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Live Your Art at the Living Arts Collective. 

One Saturday a month the Living Arts Collective and Aubrey Griffith-Zill put on the Live Your Art event.  Steep In had the pleasure of being invited to the most recent event, on the 9th of December.

The Living Arts Collective is essentially an intentional community center in Durham, NC. They provide dance, yoga and other body work classes as well as host events focused on supporting local artists and musicians.  “The Living Arts Collective aims to cultivate community through conscious living and creative movement.”

It seems to me that Live Your Art is an event that boils down everything that LAC stands for and it makes for a wonderful time.  It functions as a monthly mini music festival, the only real difference being the event is alcohol free.  This limitation didn’t hinder us from having a good time.  Anyone who didn’t have a smile on their face was probably meditating or focusing on some art form.  There were two live artists painting, Emily Wimbish and Edward Rubio, and many others who were coloring or painting for fun.

The night started off at 4 pm with a breathing meditation guided by Theo Feaster, of Conscious Breathing. Theo led us through a style of controlled hyperventilation that is highly conducive to flowing into a meditative state. It also makes you feel all warm and tingly.

After everyone was zenned out the party transitioned into the music and dancing phase.  The music got started with Livenigma, Matt Junge, a singer song writer.  From there the music bounced all over the place from The Missing Buttons, with some folk/americana to sl0wgl0w, a melodic electronic group.  In between those sets we had Diggity Dave Oldham of the Alien radio podcast , Xylem, and Eastsighed.  Xylem, better know as Donovan Moran, played us his own unique brand of music, that I have come to classify as psychedelic classical. He also MC’ed and organized the music for the evening.  When I talked to him about the event he had this to say, “Apollo is a good ole boy”.

I would be remiss to not mention the dancing that took place throughout the entire night.  As the space is regularly used to host dancing classes, there were more than a few great dancers in the crowd.  Some of whom were in the mood for contact improvisation, a style of dance taught at LAC, that in my opinion, resembles a marriage between Acroyoga and wrestling set to music.  It was a form of dance that I had not seen in person before and I could not help but to give it a try.  Fortunately, everyone there was not a trained dancer, so I didn’t feel judged for my failures.

If you’re looking for a relaxed and fun evening you should join us January 7th for the next Live Your Art.

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Theo Feaster and Donovan Moran Leading meditation

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Edward Rubio

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Edward Rubio

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Simone Finally of The Missing Buttons

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Evan Kelly of The Missing Buttons

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Simone Finally of The Missing Buttons

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Brett Richardson With Diggity Dave

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Diggity Dave

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Diggity Dave

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Taha Arif with Diggity Dave

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Brett Richardson

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Xylem-Donovan Moran

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Alana Stanley of Eastsighed

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Alana Stanley of Eastsighed playing the Melodica

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Edward Rubio doing some face painting

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Phian Tran of sl0wgl0w

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Max Lewis of sl0wgl0w

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sl0wgl0w

The Cozy Log Cabin

This past weekend a group of my friends got together to celebrate the Christmas season.  I expected the event to be like most other Christmas parties, but you know, with people I love hanging out with.  Apparently the Honey Badgers keep the party going Shakori-style even when the Grassroots festival isn’t in town.

I showed up to the address of what had been described to me as a cozy log cabin on the Facebook event page, upon arrival it became clear to me that this cabin was indeed truly named The Cozy Log Cabin.  When we rolled onto the property we saw signs for the cabin.  As we followed a sign directing bands to a certain spot I realized I had heard about this place before.  It had to be the venue I heard about in Pittsboro, where private festivals like Spring Jubilee had taken place.

The stories I had heard were not misleading.  I immediately fell in love with the place and can’t wait to go back for future parties and shows.  After I took the Christmas tree off the car, I had time to wander through the little patch work Cabin that Mark, The land owner, built himself.  The cabin makes me think of what Hagrid’s cabin would be like if it had been made with the same charm and quirk as Hogwarts Castle, complete with hidden trap doors.

After I had time to explore the little cabin we went outside for a private show put on by our friends in Bearfoot Monty, a band from New Bern, NC, where most of my friends are from.  It was a super fun and intimate set that wrapped up to a cover of “The Chain” with everyone dancing and singing on stage.

After personally sleeping through the night in the teepee, we spent the next morning around a bon-fire getting to know Mark.  He told us the Rules of the Property, most important of which is to leave your attitude at the road.  We even got to help him out a little bit on his next project, the Sweet Sweat Lodge.

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Gabrielle Christy Of Bearfoot Monty 

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Justin Hargett And Gabrielle Christie of Bearfoot Monty 

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Bearfoot Monty 

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Mark, owner and builder of The Cozy Log Cabin 

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Sean Kyd Music Video Release – Coupons

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be on set taking behind the scenes photos for the new music video by local rapper Sean Kyd.  I was working once again with Patrick Lincoln and Holt Babcock of Torch House Media. You may remember him from the ZenSoFly video, Getting Started.

Coupons, which was just released on Black Friday, is Sean Kyd’s first Music video and its a banger. It features local dancers Ryan Pham and Kevin Kankman, who brought some serious moves.  It was a whole lot of fun to be on set with all these guys, and the video turned out great.  Give it a look and check out some of my shots below.

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Ryan Pham

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Ryan Pham

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Kevin Kankman

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Patrick Lincoln

 Groove in the Garden Recap

Raleigh Little Theatre and The Pour House Music Hall welcomed us back to The Rose Garden to groove for the third year.  I went to the event last year and had a good time, but this year’s the line up blew me away.  Groove is easily the best bang for your buck when it comes to local music events, $25 for a whole day full of talent.

The line up included American Aquarium,  Toubab KreweBomdadilLonnie Walker , Rebekah Todd and the Oddesy ( if you keep up you know how much I love them), Dark Water RisingKate Rhudy, and several other great acts.

Bombadil, a local group from Durham, has been one of my favorite bands for several years now.  Its hard to find yourself in anything but a blissful mood while listening to their soft, light sounds and pure harmonies.  Their deftly mingled voices paired perfectly with the cool North Carolina Autum air that the sunset provide that night.

Toubab Krewe stepped up the tempo a bit with their West African, American Jam fusion.   Their groove woke the crowd up and drew them in for a dance party at the front of the amphitheater.

The final set of the night was American Aquarium fronted by BJ Barham, a good ol’ boy from Raleigh with a poetic soul.  They are an Alternative Country band.  The key here being alternative.  Don’t look into them expecting to find the radio pop country most of us have learned to hate. Their music has heavy western roots.  The steel guitar cuts straight to the soul. BJ kept true to the genre by lamenting over his struggle with alcohol. While later singing us a song about the current struggle with division our country is facing.

If you can scrounge up a few bucks by next year be sure you come groove with us.

Featured image: Daniel Mitchalak of Bombadil

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Curtis Eller 

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Kate Rhudy

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Kate Rhudy

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Boomer

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Boomer

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Just some guy with a goofy smile.

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Rebekah Todd and the Odyssey 

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Logan Tabor with Rebekah Todd and the Odyssey

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Raymond Finn of Lonnie Walker

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Brian Corrum of Lonnie Walker

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Bombadil

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Daniel Mitchalak of Bombadil

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BJ Barham of American Aquarium 

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Shane Boeker of American Aquarium

 

 

ZenSoFly

So, I want to take a few minutes to talk about my friend Zen Stewart, she’s so fly!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with her yet she is a hip hop artist out of Raleigh NC.  Over the last few months I’ve gotten to tag along and take some photos of all the things Zen is a part of these days.  I lucked into this experience because my roommate, Max Lewis, produced most of her latest EP Sunflowers and has been performing with her.  Over this time she has performed more shows than I can keep track of, dropped a single, Getting Started,  complete with a new video (produced by Torch House Media),  come out with the aforementioned EP, performed at The Red Hat Amphitheater for Hopscotch, and won the Best Hip Hop Female Carolina Music Award.

Its been great to get to know her. She is as nice as she is cool.  And I’m certain she has the coolest wardrobe of anyone I know.  I find myself wondering if because she does so many shows, she dresses for a preformance everyday just to cover all of her bases.

Zen has that something special that gets a crowd going.  Her music is a mix of hip hop and house with a little bit of soul mixed in.  All I can say is if you’re looking for a hype time with a chance of flying cookout, check her out at one of her up coming shows. She is playing the Cave in Chapel Hill on Wednesday the 25th.  If you can track down the deets, word on the street is that shes playing a Halloween house show this Friday. Until then check out her video and or give her a listen on Spotify

The following photos are as follows:

1-8: Behind the scenes of the Getting Started photos shoot with local dancer Asa

9-13 ZenSoFly at Yall at Dix Park 

14-17 ZenSoFly at Red Hat Amphitheater at Hopscotch 2017

18 & 19 Practice at the house

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Asa and Max

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Asa

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John Bunch

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Max Lewis, Zen Stewart, Brett Richardson.

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Donovan Moran Jamming out after the shoot.

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OY! Is that Bam Bam at a ZenSoFly show!?

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Max Lewis 

Right to left: Brett Richardson, Zen, Max Lewis

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Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival Fall 2017 Recap

Any of y’all who have followed my posts know that the Grassroots Festival at Shakori Hills is my favorite event in North Carolina, and probably anywhere.  I have no shortage of desire to share my thoughts and feelings about this wonderful gathering. I only hope my words don’t become too repetitive or dry. Every year I’m blown away by the love and community found tucked away in the woods of Pittsboro. Although Shakori has felt like home to me since my first time four years ago, it has been inspiring to feel that love grow as I become more intertwined in the Shakori community.

This year I got to dance with and talk with some of the old-timers who have been attending and serving for quite some time. I felt a real connection with Honey Badger, one of the established camps, that adopted me in last spring. “Oy! Oy! Oy!” I even got to spend some time with a boy who has literally never missed a Shakori since birth. He told me he has been to either eighteen or nineteen Shakori festivals, his parents pushing him around in a stroller the first year. When I spoke with him, he was roasting an apple over the drum circle fire because of an allergy to raw fruits and veggies.

I don’t wish to detract, however, from the value of the performances that the Grassroots Festival books for us – the festival truly would not be the same with out them. In fact, it wouldn’t even exist with out them. Thank you Donna the Buffalo for bringing us all together. However, the spirit of Shakori, to me, is in these interactions. A coming together of a group of people for no other reason than to celebrate love and life for four days.

This is, after all, a music and art blog, so I’ll take a few moments to fill you in on the wonderful music that can be found at The Grassroots Festival.

Most of my favorite local artists were present this year, bringing a range of music from soul-funk to outlaw country. Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba, Sarah Shook & The Disarmers, Dr. Bacon, Rebekah Todd & The Odyssey, Travers Brothership, and Urban Soil are all bands that I have seen at the Festival in years past, and who continue to get me dancing no matter how many times I see them.

When it comes to the artists, the presence of talent and variety is another factor that sets Shakori above other festivals. You can walk from Carson’s Grove Stage over to the dance tent and travel all the way across the world, musically speaking. The best surprise for me this year came in the form of the Warpaint Singers – a group of young men keeping their traditions alive, while at the same time not being afraid of their present. They sang traditional Lumbee and Tuscarora music. To add to their tradition and make it their own, they performed songs they had written in English but sang in their native style and cadence. The raw emotion conveyed through their rhythmic wails struck me to the core. There is a purity in that style of singing that I haven’t come across elsewhere. Their style is just one example of the magic that can be found in the music at Shakori. Feel Free to come and dance with us next spring.

Oh, and for all of you wondering, don’t worry. It did rain this year, but just enough to cool us off.

If you want to check out past years: Sakori Hills spring 2017Shakori Hills fall 2016

Here are a few more links, so that you can check out some of the other performing artists below.

The Tan and Sober Gentlemen

Lobo Marino

Barbara Barnes- Art Images Live

Nick Napoletano – Feature Image

Emily Wimbish

 

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the Tan and Sober Gentlemen

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The Tan and Sober Gentlemen

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Carson Grove Stage

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Nick Napoletano

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Nick Napoletano

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John Howie Jr. with Sarah Shook & the Disarmers

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Sarah Shook

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Photo by Chrissy MacInnes

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Laney Sullivan of Lobo Marino

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Jeb Puryear of Donna the Buffalo

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Kyle Spark of Donna the Buffalo

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David McCracken of Donna the Buffalo

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Barbara Barnes doing a live drawing of Donna the Buffalo

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Emily Wimbish doing a live painting of Lobo Marino

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Emily Wimbish doing a live painting of Lobo Marino

#DARETODISSENT a New ACLU Mural in Downtown Raleigh

Last night at 6 pm Dare Coulter and the ACLU of North Carolina unveiled the New Mural entitled #DARETODISSENT.  The Mural is a collection of iconic images from protests throughout recent history.  The scenes depicted include images of the 1968 Olympics and even Woke Baby from the recent Women’s March.  When the ALCU in conjunction with the Raleigh Murals Project approached Dare about the idea for a mural in downtown Raleigh, she suggested a protester’s rights theme.  In the current political climate, Dare feels the importance of our constitutional right to protest the government, and wanted to share that with Raleigh through her art.  The ACLU was on board and they got the ball rolling.

I have known Dare for several years now, we had classes together back at NCSU. I have always loved her art and have been eagerly waiting for her to land a Mural in downtown Raleigh.  I’m super proud of her for her work on this Mural.  She has worked long nights and hard days with no shade in the baking North Carolina sun to finish this painting in 10 days.  Her hard work paid off and now Raleigh has a beautiful 30 foot by 20 foot protest piece smack in the middle of Downtown.  If you want to go by and see it for yourself, it is on the back of the abandoned Boylan-Pearce building on South Salisbury Street, between Hargett and Martin.  Feel free to join the protest and promote the mural by taking a picture under the #DARETODISSENT tag and sharing it on social media.

Check out more of Dare’s art at http://darecoulter.com/

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