Disclaimer: Last week, in an effort to expeditiously summarize the endless slew of over-stimulated observational ravings pertaining to his festival experience into a coherent stream of thought, our test subject decided to inject himself with what was believed to be a vile of special truth serum. Although we here at Lost in Sound neither approve nor admonish the application of such unconventional techniques, once the effects of the original vile finally subsided, our subject eventually made an unsuccessful bid to raid his tree house medicine cabinet in search of additional serum. Following the discovery of depleted supplies and the subsequent babble of pent-up nonsensical banter that ensued, he took the matter into his own hands. And when we say “hands,” we mean he made use of the two he was born with and a special wooden poker.
In a shocking twist of unexpected events over the previous week alone, test subject graduated with a super accelerated online degree in chemistry from Stanford and made a daring attempt to brew a blend of truth serum out of his very own tree house bathtub. Let it be noted, he first purchased supplies from Home Depot for said bathtub, installed it upside down, went back to Home Depot, got lost in the DIY gazebo aisle, dug his way out of the store with a garden hoe, eventually broke into a complete stranger’s suburban home, concocted a batch out of their kitchen sink, while they were playing Family Scrabble in the adjacent room, haphazardly tried to join in on the board game scrum as the fresh batch was cooling, got found out, escaped from the home with his shorts on backwards, only to frantically consume the entire batch as he scurried back into the woods, somehow found his way back home, and dove head first into, you guessed it, his upside down tree house bathtub.
Long story short, in this week’s culminating episode, he’s coming in rather hot and/or sideways and is hopped up on enough truth serum to easily last him and a gaggle of cross-eyed Turkish geese until Shark Week. With that being said, you’ve been warned…
Matthew A. Cremer reporting = 0 )
Woooooooooo boy. Do I have quite the harrowing tale of a filthy hot scoop for you!
You’ll never ever believe the whirlwind of a week I’ve been through. Wait, what’s that you say? You mean to tell me you already know everything about my heroic conquests in the name of truth reporting from just the last week? Damn it, who ruined all the fun?! I must know! Did someone super glue one of those tiny cameras to my forehead again? Fine, don’t tell me. Well in that case, I’ll just have to move on for now and regale you with my exploits of mighty splendor on another special occasion. If you’re super duper lucky of course.
Alright then, you ready for this? Me and this gaggle of goofy-ass geese I befriended along the way are about to throw down in the truth detective department. Don’t even ask me where it’s located, because I wouldn’t even know where to begin. I’m puttin’ on my sequined serious thinking hat and am gonna plunge right back into the filthy mayhem. I’m loaded with enough truth serum here to carry me straight into Double Jeopardy and back a few thousand episodes, folks. Not gonna lie, I’m really, really feelin’ it right about now! Holy Cannoli, am I ever!
Ok, so yeah, where was I? Perhaps we need a lil refresher from last week to get back up to speed. Here’s a lil excerpt nugget:
“For these connections we create and cultivate on the spot together can be some of the most energetic agents of change during our festival experience right onward into our daily lives.”
Yes, yes, what else was there?
“Especially when you consider it was the kind of diverse, robust ecosystem where the co-creative spirit was alive and articulating through a synthesis of visionary art, conscious-minded music, compelling workshops, sacred ceremonies and fascinating installations. So enough with the speaking in generalities already. The proof is in the pudding! And our festival was oozing with a garden variety of bountiful milky exemplifications of luscious pudding goo.”
Oh wow, now that’s some really, really, really good stuff. The part about “our festival” and the pudding goo is gangbusters, I tell ya!
But where should I begin? Just where was I?
Ahhhh, yes. The psychedelic wet dream of an art mural on steroids! Yes, this is a most fitting of backdrops to springboard off of in more ways than one. Although I was somehow not even aware of its existence until the last night of the festival (silly me), the “Mural of Light,” which artists Pat Anglin, Dillon Endico and Moe Angelo joined forces to create, was quite the mesmerizing combination of traditional painting and projection mapping indeed. Coming out in full glory once the sun went down, “characters were projected on the bottom and over the course of the night they merged together into silhouettes of light,” explained Mr. Endico. No matter what time of day though, the installation was always a vibrant meeting place for art and community to interact. “The Mural of Light is about connection and the light that shines within us all. It is a light that makes us unique and different, but it is also the light that connects us.” Personally speaking, this proved to be quite a space for the kindling and intermingling of light.
On Sunday evening, it was before this wild and wacky mural that Miss Samantha Emmitt and Mr. Daniel Mills were “aw shucks” nice enough to introduce me to the practice of “Shaking Meditation,” which they had been teaching festival peoples throughout the weekend. And before you fall right off your rocker wondering what in the golly heck this “shaking” stuffs is all about, let’s just cut to the filthy chase. This is a meditation where, through the act of simply shaking your body openly and playfully while in a standing position, you have the ability to tap into surrounding “bio-energy fields,” that not just the “special someone’s” can access, but anyone and everyone for that matter. And when I say anyone and everyone, I mean – everyone and anyone. (Yes, as in – you, you, you, you, the gal behind you, the really weird guy over there, that bisexual duck-billed platypus over in the corner, and even the chick passed out wayyyy in the back.)
It is by way of this transmission of bio-energy business that the body is “awakened” and reconnected to its vast, natural potential to heal. By thoroughly clearing out the residual funk of physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and even karmic energetic blockages that can wreak havoc on one’s state of being, you can then raaaaaaaaaise your overall vibration. Thus further becoming in tune with your intrinsic life force. In fact, during the process of releasing pent-up negative energy, it is quite commonplace to be filled with joy to the point of being overcome with laughter. And when I say laughter, I mean a giggle-palooza of a jolly fun zone spree. By repeating a mantra of “Om Swastyastu Ratu Bagus I love myself” throughout the exercise, there is no mistaking the luscious pudding goo at play: returning to that innate, inter-mounting flip of a light switch we struggle to find – loving yourself. Imagine that – actually transforming from deep within to reach that genuinely ultimate level of never being without. A timeless dilemma indeed.
Considering this completely out of left field, yet benevolent interaction took place within just an hour of meeting these folks, I guess you could say it was a testament to how the once perceived “degrees of separation” can quickly transform into very tangible degrees of connection. Altruistic ways that us big dummies can easily lose touch with in our daily lives. However, it is when we are present within these kooky spaces, we cannot only come in contact with, but can be substantially recharged by them. You know, those random acts of kindness, compassion or anything encompassing love for that matter, where people step up and selflessly answer the calling. Light-enriched souls who have not only been doing work on themselves over time, but who would love to see your inner light project to the surface. Sometimes we have to seek out these encounters, or perhaps they seek us out. Whether it was Miss Hummingbird, who over the course of Saturday night/Sunday morning was tirelessly walking around with a glass pitcher of water, making sure to hydrate everyone she came in contact with. You know, flexing her girthy muscles of good will. Which is pretty gosh darn admirable considering she could’ve spent the night doing any number of strange activities, but instead focused her intentions on looking after fellow festival-goers with an unconditional gesture of kindness. Well imagine that, people!
Then there was Mr. Alfred “The Crystal Man” (I gave him this name BTW FYI), whom I saw making rounds during the same period of time. I was one of many people who he made it a point to approach with a chakra “tune-up,” as he coined it. Placing a funny-looking crystal on the top of my innocent head, he deeply focused his presence upon my energetic state, as he called it, and immediately sensed how golly heck worn out I was. Oh boy, was I ever! But get this – instead of proposing I make a run for the border into the woods off this wacky island o’ fun, all he did was suggest simply taking a load off. Sure enough, getting all caught up in the night, I’d been wearing my truth detective bag (with all my truth gathering gear in it) for a rather lengthy stretch without realizing just how much freaking strain being placed on my silly body in more ways than one. Upon removing it along with the energized boost of crystallized goodness he infused me with, it didn’t take very long before I felt the TLC awesome sauce that had been missing. And with less than a day to go, this allowed me to carry on much stronger into the morning and continue defiling, I mean spreading joy, with as much of the festival as possible.
But you know, random acts of kindness like these can materialize in quite a few forms. Quite a few indeed. And the absurd is definitely no stranger to such inclinations. It was somewhere right around this same timeframe, yet again (like, gee whiz, what’s in the water here?), that I came across a certain somebody whose name I never got. However, this I did catch – he was harvesting the “woogity.” And you may ask, “Now just what is this ‘woogity’ you speak of?” Well, I have no effing clue to be perfectly honest. Perhaps I may never know. But damn it, that’s beside the point. For I’m pretty sure the “woogity” is whatever the hell you want it to be. The fact of the matter was that he was harvesting it and was more than willing to share it with anyone. That wasn’t going to change. You bet your sweet Transformer ass it wasn’t! So when someone offers you the “woogity,” you don’t pass up the chance to harness its powers, whatever they may be. And with that, I performed some kind of mutual hand-tickling/not-so-secret handshake with this rather eccentric gentleman. Not only was he sharing the “woogity” with me and whoever else, but indeed – we were harvesting it together. We were harvesting that stream of weird flow together. It was right around this time that we were all overcome with a giggle fit and then some. I’m pretty sure my giggle factory of a body needed help getting off the ground after rolling across it sideways. Laughter can be quite a lovely force to add to one’s repertoire while carrying on through after dark “adventures.” But that’s between you, me and the lamppost. Don’t you dare go telling anyone now!
All giggles aside, if there is a “moral” to whatever this collective mini-saga is, I would say it is this: Whether there were people keeping me hydrated with sustenance, helping to re-align my energetic “flow” or simply just raising the ceiling of silly, one way or another there was a common denominator at play here. They were the kind of morale boosters, All-Stars or whatever adoring adulation you want to throw at them – who were looking out for you. Yes – you, and you and you and you and especially you. A support network of people who were out there to make you a better you and being exactly who they wanted to be while doing it. No need for approval. No need for permission. Just renewing your faith in this wild and wacky thing we call “humanity.” It could’ve been those you came in direct contact with or it could’ve been those whose captivating allure could deeply appreciated from afar and wide. People who weren’t just restoring your belief in crazy ole mankind, but were perhaps restoring your belief in practically anything you hold to be grand under the sun, moon and stars of this nutty universe of ours.
Perhaps the Chris Dyer‘s of the world. People who prove that even if you are one of the most highly regarded visionary artist peoples; the dedication to one’s vision can never be discounted. No gosh darn it, it sure cannot! And how the focus of one’s intentions is a pretty gosh darn big deal no matter how ambitious a work of art might become. Hot truth detective case in point – early on Saturday night Chris began spray-painting a pretty sizeable mural over to the side of the Summit Stage. Somewhere off in the Chris Dyer zone, whatever plane that exists on, he was bringing this painting to life very steadily, but oh-so-surely as the evening progressed. Unfazed by any of the festival commotion, he was dialed completely into the madcap craft at hand. A mural that I recall a distinguished female passerby bestow with the utmost of eloquent compliments: “Yeeeeeah Chrissssss, that’s some kind of Aztec portal bitch!!!!!!!!” Being that I am not well versed in “Aztec portal bitches,” this is ultimately something I can’t substantiate. And if you yourself are rather educated in the world of “Aztec portal bitches,” by all means – let’s become pen pals so you can enlighten the golly fuck out of me.
But anywho, it was after somehow traversing my way through the night into sunrise the following morning that I found myself at Café (Our Festival) enjoying a most nutritious breakfast of Fruit Loops piled high with Fruity Pebbles. And it was while I was excavating my way through a fine meal of cancer incarnate, attempting to process the evening’s proceedings, that I happened to look over, only to see one Mr. Dyer (huge paint respirator, crazy dreadlocks and all) still adding in little nuances and details to his now almost complete mural. At 8 a.m. in the morning!!! Holy shitball stew!
Now, I have no idea if he snuck in a few power nappy poo’s or if he is just a Canadian-Peruvian dynamo. I also have no idea whether this painting was pre-drawn out on a freaking Walgreen’s index card beforehand or he just dreamt that mofo up in real time. Nonetheless, even if he had spent whatever portion all night and morning fleshing out its epic-ness, even this hot truth detective was amazed he’d accomplished this in such a relatively brief span of time. Mr. Chris had clearly been on a mission to make sure this sprawling form of self-expression honored his artistic inklings to the freaking fullest. Not limiting his contribution to the festival even in the slightest. Not limiting himself at all. Just inspiring by showing that, you know, sometimes art never sleeps. Sometimes crazy “Aztec portal bitches” take on a life of their own. How that creative vision is an extension of ourselves reflecting back at us. And you will always get out of any vision whatever extent you honor it with. You bet your sweet ass!
Perhaps this was about the removal of physical barriers to arrive at a realization. Or just maybe…just maybe it was more so about the removal of barriers that hold back the imagination. Goddamn imagination barriers! One way or another, there was no shortage of the latter to go around within this freedom experiment space. Because if there was one weird, shiny calling card to our festival, it was the destruction of anything holding back, keeping down, obstructing or suppressing one’s imagination. There were plenty of destroyers of limitations incarnate roaming around. There was no shortage of unimpeded souls filling in the idiosyncrasies of their own journey while helping to fill out the evolving collage of the festival portrait with their unique show of love. Like hell there was! Which leads me to quite the fellow of novel grandeur indeed – Mr. Anthony Ward. What can I say about Anthony Ward? What isn’t there to say about Anthony Ward? For starters, Mr. Ward is a soft-spoken soul of the utmost kindness. Although our very quite brief conversation literally consisted of about 4, give or take 2, words – gosh darn it, it was the best 4-6 word conversation I’ve ever had, people! However, don’t let the delicate charm fool you. Because getting down to the bottom of things, the man is a warrior. Or maybe he is a ninja? Then again, I suppose you could simultaneously be a ninja and a warrior. Or you could be someone who is pretty much one of a kind on this entire planet. No need to split hairs here! I mean, how many dudes do you know who’ve personally sculpted wondrous floral arrangements for the likes of the man they call the Dalai Lama, Maya Angelou and that Eckhart Tolle character? Oh yeah, and then there is the part where he freestyles out his ornate conceptions onstage with musicians along the lines of everyone from Mr. “Don’t Worry Be Happy” Bobby McFerrin to STS9 to Ott to Bluetech and so on and so on and let the funk flow on. You know, that’s just the word on the street.
With regard to collaborations, it was at our festival that he shared the stage with the likes of that Random Rab, Papa Gino, I mean Papadosio, and The Polish Ambassador. On Saturday evening his mastery of floral performance art was in full stride during the TPA set at the Summit Stage. Yes, it would have been easy to get caught up in the Polish diplomat’s space funk sonic tickle-fest or the fact that a world record for most one-sie’s in one place was on the line. Or you could’ve just as easily been swept up in all the fly-girl dancers and random sweaty dudes who populated the stage at one zany juncture. But the constant among it all was Mr. Ward. The brilliant bouquet, which he thoroughly, yet gloriously assembled over the course of the evening’s festivities, was clearly a work to behold in itself.
But to you stop at just the sheer audacity of his presence onstage, would just be plain silly pants. Just plain ole silly poppycock, I tell ya! And everyone knows poppycock ain’t nuttin to fuck wit! Sure, you had the intrepid neon goggles and the silver sparkling sequined cap and the flowing robe that rivaled even the most daring of the man they called Sun Ra’s wardrobes (Oh boy, that Sun Ra fellow sure was a riot, wasn’t he?). And within Mr. Anthony’s infinite repertoire of expression, who could forget signature moves like “The Flower Point,” the “Raise the Vase to the Heavens,” “The Daisy Whisperer” and the “Inspirational Shimmy”? All names I just made up, of course. But alas, I am being so silly once again. Because gosh dang it people, I’d reckon to say it’s ultimately just an exercise in futility to attempt to sum up whatever he’s all about in order to make sense of things. By trying to describe this beautiful man, you are already putting him in some kind of box. I would reckon to say that Anthony Ward don’t do well in boxes. In fact, he’d probably ninja super-punch the shit out of that box and then rock it out with all sorts of flower power love. So maybe I’m venturing out on yet another truth limb here, but probably not: the magic behind the Anthony Ward experience is a multi-faceted son of a bitch if there ever was one. Yes, he is a living, breathing paradox. Whether it’s a matter of the soft force he exudes while in the midst of constructing his floral edifices or seemingly being in another world while still being unmistakably present onstage. But deep down, I believe that his ability to stimulate my imagination is because the man is an epicenter of light. Or maybe he is a celestial conduit of tastefully spontaneous body groove-ification? Good god, I’m not going to split hairs on this one either, people! Nevertheless, if there ever was a time when my focus strayed, all I had to do was look over at whatever magnificent madness he was dreaming up on the spot to pull me back in. Oh good golly! And then there were times when I’d stand there and wonder where he’d even come from. I’d just shake my head for a little while until the bewilderment subsided and the only answer in my mind that I could ever resolve back to was – “Yes.” Because for me, Anthony Ward is a bastion of what it is to be fully authenticated and alive. (You know, if I were to take a wild guess, of course.) The man is a lifeline of re-assurance that everything is right in this universe. That barriers are only there to be destroyed. And that yes, absolutely anything is possible once you get beyond them.
“But, what does it all mean?” you ask. Well hold on now, I’m getting there. Just as our festival was a place to untangle and unwind your mind, apparently this truth report is for me too. Ohhhhh, the synchronicity! Sooooo anyways, I think it’s pretty gosh darn safe to say that our festival was teeming with positive sources of inspiration. Spiritual nourishment we could’ve very easily come in contact with to get that love-nudge or maybe even a heart-felt shove in the right direction. Those who, whether you even shared a word with them or not, just might’ve been able to assist in opening all of our eyes (three if you were lucky) to the vast potential we have at our goofy fingertips. Or there might be those who you share quite a few words with. As in, engaging in a meandering, yet invigorating conversation with a certain intriguing somebody.
It was on Saturday evening that I was able to connect with Mr. Bobby West, better known as Erothyme. Although that kooky Cosmic Giggle character was nowhere to be found, its spirit was surely alive, I tell ya! And it was during an impromptu and rather extended talk I had with him that the proverbial light went off inside my head. While going on a tour of Kombucha country compliments of the hospitality tent (as swanky-sheik as fuck as that sounds), we talked about all kinds of elements at play within the strange, yet vibrant fabric of the Transformational world. And while talking amongst ourselves on an excursion through the magical meadows of Avalon there was one theme we kept returning to (or maybe it kept returning to us) that deeply “resonated” with me. We pondered a quintessential truth showing through in the form of a positive feedback loop inside the heart of this peculiar beast. One that is very much behind the life force that is being pumped and flowing throughout the luminous circuitry of this Transformational super-organism freak. This was a crystallizing idea Bobby shared with me that he couldn’t have been more on-point about, I suppose. One that lends itself oh-so-substantially to every nugget of nutty truth I’ve shared up to this point. Here’s a lil snippet from our walk and talk:
Bobby: There is a positive support network of countless examples all around us. People actively and successfully being exactly who they want to be without feeling like they need to have external validation…Positive role models who aren’t limiting themselves at all, but who are actively encouraging you to do the same.
Me: As in people who are like “Ok, I’m going to be whoever the golly heck I truly am at my core being and just put myself waaaaaay the heck out there, create awesome sauce things and inspire people, all the while proving that not only is there nothing wrong with it, but it is most definitely do-able and quite possibly transcendent.”
Bobby: Yeah, sure basically.
Me: Good talk.
With that, I had an “Ahhhhhhhhhhhh” moment of clarity where the stars of my festival constellation came into alignment. That moment where I was able to “get it,” I suppose. Attempting to get down to the bottom of things, it really made me wonder to myself – “role models huh.” Was there a hidden meaning to this “good example” business he spoke of? Just what could it all mean? “Are you talking about the role models we see on the boob tube and read about in textbooks?” you ask. No ya silly, not at all like the role models you see on the television and read about in stupid textbooks – because they’d surely find a way to fuck it all up of course! Geez Louise, have we not covered that already? So apparently our festival was just crawling with these conspiring, low-down, filthy heathens all over the mofo. Profoundly positive influential sons of bitches! Where do these people get off having such “good example” gusto? Alright, maybe I’m getting a little too lubed up here. Come to think of it, before I get all lubey, is “role model” the correct term to use in this line of thinking? Without being too literal or getting into filthy semantics here, perhaps there is still too much of a certain connotation that comes along with that term though. I mean, a role model is technically a person whose behavior or success is emulated by someone observing from the outside. Is it not? Then again, there is clearly more than one way to look at it. For the sake of illustration here, I’m going to use the “traditional” definition as a working, loose model, if you will. And let me preface with that I know exactly what Bobby meant here, people. But this role model business plays right into where I’m going with this extrapolation.
Ultimately, I think “role model” is a misnomer here since we always manage to place these people on quite lofty, unattainable pedestals. “Role models” are fleeting, elusive sons of bitches, I tell ya! Some can even be seen as “immortals” that we aspire toward, however we never reach wherever the hell it is they are in the first place. And as we continue to precariously pursue that which is outside of us, we end up further distancing ourselves from who we truly are. Perhaps instead of continually “looking up to” someone, maybe it should really be about looking across to him or her. We are already brought up with this “supposed to” complex engrained into our silly heads. Where we actually believe, whether it’s in the back or forefront of our psyche, we are “supposed to” think, act, dress, walk, talk and be a certain way in order to “make it” in this wacky world. Again with the goddamn barriers! And now I’m “supposed to” follow in someone else’s imprint while I’m at it? Oh boy, that sure does sound like a lotta work, doesn’t it folks?! Perhaps a role model only exacerbates this quasi-reality we have thoroughly messed up for ourselves. Instead of getting too preoccupied with trying to mold ourselves in someone else’s shadow, we should focus all energy on our own intrinsically voluminous light. Yeah, that’s the stuff!
So on that note, wooooooooooo! What a hot, filthy-ass doozy this has sure been. Gonna need to take a ballyhoo of a breather right quick. But yeah, while we’re doing that, I think we’ve finally reached a point to where this untamed beast of a truth report can be brought home nice and easy – once and for all. Wherever that faraway love cavern exists. And let it be known, no matter how much truth serum I have flowing through my precious, innocent Midwestern body at the moment – your patience and participation every step of the way along this profoundly eye-opening, yet immeasurably uplifting experience is so greatly appreciated. Who knows everywhere else and in between it shall lead us. Pen pals and sprinkles forever. Ok guys, you ready for this? Group exhale.
Maybe I’m going out on a filthy investigative limb for the billionth effing time here, but perhaps instead of seeing these people as “role models,” we should appreciate them as being beacons of light. I mean, this “role model” idea reach-around business has such an inherent separation built into it anyways. But when it comes to light, it’s essentially the antithesis of separation. No one holds a monopoly on it. This is an attribute of the highest order, people! It is a force we all possess. No…actually – eff that. It is not some commodity we own and recklessly trade all willy-nilly and shit. This is what we are made of! Because when you get down to the nitty-gritty, we are just a unique, exponential super-arrangement of tiny vibrating energy particles. Am I right or am I right? With fluctuating frequencies that determine how we perceive the interplay of darkness and light flickering within our consciousness. No matter what frequency of existence we are operating on, this light is present in all of us. Perhaps we can only see it on our own so much. Perhaps we need other sources of light to find it. Whether just glimpses here and there or brilliantly shining epicenters, all rays of illumination are there to expose the greater good. Although the reality we manifest into being must ultimately emanate from within, the channels for such exponential growth can still come from looking outside of ourselves as well. It is when we make the decision to show up and be present within this creative synergy goodness pulsating around; we have a tremendous opportunity at hand. For inside these Transformational spaces there are superbly positive, uplifting sources of inspiration shining right in front of our very own eyes – beacons of light. There are people who’ve been putting in the spiritual work on their own time. People who have not only found their gift, but also found their voice. People who are quite possibly self-actualized specimens of awesomeness living their own truth – or well on their way to realizing it. People who I’d reckon to say are thoroughly kickin’ ass in the humanity department. Radiant beacons who are doing just that not only through helping expose pieces of your puzzle for you, but through helping you light your own path inward. And by allowing that light to come in, thus gradually being able to work through the residual barriers, blockages and impediments of the soul – we can begin to generate our own lightness of being. We can get out of our own way. We can begin to truly see ourselves for who we are. We can find our own voice. We can honor ourselves. We can love ourselves. All the while, moving further toward the Source. But just as we can bring inward, we can expand outward. Just as we can take, we surely can give right back. Just as we can cultivate our own, we can feed back into the perpetual loop of love outside of us. To share the love we’ve received and then forged with our own unique light. To not only share our gifts, to share our wisdom and to share our hearts, but also see to it they are glowing inside a brother or sister. To share the kind of life-affirming experiences that bring us ever closer to that inner stillness, thus clearing the way for our authentic selves to awaken and emerge – not singularly, but – together. To share the light which unites us while enlightening our collective path toward profoundly positive change moving forward.
This was one of many places for us to return to this Source. Perhaps the Source incarnate.
Now it is up us to take in all the light we received and expand it out into our everyday lives.
– In loving memory of Michael Breneman –