Storyteller Series | Cécile McLorin Salvant

Cécile McLorin Salvant has been playing in my house all week. My husband read a marvelous article about her in the New Yorker and we've been listening ever since. I am obsessed with her music, her tone, her wisdom, and her storytelling. And I have to also add that for me as an actor and theatre artist, I so admire Salvant's ability to completely embody a lyric and create a whole world with a song. Watching her sing is like seeing a masterclass in musical theatre. Wynton Marsalis said about Ms. Salvant, "You get a singer like this every generation or two." I must agree. She is a genius and I cant. stop. listening.




The Kora | Will Dudley

I had never heard of the Kora before last Saturday. I was in Flora Bowley's Bloom True workshop, when Will Dudley, a Portland based musician, set up a little spot in the middle of the studio and began playing his Kora. The Kora is a 21-stringed harp played by the Mande people of West Africa. The instrument is made from a large Calabash gourd, which has been cut in half and covered in cow hide.

Will sat amongst us and played pieces from his new album while we painted. It was pretty transcendent. His work is so beautiful and detailed. I bought his CD and have been listening to it all week. Its so soothing, like hitting a mental reset button. Please go get his album HERE. It's completely dreamy.





Spirit House Made With Recycled Windows

I am so excited to share my latest tour on Houzz.com. This amazing space was dreamed up by Tymmera Whitnah of New Bridge, Oregon. Tymmera is an artist, dancer, drummer, traveler and a collector of experiences. Her Oregon home lies at the narrowing north end of Eagle Valley in a tiny town called New Bridge. Here she raises llamas, throws pottery in her studio, hosts belly dancing classes and tends to her country home. Even with all these different activities, what distinguishes her property is a glass house, constructed entirely from recycled materials, that is perched on a hill in the backyard.

During her first trip to Bali, Tymmera fell in love with the architectural style of structures elevated on poles. She dreamed of creating her own similar open-air space on stilts with only a roof above it and simple stairs to reach it. Tymmera planned and built this incredible space with the help of her Dad, some family friends and a pile of reclaimed wood from her grandfather's barn. Check out the full article HERE and see how she did it!

















Culture Maps | Books, Music and Movies



I love getting book recommendations from friends. One of my favorite ways to start a conversation is, "Well, if you liked that book, then you'll definitely want to check out..." A friend of mine just turned me on to a website that recommends movies, music and books based on your preferences.

You enter the title of a band, movie, or book into the respective search, and the results produce a cloud of answers. The closer the clusters are to the center, the greater chance you’ll like them. The closer any two names are, the greater chance someone will like them both. It's kind of brilliant. Give it a whirl!





Here were my results based on Joni Mitchell in the music category,
"Raising Arizona" for the movie category and
Gabriel Garcia Marquez in the literature category.




This week I'm listening to...

Tori Amos just released her fourteenth album, Unrepentant Geraldines. Tori has been playing in my tape deck and then in my CD player and then in my MP3 since her 1991 breakout album Little Earthquakes. I have dutifully purchased everything she's ever produced. Sometimes I'm delighted beyond words (Under the Pink, From the Choirgirl Hotel, Scarlett's Walk, The Beekeeper) and sometimes the album is played a few times and then recedes into the background (Strange Little Girls, American Doll Posse).

Tori is now fifty years old and her latest offering, Unrepentant Geraldines, is a stunning and beautiful reflection on aging, America, power and that ever constant Tori theme: inner worlds. The album, top to bottom, is gorgeous. You can take a listen to her first single from the album HERE. It's entitled "Trouble's Lament". I'll be listening to it all week and for as many weeks as my family will tolerate.




Music on the Mind

These past 8 days have been spent in rehearsals at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. I have been feverishly learning music and lyrics for Sondheim's "Into the Woods". I've also been memorizing lines for a world premier of "Sense & Sensibility". Both shows are going to be filled with beautiful music. But last night, as I was singing with the cast and taking cues from our freakishly talented musical director, I realized what a gift it is to enjoy and make music. This morning, as I write this, I'm feeling grateful for the many ways that music fills my world.

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Me, Singing

I'm a big fan of amateur art. You know, as opposed to professional art. Some of my most memorable art experiences have been at the hands of quote unquote amateurs. Maybe it was a little-known live band at a coffee shop in Ashland, Oregon or a beautiful painting from a talented friend in Maryland or getting together with friends on a weekend, bringing our instruments and jamming in someone's living room. There used to be a time when we made art for the fun and beauty of simply sharing it. It didn't need to end up on America's Got Talent. It was just an expressive moment made sweeter when shared. Do you remember in "Little Women" when the girls would gather around the piano and sing? That's what I'm talking about. Good old fashioned amateurism.





On that note, I'm sharing a song with you today. I'm not an amazing singer or anything, but I like to engage and sing and paint, tell stories and share with friends. I recorded this acapella song last night as a birthday gift for a dear friend. It turned out well and I thought I'd share it with you - my online friends in our blog based e-parlor. Maybe you could pull out your accordion and back me up? Viva la amateurs!


 


Do you ever share little artistic moments with your friends and family just for the joy of it?  Do you pull out your dusty violin at Thanksgiving and treat your mom to a tune? Do you ever buy a canvas and co-create a piece of art with your child? Do you ever go caroling at Christmas? I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below!

Old Records on my Birthday

Another box arrived from North Carolina today from my Great Aunt Lois who passed away this spring The box was filled with vinyl albums. She was a music lover, choir director and composer and had a nice collection of records. I spent my 4th of July listening to Country Music's Greatest Hits by the Mills Brothers. I had not heard of the them until I saw the record - I guess I've been living in a cave because they were super duper famous back in the day. Here's the album cover:





Here they are on the Lawrence Welk Show:




P.S. It's my birthday!
35 today.


Kimbra & Gotye

Last night my darling husband took me to a concert for our eighth wedding anniversary. The line up? A double billing of Gotye and Kimbra. It was a really lovely evening of music.  I love Kimbra and was eager to hear more of Gotye's music in person. Yay for date night!


Gotye


Paul Simon Tonight!

It was my wedding anniversary last week, and my lovely husband picked up two tickets for us to see Paul Simon in concert tonight!  I'm so excited, I can hardly stand it.   I think my favorite song, if I had to pick one, is "Hearts and Bones".  What's your favorite Paul Simon song?







Sarah Saw Something

Time for another installment of Sarah Saw Something, where I share little odds and ends that I found interesting around the blogosphere this week.



Have you heard about MINTYNelya, Susie and Jenny just opened their boutique of awesomeness this weekend in Atlanta.  If you are lucky enough to live in this fair city, head to MINTY for a look at all the available decor goodness.  I wish I could go!




I've obviously been living in a hole for the past 7 years because I just discovered this fabulous pop artist yesterday for the first time.  I know, I know... I need to get out more.  I'm off to buy her album, Body Talk.  Here is a sampling from Swedish recording artist and song writer, Robyn




Although it is more than a week old, I ran into THIS lovely questionnaire ("Are You a 21st Century Romantic?") brought to you by my favorite domestic explorer at A Bloomsbury Life.




And finally, don't miss THIS Amanda Stone Talley original art giveaway at The Zhush

Sarah Saw Something

Time for another installment of Sarah Saw Something, where I share in house announcements and little bits and bobs that I found interesting in the blogosphere this week. Enjoy!


I love art ephemera and fell hard for this awesome post at The New Victorian Ruralist about using old paint brushes like flowers and making bouquets from them.  Brilliant.  Click HERE to see the full post.




 
I found this adorable DIY leather pencil roll at Fancy House Road.  I'm going to make one for Walker - my big boy is heading off to preschool this September!  For a "how-to" click HERE.





I was clicking through one of my favorite boho girl blogs, Flower Child Dwelling, and happened upon this cover of Britney Spears "Toxic".   I'm not a Britney fan, but it sounds great when the talented Miss Jayme Dee performs this song.






And also this week from Peppermint Bliss... while my head was in a hole caring for baby Charlie during his recovery from surgery, a blog sister of mine was also supporting her brand new baby through a scary surgery.  Bailey from Peppermint Bliss gave birth to the aptly named baby Grace on August 1st.  She had surgery on August 4th to remove a tumor from the base of her spinal cord.  This baby is amazing and has faced an incredible ordeal in the first few days of her life.  Please join me in sending continued prayers and best wishes to this awesome family.


Sarah Saw Something

Time for another installment of Sarah Saw Something, where I share little bits and bobs that I found interesting in the blogosphere this week. Enjoy!


I went weak in the knees for this Paris Apartment showcased by Shari at Little Blue Deer.




Just found this amazing folk singer Sarah Jarosz via Flower Child Dwelling.  I love this music and if you're a bohemian soul aching for a fresh new blue-grass-gypsy-day-dream sound, then check it out HERE.




Another very cool house tour - this time via Parlour.  Check it out HERE.




This beautiful interview in The Sun Magazine with Peter Coyote.




And last but not least, La Maison Boheme was featured this week in Apartment Therapy!

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Sarah Saw Something

Time for another weekly installment of Sarah Saw Something, where I share little bits and bobs that I found interesting in the blogosphere this week. Enjoy!


 I want THIS rug from Modern Chic Design.  It has my favorite colors in a beautiful organic peacock pattern.  Perfect for any room in my abode! 




Brilliant blogger and thrift store expert, Mr. Goodwill Hunting, was on the Nate Berkus Show!  He did a living room makeover in one day with a 300 dollar budget.  Congrats Rashon! I watched a video of the show HERE.
 




La La Lovely has a new site.  Time to update your blogrolls.  See it HERE.






I was blown away by this amazing video of Nina Simone singing and playing piano live.  What an artist!  What a force of nature!  (Watch the whole thing, its really worth it.)





And on the local scene:  If you are in or near the Dallas area, you only have one more week to see Dallas Theater Center's haunting and beautiful production of Cabaret.  Its a stunner.  I went to see my friend, Wade McCollum, who was brought in from NYC to play the roll of the Emcee.  His performance is spectacular, sinister and deeply moving.  Click HERE for details.

The Piano

Do you live with a piano?  I do.  Although I don't play it everyday, she has a real presence in our home.  She's always calling out for a little face time and reminds me that when I'm ready, I can always sit down at her bench for a chat with the keys.

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"The piano is a monster that screams at you when you touch its teeth."  - Andre Segovia


"No other acoustic instrument can match the piano's expressive range, and no electric instrument can match its mystery." - Kenneth Miller

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"The piano has been drinking, not me."  - Tom Waits

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"My choice early in life was either to be a piano-player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth, there's hardly any difference." - Harry S. Truman

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"When she started to play, Steinway came down personally
and rubbed his name off the piano." - Bob Hope

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...and here is my little piano tucked away in the corner of my dinning room.

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Holcombe Waller

Back in 2005, I was was doing an acting gig in Portland, Oregon.  It was a musical retelling of the Siddhartha tale called "One".  The singer who played the Govinda character was Holcombe Waller.  He and I became friends and have been in touch ever since.  He just sent me some information about the release of his fourth album - I have the previous two, which are awesome.  But this new one is genius and I simply had to share with all of you.


NPR recently picked a song from the album called "Risk of Change" as their song of the day.  NPR said, "Like Rufus Wainwright and Antony before him, Holcombe Waller has a gorgeously androgynous voice, both as a singer and songwriter —­ one that cuts through ordinary and extraordinary situations with delicacy and emotional precision. Waller's new album, Into the Dark Unknown, is a come-to-Jesus moment come to life,­ a clear-eyed look at confusion that's as arresting as it is intimate. The album leaves Waller's voice front and center, and the result is strong, theatrical and wonderfully nuanced, all at the same time."
Got a minute?  Here is his newest video:

Sarah Saw Something

Time for another weekly installment of Sarah Saw Something, where I share little bits and bobs that I found interesting in the blogosphere this week. Enjoy!


 
This article in the NY Times about American Rustic tickled my fancy.




 This DIY post over at Abode Love made me happy.





My Dad, the troubadour of Gardenstown, has started a blog of his own about Scotland, the writing life, poetry and his silly German Shepherd.  He lives in Gardenstown, a small fishing village on the North Sea of Scotland and has been posting amazing photos of his Caledonian home (pictured below).  My Dad is a guitarist and song and script writer (currently creating scripts and content for the BBC) and uses the blog to try out new writing ideas.  I know that many of you are Scotland-o-philes, so mosey over and say "hi".  Click HERE for his blog and HERE for his Flickr stream.





This week marked the passing of not only Elizabeth Taylor, but also of Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, Lanford Wilson




Thank you to Door Sixteen who reminded me this week to Blame it On the Boogie

Annie Lennox in Blue

I've just finished listening to Annie Lennox's new Christmas Album, A Christmas Cornucopia.  It is marvelous!  Annie has drawn upon her rock and New Wave roots and included lush Moroccan, Arabic and Celtic orchestrations to create this new collection of carols. Annie dubs her voice three, four, sometimes eight times over to achieve an angel choir of Annie Lennoxes.  But these angels are not your typical heavenly choir.  Her take on these carols is ballsy, boastful, and filled with big harmonies.  Another thing I love about the songs on this album is that Annie articulates every word.  I've heard most of these carols a hundred times, but her clarity of speech affords the listener a new look into the story behind the carol.  There is also a new song, written by Annie, at the end of the album called "Universal Child".  I was driving in my car when I heard this song for the first time and I just balled my eyes out (it might be the post partum hormones). "Universal Child" seemed to speak directly to my feelings for my son, Charlie, and the situation we find ourselves in with his health issues.  Its a gorgeous song about love, divinity and what it means to care for a child. Also, I love her album cover.  The blue background inspired me to pull out these dark and dreamy interior photos I had tucked away in my inspiration file. 


Jeffrey Bilhuber
DecorPad

Farrow and Ball

Elle Decor

Toast

House Beautiful


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P.S. Don't forget to enter our current giveaways from Olive and Ruby, B. Poetic Home and Ramsign!

Ladies of the Canyon



Ah, Joni.  Always my fave.  Most of you lovely bohemian readers know this already, but the era of the female singer song writer is not dead.  It is alive and well.  And personally, I'm a little tired of hearing the usual super enhanced radio stuff - Gaga, Britney, Christina... I'm just kind of over it.  So here is a little palate cleanser: if you don't have these musical mavens on your iPod, do yourself a favor and do some downloading!  These sister-friends have been keeping me in good stead lately and I wanted to just pass on the love.  And if you've got a favorite lady of the canyon who isn't mentioned here, leave a comment and point me in the right direction! 

Joanna Newsom

Ingrid Michaelson

Tori Amos

Corinne Bailey Rae

Regina Spektor

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