I took this portrait of my grandmother Mildred Avery in 2006. I was looking to create a graphic for Mildreds Daughters' Urban Farm using this photo of her with a seed placed floating just above her palms. The seed would represent the future. This shoot ended up being my last set of her before she passed on. I took photos of her throughout my adult years. She was always a willing subject and would do any strange thing I requested. If you click through you will see her gamely holding a marrionette to her chest for me in a photo from the nineties.
I left NYC three years ago to take my kids away from the grit and grime, the crowded playgrounds, the noise, the smell and the claustrophobic feeling the city can take on. Leaving the big city was made easier by the existence of the urban farm my mother Randa and her partner Barb had started on a riverside hilltop in the Stanton Heights neighborhood of the city of Pittsburgh.
above: South-East view of the main field, April 2009
spring is back, its official. I live on a hill. When I skate from my house I have to go down this hill. This hill is Stanton Avenue starting at Stanton Courts and ending around Heths street. Highview is the intersection where ones mortality comes into play. It is the kind of hill that can be taken fast or slow. Traffic is a major factor with this hill especially near the bottom as the last half block of the hill is a sharp turn into an intersection with a light.
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im in Pittsburgh, downhilling Murray Avenue from Beacon to Forward at around 3pm. My first spring skate of the year, headphones on.. im really heavy into the mixes and production of Quentin Harris right now.. just so so funky especially his tracks, travelin, my joy and hate wont change me. So im just flowing down the hill.
The first day I came in to choreograph aerial I had the twins doing tut style angular forms and trying to explain New Yorks house hip-hop and martial arts influenced Zoo-Fu style that I had learned from dancing with the Step-Fenz since 97. I came in trying to get rhythms with freezes and glides. I watched what they had too when we started out, which appeared to me to be the classical chest out flying “like in a dream” look combined with a drama-workshop-esque build of primal roars! at one another and thankfully some serious power and balance combo positions. i was envisioning a possessed techy Egyptian style. An aerial act of mechanisitc hieroglyphic flying form with 90 degree ankle and futuristic interlocking tic-toc skateboard referencing aerials.
ABOVE: The Atherton Twins perform an early version of the Aerial Straps Act in Cirque Du Soleils, Varekai.