Thursday, February 4, 2010

So I haven't abandoned this..

But in the period of thesis-ing and my last semester at NYU, things have gotten quite busy. I've been doing a great deal of artwork as well, which I hope to post up soon, but for now - today's fling: saxophone covers of popular songs, brought to you by youtube. Oh you bet it, bitches.

First: ArtinSound. Aside from being somewhat schmaltsy, he's pretty good and has a solid tone. His arrangements are awesome, too. so props.

"If I Ain't Got You" by Alicia Keys

he also does a mean Careless Whisper, but I just couldn't sit through it anymore.

to go along with my previous post of Michael Jackson stars:

Now that's what i call muzak! I could ride the elevator to this every day! He's got that nice raspy upper register
sound up in his high D-E-F (G!) range

I can't end my section on ArtinSound without a little Sade! That would be sacrilegious. He splices between alto and tenor! Sexy!

The master in smooth-sax/schmaltzy has to go to ladysmoothsax with Timbaland - Apologize. She didn't use any effects and she still got more scoops than a 2 gallon tub of Edy's Chocolate Chip Icecream!

Another contender in the sax cover youtube land is MrRoonEz, who has better feathered hair than any lesbian I know.

Time is Running Out - Muse. Not bad, little asian lesbian man! I like how this song sounds on sax.

SaxxKilla and XxKBaileyxX both are in the running for best cover of Beyonce's "If I Were a Boy". I will post SaxxKilla (cause I like the name) here and you can find your way to XxKBaileyxX

I also wanted to post SaxxKilla's because of the comment under the info section about it being his first time playing the song AND alto in a year. Wow!

I will post this Kelvin Bailey classic, though - the song is good, but what I love the most is that shower curtain! want!

Well, that's all until I start uploading sax ensemble pieces! Until then, the thesis and maybe working on an arrangment of "Tik Tok" for sax quartet. Of course.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Creative Grooming

Yesterday, I happened upon this: Creative Poodle Grooming. I've always thought about dying my cat with food coloring, but never thought to act on it. Apparently, there's a whole sub-culture of groomers that do just that. Perhaps even more fascinating than the grooming jobs themselves are the owners who dress to fit. Some even go so far as to create a whole set for the mere purpose of taking a sexy glamour shot with their prissed pooch.
Ex. A:
Sorry to those whom I may have just traumatized.

Maybe I won't feel so bad about dying my cat orange this Halloween...

Monday, August 31, 2009


So I have been home now for quite some time, but I haven't updated the blog on the final days in South Africa! Lots of fun, I had some days alone, during which I met up with some friends to take the cable car up Table Mountain. They climbed and then abseiled down - which looked like tons of fun! The day we went up was crystal clear, sunny, and warm. Couldn't have asked for a better day - in fact, I was up there for about five hours, so I got a bit of a sunburn. After that, we went to Hout's Bay and had some good seafood. I gotta say, I will miss the food of South Africa the most! The next day, I went to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. It was so gorgeous there - different views of Table Mountain and tons of different vegetation and flowers. The best was the King Protea - such a big bulb! I went on a few paths testing my luck for exploration. I got about half way up the path to Skeleton Gorge when I realized that it was way more of a hike than I was up for before flying home! I flew out later that day and arrived safe and sound home in NJ the next morning. Here are some well overdue pictures (most importantly, check out the pics from the hotel!):

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Final Day and Cape Wine Tour

So yesterday was the final day of volunteering. Paul and I decided to finish things up with whatever kids we saw by doing a group mural that could be put up. As it turns out, the teacher didn't expect us to be in and we had to remind her to bring us a group. She brought us one group and said she would bring another later on and never did. Because we probably saw the same kids once or twice, I didn't think termination would be as severe as if we had a consistant group. I definitely under-estimated the impact that we had on these kids. It was evident to me the day before working on the mural that we had really done something big for the kids, but the day after the teachers were talking about how the kids were raving about the mural. I could see the excitement in the kids' eyes that went as well. To me, it only took one really happy and appreciative kid to make the whole thing worth while. :)

After the final day, we had plans to go to Robben Island that got cancelled due to bad sea conditions. I figure, if these things keep cancelling, it must be some form of divine intervention - it is just not meant to be. We went to the waterfront and did some shopping, then went out to dinner with members of the other home base at The Africa Cafe - a place that brings around dishes for everyone to try for a flat fee. They also paint faces there and play music - it was pretty fun, but also pretty pricey. After that we went to Cape to Cuba, a Cuban influenced club, serving cuban themed tropical drinks mixed with natural cape drinks. We went out after that as well. It was a pretty long night, but heaps of fun.

If you couldn't tell by my short and simple phrasing now, It's pretty late now and I should get going to bed. Today we went on a Cape Wine Tour...of course, I didn't do any sampling, but I trusted the taste of my friends, so we shall see how their taste matches up :P. We stopped at three places - Fairview, Solms-Delta, and Tokara. There seem to be so many great wineries around here, I wouldn't know where to begin. If I were super into wine, I would probably have an absolute blast. We also stopped at a cheetah and eagle farm which was not very impressive (in fact, seeing them caged, having people pet them was kind of depressing). Needless to say, the sights were amazing as always, and I learned a great deal about wine and wine tasting.

Now I am staying at the Protea Fire & Ice, which is the ultimate in swank and is unlike any hotel I have ever stayed in. It is almost like a modern club turned into a hotel - with good, minimalist design and solid colors. The elevators are set up like shark cages, with images of sharks on the outside and rope lining a "cage" inside. I will have to take pictures and post them up. The internet is somewhat limited on this so I don't know if I can upload pics right now. I'll still give it a go. Goodnight allllll


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mural Day

Today was the ever-anticipated mural day, where we all worked on a collective mural with six members from each school, on a cape-town landscape themed mural at an orphanage (Nomzamo) in the township of Langa. Emily and I went to Mary Harding early to pick up our six troopers for the day - we weren't totally sure who we would have with us, because there have been a series of absentses lately. We ended up with a group of four boys and two girls. When we arrived at Nomzamo, it was pretty chaotic. I was immediately stressed, but we managed to move through the lines and get outside to where we were to paint. I expected that simple instructions to paint the outlined water, sky, and whale would be enough, but the students needed much more direction.

I had a lot of concerns and worries going into this day - not concerning the abilities of the children, but whether or not they would get along with others from other schools, since they have had a history of being teased because of where they go. By the end of the day, it was evident that nobody had been made fun of, and in fact, one of our boys got the number of a girl from another school (!) The first thing I noticed when I brought our group in was that they immediately found the room where the orphaned babies were and were fascinated. They seemed to have a natural instinct for taking care of something else.

Back to the mural - some of the kids needed constant redirection as to where to paint and how to paint. It was frustrating at times, and I found myself doing some things for them in attempts to model and still getting frustrated. I think that after they saw what the other kids were doing, they started picking up on it and got into the swing of things. Delegating jobs constantly to all members was also difficult - mainly because we had to judge skill level, height, and what would be the most gratifying for him/her. The part we had been assigned to do was part of an ocean scene, depicting the body of a whale. We decided to paint the whale bright orange and the group would be allowed to add different water-themed creatures after that. These kids love to paint. It seems evident to me that they never had enough time to fully explore all of their painting potentials, so when met with the option of a large canvas, they just wanted to paint whatever - we had kids starting to paint flowers above the ocean, hearts, and a HUGE flock of birds in one corner. I found myself asking the kids several times, "now, do you find flowers above the ocean?" I felt bad not letting them paint whatever they wanted, but maybe it was good to impose restrictions on them?

Either way, all of the kids seemed to be having an amazing time, although one of our girls went somewhere and started sleeping half-way through the day (questionable). By the end of the day, after we had seen a song and dance performance, been DJ'ed out, covered an extra wall with spontaneous joy, and eaten hamburgers, the kids were thoroughly satisfied. One boy couldn't stop saying thank-you :)

Tomorrow is our last day at placement. Tonight we had a dinner with everybody as a farewell sort of deal - it was preeettty good. Not going to lie, very tired. Missing everyone back home

goodnight, <3>


Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Hello for a two-day post. Tues. was a busy day - packed with events. Started out today feeling icky from the soup last night. My stomach really hated me. The weather was atrocious today - cold and monsooning all day, and by monsooning i mean monsooning! By the time we were done at placement, the parking lot had flooded about 4 inches, and water was covering the pathways in the school. I wonder what they do in the school when this kind of flooding occurs - do they let the kids walk through the water? The only problem we really saw in our wing was the power went out, leaving the room particularly dark for half of a session. The first group we saw was a good mix of vocal/non-vocal and different functioning levels. They were very fun though and incredibly creative! We got some great house pictures out of them, and a lot of them instinctually drew pictures of their families as well. As the rain poored down heavier and heavier, our second group came through and it was all boys, some returning students, some new ones. Although they were typical hyper-active boys, they managed to behave themselves pretty well and get a lot of work done. They conversed in English and Afrikaans, and one boy talked to me extensively about how Rands compare to the US Dollar and how many rand you would have to pay for things in the United States. I talked to some other NYU people about this and they said they had kids asking about money as well. It made me realize that when one is in a tight money situation, one tends to be hyper aware of how much everything costs.

After our sessions, we waded outside in about 4 inches of flooded rain waiting for the bus. At that point, parts of the school had flooded over and alternative routes had to be taken. We then went to the District Six museum, which is comprised of maps, signs, and pictures all from District Six before it was torn down by the government. It was amazing and depressing at the same time. It is almost like there was a perfect utopia that existed there since the 1700's that "had to be destroyed." People of all colors, creeds, and orientations lived together peacefully. I didn't get to spend as much time there as I would have wanted to, but it was nice to get to see it. Apparently the museum is too much for some people that used to live in 6 to handle.

After we got home from the District 6 museum, Paul and I had a meeting with Ikuko and Toshiko (our supervisors) to review artwork and talk about what we have been doing. We brought a bunch of the butterflies, pictures from the catterpillar, and a bunch of the home paintings and drawings. We all noticed similarities in how high functioning and low functioning children react to color and form. Those with low-functioning capability often had the best use of color and painted the most abstract pictures (I thought they were the most brilliant!). The next level were those who would draw with the paint to make a form (a house). More often than not, this house would not be painted in. The next level would be those who would draw with pencil the image, then paint into it. The last level would be those who would draw with paint and fill it in (we only had one of these). We also noticed similarities in how African children treated drawings of houses and people - flat roof versus triangle pointed roof, the addition of the "globe" as central light, the placement of windows on the edges of the house, and bars on the windows. As far as the people go, they generally speaking have a boxy construction, and the women have wavy pig-tail like hair.

At night, the NYU group went out to dinner at a Thai place, but I had plans already to go out with Len and Betsy, close friends of Pavel, so I went out with them to The Green Dolphin - a famous jazz club at the waterfront in Cape Town! We had a great time, good music, and great food! They are in Cape Town for a few days before going out into the bush down at Krueger National.

TUESDAY. So today was a little less hectic. Yesterday as we were leaving we noticed a raunchy smell coming from the bathroom and asked them to fix it. Because of the flooding, nobody was able to fix it yesterday, so we had them fix it today. Because of this, we had to miss our first session, but it was for a good reason - we could not work in an unsanitary environment. In preparation for the mural project tomorrow, we picked our final group members, who are subject to change based on who is in class tomorrow. We ended up only having one group, another group of just boys. Although two or three would fight back and forth, they got on pretty well and were able to make some good conversation. Part way through the session, two boys, who were making very interesting detailed images, were taken out because apparently they were supposed to be at the principal's office. One was working on a picture unlike any I had seen yet - it was an inside view of a house, depicting two coffee mugs, windows, a heart-shaped light and a door. What a loving a homely environment! After the boys completed their paintings of houses and otherwise (some were rather hard to determine), we decided to do a new exercise with the boys. Earlier in the day, we found some origami instructions and made what I called an "origami managerie." So, we decided to make a butterfly that flaps its wings with the boys - it is by far the easiest to make, and a good use of the extra butterfly papers that we had. We figured they could make the butterflies and then color them in. Although one or two boys had a little bit of difficulty, all were able to make butterflies, and some made multiples! They seemed to really enjoy having mastery over the origami and enjoyed decorating them afterwards. We let them take with them one butterfly so they could have something of their own (after all, in the past, everything they had made they left in the room!)

After lunch, we went to the site of the mural and painted the bits that weren't white white and made the final plans. We will see how it works out tomorrow - I have my hopes.
Here are a few images from the last few days:

Monday, August 17, 2009

Cape Sunday and Monday Monday

Sunday's trip was to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope - there were 15 of us in a 14 person van (don't ask how that worked out), and overspills and hangovers aside, we had a pretty good time! Along the way, we stopped at Camps Bay, then went to Houts Bay to catch a boat out to seal island. The smell at the Bay was pretty unbearable and the seas were very rough but the water is clear blue and beautiful. It was like a roller coaster! It was amazing how many seals could fit on that one island..and apparently there were bunches of sharks around that area too (I have no doubt). We then went to Chapman's Peak (a nice overlook) and took a group photo. From there we went to Simon's Town and Boulder Beach, where we ate lunch and looked at penguins. All along Boulder Beach there are jug-like houses set up for the penguins and literally hundreds of small African penguins colonize around there. It was pretty touristy and at 30R to enter the area, I was a little put off, but if it goes toward the preservation and rehabilitation of penguins, then I have no problem with paying.

From the penguins, we drove into the Cape Point national park and first to Cape Point. Cape Point is the furthest point south in SA, and we were able to take a tram up to the top, then climb a few steps up to a lighthouse - the highest point. We took lots of shots there, then moved to the Cape of Good Hope. The famous Cape of Good Hope, which was marvelous to look at, was a little dangerous to traverse around because of the infestation of baboons - which, although incredibly cute and human-like, are very violent and dangerous. We witnessed them attacking cars, jumping all over them, and even breaking into them! They are used to strange people feeding them food, even though they are not supposed to be fed. I put a video of this up on youtube and will link it here.

MONDAY: Today we started back at the school, and although we normally have two groups a day, to our surprise there was an assembly this morning, so we were stuck sitting around until 11 (not so fun, pretty tiring in fact). We were already prepared, so we didn't have to prepare anything new. When the teacher came around with the group, she warned us "if anyone misbehaves, feel free to kick them out." This disturbed me a little, A. because that meant the group was likely to be rowdy, although I'm glad she warned me and B. what happens to them when they get kicked out? I asked her the latter question, and apparently the principal patrols the school and picks up anyone that is in the halls. A rather daunting fate, i imagine.

The group came in, and although they were particularly giggly, and all boys and one girl, they were pretty manageable. We had them all paint pictures of houses. One boy, who was particularly hyper (and tired at the same time?), who I will call "R," was rather difficult to motivate. After they finished their houses, some of whom spent a lot of care and effort on theirs, they were asked to draw a person. "R" said he could not draw a person, so we looked for other alternatives - for example, they had been talking about their graffiti tags so we asked "R" to draw one of his tags. He did that quickly and then drew his dream car - a sleek looking pink sedan with red fire detailing. He later covered up his car with watercolors. All of the houses were very interesting from this group, and most of the boys numbered their houses based on their jersey numbers in soccer. When asked who would live in his/her house, one boy answered he and his sister, and "R" said he and two women. "R" also said he had the hots for teacher Emily. :o. In attempts to gain R's interest, I drew the outline of a head and asked him to make a face. He drew a man smoking a joint. Red flag. R was also very giggly and tired at the same time. Another Red flag. After the session, Paul shared with me that he thought a few of the boys may have been high. This makes sense - i don't know if they were, but the suspicion could be valid for 13-16 y/o boys.

Lucky for Paul and I, this group spoke a lot of English, and although most of their chatter was in Afrikaans, we could tell what they were talking about, and one boy would translate for us with no problem. We chose him as one to join the mural group because he seems very interested in art work, and the deputy informed us that he had a very tough past and would very much benefit from the activity. When it came to sharing time, the group almost lost it with the giggling. We redirected them reminding them to respect each other and not speak when someone else is speaking. I felt bad for the one girl, who was very interested in the art work and really could benefit from it, but was being teased by the boys and clearly seemed left out. This girl drew very interesting people - including herself as topless, without breasts. Tomorrow we will continue with watercolor houses and people, and will have to make final decisions on who will join us in the mural making.

Today after work we went to BBQ lunch in Langa, one of the townships. It was interesting, and the food was okay - afterwards we watched a play/song/dance in the same township. The voices of the players were amazing - very operatic. The play was about abuse in relationships - both male to female and female to male.


Some photos: