Tag

Flagging Community

San Francisco’s Destination Weekend 2016

By | Events
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Friday, July 29th 
 New Artist Class Noon-3:30Tie-Dye Open Studio 3:30-5:30 p.m. (info below)
 Dinner at Firewood immediately after tie-dye
Saturday, July 30th
 Flagging in the Park with renowned DJ Sharon White 12:30 p.m. –  4:30 p.m.(info below)
 Silent Auction 12:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. (info below)
Sunday, July 31st: 
 Up Your Alley Street Fair (leather/fetish) 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (Facebook)
 Rough 6 p.m. – 2 a.m. with DJs Russ Rich and Paul Goodyear at MEZZANINE  (info below)
 
~ Community Tie-Dye ~
Friday, July 29
Noon – 3:30 p.m. New Artist Class FULL
3:30 – 5:30 p.m. Open Studio
 
Intent: Bring together tie dye artists; replenish your flag bags; have fun. Open to any and all levels of tie-dye artists or people that want to just hang out. 
NEW TIE-DYE ARTISTS:  – Formal demonstration from noon-2, instructor monitoring noon-2-3:30.  Limited space.
OPEN STUDIO: Irons, string, scissors, dye, paper towels, gloves and microwaves available.  Last silk handed out at 5. Wrap up for everyone is 5:30 PM
COST: White-washed silk will be available the day of the event for $20 (regular size set) and $35 (extra large size set) – does not include weights.  Need something special, email me and ask.  Sewing weights into flags service available at $30 (regular size) and $45 (XL size) – includes weights.
$10 per person suggested donation given to the National AIDS Memorial Grove.
This translates to your flags with weights being sewn and donation being $60 for the first regular sized set or $90 first large set, $50/$80 subsequent sets. (Not including postage fees for those not available to pick up a few weeks after the tie-dye – $6.) Too much? Don’t let cost deter you, email me.
RSVP Required!  xcaylor@gmail.com – my address and simple preparations for the day included in confirmation to be sent two days before the event – Class is filling up fast.
Interested in pre-reading before coming?  Check out these great resources: Flagger Central or this article from Don Baker.
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 ~ Flagging In The Park San Francisco ~
 Saturday, July 30th – 12:30PM to 4:30PM
 National AIDS Memorial Grove – Golden Gate Park
 Music by: Sharon White
 Our beneficiary: National AIDS Memorial Grove
 

Come enjoy the sun, music, flora, and friends in the beautiful National AIDS Memorial Grove.  This event is open to all flow artists – fanning, flagging, poi, staff, hoopers and their supporters.  Flags available for use or just relax, take in the fun dance music and colorful visuals.  Bring a beverage, a lunch, something to sit on, and enjoy.  

Music by: Sharon White – With a career spanning almost 40 years, Sharon has been responsible for breaking through more barriers than probably any other DJ. She was the first woman to headline the Saint, Paradise Garage, and the Trocodero. Billboard named her its first female DJ reporter; Motown, when it brought her aboard, became the first major label to hire a woman as a promotion director. Sharon is thrilled to be bringing her unique spirit to Flagging In The Park! Check her podcast out here.

Our beneficiary:  National AIDS Memorial Grove  is a dedicated space in the national landscape where millions of Americans touched directly or indirectly by AIDS can gather to heal, hope, and remember. For all the promising prospects on the horizon, AIDS continues to invade our lives, violate our past, and rob us of our comfortable assumptions about the future. The sacred ground of this living memorial honors all who have confronted this tragic pandemic both those who have died and those who have shared their struggle, kept the vigils, and supported each other during the final hours.

Where to go: National AIDS Memorial Grove – Taking public transportation is encouraged, finding a place for your car can be challenging.  Never been there: pair up with someone who has been there; if you drive – go early for better parking, map here.  Walking directions from 2nd and Irving  (N-Judah).  Walking directions from 9th and Judah (Bus #6, #43, and N-Judah).  Walking directions from Stanyan and Hayes (Bus #21, #5).  Walking directions from Haight and Stanyan (Bus #33, #7, #71).

About FITP:  In 1997 a group of San Francisco flaggers started a tradition of celebrating life by gathering in the newly dedicated National AIDS Memorial Grove.  Here we are nineteen years later, the event is thriving and growing; with the DJs, organizers, and participants donating their time, energy and love to help raise money for mostly local (sometimes national) non-profits. 

What to expect: The National AIDS Memorial Grove is in a gorgeously secluded meadow in Golden Gate Park.  Often the fog is licking at the sky above especially in the summer, bring sunscreen and a wrap.  Bring something to sit on; pack a lunch or bring snacks and beverages; flags are available for use; usually a few furry friends roaming.  There are little or no services nearby, but a Port-A-Potty will be available.  Our DJ spins vocal fun-filled dance music and flow artists eagerly enjoy and share their art with newcomers.  No pressure to participate, come relax and take in the color and beauty of our tribe. 

2016 Partners: Flagging In The Park is proud to partner again with Grass Roots Gay Rights Foundation, the nonprofit behind REAL BAD – they will be offering a $2,000 matching grant for all of our 2016 events. Proving it takes a village, this event would not happen without the support of these partners: National AIDS Memorial GroveSisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Pretty in Ink, Randal Schiller ProductionsFlagger CentralFitness SFBenefit MarketingKenshi Westover, and the many volunteers that help with set up and strike. Make sure to let them know you appreciate their support of FITP!

2016 Producers: Jeff Hettinger & Rob Gomez (Special Event), Tom Steele & Joey Wong (May), Andrew Lopez (June), Patric Daddy (July), Stratten Moore (Sept), Michele Laskowski & Amy Lam (Oct), still led by Xavier Caylor and his partner Jeffrey Doney. FITP on Facebook  This Event on Facebook

~ Silent Auction ~
Saturday, July 30th – 12:30PM to 4:00PM
Amazing tie-dye flags from various tie-dye artists, event tickets for several different parties, as well as a few other San Francisco treats. Here’s your chance to buy or gift something unique!  All proceeds benefit the Grove. A complete list of auction items will be uploaded to the Flagging In The Park page on Facebook a week before the event.
 Rough clock Sunday, July 31 at 6 PM - 2 AM
~ Rough ~
Sunday, July 31st – 6PM to 2AM
Our awesome flag stage returns from 6-10 PM, great lights, the awesome music of Paul Goodyear and Russ Rich, the cherished Flagger Lounge … See you right after Dore Alley!

Flagging In The Park – Phil B

By | Events

 

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Sunday, June 12  – 1 PM to 4PM

National AIDS Memorial Grove, Golden Gate Park

Come enjoy the sun, music, flora, and friends in the beautiful National AIDS Memorial Grove.  This event is open to all flow artists – fanning, flagging, poi, staff, hoopers and their supporters.  Flags available for use or just relax, take in the fun dance music and colorful visuals.  Bring a beverage, a lunch, something to sit on, and enjoy.  

Music by: Phil B – one of the hottest talents in the circuit today, we know him as our resident DJ at Mass, Sundance, and Aftershock. Phil has an awesome legacy of great albums like his Mass series, Music for the Clubs, and Move in Motion; Phil is also known for being a talented mentor to DJ’s around the world, producer of one  fabulous  remix after another, and a swell guy remembering everyone’s name along the way. Produced and Remixes recent Top 5 Chart hits for Debby Holiday, Martha Wash, ZZ Ward, Bea Miller, Jenn Cuneta, and is currently celebrating an America Billboard #1 for his production of Shawn Hook – The Sound Of Your Heart Beating. On June 12th Phil will be featuring remixes/edits of  Marlena Shaw – Touch Me In The Morning; Led Zeppelin – A Whole Lotta Love; Dusty Springfield & The Pet Shop Boys – What Have I Done To Deserve This, and that’s just a few tricks he’s pulling from his repertoire   

Our beneficiary: Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration – Founded in 2008, ORAM specializes in the protection of exceptionally vulnerable refugees with a focus on LGBTI refugees from the Middle East and North Africa. ORAM is trusted by governments, international agencies, aid organizations and refugees alike. ORAM’s essential work enables the international community to protect LGBTI refugees and asylum seekers and safeguards the integrity of the international refugee protection system.

Where to go: National AIDS Memorial Grove – Taking public transportation is encouraged, finding a place for your car can be challenging.  Never been there: pair up with someone who has been there; if you drive – go early for better parking, map here.  Walking directions from 2nd and Irving  (N-Judah).  Walking directions from 9th and Judah (Bus #6, #43, and N-Judah).  Walking directions from Stanyan and Hayes (Bus #21, #5).  Walking directions from Haight and Stanyan (Bus #33, #7, #71).

About FITP:  In 1997 a group of San Francisco flaggers started a tradition of celebrating life by gathering in the newly dedicated National AIDS Memorial Grove.  Here we are nineteen years later, the event is thriving and growing; with the DJs, organizers, and participants donating their time, energy and love to help raise money for mostly local (sometimes national) non-profits. 

What to expect: The National AIDS Memorial Grove is in a gorgeously secluded meadow in Golden Gate Park.  Often the fog is licking at the sky above especially in the summer, bring sunscreen and a wrap.  Bring something to sit on; pack a lunch or bring snacks and beverages; flags are available for use; usually a few furry friends roaming.  There are little or no services nearby, but a Port-A-Potty will be available near the street entrance.  Our DJ spins vocal fun-filled dance music and flow artists eagerly enjoy and share their art with newcomers.  No pressure to participate, come relax and take in the color and beauty of our tribe. 

2016 Partners: Flagging In The Park is proud to partner again with Grass Roots Gay Rights Foundation, the nonprofit behind REAL BAD – they will be offering a $2,000 matching grant for all of our 2016 events. Proving it takes a village, this event would not happen without the support of these partners: National AIDS Memorial GroveSisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Pretty in Ink, Randal Schiller ProductionsFlagger CentralFitness SFBenefit MarketingKenshi Westover, and the many volunteers that help with set up and strike. Make sure to let them know you appreciate their support of FITP!

2016 Producers: Tom Steele & Joey Wong (May), Andrew Lopez (June), Patric Daddy (July), Jeff Hettinger & Rob Gomez (Special Event), Stratten Moore (Sept), Michele Laskowski & Amy Lam (Oct), still led by Xavier Caylor together with his stalwart partner Jeffrey Doney. 

FITP on Facebook here
Facebook Event Listing here

~ Flagging In The Park – San Francisco ~  

By | Events

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Sunday, May 8 – 1 PM to 4PM

National AIDS Memorial Grove, Golden Gate Park

Music by Byron Bonsall

Come enjoy the sun, music, flora, and friends in the beautiful National AIDS Memorial Grove.  This event is open to all flow artists – fanning, flagging, poi, staff, hoopers and their supporters.  Flags available for use or just relax, take in the fun dance music and colorful visuals.  Bring a beverage, a lunch, something to sit on, and enjoy.  

Music by: Byron Bonsall From humble beginnings DJing his 7th grade dance, Byron has developed the philosophy of keep the crowd moving and make sure they leave with a smile. His mix of equal parts upbeat house, anthems, and progressive sounds (with a splash of disco and trance) has earned him a faithful following. “If you don’t leave with a smile on your face and maybe a little sweaty, I haven’t done my job.” Check out Byron’s music here.

Our beneficiary:  The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence a leading-edge Order of queer nuns, the Sisters have devoted themselves to community service, ministry and outreach to those on the edges, and to promoting human rights, respect for diversity and spiritual enlightenment. We believe all people have a right to express their unique joy and beauty and we use humor and irreverent wit to expose the forces of bigotry, complacency and guilt that chain the human spirit. 

Where to go: National AIDS Memorial Grove – Taking public transportation is encouraged, finding a place for your car can be challenging.  Never been there: pair up with someone who has been there; if you drive – go early for better parking, map here.  Walking directions from 2nd and Irving  (N-Judah).  Walking directions from 9th and Judah (Bus #6, #43, and N-Judah).  Walking directions from Stanyan and Hayes (Bus #21, #5).  Walking directions from Haight and Stanyan (Bus #33, #7, #71).

About FITP:  In 1997 a group of San Francisco flaggers started a tradition of celebrating life by gathering in the newly dedicated National AIDS Memorial Grove.  Here we are nineteen years later, the event is thriving and growing; with the DJs, organizers, and participants donating their time, energy and love to help raise money for mostly local (sometimes national) non-profits. 

What to expect: The National AIDS Memorial Grove is in a gorgeously secluded meadow in Golden Gate Park.  Often the fog is licking at the sky above especially in the summer, bring sunscreen and a wrap.  Bring something to sit on; pack a lunch or bring snacks and beverages; flags are available for use; usually a few furry friends roaming.  There are little or no services nearby, but a Port-A-Potty will be available near the street entrance.  Our DJ spins vocal fun-filled dance music and flow artists eagerly enjoy and share their art with newcomers.  No pressure to participate, come relax and take in the color and beauty of our tribe. 

2016 Partners: Flagging In The Park is proud to partner again with Grass Roots Gay Rights Foundation, the nonprofit behind REAL BAD – they will be offering a $2,000 matching grant for all of our 2016 events. Proving it takes a village, this event would not happen without the support of these partners: National AIDS Memorial GroveSisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Pretty in Ink, Randal Schiller ProductionsFlagger CentralFitness SFBenefit MarketingKenshi Westover, and the many volunteers that help with set up and strike. Make sure to let them know you appreciate their support of FITP!

2016 Producers: Tom Steele & Joey Wong (May), Andrew Lopez (June), Patric Daddy (July), Jeff Hettinger & Rob Gomez (Special Event), Stratten Moore (Sept), Michele Laskowski & Amy Lam (Oct), still led by Xavier Caylor together with his stalwart partner Jeffrey Doney. 

FITP on Facebook

This event on Facebook

~ Flagging In The Park – San Francisco ~

By | Events

Sunday, June 14th – 1 PM to 4 PM

National AIDS Memorial Grove – Golden Gate Park 

Come enjoy the sun, music, flora, and friends in the beautiful National AIDS Memorial Grove.  This event is open to all flow artists – fanning, flagging, poi, staff, hoopers and their supporters.  Flags available for use or just relax, take in the fun dance music and colorful visuals.  Bring a beverage, a lunch, something to sit on, and enjoy.  

Music by: DJ Russ Rich – Russ Rich is one of San Francisco’s most versatile DJs. Early on in his DJ career, he became known for his happy and uplifting vocal style. After several years spinning local bars and T-Dances, he graduated to headliner status, playing peak time sets at clubs like “Industry” at Mighty, “Hero” at Ruby Skye, and “Colossus” at 1015 Folsom. In 2011, Russ won “San Francisco’s Next Top DJ” competition, and in 2013, he won a nationwide contest for Gay Internet Radio Live. That same year, Russ was named Resident DJ for PLAY T-Dance, held annually following the Up Your Alley Street Fair. For more information, please visit Facebook (www.Facebook.com/russrich) and soundcloud (www.soundcloud.com/Dj-Russ-Rich).

Our beneficiary: Maitri  Maitri’s mission is simple: No one should have to suffer or die alone. To this end, Maitri provides compassionate residential care to men and women in need of hospice of 24-hour care and cultivates the deepest respect and love for life among its residents and caregivers. Maitri is the only AIDS-specific residential care facility in California focusing on the underserved community of those dying of or severely debilitated by AIDS. Since opening in 1987, Maitri has been the final home for more than 900 people who lived with AIDS. Please consider supporting the work of Maitri by attending Flagging in the Park on Sunday, June 14th or by making a tax deductible donation through the Network for Good.

Where to go: National AIDS Memorial Grove – Taking public transportation is encouraged, finding a place for your car can be challenging.  Never been there: pair up with someone who has been there; if you drive – go early for better parking, map here.  Walking directions from 2nd and Irving  (N-Judah).  Walking directions from 9th and Judah (Bus #6, #43, and N-Judah).  Walking directions from Stanyan and Hayes (Bus #21, #5).  Walking directions from Haight and Stanyan (Bus #33, #7, #71)

About FITP:  In 1997 a group of San Francisco flaggers started a tradition of celebrating life by gathering in the newly dedicated National AIDS Memorial Grove.  Here we are eighteen years later, the event is thriving and growing; with the DJs, organizers, and participants donating their time, energy and love to help raise money for mostly local (sometimes national) non-profits. 

What to expect: The National AIDS Memorial Grove is in a gorgeously secluded meadow in Golden Gate Park.  There are little or no services nearby.  Often the fog is licking at the sky above especially in the summer, bring sunscreen and a wrap.  Bring something to sit on; pack a lunch or bring snacks and beverages; flags are available for use; usually a few furry friends roaming.  Our DJ spins vocal fun-filled dance music and flow artists eagerly enjoy and share their art with newcomers.  No pressure to participate, come relax and take in the color and beauty of our tribe.

2015 Partners: Flagging In The Park is proud to partner again with Grass Roots Gay Rights Foundation, the nonprofit behind REAL BAD – they will be offering a $2,000 matching grant for all 5 of our 2015 events. Proving it takes a village, this event would not happen without the support of these partners: National AIDS Memorial GroveSisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Pretty in Ink, Randal Schiller ProductionsGloss MagazineFlagger CentralFitness SFBenefit MarketingKenshi Westover, and the many volunteers that help with set up and strike. Make sure to let them know you appreciate their help with FITP!

2015 Co-Producers: Leading up to the 2015 Season, Xavier has been coaching a group of local Flaggers to assist with organizing and running this year’s events.  By spreading the knowledge of how to arrange them, this will hopefully ensure that FITP continues as a set of vibrant community gatherings each year – for many years to come!  
The Co-Producers for this year are – Thomas Steele (May), Andrew Lopez (June), Michael Rackley (July), Jeff Hettinger & Rob Gomez (Aug), Michele Laskowski (Oct), still led by Xavier Caylor together with his stalwart partner Jeffrey Doney. 

The next 2015 events are: July 25, August 23, and October 10.

FITP on Facebook here

Facebook event listing here

~ Flagging In The Park – San Francisco ~

By | Events, News

Sunday, May 10th – 1 PM to 4 PM

National AIDS Memorial Grove – Golden Gate Park 

Come enjoy the sun, music, flora, and friends in the beautiful National AIDS Memorial Grove.  This event is open to all flow artists – fanning, flagging, poi, staff, hoopers and their supporters.  Flags available for use or just relax, take in the fun dance music and colorful visuals.  Bring a beverage, a lunch, something to sit on, and enjoy.  

Music by: Paul Goodyear – We are thrilled to welcome Paul back to FITP!  Music is his one true passion that when combined with the diversity of his influences means he is constantly pushing the boundaries of what popular dance music is.  These days his sets have two distinct sound-scapes depending on his audience – his High Energy style which combines Tech and Progressive sounds with Latin Beats and Soaring Vocals, and his SanFranDisko style, which is a combination of House, Nu and Dynamic Disco with an end-note of good old-fashioned Soul.  Variety is the Spice of his life, so no matter his audience, his smorgasbord of influence shows in every set he plays.

Our beneficiary: AIDS Emergency Fund  In 1982, a group of San Franciscans came together to pay bills for their friends who were too ill to work because of their battle with a mysterious disease.  As the HIV epidemic grew, this lead to the formation of the AIDS Emergency Fund, now a vital contributor to the SF community for over 3 decades. AEF staff and volunteers continue to help qualified applicants receive emergency financial assistance while insuring that community funds are spent helping those who are most in need and facing genuine emergencies.

Where to go: National AIDS Memorial Grove – Taking public transportation is encouraged, finding a place for your car can be challenging.  Never been there: pair up with someone who has been there; if you drive – go early for better parking, map here.  Walking directions from 2nd and Irving  (N-Judah).  Walking directions from 9th and Judah (Bus #6, #43, and N-Judah).  Walking directions from Stanyan and Hayes (Bus #21, #5).  Walking directions from Haight and Stanyan (Bus #33, #7, #71)

About FITP:  In 1997 a group of San Francisco flaggers started a tradition of celebrating life by gathering in the newly dedicated National AIDS Memorial Grove.  Here we are eighteen years later, the event is thriving and growing; with the DJs, organizers, and participants donating their time, energy and love to help raise money for mostly local (sometimes national) non-profits. 

What to expect: The National AIDS Memorial Grove is in a gorgeously secluded meadow in Golden Gate Park.  There are little or no services nearby.  Often the fog is licking at the sky above especially in the summer, bring sunscreen and a wrap.  Bring something to sit on; pack a lunch or bring snacks and beverages; flags are available for use; usually a few furry friends roaming.  Our DJ spins vocal fun-filled dance music and flow artists eagerly enjoy and share their art with newcomers.  No pressure to participate, come relax and take in the color and beauty of our tribe.

2015 Partners: Flagging In The Park is proud to partner again with Grass Roots Gay Rights Foundation, the nonprofit behind REAL BAD – they will be offering a $2,000 matching grant for all 5 of our 2015 events. Proving it takes a village, this event would not happen without the support of these partners: National AIDS Memorial Grove, Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, Pretty in Ink, Randal Schiller Productions, Gloss Magazine, Flagger Central, Fitness SF, Benefit Marketing, Kenshi Westover, and the many volunteers that help with set up and strike. Make sure to let them know you appreciate their help with FITP!

2015 Co-Producers: Leading up to the 2015 Season, Xavier has been coaching a group of local Flaggers to assist with organizing and running this year’s events.  By spreading the knowledge of how to arrange them, this will hopefully ensure that FITP continues as a set of vibrant community gatherings each year – for many years to come! 
The Co-Producers for this year are – Thomas Steele (May), Andrew Lopez (June), Michael Rackley (July), Jeff Hettinger & Rob Gomez (Aug), Michele Laskowski (Oct), still led by Xavier Caylor together with his stalwart partner Jeffrey Doney. 

The next 2015 events are: June 14, July 25, August 23, and October 10.

FITP on Facebook here

Facebook Event Listing here

Flagging: Propelled by Momentum

By | News

There’s something rapturous about watching fabric spin so fast that discrete shapes dissolve into the blurred trails of after-image. Even a few seconds watching a gifted flag dancer are enough to flip a switch in your mind, unhooking part of your consciousness; it’s the outer border of trance.

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A Question of Community

By | Essays

Too often, (and it is not a judgment) what we call a community is defined by who we air kiss hello at the clubs before doing our thing on the floor or stage. We do share a common thread, we flag or fan. But is that a community?

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Flagging Energy

By | News

You’ve seen them. Standing on the edge of the stage, or atop a platform or a box at a circuit party, or at a club or on a “Sea Tea” circling Manhattan. Commanding your attention, yet they’re oblivious to it, defiant of it, dousing themselves as they do in spotlights or laser beams or a rainbow of flashes. They might be painted madly; sparkling, glittering, luminescent. Chances are, they’re buff, in tight shorts, usually shirtless, working themselves into a fluid, otherworldly frenzy of movement, music and rhythm.

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A Few Answers

By | Articles

Moving to San Francisco can really immerse a person into a flagging
community. Tidbits of history, theories on spirituality, opinions of
individuals, and promoters that provide space to proliferate have
inspired me to revel in this art. There seem to be a few core
questions I am asked repeatedly:

  • Where did this come from? (What is the connection between fans and flags?)
  • Is there a proper way to teach?
  • Is there something wrong with getting paid to flag?
  • Why don’t stores sell flags?
  • What is the Tribe?

I offer the answers for these questions as I see them. Admittedly, I
wear glasses.


Where did this come from?

(What is the connection between fans and flags?)

I remember hearing a story, a nice story actually, about a group of fan
dancers who whittled away at their spines leaving just a lead stick and
eventually replacing that with weights to guide the fabric along. Without
questioning, I accepted this as the way it was and chalked one up to yet
another fabulous thing my community created. Keep telling this story, it’s
one of my favorites.

Then I started looking at what is. Rhythmic dancing, not a far stretch from
the way some flaggers spin, is an Olympic sport. Archived in old books, I’ve
seen flags and fans used for martial arts. Many cultures have incorporated
scarves and fans into dance. Boys and girls, we are embellishing on forms of
expression that have existed for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.
Fan and flag dancing are art forms that share so much, yet are also uniquely
different. Energetically they are both celebrations of life! In the present
moment, moving to music, allowing yourself to be free, players of both arts
have the opportunity to enter their “be”-ingness in a form of
meditation.

– Most fans are rigid, made of wood, less forgiving. Movements can stop and
start, flip and furl.

– Flags are yielding. They generally contain metal pieces. Movements all
tend to flow.

It’s no wonder that those who picked up one learned both, working with
one medium can improve skills in the other. Thinking all great things
have come from our community in recent past is narcissistic. Being in
the moment, honoring how your body wants to move, and flowing with the
energy of life is a gift that has been rediscovered in our community.


Is there a proper way to teach?

This is a loaded question: to answer it one must first look at where we’ve
been.

The gay community’s celebration in the 70’s had a different flavor
than it does now. We were exploring ourselves as a community,
exploring our pride, really breaking free from the chains of
prejudice. Pre-circuit party fan and/or flag communities gathered at
local clubs. Artisans would go and show their wares, marveling
onlookers enchanted, sharing the art would happen over time with
reinforcement and guidance. The apprentice would learn, or be
empowered, to make his or her-own art by the sage artisan. Technique
could be either modeled or shared by observation. Etiquette was
discussed amongst friends.

The AIDS epidemic took the wind out of our sails and the spirit out of our
community. Mobilization ensuing after the epidemic gave us many gifts.
Illuminating our brothers and sisters around the country, a sense of pride
stemmed from giving ourselves as never before. Large benefits were held and
attended, the circuit rooted.

Now-a-days, frequent flyer miles coax people around the country to travel to
random cities. We are still exploring ourselves as a community, but we’ve
been to hell and back and we are reveling as never before. Creating as only
affluent societies have, this art is reaching a whole new audience, one that
transcends the chains of prejudice. The foundation for continued support and
growth has fallen on the shoulders of the individual. The new flagger picks
up the art over a weekend then returns home and experiences the frustration
of growing without the wisdom of their teacher. As experienced as I am with
imparting wisdom into an eager ear, two nights in a club are not enough. The
frustration of growing alone is common among today’s new flaggers.
Another thing available today, a flashy ad in a circuit city supply catalogue
catches the eye of a would-be flagger. Inspiring someone to try their hand
at spinning, this person has no energetic connection to the flagging
community. Many members of the flagging community are opposed to the sale of
flags for this reason.

Flagging, to me, is a very individual experience. When I gaze upon an
artisan I can see far more than the medium they are working with. Spinning a
set of flags, moving their body in response to the melody they hear. Of the
many ways out there to meditate (spend time with yourself) this is one that
brings you into your body, into the moment.

I have spoken to many flaggers and all of them have a similar
experience that shows up between 2 to 4 months after they’ve really
been hooked (flagging daily, teaching everyone they know, sharing with
family, attempting to make there own flags, etc.) The energy in their
life starts to flow differently.

Some of the babies I’ve had the opportunity to shape have had this happen
very quickly. So, yes, I encourage people to find a flag daddy (mommy) that
can spend time with them. I also have learned to trust. A friend caught me
by surprise the other day when he said his first set of fabrics came from
“Don’t Panic.” He kept his ears open and entered the community when he felt
comfortable, learning as he was ready, and, most importantly, is oozing
the energetic change in all areas of his life.

Were you guided into the art by an experienced artisan? Were you immersed
over a short time then left to learn on your own? Or did you acquire a set
of flags and teach yourself?

Now I ask you: Which is the way you would’ve wanted to learn?
Think of this as your next opportunity to teach.


Is there something wrong with getting paid to flag?

There I was, hooked, flagging in the corner of a club, approached by the
owner who asked if I would be interested in spinning on the box in the center
of the dance floor. Hmmm. I, like many, jumped at the chance.
When I moved to San Francisco I met someone with an opinion about the
exchange of cash for flagging. Philip once told me, “Flagging for me is
something that transcends the material plane. I don’t want money to enter
into something I hold so sacred, something that has changed my life.” His
conviction soared straight to my heart and has greatly influenced Centrifugal
Force.

Picking up a set of flags I don’t tend to pre-plan how I will move. The
meditation is achieved when you stop thinking and start “be”-ing. You get a
group together, start choreographing, and it goes from a point of
self-expression (how most people are experiencing it) to group expression.
Now enter the would-be participant. Are you flagging for yourself? Are you
flagging for the attention? Are you flagging for the money? Are you serving
the highest vision of yourself with your actions?

I will not tell you what you should or should not do; ultimately the
choice is yours. I will ask you to honor others and their decisions.


Why don’t stores sell flags?

Buying flags from a circuit supply warehouse does not expose a new
flagger to the people, culture or etiquette of flagging and is
generally frowned upon. “But,” you say, “where do I get a set to get
started?” This is not an easy question to answer. It is part of what
is driving Centrifugal Force to provide information on the web and
through workshops. We even have a flag loaner program at our flagging
events in Golden Gate Park.

I encourage everyone I mentor to make a set of flags. For me it was a rite of
passage into my community. This, however, is my opinion.


What is The Tribe?

Think back to when this art was a local phenomenon, the local boys and girls
would gather to play. Circuit parties spread us around the country. Groups
of people would gather and play. One of these groups took up flagging. They
shared a thirst for spirituality and a desire to experience living. Whether
they found flagging or flagging found them, they became a very tight knit
group of brothers that shared their fears, desires, and love openly.
Traveling around the country, the art of flagging was just one of the many
gifts they spread openly and wholeheartedly. To interact within the Tribe is
to let go and allow oneself to “be.”

From this web site to Flagging in the Park, in various cities around the US;
Dino’s tie-dyed flags; the Men’s Inner Journey; weekly meditations in San
Francisco, Los Angeles, and Miami; Tribal Force; Centrifugal Force; inspiring
thousands of men to pick up the art of flagging — their energy continues to
inspire many beautiful things to take root in our community.