Held Gear was packed into a box and shipped to Philadelphia one month ago yesterday. Already I have worked an event and sold dozens of units. People are digging it.
Yesterday, I published this abstract documentary, meant to capture the energy and process of transferring the business into my possession.
Keeping narrative minimal, I used fragments and long shots to reveal detail and carry the story. Every moment is laden with humor, synchronicity, or irony. It is choppy, it is lo-fi. It is honestly myself.
My whole story with Held is much longer. My first belt came into my possession as a raffle item that I grifted from No.Fest 2009.
I wore that belt until 2018. That is when I had my Mother buy me one as a Christmas gift, to replace it.
Now I own all the belts. Talk about bang for buck.
On August 4, 2012, our mutual friend Todd asked me to help him help Micah moving out of his shop. We used the No.Fest van to move him out. I took a few photos, rediscovering them very recently.
Over the years, he kept the brand alive online, and when he was healthy, continued selling them at events. It was always reliable income for him.
Health and personal matters compounded and led to his humble conclusion that it was meant for someone else to continue.
The whole story is contained in the two-hour livestream with Twin in which we discuss his life, Held, the arts, and spirituality.
At the opening of this talk, he drops Jesus immediately. I am comfortable with that, I have found Jesus to be a guide, teacher, and savior. I accept Christ and believe in the sacred heart.
There is no conflict between myself and Twin, however, there was someone present that has more intense feelings. We all worked it out and it was fine. But the issue presented a question to me, it was a reminder of something sacred in my relationship with people.
Twin took me out to the flood plain in the valley that his property connects through. He walked back home and I hung out. When I was on a smidgen of mushrooms and walking the pathless desert, hiking a small mountain, the perfection of the universe palpable, heart open, this feeling that we tie men to the divine and thus tie ourselves up to men, continued to resonate.
This is not controversial to anyone other than fundamentalists that view Jesus as equal to Christ and equal to God by proxy and there is literally no way around eternal damnation but to accept Jesus.
I decided to separate the desert walk from the doc. I had video and images of his property and more, but it’s a distraction.
Part of the mission with Held is to support Twin’s community work not only running a totally free and voluntary radio signal for Why, but also with indigenous communities and nature connectivity inherent to his property. This should be a documentary in itself.
Who Twin is, I believe will remain someone that understands the path that people need to take can get weird.
Twin handed me a copy of X-Ray Visions from the thrift shop. It inspired me to just cut videos regardless of how roughly they are produced, and get on with my heart’s desire to produce film.
X-Ray Visions shows an era of Portland when the artists were anarchist-hippy-weirdos that tolerated anyone and everyone except for douche bags. The venue known as X-Ray Cafe was a prism for the weird in Portland in the late 1990’s.
Now Portland has colonized weirdos and industries have weaponized them. The movement that was Portland’s whole energy from the time that Twin came up there truly is the basis for the HELD brand of punk/urban styles with social/environmental ethos. It is essentially 90’s Portland. No wonder the brand is still received as cool.
When I watched that, it reminded me of the importance of letting people encounter their path in life naturally. A strange, winding path has been mine, and it led me to take on Held.
My argument was that if someone is devoted to a spiritual life, even if that person’s realm is pathless (like mine), they will encounter Jesus.
Lo and behold, I had wandered off the trail and in my searching I encountered a saguaro adorned with Mother Mary and Baby Jesus.
Micah and myself intersected in Portland briefly, and I had to keep in touch with him in Arizona. That’s when he became Twin. He had property in the wild and it was an excuse to get away from my family in Tucson when I was on family visits, especially as a layover toward Los Angeles.
The heart tells you when there is a reason to keep up with people. Most direction you receive through the heart is not meant to be understood. And this is where I believe Christ communicates. This is why living by the heart is an act of faith.
The spiritual and social foundation for Held is total unity. It is here for the weird. It is here for the worker. Held is for everyone.
Twin in the 1990’s and myself in the 2000’s, we both were influenced by Portland’s anarchist economy.
The first home I lived in was one block from a worker-owned record store, four blocks from a worker-owned grocery co-op, six blocks from a worker-owned coffee shop who bought their baked goods from a worker-owned bakery down the street. Artist-owned businesses were also common.
Then things changed in Portland. Maybe we participated in that by accident. We both fled, for our own reasons.
Whatever HELD is to become, it is with that same open loving attitude that we came up with in Portland.
My views do not interfere with the choices of any consenting adults. Your path is yours to undertake, and I believe your karma unfolds over countless iterations. Yet this life at this moment itself is divine and worthy of daily praise and thanks to _____.
Producing belts and fashion accessories is a grind like anything in life. This grind is fun, interesting, and feels good. The better I am at it, the better it is for people. That is it.
HELD Gear and THRU Media are my two brands. I am reviving them together because this little documentary is nothing, I am about to produce a tremendous flow of media only to promote Held Gear. It is either contract that I give to someone, or I revive my own media brand.
That too is just the beginning. My heart is asking that I document the Love I see in Philadelphia. I believe the same energy Portland had twenty years ago is here. It’s a very different context, but I know it when I see it.
I am older, but I’m still ready to rock. It’s a different context for me too, but I’m on the dance floor, metaphorically and literally.
Held is already plugging me directly into that world, as the DJ Instagram accounts I follow led me to my first event by Rock the House and FRNDS called Day Jawn.
Held was a hit. This week, I’m doing another DJ event, curated by BLCKTEETH. They asked me based on what they saw at Day Jawn.
It’s happening. It is exactly where it needs to be, and so am I.