Archive for the ‘love’ Category

WomensMarchLA – The Signs and the things I missed, being South African.

January 22, 2017

Going to the women’s march in Los Angeles felt like full circle for me. I marched in South Africa in the early 90s. And here I was again, sticking my finger in the dyke hoping that some action would prevent complete disaster. If you check out my instagram (jeanbarkerza), I have video of (not that but) a Trump Pinata and also the crowd chanting “hey hey, ho ho, please don’t fall /out the window” to a fifth-floor hipster.

Meeting up with friends? Not possible. The cell companies didn’t get their shit together, so it was impossible to connect, but that was fine. I wasn’t there to socialize, I was there to protest and march.

The only thing I really missed was the toyi-toying and the singing. I didn’t miss the teargas. I hope that by the next march, I will be able to teach LA folks the basics of joyous protesting, SA style. Here are some quick tips, with humor. My favorite line: “I am black.”

You see, toyi-toying allows you to to occupy yourself while you’re occupying, because marching, as the newbies surrounding me learned, mostly involves (legally, anyhow) standing around waiting for the cops to get their shit together. Also, you get to sing.




While we waited, LA women of all races discussed their careers, kids, and yoga classes. I never found out what the Bug was about. Trump Bugs Me?


There’s always a hipster at anything in LA. MEN OF QUALITY DEMAND EQUALITY. And facial hair. And stencils.






WE THE PEOPLE. also TOO MANY THINGS TO FIT ON ONE SIGN. But then again, that’s why there were more than 100, 000 of us.


Nobody was arrested, even if they were breaking the law. See: Lady on Fire Escape. I actually literally didn’t see any cops, just a couple of fire engines.


PUSSY GRABS BACK. A popular topic. I enjoy the idea of all the parents that brought their kids explaining to kids what Kegels are, and why it’s mommy’s choice to do them. I didn’t see a poster that said “Talk to your child about orgasms”.


PUSSY HATS, everywhere. Downtown was swarmed. None of the cell towers worked anymore.














This nutjob kinda didn’t get it and kept shouting TRUMP IS A BITCH! TRUMP IS A BITCH!



Trump supporters, presumably some big company / superpac that wants unions destroyed, flew a plane over the march, with a banner reading CONGRATULATIONS PRESIDENT TRUMP. I guess when you can’t get boots on the ground, boots that are made for walking, you just pay to play.


And, in summary… Let’s just forget about the past and MOVE ON, TRUMPIES!

A New Beginning

January 14, 2016
2015-12-28 14.07.52.jpg

Fuck you, Santa, invention of the Coca-Cola company… And here’s why.

After everything that’s gone down – previous posts have more than enough detail for public life – I’m here in LA. I stayed. I found a place that I fell in love with, and a landlord that would trust a freelancer who hadn’t worked for a month, and just enough work to pay my rent, while I write, and dream, and pray that my space in this place opens up, soon.

dawn at my house

Nothing can describe the feeling of having a home again, after two months of depending on the kindness of my boyfriend (who thought he was shot of me) and my friends. I woke up at dawn to an unfamiliar sound on one of my first nights here, feeling full of gratitude and snapped this before I cuddled back up again to sleep more.

At first, it was bliss. And then there was Christmas. Like a monster from hell.


I thought I might never see these trees lit up in Koreatown again. But here they are. I survived another year in LA.

With Christmas came the agonizing sensation that I was supposed to be somewhere else. Something about holidays makes you long for unconditional love, and nothing else is enough, and so I missed my mother, and the plans we had for long swims in Cape Town’s cold, sharky, gorgeous seas, and the chance to see my friends’ new babies and growing children before it was too late, and everybody forgot about me.

I also began to hate my female form, and all the limitations it imposes. As my ex got remarried and began posting honeymoon and wedding photos on facebook for our former mutual friends to “like”, I drowned in self pity, imagining how, next, he would have the babies he took from me, with his new, younger, fertile bride. I would never have a family. I would be alone in this world, without that love, after my mother and father were dead.

The bitterness and neediness engulfed me.


I was sure the answer to this question was “nothing”. I heard on the radio about how old Chinese people who have no families just starve to death. I thought, that’ll be me. I’ll be digging in the trash when I’m 75…


But then I survived Christmas, and New Year came and went, and finally, men from the government began to take down the signs and symbols of my social failure. The bells of joy began ringing again as everybody went back to work.

So, eventually, the holidays ended, and with it, my gloom lifted. Now, I work, and I feel like I’m whole again. I no longer lack what everybody else has. The doors of marriage and kids slamming in my face may be limitations, but they allow me to focus on my art, my writing, and on a last-minute future that means that even if I am left rotting somewhere when I’m 70, tens, hundreds and thousands and maybe even millions of people will have read, watched, or cried over a story I wrote or directed. At least, that’s my dream.

So, what do I mean, in this world? I don’t quite know.

Sure, what we really, really want to mean, is love. Unconditional love. Only this gives our lives meaning, really, and money and fame can’t compensate. We want love, love that would overcome its fears to claim or save us. But if that never comes my way, success of some other kind will have to get me through the night.

And it will get me through the night. So go ahead. Boast of your joy. Post all the engagements, wedding photos, baby pics, back to school pics and relationship status updates you like. One day, when you’re sitting opening Christmas gifts with your grandchildren, I’ll be alone in a hotel room, somewhere far, far away, answering fan mail and weeping with self pity.

But that will only last until about Jan 5th, and then I’ll be fine again.



Dating advice: the puppy trick

September 14, 2013

Lonely? Want a hot girlfriend? Kill two birds with one stone by getting yourself a puppy. Better still, be like this guy and get two, then go hang out outside the trendiest vegan restaurant you can find.


“Oh, come her, come here, come here… sit for me?” And they do.

If he hadn’t already been surrounded by much cuter blondes in their twenties…

I don’t remember your name either

July 24, 2013

The hardest experience I’ve had since coming to college, about 10 years older than the average MFA candidate I study with, is dealing with the things they say about people over 30. “If I don’t know what I want to do with my life by then… If I’m not married by then… If I don’t have kids by 28… [I’d feel like a failure].” I once, as Key Production Designer on a set, had to take a break to go cry in a bathroom after hearing one of those chats at the DIT station. Granted, I was premensing a tad…

But imagine what it’s like when you’re 80, and all the things about old people have already come true, for you?

"I can't remember your name either": The elderly lady who made this hat won 2nd place in a competition for it. She should have won first!

“I can’t remember your name either”: The elderly lady who made this hat won 2nd place in a competition for it. She should have won first!

I’m making a thesis film (that’s the final short … -ish, in this case, 25 minute) film we make at Chapman. All my key roles are for people over 75 – or at least who can play that age.

I freaked out. My grandmas both passed before I met them properly, although my Mom’s mom, Barbara, was a fierce old lady who would match any game I played with hers. My Dad’s mom I barely met – I know of her mostly through the strange, sentimental stories of my Dad’s Dad. I remember the day she died and my mom taking my brother and I into our room so he could cry. I feel like they’d both have lasted a lot longer if women had careers in their day. My grandpas were around in another town, thousands of miles away, so I didn’t spend much time, although they were both a force in my growth as a writer.

My parents, who are over 65, are still running around like crazy chickens and are my inspiration for my story.

Where would I learn about really old people?

So I started volunteering at the Orange Senior Center – which is a meeting place for seniors (over 65) from Orange – not an old age home, as many assume. I found that old people DUH vary as much as anybody else. Take Wella, who strictly taught me how to serve salad in the kitchen. Anna, who could dance me off my feet.

Today my Assistant Director (if she doesn’t get a real job in time) gave me the best advice ever:
“Don’t treat them like old people. Just make sure they can walk when you audition them.”

This is especially true of actors. One is going hiking in italy for two weeks soon. The other is writing a script. The other is about to star in a play where they have to be on their feet, with an hour of lines memorized… nevermind a few names. They’re all passionate, all working, till the day they day. One amazing actress said “I hope I die on stage, or on set!” And I was like… “Just not on mine!” And we laughed.

I guess that old liberal truism – stereotypes are bullshit – is always true.

Expect the unbelievable

July 9, 2013

Every time I plan to go to LA, I dread it. Every time I come back, I’m glad I made the journey. It never ceases to give me a story to tell.

So today, I went to talk to my amazing production designer for my thesis film. I cursed the traffic on the way to Little Tokyo… It felt like everything at the time. By the time I arrived 80 minutes later, having left home for lunch at 11, I had heard NPR’s news cycle five times, and two special focus features three times. With the whole world out there, you’d think they wouldn’t need to repeat that much. But, whatever.

And then we met, and it was amazing. And then I saw this:

It's a wish tree. You write your wish and hang it there.

It’s a wish tree. You write your wish and hang it there.

What do the notes on the Wish Tree say? Can I be rich? Can I be pretty? Strangely no.


Can I be loved? Please, can I be loved. That’s all we all say.

Downtown LA, little Tokyo, is home to people of middle to lower income, up and coming, all hoping for the dream. I picked these two because they were the most touching, but most people, almost all people, weren’t after money, the thing everybody is told to pursue here. No… And you know what’s best about that? My next appointment, across town in Westwood was with a friend I’ve barely spoken to for many, many years. We didn’t invite each other to our weddings (that hurt me; not sure about her). I always thought she judged and pitied me. And yet, when I saw her, I realised she was still the child I loved. I remember lying with her under a tree and saying how nice it was that we could just lie there. We were eight years old. And making peace with her today lifted a shadow from my mind. We’re different, but still connected somehow.

If I had a to have put a wish on the tree, maybe it should have been “find old friends”. But I didn’t know that was my wish until it came true.

Then I went, impulsively, in the hope of missing traffic on my return, to get my hair cut. The Russian stylist asked me: “So, most people in South Africa are African-American, right?” Talk about misplaced political correctness… but I like the way she blow dried it.

Then I headed home, having “missed the traffic”. Once I was locked into the 405, I heard on the radio that there’d been an accident in the car pool lane. Two cars and a motorcycle. No fatalities. But rubbernecking would make me late for my next meeting, in Santa Ana, with my set decorator. FML, I thought. How quickly we forget how lucky we are… and then, once we passed the accident, I saw this:


I was late and going about 60mph, so forgive the poor quality. But I saw a building with a painting on it. Didn’t realize when I whipped out my cell phone that I was taking a picture of something else too…


See the airplane, about to land at LAX? It kinda looks like it’s about to fly into the building – and I’m sure the makers of the new Marvel movie, who bought space on the building front on the highway just before comic con, were aware of that too. Ingenious marketing right? To the naked eye, the plane was bigger.

Ask me this morning what I would do today? I could tell you some things. But I had no idea, really, what I would do today, did I?

Love mostly fails…

June 23, 2013

“…but sometimes love never fails.” Some wisdom from my Dad in what will probably turn out to be a series of takes on Corinthians, everybody’s favorite wedding bible verse.

Who are you? And is it still true?

Who are you? And is it still true?

“It gets harder to fall in love as you get older” a talented film maker who is way to young to say that said to me the other day. I pretended to disagree but I know he’s right. It does get harder.

You fall for love’s tricks three, maybe four times and then you start to fear it before you even feel it. Fear and joy are sworn enemies. Or it’s more complicated. Maybe being in love is the emotional equivalent of being in the 1% of America’s super rich… just not normal.

I remember asking my Dad if I would ever have a successful relationship. I was miserable. So miserable that my body just “sat” as salty liquid oozed out of my eyes steadily, day after day. My second long-term boyfriend and I had just ended things and I thought I’d never feel love again. He sighed sadly, as he did a lot back then, and said something along the lines of:

“Well, it’s unusual to be happily in love all your life. I only know three couples who are. And they’re all unusual…”

“Who?” I blubbered back. Who wouldn’t ask? And now I’m going to change names, job descriptions and more to hide identities.

“Well Mike and Janine are happy, I think,” he said. “But that’s because they hardly see each other. He’s always on the oil rig. He comes home for a week at a time and of course, they’re happy to see each other. It’s always fresh.” A pause as my Dad thought about it, then continued. “Then there’s Lilian and David,” he continued. “And that’s even rarer. He just loves her more than anything else in the whole world. Just more than anything. It doesn’t matter if she’s fat or if she’s thin, or angry or smiling. She’s the only thing that matters. He would do anything for her. Anything.” And then my Dad got stuck and I realised he said “Three couples” having no idea if he actually knew of three couples who were actually happy. He’s a writer too and we tend to organise things that way. But sometimes life cuts you short, I guess.

“What about you and Mom?” I helpfully suggested, regretting the words the instant they left my mouth.

He laughed. “Sometimes we are,” he conceded. They divorced two years later. The other two couples are still together. I had another three serious relationships and am currently convinced I’ll never love another man again.

Writing it on a wall won't make it last. Ask the old guy on the phone. Whoever he is... he probably knows.

Writing it on a wall won’t make it last. Ask the old guy on the phone. Whoever he is… he probably knows.

Female Ejaculation: So easy according to the LA Weekly Backpages

May 13, 2013

I don’t think equality is the same as “being the same” – not when it comes to orgasms. I have had entire orgasms without touching myself. I have known men to get hard while feeling nothing. I think this means we are different and this weird diagram stuff just inspires idiot guys with dirty fingernails to think they can follow a set of Men’s Health instructions and make us cum. It’s just not true. It’s more interesting than that!


I wish they included a diagram of my brain.

Screen shot 2013-05-13 at 3.13.25 AM

This is what the site you go to promises. Apparently some British guy knows it all. And he’s made over 300 women squirt. That’s a lot of laundry.

We have power. Please feel free to charge your cell phone.

November 3, 2012

New York… God I love you. Thanks for proving to me yet again why you’re one of my favourite cities in the world. Okay, granted, you’re sort of stealing the limelight from New Jersey, who are in much worse trouble. But it’s not hard to see why. From 911 to 2012, you’ve always risen above the ugliness of the world at the hardest of times. When others were responding with I hate Muslims, you responded with yes, a lot of sadness and confusion, and also: I LOVE NY.

And that’s why you’re great.

This gesture personifies the spirit of a city that I would live in like *snaps fingers* THAT. Los Angeles… not so much. Weather only gets you so far.

If one person goes crazy in New York, it’s only a matter of time before the whole city burns. Something tells me it won’t come to that, though. The only time I’ve been there (am visiting again soon) I was a bit lost, having walked about 70 blocks from East Harlem to the Village, and started walking back… then run out of time. I tried to get on a bus but I didn’t have the right change. A beautiful older woman I didn’t know at all paid for my ticket – just to get me through the line, but in a nice way. I thanked her. She smiled so sadly. I hung by a handrail from the ceiling of the bus.

Her phone rang. She picked up. Sighed.
“Yeah… Well… She was my mother.” She listened again. “Yeah. It’s hard. But she went gently.”

That’s what New York is about for me. It’s a city full of people where, more than you’d expect, people rise above the hardest, hardest things imaginable and yet still find the time to be kind to strangers like me.

Project? I can fix this!

September 8, 2012

This is the mistake I make every time. Buying into the possibilities of a thing, blind to what it always will be. I clicked on this advert on while looking to replace my impractical Mustang more suited to a life of lugging around C-Stands and home-made dollies.

I have a 2006 SUBARU WRX STI Turbo with 80000 miles. Car worth $22000 KBB i am selling for $5000. It has front damage. Feel free to call for any question 714-838-2513 or come to 700 W Collins ave, Orange Ca 92867 . Thanks Chris”

I sure fell for this one. Of course.

Boy I wanna drive your car. Story of my life.

Rage and withdrawal and a heart shaped mirror

March 14, 2012

As I’ve mentioned before, my friend Dorothy Black blogs “random hearts”. Well today I found an accidental one, on my way to my car. It had been a terrible day. Not the worst day. But I managed to live up to my enemies’ image of me and get into an argument with someone, which left me more depressed and exhausted than I can say.

Losing my temper feels righteous. For about five seconds – after which I realize what I’ve done. Then, coming off the rage is the worst feeling in the world. Having seen people fail to come down off meth, I find myself comparing the withdrawal to what I feel the moment the anger abates, leaving me empty and ashamed, dying for a reason to believe I acted fairly, wanting to cry.

Someone would have driven over it. It's hanging form my rear view now.

So it was one of those days, and when I found this heart shaped mirror lying on the tar mac in the school parking lot, I took a picture of myself reflected in it and hung it from my mirror. I can’t afford to be defeated, or hate myself, or give up. I’ve come too far and pissed off too many people to stop now.