This morning we went into full-tourist mode and rode the incline. It was beautiful
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I'm currently in-production on a new documentary project focusing on the farmers, researchers, politicians and business men and women that are reintroducing hemp back into Kentucky's (post-coal and tobacco) economy. It's a super exciting story to follow and watch the industry unfold. Kentucky's history with hemp is deep-rooted, but our nation's relationship is complicated. I will have more to share in late June, but follow me on Instagram for occasional field updates.
Just another Saturday morning in my strange neighborhood of South Beach, watching strangers take selfies and do other weird things.
Last time we were back in West Virginia, we met up with our friends, Jonathan and Clara (Coat of Arms Post), to help film at the Swiss restaurant, the Hütte, in Helvetia. Jonathan and Clara have been working on a documentary project about Helvetia--Clara's hometown--for a while now. I'm excited to see what they come up with. Kerrin shot some sweet slow motion on the FS7 and flew his drone about...I collected audio and photos and explored the many books, photographs and artifacts in the tiny restaurant. If you haven't been to the Hütte to eat yet, go! It's delicious. Just imagine: homemade, fresh baked bread, mounds of swiss cheese and frothy hot chocolate. YUM.
I put out a message to some of my photographer/filmmaker friends to help me find event, music or performance photographers for a student I am mentoring. The student is interested in building a stronger portfolio around capturing moments of local band performances and band portraits. Here's the list my friends provided me, but I would love to learn about more photographers. Leave comments with links if you would like to send more tips to my mentee.
Rebecca Kiger's recommended:
Madeline Herec's recommendations:
Chris Jackson's recommendations
Andrea Morales' recommendations:
It's Art Basel weekend here. Lots of people--and great art--has flood into our South Beach neighborhood.
Our neighborhood streets are swarming with tourists.
Rodrigo Amarante at the Wolfsonian. An awesome collaboration with Eric Cade, who created an immersive performance installation.
Before the show
I have spent the last three days with my family (distant and close) and was thinking about how quickly the places and people you leave behind transform. For some odd reason, you expect things to stay the same. I'm not sure why I have that perception, my life changes quickly. But I have always assumed that when I return home it would feel the same, it would look the same. But it never does. It always changes. The kids from up the holler are now in college. The dark-haired ones have greyed. The "little girl" I grew up with is pregnant with her third child. The names we once heard announced for prayer requests, have been laid to rest. Some have lost their vision, and others have found their voice. I'm glad things change, but sometimes you have to accept that keeping up with that change is impossible.
Last week, we moved to Miami through January. You can find us every evening on the beach. Get in touch!
We decided to take a Saturday drive through McDowell to visit with my second family. Ed got to meet baby August and Alan played us his new banjitar. Kudzu has covered nearly everything and more buildings have collapsed. I love that county and the people it holds.
"This baby is made of lead," Ed exclaimed as he struggled to get a grip on August.
After picking peaches nearby, we randomly stumbled on the "Pit of Dreams" mud bog event.
A look under the hood of a 1983 Ford F-150 after mud bogging.
Alex Taylor,19, has been mud bogging for two years.
Ramon Sigala and Megan Lovejoy.
I traveled to Gunnison County, Colo., to make this video about two towns that had taken different paths since medicinal marijuana was legalized in 2000 and recreational marijuana sales began this year. One, Crested Butte, has embraced the sale of retail and medicinal marijuana; the other, Gunnison, has so far rejected it. (While anyone in the state over 21 is free to use the drug on private property, it’s up to local governments to decide whether it can be sold.)
I spoke with a wide cross section of people – including politicians, educators, store owners, police officers and two guys who hope to strike it rich in the legal marijuana trade. Yet I found it surprisingly challenging to find someone to speak for the oppositional side. Many told me this was because marijuana was not a new recreational drug to the state; Colorado and weed have a long history, they said. Others said, “It’s just not that big of a deal.” I called an individual who was deep-rooted in the ranching community who said that finding ranchers to talk about it would be nearly impossible. They were “not in favor” of the new laws but weren’t comfortable talking about this to journalists.
Yet I did find a sense of caution: concerns about access for youth, proper labeling and fair taxation. And one thing everybody agrees on is that this new legislation is a huge experiment.
Photos taken in June for HUMANITY.TV
Beautiful morning in the Shenandoah National Park.
Today is West Virginia's 151st year of statehood. While most Americans don't celebrate their native land's statehood, we West Virginians do. We're proud and weird people.
Last year, the Hollow team and I launched this baby into the world. It says everything I want to say about this state, so for today I will share some of my favorite (winter) photos of this place we call home.
This road didn't exist when I lived in Logan. When I drive through West Virginia I try to imagine the work involved to create roadways through these mountains.
Here I got my first fish, took bubble baths, wrecked my Barbie car, celebrated my 4th birthday, watched my baby sitter eat a whole jar of pickles, swam in the back of a pickup truck filled with water and built igloos when the snowed trapped us on the hill.
Downtown Logan, West Virginia.
Williamson, West Virginia.
Morgantown, West Virginia.
The building that used to stand here burned to the ground. Inside of said building was Saks Jewelry, my mom's place of employment. Today, they have relocated and a gravel lot occupies the space.
There really is nothing like a West Virginian sunset.
It's nice to take a moment and see the details.
My uncle built this house in the 1970s. He is one of the most intelligent and creative people I have ever known. He has never been married, never had a driver's license and lives alone. The house is built on, and in between, a huge rock cliff in Nicholas County, W.Va. He used to have a dark room in the house but has since converted it into his computer room. Times change.
Great Uncle Roy (said uncle of story above).
I'm named after this sweet woman. Great Aunt Eva Elaine Russell. Known in the county as a fantastic school cook for decades.
My Paw Paw Doy's woodstack.
Silver and blue.
Paw Paw Doy taking a break from the swarms of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
The newest grandchild.
One day I will learn how to play the fiddle from this man.
My favorite view.
And one from summer. My favorite season is fall but something about these winter photos felt appropriate for WV's 151st.
Happy Birthday, West Virginia.
and ate the HECK out of them...