Bellydance redux and more

 Tribe Taksim

Even though it has a thriving arts scene, Pittsburgh unfairly gets a bad rap from other cities for being backwards and provincial. I’m not just talking about the Cultural District or the live music bars, I’m talking about the underground scene, the stuff that doesn’t get a lot of publicity but is worth seeing just the same.

Last Friday, the family and I went to ModernFormations Gallery on Penn Avenue in Garfield. It wasn’t a very big space, so with over a hundred people it was pretty crowded. But there was a lot to see – a massage therapist, a henna tattoo artist, and of course, the musicians and dancers.

Amanda of Amanda Standalone was a lot of fun to watch, using some interesting instruments, ably assisted by Emay, and even pulling a Bobby McFerrin type riff at one point. My wife loved watching Buddy Nutt with his ‘didjeradoo’. We also enjoyed Molly in the Crowd, a Irish music band that is actually Scottish. They and Ishtar did a great fusion duet. The Vardo Sisters and Khafif were great too.

And of course, there were the dancers – Aviva and Tribe Taksim

We had a wonderful time, enjoying the food and beverages from Your Inner Vagabond, and I highly recommend you check out the artists above!

Amanda Standalone Amanda Standalone      The Vardo Sisters and Khafif  Vardo Sisters and Khafif

  My son enjoys the snacks from Inner Vagabond

My son and Emay get down!    Ishtar / Molly in the


   Tribe Taksim     Sword Dance

  Tribe Taksim and Ishtar


Getting in shape for Spring

I go to the gym 3 -4 times a week.  What I’ve noticed is that once I get into the rhythm of going, it’s easy to maintain.  But miss a few days (Or, as when I’m traveling, a few weeks!) and it’s really hard to get back on the horse.

Worse, not only do you slack on exercise, but you start to slack on your diet, too.  Especially on business trips.  Combine lack of exercise with too many calories, and pretty soon you’re sliding into bad shape fast.

So, remember that spring is here.  The pool is opening over Memorial Day weekend. And I don’t know about you, but I want to live a long healthy life and enjoy bouncing my GREAT-grandkids on my knees!

So, all of you out there, what are your ways of motivating yourself to stick with diet and exercise?  And do they work?


It’s All Greek to Me

I don’t usually post “link posts,” but since I’m in North Carolina for training today, here’s some useful links for learning languages.  These will only take you a few minutes a day, so check ’em out!

For Spanish:

The best one I’ve found to date, for maybe ten minute podcasts, is Coffee Break Spanish:

If you are more advanced, try Notes in Spanish:

For you Italians out there (and I’m tired of Italian-Americans saying how proud they are to be Italian but the only word they know is spaghetti!  Gotti fans, you know who you are!), try My Daily Phrase in Italian.  C’mon, one phrase a day, ANYone can do that!

And last but not least, German.  I took five years of it but this is helping me to remember it!  My Daily Phrase in German:

One last resource, for when you think you’re ready for the next level, is a post at open culture.  They put news stories in slowly read German, French and even Latin, so you can follow along and learn more than just tourist speak.

Have fun!