Dallas Spotlight: DJ Sober

Art and music capture people the most rapturous ways. Take a look at this short film on how local musician/artist, DJ Sober, came onto the music scene and what possesses him to hunger for more. This short was the creation of one of my fantastic peeps via Kidrobot, Josh Obama.

Download the trax to officially kick off summer beats! Here is the link for “Automatic” a collaboration between DJ Sober and DJ A1. (click on the thumbs below to enlarge)

Warm summer kisses to you all!

A KungFu Girl Finds Music – Dallas Spotlight on Guitarist, Michael Tillman

The light is dim and atmospheric, serving to highlight the diverging conversation held at each table and social cluster. Wood wine barrels line the stage with local art displayed atop each barrel. The Wine Therapist celebrates art, music, fine wine, and conversation. The performer tonight is a 32-year old guitarist, Michael Tillman. His style is a fascinating mix of classical and Brazilian finger-style. His music is classical in body, incorporating Brazilian finger-style in rhythm and improvisation. Even though he is still a music student at TX WU, he has produced a 30- track CD and several stand-alone compositions available for public consumption.

Tillman takes position on a backed bar chair and warms his fingers in deliberate motions, a tango between his hands and the nylon-stringed guitar. The music fills and warms the room in spite of the chilly and damp weather just outside the doors tonight. His musical selections are Spanish in origin and eloquently executed. It is a fast paced and melodic- the music gathers, slides, and dances around the Wine Therapist.

I feel at ease now. Whatever stresses that had clung to me have melted away with the soft notes. I look up from my wine and notice that the musician is perfectly framed beneath a painting called “Four Women”. It’s as if the music has transfixed them in a moment of elegance.

I do like to surround myself with people who know how to harness their own creative energies. Michael’s love of music began at age twelve when there was nothing cooler than being a guitarist, but it was the classical guitar that chose him. I’m always amazed at self-taught creative people. You can tell that it’s not just a passing fancy with this type of self-propelled motivation into an art or craft. Michael learned how to play classical guitar music by ear. “Scarlatti’s Sonata in E minor” was his first competition piece.

His selections tonight range from jazz to Brazilian, from classical to improvised. Michael begins another piece with vocals. (Yes, he sings as well!) He taught himself how to sing in Spanish, Portuguese, and French. His voice is sculpted and well matched for this type of music. It doesn’t hurt that these languages are so lovely when sung.

The crowd responds to each composition they enjoy with applause and whistles. I kill the bottle of wine I have tonight. It’s called “Kung fu Girl”, a 2008 Reisling from Washington State with notes of pear. Apt, no? Over the years, I have had the opportunity to watch and hear Michael grow his musical talent and it is a treat every time to hear him play.

Michael Tillman can be seen performing at The Wine Therapist in Lakewood every Thursday night from 7pm to close.

As a special treat, here Michael is performing at the Kessler Theater, currently in renovations. This is part of a larger series of musical taped at various stages of construction, called “Resurrecting the Kessler” which can be found on YouTube.



DALLAS-CENTRIC: A New Series of Blog Posts Centering on Dallas Events And People

I’m proud to announce the start of a new series of posts to my blog focusing on events and people of Dallas. There’s so much that is wonderful about the city of Dallas and the people who live here. Why not share it with the world?

The first of this series should be up later this week. So if you live in Dallas, or are just curious, I’d encourage you to look out for them!

Also, I wanted to point out that the pictures from Chinese Lunar New Years at the Crow Collection of Asian Art in downtown are up on my Twitpic. They feature the J. K. Wong Kungfu Tai Chi Academy’s dragon and lion dance team performing a spectacular night show. I’d say that it was the best show they’ve so yet!

-zen out.

Happy Lunar New Year! Here’s where to celebrate in the DFW area

Happy Lunar New Year!! This new year kicks off the year of the Tiger and what better way to celebrate than with traditional festivities? Here are locations in the local DFW area where celebrations are being held. My bro is part of the performance team at the renowned J. K. Wong Kungfu Tai Chi Academy. If you’ve never seen a dragon or lion dance, I urge you to come out to see!

The following shows feature a combination of multiple lions dancing (as is pictured at the top of post), a 72-foot long dragon guided by 9 people (for select shows – Great Wall Super Buffet, New Truong Nguyen, Crow Collection of Asian Art, & Bistro B), and martial arts demonstrations. There is no cost to attend any of these shows.

The lion dance is a Chinese tradition that is believed to bring good luck, prosperity, and happiness for the new year. For more information about the Chinese New Year tradition, please visit our performance team’s website at: http://www.dragonliondance.com/

Friday 2/19: 8pm -Crow Collection of Asian Art

2010 Flora St, Dallas 75201

Festivities begin at 6pm. Glow in the dark Dragon Dance performance at The Crow!

Saturday, 2/20: 11am – Nam Hung Supermarket

1700 E. Pioneer Parkway, Arlington, TX 76010

Saturday, 2/20: 3pm – Bistro B

9780 Walnut Street, Dallas, TX 75243

Sunday, 2/21: 1pm – Hiep Thai Supermarket

3347 West Walnut Street, Garland, TX 75042

Do try to arrive early in order to secure a good spot to watch! For those with small children, be aware that outdoor shows will have firecrackers lit so it will be very loud. These festivities tend to be very crowded so I recommend leaving strollers at home.

Hint on interacting with Lions after the show: It is traditional to give an offering to the lions for good luck and to thank them for scaring away bad spirits. What this means is that you can give the Lions a donation by feeding it(cash is easiest, traditionally given in red envelope, but by itself is fine as well).

If you’ve never been to a Lunar New Year show, I highly recommend it! This is a great cultural experience for all.

Kick-assery! “Things That Hurt”

:giggles:  I’d like to share a little something with you guys that brings me joy.  Course, it’s always that little things in life that give you added dimension and in this case, some flavor in the form of kick-assery adornment!

I got this (pictured below) as a gift recently as I had in the past, lost my own start of this collection.

Grenade (Things That Hurt)

Grenade (Things That Hurt)

This cute little grenade is a soft vinyl, zipper pull from a series called “Things That Hurt” made by kidrobot.  I used to have the green grenade, but have somehow misplaced it (easy to do since they are so small!)  This series of little things that cause pain brings me such joy that I literally squealed in joy when I got this little guy.  It was like my grenade was coming home to me!

I could not resist adding to my collection so shortly after being reunited with my grenade, I chanced another Things That Hurt (they come in blind boxes, you never know what you’re getting) and got this:

Brass knuckles (Things That Hurt)

Brass knuckles (Things That Hurt)

Brass knucks!!  I was jumping up and down in the comic book store.  I bet I looked scary. LOL!

Anyway, there are many other Things That Hurt in this collection. There’s handguns, missiles, money, bullets, razor blades, switchblades, and lastely, a heart.  All but the money and the heart come in a variety of colors as well so there’s a total of 18 different Things That Hurt.

Shane Jessup is the artist behind this cute but deadly collection (very me, right?)   He also designs some of the dunnies.  Here’s a low down of his recent work.

Go get some Things That Hurt from kidrobot. Check out the whole collection online.  They can also be easily found at a comic book store near you.

The value of health

This being my first entry in my spin-off blog about lessons learned, tea, & kick-assery here at WordPress, I feel like I need to address something very important to kick off this blog properly.

For those of you that know me, ya’ll know that I’ve had a rough year when it comes to my health. When you’re challenged with something as life-altering as long term illness, I gotta say that you learn a lot about yourself during this time and where your priorities lie.  Most of all, you learn the value of your own health.

With pace of our lives getting faster by the day, it is very easy to forget or overlook eating well or to exercise.  Taking care of yourself is often pushed aside to make time for all these other tasks that you just ‘have to get done today’.   When it comes down to it, the most important aspect of your life is really your health.  Believe me, your life slows considerably when concern for your health is at the forefront of your life.   When you don’t have your health, everything else seems to fall away.

Having been on the side of being unwell where you need assistance to do the simplest things, I can totally understand how the elderly and other folks with health issues have to live their lives.  It is a quite a blow when you realize that you can’t do things for yourself. You start to question your self-worth, your value as a contributing member of society, and fundamentally, who you are.

What are you without your health?

As a young person looking at this, we define ourselves by what we do and our station in life with our family, friends, and peers.  What are you when you can no longer do these things or actively participate with in a relationship with people you care about?  Obviously, the perspective on this is different when you are aged and require assistance.  Aging cannot be prevented, but while you have your health, ENJOY & MAINTAIN IT!

People say,  ‘Treat your body like a temple’.  Often it is easier said than done, but this advice rings true with me.  Consider what you love in your life and what your life would be like if you could not do/have these things in your life.  So, please do take the time each day to care for yourself.   You won’t have anything if you don’t have your health!