Tag Archives: bayarts

Oatmeal, anyone? An Evening with Ottmar Liebert

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When my daughter was small, she would refer to Flamenco guitarist, Ottmar Liebert as “Oatmeal”.  “Listening to Oatmeal again, Mom?”  she would ask.

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Last night, we were treated to two hours of this graceful guitarist’s skilled execution of some of the most incredible music I have ever heard.  Liebert was joined by bassist, Jon Gagon and percussionist, Chris Steele.  They had definite chemistry, and put on an ideal show in an intimate Portland venue in the Alberta Arts District.

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© Stacy Alexander

Ottmar Liebert is what guitar playing is all about.  He is in tune with his craft to the point that it seemed, at times, that he and the guitar were one instrument.  He was graceful, and seemed comfortable in his own skin, playing, most of the time, barefoot, with his eyes closed, seemingly oblivious to his surroundings, riding the waves of his own creations.   I believe he was playing a small DeVoe guitar, but it didn’t have any markings on it that I could see, so I’m not certain that is what it was.

Since 1986 Liebert has lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 1992 he purchased an “alt-ranchette” just outside the city, with an adobe guesthouse he built as a recording studio.  In May 2006 Liebert was ordained as a Zen monk by Dennis Genpo Merzel at the Kanzeon Zen Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.  He had a very strong presence….one of peace and goodness.  Both John and I sensed this immediately as we watched him.

(I couldn’t get the video of Luna Negra to embed.  This video (above) is an earlier performance.)

I have been unable to find a video of Jon Gagnon, his bassist, but will post one here, if i do later.  He  was simply put, rock solid in every way.  Jon had a huge presence and voice on a 4 string fretless which sang like an baritone opera singer…or, at times, a French horn.  I couldn’t figure out what one of his bass instruments was at all it.  The one shown here was huge, and had a EB-like headstock and a body shape of something like a JP and a morsh.   Its  tone was full of mwah, but soulful and crying. The  fretboard was  coated with something shiny. I’d not seen anything like it before.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.54.47 AMThe drummer, Chris Steele, was not to be believed.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.57.15 AMI did find a video of Chris playing, and I encourage you to watch it.  He is truly a unique player, and fantastically talented.

There is a video on YouTube that I couldn’t manage to embed here.  Please look it up.  It is called “Good Drums, Bad Turtleneck” by Chris Steele.  This is the video to watch to really see this man’s talent.  You can find it here:

The Alberta Rose Theater is a sweet little venue….very small and intimate, which was the perfect place to hear a trio such as this.  John and I ate the venue’s delicious  hand pies and sipped Perrier as we basked in the warmth and beauty that these musicians presented to us. We had such a nice evening.   These guys are  true professionals…plain and simple.  They were tight, knew exactly what they were doing, and provided the audience with an amazing show.  ’nuff said.  Well…no….NOT enough said, actually.

As I was sitting there watching these incredible musicians, I though about my dear friend, another musician, and felt so sad that his life has taken the path that it has.  It could have been him up there on that stage last night….but as they say…”When you lie with pigs….”  He has made some not-so-wise choices.   I’ll leave it at that.

Betsabeé Romero in Reno

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Betsabeé Romero in Reno

I went to see the Betsabeé Romero show at the Nevada Museum of Art a few days ago and would like to write about two parts of the exhibit.  The exhibit is Romero’s first solo museum exhibition in the western United States.   She is one of the most highly evered Mexican artists of her generation. and is known for combining indigenous and folkloric designs with non-traditional art-making materials, and for creating inventive installations inspired by literature and diverse cultures.  She created a series of four new installations for the exhibition, with an overriding thematic focus on transportation—both literal and metaphorical.

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The first pieces were large circular discs that were suspended about a foot away from the wall and facing a window.  The light from the window penetrated the surface of the various materials on the discs to reflect beautiful colored shadows on the wall behind them.

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The soft light and color filtering through the discs were magically multi-dimensional.  Their overall affect was one of serenity.

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Another part of the exhibit was Romero’s use of go cart wheels and gold leaf to make both physical sculptures and prints on paper.  Romero transformed tires in art from their status as a symbol of urban blight to one of progress and creative thinking.  This part of the exhibit was called, “Urban Stalactites and Stalagmites” and used Spanish and colonial patterns common to Mexico.

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The tires were inked, at one point, and rolled across papers to create serigraphs that repeated the designs.

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Day #14 – EDIBLE

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Photo a Day – JULY

Day #14 – Edible

© Stacy Alexander, 2013

Day #6 – AIR

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Photo a Day – APRIL

Day #6 – AIR

© Stacy Alexander – 2013

Day # 31 – SELF PORTRAIT

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Photo a Day – DECEMBER

Day # 31 – Self Portrait

© Stacy Alexander – 2012

Good bye, 2012~  Nice knowin’ ya! – MUUUUAAAAAAHHHH!

Trébol

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Feeling very happy and excited about my upcoming trip today.   Our daughter, Sarah, had been raving about a Mexican restaurant on Portland’s Northeast side, telling us that we had to try it, so tonight, John took me to Trébol.   We arrived for our dinner reservation at 6:00 .  Several of the outdoor tables on the veranda were already occupied for dinner, but we chose to dine indoors.  We were welcomed by the warm mustard and chili colored interior of the modest, cozy restaurant.   I immediately noticed the good art, which, of course, is pretty much the first thing I notice in any room I enter.

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The simple decor was tasteful and comfy.  It was an easy place to be on this perfect, sunny afternoon as the sun began to set.

There were limited vegetarian options, but we are convinced that we tried the best of them.  We began with cocktails. John had a Dos Equis with lime, and I had a blood orange and mint margarita.  The ingredients were fresh, organic and delightful!   Fabulous!  Silver tequila, Gran Marnier, fresh lime, mint and blood orange puree.  The beautiful color was almost too visually awesome to consume!

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For an appetizer, we sampled the Guacamole con Chilis y Ajo, presented beautifully on a petite plate with crushed chips, Serrano pepper flakes and a circle of chili oil.  The guac was nice and chunky and contained a hefty amount of caramelized garlic, roasted Serranos and the most delicious organic avocados!

Our main courses were not to be believed!  John ordered a Mexican crepe filled with roasted squash, caramelized onions, wild mushrooms, Mexican white cheese, all topped with fresh local, organic lettuce, green beans, heirloom tomatos and a lemon wedge to squeeze over the top.    He gave me a taste, which he is always so generously prone to do, and I found it all to be very light, with interesting textures and pops of unusually simpatico  flavor.  Delicioso!

I had an enchilada dish that was also light, but more substantial and filling than John’s crepe.  It had a very small amount of cheese, shredded summer squash, stewed tomatos, caramelized onions…and a fried egg on top!  Unlikely combo that it was, it made my head spin with the whimsy and aroma and dynamic taste combos.  It was fun!  Frankly, I can’t remember all of the ingredients, but it truly was delicious.  It was swimming in a circle of tamarind sauce, too.

Wow!  Talk about flavor bursts!

Both entrees were on the smallish side, and neither were overly filling, as entrees in Mexican restaurants can be.  This food was all concocted from locally-grown, organic produce and tasted fresh and unique.  We absolutely adored this place, and can’t wait to try it again.  As an aside, they have cooking classes and tequila tastings, among other community activities.  We’ve already resigned ourselves to the fact that we want to do one or both of these things, if not more.

The meal was served with tiny, soft corn tortillas that had been steamed, and two light, refreshing dipping sauces.  One was a blend of peppers and the other was Serranos and tamarind.  Again…fabu!

Our friend had recommended a dessert to us, so we shared one, each of us only taking a couple of bites.  It was as light as air!  It has a Cremé Fraise sauce and a smoked tequila caramel on the plate.  The cake was unbelievable.  It was lighter than angel food!  We loved it.

I drank an Oaxacan coffee with that, but was so full that I could only take a couple of sips.  It, too, was delicious.

Kudos to chef and owner, Tony Hill, to Sous Chef, Mike Wilkinson and to Beverage Manager, Tony Pepe.  Our dining experience at Trébol was absolutely fabulous!  We found the staff to be friendly and the service excellent, and the overall experience a positive one.

We’ll be baaaaaacckkkkk!!

Day # 31 – HIDDEN

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Photo a Day – AUGUST

Day # 31 – HIDDEN

©Stacy Alexander – 2012

(This is a photo of my father-in-law’s hidden diary from when he was a prisoner of war being held in a concentration camp during WWII.)

Day # 23 – PAIR

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Photo a Day – AUGUST

Day # 23 – PAIR

©Stacy Alexander

This is a picture of us at our wedding recommitment ceremony at a San Francisco art gallery.  A friend from Oakland,  Darwin, officiated.  Our ceremony has Buddhist elements, but did not focus on any one religion (Buddhism is not a religion.  It is a set of rules for living, many of which are also included in Christianity.)   I wore the antique, white kimono, shown below.

It is in  cold storage right now, but the plan is to put a rod through the top of it and hang in on the wall of our bedroom .  I dried my bouquet of Equadorian roses and they are hanging there now.  Still almost as pretty today as they were back then….only dry.

My husband  wrote our beautiful ceremony!  Our  Seattle friend, Sheryl, who flew down for the occasion,  gave readings.

For entertainment, a Brazilian dancer did two modern dances.  We had a jazz singer, a jazz guitarist and a jazz didgeriedoo player! It was a lovely and unique array of entertainment and fun.

After the ceremony, we took everyone out ….the entire congregation….to Millennium  ( http://www.millenniumrestaurant.com/) for dinner and champagne.  It was truly fabulous!  After that, everyone went over to our little hotel suite on Alameda for cake and coffee….and more champagne.  Beautiful memories!

Day # 22 – HOME

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Photo a day – AUGUST

Day # 22 – HOME

©Stacy Alexander – 2012

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This photograph represents my family, my friends in general, and one special friend with whom I am very close.

The Perfect Evening

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John and I went to Tom Yum for dinner this evening.

He had the broccoli and mushrooms in pepper sauce (with tofu):

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And I had the pineapple fried brown rice with tofu and lime:

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Tom Yum is a real discovery for us.  The food has an interesting flavor profile.  The atmosphere is very pleasant, and since they serve produce from the area, it is the perfect place for a couple of locavores such as ourselves .  Great place just to pop by every once in awhile.  We had a nice dinner, which we shared with one another.  We chatted quietly while we ate and generally enjoyed the air conditioning that we do not have at home.  (It only gets hot in Portland about 2 weeks a year.  This was one of those weeks.)

After we ate, John said, “Let’s go ride the ferris wheel!”  so off we went, to Portland’s Oaks Park.  This place has been around since 1905, and remains one of the ten oldest amusement parks in the country.  It is a sweet place.  There is a skating rink there with a spring loaded, wooden floor that will rise in case of a flood!  There is a beautiful old Wurlitzer  organ suspended from the ceiling, and someone plays it while the skaters go round and round.  Lovely!

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The ferris wheel is old, and sort of creaky, but very pleasant.  It faces the Wilamette River and the rest of the amusement park with its lights and general pleasantries.  Very nice to be there at night with a cool breeze blowing through our hair.  When we stopped at the top, he kissed me softly, and I felt like a teenager again.

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When we were at the top, I imagined I was a dove, soaring above the park and the swift river below,  with views of the castellated towers of the funhouse and surrounding buildings.  I loved the perspective, but as romantic as this fantasy sounds, it was actually put into place to offset the abhorred thraldom of my own fear of heights!   Eeeeee!

When we exited the ferris wheel, we strolled hand-in-hand and snapped some more photos.  The atmosphere at Oaks Park is not a loud and frenetic one, but rather soft and gentle.   One feels safe there, heights fear or no.

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I don’t want a pickle.  I just want to ride my motor-sickle.

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Of course, I cannot see a pinball machine without thinking of my old friend, Arthur Brown who played the priest in, “Pinball Wizzard” with the Who.    Bing!  Bing!  Clang!

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I did a sort of desultory vacillation between the various arcade games that were there, simply because of the many photo ops that they afforded:

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We walked the length of the park and finally wandered back to our car and drove, with skylight open and the windows down, home.   We made some sweet memories this evening, and I am still smiling.

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Day # 16 – FOOD

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Photo a Day – AUGUST

Day # 16 – Food

© Stacy Alexander – 2012

 

Please be thankful for every morsel of food that you have.  Period.  There are many forces in the world, and in this country, that are working against people such as this poor, homeless woman in Berkeley, California, who have to struggle for the basic necessities each day.

I chose this photograph to represent today’s subject, “food,” just as a reminder that not everyone in this country has enough to eat.  President Obama is working hard to change that, of course, but still has a long way to go amidst much protestation, distraction, misinformation and outright lies.

“Opening Doors,” President Obama’s Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, calls for ending child and family homelessness in 10 years while wiping out chronic homelessness and homelessness among veterans within  five years.

According to the 74-page plan, “Stable housing is the foundation upon which people build their lives — absent a safe, decent, affordable place to live, it is next to impossible to achieve good health, positive educational outcomes or reach one’s economic potential.”

The plan is a significant breakthrough because there’s never been a comprehensive federal effort to end homelessness with a timeline and measureable goals, said Nan Roman, the president of the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

A Weekend at Otters Crest by the Beautiful Sea

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I took John to Otters Crest Resort on the Oregon Coast for his birthday.    We left a sweltering hot Portland to arrive at a cool, breezy resort situated on the side of a cliff overlooking the Pacific.  We got caught in traffic and it took forever to get there.  When we drove into Lincoln City, we stopped by a favorite restaurant for dinner before driving out to the lovely resort.  The very first thing we did when we got there, was pour two glasses of wine and sit on the balcony to watch the sun set.    The colors were absolutely spectacular!

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The next morning, we awoke to the site of gray whales on the Pacific within sight of our balcony.  We watched them splashing around and putting on a show just for us 😉 while we ate our breakfast!

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We took a nice walk through the forest to Devil’s Punchbowl and Beverly Beach.  Climbed around on the rocks, took pictures and watched even more whales feeding just offshore.

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I enjoyed cooking meals in our fully equipped kitchen.  We had lots of fresh, organic veggies and fruit and pasta and some great local wine that we had picked up on our visit to Carlton winery last month.

W e spent a lot of quiet time together in our room, just reading or sketching or being quiet.

We had many visitors while we were there, too…..for instance:

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and…

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Oh….and….

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AND…

We explored….

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….and found many beautiful things….

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…including a few things that were mysterious and compelling…

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All in all, we had a lovely time….but it feels great to be back home as well.

My only concern at this time is for a dear friend  who has run into some very bad luck in the hot, hot desert.  Sending cooling thoughts and good wishes his way.  I love him.