892535567533390_738006383550630536_o

It’s been a little over two years since Abby stopped by Disco Droppings for a conversation. I’m very grateful she has returned! I observe so many discussions on subjects like the ones below, and it can be a trip to say the least. When I think about a contribution I can make, a big part is building a space for these ideas and energies to be demonstrated. Where distinct individuals can share, and readers can take it in at their own pace, in a site that isn’t difficult to look at. I aim to keep things clean and minimal. So, in we go with this hard-hitting investigative journalist: Founder of Media Roots, Former host of Breaking The Set, Board of Directors for Project Censored, Founder of The Empire Files and quite the artist as well. I soundtracked this feature to The Prodigy album, The Fat of the Land (very fitting I’d say)..

DD Who and/or what moved you the most this past year of 2015, and what message did they bring?

AM My partner Mike, he made me follow my heart across the country. It took a leap to adventure to NYC with me to partner in our show The Empire Files. His support and intelligence has pushed my vision to a whole other level.

DD I want to go back to a past interview you did a few years ago that could use another look. I especially love your conversation with Alex & Allyson Grey, who are said to be “the most prolific psychedelic artists in the world..” There are discussions of “inner sight” and “turning within”. How does this translate to the lens through which you see the world?

AM They are truly beautiful people. I think the most important human component is empathy. Instead of speaking about the horrors of the world in the abstract, we need to start humanizing others and putting ourselves in their shoes. Whenever I report an issue, I try to report it from the peoples perspective, through the lens of the oppressed and suffering.

DD What internal human imbalances contribute most to the external dysfunctions you witness and report on, in your eyes?

AM I don’t know about internal imbalances so much as external ones that force internal strife. We are living in an economic system that institutionalizes inequality and barbarism. Poverty is deepening at an increasingly rapid rate. The extreme consequences of living under the shadow of militaristic imperialism are playing out all around us, driving desperate people to commit crime, violence and terrorism. The propaganda that maintains US Empire breeds division, hatred and discrimination. Unless people can work together to challenge the power structure in the heart of this country, I fear the dysfunction of the system will lead to its violent collapse.

DD I feel this problem with unification. What’s holding us back from coming together? What veils need to be lifted?

AM Behind the veil is the common humanity that unites us all. From nationalism to “otherism”, myths are the glue that hold society subservient. These myths also work to justify untold unjust and criminal policies. I think most division in America is bred from a manufactured fear of what we don’t know or understand. The propaganda behind the endless ‘War on Terror’ is more convoluted and effective now. Many people I related to ten years ago have since followed an extreme Islamophobic trajectory. It’s scary. In times of strife, people’s fears will take hold and fascists will rise–it’s up to those of us that are awake to support and build each other up.

11825184_1087870544574226_5426391124570271284_n

DD How is life with Telesur, the host of your new show Empire Files? And how would you describe the energy of this show vs. Breaking The Set?

AM Every episode of Breaking the Set was like a punch in the gut of hard truth. For three years I was like a steam engine, with a team of only two people to churn out a daily show. The energy output was insane, and I knew that I couldn’t keep it up. I also knew that I wanted to embark on investigative documentary work, and with The Empire Files, I’m able to invest an entire week’s worth of work to provide important and timeless context to the issues of the day. Although the budget for the show is much less than RT, it’s been an invaluable experience to learn what goes into creating a show from scratch.

DD My favorite art pieces from you are the collages. “Ganesha Nagarani”, “Business Man’s Trip” and “Earth Awakening” really draw me in. There’s this chaotic energy, and at the same time a cohesion and melding together of many elements. How has this outlet been moving for you recently? If you haven’t been focusing on this area recently, are there other visual artists you find especially striking at this time?

AM “Ganesha Nagarani” is my favorite piece! I love creating captivating, psychedelic webs of cultural expression. I still only have a staff of two helping to create the weekly production of The Empire Files, so having free time for art is limited. I’m trying to set up a show while I’m on the east coast, which will force me to produce more. Out of all the art I’ve seen in NYC so far, there is very little cutting political commentary and I hope to inject some before I move on to the next place.

12294710_1024229200933095_9106649935574806878_n

DD About the election and 2-party system. I’m remembering my high hopes for Obama, going with that “choose the lesser of two evils”, and questioning that mindset later. What’s your take on the election this year, Trump, Clinton and Sanders? What is your option for people who may think, “there’s no other way that has a serious chance”? My gut says, why project barriers and give into limitations? But I struggle with what to align myself with.

AM I think this election cycle is fascinating and promising for many reasons. The entire Republican establishment backed a candidate that its voter base totally rejected. Only good things can come from the corporate duopoly splintering like this. On the Democratic side, I think Bernie Sanders’ support is significant. It’s more than just symbolism. Unlike Obama, Sanders has a decades long record of policy votes to stand behind. Hillary’s upset so far is about a visceral rejection of the status quo and shows Americans are hungry for significant change. Unfortunately, Bernie already pledged to endorse corporate criminal Hillary Clinton as the democratic nominee and not run as an independent, which would be disastrous and demoralizing to his supporters. If he loses the nomination, I hope his base rallies behind Green Party candidate Jill Stein. I always advise people to vote with their heart, because any vote for a candidate that doesn’t represent them is a wasted vote, not the other way around. The more we marginalize third parties the more the two-party dictatorship maintains its stranglehold over the already rigged election system.

 

DD And finally, what is your mission for 2016?

AM To forgive and learn from my mistakes, and to constantly strive to be a better, stronger person.

Abby Martin – Twitter Facebook

The Empire Files – Twitter Facebook Youtube

 – Jimi Jaxon

 

Perfect time for reflection. In case you missed it, we had Disco Droppings first release a few months ago. “MMXV”, Free 7-track + mixed version from Sphyramid. Was able to get some of our friends behind the video, artwork and tunes to share their perspectives..

12046784_878188118884784_937679283226840432_n

Sphyramid, Producer

DD Knowing and working alongside you over the years, this seemed to be your most involved project so far. There were many elements coming together over what ended up being 6 months or so. Now that some time has past since the release in October, how do you reflect on it all?

SPH Well the whole thing is pretty coincidental, it started as a single track and video (Loud Enough). I didn’t have a computer at the time but my roommate was going to Mexico for a month which gave me the opportunity to use his computer to record the rest of the release.

This collection of tracks represents a huge release of negative energy. My father passed away in January of 2014, then I experienced an intense process of betrayal and forgiveness between a lover and a close friend the following October. then in April of 2015, I quit my food service job that I once loved but had become a personal hell. Somehow being driven to my most extreme state of overwhelming despair gave me the courage to look at my self and make that jump to being a creative professional. As soon as I left that mental and physical space of loathing to focusing on my art I received more and more opportunities. I started the video project with Tucker and put the call out for people to help. All of a sudden I realized that I had this huge crew of supportive, loving friends and fans.

I basically spent the remainder of this year fine tuning the tracks, getting them mastered, and corresponding with Alden for the artwork. Now that we are approaching the end of the year its fitting that we look back on “MMXV” because that is exactly what I named it (roman numerals for 2015). This might just be post rationalization, but this project was like some kind of offering to the gods, a sacrifice or something. It’s like saying, “Here take this darkness, I don’t need it anymore. But it has served me well.”

Next year I would like to re-release it as “MMXVI” (2016) with as many vocal edits and remixes as possible. But until I find all my vocalists and get that recorded I will continue my research and development for my next project. “MMXV” was like therapy, but it was also just a snapshot of a year in my life, a collection of ideas that happened to fit together. My next project will be a more cohesive concept album focusing on some more positive and playful feelgood vibes, I think I have earned it :]

 

sphyramidmmxvart

Alden Lee, Artwork

DD I was impressed with some of your previous pieces, and pleased to have you on board for artwork. How do you go about creating, and how was it being involved with this project?

AL I sift through magazines looking for anything that catches me eye and cut them out, and those cut-outs go in a bin. When I make something new I spread out all the paper pieces on the floor and see if any of them look good together. If they do, then I add more pieces and go from there.

It was a lot of fun contributing to the MMXV release. The design was inspired by some stills of the video shoot, and I wanted to make something that could key into those mystical and occult elements.

 

Tucker Grindstaff, Video Director

DD I remember being a small part of one of the shooting days for “Loud Enough” over in Everett earlier this year. You were noticeably apt at guiding a sizable group of people through the different scenes in a calm, upbeat way. What did you take from this whole process?

TG The “Loud Enough” video shoot was a party in a bedroom of Sphyramid’s house with all of his friends who were there to have fun, dress up, and get absolutely crazy. All I had to do was tell them when to party in the bedroom and when to eat tater tots to go with their champagne. I couldn’t have done it without my production team, especially Alexander Vincini and Adam Bagley who helped tremendously in wrangling the crowd; really my job was just ensuring that people knew there were tater tots to eat and where the tots were. The end product showed the fun and ‘maniacally smiling from the shadows’ vibe that drew me to Sphyramid’s music in the first place, and in the end I think it was a lesson in how to create an atmosphere that mirrored the artist’s intention. Really though, those tots took it to another level.

Sphyramid – Soundcloud Facebook

* Thanks to Lealia and anyone else that was a part of this project and was not mentioned.

– Jimi Jaxon

djinni-of-complexity

 

DD Hello there Masha and welcome to Disco Droppings! I met you at Recess Festival over the summer in Tonasket, Washington, and am pleased that the timing is right for this conversation. How are you?

MF Hi Jimi! I’m doing great. I have a nice fire going in the wood stove, and a kitty on the couch next to me.

DD I celebrate your varied approach with art. Working within several mediums is an enjoyable method for me too. Could you share some of the many areas you work in? Most recently I’ve seen your “Mandelbulb” realms, which are fascinating.

MF I enjoy working with ink and a wide variety of digital media. In the digital realm, I use a combination of photomontage and painting with custom brushes – mostly my own brushes, but sometimes ones made by other artists as well. Everywhere I go, I look for unusual textures and lighting, and other cool stuff I can photograph to use later as elements in my work. So that’s all part of using Photoshop for me. I wanted to try playing with a pixelated aesthetic, so I bought the program Hexels and made a couple of pieces using it. I just started playing with Mandelbulb, which feels really alien to me because I’ve never used so much CGI before. I use far more traditional art values with Mandelbulb than any other work because it’s just so easy to get lost in its infinity. When I work with a pen, I just feel so grounded by comparison. There’s things I can make with a regular pen and paper that I can’t make on the computer only because it feels different to use. But every new medium I try, I learn something new!

long-thread

DD What have been some of the major transformative periods that built up to the artist and human we see today?

MF When I was in high school, I was felt kind of depressed about art. It felt like my imagination, in relation to drawing, sort of died, and I couldn’t get it started up again. I still took art classes, and two really wonderful things happened: The teacher, Mr. Yee, was about to teach us contour drawing. He showed us a very detailed and realistic drawing of a sandal, and asked us how long it took for the student to learn to draw like that. Everyone answered responses of 5 years or more, until he revealed the poor drawings that person had done earlier in the semester. It only took one semester for them to get that good, because he had the right teacher! I think we were all galvanized by this demonstration. I felt liberated. Also, right about that time, my mom bought me a set of gel pens, which had just appeared on the market. They were very consistent and downright frictionless compared to any other pen or pencil – just perfect lines. Suddenly I was in love with drawing all over again, and didn’t really stop from then on.  

When I was in college for biology, I was doing all kinds of crazy projects – I made a nature documentary, I rode my bike across Florida, through the Keys to write a travelogue. But I was increasingly feeling that whatever I wanted to do with my life was not aligned with sitting in a lab and taking measurements. I left school for a few years to figure out what to do next. The jobs available were obviously dead-end, so I went to St. Armand’s Circle and began to draw portraits for a living. At least that way I could improve at some sort of skill! In between customers I drew for fun and eventually developed one of the styles I still use today. I later returned to school, but still tried out a wide variety of classes before settling on art. I owe so much to my partner Dustin, who supported me through so many periods when I wasn’t making any money, and continues to help me in so many ways.

dynamo-color-adjusted

DD I sense waves of fresh interest towards the power of consciousness. Your energy definitely has that mind expansive quality. What’s your understanding of this area, and what role do you see yourself playing?

MF I believe that we have not yet scratched the surface of what the human brain can do, and that today, more than ever, we have the tools with which to discover its possibilities. It’s really amazing, especially when science and consciousness exploration work together. But what I notice is that people tend to fall in-step with each other. Visionary art (for lack of a better term) is so meaningful for us, because it captures so well the places we’ve been or want to visit. For better or for worse, these works are modern-day icons, like pictures of Jesus and Mary in a cathedral. They subtly direct our minds to have particular kinds of experiences as we expand. And so, there is the possibility that unless we become aware of this type of conformity, that as a community we may hit a collective mental ceiling.

Compare it to our internet use. How much of your time do you spend on Facebook, compared with going out into the wild beyond where Google can barely reach? Facebook users share a lot of awesome things, but if some of us don’t visit pages outside of social media, we’ll all just be recycling the same old memes over and over. And so with our consciousness exploration.

DD Some resist change and the future. Some of your instruments, like the graphics tablet have certain techniques that “old school” instruments wouldn’t be able to do. I like hearing the new positive ways expression can be opened up with developing materials. Could you expand on this?

MF Well, technology hasn’t changed anything about staring at a blank page trying to decide what to make!

One of the things, in 2D art that I’m really excited about is pattern recognition in neural nets. Most people I think, have seen the Google DeepDream images last summer. It’s taking a neural net designed for recognizing certain objects and asking it what it sees in another image, taking that image and feeding it through, over and over until you get weird things like puppy slugs and eyes everywhere. The computer now has pareidolia! But even though the code is freely available, there aren’t that many vast neural nets around yet, so mostly you’re getting the same old puppyslugs and architecture recognizable as Google’s

or MIT’s nets. Right now there’s some loose code and software available through CUDA that lets you train your own neural net through machine learning, but it can only be used on an older version of Linux, which can be massive pain to install. But, DeepDream breaks the predictability of typical Photoshop filters and almost any other 2D image manipulation, so I think there’s a lot of possibility for a new tool. I wish I could code better so I could use it already!

 In 3D art, right now 3D printers are on brink of being available and usable for anybody. It’s very satisfying to model even the silliest thing and then to print it out – but the real strength lies in the ability to print something very complex which cannot be sculpted or assembled by human hands. People have already been designing stunning mathematical objects and displaying them in galleries, and sometimes making the files freely downloadable so others can print them out on their own machines. Furthermore, one can take these printed objects and cast them into a mold, out of which a more permanent and beautiful sculpture can be made.

city-arch-web

DD There are so many layers to this art of yours. “City Arch” for example. It took me many looks to really notice the landscape at the bottom. For a while, the arches and trees grabbed my attention. Do you like the idea of people exploring your visuals, with some elements hidden for discovery?

MF Yes! It makes me so happy to hear you say that. When I was a kid, I went to the Museum of Natural History in NYC with my grandma. We would sit for some time in front of the elaborately assembled dioramas, looking for hidden animals. It was always surprising. I can think of so many instances where my imagination was set aflame just by realizing that all around us are hidden worlds we could find, if we just took a minute to step outside our regular paths. So in many of my ink pieces such as “Wet Cats” and “The Weaver”, I enjoy placing little details everywhere to be found later.

DD What does support mean to you? Has your experience and understanding of this changed over the time you’ve been exploring these other realms and dimensions?

MF Support means a lot of things to me. But I suppose at the end of the day it’s that I can be myself around a few close friends and not feel like I’m out of my mind. And maybe that someone brings me food when I’m in a flow state so that I don’t have to stop. Since my husband and I both tend to get into flow states a lot, we drink a lot of smoothies now.

I am surrounded by the most amazing, supportive people. I suppose it is my greatest fear that I’d let the ones who mean most to me down, and oddly, that fear has grown with time instead of disappearing. It is like a gnawing flame, reminding me to get better and try more. Some people talk about letting that type of motivator go, but I’m not sure if I can. I heard it’s not really a very healthy outlook to have, but I suppose that at my core, I’m just not very Zen. Maybe it keeps me anchored so that I don’t just drift off into strange realms. Being given support of any type to pursue your passion is really meaningful, and I feel like I’d better give some kind of returns to those who have invested in me. Otherwise it wouldn’t be very fair, like some unspoken contract had been broken. Gah, that was a tough question.

DD How can readers get in touch with you about acquiring pieces?

MF You can either visit my Etsy page, or email me at mashafalkov@yahoo.com.

DD As we come close to the end of the year, any insights to share or thoughts on the future?

MF Ummm…there’s a thing you want to do. No, not that thing. Not chores or taxes or emails. That thing, sitting in the back of your mind for a decade. What was it you were planning back then? A trip to someplace you now deem impractical to visit? A painting you think you lack the skill to create? A story you wanted to write? And then you got distracted, and it never made your to-do list, because it wasn’t so important. Go and Do The Thing. Sure, it sounds trite. But do it anyway. Now, you can’t say that nobody ever told you to Do The Thing. Cheers and thanks!

intothevortex

Masha Falkov – Facebook

dreamsandtravels.com

– Jimi Jaxon

IMG_1989

Hello there! Jimi Jaxon here, and I am just beaming with excitement. This rock, gem, mineral and crystal shop has been a major influence in my life lately, and as you’ll read I highly recommend anyone in the nearby Washington state area (Kirkland specifically) to come check it out. I doubt you’ll be disappointed..

DD Welcome Kim and Earthlight to Disco Droppings! I’ve been looking forward to this for the last few months..

KV It has been great meeting you and talking with you over the summer, whenever you come into our rock shop.

DD This place really feels like the hidden gem of the Eastside. Could you talk a bit about its origins?

KV My dad opened the shop back in 1988 (27 years ago), we are known for our unique variety of so many different types of stones, along with our great selection and fair pricing. My husband and I travel all over the USA rock hounding, and my dad traveled all over the USA and overseas. We have stones from all over the world. We hand select ever piece personally as my dad has done from the start.

IMG_9600

DD I was talking with you the other day about your approach with patrons of various backgrounds and interests that come through the door. I appreciate your multi-faceted technique, as there are many ways to be be intrigued by these rocks, gems and minerals. Could you expand on that?

KV Our store has such a unique family feel to it, friendly and loving energy, that everyone feels at home here. We have every walk of life, every class of people and at many times, all in the store at the same time. It is a sanctuary, where many different people get along and talk rocks in the shop, that maybe never would have spoke to each other outside of the store. It is a beautiful thing to see and share with others.

DD I’ve had some memorable experiences at your shop. At the start of summer I went in and found this very special Moldavite. Once I had it in my hands the connection was made, and thanks to your layaway program I was able to start making payments on it. Every few weeks I would come in, hold the Moldavite and look around the spot. I don’t think I’ve ever walked into your place and not taken something home, and every time I’d pick a few out with the Moldavite in hand, I’d look up their properties/descriptions. Each time one of them would specifically say something like, “goes well with Moldavite”. It seems to have a mind and influence of its own, and was setting me up energetically to one day acquire it. Any experiences you can share that seemed magical in some way?

KV On a regular basis I have people coming in drawn to a certain stone or another, regardless if they have any knowledge of the stone. When we look up to see why they are picking that one up constantly, or why they are so strongly drawn to that stone, it many times turns out that it deals specifically with something they are working on in their personal lives or with health issues. I say the stones pick you – you don’t pick the stones.

IMG_9599

DD There’s a book there called “Crystalline Communion 2000”. This is a favorite of mine, very well written with many distinct descriptions. I remember one example being the information on Tanzanite, and its connection with dolphins. Anything you’d like to say about this book?

KV My dad Jack Frasl and his second wife Collen Marquist wrote three paperback books before this, and then this fourth book compiled everything together into one book. It is a wonderful book, with a lot of insight into the stones as well as a very nice index of properties that lists the stones for each one instead of just page numbers to look up, making it extremely useful. Currently this is out of stock, and we are hoping to either update it or reprint the current edition in the future.

DD I’m itching to hear about your recent diggings. Where did you go, what did you find and how was the journey?

KV Our last rock hounding trip was over labor day weekend, we got the privilege to go digging at the Polka Dot mine in Oregon, (usually this is not open to the public), but the mine owner let a large group of us in for the weekend and we had so much fun. Of course we paid for what we kept, but it was well worth it. The mine has a new find of lovely Polka Dot blue ice – so much fun, we came out with 661 lbs of a variety of this material. We have been bringing in raw pieces, cut and polished pieces and more will be coming in as we have time to work it.

DD You’ve got two upcoming shows, one on 10/24-10/25 (Bellevue Rock Club’s Rock, Gem and Jewelry Show) and on 11/7 (9th annual, Healing Hearts Psychic Fair, Bremerton). What goes into these presentations for you, and what do you look forward to the most at these gatherings?

KV We do – I am so excited to share with everyone some of the new things that we have specifically saved aside for these shows, I love to see the reaction and excitement that people get when you bring out new material, or new pieces that no one has seen before. All the stones at these shows will be things we have not had in the shop yet, granted we might have similar items, but it is all fresh, new and if you want the first and best picks come early. These both will be wonderful shows to attend. The first one the Bellevue rock show is just that , a wonderful rock show. The second one the Healing Hearts Psychic Fair – will be a new show for us, but I hear it is a fabulous show, it is a metaphysical show and a percentage of the proceeds go to charity, they will have more info about there charity at the show.

IMG_7858

DD Any last words? It’s such a pleasure to have you here!

KV It is a pleasure and I will see you soon in the shop, to seek out new treasures as we bring in new things almost daily. Have fun and remember, keep a smile in your heart and rocks in your pocket. Thanks again

 

Earthlight – Facebook

earthlightgems.com

– Jimi Jaxon