Friday, September 27, 2013

Foodie Fridays

AH says "Oops, one last thing about this 'shroom...."
Key artwork for the ShroomGate incident in Arizona Highways

Here at BEING, we usually write about fun and tasty things to eat, but today's post is about what NOT to eat - the Fly Agaric Mushroom! Our FUNGI FRIDAY ALERT is specifically aimed at informing the 123,000 nationwide subscribers of Arizona Highways magazine who are about to receive the October issue containing an "okay" to eat a certain mushroom that can be psychotropic when consumed raw...a little fact they neglected to mention in its "Nature Factoid" article. Oops.

Most of us are taught from childhood on not to eat unidentified bugs or plants, especially mushrooms, unless you're with someone in the know...a mycologist, for instance, or your earthy Grandpa.  Even so, trusting the editorial advice of AH - a glossy nature, travel and photography magazine - the story might have caused an eager chef to toss the potentially trippy little mushroom into a gourmet slo-food salad, with unexpected (and possibly terrifying) results for the Ladies Who Lunch or, heaven forbid, the rare toddler who eats everything Mommy eats. Scary.

Honestly, one has to wonder what caused the foggy thinking that allowed the writer to make such an error in the first place (although he does recommend use of a field guide to make sure you get the right mushrooms...apparently just not the one he's been reading, which would be helpful to know). But, we do praise the magazine for its quick action in sending out a special postcard alert to all of its subscribers to warn them of the error, and pulling the printed copies from newsstands; a corrected e-version will be available to non-subscribers wishing to purchase this month's issue.

Here is the key point in the actual warning, which is also featured on the AH website:

"The fly agaric mushroom should not be consumed in its raw form because of its unpredictable psychotropic and physical effects."

Unsurprisingly, in following with all of this, one of the magazine site's top questions in the Comments section today is:
"Where can I find some of these mushrooms?"

Friday, September 20, 2013

An Afternoon with Al Conti

The Grammy-Nominated New Age Artist Discusses His Life 
Q: What does Al Conti want to be known for?

A: Crafting good music and having contributed to the New Age genre in a positive and influential way.

I also want to be known as a serious artist. Recognition and success are measured in many ways – for me it is choosing to be an artist and all that this means. It isn’t an easy journey much of the time, but it is the path I have chosen. Artists have something inside that must be expressed; it has to be let out. I like to think I had a choice in my life to do what I wanted – but in many ways I feel that the choice was made for me.

Q: Agreed and well said. What do you want people to take away from your music?

A: Each listener needs something different from the experience, so it is hard to say. But overall, I would want the listener to feel they have been on a journey when they finish listening to an album of mine, a journey they wish to take again and again.
I want my music to evoke images and memories – to bring people to a higher level of consciousness – to escape the everyday may it be a job, the groceries, doing their bills – like a cup of tea on a rainy day can be so soothing – yes, that is it.

Q: Nice! What is your guilty pleasure music wise?

A: Lately I’ve been enjoying a step back in time and listening to a lot of disco music.

As I have often said, my tastes in music are about as broad as is possible – I also enjoy 1920s music for its lively optimistic beat. A little like disco I guess! My music taste can vary greatly throughout the day. I can go from listening to Juice Newton to R.E.O. Speedwagon to Chopin to Nina Hagen within a 24 hour period.

Q: Wow- being so diverse is such a great way for artists to broaden what influences and affects them. I should probably be broadening my music list even more. What is your guilty pleasure TV wise?

A: I do not watch much television, in fact I only have cable connected in the set in the kitchen – to watch the news while I cook and that is about it. I generally watch DVD’s or stream movies. My guilty pleasure is watching something that can transport me to another place and time. I love historical fiction a lot – especially period pieces. As far as TV itself, I may watch some TV on DVD. Recently, I have been watching DALLAS (the 2012). Can you believe Linda Gray has not aged a day?!

Q: Ha! True and I'm sure she appreciates the compliment! Describe your perfect day?

A: Waking up slowly and quietly, as opposed to being jarred awake by street construction, which happened a few times in the last few weeks!

The minute I stir, I hear my dog Digby’s tail start to wag and thump against the floor – she knows breakfast is coming.

This may sound odd, but I love a day when it rains and I don’t have to go anywhere. I can watch the rain fall, drink some tea and read or work on my music. It is pretty simple really – I love to do what I do and my perfect day would be just that. Ok, I could be doing it in Paris too or another beautiful place in the world!

Q: Not odd at all, I love the rain. For me it has these inherent romantic qualities that are great for creating. Best thing a fan ever did or said to you?

A: I’ve mentioned this a few times in interviews, but it was a true life moment for me when I received an email from a therapist who was working with veterans of the Iraq war. She told me that she was using my music in her therapy to help soldiers with post-traumatic stress. That email was a gift I will never forget.

Q: Best thing you ever did or said to a fan?

A: Find that which makes you different and let that define you.

Q: What is the most empowering thing anyone has ever told you?

A: Having a learning disability does not mean you are stupid. It just means most people function like a PC and you function like a MAC. All end up with the same results, you just process differently.

Q: Great analogy! Favorite song (not yours) that you play to put yourself in a great mood?

A: I have many. My iPOD currently has over 21,000 songs! My mood changes through the day and, depending on mood, a song may pop up in my head and I have to listen to it so it will leave me alone.

Q: Favorite song of yours and why?

A: ‘Daughter of the City’ from the album Scheherazade. I love how the song came together and, artistically, it is some of my best work. I was able to convey everything I intended to for the album’s opening in that song.

Q: Thank you so much for your time, and for the last bit, your favorite quote?

A: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry – The Little Prince

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Review: The Passionate Artists Behind TWO GRAND, I'M YOURS!

 Fiona Joy Hawkins and Trysette kick off Fall 2013 tour with a full-house fundraiser in Raymond, WA.  Catch their next date in Oregon, Trinity Alps, Sutter Creek, Mill Valley, New York, Boston, Denver, Grand Junction, Aspen, Phoenix, Julian or L.A.! 

The two Aussie singer/pianists, Fiona Joy Hawkins and Trysette, are a striking, talented and funny duo that warm up a room with their vast hearts. Trysette had instinctively reached out to Fiona about touring together, after hearing her music online, and a journey was born.  They created Two Grand, I'm Yours! and toured the U.S. in 2012; this year, they're back with a new show and new material, for a series of intimate venues, small theaters and private concerts.  

Both artists have lived full lives, as evidenced in the fluidity and depth of their arrangements and vocals. To make something sound simplistically honest, yet eternally poetic, is a feat only emotion-drenched souls can contribute. To create real art, touching art, one must live, and both artists offer their depths to their audience in spades.

Fiona's ethereal soothing vocals, in harmony with richly melodic beats, cradles the listener into a timeless moment in life, rich with sensual beauty, astounding imagery, and love. Her new album - 600 Years in a Moment - debuted at #2 on ZMR's international radio chart.

Trysette's powerful feminine vocals play with one's heart strings 'til they come undone and one is happily surrendered to the depths of their heart and soul, in a beautiful mess of love.

Fiona was born in Cessnock NSW Australia and raised in both Newcastle and Tamworth, her family home was filled with music. Fiona, "My father played Jesus in the Tamworth Musical Society production of Jesus Christ Superstar, Andrew Lloyd Webber's music was part of our lives." Classically trained as a pianist, her artistry ventures into the visual domain as well, with as much expertise and sentiment.

Fiona's paintings are Chagall-esque and stir up one's imagination with the splendor that Fiona seems to have effortlessly claimed in her tool box. Her love of imagery is apparent also in her song, as one cannot help but feel transported to eloquent, stunning landscapes that are new, comforting and soulful. The two worlds seem to work in harmony for her:

"The idea of synchronicity has always intrigued me, colours, ideas and emotions all have corresponding sounds," said Fiona. "I believe in the power of music as a source of inspiration and a way of reaching people, and I can transfer a musical quality through my art to the canvas."- Fiona
Trysette grew up on the northern rivers of NSW, Australia. Her lyrics are beyond eloquent yet she says, “I'm not sure why I'm able to write lyrics because I don't remember doing so well at English in school. I was just so brokenhearted at the age of 19 over a silly boy that all I could do was pour out my feelings on paper and that's where the song writing began. I'd been classically trained on the piano for many years but without my teacher knowing, I'd play ragtime and pop songs instead of practicing my scales, but this ultimately helped me in the process of learning to write my own songs."
Trysette spent her pre-tour weeks in L.A. recording her next album.  Her previous album, Le Cafe Ancien takes you through the break up of a deep, almost lifelong relationship and into the birth of a new life and the joys and nerves that must come when exploring new love.
I wrote these songs during a very emotional and life changing period of time and though there are obvious moments of heartbreak and turmoil, the overall feel of the album is light and hopeful with a theme based around moving on and finding a new path” says Trysette.

Two beautifully artistic, intelligent, strong yet sensitive souls. But the wonderful reality revealed at their show is that they are hilarious, and they love making others laugh, too! If you are lucky enough to grab tickets for one of their shows, you will be sure to feel, love, laugh and never forget the night you opened yourself to this spirited, eloquent duo of love, passion, grand pianos,and guarantors of a fiercely good time.

So what are you waiting for? Go to: for info on dates, tour videos, and more about special Guest Artists Peter Janson, Paul Jensen and Lorrie Sarafin