Friday, July 8, 2011

I now Blog over at Please join me. I explore personal growth and joie de vivre (fashion + art) through photography. All the photos are original except for those which are cited. Here's a peak at the new blog:
Hope to see you soon!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Grand Gestures

In theatre class, they always say "exaggerate everything." Taking a page from the thespian handbook,
Martha Beck, a magazine columnist and counselor, urges her readers and clients to double everything. Apparently, people only notice about 50 percent of what we think they notice about us. So, if you're afraid of dancing for fear of falling down in public. Cut your fear in half because your audience will only be half of what you think it is.
"Double the social behaviors you usually limit," Beck prods. "The energy with which you communicate, the intensity of the colors you wear, the number of times you laugh, the clarity of the opinions you voice."
While I loathe half-hearted "appropriate" gestures like chocolates and red roses on Valentine's Day, I love heart-felt grand gestures. This woman, Vanesa from Sevilla, apparently really likes this guy and wanted to let him know at their wedding ceremony. Instead of the typical priest-led drudgery, she did this. Even if you don't understand Spanish, you will feelher love.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Let's Get Loud

I am in love with the new song Free Me. If you've read past posts or met me in real life, obvious reasons light up in your brain. I just adore her free-mindedness and her balsy approach to her music. "No one is going to give it to you. You have to take it for yourself." But besides the personal touch, the music itself is excellent. And, by excellent I mean versatile, evocative and provocative. Her tracks range from soulful, throat-growling funks, to anti-governmentalist rants, to bluesy numbers. My current favorites are Free Me for its brazen lyrics and thumping beats, and 4 and 20 , a blues number-- her raspy voice soaked in a drizzle of piano keys, together sparkling over a stiff warning: Love or Leave Me. Same title introduces an old favorite of mine by the venerable Nina Simone. Different tune, same message.

I'm not sure what the message of most of Nancy Ajram's songs are but I know that they are an excellent antidote to a furious rant. Either your own unrelenting diatribe or that guy next to you. Akhasmak Ah is my personal cooking dance kick off. You set the board out on the counter, gather all the ingredients. Indispensable, of cousrse, are hot pepper, bell peppers, honey, lime ( I just learned this fact: lime is green and lemon is yellow...easier to remember if you know that the longer name corresponds to the longer adjetive). Then, you begin your general preparations and put on Akhasmak Ah and let your hips float up and dance. Recommended barefoot.

Incidentally, Lebanese director Nadine Labaki directed the video for Akhasmak Ah. The video is quite inspirational if you are thinking of belly-dancing or just dancing with unbounded glee in your own living room. Ya Salam requires wider feet shuffling, I think, and so recommended when cleaning or mopping floors.

Ya Rayah by Rachid Taha is another song that defies my linguistic skills but make my feet happy. I discovered this song via the movie Something New, which features a mostly African American cast but is not the stereotypical trope. Recommended for all those who enjoy romantic comedies where the woman is not a pathetic excuse of a person desperate for someone, anyone, with two balls (well, sometimes one ball will do) to take her to her cousin's wedding. Rachid Taha is French- Algerian but generally sings in Arabic.

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