Piano Around The World

Piano Around The World

Piano Around The World Dotan Negrin’s Grand Tour Interview by Mackenzie Lowry         During a visit to any big city in the world, you’ll find yourself being welcomed by street performers. There are acrobats that will pull you out of a crowd, and men with patched up pants tapping away on homemade drum sets. Once, I’ve even encountered a man with a small typewriter, typing poetry for whoever was willing to pass on a few bucks, in exchange for his melodic words. However, it’s a rare occasion that you’ll find yourself walking down gum-stuck streets to the sound of a piano. On an occasion like this, I searched for the source of the music and found myself face to face with Dotan Negrin, while he was making magic with his fingertips and the ivory keys. I did not realize I was part of the reason Dotan was out there, playing his music. It’s the people he meets on the road, who keep him going and inspire him every day. In 2010, after exploring seventeen jobs including acting, truck driving, being a DJ, and trading stocks, Dotan quit his job to play Piano Around the World. It is an idea and lifestyle that combines his love for music, travel, and meeting people. His new lifestyle required physically moving and playing the piano all over the world, for a living.  From Long Island sunsets to the streets of Paris, and the rainforests of South America, Dotan Negrin has raised people’s spirits while sharing the message, “Follow your dreams”.       Mackenzie Lowry:  Where did you grow up? Dotan Negrin:  I grew up in New York City and Jericho, Long Island.   What’s your history with playing the piano? I started playing piano when I was 19 years old, in college. I got into it randomly. My roommates were musicians and they kept playing a lot of jazz music. I fell in love with jazz because I love the way it is able to create emotion without any words. I wanted to be able to recreate that. I started tinkering with the piano here and there and trying...
Theater of Life

Theater of Life

Theater of Life Jean-Paul Bourdier Interview by Mackenzie Lowry Modern day renaissance man Jean-Paul Bourdier creates photography, films, and books that are an ethereal dreamland just beyond plain sight.       Mackenzie Lowry: You were born in France, how did you end up in California? Jean-Paul Bourdier: ​I studied in France, and received a scholarship to study in Versailles twice. Later I got my masters degree in Illinois, then I got a job with the University of Georgia Tech, in Atlanta. Afterwards, I got a job for three years in Africa. On return, I got a job with the University at California (Berkeley) where I’ve been a professor since 1982.   Of all these places you’ve lived, do you have a favorite? Well every place is touching in different ways. Even if I do not like France, I can be touched by the old stones that are Paris. Even if work was very difficult in Africa, I was very touched by the friends I had in Africa and the social life. While I don’t enjoy the social life in America, I do enjoy my work. I do enjoy the view I have of San Francisco and the Golden Gates. Every place has it’s own advantage, flavor and particularities. It’s only my mind that wants to have things perfect.         How did you get into photography? Coming from a family of photographers, I have denied photography for the longest time, although I have used it in many books on Africa, and in my artwork. Up until the last ten years, I have kept my work quite...
Utah’s Desert Oasis

Utah’s Desert Oasis

Utah’s Desert Oasis Amangiri Resorts by Mackenzie Lowry  Imagine you’re wandering through the hot summer desert, exhausted from the heat, when suddenly an oasis appears in the distance. You know it must be your imagination, but yet, you keep moving towards it – you can’t help yourself. Once you approach you see there are beautiful lit stone buildings, a spa, and even other people! This is the feeling you get upon approaching the Amangiri, a high­-end resort in the unexpected location of Canyon Point, Utah.  Made of stone, Amangiri blends right in with the desert, becoming part of nature’s bare beauty. The resort is architecturally fabulous, while the defining simplicity creates the serene beauty. Open air lounges host unmatchable views of the ‘Great Staircase’, or ‘Escalante National Monumento.’ Inside, Amangiri has a comfortable library and a worldly wine cellar. The dining room has an open kitchen with a wood­fired oven and glass doors leading out to the terrace. Tastebud popping food is perfectly paired with the peaceful mountain landscape. Although many may prefer to sit by the pool or spend the day at the spa, Amangiri also offers a wide variety of ways to step out and learn the lay of the land. Hiking trails keep guests within close proximity to the resort. Access to national parks is also easy from this location. For a stroke into the water, boating trips or fly-fishing on the Colorado River, is an event you don’t want to miss. For those who don’t want too much activity shaking up their peace of mind, hot air balloon rides offer the best bird’s-­eye view of the desert’s true beauty. Amangiri’s lofty location makes guests truly feel like they’ve reached paradise in the middle of nowhere. It’s the perfect place...
Road Tripping the Rockies

Road Tripping the Rockies

Road Tripping the Rockies Alberta, Canada By Lee Litumbe     Navigating social media can sometimes feel like navigating a labyrinth of facades where nothing is ever as it seems. Some people use it to escape into the lives of others, wishing they too could live the “fabulous” lives being projected; while others use it as a tool to connect and expose themselves to new people, places, opportunities, and experiences (I’d strongly suggest against the former ­it’s masochistic and the quickest way to feel inferior about your own life).   Case in point, last summer whilst casually pinning away on Pinterest wishing I could be exploring a foreign city instead of moping around feeling sorry for myself in my bedroom (relationship woes thank God that’s over!), I came across the most stunning photo​ of Lake Louise. There wasn’t anything particularly exciting about the photo either – no exotic wildlife, no major cultural difference from my own, no adrenaline inducing activities. Just two small red canoes floating on the clearest blue lake at the base of some insanely impressive mountains. Much to my own surprise, that was enough to spark my interest. Who knew I’d ever want to take a trip with the sole purpose of being out in nature? Certainly not me.     I’d originally intended to venture to Lake Louise solo, but I decided to reach out to my childhood friend Brenda​ (who lives in Edmonton), hoping we could reconnect and make it a bonding experience. To be completely honest though, the introvert in me was weary. Would we still get along? Would we have anything to...
Saffron Scented Aubergine Stew

Saffron Scented Aubergine Stew

Saffron ­Scented Aubergine Stew Aubergine Stew in the Persian Manner Story & Photos by S​hayma Saadat     The first thing I think about when the leaves turn ruby­-red and my shawls come out of the hidden part of my closet, is a hearty tomato­-spiced stew. Now that the days are shorter and we are beginning to spend more time indoors, the scent of saffron, mingling with tomatoes and cumin, bubbling away on the burner, seems to be the best way to spend a night in.     Aubergine, with its glorious shades of violet is in season right now and one of my favourite ways of preparing it is to incorporate it into a k​horesht;​ a stew.     With its jammy tomato base, all you need to have with this K​horesht­-e­-adejmaan​ is a tahdig​– saffron­ rusted basmati rice – and creamy strained yogurt. It seems to be the best way to start a new season and to give thanks for all that we have. Speaking of giving thanks, I recently became a Canadian citizen. Canada is now the country which this P​akistani-Persian-­Afghan n​omad,​ now calls home.​   R​ecipe   Shayma Saadat i​s a Toronto based f​ood writer,​ p​hotographer, stylist, ​c​ook,​ t​eacher,​ p​ublic speaker​ a​nd storyteller. Follow Shayma @SpiceSpoon. Photos ©Shayma Saadat  ...
A Taste of Estonia

A Taste of Estonia

A Taste of Estonia Sweet Red Onion Jam Story & Photos by​ Marija Sponza       The first time I had onion jam I didn’t like it. Truth, there is a lot of different kinds and this one, that I didn’t like, was runny with totally inappropriate spice mixture, not too sweet. My next accounter with this jam was completely different. In a medieval Olde Hansa restaurant in Tallinn (I know, uber touristic, but I just couldn’t live here and not visit it) along with the appetizer came sweet red onion jam. Not sure anymore, but I think I could taste a hint of thyme, or some other herb. The main thing was that the jam was sticky, leaving the taste of molasses on my tongue. Later we had it with the main prepared with deer meat, and some bear sausages, and both times it was a winner. As we went home, we were thinking that the food at the restaurant was not so special, but we could always come back for a bucket of that jam. Funny thing is, you can buy this jam in a souvenir shop adjacent to the restaurant, a small clay kind­of­a­jar for the price of 15 €. And seems like a best seller!!! Some might think that it’s too much for a small jar of onion jam, which actually may be truth, especially when you see how fast, cheap and easy you can make this at home. But, this version I’m giving you today is only a good enough copy, still not as good as the original.     This jam goes best with roasted meats, especially game, as a burger condiment, and with cheeses, which is my favorite way to...
Afropunk Takes Over

Afropunk Takes Over

Afropunk Takes Over The Black Cultural Shift Interview by Lauri Lyons   If you haven’t noticed, there is a cultural shift taking place in America, and across the globe. The shift is loud, colorful, disruptive, and at times entertaining. Afropunk, the international music festival and community, is part of the alternative cultural shift taking over New York, Paris, and Atlanta. Afropunk’s Jocelyn Cooper takes a moment to share its masterplan.     How did you first learn about Afropunk?  Jocelyn Cooper: I first learned about Afropunk with a conversation I was having with artist Danny Simmons, and he was talking about the Afropunk film, and an Afropunk event. I was working at the time for L.A. Reid’s publishing company. One of the writers signed to the publishing company was Beyonce. Afropunk certainly was not, in my mind from the name, sort of my world. Then I met Matthew Morgan and he started talking about Afropunk and all of the bands that were on the Afropunk.com platform. He told me there were 350 bands that were fronted by people of color and I was like, “There is no way there are 350 Black bands in America!” and he said, Yes there are and they’re on my site!”.   Jocelyn Cooper & Matthew Morgan   Then we met again and we were talking about the cultural shift and that conversation changed my life, because in my history I’ve been involved in major cultural shifts in Black music. I signed D’angelo many years ago, when I started my publishing company and that was the shift into neo-soul. When I was at Universal, I signed Cash Money Records...
Julian Lennon’s Horizons

Julian Lennon’s Horizons

Julian Lennon’s Horizons Exploring East Africa’s Horizons Interview by Lauri Lyons     Julian Lennon is charting new artistic territories with his touring photography exhibition Horizons. Most noted as a musician and the first son of the Beatles member John Lennon, Julian has found his true voice as a photographer and philanthropist, while exploring the world and his life’s purpose. I recently sat down with Julian to talk about his first visit to Africa, and the Horizons exhibition. One thing that immediately stands out with Julian is his candor about discussing his motivations and perspectives about life. He has no rock star affectations or celebrity attitude. He is simply an artist delving into the possibilities of where his creativity may lead him.     While visiting Kenya and Ethiopia for a charity initiative, Lennon began photographing the remote landscapes and residents he encountered along the way. The landscapes capture the vast plateaus, valleys, and sunsets that create the allure of a majestic East African kingdom. The images are aesthetically beautiful and possess a meditative quality.   Was this your first trip to Africa? Julian Lennon: Yes. I met Scott Harrison who is the founder of Charity Water . They’ve been digging wells in the middle of nowhere to provide clean drinking water for years. I traveled with one of their groups for the trip. It was a bit rough and tumble, but not compared to the lives of the people who are living there. I was fortunate enough to have a meeting with Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, and they were discussing the Millennium Project. We mentioned we were going to Ethiopia and he said they had some people on the ground that would gladly show us around and...
The Feast of a Lifetime

The Feast of a Lifetime

The Feast of a Lifetime Chef Lidia Bastianich Interview by Lauri Lyons   Lidia Bastianich is renowned as one of television’s most popular chefs, a restaurateur, and cookbook author. Today, she reflects on her journey, passion for food, and the expansion of her empire.     At this time, some of the world’s most pressing issues surround war, displacement, immigration, and identity. Were you a World War II border child? Lidia Bastianich: I was born in Allied controlled Pola. At the end of World War II the victorious wartime Allied powers, negotiated the details of peace treaties and borders with Italy, Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Finland. The Paris Treaty was signed on February 10, 1947. I was born a few days later. The area was under Allied supervision until June of 1947, when the treaty was ratified.   Editor’s Note: The Paris Treaty required Italy to cede most of Istria, including the province of Pola (where Lidia was born) to Yugoslavia. The area later became governed by the communists.   Now more than ever borders are such a discussion and problem because people are kind of left in nowhere land, like the Jerusalem incident. If you were born in Jerusalem you are not Israeli or Palestinian, so what are you? Border people go through a lot. They are unidentified, and feel unsure for the rest of their lives, and ask “Where was I born? Who am I?” I know I’m Italian, but it’s such a predicament after wars, and it’s still going on today. I feel for all of these people around the world with the border situations and what they’re going through with their...
Slim Aarons: A Curated Life

Slim Aarons: A Curated Life

Slim Aarons: A Curated Life The Story Behind the Glamour Interview by Lauri Lyons Iconic photographer Slim Aarons was famous for documenting the quintessential good life all around the world. Now his daughter and former photo assistant, Mary Aarons, is revealing her father’s techniques for creating the perfect shot, as well as a good life of her own.   A Sophisticated Snooze: Slim Aarons in Greece.   Where was your father, Slim Aarons, originally from? Mary Aarons: He was born in New York City.   Did he serve in the military before becoming a professional photographer? Yes, he was in the Army during World War II. He was a part of the press corps. He started out in the darkroom and then worked his way up to being a photographer.   Was the war his first opportunity to travel outside of the U.S.? I’m sure it was. I don’t think anyone really traveled outside of the U.S. at that point.   Where was he stationed? North Africa (what would be considered Tunisia and Algeria now) and Rome. Rome was really his favorite spot. At one point he also went to London and Paris, and then all throughout Europe. His letters remind me very much of that film T​he English Patient.​The soldiers were in some beautiful places, but some pretty horrid things were going on around them.   Did he ever talk to you about what it was like being a photographer during war time, and how did he develop his skills? He was working for Y​ank ​Magazine (the Army weekly). It was his first magazine and he was working with a group of guys and some...
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