Radiant Life- Vol.2 Issue 4- Preview

Page 1

RADIANT LIFE APRIL

Cultivating a healthy mind, body, and spirit

The Freshest Skin Care

Niki Newd co-founder Kirsi Kaukonen on why our skin deserves clean products that are good enough to eat

Nectar of the Gods The myriad benefits of honey



Editor’s Note

N

Dear Readers,

ear the base of the Sistema Ibérico mountain range, prehistoric cave paintings document the beginnings of an agricultural economy. Among those images, one of the best preserved is a detailed painting of a man climbing a rope ladder to reach a hive of bees, presumably to harvest the honey. Dating back at least 15,000 years, we find evidence that honey has been sought after for its medicinal qualities. On page 32, we outline a few of the benefits, followed up by a story on page 34 spotlighting some of the most buzz-worthy gourmet honeys: Manuka, Acacia, and Pohutukawa. Next, we visit with beekeepers who understand the magic, the struggles, the joy, and the anger of the bees they keep. On page 40, “Honey Bill” Thurlow speaks of the winter preparations he makes so that when he opens a hive in April he’s greeted with the happy hum of bees eager to visit flowers. On page 44, Andrew Coté champions the beehive as a “box of nature,” distilling the inimitable flavors of New York City’s mix of flora. The seamless harmony of a hive is living proof of the benefits of community—a need all living creatures have. The need to belong is wired into us on many levels, and goes beyond our minds. On page 10, we delve into how face-to-face interactions—as opposed to digital connections—evoke real biological changes. These are changes that have ripple effects. On page 74 we visit Williamson, West Virginia, which was once a dying Appalachian coal town best known for a vicious family feud. In recent years, a local doctor has been working to improve the health of the community in more ways than one. “Along the way, a lot of serendipitous relationships have come about,” said Dr. Beckett. “It’s just growing and taking on its own life.”

Editor-In-Chief Catherine Yang catherine@radiantlifemag.com


MIND & BODY

Our Need for

Community Can’t Be Digitized By rebuilding face-to-face connections, you’ll find essential human nourishment By Nancy Colier

10

RADIANT LIFE­ APRIL


MIND & BODY

H

uman beings harbor a deep need to belong. On a biological level, belonging is survival: If we’re not part of the herd, we’re left behind and die. In modern times, we need to belong to something larger than just ourselves to survive emotionally. We need to belong to feel accepted, loved, known, and, in a word, well. Community is something we belong in—and to. If we break down the word “community,” the root is “common” and its suffix is “unity.” Community is a place where we share a common unity with others. A place where we belong. In recent times, however, our experience of community has profoundly changed, largely as a result of our world becoming an online world. So much of life happens on screens these days, especially because of the pandemic. For many people, social media has become the new shared space, the place to socialize and find community. We simply don’t gather in person, face-to-face, like we used to. The makers of technology likely intended it to bring people together to create actual community and a richer experience of life. Regardless of the original intention, however, it seems that the system has turned on itself. Recent studies have found that despite being more connected, people feel more alone and less “in community.” As Sherry Turkle, a social psychologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, puts it, “People are more connected to each other than ever before in human history. But they’re also more lonely and distant from one another in their unplugged lives.” In my own book, “The Power of Off,” I wrote: “Sadly, with technology we risk winning the world but losing our village. We can be part of a community made up of people all over the world but not talk to the few people who share a bus stop with us every morning. Though known about by everyone, we are increasingly known by no one.” According to research conducted at the Center for Cognitive & Social Neuroscience, at the University of Chicago, the more face-to-face interactions we have, the less lonely we are, while the more online interactions we have (the sort that

don’t lead to face-to-face contact), the lonelier we are. The problem is not that we are creating new sources of community but that online communities simply cannot offer the same emotional nourishment that physical communities can. Even as online communities are part of our daily life, we still need to come together physically to feel truly connected.

Our body absorbs and retains in-person experiences on a deeper and more integrated level than online experiences. When the waitress at the local diner asks us if we want our “usual” or the coffee barista notices that we weren’t there the morning before, such experiences make us feel grounded, connected, and happy. Our need to belong, to feel included and part of something larger than ourselves, is met at a primal level when we are part of a physical, real-life community. Being together and sharing space with other people becomes part of our cellular makeup in a way that’s different, emotionally and neurologically, from sharing something at a distance through the computer. Our body absorbs and retains in-person experiences on a deeper and more integrated level than online experiences. A hug, holding another’s hand, physical touch—all these release endorphins in our brain, which make us feel good, and which online community doesn’t offer. Bodies respond to other bodies. The heart responds to direct human contact. Furthermore, in-person community is good for us in that it changes who we are and makes us more flexible and even more empathic. Out in the world, we must work with and consider others in a way that online interaction does not require. We need to leave our bedrooms, change out of our

11


MIND & BODY

tains harmful traces of arsenic and phosphorus. Once dissolved in water, the carbide produces acetylene gas, which has the potential to decrease oxygen to the brain and induce prolonged hypoxia, associated with headaches, vertigo, dizziness, mood disturbances, sleepiness, mental confusion, memory loss, cerebral edema, and seizures. This can also cause abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Furthermore, ethephon has been shown to be toxic to the liver. Given this evidence, we are potentially at risk of negative health effects simply by eating fruits that are artificially induced to ripen. Thus, local, seasonal produce is not only more nutrient-dense, but also safer than imported produce.

The Soil Connection

You can often see at a glance if the food you get from your local farmer is grown in healthy soil: Is it rich, dark, and loamy, or is it a growing medium dependent on chemical fertilizers? To achieve robust nutrition in food, rich, organic soil is needed. Soil requires a combination of minerals, organisms, air, and water. Some say that rich soil takes anywhere from 100–1,000 years to develop. Life-giving crops require life-giving soil. Sadly, conventional farming practices that utilize pesticides, herbicides, and artificial fertilizers literally strip the life out of the soil, which is compounded as the years go by. After decades of agricultural mismanagement and chemical dependency, our soils have been grossly depleted of essential nutrients such as protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin, and ascorbic acid. Industrial farming practices also kill off bacteria and fungi that create organic materials vital to thriving crops. These practices can degrade our bodies, as well: When nutrient-poor foods are consumed, we run the risk of nutrient depletion.

More Benefits

Seasonal eating increases diversity in the diet. Rather than relying on the same foods throughout the year, eating seasonally according to local availability expands variety. This dietary diversity is important for a thriving microbiome because the microorganisms within the gut do best with a vast assortment of fibers and food compounds. Local, seasonal eating is environmentally friendly. Eating food grown close to home allows consumers to directly support their local farmers, removes the need for long-distance transport, and helps reduce the carbon footprint of their food. Within the United States, food may travel 1,500 miles or farther, whereas local foods only travel 100 miles or less. Obviously, this also feeds the local economy and keeps resources nearby. Smaller farms usually use fewer pesticides and herbicides than industrial farmers. Organic certification comes with a high price tag, and many small-scale farmers—even

16

RADIANT LIFE­ APRIL

if they use few or no pesticides or herbicides—are unable to afford this certification or prefer not to raise their prices to cover the cost. Whether you have a garden of your own or frequent a farmers market, there is a beautiful simplicity in eating with the seasons. This way of eating is clearly most profitable to our bodies, the local economy, and the environment. We cannot underestimate the deep value of developing relationships with local food producers and having a deep understanding of where our nourishment comes from. My heart stirs when I ponder what it would look like for our world to collectively get back to these roots. Curious how to connect with your local food community? Local Harvest (localharvest.com) is a wonderful search engine designed to help source local foods in your area. Additionally, visiting your local farmers market is a great way to meet food producers and cultivate relationships with them. If we are wise, we will look nearby for nourishment.

Localization

The larger benefits of eating local unwind some of the consequences of today’s unhealthy economic patterns. Pursuing localization—focusing our business or economic activities in local areas rather than nationally or internationally—is a specific strategy for reversing some of the negative effects of globalization. Localization is key to creating thriving, sustainable communities. We should be focusing on local when it comes to food, health care, education, small businesses, trades, and spiritual and community institutions. Reaching beyond our local area places resources and responsibility in the hands of distant powers, disconnects us from natural reality, and leaves us vulnerable. Find your local food producers, link arms in solidarity with them, and support them at all costs. Our current food system does have benefits; it gives us slightly cheaper produce and a wider variety of fruits and vegetables in every season. “But, in striking that devil’s bargain,” notes writer Rod Dreher, “we sign away our responsibility for what’s in that food, how it got there, and what was done to human communities to close the deal. To participate in a system and a way of thinking in which the act of eating is merely a commercial transaction is to sell out our spiritual and cultural patrimony.” If ever there was a time in history to passionately pursue local, it is now. Dr. Ashley Turner is a traditionally trained naturopath and board-certified doctor of holistic health for the Restorative Wellness Center. An expert in functional medicine, Dr. Turner is the author of the gut-healing guide “Restorative Kitchen” and of “Restorative Traditions,” a cookbook of noninflammatory holiday recipes.


MIND & BODY

17


MIND & BODY

Chocolate The Good and Bad By Arleen Richards

30

RADIANT LIFE­ APRIL


MIND & BODY

A

mericans love chocolate. According to some reports, the typical American eats between 11 and 12 pounds of chocolate each year. However, not all chocolate is created equal, health-wise. Healthy eaters prefer treats that contain nutrient-rich ingredients without a lot of added sugar. Milk chocolate, on the other hand, is packed with added sweeteners. According to nutritionist Julie Nygard, author of “The Chocolate Therapist: A Users Guide to the Extraordinary Benefits of Chocolate,” if you eat milk chocolate, you’re really just going for the sugar. “You like the idea of chocolate, but you’re not really into chocolate,” she says.

How It’s Made

Bitter chocolate is made by pressing roasted seeds from the fruit of the cacao (cocoa) tree between hot rollers. A powder can then be produced by squeezing the fat (cocoa butter) out of the bitter chocolate and powdering the remaining material. To make milk chocolate, sugar, vanilla, milk, and other ingredients are added to the bitter chocolate. The most nutritious chocolate starts with a powder base. “It’s made from the most nutrient-dense part of the fruit because you’ve extracted all the liquid. So, you have a high-potency fruit that is the base,” says Nygard.

The Good and the Bad

Chocolate is healthy in its purest forms, either as a powder or bitter liquid, but when you combine it with sugar and other additives, the health benefits are greatly reduced. “If you dilute it with all the sugars, preservatives, and artificial ingredients, you don’t have a high enough quantity of what’s good for you, says Nygard.

She recommends dark chocolate over milk chocolate because it contains a higher percentage of nutrient-rich antioxidants. “It helps dilate blood vessels and reduces your blood pressure,” she says. “It can dilate your blood vessels up to 20 percent.” The flavonoids in chocolate act as antioxidants and are known for their positive effects on mood and stimulation of brain perfusion, and have been shown to preserve cognitive abilities. “One of the antioxidants in chocolate crosses over the bloodbrain barrier and can help protect against amyloid clog buildup, which is one of the causes of Alzheimer’s disease,” she explains. One of the biggest myths about chocolate is that it can cause high cholesterol. “Chocolate in of itself does not raise cholesterol,” she says. “Taking chocolate out of your diet is not going to help lower your cholesterol.” Likewise, eating fudge is not going to improve your heart health “once you put in massive amounts of sugar and all of that butter. “You have to get serious about your chocolate if you are going to use it for the health benefits,” says Nygard. She recommends eating chocolate that contains 70% or more of the nutrient-rich cocoa base, even if there are added sweeteners, because it provides enough of the health benefits to have a positive effect. Eating dark chocolate is an acquired taste, so you may need to take it slow. “If you start going just a little bit darker or mix it—maybe a little milk, a little dark—your palate develops and becomes more attuned to the flavor of chocolate,” she says. Arleen is a traditional life and culture enthusiast with interests in organic growing methods, handmade crafts, and history.

31


LIFESTYLE

The Nectar of

the Gods Famous honeys from around the world By Joy Ye

34

RADIANT LIFE­ APRIL


LIFESTYLE

B

eyond the natural and raw honey that you normally find in the grocery store or market, New Zealand boasts some unique and healthful honey varieties. These gourmet honeys—like Manuka, Acacia, and Pohutukawa—have been getting more of the spotlight in recent years due to increasing health trends at all ages.

4.

5.

Manuka Honey: Myth and Facts

Manuka honey is made by bees that pollinate the Manuka tree, which grows mainly in New Zealand. Manuka honey has high antibacterial properties, called methylglyoxal (MGO). This honey also has higher antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties than regular honey. It is rich in nutritional value: containing vitamin B, vitamin C, and minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, and magnesium. Manuka honey also contains a large number of phenolic compounds: flavonoids and phenolic acids, also known as polyphenols.

5 Facts About Manuka Honey You Ought to Know 1.

2. 3.

Flavonoids in Manuka honey have important immunomodulatory effects. Therefore, anyone taking immunity suppressants should consult their doctor before consuming Manuka honey. Do not use a metal spoon with your honey. Honey is acidic and will react with metal surfaces. Medically, Manuka honey can be used for healing wounds and burns. However, the honey to treat wounds is a medical grade honey. It is sterilized and different from the jar of Manuka honey you buy in a grocery store. The UMFHA (Unique Manuka Factor Honey Association) in New Zealand doesn’t recommend that so-called “Medical Grade”, or “Clinical Grade” Manuka honey be sold at regular grocery stores. Likewise, a jar of Manuka honey should not be part of your first-aid kit.

Manuka honey is one of the most expensive honeys in the world. That is because the Manuka flowers are extremely delicate and, therefore, are susceptible to variations in climate, rainfall, and wind. Furthermore, these flowers are only in bloom for two to six weeks each year, and some individual flowers may only bloom for five days. This makes it extremely difficult for bees to collect large quantities of nectar from the Manuka flower. It is important to understand the MGO and UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) grades for Manuka honey. But more importantly, you must check to make sure it is monofloral honey and has the UMF certificate labeled on the jar to identify that it is genuine Manuka honey.

What is the UMF Factor?

New Zealand’s trade and industry groups have established indicators, such as monofloral (pure nectar of manuka), and multifloral (including nectar other than manuka), in order to identify genuine Manuka honey. As Manuka honey has become more recognized in the world, more counterfeit products have started to flow into the market. The UMF is the quality identifying mark for making sure that you have natural Manuka honey produced in New Zealand.

35


LIFESTYLE

The Pioneer of

Picture-Perfect

Bedding

Mary Ella Gabler, one of the first women on Wall Street, founded America’s luxury linen industry, raised two boys, published an autobiography, and has plenty to share from her 50 years of success By Tara dos Santos

46

RADIANT LIFE­ APRIL


LIFESTYLE

M

ary Ella Gabler moved from smalltown Pennsylvania to the Big Apple in the 1960s. Her plan to work as a flight attendant in New York fell through, but she didn’t run back home. With hard work and perseverance, she became one of the first two women licensed on the NY Stock Exchange. When she later moved with her husband to Dallas for his work, Gabler began making patchwork pillows from home, and it wasn’t long before she turned that cottage industry into a burgeoning enterprise. Her first big break came through a friend working at Neiman Marcus who thought her pillows would be perfect for the store’s Fête des Fleurs (Festival of Flowers) theme. Now, her brand of luxury linens, Peacock Alley, is sold in major department stores and other outlets globally, and the brand is credited with changing the way Americans dress their beds. “Relationships are such an important part of business success,” Gabler says. It’s a point she also emphasized in her autobiography, “Uncommon Thread,” writing, “Throughout my life, one thing has been paramount—relationships.” “Whether it’s your relationship with people you work around every day, or the people that you sell your products to, or the people who help supply what you’re producing, I think nurturing those relationships is so important,” she says. “You really do help each other in good times and in bad times.” It wasn’t until the 1990s that Gabler discovered another key to boosting her success, and she wishes she had found it sooner. “Get better financial advice,” she says she would tell her younger self. “Build more of a financial cushion. If I had had better financial advice on an ongoing basis, I would have been more consistently profitable over the years. We tended to have highs and lows seasonally.” One of her toughest times was in the 1990s during the national savings and loan crisis, when her loan was up for review as institutions were looking to close less profitable accounts. Peacock Alley was still growing and only marginally profitable at the time, and Gabler recalls sitting at a big conference table in a banker’s office, feeling like she could lose it all. But she had an appointment with her financial advisor—and bringing him in was one of the best decisions she ever made. He told the banker, “‘We

owe you this much. You can either shut us down now and you’ll never get any money really, or you can give us a year to pay it off. We have a plan here that we can do this,’” she says. “I remember working so hard every month to exceed the amount that I had to pay the bank back,” Gabler says. “It helped the bank. It helped us internally. I think it helped everyone I was working with to have more of a positive attitude about what we did. I think it helped the relationships with the people we owed money to because I made sure that everyone got paid back the money that we owed them, and a little more. Those are the kinds of relationships and trust that are important to build over the years.” Although it took a lot of hard work to pull through, she had help and motivation from her employees. “I always felt this responsibility that these people I work with and had a relationship with for so long—there are a few that are still with me for 50 years—and you think about them and their families and how responsible you are for supporting them. I think that was also a driving force.”

Early Lessons

Gabler learned as a child the importance of treating people well and nurturing relationships in business. Her father and his brothers ran a furniture business together, and “they treated each other with such respect,” she says. “I don’t ever remember a time where there was a harsh word between the brothers.” She recalled another lesson she learned from watching them. They had sent one of her cousins off to college, paying his way, with the idea that he would return and apply what he learned to the business. When he graduated and returned home, “He went into the store all excited about working there,” Gabler says. “My father handed him a broom. “My cousin said, ‘Well, you didn’t send me to college to go and sweep the floor, did you?’ My father said, ‘This is your first lesson: You do whatever needs to be done, and the floor needs to be swept for the customers.’” Gabler gets right in there with the seamstresses and doesn’t just make executive decisions from afar, she says. Her family wasn’t interested in bringing her into the business because they saw it as the men’s responsibility. She studied physical education in

47


LIFESTYLE

Fresh Faced Kirsi Kaukonen co-founded fresh skin care brand Niki Newd using her family’s 200-year-old facial masque recipe. She discusses skin care that is pure enough to eat, and the future of beauty

Radiant Life: How did Niki Newd come to fruition? Kirsi Kaukonen: The kernel of inspiration for Niki Newd was planted over 16 years ago, when I taught my friend a facial masque recipe that has been passed down from mother to daughter in my family for at least 200 years. The masque recipe is freshly blended just before use. When I was young, my mother mixed it for herself and me and my brothers just before we went to the sauna. We let it work on the skin in the sauna for a while. How wise our mothers have been! Now science can explain to us why the masque is so effective and why this recipe has been our “secret weapon” for at least 200 years. After the masque, we developed our oatmeal soap, which has become a very iconic product. It is a gentle product for cleansing the skin of makeup without drying. Dry skin was our problem before we developed our oatmeal soap, but not anymore. After the soap, we wanted to have our own cream, of course, and Skin Butter, one of our most popular products, was born. Those 16 years have only strengthened my inspiration, and I feel that now the time seems to be mature enough for our product philosophy. Think of oat milk, which was consider odd a few years ago. But is it anymore? Over many years, Oatly pioneered its vegetable-based “dairy product” until it became part of our food culture. We are doing it now in skin care, little by little, by bringing out the idea that skin care products should be fresh, too, like the food we want. The Niki Newd product line was launched five years ago. During the 10 years before the launch, we first developed skin care products for our own needs and for our friends. After that, we built our brand carefully and patiently. We test all products on our own skins, and we have a circle of friends who are always ready to test our products. After

62

RADIANT LIFE­ APRIL

our long testing period, the product goes through an official external product safety assessment. After that, we launch the product. After deciding to build this company pioneering fresh skin care, we haven’t had a single regret. This is one of the things that make me smile every day. Radiant Life: What exactly do you mean by “fresh skin care”? Kirsi Kaukonen: Fresh skin care is freshly blended of 100% traceable, 100% natural ingredients without any additives, preservatives, or alcohol. And on top of that, we also focus on using food-grade ingredients instead of cosmetic-grade ones. These four principles are met in fresh cosmetics, unlike in “natural” cosmetics, where, at least for the time being, not all these criteria are met. In this way, we have taken natural skin care to a whole new level. We believe that the principles applied to healthy food and nutrition should also be applied to skin care. So, when thinking of preparing a wholesome gourmet dinner, what kind of ingredients would you choose? The best ones, of course. And so would we! Therefore, all our ingredients are of the highest quality: natural, fresh, and pure. In comparison, cosmetic-grade ingredients are no longer suitable for human nutrition. When designing new products, we start from the thought of how to complement the nutritional ensemble of our skin—just like healthy food. Also, in addition to favoring foodgrade options, we always choose ingredients with scientific proof of supporting healthy skin. Radiant Life: Let’s go over these principles one by one. What kind of a difference does it make? Kirsi Kaukonen: Think of a glass of freshly pressed orange juice: delicious and high in nutri-


LIFESTYLE

63


LIFESTYLE

74

RADIANT LIFE­ APRIL


LIFESTYLE

How One Smalltown Doctor is Helping Reshape his Community

A dying coal town famous for a vicious family feud has been rebuilding itself through an inspiring mix of cooperation and ingenuity By Tatiana Denning

N

estled amidst the rolling hills of the Appalachian Mountains, in the heart of coal country, lies the small town of Williamson, West Virginia. Separated from its counterpart, South Williamson, Kentucky, by the Tug Fork River, Williamson is probably best known for an infamous feud—that of the Hatfields and McCoys. Though the area may be known best for a feud, folks in Williamson are anything but contentious. In fact, it’s such a close-knit community that one doctor had his sights set on returning home there after completing his medical training.

An Idyllic Past

Dr. C. Donovan “Dino” Beckett grew up in Williamson at a time when people still remembered its heyday. “It was still a great place to grow up when I was young, but it wasn’t what it had been,” Beckett said. Once a thriving community full of a diverse array of cultures, Beckett remembers that timbering was what first brought people there during the Hatfield and McCoy era. This was followed by coal, and then all the businesses that sprang from that. “Coalfield Jews” is a great book that Beckett recommends. It details the heavy European representation in these early coal communities. The economy was further bolstered by the Norfolk and Southern Rail Company, where Beckett’s dad worked. Beckett grew up hearing his parents tell stories of what an amazing place Williamson had been. Back in the 1920s through the 1950s, Williamson was the cultural mecca of southern West Virginia. “There were 40 Jewish businesses on Second Avenue alone, which is kind of crazy,” Beckett says. “There were clothiers, an opera house, a synagogue. It had this very rich ethnic mix—Poles, Italians, Syrians, Lebanese, African Americans. So when people talk about southern West Virginia being a monolith, it’s a total misrepresentation, particularly for Williamson.”

Returning Home

While spending time as a West Virginia University student in a rural Chilean community, Beckett was amazed at the local doctors who, with no modern medical conveniences, had developed amazing diagnostic skills, and were also deeply involved in their small community of Tiltil. Beckett returned home inspired and decided to apply to medical school. After completing training at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg, and a family medicine residency in Charleston, West Virginia, Beckett took a job in South Williamson, Kentucky. But he soon decided he missed West Virginia. “Even though it was a whole two miles across the river, I wanted to go back home and do more of my own thing.” After taking a position at West Virginia’s Williamson Memorial Hospital, he decided to open a side concierge clinic in 2006. A novel concept at the time, he provided care for coal and gas company employees, and thanks to his focus on not just disease management, but prevention, it grew quickly. In 2004, Dr. Beckett had already begun investing in local real estate. “I bought this building that was about 20,000 square feet and planned to use about 5,000 square feet for my clinic.” he said. “Then I was talking to a friend about how great it would be to have a coffee shop in Williamson. Well, the next day he said, ‘Hey, there’s this couple in South Carolina who’s going to sell all their coffee shop stuff.’ So, I ended up flying down and buying all this amazing stuff they had, including a custom-made Italian espresso bar, beautiful fixtures, tables, chairs—everything.” That’s how Coal Cafe was born, with a bookstore later added inside the coffee shop.

Strengthening the Community

But Beckett didn’t stop there. He decided he wanted to purchase old buildings, rehab them, use the upstairs for hous75


ARTS

A World of

Beautiful Sound Cellist Inbal Segev on evolving from a renowned child prodigy into a poised artist finding balance and individuality in the music world By Catherine Yang

A

rt is all about communication, says cellist Inbal Segev, who grew up in Israel. But with music, before you can hear enough to comprehend a message, you are first met with the sound—and Segev has spent her entire career in the pursuit of beautiful sound. “I want to do the best I can to communicate with the audience and bring something new to the audience,” Segev says. Driven by nature, Segev was dubbed a prodigy at a very young age. Her mother, a pianist, instilled in her a love of music from childhood; and Segev picked up the cello at age 5, never for a moment imagining her life without it. At 8, she performed for the Israeli president. It was a recommendation from legendary violinist Isaac Stern that led to her studies in the United States. She made her international concerto debut with the Berlin Philharmonic and the Israel Philharmonic, under conductor Zubin Mehta. Listening to Segev is truly an experience in the possibilities of sound. Within a beautiful soundscape, her erudite mastery of tone invokes story and drama—whether she is delving into Bach suites or interpreting the voice of a fresh up-andcoming composer. “The sound is the most important thing that we sense. I’m drawn to tonal music, the new and old combined,” Segev explains. “I grew up in the golden age of recordings, where it was all about sound. Things have changed a lot!”

Behind the Music

Segev gave a recent interview between performances with the Chamber Music Society at Lin-

84

RADIANT LIFE­ APRIL

coln Center. She has gradually begun to give more live performances, and has resumed a busy touring schedule that was interrupted during the pandemic. “It’s really great,” she said. “I think any performer will agree; we need that energy that only comes with a live audience.” Not that time at home during the pandemic lockdowns was an extreme hardship—family is tremendously important to Segev. And being able to spend more time with her husband and three children was a blessing. Segev began to perform very early in her life, and she was also sent to study in the United States early on. She got a full scholarship to study at Yale, which, she says, was an amazing opportunity. During that time, she already had a few very high profile concerto engagements. But, after getting out of school, Segev says, “I wasn’t a wunderkind anymore.” There were a few years of struggle when Segev freelanced, had a family, and then realized there was more to music and more to life than just a career. Her family put things in perspective for her during that time, and made her relax about where music fit into her life. “And then afterward,” she says, “that part, my career, really just blossomed.” Her husband, Thomas Brener, is her partner in life and in business. Her career is a little “out of the box,” Segev explained, as the two of them commission a lot of new music. During the pandemic, they began a large, multi-year project, “20 for 2020,” which is a series of albums of new music commissioned for Segev. These days, it’s not just about recording; everything is visual, and Segev has already gotten into the habit of recording video for everything as well.


ARTS

85


ARTS

88

RADIANT LIFE­ APRIL


ARTS

Born to Sing Tenor Lawrence Brownlee on discovering and sharing his gift with the world By Maria Han

L

awrence Brownlee is a world-renowned, Grammy-nominated tenor who performs at concert halls and opera houses throughout the United States and Europe. He is on the faculty of the Juilliard School, teaching vocal arts while maintaining an active performance schedule. Growing up in a large, musical family, music was embedded into Brownlee’s childhood. “My father directed the choir at church and my mother sang solos. And she was always singled out for her voice, and my dad has a very, very good voice, and my siblings—everybody sings. So, it was a natural thing. I just lived and breathed music.” Brownlee says. Brownlee’s voice was recognized at a young age. He grew up singing gospel music and started taking his craft more seriously when his gift was recognized by his teachers. “Someone told me I had a voice for opera, that I was uniquely suited to sing this type of music. My teachers started to single me out because they heard my voice,” he says. He began to listen to more classical music, and found that the classical music played on TV was only the tip of the iceberg. “In my senior year of high school, I got a chance to take some voice lessons for the first time and just get acquainted with classical music,” he explains. He appreciated that in opera, the characters sing everything. He delved further into the form and realized he had the ability to sing the tenor parts—“one of the most important parts in classical music,” he says. “I thought, ‘Oh, this is interesting. I could be the center of attention.’ That’s

when I began to think, ‘OK, I will definitely take some lessons and see where this goes.’” Although Brownlee isn’t shy on stage, he still gets nervous. Growing up singing gospel, he was always more comfortable singing in a group. But when he was singled out during solo passages, he witnessed the response he was able to get from the audience and saw his potential to really pursue music.

“So it was a natural thing. I just lived and breathed music.” —Lawrence Brownlee “I started to realize, when I would sing, people would respond in a way that was so positive that I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, people really appreciate what I’m doing.’ I was doing something that came naturally to me, but the way that people responded was so overwhelmingly positive that it made me believe that there was something potentially special there,” Brownlee says. One of the challenges of singing opera is the necessity to sing in different languages. Italian is a language highly suited to opera since there are so many words that end in vowels; French and German are also prominent languages in opera. Languages fascinated Brownlee, and learning them was a point of interest.

89


ARTS

“Spring” by Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema, 1894. Oil on canvas. Getty Center.

94

RADIANT LIFE­ APRIL


ARTS

Beneath the

Surface of Beauty Covert details buried within Lawrence Alma Tadema’s ‘Spring’ By Jeff Perkin

“At first glance so convincingly real, so archaeologically exact, so beautiful and innocent, ‘Spring’ turns out on closer examination to be illusionary, historically confused, and mischievously immoral.” —Louise Lippincott, former Curator of Fine Arts at Carnegie Institute and author of “Lawrence Alma Tadema: Spring”

M

asterful works of art are often multilayered and complex. What meets the eye at first glance may conceal messages within a work’s more obscure and often overlooked details. Throughout history, groups of people from various classes and backgrounds have had access to different and at times contradictory levels of understanding when it comes to certain works of art. With philosophical and metaphysical implications, artworks may channel charged symbols, ceremonial significance, and ancient mythology into the conscious and/or subconscious mind of the viewer. As more people are noticing the subversive elements within popular culture, we are realizing that it is important to look at all forms of art, past and present, with discerning eyes. As they say, “the devil is in the details.” On the surface, it is easy to see why “Spring” is one of the most popular paintings at the Getty Museum, in Los Angeles. Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema’s well-known painting appears to innocently portray a procession of people engaged in a joyful celebration of the flourishing of springtime. Viewers in Victorian England would have looked at this parade’s voluminous array of beautiful flowers through the lens of their own celebratory “May Day” festivities. At first sight, the painting is an aesthetically pleasing symphony of vibrant faces, colorful flowers, and meticulously detailed marble architecture. Alma Tadema repeatedly

depicted the ornate grandeur of classical antiquity, overlaying perceptions of ancient empire with the far-reaching might and wealth of the British Empire of his time. Sir Lawrence Alma Tadema was a rare type of person in this world: a wealthy artist. As a young man in Belgium, he received the honor of being named a knight in the “Order of Leopold.” After achieving success in his homeland, Alma Tadema’s artworks were sent to London, where he quickly gained fame. This success led him to receive a membership in the Royal Academy and, later, a knighthood from Queen Victoria. His great success as an artist enabled him to create an estate modeled on a Pompeiian villa, where he would often host lavish parties. The lifestyle and social class he enjoyed seems to have greatly informed his artwork and vice versa. “Living in an artificial paradise of his own creation, Alma Tadema devoted most of his career to painting other ones. His paintings that ostensibly represent scenes from ancient Roman life are filled with the prosperity, ease, sociability, amenities, and tidiness characteristic of his own world,” writes art historian and curator Louise Lippincott, author of “Lawrence Alma Tadema: Spring,” published by the Getty Museum.

The Significance of ‘Spring’

Alma Tadema’s “Spring” was the result of four years of work leading up to 1894. The painting features dozens of figures marching into a temple in honor of Cerealia, Floralia, or an amalgam of both Roman festivals. In 1879, he painted “On the Road to the Temple of Ceres: A Spring Festival,” and it is speculated that “Spring,” painted a decade and a half later, also depicts the arrival of a similar procession at the Temple of Ceres (the Roman fertility goddess) or a temple dedicated to Flora (the Roman goddess of flowers). The adornments of the characters of “Spring,” many of whom have their arms thrown up in reverence, suggest that the extravagant setting

95


Save 47% on a Subscription Today! Yes, I’d like to subscribe!

BEST DEAL

ONLINE: ReadRadiantLife.com

$95.40 $179.40 Save 47%* ($7.95/issue for the 1st year) ($8.95/issue from the 2nd year)

HOTLINE: (888) 805-0203 BY MAIL: RADIANT LIFE Subscription Department 5 PENN PLAZA, Fl. 8 New York, NY 10001

1 Yearly (12 Issues)

6 Months (6 Issues) $59.70 Save 33%* ($9.95/issue for the 1st year) ($10.95/issue from the 2nd year)

* Based on a monthly rate of $14.95

PLEASE PRINT LEGIBLY (INCLUDE APT., STE., OR UNIT NO.) FIRST NAME

LAST NAME

ADDRESS

APT. #

CITY

STATE

EMAIL

ZIP PHONE

❒ PAY BY CHECK (PAYABLE TO Radiant Life) ❒ USE MY CREDIT CARD / DEBIT CARD CARD # EXPIRATION

CARD CVV# M

M

Y

ZIP

Y

NAME ON CARD

SIGNATURE

BY SIGNING THIS SUBSCRIPTION FORM, I AFFIRM THAT I HAVE READ, UNDERSTOOD AND AGREED TO THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS at ReadRadiantLife.com/Terms I also affirm all info above is complete and accurate.

Save 47% on a Subscription Today! Yes, I’d like to subscribe!

BEST DEAL

ONLINE: ReadRadiantLife.com

$95.40 $179.40 Save 47%* ($7.95/issue for the 1st year) ($8.95/issue from the 2nd year)

HOTLINE: (888) 805-0203 BY MAIL: RADIANT LIFE Subscription Department 5 PENN PLAZA, Fl. 8 New York, NY 10001

1 Yearly (12 Issues)

6 Months (6 Issues) $59.70 Save 33%* ($9.95/issue for the 1st year) ($10.95/issue from the 2nd year)

* Based on a monthly rate of $14.95

PLEASE PRINT LEGIBLY (INCLUDE APT., STE., OR UNIT NO.) FIRST NAME

LAST NAME

ADDRESS

APT. #

CITY

STATE

EMAIL

ZIP PHONE

❒ PAY BY CHECK (PAYABLE TO Radiant Life) ❒ USE MY CREDIT CARD / DEBIT CARD CARD # EXPIRATION

CARD CVV# M

NAME ON CARD

M

Y

ZIP

Y

SIGNATURE

BY SIGNING THIS SUBSCRIPTION FORM, I AFFIRM THAT I HAVE READ, UNDERSTOOD AND AGREED TO THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS at ReadRadiantLife.com/Terms I also affirm all info above is complete and accurate.


Photo Credits

On the Cover Niki Newd co-founder Kirsi Kaukonen with her daughter and granddaughter. Photo by Viola Minerva Virtamo for Radiant Life 1 Hulton Archive/Stringer/ Archive Photos/Getty Images 6 PPAMPicture/Royalty-free/Getty Images 7 Michelle Xu for Radiant Life 8 Anton Petrus/Moment/Getty Images 10 Tim Robberts/Stone/Getty Images 12 Paul Bradbury/OJO Images/ Getty Images 13 The Good Brigade/DigitalVision/Getty Images 14 svetikd/E+/Getty Images 15 Thomas Barwick/DigitalVision / Getty Images 17 Monty Rakusen/Image Source/ Getty Images 19 DEV IMAGES/Moment/Getty Images 20 Westend61/Getty Images 23 Ridofranz/iStock/Getty Images Plus

24 Michael Heffernan/Stone/Getty Images 25 MediaProduction/E+/Getty Images 26 Claudia Totir/Moment/Getty Images 27 Westend61/Getty Images 28 Compassionate Eye Foundation/DigitalVision/Getty Images 29 Ljupco Smokovski/Shutterstock 30 Vince Reichardt/Getty Images 31 Viaframe/Stone/Getty Images 33 Aniko Hobel/Moment/Getty Images 34 Billion Photos/Shutterstock 35 Left: M Rutherford/Shutterstock Right, top to bottom: Keith Homan/Shutterstock, M Rutherford/Shutterstock 36–37 Left, top to bottom: Lipatova Maryna/Shutterstock, Sunnydream/Shutterstock Right: Victoria Kondysenko/ Shutterstock 38 hanapon1002/Shutterstock Inset: Gourmet International 39 Top: Scapigliata/Shutterstock Bottom: Rudmer Zwerver/Shutterstock

40 Linda Zhao for Radiant Life 41 Gabe Kirchheimer 42 Linda Zhao for Radiant Life 43–44 Gabe Kirchheimer 45 Left: Courtesy of Andrew Coté Right: Gabe Kirchheimer 46–51 Courtesy of Peacock Alley 53–54 Courtesy of Leesa Rowland 56–60 Neil J. Tandy 63 Viola Minerva Virtamo for Radiant Life 64–68 Courtesy of Niki Newd 70 Paul Bradbury/OJO Images/ Getty Images 71 EyeWolf/Moment/Getty Images 72–73 Republic of Molossia 74 Kevin R. Young for Radiant Life 77 6381380/iStock/Getty Images Plus 79–80 Kevin R. Young for Radiant Life 82 Morsa Images/DigitalVision/ Getty Images 85–86 Veronica Yankowski for Radiant Life

88–91 David White 92 Jay Yuan/Shutterstock 93 Top: Everett Collection/Shutterstock Others: Courtesy of The Morgan Library 94–109 Public domain 110 AC Bahn 111–113 Public domain 115 ArtistGNDphotography/E+/Getty Images 116 Milo Zanecchia/Ascent Xmedia/ Photodisc/Getty Images 119 Westend61/Getty Images 120 Catherine Delahaye/DigitalVision/Getty Images 122 Justin Paget/DigitalVision/Getty Images 124 Westend61/Getty Images 125 Morsa Images/DigitalVision/ Getty Images 126 Stephen Simpson/Stone/Getty Images 127 Ezra Bailey/Stone/Getty Images