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By Kate Greer:
With my extra hour of sleep this Sunday, I got up at 9 a.m. to watch CBS Sunday Morning. Nestled among the stories about Alice Walton’s Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas and Florence & The Machines’ music was a story about “Sleepless In America.” Statistically, happily married couples get better sleep than unhappily married couples or un-partnered people. Did I hear that right? For the chronically single people, like myself, this is jut another straw on the camel’s back. Single people have a higher risk for … everything. We live shorter lives, we have more stress, we get less sleep and we are more likely to get cancer. Is that not depressing?
What is it about renovated buildings that I love? Is it the mix of history with the present? Or the way four walls can house so much more than original intentions? The Tabernacle is a renovated church turned into one of Atlanta’s most popular music venue. The brick exterior is an unassuming edifice that could easily be overlooked by first timers. The magic begins when you walk through the doors. The walls are covered with colorful bohemian designs that can capture the imagination.
There is standing room on the first level by the stage and balcony sitting for the old foggies like myself who prefer not to be in the marsh pit on a weeknight.
The closest I’ve been to Ireland was watching P.S. I Love You, until I ate at McNamara’s in Nashville, Tenn. The Irish pub is a little off the beaten path but worth the trip. Sean and Paula McNamara opened the restaurant February 2010 and, despite the economic recession, it has grown in popularity. Urbanspoon ranks McNamara’s as Number 3 for Best Casual Dining in the capital city. The authenticity of the food and music make it a local hotspot.
I have never been an avid listener of Irish music, but McNamara has made a convert of me. The husband and wife duo are Irish descendents and have transformed their individual passion for their culture into a living, breathing oasis for Irish lovers in the South. Sean is the great-great grandson of John McNamara, an Irish immigrant from Kildare in 1848. Inspired by his heritage, he has made a living playing Irish music for 15 years throughout Nashville in pubs and festivals. Now he has found a new home for his music in his own restaurant, and there is really no place like home.
I have friends from all walks of life and that is the way it should be. I enjoy listening to other people’s stories and learning from them. Different views in my friends only help me to see more of the world I live in. With that preface, this story is not a typical weekend for me but nonetheless really enjoyable.
On a trip to Nashville to visit my Catholic friend, I went to vespers at the Mother House, or Dominican Campus. My friend works in the infirmary for the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia. She is the most devout Catholic I’ve ever encountered (next to the nuns). I greatly admire her morals and principles. She has been an inspiration to me throughout our friendship.
Georgia Women’s Action for New Directions held the Department of Energy and the Savannah River Site accountable for the past nine years of no environmental monitoring in rural Burke and Screven counties in a press conference video.
Founder Helen Caldicott and Bobbie Paul, Executive Director of Georgia WAND, discussed the need for environmental monitoring in Georgia, specifically near Georgia’s Plant Hatch where a pipe was recently found leaking radioactive water. While state environmental officials say the contaminated water is not a threat to the public, organizations like Georgia’s WAND are calling for action.
I was raised in the South along the Bible Belt of North America. Attending church is nothing new to me. I was partially raised by Catholic nuns as a leftover French colonization effort in Vietnam, and I grew up attending a variety of churches in Tennessee as my parents tried to find a middle ground between my Mom’s Catholicism and my Dad’s Baptist roots. Needless to say, religion and theology debates are nothing new to me. Perhaps this plethora of religious intrigue at an early age is the fuel to my continual religious internal debates.
A voice, a microphone, hands on a musical instrument and a live audience are the requirements for creating the best music. Live performances are the truest indication of musical excellence. There can be no hiding behind thousand-dollar-studio equipment when you take the stage, with your fans at your feet.
Even the vagabonds playing guitar or saxophone on the street corner will capture the crowded street’s attention more effectively than someone on a soapbox with a megaphone. Soulful delivery of musical ideas can cut through the fog of our own realities. It is this connection with music that draws thousands out to festivals like Bonnaroo, Woodstock and Music in Midtown.
If everything goes as planned, I will be one of several thousand students receiving diplomas from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville this spring. Like the other graduates, I will be handed a piece of paper representing several years of hard work. But my journey to reach my degree started differently than that of the other graduates.
It started in Vietnam, where the equatorial sun hangs heavy and unmoving in the sky year-round. Where the tropical heat suffocates strangers but the sun-beaten peasants toil endless hours, scratching out a living from the soil beneath their feet.