Monday, January 31, 2011

Therapeutic Bach

Isaac (and "friend") at Theatrikos' "You Can't Take it With You".  

Jody Cody sings the blues at Kickstand Kafe.

  I have to admit I let myself become a victim of stress last Friday.  It may have been a mixture of the 25th "Anniversary" of the Challenger explosion, or a longer-than-12-hour work day, or just the accumulation of an over-scheduled life.  But by the end of the day, when I arrived at the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra's performance of Bach's Mass in B Minor, my neck was in knots.  I was kind of wondering why I wasn't at home, curled up on the couch.

  As I sat there through the performance, though, the strangest thing began to happen.  I slowly began to relax into the music.  I realized that it didn't "need" anything from me (like most of the rest of my life) and lost the strange hunch on my back that I had begun to carry in self-defense.  By the end of the first half, I realized that Bach had healed my back!

Me and Kerry "Birthday Girl" at Theatrikos.
  I was talking to FSO's Executive Director Laura Kelly about this, and found out that she had taken the musical experience even further--she had been laying down behind stage, letting the music wash over her.  Her whole body was reverberating with the music.  It must have been like a full-body massage.

  We were both kind of wide-eyed and wondering after that show.

  Afterwards, I told my son about the symphony.  "You know how crabby I was today?  Well this was just what I needed to feel better!"  And then he told me about his night, listening to music at the KickStand Kafe, where our family friend Jody Cody was playing, along with her entourage of young musical mentees (see her new online mentoring community at  He told me how beautifully Jody had played and sang and he was inspired--to practice his trumpet! 

  I've said before that music is good for your mental and emotional state of mind, but now I'm going to say that music is good for you physical state of mind!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Getting to Perfection; Sometimes it takes awhile...

Me and Joe Sorren at his retrospective opening, Jan. 22.

It's the beginning of the semester, and I'm back with a vengeance.  My goal is to attend one cultural event per week and then ramble on about how Americans don't attend any art events (and that they really should.)

Kristi and Kara glam it up.
Yup, I'm keeping my same resolution as last semester--but maybe refining it a little bit.  For instance, I never go see live theatre anymore, or jazz concerts, or even chorale events.  So maybe I'll try to push myself out of my comfort zone just a little.  We'll see.

But anyway, the first weekend of the semester was just thick with culture, and Flagstaff's most beautiful people were out participating in it.  (You can see some of my favorite shots below.)  As for me, I attended Willie Nelson's show at Ardrey Memorial Auditorium on Friday night, Joe Sorren's retrospective "Interruption" at the Coconino Center for the Arts on Saturday, and then super-fine bluegrass band Railroad Earth later on Saturday at the Orpheum.  The three finest venues in town!  Lucky me!!

Willie Nelson is a great guy.  I might have heard five different people say they would just love to meet Willie Nelson, and, you know, HANG OUT in his tour bus.  But it took Willie about 1/2 an hour to warm up, to get the tempo right.   For that first half hour we in the audience were just hanging in there, listening to him rush through country songs that are supposed to be drawled.

When he did hit the groove, however, it was worthy of a knowing head-nod to my bestie, acknowledging that he had "the magic now."

I guess you got to admire Willie--he just keeps playing through the muck until he hits the golden notes.
Anthony hits the golden notes,
no problem.

In contrast, I was really struck by Joe Sorren's interview on   KNAU, where he states "If I don't make something that I believe is truly outstanding, then I'm just leaving debris on the planet."  His art dealer drives home that he is ruthless on himself, and says that he destroys paintings that he doesn't feel are outstanding.

I admire that perfectionism too.

These two artists have totally different styles. They are working in different mediums--one is ephemeral and fleeting, and once played is gone.  And the other is captured and solid, placed on a wall, drawing a lot of attention.

But what they are both saying to us civilians, is that NO ARTIST IS PERFECT.  Whether they are shameless about playing until the moment of perfection hits, or would rather trash their "failures" before the public sees them, what Joe Sorren and Willie Nelson taught me this weekend was that nobody gets it right the first time. 

Just keep on creating whatever you're creating -- and eventually that golden muse will give you the kiss of approval!

And for some reason, that gives me a lot of courage.  (Thanks Joe.  Thanks Willie.)

Ruthann Border comes as a vision of rose.

He said he was going for the Genghis Khan look. 
Karen does The Great Gatsby.