Monday, March 31, 2008

Transform Yourself

Wise Eastern gurus have known for years what science is just recently catching onto: the practice of yoga offers multiple health benefits. Now, scientists are proving it. No less an august scientific institution than the National Institutes of Health is offering a glimpse of yoga's power to heal as scientists and practitioners gather on the campus of the National Institutes of Health for NIH Yoga Week, May 19-23 at various NIH venues. The week's events are open to the public, featuring classes, workshops, exhibits and demonstrations suitable for everyone: longstanding practitioners of the art of yoga, wannabe desk yogis, and the just-plain curious who may want to learn more about emerging health benefits. Experts will address topics ranging from research showing benefits in cancer treatment to practices geared towards managing stress and easing lower back pain. Yoga classes will be held both outside (weather permitting) and indoors to encourage as participation by as many people as possible.

Check out a full listing for events on their splash page.


"Name that Band"

No one was "Leavin' on a Jet Plane," on the last Friday in March, as five rockin' folkies who make neuroscientific discoveries by day at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and make music every chance they get marked their live cafe debut at Caribou Coffee. The live concert featured the smooth vocal stylings of Jennifer Elcano, her husband Tomm on bass, NIDA's Joe Frascella and Curtis Balmer, with special guest vocalist Dorie Hightower. Original compositions played by the group have a fresh coffee house flavor that could usher in a neo-indie-folk rock revival.

Every month is a new gig, with new musicians and new material. So check out the talent on Friday nights (fourth of each month) and celebrate. It's the weekend!

: Caribou Coffee off Norbeck Road in Rockville in the Rock Creek Village Center

: "Sex [deleted]..." and other area musicians

Sponsored by
: Caribou Coffee and The Songwriters Association of Washington

Monday, March 17, 2008

DC Dreamin'

For those who have never participated in a "Dream Circle," I highly recommend the experience. To share images and symbols conjured in the oneiric state with a group of friends can offer unexpected insights into the way your friends' waking minds work -- never mind the Freudian.

Eight of us gathered at a friend's home recently to examine our dreams in this way. Our host shared a dream she had recorded recently where a pale green python (a global post-modern harbinger of spring, perhaps?) was in her house and encircling her dog, although she didn't feel the dog was threatened. The moment of decision in the dream was whether she or her husband, who had charged downstairs carrying a sword, should kill the python before it harmed their family pet. What was going on here?

A fellow dreamer immediately jumped in with her own interpretation -- this dream was clearly about Hillary Clinton and our conflicts about choosing a candidate in the coming election, she said. Immediately, others in our circle nodded their heads. Yes! More than one person recounted then that they had dreamt about Barack Obama, as had colleagues and acquaintances with whom they had discussed sleep or lack thereof since the primary season ramped up.

Wow, I would have thought the dream was about snake charmers, or something. Oh, but wait...

Ambivalence over this long presidential primary courtship has apparently crept into the collective subconscious and crawled into bed with us at night.

Hmm...I wonder what Freud might have to say about this.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Check Out College Park's Hottest New Rockers

Three Months to Live is the latest rock band to emerge from the University of Maryland, and their music is killer hot. Guitarist Ben Payes has penned the music and lyrics, and the performances by all five musicians, including Mike LaBattaglia on lead vocals, Ross Jacobson, lead guitar, Nick Scialli on bass, and Kenny Leftin on drums, show promise.

With these original compositions, the band is negotiating with clubs for performance dates this spring.

Tune in to this blog periodically for news about upcoming gigs and check out the band's MySpace page.