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
The takeaway from Dr. Gooddall’s work over the past 60 years is that chimpanzees are awesome and worthy of our attention and protection.
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
Brother, Worksmart Series, MFC-J680DW
Haier Model: 32E2000 TFT-LED LCD Colour Television Receiver
Kenwood Compact Disc Player SL16 XS8, “Kenwood Multiple CD Player” CD-204, 1BIT dual D/A converter
Sharp Liquid Crystal TV Model LC-32D43U Serial no: 711851587
Panasonic = Plasma HDTV Model No:TC-P42S1
Emerson – Funai Corporation – Model No: LC391EM3*
*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)
Total – $115
Storage (in my own tiny apartment, RE- precious real-estate–> $75/month)
$225 (for March-May)
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…
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:
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.
It has been a while since there has been any new writing on here…life got a bit sticky and I lost the je ne sais quoi thats required for my writing process. Maybe for me, thats personal space? I think so. From living in a windowless room in a hipster storefront with 8 other quasi-functional human beings, to briefly finding respite in an essentially doorless closet-disguised-as-a room in a place called “Hell’s Kitchen,” I have finally settled into a space that is seeming to work, somewhere I can comfortably live and do creative work without having to cohabit-ate too closely with other people. Who knew “other people” would be such a problem for me. Actually, “other people” are often a problem for me. That’s something I shall explore more later, along with a concept that that the outside world reflects the inner world…that idea has me stumped lately. What is going on in this noggin?!
Happy 2020, folks; thank you for staying tuned in~
This blog is a platform to share short stories of life’s experiences. I will also share creative projects and develop ideas to promote ape conservation through electronic waste recycling and tap dancing, somehow.
Almost 3 years later, the mission is the same.
This post will focus on Electronic Waste and Ape Conservation, while I intermittently loose focus and step away to tap dance.
This past year, I received a grant from the NYC Citizen’s Committee to promote electronic waste reduction, reuse, and repair. My proposed project, “The Electronic Waste Awareness Project” ultimately seeks to increase electronic waste recycling rates and landfill diversion.
The project is multifaceted and involves:
1. Hosting workshops to raise awareness of electronic waste issues (recycling, reuse, and repair)
2. Collecting E-waste litter and delivering it to recycling centers
3. Writing a report to explore the electronic waste stream
This is the summary of my project as outlined by the Citizen’s Committee, I’m including it here to use as a reference for myself to ensure the program is stuck to.
The Electronic Waste Awareness Project is teaching others how to recycle electronics and is making e-waste recycling easier. The group is collecting electronics from the curb and households, hosting a free e-waste drop off site, transporting electronics to recycling facilities, and conducting workshops to teach participants how to repair electronics.
When I applied for the grant, I had been living in that windowless hipster spot which included a community event space. Thats where I intended to establish a free e-waste drop-off spot. Since moving however, that part of the project is on hold until another drop-off/collection site can be established. The research aspect of the project will explore whether this is even necessary as I identify and evaluate current e-waste disposal options. Apparently there is a municipal service for e-waste collection in NYC and drop off events throughout the city, but I have yet to come across an easy way to dispose of e-waste and hope, through this project, to develop some solutions for myself and the general public.
Thus far, I am 2 months away from the mid-year report being due. I have poked around for places to host workshops and have two sessions planned for a group of youngsters in March. I am waiting for one elementary school to get back to me to schedule a few more workshops before the school year is up and have one printer, plus a bag of batteries, all found as litter on the street, stored under my sink, that need to be taken somewhere for recycling.
In short, I have a lot of work to do for this project. This post was my first effort in getting the ball rolling on the reporting side. So, there we have it, the ball is rolling.
To finish off, here’s a musical break for you. This song below was recorded 100 years ago, in the 1920s, by Bix Beiderbecke who used to live in Sunnyside, Queens, near where I am now living.
And here is a video from a tap class I went to the other day. It was taught by the reigning Queen of Tap dance, Miss Sarah Reich, who is based out of LA. I am not in this video because, honestly, I could not hang with the class, at all. It was enjoyable nonetheless.
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.
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.
Its been a while, hopefully everyone is doing a-ok this summer. I just about melted in New York, so am now spending some time cooling off and rewiring in Santa Cruz where the beach plumbs abound. YUM. Anyone else out there in love with a summer fruit? Do tell…
Meanwhile, let me let you in on some summer updates:
This year marked the Second Annual World Chimpanzee Day Celebration on July 14th, which last year I managed to commemorate in writing here.
This year, the party grew, as I was fortunate enough to team up with two like minded, organized, and driven ladies: Tina DeSanto of the waste awareness non-profit, The World is Your Dumpster, and Maria Molino of the up n’ coming textile recycling company, Marimole.
Together, and funded through a grant from the Jane Goodall Institute (Bravo!!), we hosted a free community event at Big Irv’s Art Collective featuring art by yours truly and a talented visiting artist and sailor- Madalyn Freedman. The photo below depicts my collection of garbage art, Madalyn’s work can be found on her website, click here to check it out!
The event drew a small crowd including some neighbors I’d seen a bajillion times before but never had the chance to speak with, a few innocent passersby that we rangled in with the promise of cold beverages and snacks, and another few people from the Brooklyn Fixit community. We were lucky enough to receieve a generous beer donation from a company called Toast that makes beer out of bread scraps from local bakeries and also provided an educational component: two speakers who enlightened us with information about fixing electronics and current Right to Repair Legislation.
The important takeaway information from the speakers was this: you can fix your own electronics! Yes, you! There is a great company called I-Fixit based out of California that has created step-by-step how-to manuals to guide you through fixing anything from a broken track-pad on your computer to a broken screen on your phone and much more in between. They sell all the equipment you will need to fix your own devices including toolkits and replacement parts. Check them out next time you’ve got a problem with your device, you might be able to fix your item on your own before scrapping it completely, and you’ll defienitely learn something in the process.
Here are a couple photos of our speakers in action at the event:
By the end of the day, we collected about two boxes of e-waste from the community which were later brought to the Gowanus E-waste Warehouse for recycling. Discussions were had about the impact of electronics on chimpanzee habitat, facilitated by artwork and fixing discussions, and the connection was made between our event and World Chimpanzee Day. All in all, the event was a great success!
Stay tuned for World Chimpanzee Day III, July 14th, 2020, when I hope introduce tap dancing into the mix for a true great ape extravaganza.
Speaking of tap dancing, I have a few updates to share on that front.
This summer also marked the 50th Anniversary of the Woodstock Festival. Struck by inspiration at the original site of the festival, fellow tap dancer transplant Liz Cousins created a show which premiered this summer at the American Tap Dance Foundation. I got to be in it, which was cool. To prepare for the show, the cast (pictured below) all got together one rainy weekend and visited Bethel, NY, the site of the 1969 festival, to learn about the festival and its historical context.
As soon as I get footage from the show I will share it since it was groovy and different.
Lastly, here is a sound clip from a bluegrass jam I got to participate in a few weeks ago in a breezy spot in New York City called Red Hook. The jam took place in the back of a bar called Sunny’s Bar and was a lot of fun! Take a listen here, if you listen long enough you will here some strange thumping, which is me playing my shoes. If you want the quick and dirty, jump to minute 55. Enjoy!
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: