Friday, April 30, 2010

On Being Proud of my Friend

You know, I'm 28 now (almost 29), and I have this observation that many of my friends (and hopefully me?) are starting to hit their stride. The 20's are a weird time because it seems we all have so much energy and gumption, but there also so many barriers.

I'm observing and feeling that the barriers are now fewer and things are starting to fall into place. Things are happening for me and for others. Life is easier. It makes me feel good about myself, but more importantly proud of my friends.

Yesterday, Mary sent me this photo of the students that are currently on a college tour trip that she is leading through her company Collegocity.

A few years ago, Mary had this great idea for this company that "help's families, student groups, and even colleges themselves prepare for, experience, or provide productive, fun, and authentic campus visits." Through her tenacity and hard work, she singularly has made this happen. Her first large scale trip is going on right now and by the looks of things, it is going well.

So, here's to making things happen.

Now how can I get one of those chic, red Collegocity bags??

On Art Chicago and Next Recap

Last night was quite a fun time. Arts fairs a funny things and the people are often the most interesting part. Particularly in the case of these two fairs, as to my sensibilities the vibes are so completely different. Art Chicago is where all the $$$ gets exchanged and Next is where all the fun happens. As Linsey says, they both have their place.

There were a few highlights for me which I tweeted as I walked through, but I thought I'd share here as well. Oh, and speaking of "tweeting" check out this license plate I saw in the parking garage.

I don't actually know what to say about that.

Anyway, back to the art fair. I was able to see my first real life JH Engstrom photos. They were subtle and beautiful. (Pardon my iPhone pics)

And a Tillmans...

And a Mapplethorpe...

And some Alec Soth, which are huge and beautiful.

I don't know who this artist is, but the piece was entertaining.

And a contortionist?

But, a highlight was getting to meet Oliver and Eleanor from The Present Group.

It was particularly exciting to see my piece in their booth!

Overall, it was a really great night. We tried to follow it up with dinner at Gilt Bar, but it was of course full, as was Xoco, as was Frontera as was... So, we settled for the decent food and obnoxious atmosphere at Hub51.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

On Speaking of Art

Next Month, I'm headed to NYC for a few days with Scott. One of the reasons for timing with the trip is the opportunity to see the Whitney Biennial, which I have managed to see for the last six years (oy!) and also to make it to the MOMA to see Marina Abramovic' "The Artist is Present." The performance artist's retrospective is getting a lot of buzz on the blogosphere. One of the more interesting and enticing parts of the exhibit includes Marina herself, sitting at a table each day with a chair across from it allowing participants to sit and have what some might call a staring match. Marina has been sitting in the museum all day, every day of the exhibit and it has been documented on the museum's flickr page. I believe once the exhibit is complete, the artist will hold some sort of guinness record. In the meantime, she continues to sit and patrons continue to sit as well. Here she is on day 41:

For me, what is most interesting about this is the museum's documentation of those who choose to sit with Marina. If you spend any time going through the Flickr page, you may get sucked in. It is incredibly fascinating to see the different faces and consider what is going through both their minds and hers.

There have been some well known faces as well.

Or how about this little guy?

This guy seems to have spent many different times sitting with Marina, often resulting in tears.

And then a few others...

Pretty fascinating, eh? I can't wait to see it live.

On Art Chicago and Next

This evening, I will be traveling down to the Merchandise Mart with Linsey and Scott to take in the annual art fairs that take place. Namely, Art Chicago and Next. I'm looking forward to this for a few reasons. First, these fairs, however commercially driven they are, end up being a good way to sort of take the temperature of that which is happening. Particularly for someone like me who has little to no connection to the art world, it is generally inspiring for me each year to take it in... whether I'm inspired by the talent that exists of the feeling that I could actually do this and be a part of it. Both are valid and both help push me along.

Secondarily, this year I will have the opportunity to meet the dynamic duo who produce the art subscription service The Present Group. Based in California, The Present Group helped me create my project "You were there, too." I worked with them extensively, via email and phone and Skype but never met face to face. I look forward to doing so tonight.

This project was extremely formative for me. The first time an outsider through money my way to help me create something I had envisioned. I'm proud of what I created, even if it has been over two years ago now!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

On Quinoa

I love Quinoa, ya'll.

It's been at the center of my food attention now for quite some time, for a number of reasons. Some of these are based in taste and some are based in nutritional value.

Nutritionally, Quinoa is extremely high in protein and contains amino acids, making it a "complete protein." As a vegetarian, to be able to cook with things that are both delicious and fulfilling my dietary needs is exciting. I'm new to cooking Quinoa, but I've recently realized it is quite simple and can be deliciously served warm or cold.

Last night, I ventured into black quinoa territory (which I bought purely for aesthetics) and made myself a warm salad of quinoa, blue cheese, dried cherries, fried tofu and broccoli. Um, Yum. I'm incredibly excited to eat the leftovers for lunch today.

Monday, April 26, 2010

On Video

Dear Friends,

It's the loveliest of Mondays here in Chicago. It could be a bit warmer, but after a rainy and grey weekend, who am I to complain.

I wanted to share with you the videos I spent last week working on. The recordings were made in Oak Park, IL at St. Edmund Church. It is a beautiful space with incredibly forgiving acoustics. They were so kind to allow me to use their sanctuary. Additionally, my friend Eric Budzynski agreed to accompany me on both piano and organ. His skills are wonderful and I was lucky to be able to use them. Take a look:

Bella siccome un angelo from Don Pasquale by Donizetti from Davin Youngs

Die Mainacht - Johannes Brahms from Davin Youngs

Ave Maria by Franz Schubert from Davin Youngs

Friday, April 23, 2010

On Inspiration Friday

On ... I finally bought a raincoat

I don't think I mentioned here that I concluded my raincoat(jacket?) saga.

You know, I made my way over to REI and tried on the $35 Helly Hansen number, but it fit really weird. Short sleeves and wide torso. So, I made the mistake of giving a more expensive Patagonia version a try. Yea, it was pretty perfect.

In the end, I spent a lot more money than I had originally intended, but I feel really good about this purchase. This is the sort of thing you own for a long time, and given the impending rain of the weekend, I intend to stay dry.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

On Interpretation

When I was home, I spotted this picture on my parent's wall. I believe I gave this to my mother three or four years ago. I remember at the time really thinking she would like it, but come to find out later she interpreted the image as being quite sad.

I was mostly interested in the colors and the ways in which the single wave stands out amidst the relatively calm waters.

But upon further reflection, maybe I see what she's saying. The wave is alone on a grey day. Although I'm still attracted to the aesthetics, maybe it is a little sad.

On Intersection

For a long time I've been considering ways that I can incorporate that which I do musically with that which I make visually. This has always been a conundrum for me because for so long I only understood myself as a singer and then as an adult I began to see myself as an artist... not just a visual artist, but someone who creates. This has been liberating, but also confusing.

So, in my current post graduate state one of my personal goals is to explore the ways in which that I do musically can intersect with that which I create. While in Michigan, I began working with the idea of projected images over sung text. This didn't necessarily pan out, but I was able to throw together the following video. It is the Latin text "Libera Me" backwards.

eM arebiL from Davin Youngs

I'm anxious to continue exploring ways in which I can use video to create intersection.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

On footwear people are wearing that I don't understand

I'm seeing these three shoes all over the place right now.

Can someone please explain?

On Speaking with Authority

After a lovely weekend away, I returned to Chicago with a flurry of business like tasks to complete. Some music related, some friend related, and some work related. It's amazing what a shock to the system getting back into the swing of things after being gone can be, but that is what modern life requires of us. We are to move quickly and be flexible and be all things in all situations.

One of my tasks upon return was a presentation yesterday, given to the Associate Deans at my University. The presentation was essentially an awareness piece about new and social media as it relates to our current students. It was inspired by my observation that our marketing and communications department is pushing heavily in the realm of social media, while our academic departments have barely gotten their toes wet. Therefore, the student may have one experience before entering college and then have a completely different experience once they arrive. It is potentially false advertising.

I don't know much about social media. Well, let me say, I don't know much more than most of you. What we know? We've learned by doing it and the truth of the matter is I am just on the cusp of being too old to have lived with social media for very long but I am also close enough to the age group that knows nothing else, so I feel the pressure to be in with it. I also feel compelled to stay on top of this sort of thing, because we all know that if we fall behind it can be hard to catch up. Why not stay in the know so I don't have to work too hard to know. It is actually laziness that propels me, but that is another blog topic...

So here's the thing: I don't know all that much about this, but I know enough to talk with authority and sound like I know what I'm talking about and I've come to realize in life that this sort of communication will get you far! It reminds me that in performance, a lousy musician can perform with much conviction and potentially draw people in, whilst an amazing talent can be lack luster and have the opposite effect.

Now, it is not my intention to ever talk out of my ass. I do my homework. I read enough to know a little bit about quite a lot, so this isn't necessarily the blind leading the blind, but in the land of the new (things like new and social media) who are the experts? Do we know? For now, these persons in positions of power at my institution think I might be, so... I'm happy to let them! I'll keep reading. I'll keep learning. I'll stand up in front of them and speak with authority until my cover is blown. We'll see how far I get.

Friday, April 16, 2010