Driving from Berkeley to Los Angeles to Film Oral History Interviews
…My thoughts are scattered and they're cloudy,
They have no borders, no boundaries
They echo and they swell
From Tolstoy to Tinker Bell
Down from Berkeley to Carmel
Got some pictures in my pocket and a lot of time to kill…
~from Cloudy, Gorrie & Stuart; recorded by Simon & Garfunkel
Projects like Baba Babee Skazala are often as much about self-discovery as they are about discovering others’ stories. Preparing to do interviews in Los Angeles really brought that point “home” in many ways.
After spending much of the past four years in the same apartment in downtown Berkeley, it was time for me to leave UC Berkeley and, as it seemed then, California. Of all the times I had traveled from East to West Coast during these years, this trip would be the first cross-country drive. So many memories, so many plans, so much uncertainty, and miles of highway to ponder it all. But, because of Baba Babee Skazala, the first leg of the trip would be driving to Los Angeles, rather than a straight shot East from the Bay Area.
We planned to drive the iconic California Highway 1 to savor every moment left of my time in California, but the fire gods did not cooperate with this plan. As we were to leave – the Soberanes Fire (one that could be seen from space last year) closed the highway near Big Sur and the campground we had planned to enjoy en route to LA.
Wanting to avoid Interstate 5, we took the 101. There, we encountered our own view of the Soberanes Fire and car troubles.
Still, we made it to LA, took the car in for repairs and got a loaner so we could get on with our work. Once settled in, we were thrilled to work with Evan Yee again and some of his friends. A few extra hands and cameras never hurt!
In addition to interviewing some awesome people, we also were able to witness and record a festival at the Ukrainian Cultural Center and see one of our interviewees’ Ukrainian shop located on the second floor of the Cultural Center. What a sight to see – artwork in many different mediums from all the different regions of Ukraine, and even modern art with Ukrainian style and references. Such a meaningful space maintained over 20 years by one of our interviewees. Clearly, art is a meaningful way for her to cherish, preserve and share her culture.
We even did some sightseeing with our new friends.
The fantastic part about this trip was that everything was so inspiring, encouraging and exciting that we forgot that we were in LA traffic half the time!
Be sure to join our community and follow Baba Babee Skazala to learn more about the arts of Ukraine and the Ukrainian culture! Pysanky are amazing but there is SO much more to Ukrainian art!
From here, we head back to Denver, then to Cleveland, then New York.
As for California… well…“you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.” 😊