Saturday, August 20, 2011

RADAR Writers lab in Akumal, Mexico

After 2 weeks of sticky-hot Caribbean sunshine, white beach sand in every bodily crevice, and mosquito bites aplenty, Greg and I have arrived home from the Yucatan Peninsula! We spent 10 or so of those days among 8 other artists with writing-based practices (i.e. novelists, essayists, a graphic novelist, a food writer, a TV writer) at the RADAR writers lab in beautiful Akumal, Mexico.

Read our interview for the RADAR blog, conducted right before our embarkment: Meet Mr. & Mr. Vargas-Youmans

Greg and I focused mainly on drafting an episode for the second season of our sitcom series Falling In Love... with Chris and Greg. This next video will have the characters Chris and Greg confront many timely issues such as gay suicide, the It Gets Better project, the recession, queer back-to-the-land movements and our Morrissey-loving/Raver pasts. Oh, and it's a Christmas Special... but we may not have it done by this holiday season as it is quite an ambitious episode involving many new characters and many different locations. Speaking of, does anyone have a bridge Greg can contemplate jumping off of?

At work on the beachfront patio

The retreat was very relaxed yet quite structured. Every day we had 5 scheduled quiet work hours, the first block being in the morning from 9am-12pm, then again after lunch & a snorkel break we'd resume working from 4-6pm. In the evening we'd all come together around a home-cooked Yucatanian-inspired meal by the culinarily talented Beth Pickens (RADAR's managing director and founder of the SF Food Adventure Club). During this time we'd talk about such topics as our days work, our projects in general, or some type of professional aspect of our work (i.e. grants, agents). Twice after dinner, towards the beginning and end of the 10 day session, we had informal readings where we'd each share what we were working on. 

Beyond the scheduled work hours, there were many opportunities to explore the flora and fauna of the region, like...

Dragon Fruit

The Birth of Baby Turtles (they were born in the AM and kept in the bucket til PM,
so they'd build up strength for optimum survival)

Scantily clad Iguana
A Croc dog bed
Gonzalo Guerrero statue, commemorating the first Indo-Euro family

As pictorially illustrated above, it was a truly lovely experience. Beyond writing and gawking at the beautiful goddess that is nature herself, Greg and I also received another valuable kind of goddess blessing (sounds like Goddess Dressing). We met with and got some much needed professional consultation from the illustrious Beth Pickens, who has made us see that we don't have to go broke over our project any longer. As of now, Greg and I are actively seeking funding to make this next season! If there are any benefactors reading this right now, get in touch.

Thank you forever and from the bottom of my heart to RADAR productions--Ali, Michelle, & Beth and to the other writers for helping to create this amazingly generous, supportive, hilariously fun, magical and transformative experience.

The Sad Good-bye in cut-offs
(from L: Danny Nguyen, Nicole J. Georges, Sara Jaffe, me, Greg Youmans, & Lorelei Lee)

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