For the past couple years I have been involved with 826LA – the local branch of a national organization helping kids improve their writing skills. Founded by Dave Eggers, 826LA offers a variety of programs including after school tutoring, field trips, student publications, in school tutoring, and my favorite, weekend workshops. Workshops are taught by volunteers who work with the Director of Education to develop an idea or area of expertise into a full fledged two hour experience, culminating in a final, writing-related, product. One such workshop I recently taught explored the relationship between the writing, performance and music. (more…)
When I was little I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. A painter, to be specific. It was the clearest way I knew how to translate images and stories in my head into something I could see and touch. I always told myself that someday – when I was a real artist – I would finally be able to paint the perfect sunset. I tried a few times of course, but I just couldn’t get the textures, layers or nuances in each vivid shade. No matter. Someday I would get there. Well, that day still hasn’t come, but living in California and getting to see the most beautiful sunsets every day from the 5th Floor of my office building has certainly brought it to the forefront of my mind again.
After catching their killer show at Spaceland a few months ago with Solid Gold, I just had to learn more about East LA band, Marvelous Toy. One thing led to another and soon I was in touch with Jordan Hudock, the braintrust of the band. I caught up with him for a couple tasty beers at El Prado to chat about his mixtape “WAKE UP!” and got some local tips along the way…
Mornings are by far the most polarizing time of day – most people either love them or despise them. For some, waking up from a good sleep is an unfortunate necessity; they refuse to make Saturday plans any earlier than 3pm. Others leap out of bed at 8am and run 3 miles before cooking a well-balanced breakfast. Wake up the wrong way – on the wrong side of the bed, if you will – and your day is ruined. Whether you’re a late sleeper forced to rise at the crack of dawn, or an early riser who misses the alarm – you’re cranky all day.
Considering my mix this week was inspired by Josh Ritter’s “Another New World,” I suppose it’s only appropriate that I went on a bit of a journey to make it. At first I was thinking that I would stick to American poetry references that were vaguely about adventure and exploration – immediately settling on “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. Just as quickly I decided that “Woods” by Bon Iver needed to be on it. Then, however, I found myself veering farther away from the poem, focusing more on the theme of discovery and the unknown. I tried to stick with songs tonally similar to the Bon Iver track, but it was hard to commit to one genre so thought I would at least strive for an “offbeat edge” for a common thread. And so, like any long journey (at least any journey of mine) I probably got lost a few times along the way, but I’m pretty please with where I found myself in the end.