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Monthly Archives: January 2012

As promised in my last post over a week ago, here is a quick account of my trip to Miami, which was short but overall pretty sweet. I won’t bore you with the hour by hour itinerary of our trip but share just the highlights. My traveling pals and I took the red eye out of LAX Sunday and landed in Florida in the early hours when the only thing open was Panther Coffee, which luckily was one of the places on my check list. Located in the Wynwood district, it was a good way to start our trip and day. Although nothing else was open at that hour, we got to check out the area which in the past few years has transformed from a warehouse district to the hub of street art in Miami. We then spent the rest of the day driving all around Miami and South Beach checking out the different neighborhoods and islands before we had to board the ship for our cruise, which pretty much consisted of lots of eating, relaxing in the sun, and gambling– a lazy, enjoyable vacation.

We got back into Miami Friday morning and spent most of the day driving around to check out other areas of the city and hanging out at the beach, which is so much cleaner and nicer than the beaches around here. Later that night we went back the Wynwood district so we could check out the galleries but still, not many of the galleries were open but we walked around and checked out the few that were. If I didn’t already spend so much on the trip I would have loved to buy some art but it was still nice to look. The center of the area is the Wynwood Walls, which opened in 2009 and features the work of some of the world’s most recognizable graffiti and street artists, including Invader, Ryan McGinness, Shepard Fairey, and RETNA. This neighborhood is definitely what I liked most in Miami and hopefully I’ll be able to go back during the Art Fair or Art Basal to explore the city some more.

Other highlights of my stay in Miami:

  • Eternity Coffee
  • Looking at houses
  • Relaxing on the beach
  • Happy Hour at Sugarcane Raw Bar
  • The Webster boutique
  • The Wolfsonian- FIU
  • People watching in South Beach
  • Late dinner at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar

Ever since I was younger, I dreamed of one day having two main features in my future home, the first was a giant library like the one in Beauty and the Beast– wall to wall shelves full of books and the second was an amazing art collection. I’ve sort of been working on the former for years but only more recently have I started buying art. The first piece of art I ever owned was a painting by Alexandria Nechita, a child prodigy, that my aunt, who worked at a company that represented Nechita, gave me as a high school graduation present. Until more recently, that was the one real piece of art I owned. Probably because I only considered the art I learned about in school and saw in museums, I always thought of art collecting as something only wealthy people could do.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become interested in all kinds of art– things from esty.com and craft show artists to graffiti and famous artists exhibited in art museums. Of course, I can’t afford the art of the famous artists I admire but you gotta start somewhere, which is why I have become a fan of websites like 20×200. 20×200 makes it possible for anyone to start collecting art by featuring the work of emerging artists and works starting at $20 a print. These individuals may not be the next great artists but they are passionate about creating art and I think it’s amazing that they are doing what they love. So, in short, start collecting art– your life will be all the better because of it.

Untitled by Mike Monteiro

Start collecting today– use code “luckydaily4” at checkout and receive 50% any $50 print, today only courtesy of Lucky Magazine. Browse art here.

Also! I’ll be heading to Miami (and the Bahamas) next week so hopefully I’ll get to check out the booming art scene there. I’ll be sure to report on it when I get back.

Great NPR book review on Gil Scott-Heron’s memoir, The Last Holiday:

‘Holiday’: The Godfather Of Hip-Hop’s Last Gift

by Michael Schaub

“There ain’t no peace on earth, man,” sang Gil Scott-Heron on his legendary 1971 album Pieces of a Man. “Maybe peace when you die.” The groundbreaking jazz musician and poet was only 22 when he recorded those lines, but he seemed to know what lay ahead: While his brilliant career would forever change the face of American music, he spent much of his later life dealing with addiction and chronic health issues.

Scott-Heron died on May 27, 2011, at 62; the cause of his death has never been made public. Although his fans and admirers may never know if he found peace, he did leave behind one final gift. His memoir, The Last Holiday, is a singular triumph, one last act of love from the man often called “the godfather of hip-hop.”

The Last Holiday begins in Jackson, Tenn., where he was raised by his mother’s family. Still a child when he lost his beloved grandmother, he had learned, at a young age, to steel himself against loss and pain — although he had been “beaten up again and nearly blown over, stunned and stomped on,” he already “had run out of tears.”

Despite the tragedies that marked his youth, he would eventually become a successful student at Lincoln and Johns Hopkins universities, recording his best-known song, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” at the age of 21; and publishing two critically acclaimed novels (The Vulture and The Nigger Factory) before he was 23. The Last Holiday essentially ends in 1981, when he joined Stevie Wonder, with whom he’d been touring, for a Washington, D.C., rally that was instrumental in the creation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Scott-Heron’s music, literature and activism had ensured that America would never really be the same, but he never stopped thinking of himself as just “a piano player from Tennessee.”

It’s that kind of humility, combined with his gift for charming, unforced prose, that makes The Last Holiday such a fascinating memoir. Scott-Heron relates the stories of his brief time at an exclusive private high school; the successful student protest he led at Lincoln; and his and Wonder’s longtime friendship, with grace, charisma and a winning sense of humor.

But as another jazz legend, Thelonious Monk, once said, “What you don’t play can be more important than what you do.” And it’s hard to ignore the stories that Scott-Heron leaves out: He doesn’t mention his struggles with addiction, the months he spent in prison for drug possession, and the years he spent living with HIV. The passages about his partners and children are fleeting and tentative, which makes the book’s final chapter — a painfully honest reflection on his life as a husband and father — so beautiful, heartbreaking and unexpected.

It’s hard to expect complete candor from anyone, and The Last Holiday suffers little from what the author chose to leave out. In “Home Is Where the Hatred Is,” Scott-Heron sang, “God, but did you ever try / To turn your sick soul inside out / So that the world … can watch you die?” Most of us haven’t; most of us have never had that kind of desperate courage. Gil Scott-Heron did, baring his imperfect soul to the world for decades. We’re poorer for his loss, but richer for his words.

Bonus: Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie XX- “NY is Killing Me”

Extra bonus: The xx- “VCR”

Really looking forward to reading Gil Scott-Heron’s memoir and listening to the new The xx album, which is said to be in the works and due out this year.

In my post the other day I mentioned the term white noise without really giving any explanation to it’s origin or meaning. The term white noise means a mixture of sound waves, constant noise, or meaningless commotion. When I think of the term I think of the novel of the White Noise by Don DeLillo. The novel itself touches on several themes found in postmodern literature such as consumerism, fear of death, the disconnect and decay of family, and media saturated culture. Consumerism and media saturation are important factors when it comes to the idea of white noise because they are largely the source of it all. In the fast-paced, consumer obsessed, and media driven society we live in today it makes it difficult to distinguish the true reality from the simulated representations, or the simulacra. Don DeLillo depicts a frightening example of this in his novel:

We drove 22 miles into the country around Farmington. There were meadows and apple orchards. White fences trailed through the rolling fields. Soon the signs started appearing. THE MOST PHOTOGRAPHED BARN IN AMERICA. We counted five signs before we reached the site. There were 40 cars and a tour bus in the makeshift lot. We walked along a cowpath to the slightly elevated spot set aside for viewing and photographing. All the people had cameras; some had tripods, telephoto lenses, filter kits. A man in a booth sold postcards and slides — pictures of the barn taken from the elevated spot. We stood near a grove of trees and watched the photographers. Murray maintained a prolonged silence, occasionally scrawling some notes in a little book.

“No one sees the barn,” he said finally.

A long silence followed.

“Once you’ve seen the signs about the barn, it becomes impossible to see the barn.”

He fell silent once more. People with cameras left the elevated site, replaced by others.

We’re not here to capture an image, we’re here to maintain one. Every photograph reinforces the aura. Can you feel it, Jack? An accumulation of nameless energies.”

There was an extended silence. The man in the booth sold postcards and slides.

“Being here is a kind of spiritual surrender. We see only what the others see. The thousands who were here in the past, those who will come in the future. We’ve agreed to be part of a collective perception. It literally colors our vision. A religious experience in a way, like all tourism.”

Another silence ensued.

“They are taking pictures of taking pictures,” he said.

He did not speak for a while. We listened to the incessant clicking of shutter release buttons, the rustling crank of levers that advanced the film.

“What was the barn like before it was photographed?” he said. “What did it look like, how was it different from the other barns, how was it similar to other barns? We can’t answer these questions because we’ve read the signs, seen the people snapping the pictures. We can’t get outside the aura. We’re part of the aura. We’re here. We’re now.”

When I first read this passage several years ago it made me think of all the trips I took and shows I attended where I was more focused on taking pictures or videos of the events or places then actually being present and taking part in them. After reading the book, I have become overly aware of this and of people doing this that it has changed my experiences. I rarely take pictures or videos at shows anymore but then I instead find myself watching other people watching performances through the screen of their cameras. I guess it goes along with the idea of people today living their lives through their social networking sites and electronics and whatnot. Either way, I have become completely fascinated by the idea of white noise and simulacra, to say the least, and think it is definitely something to think about especially in today’s world.

Came across this and wanted to share.

20 Near Year’s Resolutions For 20-Somethings By Jessie Rosen

  1. Before you status update, Tweet, Tumble or Instagram, pause and say to yourself, “is it entirely necessary that I share this morsel of thought with my entire social network?”and if the answer is not, “yes, I absolutely must,” then step away from the Internet.
  2. Know which candidate you’re going to vote for in the upcoming presidential election, and know why.
  3. Enough with the 14-day juice cleanses. If you want to lose a little weight quickly, eat less and exercise like crazy. If you want to lose a lot of weight slowly, do whatever Jennifer Hudson did.
  4. If you really like the person you’re hooking up with and would like them to be your boyfriend/ girlfriend, find a way to tell them, and hope for the best. If you don’t and wouldn’t, stop.
  5. Find a way to save approximately 300 dollars and spend it on a flight to see a friend or family member who lives far away.
  6. Please stop liking the Kardashians, all of them. It’s not helping anyone, least of all the Kardashians.
  7. Spend less than or equal to the money you earn each month.
  8. Wear clothes that fit you, especially to work.
  9. Call someone on the phone at least once a week, and speak to him or her for at least ten minutes.
  10. Start preparing now to get over the fact that Facebook is probably going to change again in six months. You’re not going to deactivate your account. You don’t know how.
  11. Wait 30 seconds before you look up a fact you can’t remember on your phone, and try to remember it using your brain. This is what the olden days were like.
  12. Replace one terrible reality show you’re currently watching with one wonderful scripted show currently available on television.  Swap suggestion: Real Housewives of Anywhere for HBO’s Enlightened.
  13. Try that food you think you don’t like but have never actually tried, unless it’s brussels sprouts. They really don’t need any more attention.
  14. Cut one person out of your life who you truly do not like and add one person who you truly do. Note: not on Facebook, on Earth.
  15. If you’re still blacking out regularly, you should stop.
  16. Volunteer once over the next 90 days.  You’ll feel really good about it, and probably end up volunteering again over the next 275.
  17.  Tell someone who you love that you love them on a more regular basis. To their face, not in a text.
  18. Back up your entire online life onto an external hard drive, especially your photos.
  19. Crap or get off the pot. This applies to whatever thing you’re not doing that you should just sack up and do already.
  20.  And in the eternal words of Tom Haverford, “TREAT YO SELF!”

Source: thoughtcatalog.com