insights on art, culture, lifestyle, spirituality, travel, music, society and much much more from a jet-setter currently on "furlough"…

Archive for the month “October, 2008”

Tim Be Told :: Harmonious, Progressive, Pop-Blues-Soul

Tim Ouyang performs an acoustic set at Ebenezer's Coffeehouse in Washington, DC on Friday evening.

Tim Ouyang performs an acoustic set at Ebenezer's Coffeehouse in Washington, DC on Friday

Most of us can agree that songs, written from the heart, can go beyond the superficialities of [generic] sex, love and bling that exists in much of popular music today. And for those of you who think Asians can’t sing, come talk to me AFTER you’ve heard Tim Ouyang (oww oww vocals) of Tim Be Told, an indie pop-blues-soul band based out of Charlottesville, VA.  These guys rocked the venue last Friday night at Ebenezer’s Coffeehouse in Washington, DC. 

Tim Be Told consists of 5 band members: Tim Ouyang (lead vox/keys), Andrew Chae (guitar), Luan Nguyen (guitar, back vox), Jim Barredo (drums) and the lone white guy… Parker Stanley (bass). They’ve been around since 2006 and have been touring the East Coast and Midwest promoting their debut CD, “Getting By”, which released in the summer of 2007. With each gig performed, these guys captivate new listeners with their stirring guitar hooks, passionate melodies and penetrating lyrics that celebrates honesty, change, redemption and hope.

Tim Be Told is also very social justice focused. At Friday’s concert, Tim Ouyang spoke of an article on slavery that he recently stumbled upon, about the number of slaves in the developing world being the highest in 2008 (ie. Darfur, child-trafficking in SE Asia). Despite the fact that America is in the middle of an economic crisis, Tim urged us to be more aware of what’s going on globally, instead of focusing on ourselves. The article also inspired a song on their forthcoming CD, and is just the kind of music we need in our broken world today.

Tim Be Told, LIVE... in concert!

Tim Be Told, LIVE... in concert!

For more information about TBT, please visit their website, Facebook fan page & MySpace site.

To view concert pictures taken by moi, please click here.


Cupcake Dilemma?

How ironic is it that the first post I write for this new blog has to do with food?

Today, I discovered that although I frequent seemingly “progressive” neighborhoods of Washington DC, gluten-free items (such as cupcakes) are still not readily available in this city. No, I am not allergic to wheat, but I was picking up dessert for my discipleship group and some members of my group are. I even did some research last night, and made absolute certain that Warren Brown’s Love Cafe featured gluten-free items on their menu. 

I walked into Love Cafe on U Street, hoping to pick up a couple of gluten-free cupcakes in addition to the regular ones for my group, but to my dismay… they were all sold-out! How was this possible? Are that many people allergic to wheat? I used to work 2-3 doors down the street from the cafe and went there on a regular basis. There were ALWAYS gluten-free products available, if not cupcakes, then at least brownies and/or cookies. The cashier informed me that not only did they sell out, but that the Cake Love bakery across the street did not carry gluten-free products either. I did not believe her and had to find out the sad news for myself. 

Thankfully, I was able to pick up some gourmet chocolates for my gluten-free friends at Locolat, a new Belgian chocolate/bakery that opened in June 2008. Even so, I had to inquire about the ingredients to make sure that there were no “wheat” intruders in these decadent treats. On my walk back to the metro, I popped into a few cafes, including the oh-so-hip Tryst and guess what? None of them carried gluten-free products at all! 

For those of you in the DC area who have a sweet tooth, yet have to keep a wheat-free diet, there is hope! Next time, I shall venture off to Sticky Fingers Bakery, which features 100% vegan/gluten-free desserts and let you know how the selection is. I’ve heard fabulous things about it and wish I had thought about going there in advance. 


Gluten-free people deserve special recognition for leaving ingredients such as starch out of their diet. That is why eating establishments should be more sensitive to their dietary needs and include at least one or two gluten-free alternatives. I can’t imagine this diet for myself, yet it might not be a bad idea to limit my wheat intake all together… for it can do wonders for your immune system! Everything in moderation, right?

Helloooo {Word} Press!

I just moved my blog from Blogger to WordPress and couldn’t be happier. This is a way to motivate myself to get back into blogging regularly. From now on, I will be musing on a variety of topics such as art, culture, lifestyle, spirituality, travel, society… you name it… and drawing examples from my own life as a foundation. Feedback is always welcomed, so let me know what you guys think about my writing style in general. I will also be updating this site with a mini photography portfolio, so stay tuned!

An IMPORTANT [art-related] ISSUE to consider during Election ’08

If you care about the arts and how it might survive in this dwindling economy, perhaps this article below will help you decide who to vote for…

Taken from
: Shelley Esaak’s blog on

Over the past week we’ve seen trading tickers and Presidential campaign tactics sink to new lows and, I have to be honest with you, both are very distracting. Sort of like a slow-motion train wreck playing in a seven-day loop–you (and here by “you” I totally mean “me”) know it’s bad to watch, and you know watching is not going to accomplish anything, yet it takes an almost superhuman effort to peel your eyes away. “He said,” “She said,” “They said,” infinity, with ad nauseam commentary from talking heads, many of whom I don’t believe capable of feeding my dog let alone telling me what to think. My brain feels like an overstimulated hamster running on its wheel, not knowing or caring why it’s running in the first place.

As you yourself may have discovered, such 24/7 drama isn’t conducive to writing or speaking English words and arranging them into coherent sentences. So it came as a relief to be jolted back to my senses by a post on MUSEUM-L, a listserv to which I subscribe and recommend to anyone in the museum community. The “$3 million (USD) overhead projector earmark” comment from the Tuesday, October 7, 2008 debate naturally came up on the list, which led to further discussion about the candidates’ positions on arts funding in general. This in turn led to a lister posting the enormously helpful link to the Americans for the Arts Action Fund’s page entitled ArtsVote2008. In alphabetical order and without further ado:

The Candidates’ Positions on the Arts

Senator John McCain (Republican Party)
Senator Barack Obama (Democratic Party)

Yea! Political, but pertinent to this community. Before you say anything, I thought about including other political parties’ positions on the arts, but didn’t for two reasons. (1) I couldn’t find them, though I *did* look, and (2) let’s be realistic. One of the two Senators above will be the President-elect of the United States on November 5. All that’s really up in the air is which of these two candidates best represents your interests.

Just some food for thought… in light of all the recent ugliness both campaigns are guilty of.

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