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Eureka Birds @ Stoop

Last Monday, I got to see my colleague Dan’s band Eureka Birds at CenterStage as part of Baltimore’s legendary Stoop storytelling series.  Eureka Birds, with their ethereal, upbeat sound and occasionally gritty lyrics, were a perfect fit for the evening’s “That’s Incredible” ghostly storytelling theme.  If you missed the evening, last week Baltimore’s NPR rebroadcast the alternately hilarious and surreal story by physicatric nurse Matt Manning.

Eureka Birds are well-versed in this particular combination of lighthearted macabre.  Several tracks off their  albums follow in the long tradition of the American murder song, including “Baby’s Got a Blade,” the first track on their latest album, Strangers.

For those in Baltimore who missed the show last week, Eureka Birds will be at Metro Gallery tonight with She Keeps Bees.  And for everyone else: a few months ago they released a fantastic new video by Dreambear for their track “Fastest.”  Check it out — it really captures the dynamic energy of their latest album.

End-of-Week Reading

by Nozomu Okabe

Photo by Nozomu Okabe

 

For some end-of-week reading…

…an exceptionally terrific piece of flash nonfiction by Kathryn Nuernberger,

laughter, photographed,

how to get kids interested in art,

…and the inimitable Maya Angelou’s talk for Americans for the Arts:

“Our actors and sculptors and painters and writers and poets must be made to know that we appreciate them, that in fact it is their very work which puts starch in our backbones.”

Architecture

David Boyle and architect Michele Bertomen built a light, airy house in Brooklyn out of shipping containers.  This video captures their story — both the difficulties of the approval process and the ingenuity, creativity, and warmth that led to this incredible home.  The resulting space is safe, ecological, and filled with beautiful, authentic decor that reflects the spirit and genuineness of the couple that built it.  Good motivation for this wintery Friday afternoon.

You can read the full article at the Gothamist here.

Take a Breath

Baltimore

When I lived in Baltimore, these two signs were painted on the building directly opposite mine.  The spacing I think is their genius: it takes an extra beat to read them, their form asks that you enact their meaning.  For years, each morning when I left for work, I unpuzzled and repuzzled them.  Take a Breath.  Enjoy the Ride.

Baltimore

Listening Lately: Edith Piaf

Music has been challenging for me recently.  As I go through some significant life changes, I find that a lot of music cuts too close.

I’ve been listening to Edith Piaf a lot though.  There are other singers of her ilk whom I love (Ella Fitzgerald, most notably), but Edith Piaf is the one I’ve been listening to now.  I think it helps that because she sings in French, I can focus just on the movement of her voice — the rich throaty force of it.

Listening to Piaf in my father’s kitchen a couple weeks ago, he mused that it would have been amazing to hear her sing in person.  What a lovely thought.  I imagine her in a nightclub in the 1930s.  That’s where I’d want to hear her.

There, or right here, in the kitchen with my father.

Lately

Sunflower

1. Visiting with my beloved cousin (who lives in Indonesia) for the first time in over two years.  Random: The last day I saw her, I woke up early to watch the royal wedding; submitted a grad school paper on Frances Burney.  This feels like a good barometer of what two years means.

2.  Looking at the prairie sunflowers on Sandy Hook, New Jersey’s beaches.  I can’t find out how they got there originally.  Wind?  A seed scatterer from some past beach trip?  I tried to read about their history, but couldn’t find it.  Regardless, they grow there along the sand dunes with the ferns and sedges and grass.

Sunflower

Room Enough

Jake's

Last weekend, my mother and I went away to Rehoboth.  We visited galleries, bought jewelry at (amazing) local shops, sat in an alleyway courtyard over long Lori’s breakfasts, ate seafood, watched two Chesapeake sunsets.  We spend an afternoon lying on a beach mat listening to the waves.

Rehoboth

Over a lunch of fish tacos, my mom read that Rehoboth means room enough.  I love that.  When I got home, I researched some more.  It turns out Rehoboth is a word with long Biblical roots (which makes sense given this beach town’s earliest origins).  Somewhere, I found the word Rehoboth defined as a place of enlargement and flourishing…

Rehoboth

A place of enlargement and flourishing… couldn’t be more fitting for this moment in my life.

Cantler's

Textile

IMG_8498

Last weekend I went with some friends to the National Botanic Garden.  We missed the infamous Titan arum blooming by just a few days… but we also missed its accompanying blockbuster lines.  And we did get to see its fallen — and odor-free — aftermath.  (Have you all seen this time-lapse video of its blooming?  Amazing!)

Leaf Pattern

Texture

Though we didn’t get to see the Titan arum, we found plenty to admire at the Botanic Garden.  How much in the human history of pattern and design must be inspired by plants.  I kept looking at the leaves and bark and blossoms and thinking how great they’d look transferred onto textiles and paper goods and architectural details.  In fact, I actually have a print-making project up my sleeve for this fall.

In the meanwhile, enjoy this crazy, impressive aloe.

Aloe