Wednesday, September 28, 2011

October on the Horizon

Hey, gang. Man, it’s hard to believe that September will be ending on Friday. It’s been a VERY fulfilling month for me, and, actually, the next few months will be pretty action-packed as well.

I’ve been really inspired for the majority of the month, so I’ve been trying to follow where it’s been leading. As a result, I’ve been writing a good bit, so don’t be surprised if you hear or read something new from the likes of Your Friendly Neighborhood Christian. Also, I’ve been asked to design some fliers for a few peeps in town as of late, which is really crazy considering that I only started doing them last October on my birthday.

Switching gears, the next MANIFEST is October 14th. It will be our third slam of the year, and the past two have been phenomenal. I’m certain that this one will continue the streak. November will mark MANIFEST’s first birthday! I’ve got some grand things planned, brothers and sisters. For starters, can you say cake?

I recently purchased an HD camcorder and a tripod. I look forward to putting it to use for MANIFEST and other gigs. I’ve decided to dub it the MANICAM. You can expect videos in the very near future… and I guarantee that they’ll look GRAND!

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. Be good to each other, keep supporting the arts (and the artists, for the matter), and enjoy what’s left of September.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

That New-New

Hey, Gang. I keep a pretty active schedule, and the past two weeks have been especially vigorous. September has definitely kept me on my toes, as I knew it would. As a result of everything that’s come my way, the next few months will have me immersing myself into some new and exciting projects. For now, the lid stays on, kids, but definitely keep your eyes and ears peeled on some developments.

Also, I have THOROUGHLY enjoyed the way the open-mic challenges have been shaking out at The Camp House. The participants have been increasingly diverse. I, personally, would love to see more female poets, singer-songwriters, and instrumentalists come out and compete, but we’ll see what happens as time progresses.

I want to let everyone know that we’ve made a minor change to the time for the open-mic. The sign-ups will now start at 7 PM. We’ll get the open-mic started at 7:30. Make sure to come out early or on time to guarantee your spot if you’re planning on performing. Once the list is full, the list is FULL, brothers and sisters.

That’s all from me for right now, folks. Do good things and feel free to follow me on Twitter. I’m ichristian3030 on there.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Good Times, Great People

Anyone that has known me over the past few years knows that I’ve been at odds with Atlanta for some time (more so, it’s been at odds with me). I’ve endured a good bit while in The A, but, honestly, the last few months have been extraordinarily kind to me.

On Friday night, I made my way down for my friend Emily’s birthday show. I, honestly, didn’t know what to expect, but I was completely blown away. Emily and two other singer-songwriters (Heather Luttrell and Hannah Thomas) absolutely KILLED the whole night.

I got asked to cover the break, so I did four poems. I ended with a birthday poem for Emily (it’s at the end of this post), and after I finished, she jumped on the stage with tears in her eyes and proceeded to give Your Friendly Neighborhood Christian a big hug. I did my job!

The entire night, I had the opportunity to meet some amazing people. The energy was fantastic and I, honestly, felt so tremendously happy. I look forward to the next time I touch down in Atlanta to perform (I am available, for the record!).

As promised, here’s the poem that I wrote for Emily. Feel free to let me know what you think!

I have always believed
that it is more than shared desire
that weaves us inside our mothers.
I have always imagined
that it is purpose, with its mighty, steady hand,
that guides our swim from our fathers.

There are but a few people
who walk carrying destiny
in the coils of their intestines
& for them, their vision is a sharpened gaze,
their voices are as powerful
as giant waves toppling over.

Purpose has called out to you,
buried song in your sternum
one night while you slept,
gave you a gift that cannot be seen
in any other hue but pure.

On this day, as you celebrate
emerging from your mother's hips
small, unknowing & crying out,
remember that purpose
has polished you, made you shine
& turned you into a brilliant light
in the lives & hearts of many.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

MANIFEST: Autumn Nights Poetry Slam

Christian J. Collier’s MANIFEST showcase returns with its third poetry slam of the year on October 14th at The Camp House (1427 Williams St.). Before the slam gets underway, the evening will begin with a 30-minute open mic.

In a poetry slam, each poet has three minutes and ten seconds to perform an original poem. Judges score each poet’s performance from 0 to 10 after the conclusion of each piece. At the end of the night, the poet with the highest score will win a cash prize.

Sign-ups for poets will be on site at The Campe House starting at 8 PM. The open-mic will begin at 9 followed by the slam at 9:30. Admission is $5 for participating poets and general admission is $8 . Christian J. Collier will serve as the slam master for the night. For more information on the slam or MANIFEST, he can be reached at

Monday, September 12, 2011

MANIFEST Weekend Wrap-Up

Man, MANIFEST Weekend was a success, brothers and sisters. I’m very fortunate to have been surrounded by such immense talent on both Friday and Saturday. For the record, I’m STILL physically beat, but I’m a happy and exhausted man.

On Friday night, Sabrina and Amber Fults absolutely KILLED. It truly was a treat for those who came out to see it. Oddly enough, when Sabrina arrived, she asked me if I was going to perform as well. I told her that I had not planned to do so, but at the end of the night, I jumped on the microphone and ran through a few poems from my chapbook Ghosts & Echoes (and managed to sell a few more).

Saturday was a huge pleasure. I set up around 5 (and in addition to hosting and performing, I also was the DJ), and met all the artists. Pretty much as soon as we opened the doors, people started pouring in, checking out the art, etc. It was great to see.

Sarah Bybee, my fifth artist for the event, brought her baby. Me being me, I designated him to be our official mascot for the day. Mua ha ha.

We had, at least, two of our artists to sell some work also. I found that to be great. I, myself, managed to sell a few more books and MANIFEST t-shirts, so that was dope as well.

Aside from the visual art, we had performances by Ray Zimmerman, The Divine Write (Marcus Ellsworth and Brandi Alexander), Mary Wier, Shannon Rogers, Sana Childers, Phenomenal C, Mark “Porkchop” Holder, and yours truly. In a way, it was kind of like a family reunion. There was big fun. There was adventure. There was Your Friendly Neighborhood Christian chasing down a guy on the sidewalk who tried to steal a MANIFEST shirt. What more could you ask for?

You can check out some of what took place on Saturday here. Props to Mr. Keith!

Moving forward, I’ll be performing in Atlanta this Friday night at Kavarna for a friend’s birthday show I’ve mentioned it on here before, but I’m going to be rehearsing my little set all this week up until I stretch out on the road on the 16th. Honestly, other than that, I’m going to try to LOUNGE! I just need a few days to recuperate from a very active, yet very fulfilling stretch of days.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

MANIFEST Weekend Kicks Off Friday!

Hey Everyone,

First and foremost, I hope that all of you are safe and sound. I've seen a lot of damage and accidents over the past 48 hours.

I just wanted to remind you that MANIFEST Weekend kicks off this Friday with our showcase of Amber Fults and Sabrina, a phenomenal Black singer-songwriter who recently completed the No Divas Tour. Doors open at 8 and the show will begin at 9. Admission is $8.

Christian J. Collier - Night Writers Live by Christian J. Collier

Also, things continue on Saturday at Create Here. From 6:30 to 9, we'll be playing music, have a free taco bar and drinks available, as well as five of Chattanooga's best visual artists AND some performances from the MANIFEST gang. Admission is FREE, so bring yourselves down and hang out with us for a while.

Lastly, you can hear me on WPLZ 95.3 this Thursday at 4:30 talking about the events of the weekend. Feel free to tune in and give it a listen if you can.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Speakeasy Update

On August 23rd of last year, The Speakeasy poetry/spoken word open-mic debuted at The Office. We had six strong months there before things fell apart (I’ve posted about what happened a few months ago).

In the time that Speakeasy’s been on hiatus, I’ve had the chance to strengthen my MANIFEST brand and take advantage of some opportunities for myself as an artist. As a result, MANIFEST has become pretty recognizable in Chattanooga and outside of it.

I’ve been unable to come to terms with another home for Speakeasy for one reason or another. As much as I’ve done over the past two years, Chattanooga is still a traditionalist’s town and a lot of places just don’t recognize the value of a poetry night, and that’s fine. I do, however, have a new prospect, and if things go well, Speakeasy will be back, although, with a few changes.

I’ve decided that it makes the most sense to throw Speakeasy under the MANIFEST brand name. On September 10th, I’m collaborating on a free event with Create Here, and I wanted to do it to showcase some of Chattanooga’s best visual artists. Also though, I wanted to do something to celebrate those who have lent their talents, energy, and support into my efforts for the past two years. Everyone is invited. Even if you can’t stay the whole time, stop by, have some drinks, tacos, and fun. Without those who’ve shown me love and dedication, none of what I’ve been able to achieve over the past few years here would’ve been remotely possible.