Showing posts with label White House. Show all posts
Showing posts with label White House. Show all posts

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Form Structure and Interactions at the White House.

The Timucua White House (2001 Hamilton Ln, Orlando, FL 32806) hosts weekly concerts in their spacious living room that rivals some concert halls. Benoit Glazer built his home around this pitch perfect sound proofed space. This concert featured original compositions for trumpet and electronics. Most of the composers were in the audience. Besides the main performance, an artist usually creates on stage as well. On this evening, a sculptor named Diego Inkusual worked on a life sized bust of a young poised dancer named Megan Crawford. I'm pretty sure I sketched Megan at some dance rehearsal, because I recognized her. I decided to sit down at a back patio table, and my chair tumbled over backwards, thankfully with out me in it. As we all waited to get into the concert hall, Diego kissed Megan's neck and she smiled at the distraction.

Benoit's wife Elaine Corriveu, Wendy Wallenberg and others bustled in the kitchen. Guests usually bring a bottle of wine or a side dish, turning the evening into a community potluck. Strange, the program doesn't list the Trumpet player's name. That is a strange oversight. Anyway, he was quite good as was the sculptor, also not listed.

Diego had several life sized sculpture on stage, and another in The entry-potluck area. Fabrics flowed from their semi nude bodies. It was impressive work. Diego was quite active as was his model, Megan. He would often ask her to rotate in her seat so he could sculpt her from a different angle. He would often stand and he would gouge deep grooves in the sculpted hair. The facial features had been delicately refined back at his studio. He was feeling the music and it influenced his movements. Megan kept perfect still.

One composer wasn't in the audience. He was at an inspirational seminar. The concert was being shared with him and another audience with him at the seminar. Most composers got on stage to introduce their original music, he called in to talk to us all. Charles Griffin composed Between Islands this year. He told both audiences, that when he moved to Orlando, his creative urge dried up. He tried to work through it, but he was stuck. He had never experienced this before. The support and contact with other creative people finally reversed the stagnancy. This composition was the first he wrote as he got back on track. He spoke about his mother's death, loss and the need to remember. It is a theme that has hit home with me many times as I sketch people affected by Pulse. I try to remain in business mode, but often it sinks in. Charles used the sounds of ocean bells clanging quietly on the waves. the somber music hit a chord with me and the pencil stopped dancing on the page, so I could stop to close my eyes and truly listen.

The next White House concert is, Tonight 10/16/16 at 7:30 pm. It is Contemporary Classical, featuring Elizabeth Baker, Toy Piano and electronics, Art is by Gladiola Sotomayor.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Timucua White House is granted a Conditional Use Permit.

Benoit Glazer and The Timucua Arts Foundation has been providing world class art and music to the Orlando community free of charge for a long while. In 2007 Benoit built a custom home that was built around an acoustically perfect music hall with two levels of balconies overlooking the stage. The living room concert venue is completely soundproof so that neighbors never hear the music. Dozens of performances happen each year, most of them free of charge. Guests bring wine and food to the venue for each concert which cultivates a true sense of a community potluck. The Timucua Arts Foundation, is a benefactor to cutting edge music organizations like the Accidental Music Festival and the Civic Minded 5. The White House has established itself as a culture beacon for the Central Florida Music scene.

The home is in an area zoned for residential use, so the Orlando Municipal Planning Board demanded that Benoit apply for a conditional use permit. That type of permit is typically issued when the city wants to allow an activity beneficial to the community despite zoning restrictions. Without the permit, one of the most enlightened cultural lights in Orlando would be be extinguished. An online petition was established to try and save the White House. Over one hundred people signed it in the first hour. In all 832 people signed the petition.

At 8:30am on April 19th, Benoit and his wife Elaine Corrivev, sat in the City Counsel Chambers to hear the Planning Board's verdict. The Chambers were packed full of supporters for this home spun cultural institution. Jeremy Seghers sat in the row in front of me and Diana Rodriguez Portillo sat next to me to chat. There were so many friends of the arts in the room. The chair, Jason Searl, said he had to abstain from the vote since his little daughter takes piano lessons at the Benoit's house. He clearly couldn't be impartial. With in a matter of minutes, the Conditional Use Permit was granted. There was an audible sigh of relief and then most of the people in the room got up to leave. Exited conversations began and the celebration continued just outside the chamber doors. The concerts will continue with some conditions: Glazer will have to formalize a parking agreement with the city for use of nearby spaces at Wadeview Park, limit attendance to 99 guests and guarantee events end by 10:30 p.m. In some small measure, the bureaucrats won, but music and art will continue to shine at the White House. 

This, we believe:
Art and music belong to everyone.
Art and music are the highest manifestation of our humanity.
Art and music should be enjoyed in the most intimate venue: the living room.
Every community is better when art and music are performed and nurtured within it.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Kattya Graham performed in Blue Box #5.

27 Blue Boxes are painted on sidewalks in Downtown Orlando. These boxes are for panhandlers and buskers. Busking is possible only during day light hours. Although set up for panhandlers, police often insist street performers must use the blue boxes. If a police officer receives a complaint or witnesses a street performer asking for money, that officer can "take the appropriate action related to that issue, a warning is an option, but so is arrest." said Sgt. Barb Jones of the Orlando Police Department. Performing outside the boxes can result in 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. In 2002, former Orlando Mayor Glenda Hood killed a proposal to allow street performers in downtown Orlando, saying that would be "inconsistent" with the city's ordinances that ban panhandling.

Kattya Graham volunteered to perform in Blue Box #5 on the Corner of Amelia Street and Orange Avenue. This corner is near the Court House parking garage. As I arrived on foot, I searched for the now familiar blue dotted lines that delineate a box about 5 by 15 feet. For the first time the were no blue lines. There were red lines and orange lines that surveyors put down as they plan where to dig for electric and plumbing pipes. I checked the City Hall issued Blue Box map and this it was the right spot. The blue lines must have been power spray washed away. There was a small blue plate above the street drainage. It said, "No dumping, all water drains into lakes."  The spray washed blue paint must now be in Lake Eola.  The blue plate became our Blue Box.

Kattya arrived and unpacked her guitar and set up her music stand. At first she put her collection pan right on the blue plate and then she decided it made more sense to put it out behind her for pedestrians to see. As a joke she stood on her tip toes on top of the blue plate. There weren't many pedestrians, at most three people walked by in the two hours we were on that street corner. There were however plenty of cars that had to stop at the stoplight as they waited to drive West across Orange Avenue. Kattya got to watch drivers reactions. Many drivers smiled through their closed car windows. Three women rolled down their windows to listen better while men did the opposite, by rolling up their windows. Perhaps they feared she would rush up to them and squeegee clean their windows and demand money. Only one pedestrian glanced over his shoulder at Kattya as he was waiting to cross over Orange Avenue. No one ever dropped an money in her tip pan. She has just recorded a new album of original songs and several covers at the Timucua White House. Benoit Glasier is now polishing the sound mix.

Kattya grew up in Mexico City which is the largest city in the world. She started busked in Mexico City when she was 18 years old. Crime was rampant, but she never had an incident as she performed. Here in Orlando for the past 15 years, she feels safe, but performing on a city street corner didn't, seem appropriate. She performed beautiful Mexican ballads in Spanish. After one song, she said me, "I'm glad most people don't understand the lyrics, the last song was about being a drunk." I laughed. The music was soothing and lyrical, at times being drowned out by honking horns, or the sound of the Sun Rail train roaring by a block away. Her brightly embroidered blouse was the only bright note of color on the otherwise grey street corner. Had she performed on block south, closer to the entrance to the court house, there would have been a constant stream of lawyers and jurors who would pass her on their way to find lunch. There is no blue box one block south however.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Benoit Glazer at Avalon Island

On the third Monday of each month, The Gallery at Avalon Island (39 S Magnolia Ave, Orlando Florida), hosts the In Between Series, a music series before the art goes on the wall for Third Thursday. June was a bit different because the nude photos by Yuri Maiorov  stayed on the walls until a fee the concert. Benoit Glazer usually hosts concerts in his custom built acoustic living room in the White House, he works at Cirque Du Soleil in Downtown Disney as the composer. He was on the trumpet along with Dan Jordan, Doug Matthews and Bobby Koelble some of the greatest jazz musicians from Central Florida.

There were lofty sounds from flutes and clarinets, African flavors, and funky odd meters, with a touch of sad ballads and angry mobs. The music related the story of a storyteller. It was about 2 boy named Abu, and his muse Lela. The music ebbed and flowed with intensity. The event was catered by Maxine’s on Shine.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Marty Morell and Michiko

On Sunday June 2nd, Marty Morell and Michiko performed a free Jazz concert at the White House (2000 South Summerlin Avenue, Orlando FL), with many special guests and a little Latin music.
The guest visual artist was Lorraine Turner. Lorraine didn't paint live on stage because there were so many musicians. There just wasn't enough room. Steve Rodney was shooting a documentary, so Benoit Glazer in his introduction advised us all to look enthralled. Richard Drexler was at the piano, Carlo Garcia was on the drums, Jeff Rupert on saxophone, Benoit Glazer stepped in on trumpet, and Ben Cramer was on Bass.

Marty met Michiko at a jazz festival in Japan and they have been performing together ever since. Michiko sang several of the songs. It was an up beat concert with plenty of energy. I tapped my toes and bobbed my head as I sketched. I was perched on the third floor balcony. I like getting this bird's eye view, but it means standing for the duration as I sketch so I can see over the railings. By the end of the concert my legs were aching. I'm always afraid that I might drop my palette on someones head, so I step back a bit as I'm painting. Having to sketch in so many people and instruments means I'm working right up to the last note in the concert.

It seems like the number of concerts held at the White House keeps accelerating. It is one of my favorite places to listen to music and let the lines dance on the page.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Chris Belt

Christopher Belt, the creator of the Accidental Music Festival, performed on classical guitar, with Nathan Selikoff showing his artwork on April 21st at the Timucua White House (2000 South Summerlin Avenue, Orlando FL). It was a very crowded concert, but I managed to find a front row seat. Prior to Christopher taking the stage, Benoit Glazer's daughter performed on violin along with a first chair violinist whose name I didn't catch. They performed one piece, so I knew that my time was limited to sketch them.

A large flat screen TV was set up behind the stage. As Chris performed, Nathan Selikoff sat with his hands suspended over a laptop. Nathan interacted with and manipulated an abstract pulsating form on the screen with the movement of his hands using a new motion capture device that was reminiscent of user interfaces as used in Science Fiction films like the Minority Report or Iron Man.

On piece Chris performed was by composer J.S. Adams who was in the audience. The piece was written for guitar and tape. Much of the music had a new age flair. Much of the music was so quiet and intimate that I could hear people breathing beside me. It was a pleasant way to sketch away a Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

La Femme Fondue

Christie and Evan Miga needed time off after the mad rush to bring Dog Powered Robot to Fringe last year. They had four months of extensive rehearsals and a whole cast of cardboard robots that were built. They were constantly managing people. After the show they decided to live in Paris for two months. Fisher Miga, the dog behind Dog Powered Robot went with them. Christie said that within four days they had settled into the Parisian lifestyle. Three days a week Evan freelanced for the design firm he was working for in Orlando. Though he was living in Paris, he worked Orlando hours, sharing his work via the Internet. That left the rest of the week open for the couple to explore Paris. They discovered quirky arts outlets that few tourists visit. Christie loved a tiny Museum of Magic that had rooms filled with mechanized tin toys. Right next to the Eiffel tower was a sumptuous garden that only Parisians frequent.

 When Christie Miga returned to Orlando she started a series of paintings inspired by the trip to Paris. Though abstract, the work is autobiographical as she explains with pure color how Paris inspired her. This series explodes with rich vibrant color. The blue is the exact color of the Mediterranean and the bright magenta reminds her of tight bright magenta pants that many women were wearing in Paris. Provence inspired her use of bright yellow and orange. She mixes her own water based paints and she has some idea how the paints will interact when they are poured on the canvas side by side. The word fondue is the feminine of the French verb fondre ('to melt'). The colors seem to melt an flow together on the canvas. The paintings are abstract yet they feel like violent storm clouds on a distant planet or the delicate vibrant colors of a butterfly wing. The black dripping motif is used often and it reminded me of a piano keyboard as I tried to sketch it. Ironically, earlier that day, I had been writing about color for a Book on Urban Sketching. Christie's bold use of fluid primary colors offered amazing insights about how colors interact. She worked to modern pop French music.

Many of the pieces have bold urban graphic elements that look like graffiti stencils. For instance one canvas has a bold image of the Eiffel Tower that then melts into vibrant dripping colors. Subtle blue lettering in French says, "This is not the Eiffel tower." A bright splotch of moon then drips as well. Once Christie starts one of these liquid abstracts, she has to finish it while the paint remains wet. Amazingly she finished her canvas in the same amount of time it took me to do the sketch.

La Femme Fondue is being shown at the Timucua White House, (2000 South Summerlin Avenue, Orlando FL), on March 22nd starting at 7:30PM. This reception is one night only. The artwork and prints will be for sale.The White House is a fantastic venue to see Christie's work since the spotlight literally make her canvases glow.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Eladio Sharron and Carrie Wiesinger

On November 11th, as part of the Accidental Music Festival, Eladio Sharron and Carrie Wiesinger performed Latin American works for flute and guitar, including Cronicas Del Descrumbiento by Robert Sierra, Fantasia by Inocente Carreno and Histoire du Tango by Astor Piazolla at the Timucua White House (200 Summerlin Ave). There was no visual artist on stage that day.

I tend to like to sketch from the second or third floor balcony, so I climbed the spiral staircase and found a spot to sit. Wendy Wallenberg was busy setting  up the snack and wine table in the next room. She signaled me from the entry gesturing to let me know I didn't greet her properly.  Paintings by Christie Miga were on display and a large painting with 3D objects sticking out of it was right next to me. I stood and leaned against the wall overlooking the railing as I sketched. I was afraid that I might nudge Christies painting as I struggled with my sketch, sending the painting toppling down hitting audience members below. I don't know why I always imagine the worst. Nothing horrible happened. Instead I experienced beautiful music in an intimate setting.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ghost in the Machine

Timothy Stulman the president of Central Florida Composers Forum invited me  to be part of a concert on November 10. I suggested I could do a digital sketch live of the performers and project it during the performance at the White House November 10th. I figured that a sketch being created with the hand unseen would tie in well with the Ghost in the Machine title. I arrived early to set up. Timothy greeted Terry and myself at the door. He had a square three foot white canvas on the stage with an easel. The problem was there were computers and sound mixers in the way of the projector. I wanted the projection to be bigger, so I took the tablet and projector to the second floor. The projected image filled the ceiling. The color would be a bit off, but the audience could see themselves and the performers appear on the ceiling from this God's eye view. At one point I panicked because I couldn't find the brushes window. In the digital world, things always seem to crash or disappear into the ether. I tend to work slower digitally since I'm constantly trying to find windows and tools. Too much time is spent searching instead of sketching. At least in the real world, I can leave a brush in my lap and I'll know where to find it. I felt I ran out of time before I was done, then again, that is why it is a sketch. Of course it will always be fun to brag that I've drawn at the White House.

All compositions in the concert contained an electronic element, ranging from interactive computer patches, to surround sound, to recorded ambient noises. One composition was affected by people's tweets which scrolled across the top of the flat screen TV. I couldn't help but be reminded of Brian Feldman's performances of TXT. People laughed at the tweets as they scrolled. One read, "This is my first tweet, ever!" The concert featured several premieres, including Charles Griffin’s Enfold Us Beneath Open Wings, John Alvarez’s Fermions and Gauge Bosons, and a new work by Thomas Owen. Other featured composers are Thad Anderson, Keith Lay, and Timothy Stulman. The concert also featured the talents of vocalist Michelle Amato and Julie Bateman, saxophonist Timothy Rosenberg, and percussionist Nick Strange. The concert was part of the Accidental Music Festival, and was free and open to the public. As is the White House tradition, audience members were encouraged to bring a beverage or snack to enjoy before or after the concert. After the concert, several people asked me what software I had used, as if it was the machine that had created the image.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Melinda Wagner

Composer, Melinda Wagner, gave a talk about her music and creative process at the Timucua White House (2000  South Summerlin Avenue, Orlando). She won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for music. Her laptop was open so she could play her compositions for us. Besides composing music she is also a house wife in New Jersey. The other house wives don't really understand what she does. When Melinda explained to one woman that she was a composer, the woman responded, "I thought all the composers were dead."

Melinda explained that anytime she starts a composition, there is a period of angst and worry where the music is in absolute chaos. Then the piece reaches a stage where she realized it is all going to fall into place. Then she can relax and enjoy the process. When she played her music for us, she closed her eyes and listened. She explained that an artist's roll is to take risks for the sake of beauty. She is listening and looking for a piece with heart. As she said, "Music offers composers an immeasurably rich and generous sonic landscape in which to explore the 'life story' of each musical idea — its dramas, intrigues, joys and sorrows — a life. I strive to find various and persuasive ways of moving through the resulting temporal narrative, and to traverse a wide spectrum of expression and color on the way. Ultimately, I want listeners to know me; I want them to hear that while I enjoy the cerebral exercise, I am led principally by my ear, and by my heart.”

Friday, July 27, 2012

Jazz at the White House

The Civic Minded 5 presented reed player Trevor Watts and pianist Veryan Weston, a longtime duo and storied members of the British improv scene at the Timucua White House, ( 2000 South Summerlin).  This free concert presented cutting edge new jazz, where mastery met sensibility and the joy of the moment. The visual artist for the evening was going to be Martha Jo Mahoney, but she couldn't make it. Bernie Martin was working on a watercolor at stage right and I was sketching in the balcony so the visual arts were represented. I was surrounded  by a family who took some interest in what I was doing. I recognized the husband but couldn't quite place him. Finally after a short conversation, I realized it was Mark Simon, who wrote a book called Storyboards, Motion in Art. I have that book in my art library and refer to it anytime I get a storyboard assignment. What a small world. This was the first time Mark and his family attended a Timucua concert. They were in for an explosive, experimental treat.

The music was edgy and on the verge of  pure cacophony. As I worked, I realized I didn't have a rag to wipe off my brushes. I used the sketch itself to wipe clean the brush. I worked in a frenzy driven by the music and the panic of the moment. Both performers had thick grey hair that swept around the back of their skulls reminiscent of friendly poltergeist clowns. I'm considering growing my own grey  lion's mane to duplicate this bohemian look.

After the concert people socialized around snacks and wines in the entry foyer. I caught up with Wendy Wallenburg, who helps out at the social hour, and her friends, Sarah Austin and Nikki Mier.  Nikki suggested I should start wearing outlandish clothes as a fashion statement so people can spot me at events.  I still prefer to blend in with the wallpaper. Elaine Corriveu, who is Benoit Glazer's wife, and the hostess for the evening, wanted to see my sketch. I honestly believe she appreciates what I do. If you haven't been to the White House, then you are missing out on a gem of the local music scene.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Central Florida Composers Forum Concert

CF2 was evening of new music by local composers at the Timucua White House. I arrived with Terry about an hour before the concert because the idea had been tossed around with Serena Jones, that it might be nice for me to project a sketch I was working on live during the concert. Unfortunately for technical reasons, that didn't work out but I still got a great sketch from the second floor balcony. Serena worked the multi media imagery on a flat panel TV screen from her laptop.

The featured artist for the evening was Woody Igou. Woody set up a series of sculptures on card tables. One sculpture was of a series of hollow horns stacked up. At the beginning of the performance he mixed some gorilla glue with pigments and salt and he poured the mixture inside the horns. For the rest of the evening the mixture expanded like the blob, overflowing and oozing down like lava.

The CF2 concert offered contemporary composers an open forum to showcase their recent work.
Featured Composers on the Program:
Daniel Crozier (Rollins College) - Piano solo (2009)
Benoit Glazer (Music Director for La Nouba) - Brass Quintet and Percussion Quintet (2011)
Charles Griffin (Full Sail University) - Flute Quartet, prerecorded audio and video projection (2010) Rebekah Todia (Full Sail University) - Soprano and piano (2012)

Charles Griffin's composition featured animated projections that responded to the music. The audience was encouraged to repeat vocalizations as they appeared on the screen. Everyone followed with shhh, and ah, ah sounds. This gave a primal feel to the proceedings.

The concert was an invigorating multimedia mix of electro acoustic, post-minimal, contemporary art song, solo piano and big-band jazz pieces by musicians and composers from Rollins, Full Sail, UCF and of course, Benoit Glazer, the musical director of Cirque du Soleil, and resident of the (Timucua) White House.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Acoustic Eidolon

The Timucua White House hosted Joe Scott and Hannah Alkire who are a tour-de-force of acoustic music, described as “World Music for the Soul.” In February 1998, Joe Scott and Hannah Alkire founded Acoustic Eidolon. What began as a musical adventure turned quickly into a life adventure, for both Hannah and Joe. Joe described how he builds his own double-neck guitjo. He described the intricacies of designing and playing this one of a kind instrument. His long impassioned description was followed by, "Oh, yea, Hanna plays a cello. Hanna and everyone else laughed.

It might have been fate or destiny that brought these talents together but this couple from Colorado had a unique and heart felt sound. Hannah told a story about how she checked her cello in with luggage for a United Airlines flight and what she got back was splintered and destroyed. United never accepted responsibility for the damage. Scott wrote Hannah a song called "In Your Cathedral" of condolence for the instrument which she called, her lost voice. It was the first of many love songs. This couple who made beautiful music together eventually got married on October 14, 2001. Hannah wrote a song called "Hurricane Hannah" that expressed the whirl wind of emotions as she searched to regain her voice. A cello repairman had a large slab of wood that came from the same tree Hannah's instrument came from. The repaired cello had just as rich a sound when repaired.

Terry, my wife arrived late, but when my sketch was done, she sat beside me and rested her head in my lap.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Benoit Glazer

Benoit Glazer and his wife opened their home, the Timucua White House, starting in September 2000, to bring free music to the Orlando community. I've sketched many of these concerts and have always been pleased to discover new talents. Benoit and his family believe and promote the following...
Art and music belong to everyone.
Art and music are the highest manifestation of our humanity.
Art and music should be enjoyed in the most intimate venue: the living room.
Every community is better when art and music are performed and nurtured within it.

After one concert, I discovered that Benoit was composing the sound track music for an independent film called "7 Lives of Chance" that was filmed right here in Orlando. This film, written and directed by Banks Helfrich, is about a woman who loves balloons and is unable to let go of the past. Her life would be so much easier and less painful if she could let go and watch her worries drift away with the breeze. The sound track features light and breezy violin music giving the story a distinct European flair. Benoit jumped at the chance to compose the music.

I sketched Benoit on the weekend as he worked in his sound studio. A collection of violins and trumpets lined one wall. A window looked out on the main stage area in his custom built acoustically designed "living room." His flat screen computer monitor was tilted vertical so he could see all the tracks. The family was watching a neighbors dog. The Benoits also have a greyhound and this dog made the tragic mistake of nipping at the greyhound while it slept. The greyhound was jolted awake, and bit down on the the other dog's head. The children took the dog to the vet at a great expense. The dog lay on the floor with a big band aid covering the bite. The dog was restless, and occasionally Benoit would have to soothe it, making sure the dog didn't scratch at the wound with it's paws.

After each concert, Benoit mixes a CD to thank the musicians for performing. He began mixing a CD for singer Ashley Lockheed. Chris Rotmeyer was on piano, Ben Cramer on Base and Allen Vache on clarinet. Benoit informed me that Allen is a very big deal, having performed with the Jim Cullen band. The music filled the tiny sound studio as Benoit adjusted the levels again and again. I was surprised when he asked my opinion on the levels of one track. I was just as surprised when he agreed with my humbly assessment. Benoit adjusted the levels using pure instinct. He doesn't consider himself a perfectionist, he just knows when it feels right.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Charles Eisenstein on Sacred Economics

Charles Eisenstein, the author of Sacred Economics, gave a talk at the Timucua White House. Harlan Wallner got on stage to introduce Charles. He stood there for a long while beaming. He said he had planned a long time on how he might introduce Charles but instead he just wanted to smile. He said, we were in for an enlightenment.

Charles stood at the very edge of the stage his toes reaching towards the audience. He began by saying, "This is the first talk I have given at the White House." Which broke the ice with laughter. Behind him two spot lights created a heart shaped pool of light on the painting in the corner. I began by sketching that pool of light.

He outlined how our society today is surrounded by product, not true nourishment. Most people feel that community is missing from our lives. Money tends to block us from the natural expression of our gifts. Community is something that is woven from gift relationships. In ancient societies, wealth was a matter of how much you shared. If a hunter brought down a large catch, he couldn't eat it all himself before it spoiled. He would share the catch with the community. Today, financial independence means you don't need others. The dissolution of community to a shallow consumer society relates as well to the high number of divorces today. Community comes from creatively producing together.

Existence is a matter of giving. Our default state is gratitude. The world is a web of gifts. Growing up we accepted the gifts of our parents. When we are older we seek to give those gifts in return. Joint consumption doesn't create intimacy. Only joint creativity and gifts create intimacy. Anything we do has significance. Perhaps our society doesn't place a high monetary value on someone sitting with a person in hospice. But a shared moment of forgiveness at the end of life has an immense value. How will that change the world?

Look for gifts in the unspoken. Bow in service to what you need to create. You have to be in service of something. Everyone wants to live a life of meaning. Something wants to be born, to be created. It's light will bring up pain. You might think, "It's impossible" or "I'll be left behind." Pay attention to that pain, give it space, then move past it. The logic of the heart wants to be of service. Love is the felt experience of connection to another human being. An economist feels, more for you is less for me. But a person in love knows that more for you is more for me as well. If you love someone, then their happiness is your happiness. Your sense of self expands to include others. That is a different kind of revolution. We want to create a more beautiful world our hearts tell us is possible. A sacred world. A world that works for everybody. A world of peace. "You can't evict an idea whose time has come."

After the talk, I spoke with Dina Peterson who had recently lost her job and is considering moving to Indiana. Regardless, she wanted to buy one of my calendars. I was touched. I realized I only had a single dollar bill in my wallet. Rather than take the money, I suggested she "gift" the money to Charles. I felt good knowing I had made a contribution. When she came back, she said she felt rich being able to give the extra cash to the speaker. This was our shared experience in Sacred Economics for the evening.

Friday, February 10, 2012

David M. Roth

Folk singer David M. Roth performed at the White House. Artist Ed Sanderson stood in the corner and did a quick impasto landscape painting as David played. Ed was one of the first visual artists to paint live at the White House and he had returned several times. Davids mellow tunes all had uplifting hope filled lyrics. What made the performance special for me was the way he wove his family history into monologues between his music. His father came to this country to make a better life for his family and he had hopes that his son would one day be a success as a doctor or lawyer. David did find success doing something he loved and sharing that love of music with others.

David was asked to perform at a NASA conference and he suggested in an off hand way that he could write a song especially for the occasion. Months passed and he forgot about the promise, but the organizer called him right before the conference to let him know how excited she was to hear his song. He panicked but just happened across an article about Sputnik, the first Soviet satellite. That mysterious orb sent fear into every American heart and the space race began. His inspired song pointed out that if future explorations were fueled by love rather than fear, then we could accomplish anything.

A race to the furthest star
A race to the galaxies above
If a little bit of fear can go so far
Imagine what a world could do with love

The song he wrote was later taken into space by a shuttle astronaut. When he told his father the amazing news, that his music was orbiting the earth, his father asked, "So how much does that put in your pocket?"

Later when his father was sick and in Hospice care, David would sit bedside and play his music for him. His father wasn't very responsive, slipping in and out of consciousness. As David was leaving hospice with his sister, he suddenly had a feeling he had to return and speak with his father. He asked, "Are you aware that I have been playing music for you?" His fathers eyes flickered open and he said, "Yes, it is beautiful." Rob was a bit choked up as he said, "That was the only time he acknowledged that he liked my music." A few days later, his father died. When Rob thinks of his dad, he always has that moment to treasure.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Big Bang

On the second day of the Accidental Music Festival, there was an open rehearsal at Urban ReThink for a big band orchestral work titled "In the Beginning". Composed by John Alvarez this was a new work that referenced what the beginning of the universe might have sounded like. Chris Belt conducted the piece which was organized in three movements, Before Time, the Big Bang and the Expanding Universe.

A computer crash held up the electronic sounds associated with Before Time. After the computer was re-booted, the piece began with the a gentile rise and growing unrest of pure electronic noise. Big band members who did not have to play began to shield their ears from the high pitched sound.

In one punch the whole big band attacked a note announcing the Big Bang. Alto, tenor and barl saxophones mingled and fought with the trumpets, trombones and percussion. The drummers each had bright day glow flexible tubes they waved over their heads like lassos. This created a mysterious hollow tone like wind singing in a cave. Much of the composition is cacophonous and aggressive yet every note was planned. Several times players got lost in the chaos and everyone would begin again.

On September 11th at 7pm the world premiere of "In the Beginning" will be held at the Timucua White House (2000 South Summerlin Avenue). With September 11th also being the ten year anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, the sounds of the Big Bang will likely evoke emotions tied in to another chaotic moment that continues to cause unrest. As always the concert is free just bring wine or a snack if you would like to imbibe.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Le Musee de l'impressionisme

Robert Callender wrote a show that takes you through Le Musee de l'impressionisme room by room, with live musicians, dancers, and singers. The show was produced once in NY, so this was a chance to see it in Florida at the Timucua White House (2000 S. Summerlin Ave). Each musical number was based on a different impressionist painter, like Renoir, Monet, Bazille, Morisot, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Degas and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

Once Terry and I got to the White House, I made my way to the third floor to start my sketch. I sat against the railing along with a couple from out of town. Terry went downstairs to open the bottle of wine we had bought. I knew the dancers were from Emotions Dance and I was excited to see them perform. Three female vocalists backed up Robert Callender and the band was talented and tight with two guitars, a sax, Trumpet, bongo drums, a full drum set played by Benoit Glazer, the evenings host, and a wind synthesizer.

Wine wasn't allowed on the third floor so Terry never rejoined me. I got several texts from her where she praised the band. All of the dancing was improvised on the spot. I spoke with dancer, Cindy Michelle Heen, after the performance and she described how she lost herself in the music and the energy from the audience. Her body moved freely without the restrictions of second guessing. I sketched the dancers when they came out in bright red skirts for the Lautrec piece. For an inspired moment I felt like I was at the Moulin Rouge. Durring the second half of the performance, Paula Large sat at an easel in the back corner of the stage and she did a composite caricature sketch of the performers.

Friday, July 15, 2011

White House Concert

Satuko Fujii Ma-do, an experimental jazz quartet from Japan performed at the White House at an unusually early 3pm show. The White House concerts are free, being hosted by Benoit Glaser and his beautiful family. The concert space was designed by Benoit and it is acoustically exceptional. Benoit is the music director for Cirque du Soleil.

When I entered, I immediately wandered up the spiral staircase to the top floor where I filled my watercolor brushes with water in the bathroom. I found a seat right up against the railing overlooking the stage. I love this "god's eye" view. Robin Maria-Pedrero was the visual artist who worked next to the stage. Robin's canvas developed quickly as she brushed in large bold blocks of color. Under these colors was some masking agents which she rubbed off revealing hidden shapes and forms. Her bright multi layered work was a good match to the abstract experimental sounds of Satuko Fujii Ma-do.

The music was often dissonant and disjointed. The trumpet was used to create squealing wet sounds that caused some audience members to laugh uncomfortably. It was fun to sketch to and the rising swell and thrust of each piece inspired the lines I was dashing off on the page. Terry showed up late and her friend Wendy Wallenberg was there to joke around with us as we stood around the snack table after the concert. Wendy took over the hostess duties by straightening up and rearranging everything on the table.

I spoke with Robin the visual artist after the performance. She explained how she likes to find recognizable forms in the abstract brushwork she first puts down. She pointed to a canvas on the wall and said the rabbits were such a revelation to her. I didn't see the rabbits at first and I was surprised when their tiny forms jumped out at me.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Carol Stein at the White House

Terry knew Carol Stein from Dor Shalom, a local Jewish social group. This concert at Benoit Glazer's home (2000 south Summerlin Avenue) was one of the monthly concert held in this acoustically superb space. Carol plays light entertaining jazz that often incorporated riffs from classical music. She performed along with Eddie Marshall, Barry Smith and Charlie Silva. Jason Hunt had his detailed photo realistic pencil renderings hanging around the performance space. Carol pointed out that she is the proud owner if several of his pieces. I set up on the second floor balcony and started sketching frantically. Terry joined me on this outing but she stayed on the ground floor while I worked. Carol's mom was in the audience, and she dedicated a song to her. It was a fun lighthearted evening of jazz.