I was born at midnight, into my fathers hands, in our home in Santa Cruz, California. It was the early 70’s, and my parents were “Bohemian”. They ate organic foods, practiced yoga, and played “Free” music. They were both crafts people and artists. My father made moccasins, bamboo flutes and candles, my mother embroidered, sewed, painted, danced and sang.
They named me “Lavender Grace – Luthien Tinuviel- Kent.”
There was a big party at our house the night I was born, celebrating my entrance into the world.
The next morning my mom and dad ran across the street to the fruit stand to weighed me in the fruit scale. I was healthy, they were happy, and all was well.
Shortly after I arrived, the family moved to Sonoma County. My dad had been looking for a place to build a boat, and found an old train yard outside of
Sebastopol that became, the Freestone Boat Works. The Briar Rose was built of Ferro cement after Joshua Slocom’s “Osprey”.
She has been in the water for the past 45 years utilized for moorings, tidal foundations, and occasional trips to Mexico. The old boat yard is no longer there , however in its place is a lovely Japanese spa called Osmosis. It’s wonderful, you should try it! A huge improvement over the converted chicken coop we lived in.
Tired of living in the old coop, my mom found us a beautiful farm house up the hill at 440 Bohemian Highway, with golden rolling meadows, a mystical forest, and a fox in a log. You see a fox had died right there, on the log, and it slowly just became one with it. We would walk past it to go to the big rope swing in the woods. All the other
buildings on the property were full of young families and artists too. It was, truly, a magical place.
We would go to the top of the hill and watch the sunsets, and the bountiful celestial choreography of the sky together. I was a little Northern California goddess in training. It was a very special time, there in Free Stone.
After several years, my mother was called to join the San Francisco underground theater movement. This is where the real performance aspect of my life began. There was a house on Noe street that was the hub for the “The Angels of Light” Free Theater Group . It was drag and glitter, and more glitter! It was boundary busting, wild, edgy theater like nothing else. The scope of the costumes and sets were amazing, it was awe inspiring, and it was all for Free!
Although I participated in several of the Angels shows, my true love/epiphany of theater came the day I saw “Singing in the Rain”, (a “slightly” tamer messenger, or rather in conjunction with the “Angles” ). I remember the feeling clearly when the total realization washed over me.
We had gone to the beautiful old Castro Theater to see the film. And as, my little 4 year old self, walked out into the world, I was a changed human. I had absolutely fallen in love with a life “full of singing and dancing”. I knew this was to be my way!
I became a real poser, with all the exposure, of the many artists and photographers at this time.
Our home was a store front on Valencia in the Mission (It is now the ATA). It was so big, I learned to ride my bike in the house. It was a perfect rehearsal space with a ballet bar on one wall, and a big mirror on the other. We had many artists come through such as; a kabuki theater group, a dance group called Crimes Against Nature. Then in the basement Tuxedo Moon and other bands would often be rehearsing.
As kids, we would often go to Delores Park, roll down the hill and roller skate around. Here we are in the Bell! (You can not see, but I am wearing my favorite ruby slippers! Red glittered mules, bought at the amazing Sausalito Flee Market. That was one of our favorite spots!)
A few years later, my brother and I moved further north to the Mendocino Coast with our dad. We became part of the “Albion Nation”. We attended the Albion Whale School on a the Table Mountain Commune . We were doing the “Haul Water, Chop Wood” thing, learning how people in third world countries lived on our land called “Rivendell”. We had no running water and no electricity, except when my dad hooked up his truck battery to a 12 volt light. We would listen to the Old Time Radio Show with rebroadcasts of “The Shadow”, and Sunday Mornings was the “Teddy Bears Pick Nick”. We climbed trees, explored the redwood forest, played music, and read. It was a very different pace than the scene we had just been in.
The Whale School taught us how to chop wood, bury compost, recycle, garden, carpentry, welding, how to identify local flora and fauna. And we learned how to make believe and sing and dance. I became an active participant in “The Albion Whale School Thought Up Theater” performing in original classics such as “Time in the Mirror”. There are not so many photos from this time, vanity was not so present in the back woods!
During this time my mother continued her performance art in SF and began the group Noh Mercy. check it out!
My formal musical training began with Bob Ayres when I began the Mendocino Middle School. I studied the flute in band, and sang in choir. (This was back when it was still beleived important to teach these skills in school!!)
I wrote, directed and performed a piece called “Pardon this, Only Thought!” a dramatic presentation of my poetry. This was at Crown Hall in Mendocino under the guidance of California poet Karin Faulkner. I participated in the Gloriana Opera Company 1989 production of Peter Pan of as Peter. They hired the Flying Foys from NY to come with the original flying harness from Broadway that Mary Martin used. (That was a real thrill!). That year I also received the very first Gloriana Opera Company scholarship.
After graduating from the Mendocino Community High School in the late 80’s, I was ready to expand my horizons and saved up enough money for a 1 way ticket to Amsterdam. This was to be a 6 month backpacking/hitchhiking tour through western Europe. It was a wonderful to experience through foods, culture and exploration. The expressiveness of the European people, their love of music and dance was so entirely different, I loved it.