MARCH/APRIL 2011 Issue • 102
P E E BL
GREYMAN THEATRE MATT TOLBERT & JOSH
GONZALES CREATE THEIR OWN OPPORTUNITY
SHINING A LIGHT
LISA SORENSON SHEDS SOME LIGHT ON HOME DECOR BLEEP 1
Letter from the Editor
The first issue of BLEEP was a test run. Well I guess it was more than that. It was a test run that had a lot of hope backing it up. I didn’t really know what the response would be or if anyone would actually look through it, but you did and I couldn’t be more thrilled. With this second issue, we are trying to maintain what we started with the first. More photo essays, more stories, more creativity and more culture. We’re kinda all over the place with what’s inside and from what I’ve heard from you, the readers, you like that. So we’re gonna continue to churn out things that we think are interesting and hope you think so too. We’ve got a lot of talented guys in this issue, which is cool. Our cover guy Emmanuel shows us what’s going on in New York, K.J. shows off some southern style and we’ve got three guys whose photos are top-notch. What’s exciting about this issue (besides the fact that we get to have a second issue at all) is that it’s full of new contributors. Our community of creative people is growing and that means we’ll have a wider variety of content to bring you. As always, we would love to have more of you involved. We have big plans for this magazine but it only works if you join with us. The whole point of this is to showcase what creative people are doing. It’s an outlet for you and an outlet for us. And now, after the hundreds of people that read our first issue, it’s apparent our strategy is working. So much of what’s out on the magazine stand these days is nothing but tabloid nonsense and the real people who are making real art are nowhere to be seen. It’s both an honor and a privilege to be able to showcase the amazing things that people are doing all over the world. Thank you so much for reading our little magazine and making it something that matters. Ryan Brinson Editor-in-Chief of BLEEP Magazine
THERE’S EVEN MORE TO BLEEPIN’ LOVE
FOLLOW bleep BLEEP 5
by Ryan Brinson A birthday dinner at La Palapa in the East Village of New York City turned into an authentic Mexican taste-testing experience. Tucked away on St. Marks Place near First Avenue, La Palapa offers traditional Mexican foods at fair prices for where it’s located. Some of the highlights were the Queso Fundido con Chorizo Ca Sero which is basically a Mexican “fondue” of sorts, the Tacos de Pescado that were far above average fish tacos, and the Taquitos de Papa that could have just been regular taquitos but instead were filled with potato and chile poblano. The one real misstep was the baked rice tortita, it was almost unanimously panned at our table. But the mango and blood orange margaritas gave you your nine dollars worth, both in size and in substance. As a nice added touch, there was Tres Leches Cake and a champagne toast for all at the end, it being a birthday dinner and all. They were more than accommodating to us and our larger-than-necessary reservation and our waiter kept
a rather eclectic mix of music pumping. We had the luxury of being in a back room since we had a large group, but out front the place was packed. But that’s to be expected anywhere in The Village on a Saturday night. La Palapa is located at 77 St. Marks Place near First Avenue in Manhattan. We recommend it, but if you’re going on a weekend, make sure you have the time to invest. The wait was substantial. BLEEP 7
‘Corner’ing the local market A Texas store owner known for more than his fried ribs by Megan McVay
The center aisle was not tall enough for my 5’10” lanky frame, and it didn’t help that I had a cough. So no matter how I tried to hide my coughing fits behind the Starbursts and Doritos, there was no mistaking it: the Corner Store on 25th and Colonial was host to an outsider. I was plotting an exit strategy behind the pickled pig’s feet jars when– “You ever try a fried rib? Of course you haven’t. You’ve never been here before, have you? This is the only place you can get a fried rib.” Crocket, Texas, Corner Store owner Mitchell Davis holds out a fried sliver of rib like an olive branch, smiling in a way that shows off all of his teeth. I devour the fried rib like any starving college student, and I was no outsider after that. “The Lord entrusted me with this business, my job is a gift,” Davis said. “I didn’t want to be a teacher like both my parents, and I certainly wasn’t made for school. So when I got out of college, I started working at a 7-Eleven; and that’s where I met my wife, Joyice. Our little joke is to literally thank Heaven for 7-Eleven.” Joyice Davis, a few feet away tending the cash register, rolls her eyes and smiles. Married 21 years this May, the Davises are dutifully running the beloved Corner Store six days a week from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., serving who they refer to as their “family” fried, smoked, barbecued and seasoned meats fresh every day. “We started with cooking burgers at the 7-Eleven, when we got to owning our own place, my smoker got its own place too. It is a lot of extra work putting out this fresh cooking every
day, but it’s an obligation. I’ve got a gift, and through serving like I do, I’m serving God,” Davis said. “It’s all about community, family, whoever walks in that door and puts money in my pocket for what I do is one of my own.” Davis produces another sample of delectable brisket, hinting at a few tenderizing secrets as he continues to share his motto: “I don’t compete. Whatever God gave me, He gave it to me,” Davis said. “I don’t spend my time worrying if I’m better than another man, because I’m not. All I got to do in my life is recognize that I don’t get credit for what I do: The Holy Spirit blessed me, so I got to reach back and bless my family around me.” The neighborhood family flocks to the Corner Store everyday for the famous fried ribs, some coming from miles away. Known as the “Cooking Preacher,” when Davis isn’t at the Corner Store on the weekends, he is ministering to prisoners in federal jails. Davis hands out encouragement in Scripture daily to customers. “Every time I turn around, God’s always there, blessing me,” Davis said. “So I give everything that I can, to serve. It’s an obligation. Church isn’t just on Sundays, it’s every day.” And the community recognizes the Corner Store as one of its own, too. Davis greets nearly every person who walks in the door by name. “If someone died in this neighborhood,” Davis said, “we would be there first thing in the morning with food at their home. These people are my family.”
Bach’s Teenage Dream?
THERE’S NOT MUCH OF A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BACH AND BRITNEY?
by Lauren Brinson
I’m a fan of pop music. I listen to the radio stations that play the top 40. And most of the time, I enjoy it. However, there come those moments when I am listening to some “artist” and I wonder, how much does this person actually know about music? I was incredibly disappointed the day I learned Faith Hill can’t read music. There is so much more to being a true musician than popping into the recording studio and singing what someone else wrote for you. I believe in building a musical foundation, even if you’re just a recording artist. Some people wonder why certain songs become hits and others don’t. Yes Lady Gaga’s Born This Way is a hit right now, but can she take any credit for this? There have been numerous claims that she stole this from Madonna. Not only did Gaga capture the feel of Express Yourself but she stole the chord progression and pieces of her melody. Gasp! Thief! But wait, this is how the music industry works today. It is nothing but recycled melodies, progressions and beats with new words. As cynical as it might sound, just try to prove me wrong. In 2009 the Disney starlet Ashley Tisdale came out with It’s Alright, It’s OK. That was a catchy song, certainly. As I listened to it on the radio one day, the station made the mistake of playing the Tisdale’s song right before they played Pink’s So What. Same rhythms, same chord progression, same meter, in about the same range. But did we call her out on this theft? Of course not, they’re completely different 10 BLEEP
artists… Through my many music theory courses I have learned why some songs are so pleasing to the ear. Music has natural tendencies and goes where people expect it should. We don’t owe this to a songwriter or a record producer. We can all kindly thank Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach understood melodies and musical phrases. His music theory principles are the same ones EVERY SONGWRITER uses today. It sounds simple to us now and may not seem impressive that Bach came up with something so simple. But he was the first one to do so and that makes him a musical genius. There must be a good singer involved, or rather a marketable person who can be auto-tuned (ehem Katy Perry), in order for a song or album to be a success. But I think it’s important we acknowledge why these songs work. You may not be a fan of classical music because you have preconceived ideas about what it is, but you can certainly appreciate the foundation that classical musicians built for today’s pop stars and rockers. I want people to tap into their inner music nerd and approach music intelligently. You can either listen to music actively, or just let it wash over you. I promise you the former is so much more rewarding. Challenge yourself to find the music that doesn’t conform to the cookie-cutter mold of the Top 40. Happy hunting you music aficionados!
The second tier of classics
AN OPINIONATED LOOK AT TELEVISION THAT DESERVES ITS DUE
by Ryan Brinson
Everyone knows what classic TV is. “The Honeymooners” was the original fat-guy/skinny wife sitcom, “The Beverly Hillbillies” was the precursor for Ryan from “The OC,”“The Brady Bunch” was the original “Brothers and Sisters” minus any real drama, “Star Trek” was the original...well...”Star Trek,” and “Gilligan’s Island” was lost before “Lost.” But I’ve recently been watching some old shows that don’t seem to get the pop cultural acclaim that they deserve. The first is “Batman.” Have you ever really watched the old episodes of “Batman?” They’re awesome. I know that everyone now is all about The Dark Knight and everything, but did The Dark Knight have an awesome theme song? Did The Dark Knight say BANG, POW, or ZAP? Plus, The Dark Knight doesn’t have the infinite joy that are the long pauses and staccato musings of Adam West. Speaking of people that are worth listening to, you can’t not include “Green Acres’” Eva Gabor. Her accent is so ridiculous it makes Sofia Vergara sound Dickensonian. Have you ever watched this show? It’s interesting on a very subconscious level about the marital struggle between a man and the woman that he moved against her will. I mean, at its core, this is a show about the extreme conflicts between an overbearing husband and his wife that hadn’t discovered the realms of feminism yet. She was the original desperate housewife. Two other housewives that rules the silver screen were the women in “I Dream of Jeannie” and “Bewitched.” Oh my gosh it was the original Twilight.
Were you Team Jeannie or Team Samantha? Don’t even get me started on which version of Darren you liked on “Bewitched.” So much magic on television back then. They were the “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” of their time, right? “The Muppet Show” is the show that defined my formative years and by that, I mean when I was a toddler. My mother says I could run the VCR before I could walk. Ah, the beginning of an obsession. For real though, “The Muppet Show” was like “Sesame Street” for adults, without all the squealing pigs on Squeal of Fortune and the Count whose only skill is counting to 10. Add a little John Denver singing on Grandma’s Feather Bed and some political commentary and you’ve got a real winner. I feel like I would be a failure if I didn’t write about I Love Lucy. Yes, it’s heralded as one of the best shows of all time, but I want to formally go one step further. It is my belief that the term “icon” was created to give reference to this show. It is, without question, the most famous television show of all time and rightfully so. It’s full of hysterical antics and the type of humor that only top comedians are able to pull off. This wasn’t “The King of Queens,” people. This was a show that was well written, brilliantly executed and flawlessly timeless. I can say it’s a timeless show because not that long ago, I sat in the room with three generations of Brinsons and we all laughed until we cried at “I Love Lucy.” While there have certainly been incredible television shows since, it was the first. I would be remiss if I didn’t give it its due. BLEEP 11
KICKSTARTING A NEW KIND OF THEATRE: THEIR OWN
Students create their own way to the stage By Ryan Brinson Being part of what’s going on in musical theatre today is a difficult task. Producers are turning to “sure bets” and known titles and franchises to populate the Great White Way while the number of original works has been steadily shrinking over the past few years. So why wait for an opportunity that may or may not present itself? That’s what Matt Tolbert and Josh Gonzales believe and it led them to create their own theatre company, the Greyman Theatre Company. “It’s important to encourage new people to keep writing new works,” Gonzales said. “The world is changing and the work reflects the art of the time. The questions the old art ask are outdated.” Tolbert and Gonzales kicked off their first season with a musical, “Dani Girl,” written by a duo they discovered on Youtube. They contacted songwriters Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond after Tolbert saw one of their shows. He and Gonzales headed to New York to meet with Kooman, obtain the rights, and begin the process of getting the show to the stage. Why not go with a show that’s been done before? Why not kick off their first run under the Greyman heading with a known title like “My Fair Lady” or “August: Osage County?” “With a new work, artists can create it as their own. Young people don’t usually get to do that. It’s usually older artists on Broadway that get to create new characters,” Tolbert said. According to press notes, “Dani Girl” tells the story of a ‘young cancer patient and her passionate, sometimes funny, sometimes heart-breaking, but ultimately life and love affirming struggle with cancer. Dani, a precocious nine-year-old, together with her teddy bear, imaginary guardian angel and socially awkward hospital roommate, embarks on a magical quest to reclaim her health.’ The show opened in August of 2010 as a summer theatre production at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. That experience has seen a longer shelf life than the cast and crew originally thought, as the show was accepted into the Out of the Loop Fringe festival in 12 BLEEP
Dallas. In September, they applied with the video of their performance from the summer and in November, they found out they made the cut. The next step was raising the money to get there. Modern theater isn’t cheap, especially for a group of students trying to create their way into the mainstream. Through a Kickstarter online fundraising campaign, they ended up raising $2,000, $500 more than their original goal. “Since then, we’ve been fulfilling Kickstarter rewards, gathering all of the props, set pieces, and costumes from our original production, relearning lines and music, securing rehearsal space, marketing, and obtaining our own insurance policy,” Tolbert said. “Rehearsals began on February 13 and we’ve really been re-imagining the whole thing. It’s been a very creative process and I think people who see our March production after seeing the August one will see a very different show.” For the group of four actors and their director (Tolbert and Gonzales double as the two male actors in the show), the opportunity to perform the show again is as exciting as being a part of The Loop Festival. “The Loop Festival is a fantastic event because it encompasses many art forms: theatre, dance, music, visual art, and sculpture. It allows both new and established performance groups to showcase their works. For us, it’s wonderful to be able to share our work with others and to experience the art of 20 other groups.” As they head to Dallas, they’re confident in the work they’ve done and the new work they’re presenting. “New work is difficult, especially now when theatre is more difficult to produce. Theaters are into what’s proven to guarantee audience members,”Tolbert said. “We chose this show on basis of what kind of audience we’re trying to attract. Waco is so conservative as far as the limited amount of theatre that comes through and they don’t see a lot of new works like this.” They’re hoping that through Greyman, that will change.
D E T N E M DOCU Documentaries aren’t as appreciated as I feel they should be, but there has been a slew of incredible documentaries that have been recently released in either the theaters or on Netflix. The most fascinating of all of the documentaries I’ve seen recently is “Exit Through The Gift Shop,” the documentary about the street artist Banksy. Street art is something that’s supremely subversive and supremely artful at the same time and over the course of the past decade has become increasingly more important in the world. It’s this art form that’s against the law but creates something that people will actually see. Most folks aren’t spending their weekends in museums. They’re spending them on the Internet and walking from place to place. Street art enables people to see these things where they’re at. Banksy is the highest profile of all of the global street artists. I mean, Banksy’s Los Angeles art show attracted Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Jude Law and Christina Aguilera. That’s huge and that’s mainstream. One of Banksy’s pieces sold for $550,000. It’s incredible and the documentary shows that. But the thing is, this documentary is actually not about him; it’s about a cameraman that filmed all of it. The cameraman that would become known as Mr. Brain Wash (MBW) in the L.A. art scene. He began as a pseudo-filmmaker, just using a camera to record anything and everything he saw. He started shadowing street artists and eventually ended up being friends with Banksy and having his own giant show. Here’s the thing. I don’t know that what he was doing was anything more than a fusion of recycled Warhol and regenerated Banksy art. But what this documentary does is explore the notion of commercialization in a subversive culture and while that’s happened over and over through the years, this is perhaps the most recent example of it. It’s a must-see for fans of art, culture, subversion and the resilience of chasing a dream you might not have known you had. 14 BLEEP
WHAT WILL FUTURE FILMGOERS THINK OF 2011? By Laura Seitter
Every year since 1989, the National Film Preservation Board has chosen 25 films to restore and preserve in the National Film Registry at the Library of Congress. Chosen at least 10 years after their release, the selected films vary in length, genre and national origin. Each is chosen on the basis of historical, cultural or artistic significance, guaranteeing that these films will serve as a permanent record of cinematic history. Each film also provides a window into the attitudes, morals, traditions and general culture of the society or generation in which the film was produced. Personally, I like to think of awards season as a preview of films yet-to-be-inducted into the National Film Registry. Though the multi-billion-dollar movie industry releases hundreds of films each year, only a select handful are considered to be influential and significant enough to receive recognition from the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, British Academy of Film and Television Arts…or the millions of individual critics, bloggers and the shamelesslyopinionated. This select handful may ultimately define our current society when future generations use them as both education and historical record. How will our generation’s films influence and shape the future of cinema? We have drawn inspiration and insight from past masterpieces, and this year’s movies will surely do the same for future filmmakers. Take, for example, one of this year’s biggest (if not most controversial) films, “Black Swan.” A stunningly artistic portrayal of the world of ballet and competition, “Black Swan” caused many to re-think the terms “horror” and “psychological thriller” and concede that the jump-and-scream genre may have some true cultural merit. Natalie Portman’s flawless acting, under the direction of Darren Aronofsky, creates a tense atmosphere of confusion and fear. As many before have pointed out, “Black Swan” may be considered an updated, modern version of the The Archers’ 1948 film, “The Red Shoes,” starring Moira Shearer. Loosely based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, this British film erupts in a swirl of tension and perfect en pointe technique, culminating in a fate for the leading prima donna similar to that
of Black Swan – though only one of these leading ladies engages in any girl-on-girl action. (Sorry fellas.) It is almost certain, though, that just as we look back on “The Red Shoes” as a cultural masterpiece, “Black Swan” will be regarded as a modern phenomenon. Another film that garnered much public attention this year was the remake of the classic 1969 western, “True Grit.” Modern leading men Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon replaced classic icons John Wayne and Glen Campbell, and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld outdoes all of them. The Coen Brothers took a much beloved story and reworked it into a new adaptation that deserves attention and accolade independent of its cinematic predecessor - much to the chagrin of baby boomers and Wayne-purists. Despite the initial triumph of “True Grit,” though, I can’t help but be reminded that amid the remakes and sequels lies a modern filmmaking industry sorrowfully devoid of originality. Will tomorrow’s Academies and critics look back on 2010’s “True Grit” as a lucky shot, and discard it in favor of the 1969 version? Perhaps updated remakes will come to be appreciated over their prequels, praised for the application of contemporary viewpoints and awesome special effects. I, for one, would be most content with the middle ground, where old movies are treasured as classics, remakes are praised for their uniqueness and John Wayne and Jeff Bridges are both regarded as the “best” Rooster Cogburn. I won’t hold my breath for long, though. Regardless of the spectacle of it all, time will pass. Today’s best-dressed will be next year’s fashion-fauxpas. The powerhouse actress will be eclipsed by the new rising star. We might even forget whatever offensive-but-true thing Ricky Gervais said to Brangelina at the Golden Globes. What will endure for years to come, however, are the films. The movies that hundreds work to produce, and millions flock to see. In the decades to come, which films will be lovingly preserved on a dust-free shelf in the Library of Congress? More important is the inspiration drawn by future writers, actors and filmmakers. Hopefully, the tradition of cinematic inspiration and innovation will carry from the past and present to the future. BLEEP 15
THE ACADEMY AWARDS IN FEBRUARY SIGNAL THE END OF A LONG, OFTEN ENTERTAINING, SOMETIMES DISTURBING AWARDS SEASON. NOW, OVERPAID AND OVERINDULGED CELEBRITIES WILL HAVE TO WAIT A FEW MONTHS BEFORE THEY CAN DRESS UP AND CONGRATULATE THEMSELVES FOR BEING FABULOUS IN WHATEVER FILM, TV SHOW, MUSICAL OR SONG THAT GARNERS THEM PRAISE. WHILE WE HERE AT BLEEP FEEL THAT THE KING’S SPEECH DESERVES ALL THE AWARDS IT HAS RECEIVED, WE ALSO WANT TO GIVE RECOGNITION TO A FEW PEOPLE WHO WE FEEL HAVE BEEN OVERLOOKED. WITHOUT FURTHER ADO, WE PRESENT THE TEN WINNERS OF THE FIRST ANNUAL BLEEP AWARDS.
BEST ACTOR WINNER WHO SHOULD HAVE WON (or at least been recognized) FOR A PREVIOUS FILM Colin Firth for Love Actually. No, Colin Firth has not been overlooked this year, but one of his roles has. Why Love Actually? Because in this ensemble romantic comedy starring some of the greatest British Actors working today, Firth manages to steal our hearts with his performance as a writer whose beloved girlfriend cheats on him with his brother. Alone at Christmas in Italy, Firth discovers that true love can conquer class, language, and geographical barriers. There is a reason that his proposal to Aurelia, the Portuguese maid who worked for him, is the last story shown before the film’s unforgettable finale at Heathrow airport: it is the personification of the film’s theme that love, actually, is all around. BEST ACTRESS NOMINEE WHO MOST DEFINITELY SHOULD HAVE WON BEFORE Annette Benning for American Beauty American Beauty won Dreamworks its first Oscar for Best Picture in 1999, introduced the world to the brilliance of Sam Mendes, and solidified Kevin Spacey’s status as one of the best actor’s of his generation. While Mendes and Spacey also won Oscar’s, Annette Benning did not take home a little gold man for her role as the uptight, controlling suburban mom who cares more about her furniture than she does her husband. We would like to rectify this by giving her BLEEP’s first best actress award for this film. In another actresses’ hands, Carolyn Burnham might have come off as an unsympathetic character that is systematically destroying her husband and her daughter’s selfesteem. Though often cold and seemingly unfeeling, Benning gave viewers glimpses of Carolyn’s humanity, offering a realistic portrayal of the frustrations that come with being a working wife and mother in the suburbs. MOST HEARTWARMING (AND SURPRISING) SPEECHES BY A BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR WINNER Christian Bale When Bale accepted his award for Best Supporting Actor at the Critic’s Choice Awards, we were reminded that he is not a deep-voiced American superhero, but rather a sentimental English Actor who is committed to his craft and his family. Tearing up when thanking his wife at both the Critic’s Choice and the Oscars, Bale showed a softer side that touched the hearts of women (and some men) on two continents. CRAZIEST WINNER OF THE YEAR Melissa Leo We are not denying that Leo deserves all the recognition she has received for her role as a fierce mother in The Fighter. And we don’t even mind, much, that Leo was singing her own praises the loudest. It
is just that she was so loud every time she won at an award show. Her speeches were convoluted and longwinded, and she definitely seemed to have taken a few slugs of some happy juice, whether at the Critic’s Choice, Golden Globes, or SAGS. She also managed to save the best for last by dropping the F-Bomb at the Oscars. HOST WITH THE MOST… Uncomfortably funny lines goes to Ricky Gervais. While many people have criticized his Golden Globe jokes as being mean-spirited, we at BLEEP applaud him for having the guts to say all the things people already think. His opening line about Charlie Sheen’s partying seem even more apropos now, and no one, not even Johnny Depp, is offended by his remarks about The Tourist. If you are one of those lucky people who make ten or twenty million dollars for a few months work, have a sense of humor. If you are a Scientologist who is comfortable with your sexuality, why does it matter if a British comic makes one joke at your expense? BEST FILM MONTAGE Harry Potter Tribute at the BAFTA’S If we ever need a reminder as to why the Harry Potter films matter, just watch this montage. It reminds us how lucky we have been to observe the evolution of these films and how special it is to have the best British actors in the world together in one series. FAVORITE ACCEPTANCE SPEECH David Seidler, Winner of the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay Opening with “my father said I was a late bloomer” the 74-year-old Seidler’s acceptance speech was moving and inspiring. Overcoming his own speech impediment as a child, Seidler was able to show the humanity of a king trying to find his voice in The King’s Speech. On Oscar night, Seidler’s voice reminded us all that there is no dream too big or obstacle too impossible to overcome. Favorite Overlooked Actor on TV Matt Bomer for White Collar It is no secret that we at Bleep love White Collar. Therefore, we bestow the title of best T.V. Actor on Matt Bomer for his portrayal of Neal Caffrey, the suave and talented white-collar thief working with the F.B.I. Bomer always looks like he has having a really good time, and he makes knowing about art, music, and architecture seem cool. FAVORITE ACTRESS ON TV Padma Lakshmi for Top Chef Yes, we know that Top Chef is technically a reality TV competition show. However, its beautiful host, Padma Lakshmi, deserves acting credit for the way she artfully delivers good and bad news to the bevy of chefs who come to judges table each week. No line on television is delivered with more feigned interest than her cutting dismissal to the losing chef to “please pack your knives and go.” BEST LIVE PERFORMANCE BY GWYNETH PALTROW 2011 is the year that Gwyneth decided she wanted to add singer to her lengthy resume and set out to prove she was talented by performing on various award shows. Far and away her best performance was her spirited duet with Cee-Lo at the Grammy Awards, where, amidst a sea of feathers, Gwyneth showed she had the chops and the personality to keep up with a trio of sexy puppet background singers. BLEEP 17
Turn all the lights around you off. What do you see? What do you feel? Now flip one switch, turn one lamp knob, pull one chain. A space, beautiful or drab, is nothing without the light to experience it. Impressionist artist Claude Monet even said “For [him], it is the surrounding atmosphere-the light and the air- which gives subjects their true value.” It is a simple matter of positive and negative space…and you can’t have either without lighting that atmosphere. Remember those trends of 2011 we discussed last time? Well, they apply to lighting too. From mid-century styling to organic and natural design to energy efficiency, the same concepts are running from furnishings to wall coverings, from floor to ceiling, not to exclude that lighting. Standardized track lighting, simple recessed cans and mass-produced lamps are all getting the boot as it is becoming more necessary to fashion your space with interesting, original, one-of-a-kind lighting fixtures. Here are a few timeless trends to keep your lighting current and working hard to keep the interest where it belongs…
Make your lighting multitask as seen in the trendiest burger joint in NYC, Pop Burger. Full of textures from brick walls to zebra wood floors, these aluminum wall panels make an artistic statement in this hole-inthe-wall space. Bright lights burst through words in a simple pop-art inspired manner reflecting off the ceiling, filling the alleystyle eatery with ample lighting...not to mention inspiring food consumption. Complemented with a parade of small recessed lights providing just enough task lighting for those hungry lunchers to see just what they’re eating, this joint has got it together.
Not sure where to start in lighting your space? Well, let me help you. Ever since professors have been teaching design to students, so have these three types of lighting been the basic ingredients for every good lighting plan and they are important to understand before you jump on the lighting train… general or ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting.
Lighting the path of trends is pendant lighting! Pendants are and always have been a great solution to needing a little interest but also productive lighting. From simple, clean, and sheen to obscure, artistic, or vintage, pendants are IN. Clustering pendants at varying heights creates an artistic statement and allows for more lighting while strategically placing a oneof-a-kind creates a niche and a statement all on its own. However you do it, wherever you find it, you can’t go wrong with a pendant light fixture. As most good things tend to do, Mid-Century design tactics have come back around and are playing into lighting as well. Free flowing curves mixed with bold colors and simple, flat finishes. White globes, drawing on the ‘50s and ‘60s, find their way into chandeliers, pendants and lamps. Art Decoinfluenced pieces continue to be a solid choice for any fixture decision with dynamic shapes, patterns and even those classic Tiffany-style lamps. Organic and streamlined fixtures steadily act as classic choices, especially in the form of the drum\-shaded fixture. From small pendants to lamps to chandeliers, drums provide a clean base for simple lighting and a place to play up textures from raw, natural materials to metallic accents to custom art in or around. These clean, organic fixtures take inspiration from around the world and are a great option for those looking for a long lasting lighting solution. Organic design is even seen playing into fixtures as simple as exposed light bulbs on repeat. Mainly in commercial installations, parading exposed light bulbs seems as raw as it comes but can really create a powerful and artsy effect. De-stress with some distressed looks. Vintage and antiqued designs are not just for your furnishings as you will find great patinas and worn textures a popular choice for pendants and wall-mounted lighting. While lighting companies will be offering their best in made-to-look-vintage pieces, don’t forgo the antique shops as a simple rewiring can bring a little history to life, in turn, bringing your room to life.
Ambient lighting plays the role of illuminating the space in general through ceiling fixtures, wall mounts or track lighting. Task lighting is the next layer and serves to aid in everyday tasks such as office or kitchen work, reading, and any other hobbies and daily duties. Recessed lights, pendants and under-cabinet lights all play this role seamlessly as well as portable table or floor lamps when placed strategically in a space. The third layer is the accent lighting. These fixtures come in handy when you’re trying to highlight that larger-thanlife self portrait hanging above your fireplace. Yes. I’m calling you out on it. Whether it’s great art, plants, or even just a really great texture you’ve got going somewhere, an eyeball spotlight or wall-mounted picture lights will accent and make those pieces stand out, adding dramatic interest to any room. It’s when you’ve properly implemented all three of these layers that you really can have a successfully lit space.
Speaking of bringing to life, save the planet. Go green. Too much? Heard that a few too many times? Want to chunk your recycle bin at the next “granola” claiming they’re saving the planet by not showering? Well, let’s take the next step and progress this green explosion from a trend to a lifestyle. Call a spade a spade and realize sustainable trends need to become habit and not fad. Luckily, lighting designers are developing more and more aesthetically pleasing options in both fixtures and the bulbs themselves. Incandescents are soon to be a thing of the past as LED (light-emitting diode), halogen, and even fluorescent options begin to offer warmer colors of light in their bulbs and varied shapes and choices for any lighting scheme. Even commercial fluorescent lighting has opened itself up to more interesting designs, shapes, and finishes, crossbreeding efficiency with looks a designer or space owner is happy to work with.
Furthering green practice as a lifestyle, natural light is being given a spotlight. Windows are larger, more often and more thoughtfully placed to add energy efficiency and lighting value to homes and commercial buildings. Skylights and large-scale picture windows will continue to show up on lighting plans, adding dynamic lighting that artificial illumination can’t provide. Implementing lighting systems like that of Lutron or other competing companies will continue to be a great investment. Dimmers and programmability get your lighting to perform to its highest potential and always be ready to serve the ambience and atmosphere you need to light up. Whether a standout art piece or a subtle compliment to your design, let your lighting do its job, multitasking, and don’t ever let it slide to the back burner. Shedding some light will take your space from drab to fab instantly.
TAKING A LEAP OF FAITH NEVER FELT QUITE LIKE THIS BEFORE. BY HOLLY RENNER
FREE FALLING 50 BLEEP
I’ve always loved doing extreme, spontaneous things. But at the specific place I am in my life, it was more significant than just embarking on another ‘dangerous’ adventure. I had a really rough and emotional year, so the beginning of this year signified ‘leaping into a new season’, so to speak. I came into this year trusting God more than ever before, and this was sort of my way of saying, “Okay, God, I’m really trusting You to protect me.” Flying, as I mentioned, is one of my biggest fears, and I am fully confident that I’m in a place where I want to overcome each fear, one by one. My friend, Cameron, who lives in Austin, mentioned a few months back how he wanted to go skydiving. I definitely didn’t want to do it alone, and the majority of my other friends rejected the idea. So I brought up the idea to Cameron, and he was all for it. One of my best friends at Baylor, Corey, was also keen on the idea of a spontaneous, crazy adventure. I almost backed out three times because I was becoming more and more terrified of the idea. But something inside of me was saying, “Go for it, Holly; you only live once.” I woke up that morning with the realization that I
wasn’t dreaming. I was going to jump out of a plane in five hours. I had butterflies in my stomach all morning, thinking about the worst things that could happen. I even researched skydiving accidents on Google (not a smart idea). Then my fear turned into anticipation, and my anticipation quickly turned into a giddy excitement. As Corey and I drove to Austin to get Cameron, we were extremely hyper and antsy. We started laughing hysterically at what we were about to do. When we were all driving there, we were filled with joy and a childlike eagerness. But there was one main commonality we shared: the butterflies in our stomachs were relentless. When we got to the skydiving place, we found out that our plane was delayed three hours. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? We all know waiting for something is always the worst part, and I’ve been told that the anticipation of skydiving is always the most frightening. Of course we had to wait three hours. Of course. Finally, they called our names. A fresh, new wave of nerves hit me like a ton of bricks. As I put on my suit, the only thought running through my mind was, “I’m seriously doing this. I’M DOING THIS. I can’t back out now.” I’m definitely an extrovert who loves to talk, but I was even more talkative than usual...it’s a nervous habit. But the nerves were mixed with pure excitement for the unknown. I can honestly say, I kind of felt like a bad ass. I will most assuredly say, boarding the plane was the scariest part of my whole experience. My cool, calm,
and collected tandem instructor buckled my suit to his, as he joked about us dying. Not funny. Not funny at all. But, out of nervousness, I laughed along with him. Corey and Cameron were both silent. I could tell that they, too, were silently freaking out. I was so anxious to get to the top because I hate flying. I wanted out. Good thing I was about to jump out... As my instructor went over the safety precautions and procedures, I hung on to every word. “Okay, so, I put my feet on the edge of the airplane, but I don’t jump. I squat as low as I possibly can. I don’t move. I arch my back as much as I possibly can, holding onto the straps of my life vest when he jumps. Then... I breathe.” These were my thoughts, racing and racing. When we jumped, I was immediately filled with the largest sense of euphoria I have ever experienced. I felt free. I felt like I could overcome anything at this point. I didn’t even feel like I was strapped to somebody else. It was just me, God, and the sky. I went from screaming at the top of my lungs, to laughing hysterically, to complete silence, as I took in the beauty encompassing me. As we approached the ground, I was wishing we were back in the sky. As my feet touched, I felt so accomplished! I couldn’t believe I had just jumped out of an airplane, 11,000 feet in the air. I was so proud of myself for going on this adventure, for following through. Now every time I go on an airplane, I will be reminded of the freedom I felt that day. A freedom I will never forget. Would I do it again? There’s no doubt about it. BLEEP 51
CREATIVE IN THE CLASSROOM
ONE TEACHER DARES TO EXPECT THE BEST FROM HER STUDENTS AND GIVES THEM HER by Danielle Milam BEST IN RETURN.
“Where are the googley eyes?” I asked my husband distractedly as I looked over everything in my Michael’s Craft Store basket. Paper bags for the bodies? Check. Fuzzy balls for the noses? Check. Stick-on shapes for the mouths? Check. All that was needed were the eyes... Victorious, googley eyes in hand, I approached the check out. The woman behind the counter wore a bemused expression as she scanned the items. “Making puppets?” I laughed, “Yes. I’m a teacher. This is actually going to be a lesson on creating mathematical combinations.” “Wow,” she commented with a grin, “you must teach the gifted children.” “No, I teach Special Education.” Long after this exchange, I was still musing over it. The woman at the store had assumed I taught the ‘smart’ kids. Why? Because the lesson was creative. Which then got me thinking – what is creativity? Some people describe it as being ‘out of the box’. Others say it is simply indefinable. Being an educator, I decided to check out what educational philosophy had to say about it. There is a chart that to educators is equivalent to the Bible, called Bloom’s Taxonomy. It lays out the various levels of thinking and interacting with the world. The lowest level is knowledge, progressing up towards analysis and evaluation, and finally culminating with creation. The ability to create is the highest level of thinking. It is the ultimate way of interacting with the world. This truth is the reason why I get funny looks when I tell people I teach Special Education students. Everyone expects the gifted children to be creative, but very few think my students can learn through creativity or achieve it themselves. I prove them wrong everyday. I use creative lessons to teach my students. And they learn. They are inspired to interact with the world creatively. My students have many labels – different, slow, special, disabled. But the one label we all wear proudly is creator. There are puppets hanging outside my classroom door. Each student beams as they explain how their puppet is one of 18 possible combinations. I think back fondly on their excited smiles as I start to plan their next masterpiece. BLEEP 53
I TALKED TO K.J. DOUG GRATE (REAL NAME K. J. KENNETH-NWOSA) ABOUT WHAT HE’S CREATING MUSICALLY AS WELL AS WITH HIS WARDROBE. THE NORTH TEXAS NATIVE TALKS ABOUT WHAT HE LIKES, WHERE HIS TASTE COMES FROM AND WHAT HE’D WEAR IF HE KNEW IT WAS HIS LAST DAY ON EARTH. WHEN DID YOU START RAPPING? I started rapping seriously when I was 16 during my freshmen year of college. I wanted to make parodies of rap songs that were already out, but then I started getting positive feedback and it just grew from there. YOU STARTED COLLEGE AT 16? Yeah I started college at 16. It was a pretty nice experience. Back then I had a high top fade and dressed in retro sweaters and jackets. Kinda like the fresh prince of North Texas. People always said I looked dope and such and of course the girlies were all on me. WHAT SORTS OF THINGS DO YOU WRITE ABOUT IN YOUR SONGS? Now, I mainly write about relationships. It’s more like relationships that never were but could be. I also rap about the blindness of the world cuz people need to know the truth. And of course I write about swagger because it is important to educate the people in that area too. WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR MUSICAL INSPIRATION FROM? I get my musical inspiration from bands like Circa Survive, Vampire Weekend and Passion Pit. I occasionally listen to rap, but not the crap on the radio. WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR FASHION SENSE FROM? My mother is a fashion designer and I just try to follow her ways. And I am an avid follower of unabashedlyprep.com because it sparks ideas in my head of how to dress. I also love the African American fashion of the ‘50s and ‘60s. So classy. WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO WEAR? I love RL Polo. It just fits my body right. I might graduate to Brooks Brothers once I graduate college and get a Brooks Brother paycheck. IF IT WAS YOUR LAST DAY ON THE PLANET, WHAT WOULD YOU BE WEARING? Custom Fit RL Polo with some bright-colored madras shorts, Louis Vuitton belt, leather Sperry’s and Ray Bans.
I am...renaissance. I’m here because...my mother. What makes me happiest is...sun with booming clouds. The color that best represents me is...purple, the color of royalty. What I hope to accomplish today is... having my work in a museum. My best friends are... Ramond and Jordan. I can live without...air. Between an Olympic champion or an Oscar winner, I’d rather be...Olympic Champion. I love sports If I wasn’t me, I’d be... not me. I like it best when you...bat your eyes. God is...King of all Kings. I’m hungry for...Brazilian tapas. I cry… when I dream. Style means…expression. I want to go... the Marshall Islands. The most obnoxious sound in the world is... styrofoam cups. What makes me weak is...freckles and eyes. At this exact moment, I’m passionate about...Life. I crave... Great Nut Ice Cream. My inspiration is… the world. BLEEP 77