Festizio’s new studio release, Hot City (Article by Robbie Fraser)

In the opening minute of their title track “Hot City” you get a good feel for what Festizio’s music really is.  The initial crescendo of electronica draws you in before  giving way to  accompanying guitar riffs.  The synth element in the music is always there to compliment, but never totally overtake, as  it often does with the growing number of bands now incorporating a more electronic element to their sound.  After getting the chance to interview Keane Li, the lead singer and guitarist of Festizio, I realized that the reserved, yet effective balance I heard on the CD is part of what makes Festizio who they are.  His attitude seemed to confirm the same calculated, yet melodic vibe the CD projects.

“When it comes down to it, we’re a pretty tame rock band according to the traditional image of rock musicians.” Li says.  “We all have professions and we’re all down-to-earth. We’ve never fought and we work (thankfully) well together. We love music and work hard at creating something beautiful to share with others.”

According to Li, the band has plenty of the influences you might expect.  Muse popped into my mind early while listening to “Hot City,” and Li confirmed as much, along with mentioning bands like Radiohead and Massive Attack.  But they also draw inspiration from a wide array of old and new alternative bands, as well as modern hip-hop.  They have a varied appreciation that is indicative of a band that genuinely enjoys and studies the chosen medium for their art.

Robbie Fraser may be reached at robbiedfraser@gmail.com.

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Art by Katrina Majkut

Katrina Majkut’s Website: www.TheArtisanSquare.com

About this series:

Name: Atmospheric Perspective
Medium: Oil on Canvas

“Atmospheric Perspective is a series that addresses visual ambiguity occurring innately in nature. While we traditionally think about landscapes and landscape painting as representational and realistic and while abstraction is distortion stemming from the artist’s imagination, there are existing qualities in nature that can distort without the assistance of a painter’s brush. In this series, Atmospheric Perspective looks at water as a natural lens through which one may see the world differently.”

Katrina Majkut

Contact: katrina_majkut@msn.com

Art by Max Ehrman

About the artist:

Max Ehrman is an international artist, specializing in graffiti art, graphic art, and architectural design. He’s been painting for over 14 years, traveling extensively, and collaborating with renowned aersoul artists around the world.

Ehrman currently lives in San Francisco, California. See more of his work at www.maxehrman.carbonmade.com.

Feedback and inquiries are welcomed at ehrmanmax@gmail.com.

Book Review: Songs for a Teenage Nomad by Kim Culbertson (Reviewed by Tapati McDaniels)

I confess I was drawn to this book by a personal history of moving and changing schools. I wanted to see if the author really captured that experience accurately.

We follow Calle (pronounced Callie) through her first day in yet another school. Now a teen, she’s been moved continuously by her mom after each romantic breakup. We sense a mystery behind her father’s absence and suspect we know what it might be, but the truth is more complex than we might imagine. I was happy that I couldn’t figure it all out in advance and that Kim Culbertson wove a more complex tale than the book jacket implied.

Calle has long since developed coping strategies for her mother’s nomadic life and among them are keeping a journal where she links memories to songs, providing her the sense of continuity she is lacking, and not getting too involved in the social life of the schools she is plunked down in. Why get attached if you’re going to be moving in a few months anyway? Yet there is something different this time, perhaps different with this school and these classmates, perhaps something restless and defiant in Calle herself. This time she gets involved; this time she becomes attached. This time she wants to rebel at the first signs that another move may be on the horizon. This time she wants answers.

The writing flowed and the connection of music and occasional poetry was ideal for the themes explored. Even if you don’t know the songs mentioned, you can relate to how certain songs evoke memories. The use of these songs could have seemed like an obvious device for connecting the story but Culbertson used them so skillfully that they seem like a natural feature of Calle’s character. Some songs, such as “Mr. Tamborine Man” by Bob Dylan, take on special significance. We may never hear those songs the same way again.

Tapati McDaniels is the former publisher and editor of Uppity Women Magazine and is currently writing a memoir. Excerpts can be found at http://tapati.livejournal.com/ where you can contact her with questions or comments.

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Ceramic Art by Brendah C. DeBow

Brendah C. DeBow’s artwork has been featured in several exhibits on the West Coast. She states, “The feel of the earth in my hands energizes me. I do not always predetermine what will evolve from the clay, it seems to come through me to my hands and the clay transforms into a shape which often surprises me.”

To inquire about DeBow’s work, e-mail designsbydebow@gmail.com.

Google: “Designs by DeBow”

Devotion by Patsy Ledbetter

The air was cold and it had been a very busy and rainy weekend. I had just finished four performances of a play I was involved in and I was very tired. I went to work with my special needs students and took some of them on a walk. I was pushing one man in a wheelchair and holding a blind man’s arm in mine.  All of a sudden, I sang out a Christmas carol….softly… sincerely…..giving my day….which also happened to be my son’s 14th birthday to the Lord. I was so overwhelmed with His goodness and glory and beauty, having experienced the manger scene on stage many times. It wasn’t acting…it was real worship. I wanted to make my son’s day special, there was a lot to do and I was weary.

The blind man named Bill spoke up, “I’ll never forget the night of December ninth!”  He recalled with enthusiasm.  Then I replied, “What was December ninth?” “That’s when you all came caroling for us at our home, he stated.” Then I remembered. The Lord had burdened my heart to do just that. A few of my friends and I went to the group home where three of my blind students live and we shared a Christmas memory. It was blessed by Him and so it was very special. These blind friends of mine are able to see so much with their spiritual eyes and I thank God for them every day.

Patsy Ledbetter may be reached at patsyled@sbcglobal.net.

Decor by Liz Koerner

Liz Koerner graduated in 2009 with a BFA in furniture design from California College of the Arts.  Since then, she has worked for various Bay Area furniture makers and production shops. View Koerner’s Website at www.liz-koerner.com.

Statement from the artist:
“Our vulnerability to the larger forces of nature inspires me to design objects that suggest a personal connection to material movement and transformation. In my work geologic processes such as sedimentation, tectonic shifting and thermal flow are explored as physical principles that resonate with a subconscious landscape. Through abstracted natural forms I intend to trigger a sense of possibility and a regard for the nuances of deep reconfiguration and metamorphosis.”

“Recently I’ve built wall-mounted cabinets that play on the actions of sliding andstacking and the optical effects of glass, aluminum, and neon. By leaving unfixed elements to be changed by the viewer, I invite participation in a dynamic space and create the intimacy to be lost in wonder of something elusive and familiar.”

– Liz Koerner