For FALL 2010's delicious offerings of books, art, food, film, and unique travel--check out the NEW ISSUE of our online magazine FEAST--you will not go away hungry-- http://www.feastofbooks.com/

Between issues, read our blog posts as we and our special guests share thoughts, ideas, and recommendations about books, art, food, film, and travel. We love to hear from our readers, so please post a comment! Thanks-- Rosemary Carstens, editor

SNAX ONLINE is moving during the first quarter of 2011 -- stay tuned!

Snax Online is undergoing a redesign and will be moving to a new location. Check back from time to time for a link. In its new format, this blog will cover a wider range of topics but also its usual five. In the meantime, keep up with what's happening in the world of books, art, food, film, and travel at http://www.FEASTofBooks.com --

See you in 2011!!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Outdoor Dreaming . . .

Today’s special guest is PAGE LAMBERT, guide and mentor for women who want to connect or reconnect with nature in a deep, inner exploration of self. Lambert’s own tie to nature is profound and joyous. Welcome, Page!

-- Rosemary Carstens, Editor

Spring is the time of the year when I begin to panic. Last fall’s carelessly scattered optimism has taken root, breaking through the nitty-gritty soil of today’s reality. The lazy days of winter, which I expected to spend sequestered in my writing den, have vanished. Summer is just around the proverbial corner and I find myself wondering why I thought I could accomplish even half of what’s on the calendar. A horseback writing retreat in Wyoming? A writing salon in Taos? A canoe trip on the Green? A river writing and sculpting trip on the Colorado? Even a 3-day retreat perched on the edge of the Grand Canyon.

Someone clone me, PLEEEZE!

The chasm between last fall’s optimism and the reality of the summer schedule is deep, and steep. Panic sets in. Then I begin to read the letters from various retreat participants, sharing their dreams for their upcoming adventures.

A few responses are casual. “No specific goals—just want to relax.” But many agonize, sharing intimate details, lifelong dreams, age-old disappointments. “I used to pray for all the things I wished for, but most of my wishes didn't come true,” writes one woman. “Now my prayers are gentler, and my hope is that somehow my life story will make sense to me in the end. That's what writing does for us, isn't it? Helps us to process the mystery?”

Yes, that IS what writing does for us, especially when we embrace the mystery of both joy and pain. “Sometimes life takes you abruptly down a path you would never choose and grinds you up a bit,” writes another woman. “I want to heal.” Another shares a desire to simply be appreciative: “I want to find a way to save in my core the beauty I've seen and felt.” Another wants to face her fear of water. Another, her fear of horses.

Another kind of fear often surfaces. The honesty of what a well-known broadcast news journalist writes humbles me: “I’ve spent years buying beautiful leather journals, which are stacked away in various parts of my house, without a single word written in any of them. I’m intimidated by the thought that I have nothing worthwhile to say.”

Often, colorful stories emerge in these letters. “I didn't get a horse until one of my favorite uncles was killed in World War II,” one participant writes. “He left a beautiful sorrel quarter horse that he'd ridden to win goat-roping contests every Sunday.”

Some dreams are less ambitious, but just as vital to creativity. “I want to remember what the night sky looks like when the tent fly is off.” She may surprise herself, deciding by the second night to sleep outside the tent! One enthusiastic soul simply writes, “I’m on a mission!!” And then this wonderful confession: “I am giving this experience to myself as a 50th birthday present. I can’t believe it. I don’t feel 50!

Each of these letters reminds me how lucky I am to share rivers and horses and canyons and deserts and mountains with such like-hearted souls. The best part, though, will be falling asleep (in a comfortable bed) this fall, thinking not only of the letters, but of all the smiles and tears that graced the summer, feeling eager to sow more seeds.

PAGE LAMBERT writes from Santa Fe, often about Wyoming, often about Colorado, often about rivers, but always about the land and the many ways in which it feeds us. She has been leading creative outdoor writing adventures for ten years, working in partnership with organizations such as The Women’s Wilderness Institute, the Grand Canyon Field Institute, and the Aspen Writers Foundation. In 2006, the River Writing Journeys she facilitates were featured in Oprah’s O magazine as “one of the top six great all-girl getaways of the year.” For more about her published books and editing and consulting work, or to get on the waiting list for next year’s “Literature and Landscape of the Horse” retreat in Wyoming:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New Issue of FEAST now available!

For the latest delicious offerings of books, art, food, film, and unique travel--check out the new issue--you will not go away hungry-- http://www.CarstensCommunications.com/FEAST.html

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Rolling Stones -- Capturing the Wild Thing

Yesterday I went to see SHINE A LIGHT, the Martin Scorsese documentary about the Stones. I loved it! Sure Keith Richards looks like a Shar Pei puppy these days, but with eyeliner and an irresistible sly, sideways twinkle in his eye. I’d love to know where he gets those sequined, dangly doo-rags he wears—now there’s a fashion statement! And Mick Jagger is a mouth on a stick, he’s so skinny. But both guys have plenty of muscles and charm and their music still grabs you in the gut and brings you to your feet.

It must have been like herding cats for Martin Scorsese, trying desperately to get his arms around the shape of the film, when he couldn’t even get a set list until the first number started! This is a group of guys who have done what they wanted for decades and they are not dancing to someone else’s tune now. Scorsese is a pro, though, and I’ve loved every one of his music docs. This time out, he captures the essence, the sound bites, the piss and vinegar of the band and whirls it by us like life from a merry-go-round.

The segments with the incomparable BUDDY GUY and steamy Christina Aguilera were HOTT, HOTT, HOTT, in very different ways. Buddy Guy’s guitar wails; his voice speaks of a thousand Jack Black and Lucky Strike nights. He and Mick together blend the best of black and white rock, blues, and soul. Aguilera has it all—looks, powerful voice and personal charisma, and able to play off Jagger belt for belt. These were brilliant ensembles.

I kept asking myself, what IS it that keeps these guys on top? How and why have they lasted so long and still draw sell-out crowds? It’s Mick’s energy partly—he’s like a rocket about to take off, fully loaded with fuel injection. The guitar wizards know how to make their instruments scream and sob, some of the best in the business. Most of the songs are powerful, hard pounding—the essential rock sound. But it’s much more than that. It’s ALL of that. It’s that these old rockers retell an era of music and living that resounds for many of us. They make us feel alive, sexy, ready to take on the world, the establishment, the Man. There were hopes and dreams for a better world back then, belief that you could capture the wild thing. The Stones reconnect us with all that--

All I can say, is “Gimme the Stones when I’m thirsty, gimme buddy Guy when I wanna get high…” – Yeah, baby! May old rockers never die!

-- Rosemary Carstens

Friday, April 04, 2008

Renowned Italian Photographer Teaches Boulder Workshop

My friend, colleague, and artisan BARBARA HARDESTY, had a dream. For several years, as we each kept our noses to the grindstone with our “day” jobs, she spoke of her longing to create a business to help people experience the joys of her family’s native land of ITALY. Not just as a traveler/tourist, but in the manner of Leonardo Da Vinci—to immerse themselves in life’s creative pursuits as he did, with writing, art, food, nature, and photography, as well as the language and the people of one of the world’s most romantic destinations. That dream has come to pass and DA VINCI CAPERS is now in its fifth year. Italian dreams DO come true! Now, Barbara is bringing one of her Italian maestros to Boulder, Colorado, so that others can experience just a taste of what Da Vinci Capers has to offer. -- Rosemary

SHOOTING ON-SITE: GETTING UP-CLOSE AND PERSONAL ~ Capturing your subject's story

Da Vinci Capers hosts “A Personal Renaissance Journey” with Massimo Bassano, a freelance international photojournalist, for a one-week photographic workshop, July 17–24, 2008, in Boulder, Colorado. There are 4-day and 8-day options.

In his first Colorado appearance, Massimo shares how photographers capture exceptional photos when they become part of the scene they are photographing and “touch” the lives of their subjects, rather than just watching them through a lens. You will learn that the location's “story”—becoming familiar with the history, the culture and the social context of the people—is the secret to taking great photos. You must follow where the story leads.

Each day of this workshop will be an adventure. Capturing the morning light and coolness of the day, you will shoot together and independently. In the afternoons you gather for discussions, return to do more shooting and download or develop film overnight. There will be discussions on all aspects of the shoot: issues of light, composition, technical points, preparing for a shoot, how to research an area, problems of approaching people or property, how and when to use a small strobe and other types of equipment. As with all Da Vinci Capers’ adventures, you will practice sfumato—the flexibility that allows for unexpected creative opportunities, varied photo skills, and the weather.

Massimo’s authentic approach of “getting up-close and personal” is a proven success. In Calabria, Italy, he was the first photographer to be granted permission to live for three months among the Carthusian monks. He was able to document the 900-year-old brotherhood, resulting in the award-winning book THE COLOR OF SILENCE. It was the first time that the Chartusians allowed a photographer to record their private lives.

Massimo’s words and pictures have graced such major magazines around the world as National Geographic, GEO, Ciclismo, and MAX France. Working as a freelance photojournalist since 1990, he has worked alongside many of photography’s greatest talents, including Bob Sacha, William Albert Allard, David Harvey, and George Steinmetz. Presently, Massimo is working in Rome with Bob Krist for National Geographic Traveler. In addition to working with Da Vinci Capers, he also teaches for National Geographic and Maine Media Workshops.

For more information about this rare, adventurous photography workshop, contact Barbara Hardesty at (303) 284-1383 or
barb@davincicapers.com. For full details about Da Vinci Capers programs in Italy, go to http://www.davincicapers.com—don’t forget to look for LEONA, the DVC traveling chicken!