Thursday, December 30, 2010

Flo McGarrell Collaborative Art Fund at MICA

As the end of the year approaches, some of you may be looking for donation opportunities. Here is one where you get to support young artists and honor Flo at the same time. Flo was a prolific artist (sculpture, installation art, performance, film) who particularly thrived on artistic collaboration. His parents, Ann and Jim McGarrell, have set up a fund at his undergraduate alma mater, MICA, to fund collaborative art projects in his memory. (Put Flo McGarrell Collaborative Art Fund in the restricted use line)

Saturday, November 27, 2010


I forgot to post this after the ceremony in Boston. I documented a few of the songs during the ceremony, just little videos on my still camera. Here below is a link to what I thought was the best footage. (on my vimeo page are 4 more clips, each with translation of the song.)

At the end of the walk, Manbo Maude invited us to approach the altar and talk to Flo. "I believe that if you come forward, if you have lost someone, you can find that person here. Here is the place. It's a safe place to come..." Matt beckoned to Laura to come up, and Laura asked me to come up with her together. Adam guided us thru the salute, and we did the movements similar to the dance seen earlier in this clip. Then Laura and I separately approached the altar. We dipped our hands in the water basin. After this we were embraced by various voudouisantes, as we were both crying profusely, and Maude's beautiful little girl brought me a tissue.

Much love to all of you, thinking of you all and of Flo and Anne *alot*, especially as January approaches.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Two articles about Zaka

Canada's The Globe And Mail had two articles and a video piece about Zaka last week, as part of their Project Jacmel series.

Student's future uncertain after quake claims his mentor

Haitian filmmaker sees inspiration through the cracked lens of despair

Zaka's Loss

Sorry it's been awhile; I (we, I guess) needed some time to properly grieve and assert some distance, get some perspective.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Vodou Ceremony in Cambridge - March 3

There will be a vodou ceremony in Cambridge MA on March 5th for those who died in Haiti. It is being run by the house of Mambo Maude who lives in Boston and Jacmel. Some of the vodousiant in the house know of Flo from his time at the Haiti Studies Program in Boston. A number of Flo's friends from Boston and NYC will be attending. Please Join us.

Facebook event link here

Event Info:
Friday, March 5, 2010
6:00pm - 9:00pm
Andover Chapel, Andover Hall, Harvard University
45 Francis Avenue
Cambridge, MA

Manbo Marie Maude Evans and Sosyete Nago invite all to attend a public Haitian Vodou memorial service to pray for those who died in the Haitian earthquake and to comfort those who mourn.

This will be a service of candlelight, prayer and singing. Participants are invited to wear white, bring a white candle (in glass) for the altar--and, if appropriate, to bring a picture for the altar of someone lost in the earthquake.

Open to all. The service will be conducted in French, Haitian Kreyol and English.

Donation: $15 (you can give more) for Partners in Health. 100% of the money collected will go to Partners in Health's relief work in Haiti.

Please help Haiti with your prayers and donations.

What's going on in Jacmel

From Ivy, one of Flo's friends who is still there in Jacmel. Very informative, well-written, and all around awesome blog. They are working hard to keep Flo's work and legacy going strong!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

List of things that the people of Lakou need

Food and shelter. Tents and camping equipment are a basic need that they do not have.

Rayon (Bonga says silk, but Ann is pretty sure he means rayon) material, I presume for making costumes.

Also, is anyone in San Francisco who knows anyone involved with Cuba Caribe?

How We Can Help Flo's Friends At LAKOU

I've been in contact with Flo's friend Bonga at Lakou (thanks to all who have helped me translate!). According to their facebook profile, "Lakou is a performance group in residence at FOSAJ. Lakou uses Music, dance, text, theater, video, painting, sculpture to champion the rights of sexual and religious minorities, among other oppressed peoples."

Bonga tells of two places where Lakou's need is great. One is the basic need for food and shelter, neither of which they have. The best way to help with that is via Western Union. If you would like info on how to donate that way, get in touch with me. (I should note that the last sentence is my input only; Bonga never asks for money in his correspondences with me.)

Bonga also says that Lakou is interested in performing at festivals here in the US. They had applied to perform at an arts festival in San Francisco, but either were not accepted or cannot figure out a way to get there now (I am unclear). I get the feeling that they would really like to get back to doing what they do best. If you are a dancer, if you know or work with any dance troupes or arts festival organizers, or if you book things of this nature, pleaase get in touch.

Monday, February 15, 2010

New Article in The Globe And Mail

Meabh sent in this great article about Flo and his good friend Zaka Chery. It is not the easiest thing to read, particularly because Zaka is hurting so badly, but it reminds us that there are people who Flo loved who very directly need our help. Flo built a strong bridge between Haiti and the US and we have to make sure that it doesn't crumble to rubble like so much else did. All artists reading this, please take notice.

Flo's Friends Need Help.

Hi all! I just received a piece of news from Ann McGarrell. She reports that Flo's friend Bonga, who is the artistic director of the LAKOU dancers and lived with Flo, says that the dancers at LAKOU "need survival money desperately". The directives from Bonga are in French and I don't know French; I have translated them using Google Translate and I don't think it worked out too well. I am not sure if there is a way to get money to them directly, so if you want to donate, let me know [robin (dot) jacks (at) gmail (dot) com] and I will connect you with Bonga. I have emailed Bonga saying that friends want to help, and I will report back with what I hear.

Helping out Bonga and the LAKOU dancers would be a wonderful way to honor Flo- help his friends directly. Sounds like a great project we can undertake.


Thursday, February 4, 2010


Flo's remains are finally, FINALLY back with his family.

Breathe, friends.


Monday, February 1, 2010

Pics from the Baltimore Memorial

are here, courtesy of Melissa Webb. I don't know if they're on the photo album or not, but they'd make a great addition. Thanks Melissa, they're beautiful!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Early Happy Valentine's Day!

What is everyone doing for Valentine's Day this year? Flo really loved Valentine's Day. He was all about taking back its pagan roots, and believed we needed it in order to balance out Halloween. Plus like hello, who gave more love out to the world than our Flo?

I think it would be nice if we all try to do V-day up right this year; Flo would like that.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Georgia's Memorial To Flo At Art:21

From Georgia-



Special thanks to all of you for responded to my call for statements about Flo. A selected few are posted below:

After receiving the tragic news, Ann McGarrell said she was watching an unending film of Flo's life in her mind throughout the day. One of her favorite scenes from that movie starred a 12-year-old Flo McGarrell at school in St. Louis.

A tornado was approaching, Ann McGarrell said, and the skies were darkened and ominous. She had gone to school to pick her child up and take her home. "Everyone was huddled inside," Ann McGarrell said. "Flo was outside, dancing in the rain."

Ann McGarrell, Flo’s mother

I am not in the brain space to say much but what I can say has nothing to do with Flo's inspiring artwork. Flo is my best friend. As most of you know by now I love Flo so much that I would do anything for him. If I had too I would do it all over again as my love provided me with no other options. In my heart there is nothing but pure and unbounding love for the most special person who has ever been in my life.
I miss you Flo......

Sue Frame, Best friend

Flo's beguiling eyes are what I see first in my mind. The friendship she shared with my daughter is the dearest to my heart. They experienced life's glorious moments, tragic moments and everything in between together. Flo will forever be a part of our lives.

Doris Frame

I wanted to include that Flo was ahead of his time as a new media artist, and while people remember Flo for his video and performance work, the type of interdisciplinary technology based work he was doing was provocative, especially dealing with media and body issues. He was also in the forefront in helping students learn new technology, being the very first one to institute teaching webcam early on in the days. Also, he went around teaching senior citizens how to use the Internet and helped them get hooked up! But, regardless of what medium, media, or technology he used from food, plastic bags, to the Internet, he was a great humanitarian, which made all of his work transcend any media-specific experience. Thanks for recognizing this aspect of his work.

Mina Cheon, Professor at MICA, MICA alum, and colleague of Flo

There are some students who you recall so clearly in that they opened up as many ideas around cultural meaning as those that you brought to them. Flo was one of these students. I only worked with Flo on his final MFA thesis show but I distinctly remember the resolve, exquisite sense of craft, humanist impulse, and adventurous spirit. it was compelling work and he was a great student who became an even greater member of our global arts community.

Lisa Wainwright, Interim Dean of Faculty, Dean of Graduate Studies, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

His life moved others to think differently about the world around them. His artwork was beautiful, larger than life. He inspired me to think outside of myself, to strive beyond the bounds of the limits of me. The world will miss his infectious vision, but we are left with traces of Flo, the beauty he created and the communities he built during his electric star of a life.

Saya Woolfalk, Friend

As long as I have known Flo, she was connected to Haiti spiritually, even before setting foot upon this lands soil. She was interested in learning more and more about this mystical place and its people. It is through our common exploration of Haitian and African Diasporic spiritual practices that Flo and I became friends at SAIC. She definitely showed me what to live out loud and the boundless possibilities the world has to offer with that approach. While our contact waned once we both dispersed from SAIC, I have always considered Flo a friend, even during our disagreements.

LaShawnda Crowe Storm, Friend

I was a resident with Flo in Roswell, NM 2007 at the RAIR foundation. That year was a difficult time for Flo but it happened to be the best year of my life and Flo was a big part of that. Flo brought all of us together in way I don't think would have been possible without him. He made us interact constantly and that basically amounted to us having a lot of fun and becoming close friends. He was a true visionary. His words, ideas, and philosophy will be with with me forever as I move forward with my own artistic endeavors. He has changed my perspective on life and his spirit will live on through those he has influenced and touched. Just in talking with my fellow residents this past week and seeing all this facebook activity I can only imagine how far reaching that will be. Cheers to a one of a kind great, kind, and loving person as well as an important artist. Long live Flo!

David Bogus, Friend
Other Residents in our Crew:
Teresa Pharr, Raissa Venables, Kiker Mayer, Mark Chariker, Weronica Zaluska, Angela Carbone, Susan Dopp, Hope I am not forgetting anyone forgive me if I did!

I was a friend of Flores during our time together at MICA. As an openly gay man dealing with AIDS, Flo was one of the most accepting and supportive of my peers there. When I reconnected with Flores this summer on FaceBook, he gave me an incredible compliment, telling me that I was one of his queer role models at MICA. It was wonderful to know that I had a positive impact on his now too-short life. Of course, it was a surprise to learn that Flora had transitioned to Flores, but I was thrilled that he was able to spend the last six years of his life being who he really was. I was so proud of him! Now losing such a life force will be difficult to all of us whose lives he touched.

Tim Lonergan, Friend

Flo and I met working on the film Maggots & Men. The months and months we spent working on the film was one of the most fun and rewarding things I've ever done. I met a lot of great friends, and Flo was one of the people that I felt the closest to during that time. Everywhere that I knew he was, I wanted to be, because that's where the fun was at. I really admired his passion for life and dedication to his work, his kind and caring nature, and fun, crazy, adventurous spirit. He was one of the most unique, authentic people I've ever known, always doing what he wanted, living his dreams, and never trying to be anything but who he was. He had this way of making everyone feel welcome and appreciated and loved. You couldn't help but feel happy around Flo.

Cowen Conaghan, Friend

One of my favorite memories of Flo is when he, myself and several others spontaneously donned large tutus one evening and skipped down the street in Wicker Park, heading off to a random party. Generous and always creative, Flo welcomed everyone to join him in the celebration of life.

Rosalynn Gingerich, Friend

Flo, each day I spent with you was indeed one of the happiest days of my life. Each moment with you inspired me and filled my heart with the strength to share more, love deeper, and allow magic to occur. Like water, your love and passion and for life was an unstoppable force. Let my life henceforth be a tribute to your invincible spirit. Flo on, dear friend!

Mary Katherine Doyle, Friend

Upon meeting Flo on the Maggots and Men film set in San Francisco several years ago, it was instant camaraderie. I continue to be awed by his broad range of talents and skills. Our friend Flo is an incredible, inspirational, and healing spirit... a gorgeous, rare, sparkling gem in the Transgender Crown. Any friend of Flo is a friend of mine.

Kia Kaha, Friend

Flo was a bold artist who let his creative vision change over time to reflect how he understood the world. He was a generous, sensitive friend, and I feel so lucky I knew him.

Kelley Schei, Friend

Joyful and intrepid from earliest childhood, heedless of conventions and restraints, forgiven all by the glory of her smile and transparent soul/eyes, in the end it was he who transformed us all.

Karen Pennau Fronduti, Relative

Flo was a dynamo, and seemed indestructible. Hopefully his death will be the catalyst for many to take creative action in the world.

Méabh Fitzpatrick, Friend

I'm sure that many of my memories and feelings overlap with others'. I don't think I was unique in my love for Flo; he had so many people love him. It's incredible that he loved us all back.
Flo and I decided we were friends one day in early '94 while crossing Mt. Royal Avenue in Baltimore. I don't remember the month, but I remember that the weather was mild and the sun was on us. We linked arms, looked at each other, and said something like, "so we're friends now, huh?" "Yeah." It was such a sweet and self-conscious moment. He was one of my first and best friends at MICA, and I felt we would always be close. And we were, despite the distance and sporadic communication over the years.
The McGarrells welcomed me for a visit one summer soon after, which was a fabulous treat for me. Flo taught me how to find fairy rings of mushrooms to fry up for a snack. Mrs. McGarrell taught me how to wash dishes with a miniscule amount of water. We made a sign together for a restaurant that Flo was working at. I could go on and on. It was obvious that Flo was extraordinary because of both nature and nurture and my gratitude goes to the McGarrells for sharing Flo with me. I'll keep him in my heart always.

Joy Schendledecker, Friend

I met Flo McGarrell while working on the film, "Maggots and Men." He was the Art Director and I was one of the cinematographers. Flo had a creative energy to be reckoned with. He had that spark- a mainline to the artistic life force that very few people have. His work was inspiring, generous and visionary. He was sweet and funny and fabulous. I feel lucky to have known him.

Samara Halperin, Friend

I’m not sure if I’m sad, shaken, shocked, or simply pissed off. Flo was in a word, awesome. Flo was a superstar, in the most literal sense and it was his lack of pretension — boundless enthusiasm, generosity, and wisdom, all bundled into a quirky, lovable, almost childlike presence — that drew people to him and, like Barnaby wrote, brought out the “them” in them, the best in them.

Jeanene Swanson, Friend

If Flo was a fruit....

If Flo was a fruit, what fruit would he be? This is not a joke though it is meant in good humour. This Saturday is Tu b'Shvat, the Jewish holiday that is the birthday of the trees. We have a ceremonial meal of fruits and nuts, each course is connected to different metaphysical worlds of creation. Thought I should speak about Flo. Please respond to this post if you have a particular fruit suggestion! Thanks TW

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Instead of running down all the articles that have mentioned Flo in the past couple of days, I am going to let this one stand alone. It's an obit in the Village Voice from Flo's friend Winnie and it's fucking beautiful and perfect and spot-on.

Remembering Flores McGarrell, 'Gender Outlaw' and Artist, Killed in the Haiti Earthquake

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Share Your Favorite Happy Stories Today!!!

I'm officially declaring today, Thursday the 28th (ok well it will be Thursday in an hour, sue me) of January 2010, Happy Flo Story Day. You can share a funny story, a happy story, a time that Flo taught you a brilliant lesson, whatevs. Email it to me- robin (dot) jacks (at) gmail (dot) com and I'll put it up or add you as a moderator/administrator/whatever it's called so you can do it yourself, if you are so inclined!

If you email me and don't hear back from me within a day or so, comment here because my spam filter might have arbitrarily sent your Flo tribute into my spam folder.

Collaborative Photo Album of Flo

Hi Everyone,

In the last two weeks, looking through all of the photos of Flo online and seeing how many lives he touched has been extremely healing for me.

I have finally (as far as I can tell) consolidated all of the photos I could find on facebook and online into one album here.

If you have more photos to add, want to become an album collaborator, or need me to change the caption to your photo, etc. PLEASE let me know. You can e-mail me at kikuflower(at)gmail(dot)com. I can add you as a collaborator and you can upload as many pictures as you want.

I feel that we are all becoming one big family, even though I have never met most of you.

Lots of love,

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Received this comment today:

Flo's famous phrase was actually "Go With Flo"
not "Going with Flo" (or "Going with the Flo" as i have seen on some folk's FB pages).
I don't mean to be picky, but Flo was pretty adament about this. Robin, perhaps you could just change the text on the main page on this blog (whenever you have the time). changing it's adddress would be too much at this point and i really want people to be able to find the site as they bookmarked it. thank you so much for all the work you have done here. this is a great resource for those who don't use FB and i read it every day. ...Clara Jane Timme

I want to clear a couple of things up with this. When I started the blog right after Flo died, the first URL I tried to snag was but it was already taken by someone who wrote one entry only- I presume our Flo, or another person with the same name. So I thought about it for awhile, and tried to decide what the best way to honor him would be. I wanted to keep the tense present (i.e. no "We Went With Flo"). I also wanted to use something that symbolizes both a sense of community for all of us all over the place who knew him but didn't know each other, and of continuing on with Flo throughout his journey after his passing. I decided that I wouldn't feel okay about co-opting his phrase word for word. All of the websites that use "Go With Flo"- his homepage, his Mac site, his journal, etc- are his. They are galleries of his art, or his thoughts put into words, or his photographs, or his grand, beautiful plans for the future.

Sadly, Flo doesn't have any creative input into this blog; his passing is the only reason that it exists. I think it's important that Flo's phrase, in its exact form, go with him in some way, or live on exactly the way he used it. I don't think it's right to take it word for word. Our job is to make something of "Go With Flo", not post it all over this blog and turn it into something that's not exactly him. Besides, we aren't trying to implore people to go with him; we're telling each other and the world that we are already doing that.

The last thing I want to say about it is that I'm kind of (not hugely, just kind of) offended that someone would think that I would know Flo well enough to do all of this work after his death, but not know what his exact phrase was. I saw it every day in my gchat list, on my Livejournal friends list, in my webpage bookmarks, whatever. I had his number saved in my phone as "Go With Flo", and the first voicemail saved in my phone is from when he called me on my birthday three weeks ago- so when I listen to it all the way through it says "message from: GEOOOWEWEETHFLOOWE on: january 1st" in this funny computer voice. And besides all this technical mumbo jumbo, "Go With Flo" was just one of those things that I always thought of when I thought of Flo. I would wonder what Flo was doing, or remember that it had been a few weeks since we had emailed, and "Go With Flo" would pop right into my head. I love Flo very much, and part of loving someone is being very familiar with the work that they do, how they identify themselves, et cetera. "Go With Flo" WAS Flo.

So while Flo was rightfully adamant about people getting his phrase right, I am adamant about not taking it from him now that he can't use it in this world. I am going to leave things the way they are. I hope this clears up any confusion people may have about this issue.

Nothing But Love,

Sunday, January 24, 2010

From Ann

This time it's true. HHS in Haiti (one of the few kind and inteligent people in this whole monstrous situation) confirmed that Flo left on a plane to Dover a little after midnight.

Waiting for further information.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Flo Is Finally Coming Home, For Real.

May be headed out of Haiti as soon as midnight tonight. Will keep y'all posted.

Love to all.


NPR Weekend Edition about Jacmel and Flo this morning

Weekend Edition about Jacmel with a bit about Flo

Friday, January 22, 2010

Memorial / article by Jordy Jones for the SF Examiner.

Follow-up Article In WSJ the incredible, brave, and perhaps even heroic Chris Rhoads.

Flo McGarrell, Artist

How To Contribute

send emails to robin (dot) jacks (at) gmail (dot) com or leave them as a comment here.

Sweet Tribute From Jeffery Beam


My partner Stanley & I became friends with Ann & Jim McGarrell through Jonathan Williams & Tom Meyer (The Jargon Society), when Jim did the cover & frontispiece for my Jargon book of poems in 1995, VISIONS OF DAME KIND. We enjoyed a correspondence for a while until, a few years later; Jim visited an artist retreat in Virginia near Chapel Hill, North Carolina where we live. They came to visit & the friendship became more present in our lives. Ann (who translates Italian & French literature into English) eventually translated my poetry into Italian, & as time passed the four of us became devoted friends, and even collaborators in art. They encouraged us to use their house in Umbria, so in 1997 we took along three friends & visited for three weeks.

Jim was teaching at the same time at the International School of Art in Montecastello di Vibio – where they were also staying. They arranged for me to give a poetry reading there. I remember also that we were a little anxious because Ann said that their young daughter would perhaps be staying with us a few days in the tower in Umbertide.

Then, there was Flora. In her early twenties & yet seeming like a teenager in a way – adventurous, charming, a bit outrageous – but not "too". You could tell she was exploring who she was & how she fit into the world with a determined delight that was immediately captivating & convincing. I love most of all a photograph I took of her in five-inch Italian platform heels attempting to climb the rock wall of a the Abbazia di Montecorona, an 11th century abbey turned restaurant. Flora instantly became part of our McGarrell mythology. Our deep love.

We remained in contact & watched as her art evolved & her engagement with the world widened. Luckily we visited Ann & Jim in Vermont in September of last year. Who should open the door when we arrived, but Flores? In his NEW self - all wondrous & happy. He had just had a one man show in Hartford, CT to great acclaim. It was exciting to talk with him, & see him, & observe his being – his be-coming. Flo was so photogenic (as are Ann & Jim) & I took some spirited photographs of him, & of him and Ann. That impish smile – that total giving to the camera somehow consciously "showing" but also intimately pure.

We learned more about his devotion to Haiti & one evening the five of us watched Maya Deren's hypnotic film THE DIVINE HORSEMEN – on Haitian voodoo – which Ann had taken Flo to see at the age of eleven – & which transfixed her imagination from then on. His devotion to Haitian culture & the people of Haiti were vital tools in his search for sustainable art, earth-friendly imagination, & the spirit & rituals of the earth, of sex, & sexual identity. We were intrigued by his choices in manifesting his sexuality, & were anxious to watch the unfolding of his plan to have a child. What a child it would have been!

We're all fortunate that Flo, like the ancient god/goddess s/he was, continuously gave birth. Even in death he generated (think begat, think family, think people connected throughout time by generative force) a civilization of descendents – witness the outpouring of words and images from his human family.

My first note to Ann & Jim after I heard that Flo had gone. "What a blithe & sure spirit he was – & what tremendous good he did, & what a GOOD GOOD FUN TIME he had. I know from conversations with him how grateful he was to have two parents such as you - role models for how to be human, but also for your creative forces passed to him not only genetically, but through the genes of your spirits."

Jeffery Beam, Hillsborough, North Carolina

New York memorial for Flo McGarrell, sunday 1pm

New York memorial for Flo McGarrell, organized by Huong Ngo.

Sunday @ 1PM
East river park
Kent and N 6th St
Hope to see you there.
773 368 8981

mostly Flo's friends from the art institute in chicago. I think it will be really small, maybe 7-8 max. It will be a small tree planting and sharing of memories/last words. Just a way for us to get together to grieve.

You don't really have to prepare anything, just come and bring any stories that you have of him. All are welcome.


Montpelier, VT. Memorial

Saturday January 30th from 6:30-9:30pm
at Black Sheep Books- 5 State Street Montpelier, VT.
(The space is a storefront, and is fully accessible for wheelchairs.)

We will have a screen, projector, wireless network, mac desktop, stereo speakers, amp and mic available for performances and things to say and show.

Look forward to seeing many beautiful faces there!

If you have questions please email Jacsen at or call him at 773-848-8925 also Ace can be reached the day of at 802 917 4059

Update on Flo's remains in Haiti

As of noon time today Ann has been directly contacted and informed that Flo's remains are safe at the US embassy in P-a-P and that they are working to get him home. She said that for the moment we can stop harrassing the congressional folks, but that the rumble may need to start up again so stay posted!

Thank you to everyone who worked so hard on this this morning. Praying and hoping that Ann and Jim and the rest of us will have him home soon.

URGENT: Email From Ann

Just received a cc'ed email from Ann sent late last night to her Senate and Congressional reps. First, we can now confirm that Sue is home safe with her family (yay!). However, in regards to Flo's remains: the last Ann heard was that he was at the US Embassy in Haiti, but some articles she's read suggest that he is still at the airport. So that means that as far as his family is concerned, the whereabouts of Flo's remains are unknown. The funeral home in charge of Flo's arrangements received an email Thursday morning from the Commander at Health and Human Services who has been working on Flo's case. It said that the plans for repatriation of American Citizens (his caps, not mine) are still not concrete, and that someone from DMORT FACT will be in conctact with the funeral home or Ann (unclear) about getting records for Flo (I presume that means dental records). He then goes on to say that it may take awhile due to the scope of the earthquake, and thanks the funeral home for their service to the family.

I think we all understand the magnitude of this, that many Americans were lost in Haiti and that no one can really plan for disasters like this. We also understand how dangerous it could be to bring Flo's body back without going through all the proper avenues and channels due to disease, etc. But for a mother to be in the dark about the whereabouts and safety of her child's body is completely unacceptable. When a soldier dies in a hot, tropical country, their bodies are treated with the utmost regard, and are brought home as quickly as possible. They are not left in a body bag in the heat next to their friends alone for hours on an airport tarmac more than a week after dying. Flo deserves the same sort of respect that soldiers receive. He is an American citizen; he was in Haiti in the hopes of making that country a better place. Surely we can honor what he has done by bringing him back here and giving him a proper memorial as quickly as possible. The longer this drags on, the more horrifying it becomes.

As an aside, a State Department rep that I spoke to earlier this week had, until I suggested it to him, apparently never thought about the possibility of cremation in Haiti with cremains being brought stateside.

We are working on a plan of action now; it seems like one good place to start before anything is set in stone would be to, once again, call your Senate and Congress reps and press them, as well as Sanders and Leahy in Vermont.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Media Roundup From Yesterday.

This article calls Flo "a transgender."

This article only writes his name as it appears on his passport. And also I warn, it's a little graphic in regard to the condition of Flo's body.

This article says he is 39.

This article is actually kind of nice and I think Flo would have liked it. It's a lovely tribute to his life in Baltimore.

And finally, this article at CRAFT would make Flo jump up and down, clap his hands and go, "They love me at CRAFT! They love me at CRAFT!

Art: 21 Statements in Memory of Flo

Hey All,

Art:21 is collecting statements for Flo's lovers, friends, family, and former teacher.

Please put some of your thoughts in to 2-3 sentences and email them to Georgia Kotretsos by Friday (1/22/10). At the end of the statement please state whether your connection to Flo. If you have a photograph you'd like to post, please attach it to your message.

Forward this widely so that everyone has a chance to contribute. Flo statement

Montpelier, VT. Memorial

Saturday January 30th in Montpelier, VT.
Location and exact time TBA
Please join us next Saturday to celebrate Flo's life and remember him with as much love as he put into this world. If you have questions please feel free to email me

Bring photos, alter objects, other mementos, stories and love to share.
We are syncing this date up with the AVA gallery gathering that should be happening on Sunday January 31st in Lebanon, NH. where Flo's Agrisculpture exhibit was.

Can't wait to see all your beautiful shining faces there and please spread the word wide and far.

Vermont Seven Days Blog Entry

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Flo Will Be Home In 48 Hours.

In a safe location (inflatable morgue) with Sue in Port-au-Prince. Flying into the country soon. Preparations are underway for a memorial.

Webcast of Baltimore Memorial

It'll be up at this link for awhile, for those of us who missed it.

Article in Burlington VT Newspaper

This article was up in the Seven Days newspaper in Burlington Vermont today.

Big Aftershock This Morning

Any word on this- if it affected the attempt to get Flo and Sue out, or if any of their friends in Jacmel are hurt?
Another message from Ann last night, via Tami. Anyone have details on the anarchist kintters' memorial?

"Flo's body was freed from the ruined building only tonight. He & his friend Sue will be coming home. There's a memorial service in B...altimore tomorrow evening, and 3 others I know of in the spring and summer. Growing seson. One next weekend in Montpelier, VT -- featuring the anarchist knitters (they are anarchists who knit....)" She wanted me to let everyone know that she's not able to use FB.

An Homage to Flo from Julie Dermansky
My mom sent me this article- I decided to re-post it so people could see that aid is trying to get into Jacmel, but it's just such a complete and total disorganized fiasco all around.

I really feel like a wonderful way for us to honor Flo, once we've raised the money to cover Sue's, the Frames', and the McGarrells' expenses, will be to put that money into Jacmel. I think he would have wanted it that way.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

In P-a-P

From Carrie Petty who is the one who has been in contact with Sue via Emmet Murphy- they are already as far as the Port-au-Prince airport!!!

Astraea Lesbian Foundation For Justice

A sweet tribute to Flo from the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, as well as a call for action on behalf of women and LGBTI people in Haiti. Also some talk about how they want to continue helping FOSAJ (the two groups were grantee partners), and what their specific plan of action is in the following weeks regarding Haiti. There is a link at the bottom of the page if you want to make a donation to the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. Perhaps, if you feel compelled to donate, you could do it in memory of Flo and/or in honor of Sue.

(Thanks to Gunner for sending the link.)

They're Coming Home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

From Ann!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fwd: they got them

Ann McGarrell
to me

show details 7:51 PM (5 minutes ago)

Emmet Murphy is military person the ground.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: xxx
Date: Tue, Jan 19, 2010 at 7:03 PM
Subject: they got them
To: xxx

Begin forwarded message:

> From: xxx
> Date: January 19, 2010 6:53:20 PM EST
> To: xxx
> Subject: Re: you ok?
> Carrie,
> The Columbians were able to get to Flo finally after tough labor. I went over there as soon as they called me to find that a large crowd had gathered. Since it was nightfall, no more helicopters were coming in. I took the decision to take Flo's remains and Sue to the airport where they will stand by for the next US military transport back to Port au Prince, then onto Florida. As soon as I get word, I will let you know, but we've got through the toughest hurdle now.
> Emmet

SF Memorials

There is an informal gathering tonight Tuesday 1/19/10 at 7pm in Dolores Park rain or shine-bring photos, candles, music, artifacts of all kinds, or just yourself. everyone welcome.

The second gathering will be as follows:
San Francisco Memorial for Flo McGarrell
Saturday, January 23, 2010
1-3 pm
Women's Building, 3543 18th Street btwn guerrero and valencia
Please, bring food & drink to share
Fancy dress encouraged
Feel free to bring some art for an altar.

The other gathering that was listed earlier at 48-52 woodward street, which is where much of "of maggots and men" was shot and is a beautiful space"- has been changed to the one at the San Francisco Memorial, above.

Donating and saying thank you to the Colombian Red Cross

So Cruz Roja Colombiana (the Colombian Red Cross) were some of the first help to arrive in Jacmel and have been working tirelessly to help Sue get Flo out of the building. If you can donate to them please do. I also would love for us to find a way to send a thank you to them in the next few months.

Message Board Up

Message board is here:

We Are Going With Flo Message Board.

Please post here about memorials, if you need a ride to a memorial, meet other Flo friends, and, most importantly, post here if you have any leads on how we can get Sue and Flo home.

Status Of City Of Jacmel

Report from Jacmel: food and water is only just now being distributed in Jacmel. Their greatest needs are water, water purification tablets, energy bars, and tents.

This is all via a HIGH SCHOOL KID, I kid you not, who has been using Twitter as a vehicle for relaying messages in and out of Jacmel- helping families find each other, organizing a "team" (his word) on the ground there. His name on Twitter is @LeJacmelien and he is doing all of this despite losing many family and friends. He's truly amazing. Follow him on Twitter if you feel so inclined.

Morning Updates!

Thank you Tami for sending us this update this morning:

Status as of this a.m....paraphrased from a note Ann sent to me early this morning...According to the UN guard who is protecting Sue at the disaster site, heavy equipment got in by boat yesterday and they will recover Flo today. Sue has been digging by hand all this time and camping on site. Food and water are beginning to be distributed. IF the excavation is successful military transport will bring Sue and Flo home to the US (Florida).
Another FYI: The State Dept's Americans missing in Haiti lists Flo's status as "unknown" despite the many phone and email messages sent to them.

Thank you Lisa for sending us this other update overnight from Ann:

Ann says: "I just got a phone call from the angelic Scottish UN guard Angus Keith who is guarding Sue at the site. He says excavation work will be complete by tomorrow. I told him that if cremation was necessary, he should supervise it himself and NOT turn Flo over to Haitian "authorities". He promised to oversee everything personally."
So perhaps soon there will be an end to the anguish.

Blog entry from someone in Haiti about Flo and the Piece of Mind Hotel. WARNING! Graphic pictures

Good Morning All,

This blog entry was passed on to us. There are close up pictures of the hotel and also pictures of Sue there with the search and rescue teams. As upsetting as these pictures are in many ways it's also a comfort to see Sue and know that there really are people there helping her get Flo out. The text of the blog is also hard things to hear so please know this before you visit this blog.

Monday, January 18, 2010

WSJ Article Is Out

A Wall Street Journal article is out written by the very kind Chris Rhoads, who, with our help, found Sue Frame in Jacmel and interviewed her on the ground. This is patent evidence that she's safe, in some very physically literal sense of the word.

Warning that it is possibly upsetting to read, but I guess by this point every piece of media about Flo and Sue will have that possibility.


No change or updates that I can tell. It's oddly quiet right now. I don't know what that means. Please send as much strength as y'all can muster to Sue Frame. I am beginning to believe that that stuff really works, because somehow she's still doing this.

Tomorrow it may be quiet around here because I'll be working and VOTING (go Coakley!); however, I have delegated to Jacsen and others. If you have my number please text updates to me as I don't have a Blackberry or whatever (just a ye olde 2006 flip phone with a postage stamp-sized screen).

Love to all,

Photo album of Flo

Hi Everyone,

We've just added a photo album to this blog where we can create a collaborative compilation of pictures in memory of Flo. Many of us have been touched and comforted by all of the photos of Flo that people have been uploading on Facebook, but we want everyone to have access to those pictures, not just Flo's FB friends.

If you have pictures you want to add to this album, you can either e-mail them to me along with a caption, or I can add you as an album collaborator so you can upload to your heart's content.

I hope this can be a small bit of comfort--something of an art project to keep us busy-- while we wait with baited breath and hope for Sue and Flo's quick return to the US.

David Bogus has posted an iReport on CNN pleading for Flo's body to be brought home. Sue Frame (aka MY HERO) is still there with his remains; is there one up for her? Is this safe? Still fearing for her safety but glad she is with UN and/or Red Cross.

Also hearing reports indirectly via Sue that Flo and Sue are the last remaining Americans left in Jacmel, both living and alive.

This is the kind of work we need done to get Flo and Sue home. Keep doing it, y'all.


There is still no confirmed way to get Sue, along with Flo's remains, safely out of Jacmel, whether that be via truck, plane, boat, whatever. We know that an aid boat (unrelated to Flo and Sue) has arrived at a (the?) port in Jacmel, which means there is some sort of a dock somewhere.

I'll keep you posted, friends of Flo and Sue.


We have learned from a reporter, who somehow miraculously made it from Santiago to Jacmel witin the past 18 hours or so, is in direct contact with Sue. He's spent much of the time he's been in Jacmel with her. The crew is "working very hard with a very dedicated crew of professionals" to get him out, and there is "no way" Sue is leaving without Flo. He's also promised to update the families as more information becomes available.

Tribute To Flo From FOSAJ Founders

Just received this lovely tribute from Kate Tarratt Cross and Patrick Boucard, the founders of FOSAJ which, as you all know, is the organization that Flo directed in Jacmel.


Flo McGarrell

It is with great pain and sadness that we received the news of the death of Flo McGarrell in the earthquake that devastated Haiti.

Flo devoted himself to the artist community and the people of Jacmel. He first came to FOSAJ on a residency programme in 2006 and kept coming back regularly to help. In particular, he made a huge effort with the launch of the first Jakmel Music Festival in 2007. Flo took over the direction of FOSAJ in 2008 and immediately started putting his own stamp on the foundation’s work. Through his vision and dedication he implemented powerful ideas such as innovative eco-programmes from solar energy to agricultural methods with particular emphasis on ecological issues. Through this he helped the people of Jacmel and surrounding areas to become self sufficient while contributing to the development of such artistic practice. Fundraising for and running a foundation in Haiti is extremely challenging, but Flo poured himself into it with abandon and love.

Flo will be missed and the people of Jacmel and the area have suffered a great loss. His memory will always remain in our hearts. We would like to extend our sympathies to Flo’s parents, who had been extremely supportive of Flo and of the FOSAJ project.

Flo you are one of the most amazing people we have ever had the pleasure to share time with. Just as the centre was taking such a positive turn this tragedy struck. It seems so unfair. Rest in peace but may your spirit remain.

Kate Tarratt Cross & Patrick Boucard (FOSAJ Founders)

CNN Article On Peace-Of-Mind Hotel

Here's an article about the hotel where Flo passed on. I warn you that the article is possibly upsetting. Also Flo isn't mentioned much, and not by name. I can't comment on the content of the video, because I can't bring myself to watch it. I'm passing it along just because everyone else is, basically. Reading it was not an enjoyable experience for me.

Still no news on Flo and Sue. I presume they're still at the site.

Montpelier VT Memorial not this weekend

Just wanted to let everyone know that since things in Haiti are still very much up in the air we will wait to plan the VT memorial for Flo until we have some more clear answers. We will be sure to post as soon as we have more concrete plans for this. Big love to everyone!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Update- Sue Still At Collapse Site With Flo's Remains.

So this is what we know now. Transmission of information in and out of Jacmel has been, in Ann McGarrell's words, "insanely difficult". She tells of bad phone connections; people who only speak Kreyol speaking to people who only speak English speaking to people who only speak French. But she spoke to Sue earlier tonight and this is what we now know.

Sue was never at the Jacmel airport. Neither were Flo's remains. His body is still beneath the same pile of rubble and Sue is still by his side, camping out there. She will not leave without Flo's body. The UN is currently digging him out, and they are three feet away from succeeding. They have stopped for the night and will continue in the morning. Then the UN will take them to the airport, and they will travel onward to Miami on either a State Department or military plane. Once there Sue will FINALLY be able to cremate Flo's body, and members of the McGarrell family will meet her there to collect the cremains.

Both Sue and the McGarrell and Frame families have had to incur a lot of expenses. Sue had to buy Flo's body bag and, because of wrong information, someone (not sure who?) had to put up thousands of dollars for a temporary tomb that was never used. There will also be travel expenses for both the Frame and McGarrell families, funeral expenses, and various miscellaneous expenses along the way (I imagine that their phone bills will be huge). And, clearly, Flo needs an awesome memorial. We need to do something about this, obviously. Can we set up a fund at local banks in our respective cities?

This is obviously horrifying, the whole thing- how it's played out, how long it's taken, the taxing circumstances, the sense of relief being taken away time and time again. I know we have all been sending emails, making calls, et cetera but now is really the time for action. I need people who are skilled at fundraising via banks to get in touch with me, as well as people who are skilled with press releases and whatnot.

I know this sounds like horrible news, but Ann tells me it's actually perfect. Flo's body has been safe from, as she puts it, "human predators". So rest tonight knowing that there is a plan in place, and that there is SO much work left for us to do starting when we wake up first thing tomorrow.
Here is a nice message from Flo's friend David Bogus.


Flo and I were residents together for a year in Roswell, 2007. He helped me a lot with my work, I helped him set up a piece, we traveled about NM together, I think the bond formed between artists at RAIR is special and I know his dad thinks so too. I got to watch red sox games with James when they were there for the 40 anniversary of the residency. We just hung out all the time and FLo is the person who seemed to be the catalyst for our group, making sure we would all party together while we made our work. Hard to explain and don't have words for how I view him and his work.AMAZING comes to mind!

Flo Visited me in a dream this afternoon. He was with a beautiful girl with long blonde hair, told me not to worry, everything was fine and he was doing well.

Update: Email Response From State Dept.

Many of us who sent emails to the State Department tonight requesting Sue and Flo be brought home received this verbatim response fifteen minutes ago:


Dear Robin:

We have received several emails this evening regarding Ms. Susan Frame and her location at the Jacmel Airport. We have forwarded these to the proper authorities on the ground in Port-au-Prince.

If possible, please keep us posted with any new information that becomes available concerning Ms. Frame's safety and location, if either change.


Haiti Task Force


I wrote back saying that I would post this information verbatim on this blog and also forward all info to all media I've been talking to this afternoon. First I received the same automated response that all emails to this address have been receiving, and then I received this exactly two minutes ago:


Dear Robin:

FYI: your information was sent directly to the Consular Section in Port-au-Prince and two special task forces on the ground in Haiti.

We are hopeful that things will soon progress for Ms. Frame. The proper people have been informed.

Please do not hesitate to provide us with any additional information that becomes available.


Haiti Task Force

(202) xxx-xxxx


Did anyone else receive this last email in addition to the first? Does anyone know if the Frame and McGarrell families know this information? I don't want to bombard them with yet another email.

Update: Situation Becomes Urgent Again

Sue is still at the airport in Jacmel waiting to be airlifted out. She has Flo's body with her. The State Department is not helping them at all, even though their hotline specifically says that their job is to serve Americans abroad. The status of the previously reported UN airlift is unknown.

If you call The Department of State at 888-407-4747 you get a recording that directs you to this email address: Haiti-Earthquake@State.Gov . They then ask that you give the name/date of birth of the American citizen you're looking for, along with their contact info in Haiti; then your name, address, contact info, and relationship to the person you are looking for. When emailing be sure and write SUSAN FRAME and FLORES MCGARRELL in the subject line.

I don't know of any contact info for Sue Frame. If anyone has this, please comment here.

Raffle For Haiti; More Press For Flo, Sue and Jacmel

Can't believe I forgot to post this, but Flo's friend (and mine) Alex Polotsky and others have a raffle to raise money for Haiti. There's lots of great prizes up there, so it's well worth your money to click on the link and enter!

Also, the Chicago Tribune ran an article about Flo, Sue, and the raffle. Alex and Doris did a great job of getting the word out about the desperate situation in Jacmel, which Flo would have appreciated and Sue specifically asked for people to do.

Great Article About Flo

Found this wonderful article at Posthaiti blog last night and forgot to repost it. It's a beautiful memorial. It also contains this perfect photo of Flo smiling up at something above him, and it has quickly become so incredibly special and important to me.

Flo's big brother Andrew has written an equally beautiful memorial to his brother on his blog Mostly Travel, Mostly The Facts.

The tributes are slowly trickling in; keep sending them along. Keep envisioning them, writing them, painting them, filming them, sculpting them, drawing them, singing them, building them, organizing them, creating them. Whatever you do best, do it for Flo. If anyone would want to be celebrated like this, it's our Flo McGarrell. Remember that as you do what you do, he's probably looking over your shoulder with his lovingly critical eye and whispering constructive criticism in your ear, telling you some brilliant way to do it that he figured out while killing time one afternoon. (I remember that happening between us on more than one occasion.)

Sue Frame Is Bringing Flo Home.

I've just learned that as I type this, Sue Frame is being airlifted safe and sound out of Jacmel by the UN. She has Flo's remains with her. Her first stop will be bringing Flo to Ann and Jim.

More info as I learn it.

Octopus Blood!

Found this from Flo, just over 3 years ago or so. I think I know what I'll be drinkin' next....

a cocktail recipe i invented, its called ...

Octopus Blood

3 parts UNsweetened cranberry juice
2 parts Blue curacao
1 part Bombay sapphire or other gin

shake and serve over four ice cubes, in a bowl shaped glass like a redwine glass

the color is the most amazing rich deep purple (the hue if not the shade of cooked octopus), the taste is dry and fruity without being too bitter, excellent for urinary tract health too.

Memorials for our Flo,

Received this msg:


Howdy all, for all folks in San Francisco there will be a gathering in honor of Flo at Dolores Park on Wednesday, Jan. 20 at 7p.m. Please come and celebrate our love for our dear beautiful friend.


Also, this from Baltimore:


The MICA Fibers department would like to host a gathering of remembrance to share cherished moments and memories in honor of Flo McGarrell on Wednesday, January 20th at 7 pm in the Middendorf Gallery at the Mount Royal Station building. Please join us.

If you have images, videos or other mementoes, or would like to write something about Flo to share (either with everyone, or as a note to Flo's parents), we encourage you to bring them with you on Wednesday. Please pass this along to anyone who may also be interested in attending this celebration of Flo's life. If you have images or thoughts you would like to share, but cannot make it, please let us know in the comments. Feel free to upload images and video to this event posting as well.

If you would like to make a contribution in memory of Flo, please consider a donation to Yele Haiti, a foundation chosen by his family that is devoted to transforming the country through programs in education, sports, and the arts.



MICA = The Maryland Institute, College Of Art. It's where Flo received his undergrad degree.

We are planning something for Boston, but it will be more of a fundraiser for Haiti and it will take place sometime in mid to late February. I know that there is something being planned in Montpelier, Vermont that will take place sometime this week. More information on that memorial will be posted as plans are made.

Please send any additional information about upcoming memorials and I'll post them here.

Anybody Wanna Help Me Out?

It occurs to me as this blog/situation gets bigger that I will not be able to facilitate it by myself, particularly because it seems that it's becoming a vehicle in the struggle to get Flo's body home to Vermont. I am about to start school full-time along with continuing work full-time and won't be able to check it as often as it should be checked, which is probably hourly or so. If any of Flo's other friends and family feel like it's something that they want to take on with me, please get in touch. Comment here or on another post.

(I should be okay until Monday evening/early Tuesday morning, and then I'll definitely need help.)

It also would be nice if someone could make this blog look decent, which I don't know how to do.

Reporter In Jacmel

Just received this message.


Hello, I am a reporter with the Wall Street Journal, and I will be in Jacmel tomorrow (sunday), and would like to meet with as many people as i can to learn what has happened and what is being done. i will hopefully have my email working,, and perhaps my US cell, 917-xxx-xxxx. and will have a sat phone to try to reach people. any one that sees this in Jacmel or knows of people there to reach, please get in touch with me soonest.
thanks so much.
Chris Rhoads

Saturday, January 16, 2010

From Flo's Lovely Mother

We just received this information from Flo's mother, Ann. Please contact your Senators, Congressional representatives, and, if you have media contacts, whoever you can to get the word out about this.

Find phone numbers for your Senator and Congressional Rep here:

Ann's message is posted verbatim below.


I'm Flo's mother, Ann McGarrell. Thank you for this beautiful tribute at this time of heartbreak for us.

I have just heard (don't know if it's true) that Flo's body has been excavated at last; however, the prson who told me that says it is too decomposed to be cremated (absurd) AND for only $7000 they will "store it a few months until I can pick it up." The State Dept. says this is so far the first example of post-quake extortion. I too love Haiti, despite desperation that leds to things like this. Please, everybody, contact your Senators and and ask them to help me have my child's remains returned to me in whatever condition mortality has left them. I know his lovely and generous soul is free.
With love to all of you,

How To Contribute

*If you would like to contribute a memory or essay or photo or story or anything pertaining to Flo and/or his work in Jacmel, you can publish a comment here on the blog or email it to me, if you have my address.

*All comments are moderated, so no one will see what you write before I post it up, in case you are concerned about that. Obviously I won't post things that you ask me to keep private.

*If your contribution isn't text (i.e. photo, video, et cetera) you may need to have a site to host it on; I'm not sure if will do it for us. If you don't have the (cap)ability to do that, let me know and we will figure something out together for sure. Obviously so much of how we'll remember him will be multimedia, so this is important. I wish we could somehow stuff one of his beautiful and ginormous sculptures onto this site!

Save Jacmel

Reports are coming in from Jacmel that aid has not made its way there yet, or that if it has it's nowhere near the scale of aid that Port-au-Prince has. If you are reading this, please spread this word around that Jacmel was hit very badly and aid needs to make its way south. As the days go on, every minute is absolutely critical for the people of Jacmel.

A video report from Jacmel:

Flores McGarrell
August 31, 1974-January 12 2010

We are, to co-opt our dear friend's lovely self-descriptive catchphrase, Going With Flo. We are scattered across the world, bereft, and traumatized from having lost him; however, we are determined to begin the task of carrying on his legacy now rather than later because we know that in the second he took his last breath, his work became our inheritance. We all refuse to accept the horror of the present as the actuality of Haiti's future; we vow to finish what Flo started in Haiti and, specifically, his beloved Jacmel. We love Flo and what he stood for.

We love Haiti.

This blog will be facilitated collectively, as we know Flo would have wanted it to be. If you have a memory or a story or a photo or a piece of work about/of Flo, please leave a comment and we'll get in touch with you and put it up here.

The photo above is from Art21 Blog, where Flo gave one of his last interviews; in these hours where we're obsessively picking through all types of media that are mentioning him, this interview stands out as being such a wonderful, accurate representation of our Flo. We are unsure of who to credit for the photo; we certainly hope you all will read this interview in order to get a better sense of who our Flo really was, and why we love him so fiercely.

We are now and forever Going With Flo.