Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Los Angeles has the bounty of receiving a lot of tourists and visitors.  Recently, I was giving a tour to some of my non-Angeleno friends, and we were driving around the city.  I pointed out a grainy, 20-year-old image of O.J. Simpson’s white 1993 Ford Bronco, on a billboard above La Brea and First.  There were no words written on the billboard.    

“The famous Bronco!” I exclaimed.

“I don’t get it,” my friend said, quizzically.    

“It is from the car chase…” I began to explain.

“Didn’t people die that day?” he interrupted. 

“Well, in a sense, yes.  Two people.  But this happened after they died.  O.J. was going to be arrested and he decided to run from the police…”

“Why is that up there?  He is a murderer!”

“If the glove doesn’t fit you must acquit, and the glove didn’t fit!  It is supposed to be art?”

I couldn’t explain it anymore.  Los Angeles can be playfully unforgiving at times.  People like to mark time with tragedies.  People die, buildings collapse, earthquakes rattle, floods devour, and we remember where we were when we first saw it, or heard about it, or felt it. 

In the early 1990s, in Los Angeles we experienced our tragedies through the vantage point of a camcorder, a helicopter, or a courtroom, all played out on tv.  I used to come home every day after school and watch the O.J. trial.  I was in gym class when a small portable radio was brought in; the students huddled around, waiting for news of the verdict.      

Now there is another famous trial that I am following – that of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.  The trial began on January 5, 2015 and there are more than a dozen journalists live-tweeting the court proceedings from Boston.  I read through their tweets daily, trying to understand what happened, and why.  The prosecution is still putting up their case, but I am more interested in seeing how the defense is presented.  And I inevitably wonder to myself, if I was a juror, would I find Tsarnaev guilty, and whether, after his conviction, I would sentence him to death?  In law school, we are conditioned to believe that the death penalty is not just.  But, sometimes, it is the right of society to impose punishments on criminals for the purpose of protecting and serving the interests of the people and the society as a whole.  It is clear that Tsarnaev and his brother planned and carried out the bombings that killed three people and wounded hundreds more.  Would executing him be productive in preventing future similar acts? 

Recently, I listened to Serial, a podcast about Adnan Syed, who in 2000 was convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend.  Syed was given life imprisonment.  Has that punishment rehabilitated him?  If O.J. was convicted of murder would that have deterred the Adnans and Dzhokhars of our world from committing such heinous and violent acts? 

Whenever I drive by the billboard I think about all these questions.  It is a testament to the power of art when such a photo is able to evoke such reflection and thought.  No words, just LA iconography.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Now that I do not have a laptop, a lot of people have asked me how I watch television, and my response must seem so antiquated - I watch TV on a television!  Albeit, I do not watch a lot of television, but my go-to drama is Mad Men, my go-to comedy is The Mindy Project, and my go-to reality series is Project Runway.  And lately, I have seen references of Project Runway everywhere.  While doing a little online shopping I came across two dresses: the Bohemian Bones Magenta Metal Dress and the Oh My Love Sleeve Cut Out Dress.  I immediately thought of Sandhya's dress and Kristine's jacket from Episode 3: Welcome to the Future, in which the designers used inspiration from 1994 to create a look for the year 2034.

Well, it looks like their futuristic looks can be translated into present looks for 2015 :)  Thank you, Mood! 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I like to write.  And part of the reason that the loss of my laptop was so devastating was because I had written a lot: poems, short stories, an unfinished novel, articles, and other such musings. Well, at least three of my articles have been saved, as they are available over at Nineteen Months.  I will share the first one, Being Part of a Community, below.  It is also found via Nineteen Months.
Recently I met a young college student at a Holy Day celebration and asked her what community she was in. “Community?” she asked. “What do you mean, like what city do I live in? Or if I am taking any classes at a community college?”
I paused before answering. Community was such an obvious term to me, but I had never really taken any time to think about it. Born into the Los Angeles Baha’i community, I lived there until my parents decided to homefront pioneer into a small unincorporated area north of Los Angeles, where they were able to form the Local Spiritual Assembly, a nine-member consultative council democratically elected, without nomination or electioneering. The local Baha’i community’s collective life is administered by the Local Spiritual Assembly and the Local Spiritual Assembly’s jurisdiction is typically defined by the municipal boundaries established by the governing district for that locality. After graduating high school, I was a part of many other communities, ranging from international cities in Germany, Costa Rica, and England, to cities within the United States, such as Washington, DC, New Haven, and Atlanta. Currently, I have moved back to California, living in the Southwest Los Angeles County community, another unincorporated area composing parts of Calabasas, Agoura Hills, Malibu and Topanga. Although all in various parts of the world, one thing that has connected these diverse communities was the sense of camaraderie I could immediately feel with the individuals and community members. Perhaps, most importantly, because local Baha’i communities meet every 19 days for a Feast, a gathering that includes consultation on community activities as well as devotional and social portions, as soon as I was able to attend my first Feast in the new areas, I immediately connected into the community life and easily assimilated into the structure. Welcomed with open arms into each of the communities, I was seamlessly invited to their events, their homes, and even into their hearts.
That is exactly what makes the Baha’i Faith so special to me – the local community. Even if the term itself might have different connotations, it symbolizes the basic premise of the Baha’i Faith as a worldwide, unified international community. Filled with thousands of local communities throughout all regions of the world, each one is essentially similar in nature and working towards the same goals of unity, development and neighborhood-building.
Of course, all types of people are involved with their own versions of a “community,” be it educational, cultural, political, service-oriented, or professional.  In my experience, all these like-minded organizations and communities can only add to the human condition, however they should not substitute for humanity’s ultimate desire of having a sense of purpose, of belonging, and of core values.  It is precisely because of my Baha’i community that I am able to succeed and strive towards my own personal development and spiritual growth. I know that I have an integrated support system, no matter when I am living. There are no membership fees, no association costs, or even a necessary form of belief. Just by being born into this world we are all part of our own local Baha’i community in the area in which we are living.
And, so when that young college student wondered what I meant after asking what community she lived in, I simply smiled and rephrased my question, inquiring, “Where do you live?”
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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

It has been more than one year since I have posted - 15 months (!) - and because of all the social media outlets, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc., I forgot about this blog.  Unfortunately, a couple weeks ago, someone broke into my car and took one of the most valuable things in my life, my MacBook.  Now, this laptop was 4 years old, two of the keys were not working, and there was a huge crack on the outside cover.  So, I do not mean valuable in terms of monetary value, but in terms of the memories it held, it was absolutely priceless. I did not back up my thousands of photos, my hundreds of documents, my work from law school, my research from internships, classes, and projects, the book I was writing, and other assorted keepsakes and items saved on my laptop.  Anything that I saved from the past twenty-something years is gone.  After going through the stages of grief (denial, anger, depression), I have finally hit acceptance and I am trying to move on through the best way I know how - to document and create new memories.  And so, here I am, blogging again.  Stay tuned!  xx  

Friday, May 24, 2013

This is Leonardo at the after-party for the Costume Institute Gala held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I hope that he - and you all (!) - have a relaxed Memorial Day and are able to enjoy it - paparazzi-free :D

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

My apologies for the lack of posts, but I have been at a party!  A "GREAT" party!* Hope you all enjoyed this film as much as I did!

*also, I am out of town for work this week ... and going to Las Vegas for play this weekend :)

Thursday, May 09, 2013

It might be May and spring but I am going back to black in my color choices - for now!  I have had a very busy week but looking forward to The Great Gatsby and to Mother's Day weekend.  Moms deserve all the respect in the world.  Today I am wearing Urban Outfitters Sparkle & Fade Geo Burnout Velvet Dress with H&M Fitted Blazer, Urban Outfitters Kimchi Blue Molly Patent Pump in black, and very chic dark burgundy colored tights.  The dress is versatile, without the jacket it is a great party dress, with an open back.  Only the front has the art deco burnout velvet panel.  I would not dare to wear the dress to work without the blazer, which means if it is being worn in the office it should be a colder day, so I do not sweat from the heat in my blazer!