December 31, 2011

Austin, Texas

                 photos by Styrous®


I was in Austin last month. It's a beautiful city with everything from funky to elegant. The photos say more than words can.

(Click on any image for slideshow)

photo by Styrous®

photo by Styrous®

photo by Styrous®

photo by Styrous®

photo by Styrous®

photo by Styrous®


Next post, the capital of Texas in Austin.


October 22, 2011

Paul Simon at the Greek Theater





        photos by Styrous®


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On Thursday, October 20, I had the fortunate experience of attending the Paul Simon concert tour to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his "Graceland" album. It also was to promote his new album, "So Beautiful or So What", his first record in five years. The event was held at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley, CA. The theater is a stunningly rich acoustical marvel of an amphitheater built in 1903 that I have been to many times for everything from concerts (Talking Heads, King Crimson, David Byrne, etc.) to operas, e. g. "Aida" which featured the oh, so very young Leontyne Price in 1958 (I was also very young but I remember I enjoyed it tremendously as they had real elephants on stage during the triumphal march; they were crazy back then and you could do things like that at the Greek, don't know if they would/could do that now).


 We had an earthquake earlier that afternoon (a small one, 4.0) and wouldn't you know, as we were waiting for the concert to start, we had another one. The audience hooted, hollered, whistled and laughed. Incredible!!!!!!!






Simon came on stage and said, “Hello, my friends. I hope I’m not being presumptuous with that greeting but it seems better than ‘Hello my ticket-purchasers.'" The audience loved it and at one point sang happy birthday to him!

He did a cover of The Beatles, “Here Comes the Sun,” and at the end said, “Thank you, George”. Some of his famous songs they performed were, "The Boy in the Bubble", "Mother And Child Reunion" and "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover".

Simon was accompanied by guitarist Vincent Nguini from Cameroon, guitarist/drummer Jim Oblon, pianist Mick Rossi, saxophonist/keyboardist Andrew Snitzer, bassist Bakithi Kumalo, guitarist Mark Stewart, percussionist Jamey Haddad and talented multi-instrumentalist Tony Cedras.

 

  
 

 

 
 
Singing "Diamonds on The Soles of Her Shoes"


Simon sang and played a solo on guitar of
"The Sound of Silence"
and the audience was breathless. 
photo by Styrous®








  


all photos by Styrous®


What an incredible concert it was. Thanks, Paul.


September 16, 2011

Chez Panisse 40th Anniversary Pt 2

The extravagant Gala commemorating the 40th anniversary of Chez Panisse at the Berkeley Art Museum on the 26th of August was fashionably elegant, and beautifully showcased the finished, polished product we have come to call, slow food.

The day after the Grand Opening, on the 27th in the museum gardens, the nuts and bolts to bring that slow food to us was featured by over a dozen small businesses and educational food initiatives that produce it. This as well as other events was sponsored by OPENrestaurant and the Chez Panisse Foundation.

I arrived early and got a chance to watch the producers set up. It was overcast at the beginning of the day but after a couple of hours the sun came out and it turned into a perfect, beautiful day.

I entered the gardens and the first thing I saw were the brightly colored bee hives of The Mobile Bee Observatory. It is a honeybee ecology classroom on wheels. Rob Keller furnished a 28-foot Airstream trailer with a floor-to ceiling observation hive and a honey tasting station. Keller shares his knowledge of beekeeping and extolls the beauty and importance of the honeybee.


photo by Styrous®


photo by Styrous®


Keller shares his knowledge of beekeeping and
extolls the beauty and importance of the honeybee.
photo by Styrous®




The next thing I saw was the Digger's Bread Bakery. In the mid-60s the Diggers in San Francisco proposed a form of "community anarchism" in which they offered free food, medical care, and street performance. They also baked and gave away bread, and were rumored to have introduced whole-wheat flour into US hippie counterculture. Artist Chris Sollars and Steve Sullivan from Acme Bakery bake Digger bread in cans while David Simpson and Jane Lapiner recount stories from their experience as Diggers.




photo by Styrous®

I tried to get a shot of the finished bread-in-can but
every time I went back it had been eaten up by the audience.
photo by Styrous®



At the Edible SchoolYard Project, a charming young girl 
offered me a tasty chapati made from whole wheat flour
with a yogurt topping.
photo by Styrous®


They had a weird contraption I first thought was some sort 
of exercise bicycle but I discovered it was used
to grind the wheat for the flour.
photo by Styrous®


A young man kindly demonstrated how the process was done.
Fascinating!
photo by Styrous®



Wandering down the path a bit I came across,
of all things, goats at Goats Milk.
photo by Styrous®

Jeannie McKenzie raises goats in Oakland and teaches about urban homesteading. Jeannie is a circus artist, dancer, musician, and teacher. 72% of milk used in the world is goat's milk.!t is easier to digest for the majority of people who cannot digest cows milk.


photo by Styrous®


McKenzie milked a goat . . .
photo by Styrous®


. . . the kids were fascinated . . .
photo by Styrous®


. . . and they made the most incredible candy from the milk.
photo by Styrous®


On the lawn of the gardens were huge letters cut from corrugated cardboard. Alphabet Soup placed huge cut-out letters on the lawn as an invitation for people to rearrange the letters to form new words and redistribute them on the lawn.


photo by Styrous®


About midway, I found A Curious Radio. It was a week-long children's workshop A Curious Summer conducted that explores the radio: its history as an instigator of change, its inner workings, and its unique ability to deliver stories directly to the theater of the mind. Inspired by this experience, young journalists operate an FM station at OPEN education, providing live coverage, conducting interviews, and curating the content of a freeform radio show. The transmission was picked up on receivers scattered throughout the Berkeley Art Museum, as well as online. This was a collaboration with OPENrestaurant and Mutiny Radio.


photo by Styrous®


Next to A Curious Radio, appropriately, was the Free Speech Police Car. In 1964 the Free Speech Movement made world news when Mario Savio stood on top of a police car in Sproul Plaza in the midst of a crowd of student protesters. Now, the car is a stage for talks and conversations with educators, students, farmers, food activists, and eaters wrestling with the corporatization of our school systems and the industrialization of our food systems.


photo by Styrous®



The side of the police car was used as a chalkboard list
of the day's speakers.
photo by Styrous®


One of the many fun & tasty stops, and perfect for the warm sunny day, was the Metas Lemonade Stand. Artist Alison Pebworth with students from METAS at Contra Costa College created custom sodas, lemonade, and aguas frescos with herbs, fruits, and honey from edible schoolyards. METAS students discussed do-it·yourself alternatives to mass-produced beverages. METAS is an enrichment program assisting latino students to achieve personal and higher education goals.


photo by Styrous®


Behind them the Lettuce Daybed thrived in the sun. Earlier this year, Latino protesters gathered in the streets, reminding us that there is no future without dreams. In South Son Francisco, Brooke Budner and Caiyn Galloway run Lime City Gardens, a functioning urban farm. They often ask volunteers to lie down between the beds, offering a different kind of service to the farm. The lettuce daybed provides a place to lie down and dream while browsing a library of seeds and political literature. To-go seeds and compost are provided by Hayes Valley Farm, a community-run farm and urban agriculture education project created on the site of a San Francisco freeway ramp.


photo by Styrous®



I found a curious set up with a pair of shoes smack
in the middle of all the food.
photo by Styrous®


photo by Styrous®

The culprit: Reheating Werner Herzog's Shoe. Werner Herzog made a bet with Errol Morris that Morris would never finish his first movie, promising to eat his shoe if he lost. For the premiere of "Gates of Heaven" in 1980, Alice Waters cooked Herzog's shoe with garlic, herbs, and duck fat for five hours. Herzog ate his shoe in front of an audience at the UC Theater, an event documented by Les Blank in the documentary "Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe."


photo by Styrous®


Finally on the lawn level was the Obugs Pickle Workshop. Since 1998 OBUGS (Oakland Based Urbon Gardensl has been building healthy communities through experiential learning programs offered to children, youth and families. Functioning as a network of school and neighborhood gardens, green spaces, and farmers markets, OBUGS offers in-school and after-school programs as well as summer camp each year.


photo by Styrous®


photo by Styrous®



Of course, Ms. Waters was there for the event.
photo by Styrous®



On one of the upper terraces I found a stand
with the most incredible tamales . . .
photo by Styrous®



. . . and across from them was a stand with grilled corn
that was out of this world.
photo by Styrous®


photo by Styrous®


Further down on the terrace was the Four Barrel Ojer Caibal School Kitchen. Four Barrel Coffee works with a small community of 300 families in Ojer Caibal, Guatemala to grow coffee in 61 tiny gardens. The exchange of getting a fair price for their beans provides cooking appliances, clean water, and waste management. Four Barrel adds an additional 25 cents per pound to the retail price of this coffee and funnels the surplus toward building a new kitchen for the school in Ojer Caiba!.


photo by Styrous®


photo by Styrous®


Across from Four Barrel was the La Cocina Salsa Kitchen: Salsa-making with the metaphorical harvest of the Three Sisters garden with Dilsa lugo from los Cilantros. Dilsa and Caleb Zigas discuss la Cocina, a business incubator designed to help entrepreneurs create successful small businesses.


photo by Styrous®


In back of them was a mini-library with food-related books from the Chez Panisse Library and Moe’s bookstore plus a copy machine to make reproductions. There were books, periodicals and magazines for reading and there was paper, pencils, coloring materials and all kinds of fun things for kids to work on.


photo by Styrous®



Of course, inside the museum the children
were romping on top of the BAMscape.
photo by Styrous®



Not only was it a beautiful, sunny California day,
 it was an educational one as well.
photo by Styrous®


I had a fantastic time thanks to all who participated in the event.