When we stumbled on this two-part video of the Macedonia Youth Sanctuary Choir in Winston-Salem, North Carolina singing “Everyday is a Day of Thanksgiving”, we were knocked out by how the choir just LEAPED into that song, singing Leonard Burks’ wondrous hymn full out. That, in itself seemed amazing until, near the end of the Part One (2:15) an ample woman named Takela in a striped blouse starts improvising…
….and the whole thing rocks and rises up in part 2:
Cerre of 2 or 3 Things We Know posted this video by her film maker/correspondent father. He is making a series of short films (with an accompanying blog to come) about aging baby boomers who have reinvented their careers and personal lives. It’s inspiring no matter what age you are.
We LOVE the shift that we see happening all around us: people hitting their 50′s and 60′s and re-imagining the decades to come in very different ways than the traditional concepts of retirement aging…
Holton Rower and his daughter Sofia are in Russia on Patch Adams’ Clown Tour. Patch is the famous radical-thinking medical doctor and founder of the Gesundheit Institute who believes in laughter, joy and creativity as immune boosters. Every year he takes a group of folks to Russia for two weeks, to spread clown medicine in hospitals, orphanages and nursing homes. “No experience necessary.”
Holton and Sofia decorated the walls in old people hospital with blue tape they brought with them from New York…one of the best applications we’ve seen for Tape Paintings.
It occurs to us that blue painter’s masking tape is the perfect non-damaging material for d-i-y subversive decoration of dreary hospital rooms
Patch’s real story is a far cry from the treacly Robin Williams movie about him. Check out this bit of Patch telling about the transforming and completely unexpected event of his life: read more…
Thank you for bearing with’the improvised life’ going “dark” for a bit. We appreciated the very warm words and wishes we received and took them with us, heartened. We’re back, changed by having spent time with someone whose long life is winding down; we find ourselves viewing things through a different lens. Instead of jumping back into work and obligations with a vengeance as we normally do, we did the opposite and went to lunch with a friend, and then walked in the beautiful chilly day to see the Houdini show at the Jewish Museum, wondering what would happen if we didn’t do things in the usual way?
We recently got the news that a dear friend is seriously ill, and with it this message: sometimes you need to put your plans and schedules aside to show up elsewhere, and rise to challenges that may break your heart.
So rather than worrying about posts and internet connections, we are going to just be with our pal, maybe cook something, take things as they come…
…not knowing how the blog might figure in, we’re leaving you with a wonderful guest post by Tim Slavin on wabi-sabi, a Japanese approach to life that echoes what ‘the improvised life’ is about. Tim has compiled a terrific archive of past posts to delve into, for getting the feeling for how wabi-sabi reverates in our modern times. We hope you’ll enjoy them.
Life Edited is a movement to reduce our environmental impact by simplifying our lives at home. In this short video, Treehugger founder Graham Hill sums up its challenge to rethink how you live, to reduce your footprint, to live better and save money and resources. He asks
“What if I lived in a couple of hundred square feet less? This is an equation I really wanted to explore, so I started a site, LifeEdited.org“.
The site is a place for him to try out the ideas he’s been thinking about for years… and for you to submit yours (for various prizes)… “Ruthless editing of your stuff, transforming furniture, space-saving housewares, digitizing your life and sharing systems.”
Life Edited’s mandate: “Less but better…”
Right up our alley! We’re going to keep an idea on this one.
Sometimes we are just completely knocked out by the connections of ideas and people we make daily writing ‘the improvised life’. Like Matthew Levesque, a reader from San Francisco who runs Building Resources, a not-for-profit depot of re-usable and re-manufactured materials for building and landscaping….
b) and the EXTRAORDINARY website and work of the Campana Brothers, the Brazilian design team. Their website needs Flash to run and will try your computer’s resources. And once you enter, it will eat at least a half hour of your time, a fabulous example of what’s possible in a website. Somehow, in the oddest ways possible, the Campanas give you a sense of the process/origins of their furniture and housewares. On the main page, click Projects, and then click on the project you want to see. Prepared to be surprised…
Pamela Hovland alerted us to a film to add to our list of must-see’s: ”No Impact Man”, a documentary about a NYC guy and his reluctant family to eliminate their impact on the environment for a year…They MUST have needed to improvise daily/hourly in order to keep up their commitment. Check out the trailer…”
Yikes! Just watching that short bit makes us realize how reliant/addicted we are upon so many things, as much as we try for good economies. And it sparks a lot of questions: Could we – would we- try such an experiment?
We invite your to send your improvs for these daily dilemmas:
1. How would you do without toilet paper?
2. In fact, how would you do without all paper?
3. What if you have to travel a long distance to visit a sick friend, as I have to next week? Hitch? Hop a freight?
4. This guy lives in New York City. What about roaches? We can’t give up roach traps (plastic, and they really work) for a whole year.
What would be the right balance?
We’re definitely going to see this film and look forward to you ideas.
I love the book partly because, like many city people, I yearn for some connection to nature. I’m a secret farmer (in my head), so I get to read Keith’s compelling writing about the ‘inside’ of farming (which he came to as a complete novice), and vicariously experience that very different life. What I learn throughout the book is that the ‘inside’ of farming is pure improvisation, thinking on your feet, using what’s there, every single day. read more…
“The World Is Full of Interesting Things“, an online slideshow created by Google’s Creative Labs, gives you a compelling glimpse of the imaginative ways technology and the internet are being used (much of it in collaboration with Google technology). There are revelations in the realms of Audio, Movies, Vizual, Art, Physical, Light, Tech, Sport, Books, History and Advertising. The Advertising section that starts at #110 is a must for anyone trying to get a sense of crowd-sourcing and commercial uses for social media.
For us, the best stuff started a good ways into the show (at the bottom, left of the site, there’s a navigator that will take you to any of the 119 slides). Here are some of our favorites: read more…
This morning a reader alerted us to the possible dangers of some wood shipping pallets, of toxic chemicals leaching from treated woods (required by law to prevent insect infestations, although not all treatments involve chemicals), or of contamination by e-coli and other pathogens (a bi-product of being used to transport food or being exposed to animals and birds). Although we recommended using new wood pallets, we’ve discovered that these can be subject to chemical treatments as well.
Now we’re trying to find out a) where to get wood pallets that have been treated by heat alone, without pressure-treating (another heat-treating process which involves serious chemicals) and b) if it is possible to seal recycled wood pallets ourselves by painting, polyurethaning etc to mitigate any dangers from pressure-treated or chemically fumigated wood. We’ll write a post as soon as we get to the bottom of the issue. In the meantime, it’s a good idea to be circumspect about how you use pallets, unless your research shows otherwise.
We spotted this very odd picnic table on Planetargonautes, a French blog whose most recent post was in January, 2010. We poked around its eclectic archive, around the several years of stuff, using our basic French reading skills to navigate the author’s charming, rather ‘out there’ writing. (Using a language translator turns it into a sort of poetry.) We had the feeling that an abandoned blog is a little like something found floating in space. You climb on board and look around for signs of life…take energy readings, wonder where everyone went, and follow the evidence…
Suddenly we fell through a hyperlink to the site of Daniel Gantes, who designed the picnic table. We really liked his statement “Who am I?”
“I think I’m one of the few colour-blind designer in the world. When I was child in the school I painted a tree with wrong colours, and all my schoolmates laughed in my face, that was cruel. Since that moment I started to fight against my problem, and I learned all about colour. At the end I developed a peculiar system to work with colours. I think I turned the problem into a virtue, and I learned there’s a solution for every problem.”
And we realized then that the dormant Planetaronautes is still sending its message out…