Sunday, December 30, 2012

Highlights for 2012


Greetings,

As we’re rapidly approaching the end of 2012, I’ve put my finishing touches on my personal highlights for the year. What an amazing year it’s been. I’ve enjoyed being a performer, being a fan, being a supporter of friends, and allowing a number of experiences to resonate with me. I’m really looking forward to what 2013 holds for me. Hopefully, things will just keep building. I’m certainly going to do my part, brothers and sisters.

1. Spoken Word Night (1/5/12) in Dahlonega, GA
2. Random gig @ The AGM Building on 1/28
3. Press Pause Play
4. Kofi Mawuko event at Bessie Smith
5. Winning the Origami Poems Project Contest
6. Freestyling with beatboxer Nathan McKay at open-mic
7. HATCH Scramble
8. Speakeasy 420
9. Collaborations
Atlanta
10. Art Amok
5/25/12
11. Killer Mike/El-P
12. Hunter Gig 6/28
13. Eclectic 6/30
14. Playing my demo at The Hunter
15. MANIFEST Presents Speakeasy 7/14
16. Meeting Isaac Duncan
17. Eclectic 8/31
18. Love's Theme on 9/8
19. Ambien Songs & sleep.
20. Press Pause Play at The Hunter on 9/20
21. Brother Ali on 9/21
22. Minus the Bear 10/24
23. Vacant Outlet Tour
24. Therapy
25. Vacant Outlet @ Lori & Brenda's 11/3
26. Mainx24
27. Jamming with Lauryn
28. Seeing W. Kamau Bell on 12/12
29. Gods & Disasters
30.
Augusta, GA on 12/20
31. Urban Grind 12/27

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Favorite Albums (& an EP) of 2012


Greetings,

Well, it has happened. I’ve finally finished my list of favorite records for 2012. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of these offerings and look forward to what 2013 holds for my ears.
  1. Brother Ali – The Bitemarked Heart
  2. Eliza Rickman – O, You Sinners
  3. Killer Mike – R.A.P. Music
  4. El-P – Cancer 4 Cure
  5. Big Krit – Live from the Underground
  6. Frank OceanChannel Ocean
  7. Brother Ali – Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color
  8. Flying Lotus – Until the Quiet Comes
  9. Nas – Life is Good
  10. P.O.S. – We Don’t Even Live Here
  11. Angel Snow – Angel Snow
  12. Big Boi – Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors
  13. Esthero – Everything is Expensive
If I had to pick an overall favorite album, it would probably have to be Mourning in America and Dreaming in Color by Brother Ali with Killer Mike’s album placing a really close second. Ali’s project was exactly what I needed to hear when I needed to hear it and it resonates with me on a more personal level than Mike’s jawn does.
 
So, now that you’ve got my list, kiddies, what are your faves? I want to see what you fine folks have been jamming out to over the past 12 months.
Blessings
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Huzzah


Greetings,

Well, gang, the world didn’t end last week and we’re just coming out of Christmas. Hopefully, you had a good one. Even if you didn’t celebrate, I hope that you had a good day with people that you love… or, at the very least, could tolerate.

Last week was SUCH an emotional week. It happened unexpectedly so, too. Last Wednesday, I had a conversation with someone who had repeatedly wronged me on a personal level after over a year without speaking. I always imagined the first words coming out of my mouth being REALLY intense, but that didn’t happen. I had the chance to efficiently speak my peace, however, and I really surprised myself by telling this individual that despite all of the negativity, the blame, the deception, etc. that they were the root of, I still find it in myself to love them as a person. I DEFINITELY didn’t expect to say that, and that statement really kind of tripped me out for a few days. Your Friendly Neighborhood Xtian had a Zen moment.

The very next day, I jumped in the mobile office aka my car, and set out on a mini-tour. I got invited to feature at the M.A.D. Studios open-mic in Augusta, GA, so I made the trek down. I saw such gorgeous skies while I was en route. It was kind of like the world was opening up to me (I’m getting far too new agey here).

In any case, when I arrived in Augusta, I had an amazing time. I love being in creative settings, and I thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to see the participants perform. I was in complete sponge mode.

When my time came to perform, everyone was UBER nice. I had a blast, which was great because I was JUST emerging out of being really sick. I managed to get my energy back the day before, and my voice was still very much a work in progress.

After I jumped off the mic and the night ended, I really enjoyed meeting everyone. If you’ve known me for any length of time or followed this blog at all, you know that that connection is something that I adore immensely. I had the chance to meet some phenomenally nice and talented people, and that was big fun for me. I also managed to completely sell out of Ghosts & Echoes (HOORAY!), so I’ll have to crank some more books out in the near future.

The next day, I performed a home show for a couple in Roswell, GA. Home shows are still very new to me, but I really appreciate the intimacy of the gigs. Roswell is really becoming a favorite place for me in Georgia. Last year, I took part in an incredible poetry slam there, and, now, having the chance to infiltrate some homes and do my thing feels great.

Switching gears, the next MANIFEST will be on January 12th at The Camp House. I’ll be shooting out more info about that in the near future. I figured we would ring in 2013 Speakeasy style, so come on out and do what you do!

Lastly, I’ll be breaking down my 2012 personal highlights and top albums soon. Stay tuned, and I’m completely ready to argue music with you (j/k)! In the meantime, stay warm, stay safe, and, like Pony Boy, stay GOLD!!!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Gods & Disasters Review

Theatre Review: "Gods & Disasters"

December 13, 2012
 
The day the tornadoes struck chattanooga and Hamilton County in April 2011, I was in a media bunker—a radio station’s broadcasting studio, watching the storms pulse ever closer on the giant electronic weather map. I was safe—but I was helpless. I couldn’t leave—I was working and needed—but I had no idea what I would find when I got home. Would I still have a house? Would my dogs still be there? What about friends and neighbors?
I was one of the lucky ones that day. But most of us have experienced the paralyzing sense of waiting for a storm to hit … hearing the winds rise and the branches creak and snap. “Will it be this time?” you ask yourself.

In Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga’s last show of their 2012 season, “Gods & Disasters,” that feeling of incipient terror is explored in movement, dance and spoken word. Not a play in the classic sense, the piece is a collaboration between ETC’s artistic director, Garry Lee Posey, dance mavens Ann Law and Angela Sweet, vocalist Brandi Alexander, and spoken-word artist Marcus Ellsworth. The result is fascinating; at various times riveting or dreamlike, at times a little too extended, but the highs are definitely worth the lows.

The 90-minute intermission-less piece is divided into four parts: “The Calm Before,” “The Storm,” “The Aftermath” and “Reflection.” In “The Calm Before,” conceived by Ann Law, Law, Katelynd Frierson and Mario Brooks dance a piece that, to me at least, evokes both the busywork of an average day, and at the same time, an uneasy dread of something impending. Christian Collier’s “soundscape” for this piece is masterful.

“The Storm,” conceived by Brandi Alexander and staged by Garry Lee Posey, was my favorite section because of Bruce Shaw’s funny yet menacing “weatherman,” and especially E. Devante Williams as the leering, malevolent spirit of the storm itself. Also a shout out to the show’s youngest cast member, John Calvin Sweet IV, who has a future in theater if he wants one.

“The Aftermath,” conceived, choreographed and sound designed by Angela Sweet, is hypnotic and features amazing, uncredited costumes for its eight dancers, but needs trimming to capture its full power. Yet the opening image of the dancers on the floor, pushed together like flotsam on a beach post-storm is gorgeous. The piece also movingly captures the idea of people coming together after a disaster, joined together in survival if nothing else.

“The Reflection,” conceived and written by Marcus Ellsworth, evokes particular storms and individual stories. Bruce Shaw again shines in his long monologue; a line that stood out: “People whose biggest crime was that they survived.” Monessa Guilfoil’s soulful tribute to our own losses—and will to carry on—is also wonderful, but kudos all around to the performers in this piece, who also include Mario Brooks, Brandi Alexander and Shasta Vance.

“Gods & Disasters” is also the last show in ETC’s three-year home in the St. Andrews Center. Next year the company will move to a new theater being built for them in the Eastgate Center. Congratulations to ETC on a lovely and fitting adieu, and best wishes for their challenging and exciting line-up for the New Year.

Gods & Disasters

$11
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15,
2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16
6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17
Ensemble Theatre of Chattanooga, 1918 Union Ave.
(412) 987-5141 ensembletheatreofchattanooga.com

Sunday, December 9, 2012

December


Welcome to the final month of 2012! This year’s sped by. I remember EXACTLY what was going on last year at this same time and have actually come full circle on a few things. I feel that the past fifty-two weeks have been an exercise in turning inward and advocating more for self. I’ve learned A LOT in that span of time and truly consider myself to be fortunate.

December continues to be shape up to be quite the month. I’ve been booked for a number of solo shows including a very fun house performance last night. Last night would’ve been our MANIFEST night, but due to my level of activity, I just couldn’t swing it. However, I’m of the mind that it has been entirely too long since we’ve had a gathering (dinner, bowling, etc.). I think this could be a good opportunity to do so. If you’ve got any suggestions, friends, feel free to shoot them my way.

On the 1st of the month, we had Mainx24 in good ol’ Chattanooga. For those who are unfamiliar, it’s pretty much a 23-hr. crash course in all things creative that the Scenic City has to offer. I had the opportunity to catch up with old friends, meet some new people, and really just soak up the energy.

I performed at the Wide Open Floor event, and that was big fun. A pleasant surprise was seeing Ann Law from Barking Legs perform using the first part of my 3 Faces of the Storm instrumental. It was my first time getting to see some of what and the other dancers would be doing for the “Gods and Disasters” show that’s currently running at ETC. Man, I felt like a proud papa taking it all in.

 
Switching gears, on 12/12/12, I’ll have the distinct honor and privilege of seeing Mr. W. Kamau Bell perform in Nashville. I’m so looking forward to it. Kamau’s been one of my favorite discoveries this year, so it’ll be great to see him do his thing live. Oh, and as if that wasn’t cool enough on its own, I’ll also be meeting the brotha after the show. Mua ha ha!!! Hump Day’s looking up, brothers and sisters.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. Be good, don’t hurt anybody while you’re out shopping, and don’t be strangers, y’hear?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thankful


Hopefully, everyone reading this had the opportunity to spend some portion of the last five days surrounded by good friends, family, and positive energy (or, at least, one of those elements) I certainly did, and I consider myself to be truly thankful.

I got asked by Ann Law from the Barking Legs Theater to compose some music for an upcoming performance she’s doing. The piece deals with a large, looming storm that is bringing very destructive consequences with it.

 
With that in mind, I set to work. I’ve been interested in scoring for a number of years, so this was a wonderful opportunity to interpret a concept and build a soundtrack for it. I wanted the music to always be moving, to have a good sense of tension, and to just sound and feel BIG in scale.

I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. I had the chance to give Ann a listen yesterday, and she said it was perfect, which really pleased me. It’s VERY rare that it happens that way, and it’s a tremendous feeling to know that someone’s found what you’ve created to be on nose of what they had in mind.

 

I called the piece Three Faces of the Storm, and there’s a good chance that I’ll throw it online at some point. I’m REALLY looking forward to seeing Anna and the other dancers perform with it in the next few weeks. This will be a pleasant new experience for Your Friendly Neighborhood Christian. Mua ha ha!!!

Switching gears, Mainx24 will be taking place this Saturday. I’ll be bringing The Vacant Outlet business to Main St. I’ve got to start banging around again. It’s hard to believe that two weeks have passed since I’ve last cranked up my little friends and got busy.

In any case, as usual, I won’t be planning anything out for Saturday. I just want to get back in that space where I feel really comfortable and open to create. It’s going to be big fun, and I’m looking forward to the weekend. If you’ve never been to Mainx24 before, expect tremendous energy. Good times await, friends.

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

Blessings

Monday, November 19, 2012

What’s Going Down


It’s wild to think that November is almost over. This month has been a blink.

December is shaping up nicely on my end. I’ll be performing for the Wide Open Floor portion of Mainx24 (I have a few other performances that are up in the air on that day, too). The Vacant Outlet Tour will be touching down on Main St., big baby!

Also, I’ve recently confirmed a feature performance, so I’m returning to the wonderful world of poetry. One December 20th, Your Friendly Neighborhood Christian will be beating up on Augusta, GA. That is, if the world hasn’t ended yet. Dun, dun, dunnnn.

 
Switching gears, I FINALLY finished a poem this past weekend, and I’m closing in on another one. I’ve had most of the freshly finished one bouncing around in my head for a few months, and I actually found myself with some time to flesh it out. It feels good to have some new material, and I’m definitely looking forward to breaking the stuff in. Stay tuned!

Well, that’s all I’ve got this go round. Be good, don’t get trampled on Friday, listen to Shabazz Palaces, and check out my Summer Nights vid!

Blessings
 
 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thank You, Chattanooga!


I’m very proud to say that we had an amazing time at MANIFEST on Saturday night. We had a great crowd and the poets all did the do. I was a sweaty, sick, and happy man.

At the beginning of last week, I came down with a little something (just a little virus). It wasn’t anything major, but it definitely took my energy as well as my voice. I was really contemplating not doing any poetry as a result and just sticking to music instead. However, about an hour before I left to set up, I sounded enough like myself to do a few things.

Christian J. Collier - Confinement

I had a lot of options for my portion of the show, but nothing planned. The Vacant Outlet Tour’s really inspired me as far as letting things happen in the moment, so I chose that approach when I took the stage. I brought my pedals, a few poems just in case, and went for it.

I made this really ambient piece (I’m just glad that all the loops stacked up correctly) and decided on the fly to read a poem called Confinement. It’s one of my most personal and is in my chapbook Ghosts & Echoes. I’ve never really done anything like that before, so I definitely surprised myself, which I immensely enjoyed.

The energy was phenomenal. I’m so thankful for how things have developed creatively over the past few years as well as what I’ve been able to bring to Chattanooga’s artistic and cultural landscape. I truly feel blessed. Thanks, Chatt-Town!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Vacant Outlet Business


This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to bring The Vacant Outlet Tour to Cleveland, TN, and it was a beautiful experience. I made a post on my blog and on Facebook that if anyone was interested in donating their home for forty minutes to an hour, I’d love to play for them. Shortly after I put it out there, I received a good number of responses. I had some availability in my schedule on Saturday, so I reached out to some dear friends and hit the road.

They had such an ideal open space that I was really excited to see how everything was going to sound. Before long, I set up, plugged in, and got to work.

It kind of feels like a cliché to say, but I completely zone out while I’m playing. I am so immersed in pulling each note and sound out that all my focus get funneled into the process. Honestly, I can’t tell you what the material I played sounded like, but I know it sounded like a lot of things! All I really know is that I played two long, evolving pieces, and that my gracious hosts enjoyed them, which is ALWAYS a good thing.

After I was finished playing, we went to dinner. I was treated to great conversation and amazing company. I was truly spoiled, friends. I’m uber grateful.

If you’re interested in hearing what some of the stuff sounds like, you can give some live stuff a listen here. You can hear me stomping on pedals, twisting knobs, and getting’ BUSY! That’s all I’ve got this time around, folks. Be good, have fun, and I hope to see you at MANIFEST this Saturday night!

Vacant Outlet Live pt. 2

Vacant Outlet Live pt. 1

Sunday, November 4, 2012

November!


Welcome to November! The year is rapidly approaching its end (and, depending on your beliefs, the world is also rapidly approaching its end, but I digress).

Halloween is one of my favorite occasions of each year. I love doling out candy, seeing the kids in their costumes, watching horror movies, etc. This year, I decided to do something a bit different. If you’ve been following the blog at all over the past month or so, you know about The Vacant Outlet Tour and the improvisational work that I’ve been doing. I’ve been really interested in documenting the works through video, but I stumbled upon a cassette recorder and wanted to put it through its paces. So, Your Friendly Neighborhood Christian plugged in, hit record, and got down to business.

What’s interesting is that the whole process of recording completely altered the nature of what I’ve been doing. It’s been so in the moment with the emphasis being on creation and the total experience. Knowing that this would be something (largely for giggled and grins) that I’d listen to more than once made me a lot more critical as I was playing.

After hearing the pieces back a few times (they’re each 19-20 minutes long), I really appreciated the works. Was I satisfied with the sound quality? No. However, I really dug how I executed everything. I truly worked for each sound, and it’s always a trip to know that I made these things completely on the fly.

Ladies and gents, you can check out my Halloween excursions on the links below. Feel free to let me know what you think.

http://chirb.it/1fpDrP

http://chirb.it/r29wIN

Monday, October 29, 2012

Updates


Greetings Friends,

I blog to you a year older than I was when I last posted. I turned twenty-nine last Thursday, and I’ve had a beautiful stretch of days since.

I’ve been researching Otomo Yoshihide and Christian Marclay recently, and their process and work have absolutely blown me away. They’ve definitely left an impression on the material that I’ve currently been working on.

 
I spent a good part of this past weekend recording some VERY rough live audio of me performing. What’s been interesting to notice is how long the songs (sets? Hmm…) are. When I’m making everything, I’m COMPLETELY in the moment and oblivious to time, so imagine my surprise when I found out that these sonic excursions have been clocking in at fifteen minutes plus. I couldn’t believe it.

 

If you guys are interested, I’ll throw some of the recordings online. What I love is that even if I intended to recreate the pieces in the same way, I wouldn’t be able to. Every performance is completely unique each time. Nothing’s stock or routine.

I’ve got a couple more locations mapped out for The Vacant Outlet Tour, so hopefully I’ll be able to jump out, do the do, get it documented, and chalk up another successful excursion. We’ll see how it goes, brothers and sisters.

Oh, and before I close things out, if you’d be interested in letting me play a set (40 minutes to an hour) in your lovely abode and film it, please hit me up. I’ll gladly give you and your home praise whenever I can.

Blessings

Monday, October 22, 2012

Venting


Greetings,

The past four days have been an absolute rollercoaster. I’ve experienced both the good and the bad almost simultaneously, and it’s all given me a great deal to process.

Without elaborating too much on what’s transpired, I’ll just quickly run through some of it. I put my name in to be a dj for an hour on 88.1, and then found out that someone in my life died immediately after. At some point a little later, I learned that I, apparently, had won a raffle through the radio, too. Honestly, I felt so many different things throughout the course of that day that it was just overwhelming.

 

I had the opportunity to spend the vast majority of the weekend surrounded by family, and that was a huge blessing. I’ve been processing a lot and just having that time to connect put a few things into perspective.

Switching gears, I’ve been plotting no the next stop on The Vacant Outlet Tour, and it could very well be coming from a kitcken (yup, an actual kitchen). Don’t be surprised if you see some video of yours truly doing the do while cookies are baking.

 
Blessings

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Progress Report


Greetings Friends,

Your Friendly Neighborhood Christian has had himself a great week. I’ve been in full artist mode, which hasn’t happened in some time (usually, it’s a juggling act). It’s felt wonderful and inspirational. My body hasn’t been able to completely keep up, but I’ve still been getting after it to the best of my ability.

Earlier in the week, I finalized the line-up for November’s MANIFEST. There will be fliers in the very near future! This will be our second anniversary show and the bill is SOLID. I’m uber excited about it. It’s going to be a special night without a doubt.

Let’s see. I’ve finally put a few tracks up that I’ve produced. Boys and girls, you can give listens to the jawns below. Let me know what you think.

 
 
http://soundcloud.com/christian-j-collier/cjc-how-we-celebrate

Also, I’ve been embarking on my Vacant Outlet Tour, and, so far, it’s been a success. I’ve been scouting vacant public outlets, plugging my gear in, and doing mini sets of sound manipulation, improve beat production, etc. It’s been fun and challenging. A good friend has offered to video the action (I’m extremely appreciative to have her onboard), and we did some shooting last night.
 
http://soundcloud.com/thespeakeasypoetry/cemetery-kids

http://soundcloud.com/thespeakeasypoetry/night-moves

http://soundcloud.com/thespeakeasypoetry/cowboy

If any of you fine folks know of any good outlet locations or unconventional spots that might be a good fit for me to hit, feel free to shoot them my way. My guerilla campaign is definitely accepting and appreciative of suggestions.

Well, that’s all I’ve got to report for now. Stay tuned, continue enjoying this wonderful month, and I’ll be back in touch soon.

Blessings

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

October!


Welcome to October, true believers. This is my favorite time of the year. Lots of birthdays, changing leaves, horror movies, shows, etc. Oh, it’s on!

A lot of things have been developing in Christian Country. The weekend before last, I had a very awakening experience that has me processing a great deal. It feels good to be in self-analysis mode.

A few cool things have been taking shape on the musical front. Everything’s been coming along in organic fashion, so it’s been a VERY pleasant surprise. You’ll be able to hear some of the produced stuff in the near future. That’s a CJC guarantee. In the meantime, you can see me manipulate some sounds in the videos below. I’m adding beat generator and sound manipulator to my resume. j/k

 


Switching gears, there won’t be a MANIFEST this month. However, November’s will be the birthday show. We’re dangerously close to our terrible two’s, baby! I’ve got a great line-up, and I’m really looking forward to November 10th. Bring yourselves!

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. Be good, stay away from the negative (in all its shapes and forms), and I’ll be in touch soon.

Peace!!!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Blessing


Last week was an absolute experience, brothers and sisters. I feel like nearly every part of my being was nurtured, and I blog before you inspired. Inspired and tired, but inspired nonetheless. Let’s jump into it!

On Monday, WUTC’s “Around and About” ran a feature for the “PressPausePlay” premiere. Monessa G. did an absolutely PHENOMENAL job on the piece. We met for an interview a few weeks ago, and she culled a good number of the talking points together with scenes from the film. In case you missed it, you can give it a listen here: http://www.wutc.org/post/christian-collier-screens-film-press-pause-play-hunter-museum-1

 
We managed to do a few more interviews leading up to Thursday, and I’m VERY elated to say that things went extraordinarily well at the screening. Every seat in the auditorium was filled. At one point, I looked across the room and noticed people sitting on the floor, and, honestly, it touched me. It was such a surreal experience for me to see how excited people were to check the film out and knowing how far back all of it had been set in motion.

Following the screening, we had our panel with Nate Hill, Phillip Lewis, Isaac Duncan III, and yours truly. We talked about the film and fielded some interesting questions for the audience. What I found really fascinating was how the crowd didn’t just inquire about certain things, but actually commented and offered up their own ideas and experiences. It was a genuine connection, and those of you who have known me for any length of time know how much I enjoy and appreciate it when that happens.

The very next day, I drove to Atlanta to see one of my personal heroes, Brother Ali, perform. Over the past three years in particular, Ali’s work has truly resonated with me. He is someone who really incorporates his personal life and message into his material, and he is without a doubt one of the best writers in Hip-Hop (you can quote me on that).

 
I saw Ali in 2010, and, again, it didn’t really feel like a concert. Ali took time between a few songs to talk (yes, talk), and that man was preaching. He talked about the difference between optimism and hope, and I just couldn’t help but smile. 2012 has been a year of growth, development, and change. While I’m not where I would like to be in my life, hearing Ali and being able to share in his passion made me feel like I’m definitively on the right track. On the first song on his latest record, one of the themes running through it is about leaving the world a little better place than when you encountered it. I feel that I’ve done that to a certain degree, and definitely aspire to do that more. Right time, right place, right message, brothers and sisters.

 
Oh, I’m also honored to say that for the second time in my life, I had the opportunity to meet Ali. We talked for a little bit and I thanked him for being who and what he was. He looked me dead in my eyes and thanked me for coming to the show and told me that he appreciated my presence. Wow. Just wow.

So, the past week was full of really grand encounters that broadened my perspectives on a number of things and provided me with a wealth of new avenues to explore as an artist, creative director, and man.

Blessings

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Bloggin’ it Up


Greetings,

I’m late in saying this, but I’m very thankful for those who came out to the last MANIFEST. The creative energy was absolutely beautiful and inspiring. We had Shane Morrow, Azusa Dance, and Rebecca Love bless us with song, and I got to make an executive call and FORCE a young poet to hit the stage to further find his voice.

Also, Mary Wier read a poem that paid homage to my piece Love’s Theme. Man, I was TOUCHED. I decided to run through the poem to close the night, and, on a whim, told the origin story behind it. It was unintentionally hilarious, and allowed Your Friendly Neighborhood Christian the chance to dig himself into a pretty sizeable hole. I was fully committed to the task of getting out of it though (which …only made things worse).

Anyway, it had to have been THE most fun performance of the poem to date. It was a definite highlight, not just of the night for me, but for my year.

I also had the chance to jump on the list for Wide Open Floor at Barking Legs last weekend. I performed Worlds and then pulled Shane and Rebecca up to pay tribute to Brother Heavy-D. You can check the video out below. The lovely Megan Hollenbeck did a phenomenal job on it, so she gets props to the nth from yours truly.

 
Switching gears, I’m counting the days until the “PressPausePlay” premiere. I’m really excited about the experience as well as the opportunity to bring something like this to fruition. New year, new memories, new energy, new activities!

There’s been a lot going on in my life over the course of the past few months. I definitely haven’t been as efficient as I’ve been accustomed to due to recovering from being sick, healing up from some injuries, etc. Despite that, things keep moving, so if it takes me a while to post on here or respond to anything, know that it’s not personal. I’m still getting where I need to be, it’s just taking a little longer than usual.

Let’s see. In other news, I’ve been writing again when I can. As you know (if you’ve been eyeing the blog), I’ve also been making music. I’ve actually been making A LOT of music. I’ve been taking my time with getting everything situated in terms of preparation and other bits of biz before I can let you fine folks hear the material. The handful of people who have been able to check out a few things have really enjoyed the tunes, which definitely pleases me and makes me more eager to unleash these sounds upon the world! Patience is a virtue though, dear friends. So, stay tuned!!!

Lastly, I’ve really come to realize how fortunate I have been this year despite a number of obstacles. I am very much still here and happy, brothers and sisters. I’m elated to say that I’ve emancipated myself from some toxic situations and people, I’ve opened myself up and stepped more into my own, and I’m really thankful for it all. I look forward to seeing how the last few months of 2012 shake out, too. The learning experience will continue. Oh, the suspense!

Blessings

Sunday, September 2, 2012

MANIFEST Presents The Speakeasy THIS Saturday Night


Greetings Everybody,

It’s hard to believe that it’s September already. I just wanted to let you all know that we’ll be doing the next MANIFEST Presents The Speakeasy this Saturday night, September 8th at The Camp House (1427 Williams St.). If you’re a poet, storyteller, or are just looking for big fun, bring yourselves out. Doors open at 8 and we’ll get rolling with the entertainment at 9. It’s a pay-what-you-want affair, so feel free to contribute whatever you’d like.

Also, I’ll be showing a documentary called “Press Pause Play” on September 20th at The Hunter Art Museum. Here’s a bit about the film:

The digital revolution of the last decade has unleashed creativity and talent in an unprecedented way, with unlimited opportunities. But does democratized culture mean better art or is true talent instead drowned out? This is the question addressed by PressPausePlay, a documentary film containing interviews with some of the world's most influential creators of the digital era.

Things will get underway at 6. We’ll show the film, and then have a panel to further discuss, and, hopefully, expound upon some of the ideas and questions that the documentary raises. General admission is $9.95 and free for members of the museum.

Happy Labor Day, and I hope to see you out this weekend. Also, if you have any questions about Saturday or the MANIFEST series, feel free to get back with me.

Blessings

Saturday, August 25, 2012

News!


If you’ve followed the blog for the past few years (or have a good memory before I started it) then you’ll know that, among my assorted activities, I’ve produced music in a range of genres including dnb, dubstep (way back in 2008), Hip-Hop, house, etc. The first project I made was called The Lost City EP, and was pretty eclectic. It incorporated found sounds, a nice little variety of styles, and some experimental shifts.

As a result of that EP, I was able to meet a number of cool artists including Soundtyp23, and DJ Wayzout. From there, the next few years were spent making A LOT of diverse music and having a tremendous amount of fun.

 

I’m happy to say that I’ve been working on a lil’ somethin’ somethin’ new and it’s been a lot of fun to be banging out tunes again, but also knowing that there’s a wealth of potential in the material. I’m really looking forward to introducing people to it, and I hope that more opportunities will spring up on the production end of the equation. We shall see.

So, what can I tell you about the tracks? They’re pretty atmospheric with lots of subtleties and layers that unveil themselves each time you give them a listen. There are beats that the kids can dance to, but I don’t feel like the beat really is the primary driving force behind the songs. Confused? Good! (j/k) When I get everything sounding all presentable, I’ll gladly throw things up on the web, Hopefully, you’ll give me a few listens.

Blessings

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Still Here, Still Strong


Greetings,

Man, it’s been a while since last I blogged. I’ve been dealing with a few things such as trying to get a handle on some health issues, I got hit in a car accident at the beginning of the month, etc. You know, basic life stuff.

First off, we had the second consecutive MANIFEST Presents The Speakeasy on Saturday night. Again, it was TREMENDOUS fun. It also happened to be the 20th MANIFEST show, which is wild to imagine.

You know, I’ve said it before, and it still holds true, but each time we get together under The Speakeasy moniker, it’s always a special thing. The feeling is always so positive, and I legitimately feel that it brings the best out of the performers, the crowd, and yours truly. I’m really thankful (big surprise, eh?)

Switching gears, over the course of the past few months, I’ve had some incredibly affirming meetings and conversations with a number of people. Artists, administrators, teachers, etc. It’s felt so amazing to have the opportunity to have coffee (I’m working on developing a larger appreciation for the stuff), and just talk shop with intelligent and skilled people from across the board. As a result of all of these conversations, I’ve really started thinking on a bigger scale as far as some future activities are concerned. So, stay tuned! Mua ha ha!!!

Actually, I’d like to officially announce that on September 20th, I’ll be showing the documentary “Press Pause Play” at The Hunter. The film blew my mind the first time I saw it, and I’m really elated to have the opportunity to show it in Chattanooga. Of course, you know I’m jazzed to be showing it at The Hunter. Every time I step foot in the building, part of me is always awed.



I sincerely hope that you (yes, you who are reading this!) will mark September 20th on your calendars and come check out the film. There will be more details in the near future. If you’re doing anything creative in the year 2012, you NEED TO SEE THE FILM! Trust me. I’ll never lead you wrong.



Lastly, I’ve had a phenomenal time listening to a great deal of music as of late. Everything from Bonobo, Four Tet, Arovane, and Boards of Canada has been in rotation. What’s funny is that when I first moved back to Chattanooga in 2006, I was listening to a lot of electronic music, so this has kind of been an unsuspected return to form. Good music makes everything better, right?

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. I will be in touch before too long. I PROMISE! In the meantime, be well, stay healthy, and don’t be strangers.

Blessings

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Rejuvenation


Greetings Folks,

Man, last week was WILD! There was a lot going on (some great things, some burdens, yadda yadda). Fortunately, I absolutely cannot complain with how the week ended, and I have the peeps that came out for MANIFEST Presents The Speakeasy to thank. We had a great crowd filled with old faces, new babies, and incredible energy.

I’ve written before about how much Speakeasy has meant to me, and that continues to be true. I made the announcement that Speakeasy has NEVER belonged to a place (not Mudpie, not The Office, etc.), but it belongs in the hearts of those who have and continue to come out, show their support, and share themselves and their gifts. I LOVE being able to help provide a platform for all of these people who have enriched my life through being who they are and doing what they do. I feel tremendously blessed in that regard, friends.



Switching gears, I’ve been listening to some incredible music lately. About ten years ago, I was enthralled with “Digital” by Mia Doi Todd. However, in Chattanooga, it’s very hard to find indie records (it was true in 2002, and it’s true in 2012), so I never got the chance to listen to the whole thing. That all changed last week! I’ve had such a wonderful time giving it a run through. It’s truly a gem. I encourage all of you who come across this post to do whatever you can (without causing harm to yourself or anyone else) to check it out. Also, peep the rest of Mia’s discography. I guarantee continuing satisfaction!

Well, that’s about all I have for now. I shall be in touch before too long with some more updates. In the meantime, keep your spirits up, have fun, and be good!

Blessings

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Talking that Talk!


Hey Folks,

We are now less than one week away from the next MANIFEST. As you probably know, we’ll be doing a Speakeasy session for the event, which is a poetry/spoken word open-mic done my way. For the past couple of months, I’ve had the pleasure of encountering a number of poets who’ve just been sitting on their work, so I figured that it would be a good opportunity to give them a platform to share what they’ve written, especially since the last Speakeasy event in April and the tremendous amount of fun that was.

I’ve said it before, but it continues to ring true. The Speakeasy has meant the world to me. Not only did it pave the way for me to initiate and solidify the MANIFEST brand, but it was my saving grace for a long time. Hopefully, I’m not getting too deep here, but I went through an intense depression in 2009, and Speakeasy really provided me something to take my mind off the troublesome things that were going on in my life at the time. It afforded me the chance to creatively vent, as well as come into contact with a number of writers across the board. Over the years, it’s been a continuing blessing.

We are not charging a set cover for the show, which is on the 14th. Instead, I’m asking everyone to contribute what they feel is adequate for the entertainment and for bringing the show to fruition. If you’d like to contribute $2, that’s perfectly fine. If you’d like to contribute $20 or more, that’s also perfectly fine. Each individual gets to be the catalyst for how much they’d like to pay. I’ve really been interested in the whole pay-what-you-want model for a number of months now, mostly because it’s an open invitation for anyone to experience the event, which is the most important part of the equation in my eyes. Regardless of how much money you have in your wallet, I really just hope people will come see what we have lined up and experience it with an open mind. I guarantee satisfaction!

In other news, some of you know that I’ve been a producer of Hip-Hop, drum & bass, dubstep, etc. for the past six or more years. I released a drum & bass record in 2008, have had some singles spun in Europe, and a number of other personally cool things. I’ve recently decided to give more attention to producing again (I’ve been dabbling over the past year or so), and I’m very pleased to announce that one of my instrumentals is on The Chronicles of Viktor, which is a free mix dedicated to MF Doom brought to you by the good people from TheBeatTapeProject. If you’re interested in checking out some free music or just hearing my contribution (I’m track 83), you can accomplish both by visiting http://thebeattapeproject.bandcamp.com/album/the-chronicles-of-viktor-the-mfin-doom-beat-tape-3

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now, essentially. I’ll leave you with some albums and artists that I’ve currently been listening to and enjoying. Peace!

  1. Miho Hatori
  2. Lamb – Fear of Fours
  3. Brother Ali – The Bite-Marked Heart
  4. Local Natives – Gorilla Manor
  5. The Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

MANIFEST Presents The Speakeasy


For the nineteenth installment of the MANIFEST series, Christian J. Collier will be bringing The Speakeasy, a unique open-mic night showcasing an eclectic blend of poetry/spoken word and music, to The Camp House (1427 Williams St.) on July 14th. The Speakeasy debuted in 2009 and has been facilitated, organized, and hosted by Collier over the past three years. The open-mic has had a very distinct and diverse array of readers and performers including multiple Pushcart Prize nominees and even acclaimed comedian Doug Stanhope.
 

Doors open for the event at 8. Sign-ups will be taken on site at that time as well. This will also be the second consecutive pay-what-you-want show where attendees are encouraged to contribute whatever they can or feel is fitting for the entertainment. For further information, Christian J. Collier can be reached at thespeakeasypoetry@gmail.com.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

July!!!


Welcome to July! June was truly A MONTH! The last two weeks had a number of adventures and amazing times. Here’s a quick list of some of the things that I’ve experienced in the past 14 or so days.

  1. I witnessed the Into the Wild Tour with Killer Mike, El-P, etc.
  2. I met Big Boi from Outkast
  3. I performed with The Cumberland Collective in Nashville
  4. I gigged directly across the street from where George Lopez was simultaneously performing

This past week was incredible as well. On Thursday, I had the good fortune of performing at The Hunter along with Nathan McKay, Lord Subliminal, and Jody Harris aka The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. The weather was hot outside, but we had an amazing time. I, myself, wore many hats for the performance. I ran sound, served as dj, played electric guitar, and spit a lil’ somethin’, somethin’. It was WORK, but definitely the affirming and rewarding kind. I would not have had it any other way.

I pride myself on being an honest person and artist, so I have absolutely no shame in saying that I COMPLETELY butchered This Poem (hey, I’m human). These things happen, and I think I did a decent job of getting back on track after the flubs (if you mess up your lead-off piece, there’s only one direction to go from there).

This is going to sound odd, but I think the most fun I had during the entire performance was djing. Not only did I have the opportunity to spin some of my favorite Hip-Hop anthems, but I got to back up everyone else (most of the time, it was ENTIRELY on the fly).

I’ve said it before, but I love performing at The Hunter. Every time I have the chance to do so, I feel like something magical happens. I certainly hope to be back at some point!

Last night, I performed in TheCreativeUnderground Presents: Eclectic. My mentor Shane Morrow put on a show that paid tribute to several artists that we’ve lost in recent years including Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Donna Summer, etc. I played the role of the announcer, but the most fun I had was taking the stage and channeling the great Heavy D. We performed “Nuttin’ but Love” along with a rendition of “Candy Rain” by Soul for Real. It was the FIRST time that we performed the songs as a whole, and we rocked it, yo. The energy was through the roof, and we really got down. So. Much. Fun!

I’ve had such an amazing time for the past few months. I’ve really reconnected with myself, and I feel at home. I truly am thankful to be where I am in my life and to have the people that I have around me.

Lastly, different people have asked what songs I played on Thursday. I didn’t have a prepared set, so I put it together in front of everyone who was there, but here’s what I remember spinning:

  1. Talib Kweli – Get By
  2. Mos Def – Ms. Fat Booty
  3. Dilated Peoples – This Way
  4. Pharoahe Monch – Desire
  5. Brother Ali – Good Lord
  6. Ian Kamau – Can’t Make You Love Me
  7. Eyedea & Abilities – Now
  8. Dead Prez – Hip-Hop
  9. Pharoahe Monch – Simon Says
Blessings!

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Halfway Point


Greetings,

Is June flying by or what? I swear this month has been a blink. A positive blink, but a blink nonetheless.

So, last Friday night, I spent a good bit of time talking to some friends about the first half of 2012. It’s been a journey for all of us. We reflected on the shifts that have taken place professionally and personally in our lives, and we all agreed that we’re in far superior places across the board than we were at the end of last year.

For me, this year has been very vital in helping me grow. I know that I’ve grown in my arts, in my relationships, and as a man. I’ve been the happiest that I’ve been in ages and those close to me have definitely noticed. That’s big. If you knew what I’ve gone through over the past three years, you would understand just how amazing this current joy and appreciation feels.

I’ve been really blessed to have my joy carry over into everything I’m doing, especially creatively. I’ve got some BIG projects in the works (some of which are being kept close to the vest… but only for now). I think I’ve just learned how to celebrate more and more in everything that I’m doing, and I’m having an absolute blast. I know that the next half of the year will have its own share of ups and downs, but I’m really pleased with who I am right here and now, and I look forward to seeing how the rest of 2012 shakes out.

Blessings

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Feeling Good, Feeling Great


Greetings,

Ladies and gents, Your Friendly Neighborhood Christian is a happy man. I feel so connected and rejuvenated, and the people around me are seeing it as well. It’s definitely a great feeling.



We did June’s MANIFEST this past Saturday, and it was big fun. My Politic were great (and VERY nice guys), and it’s always special to see my sister from another mister (That’s Amber Fults if you didn’t know) do her thing. Next month, we’ll be doing a poetry-themed show, so bring your poems down on the 14th and rock out with us. It’ll be another pay what you want show, so let’s get it going!

Last night, I had the opportunity to perform with Peggy Douglas and Jim Pfitzer for the Chattanooga Writer’s Guild meeting. The focus was on spoken word. I really didn’t know what to expect coming into the meeting (which is generally the way I like it), but it was great fun. Very hot temperature-wise, but great fun.

Jim performed a few excerpts from his one-man show, which was very interesting to see. When my turn came to present, I told the audience that I’d decided to shake the dust off some pieces I haven’t done in a long time. I also figured that it was a good opportunity to perform some of my most evocative poems. The reception was great, which is ALWAYS very much appreciated. I managed to sell a good number of chapbooks at the end of the meeting, too. It was a good showing.



I had an absolute blast watching Peggy perform and learning a bit about her process. I’m going to try to talk shop with her at some point in the near future.

So, switching gears, I wanted to throw it out there that I’ll be performing at The Hunter Art Museum on the 28th of this month. I’ll be spinning some Hip-Hop classics (some of which have changed my life), jumping on the mic, and also showcasing some of my ridiculously talented friends. The event runs from 6 to 8 and is FREE, so bring yourselves out if you can. We’ll have a good time. This, I guarantee.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. Stay in touch, say hey every now and again, and be good! Please try to be good. lol.

Blessings

Monday, June 4, 2012

MANIFEST's Summer Kick-Off is THIS Saturday!


Hey Everybody,

This is Your Friendly Neighborhood Christian writing to remind you that the MANIFEST Summer Kick-Off is THIS Saturday night at The Camp House (1427 Williams St). Doors open at 8, the show will get rolling at 9, and (best of all) YOU get to pay whatever you’d like to get entertained.  We’ve got Chattanooga’s own Amber Fults (Runner-Up in the Road to Nightfall Competition, Winner of the esteemed Eddie’s Attic open-mic challenge, etc.) and My Politic, who are a folk/Americana band hailing from Boston, MA.

 

If you’re looking for something to do that’s away from Riverbend, come and spend some time with us. I guarantee satisfaction! We’ve got plenty of free parking in the area. Oh, and as usual, I will be administering free hugs. Keep that in mind!

Blessings