Coffee Rhetoric: Written Word
Showing posts with label Written Word. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Written Word. Show all posts

August 19, 2012

Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story

During a TED conference, Chimamanda Adichie shared how she found her authentic cultural voice and spoke about the dangers of only hearing a single story about a person or country. Having grown on a university campus in Eastern Nigeria, Chimamanda read a lot of British and American children's' books. As she began to write at a young age, Adichie penned stories not unlike those she was reading; in the following clip, she relays how learning about other African writers changed her perception of literature and helped her identify with and write about people, like herself.
"What this demonstrates [I think] is how impressionable and vulnerable we are in the face of a story, particularly as children. Because all I had read were books in which characters were foreign, I had become convinced that books by their very nature, had to have foreigners in them, and had to be about things with which I could not personally identify." Adichie explained.   








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June 16, 2012

Conversation with Toni Morrison

"I don't like those either/or scenarios where if you do this, then you can't do that. I think one of the interesting things that certainly, feminine intelligence can bring, is a kind of a look at the world that you can do two things or three things or be ... the personality is more fluid... more receptive; the boundaries are not quite so defined and I think that's part of what modernism is."

April 23, 2012

Building Blocks

Last night's Tastemakers Soul Hartford was an awesome and productive fete. I met some great people, gleaned and exchanged some insightful ideas.

I'm admittedly averse to "networking" in the most commonly known sense of the word and act and many such ‘schmoozy’ events. In fact I'm anti-networking. To quote noted New York City party planner and social media maven, Bevy Smith ...
 "A word about NETWORKING, a word I detest, an idea I abhor! Folks in a room targeting who they should be talking to based on position ... YUCK!"


And Bevy Smith, who highly endorses building genuine business relationships organically, should know. Her intimate "Dinner with Bevy" gatherings boast an extraordinary list of marketing types/PR types paired with celebrity notables, who'd probably never consider socializing with one another over dinner, under any other circumstances if not brought together at an intimate venue, over a delectable spread, by Bevy. And on that note, having finally attended a Tastemakers Soul- Hartford event, I'd say it was definitely about genuine building than networking, as I've come to know and detest it. People in attendance were looking to connect and possibly cultivate some collaborative projects with one another. There was nary an ego or discriminating conversationalist in sight. And that's definitely something I endorse.

There was a Soul Purpose representative onsite, with delectable products on-hand; as well as writers, singers, editors, PR types, and poets. I shared the first panel discussion with some outstanding and talented folk and we all offered up food for thought on; starting and sustaining useful connections, protecting your personal brand and the importance of business nuance and awareness. I mostly spoke about utilizing social media productively as a writer, to increase awareness and build reputation.

There was second panel called DJ 101, which was a continuation to a previous Tastemaker DJ panel. Subsequent performances included those by spoken word performance poet, Tarishi “Midnight” Shuler and singer/songwriter/producer Howa.rd (who I’ll be interviewing for a Coffee Buzz feature in the coming days).

I definitely look forward to participating and/or attending future Tastemaker Soul Hartford or (similar other) events. Tastemakers Soul Hartford take place every month at Vibz Uptown. It's definitely a welcome and much needed affair, in the HartBeat.

April 10, 2012

Tastemaking in The HartBeat...

Oh yes… time for another ubiquitous plug for this month's Tastemaker's Soul Hartford event, at Vibz Uptown. I will be a part of the panel discussion portion of the affair along with a lineup of other Connecticut notables, discussing "The Written Word". Read the the official word below... 

April is Jazz and Poetry Appreciation month and Tastemakers Soul Hartford will be hosting an event celebrating both on Sunday, April 22, 2012 at 6pm. This event will be held at Vibz Uptown at 3155 Main Street, Hartford, CT. It will feature a night of panel discussions and live entertainment. The evening begins with artist Jeff Bradshaw's (Hidden Beach Records) "Bone Appetit", a new CD that will be released on April 24th. The first two panels will be a discussion featuring poets and written word artists and they include:

Kevin Harewood- Industry Executive, Edectic Ent/Yeagency, Latoya Bosworth- Founder of K.Y.D.S., & Brenda's Child, Tiff Jones- Freelance writer, Blogger and creator of  Coffee Rhetoric, Lenise "NuNuu" Smith- Publisher of S.L.A.M.M. Magazine, Bradford Howard Jr.- AllBusiness Consulting LLC, Carla Jervey- WQTQ FM, Aja Wilson- Jazz/Soul Singer, Smooth Jazz Artist-  Funkee BoyEsnavi- Soul Singer, and Hartford, CT Singer/Songwriter Janae Smith.

The third panel is a continuation of the DJ Business 101 series. Confirmed panelists are: Herman Ham- King of Clubz, Kingsley Osei- Owner of Catchin Wreck Marketing & Founder/Executive Director of Connecticut Against Violence, DJ Showtime- KISS 95.7 FM, Lamonte Hayes- BWP Marketing, Stephen Richardson- CT Music Pool, and DJ Terrible T.

Following the discussions, R&B singer Rashaan Langley; a native of New Haven and also the host of Tastemakers Soul Hartford, will perform with his band. The event will be recorded by Brian Sams of Headbanger Video, LLC and Tony Bass of City Beat MultiMedia Group.

Additional performers slated to appear are R&B Singer and Musician Heshima from Springfield, MA/NY, Dallas-based Neo-Soul Artist Nuwamba, spoken-word poet, Tarishi "Midnight" Shuler from New Haven, Singer and Hartford’s own Janae Smith, and Frank "Mr. Wonderful" Brady of New Haven.

Vendors will be on-site at the Tastemakers Soul Hartford Marketplace and food will be available for purchase by Rajun Cajun. Admission is $8 or 2/$10. Doors open at 6pm.

Tastemakers Soul Hartford has been New England's longest running networking event. Originally an exclusive function, it is now a monthly affair where independent artists are highlighted and local "tastemakers" network and support one another.

For media inquiries, contact Desiree Primus at 413-221-9857.

Related post(s): Coffee Buzz- Tastemakers Soul Hartford



April 06, 2012

(Spoken-Word) Guante: 10 Responses to the Phrase "Man Up"



Spoken-word/hip-hop artist, poet, and activist Guante gives a stirring performance challenging heternormative lifestyle norms; more specifically, he goes-in about the term "Man Up"... A phrase that challenges masculinity and discourages men from expressing themselves openly...






March 30, 2012

Coffee Buzz: Tastemakers Soul Hartford, The Written Word


Every month, promoter and DJ of the radio show "Reflections", broadcast on 90.7 WTCC in Springfield, Massachusetts, hosts a networking event and industry showcase called Tastemakers Soul Hartford at Vibz Uptown, here in Connecticut. 
A panel of local movers and shakers convene for a panel discussion on the myriad of interesting topics and the opportunity to interact with like-minded individuals, hear great live music by independent and/or up-and-coming artists, and to browse a wonderful collection of handmade wares set up by jewelry makers and other artisans. 

It just so happens that yours truly—(Who? Yes, me! ) – will be featured on an upcoming panel in the company of other talented poets, editors, industry insiders, and writers including Spoken word artist and Publisher of S.L.A.M.M. Magazine Lenise “Nu Nuu” Smith, Carla Jervey of WQTQ FM in Hartford, and Kevin Harewood—Author of "Make Your Move-A Guide to Releasing Your Music Independently" and Industry Executive for boutique agency, Yeagency, discussing “The Written Word”. 

The event happens Sunday, April 22nd, 6pm – 10:30pm at Vibz Uptown at 3155 Main Street, in Hartford. For more information, visit the Tastemakers Soul Events Page on Facebook.  Hope to see you there!

February 16, 2012

HartBeat Ensemble's New Play Institute Presents, Project: Turnpike

Still somewhat fresh off the success and much lauded spring/winter run of their original main-stage play, Flipside-- (a play I had the pleasure of blogging about from behind the scenes)-- which will begin touring around New England in March, Hartford based professional theater group, HartBeat Ensemble is already hard at work on a new stage production  currently in development called Project: Turnpike.

The work is based on the 2007 federal trial of the United States vs. Dennis Paris; a case that unfolded right here in Hartford.  

Project: Turnpike charts 72 hours in the lives of four exploited sex workers in a motel room on the Berlin Turnpike; a busy 4-lane Connecticut highway.
In order to bring this landmark case to the stage, true-to-their art-form, HartBeat Ensemble members interviewed and collected the personal stories of people affected by human trafficking and worked with human rights advocate Raymond Bechard, who wrote the book The Berlin Turnpike: A True Story of Human Trafficking in America. Raymond Bechard explains;
"With a long and sordid history, The Berlin Turnpike serves as a metaphor for the landscape in which human trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, and all forms of prostitution have existed in the U.S. for centuries, while continuing to flourish today." 
HartBeat Ensemble will workshop and debut a staged production of Project: Turnpike Friday, April 20th at 7:30pm (at a TBD facility), in the first of three planned staged readings as part of HBE's New Play Institute. The two-year project will commence in collaboration with an area college or university, also TBD, where HBE will work in-residence while teaching a master class on "The Creation of Original Work".

The New Play Institute serves to foster an environment of experimentation and creativity for HartBeat Ensemble and college students. It also offers audience members a chance to experience new theatrical work in its early stages.

General admission will be $5 and free for students with proper identification.

HartBeat Ensemble continues to create original professional theater based on stories from the community via main-stage plays, open-air performances, and educational out-reach programs. HartBeat Ensemble makes theatrical arts accessible beyond the barriers of class, race, and gender.

For more information on HartBeat Ensemble and Project: Turnpike, visit the official HartBeat Ensemble website or call: 860.548.9144 ext 115

**Additional Reading--  





In Which I Share in Earnest: The Uprising

 My writing prowess isn't just relegated to essays, blog posts, and articles. For years-- well before I delved further into the world of print journalism, blogging, and freelance writing; I was a prolific short-story writer. Short-story fiction is my first love and I haven't done nearly enough of it lately. 

I dabbled in poetry, participating in half-hearted public readings at open mics (I'm not a performance artist by any means), but I've always had an affinity for writing prose. Every now and again I dust off an old piece of work and put it through a series of revisions with the intent to self-publish. The Uprising, perhaps my favorite Pièce de résistance, is no exception. It's a story I've always aspired to have published as a novella since conceiving and writing it while at college. 

I rarely share anything I've written within the realm of short-story fiction via the Blogosphere and have an inkling to do so now. 

In observance of Black History Month, I've decided to release the prologue to The Uprising.
Perhaps if the mood strikes me, I'll share more.   


**Also, check out Dolen Perkins-Valdez's compelling book, Wench. I recommended this before however, I'm currently re-reading it for the third time and it's what prompted me to share an excerpt of my own work.


Read The Uprising...
 

June 27, 2011

Writer and Actor, Terrill Closs Tangles with THE BEAST

2014 Update: Within the 3 years since this interview Terrill has hosted child pageants and was featured on 'Toddlers & Tiaras' and relocated to Los Angeles, where he has acted as a visible extra on several popular TV series, including 'Scandal' and 'Glee'. He continues to edit his book about 'The Beast', and hopes to release it to the masses sometime this year. 




Every now and again, I meet someone’s acquaintance or am introduced to a dynamic character I either end up wishing would suck on the open end of an exhaust pipe or who I'm intrigued by and will chop it up with in 3D over drinks, email, or social networking. 
Recently, I did a feature on a talented and exquisite Avant-garde   unicorn by the name of Dani Arranka, after having attended his birthday where he premiered the music video to his single, Be Like Me. A few days later my sister pitched me another idea: “If you liked Dani, you’d totally love my friend Terrill! She exclaimed. He’s a writer too! I think you’d like some of his work. He lives in Atlanta now! I told him all about you… ” At this point in the conversation, I sort checked out, because sister was rambling a mile a minute and my attention span has waned with older age (not my fault). 
In any event, I suggested she tell him to email me and give me the skinny all about himself, on his own accord. Sister sent me an email with one of his short stories attached. During that time, I was swimming in emails and in the midst of working on blogging the behind-the-scenes action for HartBeat Ensemble’s play, Flipside; and so it slipped to the back burner

Shortly after the initial suggestion to check out her friend, I got a Facebook friend request from one Terrill Creative-Closs. I noted we had my sister in common and remembered that this was the friend I was supposed to know about, and gladly accepted. The rest is history. I started noticing the lamentations in his status updates... one in particular, suggesting he'd need to soak in a Hazmat-sanctioned bleach bath (not really), before having to immerse himself in seedy goings-on at his job, which he called THE BEAST: Another night at THE BEAST! 
Subsequent posts would follow along that same vein, the underlying subtext seeming to be that folks wish him luck and the mental stability to sustain him through the evening...
"@THE BEAST: Sum guy got mad at us, on his way out. So he screamed & threatened to tell the cops that we’re ‘running a prostitution ring."
 another recent Facebook status read. 

But Terrill would also post updates about the progress on the book he's working on, inspired by exploits at THE BEAST.  
“…typing up my book and luxuriating… knowing I’m free from the grasp of THE BEAST tonight and tmrw.”  
Needless to say, my interest was, once again, piqued by this book-in-progress. I was anxious to delve into how found himself toiling away at THE BEAST and how he ended up in Atlanta. I also wanted to get a sense of his writing voice. So I had the opportunity to build with Terrill via an email conversation. What he relayed to me would prove to be even more compelling than his status updates on Facebook. It was so interesting; I couldn't bring myself to condense any of it and so, am presenting it on here exactly as he presented it to me, in its entirety. It’d be in your best interests to read on… not to mention he's rather easy on the eyes. 
Details about 'The Beast' are graphic and, perhaps, NSFW. 


June 24, 2011

In Which Coffey Has Much To Do!

I have a lot on my mind and have a few pressing topics I've been dying to weigh-in on however I'm grappling with sinus (again) and throat issues and can't really think clearly enough to run my mouth via my computer, effectively. I've also been besieged by unsettling images of having to sleep next to whoever my partner will be, while they listen to me snore horribly due to these said chronic sinus issues... but I digress...
I've also got quite a bit on my plate and have attended or will be attending a few events in the coming days. It is a great time to be in Hartford this summer, so Kanye-shrug at anything contrary you may have heard, because people have no clue what they're talking about. Trust me on this. 
This past Friday, I had the privilege of being able to attend this year's Juneteenth Celebration Gala thrown by The Amistad Center for Arts and Culture at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. This required me to find and buy a dress I didn't entirely hate and wear it (without having to double up on Spanx) and condense my belongings in a clutch (a difficult feat, as I only shoulder carry-on luggage sized purses).
The well-heeled were in great form as they got crunk in their formal regalia to the DJ's set list of Luke Campbell, Jay-Z, Beyonce and contemporary pop-folks of the like. I must say, it was amusing watching political power-players and Black society types thrusting their hips, pumping their fists, and chest pumping in their formal wear as Uncle Luke challenged everyone to "Shake Them Daisy Dukes!" Compelling and fun stuff. I was particularly fond of the Lemon-Basil Martini as one of the featured drinks and could use another right now.
This Friday, as in later on today, I'm hoping to be able to attend The Gil Scott-Heron REVIEW in Reflection at The Hollander Building downtown, presented by arts and culture initiative, Center Without Walls and Hartford-based theater company HartBeat Ensemble! There is an awesome lineup of spoken-word poets and jazzologists scheduled to perform and despite my weepy sinuses, swollen throat, and the wet weather I plan on being in attendance from 7pm to 10pm. 
And since they're determined to keep it crunk - (Yes, I like that word... And?) - since bringing their originally penned play Flipside to the Hartford masses, HartBeat Ensemble will also be presenting a stellar poetry showcase July 8th also at The Hollander Building at 410 Asylum Street, downtown Hartford. More on this event coming soon, but keep the date open, because ten of Connecticut's dopest poets and spoken-word performers will be bringing creative REALNESS to the space. There will also be a pre-performance shindig with BBQ (vegetarian fare as well) and booze. Pre-party festivities are from 6:30 -7:30pm and the showcase is from 8 -10:30pm. 
So if one of your mealy-mouthed colleagues complain that there's nothing to do in Hartford and to avoid mushing him/her in the face with an open palm, patiently tell them that this summer, things are going down (basement) in the HartBeat and recount these events to them. 

June 18, 2011

Reading Is Fundamental

I have MASSIVE amounts of reading to catch up with! I feel as if I haven't read for pleasure in forever due to being busy. I'm looking to resolve this today! But... but... Where to begin? 



March 31, 2011

More Coffee Buzz: Flipside!

© HartBeat Ensemble
I know my posts on Coffee Rhetoric have been somewhat few and far between and mostly riddled with buzz, buzz, Coffee buzz posts and local events, while being low on the ranting, below-the-belt quips about the ills of humanity, and what have you ... but it's only because so much has been going on in my home city of Hartford and I've been anxious about featuring cool local people, places, and things I've come to enjoy and be excited about. 
The primary event that has been keeping me busy is my blogging for local, professional theater group, Hartbeat Ensemble. They're a talented group of actors and have been a staple in Hartford for a long time, performing their originally penned plays in the park, on the main-stage, and via outreach programs. They're unique in that they write their own original work; most of which creates awareness about social issues affecting the Hartford community. No they aren't Broadway heavies or some large Hartford theater group with a giant budget to work with, but they definitely live up to their name and are worth the weight in theater gold.
Afforded the opportunity to watch them rehearse, argue, cuss, and sigh exasperatedly as they hashed out the elements of the script, I've been writing behind-the-scenes posts to their blog; providing insight into what will prove to be one of their most exciting main-stage plays... Flipside. The action will take place in a recently acquired performance space downtown; the newly rehabilitated and multipurpose Hollander Building at Asylum Street, on its ground floor, which means passers-by have probably had the opportunity to peek in the windows, perhaps prompted by curiosity. 
© HartBeat Ensemble
The play is based on actual interviews with two real people, and tells the story of a chance encounter between a Hartford teen named Bo and an undercover narcotics agent named Nick. Flipside features spoken-word poetry, storytelling and rhythmic choreography to depict the complexities of drug use and trafficking in our communities and challenges the current War on Drugs policies. 
The play was originally workshopped at Manchester Community College while it was a work-in-progress last year, and will finally come to fruition as a full production April 28-May 21. All performances are Thursday, Friday, & Saturday and will begin at 7:30pm. Tickets are $20 with a discounted price of $15 for all seniors, students, & Let's Go Arts members. April 28 is Community Night and is FREE!
©Rabbit Ears Media
If I'm being honest, it's rare (for me anyway) to have had the opportunity to see the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to literally build a production... live and in person. I'm generally used to bearing witness to the finished result of a play, like the rest of the audience so it'll be particularly special for me to finally see Flipside in its finished form with the rest of you... after having seen the behind-the-scenes drama. 
** For additional information, read witty and insightful posts over at hartbeatensemble.org/blog 
and see the documentary videos filmed by Rabbit Ears Media at HartBeatEnsembleTube ! I love gratuitous plugs... I get to talk about the things *I* enjoy, particularly if I have some sort of involvement in it. And yes, ... yes I will write/guest blog for you and yours as well, for cash and other prizes. That is all. 



February 14, 2011

Black History Essentials: Reading Is Fundamental

This month is as great a time as any to catch up on noteworthy books to read. Whether they be staples from authors of yore or present day provocateurs with something powerful to share... Here're a few books that shook me to my core after I read them. 
Wench by  Dolen Perkins-Valdez made me privy to a part of Black... American history that I was completely unaware of... This article over at Racialicious sums it up really well..
I was also rather struck by the late Chester Himes' searing and controversial (especially for its time) "race novel", The End of A Primitive, which charts the slow disintegration of a heated and alcohol fueled interracial relationship between a, as Himes describes, "sexually frustrated American woman and racially frustrated Black American male" where he allows them to "soak in American bourbon." The result is ... intense to say the least. Himes' own story is interesting in and of itself. 
Another novel of note is Walter Mosley's The Man In My Basement. I believe I read this in two nights... An intense  and philosophical study about race, identity, and impressions. Also seemed to tackle moral dilemmas about evil, redemption, power, and punishment... 
Check them out! 

 

January 12, 2011

The Hart's Beat

The cardiac cycle functions from one heartbeat to the next. The cycle's frequency generates via the heart rate. Throughout the cardiac cycle, the blood pressure increases and decreases... and is coordinated by a series of electrical impulses produced by specialized heart cells, so forth and so on...
... And so describes the makeup of the City of Hartford (CT), lovingly referred to as The Hartbeat by its residents and supporters. Hartford is the small New England city that ebbs and flows. And with sheer derring-do and tenacity, defends against its detractors even during the low-tide.
There're people who live here despite its unfair reputation, work here and who actually like and enjoy it. The Hartbeat's core is the very people that constantly work toward making the city a better place to live, improving the quality of life for the city's residents. Not content to just sit by idly, thumb up ass or pointing and jeering in mocking "Your city is shit!" tones (one would need to read the comments section of Courant.com to see the nonsense that permeates the feedback section whenever there's a story- good or bad- about Hartford) - Poets, writers, filmmakers, movers and shakers use artistic expression and wonderfully grand ideas to help relay the patchwork of stories that give Hartford its grit and spirit.
I recently was offered the opportunity to work with a group of creative people who are amongst those that make The Hartbeat expand, grow and contract rhythmically. They're fittingly called HartBeat Ensemble and they were able to acquire the means to hire a blogger and videographer to help document the process of their play in progress, "Flipside." 
An advocate for and believer in my city, I am honored to currently hold the blogger position and had the opportunity to watch this group of actors build on what will undoubtedly be a riveting play, giving voice to real people and actual events. HartBeat Ensemble stands out amongst other local professional theaters, because they create their own original works and pay homage to Hartford's history and the current events that affect the city's surrounding communities. 
Monday I sat in on a table reading of Flipside,  and it was definitely interesting to see how actors get into their... zones. The Actor is definitely an interesting breed of artist. The members of HartBeat Ensemble tossed around actor's lingo and gesticulated wildly as they edited certain aspects of the script on the spot. Their language is colorful and I anticipate (and hope for) an increase in its crudeness as rehearsal and preparation treads along. 
There'll be a lot of hip-hop based language, a span through different times during the war on drugs in Hartford, not to mention the technical aspects of the stage work, sound, and lighting will be interesting. This will definitely be a compelling ride to be on... to see a play's inception and then follow the process to fruition... 
It definitely needn't be missed once it reaches the stage at The Hollander downtown. Perhaps the group's presence in their new space will allow them to dance the Rigadoon around The Hartbeat's naysayers and hecklers who claim the city doesn't foster a creativity or who seem to think Hartford is full of nothing more than "Blacks, drug dealers, and poor people." The ignoramuses who truly believe that propaganda would need to have a heart in order to be attuned to what's unfolding in The Hartbeat. And what's unfolding is the work of poets, visionaries, and truly talented people. 
In the meantime, I will enjoy watching these actors flail, act, and gesticulate their way toward the finish line as they work to build a really good play. 
Stay tuned... 

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April 27, 2010

These and Those

So it appears that the Torment of Tantalus has worked its trickery on me again; 'tis all good though. My world is still level and my resolve is intact... and somewhat stronger than ever. In a phrase, I'm none too worse for wear and still stumbling, trying to find my footing. That's all one can do. 
In the interim, more than ever, I'm finding that personalities are as fickle and unpredictable as seasons and that mediocrity and basic people reign supreme in this cult-of-personality, as they accomplish their come-up from the bottom of the swamp as well as the best catches in the sea, who seem hypnotized by the foolishness of dysfunction. The forecast in my stratosphere range from sunny dispositions to broody, stagnant air. My stopgap is a heavy dose of preoccupation, sprinkled with good old-fashioned aloofness. I tried to find willing and interesting sponsorship/ads for this humble little blog, to no avail. No takers. Perhaps it's for the best. I like being the little engine that could. Just me and my thoughts, spilled out sans irritating, flashing banners. What was I thinking anyway? Back to the weather-- People, men (especially), women... they come and go. As I fumble toward some semblance of ecstasy, I'm humbled to re-realize who and what really matters and how much (more) I value certain people and things. 
Dating doesn't factor into my foresight so much, anymore... because I'm oh, so driven. My legs are pumping and sore from the effort of trying to complete this marathon run; so any and others... this includes rejects who've resurfaced from underneath their moist rocks for Spring, those who whisper sweet nothings (because essentially that's all it amounts to)... can kick rocks. I got my stoic groove back, creativity is flourishing, and I'm nibbling away- (with more frequency... like an famished city rat, who has hit pay dirt with its meal) at writing projects I neglected while in the throes of my frustration and anguish. 
I'll even admit out loud that I attempted to apply for a writing grant a few months ago... and got overwhelmed and intimidated by the whole process and gave up. I'm regretful, but not ashamed. My mind wandered towards more pressing matters...and my passion was stifled.
Regardless of what hasn't happened (yet) , I've got my second wind. I'm still flailing and am not down for the count. Watch out for these blind right-hooks. They are unbridled in their efforts and I take no responsibility for whose jaw might get cracked.

September 17, 2009

Marriage Counseling

As I nurse my malbec and inhale the mild scent of amber scented candles and spicy incense, I've come to the conclusion that I married myself in hopes of living in holy matrimony, til death would do me part. I married myself, as I clutched at the stars, hoping to catch each and every one... shutting out naysayers and discouraging voices.
I grasp, I daydream and I sweet fix.
I've come to the realization that I married myself in sickness and in health. I frequently fold from time to time, because sometimes realism transcends idealism, and these 'isms are sometimes the bane of my marriage. But... 'til. death. do. me. part... irreconcilable differences be damned.

May 17, 2008

Hotness

This afternoon, I checked my email and got a notice that a post I logged: Hair Raising Tale, has been deemed Post of the Day, by a website called The Rising Blogger. How flattering! I consider Hair Raising Tale one of my more important posts, because it's an issue that hits close to home and affects many other Black women who constantly feel ignored, not considered beautiful or pretty enough or are criticized for having features conducive to their (our) ethnicity. I take pride in carrying myself a certain way and I'm even prouder to be who I am and HOW I am. I don't really give credence to the media or society attempting to dictate and determine my womanhood and beauty. Thanks again Rising Blogger for recognizing and being open-minded enough to respect my views! Pop by there (if you feel so inclined to do so) and see what they had to say about moi.

October 06, 2007

Please sir, Can I have some more?

I was reading Rupert Murdoch's newly acquired baby, The Wall Street Journal this afternoon and apparently bloggers are not only making waves in the realm of politics and celebrity gossip, but in food critiquing as well. The paper's Weekend Journal section and its featured article The Price of A Four Star Rating penned by Katy McLaughlin investigates the relationship between restaurateurs (many of whom have newly established eateries) and food bloggers/food forum commenters. It seems as if some popular food bloggers are heaping praise on certain restaurants, after having had their gastronomic experiences gratuitement. Restaurant owners seem to value the written opinions of the average joe restaurant patron just as much as an accredited food critic's, and so will champ at the bit to make sure their dining experience is superior. And if that means hosting a four course meal complete with free open bar privileges or a special invitation to dine gratis (the case with one restaurant patron and his family after he blogged a negative experience at Le Cirque)- so be it. One woman suggested that her free experience during an event at Chicago restaurant Dine (it spent $1,500 feeding members of one popular food site where people post reviews and ratings )-- wouldn't have been as enjoyable had she had to pick up the tab. I'm all for a free meal, a free drink, a free make-out session or a free anything for that matter. In fact, one of my favorite words is free. But can a blogger or a self-appointed online foodie offer an objective review, if their meals are being comped 80 percent of the time at the restaurant they're seeking to write about? Anybody can have an enjoyable dining experience if they don't have to pay for their Roasted halibut with walnut crust, dressed with a side of melon relish, non? Hell, if I got a bland chocolate torte at a fancy restaurant for FREE, I'd probably blog about how great the service was too. I've shared my sexy times experiences with certain products on this humble blog on numerous occasions. But these were products I purchased and thoroughly (and genuinely) enjoyed. No one offered them to me for free, in exchange for a 4-star review (hint-hint). I've also shared pictures and fun times I've had at different local eateries as well as ones I've enjoyed off-site. Because the food and service were excellent. I can understand why food critics (who are known for using discretion and a certain level of anonymity when patronizing new restaurants) -- and top chefs are put out by this sudden explosion of food blogs being the word on certain eateries. What if a popular food blogger hates Bobby Flay's guts for whatever reason (maybe he doesn't like his on-air wardrobe), and decides to post a bunch of garbage about Flay's restaurants and personal life? That can have a negative influence on other people's experience, because they may patronize any one of his establishments looking for trouble. According to the article, Celebrity chef Mario Batali posted a rant of his own, in response to a scathing blog entry, that detailed an alleged dispute he was having with one of his restaurant's landlords. He opined--
Many of the anonymous authors who vent on blogs rant their snarky vituperatives from behind the smoky curtain of the web. This allows them a peculiar and nasty vocabulary that seems to be taken as truth by virtue of the fact that it has been printed somewhere. Unfortunately, this also allows untruths, lies and malicious and personally driven dreck to be quoted as fact. Even a savvy blog like the one you are reading now has strangely superseded truly responsible journalism. It is much more immediate and can skip a lot of the ponderous setup necessary in a news article. It cuts right to the heart of a matter, often disputing it as though real research has taken place.
I tend to stay away from celebrity gossip (thousands of those blogs saturating the web already) and being a self-described expert on anything, other than my own personal tastes, likes and dislikes. I keep things self-involved and narcissistic. The internet, the blogosphere in particular, is a powerful forum that carries enough force to humiliate, defame, and hurt. People look to bloggers as authoritative voices on politics, celebrity, popular culture, movies, hot spots to be seen at, and most other types of fodder. While bloggers have gained some semblance of legitimacy, I think we are still looked at with some level of skepticism. At this juncture in BlogLand, I think we owe it to ourselves and the public to keep shit genuine, and to proceed with stealth by being thorough in researching what we say-- (unless it pertains to our own personal lives or opinions on such matters)- or to relay information as any real journalist or bastion of information would do. If you genuinely hate someplace or someone, then cite specific reasons why you do, detail your own personal and HONEST experiences, and leave it at that. When you write for shock value or to generate a high volume of readers, well the subpar sucky and fug of the writing shines through, like a rainbow does at a gay pride parade (I actually saw a real rainbow during Connecticut's Gay Pride parade this year, no lie), and peoples' bullshit-o-meter (with the fake cough, thank you very much) goes off. If a restaurant owner happens to read the ways in which you found his establishment deplorable and wants to invite you back, on the house, for a better dining experience so be it. As it should unfold... If a place sucks hard, like a prostitute on a john (free meal or not) go the route of legitimate food critics, and just be honest about it. It's the only way to authenticate your voice, your opinion, your writing in the blogosphere and beyond.

July 03, 2005

Waxing Nostalgic

If Jimi says he's a Voodoo Child,
then I'm Isis
and Hathor is my confidant.
My glower freezes you,
but despite the chill of my gaze
you begin to liquefy into a sticky puddle
that hardens at once...
like candle wax.
I've worked a root dispossessing you of
those things you consider most crucial to
your masculinity...
but..
where is your heart?
You've melted,
but I can't see your heart amid the
composition of this sad requiem.
I see nondescript colors of gray and
an insipid tint of pink,
but no pulsating shades of red.
I stand here holding your severed pieces,
but I am reluctant in this reconstruction.
You once said you left your heart in your favorite
suit o' arms.
I frantically search the armor,
only unearthing a soul that's empty
and sold to the highest bidder.
I drop your distorted pieces.
I search the cards for answers...
I look to Hathor for answers...

The Lovers
The Magician
The Fool
The High Priestess...

Hathor pats my shoulder reassuringly

I am Isis
The stitch that held the seam of us.

I cut the thread.

October 10, 2004

Sicily... Never Enough...

Here is an excerpt from one of my more recent short stories.... Inspired by my trip to Sicily. The Title is based on the Clare Rabe novella "Sicily Enough" _______________________________________________________________ Sicily... Never Enough Kenya turned onto her back, letting the warm Sicilian sun burn her already toasted almond skin, a shade darker. Her novel lay ignored by her side as she now lay face-up, skin glistening with SPF 15 cocoa butter sun oil. The sun's glare glistened off her dark Gucci shades as did the reflections of the sunbathing Italians milling around her. The fact that she hadn't phoned into her office to give her boss some sort of official word on her M.I.A. status or an update on the hot new Italian model turned actor they'd been courting for months didn't faze her. The task she had been sent to perform was long forgotten as Kenya lay sunbathing on the beach at Arenella in Syracuse… as if she hadn't a care in the world. For her this was truly La Dolce Vita. She could care less about the angry voicemail messages her boss left on her cell phone… or the mounting mail she had accumulating in her post office box back in New York. The city was becoming a fog to her now. Kenya was certain that if she had decided to return to New York, she would find herself unemployed, so she tried not to think about it at all. All that mattered to Kenya at the present moment was absolutely nothing. La bella figura, keeping good form and relishing every second was her primary concern. Massimo Caviezel had decided to sign with a London PR firm anyway. Days prior, things had soured between Kenya and he in Rome. She had eventually come to the realization that it probably wasn't a good idea to become romantically involved with a potential client to begin with. On the flip side of the situation, the entire situation was what led to her enlightenment… her time with Massimo had helped her get in touch with her womanhood… Kenya flashed back to the beginning a smile slowly spreading across her face Massimo was relatively well known in and around Europe first as a model then later as an actor in cutting-edge Italian and French films. His American breakthrough came in the form of an action packed film called "The Score" co-starring him and Vin Diesel. Shortly thereafter, Massimo was highly sought after by American directors, actresses who wanted to hang from his arm at premieres, and PR firms who wanted to represent him in the States. Diane Van Der Pol, Public Relations was in the running. The firm pretty much had Massimo in the bag… except, he was enjoying the perks being thrown at him so much so, that he prolonged the courtship by playing hard to get. In any event, the moment Kenya met the cocky young commodity, he had pursued her… much to her boss' chagrin. They first met briefly at a press junket at the Hilton. He was in New York on a whirlwind promotional tour for The Score. Albeit the meeting was fleeting, Kenya couldn't forget how his green eyes sparkled after they had been introduced. His publicist had said something to him in rapid Italian and off he went… he was gone. Kenya wasn't a huge fan of action films, but she went to a matinee the following weekend to see what all of the fanfare was about. While the plot was cliché, she could certainly see why everyone wanted a piece of Massimo. The man's sex appeal sprung from the screen. Not to mention his heavily accented English was endearing. Vin's machismo paled in comparison to Massimo's.