Sunday, February 27, 2011
February is rapidly coming to an end. It’s been a great month for me. Honestly, I can’t really complain all that much, which is always a blessing.
In March, as a special treat, we are doing TWO MANIFEST events. As you probably know, MANIFEST V is coming up on March 11th. For those who aren’t familiar with our musical features, I wanted to give you the opportunity to check them out and familiarize yourselves with them in advance. So, you can listen to Ryan Oyer’s debut album here: http://www.myspace.com/ryanoyer/music/albums/come-together-14867414
Also, you can check out Darren Johnson’s website here: http://www.darrenjohnsoneffort.com/Home.html
On March 12th (the night after MANIFEST V), we’re doing MANIFEST Presents… at The Camp House. MANIFEST Presents will be showcasing Two People Playing Music, who are a Florida-based band on tour for their new record, While No One’s Watching. They will be sharing the bill with Chattanooga’s own The Hearts in Light, who are finishing up their debut album, which will be released this year. Doors open at 8:00 and the show gets under way at 9. Admission is $8 at the door.
For more info on Two People Playing Music, you can peep them AND listen to their record here: http://twopeopleplayingmusic.bandcamp.com/album/while-no-ones-watching
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to be one of the judges for the NAACP’s Black Ink competition. It was a really incredible and inspiring event. This was my second consecutive year being a judge, so it’s something that I’ve come to enjoy doing.
The other judges and I managed to decide on the winners pretty easily, which is yet another blessing. However, I caught a little bit of hell about the decision.
After the contest, I was walking to my car, and one of the contestant’s mothers asked me what criteria we used to judge the competition. I told her that the criteria we were given, and she said, “Oh, okay. Because I don’t think you did it right.”
I told her that I was sorry that she felt that way and proceeded to keep moving, but she wouldn’t relent. One of our contestants who came in 2nd place was white, and the woman asked me how we (the judges) could let a white woman be a winner when “she can’t relate to our history.” I told her that Black history is American history. It includes more than just us. It still does.
The heart of the matter, which was never brought up, was that the woman was upset that her daughter didn’t win. The whole time this conversation was taking place, her daughter looked mortified. I felt sorry for her, so I chose not to allow myself to get angry at what the woman was saying. It was a challenge, but I think I handled it pretty well.
Anyway, moving on, for all you Twitter folks, I have officially joined the conversation. I’ll be dropping some special exclusives on there, so I’m looking forward to that. You can follow me here: @IChristian3030
Well folks, that’s me for now. Be good to each other.
Friday, February 18, 2011
I must say that I’ve had a great week. I’m excited about what I have to report, as well, so I’ll go ahead and jump in.
First, we recorded the MANIFEST IV: Love & Other Struggles show. I’ve chopped up the performances into tracks, and we’re going to make it available to all you good people in the very near future. We’re tinkering around with a few things before we do so, so stay tuned if you’d be interested in taking home the Love & Other Struggles gang on disc.
Second, on Sunday, we were fortunate enough to win the C.A.F.E. Grant from Planet Altered. We’re looking into getting shirts made for MANIFESTS, and we’ll also be able to freely record our singers, musicians, poets, etc. who perform onstage. They can, in turn, use the tracks for EPK purposes, live demos, etc. Hopefully, we can help those who choose to be a part of our showcases better promote themselves, or just have a live recording to add to their collections.
On Wednesday, we had our BIGGEST SPEAKEASY LIST EVER. We happily boasted 20 performers and ran for over three hours. It was amazing. What was also amazing was the fact that we had comedian DOUG STANHOPE get down with us. If you’re not familiar with him, you should peep his website. The man’s been around for a while.
Doug performed under the alias of Hotel Guest, and he absolutely murdered his time on the microphone. He was in Chattanooga for a gig and just kind of managed to stumble upon The Speakeasy. Needless to say, we were very happy to have him in attendance.
Last night, Brother Marcus Ellsworth and I took a field trip to Roswell, GA to compete in “Slammin’ in the Suburbs,” Roswell’s 7th Annual Poetry Slam. It’s sponsored by the City of Roswell, and was incredible. Even Roswell’s Mayor was there.
There were 27 poets who performed in the first round. Yes, 27 peeps. I drew the fifth spot and Marcus got the 20th one. We did our thing, and managed to make it to the 2nd and final round. It was cool to be able to go to a place where we didn’t know a soul and still offer a good showing. We both placed in the top 10.
What was even better was that after the slam, we got to meet and network with some of Atlanta’s poets. It should be interesting to see what happens from here. Of course, I’ll keep you guys and girls informed. It’s what I do.
Lastly, Marcus and I will be two of the judges for the NAACP’s Black Ink Competition, which takes place TOMORROW. If you’re interested in coming out, things start at 12:30. It’s being held at the EPB Comm. Room, which is at 10 West MLK Blvd. If you stop by, say hello.
Well kiddies, I’m off. Enjoy your weekends!
Sunday, February 13, 2011
First off, I want to thank EVERYONE who stepped out to get down with us at MANIFEST IV: Love & Other Struggles. The night was a tremendous success. This was our biggest MANIFEST showcase, so we’re all pleased with how well things went. Thank you, Chattanooga!
Once again, you can go ahead and mark March 11th on your calendars. MANIFEST V will be taking place. Our features for March will be Darren Johnson and Ryan Oyer. Ryan’s debut album just turned a year old on January 30th. He’s writing and recording a new album as I type this. I had the distinct honor of producing and rapping on one of the tracks from the debut project. You can peep us performing it a few different ways below.
Darren is a transplant, but is one of Chattanooga’s most talented voices and songwriters. I am really looking forward to trying to put more people up on his material and what he has going on. If you want to check out two of the city’s premier talents, bring yourselves down to the Camp house (1427 Williams St.) on March 11th.
Also, switching gears, we’ve got some big things going down with The Speakeasy. I can’t let the cat out of the bag just yet on what you can expect to see, but I’m pretty excited. Stay tuned and we’ll keep you posted.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Saturday, February 5, 2011
I’ve managed to secure myself a busy month, which is a great thing. I wanted to update some of what’s gone down, and what will be going down on my end in the near future.
I had the opportunity to perform at the Hunter Art Museum this past Thursday night. It was for an event called Friends of African-American Art. Man, it was a beautiful, inspiring, and surreal experience. I remember going to the Hunter on a school field trip when I was in the 2nd grade. Fast forward some years later, and I had the chance to perform at it. How wild is that?
As it stands now, we are six days out from MANIFEST IV, and I’m looking forward to it a great deal. I just talked with DJ Flannel Boy a about 30 mins. ago, and he, too, is excited. He’s pretty much got his set locked-in, so we’re all anxious to touch stage on Friday night.
Once again, if you’re planning on coming, we’re accepting FOOD DONATIONS for the Chattanooga Area Food Bank. If you have anything in your shelves that you’re willing to part with, I’m sure we can give it a good home.
I’m going to officially let the cat out of the bag, but March’s MANIFEST will feature Ryan Oyer and Darren Johnson. As usual, there will probably be some special guests lending their talents as well. Mark your calendars! It’ll be taking place on March 11th.
So, last Saturday, I was fortunate enough to win the grand slam for the Chattanooga poetry slam. I had a good time. Ms. Allison Cunningham, who I was introduced to officially at Strange Bedfellows 2, recorded a good number of us that night. Here are some of the videos she got of me.
Lastly, on February 19th, I’ll be a judge for the Black Ink poetry competition, which is sponsored by the NAACP. My good friend and comrade-in-arms Marcus Ellsworth will be judging as well. This will be our second consecutive year doing this, so it’s an honor.
Well folks, that’s all I’ve got for now. Be good to each other, and I expect to see you out and about.