Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Happy Birthday, Picasso!

I just found out that today is Pablo Picasso's birthday. Picasso is one of my favorite artists...or perhaps I should say one of my favorite world-famous artists.

It wasn't always that way. Growing up I didn't really appreciate his work (despite the fact that we had a Picasso print in the bathroom - which is of course is a great place to contemplate a woman with a "crazy mixed-up" face). Although it seems to me that so much of pop culture was influenced by him when I was young. I remember my childhood cartoons being very Piccasso-esque, and even some playground equipment. But maybe that's just me.

In any case, I'm a fan now. It happened when I saw his work for the first time in person. I visited the Chicago Institute of Art several years ago, and was surprised that my favorite paintings in the whole museum were all Picassos. Particularly The Red Armchair and The Old Guitarist, which was simply stunning in person.

Above is my take on Picasso's "The Dream". I gained even more appreciation for the artist while attempting to copy one of his paintings. It was hard to do, a lot of fun, and quite an accomplishment, if I do say so myself.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Playing For Change: Higher Ground

Every now and then I have to pass on one of these Playing For Change videos; they're just amazing.

If you're not familiar with the organization, I urge you to head on over to http://playingforchange.org and check them out, as well as their mission.

I won't attempt to detail what they're all about - you can read that on their site. But I will say that they are bringing the world together through music. Quite literally, as you'll see in this video. They get musicians from across the world to play different parts of a song. The songs are usually familiar. They are songs we know but done in a beautifully different way.  And often - as is the case with this song - I hear the lyrics in a new way.

Of note in this particular video (for me) are the vocalists. The woman - Titi Tsira - absolutely gives me chills when she starts singing. And the male singer - Clarence Bekker - is a favorite of mine from the Playing For Change Stand By Me video. And I LOVE the dancers on the beach, particularly the women in pink. I wish they showed more of them.

Monday, October 17, 2011

45 New Things: Shaking It Up

Lanterns at PF Changs
A few weeks ago I wrote about my 45 in 45 list: 45 new things to try in my 45th year. Well it seems like I'm busting out new things every week these days, and sometimes several times a week!

None of these things are earth shattering wild and crazy  "new" things, but they are out of my normal routine. Most of them have to do with food and drink, but hopefully I'll be able to branch out into more adventuresome new things soon.

Still, I've had a really good time shaking things up a bit. Not just because I'm doing new things, but by doing them I get to see more of my friends. Yay friends!

Here are the new things I've done so far:
(At least the one's I've remembered to write down...)
  1. Had dinner at Sweet Ginger in Cherry Creek
  2. I took a Shamanic Journey
  3. Drinks at the Front Porch
  4. Karaoke at Benders
  5. Lunch at Five Guys Burgers and Fries
  6. Drinks and jazz at Jazz at Jacks
  7. Dinner at Annie's on Colfax
  8. Pretended to be married with kids to get away from a crystal salesman at the Taste of Colorado. That was definitely a new experience!
  9. Went to Oktoberfest - fun!
  10. Took a Fresh City Life class at DPL - made little terrariums.
  11. Happy Hour with Duggio - divine!
  12. Tried the sweet potato fries at Smash Burger instead of the regular Smash Fries - that was a mistake. But at least I tried, eh? 
  13. Wings at Madison Street - delish!
  14. Went to a student produced play at CSU - it rocked!
  15. Appetizers at Bar Louie - yummy McYum-yum!
  16. Dinner at PF Changs - the lettuce wraps were every bit as good as I'd heard!
  17. Had a drink at the Elephant Bar... some sort of raspberry lemon delish martini
  18. Tea at Wystone's in Belmar
  19. Karaoke at Ogden Street South (which is now my favorite karaoke bar...which are words I never thought I'd say...)
  20. Sang my first hard rock song at a karaoke bar: Cult of Personality. That was a lot of fun, but I must say that my 45 year old neck did not like me banging my head like I did when I was 23 and the song first came out! But I do still LOVE this song! Here's the video - thankfully it's Living Colour's version, not mine... :)

Edit: I never finished blogging about the 45 new things, but I definitely completed them. My life spun out at a crazy pace and I ended up in NYC in the spring of 2012, which took care of an awful lot of the 45 new things.
On that list included trying Japanese ice cream (not a fan), Polish food, going to my first cathedral (SO amazing!), visiting SOHO galleries, spending a day in the city on my own... so many more things. Stories for another time. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

For Those of Us Who Have a Hard Time Stopping

Doing nothing is so underrated. I'm not talking about watching tv or simply being lazy. I mean just completely, deliberately doing nothing. Most of us have a hard time shutting our brains down, which is exactly why we need to do it from time to time. Clear it out and stop the chatter.

My artist friends, yoga peeps and Eastern thinkers know what I'm talking about. But.. that doesn't mean that we always do it. I KNOW that I'd be better off if I just wold take some quiet time every day. Meditation, sitting in the sun...whatever. But do I do it? Um... I take about as much time out to meditate as I do to work out - hardly any. Meditating is to the mind and the soul what working out is to the body.  We need self care, people!!

On that note, I encourage you to go to http://www.donothingfor2minutes.com/ This is another site I found through stumbleupon.com. The url says it all: do nothing for 2 minutes. It's nice. Do it. Do it now. But first... lock your door, put up a "Do Not Disturb" sign, or connect your headphones to your computer. Whatever it takes to steal just 2 minutes for yourself. You can spare TWO minutes, right? Two undisturbed minutes for a mini-vacation... You deserve at LEAST two minutes!

Friday, October 7, 2011

If I Was Your Woman: Alicia Keys Give a Shout Out to Gladys Knight

For some reason I've been in an Alicia Keys space lately. Don't know why. (Okay, maybe I do know why, but I'm not sharing!)

Anyway, here she is doing an amazing job covering Gladys Knight... and that is saying a lot! Gladys is one of my all time favorites. Actually... I shouldn't say that she "covers" Gladys. No, Alicia truely makes this song her own. And those back-up singers are so powerful!

AS I AM BY KEYS,ALICIA (CD) (Google Affiliate Ad)

I just found this awesome version of Gladys Knight singing If I Were Your Woman. I think it said the video is from 2010. This woman is in her late 60's and her voice has not changed a bit from when the song was on the radio 40 years ago. She is phenomenal!
The only issue I have with this video is that there are no Pips. I do love those Pips!