California, Heart & Home

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
 

Cloudy by Simon & Garfunkel

Thoughts of leaving Berkeley, California while traveling to Los Angeles to film for this oral history project

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. 

 My dog, Glacier, and I saying farewell to the Campanile, UC Berkeley.

My dog, Glacier, and I saying farewell to the Campanile, UC Berkeley.

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.

View of Soberanes Fire, California from space, August 2016. The resulting road closure detoured our road trip to Los Angeles for oral history interviews.

Wanting to avoid Interstate 5, we took the 101. There, we encountered our own view of the Soberanes Fire and car troubles. 
 

 No, that is not cloud cover - it is haze from the Soberanes Wildfire, as seen on our drive from Berkeley to Los Angeles on Highway 101

No, that is not cloud cover - it is haze from the Soberanes Wildfire, as seen on our drive from Berkeley to Los Angeles on Highway 101

 It is never a good sign when your car indicators light up and you have to check the owner’s manual to see what the problem is! Here: engine malfunction; slowly proceed to the nearest service location. Um, great, just great!

It is never a good sign when your car indicators light up and you have to check the owner’s manual to see what the problem is! Here: engine malfunction; slowly proceed to the nearest service location. Um, great, just great!

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. 

Be sure to check it out if you’re in the area and on Facebook!

We even did some sightseeing with our new friends. 

 

 Here we are, fitting ourselves into one selfie with the  HOLLYWOOD sign  in the background.

Here we are, fitting ourselves into one selfie with the HOLLYWOOD sign in the background.

 And, here is my personal reminder from the  Griffith Observatory  that  Berkeley  will always be a part of me.   GO BEARS!

And, here is my personal reminder from the Griffith Observatory that Berkeley will always be a part of me. GO BEARS!

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.” 😊

The Eagles

Hotel California