Friday, December 6, 2013

"Artists at the Edge: Tonya Kay (part 2)

-- David "Skinny Devil" McLean
originally published at Tinfoil Music 
Monday, 10 March 2008 23:54            

Last month we began our discussion with Tonya Kay, dancer, actress, model, stunt-woman, environmental activist, and more. This month we conclude or discussion with 10 more questions. Check it out (and see part one HERE and visit Tonya on-line)!

11) So, you converted your 2001 Jetta into a waste-veggie oil consuming machine. The question everyone has is: How hard is it to get a fill-up?

Whether running gasoline, diesel, biodiesel or waste vegetable oil (like myself) the most important aspect of purchasing an automobile is to get one with extraordinary fuel economy. Now, you can purchase a hybrid vehicle that touts 50 mpg, but personally, I don't see that as "advanced technology" and is definitely not worth the investment. After all, in the nineties I was driving a Ford Festiva that got 50 mpg and it only cost $8K off the lot! Today I drive a 2001 VW TDI Jetta and it, too, gets 50 mpg. And none of those miles are on petroleum products - now that's a real clean air vehicle!

Needless to say, when your auto gets 50 mpg, like mine, refueling isn't a time consuming process. I fuel probably twice/month - not often at all. Which is a relief because I totally DIY my fuel process. Like you mentioned, I run my little diesel engine on the fuel that it's inventor, Rudolph Diesel, originally ran it on: vegetable oil! In my case: use vegetable oil. I essentially collect used deep fryer grease from restaurants and delis around town - for free. Yes, that's right, while everyone is complaining about gas prices or purchasing expensive hybrid vehicles, I am taking the little old Jetta back to it's diesel roots and running it on the fuel that this engine was created to run on. Plus, I am dramatically reducing emissions, keeping a fast food industry byproduct out of our landfills, and saving myself oodles on fuel expense. Who needs advanced technology anyway? This is as simple and common sense as it gets.

12) You also do a lot to educate the public about environmental issues, and on your web-site even feature a forum where you have sections like "Green Life" and "Alternative Fuels". Using this forum (and others), you've helped disseminate information about everything from green-friendly paints, non-raditation cell phone head-sets, and grey-water toilets to compressed air vehicles, bio-diesel conversion kits, and the dangers of government-pushed ethanol. However, with entry-level costs so prohibitive to most people (electric cars costs twice a traditional car, for example), what is something everyone can do to make a difference?

Going green actually saves money! Our lives are run according to systems. We set up a system that allows us to drench ourselves in water from a spout in our very own tiled closets. We live by a system that we get in a car and drive ourselves to the grocery store. We eat by the system whereby we stick a tidy little plastic platter in a microwave box and when finished, toss it in another plastic container to be whisked away to some Never Never Land hopefully we don't have to come into close contact with even in our minds. Everything we do is governed by systems.

Any time we switch systems there is a learning curve - a break in period, where we have to exert more intention over that moment than before. Like making a lifestyle change involving not consuming soft drinks. At first, it seems hard and almost impossible. But once we've learned the new no-soft-drink system, it's as easy as the previous.

For example, purchasing a solar panel (or four) might be expensive, however once the system is in play, you are actually feeding electricity back into the grid and making a profit. Now compare a lifetime of electricity bills to a lifetime of electrical profit - which is actually cheaper? The green solution.

Purchasing organic produce might be more expensive than eating Ramen noodles four times/week, but if you compare the late life doctor and medication bills so many Standard American Dieters take for granted for their diabetes, bone fractures, blood pressure, underactive thyroid, and worse - which is actually cheaper? The green solution wins again!

But I know money is money and some people feel the pressure of that system more than their dreams, hopes and health aspirations. So, without spending a dime, right now, you can refuse all plastic grocery bags from now on. Create a system by which you carry cloth bags (I prefer old backpacks) in your car so you have them handy every time you enter a store. The system change will take a few months, but when that learning curve is over, it will be as natural as accepting one of those 380 million plastic grocery bags consumed in the U.S. each year. And you won't be one of the consumers.

For your health, if you are still drinking tap water, check your locals stats at the National Tap Water Quality data base If you find chlorine content (or ever smell it from the tap), just store your water in an open lid jar or bottle overnight before drinking. Chlorine evaporates quickly - you don't have to drink it. Too bad the bath water will be cold by morning:-)

Purchase from thrift stores. When you purchase a reused or refurbished item, you are completely stepping outside of the consumer culture - without having be "go without". Plus, you don't pay sales tax on reused items. Plus, you'll never show up to the party with the same shoes as your friend. When you purchase a reused product, no product is manufactured to take it's place on the shelf. No waste is generated (because, let's face it - all products eventually end up in landfills). Your thrift store purchase is waste free and again, green wins financially again - it's cheap to shop at resale shops. I purchase everything from compact disks, to boots, to plant stands, to wine glasses at the local thrift store. And when I am finished, I put my belongings right back in the donation box and take the receipt to deduct it as a Charitable Contribution on my taxes. For online resale shopping, is brilliant. And if you wanna break the commerce system while breaking the consumer system, is gift away site with hundreds of members in your area. I just grabbed 12 sets of perfectly matched stainless steel utensils from a stranger - for free. I just gifted away a professional photography tripod, a pine desk and fuel containers, too.

13) Unlike most well-known working artists, you seem to focus almost as much energy on promoting the talent of others as you do promoting yourself, whether they are seasoned pros or newbie amateurs. You regularly promote all manner of people & artists, from raw food athletes to your favorite writers to "extreme" artists...even those one would think of as direct competition. Why?

As Alister Crowley said, "You, too, are a star".

14) Does this tie in with your concept of "creating reality"? Such a concept usually sounds bizarre to the average person, but you have been quoted as saying, "...I consciously create my reality by surrounding myself with the people and situations I wish to see in my world and it works! I find myself immersed in a family of extraordinary people...", which really brings it all down to earth.

Say you wish to transport your body from the Lower East Side to Harlem. One method of magick might have you evoke the Gods of Mutability and by goodness, if you were adept, I bet you'd eventually have an OBE all the way around the island. Another method of magick would be to get out $2 for a subway ticket and catch the next uptown. Both are effective magick. Both mundane and intangible are valuable tools in reality manifestation.
To me, "good" magick is magick that yield results consistent to your Will. And of course I want to be a good magickian. So when attempting to manifest a reality in which is most consistent to my true Will, I don't stop with ritual workings for self expression and success, I get out there and create a world where self expression and success are not only possible, but probable.

And reality knows no propriety. The earth did not grow one daisy, but fields and fields of them. When I see other artists self expressed and successful, to me, that just proves it can be done. Yes, it is indeed my personal investment that each and every human being be as fully self expressed and successful as they might be, so that that reality exists in my reality and I, too, can exist in that reality!

15) In addition to being a dancer, athlete, and more, you seem to have a flair for the written word. Readily available are numerous articles published in myriad forms that you've penned as well as your monthly on-line journal. Do you plan to expand on this in the future? Perhaps a monthly column for a specific publication or a book (and if so, what would the subject & format be)?

I love words. They dance, like I do, across consciousness, carrying emotion and conveying experience. In the future, I would be honored to pen a raw enthusiast column, a waste-free living feature or an occult philosophy piece in a national magazine. Currently I journal for my own website's blog as well as Answers4Dancers career blog. But someday in the future, I feel a full length book would capture my life and lifestyle most aptly. If only the right publisher would find me ...

16) Let's switch gears a bit. You are a deeply spiritual person and have said in interviews that you have been " avid ritualist since my early teens, with ever evolving, personally refined practices. I owe no allegiance to any one way of being and base my continually answering the question of manifestation: is my current belief system serving me? Is my faith helping me be the woman I wish to be? Are my practices creating the world I wish to live in?". You've been defined variously as a Chaote, a Pagan, and a Wiccan, though this seems to at least mildly conflict with the above cited quote. Care to elaborate?

I feel completely comfortable with labels, because I don't get my identity confused with them. Labels are useful to me to locate community - others who generally share the same concepts. Especially when those concepts are of the progressive, alternative, pioneering, avant guard, niche sort I find myself dwelling amongst so often. Labels are not an identity, but a language. I see a pentagram hanging around someone's neck, I surmise the wearer and I may have some shared level of understanding. Just a language.

Robert Anton Wilson suggested that the strong mind is not the stoic mind that resists brainwashing, but rather the strong mind is endlessly flexible and brainwashes in and out of systems as fully and quickly as needed. I covet that strong, flexible mind through Chaos Magick - that ghost in the corner of your eye, that carrot ever dangling twelve inches in front of your nose, that meta-belief system that allows for complete adherence to any law so long as it serves. So long as it is serving.

Chaos is the swirling cespool of all-possibility unmanifest within which is Life and Death and everything those are not. Light and Dark and everything outside of those, too. The things you can imagine and the things simple imagination, even the word Chaos, take us further away from. Through Chaos Magick I prefer to work with the underbelly energies that generate reality(s) I experience, but through Chaos Theory, I see no contradiction in opposites and have the freedom to move from one Earthly system to another depending on what serves.

What serves most often is a general Paganism based on seasonal cycles, the four elements and solo or group ritual. Couple that with artistic purging, avid dream work, forced athletic catharsis and crystal clear raw vegan foods, and you pretty much have spiritual secrets. Top it all off with the macabre sense of humor turning it all into a cosmic comedy and ... therein lies what serves me best.

17) Switching gears again...Obviously music plays a huge roll in the life of a dancer. As Tinfoil Music is focused primarily on music, can you share any ideas you have about the future of music and the music biz?

I dance because of music. Music is the reason I move.

I feel like the dancer in any tribal ritual is the final relation to the energy that the musician is an instrument of. The musician is (at best) a channel for something divine. The musician is played and the music uses him or her to become an auditory shape so to communicate and touch. The dancers are the touched. They take in the music and give it a visual shape - almost entity manifestation via vessel of human body. Again, as a dancer, I just look at it like I am being told how to move. The music tells me. The divine told the musician. We work so closely together. We both are giving shape to music. I worship the music.

But I don't make it. Where is music going? You tell me, musicians. I am waiting to hear how dirty you can make the brown note, how seamlessly you can juxtapose the time signatures, how surprising you can make the chord structure, how contagious you can design those beats, how crisp you can produce those silences. Please keep shocking us, soothing us, facilitating us, evolving us.

18) Do you have any favorite musicians, and what's in the stereo at home versus in the Jetta?

My iPod carries all my music played at home and in my car both. And on that iPod you will not find singles. A band, composer, artist has to create consistently good music for me to consider their collection. Even if the artist has only one album, well, if there is more than one song that doesn't move me, I don't keep the album. The artist I listen to must create consistently moving music and the bands I listen to must have staying power.

That being said, the music that matches my soul is written and performed by the band Tool. However, you won't find Tool jamming on my iPod or iTunes too often. There is a magick number of listens that I enjoy music at; about ten more listens than "unfamiliar", but 50 listens less than "by heart". During that listening period, I enjoy music most completely because I can hang dance-wise with the movements, but each change still surprises me. Danny Carry is definitely a musician whom has prepared his instrument so well that Whateveritis can be heard playing through him unimpeded. A polyrhythmic flow that spirited, lyrical concepts so mature, a band so tight that the product seems manifest straight from ceremony, is something historical. We do have "Led Zeppelins" and "Pink Floyds" today. They just have to die or age twenty years before they get their credit.

In the drum and bass scene, Technical Itch, recently relocated to LA from Belgium, is redefining the entire genre with his composition prowess. Talk about accessing the divine! Tech Itch has found ways to undesign rhythmic patterns, offset them against their natural downbeat and layer them over subterranean earthquakes to take the listener - and the dancer - to a place bodies and ears have yet unbeen. To attend a Technical Itch show local to LA is to become a better athlete. When lungs and heart say it is too much, I must stop, something drives the soul forward in exploration and that is where musical transcendence happens between the improving musician, the enraptured dancer and the energy raised, directed and released.

I must feel most like the band Vast, however. Because they do play on my car or home stereo 80% of the time. As with all of the artists I enjoy, I have endless albums filled with consistently good material to enjoy. Vast is no exception. Right now Turquoise is my most listened to of Vast's albums. I guess it is the morbidly romantic full on pocket the band finds. The feeling that I have been shared something very secret and private. And I've always enjoyed acoustic guitars played heavy like metal.
The most recent album purchased for my collection is the instrumental Ghosts, from Nine Inch Nails. Downloadable directly from the artists for $5. I've been a fan of Trent Reznor's emotional simplicity and authenticity since the beginning. And it's been really fun to watch him develop into the best sound manipulator in history. The production of his recent works has been awe inspiring and the way in which each album has become a storytelling - now consciousness raising - landscape has just magnified my respect for him and his music as it matures. Not to mention, he is breaking all the rules and revolutionizing the music industry for large-volume-selling artists, disgruntled with the label industry, everywhere. He's not playing by the rules. And neither do I. The music is the reflection of a universal concept embodied.

19) If you could choose, what new practice would you learn, and in what new project would you like to be involved?

I will get my black belt in Wushu this year.

I've been training ambidexterity for over a year now with the eventual goal to be an equally expressed visual artist and penman with my left as well as my right hands holding the pencil. This is my current spiritual practice.

Environmentally, this is the year to initiate solar power on my Hollywood apartment's rooftop, and learn to capture and divert a portion of my grey water. Oh, and I want to learn how to make kim chee, too.

I discovered a mountain town in Turkey named Tonya which holds a small cultural festival every August. I'd like to travel to Tonya, Turkey and Mexico this year, as well as return to Ireland, Scotland, Alaska and Dominica.

Next year I'd like to begin my training on play kit drums.

And as an actress, I look forward to honing into myself and human psychology so intimately that my relationship to the material, my vulnerability and the audience is potent and engaging - capable of life transformation for the audience, my co-workers and mySelf as well.

20) So, from inquisitive toddler to valedictorian to professional dancer to TV cult-heroine. Where do you see Tonya Kay in 5 years?
Why put limits on how good things can get by imagining them? Often times what the Universe has in store for me is far better than anything I could plan for or even hope for. Bring it on, Universe, and make it magnificent, because I'm going all the way!

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