The book provided grateful laughs while I was in the middle of advanced Forrest Yoga teacher training last week. His keys to happiness may not be novel (“Meditate.”), but they are needed: “Become most real.”
On Valentine’s Day (reclaimed as “V-Day” by the anti-violence organization of the same name), playwright Eve Ensler has launched One Billion Rising, a global effort to get one billion people around the world to rise and dance one year from today in defiance of abusive acts against women and girls. In considering statistics that one billion or more women on the planet will be beaten or raped in her lifetime, the organization has issued a call to women and the people who love them to strike (and, in Eve’s words, “be less behaved about the whole thing”) on 2.14.13.
My personal countdown to One Billion Rising has begun, and expect to see information on where and when we’ll be dancing in San Francisco. In the meantime, you can see Ensler speak at Stanford on February 23 as part of the university’s V-Week.
Music discovery has felt a bit lonely to me lately. Because I usually write to music, I’m curious about good new tunes to try but–out of laziness–find myself defaulting to my and close friends’ Rdio playlists without exploring much that’s different.
Enter Band of the Day, a free app from lauded design and development company 955 Dreams (the creators of the eye-catching app The History of Jazz). It features a different band daily in a magazine-style format with large photos, brief stories, social ratings, and, oh, music tracks. Its tiled calendar makes for scrollable fun, and you’d be silly not to give it a whirl.
Today the web-based International Museum of Women launchesMAMA: Motherhood Around the Globe, an online exhibition that I could hardly be more excited about. It will combine art, video documentary, and storytelling to explore the aspirations of a dynamic set of women (including but not limited to working mothers in China, the First Ladies of Africa, and surrogate mothers in India). Other topics including work, identity, advocacy, and modern fatherhood will be spotlighted throughout this year.
Novelist Aminatta Forna said it well when she explained that “to me there is no more pressing concern today than maternal health, and the global failure to save women’s lives is a human rights disaster. The IMOW’s timely exhibition highlights both the wonders and the terrible tragedy which motherhood can be.”
Christy Turlington Burns’ organization Every Mother Counts is partnering on the exhibit, but the body of community work is by no means intended only for new mothers. Instead, it’s created to be a resource for anyone who cares about mothers and children, who’s concerned about the health and leadership of women globally, who has a child, or who has been a child.
This morning I saw a little boy, maybe three years old, walk into a coffee shop door (which would have been me on any other day). It wasn’t because he’s just getting his balance; he had a smartphone in hand and eyes on screen, making him a sort of miniature version of the distracted adults around. It has me thinking about how we design for awareness and more multimedia decision-making.
This year our d.school Design Garage team “The Presence Project” will be focusing on this issue exactly, and I couldn’t be more excited about the work. If you’re also interested in mindfulness and multitasking, the New York Times and Slate have run thoughtful pieces this week and there’s lots of dialogue at #calmingtech.
I’ve been listening to 99% Invisible while traveling, and the design series’ fresh take on everything from elevator audio to the group Anonymous is well worth sharing. Created by East Bay producer Roman Mars (whose talents I know from Chicago Public Radio), the episodes are brief–and great–enough to listen to twice.
After spending the week with family and friends in and around Miami, I was ecstatic to see “Here Comes the Neighborhood,” a not-so-new but utterly amazing project out of the Wynwood neighborhood. Graffiti writers and artists have worked in the troubled area to create commissions–however temporary–in a place where the general urban undesirability had been much longer-lasting. A contributor to an OpenIDEO challenge about revitalizing cities shared the “docuseries” that has resulted from the project, and I highly recommend it as a great use of an hour during these holidays.
After collaborating recently with a few CS grad students who are focused on music visualization software, I was excited to come home from the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts’ benefit to play around with a tool the organization shared, Seaquence. The “experiment in musical composition” reminds me of projects that use knitted sea life-themed sculpture to demonstrate the physical world, this time through sound. Synthesized personal orchestras are easily shared, and the visuals are a lot of fun to try. Go GAFFTA.
It’s taken 24 hours to write about Eve Ensler’s speech at Grace Cathedral since it happened (bad blogger!), mostly because it’s taken as long to process the playwright’s words of wisdom. I could try to quote the V-Day founder and activist’s words from the night (among my favorites: “I’m only as good as the community I work with” and “the only salvation is kindness”) but would rather reflect on the fact that it happened at all. It’s surprising not just because the event was hosted at a Christian church or because Ensler’s life was nearly claimed by uterine cancer, but because more than 1,000 women and men were ready to really hear her message about personal accountability. A core theme–we’re obsessed with who we are, well the why and what we do is much more essential–has resonated with me all day. And made me wonder what we will do with it.
(Dancing as part of the One Billion Rising project to end violence against women and girls and participating in the play Emotional Creature when it opens at Berkeley Rep are two good places to start. And, until then?)
“Have a good time saving the world. Otherwise, you’re just going to depress yourself.”
The Brower Center’s call for artist responses to founder David Brower’s inspiration yielded 500 submissions recently, and select works are soon to be gracing the gallery walls. Thursday will see the Berkeley-based opening of hello tomorrow: Bay Area Artists Envision the Future and art that ranges from installations, avant-garde and paintings. Mari Andrews, Claire Brandt and Noah Breuer are among those whose contributions are worth experiencing.