La La London!

Where to begin. Nearly twelve years ago, there were two cities on the re-location table: New York or London. My ex-dude and I decided we wanted more than what Philly had to offer and longed to try our luck in another part of the world. We booked a one week trip to London to get the feel of it. And, although the weather basically sucked, we had the most splendid of times, met the coolest people, danced in the best underground joints, yet made the decision to stay in the states since my father was ill at the time plus NYC was screaming loud and clear: Come here now!!!

Since then, I have visited the City of London 3 or 4 times. The last time being in the past two weeks. I had an amazing trip from start to finish! I also extended my stay by four days because my brother (Grey Reverend) had 2 shows nearby; I joined him for the one in Brighton.

Here are images from the first few days. I will share these in 3 or 4 blog posts because I’m photo-happy 🙂

Dalston, London - empty location of farmer's market

the Underground Tube

two guys at Ali Baba Turkish Takeaway - Dalston

stay tuned for artist's name

stay tuned for artist's name too

a view from a double decker bus

more art

Wahaca mexican restaruant in Soho

Wahaca mexican restaurant in Soho too

Afropolitan at the V&A - this model was ON every minute

music on Portobello Road

Dele Sosimi Afrobeat Jazz - incredible!

Dele Sosimi himself (i believe)

Mau Mau Bar - jazz re:freshed is the name of the night

A SUPER MEGA HUGE thank you to my hostesses, Stephanie B. and Elsa M! If they were any sweeter, I would have given them a kidney. And a quick shoutout to my very special, amazingly talented, inspiring, and generous friends, Fola, Alex, Angela, and Sam.

More photos to come, stay tuned!!

Cheers
*Lala*

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married to myself

A few days ago, while on my way to work, I heard a man’s voice say, “Good Morning! Good Morning!”. Turning my head slightly to catch a glimpse of the caller’s face, I managed a faint smile and returned the greeting. Before, the last syllable departed my lips, the man, who was creeping beside me in his silver Acura, hollers, “You married?” Considering that I was wearing a mini-dress, I was positive that this question sprang primarily from his loins. I picked up the pace, then lied and said, “Yes” and smiled really big to display my happiness with being a kept woman. I’m not married but I fibbed because at that moment, I felt much safer saying there was a man in my life — imaginary and all.

I shared this story with a buddy, he listened then promptly changed the subject by asking “Why do some women seem so desperate to find a man?” Then he said, “It’s a real turn-off.”

Please read my response (and theory) below:

If a girl is born into a decent family, she is never left alone. Any responsible caregiver knows this. For example, my younger brother could romp all over the neighborhood; however, I needed to be in close proximity at all times. “Where are you going?” “Who are you going with?” “How are you getting home?” The questions never ceased. The same little girls grow up to be teenagers and now their boyfriends walk them to the door, pick them up for the dance, insist on a phone call upon arrival home, etc. Then the same young teenager becomes a woman and moves away from home. At this time, she is faced with being alone in a vast world full of men who don’t seem to have her best interests at heart. But then she meets a man who reminds her of her father or uncle or first boyfriend and she thinks, “I gotta hold onto this one because when we walk down the street, men don’t bother me and so on …”

Often, men can be sharks and the one thing that seems to keep sharks away are other bigger sharks.

And let’s not forget about all of the films, soap operas, novels, and fairy tales that encourage or support this behavior.

Please do not misunderstand my theory, I am not a proponent of desperation in any form but it makes sense to me. Fortunately for me, I learned at a young age to enjoy my own company and if that wasn’t enough, I could always say, Hello!.

Currently, I am single. And, although I am content in either situation, I would admit that it’s great having a man around — whether for pure companionship, to zip up my dress, take out the trash, or with whom to converse and build.  On the other hand, I am noticing that when I am not in a relationship, I am far more productive hence the past two months’ activities:

September was a heavy “food” month, working on my book project, building a new web site, attending food-related events (Epicurious Entertains New York), and eating at new restaurants.

Plus, I received my Level I Reiki certification. A goal of mine since completing the Hatha Yoga certification course over eight years ago. Reiki is a Japanese energy healing form; this skill is a wonderful addition to my health & wellness toolbox.

October was a huge blur. In addition to working as a full time web producer, I was booked every weekend this month for a photography shoot. Also, a friend shared the news of the Levi’s and Leica Photo Workshop with me. This can be described in two words: super dopeness, and it’s open until December 18th.

And to top it off, last Wednesday I started a branding and marketing course at 3rd Ward.

I can only contribute the abundance of work and love to peace of mind and extreme focus.

Giving thanks for organic food, friendships, and learning. The photos are from yesterday’s excursion to the Big Bambú exhibit on the roof of The Metropolitan Museum of Art or The Met. Artists: Doug & Mark Starn along with several rock climbers. Fantastic! with a capital F 🙂

I feel great and I wish the same for you and your loved ones!

Peace, smiles and happiness,

*Lala*

(have you eaten anything orange today?)

yearning for learning

weeks ago, i read this article in the NY Times about something called The Big Shaggy … this paragraph particularly spoke to me:

Over the past century or so, people have built various systems to help them understand human behavior: economics, political science, game theory and evolutionary psychology. These systems are useful in many circumstances. But none completely explain behavior because deep down people have passions and drives that don’t lend themselves to systemic modeling. They have yearnings and fears that reside in an inner beast you could call The Big Shaggy.

You can read entire David Brook’s article titled, History for Dollars, by clicking here.

the primary focus of this article specifically relates to the declining job market and a greater emphasis on humanities in the education system. however, i gathered much more especially after reading hundreds of comments.

the article itself is rather confusing if you ask me yet my understanding of The Big Shaggy is such: it’s the inexplicable pull towards one direction (good or not-so-great) versus another.

why have i chosen certain relationships over others? why am i living in an over-crowded and polluted city when i much prefer the ocean and natural environments? why can’t i be satisfied with working at the neighborhood grocery store? why have i moved to four different cities in my adult life? what inspires me to reach for the stars? why can i be so difficult at times?

could it be the inner beast in me?

where have you experienced your inner beast? in the kitchen? on the dance floor? in the boudoir? when you’re drunk? in the boardroom? on stage? Yes! to all of the above.

it’s been brought to my attention that the following 12 months are critical in terms of planning the next nine years of my life. if i am going to accomplish my goal to publish a book then i gotta dig deep and concentrate for long periods. in fact, i am working on taming my inner beast so that i can get some work done. now that i am 100 percent again, i must be careful not to repeat some un-healthy habits that ultimately bring gloom and doom. The Big Shaggy has worked for and against me over the years. being an artist, many days i’m in overdrive in relation to humanities. i could definitely use a lesson or two on practicality and mathematics.

this past weekend, i danced and raged all day and night because it was my birthday (yay)! it had been awhile since i had done it up in new york city 🙂 i had a super blast plus i have the blisters to prove it. speaking of blisters, starting next week, it’s all about bed rest and boot camp! that’s right, i have registered for a 4 week boot camp course. what better way to re-introduce discipline and focus into my life. i know, i must be crazy!

now, think about it. can you awaken your inner beast or is it time to tame that bad boy???

What have you observed about yourself lately?

How deep are you willing to go to uncover The Big Shaggy in you?

Are you living life to the fullest or holding yourself back?

What can you do to achieve your wildest dreams?

i believe if we focus on being our best self then the ugly beast will fade in the background. or is it all plain bullshit?

i am giving these questions a great deal of thought.

until we meet again, give thanks for every day we are here NOW cause life is precious and brief.

Happy Summer Solstice!!

*Lala*

Eat a plum or peach today. Yum!

p.s. the images are from an exhibition at The Invisible Dog gallery space in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn; NY.

when it’s time to move on

One of many beautiful murals in Philadelphia

There is something empowering about knowing when to leave or let go. When I was much younger, there were moments when I would stay in a situation for fear of being different, alone, or because I was uncertain of what lay ahead. Like the time I made the decision to re-locate to New York…

Philadelphia Butcher

Nearly eleven years ago, life was ultra-easy for me. I loved my job, my friendships were strong and budding, I was learning a good deal about art, and I could bike to work every day without the fear of dying. However, I decided to move from Philadelphia to New York City in search of something more. “More what?” you ask. I don’t remember exactly but I knew that it was time for me to move on. My thought was that if crashed and burned, I could always return home. The truth is I have crashed and burned on a few occasions but I am still standing and better for it. Now, I rarely have time to visit my old home so I promised myself that when I had a few totally free days, I would buy a MEGABUS ticket and be on my way!

First Troop Philadelphia City Calvary

The Washing Well Laundry Boutique (how cute)

Mural of Frank Rizzo, former Mayor

So two weeks ago, I traveled to Philly to visit family and a few friends. While walking the streets of Center City, I was reminded of how peaceful Philadelphia can be in comparison to New York. It’s easy on the heart and eyes. Mellow. Manageable. Even fluffy. Quite opposite of New York. I remember when I first moved to Brooklyn in a small one bedroom apartment with my then boyfriend. Only two actual New York residents occupied my phonebook and one of them was my boyfriend. We were comfy and clear about life. Then a two-hour drive later, we found ourselves detached from what we knew and lost on I-95. I found the whole experience exhausting yet exhilarating. Navigating from the known to the unknown. It’s what I love most about traveling.

Italian Market in South Philly

Lorenzo's Pizzeria

I have longed to return home on a few occasions but what would that solve and who would I be today if I waved the white flag every time life didn’t go my way? I have also considered selling all of my possessions and joining a convent where the women refer to each other as Sister so-and-so … well, that’s not what I’m about right now.

Mural on South Street

Rasta and Reggae Shop on South Street

Bob and Barbara's Lounge - used to be a decent dive bar

The Queen of Soul and Jazz - South Street, Philadelphia

I am Harriet Tubman remember. There is still much for me to do in the secular world plus I have a hard time waking up really early in the morning.

This week’s post includes a few photos from my stay in Philadelphia. The city is known for its over 3,000 community-driven murals.

South Street Mural, Philadelphia

Thanks for reading the Adventures of Lala the Sunchaser. I know this post is not so adventurous but stay tuned, brighter days are on the horizon and Spring is here!

With love and gratitude always.

Message from the Lala Family 🙂

*Lala*

Odunde sign near 23rd and South Street

Fela on Broadway

Happy Monday! and last week of February 2010 🙂

Fela on Broadway - February 2010

Although I almost always have an opinion when it comes performance art, I usually save my comments for my personal diary. However, this past weekend, we went to see Fela on Broadway, a musical based on the life and music of the Nigerian musician, political leader, and icon, Fela Anikulapo Kuti.  The musical is nearly as phenomenal and dynamic as the man (Fela) himself. I will not attempt to write a review; however, I have seen it twice and I will encourage you to attend not because of the many outstanding performances, amazing dancers, awesome set design, or the mind-blowing musicians, but because of the energizing effect it has on the spirit and body. If you don’t want to move or dance at the end of Fela then check your pulse.

Fela on Broadway - February 2010

Fela on Broadway - February 2010

Sahr Ngaujah who played Fela this past Friday, is a theater director and actor of Sierra Leonian descent, born in the United States, and now living in Amsterdam. He exudes power and commands the attention of the audience just as Fela had. See a video of the legend and artist, Fela Anikulapo Kuti below:

New York offers a wide range of performance art; however, I don’t believe there has been ANY other show like Fela! in the Theatre district since Earl Dancer’s, Africana, which actually had nothing to do with Africa from what I gather although Ethel Waters had performed the “African Stomp” during the second half of this Broadway revue in 1927.

The New York Times review of Fela:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/22/theater/22fela.html?pagewanted=all

Set image from Fela on Broadway - February 2010

If you click on the link with Fela’s name way above, it will take you to his discography. I have been a huge fan of his music for several years now. I would have loved to dance with him ! If you haven’t danced in LONG while, it’s not too late so MOVE SOMETHING!!! or go see Fela for inspiration 🙂

Lala the Sunchaser

love abound

Happy Love Week !

This sculpture seems out of place in the snow

You should be so proud of me. I am embracing winter full on and having a wonderful time experiencing new york city again. A few days ago, I had a photo shoot in midtown, less than 24 hours after the mini-snowstorm hit the East Coast. On Thursday, I bundled up major-ly then headed to the subway towards Manhattan anxious to hear the snow crunch beneath my feet. I have this “thing” for snow and sand. I love the texture and feel of both and often enshroud myself in their illustrious beauty at first sight. Sand is warm, comforting, and mysterious. Snow is cool, refreshing, and revealing. If I must endure the winter months, I would prefer to live in a place where it snows here and there so that I can go sledding, sliding, or rolling on the hills of the nearest park.

GE Building

The shoot went well and the city was fairly still so I decided to walkabout and snap a few images along the way. When traveling in other parts of the world, I often remark to myself:

“Why is the architecture in the United States so blah?”

“Where is the color, the history, the greatness that exists in Europe, Africa, India?”

Window designing at its BEST at Anthropology Clothing Boutique

In those moments, I am speaking without thought, seeing with blind eyes, and behaving with little love or gratitude. Too often, it is not until I slow down or look up that I realize how incredibly magnificent are the structures and landscapes that envelope this city. With each edifice, I could feel the love and dedication. On every corner stands a body of work that hundreds of people created together in the most extreme conditions during unexpected life events. I spent the afternoon appreciating the many people who have donated their time, energy, skills, and love.  These efforts have brought not only huge wealth and abundance to many but have encouraged us to walk with our eyes wide open and our heads held high.

Extremely beautiful and eco-friendly

Next time, you’re walking to the train or the market, look around, look up, look someone in the eye, smile, and give thanks for the love that is all around us in many forms – a snowflake, a kind word, a sculpture or a kiss.

Rockefeller Center's Art Deco sculpture, ATLAS

Had no idea this museum is next to the MoMa

My favorite fifteen minutes were spent in St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Madison Avenue – what a gorgeous and peaceful place to go when you’re in between appointments or would like to have a “word” with God. You can also find a date there from what I experienced.

St. Patrick's Cathedral

St. Patrick's Cathedral

St. Patrick's Cathedral

St. Patrick's Cathedral

Love & Gratitude!

Lala

saturn day trip

boy, time sure flies by…this post has been on my mind since i attended the 4th Annual New York Art Book Festival a week ago but for some reason, i am just updating it now. it is almost 2 am and i should be sleeping but i am not. i am what some people call a “night owl” without the wings, however.

it’s been over a year since i made a trip to queens, new york. when i discovered that the the NY Art Book Fair was being hosted by P.S.1, i jumped at the opportunity for a date with my camera and private thoughts. that’s a lie. initially, i asked my good gal friend to join me but at the last minute she bailed so i made the journey alone. no worries, i can make it to queens on my own. it took me all of 3 hours to actually leave the house but i made it to the C train with plans to catch the V train to my final destination. yeah right. it was not that simple for many reasons: one being that this is freakin’ new york city and simple is the complete antitheses of anything nyc; secondly, it was raining baby kittens; and lastly, the V train ‘does not run on the weekends’.

did you know that? i did not.

anyway, after catching the C to West 4th St. then the F to 34th St., and finally the E to 23rd Street (in Queens), i arrived three blocks from MoMa’s P.S.1. i could have gone to Ithaca, NY in the same amount of time but that was not part of the plan. the festival itself was a baffling labyrinth of artists, tables, books, stickers, magazines, curious folk and their counterparts who appeared to be as lost as i was. after such a lengthy journey, i felt compelled to have at least one meaningful conversation before leaving the clamorous space. i had two actually but this is the one i remember most. i met a man who is a photographer who takes photos of other people’s photos then puts them into a category and makes small square-shaped books containing these images. hhhmmm. intriguing … kinda. i gathered that he was making a statement about true art vs. contrived art but i could be way off.

it didn’t matter cause i was ready to hit the streets again in search of something to devour (i.e. eat).

i exited the red brick edifice in hopes of finding a ‘cute’ cafe that carried the perfect afternoon snack. no such luck but directly caddy corner — or is it kitty corner — to P.S.1 sits a heavily spray painted building that screams, Photograph Me Now!!! which is exactly what i did.

queens1a

queens1

queens2

queens4

queens5

queens6

queens7

queens9

queens8

queens10

truly incredible work by a few of the aerosol artists at 5Pointz!

my day was far from simple but it was totally enjoyable and enlightening at minimum. my journey home was even more adventurous with a stop to union square for some fresh vegs and fruits and to Whole Foods for a bag of sweet clementines. i also listened to the latest zero 7 album, yeah ghost, which served as a lovely travel companion. new york city stole my heart yet again on a saturday afternoon; and despite the fact that i returned home with a sore throat, i felt inspired by seeing something new and bringing home images to share from my trip to saturn – i mean queens.