Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Last Week in Pictures

@ a park in lower Manhattan

Longtime Ukranian friend Irina came to visit and indulged me
with Mexican coffee :) And tic tac toe!

Subway Art. One of my favorite favorite aspects of NYC.
See the dancing mosiac at W 66th/Linconln Center!

Look at the gradiations of color from tree to tree.
 Amazing! Beautiful! Vital!

"Conduct your bloomingin the noise and thie whip of the whirlwind."
Subway Wisdom. Mosaic at Lex/59th, lower level between the
4 & 5 express trains and the N/Q/R.
So much more stunning in person because envelops the WHOLE
Some little Sunbeams I found. They make me happy happy
happy. Petals look like strokes from a paintbrush. Ooooh this makes me
want to play with paints...

OMG. They all had red flowers balancing above the stems unil
it rained :(  Look at a few blog entries before this & you'll see the red lovely

 i love. this quote.
More subway art. Forget where...there's an app for this!
I am going to get it!!

Oh somewhere. Would adding locations help/be nice?
Or is the aesthetic experience enuf????

Friday, May 17, 2013

Peace (starts with me)

the center of the labrynth @ kripalu
love this image and this place
and while we're workin on that...
i hope we do some dancing

Monday, May 6, 2013

Greek Orthodox Easter, Cinco De Mayo, Rumi, Jung ...

Living in Astoria, there are many many Greek people here. You'll be able to tell from this architecture we've got going. Curvy wrought iron designs, thick silver gates--fancy stuff. I feel like I'm in Greece sometimes--the style isdistinct and I've come to like many of the variations--although sometimes I still feel it can be too ostentatious.

Anyhow, yesterday I was sitting on our makeshift porch having lunch (an amazing awesome salad I created with shrimp and calamari leftovers--yeaHs!), feeling a bit crestfallen that I don't like tequila or margaritas and so couldn't think of a way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo...then I look to my left and the Greek neighbors next door were having a get together--tons of family, food, and a lamb cooking over an open flame. Woah! (I have to admit this also made me really want to rewatch My Big Fat Greek Wedding.)

The journal entry that started this post

There are many lions gaurding entry ways--
one on either side like at NYPL. I like them.

Sometimes the metal is painted bright colors like green or red.

Pretty much tricked out.
[Click for zoomed in view--you'll see the beautiful detailing]

I found out it was Greek Orthodox Easter the previous day while eating at Kyclades on Saturday--friends have said that it's Greek dining at it's best and so renown that Manhattanites come to Astoria for it.  It completely deserves the praise--I highly recommend. I had the grilled shrimp and we had a mouthwatering Greek salad. Wow. But they had their windows painted with "Happy Easter" and I'm thinking "Wow, the decor is a bit behind herrrre..." Thankfully my experience the next day righted my understanding and totally redeemed Kyclades' aesthetic choices. I feel Greeks, Italians and Russians have much in common with regards to emphasis on family and FOOD. They always want to feed you and take insult if you are full, or don't want what they're loving on you. Food is love in many ways...

Anywho, I had a great weeked with friends. Monisha was visiting from Vancouver--a distant, beautiful land!! We had some great talks and she has an amazing love and appreciation for Astoria that's rubbed off a bit on me--never a bad thing! Local pride! Boom.

Gorgeous friendship flowers Mo
got for the apartment--thanks Mo :)
I want to add about thirty more photos and write a few more paragraphs but I am so sensitive about sleep I must turn in soon--ahhhh so hard to be disciplined even with something so vitally important! Why why whyyy.

I went to a Rumi poetry recitation/music concert on Sunday night that I will write about next, it was amazing--I got some on video and so want to share that mystical magic. And I went to my first Transpersonal Psych group event at the Jung Center downtown that was a fabulous and thought provoking discussion about archetypes and personal mythology...will write about too.

All the best. And then some.

P.S. All this amazing stuff going on friends, so come visit!
Don't make me come after you...


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Everything is BLOOMING and I am ecstatic and just gotta show you:

I smile like a flower not only with my lips
but with my whole being
               - rumi


Exploding! In the neighborhood.

So sweet. Found walking through neighborhood.


Greek architecture & trees in bloom yes yes yes.

West Village. Like the multicolor, so vibrant.

W Village with my beautiful friend Nilly--soakin it all up :)

Couldn't get close enough to those green green greeeeen treeees. Love that hue.

TREASURE found in front of NY Public Library

Satin Ribbon.

All the tulips are Park Ave. Beautiful color arrangement and flower combos.

Soft, simple, elegant, classic.

A PINK moped! How appropriate for Spring. Check out those blooming wonders in the background. I don't think I can ever tire of them...EVER.

And how about that stunning carpet of RED and GREEN??!

The curvature of these trees is so pleasant. Sway sway sway n bend.

I can't get over this green. This hue is one of my favorite colors. So relaxing and revitalizing at once.

Hope you enjoyed viewing my spring love affair with Astoria and the city. New LIFE everywhere!!!! ~~ come back n virtually vizit me.

Happy Spring--(almost summer, woah.) to everyone!


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Trenza: Reviewing NYC Dance

This past Tuesday I witnessed beautiful performances at Dixon Place in NYC--Bella Dona Dansa, a showcase of dance choreographed by Latin American woman. I am detailing Trenza, the peice choreographed by Rebeca Medina and performed by the choreographer, Maggie Bennet and Carly Czach.
Trenza means braid in Spanish
I sit in enfolded darkness and view a female figure dressed in a long, airy skirt carefully laying out large sheets of white paper. She begins at the right side of the stage floor and continues across to the left. The sense of mystery is palpable and echoes in the silence of the room. (There was no music.) It's amazing how a lack of music changes the feeling of the dance.
Minutes pass as the paper setting continues. Another dancer steps into the scene and begins dropping cassette looking film onto the paper. This tape is coming from a small wooden box she holds. She continues slowly, until she gets to the end of the paper trail. There stands a small chair with a flower upon it,  and she places the box beside the plant.

Music comes from the box! The scene is set, the music is on. The two dancers are lying on the floor together in the upper right hand segment of the stage.  They begin to tumble and flip; it's a beautiful interplay of bodies--there is a child-like playfulness to it, but a grace and sensualness as well. This is the dance of life; slipping, sliding together, stepping and stumbling. The fumbles occur when the music hits sad, low notes--a beautiful and appropriate pairing of music and movement.

The two dancers continue this way while the music plays on and the film is wound tighter and tighter. My guess is that the dance will stop when the film ends...the flower on the chair falls off and both women go and restore it to its rightful place. I find it poignant that this is done organically--(I found out beforehand that although the structure and concept of the dance were planned and rehearsed, much of it was contact improvisation during the performance).

A third dancer steps in and weaves herself into this kinetic interplay. The first two dancers are on the floor and the third is stepping only on the hands of the other two to move across the floor. They continue to move like this, almost gliding, and it is so fun and interesting to watch.  Then, all rise together and and fold into each other like a braid--this was such a beautiful part--they stood side by side and one dancer would fold, abdomen over legs, and another dancer would gently pick her up and move her to another spot in the line. This repeated until each had changed spots--it was beautiful and a weaving, tapestry like motion. 

The pace changes, the speed picks up (as does the music). The dancers begin moving at a faster pace. They're smiling at each other and perhaps at what is happing. (That charming, child-like amusement again.) They are running and tugging and pulling at each other, they go up, they go down, they link together, and so a movement from one affects everything else. Then, as the film is wound tighter, the first two dancers take their places in line, stepping upon the white paper, slowly following this string of film while the last dancer is frantically rushing about--until she too comes and joins the rank before the music stops.
This dance was delightful and innovative; the use of color, movement, props--all done with creativity, playfulness, but also a subtle and evocative knowing about the dance of life...the tugs, the dips, that rhythm we all know that includes peaks and valleys. I am excited to see what else the talented Rebeca Medina choreographs and this group creates. Bravo!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Walk Update

Hey everyone,

PSA: I'm okay--alive and well although no longer with Annie Keithline--we've gone our seperate ways--me, north bound, Annie south bound. :( It was a gift to spend so much good time with one of my best friends. And apologies for not blogging with the frequency I'd wished. Part of the difficulty as well as charm of the trip was continually meeting people and thus not getting to the library, internet access being what it is on the road. 

With that said, let's get to the interesting stuff--the rest of what I saw and learned while walking Georgia and Alabama. I'm gonna give a day by day review--I think it will be fun for me to review too.

The Walk:

Annie and I began walking on March 3rd--and I think I got up to day two with you on the blog, when we met Terry in Eufaula, AL. On Wednesday, we walked 14 miles and ended up staying at a church in between Eufaula and Union Springs. We slept outside and it was pretty cold out. I'm not going to describe this in gut wrenching detail but it was a bit of a cruel awakening to the roughing it side of this trip--but hey, at least we had a safe place to sleep and had eachother for commiseration. And the brains to adjust to the weather--we got more blankets that day.

Farm Country

Only time we walked a bit into the evening--gorgeous sunset
and wearing a reflector vest being safe!!
During Thursday's walking we stopped at a church to get some water and a man living on the same street named George greeted us and asked us what we were doing. After hearing the story he invited us to have lunch at his house which was a God send. George is a U.S. Postal worker who lives in Alabama with his family.  They have lived in Alabama for generations.  George has an impressive Creek Indian arrowhead collection and gave Annie and I one each--so cool. Thank you George! Their cat also had a litter of adorable kittens. They were soo comforting and reminded me of my cat as a cute little thing.

 We later met George's son Brad, who crazily knows my friend Tim from college. [Insert cheesy joke about what a small world it is...but it is.]  Annie says stuff like this happens fairly often on the walk, which is really quite neat. Cross-polination!! Turns out Brad is into walking and running himself, as well as talking about geopolitics which Annie also enjoys, especially with her direct experience walking the United States. Brad walked with us that day and then we stayed at their house for the evening, which was also scheduled to be chilly. The next morning, George drove us back to where we left off to continue the walk and Brad joined us for Friday, too.That day we stayed at a motel and Brad offered to show us Montgomery that evening with his friend Scott.  That was cool--we saw MLK's church and had a few drinks. Good day.

Little stream we saw coming into Union Springs


On Saturday we decided to take it slower and did a 10 mile day to go easier on my knee and legs. It worked out really well and we also made it to Tuskegee that day!! It was perfect out--sunny, warm, and the view so pleasant. Before leaving Union Springs we walked through the town square and a few nicer neighborhoods. They reminded me of East Greenwich, RI :) It really feels like spring in the south. We saw this crazy looking building--something right out of Dr. Seuss, Annie commented. Spot on, no?!


  And then this:

Tuskegee's main town square. Aren't these colors great??

They were just sitting in a dirt lot. Photo cred: Annie K.

The cows @ Shanti Villa in Tuskegee

Reaching Tuskegee marked our hundred mile mark. We walked 100 miles, woahhhaaaooo! We got a motel and stayed two nights--we extended our stay to learn more about the town--history and all. We visited Tuskegee University, the educational institution founded by Booker T. Washington in 1881, as well as Washington's house. Washington had a practical and holistic vision for black educaiton, and saw educaiton with an emphasis on practical skills as an essential path towards empowerment. The Oaks, his home, was built by students of the university to pracitce  practical trades like brick making. The house and university are both historic landmarks, so we were able to get a tour of the house by a park ranger which was very cool. We walked through the university, talked to students, and sat in on a social work methods class.  The class was interesting since I'm interested in social work. It inspired me to sit in on more classes in my area amd seek out more social workers to hear about their experiences. I know it's a really diverse field, kinda like nursing, so I'm looking forward to learning more about that.

One of the entrances to Tuskegee U
When we chatted to some students about their experience at the school, they had mixed feelings and experiences but all seemed to share an appreciation for the rich heritage and vision that Booker T. Washington instilled at the onset.  I think some of the ambivalence about their experience is that the city is economically depressed and the school is an oasis of resources and activity--it creates a sort of bubble where it isn't as easy to get to know the neighborhood, especially since people talk about how dangerous it is...this isn't exactly incentive for students to go out and explore (but is kinda unfortunate--Annie and I had a very different experience--if you use caution and common sense it's good to get to know the area and the people; you find a lot in common.) I had a similar college experience; Providence College was often endearingly (or sarcastically...) called "The PC Bubble," in that it was in a rough area of Providence while the campus created a nucleus of activity, resources, and affluence. Students didn't really venture into the neighborhoods unless they were going to an off campus party or to the mall. I always thought this was lame because Providence has so much awesome stuff to offer; College Hill is gorgeous and there's a lot of history there to be enjoyed.  I am a native Rhode Islander though, so I guess I had the benefit of being more aware of this stuff than other students may have. Nonetheless, there's like, three or four other colleges in Providence and it would have been illuminating for me and I'm sure for other student too, to mingle more at other schools and with other students. (This is the cross-pollination thing!!)  But I won't write the entirety of PC's student population off--PC does do a lot of community service and engages with needy neighboring communities in that way. I've been a part of that and it was a great experience.

Anywho-----that was sort of tangental. But cool for me to make that PC/Tuskegee U connection. Back to the cold hard walk details.......

The day after Tuskegee we took a bus to Montgomery, Alabama, where we were couch surfing with a graduate student. (Annie loves couch surfing and recommends it. She's only had good experience and this was certainly one.) Originally we were going to walk to Montgomery but decided we wanted to stay in Tuskegee for longer than a day to experience the city and learn more about it. This was also awesome on my knee. Our host was great--she took us to the Fitzgerald Museum, the only museum in the world dedicated to F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. They lived in the house that the museum's in for a short time and its walls are adorned by Zelda's paintings. They have artifacts that belonged to the family too, which were interesting to see. (Their love letters were fabulous. We don't write with that much endearment anymore :(

Who knows what kind of tree
this is? Please tell me!!! I love them.

In Montgomery

The next day we took a bus back to Albany, GA (where the adventure first began) to attend the Georgia Hardshell Baptists' Annual Sacred Harp Sing. Annie met some people involved with this beautiful singing when she first walked through Georgia months ago. I remember her describing how amazing this event would be waay before I joined her for the walk, so it was special to be able to attend with her. Watch this video with background info-sacred harp is a very old practice but youtube says it's growing in popularity with young people living in cities and college towns--it is also practiced as a form of worship by the Hardshell Baptists. (I'd say it's a spiritual experience whether Hardshell or not--it's gorgeous and otherworldly. The man hosting called this singing the language of angels, and if they have one, I'd agree that this would be it.)

We stayed with Annie's friend Kim
and her family in Waycross.
And now I'm visiting this little munchkin!

My sweet and energetic (!!!!!) little
 cousin (once removed) Adriana

These are exploding in my
cousin's neighborhood!
Visual feast :) They are
Bradford Pear trees.
I'll be going back to the northeast in the next few days and will be looking for gainful employment and all that fun grown up stuff. Right now still really enjoying my travels.

Happy Spring you guys!!