A global guide to LIVING CREATIVELY

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Return to Slow

Glen Milner produced this wonderful video of traditional bookbinding. As I watched, I could almost feel the texture of the paper between my hands. I can only hope, as we transfer our reading material to computers, that we keep a place for beautifully made books.
Mr. Milner shot, directed and edited the video which was shot at Smith-Settle Printers, Leeds, England:
Birth of a Book from Glen Milner on Vimeo.
When I first saw this video, I thought of our recent houseguest, Carol - who enjoyed reading a book on her Ipad! This is for you, Carol!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Olympic Architecture

With the Olympic Games approaching, we link to e-architect for a peek at the various new venue buildings (including the London Aquatics Center, below), designed by world renowned architects:

Olympic Games, London 2012
July 27 - August 12, 2012
Zaha Hadid Architects
Hufton + Crow Photography

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring in Silverlake

Silverlake Garden
"Yes. In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again." Chance, the gardener, Being There
Azaleas are in full bloom. Roses are leafing out. Lemons are plump and bright yellow. Wisteria is magnificent. New Ranunculus are potted and thriving.
All is well in the garden!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Japanese Garden Reopening

The Japanese Garden at the Huntington Gardens, San Marino, CA will reopen, April 11.
a classic "postcard" shot by Marcie Gonzalez

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Tuscan Sun Cookbook

Frances and Edward Mayes
Spring is almost here and thoughts of tender new vegetables come to mind. What better way to celebrate spring into summer, than with a cookbook of wonderful Tuscan recipes?
Last year we presented our story about recycling (re-reading), Bella Tuscany by Frances Mayes (Bella Sorpresa) and this year we present her new book, written with her husband, Edward; a book of delicious Italian delights cooked fresh from the garden, prepared with the love and joy of the Italian table.

Frances Mayes website

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Power of Song

Guest contributor: Jane van Velsen
In 2010, we posted a review of a concert we attended in Los Angeles. Deva Premal, Miten and Manose, among others, sang mantras to us and asked us to sing along. We did and it was a beautiful, peace-filled event.
Jane van Velsen (The Social Media Shop) is the official article writer and marketing person for Deva Premal and Miten.
With her permission, we post her article about the power of the singing voice - particularly the chanting voice which sends out into the world a vibration of love. It embraces us. It shifts our awareness into the present. It uplifts us. 
Enjoy both Ms. van Velsen's words and the videos, afterwords, of Deva Premal, Miten and Manose (flute musician).

The Power of Song, Chants and Mantras
Since time immemorial we have raised our voices in song whether alone or in groups. Our voice is a potent healing instrument that resonates within us and outside of us, surrounding others and imbuing a sense of wholeness, joy and well being.
Today, we seldom use our voices in this way. Our lives are taken over with listening to other voices, the voice on the television, the computer game, the iPhone, CD’s and the radio. The power of our voices is becoming lost to us.
Singing out loud 
When did you last sing with joy, from your heart, out loud? As youngsters, it’s something we do all the time and this progresses into our teenage years as we discover the joy of music be it rap, pop, rock, soul, chants, reggae, gospel, country, heavy metal or just humming to ourselves. Do you remember sitting in your first car with the music blaring out as you sang along with that elation only the young seem to have?
Can’t sing, won’t sing 
Many of us are told that we just can’t sing and that thought is implanted in our heads from an early age but when we are alone in the car, do we care? Not if it makes us feel good and using our voices in song does exactly that. Making music from our voices is a natural gift we all have no matter if we can hold a tune or not.
Delivering a powerful Mantra
Music comes in all guises and one of the most powerful forms of vocal music lies in the mantra. You don’t have to have a great voice to deliver a powerful mantra.

You’ve probably heard mantras in church or in a yoga class but have you ever stopped to hear those that are intended to rouse your senses? It’s as though energy lives in the sounds and through repetition, the sounds gather power and impart an inner belief and intention to you, the listener, that helps you transcend the now and experience your own spirituality.
Lokah Samasta
In this way mantras and chants can change sadness into happiness, fear into bravery and deliver strength to the weak. You only have to listen to a musical chant such as Deva Premal and Miten’s rendition of Lokah Samasta (http://www.devapremalmiten.com/music/video) to begin to understand the power of song and how it affects your inner well being.
The power of mantras and chants lies in the vibrational quality of the sounds in each word or phrase much like the repeated chorus of a rousing pop song did when you were a teenager. Do you recall how those words and that music affected your body, mind and mood?
Spiritual release through sound vibration
Sound creates vibration and carrying that sound as a song or a chant or a mantra builds up energy so that the body feels the vibration in a higher frequency and reacts to it leaving you feeling refreshed, calm and joyful. This is similar to the technique used in hypnotherapy and meditation.
As our world hurtles into the chaos of technology and all its complications we are turning to more spiritual experiences and release through chanting or singing a mantra is becoming more common place
The most sacred sounds in the world
Try it for yourself. Just sit quietly and use the chant ‘Om’ as you breathe out. Feel the word vibrate on your lips. Let the sound play out as long as you can before drawing your next breath. Repeat it for a while. Feels good doesn’t it?
This chant is considered one of the most sacred sounds in the world. If we believe that the earth is made up of vibrations caused by energy and that we translate these vibrations as sounds, then this sound could be the sound of existence.
Connecting through sound energy
There are many mantras and chants and they are used for many different reasons but the overall reason we are so responsive to songs and music from artists like Deva Premal + Miten, is that we recognize, and connect through, that energy.
Singing a mantra or a chant or a song enhances your own sensitivity to your own inner stillness. In this way you will find your own path to enable meditation and through meditation comes the path to peace and enlightenment. 
Isn’t it time you started singing your heart out?

The Social Media Shop

Monday, March 12, 2012


Long Beach, CA
March 28, 2012, 6 - 7:15PM
Theatres are one of the most complicated building types and there are dozens of participants in the design process.  Learn the steps in designing a theatre, understand what each specialist does, and how the end-user can best participate in the creation of a great performance space.
The Panel will discuss the planning, design and construction process of the Geffen Playhouse, located in Westwood of Los Angeles, CA, as a case study to illustrate the various phases of a project development with the integrated multi-disciplinary team essential in achieving such a successful project.
The project for the Geffen Playhouse included the adaptive reuse design of a historic structure with structural and code upgrades, historical preservation and restoration, along with the contemporary addition and remodeling to add a 2nd stage and essential back of house production, administration and support facilities for the theater operations.
The panelists include the following:
Curtis Kasefang, Theater Consultants Collaborative, LLC
·         Theater Planners for the Geffen Playhouse
Susan Benz, AIA, Benz Resource Group
·         Project Manager
Scott Pfeiffer, Threshold Acoustics
·         Architectural Acoustician
Ron Frink, AIA, Ronald Frink Architects, Inc.
·         Architect/Interior Design for the Geffen Playhouse
Daniel Ionazzi, Geffen Playhouse
·         Production Manager of the Geffen Playhouse

Thursday, March 8, 2012

di Rosa

di Rosa•Gatehouse Gallery

From the di Rosa Press Release:
As a painter, Hung Liu challenges the documentary authority of historical Chinese photographs by subjecting them to the more reflective process of painting. Much of the meaning of Liu’s painting comes from the way the washes and drips dissolve the documentary images, suggesting the passage of memory into history, while working to uncover the cultural and personal narratives fixed–but often concealed–in the photographic instant. She has written: “I want to both preserve and destroy the image.”
Artist: Hung Liu
The work in this exhibit dates from the past five years, including art not previously exhibited, or seen in the Bay Area. Since 2003 Hung Liu has been working with master printer David Salgado at Trillium Press on a body of dense, mixed media pieces where original images are reworked, layered and combined behind sheets of resin. Liu states, “I cannot get close to my history, but I cannot get rid of it. I’m carrying my past into the future.”
Hung Liu was born in Changchun, China in 1948, and grew up under the Maoist regime. She  studied mural painting as a graduate student at the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing, before immigrating to the US in 1984 to attend UC San Diego. A two-time recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in painting, Liu also received a Lifetime Achievement Award in Printmaking from the Southern Graphics Council International in 2011. Liu’s works have been exhibited extensively and collected by the SFMOMA and Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Los Angeles County Museum, among others. Liu currently lives in Oakland, California, where she has been a professor of art at Mills College since 1990.
Hung Liu website
Artist Talk: Hung Liu, Wednesday, April 4, 7 PM
RSVP via email $10/$5 Members. Wine Sponsor: Patz & Hall 
Gatehouse Gallery
Wed-Sat, 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
5200 Sonoma Highway, Napa, CA 94559

Monday, March 5, 2012


In about two weeks, spring - the vernal equinox - arrives. Following are recent garden shots - images of our garden-in-waiting. Already Azaleas begin to bloom and the wisteria is filled with flower buds. The birdbath font is now placed back upon its pedestal and the fountain, recently cleaned, stones removed and replaced, is back in working order. Vegetable patches, lawn and pots all need attention. In the meantime, Buddhas sit in meditation, peacefully contemplating and meditating - each in their respective places.
Within the next few weeks, many things will change - then the fun begins!

Thursday, March 1, 2012


American art is rich with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) themes and renowned works by LGBT artists, yet sexuality has largely been edited out of art history.
IN THE LIFE uncovers diverse expressions of LGBT identity and gender difference in American art, and the forces that have censored them.
National Portrait Gallery-Smithsonian, Washington, DC
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