2015 Spring Workshops

Terry and I are thrilled about our workshop facilitators! Two of the workshops are described below, and we’re still planning on setting aside several spaces on Saturday afternoon for anyone to lead a workshop or activity.

Franklin AbbottCircle of Healing

with Franklin Abbott
(and Bob Strain on music)

Energy is a nonverbal form of communication. We will be communicating healing through energy and touch in pairs and in the circle. This will be enhanced by guided imagery and music. The Circle of Healing format was used for over five years in a monthly gathering at First E in the early years of the AIDS epidemic to provide comfort and support for those infected with the virus and those in the community who supported them. It is not AIDS-specific and can be used in all forms of healing: physical, emotional, and spiritual.

Dev "Trinity"Let your kid come out to play!

with Dev ‘Trinity’

Using ideas from Transactional Analysis, Non-competitive play, Improvisation, and Theatre Games, the goal of the workshop is for each of us to get in touch with our fun-loving kid and let him come out to play. Most of the play is nonverbal, though that does not mean silence. It does mean focusing on our experiences when we get out of our heads and into our bodies. Touch is involved at a safe level and a participant may choose to sit out any game.

2015 Spring Retreat—Engaging in Communication: Paths to Connections

Engaging in Communication: Paths to Connections

As humans, we tend to compartmentalize ourselves. We sometimes see ourselves as part mind, part body, and part spirit. We even have different doctors for each one of these parts. However, all three parts are one and the same.

There is a concept in social work, Holon, which establishes that we are more than the sum of our parts. In fact, illness in any one of these areas affects the others. This spring we would like to engage all three areas—mind, body, and spirit—to communicate our needs. In order for us to communicate our needs to each other, we first have to connect with these three areas in ourselves.

As a practice, connection and communication offers two opportunities: one, to learn and internalize new skills and tools, and another to self-explore and express yourself on your own terms. This cycle of discovery continues throughout our lives; we often call it growth.

The Spring Retreat will provide safe spaces for us to explore how we communicate though our words, bodies, and spirits. When we cultivate an inner connection in ourselves, we can then connect with others. And for that, we have scheduled unstructured time throughout the weekend.

So, come brothers, and grow with us as we seek to create a spiritual community with the intent to heal, nurture our gifts and potential, and live with integrity in the world.

Peace and Love,

Luis and Terry

2015 Spring Keynote: Brandon Kazen-Maddox

Brandon Kazen-Maddox
Brandon Kazen-Maddox

Connection and communication is vital to human relationships and community. Brandon Kazen-Maddox practices connection and communication using an original art form he’s created called ASLAD, or American Sign Language (ASL) Acrobatic Dance. He says, “I want to spread its breath, lift, flips and sweeps far and wide across our world, in hopes that one day we humans might communicate through gestures that are so emotive, so communicative, that we won’t even have to look twice.”

A gymnast since the age of four and a grandchild of deaf adults (or GODA), Brandon maintains a professional career as a freelance American Sign Language Interpreter for the deaf and hard-of-hearing and has worked in the television and entertainment industry through shows involving deaf performers. He has also trained Chinese Acrobats in a Professional Training Program in San Francisco, CA.

Brandon’s unique perspective as a biracial, gay artist that has fused communication with movement can help us discover ways to expand how we connect. When asked if he saw his work as a spiritual practice, he said, “Oh definitely!”

About Brandon

Brandon Kazen-Maddox, Acrobat
Brandon Kazen-Maddox, Acrobat

Brandon Kazen-Maddox is a freelance American Sign Language interpreter in the Bay Area who focuses the bulk of his artistic efforts on blending the linguistics of American Sign Language (ASL), the explosive inverted qualities of acrobatics and the technique of various styles of dance to cultivate a new form of performance art he has named American Sign Language Acrobatic Dance, or ASLAD. Brandon has performed works of ASLAD in both live performance and video through his performance company, Body.Language.Productions. Recent works from B.L.P. include a video performance project for the 2013 Bay Area Deaf Dance Festival, an ASL dance duet choreographed by dancer and choreographer Antoine Hunter for the 2014 Black Choreographer’s Festival and an upcoming ASL project with Rosa Lee Timm, a notable Deaf performer whose passion is rooted in signing poems and songs in American Sign Language.

Brandon’s Mission: To meld the intricate emotions of American Sign Language, the kinesthetic dynamics of rhythm and dance and the percussive qualities of high-energy acrobatics together in order to create a brand-new medium of art that resounds within the souls of hearing and deaf people alike.

Brandon’s Motivation: His deaf family members, friends, and fellow dancers who have the ability to feel as far as the sky.

Brandon’s Muse: Rhythm, music, and dance that evokes the body to feel compelled to physically and emotionally express itself in a manner all its own.

Watch Brandon’s American Sign Language performance:



2015 Spring Retreat: Calling for Workshops!

Terry and I would like to hear about workshops you would like to offer or participate in during the 2015 Spring Retreat. We have already heard some fantastic ideas through Facebook, but we want to take it a step further. We would like you, our brothers and community, to help us develop your ideas into workshops.

Workshops will be held on Saturday morning and will last one hour and forty-five minutes. Your proposal should include the following information:

  1. Name of workshop
  2. Facilitator(s)
  3. Summary of the workshop (including goals and sample activities or outcomes)
  4. Description of how the workshop enhances the Spring Retreat’s theme of connections and communication

Send us your proposals soon so we can determine how best to integrate your workshop into the retreat and ensure it’s fully supported.

Complete this form to share your workshop idea >>

2015 Spring Retreat: With Connection & Communication

Luis Alvarez
Luis Alvarez

Hello dear brothers,

My name is Luis Alvarez and I am happy to introduce myself as convener for the 2015 Spring Retreat, co-created with Terry Allen. Having attended Gay Spirit Visions since the 2010 Fall Conference, I have come to love my times of connection at The Mountain. I started and fostered meaningful relationships with many of you throughout the past four years, and I am honored and humbled by the love and support you have shared with me. Now it is time for me to give back by holding sacred and safe space for us to connect and ask for what we need from ourselves, one another, and the community.

Terry Allen
Terry Allen

This Spring, we will engage in many different activities that will encourage us to grow spiritually through connectedness and communication. The purpose of communication is both to reach out to another and to express what the speaker is thinking, feeling, and needing. The conference will allow participants to expand their abilities in both reaching out and expressing their needs.

Please consider joining us in this adventure.