Scathing Letters

To: Chris | From: AJ

Chris, Aj here (Bang Bang Club, etc...) I'm back from a hell of a fall from grace and integrating myself back into the loop. Since we met last, alot has happened; some curb-side spiritual transformation through fire. I'd love to work with you again at some point Chirs...maybe on a scipt about what's happened for me. Here's a taste... You might have noticed I was beginning to spiral out of control; those parties, the talk, the circle of questionable people I was surrounding myself with...well I learned the cliché is true "the bigger they are the harder they fall"... Stepping into the adult world instantly earned me a rep as a preferable mediator and go to guy for big shots; pseudo Mafioso’s, shady film producers, actors, even political types...for them to hook up with high quality glam pussy. At one point I was the middle man for girls going to major stars...they were wanted escorts at $1,000 per hour through me without end in sight. It all became a dreamlike distorted roller coaster ride that took me higher and higher into chaos, as I chose to courageously and stupidly go deeper into the labyrinth of what I saw as some once in a lifetime opportunity to artistically explore the underbelly of a "scene". It went far beyond healthy or cool. The end came when my landlord, a man of questionable character, an Italian Restaurateur, with friends on both sides of the law, showed up to inform me that US Marshals were moving in and I had to split my pad pronto - no questions. This was the uncorking of the tub of dirty water I was in, so to speak, which in my mind, at the time, to me had been some fabulous gigantic pool of heated Evian water for me and my band of renegade souls. As things began to spiral down; the money, the friends, the sanity, I found myself dumbfounded, depressed and addicted...giant walls began to appear everywhere and things became maze-like where once they it had seemed as if I was untouchable and among true change makers. Ha! In no time, I was angry, rampaging, living on the streets, gypsy buckling from one dealer to the next dealers squat and slumming in Hollywood dive motels, getting high with South American transvestites, homeless folks and convicts... at one point I was nearly killed by two dope fiend mafia thugs I had become involved with on a criminal level out of desperation. I will never forget that night; getting high - smoking speed with some partner in crime associate of mine, so dark, so exotic and far away....the door being kicked open and two guys coming in with bats, animal-evil in there eyes... they let me live and I only have a small scar under my armpit from where "Sparky" stopped short of busting my ribs clean open. Why he stopped I'll never know but if you ask me I'll tell you God loves us all. I ran through the streets that night in a dreamlike fog... scaling fences to back patios and apartment complexes, running through my urban funked nightmare, passing people whom stared at me as if I was a ghost... Finally I found some pseudo friends whom took me to San Francisco with them on an organized spree of stealing suits from Nordstrom’s.... On the way there it felt like I was being transported to another world, another realm, it is strange to explain but I knew deep within things were about to change for me and deeply. It wasn't long after I got to SF with them that I ended up setting off on my own... they were a couple and began fighting over his crack habit and I split...the last thing I needed was drama...little did I know what was to come. I took a cab to Nob Hill and got out near the magnificent landmark Church, I would come to know later… but for now, with one bag to my name filled with stolen Nordstrom’s clothing, I checked a few prices on rooms in the area, then decided that with the 0 I had, I'd try a little lower rent...down that big hill away from that church, was a place that would change me forever... it was an infamous place called the “Tenderloin” and it was where I would call home for the next year and a half… …at the bottom of that hill, in those streets, destroyed by drugs and hopelessness, insanity and poverty, surrounded by wealthy onlookers, with my new brethren, at street level and perhaps lower, I found my God. It is a tender, harsh and miraculous story...of the process of being forged upon an anvil of love by a great hammer of truth... I recall wanting to make Sf my new home, not long after I had arrived there... I was immediately feeling powerful electricity in the air, as if anything was possible in this place and I began thinking about the direction I wanted to go next - anew. Foremost and darkly ironic, spirituality was where I was to set my sails; my personal development as a human being... Before leaving LA, I had hit my knees one day in utter despair and head lowered declared to the great dream, that I was done, that wanted no more of the life I had been living, that I now wanted to find those very things that would be worth everything...worth dying for and hence be worth truly living for! A warm flush of emotions or perhaps something more came through me that day and I will never forget the feeling it gave me, like something greater existed and heard me - entered me perhaps...or was awakened in me. It is a mysterious world, that has proven itself to be very loving, in even the darkest, most abstract places and foreign ways...to a degree that it has galvanized in me a sense of faith in it's compassionate hand - the hand of my God. To mark my spiritual journey's commencement I penned in a Cross on my left shoulder. To me it simply meant great love no more - no less; something in the wind that I was calling to me. And every time the design would need it, I would re-mark it on my arm... Looking back, I can see how write it was eventually getting that cross, officially tattooed on my arm how wrong it was doing so while simultaneously shooting speed in the other arm... but at that time my heart was pure. And my vision was that I was on my way to discover something epic, that I had never known, something beautiful and powerful in the wind, within myself, encrypted in the once one dimensional fabric of my life. If the writing was truly on the wall... I was going to find it and was coming to believe, there was far more to this thing called life than I had ever imagined. I was coming to believe that perhaps within my own self, there was majestic and miraculous potential and that there was a path for me to a world where a God and his children play... a realm within a realm, like a summer of love or an age of Aquarius, for me it was to become this time, a small patch of surrealism, wherein lessonswould be taught by angels on street corners, stars would fly like watchers in the night, architecture would reveal ancient wisdom and ocean waves and wildlife would sing the masters songs... It was a time for me to see that yes, there is a hand and yes, it knows our names and that it loves and teaches in poetic and harmonious ways, is to be feared and greatly respected, that a path to our "it" is in every eye and every mind has the potential to teach and gift another, to receive another and to evolve to another. And to help us realize the mistakes of our past... So I'm back on my feet - shooting docs, writing, working with high risk youth, walking in alignment with new truths. Maybe we can gel on something creative and relative at some point. I think projects where spirituality meets the curb are tough = keep me in mind. Peace, AJ