Archive for the ‘culture’ Category

The Glory of Sonic Spectrum.

May 30, 2016
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Sonic Spectrum (Image via http://www.965thebuzz.com)

Sonic Spectrum is my favorite radio show. The show airs on Kansas City-based radio station 96.5 The Buzz. Sonic Spectrum is a freeform radio show that focuses on new and classic indie rock.
Host Robert Moore’s passion for music is inspiring. You can’t fake great taste and Moore’s taste is exceptional. I think he is so hip, he probably can’t even see over his pelvis. He is flyer than a pelican. Moore has am ear for quality music. It’s almost like he gets on air and goes, “This track is so new, I time-traveled into the future to get it. It hasn’t even technically been created yet.” Some of his selections are trippy and excellent, “This track was recorded on a Norwegian ice flow with wood blocks.” It makes you want to learn more about great music you’ve never heard of before. I’ll often hear a track he spins and go, “I don’t know what the heck that was, but I love it and need more of it in my life!”
Radio shows like Sonic Spectrum, curated by someone with great taste, can help make your world a more musically joyous place. For an example of some of the tunes played on Sonic Spectrum, check out this playlist created by fan Patrick Morrissey. Sonic Spectrum airs Saturday nights from 8-10pm CST on 96.5 The Buzz in Kansas City and can streamed live online at http://www.965thebuzz.com/

The Inspirational Soul of Charles Bradley at Middle of the Map Fest 2016.

May 10, 2016
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Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires at the Midland 5/7/16

I consider myself to be a funk evangelist. It’s one of my many missions in life. I truly believe in the importance of spreading the good word of funk to the world. A lot of people are funk deficient and they don’t even know it. The wonderful and soul enriching power of music is so beautiful. No matter how funky you are, you could always be funkier. It is a never-ending, joyous journey. Charles Bradley’s set in Kansas City Saturday night reaffirmed my dedication to bring the funk to the people.

Charles Bradley is an underrated soul singer. Bradley overcame a rough childhood and homelessness to pursue his love of music. Known as the Screaming Eagle of Soul, he is signed to the excellent funk and soul label Daptone Records. The 67-year-old Bradley began his career as a James Brown impersonator, but has carved out his own path. He is not an artist just mining nostalgic ideas. Bradley is honest, real and in the now.

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Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires at the Midland 5/7/16

Over 500 people came out to the Midland to see his set as a part of Middle of the Map Fest 2016. Bradley and his tight band, the Extraordinaires, burned through an hour of simmering ballads and uplifting soul. It was one of the funkiest shows I’ve seen in years.

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Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires at the Midland 5/7/16

Live, the songs took on even more emotion and energy than the recorded versions. Bradley left so much of himself on that stage. The passion he has for his music is infectious.

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I was fortunate to briefly meet Charles before his set. I told him about my funk deficiency theory and said he is a catalyst for positive change in funk. “I’ve paid my dues,” he said in a gravelly voice. Charles Bradley’s humility, positive outlook and his love of music is inspiring.

 

“If you’re gonna get a stupid tattoo, get a really stupid tattoo.”

April 29, 2016

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“My thinking is if you’re gonna get a stupid tattoo, get a really stupid tattoo,” –Molly Balloons, balloon artist, talking about her balloons lip tattoo. I’m also digging the chain. I mean, why not look like a discount version of Juvenile? A balloon maven in action.

My Secret Desire to Become Jazz Fest Dad.

April 26, 2016
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Jazz Fest Dad (Image via Jazz Fest Dad’s Instagram).

Buried deep inside of me is a desire to become Jazz Fest Dad. It is an eventual life goal for me. Their Instagram account is like looking into a living mirror and seeing myself in the future. Often red faced and sunburned, wearing their trademark NOLA shirts, the Jazz Fest Dad is an important subculture of Jazz Fest. Nothing wrong with being a trippy older dude with a large collection of Irma Thomas b-sides. If you’re gonna be a dad, why not be funky dad?

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A Jazz Fest Dad “Cissy Strutting” his way to the Fair Grounds (Image via Jazz Fest Dad’s Instagram).

The Jazz Fest Dad and Jazz Fest Mom lurks within the heart of many a NOLA funk supporter. If someday I end up looking like a discount member of the Radiators, I’m totally fine with that. Money is overrated. However, I just want to make enough money  to do both weekends of Jazz Fest. I’m sure there are worse ways to spend retirement. EH LA BAS! FILÉ GUMBO! FUNKIFY YOUR LIFE!!!

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“When ur a JFD and Trombone Shorty is closing out your life and you die and get to heaven and it’s just more Trombone Shorty.” (Image via Jazz Fest Dad Instagram.

 

 

Be Funkier Today!

April 23, 2016

Just a friendly reminder that funk isn’t just a genre of music, it is a lifestyle decision. Funk can be the way you carry yourself through life. Being square is for, well, squares. Dig within and tap into the trippy joy within you. Every day, it can be helpful to ask yourself, “What can I do to be funkier today?” Listen to that internal voice and let it guide you to a different view of yourself.

“Wayne Coyne is in our yoga class. He is kind of distracting. He does yoga shirtless, wears yoga tights and has big hair. He’s very expressive.”

April 2, 2016
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The Flaming Lips at the 2009 Voodoo Music Experience (Photo credit: Ellen Maloney)

I heard a good Wayne Coyne story today. If you go to a lot of indie rock shows over the years, you probably end up with a Wayne Coyne story. The Flaming Lips are trippy indie rock legends. They have always created music with a weird and wonderful vision. Their live shows often explode into glorious expressions of joy.

I met Wayne briefly, in New Orleans, at the 2009 Voodoo Music Experience. He was wearing his signature suit and chilling out before heading onstage. A friend of mine’s father had recently passed and he happened to have been a big Flaming Lips fan. It was nice to be able to chat with Wayne. I told him that his music brings joy to so many people, myself included, and that my friend’s dad was a big fan.

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Wayne Coyne, of the Flaming Lips, at the 2009 Voodoo Music Experience (Photo credit: Ellen Maloney)

I met a woman today from Oklahoma City. The Flaming Lips are based out of OKC. Like many people, she had a quality Wayne story, “Wayne Coyne is in our yoga class. He is kind of distracting. He does yoga shirtless, wears yoga tights and has big hair. He’s very expressive.” That will realign your chakras!

It is wonderful to be able to tell a musician that their music has a positive impact on you. If you like someone’s music and you get a chance to talk to them, speak from the heart and tel them why you enjoy it. It was interesting to hear a story about one of music’s weirdest and best artists. Wayne Coyne fearlessly freaking out his yoga class probably keeps the world in balance. People that bring their strange and honest creative visions to the world help to tip the scales away from the bland zone. Be yourself and remember to keep it weird!

The Trippy Vibes of House of DeBoer.

March 17, 2016

I recently received my ceramics box from Kansas City-based House of DeBoer. House of DeBoer is comprised of Brock and Colleen DeBoer, a husband and wife design and manufacturing team. I donated to their Kickstarter. These ceramic works were created using a 3D printer. It was exciting opening up the box and seeing what surprises awaited under the bubble wrap. Brock and Colleen are an artistic power couple. The trippy vibes of the pieces really speak to me. It is always inspiring to see local artists creating art that is sleek and has such a strong visual appeal.

Blowing Up: An Interview with Balloon Artist Molly Munyan.

March 17, 2016
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Molly Munyan in her Royals-inspired balloon dresses (image credit: Bo Flores Photography)

Molly Munyan is a Kansas City-based balloon artist. She is known for her handcrafted balloon outfits. Munyan recently held a balloon fashion show. Molly discussed how she became interested in crafting balloon outfits, her creative process

Did you come from an artistic family?
Somewhat, my parents met through doing theater in college. They are artistic, but more on the performance side. I am definitely the child that is the culmination of the most artistic aspects of both of my parents. I am definitely the only one to try and make a career out of the arts. My two older biological brothers, neither of them are terribly artistic. I kind of got the lotto on the artiness.

What was your first memory of making art growing up?
I don’t really know, but I was always the kid that had my hands in something. Wrestling and soccer after recess, that wasn’t me. Staying late after art class, that was always me. I was always doing something. I haven’t had that much inclination towards 2D. It’s been origami, ceramics and Play-Doh, dumb shit like that. I’ve always been doing something like that.

What inspires your personal fashion sense?
Someone asked me, “If I was a combination of two icons, who would I be?” Easy, Pee-Wee Herman and Beyoncé. Getting dressed, I follow the motto of, “If I look like I would look good in a music video, I’m good to go.” Not all music video looks look the same, but they are extremely whatever they are. I want to look extremely whatever I look like. Just never settle.

What got you interested in creating balloon art?
I really just stumbled into it as a kid. I learned how to when I was bored in my parent’s basement. It wasn’t until I was 15 that I picked it back up. Everyone sort of asked me at once if I do parties. I was like, “Uhhh, I can.” The way I became a business professional is that I called Chick-fil-A and told them I’m a professional if they would hire me. They said yes, so I became a professional.

What was the first outfit you created out of balloons?
I was homecoming queen in high school. I made my homecoming dress out of balloons. I prototyped it a couple of times, but that was the first outfit I made. It’s what got me into it.

What is your creative process for crafting balloon fashion?
Making a balloon dress. Step one: Caffeinate. My creative process for the balloon dresses kind of varies. Sometimes, I’m like sitting at a stoplight and think, “This would be a great skirt design.” Then, I sketch it and I have it in the bank when I want to make a balloon dress. Other times, I sit down with a blank mental canvas and say, “What am I going to go for?” A lot of times, I have sketches in my balloon dress sketchbook. I pull from them, I pull from ideas that I’ve had. It always ends up a little different than you could ever plan. On paper or in your mind, it will never look the same as on the form. There are changes you do make along the way, but I do have a plan for it. Always.

How long does it take you to complete an outfit from start to finish?
It depends on what I’m making. A lot of the process is the creative process. Me sitting there going, “What am I going to do?” If I made a look and made the exact same look afterwards, it would take two-thirds of the time. It cuts out the creative process and I’ll I have to do is make balloons. Around 15 hours, often more, rarely less.

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome in your career?
Honestly, my biggest challenges are just sort of being a real person. Responding to emails, being places on time, staying on top of the little things that aren’t fun. I’m much better at big artsy projects that I’m excited about. It’s always been hard for me to get shit done when I’m not passionate or inspired about what I’m doing. That’s a big challenge, getting things done to get me to the place where I want to be. The big art projects, the exciting, new things.

Do you have a favorite quote or motto that you live by?
“No one can be uncheered with a balloon.” -Winnie the Pooh.

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases from being shared.” -Buddha

Also, “Be here now” is a thing I think about a lot. Living every moment to the fullest and that bullshit. My watch says now on it, so I can look down and remind myself that the time is now. No time like the present to be happy and make others happy.

What advice would you give to designers just starting out?
This is a piece of advice that I received from my favorite poet Steve Roggenbuck, “Make art that you like. If you make art that you think is going to attract the most people, you’ll find that your audience Is watered down with people that don’t like the real you or interested in the real you.” He also says that over time, you can’t fake passion. Do what you’re passionate about, things that you love. Your inspiration will never die if you’re still excited about what you are doing. You can even see with my Royals and Chiefs dresses, they were like marketing pieces. I don’t see them as sellouts because I loved what I was doing. I was excited about every part of the process. They were totally fun to make. I wasn’t making them for anyone but myself. It was fun.

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Molly in her Chiefs-inspired balloon dress (image credit: Bo Flores Photography)

A Journey into Pop Couture.

March 15, 2016

I recently attended my first balloon fashion show. The show, Pop Couture, was held in the hip Crossroads section of Kansas City, Missouri. The show was put on by Kansas City-based balloon artist Molly Munyan. Munyan is the co-founder of Pop Culture Sculptures. Molly is a whirling dervish of joyous energy. The passion and innovation within Molly’s work is inspiring.

The Future of Fashion: Sex + Ice Cream.

March 15, 2016
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Nicole Leth, owner and creator of Sex and Ice Cream.

What does the future look like? Probably a lot like Nicole Leth. Nicole is the creator of Kansas City, MO-based fashion line Sex + Ice Cream. She is opening a boutique in Kansas City, also called Sex and Ice Cream, in May. Nicole recently discussed how she became interested in fashion, her creative process and the qualities she looks for in innovative designers.

Did you come from an artistic family? Were your parents artistic?
Not really artistic, more creative I would say. Both my parents were in the medical field. My dad was a doctor and my mom is a nurse. I would say I got most of my creativity from my dad though. He was brilliant, like a literal genius. He wrote books on the side and made jewelry all while being one of the top anesthesiologists in the country and traveling the world. I definitely have his brain and learned how to be driven from him. He was an amazing human being.

What first got you interested in fashion?
I was always, always, always a fashion buff. As a kid I would read fashion magazines and then doodle the clothes on Sailor Moon look-a-likes in my journal and make up scenarios about where she would wear the outfits. When I got older I would mow lawns all summer long to make money and save up to buy some of the designer clothing I saw in magazines. I had it all calculated out. I knew that a Marc Jacobs bag = 7 lawns or a Kate Spade top = 3 lawns.

What inspires your personal style?
Everything. A lot of the times, its my mood when I wake up in the morning. You’ll know I’m having a good day based on how colorfully I’m dressed. Songs inspire me too. I’ll listen to a song and all of a sudden have an idea for an outfit based on the way the song made me feel. Lately, I’ve been really into the Beach Boys and have been putting together outfits with a lot of sheer neon, gingham, and kind of tropical-vintage silhouettes- all things the Beach Boys make me feel.

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Nicole Leth (image via http://www.sexandicecream.net)

Who are some of your favorite designers and why?
Someone who influenced me very early on was Betsey Johnson. I remember the first time I stepped inside a Betsey store and was blown away by the patterns and unapologetic femme edge to everything. As I got older and started to make fashion my career I started to find more designers / brands with brains like mine that really influenced me and helped me grow in my own way. Peggy Noland, Seth Bogart, Emma Mullholland, Jeremy Scott, and Lazy Oaf have been some of those for me.

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome in your career?
The biggest challenge, by far, has been being taken seriously as a professional. I’m a 23-year-old girl who embraces her sexuality but also has her own business – which is apparently a hard concept for people to grasp (and it shouldn’t be). A blonde in a crop top and hot shorts who is ALSO a motivated businesswoman, store owner, writer, artist, and has an 4.0 GPA!?!? WOW WOULD YA LOOK AT THAT!!!!?!? But all jokes aside, it’s been a struggle to work with people and have the respect factor there. I’m a very trusting person and its been a huge challenge to realize that people may not always be what they say there are/may not have your best interest.

How did the concept for Sex + Ice Cream come together?
It all started when I was 18 and going through a bad break up. I was absolutely heartbroken after I found out (who I thought was) the love of my life was cheating on me. I wanted to do something to empower myself and build something that would belong to me, and only me, for the rest of my life. So I decided that I wanted to start a clothing line. That boy and I used to do a thing where we would eat a pint of ice cream after we had sex and he would always tell me “Nicole sex and ice cream is OUR thing, you’ll never be able to do this with anyone else.” So that night when I decided that I was heartbroken and decided that I was going to start a clothing line I immediately knew that I wanted to call it “Sex + Ice Cream.” It was my way of telling him “No, sex and ice cream is MY thing and you can NEVER take it away from me.” I’ve obviously moved on since then and I haven’t talked to (let alone thought about) that guy for years now but to me the name “Sex + Ice Cream” is less about revenge now and more symbolic of a teenage girl choosing her dreams over a boy for the first time in her life and believing in herself for the first time in her life.

What was the first piece of clothing you designed for Sex + Ice Cream?
It actually all started with some fabric I designed with bras all over it. I did these little doodles in my journal of these bras that reminded me of some of the powerful female friends and family and then screen printed them all over yards of fabric. I absolutely fell in love with the process of taking personal drawings and turning them into repeat patterns and designing textiles. I ended up making an entire collection of clothing out of that bra printed fabric and showing them at my first fashion show when I was 19. I still get emotional when I think about that first collection, it represents so much to me.

You are opening a Sex + Ice Cream store in Kansas City soon. You are featuring clothing from female designers from all over the country. What qualities do you look for in the work of designers you are going to be featuring?
I’ve been picking brands that have been influential to me, my personal style, my womanhood, and my artistic career. I made a list before I ever knew I was going to open a store of brands and designers I wish were sold in Kansas City. They range from small scale independent makers I’ve found on Instagram to big-time clothing brands that I’ve been shopping online from for years. Its important that their aesthetic fits with mine in some way and I’m really excited to create a retail collective of pieces and objects that are meaningful to me!

What is your creative approach to designing fashion?
I design based on what I am experiencing at that given moment in time. Much like my personal style, the clothing I design reflects who I am, what I am thinking about and feeling and what I am interested in at this exact moment in time. I’m interested in the narrative qualities of clothing and treating it as a visual diary. I think about designing the fabric first and then I think about what type of garments I want to make from the fabric.

Do you have a quote or motto that you live by? What advice would you give to designers just starting out?
The most important thing you can ever do when something negative happens to you (whether it be in the professional world with your business/job or in your personal life with a romantic partner) is turn it into something good — something that you can learn from or better yourself from or just let go of. I’ve realized over the past years that a bad thing can only be bad if you let it be, but once you take the power away from the bad and turn it into something good that you can ultimately use to better yourself. You are capable of anything. This is empowering yourself. Knowing that nothing can ever break you down completely is a very stabilizing thought. For example, when I was 18 and going through that break up I thought that my life was over. I thought nothing good could ever possibly come from that. But without that bad break up, I wouldn’t have felt that fire to decide to chase my dream and start Sex + Ice Cream. That incident helped me see how strong I was and believe in myself more than I ever had before. And that’s the most important thing.


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