Episode 9: Jennifer Uphoff Gray

Jennifer Uphoff Gray is the Artistic Director of Forward Theatre, a not-for-profit professional theater company based in Madison, Wisconsin.

In this episode Jennifer talks us through her self-designed training, from her “lightbulb” moment to Broadway. We learn how Jennifer collaborated with other artists to form a new thriving arts organization, one that allows her to maintain her family legacy of community engagement and social justice. We also discuss day-to-day-life as an artistic director, and her belief that personal suffering is not required for creative expression.

Jen’s “Three Things:”

  • Watching an aspiring director learn, apprentice and now direct theatre professionally

  • Excellent new dramatic art available on entertainment streaming services, which allow unusual and experimental storytelling

  • The passionate dedication of her colleague, Julia Nicholas, Forward Theatre’s Development Director

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Art Lives Theme and Incidental music composed by Nicholaus Meyers. Art Lives Logo created by Eduardo Moreno. Art Lives is available here, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher.

Episode 8: Clifford Alexis

Dr. Clifford Alexis was a virtuoso musician and composer, an innovative steelpan builder and tuner, a brilliant educator, and mentor and friend to people all over the world. Cliff first came to the U.S. in 1964 as a member of the National Steelband of Trinidad and Tobago. He performed all over the world with this group and as leader of his own groups, and then taught for 12 years in the St. Paul, Minnesota public schools, and 27 years at Northern Illinois University. He received an Honorary Doctorate Degree from NIU and the Chaconia Silver National Award from Trinidad and Tobago.

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This is special episode of Art Lives. It is part of a 2008 interview presented now to honor Cliff, who passed away on Tuesday, January 29 at age 82.

People have shared incredible stories this week about Cliff, what he taught them, how he cared for them and how he changed their lives. He was dedicated to his family, yet somehow took care of countless others.

In the 1980s and 90s there was a lot of misinformation in the United States about the origins of the steel pan in Trinidad & Tobago, where Cliff was born. Many first and second generation steelpannists did not speak about their shared history, Cliff included. Finally, in the early 2000s, more players and pan builders agreed to speak on the record, including Cliff. (My doctoral research was inspired by Cliff’s pan story, and this interview, as well as other introductions he made, enabled my entire project.)

Cliff has said some of this information in other interviews, but he includes some wonderful details here, including Cliff’s touring years in the 1970s, and how he learned to love teaching. You will hear passion, honesty and comedy in this interview. I think friends, family and new listeners alike will enjoy hearing him talk about his remarkable life.

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Art Lives Theme and Incidental music composed by Nicholaus Meyers. Art Lives Logo created by Eduardo Moreno. Art Lives is available here, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher.




Episode 7: Zahra Gordon

Zahra Gordon is an award-winning Caribbean American poet, journalist and writer living in La Brea, Trinidad & Tobago. On this episode Zahra recounts her experiences growing up in both Trinidad and the United States. We learn of Zahra’s mission to rescue voices from the past before they disappear, and gain a glimpse into the vibrant ecosystem of thought that creates Zahra’s art.

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Zahra’s blog, “Zee Speaks,” contains links to her published work. In addition, Zahra runs Speakeasy Solutions, which provides private tuition in English language, literature, reading and creative writing.

Zahra’s “Three Things:”

* TEZA, a film by Haile Gerima

*Citizen, a book by poet Claudia Rankine

*The works of Kerry James Marshall

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Zahra also mentioned authors Chester Himes, Zora Neal Hurston, and professor, scholar and poet R. Victoria Arana.

Art Lives Theme and Incidental music composed by Nicholaus Meyers. Art Lives Logo created by Eduardo Moreno. Art Lives is available here and on Apple Podcasts.

Episode 6: David Lloyd Bradley

David Lloyd Bradley is a ceramacist and educator living in Phoenix, Arizona. David views his art as an agent of understanding and change. In this episode, David talks about his daily life as a professor at Paradise Valley Community College, how he connects his work to social justice concerns, his ongoing projects with suicide survivors and veterans, and how a recent Fulbright trip has blossomed into a continuing multimedia project documenting the lives and work of over three dozen Bosnian artists.

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David’s Three Things:

*Scottsdale Public Art David mentioned one of their many annual events, the Canal Convergence.

*Balkan Social Justice Library Guide David compiled this LibGuide about Social Justice Art in the Balkans. Hosted by the Paradise Valley Community College library, it includes reading lists, photos, and videos, including some of David’s interviews with Balkan artists.

*David’s personal website, https://www.davidbradleyart.com

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Art Lives Theme and Incidental music composed by Nicholaus Meyers. Art Lives Logo created by Eduardo Moreno. Art Lives is available here and on Apple Podcasts.

Episode 5: Clarice Cast

Clarice Cast is a multi-percussionist, composer and educator based in Los Angeles. On this episode Clarice describes her artistic upbringing in Brazil, university experiences in the USA, and her mulit-faceted career. She shares her thoughts on striving for perfection, maintaining self-compassion, and taking artistic chances.

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Clarice’s “Three Things:”

This episode ends with an excerpt from Srishti, played by guitarist Fareed Haque and Clarice Cast, from Fareed’s album Trance Hypothesis.

Clarice’s website and Youtube channel host many of her videos, including this video with Catina DeLuna.

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Art Lives Theme and Incidental music composed by Nicholaus Meyers. Art Lives Logo created by Eduardo Moreno. Art Lives is available here and on Apple Podcasts.

Episode 4: Leslie Walfish

Leslie is Director of Galleries and Curator at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, an art historian, and a photographer.

Leslie is Gallery Director of the Allen Priebe Gallery, and the Annex Gallery at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. She explained what a gallery director does, and how she helps to bring artists’ work to new audiences. Leslie also speaks about the value of art in our society and lives.

Leslie’s “Three Things:”

Leslie mentioned the incredible “passport” benefits that one can get from joining a museum or the American Alliance of museums. Explore these as well:

North American Reciprocal Museum Association

Association of Science and Technology Center Passport

Public library programs, such as the Miami-Dade Public Library Museum Pass

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Title and transition music heard on this episode was composed by Nicholaus Meyers: Slightly Funky, performed by Ken Jimenez and Nicholaus Meyers, and End of Time performed by Elizabeth DeLamater.

Art Lives is available here and on ITunes.

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Episode 3: Greg Dudzienski (part 2)

Greg Dudzienski is a saxophonist, composer, and an educator based in Chicago. In episode 3 we discuss the value of practice journals, documenting creative work, imposter syndrome, and redefining success.

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Greg’s conversation is in 2 parts - Episode 2 & 3. Each episode ends with an excerpt from Greg’s album La Luna, with: Francesco D'Errico - Piano 
Marco De Tilla - Bass 
Marco Fazzari - Drums

Greg read excerpts from Flow, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. He also paraphrased author Austin Kleon.

Greg’s “Three Things:”

* John Coltrane - A Love Supreme and Crescent

*Natalie Prass - Her new album is the Future and the Past

*Paul Simon - His new album is In the Blue Light

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Title and transition music heard on this episode was composed by Nicholaus Meyers: Slightly Funky, performed by Ken Jimenez and Nicholaus Meyers, and End of Time performed by Elizabeth DeLamater. Art Lives is available here and on ITunes

Episodes 2: Greg DudzienskI (part 1)

Greg Dudzienski is a saxophonist, composer, and an educator based in Chicago. He retired from the Navy Music Program last fall. In Episode 2 Greg tells us about his personal and professional transition to civilian life. We also discuss the many hours artists need to dedicate to their craft, some socially and some in solitude. Greg’s conversation is in 2 parts - Episode 2 & 3.

Each episode ends with an excerpt from Greg’s album La Luna, with

Francesco D'Errico - Piano 
Marco De Tilla - Bass 
Marco Fazzari - Drums

Greg read two excerpts from the book Flow, written by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. He also paraphrased author Austin Kleon.

Greg’s “Three Things:”

* John Coltrane - A Love Supreme and Crescent

*Natalie Prass - Her new album is the Future and the Past

*Paul Simon - His new album is In the Blue Light

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Title and transition music heard on this episode was composed by Nicholaus Meyers: Slightly Funky, performed by Ken Jimenez and Nicholaus Meyers, and End of Time performed by Elizabeth DeLamater. Art Lives is available here and on ITunes

Episode 1: Scott Farkas

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Scott Farkas introduces himself as an Educator, Maker, and Performer. He is a professional percussionist, composer, painter, producer, and a college music department chair, among many other things. In this episode Scott speaks about finding inspiration, changing expectations, and the joy of helping others create. He also shares his Theory of Pop Music. This conversation was joyful and thoughtful, and I hope it is wonderful to listen to.

Scott’s “Three Things”

*Make something with someone.

*The music of Sarah Hennies

*The sculptures of artist John Toki

Scott also mentions composer Danny Clay.

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Music heard on this episode was composed by Nicholaus Meyers: Slightly Funky, performed by Ken Jimenez and Nicholaus Meyers and End of Time performed by Elizabeth DeLamater.

About the Art Lives Podcast

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The Art Lives podcast features interviews with literary, performing, & visual artists, about their art, their lives, and how they navigate the world.

Literary, performing, and visual artists share their thoughts and experiences. We discuss philosophical issues, such as dreams, expectations, motivation, identity, success…and we also talk about practical concerns, such as time management, grant funding, health insurance, and practice spaces.

Art Lives is a monthly podcast hosted and produced by Elizabeth DeLamater. It was created in the summer of 2018.

Art Lives is available on iTunes.

Theme and transition music heard on Art Lives was composed by Nicholaus Meyers. The Theme music is Slightly Funky, performed by Ken Jimenez, trumpet, and Nicholaus Meyers, percussion. The transition music, End of Time, was performed by Elizabeth DeLamater.

The Art Lives logo was designed by Eduardo Moreno.

Photo: Sabar drums on the roof of the Konate house, Guedaiwaye, Senegal

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