All posts by Easywriter

THUMBNAILS 1: Glimpses of my copywriting and article writing oeuvre

Music

Meet a remarkable man: Guitar virtuoso Stanley Jordan has come home

The world-renowned guitarist has been touring extensively the last couple of years, dazzling audiences from Brazil to South Africa to Spain to the United Arab Emirates with his unique musical vision and technical artistry. Now, it looks like he’ll be staying awhile. In Sedona, that is.

One good reason for unpacking the suitcases is that he bought himself a bookstore: Sedona Books & Music, located in Sedona Village. Another reason is that he has felt the calling to reach out and touch people in a more direct way, to spread his musical message as a teacher.

Spiritual messengers celebrate the silence

Deva Premal and Miten, whose singing and graceful presence have enchanted Sedona audiences for years, are taking their show to Scottsdale this season. […]

The duo have certainly come a long way since they started touring about 15 years ago. They have sold more than 500,000 albums to date. They play to packed houses around the world. Accolades for their musical gifts continue to pour in.

And they have demonstrated that the power of mantra is as relevant today as it has been for thousands of years. Mantras are rapidly becoming the music of choice for people seeking solace in sound, and Deva Premal is the voice they’re turning to.

Her soulful rendering of these timeless sounds strikes a powerful chord – whether it’s for a private audience with the Dalai Lama, motivational speaker Anthony Robbins, actress-singer Cher, or in front of hundreds or thousands of adoring fans around the world.

The potent combination of her pure voice and these ancient mantras resonate as powerfully today as they have throughout time. Miten, who plays guitar and often writes the melodies for the mantras, sings harmony and also performs his own songs of celebration.

During their concerts, Deva Premal and Miten — partners in life as well as in music —invite the audience to experience the performance without the customary applause. This creates a deep silence, a connection between performers and audience, that invites stillness and introspection.

The experience is incredibly powerful. Eckhart Tolle, famous Western mystic and bestselling author of “The Power of Now,” calls Deva Premal’s and Miten’s music “Pure magic . . . . It is truly a portal into Presence. As you listen, the sacred space that lies beyond the mind emerges naturally and effortlessly.”

Art

Bob Quick’s radiant realism captures
the essence and life energy of his subjects

The Muse showed up late in life for Sedona artist Bob Quick.

At the age of 56 he started painting—spontaneously and without forethought or purpose. His subject was wolves. The mysterious creative process had kicked in, and Bob Quick’s life took a totally new direction.

He had already lived a nearly complete life as a hard-working civil engineer and surveyor, husband and father of five children. His first wife died in an accident. Bob remarried and he and wife Ruth moved to the Village of Oak Creek in 1990.

Today Bob Quick is well-established locally as a painter of wildlife, Native American people and culture, and Southwest scenery. His work hangs in the Treasure Art Gallery on Hwy. 179 near Sedona’s southern city limits. Although he has many fans and admirers, he is still relatively unknown outside of the area.

But Bob Quick’s time has arrived. At the ripe old age of 74. One look at his work reveals why he is ready for international recognition.

 

Goldenstein Gallery

Multi-Media art is alive. Unexpected. Transforming. Layered and rich, it changes with the light, suddenly revealing colors and images that weren’t there just a moment before. Multi-Media art is surprising and profound. It may be the oldest medium for artists on Planet Earth. —Kudos Magazine Quarterly Art Guide

Talib: Portrait of the gifted young artist

Creativity is a mysterious and magical process which often cannot be defined in “logical” terms. For Talib, a young artist who creates wondrous water sculptures, creativity is all about an expression of the abundance of the inner and the outer world.

Talib is one of the many talented artists displayed at Exposures International Gallery of Fine Art in Sedona. At the ripe young age of 25, he has already created quite a stir in Sedona art circles.

His water sculptures and crystal fountains are designed to create environments of harmony and relaxation. Water itself is formless, but Talib contains it, shapes it and channels it through vessels of crystal and glass. He harnesses the sound of running water to support an atmosphere of nourishment and well-being.

In his work, Talib brings all the beauty and understanding from his travels and from his own inner process. He uses the highest quality materials to create a vibration of abundance and luxury. […] Talib has just begun tapping his potential as an artist. The qualities he expresses so well — presence, harmony, understanding of beauty — have already touched many people. That an artist can have these qualities, at such a young age, is a very rare happening.

THUMBNAILS 2: Food, Art and People

Food

The Fusion of Food, Art & Music

Sometimes an idea comes to a person in the middle of the night, bypassing dreams, interrupting sleep, defying logic — an idea so persistent and powerful it demands our full, waking attention.

On a cold winter’s night just about a year go, such an event happened in the brain of septuagenarian Ken Erickson. The idea: Open a restaurant in Sedona. More specifically, buy and bring back to life a restaurant that had been closed for two years.

“Whaaaaat?! That’s crazy!” So said his wife Marilyn when he shared the idea with her at breakfast in their Village of Oak Creek home the next morning. This was a perfectly natural and predictable response to such an idea.

[…] He persisted and followed his dream, thinking a restaurant would provide an opportunity to live a slightly different lifestyle.

After months of cleanup and extensive renovation — a total makeover, really — Ken’s Creekside restaurant opened to the public on September 1, 2006. The place was — is — tastefully elegant, pastel colors accented by forest-green linens, Marilyn’s beautiful paintings of Red Rock Country adorning the walls, the cozy building bordered by Oak Creek and its lush vegetation. The red rock views, especially from the outdoor dining area, are stunning.

In short, Ken’s Creekside is breathtaking. It was an instant hit with locals and tourists and remains so to this day.

Salsa Brava Mexican Grill: As Hot as It Gets in Flagstaff

I love great Mexican food.

In fact, I can remember the first time I had really great Mexican food—it was in Mexico, down in Baja California somewhere, circa late Sixties. I was bumming around in my yellow VW van with my hippie girlfriend, just enjoying life and fine food on a dollar a day.

The more southern you get on the coast the better the food, and more of a tropical flavor. There was this little restaurant near Cabo San Lucas, just a little shack near the beach. I had fish tacos, made with red snapper so fresh you knew it had been caught that morning, and delicious rice and beans.

Fresh, fresh, fresh. I’ll never forget that meal. It was simple yet elegant and the owners, husband and wife, were friendly and the cerveza was cold. Our bill was $1.50 U.S. Over the years, I have thought about that meal and the wonderful feeling of satisfaction and fullness it brought. I thought it could never happen again.

But life is full of surprises. Thirty-some years later I have found a Mexican restaurant, right here in Flagstaff (!), that brings back those warm and fuzzy feelings. It’s called Salsa Brava. “Brava” means hot, as in hot sauce, or salsa. Salsa Brava is Flagstaff’s hot spot in more ways than one.

Mime, Music, Magic: Experience the Trickster Café and Blue Vortex

It was just past midnight. I had been wandering around Uptown Sedona, craving a tall cold one and something to sink my teeth into, like a big, juicy hamburger. But everything was closed up tight and the streets were empty. Just my luck; bad karma, maybe.

Then up ahead, at the crossroads of Jordan Road and Apple Avenue, I saw the sign: “Blue Vortex Tiki Lounge.” What the—?! I stumbled in; fortunately, the door was open. This was a happening scene.

It was a lounge with intriguing lighting and cool colors, all grays and blues, filled with beautiful people, chatting and drinking and snacking, locals and tourists, cool music as a backdrop, soft jazz and blues, just what I like. Richard, the bartender, greeted me. “Welcome to the Blue Vortex Tiki Lounge.” “Got anything to eat here?” I blurted.

He handed me a menu. I gaped. “Build your own 3/4 pound burger from 30 different items,” it said. And, omigod, oysters and chili and Cajun turkey and crab cakes and stuffed jalapenos and and—. My luck had definitely changed. “And you’ve got 50 different martinis?? I asked. “Yup,” “You have 25 kinds of vodka?” “Yessir.” “And this Blue Vortex Iced Tea, with tequila, vodka, gin, rum . . .” “Not for the meek,” said Richard.

Long story short: The Blue Vortex Tiki Lounge is open till 1 a.m., serving delicious food and great drinks, and is part of Robert Shields’ Trickster Café, certainly the most unique and creative restaurant to come to Sedona in years.

People

Zen and the Art of Improv

Tony Carito bustles into the kitchen of Kerry Biondo’s home in Uptown Sedona. He is nearly beside himself with excitement.

“Oprah!” he shouts. “I just saw Oprah at the health food store!” His friends try to calm him down. But it’s no use: Tony has just had a for-real Close Encounter of the Celebrity Kind at New Frontiers.

Oprah Winfrey is passing through Sedona in late May on her most recent road trip, accompanied by her entourage. She browses the organic produce at New Frontiers because “there’s nothing to eat in this town!” Tony is there.

Kerry Biondo is the founder and director of the wildly popular Sedona improv group, Abandoned Minds. Tony Carito, Sedona’s unofficial mayor, poet, bon vivant and performance artist, is one of the original members of the improv troupe.

Twenty minutes after Tony’s dramatic entrance, Tony and Derek Dujardin, another player in the ensemble, are acting out a surreal scene in Kerry’s living room: Derek is Oprah, carefully picking out produce; Tony is the sound man for the video team, which tracks Oprah’s every gesture. It is wild, it is hilarious, and it is what these people do with reckless abandon. They use everything. Life becomes art.

It is a balmy evening in Sedona, and I have been invited to Kerry’s Tuesday class to help me understand what makes this group tick. Or, I should say, click. I have seen Abandoned Minds performances. I was, and still am, amazed at their seamless professionalism.

Sedona couple’s makeover project lands them on HGTV’s “Landscaper’s Challenge”

Nearly every day, about half an hour before sunset, Sedona’s red rocks put on an incredible light show. It’s a psychedelic, other-worldly event, a dance of color and texture that turns the normally awesome red hues luminous shades of crimson, scarlet, reddish-purple, bright orange and right off the color charts.

It doesn’t last long, maybe 10-15 minutes. But it’s an unforgettable sight, one of Sedona’s least-kept secrets.

This is the story of a Sedona couple who live in the Broken Arrow subdivision and have one of the best views of not only the red rocks but the above-described nightly event. It’s a story of why their view — or rather the rebirth of their view — will cause them to be on a national TV show called “Landscaper’s Challenge.”

On Writing: George Orwell

Six Questions/Six Rules

George Orwell
Photo: Wikipedia

Through such novels as 1984, Animal Farm, and Down and Out in Paris and London, George Orwell has earned the right to be called one of the finest writers in the English language. As a visionary and science fiction writer, he was also extremely prescient. He foresaw America’s present-day security state, government spying on citizens, and endless war.

Continue reading On Writing: George Orwell

Neil Gaiman: On Good Writing

Neil Gaiman
Photo: Wikipedia

Neil Gaiman has become so popular he is often considered the rock star of the literary world. He trades mostly in science fiction and fantasy in a variety of forms: novels, children’s books, graphic novels, comic books, and film. Among his trend-setting works: Coraline, The Graveyard Book, and The Sandman series.  He takes readers, of all ages, to the very edge of imagination. Continue reading Neil Gaiman: On Good Writing

Kurt Vonnegut: Creative Writing

Illustration by magnetic-eye.deviantart.com

Kurt Vonnegut is one of the most beloved fiction writers of all time. His darkly comic novels became classics of the counterculture, making him a literary idol to students in the 1960s and ’70s, said the New York Times upon his death in April 2007. His amazingly creative Continue reading Kurt Vonnegut: Creative Writing

Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules

Elmore Leonard (credit: Getty Images)Elmore Leonard was America’s most famous writer of crime novels, noted for his gritty realism and strong dialogue. He died on August 20, 2013, at the age of 87, leaving behind a legacy of dozens of novels and short stories, twenty-six of which were turned into movies and TV shows. Among the best known: Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Hombre, Valdez Is Coming, The Moonshine War, 3:10 to Yuma. Continue reading Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules

Welcome to My Blog!

Buddha & Me in Sedona, Arizona
Buddha & Me in Sedona, Arizona (photo by Liberty Lincoln)

In this space I intend to delight you, to educate and entertain you, to surprise you — and to surprise myself.

I am a writer. I have always been a writer of some sort. Writers write. Sometimes we think we can’t write, or we simply refuse to write due to some temporary glitch in our software. But write we must. Continue reading Welcome to My Blog!