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The Interesting History of Jazz & Cannabis

spray painted jazz mural

Until recently, the powers that be have demonized cannabis and persecuted smokers. Not immune to the stigma, musicians of many genres have looked to the plant for inspiration. It’s been a recurring reference in lyrics since long before legalization, leading us to want to learn more about how two seemingly unrelated topics have been intertwined throughout history.

During the 1920s and early 1930s, alcoholic beverage consumption was illegal in the United States. It was then that speakeasies and underground clubs gained popularity. Aside from drinking, something else was happening in these spaces far more special and it was the music.

In the New Orleans red-light district of the time, it was typical to find crowds drinking, smoking joints, and partying through the night to the sounds of a live band. These bands played until the place was empty, sometimes for eight hours straight. Their music of choice was jazz.

jazz club neon sign


Musicians in cities like Chicago and New York also consumed the substance and it wasn’t long before the genre started to become synonymous with smoking green. The emergence of jazz occurred during the same time cannabis came under scrutiny. In 1923
Iowa, Oregon, Washington, and Vermont placed bans on the substance. State after state made it an illegal drug and by 1933, twenty-nine states had criminalized cannabis.

One of the best-known critics of the time was Harry J. Anslinger, the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, who waged a war on cannabis with the help of propaganda film Reefer Madness. Artists were quite vocal in their opposition to his policies, such as Cab Calloway who expressed his love for weed on “Reefer Man.”

Chicago-born jazz clarinetist and saxophonist Mezz Mezzrow became the principal supplier of cannabis to Harlem in the 1930s. His autobiography, Really the Blues, included a long glossary of what cannabis was commonly called during that time including “grass,” “grefa,” “gunga,” “hay,” “hemp,” “muggles,” “muta,” “reefer,” “tea,” and the now popular “weed.” Mezzrow’s popularity grew and it wasn’t uncommon to hear the term “mezzrole” referring to a specific type of joint he rolled.

Legend Louis Armstrong, born and raised in New Orleans, made a name for himself playing at underground clubs. He said this about cannabis and the scene:

“We always looked at pot as a sort of medicine; a cheap drunk and with much better thoughts than one that’s full of liquor… We called ourselves ‘Vipers’, which could be anybody from all walks of life that smoked and respected ‘gage’; that was our cute little name for marijuana.”

In 1930 Armstrong was arrested for smoking cannabis outside the Cotton Club in Culver City, California with his drummer Vic Berton. He spent nine days in the Downtown Los Angeles City Jail and received a six-month suspended sentence. After the stint, he was back to performing and experienced a new camaraderie with fans and fellow Vipers who felt an affinity for the gage.

In 1954 his wife Lucille was also arrested for possession, this time of one cannabis cigarette and two half-smoked stubs. It was widely speculated that the stash belonged to Louis and the incident prompted him to write a lengthy letter to Joe Glaser, his manager, on the topic of cannabis. The letter outlined that he would require special permission to smoke his gage and if this wasn’t possible, he would halt performing music altogether. Eventually, Armstrong admitted he was forced to give it up, despite the perceived benefits.

These stories are just some of the many that show the correlations between jazz and cannabis consumption.

The music genre grew and became popular alongside the progression of cannabis regulation for many years. Musicians were impacted by the plant at a time when cannabis was still misunderstood. Some speculate this was due to cannabis usage that led to the imaginative and experimental music that captivated audiences and is still a hallmark of the jazz sound today.

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The COVE™ Guide to Stargazing

milky way

Stargazing is a free and fulfilling hobby that constantly changes. It helps with inspiration and imagination and aids in the relief of stress.

It can be enjoyed by people of all ages in any part of the world and can strengthen your connection to nature.

With plenty of great celestial events coming up this summer, we’ve compiled the COVE™ Guide to Stargazing to help you take it all in.

Equipment Needed
telescope outdoors

Although it doesn’t cost anything to stare up into the night sky, there is plenty of equipment available to make your experience even more enjoyable.

The most common piece of gear that people think of when it comes to stargazing is a telescope. Thankfully this doesn’t have to be a large expense anymore, with a variety of tabletop telescopes starting well below $100. As you gain experience you may want to upgrade to a more advanced model, but it certainly isn’t a necessity.

Most telescopes also come with low and high-power eyepieces. Become familiar with both before experimenting with filters or Barlow lenses.

You can’t truly explore the stars without a finderscope, but many telescopes come with one already. If you’re looking to take things to the next level, try upgrading to a red dot finder designed exclusively for astronomy.

Cell phones are also highly useful when it comes to stargazing providing plenty of astronomy apps such as SkyPortal and SkyView.

A red flashlight can be used to preserve your night vision during your stargazing session while a bright white one will make cleaning up far more simple. If you have a computerized telescope, most external power supplies have these flashlights built-in.

A good pair of binoculars can give you another great perspective on the cosmos and provide some added entertainment when you’re not looking through the eyepiece of your telescope.

Once you’ve got everything you need for your stargazing experience, grab friends and family and head outside to the yard or a local park and get set up! Don’t forget to bring some snacks and other sources of entertainment such as music if you’ve planned a lengthy session.

Eclipses
solar eclipse

Solar and lunar eclipses are frequently occurring astronomical events that most people are already familiar with. An eclipse is when the sun or moon is blocked from the viewpoint of an Earth observer.

The next lunar eclipse viewable in North America will occur at 11:07PM EST on July 4th and will last for almost three hours.

You can get a full list of upcoming eclipses here. Make sure not to look directly at a solar eclipse without proper protective eyewear.

Meteor Showers
meteor shower

A meteor shower is when Earth encounters many meteoroids at once causing glowing streaks in the sky.

To observe one you don’t need a telescope or binoculars, but you may require an alarm clock to wake you up in the middle of the night.

The June Boötids are a meteor shower occurring every year between June 22nd and July 2nd, with its usual peak happening on June 27th.

Enjoy this cosmic event without any fancy equipment this Summer.

Constellations
constellations

A constellation is an area on the celestial sphere that forms a perceived pattern such as an animal, mythological character, or inanimate object.

Their origins go all the way back to prehistory, but the 12 constellations in the zodiac such as Libra, Virgo, Capricorn, and Aquarius will surely sound familiar.

Many people also know of the Big Dipper, which isn’t actually its own constellation, but seven bright stars of Ursa Major.

There are other interesting patterns in the sky as well, such as asterisms. One of the easiest to spot during June in the Northern Hemisphere is the famous Summer Triangle consisting of the stars Deneb, Vega, and Altair.

Much like meteor showers, many constellations can be observed with the naked eye if you know where to look, but they might be better enjoyed using a telescope or binoculars.

Lunar Phases
lunar phases

As the moon orbits the earth there are eight distinct lunar phases in total. They’re ordered new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full moon, waning gibbous, third quarter, and waning crescent.

The cycle repeats itself once per month (every 29.5 days) and you can keep track of the phases using a lunar calendar or calculator.

You don’t need a telescope to see the different phases of the moon, but a closer look never hurts.

The night sky is filled with all the wonders of the cosmos. Feast your eyes on some wonderful night time scenery with these upcoming events and if you capture any photos share your favourite shots with us on Instagram @covecrafted.

 

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Declutter Your Life With Minimalism

laptop on minimalist desk

Life seems to be getting busier and busier, so we’ve decided to help you manage your crammed schedule and cluttered mind by exploring the art of minimalism.

Although many people perceive minimalism as simply getting rid of personal belongings and creating restrictions in your lifestyle, it can actually be used to achieve freedom and help you reach your goals without dropping every single thing you own off at a thrift store.

Benefits of Minimalism
black smartwatch

The benefits of minimalism are almost countless. It can drive improvement and simplicity across many aspects of your life, help with clarity of mind, reduce stress, and provide you with more free time, greater purpose, and self-confidence as well as some extra money and better relationships.

How to Get Started
folding clothes

There’s nothing wrong with owning material possessions but assigning proper value to the items you own and getting rid of things that aren’t needed can help declutter both your mind and home.

Determine what areas of your life could use more organization and begin by tossing away old or damaged belongings, listing things of value you no longer have a use for on eBay or declutter, and donating unwanted clothing.

If you’re feeling hesitant or need some additional inspiration, check out Tidying Up With Marie Kondo on Netflix for some great tips and advice.

You can also read this 101 Items To Get Rid Of Without Regret list, which will help you figure out the most painless possessions to get rid of.

30 Day Challenge
highlighter and notebook

Taking part in a 30 day challenge is a great way to spend a month building minimalist habits, turning what can seem like a huge burden into a temporary or permanent routine.

Find a friend or family member to participate in the challenge with you. On day one, get rid of your first item, on day two get rid of two items, remove three on day three, etc. until you reach 30 items on day 30.

Anything can go including collectables, decorations, kitchenware, electronics, furniture, bedding, clothes, towels, tools, and anything else you wish to part with.

Whether you donate the items, sell them, or throw them away, they must be out of your house each day by midnight.

Whoever keeps going the longest wins, or you both win if you make it to the end of 30 days. Following through all the way to the end will result in 465 things being decluttered.

Use the hashtag #MinsGame to find other people playing the game.

Maintaining Minimalism
living room

Maintaining minimalist habits is an ongoing battle, so make sure to keep the right mindset by remembering what drew you to minimalism in the first place. It’s a way of removing unnecessary things to make way for what’s truly important.

Appreciate your freshly organized space and continue to edit your possessions on a regular basis.

If you’re looking for daily encouragement, connect with the minimalism community for more great ideas! Sites like Zen Habits and Mindful are good places to start.

Minimalism isn’t about empty houses or rules. It’s about being able to focus on your values and what really matters to you. The ultimate goal is to spend less time on what doesn’t bring you joy or fulfillment and more time on the things that do.

Follow COVE™ on Instagram for more life inspiration.

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