Tag Archives: dance

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.


Togo Dancers


Oil on Canvas    36″  x  48″

Currently on display at the Dunbar Cultural Center
325 W 2nd Street, Tucson, AZ 85705


Journey Through Latin America (Part 5)

Antigua Guatemala was really great.  The hostal I stayed at for a week happened to be Salsa Central, where four different dance instructors gave group and private lessons.  As a result I made dozens of friends, listened to great music, and really felt at home.  Friday night I took my Guiro to Las Palmas and talked the owner and band into letting me play with them, and it was great fun.  There were a few extended songs of over 15 minutes that really pushed me to the limit, then after the band stopped I got to dance a few songs with some beautiful ladies I had met.  There were actually more friends there than if I had gone out to a club in my home town of Tucson Arizona.

Sunday I took a shuttle to Guatemala City where I got a “first class” bus to San Salvador.  I met a Canadian couple, Eric and Heather, at the bus station and it turned out we were headed to the same hostal( #1 on hostelworld.com) .  The ride to El Salvador was very short and smooth, and when we got to the border there was no immigration post per se, just some military guys who checked our luggage and passports and asked alot of questions.  The ride to San Salvador was pleasant and when we arrived a local lady overheard me ask about taxis and made a call to a Christian Taxi service for us.  Eric and Heather and I shared a taxi to the hostal and then shared dorm room as well.  The Hostal Cumbres del Volcan is one of the cleanest and most civilized I’d seen, and only $8 a night.  The downside was that it was in a residential area and there wasn’t any place even to buy a soda within five blocks.  I didn’t bother taking any photos because it was just an urban center that could have been anywhere on the planet.  I spent Monday promoting my music show at a number of five-star hotels and restaurants,  I have a solo act as Luis Sabor, singing and playing guitar.   I didn’t expect any response right away, so I left for Santa Ana, which is actually back North a couple of hours.  This is a town more to my liking and I found a great Hostal Casa Verde just blocks from the center of town.

This is really an awesome hostel, just look at the view from the rooftop terrace here.  It has free internet I’m using at the moment, clean everything, and one of the best kitchens you could imagine. The owner Carlos is very friendly and helpful, has designed this place in a very intelligent manner.  When he found out what I was doing he immediately called up a nearby cafe and I played there Wednesday night, and I’m going to play there again Friday.   The interesting contrast I am seeing between Guatemala and El Salvador is that in Guatemala, Xela and Antigua at least, the rooms were really cheap but it was a challenge finding a cheap meal.  Here its in reverse: rooms are twice as much ($9!) but cheap food is everywhere.  It will be easy to keep below my daily budget of $20 here, so maybe I can make up for my expenses in Mexico.

The weather is really my style, WARM, but with a constant breeze.  As long as you stay in the shade its very comfortable.  No need to use a towel after a shower, and of course there are no blankets, just thick sheets.  The hostal here is just blocks from the market, but the whole center of town is just one big bustling entrepreneurial zone.  Just about anything is offered in any of  dozens of shops of various sizes, including folks with just a basket or cart.  Tomorrow I plan to make a video of a walk through the market which should be very entertaining.  One thing different about El Salvador markets from other places I’ve seen is the abundance of pharmacy outlets everywhere, sometimes right next to a food stall in the market.  Perhaps there are no licenses required to sell pharmaceuticals because  I’ve even seen guys selling packaged medicine on the sidewalk.

In all, Santa Ana seems to be a very pleasant place just to kick back for a few days, which is just what I plan to do.



Perfect Storm




              If you look at a chart of the stock market spanning the last 10 years, the lowest point for the S&P500 was around March 1, 2009.  That just happened to coincide with the moment my marriage fell apart.  I was exhausted from a hard week at work, trying to train an incredibly dense new employee.  My wife happened to be suffering from her monthly experience, and my son of five years happened to be at his most irritating stage of life.  He hadn’t yet acquired the skill of telling when an adult is getting angry.  I had to yell at him, she had to yell at me, and suddenly I had a momentary emotional breakdown.  I’m not a violent person, and I would never say abusive things to anyone, but I can yell pretty damn loud when I want to.  It was only a few seconds, but it was devastating.  Apparently, my wife had been significantly more unhappy with our marriage than she had ever communicated to me.  It was over, just like that.


            Here’s the interesting part: she had nowhere to go.  All of her family lives in Peru (you can see why she was unhappy.)  She had no job, and I didn’t make enough to support one household, much less two.  I certainly wasn’t going to say “O.K. , here’s $2000 for plane tickets to Peru, so you can take my son away from me.”  I didn’t even want a divorce, so I just left her alone with her conundrum.  I moved into the guest room/ art studio.


            We lived that way for three full years.  The amazing thing was—it was not bad at all.  We love our son, so we made it work for his sake.  Oh there was certainly a long period of resentment, and I found myself behaving like I did long ago when I was feuding with a roommate—you know, pushing their buttons, leaving them work that you could easily take care of yourself.  Then I just asked myself, “Why am I doing this?  There’s no law that you have to hate your ex-wife.”  So I stopped it all.


            I suppose it was easier for me than it would be for most, because I’ve been meditating for years.  I recite to myself, every morning, the prayer of St. Francis:


            Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace;  where there is hate, let me sow Love;  where there is injury—Pardon;  where there is despair—Hope;  where there is doubt—Faith;  where there is darkness—Light;  where there is sadness—Joy…..


            It’s a good reminder of how I want to live, even though our society programs us to be combative.  I actually love everyone.  I certainly abhor the things that most people do, but I don’t blame them for their behavior.  We are programmed, and years of programming is difficult to purge.  I just pray that more people can break the cycle.  My ex and I have taught our son that divorce doesn’t have to be full of hate.  Now I want to pass on to you the knowledge—it is possible.  Don’t assume that you have to behave the way people expect you to behave.  Choose the good path.  You’ll be glad you did.

check out my website: http://www.artbylowell.com






Remembering Cuba

In December ’98 I was lucky enough to travel to Havana with the band Ache’ Pa’ Ti for the Annual Jazz Festival.  It was so awesome, I stayed for a full month. We got to watch some world-class acts up close, even back-stage like Los Van Van here.   Here’s a great video.

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