Saturday, June 30, 2012

Going Out In Style...


So I'm getting ready to head to New York City for my bachelor party... yeah, this should be interesting. I'm looking forward to my groomsmen Rick and Frank finally meeting--in a way Rick represents my visual artist side, and Frank represents the performing (Joel is the musician, but he has to work at the music store today). Sarah is off on her bachelorette party... a wine-tasting and hanging out in the Capital Region (they better not go to the Fuze Box!).

It's a beautiful day out, and I'm sure we will have a blast... yet I was feeling a little blue this morning at the idea of not spending the day in New York or at a wine-tasting with Sarah myself... that's a good sign, right?



Friday, June 29, 2012

A Healthy Dash of Hope



I must admit that I wasn't sure how the Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act was going to pan out. Things have become so incredibly divided when it comes to politics, that it's easy to become cynical. However, Chief Justice John Roberts broke with his fellow conservative judges and voted to uphold most of President Obama's health care reform (the vote was decided 5-4). In my view, yesterday was a huge step forward for our country, helping more Americans get the care that they need.

Source: Amnesty International
Facebook page. All rights reserved.
It was shrewd of the President's team to turn the word "Obamacare" into a positive,after his opponents had been throwing it around as a derogatory term. As a President, I do think Obama cares. Over the past four years I think some of his supporters have felt that he hasn't acted "liberal" enough--that he has run more moderate, and maybe even acted more aggressive in regards to the use of military force (i.e. the escalating use of drone missiles). I'm no fan of war and am uneasy with the idea of assassinations. During the 2008 election, the President promised to close Guantanamo Bay, where some of the previous administration's more troubling abuses of political prisoners took place, but near the end of his term, it remains open...

©Jeremy Clowe. All rights reserved.
When I volunteered fot the President's election campaign, Obama appeared to be level-headed, intelligent, and idealistic--well, maybe he is more of a realist... There is a poem that I worked on for the Spoken Word Almanac Project called "My Obama"--it's a funny piece, written by Darian Dauchan and being performed by several of the spoken word artists. The poem tries to understand who the "real" Barack Obama is:






"...His Obama would throw you into a cell indefinitely 

My Obama wouldn't do that
I know who he is!
I know what he did!
I know what he's capable of!"

And so on...

You can see the visuals I created for this poem, and more of my media design at SWAP's mid-year show being held this Saturday, June 30, at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York City. Show starts at 7 p.m., and it should be interesting with all the news that has happened so far in 2012... 

Cheers. Here's to your health!...

Related Links:


Robert's Rules, Atlantic Monthly, January/February 2007

"A Cruel and Unusual Record" by President Jimmy Carter, editorial for The New York Times, June 24, 2012


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fully Engaged

Ok, we're going down the list... getting things done. We just received a CD of engagement photos that our photographer took last week. There's some great photos... very excited about having him shoot our wedding. I think we're going with this one for the newspapers... do people still do this?

Photo by John Whipple. © + All rights reserved.


Related Link:

John Whipple Photography

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

From Sketch To Screen

Scrat from Ice Age: digital still, and character study
by Peter de Sève. ™ & ©Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.
All Rights Reserved.
Continuing on yesterday's theme of film development at Blue Sky Studios, one of the elements I contributed to the exhibition we had last year at the Norman Rockwell Museum was a short interview with illustrator Peter de Sève


I had originally interviewed the artist back in 2005 for an exhibition we had on the art of The New Yorker--de Sève has created several very well-executed cover illustrations for the venerable publication over the past decade. I traveled out to his studio in Brooklyn, New York, and had a chance to talk with him about his career and even film him doing a couple quick sketches (which was sort of mesmerizing). At that time, he had just started working with Blue Sky Studios on the development of characters for its Ice Age series, and it was interesting to learn how that all came about. Here is the clip that I edited from that footage and is included in the Ice Age to the Digital Age: The 3D Animation Art of Blue Sky Studios exhibition, which is set to open at the Katonah Museum of Art on September 16, 2012:


de Sève is also credited with much of the concept for the strange prehistoric rat creature, Scrat, who has featured in all of the movies. Personally, I have only really seen the first movie all the way through... the others I have only caught bits and pieces of... I mean, how much of Scrat getting beat up chasing after an acorn can you take? Well actually... Sarah's nephews seem rather excited about the new Ice Age: Continental Drift movie opening up on July 13th:


Related Links:


www.peterdeseve.com
www.iceagemovie.com

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Turning Over a "New" Leaf

I came across a pretty interesting movie trailer this morning, for one of the upcoming feature films from digital animation giant Blue Sky Studios:



I was impressed by the hint of well-executed CGI and enticing story, and then realized half-way through watching it that this looked mighty familiar! 


Last year I took at trip to Blue Sky's headquarters in Greenwich, Connecticut, for a look at the work environment and to meet its talented staff in advance of our Ice Age to the Digital Age: The 3D Animation Art of Blue Sky Studios exhibition. While there, I saw development sketches and character design for a movie adaptation of the acclaimed children's picture book, The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs by illustrator William Joyce. The designs looked fantastic... great, fantasy-themed artwork, and definitely something I could see Sarah enjoying. 


I remember talking to Blue Sky's founder Chris Wedge about the film, and he seemed excited to be directing the project (I guess Joyce has been a collaborator on several of the studio's films). Since then, it looks like they have changed the title of the film to Epic, and it is due to be released in 2013. One thing I notice is that the "style" of the animation looks a little different than what we have come to expect from the studio (i.e. Ice Age, Robots, Rio). It looks like a less caricatured film at times, although I see they still have the sense to avoid the "uncanny valley" effect: trying to make human characters look realistic, but ending up scaring the bejeezus out of viewers.


Well, I haven't read the book yet, but both it and the movie look very promising indeed. Fun to catch the inside look at the development of a feature film... and I thought some of my projects took forever to complete!

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Harder They Come, The Harder They Fall

Get a long, little doggie... enjoying the Christman
Nature Preserve. Photo ©Jeremy Clowe. All rights reserved.
Yesterday I set out on a photographic mission: to take a nice shot of a nearby waterfall to use at the wedding. For the uninitiated, Sarah and I have a thing for waterfalls and have been making a list of those we have seen (including Niagara). I brought along an excellent book that my Mother had given us for Christmas: New York Waterfalls: A Guide for Hikers & Photographers by Scott E. Brown. In addition to listing all the locations in the state, I forgot that the book also had some useful tips for taking photographs of waterfalls, including the author's manual camera settings. Beautiful results!


One of the nicest waterfalls we have seen is located at the Christman Nature Preserve in nearby Duanesburg, New York--we actually used a photo of it for our wedding invitations, but thought that we should take a photo with a higher resolution for what we have in mind. So off I went, and enjoyed the nice wooded hike through the winding preserve. There were plenty of pretty nature scenes, but I was determined to get the shot of the waterfalls first... 


What I found instead was more like a trickle... I guess there has not been enough rain over the last week or so to sustain a natural waterfall in the location. The only sights I had to see were girls in swimsuits enjoying the pond... oh darn.

Christman Nature Preserve.
Photo ©Jeremy Clowe. All rights reserved.


With limited time, I called Sarah at work and she suggested heading over to the Cohoes Falls, pointing out that because it was flowing from the Mohawk River, it would indeed by falling. She was right... I wandered down a long staircase on to broken shale rocks, and down near foot level for a nice vantage point to a series of pretty waterfalls. However, no sooner did I start taking photos then a park guide walked up to me to tell me that this portion of the park was closing for the day... by this point, I was wondering if I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. took a few quick photos, which turned out alright. Maybe one of these will work, or perhaps I still have time to find another (now I'm praying for rain this week!).


(Cohoes Falls photos ©Jeremy Clowe. All rights reserved)

Sarah joined me at the river park after work, and we learned a bit more about the area and town of Cohoes. Also called "The Great Falls of the Mohawk," Cohoes Falls was celebrated by 18th century travelers, who regarded it as the second most beautiful cataract in the state this side of Niagara. The power of the falls was harnessed to fuel turbines for the city's industry, which included the manufacture of cotton. Most of the water is still used for power generation, and for the town's water supply. 


It looks like Cohoes Falls even has it's own webcam (hmmph... I bet no one's kicking them out): ny.water.usgs.gov/rt/pub/01357500.htm


So I'll keep chasing those waterfalls for the perfect picture... hopefully finding a good one before the big day.


Links:


www.friendsofcohoesfalls.org


The Nature Conservancy: Christman Sanctuary

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Not The Same Old Song...

We really enjoyed the Old Songs Festival last night--the weather was pleasant up there in Altamont, the food was delicious (Moroccan cuisine!), and the bands were quite lively... there was actually a strong French bent to them (perfect preparation for our upcoming trip to Quebec). One of the acts, in fact, was from Canada:

The band's name is Galant, tu perds ton temps, and is comprised of five women (and a male percussionist) who sing a cappella. We don't speak French, but it was hard not to love their infectious renditions of traditional folk songs.

The band Comas play the 32nd Annual Old Songs
Folk Festival. Photo ©Jeremy Clowe. All rights reserved.
There were plenty of other highlights, including a Celtic-infused group called Comas, the Creole sounds of Dennis Stroughmatt, and the Scottish singer/songwriter Archie Fisher. I admit that to have had sort of a preconception about what folk is all about, but this festival really opens my eyes (and ears) to the bigger concept of folk music, and I must say that I appreciate hearing bands from other regions (and countries) sing traditional songs that have been passed down through the ages.

My gal (in my shirt) revisiting old memories at
Old Songs. Photo ©Jeremy Clowe. All rights reserved.
This was the 32nd anniversary of Old Songs, and Sarah's family has been going since the beginning. In fact, we came across a photo display, which included an old photo of Sarah and her mother listening to a performer from back in 1987 (Sarah was only five)! It had a note attached to it saying that this cute little girl went on to become an Old Songs intern in later years... Having taken part in this summer family tradition for the past few years, I can see the appeal.

Related Link:


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Homecoming Weekend

Speaking of Norman Rockwell, I spent the afternoon filming and photographing a real-life "Homecoming." Two soldiers returned to the Berkshires after being deployed abroad, and we held a grand ceremony at Norman Rockwell Museum. 

"The Homecoming," 1945, Norman Rockwell.
Oil on canvas, Private Collection.
©1945 SEPS: Curtis Publishing,
Indianapolis, IN.
Since Rockwell created so many patriotic illustrations during World War II (i.e. The Four Freedoms), our Museum seems perfectly suited to serve as the backdrop for such events. Rockwell's 1945 painting The Homecoming is on loan to the Museum for a short-time, and we tied the arrival of this artwork in with the already scheduled program. 

The Here at Home Committee, who planned the event, contacted CTSB-TV, where I do some video work, to see if there were any videographers free to film the event. Since I was already working the event, it made sense that I would film it for the station. This also gave me a chance to try out their Sony NXCAM HD camera again. In some respects, it's sort of like learning to ride a bike again, and I'm discovering all of the subtle nuances with a tapeless format and new camera controls. I'm sure I'll get there, but after juggling this HD video camera and the Museum's Canon EOS 60D digital still camera, I'm exhausted... this one-man band thing can get a little old sometimes. Anyway, hopefully I got some usable footage... I have the camera until Monday, so maybe I'll take it around for further testing over the weekend.

Right now I'm off to Old Songs, a yearly folk festival that has become a tradition for Sarah's family. It will be nice to unwind and listen to some live music, at the foot of the Altamont's mountain area... and not far from where our wedding will take place!


Friday, June 22, 2012

The Knot

Morrissey tickets and a marriage license. Not a bad day...


The Marriage License, Norman Rockwell, 1955.
Oil on canvas. Norman Rockwell Museum Collections.
©1955 SEPS: Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN
Yes, these two documents made me a happy man today. Sarah and I ran down to Schenectady City Hall to make it official. It is a beautiful building downtown, and so we took lots of photos. Funny enough, the last time we stopped down there was to pick up information on recycling--I took lots of photos then too, and a woman passed by us with a huge smile... I said to her, "It's a special day!" If only she could see us now...


Of course, right there in the city clerk's office was a print of Norman Rockwell's The Marriage License. It seems I cannot escape the man. The original painting is part of the collection at Norman Rockwell Museum and yes,we have had a few proposals in front of it (at least one I filmed). It really is a beautiful painting, when you see it in person.


Photo ©Jeremy Clowe.
All rights reserved.
Equally stunning is my fiancee Sarah. She was beaming this time, and even though it was still on the hot side, we were keeping cool. Later today we traveled to downtown Albany's Washington Park to take some engagement photos with our wedding photographer. It's a beautiful park, and he had us try all manner of romantic poses... I think I liked to the ones best that he just observed instead of directed. Stopping down at this location made a lot of sense, because just a street over is the club where Sarah and I met. Yes, we stopped over there too to take some photos... this time I twirled her around outside! We followed this up with another Indian food dinner. How could the day get any better?


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Tomorrow (and What Must Come Before)

It has been a scorcher couple of days... temperatures hitting the 90s with humidity feels like 100 degrees. Hopefully it will break tomorrow...


Morrissey is coming to the Capital Region! I can't believe it, but it's true... tickets go on sale tomorrow morning for an October show at the Palace Theater. Back in the early '90s I was a big fan--loved the Smiths, and his solo albums Your Arsenal and Vauxhall & I,... around that time people said I somewhat resembled him... huh. He had a pretty cool look going back then, so I guess I appreciated the thought.

One of his songs from that period was called Hold On To Your Friends, and I've been thinking of the idea of lasting friendships a lot lately in terms of our wedding. Of course I'm marrying my best friend, but what of others you come in contact with during your life? My groomsman Frank and I were talking about the idea of a guest list being something of a time capsule, representing where you are at that moment in your life. Although there are the occasional misfires, one of the advantages to being older is that I am a pretty good judge of the friends I can count on... I look forward to celebrating with them real soon.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

May The Spoken Word Be With You

Here is the flyer for this year's Spoken Word Almanac Project mid-year show, to be held at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York City on Saturday, June 30, starting at 7 p.m. I have created visuals for about ten of the poems that will be performed that evening. Come check it out if you are in the area (it's a nice venue). $8 in advance, $10 at the door:




Related Links:



Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing...

Swing dance class again tonight. We learned the Texas Tommy...


I'm realizing just how many variations there are in swing. At the moment we're learning east coast, but there is also west coast, lindy hop... hmm... we'll see what we can absorb before the wedding. 

Yeah, I want to be a dancing machine during the reception... maybe I need to watch more James Brown:


And, of course, the mother and son dance... love you, Mom.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Set Your Sights on Adventure!

As promised, here is the commercial I created with Time Warner Media Sales for Norman Rockwell Museum's new Howard Pyle exhibition:



This spot will begin airing this month in Western Massachusetts and Central New York on Time Warner Cable stations... throughout the run of the exhibition, I believe. 

I have to give big props to Emily McEntee Shaw, Producer/Director at Time Warner. We had worked together last year on a couple spots for the Museum, and she is an absolute pleasure. We worked on her Avid Media Composer, and it all came together rather seamlessly.

My colleagues and I first came up with a suitable 30 second script, I gathered the images and then chose a narrator from a few choices. I was drawn to Dave, who is the one we ended up using... apparently he also has done work for the History Channel, so it makes sense that his voice fit for Pyle's historical/fantasy subject matter. 

The trickier thing was finding the music. My experience finds that is always the most challenging... the soundtrack can't distract from the piece, and I think we managed quite well here. I have to admit that I was unsure about the narration when I first heard it, but the music made it sail with a little "pirate ease" once we combined them together.

I do love to edit, and this was one of those experiences where I wasn't pulling my hair out through the process... it was nice to work with a fellow video professional. Granted, the artwork stands on it's own, so I guess I should also be thanking Mr. Howard Pyle.

Howard Pyle: American Master Rediscovered is on view at Norman Rockwell Museum through October 28, 2012.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Here's To The Dads...

I spent most of the day finishing up the multimedia for our upcoming spoken word performance. I managed to come up with some sequences that really work well... I think it will look real nice.

Me, Dad, + Gwen. c. 1972.
Photo by Lori. ©Jeremy Clowe. All rights reserved.
I also spent part of the day listening to an old tape of my Dad playing the organ (like my mother, he was a talented musician). I know... that sounds a little depressing, but Sarah and I are hoping to find a suitable passage to use during our wedding ceremony. I lost my father during high school, and I still find myself thinking about him from time to time... I certainly would have wanted him here to help us celebrate the big day... I feel fortunate to at least have music and many memories that I can share. Listening to the tape, I am reminded of his great skill as a pianist... flawless, really... 

Later in the day we went over to Sarah's folks' place for dinner. Her father is a great guy... an engineer who is quite clever at coming up with fun things for Sarah's nephews to do. The zipline was down, but we had good fun playing with a bottle and water balloon launcher. Mark is always interesting to talk to... he likes the outdoors, and I think has done several of the Adirondack hikes. 

©Ernest Barnes. All rights reserved.
On the topic of Dads, I have to also give a shout out to my stepfather Ernie. I thank him for being in my Mother's life. He also enjoys the outdoors, and is quite a talented artist--here is my chance for me to plug his work. I think he has really come a long way with his watercolor paintings... they look richer and richer each time. I enjoyed seeing a collection of his  work when it was on view in a new gallery back in my hometown a couple years ago. Anyway, here is a link to his website: pecktec.com/ernestbarnes

These men are good inspiration... maybe in the next year or so I will need it myself! Happy Father's Day.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

It's a Beautiful Day (Don't Let It Slip Away)

I'm still thinking about how perfect yesterday was... to work with another video professional on a project that we both felt good about, spend lunchtime outdoors with my girl, and then join my improv mates for a ridiculous show followed by karaoke... well, it doesn't get much better. I felt as good as the sun was shining... 

find the bride...
Photo ©Jeremy Clowe. All rights reserved.
The weather was equally nice today and, after a late start, Sarah and I decided to walk over to nearby Central Park in Schenectady to soak up the sun and work on our ceremony (stopping briefly to pick up some strawberries from an annual street festival). There is a rose garden in the park, with all different varieties of roses in bloom at the moment... this is a popular place for people to take photos for proms, graduations and weddings. We actually saw three different wedding parties buzzing around the garden, and one actually performed their ceremony right then and there this afternoon. We sat back and enjoyed, and applauded the couple once their nuptials had been completed. 

Our own ceremony is coming along, with equal respect paid to both faiths. We talked with our families today about music and scriptures to be read... it's been a fun process, thinking about how to structure the ceremony and reception. Hopefully everything will be coming up roses...

Related Link:

Friday, June 15, 2012

One Love, One Heart



I love Bob Marley... that Legend album has received many a spin in my household. This brings back memories of my high school mission trip to Jamaica... when we weren't busy helping to build houses, we used to hear sweet reggae blasting from the dance halls in town... nearly all night! Cute video here... I have never seen it before... someone says that is Marley's son Damian Jr. Gong, who has gone on to become a successful recording artist in his own right, but I think that might just be a rumor. However, that is definitely Paul McCartney mugging for the camera, as well as Madness... probably a few other celebs in there.


My reason for posting the song is to mark ONE MONTH until the big day for me and my love. Maybe we'll add this to the wedding playlist... there should be one or two Marley tunes in there.


Here is another awesome song I came across today... a remixed version of Mister Rogers singing "Garden of Science"-- very creative! Normally I hate auto-tune, but this is sweet, as was Fred Rogers:





You could say this fit my overall vibe today... I stuck around my new "neighborhood" of the Capital Region, and worked with Time Warner on a commercial for the Howard Pyle exhibition. It really came out great... I can't wait to share it. 


It really was an ideal day... working on video production with other talented professionals, lunch with the missus, and a sun-soaked Friday afternoon... just in time for the weekend!  Off to improv... yea mon!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

poetry in motion

Photo from last year's SWAP mid=year show.
Media design by your's truly.
Photo courtesy SWAP. All rights reserved.
I spent the evening trying to wrap up the visuals for The Spoken Word Alman Project... almost there! Earlier in the day I heard an interesting take on the concept of poetry inspired by news and current events--it seems that each month NPR is airing a poet's take on the news of the day... now that's a challenge (the SWAPsters at least have three weeks to come up their monthly poems)! It's called NewsPoet, and the entry today is by Robert Pinksy, who served as the United States Poet Laureate from 1997-2000. Looking further back, I notice that they also have an entry from Kevin Young, who I had been hired to film last year at The Mount, writer Edith Wharton's estate in the Berkshires, where he did a special reading of his work. Poetry is an interesting art form... I wouldn't mind learning more about the structure... I am always drawn to rhythm, which is probably why I enjoy video editing so much.


Closer to home, my long-time friend Leslie emailed to let me know she had finished a poem of her own for Sarah and my wedding... looking forward to hearing that on our big day... I can only imagine! 


Related Link:


Excerpt from Kevin Young's Ardency: A Chronicle of The Amistad Rebels (At Length Magazine)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Laughing Matter

Oh dear. I opened up Facebook last night to find that I have become this summer's poster boy for the Spectrum Playhouse in Lee, Massachusetts. Here is a banner they are using on their page to promote the Royal Berkshire Improv Troupe's monthly shows... yikes...! Where is my stylist when I need her? 


If I didn't know better, I might think this was an ad promoting spoken word poetry (speaking of which...). I guess I should just be flattered that they thought enough of my comedic stylings to feature me on the main page--it's true, I have enjoyed my return to improv world. 


RBIT's summer shows at the Spectrum will take place this Friday, June 15; July 20; and August 17; at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 at the door, and can be reserved by contacting the theater at 413.394.5023, ext. 12. The troupe will also be performing at the very cool Freight Yard Pub and Restaurant up in North Adams on Fridays, July 13, and August 10. Grab a bite, drink, and be merry with my fellow makers of mischief. I know I won't make the July gigs, but I might stick around for this Friday's show... I can't let my fans down, can I?


Related Links:


www.berkshireimprov.com


Third Saturday Comedy Improv Nights with RBIT, Berkshire Visual & Performing Arts Center

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Jump Jive an' Wail!

Back to swing dance class tonight. Jason is a good instructor and manages to slow it down enough so that we can clearly see each follow-through of movement. 

During last week's class we felt like we didn't spend enough time dancing together, but this time out I found the switching of partners to be beneficial (in dancing!!!), because it allowed me to get a feel for the right amount of tension needed to sustain the dance. 

Yes, soon we will get to this level...

Monday, June 11, 2012

Good Relations

I started the day off by doing another radio interview (in the words of my co-worker, "you're famous again!"). This one was for Jazz FM, a radio station based in the UK... yup, Anglophile that I am, I can cross another item off my bucket list. Actually, this station is devoted to jazz, as its name suggests... I just hope that my interview is slated next to Miles and Coltrane... not Kenny G. The representative was part of a so-called FAM group, which the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism puts together. Basically, groups of journalists travel throughout the state to learn about the various cultural attractions. I gave them the low-down on Norman Rockwell and Howard Pyle...

Rockwell and Pyle side-by-side
From "Howard Pyle: American Master Rediscovered."
Photo by Jeremy Clowe for Norman Rockwell Museum.
The new exhibition looks great, and has received some favorable press. Here is a short article I wrote for the Berkshire Visitors Bureau that describes, in part, Rockwell's admiration for the Golden Age illustrator's work. It is rather fun to see his 1959 painting Family Tree on view next to Pyle's classic pirate illustrations.

Sarah and I missed the opening, but it looks like people had fun... dressed up as swashbucklers and shaking their pirate booty on the dance floor. The truth is that I have dressed up as a pirate on a couple of occasions... just for the fun of it... arrrgh!!!

"Howard Pyle: American Master Rediscovered."
Photo by Jeremy Clowe for Norman Rockwell Museum.
So I am busy trying to attract press for the exhibition, which can be a creative exercise in itself. Last week I represented the Museum during an event called Celebrate the Berkshires, put on by the Berkshire Visitors Bureau. It was a good opportunity to network and learn what the other cultural organizations are doing. 




I have to say I have the utmost respect for what Mass MoCA is involved with... they just seem so forward-thinking, and after hearing their Director speak, that is no accident. Joe Thompson was on-hand to present the Berkshire Trendsetter Award to Jacob's Pillow, another great cultural organization, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. The dance organization does wonderful work, and just announced their outdoor performance schedule. Sarah and I love heading up to Becket... into the woods... to see live dance. Jacob's Pillow and Mass MoCA are absolutely deserving of the accolades they receive for all of their quality programming. The Rockwell Museum has some fine exhibitions as well, and we were also nominated for a couple Trendsetter Awards, including "Public Relations," which made me think I'm doing something right.

And so, the summer season begin...

Related Link:


Sunday, June 10, 2012

SWAPed In, SOULed Out

Peace! Great photo from the 2011 SWAP year-end show
(with my media display in the background).
Photo © Jonathan Wesikopf. All rights reserved.
http://goodpoets.tumblr.com/page/6
I spent the day on the farm today, working on the Spoken Word Almanac Project poems I have committed to finishing for their mid-year show... It's a good thing I didn't agree to do all of it, because creating visuals for even just a handful of poems is taking longer than I expected... it may have something to do with the fact that I can't do something half-heartedly... when I'm being creative, I tend to pour all my soul into it... but I'm not getting so hung up on every last detail this time around... because I can't afford to spend the time. Keep it simple, soul boy.


Speaking of soul, there are a couple of interesting covers I heard today... One is Willie Nelson doing a version of the beautiful Coldplay song "The Scientist." Willie has such a vulnerability in his voice, and it's an interesting take on the tune... I first heard this in a Chipotle commercial, and was immediately drawn in (of course, the original is just a classic song): 





After taking a couple mile run later in the day, I happened to hear this next song on the radio...I had no idea that Otis covered The Beatles! The man never disappointed... he was just in a class all his own:




Saturday, June 9, 2012

co-efficiency!

Today Sarah and I drove out to New York City, and met up with the rabbi who is co-officiating our wedding. Since she lives in Queens, we decided to meet in Astoria, where I had an apartment a couple years ago. I like the area... it is a little toned down from Manhattan, and has a nice ethnic mix, with great food! We met at the local diner that I used to frequent.

future's so bright...
photo ©Jeremy Clowe. All rights reserved.
Planning a wedding is like putting together a theater production... good fun! We talked with my friend Tom, who is a reverend and the other officiant, about a way to blend our Christian and Jewish traditions into a single ceremony. I think this is going to be beautiful and quite meaningful for both of us... it is all coming together.

After that, we took the subway down to Greenwich Village, and did a little shopping. Sarah found some good gifts through street vendors, and I ducked into Record Runner, an independent record shop that used to stock The Swing of Things, an a-ha fanzine I created back in the 1990s--I was happy to find Morten Harket's latest solo album, Out of My Hands, which is now in my hands. 

We wandered around a bit more, finding interesting galleries and more shops, and organic juicers... I think we're going to become addicted to making our own healthy green drink diet... so wild in the city, knocking back wheatgrass shots laced with ginger, and kale/apple drinks... we felt energized anyway, enough to get back to the Hudson Valley to see the tail-end of fireworks... yay... everything always seem to work out with my girl.

Related Links:

Friday, June 8, 2012

Sight Tour v.2

Tonight we headed to the big city... Hudson, New York, that is. We're actually heading out to New York City tomorrow to meet with the rabbi who will be co-officiating at our wedding, so we decided to kick back in my parents' home town for the evening.

I have blogged about this before, but Hudson has changed so much since the days when I used to visit it as a kid. It really feels like an extension of New York City now, with hip shops, restaurants, and random, eclectic things to look at, mixed with the history that this charming little town has always offered. Tonight we grabbed some barbecue, hung out in the park, and walked up Warren Street... mostly doing window-shopping, but it was good fun.



There are plenty of antique shops that line the street, but one building always has us intrigued when we walk by... and for good reason! There, staring at us from the shop window is a bottle from the Heinrichs' bottling company that Sarah's family used to run in New York State! We have looked into trying to purchase the bottle, but apparently the shop is just kept by the owners as a bit of a hang-out... so good look trying to get the roasted peanuts they have advertised in the window. 


I like this town. Always have. My Dad used to live near a bowling alley that my grandfather ran, which I think is now becoming a big art center. Wow... time flies, and the river keeps on turning...


Links:


nymag.com/travel/weekends/hudson


Photos ©2012 Jeremy Clowe. All rights reserved.



Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sight Tour v.1





A few photos taken with my phone during lunch. 
It's a nice habit to get into... yeah, I need to get a proper digital camera.

Photos ©2012 Jeremy Clowe. All rights reserved.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Possessed!

There are times I think I have seen everything on So You Think You Can Dance (I mean, it has been nine seasons)... but then I witness routines like this:








You get the idea... such creativity and physicality! Tonight they had on three hip-hop dancers that were even better than the ones posted above. Man... yeah, that inspires me to dance more. Swing dance is a different thing, but I would love to try and do more modern-based... and, yeah, learn those James Brown splits.


Tonight we worked off some calories at the gym--I'm on a pretty good track right now, with mid-July in sight. Strengthening my core... feels good.


www.fox.com/dance

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Get Up Offa That Thing

Tonight Sarah and I started a month-long swing dance class. We had taken classes in the past, but it has been awhile since we have practiced it regularly. We thought it couldn't hurt to brush up on our moves in time for next month's festivities.

Sarah and I met out dancing, so it feels nice to bring it full-circle. The instructor was good, and broke down the steps in an easy-to-understand manner. He also had us switch partners throughout the class, so in reality we didn't dance together that much tonight... but it's not a bad way to learn from those of varying skill sets and styles.

We also enjoy watching dance. One of our favorite TV shows, So You Think You Can Dancehas just returned for a new season. I'm not usually a fan of these reality/competition shows, but feel that SYTYCD is a little classier and serious about the subject than others. We have seen some amazing dancers on this program over the years that we have watched it faithfully... pretty much every one since we met! Hip-hop, modern, latin... they do it all! I think our favorite is still season two... we couldn't get enough, and even drove out to Buffalo, New York, in 2006 to see the top ten dancers perform at the Shea's Theatre--it was great! The winner of that season, Benji Schwimmer, and his very charming cousin Heidi, were actually trained in swing dance--here is Benji's audition:


There is also a great dance festival called Jacob's Pillow that runs through the summer in the Berkshires. We have seen great performances there as well. That's how I originally discovered the Berkshires (good and bad, I guess), but it brought me to my current path, and forever sweetheart, who I am more than happy to lead.

Related Links:



Monday, June 4, 2012

Thorn In My Side

Alright, we can check the tux off the to-do list. We're gonna look good.

There is one thing I wish was in place before our wedding date, but I'm not sure it's going to change... I keep waiting for the change. Wish it were as easy as tailoring a suit jacket...



Photo ©Jeremy Clowe. All rights reserved.