Yeay! Thanksgiving dinner was a success! And to think you were worried!
Friday, November 27, 2009
Yeay! Thanksgiving dinner was a success! And to think you were worried!
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays... and one of the major reasons is the eating to be done on this day. Yes, the food. The yamming down. The munching and crunching. The eats, the sweets and the drinks. It is this society's only day when it is acceptable to gorge oneself on the best meat, vegetables, starches and desserts you can find. Who doesn't love that?
- I am thankful for my dear spouse of 5+ years of co-parenting rigor. Without his easy demeanor, calm and patience, there would be no example of balance for our daughter when she sees us two--her parents together
- I am thankful for my child. Her beautiful face is only a glimpse of the beautiful spirit she is. Her feisty energy coupled with her artistic ways never cease to amaze. I am so blessed that her spirit chose me to mother her.
- I thank my mother for always loving me. This has been a hard year for her, particularly with my brother being deployed, but she still maintains and supports all of her children in the best way she knows how. I love and appreciate her for that.
- I am thankful for my daughter's paternal grandparents. Any parent knows how important grandparents are in a busy parent's life and boy, my daughter has some of the best grandparents. Through all of our traveling this year, they kept our daughter whenever asked and never fail to love her--their home is her home. They are also very loving to me as well and I couldn't ask for better in-laws.
- My siblings-- all four of you, I am thankful for you all. You all being born have allowed me to be a big sister and allowed me to know that one child was quite enough for me when I started having kids of my own ;-)
- My step-daughter, I am very thankful and blessed to know you. You are a stunning young woman both inside and out. Watching you grow into a teenager has been amazing.
- I am thankful for you, my little nephew. You are funny and talented and I am looking forward to seeing an upcoming tennis match.
- My Uncle Butch, you are always there when I need software and computer hardware. Though I have no idea where you get your hook-up, I am grateful always for the hook-up you give me.
- Amenta-Maat, my cousin aka Valerie-- I am thankful for your support of all of my artistic endeavors. Seeing your face at two of my events this year and receiving your emails of support has made me so thankful for your love.
- Bella, our family dog, I am so thankful for you. I am particularly thankful that this Thanksgiving you are trained enough to not use the bathroom when out of your crate. Please keep up the good work. I want this kind of thankfulness to extend into the new year.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I have never prepared a Thanksgiving meal by myself. I have never hosted people over for Thanksgiving. Technically, I won't be doing either tomorrow. But, alas, I will be preparing the Thanksgiving bird. Of course, my spouse will be supervising all activity I'm involved in in the kitchen, but, I will be in charge of the turkey ultimately.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Everyone needs a break. Not sure if mine was long enough though.
When I returned from Florida yesterday, the feeling of stress quickly grabbed ahold. I had to get into producer mode for the 7pm Liberated Muse event--Capital Rhythm and Soul. This was especially challenging because my business partner actually had another event he was co-producing with co-workers at his day job and he was not able to really contribute to the promotion of the event nor be present during the logistics. The show was a benefit concert for the nonprofit Southeast Ministry that I've worked with this past summer, so, there were volunteers from Southeast Ministry that I needed to confer with as well prior to the event. When I got back from Florida, I was running very late and did not have the opportunity to drop my daughter off at her grandparents (her dad was still in Florida for business). Between getting myself ready and getting my daughter ready, we were already a half hour late. Did I mention that I was supposed to perform as well?
Well, I called my back vocalist Angie, a good friend of mine, and gave her a heads-up that I was running late. She was already there and had immediately stepped in as the contact for the volunteers and other artists who were performing. She did this without me even asking. When I arrived, all was fine, with several other performers having time issues as I had but everything working out overall. I took a grateful inhale and exhaled deeply.
Prior to the start of the show, we (performers and volunteers) met in the back and did a peace blessing acknowledging everyone who was present, praying for those who had to call out of the show last minute and allowing the volunteers , performers and members of Southeast Ministry to get to know each other. This moment really helped ground me.
When the show began, the hostess, a beautiful spirit named Dehejia Maat, began her MC duties by settling the crowd. She did this by reading passages from the book "The Secret" before engaging them with her poetry. The spiritual tone of the evening immediately began to take shape.
This wasn't a typical Friday evening of music. It was very warm, magical and almost spiritual. There was a very small turn-out, but that did not impact the performers, each one who gave their all to the audience. My own performance was very heartfelt as I sang out to MJ in my rendition of "Never Can Say Good-bye" and poured my heart out in my song "My Tragedy".
I felt refreshed, invigorated and deeply grateful for having the experience on Friday at the Capital Rhythm and Soul event at the Potter's House. I experienced the support of a friend, enjoyed reflective moments with friends and strangers alike and fellowshipped with others through music and song. What more can you hope for? I found unexpected spirituality in an everyday setting and it blossomed gratefulness in my heart.
(In the Video: Footage from last night's Capital Rhythm & Soul and other past events that I've produced through Liberated Muse)
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
(In photo: My friend Gary is a phenomenal musician)
Sunday, November 15, 2009
(In photo: Artists featured in the art exhibit-- Pru Bonds, Sherry Burton-Ways, James Terrell and Sharon Burton who is in the exhibit, created the cover art for the book Liberated Muse Volume I: How I Freed My Soul and curated the exhibit)
(In photo: Artist Shan'ta Monroe and her piece "Pandora's Box". Shan'ta is a painter and photographer and is featured in Liberated Muse Volume I:How I Freed My Soul and was the photographer for the Capital Hip Hop Soul Fest this past year, an event I produce each year with Liberated Muse Productions.)
(In photo: Me and Sharon Burton who led curation of the exhibit.)
(In photo: The artist Choke and her pieces. Choke sold the first piece to be sold from the exhibit when it soft opened in September)
(In photo: The group the Ash Lovelies were at the Potter's House rehearsing prior to our reception and decided to stay during the reception, actually providing the event music. Synchronicity is amazing. I had purposefully not invited any performing artists, not sure how we could swing that when the area in front of the art is usually the stage area. The Ash Lovelies were practicing in a corner of the room that did not encompass the gallery area. It was wonderful to meet them. They actually performed the same day I did at the Green Fest and I had caught them on that day when my family stuck around to enjoy the fest).
I had a good time. Sharon and I made the decision to push back an art exhibit we had originally scheduled for December (the Potter's House exhibit ends on Dec. 1) at Meroe Gallery in Baltimore, MD. We are shooting for the spring to ensure that we get more submissions and get a breath of air to relax. Maybe.
The next event I'm producing is this Friday. If you are reading this, I hope you plan to attend. Click here to RSVP on Facebook.
Thanks for reading!
Saturday, November 14, 2009
I've been really happy that my organization Liberated Muse has been able to create venues for visual artists as well as performing artists. Our social network http://www.liberatedmuse.com/ has been a community full of all kind of artists-- from literary artists and performing artists to visual artists and fiber artists. Exhibitions were only a matter of time.
It's thrilling to see the community grow and the events increase. If you're reading this, hope you can make it today. If not, make sure you mark next Friday, Nov. 20 for your calendar. Click here for the details. I'm performing with Gary & Angie and there are other fabulous artists performing.
As I get ready today, I grabbed a snapshot of a piece my daughter was working on this morning. "Aliens from outerspace". She said that this is me and her. What a great way to start the day.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Check out the video below I had fun adding blurbs to this past week. I get a kick out of watching it because (1) I love watching Binah dance and (2) it cracks me up how Khari just climbed onto stage with me and I just kept on performing. We are classic. It is from the 2009 Green Fest which was here in DC last month.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Mosaic Literary Conference
So, yesterday, I was in NY for the Mosaic Literary Conference hosted by the Literary Freedom Project and Mosaic Books. I presented last year when it was the Re:Verse Literary Conference & Festival and was honored to be selected to be a part of this important conference again. The Mosaic Literary Conference gathers educators-- mostly from the Bronx area in NY-- and shares ideas on how to connect youth to literature and inspire life-long readers. I presented a workshop about how Story Quilting has worked for me for the past few years as a tool to connect students-- from emerging readers to relunctant readers regardless of age-- to literature through art. Above are some photos from my workshop. The group of six women in my workshop were wonderful.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
My spouse and I went to see Saul Williams this past Sunday and the show was amazing! Many know Saul as a spoken word artist and poet, but he is every bit of a rock star and gives a high energy show that is exhilirating.
Part of the Afropunk tour, his opening acts consisted of one band, Smyrk, that I really dug. The lead vocalist had a soulful voice that easily flowed over the strong band that played some of the best rock arrangements I've heard of late. I'm looking to get their CD soon.
Another opening band was non other than soul rock legend Living Color. I didn't know much of their music other than "Cult of Personality" from the late 80's, early 90's , but I am a bonafide fan now. Just downloaded their music.
The dud of the group was the group called Krak Attack. They were beyond wackness. One song they had "Fat girl, skinny girl" was the worst song I've ever heard. I started laughing, literally, because I thought they were joking. They got mad because we the audience weren't feeling them. One of them just walked off the stage at the end of their set and didn't even say goodbye. He just happened to be the DJ for Saul Williams' set. I could tell he had complained about us back stage because at one point Saul asked were we ok. My whole opinion about that is that all the folks there were there to see Saul Williams. Those of us there that love Saul Williams love him because of the lyrical genius that he is. All of those that performed him were expecting a punk rock crowd. That wasn't us. The whole crowd surfing, hanging from rafters thing, that wasn't this crowd. We were the working-30-somethings-who-are-staying-up-extra-late-because-we-want-to-see-Saul-but-we-would-normally-be-sleep-by-now-crowd.
Saul Williams moved me to tears almost when he performed Niggy Tardust and then stopped when members of the audience obviously didn't get the song (he says in the song "When I say Niggy, you say nothing" and you aren't supposed to say anything, but the whole audience yelled "NOTHING") and gave this mini speech on how all of the illusion around us is not meant for us to imbibe, but, instead, to mobilize us to move towards center. He said it in his own with such eloquence and it was like surreal how you could hear the silence of the audience. Few folks can do that in a crowded room.
This was a great way to start my November.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Sunday, November 1, 2009
(In photo: The Brown is a Kentucky favorite dish. We had it at the renowned Brown Hotel)
(In photo: Outside in Kentucky. It was pure beauty.)
(In photo: Participating in a Bourbon tasting in Kentucky near Louisville. Elijah Cray was the top choice!)