2.6
February 4, 2010

Farewell, Alex King.

An Elephantian Gentleman.

We met when Alex was filming an ecofashion show of ours, with Econscious, at a club in downtown Boulder, years ago. We met again at some other fashion show, at Bacaro.

Alex started interning for elephant, then a growing national magazine devoted to “the mindful life.” He began videoing and editing our burgeoning talk show, then called “elevision” (now, “Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis”).

After the internship honeymoon ended, we wanted to make it a more profe$$ional relationship, but I was then an undercapitalized entrepreneur (read: independent). Eventually, we started paying him a bit. Through all the ups and downs, our talk shows rocked, and grew in traction, attendance, and garnered some real first-tier national recognition. It was an era many of us will remember fondly, and era captured ably by Alex in his “We are Elephant” video, below.

But my (lack of) money thing became difficult. Our staff had grown to 12, including part-timers. We had a nice green office downtown. Our only dough came from ads, and I was our only ad salesperson—in addition to being responsible for designing, editing and distributing the magazine. We were growing, exciting, successful…but vulnerable.

After 100 videos or so (Adventure Film, New Era, Sundance, Seane Corn, Paul Hawken, Eco Gift (with an assist from Alex’s lovely sis), Deepak Chopra, Bill McKibben, Brad Feld, Robert Thurman, Summer Rayne Oakes in NYC, Chris Sharma, Amy Goodman, Lester Brown, Byron Katie, Alice Walker, Malidome Some, Sister Helen Prejean, Top Chef Hosea Rosenberg, Natalie Goldberg, Paul Ray, Cyndi Lee, Congressman Jared Polis, Richard Freeman, John Perkins, John Friend, Anne Waldman, Patagonia, prAna, Obama Caucus, Steve Demos, Elena Brower in NYC, countless talk shows at Trilogy, Boulder Theater, Naropa, Trident)...ah…the memories, the friendship, the sweetness and frustration...we began to draw apart, a little. Forty interviews at a LOHAS conference capped the burnout factor for both of us.

Our dogs no longer played. Our Mountain Sun dinners ceased. At one point we had a full-on falling out. But it didn’t last, long. Alex is amazing soul, a rare talent, a good friend. And so, through it all, we stayed in touch.

A year ago, unable to find a way to eco-responsibly distribute elephant…etc…I took elephant from magazine to paperless web site, and shed most of our staff.

Alex continued to rock and party and be sweet and hard and soft and fabulous. His bright shining circle of friends became a downright community. We hung out once in awhile, including one memorable summer’s day pool party. A week ago, our dogs played.

Now, he’s leaving for Los Angeles. Where he should be, really: he’s the best most truly modern and fun filmmaker I know. Give him a joint (they’re legal now, it’s okay) and a bottle of red wine he’ll put on some tunes and masterpiece your shiznit, for shizzle, make it sizzle.

If he’s inspired his videos are visual poetry, and often delivered overnight.

~

Tonight, we bid him goodbye at Happy. Unhappily. Half of Boulder will be there, and their wallets.

And so. While we may no longer as close as our Golden Age Honeymoon days of yore, there’s still some love, friendship—and elephant and our viewers and most of all I owe him a great debt of friendship and comrade-in-arms-ship.

God, I’m going to miss him.

But, then, I’ve missed him for awhile already. He’s a genuine talent. He can accomplish anything he wants to. I hope he wants to—it’ll be amazing stuff.

[slide]

A few of Alex’s videos:

Eco People at Sundance from Waylon Lewis on Vimeo.

A Reminder: or How I Would Rather Not Drive a Prius from Alex King & Mito Media on Vimeo.

Patagonia: Caring for our Earth is Good for Business from Mito.Media on Vimeo.

elevision – Bill McKibben: Too Little Too Late? from elevision on Vimeo.

Earth Hour – Boulder, Colorado from Alex King & Mito Media on Vimeo.

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Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of Elephant Journal & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat.” Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword’s Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by “Greatist”, Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: “the mindful life” beyond the choir & to all those who didn’t know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, touches on modern relationships from a Buddhist point of view. His dream of 9 years, the Elephant “Ecosystem” will find a way to pay 1,000s of writers a month, helping reverse the tide of low-quality, unpaid writing & reading for free online.