Fall 2013 Japanese Garden Fort Worth Texas

This gallery contains 76 photos.

Spring and Autumn are by far my favorite times of year here in North Texas. I recently visited Fort Worth Texas which is about 45 miles west of Dallas. Fort Worth has it’s own set of esthetically attractive destinations and The Fort Worth Botanical Gardens is a must see, especially in the Spring and Fall … Continue reading

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When Sugar Momma Talks – Spoken Word/Visual

This has been a long time coming. Special thanks to Ryan Sprinkle who gave me free studio time to record 3 of my poems while we decided together on sound effects. Ryan is a true sound engineer and amazing guitar technician. I am blessed to have friends like him. After listening to the spoken tracks with sound effects, I became inspired to add visual effects. Although this isn’t true to the tradition of written poetry alone, it is true to the creative and expressive spirit which poetry inspires me to explore. I hope you enjoy…

2012 SPAH Convention – All about Harmonica!!

In addition to doing some writing, art, and photography, I play harmonica. I have played for over 35 years. I was actually able to take a few lessons with Tommy Morgan when I was a youngster. Tommy Morgan is one of the most heard harmonica players ever, yet one of the least known. He has played harmonica scores for the television and movie industry since the late 50’s through the 90’s. His contributions to the industry are innumerable. He was the harmonica in the Sanford and Son theme song, Rockford files theme song, Gun Smoke, Bonanza, Paint Your Wagon, and a myriad of other movie and television scores. Tommy mentioned to me that I should Join SPAH and attend a SPAH convention if I ever got the chance. SPAH stands for Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica. Well, thirty years have passed since then and I finally was able to attend my first SPAH convention. The SPAH Convention is the largest society of musicians who gather together to share camaraderie for any one instrument in the world. The full gamut of Harmonica players were in attendance accompanied by there harmonica’s of choice. There were Chromatics, 2-foot long Chord Harmonicas, Bass Harmonicas, Tremolos, and my favorite, the 10-hole diatonic harp. Seydel, Hohner, & Suzuki were all there with the latest greatest harmonica models on display. Every genre of music ever played on a harmonica, was being played all day and most of the night throughout the Westin Hotel in Arlington Tx; Jazz, Blues, old standards, Classical, Polka, Cajun, Country, Celtic, Bluegrass, etc.

During the five convention days, there were jams, seminars, teach-ins, both scheduled and my favorite was the unscheduled ones. Often I would run into a celebrity harmonica player and ask questions – Each and every one of them were there with attitudes to give back what the instrument has given to them. I received some memorable lessons during quaint discussions in the halls of the hotel.

Each night there were great performances and on the fifth and final night there was an award dinner with amazing entertainment. The performances the night of the dinner included; Stan Harper, Jia-Yi He, The Sgro Brothers. The coolest part of that evening was that I was a table away from James Cotton, and Charlie Musslewhite – These guys are legends. If you wish to read more about the SPAH convention, I suggest reading the article on the SPAH page titled Harmonica Players Share The Heart of Their Music.

This post is full of links for the celebrity names mentioned. Please click a few and get a feel for the talent that graced the Hotel halls.

As always, thanks for reading and hope you enjoy the pics.

Here is yours truly playing my rendition of Shakey Blues

James Cotton & Charlie Musslewhite and some crazy fan.

Will Scarlet famous for his work with Hot Tuna back in the day.

Winslow Yerxa — SPAH President

Todd Parrot – Giving lessons on a cool country lick he picked up from Charley McCoy

Joe Spiers(Below) – An in-demand harmonica Customizer with a 6 month order lead time. I spent some time talking with Joe, a great guy by-the-way. Joe gave me some vague leads on how to make my harps better. It really is an art that takes years of experience to learn accurately.

Me with Charlie Musslewhite

Jimmy Lee

Grant Dermody Grant Tours with Eric Bibb and is a growing name as an amazing harp player. Grant is a purist. I was able to sit at a table with him during the convention – a great and brilliant musician. He has a love for old time violin tunes.

Dave Barret (Below)- Transposer, writer, harmonica player/teacher extraordinaire

Joe Filisko – below, is playing guitar for a late night blues jam. Joe Filisko is the most renowned name in Harmonica Customization. His harps start at about $250.00 or so. He builds for the pros. He is also an amazing blues harp player – a purist who is true to form.

This jam was a bit spiritual as we sat in a circle and took a bar to solo by. As the night grew old, there were a hand full of pros left and me. It was great being able to hear all the different styles and talent levels

When it was all over, silence was golden, if I could only eat a meal without hearing a harmonica, there was a sense of heavenly peace. The biggest lesson I learned was to be patient, gracious, practice and enjoy…Practice makes perfect and I was mingling with perfectionists that made something great and amazing of a unique obsession – playing that silly little instrument that offers so much with so very little.

Nasher Sculture Center Poetry Lab & Photo Shoot.

On Sunday, I had the privilege of participating in a poetry Lab at The Nasher Sculpture Center In The Downtown Dallas Arts District. The Nasher is one of the cool places in Dallas to visit on a weekend, or once a month on a Friday night when they have concerts in the garden. The poetry lab hosted by accredited Poets Lauren Berry and Glenn Shaheen began with the poets each reading a few of their poems. For me, a poem takes on the full breadth of its life when read by its author; the personal tones, voice dynamics, and controlled meter complete the poetry receiving experience. After the poetry readings, the lab organizer lead us to different exhibits in the museum, and in the museum garden where Lauren and Glenn read poems they wrote prompted by particular art pieces which inspired them. After the last prompt and reading, the lab opened up for us to share thoughts on how the unique art pieces influenced our thinking and our writing. Some of us read what we wrote, while others asked questions directed to the poets about their writing process.

Lauren and Glenn are delightful people to meet and it was a real treat to spend time with them in the lab. Their poetry was amazing. I purchased Laurens Award winning book The Lifting Dress, and Glenn’s award-winning book Predatory. I hope to see them reading their poetry again soon.

When the lab was over, I spent a couple of hours of free time participating in another lab of one of my other favorite past times. Photographing in the garden was my way of completing a perfect day. The ambient light in the garden was friendly, even though full sunshine was beating on the streets just outside the garden walls. The trees and landscape are arranged in such a way to allow the light of day to compliment the sculptures.

The slide show is the result of my shooting fun. See if you can see me in one of the pics. Notice the sculture of the deer carcass has scrimshaw on it’s exposed bones. I hope you enjoy as much as I did photographing. Feel free to use a pic for a prompt, write a poem and link back to this blog. The slide show lasts about 4.5 minutes. Cheers!

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