A Wandering Jew on Christmas


christmas in hanoi

From far away lands, I ponder the meanings of goodwill and acceptance. Arriving here among strangers, Hannah and I sought shelter, first in hotels, and then in a place more permanent, certainly more permanent than the Hyundai we’ve called home for most of 2014. We found some wonderful flatmates, Germans, and we celebrated Christmas Eve in a newly opened bar of a French ex-pat out in the Tay Ho district.

The gathering of friends was incredibly mixed. Almost equal parts French, German, Vietnamese and American. Maybe 3-5 of each. The food, equally mixed: cheese, bread, smoked salmon and steamed fish, squash soup, wurst, wine, $1 packs of cigarettes, risotto.. In the frantic preparation, each of us felt the stress of the holidays, the quest for perfection.. Would there be enough food?

Partway through the meal, it became clear our abundance. There was more than enough. More than enough love and jokes, laughing about sin of gluttony and an attempt to translate each of the 7 Deadly Sins into each language.

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As an outsider, I have always viewed Christmas in a similar vein to Passover. That is, it is an opportunity to open your home, to share in abundance, to build community from strangers. What resonates with me is the importance of GIVING, that what makes people truly happy is not the accumulation of wealth, but the ability to take care of others AND to be nurtured yourself.

In Judaism, we know well the stories of Abraham and Sarah. Their home was a tent, open on all sides. How can one hide or horde in such a situation? As a Nomad myself, the quintessential Wandering Jew, living out of a 25-liter backpack and a camera bag, I can appreciate that idea of living simply, and putting it all out there. My possessions are simply part of what I take from here to there. I try to leave no trace, except for when I find myself with too much. I had too many jackets at one point this summer. One went to a homeless guy in Seattle, a few others went to Goodwill. I need no more than the jacket on my back.

What do we hope for in our New Year’s Resolutions? Many of us wish to SLIM DOWN: to lose weight, to clean out the garage, to be more efficient. So why celebrate excess? Why root for more stuff, bigger houses, more cumbersome business proposals and complicated plans?

Merry Christmas. Happy New Year.

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Fight For $15 and a Union : December 4, 2014

Blog, Photography


In what ways is a protest TRANSFORMATIVE? It’s a word we’re quickly tiring of, perhaps because transformation is awfully hard to measure. But gathering an empowered voice, to be able to publicly SHOUT DOWN the systems of control that value one’s worth and to see a collective that is capable of creating change in your own life… That is a powerful antidote to disenfranchisement.


The next day, things are different. You are not just a cog in the machine. You have a voice. You have an opinion. These things take time. Certainly this is amazing progress in just a couple of years of organizing. They will win, it’s only a question of when. $15/hour minimum wage for all workers to ensure fairness in business. And a Union to make sure that pay stays ahead of welfare wages.


3.6 MILLION fast food workers being paid fair wages will boost the economy. Our country can handle the inflation. If your self-worth is dependent on someone being worth less, you need to check your ego.


See the rest of the set at Flickr…

I’ve Got Your Lucidity 2015 Promo Code Right Here!


Interested in saving a few bucks on your Lucidity ticket for the 2015 festival? Wolfbear’s got you covered. Hit me up via e-mail (wryanpinkham at gmail) or on twitter (@bruin) and I can save you a few bucks!

Oh, and check out the new poster for this year’s festival, created by the amazing futurist conceptual artist, Mark Goerner:


Dear Human, A Minimalist Millennial Cover Letter


Dear Human:

I’m just a millennial minimalist;
Looking for a meaningful job in a paperless, utilitarian workspace with midcentury desks;
Where the duties are minimal, as are the expectations;
And the office record collection could be stocked with Brian Eno LPs, or I could provide my own;
Attaching my CV which leads much to the imagination, and merely mentions my mentors and methodologies;
For a nominal fee, I will render my services to your institution, in a creative field of your choosing;
As long as there is coffee with which to break and sizeable stock options offered, I look forward to your response.


Here’s to the Festival Producers…



Here’s to the Festival Producers, splayed out on a couch at 2PM on a Saturday afternoon. Though the music thumps from just beyond the trailer, the need for sleep reigns supreme.

Here’s to the Festival Producers, reminding one another that you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. Still, stretching themselves to the brink of exhaustion, sleeping with one lucid ear listening to the chitter chatter on walkie talkie squackboxes.

Here’s to the Festival Producers, stewards of land and guardians of initation. In celebration and ceremony, they stand at attention around spires of flame, at box office gates, at information booths, reverential with obligation.

Here’s to the Festival Producers, engaged but not engulfed in emotional readiness, never completely consumed by the swirling energies, always grounding, grounding, grounding and searching for consensus.

Here’s to the Festival Producers, the first on-site and the last to go to bed on Sunday night, when the magnitude of success and failure come rumbling through backstages. For those few sets that you catch, for those few dance moves which burst from your tired limbs with singularity and expression. For those moments where time stands stills and the glowing crowd, unaware of so much sacrifice, gives off the deepest expressions of gratitude to no one and everyone at once.

Here’s to the Festival Producers, golf carts stuck in mud!

Here’s to the Festival Producers, plummers and electricians none! But you are today! You have leveled up so long as you have not become submerged in slosh or shocked!

Here’s to the Festival Producers, for today you have been a Parking Attendant, Healer, Cook, Negotiator, Security Guard, Sound Tech, Janitor, Volunteer Coordinator, Vendor, Artist, Flow Master, Jedi and Trembling Scared Up To Your Neck Tears Streaming From Every Pore While You Make The Hardest Call Of Your Life That Only You Can Make. All before 11:00 AM and you didn’t even have time for coffee.

Photo by Curious Josh — www.curiousjosh.com — At the Lucidity Festival Gate

Here’s to the Festival Producers, champions of sleep deprivation, self-flagellating with responsibility and somehow sustaining a sacred vessel capable of modeling a new future of community and creativity.

Here’s to the Festival Producers, who, when the morning light comes streaming in, get up and do it again. Amen.