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 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

litter, art, litter art?

Writer’s Block and 2020

Wawaweewah hello!

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~

I wanted to start off by revisiting my intentions for this blog, which was started in July 2017.

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.

Bye for now!

~Kelly

 

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.

 

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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

 

Chimpanzee, a puppet show NYC Nick Lehane

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

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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

There’s a Gnome in my Pumpkin; DIY Toothpaste

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Tap Shoes vs. Clogging and Irish Step

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