Concert performed at Scoot Inn (1308 E 4th St. Austin, TX 78702)
http://shallou.com • https://www.robotaki.net • https://scootinnaustin.com/
— It took me a few weeks to release this review. After nearly 2 years of isolation, being in a public space was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. Finding my legs again to socialize has been a difficult process and hopefully more blogs, reviews and feature stories to come in 2022!
The evening was crisp and cool at the historic Scoot Inn. The opening act, DJ Robotaki, got the crowd going with a chill, funky beat. From Montreal, Robotaki (https://www.robotaki.net) has a Master’s degree in genetics. Which proves his intelligent and sophisticated choices for the hour performance was not a “filler.” Mixing a brand of understated tones, deep base and infectious vocals, Robotaki put everyone in a good mood.
After a 10 minute set change, Shallou, started his performance with one of his popular hits, “You and Me.” https://youtu.be/1trifshoIw0
After a few microphone hiccups, he was able to properly greet the crowd and get into the song. Shallou writes and produces most of his music under his real name, Joe Boston. His collaborative work really shines and shows his ability to create sentimental lyrics that are touching and brings up tender emotions without it feeling syrupy. On Apple Music, his music is described as “where sharpened senses meet heightened emotions in the glow of a profound, often wistful calm.”
Throughout the show Shallou with his drummer and guitarist worked the crowd and got them involved. It was not crazy energetic atmosphere, but mellow and relaxing. It felt inclusive — dance, sing or just watch from the bar overlooking the stage while sipping on your favorite beverage. The crowd was friendly and it was refreshing to be out in a social setting after nearly 2 years of dealing with a pandemic.
During the middle of the show, Shallou performed my favorite song - a collaboration with Colin, “Count On” - https://youtu.be/T8XEXOvOPM0 - From the very first lyric I knew the song he was starting to play and also many of the crowd. It shows how much Shallou can emotionally tap into a listener. His voice and tonal range is incredibly charismatic. A vocal range that can tap into a soft, warm falsetto; Shallou writes lyrics that fully showcase his voice.
I still remember the first night I heard “Count On.” Two years ago while working rideshare one evening. Feeling a bit despondent that night, the song came on and a wave of nostalgia wrapped around me like a blanket. I had been in a dark place emotionally the last few months. “Count On” centered me. It was intensely cathartic and those tearful moments helped me finally release my anguish. I had been homeless for the latter part of 2019. It was embarrassing, frustrating and I felt no way to get out of my situation. Then I heard Shallou sing:
Shallou continued evening with many more songs the crowd all enjoyed. I am undoubtedly a fan, but still surprised that I knew every song. He ended the night with “Lie” — https://youtu.be/a6cQBMbpEUI — definitely a crowd pleaser. Many, including myself, grooved to the beat and sang along. I walked away feeling nostalgic and wistfully calm.
Review by benMUSA
#benmusacollection #benmusaart #modernartist #painter #writer #blogger #artist #smallbusiness #artwork # apparel #accessories #prints #artistsoninstagram #shallou #scootinaustin #robotaki
Recently, I ventured out to my area of South Austin and discovered a lovely new cafe, bakery and bistro — OvenBird. Set near the corner of South Congress and William Cannon, the cafe had just opened in early 2021.
Winner of the “Austin Chronicle First Plates 2021,” OvenBird features so many delectable, made from scratch, locally sourced items on its menu. Focusing on Central and Eastern European style menu (South Baltic area), Sarah Koslosky, one of the owners and Head Chef has really brought quite an array of tasty delights to south Austin.
Start first with some delicious locally sourced coffee and homemade chai. Beverage Director, Jack Ferrara, running the cafe provides quite an array of beverage choices to meet everyone’s morning caffeine needs.
Simple Food, Simply Done is Beautiful
If you need to fill your belly with something that sticks, OvenBird has so many great choices. (Click pdf at the bottom of the review to download their menu and ingredients for each dish). Over the last week I have tried the Bavarian Breakfast Tacos. Handmade marble rye tortillas are such a great and savory twist to the traditional tortilla. The caraway seeds imbedded in each tortilla gives it such an earthy flavor. “I decided to translate the marble rye bread recipe into the tortillas, said Sarah. I highly recommend the Shakshuka Taco. OvenBird makes their own farmers cheese. One word for that - Yum! I also tried their Bavarian Croissant breakfast sandwich, which is a combination pretzel roll and croissant. One bite into that sandwich makes you realize, Covid has really deprived me!
There is so much more to the menu, I have yet to sample their lunch menu that has great seasonal salads and sandwiches utilizing many of the baked goods and … (oh snap) they make their own in-house cured corned beef (can I get an amen).
With such a business, food is important, but the setting and feel of a bistro can be just as important. Steven Kresena, another owner and Director of Operations, has made the place incredibly airy and kept to the theme of simple is beautiful. Sarah, the head chef, had a particular say in how it would look, too. Sarah’s brother Charlie (the bakery boy) said, “They essentially started with an empty space - a big empty box.” “A box is generous, it was more like a hole,” Steven said. It’s one of the few places I have encountered that has multiple places to lounge, sit, talk or just be on your own to work as a customer. They have nice bar area, couch and a spacious patio area. The style keeps in check with the modern minimalist European decor. Every chair and table in the OvenBird is a backdrop to showcase the wonderful food and beverages they create.
OvenBird is great spot. I definitely will be coming back to try more of their menu and look forward to the fall and winter menus that will include new items.
OvenBird — https://www.ovenbirdatx.com
6501 South Congress, Suite 211, Austin TX 78745
512.580.1388 - Special orders in advance (48 hours at least)
Review by benMUSA
Today I wanted to discuss Proposition B that’s on the ballot here in Austin for May 1, 2021. Prop B, prohibits sitting, lying, camping and limiting solicitation in public areas. Essentially this is dealing with the growing homeless population. And today I will discuss my thoughts about why we should all vote NO! — A "yes" vote supports making it a criminal offense (Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine) for anyone to sit, lie down, or camp in public areas and prohibiting solicitation of money or other things of value at specific hours and locations. — A "no" vote opposes making it a criminal offense for anyone to sit, lie down, or camp in public areas and prohibiting solicitation of money or other things of value at specific hours and locations.
And today I will discuss my thoughts about why we should all vote NO!
Save Austin Now or SAN is the group that was formed in 2019 to initiate this measure on the May 1st election ballot so camping by the homeless would become illegal again. Some of the biggest financial backers of this group is our “so called beloved and compassionate” Governor Abbot. He donated over $44 K of his campaign money to fund advertising for SAN. The Governor said “Vote Yes to ensure greater health & safety for everybody in the entire Austin area.”
SAN has No plan of action for the homeless. Nor do they plan to support any legislation to help setup housing for the homeless. The CDC itself has said “Clearing encampments can cause people to disperse throughout the community and break connections with service providers. This increases the potential for infectious disease spread.” But the Governor has always lived in his own reality.
Whatever has been proposed is way too inadequate to resolve for all those that are camping. Austin has created some housing. Just recently $750K Subsidy to Build 76 Homes for Homeless Individuals. Called Community First! Village - it is a 51-acre master planned community that provides affordable, permanent housing and a supportive community for men and women coming out of chronic homelessness. It’s a start but nowhere near the size of what is needed to address the approximately 2500 homeless - which I find an extremely low number, especially during this pandemic.
Early last year ABC Austin reported a survey that indicated 43% of residents said they were displaced because their rent was rising above what their household could afford. With the housing market being so aggressive in Austin, many builders would rather deal with a fine than accommodate low income housing. Almost $10 million dollars in fees have been paid in the last 15 years from 54 projects. Mostly all within the downtown area. For example the developer of the Jenga building (The Independent) paid nearly $2,500,000 in fees not to provide affordable units. Because we all think 700 square feet is worth $530 K. I guess they will hire people of color to build the tower but please don’t consider living there.
Benton Graham of the Austin Chronicle interviewed - Reverend John Elford, senior pastor at University United Methodist Church and a Central Texas Interfaith leader. Reverend Elford said, "My biggest concern is that you're asking people to leave places, and you don't have a place for them to go. And you're putting them in harm's way, because they're going to end up just having to move from place to place."
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick stated last October that “Austin is one of the most dangerous cities in America.”
CBS Austin reviewed data from Austin Police and the FBI violent crime. APD said they compared data (crimes committed by and against people experiencing homelessness) from January-September of 2019 to the same timeframe in 2020.
“There really has not been any big change in either direction-- either a rise or a fall in those numbers,” said Joe Chacon of the Austin Police Department.
Once again the state’s leadership lives in its own reality.
No plan, No ideas, No common sense.
SO I voted NO to Prop B this past Tuesday.
And I encourage everyone to do the same.
For me, I saw no option. Prop B is an act of cowardice. It’s a behavior we all experience. We stop at a light and see a young woman or family holding a sign asking for help. We ignore it because we feel ashamed or maybe just helpless.
Prop B is that - shoving the problem away without really addressing the crisis.
WELL I am tired of just shoving it away. I want it in my face - in everyone’s face to remind us WE CAN DO BETTER!
In the last half of 2019 I was essentially homeless. I don’t like talking about it because its embarrassing. You feel like a failure - that you did something bad. When it fact, I know I didn’t do anything wrong. It was the circumstance at the time. Luckily, I was able to couch surf between family and friends - and I feel so lucky because I had people who wanted to help. But, not everyone has that blessing.
So whatever the issue a homeless person is dealing with - does it matter? Are we going to just drive by each day and ignore the fact we have human beings living this way? So if they need to just camp , protect themselves from the weather and have some sort of privacy - that should be illegal? What can we do to help get them back where they can be self sufficient? Is making their lives more difficult with fines and the inability to stay in one place the best way to resolve this “so called health and safety problem.”
Think about that when you vote tomorrow. Peace and Blessings…
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Intro Music "The Way It Is" by Bruce Hornsby and the Range.
I do not own any rights to this song.
Music "Lion" by Sapajou
Lion by Sapajou https://soundcloud.com/sapajoubeats
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Music promoted by Audio Library https://youtu.be/KSmzjG1R_dE
Movie clip from - "History of the World, Part 1"
Directed by Mel Brooks
Produced by Mel Brooks
Written by Mel Brooks
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Originally posted on Facebook - January 18, 2011
"Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit" delves on so many levels. It slowly and methodically blossoms over 8 volumes in 26 episodes. Like a steady and heavy drum beat, it doesn't rush to deliver it's message or unique perspective. Author Nahoko Uehashi's first book in this series establishes several strong and believable characters.
With exquisitely drawn animation and well scripted direction by Kenji Kamiyama (Director of and writer for "Ghost in the Shell" series), "Morbito" takes on a life of its own.
I was so excited and surprised by this wonderful, fresh story with twists and turns that made me glued to the TV screen, yearning to watch the next episode.
It made me start asking questions about each character, wanting to know how they became who they are, like Balsa, Tanda and especially Torogai. All of these main characters had a unique and profound impact on how the story evolved and changed.
"Morbito" is a top 10 anime series for my list. It draws upon so many great elements of folklore. I don't want to get into details of this story because I truly believe it's best experienced by viewing it yourself.
It lets the viewer experience the changes with the characters and brings the viewer in as part of the wonderful and gorgeous world Uehashi has created.
World Mental Health day - October 10th
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline -- 1-800-273-8255
Recently, I started anti-depressants for the 1st time in my life. I have struggled with depression throughout my life. In many ways, my art is the therapy that has kept my head above water - but as I get older I realize I can’t do this on my own any longer. My journey has become so complex and emotionally draining. The last few years with the state of this country and the troubling issues in my homeland has amplified my frustrations, disappointments and anger. "My Blue Jihad: A personal struggle" is a reminder that my struggle is not a lonely journey.
24”(h)x24”(w)x1.5”(d) canvas -- purchased by Jack Rosenberger (private collector)
In the years I have documented my physical change, it sparked a transition in my spiritual evolution and to a lesser degree my emotional maturity — to become more aware of the path I am traveling than any other time in my life. And the path leads to many places — some all at once — other moments one at a time. For I am realizing that life is not a linear plane.
With this realization I came to know the name of my painting — My Blue Jihad: A personal struggle. The key word is jihad for it stimulates various perceptions, conceptions and interpretations that are not always correct. Jihad is an Arabic word — the root of which is ja ha da, which means to strive/struggle (for a better way of life).
This is the key to my understanding of jihad for I believe like Sufis' (Muslim mystics) - jihad has two sides: spiritual struggle as the ‘greater’ jihad and the communal, external struggle as the ‘lesser’ jihad. Jihad empowers an individual to become proactive in the struggle to command the good in oneself and society and forbidding evil in the process.
“Blue Jihad” is my visualization of the personal spiritual struggle within me. It ebbs and flows like water against oil— a reminder that spiritual perfection is always yearned, but never achieved. And a reminder to hold sacred the moment for it is all I truly command in life.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline -- 1-800-273-8255
Before everyone jumps on the Beto bandwagon let’s make sure what he says and supports are REAL and VERIFIABLE. I am not giving any politician my vote until I know they are really on my side of the important issues. Obviously we can't even consider the other candidate because he is part of the misogynist, racist and entitled political culture led by an unenlightened President.
For me it’s these 4 issues that have to be addressed:
Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup with Spinach - Inspired by Italian cuisine. Orzo pasta, spinach, beans and all-natural chicken are slow-simmered in a lemon-infused chicken broth.
List of Ingredients:
1) Put 2-3 bell peppers of your choice - coated in oil in the oven to roast up (375 temp or higher) - for 30+ minutes - watch carefully!!! Take them out after they are very browned and put in a plastic bag. Steam affect will allow you to remove burnt skin easier. After they are cleaned up - chop into small chunks and leave to the side.
2) Heat 2 tablespoons of any olive oil of your choice in a very large stock pot. I like to use lemon infused (Target has one) and garlic infused olive oils. Saute 2 chopped onions in the oil and let them get really cooked - transparent or browned a bit. Add salt & pepper.
3) While onions are cooking - Pull roasted whole chicken or Large roasted chicken breast off the bone and leave to the side.
4) After onions are grilled - add the roasted bell peppers and stir for a few minutes
5) After 5 minutes add pulled chicken. Add some salt & pepper. Stir for another few minutes.
6) Drain and wash beans and leave to the side.
7) Drain half a bag frozen spinach. Make sure spinach is squeezed hard of excess water. Leave to the side.
8) Add chicken broth and water and bring to a boil. Add minced garlic and other herbs of your choice. Add more salt & pepper if needed.
9) After it comes to a boil - Add orzo pasta and lemon juice and lemon rind - cook 9-10 minutes. At the 5 minute mark - add beans, and spinach. Add more salt & pepper if needed.
No spoilers – so read on!
“Star Wars: Episode 8 - The Last Jedi,” reaches deep into the last 30 years of Luke and Leia’s life showcasing superb performances by Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher. It provides many answers from Episode 7, but “The Last Jedi” supplies Star Wars fan’s more tantalizing questions. Perhaps the Light and Dark side of the Force are more intertwined. A relationship that is symbiotic in nature rather then adversarial. That pain, forgiveness and letting go is all a matter of perspective. How each person sees the same event so differently can affect choices in incredibly dramatic ways.
“Star Wars: Episode 8 - The Last Jedi.” resumes where Episode 7 left off. The Resistance is evacuating before the First Order decimates their base. Kylo Ren’s (Adam Driver) ferocious yet shaky embrace of the Dark side again provides more doubt about his true role with the First Order. Meanwhile, Rey (Daisy Ridley) is seeking Luke’s guidance, yet finding the path to understanding her role to be precarious and in some ways mirrors Ren’s path.
With all the action, the twists, turns and hair raising moments; Episode 8 provides this viewer deeper insight about the Force’s potential and legacy. There were key moments with each Force user that broaden the impact and possibilities for the Light and Dark side.
The first was during the initial evacuation of the base. In Fisher’s last, grand performance, Leia shows the audience an incredibly focused mind and control of the Force. A reminder from Episode 4; even her father, Darth Vadar, was unable to break Leia’s will. The second moment is with Rey learning about the Force with Luke. Her raw abilities not only shakes the foundation where she stands but also terrifies and reminds Luke the choices he made in the past. Choices that are still affecting his last Padawan with same raw power, Kylo Ren. Ren admits he is a monster, but the audience still sees potential for change. It is those choices with his Master, Supreme Leader Snook, that Ren shows his abilities are gaining refinement and strength. The last pivotal moment is with Luke confronting Ren. Although Luke has no want or need to continue the Jedi, this key scene only shows the true power of his abilities as Jedi Master.
“The Last Jedi” is a vital part of the Star Wars Saga. It provides uncomfortable and harsh answers. The film draws the audience into a galaxy far, far away that is not so pretty as they remembered 30 years ago. Perhaps the bad guy and good guy, like the Force, is not something that can be easily explained.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Episode 8) review by benMUSA
Starring Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern and Benicio del Toro
"The Good Doctor," Dr. Shaun Murphy, played by the brilliantly talented Freddie Highmore showcases a young doctors introduction to his first residency at San Jose’a St. Bonaventure Hospital. The hospital’s board is hesitant to hire an autistic savant with incredible visual, spatial and memory diagnosing skills due to his lack of interpersonal skills and bedside manner.
The pilot episode bravely confronts the hiring decision of the prestigious hospital. The president of the hospital, played by the great Richard Schiff, argues with his fellow board members that preserving the hospital’s reputation is not the right choice. As his mentor, Richard’s character passionately fights for Shaun’s right to work. The only other person that sees Shaun’s capabilities is Antonia Thomas’ role as resident Claire Browne. Her earthy empathic character shows how some people are born to be caring and forgiving doctors.
Throughout the episode, glimpses into Shaun’s life as a child and his close relationship with his brother develops a better understanding of Shaun’s mental and emotional hardships. The scenes into his past are not to justify why Shaun should be hired, but to explain who he is as an adult. Throughout each scene Highmore beautifully shows how each day someone with autism can live a normal life. This is not a young man who needs help organizing his daily activities or living in his own apartment.
“The Good Doctor” is about society’s lack of effort to understand what each individual can offer to society. Just as the civil rights or gay rights movement, The Good Doctor, shows autism is not a hindrance or a failing. It just simply asks the viewer what’s wrong with a capable brilliant autistic man wanting to be a doctor?
"The Good Doctor" review by benMUSA
(ABC Series - just ordered a full season 10/3/17) - Based a 2013 South Korean show with the same name.
Starring Freddie Highmore, Nicholas Gonzalez, Antonia Thomas, Richard Schiff, Chuku Modu, Beau Garrett, Irene Keng, Hill Harper, and Tamlyn Tomita
#video #autism #savantsyndrome #blog #thegooddoctor #abc #review #benmusajournal #medical #drama
No spoilers – so read on!
Netflix's original series, "Million Yen Women" unfolds with 5 mysterious women living with an under appreciated writer named Shin. Through the course of the series, the viewer glimpses the past lives of each character. At times, each mysterious woman provides shocking insight to the extreme and sometimes curious choices they made to survive.
The story begins when Shin (played by Yojiro Noda) walks into his disheveled home to be surprised by one of the mysterious women. She was invited to live with him and was instructed to pay him 1 million yen each month for rent. The same invitation is sent to all the women who show up the same day. The series goes back and forth from the moment they move into Shin's home and 6 months later when they are required to eat dinner together as part of the invitation rules. The other major rule is that Shin cannot ask any personal questions about any of his tenants. This adds even more suspense and mystery. All the female actors (Rila Fukushima, Rena Matsui, Miwako Wagatsuma, Rena Takeda and Yuko Araki) perform superbly. The actors enjoy the ability to limit what the viewer wants to know — who are they, why were they invited, and why these 5 women?!
As the show progresses, the story has many abrupt and emotional turns that deepen the mystery. Shin becomes the central figure. A young man that has dealt with so many tragedies. It draws each of the mysterious women closer into Shin’s daily struggles as a writer. Noda deftly portrays Shin's dark depression. How Shin is emotionally cold with little regard to his appearance and unable to really draw out the prose laying deep within him. Rila Fukushima (known for her part in "The Wolverine" and as Katana on the CW series “Arrow”) brings a very strong performance as the hyper-sexually expressive Minami, who rarely wears clothing while staying at Shin's home. What is so surprising is that no one seems bothered by her nudity other then the youngest of the women, Midori, played by Rena Takeda. Her fine performance shows a timid high school student growing to become the most tenacious woman out of all the tenants. Rena Matsui, Miwako Wagatsuma and Yuko Araki round out the other actors and each provide surprising nuances to characters that often would be considered very stereotypical.
"Million Yen Women" is a thrilling story with wonderful performances by an ensemble cast. With 12 episodes, the show is a perfect Sunday afternoon binge and I recommend this series highly for anyone who enjoys suspenseful mysteries.
Million Yen Women review by benMUSA (a Netflix Original Series)
Based on the manga series "100 man yen no Onna tachi" by Shunju Aono
Starring Yojiro Noda, Rila Fukushima, Rena Matsui, Miwako Wagatsuma, Rena Takeda, Yuko Araki, Yuya Endo, Kaito Yoshimura, Moeka Hoshi, Juri Ihata, Mariko Tsutsui, Kanji Furutachi, Tetsuhiro Ikeda, Takashi Yamanaka, Tomoya Nakamura, Lily Franky