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 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

Happy Earth Day 2020 and 4/20 for Dogs

Happy Earth Day Everyone~

Cheers to the ground we walk on, water we bathe in, and air we snort through our nostrils. May we all do our part to keep her clean, healthy, and flourishing.

Here is something we can all do to promote ecological health. I’ve mentioned it before and will highlight it again: Switch to Ecosia! Ecosia is the search engine that plants trees. Its just like Google, but instead of profits going to pockets, the site plants trees all over the world. “Try it, you’ll like it” (musical encouragement here).

Screen Shot 2020-04-19 at 7.51.34 PM

With the almost unbelievable statistics circling around about football fields of forests being cleared every second of every day, supporting tree planting projects seems like a pretty fantastic idea, and Ecosia makes it very easy. Just go to ecosia.org, download, and go about your business.

Ok, off that soapbox.

On the subject of nature, I thought I’d also write about some pet information I’ve come across lately that may prove useful to know someday:

#1 Blocked male cats. If you have a male cat, make sure to keep an eye on whether he is going pee or not. If you have indoor/outdoor cats, that may be hard to track, but just keep an eye. Since working at an emergency pet hospital, blocked cats has been a surprisingly common and extremely expensive pet emergency to come through the door. Symptoms: meow-crying in pain, straining to pee, urinating only small amounts or droplets of blood, lethargy, not eating. If any of that is happening, get that cat to a vet. Blockages can be deadly if left untreated 😦 Poor kitty.

#2 Grapes. Most of us know about chocolate being poisonous to dogs, but its important to note that grapes are too. I had no idea, but luckily, it seems like a lot of people do know about this because its a common reason for people to call the emergency room. Ingesting even a single grape or raisin can cause serious damage to a dog or cat’s kidneys, so its important to get them seen by a vet if this happens. While I’m on the subject, lilies, the plant, are also toxic to pets. Best familiarize yourself with foods, plants, etc that are toxic to pets (click here for a comprehensive list). If you think your pet may have gotten into something, you can call the ASPCA poison control hotline to figure out what to do, that number is 888-426-4435. Stay on the safe side, shall we?

#3 Marijuana ingestion – symptoms – unable to stand, urinary incontinence, vomiting, unresponsive or over-reactive when you bring your hand towards their face, lethargic…these are a scary combination of symptoms that pet owners often bring their pets to the emergency room for, not always aware of (or admitting to be aware of) the cause.  If your pet is otherwise healthy and suddenly starts showing these symptoms, be aware that they may not be dying, they may just be highly intoxicated. Treatment usually involves induced vomiting, fluids, sometimes hospitalization, and a lot of rest. It is a good idea to bring your pet to the vet if you know its gotten into your stash, even if you are worried about what the doctor will think. Definitely bring your pet in if the ingested substance contained chocolate or raisins, or if your pet is vomiting. I promise, the Doctor is not going to get you into trouble, so you can be honest right away instead of making them do detective work to figure out what’s wrong. According to one of the Veterinarians I spoke to about this topic, if the pet got into straight marijuana, it doesn’t necessarily need to go to the ER since Marijuana itself is not toxic. But if the pet is vomiting, it is a good idea to bring the pet in so they can be given anti-nausea medications. The combination of vomiting and decreased cognitive functioning is dangerous in this case because it can lead the pet to aspirate, ie swallow its own vomit, which can lead to aspiration pneumonia, which can be deadly. If the pet ingested a marijuana treat containing chocolate or raisins, that must be brought to the hospital because those substances can damage the kidneys.

#4 Spaying/Neutering is important not only to prevent unwanted puppies and kittens, but also because there are health consequences of not neutering. Pets that are not fixed can face complications including testicular cancer and pyometra, a life threatening infections of the uterus.

Hm, what else…a new tap dancing album?

https://saxandtaps.bandcamp.com/releases

Also, some photos from EWAP: The Electronic Waste Awareness Project

And a Sight of Spring

DSCN0755

Happy Earth Day again, everyone, and happy spring!

Much lerv,

KB

P.S. Stay healthy ❤

Plums, Emergency Vets, and Tap Dancing Today

Hello All~

Before too much time passes and in effort to curb writing procrastination, I wanted to write y’all again to say hello and give some updates.

First off, I have made my return to NYC after a month-long break in California, where I spent a lot of time eating delicious plums. MMm. The particular plum tree I was enjoying, I am told, is of the Santa Rosa variety with thin, freckled reddish skin and ruby/magenta flesh. Mm. I must admit I am a little obsessed and have been for the past few years. Here are some photos of the tree and fruit, followed by a slideshow of some quintessential Santa Cruz images in case anyone is interested in the natural beauty and quirk of the California Central Coast.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Do you see anything strange about this photo?

Do you see what I see? Capitola, Ca

In other news, I had my first day of work at an Emergency Vet hospital in Midtown Manhattan today. I’m training to be a receptionist. Thankfully, I have come to my senses and am transitioning out of manual labor and schlepping yard-waste around NYC via subway (being an urban gardener), and am now trying out a full time job with benefits and all that jazz. We’ll see how it goes. I am hoping I like it since this was my childhood dream job. If this doesn’t stick…I don’t know what will.

In other other news, and the real reason I wanted to write today, is to talk about tap dancing. The one other article I have on this site about tap dancing is the single most visited page on my site, somehow bringing in at least one person from the web almost every day. With the sort of traffic I get on my site otherwise (very minimal), that is a lot. So, I’m curious–if I write more about tap dancing, will random people from the web find this article as well?  Or are they only curious about Tap Shoes vs. Clogging vs. Irish Step? Only time will tell. Experiment commenced.

Today, since it is getting late, I am going to start by sharing a video of today’s most prominent and successful touring tap dancer: Michelle Dorrance. She has a company of dancers who have been touring the world for the past few years, with this coming year slated to be the busiest yet. Without further ado, here is a video of Michelle Dorrance and her feet:

I gotta find me a good floor like that to practice on. To date, I have experimented with a few different types of practice floors. I started off with a very large slab of Masonite from Home Depot (~$50), but that wasn’t portable, so I bought myself a foldable board called Fasfoot (~$175), which I have worn to shreds through a process that fancy tap dancers call “shedding” but which really just means practicing.

Recently, I bought another floor from a couple of bluegrass musicians living out of a Sprinter Van. Their boards are called Leo Percussive Dance Boards and I ended up with the larger of the boards which cost $100. Honestly I can’t even find a link for those online but when I do, I’ll share it. So far I like this board because it is raised off the floor and thus gives my knees a little break and has a more resonant sound. Like the Fasfoot, it is portable and sounds best when played outside, but I’m finding at this stage in my tap game, that I want a larger space to practice on, one that enables me to move around more, and also one thats not so loud since I practice in a basement most of the time and the sound gets trapped down there in a way that I don’t like. I think next I will get another piece of masonite since at least that provided more space, is affordable, and sounds pretty ok (not sure about how it will fare in the basement, however). So, that is where I am at with tap dancing today. Stay tuned for more rambling as year 3 of my NYC tap dancing adventure continues.

Until next time and with love,

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:

DSCN8697.jpg

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:

DSCN8646.jpg

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:

DSCN8652

 

Jane Gooddall’s B-day

Girls Just Wanna Do Science
JGI Shirt

Tonight I wanted to write up a quick little homage to Jane Gooddall who  turned 85 today. It’s also my sister’s birthday, happy b-day sisser!

Dr. Gooddall was a waitress with a dream, who at 27 fulfilled her lifelong goal of going to Africa to live in the wild and study chimpanzees. Decades later, she is still working her butt off, traveling much of the year all around the world spreading her message of hope. She is all about hope and wants everyone to realize that each one of us matters and has a roll to play, even if we don’t know what that roll is yet. She wants us all to know that every one of us can make a difference each day with the choices we make, and it is up to us to make ethical choices in our everyday lives, from the way we treat people and the planet to the way we spend money, being conscious of the impacts our choices have on other human beings, creatures, and the planet.

Since I watched her give a talk today and in case you didn’t also see it, I wanted to relay the message to you and hope that Dr. Gooddall’s words and actions reach, inspire, and encourage you like they do me.

Happy early Earth Day!

xo

KB

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Also, in case you have been interested in the tap dancing subject, here is a video I took today at a free show in Brownsville, Brooklyn. The show was put on by City Center, a fancy theatre in Manhattan, and was part of a series of shows aimed at bringing top-quality performances to communities that don’t normally get to see these types of shows. Here is a clip! The show was put together by tap dancer Ayodele Casel, who I’ve written about before, and features Naomi Funaki, my favorite joyful tap dancer friend who I’ve also written about before, when she performed at Amateur Night at the legendary Apollo Theatre in Harlem.

Enjoy!

Oh, and this one’s for you Lom: Hasidic scooter life

Boot
Williamsburg, Brookyln 2019

Fire Safety for DIY Spaces, Nina Simone’s B-day, and E-waste News

Hello All,

First off, I’ll start with the fun stuff!

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:

Crazy piano!

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 News

https://mymodernmet.com/zayd-menk-scale-model-computer-recycling/

**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

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.

http://news.janegoodall.org/2019/02/11/the-forest-is-calling-answering-the-call-is-our-only-hope/

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!

xo

KB

**Find out more about the E-waste art pictured above: Teen Spends 3 Months Building Scale Model of Manhattan from Recycled Computer Parts