Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life!

My first Creative Convivium on August 9th was a sweet success! Lunch-goers swooned to Ms. Alise’s soaring delivery of “Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life” from the balcony loft, smiled to Mrs. De Aguilar’s cheerful rentition of “Sunny Side of the Street,” and sang along to “Accentuate the Positive,” highlighting the goals of The Flourishing Artist program. In between there was laughter (a.k.a. “risata”) and tears, as each number filled the dining room with beautiful music. When the opera singer sang Cole Porter’s “So in Love” to her daughter, the audience melted with delight. —Kristen Caven

August 9th 2017: La Dolce Vita

Our first Convivium featured lyric soprano Alexandra Alise and jazz chanteuse pianist Sara Klotz de Aguilar, blending their contrasting singing styles into a startlingly sweet new scene. The audience discussed all aspects of The Sweet Life, including the psychology of savoring and the trick of finding the sweet spot. Questions included “How do you handle the sticky spots?” and “Does icing make everything better?” Most agreed it did…until someone brought up oysters.

3 divas
Chocolate satin with a sweetheart neckline, a candy-striped shift with pearls on the jacket lapels, and cotton candy pink gown trimmed with sweet lace! Three divas who know how to dress.

Missed it?

Here’s the whole show!
Kind of. Our videographer was a 10-year-old who did a marvelous job working with the quirks of a camera that would shut off from time to time. The angle, sadly, shows only Sara’s head behind the piano, but her presence is nonetheless magnificent.
Working on the event, I came up with a new word with one of the artists, the dance of “perfection” and “excellence” that we all strive for: “perfexcellence.” (Which includes the adorable hicups on the part of the cameragirl just before Solamente Una Vez...)  Click below for links to individual videos… I will post them as they complete!

The Program:

0:00 Take My Sugar to Tea – Sara


Sara Klotz de Aguilar is a local early Jazz performer who is sought-after for weddings and events, especially those with a vintage theme as she embodies Deco style.

I am Kristen Caven….

Our convivium question: What makes life sweet? Sweetness is primarily a flavor but we experience it with all our senses, and our hearts. Do you remember your first taste of ice cream?

My ice cream story…the problem with too much!

We are born craving sweetness, seek it from our mother’s milk. Sweetness is survival, nourishment, dopamine or pleasure.

1:30 Thanks to sponsors: The Flourishing Artist, The Bellevue Club & TaBouche Chocolate Couture!
4:15 Demonstration: anticipating sweetness. At the first sniff, Our mouth salivates…

5:20 Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life – Alexandra

8:00 Alexa is an American Opera singer who is raising her family in Italy.
9:40 The stress of creative collaboration… Diva drama! All caps “Improv” “Sheet Music” “Jam” Original songs? (Anything But Inadequate & Democracy Pie) no time — BUT an adaptation of a classic? YES.

11:35 Cancelliamo Tutto (Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off) – Sara & Alexandra + Kristen (& Eloisa) (lyrics)

16:00 Thoughts about sweetness: great husbands; stickiness; maple syrup + hot sauce; frosting; oysters; celebration; flowers; romance; spoonful of sugar; honey and vinegar (not true!); selling; smoothing; easing with sweetness; dolce in music – slow – adding sweetness.

21:30 Summertime – Alexandra

24:30 (should only be sung by people of color – controversial – opera to standard) A lullaby; crying child soothed with images of the sweet life
Just the thought of sweetness is nourishing, somehow, creating hope.
Sweet sorrow. Sweet revenge. Sweet surrender.
A philosopher poet contemplates love, then is schooled by a maid: this is what love is:

28:20 Chi Bel Songno di Doretta – Alexandra

Lyrics. Dopamine rush of love reciprocated – the idea of flourishing! On the scale of wellness and illness, flourishing is beyond wellness.
At the center of someone’s life, belonging is the ultimate sweetness. You Belong to My Heart in Spanish is:

34:45 Solamente Una Vez  – Sara

Sexy, romantic, goosebumpy song…but a unique spin on Alexandra’s delivery

38:00 So In Love – Alexandra (to Eloisa)

Destroy me, desert me… This song reveals the not-so-sweet side of life. Except that even pain has a sweet side.
42:40 Masochist joke
In a way, sweetness is defined by its opposite. We create our happiness by setting boundaries. Not putting up with any shit.

43:50 There Ain’t No Sweet Man Worth the Salt of My Tears – Sara

47:00 Sweetness in contrast… sweetness as a reward for finishing dinner… candy corn! Longing for desert… we savor in anticipation, in experience, and also in remembering.
48:20 story from audience – sculpture at Asian Art museum for summer of love – spreading sweetness from sharing flowers. Hollyhock ballerinas.
52:35 How can we choose the sweet life? oops – back to savoring – the third part is remembering…
54:50 lyrics to “Don’t forget me”

55:40 Non ti scordar di me – Alexandra

57:45 In seeking sweetness, we seek the sunny side

58:00 The Sunny Side of the Street – Sara

1:00:00 This song is about using our intention to hack our attention bias.

1:00:30 Accentuate the Positive – Everyone!

1:06:07 Bonus song!
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