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There! I Said It!



In the spirit of the recent  Halloween festivities, “Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble”!  I wanted to talk not specifically about the witchy woman Christine O’Donnell that we’ve all come to know and to love.  But, more specifically about the Tea Party itself.  How and why it was started, who was involved and, who has hi-jacked it.  That’s right! Hi-jacked!  Before we get started however, I thought it was interesting to note that O’Donnell’s father was one of the actors who played Bozo the Clown on the famous children’s show.  Tea Baggers, Witches and Clowns, oh my!   Okay!

Back to business…

You see, most people see the Tea Party as a right wing movement and they would be quantified in that train of thought.  However, that wasn’t always the case.  Before Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin got involved it was truly a grassroots movement.  It was lead by real people with real gripes and these people were from ALL walks of political life.  Not just the crusty old white racist Republicans that MSNBC likes to show you.  And, more than just the 2 black people that showed up to a FOX run rally that they like to exploit so they don’t look racist.

Are you confused yet?  Pissed off?  Both?  Good, then welcome to the Tea Party!  Let me try to clear up the confusion.  First order of business, realizing that the movement started before Palin started using her hand’o’prompter.  It started before Hannity used the movement to sell tickets to his hillbilly hate fests masquerading as freedom concerts.

Laughable really, a ‘freedom’ concert as the Patriot Act is in full swing and being extended and expanded by the Obama administration.  See how that works?  It was passed almost unanimously without being read under Bush and is made worse by Obama.  Not personally of course, puppets can only do what the person with their hand up the puppet’s ass makes them do. . . and say.

I digress…

It started even before Rick Santelli’s now famous rant on one of his CNBC morning segments.  Though it was very spirited and hard to argue, it was not the beginning of the original movement.  If you want to go to the beginning, look at Texas representative Ron Paul (R).  Yup, that Ron Paul, the one that people labeled as crazy for almost 20 years.  Not so crazy now huh?

Paul ran as a Libertarian in the 1988 presidential elections.  Though he is now a Republican, what he stands for is TRUE conservatism.  This historically means lower taxes and a smaller federal government.  Which are ideals that have seemed to elude the RINOs that campaign on these values yet, don’t seem to deliver when given the chance.  However, few seem to realize that true conservatism also includes; no unconstitutional wars that we CANNOT afford.

Chew on that for a minute.  He’s for lower taxes, smaller government, and against the GWOT?  He’s also fighting to get the boney fingers of the non-federal, financial terrorist Federal Reserve from around our tax paying necks.  He has also been a leading voice in calling out not the intelligence failures of the CIA, but the manipulation of intelligence, the muzzling of dissent, and the coup d’etat running history of the CIA.  To me, THAT is the Tea Party.

Sadly, after eight years of Bush, the Republicans saw a chance to put on a new face with the Tea Party.  Enter FOX ‘news’.  Look at us America, we’re fighting for you.  They promoted the fact that there were all kinds of Americans involved in the Tea Party.  The only problem is that eventually, the party was full of brainwashed FOX viewers.  This caused the fast growing movement to lean very far to the right.  They also started overshadowing the anti war aspect of the movement.  Think about it, every Tea Party backed candidate in the upcoming elections is a Republican.

You might be saying well, it is the “Taxed Enough Already” Party.  This is true, but don’t our tax dollars pay for the GWOT (Global War on Terror)?  Over and misspent dollars most of the time I might add.  So, if you think those are well spent tax dollars let me clear that up for you.

Nine  years later, we’re finally getting to the fight in Afghanistan and we’re protecting the Afghan poppy fields.  Oh yeah, we’re also leaving Iraq and the IEDs and car bombs haven’t slowed down one bit.  What about Halliburton and Blackwater?  The Patriot Act?  Please!!!!  Seems like there’s something I’m forgetting……of course…Osama bin Laden?!

I’m proud to say that this time around we have the balls to protest as ourselves.   We don’t have to dress up like Mohawk Native Americans and perpetrate a false flag operation to have our voices heard.  Now, we have to figure out how to keep our voices from being drowned out by the Republican and Democrat Parties.

There! I said it!

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Rain and Fire in Sedona



Ange Alex

A rainy day in Sedona? What are we going to do. Everything we have planned is outdoors. I am pretty sure that is why people come to Sedona, for the beautiful OUTDOOR activities, like hiking, biking, Jeep tours, viewing the red rocks and photography. 

What to do, what to do.

Oh, I know. I had the privilege of meeting some great artists that work in fire and glass! The perfect indoor activity when your outdoor plans are washed away!

The Melting Point in Sedona, conveniently located across the street for the Whole Foods (two birds with one stone, yeah!), is a group of artist focusing on creating and teaching others how to create as well.

When we entered the facilities, it was like entering a fine arts gallery. So many beautiful works of glass art. Jordan Ford is the general manager and one of the Artists. He came out of the workshop and told us the rules, then brought us into the fold. 

We were about to become glass blowers! 

Jordan had a love for the natural world from a very early age. He went on to study geology in college but that is when he discovered glass. He currently has Bachelor’s Degrees in both Earth Science/Geology and Visual Arts/Glassblowing.

Jordan says , “It’s the process of blowing glass that drives me. I find the physical act of making glass so overwhelmingly fascinating. I approach most of my work with a consideration for the more classical techniques – it’s the framework that I use as a jumping point for experimentation.”

Not only is Jordan incredibly talented, he is really personable and extremely funny. He made everyone in the room feel at ease and we all often irrupted in bouts of laughter.

Another artist that was helping us is Austin Littenberg. Austin became interested in the art of glass blowing at age 16 after watching a documentary. He spent over 12 years developing his craft and learning the technical precision needed to work at this level.

Austin views the many ways Art presents itself and is in tune with it all, and it shows.

Clearly these two artist love what they do, and I for one am grateful for their expertise and their willingness to show the world their art.

They worked with us to create a beautiful cactus, complete with three flowers, one for each kid, and a Sedona rock like base. We loved the patience they showed and the skill to make us feel at ease. We never felt like  we were about to do something we just couldn’t. It felt like we had been doing this before. That is the measure of a true instructor. 

Our work of art was complete and we left there feeling accomplished and quite honestly, amazing! 

Both Austin and Jordan have remarkable skills but also wonderful comedic timing. They were a absolutely pleasure to meet and I look forward to keeping up with their art in the future.

If you find yourself in Sedona and want to meet some really wonderful people, stop by The Melting Point and say hello! While you’re there, blow some glass!

How could I forget one of them most important things; They have a studio dog! Austin brings his sweet baby girl to work with him and she is an angel! We loved her! Make sure you give her some love when you visit!

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Artists to Watch

Cry With Us! Puddles Pity Party in Orlando



Ange Alex

I owe him a poem:

Here’s a story of a sad clown who one night in February was traveling through O-town. 

He brought a suitcase and a lot of gum, he brought music and videos and tons of fun.

He sang high but mostly he sang low, and he put of one hell of a good show.

He gave a bearded guy a cupcake and danced with a lady, a wolf he would make

There is no doubt he is a boss sir, he even got love from Kevin Costner.

Fans filled the plaza for a night of delight as the 7 foot clown gave us some real insight.

He sang Bowie and Queen and even some Who, also Cash, Lorde and “Let it go” too

Videos played of pets and babies crying, also beautiful artwork and people smiling.

Last night Orlando was anything but mad as we showed much love for a clown that is sad.

Ok, I’d cry too after that poem. Here’s some more info:

If you haven’t been to see a Puddles Pity Party show, you are missing out. 

The show had me smiling and laughing so hard my stomach hurt, but I was also moved so many times by the range of Puddles voice. True entertainment never gets old and I have a feeling he is going to last forever.

I loved the interaction he had with the crowd. He pulled numerous people up to help him on stage and all of them were good sports, one man even singing the entire song, “All by myself” karaoke style! The show was so well thought out and planned but with room for some hilarious improv. Especially at the end when he pulled the 3 fans from the audience dressed like clowns. At the end of them performing together, Puddles suddenly remembers that he is scared of clowns! Genius! 

Hands down one of the best performances I’ve seen in years.


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“20/20:Visionary”: Looking Back, Looking Forward



Photograph by Charlie McCullers, courtesy of Atlanta Ballet.

Last weekend (March 18-20) the Atlanta Ballet gifted the city with “20/20: Visionary,” three pieces, including a world premiere, presented at the Cobb Energy Center.

The world premiere, “Playground,” by British choreographer Douglas Lee, belied its name by being a shadowy piece danced between upright, rolling chalkboard set pieces. Prepared for a lighthearted, joyful expression of childhood, I was surprised that the work instead exposed the darker side of childhood memories. There were some light moments, such as the towering billboard inscribed with multiple lines reading, “Jackie must remember the steps” – clearly a humorous aside about Jackie Nash, one of the most capable company members and perhaps the quickest study in rehearsal. There were some easily-seen choreographic devices–a lot of theme and variation, even more pushing around of set pieces–but there were a few exceptional moments as well, including intricate, slow-motion manipulation of a dancer’s body by another dancer.

Pen-Yu Chen & Tara Lee in “Boiling Point.” Photo by C McCullers, courtesy of Atlanta Ballet.

The opening work, “Boiling Point,” by Darrell Grand Moultrie, was playfully performed at breakneck speed. Dancers are often told to “make it look easy,” and the company took that concept to heart. Highlighted against the men in black costumes, the women wore bits of metallic fabric, providing splashes of intense color and exposing powerful bodies with long muscles. The piece began with the stage space open almost to its fullest, and the dancers running across like a rushing river. They rolled, twisted, turned, and slid like water itself. The choreography juxtaposed synchronicity with counterpoint, traditional with innovation. There was a gargouillade, rarely seen even in classical ballets. The lines of the bodies were critical to the piece, and often layers deep. The flow was almost nonstop, with only an occasional flick of a wrist or toss of a head to provide momentary stasis. The standout was Christian Clark, who sometimes nearly managed to integrate himself into the group but then something distinctive and powerful in his dancing drew the eye to him again.

“Red Clay” from “Home in 7.” Photo by C McCullers, courtesy of Atlanta Ballet.

“Home in 7,” a work by Amy Siewert, closed the concert. A portrait of Atlanta, the ballet was a rich tapestry woven from music, spoken word, and movement. Performed in 7 segments to a libretto written and performed by Marc Bamuthi Joseph and an intriguing, haunting string score composed and performed by Daniel Bernard Roumain, the dance, too, was a poem, shimmering like summer moonlight on the Chattahoochee. John Welker opened the ballet with tiny explosions of movement “Secrets.” Perhaps the most enchanting segment was “Home of the Braves:” 5 men using baseball imagery, holding their formation as they slid precisely between pitches and catches. “Red Clay” evoked August nights, intolerance, and redemption—Atlanta history, a story familiar to many. I first saw this ballet in 2011, and it has grown in depth as the dancers have matured technically and emotionally. Atlanta loves its ballet company, and never more than when it showcases its home city.

John McFall is ending his tenure with the company at the end of this season. For newcomers to Atlanta Ballet offerings, this will have been a dynamic performance. For long-time supporters, it will have been an opportunity to reflect on his legacy. There are a couple more opportunities to see the company under his watch, and then he will pass the torch to Gennadi Nedvigin, the company’s fourth artistic director. Stay tuned!

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