Tag Archives: austin

Austin Lightning

Have you ever been struck by lightning?  You know those huge lightning strikes that stretch across the sky, branching in every direction and electrifying the entire cloudbank.  Well, there was such an event that occurred around, say 1983 through 1988, and the cloud was Austin, Texas.  Everyone in the the community was electrified, and some of us were hit with the full force of the bolt, blasted across the sky in a chaos of excitement and power.  Your name was on a hundred lips, and your mouth spoke a litany of names that you belonged to and belonged to you.  These faces were everywhere you looked, everywhere you went, each having a fascinating history and connected to the whole, your friend at your ear always whispering the significance of the personage that has appeared before you.  And we danced, dancing aggressively, in a frenzy, around the maypole or in a waltz, but always dancing, dancing to the music that was our common heartbeat, that kept the blood pulsing through our veins.  Sleep came when necessary, usually in the morning, when the chaos was least, and you could relax for a while knowing you weren’t missing too much.  But something was always happening.  You danced at work, in the park, in the club, coming on the dancefloor, holding the waist of the beauty in front of you while someone from behind you held your waist and the conga line increased its tempo until everyone was a human snake running ’round the Coliseum.  On and on it went, with the magicians on stage being the audience and the crowd being the spectacle, the lyrics of the song telling your story.  The intimacy was incredibly intense, making the body shiver with all the desire and possibilities, wanted and unwanted.

The force of the bolt climaxes, catapulting you into pure consciousness, beyond the concept of planet, you float in empty space. In darkness you hear the far off applause for your accomplishment.  Eventually you awaken, thousands of miles away, on a sidewalk by a foreign road, a burnt cinder.  Now, decades later, of all the millions of events, places, people and experiences that were there, only one mythic name does the World remember:  Stevie Ray Vaughan.

 

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Tchiya’s Tornado

TornadoShopped4

Oil on Canvas for CD Cover Art


From Austin, Texas to Tucson, Arizona

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I thought about including this post in my Journey Through Latin America, but after spending some time in Texas I realized it really is not very Latino.  They have alot of Latinos there , and some great Tex-Mex food, but it really is a place of its own.  After a week with my parents in Victoria, Texas I scooted up to Reedville to stay over with my cousin Luke and his beautiful wife and darling daughter.  I took full advantage of the huge crop of pecans they had all over their yard before heading out towards Austin.  As I left Reedville I spotted this Longhorn grazing nearby.

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Austin, Texas has grown phenomenally since I lived there in the 80’s and early 90’s.  They seem to have raised a skyscraper for each of the 17 years since I left.  It is a fabulous place, with posh restaurants and a funky neo-retro look to all the latest architecture.   They have a great statue of my old buddy Stevie Ray on the shores of Ladybird Lake.

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Despite the urgings of my friends to stay in Austin and re-make my life there, I felt the Sonoran Desert calling me.  I had a long drive from Austin to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico where I stayed with my cousin Jeff.  I enjoyed meeting his kids and viewing his leatherworking shop, but soon I was back on the road to Arizona.  I stopped at my favorite rest area near Texas Canyon, AZ  where the landscape is otherworldly.

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By mid-afternoon I was in Tucson, and I breathed deep the air of the Sonoran Desert.   Stepping out of my car into the yard of my friend Ann Marie, the smell of creosote bush and other subtle fragrances wafted welcomely through my nostrils.  The next day I couldn’t wait to drive a little further west towards the Coyote Wilderness Area where I hope to purchase some land and begin building a Sustainable Desert Community.  This is my latest dream, and I encourage you to follow this new blog to see how it progresses.

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The Chick

The Chick

This is the first painting I made in what I coined the Matrix Pointelist style. It is from a newsprint photo of a local singer named Anneke Speller, but the guys around the house always referred to it as “the chick.”


Journey Through Latin America (Part 12)

 

 

 

 

After resting up in Liberia, Costa Rica for a few days, I was ready for the journey to Monteverde.   Offered every taxi driver on the plaza 500 colones, or one dollar, to take me to the bus terminal, but they all turned me down and I just heaved my backpack and guitar the six blocks and got on a bus to Cañas.

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From Cañas I took a short ride to Tilaran, where we waited an hour for the bus to Monteverde.  Seeing Tilaran I wished I had spent a couple of days there instead of Liberia, but it was too late to stop there as I was rapidly approaching my flight date of Dec 12 out of San Jose.  At the bus stop I ran into a nice Dutch lady named Lisel, whom I had met in Liberia, and who has been riding a bicycle all over Costa Rica.  What fun!  She was taking the bus to Monteverde, however, because the road is steep and rough.  The road is indeed rough, and my bladder seemed so full by the time we finally arrived in Santa Elena, the actual town near the Monteverde Reserve.  The road was so dusty that my backpack and guitar , which had been stored below, were covered with a thick layer of it.

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The scenery was quite beautiful and cool as we climbed up into the clouds.  In Santa Elena I stayed at a recommended hostel, Pension Santa Elena, which is quite reasonable and just a block from the bus stop, and is run by a brother/sister team from Austin, Texas with the surname of Smith.

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After talking to the beautiful receptionist about my journey, I set off for the bar Tres Monos that she recommended as a place I might perform my show as Luis Sabor.  After talking to the owner, we arranged for me to play that Saturday night at the Dikary Restaurant, which turned out to be alot of fun.

The day before the show was when I made the mandatory journey to the cloudforest.  Most of the other travellers I met were also taking zip line tours, night tours, bungee jumping and many other fun things, but my budget allowed me only the walk in the jungle.  I loved it.

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I first saw an agouti sniffing around the banana trees at the entrance, then I glimpsed a light-colored coyote and a raptor of some sort, and I heard what may have been a toucan.  Later on I heard and saw a troop of coatimundis, one of which was quite large, but I couldn´t get a good shot for a photo, and it was rather dark.  I started shooting with abandon and took a video as well, and suddenly my battery was dead.  A while later I saw some white-faced capuchin monkeys and miraculously my camera had just enough juice left for a photo.

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A friend of mine from Tucson, Susu,  whom I had not seen for 13 years lives in Monteverde with her Tico husband Marcos who is an excellent guide, and they graciously invited me to stay with them a couple of nights in their lovely new house with their lovely new daughter Eva, who is absolutely adorable.

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Susu´s parents have a large property and gorgeous home, complete with orchard and greenhouse, and there is a large section of the land that is easily as pleasant to walk through as the reserve.  The following photos should make it obvious why so many retirees move to Costa Rica.

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The last night in Monteverde we went to a choir performance directed by Susu´s father Hugh Gray and featured the Smith family, of Pension Santa Elena.  It really is a small, close-nit community, and I think within a few weeks I could have met most of the members.    I really enjoyed my visit there and hope to come back, but I have a plane to catch in San Jose, bound for Lima, Peru.

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Journey through Latin America (Part 1)

 

I suppose the beginning of the trip was when I left Tucson, Arizona around Sept 16, 2012 at 3AM and drove to Las Cruces, New Mexico where I called my new Couchsurfing friend Paty who had generously offered her abode for my much needed rest.  It had been a stressful day before as I had packed all the belongings I could into my Toyota Camry, leaving behind everything else to my friends and the house I had lived in for the previous 9 years, to be auctioned off in October.

I slept for a few hours at Paty’s place, then had dinner in El Paso before driving all night until I was dangerously sleepy and decided stop at a rest stop outside of Junction Texas.  By dawn I was much better, then got out of the car to do my morning ritual of Qi Gong exercises before driving in to Austin, Texas.  Austin has changed a whole heck of a lot in the last 15 yrs since I lived there.  I stayed with a couple of friends of mine, Tim & Taz, and later Gary, and had a couple of shows playing guitar and singing my songs.  My stage name is Luis Sabor and I have been planning to sing my way through Central America and finally to Lima, Peru, where I will spend the New Year with my 9 yr-old son, who lives there.

I visited alot of friends and family on my way to Victoria, Texas, where I stayed with my parents for a few days and left my car parked in their driveway.  My folks drove me to McAllen, TX where we visited with my Uncle Leon before getting on a bus for Reynosa Sept 29.  Right in the bus station I met a lovely Mexican lady named Alejandra, who was travelling the same route to Queretaro Mexico.  We were instant friends and we talked a great deal along the way.  We said goodbye in Queretaro as I took a bus to Morelia, where I had another Couchsurfing friend , Marjolaine, generously offering me a place to stay.

 

 

My stay with Marjolaine was wonderful–I really got the rest I needed.  The second night in Morelia I played at a restaurant for food and tips, then my last night I got to play all night with a Salsa Band, playing my Guiro, a percussion instrument which is great fun.

Now I’ve used up my time in this internet cafe, so I’ll be posting chapter 2 soon. Hasta Luego! Luis


Psychic Event

Tchiya Amet

I had an interesting experience the other day.  I was meditating, as I do every morning, and it was going well.  Unlike most days, I was not as distracted by memories, desires, or fictional characters from movies or books.  I was in a peaceful state, approaching “no thought.”  A feeling came upon me, along with an idea that in around 10 minutes some “event” was going to take place.  Hmmm, I thought…what kind of event could occur? Probably the phone will ring, perhaps someone will knock on the door, or I suppose there could be a power outage.  Sometimes when I finish meditating it is exactly at the half-hour mark, maybe that’s all it is.  So I kept at peace for a space I felt was about 10 minutes, then I turned my head to look at the clock.  It was 10:28. Well, I guess that’s close enough, I thought, so I stretched my legs and started getting the blood flowing again.  Then the phone rang.  Wow, I thought, that’s cool.  I answered the phone, and it was Tchiya Amet, a fabulous indigenous reggae musician, who had never called me before, and we hadn’t communicated even by email in a couple of years.  She said she had been trying to send an email for the last 15 minutes, but for some reason the computer wasn’t cooperating.  She asked me if I would like to do the artwork for a new CD she is going to release soon.  Well yeah!  I would say that was a significant “event.”


Texas Blues–“Put ‘n Will”


Surfing Analogies

            There was a short time during my youth when I liked to surf, or try to.  Texas isn’t much of a place for surfing, but occasionally, when there is a storm in the Gulf of Mexico, there are waves big enough to ride.  For years I would paddle out to the big waves, get pounded, occasionally stand up for a few seconds, then exhaust myself fighting the waves again.  Then one weekend I was taught how to surf by someone who knew how.  He showed me how to use the rip current near the jetty to paddle past those pounding waves, then pass up the second line of breakers I had always stayed at.  He taught me to go beyond the third line of breakers, where the sea was calm—this is what is known as “outside.”  It was beautiful there, just sitting on your board and rolling with the swells.  The trick, it turned out, was to look toward the horizon and see the big swells coming—then paddle like mad so you were matching the speed of the wave at the moment it broke.  That’s when you can really get a good ride.  Then, after a nice ride, you have to peel off and get back “outside” before the wave moves you to the second line of breakers.         

            I was a waiter at the Lone Star Café at the time, and there was a serious surfer, named Bryan, working there as well.  It occurred to me on a busy Friday night how analogous the work was to surfing.  I kept telling Bryan, “ I can’t get to the outside, I’m getting pounded,” and he would nod knowingly, “ right on.”  The more I thought about it, and I still think about it, almost everything we engage in can be viewed in terms of surfing.  The reason is this:  everything in our physical reality, relative to time, is rising and falling, growing and decaying, coming and going, in a wave-like fashion.  We are on an ocean of change, and every entity and event in our lives is behaving like a wave.  So here are a few points to my “surfing philosophy” or “wave theory” and how they may be applied to one’s life:

1)      Find the rip current—“go with the flow,” why take a pounding and wear yourself out?  There is an easier way.

2)      Get to the “Outside”—its worth the effort to reach your goal.  Settling for the first line of breakers could be painful and tiring. (This one is difficult to be sure about, I guess you have to use your intuition to know where “outside” is.)

3)      Relax, and look to the horizon—contemplate the future, and try to visualize that perfect wave before it arrives.

4)      Give it your all—when you go for that wave, you’ll have to really dig in to catch it.  Don’t stop paddling.

5)      Keep your balance—riding a wave is a heady experience, don’t slip up.

6)      Peel off and get back “outside”—notice when it is time to move on, or you might get pounded and have to work a lot harder to get back to where you were. (again, you have to use your intuition here.)

 

Personally, I feel that I’ve been “outside” for several years now, and at the moment I’m paddling like mad.  I’ll let you know if I catch the wave, but its looking good so far.

visit my website: http://www.artbylowell.com


Help Make My Dream Real

 

       My big dream then, is to travel through Central America playing my music in exchange for room and board, until I arrive in Lima, Peru.  Once there, I hope to get a good gig in a fine hotel, where I could live for a couple of months and be able to spend time with my son.  This is a pretty outrageous dream, I know, and that’s why I need your help.  In fact, this is the main reason I put together my website and started this blog.  I need help of various kinds, from friends and acquaintances.

 

            First of all, I need to sell my inventory of oil paintings (can’t take ‘em with me) or perhaps find a business who would like to display them for several months.  I would be willing to drive several hours from Tucson to deliver these paintings, if anyone knows of such a place.  While I travel I plan to try my hand at watercolors—they take up much less space.

 

            Secondly, I need contacts throughout my route—in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, and most importantly Peru.  Any contact is super, but especially valuable would be folks in the hospitality industry—hotels, restaurants, tourist agencies.  Also, if anyone has visited these countries and knows of a groovin’ spot where I might play, or where tourists “in the know” like to gather, this would be great  information.

 

            Lastly, and this is so easy for all of you.  Favorite my website (not my blog) or otherwise attach www.artbylowell.com to your site.  This is crucial for my site to show up in searches, something to do with Search Engine Optimization.  I need people to find my site, buy paintings and video downloads, follow my blog, help with all of the above, and become part of my Great Dream.  I am most humbly yours, Lowell  (aka Luis)


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