Friday, July 30, 2010

Happy Birthday B-Dawg

Not many followers are making comments on here as of late??? Did I get to risque for some of you? Oh well life is too short to be a good girl 100% of the time...

Today is Bryan Borland's Birthday, so I wanted to give him a shout out!

I also had the opportunity to read from his first Sibling Rivalry Press Chapbook-

Fag Hag – A Scandalous Chapbook of Fabulously-Codependent Poetry is perpetually single and ready to mingle. Help a sista out. Let her rest her head on your bookshelf.

The college crowd was a great venue to read my poem 'Side Order', what it might be like to be a Fag Hag, something I never had the privilege of being- the video is a bit dark, makes me look slim, as I do lately, but hey it fits the mood of what I wrote! I must say the other poets far out do my work, and are all wonderful poets. If you get a chance to go over to his site and then link up with the others, please do. I have been blessed to meet such great people over the past six months or so, and am learning from all of them!

Now I do have to say 'Thanks' to Tom the manager of Alchemist & Barrister in Princeton, because he NEVER lets anyone read poetry NEVER, and he let me, and I have a sneaky feeling he regretted that once he heard a few words in the poem- Love ya Tom! Yep, I have a wild streak now and then, but most of the time I am a really GOOD Girl *wink*...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Arch & MIA

I really have missed coming over here and posting my writing. I miss Friday Shoot Out. I miss so many things, but sometimes we have to move on to things to help improve our inner self. I am only posting once a week to set aside time for my busy schedule in the working world! Yes, it feels good to work out and be in the kitchen again on a regular basis, but I still miss Toon many of you!

I miss Dallas, my home, I miss St. Louis my second home where I lived for almost two years with my son after my father and mother passed in '04. I worked as a chef running a Bed & Breakfast kitchen off Grand, and at night ran an ethnic restaurant as manager and chef. Sometimes bartender if we were really busy on the weekends. Down in the basement we had bands come and play. Before I started there was Open Mic down there, but then people were not buying food or drinks, so the owner shut it down.

This is when I began to miss the scene and began writing again. I had only written one poem since Anelisa passed in '00, and it was hard. Now I am writing on a regular basis, learning from other poets, and getting published. I am also mentoring poets in Dallas now, to help keep the Open Mic scene alive for a few people down there.

Sometime tonight on Vox Poetica, Annmarie Lockhart/Publisher, on 'Today's Words' (and then 'Poemblog'; its permanent place) one of my new pieces will go up, officially published, and you can hear me read it and talk about its moving existence which was a doorway into my future. Arch is an obvious name and will be in my book 365DaysXTen due out March 1st next year.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Unknown Friends

This week on my husbands 50th birthday, a blog friend left this world. I cannot say much, but that when I hear or meet people who are suffering from some kind of illness that they may or may not recover from, I am deeply affected- forever.

Barry many people who were close to you, and love you deeply will miss you very much.

I will miss your funny post, and hope Lindsey and Linda will find peace until they see you again...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Summer Fun

I had the opportunity to spend the day with a blogger and her daughter at a local Pavilion in West Windsor, Nassau Park off Route 1. What a beautiful day, it has rained so it was not so hot, and so fun to coerce Maddy, Hillary's daughter into the fountain- Luckily I had towels in my van when she decided the other kids WERE having fun...if I had more casual clothes on, I would have been right there waiting for the fountain to get us!

This was also one of the best photos I have happen once in a while...and when I was a kid; it was a water hose being sprayed up in the air, and maybe a more fortunate kids parents buying them a slip and slide...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Beautiful Silence

July 14th is the anniversary of Anelisa's passing. 365DaysXTen is here, and the book I am writing will be soon. I am working on more and more poetry in my spare time.

I have to say that I am better and better every passing day- my weight is falling off with my two hours in the gym and pool each day cross training. Brian rocks. He just does. I could not have asked for a cooler trainer.

I could not ask for a cooler life with friends like you around me.

My path did not go as I planned, but I was right about one thing- stay true to what you believe, work hard, love others, never complain, and do the best you can do.

There is only one regret in life for me, and that is you will never know what a wonderful person Anelisa was, except she was my mini me, only more beautiful.

Ane, as we called her was a good artist for her age and mentality. She got beyond the fifth grade when I home schooled her, as they predicted she would never be able to do anything other than handicapped type of work outside of the house, but she wanted to work for a vetrinarian. She loved animals, so I knew someone would have given her a job. Like her mom, she would have dabbled in her drawings, stitching, and other artistic endeavors. Ane even asked to help me make spaghetti and meatballs before she passed. She hated cooking before that, and only wanted mac n cheese from a box. You know where I stand on that one.

Anelisa we all miss you. Hope there are plenty of cats in heaven for ya to play with!

-Above is one of a series of self portraits she did on her own one weekend. I have this hanging up downstairs, and it is referenced in a poem I wrote recently.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I love great moments like this!

How cool is it to catch a moment like this? My creative artist eye at work, well the good one anyway!

My new marketing campaign for WAMPP and SRP book, Fag Hag – A Scandalous Chapbook of Fabulously-Codependent Poetry is perpetually single and ready to mingle. Help a sista out. Let her rest her head on your bookshelf.

Yeah, I got a little down and dirty with my poem inside the book- Hey! I never knew what it was like to be a Fag Hag, so I improvised and pretended it was like a Deep Southern Fried Onion Ring 'Side Order'...

Go buy a book, and keep your minds open world- Art is in all shapes, forms, and sizes...

Also the post about Alan Bradford is up over at my Food ~ Wine ~ Fun! site, and get some kleenex out...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Starting An Open Mic

Jessie asked me a good question "Do you have any tips on starting an open mic"? Yes, there are some basic rules for Open Mics, no matter who, where or what they are, and these are what I have learned and worked for me the past two years. I began in my cafe in the health food store on Monday nights, and then we moved closer in to Princeton, and now have three locations each month.

Either works- once a week, twice a month, or just once a month. I do all three with each, people will come.

If you're interested in music and entertainment, love people, late-night crowds and lots of fun, an open mic night might be something you want to consider starting. The open mic format can vary from comedy to bands playing music and even poetry readings. Think about what you want the event to feel like and follow some of these suggestions to make it run as smoothly as possible.

LOCATION- One location decided without telling us they wanted it to stop thirty minutes before they closed, and that only gave us an hour and half for open mic. So consider, traffic and people who work. If the location is not as visible, somewhat popular, or doing well it will affect the open mic. Scope it out well on each night of the week, and that helps to spread the word to their locals. 
  • When you approach them, have two Date and Time options, and you may not want to compete with other established Open Mics in the area, so they can attend yours as well. Give them a print out with your ideas and demands ideas, then set an appointment to confirm everything.
  • Bars: People who come are not their to listen, not a good place for poetry, only music.
  • Coffee Houses: Typically a good place for anything- poetry and music
  • Diners: In this economy they are hurting, so they may have a section they will give you, and do not be surprised if they say "Let's try it out first".
  • Other: Check gourmet shops, art houses and galleries, or even empty strip mall spaces. We actually had our Cafe Improv begin there, and then it moved to the new building in Princeton.
  • Libraries and community centers: I attend several poetry readings in Libraries from time to time.
 RELATIONSHIP WITH OWNER: This is very important! I have found the most relaxed atmospheres are when the owners have no qualms about the open mic. They usually want you to do it on a slow night, make sure no one brings in outside food or drink, and periodically during emcee stands, give them a shout out/credit for your success.
    PRESS- Make sure you find out the local paper contacts and send in your brief bio and contact info at least a month before you begin. Papers are glad to list happenings around town, but keep it current. You may find some do not change info and you still get calls about another location from time to time.

    GUIDELINES, or otherwise known as 'Open Mic Policy'-

    1. Establish your authority. If you have a powerful stage presence, you're in luck. The key is make sure everyone knows who's the boss of this show, in a friendly way. Don't be afraid to make tough decisions.

    2. Prepare the venue. Make sure the stage is set up properly and that the mics are checked ahead of time. Get to know the sound mixer, so that you can adjust volume on-the-fly during a performance. I have seen some open mics not have a microphone, and reality is- that juicer or espresso machine begins to grind and sputter, some people hard of hearing, or annoyed attendees will not come back. Look professional.

    3. Always have a sign-up sheet and predetermined idea of how many can perform within the time limit

    4. In general open mics give freedom of speech in respect to children/minors being present we ask performers to restrain from usage of harsh/foul language in poetry, songs, or any spoken word content.

    5. Each performer (depending upon time start/end) two to three pieces to perform, whether musician to poet

    6. Keep equipment (bags, guitar cases, amps, etc.) off to the side and not out in open- under and around tables as to keep down accidents/casualties of guest and attendees from tripping or seemingly cluttered space

    7. Have materials ready/chosen as you are called to the microphone- dead silence is not pleasant

    8. Music Equipment must be tuned and ready- Not many people want to wait as you tune your guitars

    9. No liquids are allowed at or near electrical equipment such as mic or speaker areas- hazardous

    10. Keep the vibe of the open mic live and electric. Quickly and smoothly follow one act with another. Don't let the mood go wildly up and down. Keep a steady curve to the mood of the night. You can do this by stalling for time as the host when necessary, or by shooing off someone who is trying to monopolize the mic. Engage the audience by encouraging applause, as you go up to introduce the next performer.

    11. Make sure all performers know when they are supposed to go up to the open mic. If they know which act they are to follow, that's even better. It gives them prep time so they can get onstage and start performing when their time slot opens up.

    12. There are always going to be complaints, and those people who like to tell you how to run the open mic- be gentle and let them know that you are doing the best you can, thank them for their suggestions, and you will consider it. People come and go, numbers go up and down; it is just the way of any business or social aspect of life- do not let it make you feel like you are doing something wrong, just go with the flow...

    Optional Ideas:

    Offer Performance Art Instruction at least once a month- this helps beginner and nervous performers feel more comfortable behind the mic, and should be given by various seasoned performers, or Emcees of open mics.

    Offer Open Mic Set-Up Instructions to young adults who perform at the open mics to get them familiar with set-up, equipment usage of all spectrums of running an open mic, and if volunteers are needed each night. Use Interns from colleges to your advantage- you might want a night off, or find yourself sick, so have open mic covered with an assistant organizer.

    I run three locations of open mic in my area, and now have started WAMPP- Wine Art Music Poetry Project, so its been different each time, but still the basics are the same. Chose your location wisely!

    Thursday, July 1, 2010

    Is Deep Purple In The House!!!

    No they were not, but thank gosh Flora had ear plugs, and enough for us all!

    This band took me back to my tweens, music I was not allowed to listen to, but friends did, Yeah, my parents only played Johnny Cash and other country music, since they had control of the radio- these guys look and sounded like they are still playing off the alcohol and drugs they did back then. They were good, but too loud for a 'diner' open mic. Someone was carted out on a gurney, we still are not sure what happened back there, LOL!

    My new (I know I attract them, but no poems about this guy) buddy the massage therapist here reminded me of Chong- "Hey Man"- somebody smokin something in the parking lot? Everyone was great, and it was all good!

    The band- they're last song of the set...'What's that smell...oh oh oh what's that smell'

    This was the most FAR OUT Open Mic I have ever attended in Jersey- Now I understand why North and South Jersey are so separate...

    We have been rehearsing after my guitar lessons, so I did read my Silk Stockings poem with Flora playing a jazzy and sultry trumpet, and we got a big 'woo hoo' ovation for more, so I read my two diner pieces- I just keep wanting to say PEACE,  COOL, LOVE MAN, and all the other 60's lingo.

    The Spanish teacher from Mexico was a little bee bop for this crowd tonight...Just Sayin' blogger Diary...