Archive for March, 2011

I wrote about Jill Bolte Taylor in my personal blog. Jill is a neuroanatomist who suffered a massive stroke on the left side of her brain in 1996. “She observed her own mind completely deteriorate to the point that she could not walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life, all within the space of four brief hours. In her book My Stroke of Insight , Taylor shares her unique perspective on the brain and its capacity for recovery, and the sense of omniscient understanding she gained from this unusual and inspiring voyage out of the abyss of a wounded brain.” (from her book) For this reason, I sent her a Luna Phoenix guitar.
In this amazing “Ode to the Brain”, Jill joins Carl Sagan, Robert Winston, Vilayanur Ramachandran, Bill Nye, and Oliver Sacks in celebrating the human brain. The material sampled for this video comes from Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, Jill Bolte Taylor’s TED Talk, Vilayanur Ramachandran’s TED Talk, Bill Nye’s Brain episode, BBC’s “The Human Body”, Oliver Sachs’ TED Talk, Discovery Channel’s “Human Body: Pushing the Limits”, and more.

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I often encourage beginning Luna players by emphasizing that “three or four chords and the truth” has been a pretty powerful combination throughout musical history. There are only 12 notes in Western Music. Learning guitar isn’t easy, but there is no use in over-complicating it either if you’re doing it for your own pleasure. Not everyone is going to be a guitar legend…… all you need to be able to play about 5,000 songs is 3-4 guitar chords. This video by Axis of Awesome shows how many pop hits can come out of just one four chord progression. Prepare yourself to be amazed! And keep a pen and notebook handy for those out- of- the- blue lyric inspirations!

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Hmmm....now what?

Vicki Genfan and Tay Hoyle spent their childhoods thinking of how to better “take the show on the road”. Vicki Genfan is an astonishing guitarist we are proud to call a Luna artist and Tay Hoyle is an artist in her own right, responsible for much of the engineering and interior design of the John Lennon Bus.

Because of technological advancements, a traveling musician can now make the entire world his or her stage. The challenge was how to traverse the country economically with all the comforts of home yet untethered and unleashed, free to play spontaneous gigs on the road between scheduled gigs as well as record and broadcast them. (cue drum roll) Enter Vicki’s Van!!!!

The Vicki Van!!!!

Vicki’s Van started with a stripped down 2005 Dodge Sprinter which Tay transformed into a remarkable rolling home, studio and stage. The “home” has such well thought out amenities as a complete kitchen replete with pantry for Vicki’s gluten-free supplies, a closet with a mirror and shelving for make up on the inside of the door that acts as Vicki’s dressing room, a zen fountain and space for meditation and qigong, and wireless web access for business and entertainment purposes. It even has a sofa for rehearsals or impromptu jamsessions.

No healthfood store in town? No problem!

Vicki, Catie Curtis & friend rehearse before show

The studio is in progress and will be housed beneath the bed which flips up to reveal a monitor with studio equipment at either side. The stage pulls out of the back of the van and speakers will be permanently mounted on the open doors.

Where would you like us to set up?

The van currently runs on diesel, but to make it even more nimble, green and frugal, Tay also has plans to eventually convert it so that it will be fueled, at least partly, by recycled vegetable oil.

You can catch Vicki’s Van in action in the following two videos. The first was shot by our friends at Truefire, and the second was shot before their recent trip to this year’s Folk Alliance conference. Vicki will be using the stage to broadcast her whereabouts and promote upcoming schedules on her site.

Be on the lookout! Vicki’s Van is “Coming soon to a theater or parking lot near you!!!!”

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