You know that ice breaker where everyone goes around the room and says something interesting about themselves? How they have a twin or speak 3 languages or won a chili-cooking competition? The wheels in mind get to spinning whenever I wind up playing, and I usually respond with something anti-climactic like “I read a book a week.” Read a book a week? That’s more anti-social than interesting, and it usually generates a few (many) odd looks.
Thing is, I’m a bit of an open book, and everyone already knows that I’m silly and thankful and oddly obsessed with BBQ. Most people know that I studied art and love photography and will do anything for a laugh. Close friends know that I wear the same outfit over and over if I don’t think I’ll run into the same person.
Blog readers are probably aware that I like public art and collaborative projects. So if I told you that I joined The League of Creative Interventionists, you probably wouldn’t be too surprised, right?
The League is an international network of individuals that perform a ‘creative intervention’ around a theme every month. This month, the league asked creative interventionists to create a wall that inspired people to respond to the prompt “my first love was…” I told my friend Katie about the project, and she suggested we hang the wall at Mall of America so that participants could keep warm.
Katie wrote ‘music,’ I wrote ‘creativity,’ and we left the rest blank for the public. What would your answer be?
the best thing about country fest isn’t the music, the green grass, the cheesecurds, or the endless blue sky (even though all these things are very, very nice) but the emphasis on finding joy in simple living.
Yesterday we drove way on back, crossed a few creeks and a couple little shacks, and then we kicked it into four wheel drive until we heard banjos.
CountryFest is a commitment – beginning at 11am and going until 1am, you and 60,000 of your closest friends are spending the day picnicking on the lawn, singing about how working hard puts beer on the table, and taking in the sunshine.
A highlight for me, was when hunter Hayes played “I want crazy.” the song is about a man wanting an all consuming love, even when something else might be more convenient. Rocking in Jon’s arms and listening a to the lyrics, I felt extremely grateful (blessed) to have that “can’t sleep, can’t breathe without you” love”- but the real importance of the song seemed to be about making love the center of your life ( not just romantic love, but friends and family too).
When love is our focus, little things like cold beer and sunshine are enough to make an ordinary day somewhat perfect. If we focus on love, then we receive true happiness from the laughter and shared memories that we have with our friends, family, and sweethearts. My sweetheart and I ended the day skyjumping:
What could sjvbe better than dancing under the stars in cornfields while Hunter Hayes sings ‘I Want Crazy’? Not much, if you’re me, and that’s the reason I go to CountryFest every year (even though the summer jam changes — last year it was Eric Church’s ‘Springsteen’). This year, Jon’s boss invited us to go VIP with his family at the fest, which means we’ll be rocking out in the first few rows while his manager drinks with us. I made a soundtrack to summer (all country, be warned if it’s not your thing) with the following:
hunter hayes- crazy
thomas rhett – goes like this
brad paisley – beat this summer
florida georgia line – cruise
darius rucker – wagon wheel
luke bryan – crash my party
randy houser – runnin’ outta moonlight
jake owen – anywhere with you
kip moore – hey pretty girl
keith urban – little bit of everything
i offered to make breakfast for the country festers, and i decided on “wake up happy muffins” (cheesecake blueberry muffins) and “energize your day” bars (homemade granola bars). now, i’m a little excited about this because last year i tried to make breakfast, but the whole thing was such a disaster (i could barely use an oven) that i ended up bringing bagels from the market. a year of living in the country, however, will teach a girl how to cook (there aren’t any restaurants, so if you’re craving something, you need to learn how to make it).
pursuing a photography career often leads me to situations that feel more like reality tv than anything else. perhaps because you’re invited to capture the celebrations of others — even when they are foreign enough to you. that is the story of what happened this weekend, when jon and i photographed Melvin Seals + Guests at the Skyway Theater in downtown Minneapolis. jon and i felt conspicuously preppy, but we still managed to take of our shoes and dance around with the best of the funksters.
question: where do these people work during the day? jon and i amused ourselves for a while trying to figure it out, but our answers are unlikely at best (hostel owner, tatoo parlor, pottery maker, dog breeder).
we had a pretty nice view of the pantages theater while we sipped on our signature vodka redbull:
anyway, the boho girls brought their hoola hoops and the hippie men came with tambourines. everyone stomped and sang, and i captured the pictures (jon pointed out amusing moments and chatted with the band).
luckily for us, the theater invited us back when-eva-we-want, and so we’re now marking our calendar up with acts that we plan to photograph.