Archive for the 'events' Category

Events: COME BACK TO YOUR SENSES, a summer retreat in Tuscany for gay men

January 14, 2016

Have you ever been to Italy? If not, maybe it’s time. If so, do you miss it? I do. That’s why I’m going back this summer with my friend and colleague John Ballew to host

COME BACK TO YOUR SENSES – Cultivating Sensuality in Tuscany
A workshop for gay men
June 11-18, 2016

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About the Program:

In today’s fast-paced world, hard-working people spend their days harnessed to computers and electronic devices. We believe it’s spiritually rewarding to take time to nourish yourself, to explore and refine simple pleasures. We invite you to come back to your senses.

Presented under the auspices of our friends at Il Chiostro, this retreat offers more than simply the opportunity to get away from ordinary life. We are inspired by the ancient philosophy of Epicureanism. Dating from the 4th century BC, Epicureanism taught that the pleasures of the senses offer a verifiable standard of truth and therefore can serve to cultivate wisdom, justice, and happiness.

During the week-long retreat, we will spend time cultivating all of the senses. You will be invited to really see what you see, taste what you taste, smell what you smell, hear what you hear, and touch what you touch – really slow down, savor your sensory impressions and replenish your skills of discernment.

In a setting that is both safe and inviting to gay men, we will help you remember the joy of life in a body!

pool and gazebo

“Come Back to Your Senses” is a rich but gently structured adventure. Our days together will alternate between two different kinds of activity:

1) interactive group exercises designed to help us slow down, engage our sensual mechanisms, recalibrate our awareness of what’s important in our lives, activate our creativity, and cultivate deeper intimacy with ourselves and others; and

2) expeditions to nearby towns such as Montalcino and Pienza or destinations such as the Abbey at Sant’Antimo or the spa Bagno Vignoni.

There will be time to relax and enjoy the beautiful Tuscan setting, and every evening we will sit down for a leisurely delicious multi-course dinner prepared just for us. There’s something really special about sharing these activities in Italy with a soulful group of open-hearted gay men. The size of the group is limited to 10 participants.

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Accommodations: The program will take place at Il Chiostro’s favorite new location, San Giovanni d’Asso in Tuscany, 40 km southeast of Siena. We will stay in an ancient farmhouse called “Il Tribbio,” which was completely refurbished in 2005. This large house has five double bedrooms, each of which has a private bathroom and air-conditioning. Outside there is a loggia with panoramic views of the surrounding area known as the Val d’Orcia. a swimming pool, and large outdoor spaces for gathering or relaxing. In front of the house there is a large, beautiful garden with olive and pomegranate trees and a wide grassland, from which you can enjoy a wonderful view of the rolling Sienese hills.

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Il Tribbio is located in a peaceful countryside 10 minutes by foot (1 km) from the romantic village of San Giovanni d’Asso, which has a beautiful 14th century castle, a charming tiny 11th century Romanesque church, a crazy botanical garden called Il Bosco della Ragnaia (curated and owned by an American painter), and a truffle museum (most of the truffles that come from Italy originate here).

Price: $2,595 p/p

Includes:

  • Double room with ensuite bathroom and shower
  • Daily breakfast and dinner, including wine
  • Workshop tuition, daily experiences facilitated by the instructors
  • Selected excursions with the group

Price does not include:

  • Airfare
  • Lunch
  • Independent meals and sight-seeing

To register:  A non-refundable deposit of $500 is required to secure your spot in the workshop.  Payment can be made online here with a credit card, or you can follow the instructions to send in your registration and payment by mail.  Once we receive your deposit we will send you a formal Registration Confirmation with further information about the program.  You will receive 2-3 other correspondences by email prior to the workshop with information about Italy, a supplies list and an electronic invoice for the balance.  Final Balance is due by May 1st.

Contact us for more information:  info@ilchiostro.com or speak to the registration staff live at 800-990-3506. If you have any questions, feel free to contact either me or John Ballew directly.

Events: Gamelan Kusuma Laras at Roulette

November 16, 2015

Gamelan Kusuma Laras, the Javanese music ensemble I’ve been playing with for several years, will give a concert Saturday night at Roulette, the prestigious new-music venue in Brooklyn. Javanese gamelan is stately, meditative, polyphonic, sometimes shockingly rowdy, quite exotic and not for every taste. You can check out samples online but you can never really get a true sense of gamelan music except by experiencing it live. This concert officially begins at 8 pm but we will start playing at 7:45 with a couple of pieces traditionally used to welcome the audience. Then we’ll play three long-ish pieces, one of them composed by our music director, the phenomenal I. M. Harjito. And the show ends with a dance piece featuring guest performers Anang Totok Dwiantoro and Triwi Harjito in full costume and makeup. Check it out and let me know what you think.

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Events: Gamelan Kusuma Laras concerts, May 30-31

May 28, 2015

You may or may not know that I’ve been playing gamelan for several years now.  You may or may not know what gamelan music is….

Gamelan Kusuma Laras in rehearsal

Gamelan Kusuma Laras in rehearsal

Gamelan is an Indonesian percussion ensemble that comes in two varieties, Balinese and Javanese. Our group, Gamelan Kusuma Laras, is Javanese and specializes in music specifically from Solo, one of the cities in Central Java.  Javanese gamelan music is rich, dense, polyphonic, precise, meditative, quite exotic. There’s also a fair amount of singing, for solo voice and choruses, but the singing is part of the orchestral blend, not front and center the way it is in a lot of Western vocal music. Hearing recordings of gamelan music, it’s almost impossible to imagine how it is produced. Seeing the various instruments and how they’re played is a treat in itself.

Gamelan is definitely not for everyone. But if you’re curious about music from other cultures or know a little bit about gamelan, this would be a great opportunity to experience the music live.

The concert is about two hours long and is  preceded by 15 minutes of “welcoming music.” The
program includes a bunch of unusually intricate and cool pieces, and I’m delighted that I’ll be playing on all the pieces we’re playing. One of the guest  vocalists will be the extraordinary Jessika Kenney, and we will also be joined by a terrific dancer performing in full makeup and costume.

The concert takes place at the Indonesian  Consulate, a beautiful old New York mansion at 5 E. 68th Street. At intermission, very delicious Javanese snacks will be served free of charge. And the tickets are only $20. (You can buy them online here.) Check it out and let me know what you think.

concert postcard

 

Events: Gamelan Kusuma Laras at the Make Music Festival

June 17, 2014

This Saturday, June 21, more than 726 cities around the world will celebrate the longest day of the year with a global celebration of music making. In New York City, there will be over 1,300 concerts on streets, sidewalks, and parks across the five boroughs, all free and outdoors. As part of Make Music New York, Gamelan Kusuma Laras, the Javanese music ensemble that I play with, will be throwing a block party on East 68th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues, in front of our home base, the Indonesian Consulate. We’ll be playing from 12 noon until 6 pm. Feel free to drop by for a few minutes or stay all afternoon!

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Events: Gamelan Kusuma Laras at Riverside Church June 1

May 22, 2014

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The music group that I play with, Gamelan Kusuma Laras, will give a concert of classical Javanese music as part of the Christ Chapel Chamber Series at The Riverside Church.

WHEN: Sunday, June 1, 2014, 3:00 – 5:00 pm

WHERE: Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10027 (@122nd Street)

WHO: Gamelan Kusuma Laras is a classical Javanese gamelan orchestra based in New York City that performs music, dance, and theatre from the classical repertoire of the courts of Central Java. Created especially for the Indonesia Pavilion at the World’s Fair of 1964-65, the gamelan has the honor of being housed at the Indonesian Consulate in New York City. The ensemble is led by artistic director I.M. Harjito and director Anne Stebinger.

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WHAT: The repertoire for this concert will be:
* Ladrang Singa-Singa (laras pelog pathet barang)
* Ketawang Larasmaya (laras pelog pathet barang)
* Gendhing Tejaningsih minggah Ladrang Playon Bedhayan (laras pelog pathet lima)
* Gendhing Onang-Onang, Ladrang Wirangrong (laras pelog pathet nem)
* Ladrang Kutut Manggung, Lancaran Kuda Nyongklang (laras pelog pathet barang)

ADMISSION: suggested donation at the door.

Follow us on Facebook and find us on the web: www.kusumalaras.org
 

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