Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday Service: The Business of Shows


Greetings Boys & Girls,

 

What’s new and exciting? Hopefully, lots (don’t hold out on me. You can actually tell me these things!). Quite a few things have been transpiring on my end, so without any further ado, let’s jump in!

 

I’ve been gigging steadily for about the past month, which I LOVE. I love being in front of an audience, and I realized while I was still recording my EP Between Beauty & Bedlam that a live setting really is how I’m going to be able to best promote the record. So, the goal has and continues to be to continue to make it happen as often as I can.

 

This weekend, I performed with Jim Pfitzer, Andrew Kelsay, and Fristl Butler at Charles and Myrtle’s. This has been a venue I’ve heard about for many years, but this was actually my first time stepping foot inside the place, let alone having the opportunity to perform. As soon as I walked in, I reazlied that pretty much everything I’ve heard about it was apt. It’s very cozy and intimate, and there is a certain energy that just kind of takes you upon entering.

 

The crowd that came was very responsive, and the bill was interesting because of the variety in styles. Jim’s a storyteller, Andrew and Fritsl played music, and I performed poems. We also performed in the round, which is rare for me, but it was really a lot of fun.

 

At the end of the night, I sold some merch and administered some hugs (if you’ve known me for any length of time or ever seen me live, you know that I pride myself on delivering quality hugs). A woman approached me and told me that she enjoyed my work, but felt that it was somewhat negative. I asked her what she meant, and she explained herself. She’d misinterpreted the second verse of my song Walk, which has happened a few times before. She thought that I was making a statement about racial superiority.

 

I told her that the second verse of the song is talking about how I, specifically in my teens, encountered a lot of interesting and complex perceptions and opinions on race. Black girls I used to be told that I acted white because I skateboarded, wore Chuck Taylors, played guitar, etc. That verse explains my frustration and confusion about those things, talks about how anyone, regardless of creed, color, etc. is capable of ignorance and holding you back, and how I ultimately decided to just be who I wanted to be and do what I wanted to do. Too many have died without having that opportunity for me to feel limited by people who don’t have my best interest in mind and who only play minimal roles in my everyday life.

 



When I told her all of this, I could see her perception change. I also told her that even when I talk about ugly things (rape, racism, etc.) it’s never done in a negative way. I also thanked her for having the dialogue with me, because it afforded me the opportunity to provide clarity on the matter. I never want anyone to misinterpret something or feel a certain way and leave with a distorted perception of me or my work.

 

What she said stuck in my mind though. The next day, I was looking at Twitter, and I came across this video of Chance the Rapper. He’s talking about an encounter he had in Canada and how he came to truly understand the power that language has. Check it out and let me know what you think.

 



Switching gears, but staying with Charles and Myrtle’s, I’m proud to announce that I’ll be performing with Minton Sparks on September 26th. It’s an honor. One of my goals for the year has been to touch base with her in some capacity and talk shop, particularly since she’s based in Nashville and I’ve been there a great deal over the past seven months to perform. As fate would have it, that will be happening, Inshallah. Put it on your calendars and come check out a GREAT show. You won’t be disappointed.

 

Also, I’ll be performing THIS FRIDAY at Barking Legs Theater for Melinda Brown’s benefit. Here’s a little info on the event: Melinda Brown, entertainer, community activist, all around great person has broken her sacrum in an accident. She has been in a lot of pain and is having a hard time managing. She has not been able to work since April when the accident occurred and could use a little help from her friends. Join us please in an EXTRAVAGANZA to delight almost all of your senses on JULY 18th AT BARKING LEGS THEATER at 7:00PM.

 

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. I hope to see you fine folks soon! Don’t be strangers, don’t pass out in the heat, and I’ll be in touch before too long.

 

Blessings

 

Links:


 


 


 

Twitter - @ichristian3030

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Fireworks


 
Greetings, boys and girls. Your Friendly Neighborhood Xtian reporting here. Hopefully, none of you who are reading this blew off any of your limbs over the weekend or managed to maim yourselves in any other way. If you did happen to severely injure yourself and you are perusing this blog, thank you for your diligence, and do better next 4th of July!

 

Last week was an absolutely rush. I ended up landing a last-minute gig at JJ’s Bohemia in Chattanooga, so there was A LOT of scrambling to lock everything down (filling out the bill, promoting to the best of my ability in under a week, etc.) Everything worked out though, which I was very happy about.

 

For some time now, I’ve wanted to find a DJ for my live line-up. While I enjoy being able to manipulate the sounds and everything myself, pulling double-duty takes me out of being present with the material to a certain degree. This show really motivated me to reach out to someone, and they actually said YES! Cole Sweeten aka Cutlass Cult agreed to kick things off and man the tables along with Zowie (my singer), Jessica (my viola player), and yours truly. I was really excited about seeing what he would bring to the fold and how it would gel with everything.

 

We linked up on Wednesday night to rehearse, and as soon as we got into the first song (which just so happened to be Walk off the EP), I knew he was the perfect fit. I was elated to say the least. We rocked out for a few hours, and I knew that the gig on Thursday was going to be big fun.

 



Some dear friends (The Scarlet Love Conspiracy) rounded out the bill with us, and I’ve not really had the chance to spend any significant time with them in ages. A number of people who have never seen the live band came as well, so I was really pleased to be able to hang out in good company, and introduce them to what’s been brewing in support of my record since November.

 

Cole jumped things off in style. He kicked out jam after jam, and I thoroughly enjoyed observing him and dancing in my chair. If you’re in or around Chattanooga and haven’t seen him do his thing, DEFINITELY make it a point to do so. You can thank me later.

 

We took the stage as a band around 12:30, and from the first word out of my mouth, it was on. We put on a sweaty, energy-filled set, and I think it was a good showing. What I enjoy doing live, particularly with the band, is taking the audience on a bit of a journey. We have things that’ll make you move, and things that’ll, hopefully, move you. I feel very fortunate that on several occasions now, I’ve been able to look out into the crowd and see people crying or just fully immersed in the material we’re presenting. It’s both humbling and affirming, and is kind of a reward for pushing through and making this little record called Between Beauty & Bedlam.

 

After we jumped off the stage, The Scarlet Love Conspiracy took the stage, and it was great to watch them. I love seeing them because they are SO in love (literally. They’re married), and it’s incredibly evident. I think it definitely informs the music they make together, too.

 

On Friday night, I had the opportunity to perform at Barking Legs for Wide Open Floor, which I do maybe two or three times a year. I’d blown out my voice at JJ’s the night before, so all I had was a low range, which I like to call my sexy 1970’s radio DJ voice. Watch out, ladies!

 

There was a lot of poetry throughout the course of the night. It’s always interesting for me to see new poets and take in their work.

 



When I stepped to the microphone, I performed Night Watch first. It was interesting because it was the first time I’ve ever done it without music. I didn’t rehearse the piece much beforehand, so I had to adapt to the text right there on the stage. I think it went well.

 

I also performed Acceptance and my new poem for my mother. The latter feels like the gift that keeps giving. I think after every performance of it, someone comes up to me and tells me how much they enjoy and connect to it, which is beautiful.

 



This weekend, I had to chance to meet new people, introduce them to both myself and my work, and I LOVE that. I sold some merch, which is always a great thing, but (and I’ve said it time and time again on here) having the opportunity to TRULY connect with people is the bigger reward.

 

So, with all that said, I’ll be performing next at Charles & Myrtle’s THIS FRIDAY. The show starts at 8. I’ll be sharing the bill with storyteller Jim Pfitzer and singer-songwriter. Andrew Kelsay. It’s going to be a good time. This, I guarantee! If you’re making your weekend plans now, feel free to make it an option. I, for one, would love to see you!

 

Alright, dear brothers and sisters. That’s all I’ve got. Be good, swim a little bit, and I’ll be in touch before too long.


Links:
Twitter - @ichristian3030

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Guess Who’s Back


Greetings,

 
I know I’ve been absent from these parts for a while, but I’ve been working a good bit. The day only has so many hours, and the body only possesses so much energy, right? Let’s jump in and I’ll tell you what’s been brewing on my end of the equation.
 

I just got back from performing in Nashville. I’ve been there a good bit this year, and each time I have the opportunity to rock out, it’s big fun. I leave feeling happy and that this is genuinely what I’m meant to be doing.

 



I had a moment last night where I realized just how beautiful this year has been personally and professionally. I feel that I’ve stepped into my own in a new way in both my personal and artistic life (as if there’s really a difference), and it feels amazing. I have a number of exciting opportunities and potential opportunities in the fire right now, and I sincerely feel that I’m close to something… good. lol. I know that sounds vague, and it is for the time being. Hopefully, before long I’ll have something more concrete to take you through. Fingers crossed, brothers and sisters.

 



I’ve been on a good stretch of performances, and I have some others coming up. I’ll be at the following spots over the next month and more:

 
  • Wide Open Floor at Barking Legs Theater – July 4th
  • Charles and Myrtle’s Coffee Shop – July 11th
  • The Chattanooga Billiards Club’s Tropicana Room – August 1st

 
I look forward to adding onto these dates, so if you’re interested in booking me and having me rock out for you and yours, reach out to me and we can put something together. Plus, I pride myself on being a sociable guy.

 



Well, that’s all from me for right now. I’ll be in touch before too long. In the meantime, be good, and feel free to check out my record and other biz at the links below. Ciao.
 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

June Check-In


 
Greetings Ladies & Gents,

 
I’ve been away from this blog too long. It feels good to be pushing the keys again and touching base with you fine folks who peruse these words. So, let’s jump in.

 
If you knew me back in 2006 until early 2009, there’s a good chance that you knew me as a DJ and producer. I made a gross of diverse beats, remixes, etc. In ’09, my computer crashed and I lost… pretty much everything. It took a long time before I could amass a new setup and find the desire to start from scratch. The past have years have seen me get more and more back into everything though.

 
What most of you don’t know is that I’ve been working on an electronic record for most of the year. It started while I was in the hospital with my mom as a means to express what I was feeling, and has kind of forged its own direction since then. I’ve let a few of my closest listen to some of the stuff off it, and, so far, the feedback has been great. I might drop a little something something for you guys in the near future, so make sure to be on the lookout. I could very well make you weep and dance at the same time.

 
Also, my newest poem is about my mother. I said about a month ago that I thought it was the poem I needed to write, because ever since I’ve started performing it, the advice in it has absolutely resonated again and again. It’s a beautiful thing when something you create can better your life. Oh, and you can check out a recording of the poem below.  

 



Outside of that, I’ve been lining up new poetry gigs, and I’m really interested in trying to find more opportunities for the band and I to rock out. It’s clich├ęd to say at this point, but I absolutely love being in front of a room of people doing the do. Oh, and if you or anybody you know might be interested in my services, feel free to reach out.

 
Switching gears, as I’m sure you all know, we lost Maya Angelou recently. This year, the poetry world has lost both Maya and Amiri Baraka. Both have had an incredible influence on my life, not just my work.

 
Well, dear brothers & sisters, that’s all I’ve got for now. Be good, stay cool (literally), and I’ll be in touch before too long.

 
Blessings

 

Links:

 


 


 


 

Twitter - @ichristian3030

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Connection


 
Brothers and sisters, Your Friendly Neighborhood Christian is abuzz from a GREAT weekend. I did a feature performance at Nashville’s Poetry in the Brew (if you’re in the area on the second Saturday of the month, do yourself a favor and check it out), and I rolled into town on Friday. I treated myself to a Tokyo Police Club show, my first dining experience at Jack in the Box (it’s the little things), and an exploration of some of what the city had to offer on Saturday before the event. It’s been years since I’ve really spent any significant time in Nashville, and I feel like I kind of connected with the city anew.

Poetry in the Brew on Saturday was really great. I had big fun just sitting back and hearing everyone else. It was definitely inspiring.


When the time came for me to jump on the mic, I ran through pieces from my chapbook Ghosts & Echoes, my EP Between Beauty & Bedlam, and a little somethin’ somethin’ new. I had an amazing time, and I can’t describe how it feels to be able to look into the eyes of people in an audience and see your work connect.

At the end of the night, I was really pleased to meet a good number of the people who read or were just hanging out. If you’ve known me or followed this humble little blog for any period of time, you know how much I enjoy CONNECTION (word of the day, kiddos!). It’s what I strive for in my work and in my personal life, probably because I feel like an alien a good bit of the time and I’m extremely fascinated with quelling that. If people are moved by my work, have invested their money in purchasing something, etc. I legitimately like to keep in touch with them. Hopefully, some of the people I met over the weekend will reach out soon.

Switching gears, as fate would have it, over the past two weeks, I’ve had some interesting conversations about connection, specifically when it comes to social media. In my most humble of opinions, a good number of us have become staunch voyeurs, and I can’t really wrap my head around it. We enjoy being plugged in to many things, but from a safe distance.

I think the whole dialogue really hit close to home because I am so open and value being connected in a genuine capacity with people, that it’s a really foreign notion for me to think that people just want to be in your company just because. If you send them a message on Facebook, you get no response, yet you’re Facebook friends. That kind of thing is a different beast that I just find incredibly remarkable. I’m no judging anyone, but I’m really pleased that I can’t function like that. It’s not for yours truly.

Well, that’s about all I’ve got for now. Be good, stay cool, and I’ll be in touch soon.

Blessings

Links:




Twitter - @ichristian3030

 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Ch-ch-checking In


Greetings,

 
I’ve been slacking on my blogging, but I have been on the busy side. Plus, last weekend after the Function show, I got drugged by a bartender, but who wants to hear that story? Honestly, WHO?!

 



Anyway, things have been pretty good for the most part as of late. The show with Function was AMAZING. It was really fascinating to see how they work and how much really goes into their process. I knew during rehearsal that we were going to do something that was great, but whenever you’re in the actual moment of execution, things just tend to take on a broader light, and that definitely happened on the 26th, dear brothers and sisters.

 
Towards the end of our show, I debuted my brand new poem. The music came down a little bit, I looked out in to the audience, and everything was rolling. At least, until, I got lost in the piece. A musician once told me that with any new piece, he has to screw it up in front of people, and then he’s got it down for life, and I can completely relate to that. I was really fortunate in this instance because I didn’t stumble over anything, and I’ve been doing this here biz long enough to know to just jump to the next part that you can remember. So, I worked the heart of the poem out of order (which, in itself, was an interesting feat), and it dawned on me as I was doing it that I had the benefit of NO ONE ELSE IN THE WORLD being familiar with how the poem was supposed to go, so I was the only one in on what was taking place. Mua ha ha!!!

 



Interestingly enough, I received the biggest response from that piece, which was very humbling. Once we finished the show, a woman told me that she cried during it, and a man said that he’d lost his mother in the 90’s and he dedicated my words to her. IMMENSELY touching.

 



This week, I’m gearing up for my feature performance at Nashville’s Poetry in the Brew. I had the chance to check it out earlier in the year, and I’m really excited about being able to return. My setlist has been made, my accommodations have been taken care of, and I feel pretty set for the most part. Yours truly is ready to g-o get it!

 
Well, that’s about all I’ve got for now. Be good, love your mamas, and don’t be strangers. Don’t do it!!!

 
Links:




Twitter - @ichristian3030

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Life


Greetings Brothers & Sisters,

Hopefully, the pollen’s not killing you and your respiratory systems… or, at least, not too much. I wanted to pop in and blog about a few things.

Recently, my second IndieFeed feature was posted. It feels great to be back. It’s been a few years now. You can check it out here: http://indiefeedpp.libsyn.com/christian-j-collier-acceptance



I’ve been rehearsing with the band Function for our upcoming show at The Camp House (1427 Williams St.) this Saturday night, and it’s been shaping up NICELY! Everything sounds great, and I’m going to be debuting a BRAND SPANKIN’ NEW poem. Come on out, dance, and let us entertain you. I guarantee that you’ll be moved, and all of my merch (my chapbook Ghosts & Echoes, the EP Between Beauty & Bedlam, and my Spoken-Word Rockstar t-shirts) will be present, so if you’d like to scoop something up, we can definitely make that happen.

Switching gears, for over a year now, I’ve really been focusing on becoming more Zen and trying to positively rearrange certain things in and around my life that were inhibiting me from growing as I needed to. I think I’ve largely been successful in my pursuit, even though I still have a long way to go. This past Sunday, I heard a really interesting quote regarding letting go of the past, which is something that I’ve struggled with a great deal. Basically, the crux of the statement was that you should be thankful for the problematic things and times, because otherwise, you continue, whether you’re aware of it or not, to feed energy into them and keep the wounds and emotion fresh. You end up seeking validation and vindication that you’re, most likely, not going to find.



As fate would have it, later that same day, I was able to make my peace with a few things and people, which was huge. I REALLY hope to be able to continue to just let things be, because none of us are the same people we were last week let alone a few years ago. Wisdom, baby!

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. Be good, be well, and I hope to see you on Saturday!

Blessings

Links:




Twitter - @ichristian3030