Happy New Year! (and reading list from 2016)

At Home by Bill Bryson (January)
Yes, Please by Amy Poehler (January)
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling* (February)
My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor (May)
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez* (May?)
Making Your Life as an Artist + Workbook (May?)
Catch 22 + Essays by Joseph Heller (June)

Imogene the Voodoo Queen by Heather Pedoto (June)
The Radiance of Tomorrow by Ishmael Beah (June)
Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon (July)
For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood... and the Rest of Y'all, Too by Christopher Emdin* (July)
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins (August)
Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon (August)
We Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge (September)
Homeland & Other Stories by Barbara Kingsolver (September)
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg (October)

Foxfire Vol. 1* (October)
We Gon' Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation by Jeff Chang (November)
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda  Ngozi Adichie (December)
The Next America by Paul Taylor and the Pew Research Center (December)

Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids* (December)
The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards (December)

Books are listed by the month I finished them.
An asterisk means I didn't finish it.
Bold means I recommend it. I decided not to recommend any books I didn't finish.

 

What I (Remember that I) Read in 2015

There Are No Children Here (pre-July)
Gang Leader for a Day (pre-July)
Ms. Marvel, collections 1 & 2 (pre-July)
The Tempest & Critical Essays (July)
Death in Venice (July)
The Dozens: A History of Rap's Mama (August)
Cymbeline & Critical Essays (August)
Bits of Ovid's Metamorphoses
Bits of Democracy's Body
Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People (September)
Life of Pi (October)
Sirens of Titan (October)
Essays on Aristophanes (October)
Half of Aristophanes' The Acharnians (October)
Persepolis 2 (November)
The Fire Next Time (November)
The Kite Runner (November)
The Crucible (November)
The Lighthouse, P.D. James (December)
Dreamers of the Day (December)
Assorted issues of the New Yorker and New York Magazine
Notes: I started keeping track of my reading in July. Books are listed by the month I finished them.

Foley Session

I got a neat text the other day - want to come to Williamsburg and help make post-production recordings of body sound effects for a dance film? In other words, are you ready for Foley artist greatness??  

This studio has drums.

This studio has drums.

The invitation came from choreographer Parijat Desai, and was in service of her short film "The Palace is Dreaming," which she recently shot in New Delhi. (Parijat is directing the film alongside her co-director and editor Alla Kovgan.) Parijat and I spent the early afternoon preparing, which meant watching tiny clips of video and figuring out how to manufacture believable sounds to match the dancers' footfalls, pushes, falls, brushes, and so on. I've never thought so much about the sounds things make. In general, I'm way more visual than auditory, but it started feeling like I was seeing THROUGH MY EARS. It was, in a word, intense. 

The booth behind the board.

The booth behind the board.

Once we had our ideas down we went out to the studio in Brooklyn, where we did a few takes of each set of sounds with the help of an in-booth video monitor. Between takes, we got direction from Alla - not so much sliding, try to do it without your joints popping, etc. - and a subtle evaluation of our performance: perfect, one more for safety, one more for perfection (in descending order). In two hours of recording we knocked out sound for about 5 minutes of video. 

Cables are an important part of a recording studio. 

Cables are an important part of a recording studio. 

The film editing is ongoing, obviously, but when it's finished and making the film festival rounds, I'll get to watch it through my ears and hear the pitter patter of my little feet.  

[Click here for the Parijat Desai Dance Company website | Click here for the Parijat Desai Dance Company Facebook page]

 

APL and Accordion Books

Tons of great stuff came out of the Arts and Passion-Driven Learning institute - questions and ideas about creativity, inspiration, curiosity, and community and ... ACCORDION BOOKS! In the very first session, we all made our own accordion books.

The idea is that accordion books, being handmade by the people who will use them and, more importantly, being flexible, expansive objects, can engender more creative, authentic note-taking and thinking than a traditional notebook. Since the pages aren't cut, ideas/notes/drawings can run from one panel to the next. Since the physical structure is flexible, you modify your accordion book as you see fit - I saw people attach panels that fold out in different directions, make pockets for little scraps of paper or business cards, and add more accordion pages so the book goes on for-ev-er.

Maybe it was just the spirit of experimentation, but I noticed that I was reflecting and taking notes differently than my usual linear or bullet point/t-chart/Cornell note style. I was also so into my accordion book that, when the conference was over, I spent another half hour at the craft table adding to my book and chatting up people doing the same.

Here's the website of the guys who brought the accordion books to the APL institute.   Check it out!

Front page with the APL's guiding questions and a sticker from the accordionbookproject

Front page with the APL's guiding questions and a sticker from the accordionbookproject


My book, with snazzy tie closure

My book, with snazzy tie closure

The pocket of my accordion book

The pocket of my accordion book

Dancin' reel good

I made a dance reel! What a wacky process it is to find the best five to thirty seconds of yourself dancing in all the videos you still call relevant, cut those snippets together, and set them to music. Weird... but useful! Check it out.

A Fresh Website

Welcome to my new website! After three years of poor website stewardship (mostly due to inactivity, mostly due to my metamorphosis into a non-dancing high school English teacher) the old Wordpress gal was not well, was not up to date, and had been code-hacked by robots trying to sell you Viagra. :(

This snazzy new look is more fitting for my metamorphosed back-to-dancing, non-high-school-English-teaching self.   

 RIP old Wordpress website. Welcome to the fresh new thing.