Contra Body In Red

Tango dancer Ira

Tango dancer Ira

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Gregory Porter

Gregory-Porter-Liquid-SpiritI got to see the fabulous Gregory Porter last night.  He’s a jazz vocalist with a deep, rich, soulful voice. Born in Sacramento, California, he grew up in Bakersfield and eventually moved to Brooklyn and Harlem, New York where he put together the band that he works with now.  Gregory Porter won the 2014 Grammy for best jazz vocal albumLiquid Spirit.

He was superb last night and so was his band of fabulous jazz musicians.  He started on time and came back for 2 encore’s, closing the show with No Love Dying Here. The only complaint I had was probably the fault of the sound technicians.

12646785_10208477338521627_6689272708110632395_oIn a venue made for excellent acoustics, Houston’s  Wortham Center slipped up a bit with their amplification of Gregory’s voice.  It came across as a bit brassy and lacked the fullness of his baritone voice.  For one song, Porter stood back away from the mic and just sang a cappella proving he really didn’t need any amplifier assistance at all.  Sound systems are so good these days that I’m definitely spoiled and critical when they don’t accurately produce perfect audio.  Other than that, the concert was top notch – laid back, jazzy, smooth and upbeat.

Here’s a few of the songs he sang. Enjoy!

Hey Laura

Liquid Spirit

Be Good



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Personalized Plates?


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Yup, its Everclear but it'll get thinned out by adding water later.

Yup, its Everclear but it’ll get thinned out by adding water later.

I had a nice surprise this week.

A neighbor knocked on my door and told me that during his bike rides around the neighborhood, he’d been admiring my orange tree that is full of big, juicy oranges.  He asked if they were good and would I allow him to grab a few.  I told to him to grab as many as he likes however,  although they look delicious, they are quite sour. I told him that I used the sour juice to marinate pork or chicken but that they were way too sour to just make juice to drink.

He said that he makes limoncello but had been wanting to give ‘orangecello’ a try.  That started a whole discussion about the recipe that he uses to make his liqueur. I was actually interested in trying to make some too.  I had come across a recipe in a magazine recently and thought that it had too much sugar in it for me but still, I wanted to try making it.  He said he felt the same so he uses his own honey from the bees he keeps on some land outside of town.

A bunch of naked lemons. Boy did it smell good!

A bunch of naked lemons. Boy did it smell good!

Then he made me an offer that set me into action.  He offered to trade me lemons that he had just picked from his own tree for oranges that I had on mine.  He also offered to bring me a bottle of his orangecello when it was ready!  What a nice surprise.

That did it.  I decided to make limoncello out of his lemons.  I did have to add a few store bought lemons too, but the majority were his.

After searching through several on-line recipes I found that they all were pretty much the same, so I decided to follow this one. (Limoncello recipe).  The peel stays in the bottle for 10 to 40 days.

Carefully tested lemon peel sits in the bottom of the grain alcohol for 10 - 40 days.

Carefully tested lemon peel sits in the bottom of the grain alcohol for 10 – 40 days.

Then I’ll strain and filter it and finally add the sugar water for final bottling. (I decided to follow the traditional formula first. I’ll try using honey next). It then sits in the freezer until ready to serve 40 days after that.  It’s served ice cold in little cordial glasses as a digestive after dinner.

It should be ready just in time for Summer!

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In Disguise With Diamonds

In Disguise With Diamonds

And then there are photos like this one that beg to be taken beyond the expected color portrait.  While working with this image, I first did all the retouching and blending of layers to make a really good photo.

Before I did the photo shoot with this model, I knew I wanted at least one powerful black and white image.  I had thought it would be one where her face was more straight-on to the camera but as I was working on this image, I began to see the strength of this as a black and white.  It was towards the end of our session so it was much easier to coax my model to kick her ‘attitude’ up a notch.  I handed her a pair of sunglasses that I hoped would look good on her and asked her to strike me a pose looking skyward – proud, confident with a little bit of glitz.  She nailed it!

This image was shot with my Nikon D90 and all editing done with Photoshop and Topaz filters.

My mystery model prefers to remain anonymous or I’d gladly give her credit for working with me on this project.  We had lots of fun and got a few good laughs in trying to hit these serious poses.  Thank you, Ms. Incognito!

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