Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Here We Are Now, Entertain (and Inform) Us


In an effort to fill my brain with something besides rage while commuting, I have been listening to podcasts and books on CD.  IT HELPS!  

I jumped on the Serial* podcast bandwagon.  My short review of that series: MEH / tedious / crappy ending (note: I'd make a pretty shitty lawyer or police detective -- that kind of work would be waaaaaaaaaaay too tedious for me).  Invisibilia is pretty good (particularly this episode on fear and this episode about expectations), so is Criminal, and I also like WTF with Marc Maron.  I have to add that Radiolab makes me want to shoot myself -- sometimes radio people speak in such an AFFECTED manner, and the stupid way broadcast tape is edited to jazz it up makes me want to stab people. 

My favorite podcast to date is a 2 hour Marc Maron interview with Louis CK. The best part of the interview is a trumpet story, which is hilarious, informative, and rather illuminating regarding the topic of anxiety.  Here is a link if you want to give it a listen (trumpet story starts at about 1:05:35 and ends at about 1:09:44).

The main problem with listening to podcasts on my commute is that they eat up cell phone data (I think that is the right lingo), and increase my already gigantic cell phone bill.  So I have tapered off on the podcast thing a bit and switched to books on CD (free at your local library!  You can check out up to TEN at a time!!!).

So I picked up my first book on CD a couple of weeks ago, and WOW did I pick a DOOZY.  Have you ever read Native Son by Richard Wright?  GULP.  It is a helluva story.  Here is a synopsis:

Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic. Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Richard Wright’s powerful novel is an unsparing reflection on the poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the country and of what it means to be black in America.

Are you familiar with the story?  If so, I would love to hear your thoughts if you are interested in sharing them.  If you haven't read it, it is a very tough read that I am still mulling over, but I would totally recommend it. 

Do you have any books on CD that you can recommend?  A great story is what I am looking for, but I have to admit that I opt out pretty quickly if I can't stand the narrator's voice. 

*Note: my co-worker refuses to listen to anything, anything at ALL associated with Ira Glass.  LOL!  Apparently I am not the only one that is intolerant of annoying voices!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Floral Journey: Native North American Beadwork

If you have any interest in beadwork, textiles, embroidery and/or craft in general, get yourself over to the The Autry National Center of the American West to see their exhibition entitled Floral Journey: Native North American Beadwork.

I saw the exhibition a couple of weeks ago, and I still find myself thinking about it. The exhibition is beautiful and inspiring, and the techniques and design on display are truly jaw-dropping to see in person. I took my sweet time looking at every single object in the exhibition, and I even read every bit of wall text too -- something I NEVER do -- just so I could understand as much as possible.

Here are a few examples of the beautiful works you can observe in person if you are able to get to the exhibition:

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If you are not able to see the exhibition in person, I would suggest purchasing (as I did) this incredible book, Floral Journey: Native North American Beadwork.

Here is a brief summary of the exhibition, as seen on The Autry website:

Art and spirituality converge with trade and commerce in Floral Journey: Native North American Beadwork, a groundbreaking exhibition of more than 250 unique objects and personal stories. The exhibition is the first of its kind to explore how beaded floral designs became a remarkable art form as well as a means of economic and cultural survival for the Native North American people.

Floral Journey presents moccasins, bags, dresses, hats, jackets, and other exquisitely beaded and quilled items selected from multiple private collections and fifteen cultural institutions, including the Autry's Southwest Museum of the American Indian Collection. Many of the objects will be displayed to the public for the first time.

The exhibition will be on display through April 26, 2015.

One more note...if you are interested in learning more about beading techniques used above, The Autry is hosting a Community Beadwork Drop-In Workshop on:

Saturday, Mar 7, 2015, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Saturday, Apr 11, 2015, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

click here for more info