So Kyle and I just moved in together; Palms (near Culver City) to be exact. We had our first movie night last night and stumbled upon I Am (2011 film) on Netflix. Anybody else seen this documentary? With interviews & quotes from great thinkers of this world (Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, & the Dalai Lama to name a few), at the very least it’s a perspective-widening 78 minutes. It was yet again another sign that this community is on to something real, and what we’ve achieved/will achieve together has/will made/make this world better. All of our talents, love, and positive energy here helped (even if just for a little) make the lives of the homeless better, our relationships stronger, Friday nights more fun, and Camp Eayikes a reality. It’s been an honor to serve you all, and this is a little message to let y’all know WE STILL OUT HERE! I know it’s been quiet on the Donut front as of late, but you’re in our thoughts and we’re patiently waiting for the next chapter to begin. In the meantime, please head on over to http://igg.me/at/Eayikes/x/2806516, watch the video, give the campaign a read, and send some love to Ray & the crew. Peace be the journey friends! <3
Do me a favor and glance at the calendar. Did you know we’re 4 months away from 2014? Don’t know about you but I got caught by surprise. Time is a flyin’!
Now, recall your 2013 resolutions. How have you fared in those commitments? Great? Not so good? Well, maybe you’re the “today is a new day” type or a "I’m waiting for January 1" kind of person, but in any case, a recent post I saw got me to remember how important it is to focus on the bright side. I could be wrong, but I’d bet that not very many people can say they are exactly where they want to be, have what they want to have, or are who they want to be. If you are one of those people, holler back and share with us what it’s like to be on the other side! For the rest of us though, to echo Andrew Truong, let’s "take a breather and realize what we have".
I could go on listing off everything I’m grateful to have, but today I want to focus on one: living in an environment that allows me the freedom and provides me the resources to be creative. I define creativity as the ability to create something tangible out of a thought, idea, or vision. To me this encompasses everything, from choreographed dancing, sharing stories through media, planning an event, creating a resume… I would even go as far as saying the process of getting a new car is creative; translating that desire into hard work at the job, frugal spending, saved money, and eventually playing with the power windows and blasting your favorite tune down the 405.
I’d like to take this time to be thankful and recognize those who are helping keep the creative environment alive in my world. From newsfeed posts to face-to-face conversations, every little bit keeps me connected and thinking, not just following. In the twitter words of the homie DJ Miles, "What’s the opposite of inspire? To expire." Thanks to the following folks who keep me alive and thriving through their creativity. Here are my favorites thus far from this year:
12Footprints - For young professionals to network with like-minded individuals while giving back to the community!
Eayikes - Empowering youth through arts, mentorship, and child-like wonder!
The Nectar Collective - Spreading positivity, creativity, and a sense of adventure!
Wishing everybody a prosperous 4 months as we venture into 2014. Keep on keepin’ on!
It has been about 3 weeks since the Eayikes Fundraiser at King King, and I thought it would be a good time to reflect on all of the great things we have put into motion. For me, the idea of putting these activations together is always scary because we are continually venturing into new territory and you never know how people are going to react. Each and every time though, I am reminded how much people actually do care about contributing to a cause that can affect the community around us. My greatest joy is bringing people together to have a good time and they can feel “a part of something”, and I truly feel that with our Donut events. So to that, I say thanks for the support that continues to poor in and I really hope we can all travel on this journey together in the future!
For a little update, Camp Eayikes has started to put the money we raised into building the summer camp, and its so exciting to see it moving. To go from an event idea, to being blown away by the amount we raised, to seeing the dollars actually spent towards changing some kids lives, it really is magical. I encourage anyone reading this to personally reach out to me if you would like to know more about our goals, and how we want this to be a community project, where we support the ideas of our friends to change the world!
As promised, here are some photos from the event, taken by our photographer Farah and our videographer Mark. Check out Farah’s full album HERE.
It feels good to know that there are so many people among our friends that are taking an interest in making the world around them a better place. Every little effort counts, and collectively we really CAN make a difference through various social causes. The crew at 12Footprints is one of those causes that I fully support and believe they are an essential part of the local movement that is happening right now. I have known some of these guys for a while now and feel blessed that they have always been supportive of our Donut events and causes. 12Footprints aims to bring together like-minded young professionals to do work for various issues in our community. This weekend they are hosting their second get-together to create care packages for our troops abroad. If you are free, join them for a few hours Saturday and meet more good people in our community who are making a difference! - Kyle
Check out the event page HERE.
If I had to choose one word to summarize the journey that putting this event together was, it’d be resonance. We ventured into lots of new territory with this event, lots of unknown variables to say the least. For starters, this was our first LA nightlife event. Finding the right venue for our community was the first challenge.
As a space for the Burning Man/Do-Lab community, King King possesses a beautiful energy. I felt the purpose of our event had a chance of resonating with them, so I cold-emailed, got a reply, set-up a meeting, requested a half-day from work, and off I went to Hollywood on a Friday afternoon in May. 30 minutes and a handshake later, it was on!
Finding talent was the next hurdle. To achieve the type of vibe we envisioned with our limited budget, we had to put the mission out there and remain diligent. Weeks went by, e-mails, tweets, and proposals went unanswered, but after putting the cause and our hearts out there those who resonated with us confirmed, and 10 days before the event we locked the lineup down. From there we had the talented 12FV put together another awesome flyer and it was time to spread the love!
Another challenge was creating that child-like wonder. We believe a little silliness is always a good thing. It combats the “too cool” attitude and creates an environment where people can express themselves freely, with no judging vibes. This is where the hand-crafted hats, bowties, and butt spelling group activity came in! Being in Hollywood however gave us some doubts. Would our guests resonate? Do people just want to party, or participate as well? Even with these questions, it was important that we stayed true to what we wanted to create and not what we thought others would think, and man am I happy I saw the crowd spelling E’s (for Eayikes!) to the beat of Bubble Butt.
Lastly, selling tickets… what a beast! After all the phone calls, text messages, changing of Facebook profile pictures, tweeting & retweeting… Saturday came and we had only sold 89 pre-sale tickets. Rough! But despite the feelings of anxiety and concern, I think we all knew we spread the word to our best abilities, so all that was left was to keep the faith. The night began, guests trickled in, and before I knew it the venue was 75% full (~230 people) of folks down for the cause, resonating with the event and each other!
At the end of the night, the smiles on everyone’s faces were beautiful, we raised our goal of roughly $2,500 for the summer camp, and I felt a whole mess of emotions. After some reflecting, I’m still so humbled by the support of the community, grateful to be in this position to serve y’all, and proud of the crew. Cheers and thanks to everybody, from the artists to the bartenders, guests to volunteers, who took part in making Camp Eayikes happen!! Let’s keep it moving <3
About two and a half years ago, my friend Christine Macdonald shared her idea with me over Skype. Maybe even then it was more of a glimmer of hope than an idea, but she said that she wanted to build a platform where her original composition could be played live to an audience. And not just her music, but music of her colleagues from University as well. When she explained this idea to me, I immediately knew I wanted to work on this with her. It was one of those moments where you feel you’ve caught a big fish, you can tell by the tugging, and all you know is to not let go of the pole. This is going to be a big one.
Christine and I were best friends from the moment we sat next to each other in Music class at UCSD. We just work effortlessly together. After we graduated from college with a B.A. in Music, she moved to England and got married to her college love and I moved back home to Orange County. Not able to find work within our fields after school (like most of us nowadays) Christine found work at an Economic firm and I starting serving tables at please don’t make me tell you where. This wasn’t what smart, fresh out of college students should be wasting their time on! We were talented for crying out loud! But who would acknowledge that?? That’s where our Skype conversation came into play. It happened in one night, when a tiny idea became shared with the world.
We thought to call ourselves the Transatlantic Orchestral Productions. We were the group of composers and musicians talented and fresh out of college, putting together events where our music could be listened to and enjoyed while raising money for charity. After coming up with this idea we knew we had to make it happen, so I flew out to stay with Christine in London January of 2011. We organized our event at a venue in East London called The Rag Factory. We served beer, wine and cookies to about thirty of our friends. I composed music as well as artistically edited videos to use as visual backdrops for Christine’s piece, Andrew Carroll’s piece and a few other pieces for our friends from UCSD. Without knowing what we were doing that night, we had succeeded in so many ways. We had raised about ₤200 for the Clarity Foundation, brought our little community together to enjoy our art and we had people asking us, “When and where will the next TOP event be?” We had found gold. This gold is where our passion lies.
After our event in January we brainstormed for awhile of where TOP could go. Christine remained in London where she began finding more and more opportunities with local musicians and venues and I ventured down to Paris. By fall of 2011, we fully became transatlantic when I decided to take an internship that would further my skills in video editing and where I could successfully organize an event for TOP on Californian soil. Andrew Carroll is an incredible composer and a close friend to both Christine and I. Andrew was the first composer I asked to be a part of the first US TOP event. Without hesitation, he agreed to another event with TOP . And not only that, he had an immediate passion for what Christine and I wanted to build. It was in the Fall of 2011 when the three of us became one: The Transatlantic Orchestral Productions.
Throughout the course of 2012, Christine organized events all around the UK and Andrew and I worked on events throughout Southern California. As each event grew bigger and bigger, we eventually realized we had formed a loyal and steady following of fans. We had become not only a place where young, talented students and fresh out of college professionals could find work, connections and opportunity, but we had become a community of hope. A community of support for people living in their own passionate world of art.
By the end of 2012, we were able to incorporate ourselves as an LLC where each of our events provide paid work opportunity to our helpful staff members and to our extremely talented and passionate quartet. When we began our tiny little idea, we knew it would become great enough and important enough to share with the world.
Sound Gallery Events aim to build contacts and job opportunities for students and post graduates within the arts. Long live a beautiful world, a beautiful world filled with passionate people.
The Transatlantic Orchestral Productions is an LLC and organizes events known as Sound Gallery Events. Join us this Saturday June 29th 2013 at the Artspace Warehouse for our Sound Gallery Event: Los Angeles. Tickets are still being sold and are $20. You may purchase them on our website at:
TOPSoundGallery.com Or at the door upon arrival. Proceeds go to furthering opportunity within the arts and for future Sound Gallery events and community projects. Event starts at7pm and purchase of a ticket will buy food, one free drink from our full bar and a seat to TOP’s movie premiere of The Captain. Directed by Catherine Wolf and scored by Andrew Carroll. Other entertainment includes music by Brandon Thomas de la Cruz, Kim and Hannah, Groove Monsters Alex Yoon and Kyle from the Donuts as well as photography exhibits from Jeff Tang and Bobby Lee. Fully catered by Christopher Carroll.
Written by: Kim Moodey Chief Officer of Operations: TOP Sound Gallery Events
I just stumbled upon a quote today: ”I would rather own little & see the world, than own the world & see little of it” - Alexander Sattler
This quote really puts traveling into perspective for me and helps me explain why I am always on the go. I think life is full of things to see and experience so what better time to start than now when we are most able. Through all the ups and downs, traveling teaches me how to better understand the vast cultural landscape that surrounds us. It offers me patience, understanding, kindness, and a glimpse into the daily lives of others who are really not so different than me. I appreciate breaking away from the daily grind and having a gap in thought for new ideas and revelations to sprout organically.
It started with wanting to connect with the community and build out with them. I emailed the principal at Beach High School, a classified continuation high school in Long Beach, about coming in to their classes to teach them Roadtrip Nation curriculum.
I figured since it was out of the blue he wouldn’t give it much thought, but he replied quickly and set up a meeting. I explained to him my passion for working with young folks, and really wanting to advocate for them and mentor them. He offered me two periods a week, and off I went to connect and to learn.
The first class I came to, I had the jitters, as I saw it as an opportunity to truly connect and make some sort of difference on the ground. But even with the jitters I wasn’t going to appeal to them cheaply and win their approval or try and assert some sort of dominance that wasn’t me.
I wanted to speak to them with a respect, a sincerity, and a realness befitting my peers. I saw them as that. I asked to be a part their class with them and offer anything from my experience or knowledge that could help them. As much as I was willing to teach, I was doubly willing to learn from them.
Now, two months later, I am so thankful to them. Thankful to them for keeping it real with me, trusting me, teaching me, and most of all inspiring me. Their stories and experiences put most of our first world problems to shame. Granted they are growing young minds and due of course to make some mistakes, but they’ve handled their situations bravely and with grace. They’ve been through a gamut of trials that demand the mindset, maturity and wisdom of people twice their age, and to deem them different, at risk, or to count them out, would be foolish. Whether it’s drugs, gangs, poverty, or troubled family lives, these young people strive, these young people want someone to believe in them, these young people dream. These young people are also still kids who need to be given the chance to be just that. They need positive examples to mentor and support them, free from judgment and full of love and praise. We need to be that. Cause for every question we have about how to help them and how to reach them, they have the answer. We just need to be willing to listen and learn. They are the answer.
“Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead.
On Monday, May 27th we hit the streets to bring a little water and love to the community in Skid Row. Being our first outreach effort of this sort, we were all a little nervous. If there’s anything we, as The Donut collective took from this, it’s that there’s so much more work to be done! Thank you to everyone who supported and participated! Every second and dollar counted and will continue to count as we work on future projects for this community. We all left encouraged and inspired by what our collective efforts are capable of doing for the greater good!
We just wanted to take a few moments to share some of the personal experiences from the folks who volunteered. A BIG thank you goes out to Beans, Emily, Elysia, Jeff, Jungle, Alan, Liz, Joe, Donna, Grace, Katherine, Christine, Mike, Philip, Sam, KDuh, Kyle and Alex <3
- “My experience with Donuts was the first time I really got a good, hard look at Skid Row. I’d never seen firsthand so much need in such a small area. It was hard to believe that they were lacking water, which is such a fundamental need and also something that many of us take for granted. Though we know that the homeless (and other people with great needs) are out there, at times we get so caught up in our own personal business that we forget altogether that there are others who just need a little help. Skid Row was both a humbling and silently mind-blowing experience that gave me a nudge to remember to both be thankful for the many blessings that I have and as well as use those to help others.” Jungle
- “I was nervous because I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m glad I was able to take part in this because I was able to meet the people there first hand instead of hearing about them through the media. I felt appreciated by the people there and that felt good. It helps me put things into perspective - both them and me.” Mike
- “Through this experience, I was affected by a revelation I had of the terms “brother” and “sister.” To my surprise, I heard a lot of “thanks my brother,” “God bless you sister,” and “good morning my brothers and sisters” from the Skid Row community. It got me thinking that yeah, we come from different families and cultures, but at the end of the day we are all humans mostly striving for similar ideals. Skid Row struck me with new realizations of the walls and barriers that keep us from seeing one another as brothers and sisters. Growing up, I always kept a distance from the homeless and rarely did I experience anything that humanized them. Oh how better of a world we’d live in if we all looked out for each other as brothers and sisters! For me, everything The Donuts stands for is building our community and breaking those walls down. We are all human, after all.” Alex
- “Spending some time with others in Skid Row reminded me how valuable each day of life is and how far a little love goes. In many ways I look up to some of those who call Skid Row their home because I know if I spent 24 hours in any of their shoes, there’s no guarantee I would be able to last another 24.” Beans
- “In retrospect, the times of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful. That day at Skid Row, I felt two conflicting natures of the community that made me think of this. I saw those who had lost sight of that vision and could sense that they had been living in a prolonged struggle for some time. Whilst, another part of the homeless community there seemed to share a collective spirit of just taking it one day at a time. Its leaving impression on me made me wonder about all the different sequences of events that led to this becoming community and how we can discern our roles in bridging these sequences so that others don’t fall off the map. I think the first step is stepping out of your comfort zone to widen your perspective so that you may see more of what’s around you.” Emily
- “I have to say I was kind of nervous leading up to Memorial Day, as I haven’t had too much close interaction with homeless people in Skid Row before. I don’t know why it felt awkward in my mind, but for some reason I felt at ease once I got to our meeting spot. I knew that on such a hot day, what water we could provide would be welcomed with open arms. I only wish we had more to give. We are all blessed with so many things we take for granted, and maybe that makes us feel some sort of separation, but that morning I felt like we had come from the same place, but just that our situations had turned out differently in life. This helped me connect a little more and calm the nerves. I am excited about diving deeper into more interaction next time, and hopefully providing even more help to their needs in the future.” Kyle
- “It was an eye opener for sure, the sights to the smells of the streets, but past all the things on the surface, for a few moments we got to connect with the people of Skid Row and realized they are normal human beings just like us, trying to figure out the crazy maze of life.” Jeff
- “I walked into this experience full of judgment. I was scared of the tuberculosis outbreak in Skid Row, the possibility of danger and violence, the stench of urine… everything. But as I passed along just a simple 16 oz bottle of water, every single person I met was genuinely grateful, polite, and kind. There really is no room for judgment when a fellow human being just needs a bit of honest help. I’m happy to have contributed to this project and will gladly do it over and over again.” Elysia
- “I woke up early on Monday after having one of those restless sleeps. I kept waking up periodically, would turn to peek at the clock, sigh as I saw the time and then try to sleep again. The Skid Row event was upon us and I felt so anxious! The worrywart inside of me clouded my mind with unnecessary stress: Were people going to show up? Would we be safe? Would we have enough water? Would people come on time? Would they have a good time? These questions made laps in my mind throughout the week leading up to Monday, during the car ride to L.A., and even to zero-hour when we started walking, bottles in tow.
Although I had been to the area before, I still felt nervous. When I drove up with Jeff, we took a little cruise around the block to survey the neighborhood. As we passed an intersection to park, we heard a dispute, saw a woman pull her pants down, sit with hands folded, then get punched in the face by her mate. We parked and sat, both of us a little intimidated. A few moments later Kyle and Elysia pulled up. We started unloading the water as Alex, Beans and Jungle arrived. Alan and Liz followed. Then Joe called me as he pulled up with Donna, Grace, and Katherine. Soon after Mike and Pat pulled up. Finally, Sam and KDuh strolled across the street to meet us. In just a few short minutes, we were about 20 strong with roughly 500 water bottles, 60 1-gallon jugs, and 10 2-gallon jugs. I couldn’t believe it! The whole time, I kept thinking about a quote that our good friend Jhust shared a few night before, “Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead. What we were doing on Memorial Day was definitely not world-changing, but we were just a small group of people sharing love and water with people who are often forgotten, criminalized and looked at like garbage by the society that surrounds them. Although not world-changing, it was important for those who came to volunteer and those who were in need of water.
The problems that exist in the neighborhood are expansive, but I do believe we have all the resources and heart to positively impact the people who live there—be it small or large. There’s still more work to be done and I hope this is just the beginning of The Donuts’ efforts in this area.” Hannah
Until next time…
Love and Donut holes,
A few weeks ago I volunteered to do some homeless outreach with the Fred Jordan Mission in Skid Row. I had never been to Skid Row before so I had no idea what to expect. As I approached the destination, I accidentally made a wrong turn on a one-way street. The gust of stale urine that blew through my open windows shocked me at first, but it was the scene I saw beyond my windshield that deflated my heart.
I saw human beings literally rotting away on the trash infested sidewalks. I saw a man with scabs and sores all over his face and another with no legs. A barely clothed woman jumped in front of my car with disheveled hair, a snot encrusted nose and an absent stare. There was a row of people sprawled on the pavement in broken wheelchairs, sleeping bags, makeshift cardboard homes, and other unconventional materials. The part that really messed with me was the fact that I was less than 4 blocks from one of my favorite areas, Little Tokyo. It was as if I had warped into a secret underground city of sadness—except, it wasn’t underground, it was right next to very zoot areas of Los Angeles.
“In one quarter of a mile, turn left onto East 5th Street.”
Siri’s abrupt voice interrupted the train my mind had wandered on and helped me zoom back out. I arrived at the mission, found parking and sat in my car for a few moments to process what I had just seen. I wasn’t prepared to walk out into the streets and to be perfectly honest, I was ashamed. Here I was volunteering to feed the homeless, mostly as an act of goodwill, but also to feel good about doing something nice. I was so cavalier in the way I added it as a task to check off a list:
Breakfast with roommates (check)
Volunteer in Skid Row (check)
Buy nail polish for sleep over (check)
Get “Searching For Sugarman from the Redbox” (check)
Hang out with Tracy (check)
I also felt so ashamed at how dramatic I tended to be about my many “problems” and the fits I’ve had when life wasn’t working out the way I wanted it to. The first five seconds in the neighborhood gave me a robust reality check. It was a loud slap in the face to remind me that in the grand scheme of things, I have more than enough to be thankful for. After a few more moments of thought, I was able to correct my heart and get into the right mindset for service. I was still nervous, but definitely excited. I know it may sound a little hippy-dippy, but I truly believe LOVE is the solution for all the problems in the world and I was excited to inject as much love as I could into the people and problems I crossed paths with in the neighborhood.
We convened at the mission, learned a little about the area and then left in groups to invite people to a BBQ. It was a surprisingly warm day so we all grabbed a few water bottles to drink and went on our way. I think most of us first-timers were really tense, so we just stuck to handing out fliers while the more experienced group members chatted it up. We crossed paths with a diverse group of people, many of which asked for our water. Dan, our group leader and frequent volunteer to the mission, told us about the water scarcity in the area and we all felt so bad for not grabbing more. We met one young lady named Chocolate as she was waking up. She saw us pass and hollered a raspy, “Water!” I handed her the other half of my bottle and she guzzled it down within seconds. Even after she finished, her thirst was not satiated and unfortunately by that time, it was the last bottle in our group. She then erupted into a violent cough and reached out her hand in gratitude. I felt conflicted. Chocolate smelled like urine, she had a wretched cough and her clothes were filthy. Then immediately, I felt ashamed, as I did in the car, and extended my hand into a hug. “Thank you, thank you” she said. Her thank you broke me and I turned away in tears.
As we got more acquainted with the surroundings, the brief interactions turned into exchanges and exchanges into longer conversations. Although we were there to feed them, it was a very balanced exchange; they were expanding my view of the human condition and challenging my capacity to truly empathize and exercise compassion.
Since that first experience, I’ve wanted to go back. About a week ago, I heard that some from The Donuts wanted to do a kindness flashmob for the homeless. My thoughts immediately landed on Skid Row and Chocolate. After a few email exchanges and brainstorms, I’m very excited to announce that The Donuts will be hitting the streets this Memorial Day to pass out water and hang out with the people who live in Skid Row. I know the problem of homelessness is complex, and passing out water may seem like such a small, uninspired gesture, but if there’s anything I took away from my first experience, it’s that every bit counts. Every bottle, every smile, every moment that challenges us to step outside of our comfort zones for another human being counts. So, I challenge you good readers out in the blogosphere to make your Memorial Day count and join us!
We will be meeting in the Skid Row area on the corner of E. 5th St. and Towne Ave. at 10:00 AM (event details). If you’re interested in coming out, please bring a box (or more) of water. Feel free to purchase the water or fill reusable water bottles you may have laying around your home. Bring whatever you can—whether it’s a single bottle, yourself, or your time! We hope you can join us as we connect not only with each other through service, but with the community we’d like to share a little love and hope with. I hope to see you out there!
"Little drops of water, little grains of sand, make the mighty ocean and the pleasant land; so the little minutes, humble though they be, make the might ages of eternity." - Mrs. Julia A. Fletcher