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“Liliane, will you be Ginger Spice?” they asked.  “We are all going as Spice Girls or super fans, Tyke has agreed to be Security and we don’t have a Ginger Spice.”  And that my dear readers is exactly how it happened.

3b15bfcfb522176f93238721f650df41Now I have to admit between you and me,  I was never much of a Spice Girls fan. However, to support the amazing organization PHAME and the incredible work they do, I acquiesced. The event was called “Sparkle! Battle of the Bands” and it took a quick Google search to reveal that I was a little out of my depth. No Union Jack  dresses with matching undies in my closet! Whatever would I do? Not to let the side down I dug a little deeper and finally found an image I could sort of recreate. Hopefully, my being of British extraction, and wearing leather booty shorts in November in Portland, Oregon should garner some points.

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Tyke & Liliane Hunt @ PHAME Sparkle! Battle of the Bands 2017

The event was held at the lovely Sentinel Hotel in downtown Portland which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The evening began with a champagne reception with tasty nibbles, where we mingled in character and eyed our competition, photo ops and  then on to the dinner and show!

Liliane Hunt, Ms Liliane, The House of Hunt, Avante Garde, Portland, PDX, Model, Fashion, Pacific Northwest, San Francisco, West Coast, Performance Artist, Performance Art, theatre, Theater, Stage Show, Hunt, House of Hunt, PHAME, Sparkle Battle of the bands, spice girls, ginger spice

PHAME! Sparkle Battle of the Bands

In addition to the stage show there was a table competition, where we went head to head against the other guests to be named the winner. All in all we felt pretty good about our chances. The performances were really outstanding and the competition fierce not just amongst the audience members but on the stage itself. Queue the drum roll…  I am honored and thrilled to announce that our table won…. “Best Table Spirit”! To be fair,  in spite of my leather shorts, Babies’ pigtails, Posh’s great legs and Scary’s scary, Sporty Spice won us the crown.

Liliane Hunt, Ms Liliane, The House of Hunt, Avante Garde, Portland, PDX, Model, Fashion, Pacific Northwest, San Francisco, West Coast, Performance Artist, Performance Art, theatre, Theater, Stage Show, Hunt, House of Hunt, PHAME, Sparkle Battle of the bands, spice girls, ginger spice

PHAME Sparkle! Battle of the Bands 2017 – Best Table Spirit

Now that I have sung our accolades, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge why I think the work PHAME does and the services they provide are so essential. Their work speaks volumes to me personally on so many levels. I discovered theatre and acting at the age of eleven, my cousin Ian similarly discovered clowning, magic and circus skills. For both of us it became the voice with how we expressed ourselves to the world. To this day it remains a bond that we share  and are still doing 30 years later! Ian steadfastly defines his life by his passions rather than by a learning or physical disability. He does it with such a contagious enthusiasm that it brings not just the family together but literally people from all over the world. The work of organizations such as PHAME not only provides a vital platform for people to find and express their voices, it brings families together, but it also turns strangers into  communities through their combined love and passion for the arts. Bravo PHAME and until next time!

Liliane Hunt, Ms Liliane, The House of Hunt, Avante Garde, Portland, PDX, Model, Fashion, Pacific Northwest, San Francisco, West Coast, Performance Artist, Performance Art, theatre, Theater, Stage Show, Hunt, House of Hunt, PHAME, Sparkle Battle of the bands, spice girls, ginger spice

PHAME Sparkle! Battle of the Bands 2017

 

 

 

Out and About

 

This past weekend, I had the distinct pleasure of reconnecting with an old friend, creating art with her and attending a very inspiring event in Portland Saturday evening.  Where oh where, do I begin?

For those dedicated followers of my humble blog that go back to the early years, you may recall mention of a dear friend by the name of Diane. She specialized in vintage hairstyles with a passion for history and design and we collaborated a number of times on various photo-shoots and events. She is truly one of the loveliest and most talented of individuals I have worked with. There are very few moments that prompt me to lose my British stoicism and cry with delight, but finding out the gem of good news that she had moved to Portland, Oregon was one of them.

Liliane Hunt, Basic Rights Oregon, Ignite Black and White Ball, Portland, Fashion , Blogger, Avant Garde, The House of Hunt, LGBTQ, Human Rights

Liliane Hunt – Image by Shalom

When Diane found out about the ensemble I was wearing and the event I was attending (namely the Ignite 2017 Black and White Ball a Gala for Basic Rights Oregon) she offered to do my hair for this grand occasion and to weave it around my black and white feather hat. Obviously, I found it impossible to refuse her gracious offer.

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Poison Waters

The ball was indeed a grand event. Oregon’s largest LGBTQ gala and dance party held at The Hilton in downtown Portland with a dizzying array of well dressed attendees, champagne with titillating garnishes, a vodka room sponsored by Absolut, and a full bar.  They offered up a variety of tastes to suit everyone’s fancy. After one or two glasses of champagne (who’s counting) we were encouraged to take our seats. Thankfully, my full skirts did indeed fit under the table and I breathed a sigh of relief that I used a modicum of restraint and went for the smaller of the crinolines in my closet.

Liliane Hunt, Basic Rights Oregon, Ignite Black and White Ball, Portland, Fashion , Blogger, Avant Garde, The House of Hunt, LGBTQ, Human Rights, Equality, Gala, Shannon Scott

(Left to right) Tracie, Jose, Shannon Scott, Tyke, Liliane Hunt

The evening was emceed by the thoroughly delightful Poison Waters and Kelly Russell from Artisan Auctions, who are both so enormously talented, and captivating to watch.

We sat down for a lovely dinner, which I did eat, and I rarely do when I am all put together, minus the dressing on my salad. This of course prompted Tyke to create a meme “NO Sauce in Cavalli” which I may of said at some point. Dessert comprised of scrumptious little tarts and a decadent chocolate truffle, which frankly I could devour right now with a cup of tea. You can take the girl out of England but perhaps not all of the English out of the girl. Thank heavens.

The event was indeed grand, however the work that Basic Rights Oregon does is truly epic and feels deeply personal to me as both an immigrant of almost eighteen years and as someone who believes deeply in the equal rights for all LGBTQ people.  Their vision is to be a leader in political and policy work that centers the needs of LGBT Oregonians. They managed to win key victories for transgender and queer folks in Oregon for 2017 and they aren’t finished yet. The night was a huge success, raising over $300,000 for the non-profit.

Liliane Hunt, Basic Rights Oregon, Ignite Black and White Ball, Portland, Fashion , Blogger, Avant Garde, The House of Hunt, LGBTQ, Human Rights, Equality, Gala, Shannon Scott, BRO GALA
Liliane Hunt & Tyke

 

The Man on the Train

 

What I am about to talk about maybe a trigger for people who have been the victim of assault, so here is my heads up to walk away freely if you need to. For those of you that chose to remain reading till the end, I have one more thing to say.  Some of you will not believe what I have written, they will think it blustery or self-aggrandizement and you too may walk away. It is not your time yet and I sincerely mean it when I say, I hope you never know what I am talking about. For those of you left, some of you will recognize what I am about to say and we will probably know each other, because on some fundamental level these experiences change us and mark us for life with an invisible mark recognized only by those that have been there.8150080687_faa25346ab_b

About 15 years ago I was living in New York. I worked at a nightclub in the City on weekends and caught the last train leaving Manhattan for Queens around 4:00 am after finishing my night. Before I left work I always changed into army boots, tied my hair back and put on a hat; which was standard routine when trying to stay safe. I also studied Tae Kwon Do, another way to stay safe.  There was a serial rapist in Queens that they had not caught and that was that; you do what you have to do and what you can do.IMG_1162.jpg

So this particular night, I got on an empty train car and sit down in an aisle seat. About 2 stops in, a heavy set white man in his 40’s steps into the empty car and looks right at me.  (Now here’s that bit about if you have been there, you will know what I mean.) That man looked at me and in that look, beyond that look, in the air and energy that surrounded him and surrounded me; I knew he was thinking about hurting me or killing me. He was analyzing the situation and his subject if you will.  There is no exaggeration to this I promise you, it simply was.Subway (1).jpg

The man walks through the empty train car and over to me, his footsteps echoing.  We studied each other as he walked to towards me, our eyes never left each other the whole time.  He then sits on the inside window seat right next to me, and we both turned in a very deliberate manner, looking directly into each other’s eyes.  What he was doing was reading me and he was exceptionally good at it, I knew this for a fact. This man was reading me for fear; he was hunting for it like an animal in the wild studies which of the herd he will target.

I had both my hands in my pockets; in my right a knife, in my left mace and I had my body which studied martial arts every night of the week. I knew where my strengths and weaknesses lay and held myself ready. I had also been studying energy and you better believe I had called upon the most powerful sign of protection placing it right there in front of me glowing. The man looked and I looked, and I could feel him reading my mind.

I said in a voice that only he and my gods could here, “I am not of afraid of you, I have been fighting my whole damn life and I will fight you. I will fight you with everything I have and you don’t know what I have and we don’t know who will win, but I guarantee you it will be bloody.” I said it over and over and over again like a mantra as he continued to study my face. I even allowed the slightest, tiniest hint of a sneer to form itself at the corner of my mouth.

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Liliane Hunt – Image by Peter Czernich

It may seem impossible to believe this was my reaction, but I understood darkness. I was raised in a house where the very walls were soaked and dripping with it and I learned to survive. I learned very early on to study, learn and fight, and not with a half-assed sort of approach, but as if my life depended on it, because it did. I had learned more often than not that meeting this kind of evil with full on rage could and would save my life.

We continued to stare, our eyes locked; this man and I with a lion that is in me growling ready to spring. I am not a runner I have never been able to run in my life, I have always had to fight and right there and then I stared at a man who was thinking of killing me. At some point he got up and he walked off the train, possibly in search of someone else. I wasn’t shaken; I was incredibly calm as I watched him disappear away from the platform. That night I went home, I slept, I did not worry, nor did I think about it. I just got on with trying to stay alive for another night and then another and anothera0ebb46b26fb44704463919df8c38dbe

This is a small piece of my private life. You may wonder why after all these years I have chosen to out myself, I have chosen to lift the curtain just a peak on who I really am. I am full of stories and that is only one. But this story, this one has been circling round and round in my head the last few days.

It keeps playing itself on repeat and I have to question “Why? What is its purpose after all these years?”

The truth is, outside of all the public hoo-ha, I am actually a very private person. For the most part, I keep my stories to myself and I am an introvert in the rather ironic position of having a career which requires me to be an extrovert. Many over the years have failed to notice me beyond the fancy hats and frocks. They have failed to see or grasp what lay underneath. That’s OK, I know what’s there, and I also recognize the ones that have it; that have that steel underneath their skin. They don’t wear it on the outside because they have nothing to prove, only to themselves. They are the old warriors the fighters who have hung up their swords because they got tired of fighting and they wanted peace. But the truth is many of the most peaceful of, the most Zen, were warriors once.

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Liliane Hunt Image by C Morey

Right now, I feel as though I am on that train, only this time I am not alone; my friends, family and my community are on that train.  The conductor driving that train is friends with the man and the man is not alone, he has friends. So call me a coward and I will look in your eyes and say, “test me”.

Don’t tell me to fight as if you were talking to a child who wasn’t born understanding there was no other option and don’t tell me to get over it, because it is my life and is the life of everyone in this country I care about. It took my 10 long years to become a citizen, to wave my small U.S. flag and feel like I finally belonged and that I finally had rights.

Here is my story, for my sisters and brothers out there who feel like they are waking up in hell right now and it has barely begun. I hear you, I see you, and I recognize you. You, yes you, who has been fighting your whole damn life to stay alive. I guess that’s it, that’s the message. I am not going to tell you to fight, or run, or judge you, hell no. I am going to tell you to do what you need to do to stay alive and I am going to respect the hell out of you for doing it.

Winter Has Come…

Liliane Hunt and The House of Hunt Samhain Halloween Dia de los MuertosWinter has come, there are still some leaves left on the trees, but night arrives more quickly each day and there is an unmistakable coldness in the air I cannot shake. Samhain arrived, Halloween, Dia de los Muertos, the time the veil thins and our ancestors are closest to us. At The House of Hunt, (we are an eclectic mix of travelers, rogues, gentry, soldiers and vagabonds), but somehow in the melting pot of our belief systems we are one and the same. We cannot ignore the voices of our ancestors, we may not always agree with them, not all of them were wise, but some, some indeed stand the test of time and it is those that we look to when the nights are at their coldest and darkest. Liliane Hunt and The House of Hunt Samhain Halloween Dia de los MuertosSo here at The House of Hunt we made our altar for the witching hour. The funny, curious thing about an altar is, if it is alive, it will take its own form and if you are listening it will tell you what you need, rather than what you think you need. So we began full of intention of what form this altar would take and like the live thing it is and was, it shaped itself.  As we sat back, we looked and there it was; an offering  to the ancestors. I, like most travelers through this life, am a funny eclectic sort of mix, brought up in England, traveling to the United States at 22 years of age (to the South no less), back to England and back again to the East Coast and then the West. It was on the East Coast that I was blessed to live with a family from Mexico and fell in love with the culture, which was so very different from the one I grew up in.Liliane Hunt and The House of Hunt Samhain Halloween Dia de los Muertos If truth be told, it began with the food. The beauty, the richness, the warmth of the food, the family that ate together, loved together, laughed together and dreamed. We all dreamed of a better and brighter tomorrow. So 13 or more years later I find myself building an altar with my HoH family and as I stepped back to see what we had created,  I can only smile and laugh. Here in front of us lay a Dia de los Mortes altar. Here were the voices of Tyke’s ancestors and those of our family that share that heritage. Their voices came through the darkness and said, “Children, listen to us”. I am remembering the family from New York and the values they taught me; light years from the pale, damp, cold world I grew up in.Liliane Hunt and The House of Hunt Samhain Halloween Dia de los Muertos

So my friends, light your fires both figuratively and literally. It is a time to be surrounded by family, whichever family you have chosen be it blood or bond. Darkness is indeed here, but as the wheel reminds us, everything has its season and eventually the darkness will give way to light.

 

Diving into Divination

Dear Readers, I wanted to take a moment to catch you up on life in the Pacific Northwest at The House of Hunt residence. For those readers who follow the turning of the Wheel; Mabon occurred the weekend of Folsom and in every sense it was a time of gathering, gratitude and abundance. We came together to celebrate and share the fruit of our creative labors. Night and day were in equal balance, and The House members were all together in our former home of San Francisco.san-francisco-real-estate-market-trends-3.jpg

The Wheel now prepares to turn again. The nights have grown colder; the fiery colored leaves that were shaken from the trees during the tornado now lay under foot, sodden with recent rainfall. The winds of change have arrived, riding on the back of a tornado no less, a powerful metaphor indeed.d04aae2a759e509e86aa6fa9cc335343Summers End is almost upon us; Samhain, Halloween, All Saints Day and Dia de Mortes, lay just around the corner.  For some it is a time of dress up and candy, for others a more solemn occasion of remembering those that have passed to the other side, where the veil that separates this life from the next is at its thinnest. For a few of my readers it is also a time known as the Spiritual New Year.385ffac8482f3e104c3571966c620ef2

It is in this time of change, where the witching hour draws close that I sought out a decidedly magical friend of mine, Nick, from Page of Wands Tarot. Nick did a reading for me last week, a tarot reading that is. I had a question and I needed some advice on the outcome of two different choices. I know you have been in this situation, dear reader, where it just seemed impossible to untangle the plusses and minuses from one choice to another, no matter how hard you looked. I could feel the wind on my back urging me to make a choice and yet which choice to make. So it is with this metaphoric fog in my brain, I knocked on the door of Page of Wands Tarot. The outcome of our encounter was insight, clarity and thankfully no more fog.

Over the next few months I will be introducing you to some of the performers in The House of Hunt and some of the fabulous people we spend time with. October, felt like the perfect time to introduce you to Nick, our divination expert.

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Nick how did this begin for you?

I have had a fascination with tarot since my early teen years. However, it was not until 2013 that I actually began to study and read tarot for myself. During one of the darkest times of my life, it served as a tremendous source of centering, direction, and reassurance.

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How did you start doing tarot for others?

As I began to dig deeper into this craft, others began to come to me seeking the same guidance that I had found for myself. This is what inspired me to start Page of Wands Tarot. I created a platform that allows me to help others with the skill that I have developed. Just like the page of wands “himself”, my hope is to boldly explore new territories seeking truth and enlightenment.

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What is the most memorable experience with Tarot that you have encountered?

My most memorable tarot experience was the day that I decided to go buy my first deck (which is still the one I use to this day). I remember getting back to my car and opening it for the very first time. I was so excited!!!! My intuition was telling me that that step was the beginning of something which would change my life in a very positive way.

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What does this weekend mean to you and how will you be celebrating?

For me, Samhain is a time for being open to learning from the past. Many different traditions recognize the thinning of the veil between physical and spiritual during this time. It is often filled with many different ancestral traditions, which for me can include learning from one’s past self.nick2If any of my readers wish for your services how do they get in contact with you and how do you do your readings?

I can be contacted directly through my Facebook Page. I do intuitive tarot reading, readings can be conveyed face to face or via email, text, Skype, Facetime, etc.

How much are your readings?

This is a donation based service (recommended donation $10-$20). It is my goal to make this accessible to as many people as possible.

Well dear readers whatever you believe in, may your forthcoming weekend be all that you need and desire it to be. Until next time, hold onto your hats and may your cauldrons be ever full.

Folsompic

The House of Hunt traveled across five states to celebrate family, create art and have a grand adventure at Folsom Street Fair. It was my eight year anniversary of attendance at the internationally renowned event. While each year carries its own treasured memories and its own unique magic, this year I had the honor of being asked to be on the Folsom poster. The posters are almost as famous as the event itself and the opportunity to be cast as a fetishistic version of Sarah Palin was thoroughly irresistible.

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Top left to right: Lieutenant of QHG, Mr.Wizard ( Kalib DuArte), Liliane Hunt, Captain of       QHG, Tyke Puppy, Mr.Song, Second Lieutenant of QHG. Kneeling left to right: Faery 2 (Princess Cream Pie), Faery 1 (Jessi K). Image by John Goyer.

 

 

As some you may already be aware I am now residing in Portland, Oregon; Folsom is in San Francisco and the Twisted Carriage does not fly unless it’s on her own private plane. So Friday morning at 5:00 am we began a thirteen hour drive with Tyke, the Twisted Carriage, my three bio dogs otherwise known as The House of Chi and The Junkyard Pack on the back seat. Sandwiched in between them was a crate of champagne, props, costumes and my favorite wine from Willamette Valley Vineyards. My gown and fascinator sat on top of the Twisted Carriage. You may of course wonder what mischief The House of Hunt and The Junkyard Pack discussed in a car for thirteen hours. Well, aside from practicing the top secret handshake, buffing up on our lines for our even more top secret ritual and street performance, not much aside from various renditions of the HoH theme songs of which there is Tyke’s version and mine. I will let you guess who has the thoroughly irreverent version. I am not at liberty to discuss anymore other than it involves a pterodactyl.

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Far left to right: Faery 2 (Princess Cream Pie), Mr.Wizard (Kalib DuArte), Lieutenant QHG. Center: Liliane Hunt, Captain QHG, Color Guard (Paulo Batista). Image by John Goyer.

 

We arrived at our home away from home at about 8:00 pm, a charming house in San Francisco with a delightful view overlooking the City. Moments later Matt Gray friend and owner of  (Get it up Drone Video) based in Seattle and Paulo Batista Color Guard for The Queen’s Horse Guard arrived on our doorstep from San Diego.  The House of Chi announced their arrival with a chorus of barks that they reserve especially for significant occasions. Later that night Jessi K, (one of our two Faerys) arrived with a gift basket for The House of Chi.

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Left to right: Matt Gray and Tyke Puppy. Image by Pup Gadget.

After a limited amount of sleep we awoke to sunshine, coffee and more visitors. Princess Cream Pie  Faery 2, brought over a tiny new recruit to the faery division of HoH.  Needless to say he passed the audition and we look forward to his upcoming contributions. At some juncture Mr.Wizard (Kalib DuArte) appeared, he has a way of doing that without even The House of Chi noticing, he also disappears just as quickly. In all the years I have known him and in a room full of people no one has ever figured out how he does it. Just recently Captain of The Horse Guards asked me where Mr. Wizard was from.  I pondered it for a moment and answered, the universe, although that was a guess and I couldn’t be completely certain.

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Far back, left to right: Mr.Song, Mr. Wizard (Kalib DuArte), Lieutenenant QHG, Faery 2 (Princess Cream Pie), Liliane Hunt, Second Lieutenant QHG, Captain QHG. Image by MisterKen Photography.

Almost as mysterious as Mr. Wizard is the famous Mr.Song of Mr.Song Millinery.  Years ago the Post Office lost my hat for four days, it happened to be one of Mr. Song’s exquisite hats and by a twist of fate and my complete misunderstanding of time zones he answered a phone that he never typically answers.  We then became acquainted. Occasionally if the fates align and he happens to be in town, Mr. Song will hat me for the event. Thankfully, the fates did align and he arrived with earrings to match my Christian Dior choker and advice on a bent feather acquired in transit, emergency averted.

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Far left to right: Lieutenant QHG, Second Lieutenant QHG, Faery 1 (Jessi K.) Center: Liliane Hunt. Image by John Goyer.

No HoH event is complete without the arrival of The Queen’s Guard, Head of Security for the entire House. Whenever we do any public event security is essential, I have absolute confidence in his ability to handle any situation owing to the fact that since he joined the team we have not had a single situation. His arrival is announced by the deep growl of his Harley which he rides from Utah to wherever we need him. He reminds me of a cowboy from an old West movie, and he can also make very good coffee.

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Far left to right: House of Hunt Security and QG, Captain QHG . Center to right : Liliane Hunt, Color Guard Paulo Batista. Image by Roger Landon Hall.

Finally with the family together and the Junkyard Pack joining us, the festivities began. In fact the festivities continued for such a long time, that I actually had to sound the royal gong and make them go to bed. What felt like five minutes later the alarm sounded and cowboy coffee was thrust into my hand, Lord Black announced the arrival of Andrea Costigan Ortega of Salt Spell Beauty my makeup artist for the day. I will let the photographs speak for themselves, we have worked together  three times now, two Folsoms and the Folsom Poster. She has become a beautiful and enormously talented part of the family. With make-up and hair done, I was now ready for my dress.  I absolutely must take a moment to sing the praises of Valentina European Alterations. Since I moved to Portland I had obviously bid farewell to my San Francisco tailor and  with no small about of trepidation I set Tyke on the task of finding somebody capable of understanding how to tailor a formal gown. The funny thing is when I met Valentina I knew, she exuded that quiet confidence of someone who knows precisely what they are doing. When I put my gown on the morning of Folsom it slid and contoured against my skin like a custom made glove.

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Liliane Hunt, image by John Goyer.

Dress, jewelry, and boots on with fascinator in hand, we headed to the vehicle. Meeting us at our rendezvous point was our documentary filmmaker extraordinaire Roger Landon Hall of Infinite Mind Media and our entire fantastic family. Captain of The Queen’s Horse Guards at the front of my carriage dressed in a custom suit of armor made by an elite British armorer, rear guard Lieutenant and Second Lieutenant. Typically the Royal House does not responded to rumors and there has indeed been one circling that the Lieutenant of the Horse Guards is none other than the Dogtator himself.  I will neither confirm nor deny this rumor. I can confirm however that excellent caviar was served at the after party.

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Left to Right: Tyke Puppy, Lieutenant QHG, Captain QHG, Second Lieutenant QHG. Far right: The Twisted Carriage. Image by Pup Gadget.

Second Lieutenant pounded the drum and off we went to Folsom as one big happy family.  Old friends and new greeted our arrival. Depending on whether I liked them or not depended on whether they received a royally wicked apple. The sun beat down on us without mercy; she was cruel, beautiful and unforgiving as we worked our way through the crowds. One of the radiant qualities of Folsom is the diversity of the individuals one encounters, all manner of creatures in all manner of dress, “Bow for the Queen!” and “The Queen of Folsom!” were shouted as we marched onward. The faeries darted hither and thither returning each time the carriage moved away and disappearing as we stopped.

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Image by Ajax

At some juncture Mr. Wizard deemed that the ground felt right for our ritual. The carriage was brought to a halt, the ground prepared and a circle formed to summon the Lord of Beasts at Folsom. Mr. Wizard called the quarters, we did our chant and called Cernunnos to us and the hairs prickled on our skin as we heard him answer. Yes we did that, right at the front gates of Folsom, just a magical ritual from the dark forest of the Pacific Northwest. After that we left; we made our way back home with the drum sounding the heartbeat of our procession.

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Left to right: Mr. Wizard (Kalib DuArte), Lieutenant QHG, Second Lieutenant QHG,                    Faery 1 (Jessi K). Center: Liliane Hunt. Image by MisterKen Photography.

This is not where the story ends, I am not at liberty to reveal the details of the after party but only to say the case of champagne was indeed drunk in its entirety and that somebody brought vodka and caviar.

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Color Guard (Paulo Batista)

The following day we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge to the home of Nancy Peach who had generously gifted me the 15 by 10 foot painting “Liliane Hunt”.  She was constructed in six panels totaling 150 feet. Wrapped tightly and securely she was carried aloft our vehicle where she sat for the next thirteen hours. That my friends is the story of how Hunt and Junk did Folsom 2016.

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Nancy Peach standing in front of the Liliane Hunt Painting

My undying loyalty and thanks to The Junkyard Pack for taking this journey with me across two state lines and for so gallantly taking up the reigns of the Queen’s Horse Guard. Thank you to the rest of our family who worked so hard to make this such a grand affair and to the photographers that braved the fierce heat and sent me pictures! Finally last but not least thank you to Tyke, Logistics Puppy and Producer of The House of Hunt events.

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Tyke Puppy, image by John Goyer

 

 

If I asked you to describe to me what the archetypal hero looks like; I wonder what you would say? Depending on who you are, and what your reference points are, you might describe a character in a movie.  Someone you read about online or in a book, or you may have been fortunate enough to know one or meet one.  If I asked you to describe the attributes that a hero has you might say brave, strong, fearless, and triumphant.  There is something so powerfully connective about the story of “The Hero’s Journey” that the same formula has repeated itself throughout the mythology of nearly every culture in the world. If you are not yet familiar with the writer and philosopher Joseph Campbell, and what you are reading right now interests you; take a deep breath and google him because he is going to blow your mind apart and give you some fundamental truths to rebuild it.

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If you consider for a moment the movies that seem to stand the test of time, that have amassed the greatest following, they all seem to share the formula of The Heroes Journey; Star Wars, Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter, the Matrix, and Lord of the Rings. The premise is timeless. Our young hero is awakened to a journey to answer a calling. Along the way the hero encounters a guide, a teacher.  They study or apprentice, face his or her fears, then slays or transcends them returning wiser, and sharing what they have discovered.

It is, as I mentioned, the universal story that unites us in our individual and our collective consciousness, the soul’s journey if you will. Yet it seems the world we live in has begun to erode the ancient story of the hero and has replaced it with an artificial hero, essentially an inauthentic hero. The self-proclaimed hero or heroine, who we are consistently presented with, appears to be he or she who shouts loudest, the one who is swift and agile with the put down (this is truly evident on Twitter and social media generally). These so called heroes have already accomplished their mission.  There is no journey of the soul, they are already there and they know best. They are the champion and they will tell you so with every opportunity they get (insert name of musician or reality TV star of your choosing). There is no search for the Holy Grail for them; they have a house full of grails. Several grails in fact, each one better than the last and as for pulling swords out of stones; well they can do that too. In fact they do it every morning before breakfast and so on and so forth (insert name of politician).

You may have also noticed the media seems to present a very narrow bandwidth of what a hero looks like. More often than not they all look the same, give or take a nuance here or there. They are most often white, male, cisgendered, young (no older than 40 if a woman, older if a man), handsome in a main stream media approved way.  Rarely, if ever, is a hero presented as a person of color, disabled, gay, or transgendered.

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Why is this?

Authentic heroes are as varied as every single person on this planet, and yet you wouldn’t know it if you believed everything the media told you and showed you.

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I could, I suppose, end my rant there. I could put down the metaphoric pen and walk away, waiting for the end of the world. However, the bearers of hope, the teachers, the ones who shine the light, often come in the forms you least expect. Look at Yoda or Gandalf for example. The first part of the lesson begins when the hero recognizes the teacher and is willing to learn. They disregard their ego that tells them this is not what my teacher, my mentor should look like, be like.

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Continuing with the theme of storytelling, are you sitting comfortably? No? Yes, well do the best you can and I shall begin by telling you a true story of a real life hero and teacher. He is brave, strong, fearless, determined, resolute, and compassionate but it doesn’t stop there.  He is kind, generous, likeable, non-judgmental, and insightful. It seems to me impossible to spend time in his company and not be aware of how magical he truly is.

Ian is my cousin. He has deep blue eyes, golden red hair and a smile that seems to reach passed his eyes encompassing his whole being. Ian was born with a physical and a learning disability but in no way is he defined by this. He has, at every step of the way, refused to limit himself; he has defied every voice that said he couldn’t. The metaphor of the hero slaying the dragon, couldn’t be better represented than by the stone dragon that lives tamed in Ian’s front garden. In fact you have to walk past it to get to the front door, a powerful metaphor indeed.

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So the hero of this story, who rides his wheeled chariot, or walks aided but with a strength vigor and determination that is very much his own, discovered laughter at the age of ten. Ian then embarked upon his quest (his grail quest), to pursue the nature of laughter. His quest has taken him all over the world to meet the funniest people and the people that he most admired clowns. Much like the young Luke Skywalker, Ian has his own special gifts, (he is contagiously funny, passionately loves animals and music) however he has also apprenticed and learned and studied his craft.

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He is every hero that faced seemingly impossible odds and didn’t give up. He is Jack that slayed the Giant, the young Frodo on his quest with the ring, he is Harry Potter.

Pablo Picasso said “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”

I know of no one in my life who better exemplifies the true meaning of the hero on The Hero’s Journey than Ian.

He heard the call, he answered the call, he subdued the dragon (remember our hero has a way with animals, so he probably whispered to it) and for 30 years he has traveled throughout the world on his metallic steed. His trusty wheeled chariot playing the fool and teaching the world how to laugh, how to love and how to truly listen.
Ian is my hero, who is yours?

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