Coffee Rhetoric: artsy fartsy
Showing posts with label artsy fartsy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label artsy fartsy. Show all posts

July 30, 2012

Ear-bug: Martina Topley-Bird

Triumph. I continue to mull over certain people, places, and things (expunging the last remnants of any and all toxic energy from memory) and "Too Tough to Die" continues to play in my head [since Saturday, in fact]. So I am passing it  forth. I've always loved the electric energy of this song...




February 20, 2012

Weekend Wrap-up: More Dani Arranka!

Performance artist and Androgynie Extraordinaire, Dani Arranka is back with a new video for his song, "Smoke and Mirrors," directed by Charles Quiles and The Terrible Child-- (which features ID Discovery Channel-worthy vignettes).

 I, honestly, enjoy keeping up with Dani's latest projects and keeping abreast of his various collaborations. He's simply difficult  to ignore and is adamant about who he is and the direction he's headed as he carves out his own niche in The Big Apple by way of the Land of Steady Habits (perhaps the place that was least conducive to his art)...




Also, in an interesting mini-documentary; Dani and a collective of other creatives who've christened themselves the new, more contemporary incarnations of Andy Warhol's Factory denizens (perhaps with Dani as the Edie Sedgwick of the group, to Charles Quiles's Andy Warhol), explain how they came to find each other and gradually live as a unit in New York City. The short feature documents a day in the life of the larger-than-life group as they riff off one another, ride the pulse of NYC's nightlife, and help record Dani's upcoming album. Check it out...





**As an added bonus... check out this excerpt from Andy Warhol's 1965 experimental film-- (based on the novel A Clockwork Orange), Vinyl.



December 09, 2011

Lose It!

Photo by Charles Quiles
I really admire anybody who is unapologetic about being who they are, especially in the name of the arts. It seems that the concept of living and letting live is increasingly becoming extinct in this current climate of bullying, homophobia, race baiting, and woman bashing. It's enough to make me want to lose it...

Like the otherworldly unicorn that he is, enter fearless performance artist, visionary, and singer/songwriter Dani Arranka. This past spring, I wrote about Dani after attending his Born Day party and music video premiere for his catchy tune, Be Like Me. Fabulous and confident about who he is, but never arrogant or ungracious, Dani's popularity was undeniable then, as I watched the packed venue lose their shit when he performed. I definitely see the appeal. There's an intangible quality about his carefully cultivated persona... The French call it a certain je ne sais quoi. Now a New York transplant, Dani Arranka is poised to take over the club scene and capture the hearts of the NYC underground with his sexy new song, Lose It.

I Google+'ed the song to a friend and she immediately fell in love, re-tweeting it on her Twitter timeline. The syncopated beat is indeed, infectious. I picture a packed club, with sweaty revelers touching themselves on the dance floor and thrusting their pelvises in slow motion when I listen to it (I have an active imagination, OK?). The behind-the-scenes promo video/photo shoot, directed by photographer Charles Quiles, shows Dani playfully frolicking with sultry Argentinean male supermodel, Alejandro Salgueiro. And it's hot. It definitely conveys the tone of the song. "Lose It is being remixed for the club scene soon!!" Dani said enthusiastically via email. "Lacorey produced the track, along with all my others!" 


I definitely look forward to hearing a remixed version of the track. In the meantime, lose your chonies listening to --> Lose It and be jealous as you peep the panty leche inducing promo video, featuring Alejandro...






December 02, 2011

Holiday Happenings In the HartBeat- (Say that three times)...


In a flash, the month of November has come and gone. Thanksgiving festivities and events are behind us here in the HartBeat and the Christmas is nigh. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the re-opening of The Bushnell Park skating rink. This year's Winterfest (presented by iQuilt) is now bigger and better, having kicked off this past November 25th. The rink (located on the east side of Bushnell Park by the Pump House) is free as are skate rentals, and is open 7-days a week, 11:00am - 9:00pm (except Christmas, when it closes at 5:00pm and New Year's Eve, when it closes at 1:00am). Winterfest runs through February 20, 2012. Visit here for more info on Winterfest events.

Also, December 8th Greater Hartford Arts Council Welcome Center will be hosting a Holiday Open House. The daylong holiday event will celebrate the Greater Hartford Welcome Center and the Let*s Go! Holiday promotion. Revelers who donate $50 to the United Arts Campaign will automatically be enrolled in the Let*s Go Arts! program, which will entitle them to 2-for-1 and discounted admission to plays, concerts, and museums with the added benefit of 10%-20% off local area restaurants, specialty classes, local services and other events. 
The holiday promotion will also enable current Let*s Go Arts! members to gift an additional membership for $25! Those who donate will also have the option of participating in a drawing for gift certificates to some of Hartford's most popular restaurants and tickets to see stage plays. 

The event takes place Thursday, December 8th, 10am-3pm; 4pm-7pm at the Greater Hartford Arts Council, 100 Pearl Street, First Floor, downtown Hartford. During the earlier part of the event, visitors can enjoy free hot cocoa, cookies, and other tasties. The evening hour’s offerings will include a reception, free light wine, and cheese. For more information, visit: www.LetsGoArts.org/HolidayLGA.

November 11, 2011

Coffee Buzz: Shakespeare in Love- Cindy Martinez's Fundraising Goal!

 I'm a huge believer in the arts... especially the Hartford arts and I love making the masses privy to the creative movers and shakers in my town. My homecity may not be the biggest and it may not be New York City (as many NYC transplants love to pompously remind us, while still partaking in our offerings), but it is home to a LOT of talent and it has a lot of hart, which is why we affectionately refer to Hartford as The HartBeat.

The Hartford arts scene is home to a diverse sub-genre of artists who thrive in the myriad of different disciplines. They include but aren't limited to; writers, poets, spoken-word performers, performance artists, hip-hop lyricists, playwrights, professional theater companies, filmmakers, producers, museums, publishers and the like. Many young people from Hartford and across Connecticut hone their respective crafts via a wide array of different program offerings including Greater Hartford Arts Council's Neighborhood Studios, Hartford Stage Young Company (where they perform an annual, contemporary production from Shakespeare's body of work), the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, Niro Boutique's Niro Foundation, and HartBeat Ensemble's Youth Play Institute.

Hartford native Cindy Martinez, a Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts alum and HartBeat Ensemble cast member/Community Liaison, is looking to make her mark as an actress. Talented and driven, Cindy has starred in a number of local stage productions and independent films. Looking to sharpen her acting skills, Cindy has taken on an aggressive fundraising goal in hopes of gaining enough funds to attend professional actors training at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts (prompted to action after getting a rejection letter for a scholarship). Cindy has set a lofty fundraising deadline of November 29th for herself and has already managed to raise $2,672!

Having had the opportunity to work with Cindy during my blogging stint with HartBeat Ensemble, I can vouch for her talent and how motivated she is!
"My dream is to be on Highway 91N on December 27th!" Says Cindy. 
If you're interested in helping her reach her goal of $4,000, click her PayPal account to donate! More importantly, peep her appeal in this video...






October 06, 2011

Coffee Buzz: See You BACK on the Flipside!


This past spring, I had the rare pleasure of being invited to document the behind-the-scenes drama that went into building a main-stage play.  Hartford, CT based Theater Company; HartBeat Ensemble extended an opportunity to me to blog their experiences finally bringing their play, Flipside to fruition in its entirety. For about 6 months, the creative undertaking allowed me to be able to tell a "day job" to kick rocks and I got to see what truly makes actors tick; Their methods, their frustrations, their elation when they have a nervous breakthrough... It was like reality television, but with more substance, minus the physical altercations, minimal wig-snatching, and without any dubious, "piecey" editing. Here's the in-depth skinny on Flipside (insert flashback music here)...

Working in tandem with a local filmmaker and video producer named Helder Mira, we caught the Flipside actors and director during some of their most vulnerable moments, as they worked tirelessly to bring their play to bigger main stage, in Hartford, CT. We also saw them take a donated space in the renovated, LEED certified, multipurpose commercial space, The Hollander Building, and make it their own; building a stage, painting, and putting their personal touches on it, turning it into an intimate performing space that would later be used to host fundraising shindigs, jazz concerts, and poetry showcases.  
Sitting in that performance space during rehearsal proved to be some of the coldest days I ever endured. It was in the middle of one of the most horrific winters of my adult life, here in the northeast. However,  it registers as one of my most memorable collaborations to date and I enjoyed it; Cold, dour, and ugly. 
Needless to say, Flipside had a successful spring-summer run. Audiences appreciated its take on the War on Drugs and its effect on the surrounding communities.  

Flipside is based on actual interviews with two real people, and tells the story of a friendship between a Hartford teen named Bo and an undercover narcotics agent named Nick. The show combines original music and spoken-word poetry throughout the play’s narrative on drug use and trafficking in neighborhoods.  Audiences agree that Flipside relays a compelling discourse on the War on Drugs and is interspersed with a little humor and very catchy musical numbers…

Directed by Co-Founding Artistic Director, Greg Tate, Flipside involved two years worth of painstaking research and subsequent workshops in partnership with Central Connecticut State University’s Center for Regional and Municipal Policy, Portland Oregon’s Sojourn Theater and Manchester Community College; HartBeat has lead open dialogues and over 40 individual interviews on the subject in order to create the play.
“We found that no matter what a person believes about drug use and selling, they tend to be very passionate about their feelings on the matter.” says Tate, “Of course that makes for great theater.  It’s tricky, and very fun stuff.”
(Queue back to the present) ...

Now, back by overwhelming demand, Flipside will be making a limited run this October 13th-29th at The Hollander Building in downtown Hartford at 410 Asylum Street! Show times begin at 7:30 pm and will run every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Tickets are $20 with a discounted price of $15 for all students, seniors, and Let's Go Arts! members. Call 860.548.9144 or visit http://hartbeatensemble.org to purchase tickets. 
 
HartBeat Ensemble recently had a raucously good time celebrating at the Mark Twain House and Museum, in commemoration of their 10 year anniversary. For the past ten years, HartBeat Ensemble has been creating original, professional theater based on stories from the Hartford community. Through Main-stage plays, Open-Air performances and Education programs, HartBeat makes theater accessible beyond the barriers of class, race or gender.
Since it’s founding in 2001, HartBeat has created six full-length original plays. HartBeat’s flagship education program, the Youth Play Institute, works in partnership with five different school districts to bring urban and suburban youth together for intensive month-long play building residencies in which they create and perform original one-act plays. HartBeat also conducts bullying prevention programs in schools called “Startin’ Drama.”


Check out HartBeat Ensemble's behind-the-scenes, Flipside documentary series 
Also, read my behind-the-scenes guest blog posts





July 24, 2011

Coffee Buzz: Bracelets and Booze

Last night, I had the opportunity to build with some friends and drink copious amounts of wine and delicious mixed drinks with chaste lewd names. All in all, it was an evening not unlike your standard bible study... except there was freak dancing, prompted along by said wine and spirits.
A hilarious and lovely woman by the name of Riqui regaled us with anecdotes involving sex, thugs, and rock and roll... She also laid out an awesome display of handmade, bracelets and earrings strung with wooden and glass beads ranging a very reasonable $7 - $10! 
We were all sold. And forked over our dollar bills. Riqui's bracelets come in a wide variety of color combinations and accessorize quite nicely. She's also mindful of special requests, has made beaded anklets, and will eventually add necklaces and larger, fabric earrings and hoops to her arsenal of cool accessories. Her website is currently still under construction, so please feel free to express any inquiries in the comments section, as I think they'd make great gifts for loved ones, friends, and family. Speaking of the comments section ...
Riqui was gracious enough- (with much begging and prodding by the Committee of Me, Myself, & I) - to donate this earrings and bracelet set made with amber, coral, and Tiffany-blue glass beads for Coffee Rhetoric's VERY FIRST giveaway! An exciting feat for me since Zaahir created the Coffee Rhetoric discount for his company, Exotic Fragrance, to much fanfare. Any chance I get to be able to engage these sorts of fun, promotional opportunities, is an exciting venture and is done with genuine love for the product and admiration for the person at the helm of it. 
Leave a witty response with your email address, in the comments section of this post for the opportunity to win it! I will randomly choose a name on August 1st and contact the winner via email, as well as announce them on Coffee Rhetoric. 
Take advantage because I begged Riqui to GIVE me the bracelet and earrings free of charge before she was gripped and incapacitated by drunken revelry, to GIVE TO YOU, because I think she is talented and that folks would truly enjoy her beaded trinkets. I'm wearing two of her pieces as I type this. Anyway, get into it... 

Up for Grabs! 


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. 

April 28, 2011

Finally...

After much ado about PLENTY, the play I've been blogging about so diligently... Flipside... opens tonight! And will run through May 21st at The Hollander Building at Asylum Street, downtown Hartford every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night, 7:30pm! Tickets are $20 with a discounted price of $15 for all students, old folks, and Let's Go Arts! members. 
There's originally composed music courtesy of Martin Carrillo, singing,Voguing, creative flashbacks through time,  spoken-word, discussion about wormholes, Chinaza Uche takes his pants off, so forth and so on. Opening night is sold out... but alas, Hartford Theater goers have a whole month to check it out. April 29th is HartBeat Ensemble's opening fundraiser... For a paltry $50 (you know it's paltry when compared to the cost of other fundraising events), there'll be noshables, a DJ spinning, and an opportunity to get a little tipsy before settling down at 7:30 to watch another Flipside performance.  
In the meantime, since some of you interested folk probably won't be able to make tonight's opening show considering it's sold out, catch up on all the behind-the-scenes drama on HartBeatEnsembleTube, filmed by the talented Rabbit Ears Media, and read my witty and revealing blog content on HartBeat Ensemble's website. I'm stoked. 

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. 



March 26, 2011

Coffee Buzz: Rabbit Ears Media

Check out Rabbit Ears Media's video montage/advert for Real Artways' upcoming Odd Ball fundraiser. It honestly makes me want to fork over the $65 admission fee to attend. And be sure to "like" the Rabbit Ears Media fan page on Facebook. It's great work! Comment, comment, comment... let him know what you think of his cinematography and more importantly, enjoy the rest 


Oddball at Real Art Ways from Helder Mira on Vimeo.