From Tina Turner’s arena tours to the single guitarist strumming on a subway platform, the music should always be the star of the show.
Such is the case with Matthew Kahler, an Atlanta mainstay and legendary storyteller, musician and artist. I’m lucky to call him a friend, and now, marking our first in a “listening experience” series, Matthew will be performing for 50 eager attendees at Studioplex Atlanta this Saturday night. (read more)
Remember the days of “Up Where We Belong”? The interplay between two singers creates an energy that can’t be matched in solo work. Here’s a recent example from Jason Reeves and Kara DioGuardi - it’s an uncomplicated, down-tempo song but the vocals are good.
I’d like to see us get back to loving this type of songwriting and performance. Word on the street is that Kara will appear on Kelly Clarkson’s new album, “Stronger,” when it drops in October. Kelly’s first toe-tapping single, “Mr. Know It All,” is available now on iTunes.
(ATLANTA - 6 September 2011) :: Songwriting, crisp arrangements and soulfulness are alive and well, I’m happy to report.
All evidenced by Parachute’s latest record, “The Way it Was” (Island Def Jam). The band first caught my ear with the driving, soulful “Under Control” - a fine if a bit safe pop-rock track that spurred me to snag the entire album. I’m glad I did, because it was the perfect prep for their newest effort.
But don’t let that fool you: the production is slick and the writing is stellar. Despite the strange, retro look on the cover, the band fearlessly delves into hybrid waters, with the unabashed, gospel-infused “Something to Believe In.”
“You spend your days alone still hopin' for the truth, But all you hear are lies” As a writer and lyricist, that’s a line that hit right at my core. We are a nation hoping for something new, something truthful, but all we are fed is bullshit - and then we’re expected to stay quiet and accept the scene of our country crumbling at its core.
But the lyric and arrangement is raised up by the gospel backing - a daring move for a band not known for that. I’d push back on their video for not highlighting those specific vocals, because they absolutely make the song. But I’m nit-picking.
I don’t use the term “fearless” lightly with this record - because rock bands often shy away from anything that takes them outside of their wheelhouse. (And they are often criticized for doing so, as Liz Phair found out the hard way.) Creating accessibility in songwriting is not tantamount to watering down or “selling out” - it’s a tool to speak to more people.
Just ask Steve Winwood, who saw “Higher Love” shoot to the top of the charts with the blistering, stellar backing of Chaka Khan. How could that song have soared as it did without her vocal - and without that added accessibility? Answer: it couldn’t. They did, in fact, show Chaka in the video, too.
In all, and in the midst of the nutty spin-cycle of never ending new-band parades, Parachute has done an incredible job. So check it out on iTunes if you haven’t already; make sure to spin “Kiss Me Slowly” (written with members of Lady Antebellum), “You and Me,” and “Philadelphia” - an uncomplicated tune reminiscent of some of Josha Radin’s best stuff.
The folks who entertain us on Broadway are some of the most generous, awake and kind people out there today - constantly giving of their time and energy to “make it better.” Countless “Broadway Cares” events from Actor’s Equity show how much they invest themselves in the community.
”Strewn” heads up wp.com for August... And it struck me as unusually bleak and yet beautiful all in one. I was at a wedding in Maryland with Jason and this was the moment there were three photographers shooting the moments following the ceremony - moments that were truly special. The feet in the picture are of the photographer of record, standing and switching the settings of her camera.
The color of the yellow rose petals against the grain of the dock was truly a sight to see. hope you enjoy.
(ATLANTA & SANDY SPRINGS, GA. :: 14 April 2010) Atlanta’s own Sunday Paper just published “Cutting Across Racial Lines” - a piece I wrote on two African-American barbers with vastly different perspectives on race. So here is some bonus coverage of the piece: George Lollar (top picture, seated, right) with Nadine’s Triple Crown in Virginia Highlands is one of the piece’s subjects, and he says he uses emotional-intelligence skills to connect with clients. “You gotta be sensitive to everyone,” he says. “I always allow my clients to lead and I follow. You’re supporting them by listening.”
Kedar Ras (pictured top, standing, left) experiences flummoxed caucasian men and women entering his Clubhouse Barbers in Sandy Springs, only to turn around and walk out. He says customers often seek and expect a similar peer group in a barber shop; when faced with something different, they will oftentimes turn around and walk out.
“One of our biggest sins is color,” Ras says. “If we cannot get past the color thing, that’s what’s gonna separate us forever. For the majority, the color barrier is still an issue. They say, ‘I can’t get past who you are because of what you look like to me.’ “I practiced getting over the fact that everybody don’t look like me,” he adds. “Even with my kids, I teach them not to see color. When you look at color you put yourself in a box or under a glass ceiling. Look past color. Get to see the person, who they are. Then make your judgment on whether or not you’re going to allow them into your inner circle. Because, to be honest, there are more enemies that look like me than there are that don’t.”
Special thanks to Nadine’s stylist Allison Eaton (pictured here, far right) and receptionist Kira Naillieux, with apologies for getting her name wrong in the article. Also, I’ll share some feedback from a Sunday Paper reader, an African American woman, who enjoyed the article: “I read your article “Cutting Across Racial Lines” in the Sunday Paper. I am an AA woman and I can say that this is one facet of race/culture rarely talked about in open forums. Many still do not realize that churches and barbershops/salons are two institutions that still remain heavily self-segregated. I have been on the other side in which I have unknowingly walked into a “white salon” and had the stylists look at me with “surprise, paralysis and panic”. Seeing the picture of the Caucasian gentleman in the shop chair was definitely a sign of the changing times. Good story and great article!”
(CHARLOTTESVILLE :: 8 February 2010) After boffo numbers for ARTvision-4 - to the tune of more than $7,000 - I am turning attention to new endeavors in the coming months. • In March, watch for the launch of WillofAtlanta.com - a viewer- and fan-derived site that profiles and collects some of the best sights, sounds, eats and attractions that Atlanta has to offer. • I am co-curator of my 20th reunion’s Alumni Art Exhibition at Skidmore College. We’re accepting submissions now so if you have one please let me know ASAP. • A number of projects are coming down the pike for The Sunday Paper, including a profile of Affairs to Remember and its green initiatives; and a story about race in the barber chair. • Continuing development of “EIQ: Everyman’s Guide to Developing Emotional Fortitude” - working on finding an agent, publicist, publisher and, ultimately, readers! • Relaunch of the Stone Four Media Web site and a new location for Stone Four Studios, both coming very soon. • More captures and posts here at wp.com. Now that ARTvision has concluded I have more time for posting. • Updated wp.com pages: reel, who? and tunes.
My great thanks to all ARTvision buyers, volunteers and artists - all of which came together in celebration of the arts to support Positive Impact.
(New header capture: “Answered.” purchased by Wayne Sun; thumbnail: “Absurd Alphabet” by Sean Mansfield, both in honor of ARTvision-4.)
(ATLANTA :: 15 November 2009) I’m really not one to pray. At least, not very often. And when I do, my prayers usually come in the form of silent intention, meditation or other such low-toned thoughts that help shape how I’d hope the world around me might look. I took ill on Thursday - and I don’t mean a sniffles, 24-hour-thing sick. I mean, it was the start of something awful... flu, possibly swine flu, and then it blew up on me this weekend - to the point that I called my doctor today, after hours, to see what to do.
I was amazed to find that he agreed to see me on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at the office, saving me from four hours (or more) of ER waiting. So, we re-diagnosed everything and I went on my way. I was so grateful I Yelped about it.
That kind visit was after Kim came to the house and brought me fruit, and before the pharmacist at CVS, Ashley, took my order and filled it quickly - being just as friendly and nice and she could be. The previous pharmacist, Jamie, was noticeably absent after having her first child - and I found out that she had relocated closer to home in Buckhead.
So my point being: prayers are sometimes answered without them ever being spoken. And it’s in those moments that we see the greatness of people around us. Photo: “Answered.” by WP
“Atlanta's own Positive Impact threw its second-annual "Parties with Impact" gala at The Granite Room in Castleberry Hill. Alexis Vear (accompanied by guitarist Matthew Smith) headlined the event, with clips including "Step Out," a song Alexis wrote about Eddie's Attic; as well as covers of "True Colors" by Cyndi Lauper and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" by U2 - a duet with Will Pollock (additional backing vocals by Todd Price). Videography by Will Pollock & Todd Price; edited by Will Pollock. ARTvision 2009 sales launch on December 1st. For more, visit www.positiveimpact-atl.org.”
(5 July 2009 - AUGUSTA, GA) Beneath the veils, white gloves and baby dangling, an artist moved through our pop-culture consciousness with a singular adeptness. As the long-version video shows, “Back or White” beautifully summarizes his conflict with and love of life... where he wanted to reject conventional perceptions but also show a longing for acceptance.
We are gearing up for a memorial for this man, this legend - no matter what your opinion of him, our world will be a lot less interesting without him.
And herein lies my point: We can’t wait for death to appreciate life. In his last 10 or so years, he was a lightening rod for lawsuits (some of them deserved), criticism and many, many aspersions. Much of his life drama played out publicly... and much if not all was self-created.
But amidst all of this, here’s the question: Why is everyone always a saint after they die? He wasn’t a saint, he didn’t walk on water. He was human... and a very talented one at that. We should work harder to celebrate life while we have it - instead of waiting to deliver a eulogy and wishing we had just one more moment in the waking world.
(BOSTON :: 14 March 2009) - A tipping point is fast approaching.
Great change is always preceded by intense turmoil, and I believe we are at just the beginning of a vast reinvention of our global society. With the book proposal done (the book speaks directly to the “change factor” that we, ourselves, control) and the book-agent search officially on, I thought this Web site popped up at just the right time.
“Thomas Paine wrote during the time of the American Revolution, ‘we have it in our power to begin the world over again,’ and that is exactly what people living on this planet right here, right now have the opportunity to do!” The Web site founder:
Log on and help tip the scales today. More to follow on this topic... Thanks to Brenda for passing it along.
(ATLANTA :: 1 Dec. 2008) - With the world's attention culminating again today, Dec. 1, each year we get a little closer to understanding how HIV and AIDS affects Atlanta, the country and the rest of the world.
On the 20th annual World AIDS Day, I'm happy to announce the official launch of ARTvision's Web site... our third year of bringing together artists and buyers in the name of charity. We have a record number of donating artists this year and have already sold our first piece - with hopefully more to follow!
Positive Impact is our beneficiary. Get to know them... We embark on ARTvision's month-long fundraising drive for a reason - PI is in very real need of funds to sustain their HIV prevention programs and to help offset leasing costs and the economic downturn. A wide range of price points - from $50 to $800 - means you have lots of opportunities to help PI make a good chunk of change. (browse now)
So, an ARTvision purchase is a direct and unfettered statement of support for PI's broad-based prevention and treatment services, which are now coming from a more macro perspective, expanded from a sex-behavior theory to a total lifestyle ideology.
ARTvision is the perfect chance to lock in a last-minute tax deduction, support a great organization and receive some snazzy artwork in the process.
Watch the site this week as we load more artists. Let's make some cash! - WP
(ATLANTA :: 3 Nov. 2008) This race is not just about race. Underlying threads of an "Us vs. Them" mentality have been poisoning our politics, our daily lives actually, for decades. In the words of Colin Powell, we need a "transformational figure" to dismantle and permanently dissolve that ideology:
Barack Obama is just that person to bring about dramatic change in our country. Yes, he's only one person and yes, he's just a politician... with the same shortcomings as any of us.
But as I told my relatives out West, it's not just about what he represents - it's about whom he'd surround himself with; the potential pool of those sharp, astute policy wonks - people who can problem solve and not wag fingers (that is, when they're not sitting on their hands). That made the difference for me. We need expert leadership in as many positions in government as possible, and now here's our chance.
Even Andrew Sullivan, a conservative writer and pundit, someone I watch intently, has been blogging about why Obama is the best choice. Thanks to Musty for passing along his post about an essay in the Times of London, talking about how Obama is the sensible salve for "profound national demoralization."
This is not about party affiliation or loyalty for me - this is about who presents the better solutions for our social (Supreme Court), economic (broken credit markets) and other woes.
I've already voted Obama and Jim Martin to defeat Saxby Chambliss, and will be volunteering tomorrow on Election Day. I will bring my camera along with me and record anything of interest.
As I said before... can you imagine intellectual curiosity in the White House again?
Sometimes I just can't take it... If you understand what Violent Affection Syndrome is, and see the following pictures, you'll know why I want to strangle Zach (at left) and Henry. Of course, said strangling is only in the metaphorical sense. But still. they are so cute it's just outrageous, lame and makes me cray-zee. Here's what I mean:
This is the perfect break from our icky political season. Cheers... More N&N VAS coming soon.
During one of my more recent Marta rides, I shared a moment with a gal on the train... She was sitting across from me when I spotted a note that had obviously not found its intended recipient. The note was next to her left shoulder, and like the obnoxious photog that I am... I took out my camera and shot the sad little scrap right then and there. I handed her my business card and we both went on our way.
Later, I did a post about it - and I was actually quite happy with one of the photos. Just today I received an e-mail from the gal, Marina. who found my site and made a comment on the blog post. We both agreed that finding the note livened up an otherwise boring subway ride.
"It's nice to see my brush with Internet fame," she wrote today. "Finding that note certainly made my Marta trip to the airport a lot more fun."
Thanks to Marina for being my partner in crime that day.
Check out this piece on WSB-TV that features Radial Cafe! If you haven't yet visited this Atlanta landmark, you should do so ASAP. Similar article forthcoming from yours truly in Atlanta Intown newspaper. Radial is using biodegradable to-go materials (pictured here) and is exploring the idea of composting egg shells and coffee grounds.
Second, and more importantly, I'd like to claim at least a little responsibility for my pal Chris (husband of my high school best gal pal, Rachel) and his unbelievable fashion sense. The jeans and the shirt are perfect, my friend.
'Stophe, I'm sure Ditchini immediately jumped your bones just as soon as that taping was over.
As it turns out, since then, we've come to know the Bush Administration for playing fast and loose with our freedoms, our military and foreign-policy decisions, and his choices to head up key leadership roles. And that's just for starters.
"Doin' a heckuva job Brownie."
From self-aggrandizing executive signing orders to consolidating executive-branch power, he's not only a failure but a danger to our nation as long as he's in office. I'm counting the days.
I'd be ashamed if he were from Atlanta (or New York, or Virginia -- even West Virginia). The good news? We got that great CD out of the whole affair, and they were rewarded for it at the Grammys.
As you watch the above beautiful video, remember how much shit Maines and the Chicks got (remember the radio station-sponsored bulldozers running over their CDs?) and how she transmuted it into something truly amazing.
Turns out, I'm very often not ready to make nice, either.
This is a sequel post from yesterday. Mission accomplished.
I suppose I played right into their hands by attending the concert, but at least I kept my protest clean by not patronizing Ticketwhore, oh sorry, I mean Ticketmaster. I bought directly from Variety Playhouse's box office.
"Idol Chat," a v-log that Penny and Jim have been doing this season of American Idol, has apparently garnered quite a fan base.
One admirer, in fact, was changed quite dramatically after watching the show:
"I wanted to say thank you. You guys have changed who I am, and you have no idea. I've lived in a smaller city my hole life, there are like 50,000 people here. And until the last couple of years, you would have never known that there were gay people who live here. I live in a city where people don't accept gays very openly, I guess you could say. And up until recently I guess I was just like everyone else. But since I've been watching your show, I have realized that I was being just like everyone else. And even if I didn't mean it, I know I'm not a bad person, but I was raised to think it's wrong, I guess. But now I realize that the way I was thinking wasn't fair or right.I have absolutely fallen in love with you guys. I think you are hillarious, and very talented. And no one would have guessed it, but I actually love spending time with the gay men that I work with now. So thank you again so much, for making me realize that it's ok not to think like everyone else." (Tasha, undisclosed location)
It's a testament to their appeal that someone could have such a transformation, and I'm proud to have been a part of it... watch for the final episode this week, with a greatest hits montage coming soon, too.
Every once in a while we are shown a reminder of how great we are as a people - as champions of goodwill, togetherness and, eventually, prosperity for young people. The International Community School is one such example, joining refugees from some 40 countries with other families in Decatur, Ga., for a unique and enriching learning environment in Stone Mountain, Ga.
(Atlanta :: 21 December 2007) - As we approach the final days of the 2007 holiday season, many Atlantans - especially those in the tennis community - are feeling the loss of two great community leaders, friends and family members: Del Edwards and Sharon Lester. Del Edwards, one of my first friends here in the city when I moved in 1994, died Nov. 13 of melanoma. Del was a 28-year veteran teacher, beloved by his students, family and friends. He is survived by his partner David, who led Del's uplifting and joyous memorial service at the Jimmy Carter Center. I've included some photos from the service -- but they don't do it justice. Del was 53. Go to the AJC story Sharon Lester, when she wasn't busy running the Piedmont Tennis Center ship, was *always* keeping us laughing. She saw through the expert renovation of PTC, and fought to keep the city and the Conservancy from marginalizing the center and, in essence, shutting it down. Together with Joe and Daryl, Sharon (pictured here with Michael Graham) worked at PTC to inspire and motivate us to be that much better. Sharon was 44. Go to the AJC story In passing, both Del and Sharon remind us all to love and live every moment. They would want us to... that, and to swing our tennis racquets as hard and as much as possible.
The green renovation of my house has, it seems, some admirers... Lynn Saussy, the landscape architect for "Team Pollock" as we call it sometimes, hooked us up with HGTV's "Groundbreakers" show. Last week they came to the house and did some initial interviewing. I was, as the saying goes, "a pig in shit." I'm hoping that I'm only on the 2nd of my 15 minutes -- because it was a TON of fun.
Thanks to Mary Grace, Justin and the entire crew for making the day so awesome.
Below is a bad export of one of the movies I took!
Today, we celebrate three talented musicians/groups who've agreed to participate this year. I'd like to extend personal thanks to them, and an invitation to other artists who share our drive to raise money before the end of the year to donate a CD, signed poster or something else that might raise some cash.
Even a testimonial would help our cause -- please contact me for more info.
Adding this category was a no-brainer this year, given my love of music, performing and taking in live tunes. Check out ARTvision's new music vibe:
I had a number of factors converge in the past few days -- a wave of editorials, e-mails and other news -- so I could no longer contain myself. I wrote the following editorial and sent it to the Medill School of Journalism alumni listserv. Here it is:
"I'm thoroughly enjoying our discourse on preserving the name and reputation of our beloved Medill School of Journalism... Seems like it's long been simmering, and it makes me proud to be an alum and a subscriber to this listserv. I'm more convinced than ever that Dean Lavine's truncated name and focus change for his Medill is dangerous for the school's place in the J-school universe -- and is coming at precisely the wrong time.
We are now well into our sixth full year of seeing the maddening machinations of a wholly neutered D.C. press corps, with polite hand raising and (what appear to be) unnecessary allowances for a challenged Commander in Chief; we are constantly seeing journalists put in the line of fire and, some would argue, have been complicit in advancing a single line of rationale as we charged off to a devastating conflict (I am still, to this day, angered by CNN's "TARGET: IRAQ" series in the fall of 2002); and our credibility as a profession as a whole is, shall we say, "peppered" by people of dubious credentials and training.
I'm not writing to make a political statement, quite the contrary, so please don't read it that way. Bottom line: Are you satisfied with the quality of journalism you're seeing, and if not, does that make Lavine's change appropriate? The answer is categorically "No."
I'm not surprised for us to have heard from Donna Leff, one of my most prized and memorable Medill professors, due to her leadership on journalistic ethics and law -- a topic that I found gravely lacking in my Medill education. I want us to spend more time on theory and practice, on the "classics," and not be tantalized by how blogs, news feeds and on-demand e-mail have somehow eclipsed the import of traditional reporter training. It's absolutely preposterous.
We also heard from Abe on how we can thankfully count on *at least* keeping the brand name "Medill," due to donors' displeasure. To say I'm relieved is an understatement. To that I'd also add this: we as alums are donors ourselves, and I'm curious if you would hesitate giving back to a school that is seemingly abandoning the very spirit and letter of the journalism law that we signed up for, that many of us are indebted to, both financially and otherwise. I myself will curb all gifts until we re-shift back to what I see is our true purpose.
Friedman refers to Medill as the "Sellout School of Journalism." I agree.
If an alum, a leader in Internet reporting, is impugning Medill's direction and decision-making to lean more in favor of new media, I'd say it's time to rethink what we're doing. Also, the D.C. Rotation for Medill students is a good litmus: What do our news partners -- from MarketWatch to the Lake County News-Sun in Peoria -- think of this rebranding? (Art Janik's "Clairvoyant Journalism" post last month was dead on the money.) Medill's D.C. Web site also has been stripped of any mention of the word, "journalism." Further, Medill's main Web site now looks like it could be a third-rate cable company's Internet splash page -- not one from a storied, respected institution. Hardly any Northwestern purple, and again, no "Journalism."
One last point: Medill needs the IMC and Journalism arms both separate and strong. I was part of the Magazine sequence (Urban Classroom) at Medill and yet I snagged a long-term, corporate-writing gig through the IMC listserv after graduation. I am proof of the unbelievable connection that both arms of our school have. Dropping the "journalism" is just absolutely the WRONG direction -- it will weaken, and has already weakened, that dual-pronged strength we have embodied for coming up on 100 years.
Let's dump the Kool Aid down the drain and return back to what we're known for: real-world, feet-on-the-pavement JOURNALISM. In the coming years we will be called to be even better, more seasoned, at-the-ready professionals in an ever-growing definition of what "journalist" means. If anything, we should redouble our efforts in classic Medill training and not go further down this troubling path."
I've gotten a few great responses -- I'll post them later.
(Washington, D.C. ~ 14 October 2007) - The tuxedos and ball gowns came out in full force for HRC's National Dinner, led admirably by Ted Toon and Sarah Booth. What an awesome time! We had the absolute pleasure of sitting with many of Ted's family members, Rolando, as well as other pals Clarke, Sam, Val and Rebecca. The food was tasty, when we weren't glued to the stage -- and since this photog was six feet from keynote speaker Nancy Pelosi and one table from Tim Gunn, I didn't spend very much time eating!
Ken and Dale and Laurice and Rebecca were all within spittin' distance from us, too. So much fun to be amongst so many familiar faces. The best way to describe the night is as a "peak experience" - where people came together to hear how hard Pelosi has worked from the beginning on representing her San Francisco constituents in fighting the spread of HIV and AIDS, as well as many other issues. Even some surprise war protesters could not dull the evening. Once I saw how close I was to Tim Gunn, I was immediately on a mission to meet him and have a good story to tell Penny -- who is a stalker-level fan of Guide to Style. I treated Pen to a tribute page with a collection of pix from my meeting with Mr. Gunn, who gave me some props for my "cream" colored tuxedo. Thanks to Sam for his great shots of that moment, and to everyone for alerting me to the many other photo opps we had throughout the evening. Thanks also to Ted and Rolando for being such spectacular hosts; to Ted's whole family for being so awesome; and to Rolando and Rebecca for asking me to design the program ad. How in the hell did we keep that a secret?? For more, visit the Kodak Gallery event pictures, as well as the page I loaded on candids. Movie clips to follow... Enjoy!
Many of you know of my longstanding issue with V.A.S., or "Violent Affection Syndrome," where you get so aggravated by someone being cute that you want to squeeze them until their eyeballs pop out. (VAS is never anything you'd ever really do, it's just a feeling/surge you get from, say, nieces and nephews.)
The affliction started with Penny's dog Petey, who was just so hideously ugly that he was, consequently, irresistibly cute -- hence the V.A.S. frustration. For example, you'll often hear me say: "that one is so cute, you just want to slap him/her." It's a natural reaction.
Henceforthwith, for those of you not in the know, V.A.S. has spawned another very important (and entirely popular) Web feature called "The Daily Slap," a section of BentBlog run by my pal Rob. Yesterday I did a "guest slap" of actor Seann William Scott, who, according to recent birthday boy Mattie "Thigh" Moore, turned up at a party with the same affable demeanor we all see in his movies. (SWS has got five flicks in development as of this writing.)
Thigh, pictured at left, with Seann on the right and Joanna Scholl as the "meat in the man sandwich." The photo was snapped at a GQ Fashion Show after party that had all the blogs buzzing. Thanks to Joanna for supplying the picture.
This is the first in a series I'm gonna upload this week... Shawn Mullins once again knocked us all over at Eddie's Attic, ending with a standing ovation after "Shimmer." Still the best in the business.
Thanks to Thom, Kim and Jimmy BB for making the company just as awesome as the entertainment. Pics and other videos to follow soon...
Every once in a while we come across someone who presents life's tools as a beautiful map on how to use them to the best of our ability.
This latest incarnation is in the form of Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University. Pausch has terminal cancer and recently gave a speech at that school will blow you away. It's amazing how, through humor, instruction is not only engaging -- but also profound and transformative.
In a culture that is fascinated by Britney's choreography, Lindsay's latest line or which Anna-Nicole ex-lover is sleeping with whom, THIS is what life is about for me. But, as we're reminded by Pausch, humor is one of the most expeditious pathways to healing.
News judgment is the "quiet gatekeeper" of how our news and information is presented to us, and how we absorb it... To that end, MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann is an always sophisticated hour of cable news -- without the shouting, distorted perspectives and revolving anchors of other cable shows.
If you're not watching Countdown regularly, now's the time to see how the show is a distinct media watchdog to the partisan crap that our current administration would have us believe. Plus, what's the alternative? Trust me, you're bound to learn something every night -- and also laugh your ass off, with "Worst Person" honors and "Oddball."
Many of us are gathering in the big city for a huge party for Matt "Thigh" Moore's 40th birthday bash, and then on the way to Saratoga to see The Clemmeys. Strike that, Tim busted up his ankle and 'Toga is a no-go.
Anyway, birthday/NYC travel blog to follow.
PS: NYC airports suck really bad. Nine hours door to door.
Having a blast out here at the San Diego Open, where I bombed out of the tourney early, but Jack and Ken are in the finals this afternoon! I'll follow up with event pics later. Meantime, during off-court time at Barnes Tennis Center, Jack and Ken visited with Mary Murphy -- famed judge of So You Think You Can Dance and repped by former Atlanta resident Michael Sanchez (brother of Season One host Lauren Sanchez). I wasn't able to meet her, but I heard all about it. The pic here is of Jack and Mary with Kynni behind the cell camera.
Many more pics to follow, including captures from Mission Beach and some landscapes.
Great thanks to Ted and Rolando for hosting me in D.C. ...and to Michele "Snush" Segre for organizing our great outing in Bethesda, Md., at Mia's Pizzas.
The day itself was expansive to say the least. Ted, Rolando and I hoofed it in Bethesda to Discovery Galleries -- a destination that caught Ted's eye from a mailer to area residents. The hybrid-concentration gallery was showing pieces by Christos Palios and Anne Packard -- both of which had stunning works on display. I'm going to try and pitch a story about this gallery in the coming weeks.
We were joined later that afternoon by Michele, Rebecca and Larise at Mia's as the six of us did "market research" for the forthcoming sixth annual NYE Gourmet Pizza Extravaganza. But we also connected with our great host (and Mia's' owner) Melissa as she graciously donated a gift certificate for the HRC's Eleventh Annual National Dinner, an extravaganza in its own right being co-chaired by our very own Ted Toon!
I'm named after my late grandfather, William Stone Weedon, who was a decorated veteran of World War II and a fixture at the University of Virginia. With my birthday and Veterans Day converging at the same time each year, I thought it appropriate to use "The Google" and find some information on him -- some of which I didn't know before. Here's what I came up with:
• In 2003, UVa named an Endowed Professorship in his honor • He received his undergraduate degree (1929) and graduate degree in Arts & Sciences (1936) from UVa, and continued on as a professor long afterward • He advanced the understanding of East Asian architecture within the university community • He received the Raven Award, the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, and in 1976, the Thomas Jefferson Award -- UVa's highest honor. • He was named to University Professorship, which entitled him to teach any subject of his choosing on the UVa campus.
I hereby nominate her because she's (one of) the coolest chicks on the planet. Her soft and kind delivery, along with her views on religion, Christianity and femininity, absolutely fascinate me. Take a look at that link and watch some of the interview... it's worth the few minutes.
"You talk about War -- it's an old paradigm," Garry Shandling told Bill Maher last night during the "Real Time" panel discussion, referring to our "War on Terror" language. "This winning and losing thing is where we are behind in our consciousness. I'm a comedian, but in my spare time, things bother me." (Photo courtesy of nndb.com.)