Sacred Sites by Madi Luschwitz

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To venture all the way to the red centre in Alice Springs was an honour just as it was in other ways such a spiritual experience.

Where else in the world do tourists congregate around a huge rock in the middle of no where surrounded by arid landscape it’s so peculiar, yet so majestic all at once. Most people you meet whilst travelling these parts pick up on the heavy presence and silence that falls upon you when witnessing these sacred sites.

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We are only allowed to visit these lands as “tja  tja” meaning children (not in a literal sense but in terms of our knowledge of the land compared to the indigenous).  Even this to me feels very debatable about how welcome our presence is. So the least we can do is tread lightly and play our role as “tja tja” willing to learn about the culture and leave it as we found it. Unfortunately not everyone can fully grasp and understand this concept of respect.

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Uluru with beautiful dark streaks where the water has rushed down in the wet season

Uluru with beautiful dark streaks where the water has rushed down in the wet season

When we arrived to the base of Uluru I was so confronted by what they call “the scar of the rock”.  Nuts and bolts hammered into the beautiful form with the attachment of a chain making its way up to the top of the rock as a handrail for the foot scuffing tourists to clamber their way up to conquer it, own it, get their photo and move onto the next "experience". Leaving behind the white scar as their footsteps strip Uluru of it’s beautiful red colour.

When we arrived on the Saturday the last death from falling off the rock was the previous Tuesday! over 35 deaths. One may say bad juju is being sent to those climbing it which may very well be the case. Although from what I have heard in my time here, It genuinely upsets the indigenous community to hear of these deaths on their sacred land some have been known to attend the funeral of a deceased rock stomper.

With all of these notions floating around in my head a woman came up to our guide, who had just delivered a heartfelt speech why we must not climb it. This woman asked “why it was closed for climbing!“ Our guide answered its “due high wind at summit” followed by a “I hope it stays closed all day so no one can. It’s profoundly disrespectful”. To this woman’s disregard and total ignorance she replied “what’s the point of coming all the way out here to see this rock if we cannot climb it!”

I feel this notion to conquer comes with a need for control and a dissatisfaction. Also a total disconnect with nature, the world around us and no gratitude for what joy and the force of nature can bring to us on a daily basis! 

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Seeing the brutality of the handrail that takes you up the rock, which is I must add is a free activity and open to the floodgates was devastating! I used to think at least people had to pay through the ass to do it so a little of the joke was on them. Then combine this with the crazy tourist so cranky and pissed off her climbing hopes had been squished really hurt to see. My eyes filled up with tears for the indigenous communities all over Australia and for the pain we have inflicted upon them.

I do not see myself as an expert in aboriginal culture nor it’s communities but I do see it as my duty as someone born in these lands to learn as much as I can about it in my lifetime in order to be as respectful as possible.

I want aboriginal culture to be continued and passed down through their bloodlines and not forgotten with the elders. It’s one of the oldest civilisations and it’s in our hands now to fight back for them. Even if that means simply educating yourself so you can educate others.

I’m aware that the rock climb will be permanently closed from October 2019 which is great news! I do not blame the tourists either for wanting to come here and climb it because we as Australians have not set the standard of respect high enough. “Here is this rock, it’s really sacred, you shouldn’t climb it but it’s open anyway”. We need to start living and breathing this respect towards our indigenous community, it’s people and a long, long history of care and love of the earth that we could learn a lot from.

Uluru at sunset

Uluru at sunset

Madi Luschwitz X The Hemp Temple by Madi Luschwitz

Such a beautiful experience to collaborate alongside with the beautiful women that are The Hemp Temple. Here is our interview re-posted from their blog Temple Times. Click on "Madi Luschwitz X The Hemp Temple" to shop or order the Cosmic Collection of hand embroidered sacred threads.

The Heart of Madi

by Brittany Godden

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Where were you born and what is your star sign?

I was born in Royal women’s hospital in Paddington and I’m a Scorpio

 

We see you as respected and loved figure in the community and on social media, how do you feel responsible in this role? 

I use it as platform to put out my life experiences, stories and other people I look up to that shape me as an artist. I love showing my journey as my work shifts and morphs over time.

Being a creative is hard at times too there is so much doubt and self analysis that goes on that isn’t showed on instagram. Artworks can look really raw and awkward in their early stages!

So I make the choice to show this imperfect experience, the real me and how my artwork grows and just doesn’t get whipped up overnight. I know I certainly experience the ups and downs of inspiration and I think it’s a great thing that through Instagram we can share this vulnerability that we are all in this together.

 

As an artist, what message are you sharing though your art?  

 Connection between the earth and its inhabitants, self growth and our infinite potential.

I want my art to really inspire people to step into their inner child. 

I love that their is a cosmic sense of humour too that people can laugh at some of the imagery and enjoy it! Just cause it’s in a gallery it doesn’t have to be serious it can be humorous and spark that cheeky ness within us all.

Creating art for me is a really powerful way to express who I am and how I see the world. I can be quite an introvert at times and it feels really special that I can use my creativity to visually share my heart and soul.

 

We love the grounding essence of your cosmic work, how did the Australian bush and the rocketship come to light? 

 Iv always been a day dreamer. My mind has always drifted off into different stories and depictions of my moments spent in reality. Coming up with imaginary stories within the Australian landscape and combining it with a natural human instinct to be drawn to the galaxy and it’s glittering show that it puts on every night. I love the childlike aspect when my bush creatures combine with the cosmos I feel like my inner 5 year old Madi is taking over my hand as I create. 

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Whats tools do you use to stay balanced amongst life's beautiful chaos? 

I spend time with my beautiful Man, practise Vedic Meditation, bushwalk bare foot and force myself Into cold ocean dips to keep myself in check and make sure I’m being my best version of myself. 

The clearer I am the more inspired I am and the more art flows out of me. Self love is a big one too I love to finish my meditation with gentle friendly self love reminders. I think we are in such a time of comparison of our selves to others and it’s important to keep reminding yourself that we are all doing our best!

What or who, is your biggest inspiration?

PATTI SMITH hands down! The first time I heard her music I felt like I had been waiting to hear an artist sound like that my whole life! The more of her books, documentaries, music and live performances I have witnessed has just cemented her in my mind as someone living up to their full purpose and truly being led by their passion and love for life.

What has been your greatest achievement? 

My first solo show of my art in 2016. I was terrified but the opportunity came up and I knew I couldn’t say no. It was the first time I had invested a lot of money into my art in hope for the best. I really pushed myself creatively I wanted to put out as much as I physically could for this show. I posed nude with my art in the lead up to promote it. I felt like all of me was on the line in so many ways. The terrifying thoughts of failure where full on and shame for dedicating so much time to a career that is never certain! All totally fear based thoughts that are not real of course but we all have them. Long story short the show went amazing! I sold a lot of work and had a massive turnout of support I could not have dreamed of. It felt like the universe gave me a friendly push that I needed to keep at it and I have ever since.

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Do you have animal guides, cosmic guides, or perhaps a higher consciousness you tap into? 

Through dreams and some of my deep meditations I experience subtle visions of colour and creatures or a feeling that I need to stop and draw immediately. These images are so fleeting but feel really special so I always keep my diary next to me or draw them out not long after they happen. 

In terms of animal guides I feel SO connected with animals, always have. I feel they all guide me in different ways. Whether it’s a beautiful tawny frogmouth owl that makes you slow down to appreciate its grandness or a whale in the ocean when your surfing, I always feel a surge of inspiration and purpose after these close encounters.

 

What has recently inspired you? Are you working on anything at the moment.  

Yes I’m exploring works inspired by my travels to remote landscapes and what they clear within ourselves by being away from technology and the simplicity of living off the land. I spent 6 weeks in Sumba and currently been travelling the Northern Territory for 5.

With this in mind Im combining this with the connection to ancient handcrafts through thread and dirt (embroidery and ceramics). I’m so drawn to the simplicity of representation as seen in aboriginal, Egyptian and Mexican folk art I love the bold, confidence and purpose of story they hold.

I like to think of these cultures while I’m making art and then morph it together with my fierce love for Australia and its raw beautiful aesthetic. 

 

We have been following your adventures into the Australia desert, how did it feel to be out there? 

It feels insane and so powerful in so many ways. Iv wanted to see it for years and finally just called it last year to do it! Seeing Uluru and Kata-Juta two very sacred sites was full on! A silence takes over you I felt honoured to experience them. When I felt Uluru electricity went through my arms. Also I had the rare opportunity to visit a closed aboriginal community with my beautiful friend Lilly as she visited her family there. We got to meet some really inspiring artists, hunters and people still so connected to the harsh dry landscape. They were so welcoming and I felt honoured to be able to meet everyone and hear their stories.

 

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Why did you want to collab with the hemp temple?

I have been so inspired watching you guys grow as a brand and a way of living. Holding so much integrity in the process. You truely practise what you preach and put out so much good vibes! It’s an honour to create alongside a brand with strong core values that reflect your own. I’m a big fan of hemp and slow fashion. 

It’s also been so grounding to wear on my travels through Sumba and Northern Territory this year. There really feels to be something primal and ancient about hemp when I wear it I feel really feminine and strong at the same time.

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Bush Walk by Madi Luschwitz

Bush Walking - for self care

 

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There is something about walking into the bush that instantly slows my mind and brings a soft gentle clarity in moments when I'm craving it.

I took one crunching step forward on the crystal clear quartz and the rubble spread to the sole of my shoe.

One deep breath, my eyes puffy and soft - i can taste the dryness on my tongue.

I start stomping my way up the hill and catch myself, “slow, soft” i say “it’s not about the finish line.” 

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Softer i walk - red dust puffing into the air behind me like smoke.

I walk with ease. Breathing, breathing, breathing it in.

The arid and majestic hills, the quiet; All i can hear is my shoes.

The top of the hill is bigger than i imagine - so much room for play and exploring. I drift off the track clapping my hands like a clumsy tourist to ward off snakes in the long grass.

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I stop to photograph something i cannot do justice, putting my camera down i feel something behind me - assuming its a fellow bushwalker i turn to say hi. Instead i face in the near distance a beautiful and large Kangaroo bounding through the grass and rocks.

It stops - we hold eye contact and then he is gone.

I sit on a large red rock, my legs dangling like a child. Feeling inspired i begin to draw.

I remind myself its not about perfect representation but a free felt ode to life and a moment of play of letting go. Knowing my insecurities, acknowledging them and moving forward.

 

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Finding Flow towards Moon Man by Madi Luschwitz

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Finding a rhythm where there is no space for negativity or doubt and only room for creation and growth.

Now its all well and good to talk about the inspiring moments when travelling and the awesome feeling you get after creating an artwork that you really dig! But what about those days where you stare at the wall and stop seeing the magic in your art and second guess your talents?

 For me this was happening often, when you question where your art belongs, if it does belong, or if your being indulgent spending so much time on your art. The answer to this questions is fear, fear of being vulnerable, fear of being exposed, fear of failure, for me it all comes down to fear.

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 An obvious answer that can be hard to see when we have a rainy storm cloud over our head! Once I locked a date for my solo show, I realised; "wow there was no time for such road blocks". I'm not saying everyday is like this rather being open about the fact that every now and again we all have that grim creep over us which tries to stifle and squish our creativity! 

This lead up to 'Man and the Moon' has taught me a lot about myself and how self care is so important to include into your artistic practice. After all, what we create is a reflection of our mind. So I thought I would share my process with you over these past months coming up to my show.

Wake up 5:30am to meditate then move my body! I'll either walk my Kelpie Jack, go for a bush walk or a swim with Nic. Even just a stroll to the ocean sunrise and back! Anything to wake up my limbs before I sit in the studio for three hours at a time. The earlier i start this process the better as i feel so much more alert and creative in the mornings

Then come home have a light brekki, fill up my tea pot and lay out all my paints and my chosen work to take on that morning. The next step which has helped me incredibly is Podcasts (Richard Fidler in particular). They have changed my entire artistic process, I used to get that nervous feeling of pressure and expectation when I looked at the blank page, this would effect the mediums and materials I used. So instead of entertaining this worry, I replace it with my brain being distracted by amazing tales of people and their life experiences. Whilst being engrossed in these stories I put my brush to paper and get on with it. I consciously choose not to think twice about that mark or that colour and just going with the flow and seeing where I end up.

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3 hours is usually my limit till I need a break. I then crawl out of my cave-like studio into the sunshine and make sure i do something that brings me joy and refreshes me. This can be another walk with my dog, quick dip in the ocean or just a fun catch up with a friend. Anything that just re-sets you before channeling your inner cave dwelling artist for the afternoon. Nature has been incredibly important to my practice and iv'e found it's essential to ground and inspire me with its funny little curiosities.

The other half of my day is dedicated to more art time where ill chose a more fluid-like medium such as water colour, embroidery or writing to wind me down to the evening.

It's amazing to set your creativity a structure which is most often an unstructured medium. The main thing is to make time for what your passionate about and back yourself that it's of worth to treat such passions with a "work day" mentality where your phone can be turned off and you give yourself the chance to dive deep into what lights your fire!

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Man and the Moon

Opens October 19-24 @M2 Gallery in Surry Hills

Opening night October 20th 6-9pm

The Hit List by Madi Luschwitz

Edward Scissorhands by Tim Burton

Edward Scissorhands by Tim Burton

I have many obsessions. Whether its Patti Smith, stitching onto my clothes, collage, chocolate or art galleries; one of my longest running is watching movies! I used to beg my local video store owner for a job every time I went in there, which as you may gather was very often! It seemed like the shiniest, coolest job ever to be able to watch and talk about movies alll day.

I'm still guilty of being addicted to going to the movies, although it doesn't feel like such an unhealthy obsession since I share it with my husband and equal movie freak Nic! I must admit even though we appreciate a great well made film our noses are not snubbed up when it comes to doing a last minute dash to the cinema. First for a game of air hockey, then straight to the trashiest action flick out! Its the experience just to sit in those squishy stained seats with our feet on the row in front, eat chocolate, give our 10/10 ratings to previews and then froth out and immerse ourselves in the film!

This blog is titled after a great director Robert Rodriguez. He makes "to do lists" of epic projects from learning the guitar to turning that screenplay he wrote into a film. Its a list that is always seen done called the "HIT LIST". I have created a my own version of a "Hit List" for you! its a "if you have not seen any of the films below you need to get watching HIT LIST!"

All the films below inspire me in one way or another. I have favourite characters, lines and scenes but I wont bore you with the details. Pretty much anything directed by Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Pedro Almodóvar, Wes Anderson, The Cohen Brothers, Gus van Sant and David O. Russell you cannot go wrong with! There is such a freedom of expression with the types of characters that they explore and such a gutsy approach to subject matter. I love the black humour in these films and can often be found in the back of the cinema laughing with crickets in the seats around me (anyone who has heard my laugh will know its not the most subtle of tones)

This list is in no particular order and is not my indefinite hit list. I'm passionate about my obsession and I am constantly finding new favourites every week! 

Films Listed from Left to Right

Death Proof: Quentin Tarantino, Desperado: Robert Rodriguez, Broken Embraces: Pedro Almodóvar, Pulp Fiction: Quentin Tarantino

American Hustle: Davis O. Russell, Boy: Taika Waititi, Dallas Buyers Club: Jean-Marc Vallée, Frida: Julie Taymor

Captain Fantastic: Matt Ross, The Darjeeling Limited: Wes Anderson, Jurassic Park: Steven Spielberg, The Life Aquatic: Wes Anderson

Garden State: Zach Braff, Goodfellas: Martin Scorsese, Taxi driver: Martin Scorsese, Django: Quentin Tarantino

Burn After Reading: The Cohen Brothers, Lord of the Rings: Peter Jackson, Midnight in Paris: Woody Allen, Moonlight: Barry Jenkins

Films Listed Left to Right

Nocturnal Animals: Tom Ford, Little Miss Sunshine: Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris, Sin City: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez & Quentin Tarantino, Love and Mercy: Bill Pohlad

Drugstore Cowboy: Gus van Sant, Stand By Me: Rob Reiner, Star Wars: George Lucas, Swiss Army Man: Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert

Kill Bill: Quentin Tarantino, The Big Lebowski: The Cohen Brothers, True Grit: The Cohen Brothers, My Own Private Idaho: Gus van Sant

Juno: Jason Reitman, Tracks: John Curran, Reservoir Dogs: Quentin Tarantino, Edward Scissorhands: Tim Burton 

Death Proof by Quentin Tarantino

Death Proof by Quentin Tarantino

New York New York by Madi Luschwitz

One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.
— Tom Wolfe

I'm not sure if Tom Wolfe's words ring true for the majority but it certainly felt that way for me. When Nic was studying in the beautiful little town of Carlsbad, the opportunity came up for me to fly to New York City and stay with my beautiful friend Poody Pidgeon for ten days! Poody had been living in Manhattan, Greenwich Villige for 4 months now, studying at SVA (school of visual arts) and with open arms and a full heart took me in.

We both coincidently met at JFK airport as she was flying in from LA. We laughed as her suitcase was big enough for a round the world trip for a five day stint. On the Subway home Poody's eyes were alive as she told me all that she loved about this city that never sleeps.

In all honesty the main thing exciting me about New York was the galleries. You were spoiled for choice there were too many to explore! As far as the city itself was concerned i expected it to be overated by the many movies and people i had seen preaching its magic! 

We climbed out from the subway at one in the morning, this was my first sight of New York. It surprised me, i said to Poody "its so small!" she instantly laughed saying "just wait till tomorrow". The sweet old brick apartment blocks and low rise early skyscrapers felt cosy and warm as we passed many flamboyant characters. Transvestites strutting, teens giggeling and others speeding past with boom boxes tied to their bicycles blasting beats into the night. 

My mind wandered to the great's that had lived and walked these streets. Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jim Morrison, Andy Warhol and of course Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe. That was all it took, imagining this place in the 60s and 70s. When i left San Diego i hadnt given a thought to the fame and how much history this city held home to and in that moment i instantly fell in love with this unpolished, raw, filthy, energetic and electric big juicy apple.

With Poody attending her studies most days, I would head off witnessing one gallery at a time. I devoured the MOMA, The Natural History Museum, The MET, the Guggenheim and the Museum of Sex. I was hungry for art! Each viewing I felt re-charged, inspired and purposeful. This was my education, an obsession I would spend hours in these galleries. Forgetting to have lunch and emerging from the buildings blown away with new favourite artworks. Artworks that I had not appreciated in the past, their beauty was exposed seeing them in the flesh! 

It was as much the journey en route as it was the experience when i arrived. In my stubborn-ness to technology and an ode to the old world of poets and musicians that had walked these streets, i decided against buying an american sim card and instead bought a map for $7 at the book store. Mustafa we called it. Poody would laugh and roll her eyes as i would open up this huge parchment twisting and turning it to find my position. 

I saw my experience here with rose coloured glasses the christmas trees lined the streets for sale, picking sprigs crushing and smelling it as we walked. Steam vents billowed the buildings grew taller and taller but never lost their charm. Manhattan was massive and tiny at the same time. I had never felt such a contradiction.

What I really enjoyed about my experience was the freedom of personal expression that  i saw in people.  A gothic chick best friends with a prim and proper office girl, a curvaceous woman in the tightest dress iv ever seen and Poody in all red head to toe looking like a mnm chocolate drop. My opinions are merely observations but it felt liberating being amongst such larger than life characters that seemed hungry for life and not afraid to make friends with strangers on the sidewalks.

I felt like i had just started art school again, except this time inside my mind. Coming up with personal ideals and values of what "art" and creative expression is to me. This feeling of expansiveness and possibility that lived not only in this beautiful city but also within ourselves. A reminder to keep searching past my comfort zone and living a life full of expression! 

Seeing Patti Smith by Madi Luschwitz

I’ve never felt oppressed by my gender. When I’m writing a poem or drawing; I’m not female; I’m an artist
— Patti Smith

When I was younger I was consistently looking up to male role models for creative inspiration. The Rolling Stones, Neil Young, David Bowie and Quentin Tarantino, I loved their boldness and originality. Although being a shy teen I think I was mostly awestruck by their confidence.

When i was 18, almost a year into Art School I heard Patti Smith's album "Horses." Something happened when I heard it for the first time and I beleive from that moment my perspective was starting to shift as I opened myself up to the gritty and bold females out there that I had not yet exposed myself to. Thus sending myself on a hungry absorbtion through the life work of Patti Smith.

Airport hangs in La Guardia 

Airport hangs in La Guardia 

When planning our trip to The States I naturally went searching for a Patti Smith concert! I couldn’t believe it when one popped up in Chicago on December 30th. This was the birthplace of Patti and December 30th was her actual birthday. We had to go. So in an excited panic and fear of the tickets selling out I booked them, and so began our unexpected 24 hour adventure from Manhattan to Chicago and back again.

We boarded our plane at 3pm and landed in Chicago, Illinoise 5:30pm at a pleasent -3 degrees celsius! As we made our way through subways I watched the town sweep by through the windows of the train. I had this feeling of comfort, this was exactly where I was meant to be in this moment. Totally content. Which I found curious due to the cold grey light blanketing the town, big brick industrial buildings, deciduous trees stripped bare and roads lined with black snow shovelled to the side. I loved it.

Once off the train we found ourselves going around in circles lost in this new city. Although this didnt worry us since we were in our element wandering around and soaking it all in. Eventually we made our way to the Riviera Theatre. The air was dry and icey, our faces felt electric and zapped into the moment as our feet crunched along the salt sprinkled pavement. We had left much time as the gates didnt open for another two hours. As we neared the triumphant neon of the theatre the line emerged and we both realized that seating was first in best dressed. We got in line three blocks from the front gate half smiling, half shocked and gawking at the mass of people in front of us.

Nic in Chicago Park 

Nic in Chicago Park 

As the temperature dropped lower and lower our jackets were zipped up past our noses and hands deep in pockets. My hand felt at the folded up paper note I had written weeks back. A thankyou note, an acknowledgement, call it what you need; I had written a fan letter for Patti Smith. Does this make me one of those weirdos that write letters and have an unhealthy obsession with someone. YES! but fuck it. I am a freak and I had to get it to Patti!

So began our search for the messenger to take this letter to Patti. After numerous failed attempts and a slightly broken spirit we made our way to our last option The merchandise stand. Nic, still on high alert spotted Neil Young's doppleganger with an all access pass on his hip! Nic made a run for him, the poor man actually noticed and picked up his own pace! Then he stopped, perhaps noticing the desperation in Nic's eyes. “My wife is a massive Patti Smith fan. She has a letter, can you pleeease give it to her?” “sure” he said.

The Riviera Theatre

The Riviera Theatre

To me, punk rock is the freedom to create, freedom to be successful, freedom to not be successful, freedom to be who you are. It’s freedom.
— Patti Smith

After that the night was buzzing with potential! We found our place in the mosh and before we knew it Patti came on. Maybe it was the vodka but something really strange happened as she spoke those first words “Jesus died for somebodys sins, but not mine” my eyes welled up and the tears started flowing. Serious tears, not just a quick little rom com dribble, I was overwhelmed. The tears kept streaming and sharing this moment with Nic was possibly the most special inspiring and deep moments to date. As Patti said when she saw Jim Morrison perform the first time "It seemed for me a night of initiation, where i had become fully myself in the presence of the one I had modeled myself after."

Patti in all her glory

Patti in all her glory

She spoke of empowerment, change and the moral power in taking responsibility for ones actions. In the song "Elegie" she ran off into poetic speech recalling and honouring all we have lost. From Jimi Hendrix to Kurt Cobain to Amy Winehouse she named them all. Proving her relevence after all this time in todays culture. Her love for art, experiencing and observing have transended an era, a time and place. Replacing it with the Now as we stood amongst a hugely varied and diverse crowd. It felt like a gift to be standing in the mass absorbing this. She spat on stage, danced and swore like it was going out of fashion! she was everything I had hoped and more as she performed and expressed her gratitude for rock and roll. It was 70 years to date since she was born in Chicago that very night. There truely was magic in the air as we screamed her lyrics dancing and making friends amoungst us. I felt pure admiration yet also an awakened hunger in me. An obligation and a personal mission to stay on the path of art and self expression.

new years eve the morning after the show

new years eve the morning after the show