Friday, October 15, 2010

From von Bingen to Gaga: lasting musical divas

If there are boundaries between musical genres, then I'm quite blind to them. Bob Dylan, Mozart, Stereolab, Aaron Parks, and The Roots are currently holding equal space on my IPod. If the music moves me, I'll probably explore it further. As for women in music, my taste ranges from Maria Callas to Joni Mitchell to Blossom Dearie to Catpower to Emeline Michel to Maria Joao Pires to Jacqueline du Pre to Betty Carter, and the list goes on and on. So I was pleasantly surprised last night when I found myself seduced into the universe of Lady Gaga. After watching her videos repeatedly on YouTube for an hour and marveling at the production, the music, and the odd sensation that she might be pulling the public's leg with videos that are perhaps a parody of traditional pop-music videos, I began to wonder, "What makes a musician last?" In Gaga's case, I'm certain that it will be a winning blend of excellent song-writing, a good voice, sense of humor, die-hard individualism, a team of extraordinary people, and risk-taking. I loved her music, and can't wait to see how she evolves over time.

Which of course led me to look up Madonna and her videos. Is she ever going to grow old? How does she still look so hot? What will she do when she's 70?

Quite accidentally, the next morning I had the pleasure to be taken back to my university days in music history, when the transcendent Hildegard von Bingen came on the radio. Talk about longevity: her glorious liturgical songs have been around since the 12th Century!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Yoga Teacher Training

October 8, 2010
I have been practicing yoga for many years. It began with Sivananda, until I discovered Iyengar with my teacher and dear friend Elizabeth Smullens in Berlin (check out her classes at Yoga Studio if you're there).

I started teaching friends a couple of years ago, and loved bringing what I had learned from Iyengar about alignment to people who had never been taught how to do poses correctly. I wanted to get a teacher certification so I could share this practice that has benefited me so much in my life with others.

I found a gem of a studio in the East Village called Finding Sukha Yoga School, and I can't speak about it highly enough. I'm now immersed in a weekend teacher training, with a small group led by the studio's wonderful, nurturing owners Sarah and Shaun, and it has been such a blessing. I'm learning again how to be a good listener, learner, sharer, and teacher. I come back from class teaching friends little things I learned that day, and I can't wait to get my hands on a full class!

Please come take a class at this perfect community studio (mostly Vinyasa style, but so nurturing and conscious of individuals' needs). Read my reviews on Yelp and Citysearch.

October Fests: Inspiring networking events

Friday, October 1
TEDxNY at Grey Group
No better way to welcome October than to join a group of great thinkers and leaders at the TEDxNY meeting. Watched Ellen Gustafson's TED talk about FEED, her organization with Lauren Bush to reach children around the world through the sale of their FEED bags. Immensely inspiring, with a riveting conversation that followed about how we can change what our children are eating around the world.

Monday, October 4
All for Africa International Palm Out Poverty party at Slate: A wonderful event to benefit All for Africa, which supports economic sustainability in Africa by developing business models for non-profits. John Legend, ?uestlove, Bajah + the Dry Eye Crew and many others were there to sing for and celebrate this important cause.

Wednesday, October 6
Frank's Chop Shop cocktail gathering for a group of many "good brains." Met some fascinating people, including one guy who designed a bartending piano. Check out his website, it's amazing!

October Fests: Inspiring Music Events

Last week was a true inspiration of extraordinary music.

Jazz: Nightly shows at the Jazz Standard with Joshua Redman, Matt Penman, and Gregory Hutchinson. A marathon of groove.

Classical, October 2: Heard the second half of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by everyone's friend, Gustavo Dudamel. I'd never connected the word "seductive" to Ravel's Bolero ever, until that performance.

Jazz, October 3: Village Vanguard, Anat Cohen quartet. So beautiful, soulful, honest. First time I heard Jason Linder on piano and decided I'd like to be a fly on the wall of his practice room.

Wednesday, October 6: Sphinx Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. I loved the string sound of this lovely young chamber orchestra.

October Fests (Minus the Lederhosen and Dirndel)

So far, October has been a thrill and a panoply of great music and fascinating people. I'm separating my entries into music, networking, and other experiences. Yes, it is truly Oktoberfest over here in New York City. For those of you who have been to the real thing in Munich, you may remember this: