Tap Dancers and Guitarists – Artistry

You’ll never get through it…a bunch of videos by mostly contemporary dancers and musicians that I admire and you might also enjoy. May I present:

Demi Remick – Excellent, comical Tap Dancer

John James – Ragtime Guitar

John Fahey – American Primitive Guitar

Doc Watson – Blind Bluegrass Guitarist

Molly Tuttle – cuz she rips on guitar and turns out has alopecia and is helping others by talking about it, artfully

Billy Strings – plays bluegrass guitar like a champ and is a good storyteller

Sierra Ferrell – chef’s kiss for style points, baselines, and chord shapes

Assata Madison – tap dancer with interesting phrasing

Syncopated Ladies – for bridging the “cool” gap

Sarah Reich – for her ability to speak with her feet

Art and Adventure for Ape Conservation, Fall Greetings

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!

Stay safe.

~KB

EWAP Update: Part IV

Hello All,

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–

ComputersMonitorsTVsPrintersLaptopsOther
Dell  Vostro PC – Windows 7 home prem OA – mailed to Dell for recyclingLG computer screen Flatron E2211PU-BNSony LCD color tv model no: klv-s19A10 (HEAVY) serial no 7016499HP printer – photosmart C4600 SeriesLenovo laptop – Thinkpad T430s and chargerPanasonic dvd player, DVD-S27
Dell Optiplex Sx270, model no: DCT (~15lbs), mailed to dell for recyclingDell monitor and keyboard – model no. 1504 fp (~30lbs) – mailed to dell for recyclingInsignia LCD tv model no NS-L 19Q-10A – mailed to Dell for recyclingEpson Printer Stylus NX300 model C362ASony 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-CPrinter – Canon- TS6020Emerson DVD Player – Model # EWD7004 (1800-256-2487 for help with operating) – mailed to dell for reycling
LG Monitor, 38″ x 23″ 43UF6430 Model No: 43UF6430-4BIntertek – 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-J680DWCooler Master haf 392
Samsung – Standard Telvision Receiving Apparatus Model Code UN32J5003AFXZA Version No LS03HP 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 inkSamson – 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 ReceiverUbee Interactive Corp. TWC Model: DVW32CB – Wireless Modem
Sharp Liquid Crystal TV Model LC-32D43U Serial no: 711851587Speaker 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:

  • EWAP

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 here for 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.

Here is that link: http://chng.it/ppJMHWYYfK

And finally, some recent packaging inspired creativity, a window covering:

Made from fused plastic food packaging sewn together

EWAP Update: Part III

Hello All~

I wanted to write a little something about chimpanzees since July 14th was World Chimpanzee Day, the 3rd annual “global celebration of respect for our closest genetic relatives”.* Happy belated! This year, Chimp Day marked the 60th Anniversary of when Jane Gooddall first visited Gombe, Tanzania and began studying chimpanzees in the wild.

*all cited information comes from the Roots and Shoots newsletters

Credit: Graphic template from World Chimpanzee Day Challenge, edited by moi.

The takeaway from Dr. Gooddall’s work over the past 60 years is that chimpanzees are awesome and worthy of our attention and protection.

The Lowdown

Currently, chimpanzees are considered an endangered species. Over the past 100 years, the population of chimpanzees has been reduced from 1-2 million in the wild to between 340,000-150,000 across their entire range in Africa today. That’s about a 15% loss over the last 100 years. Gorillas occupy similar zones and have been similarly endangered. Human population has grown by about 30% in that same time period.

Deforestation, wildlife trafficking (think: Tiger King), and poaching/bush meat trade are some of the main reasons for this decline. Unfortunately, the problem is complex, as many human livelihoods depend upon the very activities that are contributing to chimpanzee loss. For example, industrial and artisanal mining provides incomes for families to survive, but the resulting influx of humans into chimpanzee habitat and mining related deforestation are endangering chimpanzees. It is hard to argue to protect chimpanzee life when human life is also at stake.

Fortunately, there is a solution: education. Through education, people can be inspired and empowered to develop alternative livelihoods and industries that are less environmentally destructive (same goes for the whole world).

Education is particularly important amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. Since chimpanzees are so genetically similar to humans, disease transmission is a real hazard, and viruses like Covid can easily infect chimpanzees and spread throughout their population. This once happened while Dr. Gooddall was studying chimpanzees in Tanzania during a polio outbreak. Unfortunately, the polio virus had infected individuals in a nearby human village and soon was transmitted to the local chimpanzee population, which resulted in the infection and death of many chimpanzees. If interested in that saga, you can read about it in Dr. Gooddall’s book, In The Shadow of Man.

Fortunately, groups like the Jane Gooddall Institute (JGI) are currently working hard to reduce the risk of transmission of Covid to wild chimpanzee populations through education. JGI is also focused on improving captive care standards for chimpanzees worldwide by developing a Chimpanzee Welfare Index (CWI) which outlines care standards for captive chimps. The index consists of criteria that assess an individual chimpanzee’s entire existence in captivity including socialization, psychological behaviors, health, and diet. Using the Index, captive care facilities can assess their level of care and adapt their practices to better fit their animals’ needs.

Side note, the chimps rescued from the G.W. Zoo from Tiger King were transferred to The Center for Great Apes in Florida which is an accredited sanctuary. Tiger King could have benefited from the CWI Index.

Click HERE to find a list of CWI factors to look out for next time you visit a zoo or chimp in captive care, they include ASA and AZA accreditation, having limited visiting hours, having a veterinarian on staff, and a few other things to research and watch out for.

And that is what I learned from JGI’s World Chimpanzee Day 2020. Stay tuned for next year.

Now, on to updates on The Electronic Waste Awareness Project.

The Electronic Waste Awareness Project

So far, from March to present, I have collected 30 items illegally dumped on the sidewalk that would have wound up in the landfill and are now instead *hopefully* being recycled. Unfortunately, I am not confident in the recycling process, but hope, through this project, to become more clear on that matter, ie – Where exactly is “Away?”.

This is my running list of items picked up on the sidewalk since EWAP Update #1

PrintersTVs/MonitorsCD PlayersMisc
Brother, Worksmart Series, MFC-J680DWHaier Model: 32E2000 TFT-LED LCD Colour Television ReceiverKenwood Compact Disc Player SL16 XS8, “Kenwood Multiple CD Player” CD-204, 1BIT dual D/A converterUbee Interactive Corp. TWC Model: DVW32CB – Wireless Modem
Printer – Canon- TS6020Sharp Liquid Crystal TV Model LC-32D43U Serial no: 711851587Speaker
Panasonic = Plasma HDTV Model No:TC-P42S1
Emerson – Funai Corporation – Model No: LC391EM3*
LG Monitor
*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.

Following is the breakdown of my project expenses, for transparency’s sake. Funding was awarded in November 2019, collection activity began in January 2020, better record keeping began in March:

Transportation to and from recycling drop-off facility (taxi+tip)

$70

$45

Total – $115

Storage (in my own tiny apartment, RE- precious real-estate–> $75/month)

$225 (for March-May)

$150 (June-July)

$75 (August)

Total – $450

Labor Stipend (for time spent collecting and transporting)

Total – $300

Funding allotted for creating an annual report: $300

Grant total – $1400

Total used so far – $1165

*Grant cycle to end October

Since I am recognizing that my method of recycling action is limited in its impact, I’m not certain I will continue this activity for much longer, given that storing and transporting materials is taxing- energetically and space wise. I feel that education (ie talking to people face to face) is probably a more effective and sustainable solution to reducing illegal/improper disposal of electronic waste. Am I an Eco-prostelytizer? Methinks yes.

That being said, I do continue to find items on the sidewalk and recently discovered most items can now be brought to Staples (up to 3 printers/person/day and TVs less than 20 inches) for recycling. This is a huge relief since there is a store in walking distance and relieves the need to use my own apartment for longer term storage. In the height of Covid, that was not an option since Staples had been closed.

I also found out that Goodwill does not accept electronic waste, only electronics that are in working order and suitable for resale. I haven’t been testing the items I collect to see if they are working, but suppose that is something to consider since there is also a Goodwill in walking distance. Note: in the recycling hierarchy, reuse comes before recycling:

Best buy has a recycling program similar to Staples. Re-these are all places people can go to recycle electronics. It takes more energy than setting them out in the trash, which is probably why most people don’t do it. There is really no incentive to exert the extra energy…unless one cares a whole awful lot…

The Lorax – Dr. Seuss

It seems that a lack of enforcement on illegal dumping is making current regulations ineffective. Supposedly there is a $100 fine for setting electronics out with the trash, but I doubt these fines are being issued. Perhaps if fines were issued, people would start to make the effort. But who will issue the fines?

Last week, while walking home from work late at night, I saw 2 TVs set out in the trash, one on each side of the street. By the time I picked up one and went back for the 2nd, it was already gone. It had been picked up by the garbage men who were making their way down the street. I decided to stop and ask the sanitation workers what they do with electronic waste when its set out with garbage. The gentlemen explained that they used to have special trucks that would come around for electronics, but that was now suspended. He said that now, if the items are large, too large for the recycling trucks to pick up, that they put them in the garbage trucks. They go to the landfill, hazardous waste in all. He candidly expressed doubt in the recycling system as well. Sad. I felt defeated by the system, but also glad that at least I had saved that one TV and all the other items I’d picked up in the past 6 months. There has got to be a better solution.

Thankfully, the city has recently resumed collection of e-waste from building of 10 units or more, but for smaller residences, nothing, which is why it is difficult to identify who is responsible for the electronic waste that is currently, needlessly, heading for the landfill when placed next to curbside garbage and recycling.

My next step is to interview the Sanitation Department for their official statement. I’m curious how the department itself would describe its policy on how to handle e-waste that is left out with regular garbage or dumped randomly.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading!

As a treat for readers who have made it this far, a music video collaboration made with my music and produced by choreographer Jenn Rose for a “Screen Dance” class at Steps on Broadway. The dancer is Becca Fox and the guitar track (pre-whistles) was recorded and produced by my guitar teacher Dave Muto. It was recorded in Ridgewood, Brooklyn.

Also another video by Jenn Rose, showing how tap dance can be used for political commentary:

EWAP Update: Part II

Hello all,

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:

Sarah Reich // Postmodern Jukebox // her own thing

The Syncopated LadiesAssata Madison and Annissa Lee, in particular, plus the rest, including Chloe & Maude, a sister duo and Syncopated Ladies bandleaders who are arguably doing the most to get tap into mainstream media today

Melinda Sullivan – a classy lass, hearkens to the film era tap days (Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly-type)

Funky

Demi Remick // Postmodern Jukebox // Caleb Teicher & Co.

Posessing that “COOL” Factor

Christina Carminucci – she used glitter, enough to win any heart forever

Derrick Grant – excellent teacher, now in Boston, I believe

Starinah Dixon – Chicago

Michela Lerman – NYC, plays with big bands

Dormeshia Sumbry Edwards – in the Derick Grant, Jason Samuels clan, also teaches a lot of people, champions the heels

Legendary

Barbara Duffy – has taught basically every great tap dancer today, her teacher – Leon Collins, among others

Excellent and Note-worthy for their own unique reasons

Ayodeli Casel

Dolores Sanches w/April Nieves tap dancing Acupuncturist and Emma Bigelow

Felipe Galgani – Brazilian

Dorrance Dance – Michelle Dorrance, Leo Sandoval, Claudia Rajardinato, among others

Kazu Kumagai – Japan, often plays with a bassist, does humanitarian work in Japan

People I’ve learned about from taking classes//seeing performance and being impressed by their overall skill and essence:

Amanda Castro, Rachel Binney, The Ground Sisters (Spain), Gerson Lanza, Magaly Azuara

Liz Carroll – particularly for her for her choreography, also – Jared Sprague

Naomi Funaki – Japan/USA // Caleb Teicher & Co. // Dorrance Dance

Melissa Almaguer – Mexico

Ian Berg – saw him dance in a Diane Walker tribute

There are so many more…tap dancers tend to be interesting people of all shapes, sizes, ages, cultures, etc. Check-em out.

And now, three pet insurance companies in order of recommendation by an animal hospital insurance coordinator:

Healthy Paws – cheapest monthly rates

Pet Plan – medium range

Trupanion – most expensive per month, best coverage, fastest response to claims

Thats all for now folks,

KB

Tap Shoes and Practice Surfaces

Hello all~

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:

PAIR

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.

Capezio Capezio Classic Tap Shoe Black K543

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:

So Danca  Women's Professional Leather Tap Shoe with Leather Sole

 

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:

Screen Shot 2020-06-03 at 5.43.17 AM

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:

Do You Need Special Shoes To Tap Dance? | WonderopolisCapezio Tap Shoes sz 7 Black Character Shoe by ...

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.

Here are a few tap boards reviews a-la-youtubers:

Later!

KB

MLCAA – 1st Reported Case

As some of you may recall, I introduced the Monkey Lung Cancer Awareness Association (MLCAA) early in this blog and have yet to provide any further updates, because, quite frankly, there were none!

Until now.

A stunning development in the MLCAA has been made, an actual case of monkey lung cancer has been reported. Riveting.

Potentially a tall-tale recounted by a mischevious co-worker, this is the story of Riad, a Chimpanzee in Saudi Arabia kept by a young man who we’ll call Mohammed, 21 years old, a friend of a friend that Jeremy, my co-worker, met in college in Kansas.

According to Jeremy, the Chimpanzee was purchased as a baby and was 1-2 years old by the time he developed his smoking addiction and lung affliction.

Apparently, Mohammed at first shared cigarettes with his Chimpanzee pal, but over time Riad learned where to find the materials to roll his own cigarettes, and even learned how to light them himself and ended up chain smoking all day. Eventually Riad had to be chained up to prevent him from stealing and to curb his habit. It is reported that he preferred spliffs.

Not much information was given on Riad’s ailment, but apparently his health soon began to suffer, perhaps losing weight and appetite. Signs point to lung cancer but I have no further information to back that up. His health condition could also be due to loneliness, not having other Chimpanzees around, or malnutrition, among other things. In general, Chimpanzees are NOT recommended as pets because they are wild animals and have complex emotional and physical needs that the regular human, ie Mohammed, are not trained to know about or address. Also, purchasing a Chimpanzee is illegal and supports the Illegal Pet Trade which is responsible for the mistreatment of many wild, endangered animals.

Let this story serve as a lesson that #1 Chimpanzees are not meant to be pets, and #2, feeding them cigarettes can make them sick.

This message has been brought to you by the MLCAA, Brooklyn-Santa Cruz Chapter.

More updates to come!

xo

KB

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Earth Day, 2019

Hello fam n’ friends,

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:

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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:

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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!

 

 

xoxo

KB

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:

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Chimpanzee, a puppet show NYC Nick Lehane

March Updates – Puppetry, Flamenco Music, Tap Dance, and Flowers

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