Archives for the month of: May, 2008

that, my friends, is the eight issue of 110º magazine on the press at the Arizona Daily Star. it’s a beautiful sight, is it not?

katie, lisa and angel pay tribute to the cover photo – a great collaboration between Ruwaida “Roxy” Alansary and Jonathan Schoffel. it’s a stunning and impacting image.

i’ve cried all sorts of tears today…quiet ones. gleeful tears. prideful tears. i can’t put today’s experience into words. i can only simply say that – on the deepest levels – i am content and amazed. i am proud and even more proud. i am beyond thankful for the experiences and the challenges of the past nine months that brought this day. watching the presses run the magazine today was undeniably one of the most satisfying moments of my life. i took a gamble and changed my life course…and today i knew without a doubt that i am precisely where i am supposed to be, doing exactly what i am supposed to be doing…and damn, it feels fantastic!

the content is up on the web. click here to read what some truly phenomenal youth have produced.

next up…the Release Party on Thursday. i’ve been working on the slide show all day, and will continue tomorrow. i think it is going to be beautiful.

Saturday night found me, Sean, Bill and Mel at Plush for Amy Rude’s Cd release party. great bands, especially the opening band: Band of Annuals.

mel is beautiful. i love hanging out with her. she has a great, deep laugh.

Amy is a truly great performer. her music is so soulful. she’s just super cool and her band kicks ass.

we ventured down to The Hut to see if Sean’s friend Scott was working, but nope. The trip wasn’t for nothing…this beauty greeted me in the ladies room.

the next day i headed up to phoenix to spend the holiday weekend with my family. sunday night i joined my sister to celebrate her friend Bree’s birthday. i had never met Bree before, but in one of those truly “krista’s life” moments i found myself sitting next to a Jahna Berry, a woman i had not seen in at least ten years, since i left the Contra Costa Times back in 1998. Jahna is now a reporter with the Arizona Daily Republic. i had a swell time catching up with her. she is just a beautiful a person as she was a decade ago. i look forward to seeing her again.

on monday, i took my nieces for a hike in McDowell Regional Park. it was beautiful, and very popular with mountain bikers. can’t wait to take my bike “Suzette” out for a ride. the girls are just so cute, aren’t they?

the girls have gotten into the swing of looking for “found hearts”. i spotted this one…

i had to laugh when Scarlet said that this heart looked like a butt. so young, yet so full of ironic humor.

it’s done. holy cannoli…it’s finally done. the magazine is ready for printing! wow. i am almost speechless. nine months ago we started this project and now the baby has been put to bed (journalism lingo, for ya’ll non-news types out there). i can’t even begin to explain how cool this feels. i can’t wait for next tuesday when we’ll head down to the paper to watch it being printed on the presses. 110º will be distributed next wednesday and next thursday we have a huge release party to celebrate. click here to see a video short of last year’s release party. i’m totally dying to share the content with everyone, especially the beautiful cover – but i can’t – so ya’ll will have to wait until next wednesday.

i got home last night from the Daily Star, where Katie and i gave our final sign off of the magazine, and i felt very bewildered. i really wanted to go out and celebrate, but felt too stunned and paralyzed to call anyone. luckily, my good friend Sean called from his neighborhood bar and i totally invited myself out for a drink. my beer tasted sooooo good (red hook ESB for ya’ll nosy peoples). it ended up being one of those totally fun and random nights. after a celebratory drink we headed over to join Mel and fellow tallboy Bill at Plush for a show. good music. the bands were…

and tonight, appearing at Plush….is none other than Steph and The Lemon Drop Gang. they are opening for The Liars, a big band out of l.a. that is currently on tour with Radiohead. super cool stuff.

monday was the day of gifts! stopped by the post office to find the usual mail of bills and such, but was surprised by two packages. one from william that included this lovely gem…

it is going to look so perfect on my new party dress that i will be wearing to the release party next week. yeah! another chance to my wear sassy high heels! i love being a girl.

and my very loving mom (and faithful blog reader), Melody, sent a “Congratulations!” package that was so touching. she sent a beautiful jeweled frame that i plan on taking a photo just to fill…me with the staff of 110º at the release party. she also sent along this cute package (found hearts!) which is a dvd on San Francisco. THANKS MOM!

i send a super big “congratulations!” to my awesome co-worker Rachel who earned her Ph.D. last week…

Katie (right) is next up for hers. these ladies are tough acts to follow. i suppose i’ll just have to go get my masters to keep up with my crew because now the lovely Angel is headed to the UofA for her master’s next semester. such smart ladies. i am honored to work with them.

the Becki is coming back to town! woohoo!

she just sold her house!!! super big congrats to her! i can’t wait for her arrival. i am so glad she’s coming out to be my date to the release party. i know that i’ll have the hottest date at the party!

now i’m off to take advantage of the cool temperatures and go for a good solid run with Gertie. i’ve put on a bit of weight lately, which isn’t all that bad…it’s given me some sexy Jane Mansfield curves, but i do need to get my cute ass back into date-worthy status. cheers!

new music to check out: Santogold and M83

came home last night from work, feeling out of sorts and frustrated with some issues at work. in my effort to avoid the encroaching feelings of melancholy i turned to my favorite things for support.

i turned first to Puccini, the Italian composer of operas (Madama Butterfly, Tosca, La Boheme, and the comedic Gianni Schicchi). Nessun Dorma is an aria that never fails to lift my spirits. Giacomo Puccini wrote it for ‘Turandot’. as i moved into my kitchen i made the decision to make one of my favorite pasta dishes for dinner. it is a long and slow process, which is exactly what i was looking for to refocus my mind. this dish is one that i’ve been creating for years. it’s like an old, trusted friend of mine now…one full of surprises because the dish rarely turns out the exact same.

anyone who has ever spent time in a kitchen with me knows that i am in love with my kitchen knives. quite particular about them actually. i have a lovely set of J.A. Henckels that i adore. my true love for cooking deepened when i finally splurged on my knives. i enjoy the focused repetition and tediousness of chopping, cutting, slicing, dicing. it is a kind of calming meditation for me.

this dish includes all my staples – fresh garlic, bell peppers, red onion, mushrooms, basil, cheese, pasta. i did not make my own pasta last night. i was too lazy…too lazy to even run to the market for that vital ingredient – a bottle of red wine (gasp!).

nonetheless, it was a wonderful way to spend my evening. slow. calculated. focused.

at long last, i sat down to eat at the exact moment that an aria from Gianni Schicchi began to play (O mio babbino caro – which is lilting soprano solo sung by ‘Loretta’, who is pleading with her father to allow her to marry the man she loves). i took a deep aromatic breath and began to feel more and more content with every bite.

this weekend was the inaugural art show for Voices, Inc., and City High School in honor of our collaboration – PS48. one half of our youth staff had their photo up in a gallery all weekend, which was an annual weekend where all art galleries open their doors for a ‘walk-a’bout’. hopefully PS48 will have regular bi-annual shows at the Arts Incubator gallery – fall and spring.

i had “proud mamma” syndrome. on wednesday, i started to cry when i picked up the prints from Photographic Works (fantastic staff, great quality and the owner Mary supports Voices – so go give her your business!). the prints looked so beautiful and the images were of such high creative quality. i felt so deeply proud of the work the youth have put into their stories. Barb over at ‘Barb’s Frame of Mind’ did a beautiful rush job on the matting, and gave us a discount as well – so send your business her way too!!

it is incredibly hard to believe, the this is the last week of the program for the youth staff. we’re having a big “Last Day” party on Thursday at Katie’s house. eight months. already gone. and in 17 days the magazine will be in the hands of the readers of Tucson. wow. that is so powerful to me.

my weekend was calm and relaxing, a much needed reprieve. i did a lot of reading, organizing the files on my computer, cleaning house and i finally tackled the jungle of weeds on my front drive. my allergies kicked into high gear, so i still have one more patch to do. i spent part of sunday at the paper again with the mad design genius that Anne is. she put together a beautiful layout for the last story of the magazine. i am so excited to see it all printed and in my hand.

i was watching the news last night and two things really pissed me off.

when George W. Bush took office on Jan. 22, 2001 the price of one (1) barrel of oil was $32.19.

yesterday, May 5, 2008 the price of one barrel hit a true new record high of $119.97.

let’s do the math. that’s an increase of $87.78….over seven years…an increase of $12.54 per year.

invading Iraq had nothing to do with that, i’m sure “our” government would say, nor would the resulting instability in the middle eastern region of the world. and speaking of Iraq and “our” government…i learned last night that the U.S. military is building a wall – that’s right, A WALL – around Sadr City, a section in Bhagdad that is home to 2 million people, not all of whom are “insurgents”.

a wall. in Bhagdad.

a fence. on the Mexico border.

someone please explain to me why “my” government is building structures that are, in effect, useless. all this money and manpower being used to divide people instead of feeding people, educating people…or money that could be going to researching clean fuel alternatives to reduce the dependency upon oil….which brings me full-circle. one barrel. $119.97. which politician’s pocket should i deposit my money into?

it finally happened. this weekend, on saturday night, in fact. while attending Josh’s “Photography on Fire” exhibit. i realized that i’ve been in tucson long enough now that i have different “groups” of friends…and i realized this when i was introducing people to each other. i helped me realize that tucson, so full of a fascinating mixture of people, is definitely becoming a solid home for me.

the images in the show that Josh curated are very moving and insightful. Josh gave a presentation that left me so inspired and wanting to go share the magic of photography with everyone i meet. he shared one digital story project created by an amazing teen in Tibet in which she challenges people to ask themselves, “What makes you happy?”….so, what makes you happy? do you know? can you remember?

Steph was my date to the gallery show…after which we hit the town. a drink at the red room found us attempting a saturday new york times crossword puzzle with the cutie bartender luke. then off to the lovely amy rude‘s house where i found myself “singing” in public, making up lyrics to a “folk” song about bugs (i chose ants).

i call this next series – Lyrical Ladies.

Steph’s smile is so contagious.

amy is heading to europe for the summer to perform.

meeting the lovely Miz A was serendipitous. earlier in the day i swooned over her dress when she walked into cafe passe. hours later we were singing together. life is simply so much fun some days.

a study in red…

katie, anne and i busted booty all weekend. anne has mad skills and the design is artistic, young and very solid. it very well might be the best looking magazine we’ve put out yet. i’m certainly proud of it…and my journalism friends would be proud of the headlines katie and i crafted. headline writing is slow mental torture.

if, for whatever reason, you have not seen enough male “privates” lately, i know exactly where to send you…to Spike and Mike’s Twisted Festival of Animation. sheesh! madame mamta and i went last night i was really disappointed in the variety of animated shorts. i felt badly for asking her to go. i can’t say that i recommend anyone else attending. it was almost assaulting, like it was a theme or something. in previous years there has been some amazing artistry and politically challenging work, but i think that this year’s collection has little to no deep creativity. in total honesty, i felt like all these creators (mostly men) were fighting to reclaim their virility in the manner of a visual temper tantrum. lame. so lame, i actually fell asleep.

i’m happy to report that i only have two remaining final photo edits to do with youth staff members. after that, all the images will be complete for this year’s, my inaugural issue, 110 Degrees After School Youth Magazine. it is so exciting. i am very happy with the work the youth created, and i have to say that it has been a very fun exercise to be able to work in more abstract ways with the images.

we saw a mock-up of the cover yesterday (which is beautiful!!), and suddenly it all hit home. i only have two more weeks with this staff before the year ends. i feel strange about it. i’m really going to miss these cool, young people. their diversity makes them a super strong group. that said, i am looking forward to moving on to our summer project, Voices Freelance Project (VFP).

i was toning images this morning and couldn’t keep my focus, so i hopped onto iTunes and downloaded the most recent release from Balkan Beat Box, which includes members from one my favorite bands from Brooklyn, Big Lazy. for anyone not familiar with them, check them out! they are super fabulous…and the upbeat pace kept by the horn section kicked my booty into gear and i got all the images done well before my 11am meeting this morning with the designer, Anne.

Gertie and I have been heading over to Reid Park almost daily for a jog/walk/run. she’s a great exercise partner…except when she sees a bird and takes off, jerking me along and causing me to look like i’m trying out some extremely modern dance moves….maybe i am, okay? so what?

this past monday a lovely group of women gathered to attend Her Shorts, a film festival dedicated to short films created by women behind the video camera. the festival was hosted by tucson-based Plugged Art Collective. it was really interesting. there are four that really enthralled me. one in particular, Alegrias by Arielle Falk, challenged my slight inclination towards claustrophobia. in this 9 min video the artist slowly put on 20 ski masks, one at a time, pauses once all 20 are on her head and then slowly removes them. in my head i kept saying, “faster! faster! hurry! take them off! you’re going to suffocate!”

tonight the former photography director of Voices, Josh Schachter, has an opening of a photo project he lead in India. Josh worked with kids growing up in “New Delhi’s Kathputli Colony, home to nearly 4,000 traditional Indian artists – magicians, puppeteers, fire-eaters, musicians, and dancers.” all the images in the show were shot by youth, and there are some very powerful photos. if you are in town, head on over to The Drawing Studio for the opening reception from 6-9pm for “Photography On Fire.”

also!! so very exciting!! Spike and Mike’s Sick & Twisted Festival of Animation is showing here in Tucson at The Loft. i try to go every year, and i’m never disappointed and i’m always challenged, awed and made to feel really uncomfortable. i’m planning on going tonight after Josh’s show.

this weekend also hosts the Tucson Folk Festival. the headlining act is the lovely Ruthie Foster of Austin, Texas. i’ve been spreading the word all week…go! she’s a must see!

two last very cool things! one…the awesome Becki will be making one last Tucson appearance before she heads overseas to Tanzania for the Peace Corps. i’m so excited for a quick and dirty road trip with the lovely lady. also, my web site – www.KristaJoyNiles.com – has finally been secured and is in the creation process. i’ll let ya’ll know when it goes live.

for those of you who have noticed the lack of music on my blog, it is because Sonific Songspot has closed their doors, for now. i’m looking around for other providers, so that your blog experience can be a whole one. cheers!