Steve & Genna by Sari Blum

Steve is an old old friend of mine. We knew each other in college and his band was the first band I ever shot. I would follow them around to all the shows I could go to to get back stage and take pictures. He called me out of the blue last year saying that he was getting married and that he wanted me to photograph his wedding. I was honored.  

Read More

Craters of the Moon by Sari Blum

Craters of the Moon. Guess where this lil gem of a national park is? That’s right, Idaho. You’re thinking to yourself that’s not exactly where I thought momentous volcanic activity happened in our fine country only 2000 years ago! But, fact of the matter is, it did. I was there and even took some pictures to prove it. Other people were there too so it’s not necessarily this super secret hidden spot.

Point is…. it was the next stop on our road trip. We drove from Wyoming into the heart of Idaho. Craters of the Moon national park is located in the middle of the southern part of Idaho just before you hit the Sawtooth National Forest. 2,000 years ago a huge volcanic fissure opened up in this valley and wreaked havoc. Lava spewed from cinder cones forming rivers of firey destruction, moving castle size boulders miles from their places of birth and incinerating all in its path. It is truly a unique park to visit within the mainland of the good ol USA. How often do we get to see lava fields and explore the remains of lava destruction armed with the knowledge that these volcanos are completely dormant?

We had a full twenty four hours in the national park. They have a small yet lovely camp ground which overlooks one of the main craters. This camp ground was probably our second favorite after Zion. Maybe we both like desert scenary, but I tell you there is nothing better than being out in nature with unobstructed views of stars and space. It takes a full day to completely explore the park. If you’re in a rush you could do it in about an hour and see the main sights but we decided to meander through the park, walk (almost) every loop and read (almost) every sign.

My boyfriend’s favorite was the part where you are able to go and explore the lava tubes. When lava flows are thick and concentrated they burn and melt rivers, essentially, into the ground. The top of the lava will cool and harden but the river itself will keep flowing, therefore carving out hollow tubes. These are called lava tubes and within this national park you can go explore them. These are no joke. You need good shoes, a solid head lamp, pants and a jacket. Even in summer, when it was 95 degrees outside, there was still ice inside the caves. The caves vary in size from cavernous halls to very small openings in which you must squeeze and crawl your way through. It was at that point where I learned something about myself: I don’t really like cold dark small places. They make my heart beat very very very fast with a serious sense of impending doom. I learned I have some slight claustrophobia, who knew? Where as Nick in his other life was a cave explorer, he took to the darkness and small spaces like a… like a… explorer to a cave… Hmm. I’ll work on that. I chose to enjoy the sunshine while he explored deep into the caves. Don’t get me wrong I went into a few, but seriously, how many pictures can you take of deep dark empty spaces without your tripod. The answer is not many.

If you happen to find yourself in southern Idaho, treat yourself to a day in the park. It’s definitely worth the stop to see something a little different.

As always,

Enjoy.

A Wedding So Sweet by Sari Blum

If you’re just tuning in one of my oldest friends from high school got married this fall. This was the main reason for my road trip out west, and I couldn’t wait to join in the celebrations and be among the original best friend crew. The GC if you will… The Friday of the wedding weekend my man and I had left Zion National Park after waking up for sunrise to do the Angels Landing hike. It took us about 10 hours to reach Breckinridge after leaving the park around noon, once we got there it was 0 – 90 for wedding celebrations.

The wedding we were attending was one of my oldest friends from high school. We knew each other when Incubus was our favorite band, we didn’t necessarily know how to tame our hair into something manageable and we might have fought over who could have incubus ring tones on our bigger than your pocket cell phones. We never felt like cool kids, but we had our group and that was all we needed. Now fourteen years later we still maintain this amazing friendship no matter how far we have moved away from each other or the fact that we maybe talk a couple times a year doesn’t change the fact that we shared the most formative years of our life and to us that means the world. There is something so special about a lasting friendship like this. To have known my dear friend, all the trials and tribulations she has gone through, the life she has chosen to lead, to culminate in the sweetest celebration of love. She has indeed found her match – and it shows. In her lifestyle, her confidence, her stride, her eyes. It’s so amazing to see.

Their wedding was on the side of a mountain at an old mining compound. A small, rustic Colorado wedding with family and old friends gathered, the rain clouds staying just on the other side of the valley. My friend has always been a bit non traditional – dances to the beat of her own drum, ect, and her wedding was no different. Her and her husband created their own ceremony filled with friends and family giving teary eyed, moving speeches about their journey, their shared love for star wars, metal music and their love for each other.   The kiss moved the ceremony on into dinner. The rains came but we were all safely under the tent listening to perfect speeches from the best man and maid of honor, both hilarious and heartfelt. The rain stopped and the sun graced us with a glorious sunset. We drank mead and tequila and danced all night long. We were the last ones to leave. What a glorious wedding.

I know it’s cliche, perhaps even downright silly to reference, but Wedding Crashers had it right. When we go to a wedding we want to believe that we are in the presence of true love. This wedding was it, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house, anyone could see, even the birds in the trees that these two are meant for each other and that their journey together will be one beautiful ride. So my dear friend, your husband, this post is for you. For the life ahead of you… I’m so thankful to be apart of it.

April 3rd's Friday by Sari Blum

To wrap out April we hosted another 3rd Friday at the Dream(ing) Space, and yes it was kind of a 4th Friday since I was swooped to see Alt-J the week before. I know, I know, sometimes life is rough, but the show MUST GO ON!

Alex Silva hung his original photography, “Film and Friends: Constant state of adolescence.” Alex is an up and coming bay area artist and his photo’s felt like you were looking at your own group of friends and all the shenanigans you once pulled.

We began the evening with a hat juggling class by the one and only Bri Crabtree who is a famed hat juggler here in Oakland. Here is a link to a video of hers to get a better idea of what she does: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3E8A0x_0BWI She taught a few of our brave Dreamers some pretty sweet hat tricks. Did you learn any?

Our musical guests this month were definitely something to write home about. First off we had Tyler Garnett. Tyler Garnett is a music producer and performer from Northern California. Since beginning his musical journey in Sacramento, Tyler has traveled to live and play shows all around the world including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Brooklyn, Tokyo, Prague and many more cities. His travels left him with a taste for ecclectic sounds, and you can hear it in his music. Tyler mixes elements of hip hop, electronic, lounge, world jazz, reggea, and many my influences to create a truly unique sound.

Here are some links so you can check out the music

We also brought in an old friend of mine who I knew from my days of living in Tahoe. My good buddy Zeb, Paul and Will brought the funk with live guitar, drumming and a trumpet that stole the show! You can follow Zeb on facebook here and you can listen to his music HERE.

A little bit about Zebuel – Soul music flows through Zebuel Early (A.K.A ZEBUEL) like the Mississippi River he grew up next to. He is a Memphis born Bay Area based musician/dj/producer with a knack for rocking crowds and has toured internationally and played High Sierra Music Festival, X-Games, Sierra Nevada World Music Festival and has shared the stage with musicians such as Fred Wesley, Bernie Worrell, Derek Trucks, and John Popperand and has DJ’d along side acts like Salva, Flosstradomus, Sabo, Fort Knox Five, Jpod, Minnesota, Buku, Lafa Taylor, Paper Diamond, Elliot Lipp, An-ten-nae and Mimosa to name a few. He is also honored to have played the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado opening for Beats Antique and Thievery Corporation with the band Afrolicious.

He recently started a movement called Smoked Out Soul (S.O.S) with the goal of bringing together the bay’s most talented musicians to collaborate with the top musicians in the area. It’s a one of kind party held at Monarch in San Francisco 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month. DJ / instrumentalists Zebuel and Will Magid are joined by drummers Paul Oliphant and Enrique Padilla to bring you a sound that is both classic and futuristic: “Old School Taste, New School Bass”. S.O.S. blurs the line between a live show and a DJ night all pumped through one of the top rated sound systems in the country. Classic soul music reinterpreted in the moment.

Both musicians left everyone on the dance floor and we had such an amazing time. As always thank you to everyone who came and danced and enjoyed the space.

We always have such a grand ol time at The Dream(ing) Space, won’t you join us for the next one? Click the link to like us on fb to hear about all our up and coming events!

Zion by Sari Blum

A road trip idea usually blossoms under the smallest of circumstances. One of my best friends was about to get married in Colorado this fall. Naturally I said, who wants to fly out to Colorado when you can drive? And when you drive from Colorado to San Francisco, obviously, stops must be made, destinations must be added until what could have been a weekend sojourn to and from the coast turned into a three week, two wedding, three national parks, eight state and one festival extravaaaaaaganzaaaa. The next few posts chronicle this epic adventure with my main man as we explore some of the most beautiful scenery the USA has to offer.

This post features our Zion National Park excursion. I can tell you now that the southwest is one of my favorite parts of the USA. The stark desert scenary, the multi-colored rocks that are set ablaze at sunset, and the vastness of these empty stretches of land where pockets of human existence show just how tenacious our species can be. Driving into the park you go through a variety of scenary from plains, to plateaus to full on rock walls. Deep blue skies paired against red and blonde sand stone rocks; the shutter did not stop clicking.

We found when going to Zion there are so many little hotels and places to stay it can seem a bit overwhelming, but we were on a car camping mission and booked a spot a month in advance at the only car-camping tent lot in Zion called the Watchman Campground. It is a beautiful spot to camp, make a fire, eat some smores and watch the stars come out and play. Oh the stars in Zion, the best we saw on our entire road trip. The milky way rose just over a jagged rock formation just after sunset, such a treat.

The next morning I convinced my boyfriend to get up before sunrise so we could complete a hike recommended to us called Angels Landing.  Even though it was too early for words, we headed into the canyon.  The hike began at the bottom of the canyon with a bridge crossing a river. Next a short but steep switch back loaded ascent takes you to a plateau. It also  gives you an amazing appreciation for your legs and the impossible places they can carry you. Then you have a .5 mile scramble up a huge rock mound that drops off into the canyon on either side to reach Angels Landing. It is certainly not for those who are afraid of heights or faint of heart, but once you reach that spot… well it’s humbling. There is no better feeling to stand atop a canyon and feel so small and so large at the same time.

Unfortunately we missed the sunrise due to the confusion that you can’t drive anywhere in Zion, you have to take a shuttle, but we were still able to miss most of the crowds due to our early morning departure.  We sat on top of the canyon, took in the morning light, made friends with a few chipmunks and then we had to depart for Colorado – we had a wedding to attend after all. It was a short and sweet foray into Zion but that magical place has found its way into my heart and I’m already planning a return…

Enjoy.

Burning Man 2013 by Sari Blum

Ah Burning Man. I always have such a hard time deciding which pictures to post on which various sites. I want to post all the pictures, I want everyone to be able to find themselves and relive those magical moments that somehow happened deep in the desert.  When I finally decide on the pictures to post I want to write the most eloquent essay about Burning man, how beautiful it is, how happy the people are there and relay in excruciating detail how the color gradients from the sky getting lighter when the sun finally rises above the mountains in the distance are unlike anywhere I’ve ever seen… But then I start posting the pictures and my words get lost in my images and I want those images to speak for themselves and my thoughts get flooded with all the memories of that burn and they tumble down and around until no words come out at all.

Before I start posting the pictures I want to write a little bit about what Burning Man seems to mean to me. Everyone who has never been always asks me what it’s like. There are lots of great articles and blogs floating around on the internet now about the burn, newbies going, millionaires going, everyone trying to convey this sense of what it’s like there, what it means to be in the middle of nowhere with all these people doing all kinds of things. It’s something that is so hard to explain. In years past I’ve hardly posted any text about the burn, so this year, as something one should do every day, I’m trying something new.

Like most people who have been to burning man, I too will tell you, that Burning Man changed my life. My first burn I ended up at the temple at sunrise one morning. I hadn’t been there yet and I had no idea what kind of place it was. The temple in its simplest terms is a temple. A place of reverence, a place for remembering, a place one can find quiet and solitude. It is everything the man is not. Once inside the temple walls you feel a shift. It’s quieter, people around you are keeping to themselves or furiously writing in notebooks or on walls. The energy shifts from being rambunctious and explosive to an extremely intense and profound silence. You can hear the wind once more. You can read the words that people have ripped from their hearts and souls and scrawled on walls about loved ones, lost ones, their attempts to move on, to forget and forgive. I wandered up the main stairs of the three story structure. My eyes were continuously scanning the words on the walls feeling my heart move and break with all of them. I was so overwhelmed with all these words begging to be read, I went to sit down and just be still for a moment. A man next to me started softly sobbing. I turned to ask him if he was ok. He began to tell me his story of how he was a war veteran. How after coming back from Iraq he had hated his existence. A friend had somehow convinced him to go to the burn. His first few days he was in a perpetual state of anger, aggression and frustration.  He could not understand why everyone was so happy when there were all these terrible things going on in the world, terrible things that he had been witness to. He couldn’t understand why he physically could not accept a hug from someone else or see their kindness and curiosity as genuine. However as the week wore on, he told me that slowly he started exploring the city. That he began to open up to the people around him.  I could hear in his voice a sound of awe, the idea that such a place could unlock his heart from such a cold detached state that it had been forced into to maintain his sanity. It was then he told me that burning man had changed his life because he could see the good in humanity again…

Talk about heavy.

By the end he was crying, I was crying, it was such an intense emotional exchange to have with a complete random stranger. The funny thing is, I can almost assure you that 95% of people who have been to burning man have a story like this. Where somehow out there in the desert, at an art structure, at a dance party, in line for the port-a-potties they have had a monumental life changing conversation with a complete stranger. It happens all the time. There are so many people compacted into that city that are bubbling with ideas, dreams, and struggles wanting to relate with someone, to share it with someone.

By nature we as humans express ourselves. Whether it’s in our job, our clothing, the music we listen to, the words that come out of our mouth – we are all trying to share and relate. Somehow. To someone, often anyone. It’s an incredible thing to think that with so many people on this earth we have the capability to feel so alone. One thing I have come to love about Burning Man is that it creates such a unique space for people to connect. For people to be themselves, or not themselves at all. To explore their limits and boundaries, to push their fears and their excitement, to share something with another human on a most basic level. The level of interacting, of talking, of having this notion that for this one week out of the year this is the place where anything can happen. You simply get to say yes or no. Do you want to hop on an art car that looks like a pirate ship? Yes. Do you want to go see what that crazy robot music is? No. Do want to take place in an egg toss competition? Yes? (seriously you just throw the egg like you used to do on field day).

I knew that something had changed in me after my first year at Burning Man. But it has taken me until my 5th year to truly understand Why. Why do I spend so much time and energy to go to this event? Why in the last five years has this been the one thing I have done constantly? I’ve moved around, I’ve traveled, I’ve worked different jobs. Every year I have made it to Burning Man. What I have realized is this… Burning man opened my eyes to what humanity can be.

Unlike the man I met my first year, my faith in humanity has never been broken, but seeing what people accomplish to BE at burning man – it blows my mind. That people want to spend their precious time and resources to build something beautiful, to create a space where people feel welcome, to bring together great minds for topics of conversations for research projects and for pure enjoyment. Burning man is a testament to celebrating life. To allow the human spirit to be anything, to create anything. It is moving. The sheer spectacle of it all will move you. Especially when you know it is only for one week. 7 days. Then everything will be burned. The city will be dismantled and the desert will once again take over. We are reminded that everything is fleeting. Nothing lasts forever and that we must learn to enjoy things that are good before they are gone. That we must remember to let go of anger and hurt because if we hold on to those emotions they wear at us. Burning man taught me to let go. Let go and allow things to happen. Let go and experience all that is here to experience for it is fleeting. There are so many things to experience at the burn, you’ll never get to see everything…

But you can ride your bike through a dust storm and feel lost. You can talk philosophy with your neighbor while his whole camp cooks bacon for any passer by. You can dance with hundreds of people under a starry sky with everyone moving and pounding their feet on the desert floor causing the dust to rise. You can watch the sky turn from dark blue to a hazy pink laced with violet and tinged with orange as the sun raises a sleepy ray over the distant purple mountain ranges, and the moon on the other side of the valley hangs low in the sky bidding her last good byes. You can ride a fire breathing dragon (art car). You can be taught yoga or meditation. You can watch fire spinners play with fire, or ask them to teach you how.  It is a world of possibilities. One where each individual brings something to the playa. And when it’s over… everyone leaves something there too. A piece of their heart is left when they fell in love with someone they knew for five minutes. A piece of their grief is left at the temple, watching it burn and turn into sparks climbing high into the sky. A piece of their is sanity left with the understanding that things don’t always have to be just so. From those ashes I always feel an ability to grow. That room has been made somewhere within my mind to accept something different.  For that one week I can let everything go, I can let everything beand I can let all these thoughts and emotions inside of me bubble over the surface, take on tangible notions and explore them more.  Tom Robbins (one of my favorite authors) really sums everything I’m trying to say:

” Our lives are not as limited as we think they are; the world is a wonderfully weird place; consensual reality is significantly flawed; no institution can be trusted, but love does work; all things are possible; and we all could be happy and fulfilled if we only had the guts to be truly free and the wisdom to shrink our egos and quit taking ourselves so damn seriously.”

Burning man is filled with so much love. The love to create and express and to be.

Thank you for letting me share. And now without further hesitation or rambling fragments of sentences… And as any good burning man story should start…

 

… this one time, at Burning Man…