This is where thoughts become things.

Hi, I'm Daniela. Welcome to my personal lair on the Internet. This is where I write about storytelling, activism, technology and pop culture. Sometimes I post videos. I update my lair when the mood strikes me. Follow me on Twitter for daily updates (@dcap).

Tag : documentation

Turning 30: Art, Activism, Parenting and more Personal Fulfillment

Happy Monday! I’ve decided that in two weeks (9/1) I am going to start posting a video a day, counting down to my 30th birthday (9/29). The purpose is to document my last thoughts in my 20s and to figure out exactly what I want for my life going into my 30s.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how this experiment could have helped me as I entered my 20s. I certainly had a lot of idealism and goals when I was 19. At 20 is when I really started to politicize myself and define what was important to me. Some of those priorities have changed but many continue to be my focus for activism, such as gender equality, reproductive rights, immigration rights, and youth empowerment.

At 20 is when I really started to organize events in my hometown of Sacramento, CA. I co-founded an artists collective and put on film and music shows with my friends. See if you can spot author Inga Muscio in the video below. It was amazing that she came out and supported our event.

I spent weekends (usually alone — it’s hard to get your young friends up early on a Saturday) supporting women by standing in front of the abortion protesters/hate mongers at a nearby clinic, holding my own sign of support and being like a physical block between the women coming to the clinic and the ignorant people screaming at them (read about one of my last experiences in front of that location here). I did that up until I relocated to NYC in 2004 to pursue my film & media goals.

Looking back at my activism between 18 – 23 makes me really proud. I want to do more of that kind of action in my 30s, but in a much more strategic and collaborative manner. It’s not that I stopped being an activist or radical when I moved to NYC, I just went about it in a different way. I became a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters and donated my time to media literacy organizations, speaking to young girls about cyberwellness and other important topics. However, I wish I had spent more time documenting what I was doing leading up to and through my early 20s, because I’m certain those videos would have been a source of strength for me during my uncertain and fearful times after moving to NYC. I could have reminded myself of what I was truly capable of.

The culture shock of moving across the country practically made me forget almost everything about myself that I was proud of. It took years to get that sense of self back.

The Future
My hopes and dreams for my 30s are to make more art, to be more of an ACTIVE activist (street/community-level steps), to be the best foster-to-adopt parent I can be next spring, and to enjoy more out of life. While I think about these goals, I’m also trying to remember the events, people, and media that inspired me to think more about my world and how to enact positive change.

Here are some of those inspirational sources that came into my life when I was 19-23, as they come to mind:

California Dreamin’

July 28th was my last day with MTV News. After three incredible years, I knew it was time to go. Here are some photos that encapsulate what my time there was like:

I decided to leave because I’ve wanted to be a film director/producer since I was 10 years old. After five years of working in New York, I figure now’s the time to start doing that.

I am not afraid because I know it was the right choice. I was actually more fearful when I was avoiding difficult choices. When you go against the grain of your own dreams, it hurts.

Here is a short video from my goodbye party on August 1st at Studio Square in Astoria, Queens:

I will never forget my friends at MTV and what they did (intentionally and unintentionally) to make me a happier person and how they altered my view of the world.

My mom and step dad came to visit me the day after I left MTV News, which was a happy accident. Their presence curbed my initial worry over what I’d just done – quitting a staff job in the middle of a recession. They support my choice 100% because they know who I am.

Shortly after arriving in Cali, I surprised my god daughter Trinidy at her theater camp in Sacramento, CA. Her mom said that she had been counting down the days ’til my arrival:


I’ll be traveling all over CA until August 25th, catching up with family and friends, plus meeting with mentors in the film/tv world.

This is the start of something new and I can’t wait to share my experience with all of my people. If you’re reading this, you’re my people too.

The Archive: Dream Club (2004)

I am in the process of cleaning out a hard drive that has been in my possession since 2000. The files that I am stumbling across are so old and random; I can’t believe it was me who wrote them in the first place. I was so scarily honest and hilariously tragic while purging all this brain vomit, never intending for any of it to see the light of day. As such, I will be sporadically posting the best finds on The Lair and then providing one paragraph of context below each submission.

These are all my original words as typed. Nothing has been or will be altered to avoid embarrassment.


Dream Club
By daniela

My idea of a really cool club would be one that played Macy Grey, Tori Amos, Le Tigre, Janet Jackson (90’s era only up to Velvet Rope), Modest Mouse, Tricky, Stereolab, Radiohead, Alicia Keys, Portishead, and other artists like that.

And the people would be intelligent, and everyone would be beautiful and inquisitive and funny, and really witty.  And although they might appear as such, no one would be clique oriented. pretentious or rude. Respectful elitism would be allowed, but not to the extent that anyone’s feelings were seriously hurt.  Anyone would be able to experience this club but the regulars would all be against Bush, non religious or theoretically spiritual, probably members of the green party.  People would mix throughout the night, from painting to discussing things with strangers to dancing to experimenting with new exotic drinks. Of course, people would order martinis and daiquiris and cosmopolitans.  The club color scheme would be black and white, with hints of red.  There would be plenty of comfortable places to sit, and people would be reading in a lounge type room or playing chess, or making art.

The dance floor would light up with black and red squares of light, and the bartender would be sexually androgynous looking, and wear suspenders. The ceilings would be very high, and rope dancers would swing above the crowd. No one would fall or get hurt.  No one would smoke, or want to.  All bartenders would recycle, and a woman dressed in jade green would walk around silently picking up any waste that people left, and putting it in recycling bins.  But her job would be very easy, as everyone would remember to recycle.

There would be an area similar to the Korova Milk Bar, only instead of acid laced milk, they would offer different kinds of thai iced tea, and beautiful men and women of all ethnic backgrounds wearing little except body paint would walk around serving the drinks, bending to ask thought provoking questions on current political issues.  They would get a lot of tips, and enjoy their work and clientele.

the only men in this club would be polite metrosexuals, and they wouldn’t all be white.  People would comfortably speak in other languages, and lecherousness would not be allowed, by anyone. Including me, the owner of such a club.

There would be a smalls screening room where short films would be played all night long.  A regal looking sign would grace the front door, listing the films that would play each hour with a brief description.  The screening room would offer a full candy bar, and homemade popcorn.

And radiohead and following radiohead, Stereolab, would grace us with surprise performances, and then ladytron would do a remix of Playgirl.  The end.

I wrote this while living with a family in Washington Heights. I was renting a tiny room from a single mother who often walked around in her underwear, as did both her sons ages seven and twenty three. Once, the bathroom ceiling caved in and it wasn’t repaired for a week. We had to use a communal bucket. I think I wrote this while fantasizing about being able to afford a better place, which led to thoughts of something else I did not have at the time – friends.