music

New Article on Medium about The 64th Viennese Opera Ball
5 star review | art | beauty | charity | dance | excellence | gratitude | happiness | kindness | love | music | real friends | Sabin Howard

New Article on Medium about The 64th Viennese Opera Ball

So I have posted a new article on Medium, a site I’ve never used before, about my experiences at the 64th Viennese Opera Ball.

I was invited by a dear friend who’s an Austrian Countess.

What a gorgeous gala! Filled with music, song, fashion, and delectable food. Not to mention the fascinating people I encountered. 

I loved the ball and enjoyed myself immensely. It was the most beautiful pageantry! It was truly a treat and I recommend it.

Read all about it on Medium.

Recent Independent Artists & Thinkers BTR shows I enjoyed
blogtalkradio | friends | interview | life model | music | radio

Recent Independent Artists & Thinkers BTR shows I enjoyed

I enjoy hosting unconventional, out-of-the-box thinkers on my weekly BlogTalkRadio Show, Independent Artists & Thinkers. BTR offers great flexibility for me to invite these fascinating folks on for a thought-provoking discussion. The show usually airs on Thursdays at 1 NY time, but sometimes the day or the hour changes to accommodate the guest.

All of the shows have been great. Here are some from the last few weeks:

Today I hosted musician David Sklar, which was great fun as he is a friend. He had thoughtful things to say about the journey of the musician and the state of music today.

David Sklar

[sc_embed_player_template1 fileurl=”http://www.independentartiststhinkers.com/show_davidsklar.mp3″]

If the audio player doesn’t show or work for you, access the show here.

Last week racy novelist L.V. Lewis talked about writing steamy multi-cultural romances. She started off as a fan fiction writer. I read her book Fifty Shades of Jungle Fever and found it to be smart and frisky with crisp, well-developed characters and a strong voice.

LV Lewis
[sc_embed_player_template1 fileurl=”http://www.independentartiststhinkers.com/show_lvlewis.mp3″]
Or access the show here.

The week before, Bosnian Serb and Muay Thai Champion Ognjen Topic spoke of his journey of becoming a world champion. He was engaging and unexpectedly wise as he talked about mastering and using fear and devoting oneself completely to one’s goals.

Ognjen Topic
[sc_embed_player_template1 fileurl=”http://www.independentartiststhinkers.com/show_ognjen.mp3″] Or access the show here.

Listen in, these shows were kinda cool!

BTR show

5 star review | art | authors | language | music | redemption | writing

Word Crimes by Weird Al Yankovic

I couldn’t stop laughing when I first viewed this video.

I blast Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines on my iPhone when I’m on the elliptical trainer at the gym, working out until I shake with sweat. So I know the tune.

This is just fantastic, I love Weird Al. Can we elect him President?

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Gv0H-vPoDc[/youtube]

Finishing the First Draft of BROKEN
Broken | hard work | how to write a book | kindness | literature | music | redemption | writing

Finishing the First Draft of BROKEN

A post on Finishing the First Draft of Broken.

Things were bad in Occupied Paris and getting worse.

Then the first draft was done.

I’m always strangely nerved up when I finish the first draft of a novel. I’m wired and chomping at the bit and high strung. I need my husband to rub me down and I need a warm, lavender-scented bubble bath with Mozart and Enya playing in the background.

There’s still so much work to do on the manuscript–see Annie Lamott’s beautiful book Bird by Bird for a discussion on the value of shitty first drafts–but a first draft is something complete that I can work with. It’s a whole fabric that I can tear into and reweave as needed.

So I’m happy and excited because I’ve made my vision concrete, and because the end is in sight. I’m keyed up because I’m going to gallop to the finish line. Then, of course, I’ll saddle up for the next marathon. But for now I’ve made progress. That is joyful indeed.

I get a little blue when the novel is actually done, when it goes to the book designer to be laid out in book format. Then it’s over, and it’s time to leave that world that I created so lovingly.

Time to move to the next world that lies dreaming in my imagination, waiting to be spun onto the page….

 

Magnificent music: Rodrigo y Gabriela at the Beacon!
art | music

Magnificent music: Rodrigo y Gabriela at the Beacon!

A review of Rodrigo y Gabriela at the Beacon

My sweet, sexy husband asked for only one thing for his birthday: tickets to Rodrigo y Gabriela‘s concert at the Beacon.

So Thursday night we were there, both of us keyed up for a live rendition of the music we play so often at home.

The opening band was pitiful. Boring. Sabin was puzzled about why the dynamic Spanish musicians would have that act as an opener. “Listening to these kids is like highway hypnosis,” he said. “They’re in flatline all the time.” He decided that Rodrigo y Gabriela chose them as contrast, so they would sound even better when they came on stage.

Sabin’s grandfather was a concert pianist, his 77-year-old father still plays piano every day, and Sabin grew up with music permeating every aspect of his life. He attended concerts all the time and he took music lessons. He has fine discernment about musical skill and talent.

The lady next to me put her head on her husband’s shoulder, closed her eyes, and snoozed during the opener. The lady in front of me poured herself into her iPhone email. Most folks just chattered, because that opening band was a lot like muzak, but less appealing. I couldn’t stop giggling at Sabin’s dismay. When the valium-esque opening band said good-bye, everyone cheered enthusiastically.

Then heaven opened its gates: rich, gorgeous, astonishing sound poured forth. It was exuberant and it was full and it was structured and it was excellent. That’s what Sabin and I talked about for the next few days: Rodrigo y Gabriela’s excellence. Their intelligence.

I’m not just saying that because one song was a Dostoyevsky tribute!

These are two virtuoso musicians whose fanatic discipline and dedication to their craft shows. They embody the hard work and uncompromising devotion that goes along with art at a stratospheric level, and they play with the passion and delight and joy that is immanent and infectious in art of that caliber.

They are also consummate entertainers. Lovely Gabriela’s hand looked like a hummingbird, it moved so inhumanly fast over the guitar; I couldn’t believe how much sound she got out of her instrument. She was an abiding pleasure to hear. Rodrigo was funny and warm-hearted and masterfully in command, not a single note out of place. The musical dialogue between their guitars was awe-inspiring, mind-blowing. They gave 178% of themselves to the show–they gave everything, and it was evident.

It was a great show to be present for, and did what great art does: it transformed and elevated us, the viewers. It changed our state-of-being.

I am very grateful for Sabin’s choice of birthday presents, which was as much a gift for me as for him!

 

Peppe Voltarelli rocks out Subculture on Bleecker Street
anarchy | music

Peppe Voltarelli rocks out Subculture on Bleecker Street

Last night, with great anticipation, my husband Sabin and I took the subway down to Bleecker Street. We made our way to the basement of number 45, where Subculture NYC was hosting Calabrian musician Peppe Voltarelli. Peppe is a friend of Sabin’s, which is why we weren’t sculpting–we usually work at night, but we took the night off for Peppe.

There was a lively crowd, mostly Italians, all happily keyed up to listen to this unique and wonderful singer. I was excited, too. I love Peppe’s music, which is a combination of rocked up folk songs and original ballads and other sprightly tunes.

@Subculture_NYC tweeted it best, and I happily favorited and retweeted: Tonight! Italian troubadour @peppevoltarelli sings his way through heartache and triumph. Tix: http://bit.ly/R3ByxQ  pic.twitter.com/Y1Cjhug9lC

We shook Peppe’s hand in the Green Room before the show, and Sabin and Peppe chatted in Italian. I couldn’t resist the impulse to show Peppe a picture of my daughter, who is a huge fan of his. Peppe was gracious and agreeable about her, as only an Italian can be about someone else’s children.

Peppe opened the show with Sta Città, and I almost rushed the stage, I was so delighted! At home, we blast that song on our speakers at least once a week. “Tickety ta, sh-boom!”

The consummate entertainer, he played the guitar while singing, then switched to piano for a few songs, telling us that the Steinway on stage would suit his Calabrian dialect “like jazz lives in New Orleans.” Some of the songs were in dialect, one was even in German. All were spirited and the audience joined in, clapping and hollering and sometimes singing along.

One rousing tune concerned anarchists, and how they get knocked down and keep popping back up. That song fired my heart with joy. I consider myself an anarcho-capitalist these days. I can’t abide the culture of dependency and entitlement and big brother NSA spying thuggery that the Democrats promote, nor can I align myself with the “let’s protect our money and prevent women and gay people from having rights” mindset of the Republicans. American politics has sadly degenerated into a sham of democracy, and it’s the end of the American empire and Pax Americana as we drift further and further off course, away from the noble ideals of our founding fathers.

But there’s music to soothe my unease, the warm-hearted, human music of Peppe Voltarelli. I recommend it to everyone.

By the way, if you haven’t seen his song Italiani Superstar on Youtube, check it out! It’s a splendid example of what music can be: human, community-oriented, wry, heartfelt, and engaging at the same time. It’s music for the soul.
http://youtu.be/EhuMUjL09Qo

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