Thursday, September 29, 2011

Seen Around Midtown: Deconstructed School (Before/After)

I've tried but failed to find any information about the empty school building that once stood at the corner of Pennsylvania and 39th Terrace. I walked past it often, and stopped to photograph it once. Since then, the building has been razed to the ground (they just made it that far today) and while I didn't get pictures of that, I did get some the other day when they were still tearing it down. Enjoy these before and after pics... (Click on any pic to see it larger).


Before:











After:












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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Hedgehog (Movie Review)


My older bro Curtis came back in town (after being gone for several months at Army Reserve training) and took me to see The Hedgehog at the Tivoli yesterday. (warning: spoilers ahead)
It's a story centered on a depressed 11 year-old girl, Paloma, who decides to commit suicide on her 12th birthday, which is 165 days after she starts filming a documentary about the adults around her. Paloma compares adult life to living in a fishbowl - limiting and degrading - and refuses to allow herself to become part of it. Hence, her suicide plan (to steal 1 pill a week from her mother and then overdose).

Kakuro via zap2it.com

Paloma spends her time out of school on creative projects, including her film, and with getting to know Kakuro, her new Japanese neighbor, a widower, and Renee, the concierge of her building, a private, bookworm widow. Kakuro and Renee also get to know one another, leading to a budding romance.

Renee via zap2it.com

The fish in a fishbowl imagery (Paloma's older sister has one which stays in the living room) & comparison is woven through Paloma's commentary of the lives she observes - her politically-obsessed father, pill-popping, alcoholic mother, and all the other people she meets - except for Renee and Kakuro whom Paloma sees as having special qualities that set them apart from everyone else. The fish even comes to embody her future as an adult, which is probably why she "tests" her mother's pills on the goldfish, watching it float belly up. Paloma flushes it, but Renee later finds the goldfish swimming in her toilet, and gives it a new home.

I found the movie intriguing and well paced, through I was frustrated that the sound editors had the noise of an 8 mm camera playing throughout the entire thing. The cinematography interspersed shots that Paloma was taking of herself and those around her with more typical and elegantly-framed shots.

Paloma, Kakuro and Renee are each fascinating characters in their different ways, and their interactions are the most compelling moments of the film. The accidental death of Renee on the day of Paloma's 12th birthday brings the goldfish back to Paloma and teaches her the wonder and preciousness of life, ending the story with a bittersweet taste - much like the dark chocolate Renee so enjoyed.

If you like movies about oddballs and outcasts finding sanctuary in each other, then you should most definitely see this.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Anticipating an Evening with Deva Premal & Miten


When I want to really relax or just meditate and I can't get out in the woods somewhere, I put on some kind of chanting music - Gregorian chant, Sanskrit chant... whatevs. There's something about this type of sound that soothes and calms me unlike any other.


That's how I found out about Deva Premal & Miten, a couple who creates music based in Sanskrit, Sufi, Hopi, Uruba, Tibetan and other chants. This info comes from their website:

Deva Premal and Miten met in India in 1990 and soon began a journey into love and creativity that has taken their inspiring blend of song, mantra and meditation to a worldwide audience. They have released a string of acclaimed CDs with international sales of nearly one million, and their concerts and ecstatic chant workshops are met with rave reviews throughout Europe, Australia, South America, Canada and the United States.

Their music transcends all the usual musical boundaries, with fans including rock icon Cher, who featured one of Deva’s most popular chants, the Gayatri Mantra, on her Farewell Concert Tour; world renowned author and motivational coach Tony Robbins, and even His Holiness The Dalai Lama who, after hearing Deva & Miten sing for a private audience, exclaimed, “Beautiful music, beautiful…!
Excitingly, Deva & Miten will be in Kansas City (and Missouri) for the first time EVER this upcoming Wednesday, September 28th at Unity Temple on the Plaza. I'm looking forward to experiencing their music first-hand, and hope you will take some time to listen to the following music and see if it touches you.







If you want to purchase a ticket, you can buy them in person at Stone Spirit Lodge in Westport or online at Brown Paper Tickets.

You can also enjoy a free download of a song by clicking here or read more about Deva & Miten from these local publications.


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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Event Pics: SlutWalk / Chalk Drawing Demo

My weekend was packed with interestingness. Saturday was the Kansas City SlutWalk. If you haven't heard about SlutWalks, they were started in response to a a police officer practicing victim-blaming in Toronto.


Despite the heavy-ish rain early in the afternoon, there was still a significant turnout, plus lots of honking in support from passing cars. Here's some pics:





My friend Kate wasn't content with just a sign...
she made it into a performance piece!





After the walk, we gathered in Southmoreland Park to dance & hear speeches.




It was awesome to see all the younger feminists out in force. Gives me hope for the future. :)

The other interesting thing I did this weekend was to do a chalk drawing demo with my friend Isidoro. We were part of a group of artists who take part in the Kansas City Chalk & Walk Festival. Restaurants in the Crossroads District asked us to draw on Sunday while the crowds were out for the Kauffman Performing Arts Center's Open House. It rained so much that day, I thought I wouldn't be able to get my drawing done. But the skies cleared up around 1:30 PM so we got to work.

My lovely assistant!







This is the closest I have to a picture of the finished drawing.
I forgot to take a pic once Isidoro had finished the flames
!

I was drawing in front of the as-yet-unopened Snow & Co.


Snow & Co. is an artisan frozen cocktail bar that will be opening by October's First Friday. Jerry, one of the owners (pictured below), was taking care of us that day, and from the way he described their cocktails, they are going to have an incredibly unique & delicious set of products.


You should check them out on Facebook, where they're currently getting help naming their drinks.

Hope you had a fun weekend!

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