How One Incredible Performance Inspired A Lifetime Of Live Music Photography & Devotion

first_imgThis is a story about love at first, and how that love inspired me to truly live for live music. My name is Rex Thomson and, as a writer and photo/videographer for this company, I travel the country documenting and sharing the best bands in the world all from the best seat in the house. I’m going to go ahead and answer the question most people ask when I say that: yes, it is as fun as it sounds. The six-year-old me never would have imagined such an amazing life, and, if not for one incredible show and kind hearts of the band Elephant Revival, I wouldn’t be where I am today.The twin passions of music and art have always ruled my world. One of my earliest memories is asking how to know when a song you liked was going to be on the radio. My wonderful mother explained to me the concept of owning music. In the same way she encouraged my drawing, she asked if there was one song in particular I wanted. I didn’t know the name of it… all I really knew was that, when it was on, I felt like I wanted to jump and move and smile so hard it hurt my face. Soon after I became the proud owner of a powder blue record player and my first album, Sly & The Family Stone‘s greatest hits collection, featuring the song “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin).”Years later, a fateful blending of my twin obsessions saw me enter and win an art contest to create the Loki Music Festival poster, which is embedded below. Seeing my recently purchased camera and mistakenly assuming I knew how to use it, the organizers threw photo credentials into my VIP prize package. Thanks to a quick tutorial by a clearly amused seasoned veteran in the music photography game, Brad Kuntz, I managed to get a couple decent shots out of the roughly ten trillion I snapped. It turns out that all my years of art training had drilled the fundamentals of composition and aesthetics into my head, and the rest of photography is basic math.The second part of my assignment, writing a review to accompany my pictures, also turned out to be rewarding. Music has always been a favorite subject of mine and I had progressively better looking pictures to illustrate my points. Plus… how could anyone say no to the chance to return to festivals I had been attending since day one, with the chance to do it in a finer style than I had ever even imagined? With each event, I spent more and more of a rapidly dwindling savings account in a bid to do the best work I could. Nearing financial ruin, it became obvious that a decision was going to have to be made.I was doing okay in my old life, bartending and working on my art, but this wonderful new world that had opened up was enticing but nowhere near as financially rewarding or stable. From what I had gathered talking to Kuntz and others like him, the concert photography field was a tough one to break into, and few were managing to make a full time go of it. I decided the best thing way to make an informed decision was to do one more festival before that magic first summer ended, and either ramp up my pace of shooting or go out in a blaze of glory.The Mulberry Mountain Harvest Festival was a perfect host for my internal debate for a couple reasons. It was a solid ten hours away for lots of introspection time and full of lots of nice, upbeat Americana and bluegrass bands. The whole drive towards destiny, I pondered fate and how I should respond to this diverging set of paths. Wandering the crowds and backstage at the festival, I introduced myself to folks I met at random, using my camera as an excuse to start conversations. I must have told my situation to a hundred different people, hoping maybe they could help me break the stalemate. None of them had an answer but several of them did have a recommendation…whatever I decided, go see Elephant Revival.Words like “transcendental,” “hypnotic,” and “touching” were being used to describe Elephant Revival’s sound to me, but I honestly wasn’t prepared for what I was about to experience. A misprinted schedule had me arrive before the band had even come out to soundcheck. Plopping myself down in a prime spot up front, I whiled the time away deleting the worst shots I had captured while listening to the disorganized assortment of sounds emanating from the stage. Finally, a faint “Hello” from the stage broke my reverie, and without realizing it, I looked up and gazed into the future.Mulberry Mountain can be a dusty place, and the 2009 edition was a dry and monotone affair. Looking up to respond and seeing a woman in a luscious green dress with formal ball gown was not at all what I expected. Elephant Revival’s resident multi-instrumentalist Bonnie Paine has broken many a heart, but it wasn’t her beauty that had me frozen. It was more the surreality of her appearance and soft spoken voice against the drab backdrop and frantic pace and volume of a music festival short-circuiting my admittedly spacey brain.We spoke for a few moments, before she went backstage to have a final huddle with the band for final preparations. Bonnie had asked me if I was going to take pictures of her band, and thanked me profusely when I said that I was there to do just that. Though I was charmed by her kindness and the technicolor hallucinatory nature of our interaction, none of that prepared me for the feeling I got when their first notes journeyed from their strings to my ears.Never before had I heard a band play so delicately yet make a sound that powerful and moving.  The deep bowed and plucked bass lines from Dango Rose brought a heft to the pieces that made the stage itself sag under the pressure. On the other end of the sonic spectrum, fiddle player Bridget Law let loose lengthy bursts of sound that seemed to dart above the mix like a hummingbird.Nestled in the middle of it all, banjo player Sage Cook and guitarist Daniel Rodriguez each took turns singing heartfelt songs of movement and cosmic wonder. And at the center of it all was Paine, keeping the beat with her feet on an old-timey stomp board while singing in an angelic voice that entrances any in ear shot with it’s purity and beauty. Pairing lilting, arched melodies with tales of the cycle of life, the nature of time and the love that unites us all, Elephant Revival made music that spoke words of hope and love to me on an almost molecular level. Over the course of their ninety minute set, I watched them drive their fans to tears one moment and inspire them to dance joyously, filling the air with dust and cheers.Feeling more at peace than any time I could easily remember, I found may way backstage to thank Bonnie and her friends for the spell they had cast upon us all. To my happy surprise, the band members themselves were as intelligent, upbeat and endearing as the music they just finished played. Even better, they assured me that reactions like mine meant as much to them as their music did to their fans.Wandering towards the next stage and the next band on my list with an almost painful grin, I continued to strike up conversations…though my question for people had changed. Now I was asking people if they had seen Elephant Revival.If you’ve read this far, then my choice that day is pretty apparent, but I am very grateful for this opportunity to share the reason WHY I do what I do. There are hundreds of ways the modern world divides us but all of those are issues that have solutions, if we are willing to work for them. Moments of unity are all too rare and must be shared as an example of what CAN be. I am certainly not trying to overstate my own importance, but sharing the things that uplift my weary heart, like the beatific sounds made by Elephant Revival, is my desperate attempt to push the world towards the light.Eight years have passed since that treasured day. Over that span, I have been lucky enough to become friends with Elephant Revival and watch them steadily grow in skill and acclaim while still keeping the positive vibration at the core of their music. They have faced struggles, as have I, but one thing has remained constant: When they play, nothing else matters. Often they end their shows taking an old school bow to uproarious applause, but just in case my words are lost in the din I want to say, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.last_img read more

Dark Star Orchestra Announces 2019 Spring Tour

first_imgDark Star Orchestra has been a fan-favorite Grateful Dead-inspired act for decades. They are well-known road dogs, extensively and regularly touring the country and bringing their exacting recreations of specific Grateful Dead shows to the masses. Today, the band has announced 2019 spring tour dates.Focusing on the American Southeast, Dark Star Orchestra’s spring tour has them performing five shows in Florida, kicking off on March 28th, before weaving north and hitting key spots in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Alabama through April 14th.However, before the spring, DSO has a winter tour ahead of them that will focus on the west coast, kicking off on February 7th in Seattle and winding down through Oregon, California, Nevada, and Arizona before ending in Beverly Hills on February 23rd.Ahead of all that, Dark Star Orchestra will host their seventh-annual Jamaican Jam in the Sand festival, taking place January 15th through 19th, 2019, in Runaway Bay, Jamaica. Featuring a beachside stage and located at an all-inclusive resort, the destination festival boasts four nights of Dark Star Orchestra plus two sets of The Wailers and three sets from Green Leaf Rustlers.Then, DSO will return to Legend Valley Music Center (formerly known as Buckeye Lake Music Center, home to some of the largest outdoor Grateful Dead concerts) in Thornville, Ohio on May 24th through 26th, 2019 for the eighth annual Dark Star Jubilee. Along with DSO as the host band, the full lineup includes Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Leftover Salmon, Billy Strings, Dumpstaphunk, Donna The Buffalo, The Lil Smokies, The Nth Power, and The Mighty Pines.Tickets for Spring Tour go on sale Friday, December 7th at 12 pm local time. For more information, head to the band’s website. DSO Spring 2019 Tour Dates:3/28 – St. Petersburg, FL – Jannus Live3/29 – St. Augustine, FL – St. Augustine Amphitheatre3/30 – Pompano Beach, FL – Pompano Beach Amphitheater4/1 – Orlando, FL – House of Blues Orlando4/2 – Tallahassee, FL – The Moon4/4 – Charleston, SC – Charleston Music Hall4/5 – Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse4/6 – Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse4/7 – Birmingham, AL – Iron City4/9 – Nashville, TN – Marathon Music Works4/11 – Asheville, SC – The Orange Peel4/12 – Charlotte, NC – The Fillmore Charlotte4/13 – Raleigh, NC – The Ritz Theatre4/14 – Wilmington, NC – Greenfield Lake AmphitheaterView All Tour Dateslast_img read more

HMX Offers Early Online Access

first_img Read Full Story Members of the Harvard community are being given special early access to HMX Fundamentals, an innovative online learning program from the Harvard Medical School Office of Online Learning. Applications for spring courses are now being accepted.The new pilot program begins on Feb. 7. Exclusive access to the groundbreaking HMX Fundamentals courses on immunology and physiology is now available to Harvard faculty, staff and students, as well as their friends and family, before wider access is granted later this year. Applications are due Jan. 17.Using the broad and deep scientific and educational resources of HMS, HMX courses combine narrated videos, interactive modules and state-of-the art biomedical visualization to help medical and other pre-health career students learn fundamental concepts in the health sciences.HMX students engage with the content by solving problems using the basic biomedical principles they’ve learned throughout the program, making direct links between science, clinical medicine and patient health.Students can then discuss course material and their solutions to patients’ problems in discussion forums, with advanced students and faculty moderators facilitating the discussion.Anyone affiliated with Harvard University is invited to apply to this spring’s program. The courses are designed for anyone interested in pursuing careers in health care.HMX Fundamentals offers foundational courses presented in an engaging way and that tie fundamental concepts directly to clinical practice. In addition to courses on immunology and physiology, courses on genetics and biochemistry are set to launch in the summer of 2017.last_img read more

Relive the Tonys!’s Complete Coverage of the Big Night

first_img Squigs Salutes Host Hugh Jackman and the 2014 Winners resident artist Justin “Squigs” Robertson sketched a portrait of the fancy schmancy host and eight actors who took home trophies. A Tony Award and a Squigs sketch? We spoil you, Tony winners. Lessons of the Tony Awards! How many calories did Hugh Jackman burn while bunny-hopping? What show did Bryan Cranston second-act in 1977? Read on for the answers to these important questions and more! Study up! You never know what will be on the quiz.  Gentleman’s Guide & Hedwig Top 2014 Tony Awards Need a refresher on who has a new spinning medallion to keep them occupied for hours? Look no further—here’s the complete list of 2014 Tony Award winners. Ratings: Hugh Jackman vs. Beauty Queens The key to beating out the Tonys broadcast in ratings? Bronzer. Poll: Idina Menzel’s 11 O’Clock Number Is Fans’ Favorite We asked you which performance you thought was the biggest showstopper of the night. Who came out on top? Spoiler alert: Idina did. Audra McDonald Makes Tony History with Lady Day Win Six-time Tony winner Audra McDonald. Get used to saying it. The Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill made Tony history in more ways than one on Sunday. Where will Tony number seven come from? Our guess is Cats. Odds & Ends: Gentleman’s Guide Eyes London & More We learned all sorts of tidbits backstage at the press room this year. For instance, some shows are crossing the pond, Kenny Leon has a dream cast in mind for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and news about Hedwig’s d**k. It’s huge. Or something. The 2014 Tony Awards may be over, but we’re not quite over them yet! Take a look back at the special night with this roundup of’s coverage from the Great White Way’s biggest night. See who wore what, rewatch the performances and check out the winners telling the haters to suck it by clicking on the links below! Fan Photos! Our Faves from #TonyHunt We were thrilled that so many fans joined us in our Tony Awards Scavenger Hunt during the broadcast! Take a look at our favorite Twitter snaps of the 12 items we had you on the lookout for.  Our Top 10 Instagram Photos From the Red Carpet Everyone looks better in black tie attire and with the X-Pro II filter. Ranks the Best-Dressed Ladies & Gents From cheetah print to hot pink, the celebs of the 2014 Tony Awards turned it out on the Radio City red carpet. See who had the hottest look! Poll: Audra McDonald Wins Hearts with Heartfelt Speech This year’s acceptance speeches featured many tears (and approximately 82,479 “thank you”s). We gave you the unfortunate task of picking just one as your favorite. See which six-time winner (get used to saying it!),  first-time recipient and nominee newcomer made the list! Photos! Presents Tony Awards For Best Dancing By a Bearded Wolverine & More Sure, Best Musical might be the coveted award of the night, but we happen to think Best Shirtless Performance in a Musical and Best Black Swan Reenactment are just as important. See what wacky categories we awarded to the stars in these exclusive pics. OMG, I Won a Tony! See the Winners Get Real Backstage Who slighted Samuel L. Jackson? Where’s Neil Patrick Harris hiding his trophy? But most importantly, what are the stars drinking?! We asked the hard hitting questions backstage on the big night; watch what this years’ winners had to say! Breaks Down the Performances Insane riffing from the cast of Violet. A perplexing Music Man rap?! This year’s performances were varied, to say the least. Check them all out here, and see what we had to say about them. View Commentslast_img read more

Food and Pesticides

first_imgPesticide Action Network’s “What’s On My Food” website and iPhone app help consumers know specifically which pesticide residues are likely ending up on their foods (and in their bloodstreams). Photo Cred: Pesticide Action NetworkEarthTalk®E – The Environmental MagazineDear EarthTalk: How do I learn about what pesticides may be on the food I eat?                                                                                                             — Beatrice Olson, Cleveland, OHAlong with the rise in the popularity of organic food has come an increased awareness about the dangers lurking on so-called “conventionally produced” (that is, with chemical pesticides and fertilizers) foods.“There is a growing consensus in the scientific community that small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can have adverse effects on health, especially during vulnerable periods such as fetal development and childhood,” reports author and physician Andrew Weil, a leading voice for so-called integrative medicine combining conventional and alternative medical practices. He adds that keeping one’s family healthy isn’t the only reason to avoid foods produced using chemical inputs: “Pesticide and herbicide use contaminates groundwater, ruins soil structures and promotes erosion, and may be a contributor to ‘colony collapse disorder’, the sudden and mysterious die-off of pollinating honeybees that threatens the American food supply.”In general, fruits and vegetables with an outer layer of skin or rind that can be peeled and discarded are the safest in terms of pesticide residues. Most pesticides are sprayed on the outside of produce. So if you are going to toss the rind of that cantaloupe, you might as well save money and buy a conventional version. But a red pepper would be a different story: For those items consider it money well spent to go organic.The non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) lists a “dirty dozen” of fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide load so that consumers know to look for organic varieties of them when possible. The dirty dozen are: apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, nectarines, grapes, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, blueberries, lettuce and kale/collard greens.Another non-profit working hard to raise awareness about pesticide residues on foods is the Pesticide Action Network (PAN). The group’s recently launched website and accompanying iPhone app called “What’s On My Food” helps consumers know specifically which pesticide residues are likely ending up on their foods (and in their bloodstreams). In creating the database, PAN linked pesticide food residue data with the toxicology for each chemical and made the combined information easily searchable. “Pesticides are a public health problem requiring public engagement to solve,” the group reports, adding that “What’s On My Food” can be an important tool in raising awareness.While the website version of “What’s On My Food” is helpful for advance planning, the iPhone app is handy while plying the supermarket produce aisles to help decide whether to go for organic vegetables or stick with the cheaper conventional ones. For instance, the database shows that conventionally grown collard greens likely contains residues of some 46 different chemicals including nine known/probable carcinogens, 25 suspected hormone disruptors, 10 neurotoxins and eight developmental/reproductive toxins—not to mention 25 different compounds known to be harmful to honeybees. Spending a little quality time on the website or app is enough to drive anyone to more organic food purchasing.CONTACTS: Andrew Weil,; PAN,; EWG,® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E – The Environmental Magazine ( Send questions to: Subscribe: Free Trial Issue: read more

Breathe in the Fresh Air at Raystown Lake

first_img Explore four season travel to the Raystown Lake Region of Pennsylvania. Luxury mountain homes, houseboats, bed & breakfasts, hotels and campgrounds are available to fit any size group, family or couple’s getaway. With many outdoor public spaces, the Raystown Lake Region has opportunities aplenty to breathe in the fresh air, walk through the forest, enjoy the wilderness scenery of Raystown Lake and paddle the gentle waters of the Juniata River. So bring your boots, kayak, fishing pole and mountain bike to really get the most out of your time in Huntingdon County. You will find many spots to relax and unwind that are free to access like Trough Creek, Greenwood Furnace and Whipple Dam State Parks, the Juniata College Peace Chapel, Standing Stone Trail with the unique Thousand Steps section, the Allegrippis Trails, Raystown Mountain Bike Skills Park, the Mid State Trail and the Seven Points Recreation Area. Other options include kicking back on a seasonal Raystown Lake boat tour, delving into the natural wonders of Huntingdon County underground on a cave tour or discovering one of our local museums filled with living history and local lore. You can always contact the Huntingdon County Visitors Bureau (HCVB) office either prior to or during your “Raycation” for more information: (888) 729-7869, or online at center_img last_img read more

South Korea’s president calls for ‘all possible measures’ to help virus-hit economy

first_imgSouth Korea President Moon Jae-in said on Tuesday the government should make an all-out effort to boost the economy as it comes under pressure from a coronavirus outbreak.”(The government) shouldn’t quibble over whether anything is unprecedented or not, rather, we should take every possible measure we can think of on the table to deploy them,” Moon said in a cabinet meeting.Moon said the economy is in an emergency situation and needs a boost to stimulate domestic demand.In 2015, South Korea drew up a supplementary budget to help cushion the economy from the effects of an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).Topics :last_img read more

Empty nesters swapping family homes for waterfront apartments

first_imgAura, Varsity Lakes. Aura, Varsity Lakes.EMPTY nesters are swapping family homes for waterfront apartments at Varsity Lakes development, Aura. The boutique development at 33 Lakefront Cres is now 70 per cent sold. Developed by Alder Developments and built by Alder Constructions, it includes four towers consisting of 120 apartments. Two of the four towers are completed and sold out with the remaining two to be completed by October. More from news02:37Purchasers snap up every residence in the $40 million Siarn Palm Beach North7 hours ago02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa1 day agoAura, Varsity Lakes.Two-bedroom apartments are priced at $416,000 and $599,000 for a three-bedroom apartment. Brett Ahern from Colliers International is marketing the development and said the project had a lot of interest from retirees. “Now that the construction is under way on the last two towers, there has been a big upswing in the owner-occupier inquiry.“We are getting a lot of interest from empty nesters and retirees who are … wanting to downsize.” The buildings have high-speed pre-wired optic fibre for ultra-fast internet to every apartment, rooftop solar panelling for powering common facilities, and premium technology to ensure sustainability. last_img read more

UN: Hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean Could Rise to Almost 67 Million People by 2030

first_img Share Share The State of Food Security and Nutrition warns that the region will fail the hunger target of the Sustainable Development Goals. Hunger has risen to 47.7 million people in 2019.Hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean increased to 47.7 million people in 2019, after five years of continuous rise, according to the new FAO report, The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) 2020.SOFI is developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Food Program (WFP), and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).The study warns that the region will not reach Sustainable Development Goal 2 of the 2030 Agenda –zero hunger– by 2030. SOFI projections indicate that hunger, considered as an estimate of the number of people who do not consume enough calories for an active and healthy life, will affect almost 67 million people in 2030, that is, about 20 million more than in 2019.These projections do not consider the impact of COVID-19, so it is estimated that hunger will be even greater when the effects of the pandemic on food security are accounted for.“We are far worse now than when the region committed to the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. Hunger has increased by 9 million people since then”, said FAO’s Regional Representative, Julio Berdegué. Hunger now affects 7.4 percent of the population, and is expected to rise to 9.5 percent by 2030.A 3-percentage point increase in hunger is projected for Central America by 2030, an additional 7.9 million people. In South America, hunger is projected to increase to 7.7 percent, equal to almost 36 million people. The Caribbean, while making progress, is also off track to achieve the hunger reduction target of the SDGs by 2030: the SOFI reports estimates that, by 2030, 6.6 million people will live with hunger in that area.“The hunger figures in 2019 are chilling, as is the forecast for the year 2030.But with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the reality will be even worse than what we project in this study. We need an extraordinary response from governments, the private sector, civil society and multilateral organizations,” said Berdegué, urging countries and all sectors of society to implement large-scale measures to address rising hunger, food insecurity, poverty and malnutrition.The SOFI also warns about the increase in obesity, which constitutes a serious health problem, since it increases the risk of non-communicable diseases, both in children and adults. 7.5 percent of children under 5 in the region are overweight, significantly higher than the world average of 5.6 percent.A particularly worrying fact is that, among all the regions of the world, Latin America and the Caribbean has the highest cost for a diet that meets the minimum energy requirements: USD 1.06 per person per day. This is 34 percent more expensive than the global average.In the region, the cost of a healthy diet (one that provides all the essential nutrients and energy that each person needs to stay healthy) is also the highest in the world, with an average value of USD 3.98 per day per person. This value is 3.3 times more expensive than what a person below the poverty line can spend on food. Based on estimated average incomes, more than 104 million people cannot afford a healthy diet.Although Africa is where the highest levels of total food insecurity are observed, it is in Latin America and the Caribbean where food insecurity is rising the fastest: it increased from 22.9 percent in 2014 to 31.7 percent in 2019, due to a sharp rise in South America.9 percent of the regional population suffers from severe food insecurity, which means that people have run out of food and, in the worst cases, go without food for a day or several days.Likewise, almost a third of the region’s inhabitants –205 million people–live in conditions of moderate food insecurity, which occurs when people face uncertainty in their ability to obtain food, or are forced to reduce the quantity or quality of the foods they consume.According to the SOFI report, Latin America and the Caribbean will be very close to achieving the child stunting reduction targets of the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, missing it by only one year. However, it should be noted that in the region the prevalence of stunting of children living in the poorest households is about three times higher compared to those living in the richest households.Latin America and the Caribbean is the only developing region with a prevalence of wasting (boys and girls who are underweight for their height) that is below the goals of the World Health Organization and the Sustainable Development Goals: 1.3 percent. Share LifestyleNewsRegional UN: Hunger in Latin America and the Caribbean Could Rise to Almost 67 Million People by 2030 by: – July 13, 2020center_img 44 Views   no discussions Sharing is caring! Tweetlast_img read more

‘CAFGU member’ shot dead

first_imgILOILO City – A purported member of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) was riddled with bullets outside his house by two motorcycle-riding gunmen in Barangay Tagbak, Jaro district yesterday. His family claimed Catacutan was a CAFGU member but Jomocan said the victim was not listed. “Target talaga ang biktima. Bago ang pagbaril may nakakita na ng motorcycle sa area. Several times pabalik-balik, parang nagsu-surveillance,” said Jomocan. The CAFGU is an irregular auxiliary force of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. It is tasked to prevent the re-infiltration of insurgents into communities that have already been cleared of their influence by combat operations conducted by regular units of the Armed Forces./PN The 63-year-old Herbert Catacutan succumbed to multiple gunshot wounds at the nearby Metro Iloilo Hospital and Medical Center. center_img Jomocan said Catacutan had no derogatory police record. Witnesses told the police the two men were riding in tandem on a yellow motorcycle. The backrider who had the gun was wearing a helmet and a pair of shorts. He was sweeping dirt outside his house when attacked, according to Police Major Renante Jomocan, Jaro police chief.last_img read more