Happy new year, all! My sincere apologies for such an extremely long break between emails. As some of you know, I ended up having to move the end of October, so I took the last several weeks off from writing -- this included. I'm slowly getting back to old routines, though, which includes a return to artRecs.
:: your stuff ::
- Matt had one of his Stanford lab photos featured in the New York Times (!!!!). I think we should all buy him a nice alcoholic beverage or some such.
:: events ::
- The annual White Elephant Sale (aka, my favorite second-hand event of the year) returns! This year's annual fundraiser for the Oakland Museum of California fills an entire warehouse. Fight for parking and wade through crowded aisles March 1-2 or pay $15 to shop the preview sale Jan. 26. Better yet: Round up all your items to donate and get in for free on any of their remaining drop-off dates (you'll pay a 10% surcharge, though). Tip: Make a list beforehand of things to look for; otherwise the 20 different departments can overwhelm. If you're looking for spare parts for any appliances, be sure to take the accurate model number, as they don't accept returns.
- This fascinating interview with ?uestlove covers everything from Elvis Costello's remarkable composition speed to his methodology as a DJ and the minstrelsy of Miley Cyrus.
- My friend Laura Turner profiles a composer at City Church, whose project DNA Melody draws on our chemical-base sequences in composition. I don't fully understand how it works, but it sounds like a very neat project.
- I was fortunate enough to hear a Coltrane-themed set featuring Brian Blade and Jon Patitucci during my time at Redeemer, so I perked up when I saw this interview with Brian and his brother -- and fellow drummer -- Brady. Apparently the Coltrane show was special for the musicians, too; I found this old interview where Patitucci mentioned the evening. I don't know that that night was ever recorded, but you can hear one of Brian's recent sets at the Village Vanguard.
- Do lyrics still matter? (NPR)
:: reading ::
- You may have missed this in the news of last fall's Nairobi mall attack, but the 39 killed included a noted Ghanaian poet and diplomat, Kofi Awoonor. Though I wish I had learned of his life and work under happier circumstances, I was glad to discover his poetry. The Wall Street Journal reprinted his poem "Across New Dawn" from a forthcoming volume, due out this year. Even if you didn't follow the story closely, or normally take much interest in poetry, read that. Read it out loud, read it slowly so the images can wash over your mind one by one. And then, if you like, read more of his poems here.
- I still need to read his NYT obituary, but lately the local jazz radio station (KCSM, 91.1) has been playing songs featuring the poetry of Amiri Baraka.
- In another piece from Laura Turner, this nice essay about waiting introduced me to a poem I'd not previously encountered.
- On offline, slow reading: "Making your way through a long, realist novel means taking a journey with another self; you look into people’s inner lives as you could never do by watching a three-minute iPhone video." (NYT)
- Another friend, Rachel Stone, wrote a beautiful piece on relationships with the elderly.
- As one who still tries to write letters (though my cards have shrunk over the years!) I enjoyed this review of the role correspondence played in the routine of various writers.
- My friend Susan Isaacs' husband wrote this beautiful account of a conversation with a homeless vet he interviewed at a rescue mission.
:: visual art and film ::
- In this neat portraiture project, a black photographer took a group of middle-aged white professional women and did corporate-style portraits of them with "black" hairstyles.
- The Mazzarellos made their annual "inspiration trip" to Europe last fall, this time visiting Amsterdam, Paris, Rome and Copenhagen. View all their pictures and take a vicarious vacation.
- A New York-based photographer friend's non-profit was featured on the New York Times Lens blog, as part of a story on a high-school photography project. So proud of Alicia.
- The owners of Bourbon and Branch plan to open a new bar in downtown Berkeley (soon??). Between that spot, Revival Kitchen and Comal, downtown Berkeley's turning quite a scene for the working set, not just students.
- And this list of 15 bars "to visit before you die" (including one in SF and least two in New York) almost makes me want to plan a stopover at the Atlanta airport, so I can check out its bar that made the list, with a cocktail featuring beet and cardamom (if I got that right).
- You might not think pumpkin would taste good in lasagna, but this vegetarian version with sauteed greens is very tasty.
- You've read Tolkien. You've seen the film adaptations. But have you tried reproducing the feasts? This fun NPR piece shows how to host a hobbit feast, er, elevenses.
- Lastly, if you resolved to give more homemade gifts this year, the Wall St. Journal asked several chefs to share their favorite recipes to give away.