Meow Wolf

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Welcome to Meow Wolf – photo by leslieloudspeaker

Right now in Santa Fe, New Mexico, there is a portal back to the 80’s owned by master world builder Game of Thrones author George R. R. Martin. The purchase of an old bowling alley (complete with original carpet!) crossed with psychedelic local art collective Meow Wolf brings America a new destination that must be seen and crawled all over to be believed.

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laundry room from your collective conscious nightmares – photo by leslieloudspeaker

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Starting out as a lonely house full of ennui and character building, you soon find yourself transported to space, a twisted treehouse, rooms devoid of color, underwater where the neon grows; every door, secret passage and public tunnel take you to a new world, each one more psychedelic and haunting than the last.

I happened to visit Meow Wolf right after the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival, and a lot of other balloners had the same idea. While downstairs was a bit of a madhouse, upstairs was just lovely due to skinny corkscrew staircases and vertical ladders making access more difficult. Despite the crowd, there were so many little rooms to explore that you could always find a serene little art nook to have for yourself.

This place would make an amazing AirBnb.

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Mother Cabrini Statues- Photos

photo by Leslie Simon

photo by Leslie Simon

Mother Cabrini Statue just outside of Denver, Colorado is one of my favorite places to think, although the Sunday I went up there was smack dab in the middle of the Spanish Mass and a charity BBQ. Not quite the serene afternoon I thought, but just as comforting and hey! Hot dogs! Growing up Catholic, I never knew you could drink the Holy Water, assumed it was a sin. Here though, you can buy a jug and fill ‘er up from the spouts that come out of the famous spot where Mother Cabrini said there would be water. It’s the most delicious water you could imagine, especially after climbing all those steps. In the chapel, I lit two candles for my grandmother and her sister, Sister Geraldine, the most devout Catholics I’ve ever known. Later when I got into my car, what looked like a bright cotton ball lazily floated toward me from the floor of the passenger side, then went over my shoulder as a second ball followed. I pulled over and looked in my backseat, but there was nothing back there, and the windows had been up. As much as I love ghost stories, I don’t actually believe in ghosts, but I called out their names and felt deeply comforted. Mother Cabrini’s is a special place.

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New Orleans French Quarter in the morning- PHOTOS

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The French Quarter is so thick with history and juxtaposition, you don’t even need Bourbon Street alcohol to become intoxicated. I attended a wedding there a couple weekends ago, and it was my first time back since I quit drinking (today is 990 days, almost to 1,000!). Before the trip I was worried that I would have a frustrating time, but the second the plane landed and I heard the first Louisiana accent, all was at ease. My family goes back generations in Louisiana, and it felt like a warm hug just walking the streets that zillions of cousins had also pranced upon. I got up early to get some photos with minimal people in them; just dozens of skaters and German tour groups.

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William Faulkner house. A literary tour came into the lovely quiet bookstore inside and the tour guide said “No one knows where the Creole people came from.” What? Almost wanted to take over the tour. Instead I went to the serene historical Catholic church next door and thought about loved ones, as these are my mornings now that they lack hangovers.

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LaLaurie House- famous house where a famed socialite tortured slaves, owned by Nicholas Cage for awhile and used as a location on American Horror Story, read more here:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/zillow/2013/10/23/new-orleans-lalaurie-house-has-gruesome-past/

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Jean Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop- a bar you can still have a great time in even if you aren’t drinking. Just sit in the dark, cool back of the bar and soak in the history. This place is so mythical to me, that I once lived in an old Victorian carriage home that looked like it:

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Always have to pay respect and sit and judge people with Ignatius from The Confederacy of Dunces.

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Of course, you can’t forget the music. Preservation Jazz Hall was invigorating and fresh as always, but the street buskers stole my heart. I came across 13 Strings and a 2 Dollar Bill and immediately thought “that’s the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen” about The Notorious Nora Jean. The next day I came across them again, and she was tap-dancing on a wooden pallet while playing the mandolin and singing wearing the cutest Gunne Sax dress. Not to dwell on her looks and style, but I admit that I’ve been wearing railroad stripes, hats, black and dusty boots ever since. They are everything you’d want in a traveling busker duo:

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I’m a sucker for an outfit shot in an alley, and the wedding at the House of Blues more than provided. Dress by MSGM

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The Streets of Philadelphia

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This fall I got to visit Philadelphia for the first time, and instantly fell in love. Cobblestone streets, American history, and tons of well dressed young adults; what’s not to love?

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Atlantic City Boardwalk Photos and my Westword review of Fall Tour

photo by leslie loudspeaker

photo by leslie loudspeaker

I was supposed to write an article for the Westword about the ten best songs of Fall Tour, but they played so well I could have gone to twenty. Here is a link to the article, including photos I took wandering the Boardwalk early mornings while everyone else slept. I was really excited to go to Steel Pier, as that is where W.C. Fields got his start and I love all things circus and carnival and W. C. Fields. When I went it was completely isolated, and very cool for getting pictures. It was also a little dangerous with the rides all unlocked, and I quickly found out that was because it was NOT open and I was trespassing. I was told “if we don’t stop unlatching the gate, they are going to start ticketing!” Silly wooks.

Westword article: http://blogs.westword.com/backbeat/2013/11/the-twelve_best_moments_from_phish_fall_tour.php

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ZZ Ward at Ogden – SOLD OUT – Photos and Show Review

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ZZ Ward is absolutely soaring. In March I watched her play to a small but excited group of mostly industry folks at SXSW, then a couple months ago got to shoot her sold out show at the Gothic. Last night she was already back for another sold out show at the Ogden, and her charisma is so strong she could easily handle Red Rocks. Talent and chops galore, she kills the blues on guitar, harmonica and keys, and we haven’t even gotten to her vocals. One thing I have noticed with her very dedicated fanbase is that she has managed to grab a lot of the people that are into R&B, and with chops close to Christina Aguilera’s, she doesn’t dissapoint them either. Last night included a special guest appearance by DW, her blues musician father that got her into this whole mess. The show exceeded the recent Gothic show, and really showed that the sky is the limit for ZZ.

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Donna the Buffalo at Oriental- Concert Photos

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Last night, Donna the Buffalo played to a full, happy crowd at the Oriental Theater in Denver. These veterans of the Americana scene are a group of highly professional and technically talented musicians, and the onstage unspoken language between them is a comfort and joy to watch. With the help of the psychedelic lights the Oriental has, I was able to get some fun shots of the band while they took turns showing off their prowess.

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