Friday, June 27, 2008


In an attempt to keep this blog from becoming an online mausoleum, here are a couple photos I took earlier this summer. I shot the flowers because I thought Marsha Vdovin might like to see them. The hummingbirds are this year's crop from the small tree in our backyard. Everything dies but life goes on. And vice-versa.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Eva Černá 1962-2008

Eva in San Francisco 1992

I just got this message from my friend Karel Vanek:

Friends, today morning my beloved wife Eva Cerna died after a long battle with cancer. Karel

This is very sad news. Eva was young, talented, a bright spirit in the best way; more like a sexy pirate than a wood-nymph, though there was for sure forest blood in her veins. She and Karel had a very passionate relationship that they articulated also through their creative work. I knew them as dancers and pals, since 1992, but they were also photgraphers, videographers and lovers of the American southwest. It is difficult for me to imagine either of them without the other.

and from a 1997 dance festival press release:

Eva Černá was born 1962 in Prague and trained in modern dance. Karel Vaněk was born 1958 in Most and first studied mathematics at Prague's Karls University before he took up dance training. Both artists danced 1984-90 in the world-famous Laterna Magika Theatre as well as some other Prague dance groups. In 1991 they founded the Černá and Vaněk Dance Company and played with full-length choreographies at dance and art festivals in Montréal, Paris, Kaunas, Prague, Stockholm and San Francisco.

From 1992-96, Eva Černá and Karel Vaněk also acted for Pavel Mikuláštik at the Choreografische Theater in Freiburg (with whom they played in »Ester« during the euro-scene Leipzig 1993) and while they are moving with him to Bonn in September 1997, they will also dedicate themselves more to their own productions.

Well, Eva dedicated herself to life with a joy and intensity that was a delight to be around and will be sorely missed.

Karel, me & Eva, San Francisco 1992

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Monday, June 09, 2008

Kenedi Ventura Alvarez 1964 - May 25, 2008

In 2002, a couple weeks after starting a job as manager of the maintenance department of Beacon property management company, I hired Kenedi Ventura Alvarez as my chief maintenance technician. Kenedi had moved up to the Bay Area from Guatemala around 1988 and had been doing this type of work for many years. My background was in construction more than maintenance, so I learned a lot from Kenedi. He was a very pleasant, funny, good-natured individual even under the most stressful & annoying circumstances, while I am decidely not, so I also got to learn a lot from Kenedi about the importance of maintaining one’s calm & sense of humor.

His motto was "ay que sonreir aunque se lo este llevando a uno la gran "#&!@#ta."

He was also a very generous person and an insanely hard worker. A lot of people depended on him, both in Guatemala and the Bay Area, and between his full-time job at Beacon, co-management of a handyman business with his youngest brother Oswaldo, and other side jobs, he basically worked 10+ hours a day 7 days a week.

We had become friends in the two years we worked together, and after I left Beacon, we’d meet for lunch every four or five months to catch up with each other, usually at his favorite cheap Chinese restaurant across from the Grand Lake theater. I hadn’t seen him since maybe February of this year when I got the bad news that Kenedi had died in an autombile accident in Texas. The man who found him dead with his head in the Texas dirt made a cross of stones, put a penny in the middle and prayed for him.

Kenedi was one of the most generous, hard-working and good-natured people I’ve known, and he will be sorely missed. When I talked with his brother Oswaldo at the viewing, he said he felt at peace because at least now Kenedi could get some rest, he didn’t have to go to work, he didn’t have to help anyone out, he didn’t have to solve any problems, he could finally take a day off.

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