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Clean Slate

Travis Hawkes

Scorch the earth.

I’m tired of thinking of these ideas that I’ve come up with in times of intense inspiration, started them and then let them gather dust. These ideas meant something to me. Enough for me to do something with them…and they might be great.

They may be something to pursue and expound upon. They could also be worth less than used toilet paper. I would never know.

Know why? Because of my lack of follow through.

Stuff has been accumulating in this box year after year after wasted year with no destination besides the box that it’s in.

...And I’m sick of looking at it. Time to do something.

Build it or burn it.

BOX

Travis Hawkes

Let's start with the box in which all this stuff was stashed.

The 23’s.

Probably my favorite basketball shoes I've ever wore on the court. Elegant and lethal. I never felt more in control of my feet and, in turn, where my feet were leading me, than when I was wearing these shoes.

Crafted like track spikes, a feeling I loved, and technologically at the pinnacle with regards to grip and comfort, they're the Rolls Royce of Jordan shoes. I see a TON of Jordan 4s and Jordan 8s. Those are cool. Without a doubt. But the guy's number was 2-3. What'd you think MJ and Tinker were gonna roll out?

With this box were not only these incredible kicks, but there was a making-of DVD, full of extras and interviews and all sorts of goodies. Plus, the soundtrack for the DVD menu is this electronically wet and chill beat. . . The overall presentation was insane to me.

The intricacies of those shoes and the box seemed like a great spot to keep that which was intricate and important to me.

The Audible

Travis Hawkes

It's in my genes, apparently.

 

My father, before I was even a twinkle in his eye, slapped a Dan Fouts sticker on a notebook and got to work on an idea he had for a feature-length screenplay about a guy that, in today's age, would resemble Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys if he'd invented cell phone batteries and had no remorse for anything but the bottom line.

His handwriting was/is very similar to mine: Forceful and determined. Mine, at times, gets a bit grandiose and wavy. I can take lowercase “g” and bring the swoop across multiple lines.

I transcribed everything he'd written in one sitting on a flight from Chicago to LA, carefully turning the bronze-edged pages. He'd written 7/9 of it and told me how he wanted things to end, so I took it and ran with it. After transcribing it, I edited what he'd written, making notes on what I thought I'd augment or switch up on notepads that, at the time, I wasn't very organized with. I always liked playing paper football as a kid and it turns out to be a good way to organize notes from separate sources that were in a container and not a folder.

It took forever. Garnered the utmost respect for editors subsequent to this project.

After editing what he'd written, I tacked on my thoughts, finished the story and edited it again. I must have had other people edit this, too. From the looks of things, I had a girl edit it for content and readability. Probably did it to impress her. . . and I'm almost positive it didn't work.

I finished this and sent it in for a script contest. From what I recollect, it was accepted and made it’s way in to the first round, but I don’t think it got further than that.

I remember staying up 2 straight nights to spruce it up for the contest. I had all of these visions and ideas that I wanted to add late in the game but with time being a factor, I know the end product wasn't 100% what I wanted it to be.

The day I finished it, I printed it out in my boss's office, sent it in, went out and bought myself a drink. . . At 3PM.

I punctuated this story with a Jack & Coke. Not a bad memory.

Perspectives

Travis Hawkes

I’ll use anything for notes if I have to.



And more often than not, I go “old school” with a pen and paper. Feels like I’m doing something purposeful.

Here, I used the back of a Toro y Moi ticket. I don’t remember the show much, other than I got there late and couldn’t really see well. The Metro is like that sometimes.
What I do remember, vividly, was running into college friends later that week in the jungle-like River North area of Chicago at a bar, one of the few, that's open til 4AM. I must've had the ticket in my pocket and

Architects, writers, cocktail artists that have the insane high-rise views to support that moniker: creatives of all kinds and they all look good doing it, too. If you've ever seen High Fidelity, when John Cusack goes to see Catherene Zeta Jones and meets all of her hoity-toity, "Holy crap, these people are cool" friends, that's who I'm talking about... Only they're nice.

One friend in particular was one I've always vibed with - Stephen Coorlas. We always got along with not only what we were creating but how we could streamline the process. I remember, underage and out of my mind, watching him play a xylophone in his lofted "chill space" surrounded by 5 or 6 people. The kid picked up sticks and started running with it, composing something that was magical. I thought it was unbelievable... turned out the kid had been doing that sort of thing for quite a while.

Zoom forward a few years and we hadn't hung out in a while but, like always, we dove in on whatever we were talking about.


***SIDENOTE - I have this relationship with a lot of people and I often leave the conversation torn between whether I should ride the newly acquired energy or feel guilty about what I just put that person through. I wonder if it's a chore for someone to talk to me about creating and ideas and stuff. I'm a pretty passionate guy and I can to

Me?
I covet those moments. I get so stoked to see someone that'll ping-pong ideas with me because they're perpetually in my head. I'm Forrest Gump playing against a wall and now I get a buddy to go back and forth with? Sign me up.


Here, in a noisy bar, Stephen heard out whatever idea I was throwing his way and subsequently mapped out a great way to bring that idea, and any idea, to fruition.

*NOTE: The asterisked part in the middle. Sorry for partying, I guess.

**ALSO NOTE: I love the frenetic way this was written out reminds me of Kevin's map in Home Alone.

Stephen had always drawn these ideas and concepts and gorgeous, flowing pieces of whatever they were. I’ve always been in awe of how steady he is: His art, his controlled behavior, his relationship with his lovely wife, his close ties with friends. There's definitely a zen-like relationship between he and his art - where for some, including me, it can be burdensome, but for him, it's something meditative and soothing to produce and create something you conjure up - and he's made it look easy since I've known him.


The Perspectives

I was just getting into videos and made this guy, combining the Focused Freedom perspective and a song he made using Final Cut X and After Effects. Pretty archaic, but it was more of an experiment both with a kaleidoscopic effect in FCPX and see what I could do as a beginner in AE.


Pretty cool that I found all this stuff years after. Even cooler that all of these thoughts have this through-line that stems from a buddy's drawings.

HHP

Travis Hawkes

If you know me… shit, if you’ve talked to me more than 5 times, I’m sure I’ve brought this up. Been working on this story for years and I refuse to go through it all and explain it to anyone that might not know what it’s about.

This is one folder. I know there’s a Mead notebook floating around somewhere, but these notes consist of the majority of what I have.

I'll come back to this down the line when I'm equipped to do so.
And by "equipped," I mean, "have the ability to shoot in space." It'll happen soon enough.

Meet Me in the City

Travis Hawkes

A remake of a Junior Kimborough song, this is a top 10 song of all time for me. To put that in perspective, I just cracked the 46-day barrier with the amount of tunes I have.

I discovered the Black Keys when Rob Spreenberg dragged me through a forest of sweaty elbows and headbands to get within 20 feet of the stage and told me these guys are gonna change my life.

He wasn’t wrong.


I dove in and went after everything they did. The Chulahoma album was the first album of theirs I bought and I think it was a great place to start. I love discovering the remake of something first because then that gives me an excuse to research.
I figured out who Junior Kimborough was, I found old albums of The Black Keys and 4-track EPs like The Moan, where I discovered their Have Love Will Travel cover, which I think any rock band worth their weight in distortion pedals should play for an audience at least once.

Discovering that cover led me to The Sonics version, which might be the most famous and rawest, at which point I wanted to know who the hell started this thing and found out it was Richard Berry, just another one of those guys that had a hand in all those songs you know by heart because your older but cooler uncle played in his car when you were 9.


So yeah, it could be said that I go off the deep end with tunes. This Black Keys Meet Me in the City song is different, though: far more important to me. So much so that I storyboarded a music video to it.

Here are the shots, in order, from right to left.

Programs

Travis Hawkes

IHSA 2008 State Track & Field Program & 45th Proviso West Holiday High School Basketball Tournament Program


The fact that I, along with 3 guys that I grew up with and still consider good friends, ended up 6th in the state of Illinois in the 4x400m relay is enough of a reason to keep this program...
Another reason might be that I made the cover.

That’s me - skinny and angry with hella long hair and untied track spikes.

I love that picture for a bunch of reasons, the main one being that I was doing what I always did: bringing it home. I made sure I passed at least one person on the back stretch every race. It was such a thrill that my heart is pounding as I write about it.

These pictures were hiding in the program.

Me, John and Kyle, two distance runners that have a gang of All-State medals themselves and were State champs, which is a fantastic story by itself.

Me, from a different angle, with my shoes clearly untied, gutting it out.

The squad before the race, mean-muggin’ and mad-doggin’ the camera guy, who was probably my dad
…and after.


This program is special for a load of reasons, too.

It’s become a family tradition where my father and I will go to the holiday tournament. You never know what you’re going to see.

We moved to Illinois from Los Angeles in the early 90’s. My dad had heard about the tournament but we decided not to go that year, which was the year a young, lanky kid named Kevin Garnett pulled down a record number of rebounds, cementing his Chicago legacy.


This year was no different in the way of “I was there” highlights. Jon Scheyer, then from Glenbrook North, dropped 52 points in an incredible fashion against a Proviso West team that beat the crap out of him. They really hit him hard. Anytime he got within 18 feet of the hoop, he was hacked sent to the floor. . . so he started chucking it from, no joke, something like 26 feet. Launching it. He’d come off of a pick and there wasn’t one person in the gym that wasn’t thinking Jon was done dribbling. His body would snap into this plank-like posture, he’d rise up and drain it.

Here's a clip from the game. He dropped a galactic 21 points in 75 seconds, was getting hammered by the defense and then had a questionable charging foul called at the end that sent him to the bench.

 

They actually lost to Proviso, which I still can’t believe.

There might have been one guy in the gym that expected Jon to do what he did: Mike Krzyzewski, lord of the Blue Devils of Duke University. I was actually wearing a Duke hoody that night. Random, and probably the reason he signed my program. There was a throng of people that made their way to his table during halftime and I was one of the last ones to get an autograph.

Still a cool thing to look back on.

N.O.

Travis Hawkes

Those counter-culture high school kids that worked metals and never really sweated their future and wore the same two pairs of jeans every day, but were sneaky popular (probably because they knew where to get weed or had a cool car they actually worked on) and looked good at prom and probably could’ve gotten good grades, too… Those kids moved to New Orleans.

Those kids were the ones that were being told to grow up and mature and quit acting out.

Thing is, they were too busy learning how to DO shit, and in that vein, they figured out how to make their own way.

New Orleans, with my limited but wide-eyed observation, looked to have learned the same way: by fucking up and getting fucked up and fucked over. Now, if you roll through the town, it may not be the most aesthetically pristine place to be, but I didn’t meet one person I couldn’t sit down and have a beer with and learn something from. That’s what I learned and that’s what these newspapers showed me and that’s why I kept them.