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i guess i'll just start making a story of them

I left contact improv early and jumped on a bus downtown. My dharma brother Nate's last night in town was tonight and I wanted to see him for a little while. He'd offered to come up to the University district but I wanted to see him on his own turf. He's going up to see his girlfriend(???) up on one of the islands for a few weeks(!!!), I guess to see how they get along. He needs to get out of his little tiny apartment downtown.

nate window

I was all excited about another night of photos but Nate was strangely distracted. He was cleaning his kitchen really slowly. It seemed to take him forever. I read for awhile, aware that we only had a little while to hang out before he had to take the bus home. He seemed on another planet as I got more and more impatient. Luckily I had an excellent book.

"Do you want to borrow any movies? American Graffiti is pretty good."

I took American Graffiti (1 and 2) and the new Jarmusch flick. I had a weird experience of thematic repetition. Just the night before I said goodbye to my sweetie, as she went to go visit her family in Pennsylvania. She brought me some groceries she didn't want to go bad and I gave her a little painted stone I bought from a deep-eyed man on the street. Now here I was saying goodbye for the second time in as many nights.

Finally he took out the garbage and got his last load of laundry. "Hey," he said, "do you want to..."

"I want to go take photos!"

paramount presents tony toni tone

Excruciatingly slowly he got on his coat and we went outside. It was like a new playground, the reddish, strange lights of downtown. We went to the new courthouse building and I sat and took pictures of a ring of lights. Finally I asked Nate to sit for some portraits.

Nate has Tourette's Syndrome, which causes him to move uncontrollably as kind of an energetic extension of his emotions and reactions. A change in temperature, a pretty girl getting on the bus, or a loud noise could make him flail his arms or say "HA!" I tried a few photos trying to catch him when he was still, but then I got the idea to capture the movements of his body with the long exposure.

I tried, but had a hard time getting him to move on cue. He was just sitting there calmly, only moving occasionally. He was relaxed.

The Dance of Tourette's 3

"Hey," he said, "try some word associations or something."

Okay. I hit the shutter.

"Droopy dog! Groceries! Malfeasance!"

The Dance of Tourette's 14

His arms and head whipped about.

"Band-aid! Dopamine! Grass stains!"

The Dance of Tourette's 6

He painted with his body and I got several shots. We tried to go out for a drink afterwards but we were still sort of distracted. He went back home, but he called me when I was on the bus. "I didn't feel like I got to say goodbye," he said.

I took the bus that goes by the Fiddler's Inn, and Doug was there with some LED lights. We got a few people in the bar to do some LED Light paintings. Doug, Martin, Nina, and I all took a crack at it.

Nina Paints with Light

It's worth looking at the gallery of photos for the other night. It's cool to check it out as a slideshow. The portraits of Nate are particularly cool that way.


The ones of Nate, if you could eventually get more, would make a really cool art exhibit: each photo titled with the random phrases, give the money to a Tourette's-related charity?

I just loved that whole story, using words to trigger reactions, painting with his body... awsome!