Monday, February 26, 2007

Jazzschool Studio Band


Jazzschool Studio Band
Originally uploaded by aikithereska.
The proceeds from this concert are going towards the students' participation in the Hertiage Jazz festival in NYC, Memorial Day weekend. This is the group that, in essence, Julian has been playing with for the third year now...with the director that has infused a love of jazz in all the students.

Julian and a couple of the other students from this band will also being playing at Mercury 20's opening this Friday: www.mercurytwenty.com/upcoming/upcoming.html . A print of this image www.flickr.com/photos/thisiswhatisee/360625491/in/set-721... will be in the group show in back.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Paczki...



Originally uploaded by aikithereska.
So...a few folks over at flickr asked me for the recipe for these.

5 1/2 C unbleached flour
3/4 C sugar
1/2 C butter
4 eggs
1 1/2 C milk (brought just to a boil then let cool to warm)
1/4 C warm water
1 T dry yeast
1 t vanilla
1/2 t salt
rind from one orange

Let yeast soak in warm water until the mixture is bubbly.

Mix 2 cups of flour with the milk and then add yeast mixture. Stir well and set this sponge to rise in a warm place (it will be the thickness of pancake batter).

In the mean time, whisk eggs with salt, sugar, vanilla and orange rind. Let the butter get very soft, but not melted.

When the sponge has risen and not quite doubled (this can take anywhere from 10 minutes to half an hour) stir it down and add egg mixture, beating it in well with a wooden spoon. Add a cup of flour and beat again and then add softened butter. Add the last two and half cups of flour, a cup at a time.

Now comes the messy part...get your hand in there (I don't use two hands, because one hand needs to hold the bowl still!) and beat and knead the dough. This will feel different than bread dough because it should be soft and sticky...but not wet. Keep kneading the dough until it starts to look satiny and pull away from the side of the bowl. I usually end up kneading the dough about 10 minutes or so.

Set aside in a warm place to rise...one or two hours depending on conditions.

When the dough has risen about three or four times in volume, it's ready to be punched down.

Since this is very sticky, I flour my board VERY well before placing half the dough on the board. Gently roll out the dough to about half inch thickness. Cut in rounds of about 2-1/2" diameter. Place a spoonfull of jam in each round and pinch the dough together around the jam (this takes a little practice). Place the raw paczki on a floured cloth and cover with another cloth and let rise for about 20 minutes.

While the paczki are rising, heat oil in a deep frying to 350F.

When the oil is ready and paczki all risen, fry them about four or five at a time in the oil, turning them over once as soon as the first side gets browned and let the other side brown, then remove with a slotted spoon to a tray lined with paper towels and let cool. Dust with powder sugar.

That's it!! Um...I think.

I've been using this recipe for years and it took me some time to be consistenly successful. It's not hard, but does take time and patience...but it IS worth it!

Food is a wonderful way for me to connect with my ancestral heritage, especially with those I didn't get the chance to really know...like my Babcia, my mother's mother.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The body holga...


I love the way double exposures can express more than just a corporeal form when the human body is the subject. By layering the body with another image, there is the sense that we are deeper and richer than our physical encasement. Still, it's up to the viewer...some people still only see skin deep.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Solitude...


When all is said and done, the artist's path is one of solitary efforts. The world and those around us are most certainly influences, but in the end we are alone in our studios, our darkrooms, with our writing tools. Even those artist's on stage have to find their expression within themselves and only through themselves, for anything else would be too obviously less than genuine.

Maybe I'm just getting too old to waste my energy on valuing the opinions of others. If *I* am excited about something I create...if I get that rush of energy when viewing a print after taking into the light for the first time...that's all that really matters. And this is a hard place to come to, and isn't arrived at without the old two steps forward one step back routine.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

my eyes...


to see...to understand...to know...

Friday, February 09, 2007

San Francisco Bay...

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Mercury20 February show






Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Albany bulb...



Originally uploaded by aikithereska.
I spent a few hours with my folks today...taking them shopping and having lunch. Since I always have cameras with me, I thought I might head to Golden Gate park and do some double exposures over at the Conservatory of flowers. However, by the time I had mom and dad safely back at home, I felt exhausted.

Driving home the sky grew more interesting and something about the music I was listening to gave me a second wind...and a desire to stop and shoot. After spending good half hour wandering around the AIbany waterfront, I went through two rolls of film and twenty or so digital frames.

It fascinates me the way the mind works and how very much influence it has over physical energy level... And now...I'm ready for a nap (the rain has finally started in earnest).

My day via camera phone...


Note to self: put some bandaids in camera bag!



Tuesday, February 06, 2007

free film!!


Several months ago, I read about a free film offer from Kodak, in one of the film groups I belong to on flickr. Every once in a while I'd see some posting about "I got my film today!!" I'd nearly given up and completely forgotten about it, but it came yesterday!! How cool to get something for free :)

Monday, February 05, 2007

movement...

seaweed...


I dreamt I was drowning
Entagled in a kelp forest
Struggling to break free

Until I realized...
Relaxing

I could let my own buoyancy
Lift me to the surface
To the light

papaya

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Grounding...


I've been thinking a lot about beliefs lately. More accurately, I've been pondering my aversion to beliefs and belief systems. It's been my assumption that rigid beliefs can be less than productive, if not damaging.

Well, on the other hand, through my own experience...I'm coming to realize that the lack of a framework that I can just sink into in my life, isn't helpful either. A belief can be more like an idea, a philosophy or guidelines that help me to get by in this seemingly chaotic and sometimes heartbreaking world. It doesn't have to be rigid to offer a grounded place from which to live a full and satisfying life. It doesn't have to be right or wrong by anyone else's standards but the individual practicitioner.

I attended a performace by KODO last night...the internationally known taiko performance group from Japan. What really struck me was their unabashed JOY and extension of energy! It's quite obvious that their art is their belief and their framework for life (at least one of them)...given the intensity of what they do, I can't see it any other way. I aspire to such joy and integrity.

Friday, February 02, 2007

More prayer flags...


...because you can never have too many...