Friday, September 9, 2016

[Greek to Me] August in Athens


Thursday, August 14, 2014

[Staglevision] mediterranean summer

Dear friends and readers,

Just returned home from my seven-week jaunt through Europe! I was in Lisbon for three weeks TA-ing for the incredible writer Alissa Nutting at the DISQUIET International Literary Program. Since I hadn't visited Europe since 2006 (and since the UMass Grad School gave me a very generous travel grant) I decided to visit a few more countries that I missed in college: France, Morocco, and Spain. After DISQUIET, I spent a few days in Paris with my MFA pals Chris and Colleen, but after that, I was traveling solo for the very first time. 

Each morning, I set out with my trusty camera, my Stanford in Entertainment tote bag, UMass water bottle, itinerary, and book. You learn a great deal about the people you travel with; I learned a lot about myself. I became more self-reliant and assertive, better able to navigate foreign cities, better able to approach people I didn't know. At the same time, I was overwhelmed by the kindness and hospitality of the locals, who often bridged the language barrier by speaking in English or by being patient with my garbled bits of Portuguese or French or Maghrebi, heavily aided by gesture. (I was able to trot out my Spanish, though it was easier for me to rehearse and deliver a sentence or two than to understand what was being said to me.) The books I read gave me a dual consciousness as I traveled. Jacinto Lucas Pires' novel The True Actor led me through Lisbon, Hemingway's memoir A Moveable Feast guided me through Paris, and Paul Bowles' autobiography Without Stopping saw me through Morocco and Spain.

Perhaps the best part of traveling alone was the new and unexpected friends I made: Gio Ken, who welcomed me to Lisbon; Karen Hayes and Sarah Reading, two Australians who jumped the fence at Père Lachaise to kiss Morrison's grave; Anne-Flore Rives and her friends, who absorbed me into their table in Paris, toasting "All You Need Is Love;" Amy Harris, my Paris Opera ticket line buddy; Iffy Tillieu and Lee Bo Young, who helped me acclimate during my first day in Marrakech; Pat and Mike Kelly, a dynamic couple from Puerto Vallarta that I met at the hammam; the Chefchaouen crew: charismatic Mehdi Lazrak, Veronica Orlich, Tom and Kim and their dancing daughters Lola and Ruby; John Davison, who opened TALIM to me in Tangier; Solomon Pastor, a footballer from London playing for CD Ronda; and Damien Compain, my host in Barcelona. As luck would have it, I ran into some familiar faces along the way, too! Stephen Ocho Deaderick and I gobbled the famed pastéis de nata in Belem while his Semester at Sea ship was docked in Lisbon, and I bumped into my high school classmate Jeff Kao at La Sagrada Família!

Top 10 Experiences:
1. Sharing the second draft of my story "Night Visits" with a room of talented and generous writers at DISQUIET.
2. Scoring free, front-row tickets to Puccini's La Boheme at the Paris Opera on Bastille Day.
3. Rekindling my love of Ancient Egypt in the palatial rooms of the Louvre, then finding original versions of the Cupid and Psyche paintings I'd been researching on Wikipedia.
4. Escaping the heat and bustle of Paris to sit in awe of Monet's Water Lilies in the naturally lit oval rooms at Musée de l'Orangerie.
5. Treating myself to a luxurious hammam & traditional body scrub with black soap and kessa glove & ghassoul body mask, followed by a relaxing body massage, pool, Moroccan mint tea and cookies!
6. Tiring out my guide while leather jacket shopping in the Fes medina.
7. Impressing the men of Chefchaouen when invited to put down my camera and do pull ups with them at the Ras el Maa waterfall.
8. Climbing up a cliff in Tangier to get to Cafe Hafa, where Paul Bowles and Mohamed Mrabet first met.
9. Receiving a private tour of the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies (and the Paul Bowles Wing!) from Director John Davison during the Islamic Fête du Thrône holiday.
10. Stumbling upon the dark dreamscapes of animators and puppeteers Starewitch, Švankmajer, and the Quay Brothers at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona exhibit Metamorphosis.

Photo Albums:

 






Love,
Steven

P.S. The April launch party for my photography book, Outside Windows, was a huge success! I couldn't have asked for a better way to ring in my 29th birthday. You can still order hardcover and EPUB copies of Outside Windows on Square Market. I have about ten copies of the handsome hardcover edition left, and I'd like to find good homes for them.





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Friday, April 11, 2014

[Staglevision] outside windows, my first book

Dear friends and readers,

It's been quite a while since I last wrote, and so much has happened. After traveling through Asia (Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Philippines, Taiwan, Japan) last summer with my food-loving friend Catherine Ho, I started in the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, supported by a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans.

I saw my first semester at UMass through the lens of a camera. Taking photos was how I acclimated to this strange, new place, how I got to know my friends and housemates, how I hoped to capture a piece of this experience forever. The result is Outside Windows, a book of 24 photographs that documents my first semester in the program. More than anything I can say, I think this book will give you a sense of my life here: its quiet and enchanting moments, its surprising intimacies, its abounding awe.

The book is available in a handsome hardcover edition printed on Mohawk ProPhoto Lustre-Finish White photographic paper and bound with ProLine charcoal linens, protected by a laminated gloss dust jacket. I'm printing a first run of 50 limited edition, signed copies with a bindery in Agawam, MA. The ebook edition is an EPUB file viewable in iBooks on Mac or iOS devices.

I'd love your help spreading the word about Outside Windows. Here's how you can get involved:
  • Purchase a hardcover or ebook edition of the book from Square Market. Orders placed before April 21 will help to finance the first printing. With gratitude, I'll ship your book for free (and in some cases, hand deliver!).
  • Share your thoughts about the book on iTunes, Amazon, or Goodreads
  • Attend the Outside Windows Book Launch Party on April 25, 8-10 p.m. at Flying Object in Hadley, MA.
  • Visit Route Nine, the UMass Amherst MFA Program journal, to read interviews with writers featured in the photos.
Thanks for all your love and support. I hope these photos give you the same sense of wonder I felt while taking them.

Love,
Steven

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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Waves

So much further to go to plumb the depths of emotion, of experience. I'm skating the surface of an ocean, describing the light that shimmers on the waves.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

[Staglevision] alumnus, pioneer

Dear friends and readers,

Last October, I flew up to Stanford to film an "It Gets Better" video for the LGBT alumni group, Stanford Pride. It was Reunion Weekend, and the group was hosting a reception to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Stanford's Gay People's Union (GPU). Founded in 1971, the GPU was one of the first LGBT campus organizations in America.

I spent the weekend interviewing twenty LGBT alumni. I interviewed Maud Nerman, founder of the GPU, who wrote articles about being a lesbian in the campus newspaper in the early 70s. I interviewed Zoe Dunning, who fought courageously against DADT. I interviewed Carly Smolak and Claire Lussier, who recently bought a house and got engaged.

Recorder of stories, listener, documentarian: this is the role I'm most comfortable in. It's rare to be given someone's confidence like this, and I felt a tremendous respect for these early pioneers. They made progress with their courage. Their Stanford was not the Stanford they left behind. Opinions shifted because of their efforts. They made things better.

Stanford Pride: It Gets Better
http://vimeo.com/steventagle/itgetsbetter

Browse all 5 Stanford Pride videos
http://vimeo.com/album/1839967

Now that this project is finished, I've returned to work on my novel. The first few days were tough. Every time I sat down to write, I felt like I was hitting my head against the rubber surface of it, my words flying back in my face. But now I feel like I'm chipping away at it, and at least some of the words I jot down stick to the page. I've been writing every day.

I'm enjoying life at home, spending time with my parents and teachers, and making my own schedule.
Here are some photos of my Room/Library/Workspace
https://plus.google.com/photos/101290050225516519994/albums/5695026967304290753?authkey=COaxrtn7zKL2wgE

Till soon,
Steven

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Monday, December 12, 2011

[Staglevision] thank you, LA

Dear friends and readers,

It's official. In two weeks, I'm leaving my job, leaving my apartment, leaving LA...to move home and finally finish my novel. Living in LA has nurtured me creatively and helped me develop my voice to a point where I feel confident that I can write the book I set out to write. I'm excited for what next year will bring as I finish this draft, begin the submission process, and apply to fiction MFA programs.

Thank you all for encouraging me to follow my dreams, for challenging me, and for helping me grow as a writer and a human being.

And for those of you in LA, how about one more round of Sprites and ammo this Saturday, December 17 at the Arsenal?
Drinks @ The Arsenal
Saturday, December 17 at 8:00pm
The Arsenal
12012 W. Pico Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90064
https://www.facebook.com/events/131667866945971

Hope to see you there,
Steven

P.S. A friend's house recently caught on fire. Then something miraculous happened.
Here's the video: http://vimeo.com/steventagle/koran

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ladder 6 - A SpiritClips Original Film

For the 10th anniversary of 9/11, we've created this original motion comic film, Ladder 6, free to watch and share at spiritclips.com. The true story of a group of FDNY firefighters from Ladder 6 company, who miraculously survived the World Trade Center collapse because they stopped to help Josephine Harris, an elderly woman who was trapped on the staircase on September 11, 2001.