Sketching Incognito

Jan 9th 2011

I sketch everywhere, something artists do all the time. Parks, train stations, restaurants, meetings, boring or otherwise, are all occasions for me to get out my pen. I’m open to any activity where I can watch and practice my drawing.

But people don’t like to think they are being closely observed. It makes them uncomfortable. So I carry a sketch pad disguised as a book. Plain, black and unassuming, it does its job held in front of me while concealing an active pen or pencil. If I happen to glance up occasionally (wearing sunglasses helps) no one usually notices that I am watching them sit, strut, argue, scratch, carry groceries, babble at a cell phone. They can’t see me observing them slouch against a wall, dribble ice cream down their shirtfront, push a baby stroller or adjust their pantyhose. While I am sneakily scrutinizing a multitude of gestures and busily getting them down on paper, I appear to passers by as somebody (ho hum!) just reading a book. Continue reading...

It’s Always a Drum, But Not Always a Solo

Dec 3rd 2010

If going eyeball to eyeball, and hip-hip-hip to doum-doum-tek isn’t a duet, I don’t know what is.

The portion of a bellydancer’s show traditionally called the Drum Solo can be its most exhilarating part, and audiences always look forward to it. The moment when the music ceases and the sharp crack of a rim hit signals what’s coming, the dancer shoots a look to her drummer, the duet begins, and all eyes are paying attention. Continue reading...

Salome – A Bellydancer?

Nov 3rd 2010

I always wondered about her. Who was she?

The New Testament tells us she was simply a pawn in a struggle between good and evil. Au contraire, says Richard Strauss. She was a lascivious witch who made blood-spattered love to John the Baptist’s severed head in the opera’s third act. Aubrey Beardsley’s seamy, gothic, black-and-white drawing gives an evil, stylish cast to Oscar Wilde’s take on the story. But Richard Beams of Opera Con Brio insists she was just a teenage girl obeying her mother. Did she really shimmy and spin with seven veils? Ruth St. Denis made that one up, because no one really knows. Continue reading...

“Every Woman is Beautiful” – Rakkassah East, 2010

Oct 27th 2010

“Blend yourself to my image any way you like” the Goddess told me. “Every woman sees me differently.”

Rikkassah is a moveable feast. Wandering through the maze of colors, touching the fabrics, hearing the hum of female voices, surrendering to the allure of the music, it becomes clear that we really can re-create ourselves to any icon we find appealing. Continue reading...

Outstanding Music at Latest Shimmy Shack Showcase

Aug 24th 2010

I brought in some new artwork to show at Ancient Arts Studios in Berkley, MA where dancer, singer and studio director Aurel hosts the “Shimmy Shack” on some weekends. Aurel created this intimate venue for both newbies and seasoned dancers so they can experience working with a live band.

This was a special occasion for me because some of my favorite musicians played some of my favorite tunes that night; drummer Mike Gregian, oudist Costa Maniatakos, and Hagop Garabedian on keys. I have known these pros for years, worked with them all, and truly appreciate them. They do more than just play. They know how to use their skills to work with a bellydancer and create a great show. It was wonderful to see and hear them, and I could tell the dancers liked it, too. Some of the songs I used to dance to still tug at my heart. The dance never leaves you. It never, never does. Continue reading...

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