Greetings all, its been a while! Wanted to share a few morsels of art and information for you to keep this blog fire alive. First, lets warm up with a reminder of the amazingness of tap dance:
Next, I was asked to share it…and so I will: an article about Eco-living which features some content by little old me. See link below! My blurb is about saving shower water (an idea I credit to my Grandma) and is below the photo of the bee. I’m not sure how I got on the radar for this Real Estate blog, but I appreciated the opportunity to write and share ideas with a wider audience. Boop! https://www.redfin.com/blog/living-sustainably-at-home/
On the subject of eco-living, I also came across an article recently about mobile phone energy saving tips and thought it interesting that turning one’s phone off vibrate is a way to save energy. Its the little things! If we all pick just one of these little things, we can help the world just a little bit. If we pick 2, so much good will ensue. Plus, ringtones can be fun! See article if you wish to learn something: https://earth911.com/eco-tech/mobile-phone-energy-saving-tips/
That’s pretty much it for now. A very belated Happy World Chimpanzee Day, year 4 to you all! The special day was on July 14th. I didn’t manage to properly commemorate it this year, so look out for next year’s festivities.
How bout some music to close us out. Here’s an artist I have been loving for the past few years. Her name is Sierra Ferrell and she started out as a busker and is really starting to make it big. So cool!
As my year of collecting E-waste off the streets and shuttling them to whatever facility will accept them for recycling comes to a close, I wanted to commemorate the experience with a spreadsheet, ah, sweet spreadsheets. In total, I collected 34 items which collectively was probably hundreds of pounds of waste. Unfortunately, I did not take the time to weigh the items, but did take down all their specs in case I needed actual weights for reporting someday.
In summary, I learned that it is inconvenient to recycle electronics, which is why many people opt to throw them out with regular garbage. The good news is, there are many free recycling drop-off options still available, you just have to look for them. Staples and Best Buy are reliable drop off locations that accept most electronics in any condition. Goodwill is a good place to bring working electronics, but note that you must have all associated chords, cables, and remotes for them to accept your donation. Also, they actually throw out, in the garbage, electronics that are found to be broken, so keep that in mind. Other than Staples, Best Buy, and Goodwill, there are also scrap metal/other drop off facilities that may be available to you in your area, you just have to do a little research. Feel free to contact me if you need help investigating.
Without further ado, my life’s work in 2020–
Dell Vostro PC – Windows 7 home prem OA – mailed to Dell for recycling
LG computer screen Flatron E2211PU-BN
Sony LCD color tv model no: klv-s19A10 (HEAVY) serial no 7016499
HP printer – photosmart C4600 Series
Lenovo laptop – Thinkpad T430s and charger
Panasonic dvd player, DVD-S27
Dell Optiplex Sx270, model no: DCT (~15lbs), mailed to dell for recycling
Dell monitor and keyboard – model no. 1504 fp (~30lbs) – mailed to dell for recycling
Insignia LCD tv model no NS-L 19Q-10A – mailed to Dell for recycling
Epson Printer Stylus NX300 model C362A
Sony DVD player/Video Casette Recorder Model No – SLV-D300P
Dell monitor- model no 1702fp Rev A01 17”
RCA 32” HD LED TV Model No – RT3205-C
Printer – Canon- TS6020
Emerson DVD Player – Model # EWD7004 (1800-256-2487 for help with operating) – mailed to dell for reycling
LG Monitor, 38″ x 23″ 43UF6430 Model No: 43UF6430-4B
Intertek – LE (brand?) Super4 X43 Pro – LED Tv – 38” X 23” HEAVY probably 40lbs Maybe the brand is called – Le Shi Zhi Xin Electronic Technology (Tianjin) Limited
Brother, Worksmart Series, MFC-J680DW
Cooler Master haf 392
Samsung – Standard Telvision Receiving Apparatus Model Code UN32J5003AFXZA Version No LS03
HP Deskjet 2540 All-in-one series Serial No. CN37U1FGVX FPU No. A9U22-64001 Regulatory Model No. SNPRB-1204-02, appears to work, turns on, out of ink
Samson – servo-170 studio amplifier 85 watt stereo – heavy ~30 lbs
Panasonic High Definition Plasma Television, model TH-42PX600U (70 lbs)
Kenwood Compact Disc Player SL16 XS8, “Kenwood Multiple CD Player” CD-204, 1BIT dual D/A converter
Haier Model: 32E2000 TFT-LED LCD Colour Television Receiver
Sharp Liquid Crystal TV Model LC-32D43U Serial no: 711851587
Speaker Intertek Listed 3044275 CA3554
Panasonic = Plasma HDTV Model No:TC-P42S1
Emerson – Funai Corporation – Model No: LC391EM3*
Hisense LED LCD TV Model No 65R6E3 4.75 ft by 2.75 ft.
RCA Model No. L26HD32D**26″ x18″ Serial No. 196EH29Y May 2008 722565A063SH…works, has remote
Samsung Model No. LN40B550K1F Model Code LN40B550K1FXZA S/N AUD03CLSA00365M*** 39″ x 2ft, works, no remote Version AA04
Hisense Model No. 32D12 Item:D12-WX01A WLCH032D1201446 Manufacture Date 6/03 Works, no note about disposal on TV 18″x 30″
E-waste Collected from Streets Casually March-June 2020
*Sticker (in TINY text) on back of this item states: “THIS LCD TV Contains a lamp with Mercury, please dispose of according to all local, state, and federal laws.” It was not treated as such.
**Also had sticker that said “This product contains Mercury and must be recycled or disposed of according to applicable local, state, or federal laws. Visit rca.com/tv for more information. Note: This link lead to a webpage providing ZERO information about recycling as far as I could see. Emailed customer service, waiting to hear back, email bounced back..shadyyyyy. 1800968-9853 will have to call
***Had in fine print on back sticker, Contains Mercury, dispose according to local, state, or federal laws
In summary, electronics are meant to be recycled. They usually have tiny stickers or text somewhere on the body of the electronic item indicating that the item contains toxic chemicals that must be disposed of properly in order to preserve human and environmental health. Why that is in fine print, I don’t know. In addition to protecting human and environmental health, recycling electronics is important because it promotes reuse of materials. With a reliable supply of recycled parts, the recycling industry is strengthened, and companies can be encouraged to use recycled materials in place of raw materials. Finally, recycling electronics also prevents environmental and species destruction in places where electronic components are taken from the earth, for example chimpanzee habitat in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
It is interesting to note that the majority of items I found set out with regular garbage were large flatscreen televisions and printers. It appears education needs to be put into place to educate consumers on the appropriate way to dispose of their items once they reach the end of their useful life.
And thats about all I have to say about that. I’ll leave you with a photo montage of this years’ collections:
Zero Waste Cleaning
In other news, on the path towards Zero Waste living, I have a new development–plastic free cleaning supplies. The short story is that instead of buying windex and other cleaners in plastic spray-bottles, you can instead buy glass spray bottles and use either white vinegar and water (1:1 ratio) or hydrogen peroxide for cleaning. CAUTION: USE SEPARATELY, when mixed, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide form an acid. Here is an article that provides recipes and in depth information about the applications of each as a house-hold cleaner –click herefor article. While they are not as killer as other chemical cleaning products, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide (separately, remember) are effective disinfectants for e-coli and salmonella bacteria, so thats good. They can also be used to kill mold. Also, vinegar is effective in cleaning windows and mirrors, so why bother with windex ever again?
Vote for a Plastic Free Amazon
My final thought for you all today is, lets show amazon that we want plastic free shipping options!
Here is a petition you can sign, created by a marketing lady who’s goal is to help businesses grow while adopting sustainable practices. The petition asks Amazon to provide a “Plastic-free” option during checkout to request no bubble wrap to be used in the delivery package, as well as a label on plastic-free products. The goal is to get 100,000 signatures and they’re already at 650,000. Take a moment to add your name and reduce the amount of plastic flowing into your home. Remember to uncheck the box that asks if you want to join the mailing list.
It is quite unlikely but entirely possible that you’ve all been gripping your seats in anticipation, wondering what would happen with all that e-waste I had stored in my apartment for the past few months. Lets pretend that has been the case, for the dry humored among us.
Well, prepare to unclench those fists and breathe a sigh of relief, for I found a free drop off site in Astoria that took everything, all 20ish items listed here. The company, Green Chip – E-waste and ITAD Solutions. Glorious.
Huzzah! So exciting, I know.
No idea where the items went after I left them. A subject for further exploration as the EWAP develops.
Haven’t been seeing as much e-waste lining the streets this past week. Save for a printer I encountered during a long walk through Queens the other day. Unfortunately it was too hot, and the item too heavy, for it to be salvaged. Alas, I cannot close the e-waste loop on my own.
I am curious, dear readers, if you are reading this, might I call upon you to take a tally of electronics you might be holding onto at home, ready for disposal. What are the barriers preventing us from recycling e-waste? Are there any? How do you dispose of your unwanted electronics? Do write in if you have any thoughts on the matter. I’m collecting data and here to help.
And now, onto other topics of import perhaps to no one but myself –here is a list of tap dancers today that are quite spectacular, each in their own special way. I’ve broken them into categories. Mind you, there are a lot of amazing dancers that have been left out here, this is merely a list of dancers that have struck my personal fancy. I am including this list to showcase the variety and versatility of tap as an art and entertainment form and to introduce some of today’s best tap dancers for those who are interested in delving in to the world of contemporary tap.
Most entertaining to watch//best stage presence//most likely to end up on the big screen:
This is an essay about tap shoes and tap practicing surfaces. It is written for those interested in tap dancing and looking for some pointers to get started. It also loosely applies to any musician looking for their first instrument.
First, lets discuss shoes:
Like any instrument, tap shoes come in a variety of qualities and styles. What works for you will ultimately depend on your personal style, what sound you are going for, and your budget.
Ultimately, you really need an instrument that makes you want to play it. One that calls to you and feels good to hold, wear, listen to, and play.
Thats why, if you have the means, go ahead and treat yourself to a decent quality instrument. Also, research what is out there. I made this article to help.
It is possible to sound good with any quality instrument, and its definitely tempting, with the uncertainty of just starting out, to go for the least-expensive option, but let me just advise from experience that reaching for that mid-range instrument is soooo worth it. Its so much more satisfying to play something that is well crafted, stylish, sturdy, and capable of producing a rich sound. That quality will call to you from the corner of the room and beg you to practice. In the long run, you will be happy if you go for a better quality instrument because you will have a quality instrument. And anyway, you may end up spending just as much time and money leap-frogging and experimenting as if you just dropped the extra $100 on the good stuff to begin with. Treat yourself.
For myself, I started off with the cheapest ok-quality pair of tap shoes I could find. As I recall, there was only one option at the store that I went to, so it wasn’t much of a choice. I had no information about what else was out there, so I ended up with a pair of Bloch Oxfords for ~$80. Not bad. I didn’t particularly love the way the looked, but since they were tap shoes and I didn’t know of any other stylish options, I was happy with them.
I could have also gone with these, a real cheap-but-cute option from Payless, but I didn’t:
Eventually, I lost my Blochs in a international shipping blunder in which I threw away my postal receipt before the package was delivered. I’ll never know what came of these or the Cajon sent along with it, *tears. Lesson learned – keep tracking number until delivery is confirmed.
All was not lost, however, since I had already purchased another pair of slightly higher quality tap shoes from a fellow student when I was WWOOFing and studying tap in Berlin. They were made with leather inside and had a thicker “build” – the layer of wood under the sole of the shoe, which made for a richer sound. They were Capezio, purchased in San Francisco, I think model K543, about a half-size too big for me, but they worked.
These felt good on my feet, were sturdy, and sounded nice. Like my previous pair, I wasn’t crazy about the way they looked but I wasn’t aware of other options so I remained content.
Once I got to NYC, the cloudy tap shoe skies opened up and shined a golden, sparkly light of wonder upon me. I saw white shoes and green shoes and gold shoes, embellished designs, custom designs, a whole new world of tap shoe styles I never knew existed. Not to mention the dancers in the shoes and their styles of dancing, I had never seen so many tap dancers and such skill. It was amazing. I had stepped into a whole new world of tap.
I remember once when I visited NYC (pre-Berlin) during a port stop when I was working as a lunchlady on the TSGB, I took a tap class at Broadway Dance Center on one of my days of liberty. It was an overwhelming experience, but fun. After class, I checkout out the shoe shop on site and tried on what they had, which were Miller and Ben tap shoes. I had to use a shoe horn to put them on. They were $300. I guffawed and stuck with my Bloch’s.
Eventually, once I moved to New York and my Capezio’s started to wear out, I moved on to the J-Sams by Bloch. (Jason Samuels Smith model, named after tap dancer Jason Samuel’s Smith). They were the best quality pair I’d had thus far with a solid sound capable of being quite loud since they’re a heavy shoe. These shoes are what I would consider medium range shoes, meaning, they aren’t the top of the line in terms of materials, sound quality, or cost. These ran ~$175 and for that cost, they are amazing. So much better than the ones I had started with, which were kindof ugly and had an obnoxiously tinny, flimsy sound. If I could start over again I would start with the J-Sam shoes and skip the crappy beginner shoes. These shoes sound great, look great, and made me want to dance.
The one downside is the material on the inside doesn’t absorb heat well. It gets dirty easily and thus can get smelly. I learned to periodically wash the inside of my shoes to keep the smell away. Its annoying, but I don’t like dancing with socks so it is what it is.
I have also tried So Dança tap shoes. There was a pair in the shoe bin at my dance studio so I tried them a few times. They were these, which run ~$200:
These are a lighter weight shoe than the Jason Samuel Blochs, their sound is lighter and brighter. They are comfortable, sturdy, and made with quality materials. I was already accustomed to the J-Sams so decided to stick with them, but maybe if I’d started with So Danças I would have preferred them. I consider these two shoes to be in the same mid-range category of goodness.
I have yet to try the tap shoe of all shoes, The Capezio K360s. I’m pretty sure, with customization, they are around $500. Maybe someday. This seems to be the preferred tap shoe among the more advanced dancers. This is their site for custom shoes: Capezio Custom Shoes. There are about 1,000 different color options. Its overwhelming. Miller and Ben also seem to be of the upper echelon of tap shoe. I’ve heard are very stiff and difficult to break in but did try on a used pair once that looked and sounded great.
All this being said, perhaps if I was to start all over again I’d go with the Chloe and Maud tap shoe by Bloch, they’re cute and ~$70. This is the shoe I would recommend for beginners.
As for heels, the whole reason I am writing this today is because I finally found a decent pair of heels! Like the oxfords, I have purchased at least 2 pairs of crappy heels before discovering what is now my favorite tap shoe, the So Dança Chris Matallo Pro TA830. I bought mine 2nd-hand-but-never-worn on Poshmark for $50. I think they normally run ~$200.
This is a great, sturdy heeled shoe made with high quality materials and is built up to create a nice, solid sound. They are comfortable to wear for extended periods of time and don’t even really feel like high heels. I had never heard about them before seeing them on Poshmark.
As far as other pro-level, high heeled tap shoe options I’ve glimpsed and heard talk of, there is La Coquette by Miller and Ben, LaDuca Dance Shoes, and Capezio has some, very pretty:
but I haven’t seen where to buy them other than on the Dancing Fair website. Heads up, Dancing Fair is apparently a good resource for someone who wants to get custom shoes.
Below is what I had tried before and would say don’t even bother. I tried Capezios both times, their cheapest heels. The shoe felt and sounded ick and didn’t breathe:
And these below, FYI, are a very common beginner shoe. I would stay away from these or anything remotely resembling them. Do yourself the favor.
Alright, on to tap practicing surfaces. I’m just going to be brief here because ultimately, I have found a good ol’ cardboard box to be the best practicing surface if making noise is an issue. Otherwise, there is the Fasfoot boards, Omara Sprung Dance Floors, and a slab of Masonite or any scrap wood you can find.
Up late after a relatively short day of work and a trip up to Harlem (I swoon) for an Earth Day art show put on in a fancy apartment, showcasing the work of another garbage artists named Daniel Lanzilotta.
He makes work using all sorts of plastic bits he finds strewn about the streets of the world:
This piece in particular includes Tropicana orange juice bottle caps (the orange disks) among other items he has collected around Brooklyn and melts down into funky shapes.
Lanzilotta uses art to speak about plastic pollution and how it is affecting our oceans. He mentioned lighters as being the number one harmful litter he finds due to the butane and other chemicals inside which leak out onto the street when they inevitably break, eventually making their way into our oceans after rains and such.
He is collecting 1,000 lighters for an upcoming piece which he described briefly and which I’ll keep an eye out for and report back about. Coincidentally, lighters have been on my radar lately, as I have been collecting lighters and Juul pods (e-cigarette butts) during my walks around Brooklyn and Manhattan. I recently assembled these colorful items a canvas (also found in the garbage). One man’s trash is another’s treasure, no? Take a look:
Ok, enough about me. The takeaway point I got from Lanzilotta as he spoke about his work is #1 don’t use plastic. Is that possible? Hope so!
As a group, the gallery attendees were encouraged to discuss ideas of things we could DO to raise awareness in society about plastic waste. The main idea I heard was to try to have a plastic free day, and to invite others to do so as well. May be harder said than done, considering most of our clothes, our shoes, our brooms, our toothbrushes, etc etc have plastic in them. I even heard plastic is now being found in salt chrystals…so we are eating it. Oy vey.
Well, lets stay calm. Remember, it’s all about baby steps. Identifying the items in our lives that are made of plastic and slowly replacing them with non-plastic products is a good way to go. Doesn’t have to be an overnight transition! Baby steps…
So, to close for the night I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Earth Day.
This year marks the 49th celebration of Earth Day. To commemorate the day, Jane Gooddall released a video wishing everyone a happy day. In the video she thanks us for even thinking about Earth Day and encourages everyone to think about our “blue and green planet” everyday, to “make a commitment as individuals to do all we can to get together with other like-minded individuals so that we can ensure a healthier planet for future generations.” So, here’s to doing that for the rest of 2019 and beyond!
And now to really close it off, some tap videos!
Leo Sandoval, Artist in Residence at the American Tap Dance Foundation and member of Dorrance Dance at the Something’s Afoot New Choreography Showcase this past Saturday:
And me and my teacher Christina Carminucci at ATDF last week, working on a piece Christina is choreographing for this class for the adult showcase in June. The song is called Stormy Weather by Oscar Peterson. Enjoy!
Oh, and I saw this the other day and liked it as a message to stand up, sit down, speak up for what we believe is right:
This past Thursday was the late, great, crazy Queen of Soul Nina Simone’s birthday. I was lucky enough to catch this celebration on the radio, hearing many songs she recorded that I’d never heard before. So good!
I’m not sure when I first heard Ms. Simone’s work, but have grown to really love and enjoy her music over the past few years, since one of my favorite tap teachers (Derek Grant) used this song for an improv exercise in a class. This was the song:
Another favorite teacher, protégé of Mr. Grant, the young and always so lovely Chirstina Carminucci, used the following song in a class once, which was great for whatever across the floor excercise we were learning at the time that got me all turned around, as usual. This was that song: (ignore the smoking, its bad mmmmkay)
And another great example of Nina Simone in a live recorded performance:
So good! Ok ok, one more video which I love because it uses glitter! Plus it will give you a visual for Christina Carminucci (red pants), a dancer that I’ll likely be mentioning in the future because she performs a lot and is just great:
Alright, next topic:
Fire Safety for DIY Spaces
Tonight I went to a free talk hosted by an NYC artist and fire safety expert Tara McManus. I’m mentioning this because I learned some basic fire prevention tips that I’d like to share with you in case you don’t know, and especially if you’re like me and reside in communal spaces that may or may not follow official codes but want to be safe.
#1 Fire Extinguishers: know where your fire extinguishers are and check them frequently (maybe once/month) to make sure they have pressure. It is important to keep them in a place near an exit as opposed to in a dead-end space like a bedroom; you want to be able to spray the fire as you are making your exit, as opposed to getting stuck in a bedroom.
#2 Extension chords: if you’re plugging in equipment or appliances like heaters that take a lot of energy, plug them into wall outlets and disperse them, so they’re not all plugged into the same outlet. If you have to plug something like a heater into an extension chord, make sure you use a chord meant for higher powered appliances, as opposed to the dinky 2 pronged ones. Also, unravel the chords as opposed to keeping them in a coil (in a coil the chords will get hotter and are more likely to catch fire). And finally, if using multiple extension chords, do not mix 2 pronged chords with 3 pronged chords.
Those are the two main things I think are useful for anyone to know…here is a link to more information if you’re hungry for it: Fire Safety Resources.
Which leads me to my next point:
**E-waste Art: Model of NYC by Zayd Menk
The Jane Gooddall Institute (JGI) has released a new campaign to encourage people across the globe to become more aware of the impacts of technology on wildlife. That’s what I’ve been talkin’ bout! This campaign is called “The Forest Calls” and I’ll include a snippet from their latest email update to clue you in:
The forest is calling, can you hear it? It’s been a long time since you’ve listened – really listened – to its call. What is it saying? It’s a faint mummer, but if you try you can still hear it’s message: It’s saying that our endless consumption and reliance on new technology is silencing ecosystems, humans and wildlife. It’s saying that you are the only hope the forests have. The forest is calling, and the power is in your hands to answer the call.
The international technology industry is devastating human and wildlife communities, while destroying vital habitats, particularly in the Congo Basin in Africa. Right now, you can do something about it. JGI is launching ‘The Forest is Calling’, a campaign to inspire action around recycling, reduced consumption and extending the useful life of used electronics. The annual campaign will culminate with Mobile Recycling Day on February 26th, getting JGI’s friends and supporters around the world to help protect chimpanzees, people, other species and their habitats.
So, if you’ve got any old, broken, un-used phones tucked away somewhere, February 26th: Mobile Recycling Day is a decent choice of day to recycle them, or at least research how/where to do that and get the ball rolling. Also, its a good time to think about if you really need a new phone or if your current phone can still serve you. The Chimps will benefit from your conservation efforts as will the chimp part of you (ecopsychology concept to be expanded upon).
More info about The Forest is Calling can be found here.
That’s all, have fun out there, be safe, be creative, and locate your fire extinguishers!