Sunday, April 22, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up

Man, what a weekend it’s been. I think I had the opportunity to experience the majority of the human emotions (the overwhelming majority of which were very positive) over the course of the past few days.

On Friday, my day began with a panic attack (I won’t go into detail about why). I managed to back it off and settle into my day. Pretty much after that, things turned around completely. The energy around me was great, I had fun, and I was really excited about having the opportunity to bring The Speakeasy event back to fruition.

I made my way down to Patten Parkway at 5:40 to set up, and I was pleasantly surprised with everything that was taking place. There were bands playing, a makeshift skate park had been setup, an array of food trucks were parked and doing business, etc. It truly was a sight.

When I made my way to Cadence, though, I realized that I had to do more work than I anticipated in order to get us ready to roll for Speakeasy. What should’ve taken ten minutes tops ended up taking about thirty minutes due to some unforeseen technical issues. These things happen, but in the moment, they can be VERY frustrating. However, once I managed to work everything out and people started showing up, it was all good.

We started at 7 o’clock on the nose and had a full list. That old magic was alive again. I had such a great time being able to run sound and facilitate the night. It was amazing to see some of our oldest patrons read and meet some of the newest poets I’ve come into contact with. The whole thing put a smile on my face, and we had a beautiful time.

Since its inception, Speakeasy has really been my church. It has been my sanctuary. It has absolutely meant the world to me and continues to resonate. I truly realize how incredibly fortunate I’ve been.

Last night, we had the MANIFEST: Jazz Poetics event. It’s always a pleasure to hear The Undoctored Originals play. They’re phenomenal musicians as well as genuinely humble and nice men. We collaborated on a little improv piece, which was big fun. I’m sure that some audio and video will be appearing from last night in the very near future. When it does, I will gladly shoot the information out for those of you who couldn’t be there.

Well gang, that’s all I’ve got for now. Be good, and make sure to enjoy the rest of the day.


Friday, April 13, 2012

HATCH Scramble

Last night, I had the opportunity to perform as a part of the HATCH Scramble at The Hunter. It was the official kick-off for the HATCH Festival, and it was phenomenal. I was a part of an improv game that was the baby of Ann Law from Barking Legs. Marcus Ellsworth, Jim Pfitzer, Angela Sweet, and another dancer whose name I didn’t get participated. It was interesting, and, to be honest, went A LOT better than I initially thought it would.

We all bounced off each other (or, however many people were in each piece did). Exactly what we did and how we did it is hard to describe, but the best way I can attempt to articulate it is to say that it was a series of riffs. We (the dancers, two poets, and a storyteller) riffed off each selected theme, off each other, and off the audience. It was grand.

I had to leave the group a little early to prepare for my set. I hit the bathroom, went to the locker that The Hunter staff permitted me to use, got a drink, and then was ready. I had to wait for someone to turn the lights up in the area I was performing in, but after the technical issues got knocked out, everything was a go.

Initially, the crowd was very small and intimate. There were several events taking place simultaneously, so I wasn’t surprised and definitely wasn’t offended. I began with Love’s Theme, which is a poem I wrote about ten years ago for a girl I had a HUGE crush on when I was in high school. The deeper I got into the piece, the more people I saw start to enter the space. By the time I finished the poem, the crowd had tripled, and more people kept coming.

It had been a very long time since I performed without a microphone, and in this instance, it was liberating. I felt so completely free while I was on that I walked around and into the crowd while performing, interacted with people, etc. The Hunter has always been a magical place for me to perform. There’s so much energy there, and you can feel it reverberating off the walls. It was a beautiful experience.

After 30 minutes (my allotted time), I ended my set, introduced Jim Pfitzer, and then went to air out for a little bit. I was covered in sweat (hey, I was WORKING!), but I was buzzing. It truly was a blessing.

After I cooled off, I had the chance to talk to people who had seen the set. None of them had ever seen me perform before, so it was really affirming to be able to connect with them and to have evoked something within them. That ALWAYS touches me, and I hope that that remains the case until I eventually make my exit from this life.

I’m really looking forward to the rest of the events for HATCH and 10x10. It’s an honor to be included, and it truly means a lot to have what I do as an artist and organizer for MANIFEST and Speakeasy valued. So, if you’re around Chattanooga, get yourself up and about and see some things! It’s going to be a rewarding two weeks for you if you do. I guarantee it!


Sunday, April 8, 2012


I’ve spent the past month taking a strong, honest look back over the last six years of my life. I’ve invested a lot of thought into who and where I’ve been in order to try to figure out who I currently am and hope to be.

In that time, I’ve come to realize a number of vital things about myself. I am evolving and growing as an artist and as a man. I’ve come to really see that the control I have in my life is very limited. I can only be accountable for myself, and I need to keep that in mind and work on continuing to be okay with that.

You know, in a number of ways, I really feel like I’ve had an awakening. I’m really learning to (dare I say) slow down different aspects of my life and let things come to me. Some of the results have been rather organic and surprising.

With all of that rambling out of the way, I’m really proud to announce that Your Friendly Neighborhood Christian aka Buddy New Hope has a slot in Collaborations Atlanta. Here’s some info on the event:

Collaborations Atlanta - Where art Forms Collide! This is a show that demonstrates what happens when two or more of any art form merge within the same piece. Watch as dancers, acrobats, musicians, magicians, jugglers, actors, spoken word artists, poets, visual artists, film makers and many other Atlanta artists light up the stage with a presence that may make you laugh, cry, or shudder in awe! Each piece on the program is a collaboration between two or more art forms. Collaborations are important not only in art, but in life. As an audience member you make up the final part of our collaboration!

Sat. May 12, 2012 at 8pm
Tickets: $10 | Buy Tickets Online
Location: The Beam
Atlanta, 750 Glenwood Ave. SE Atlanta, GA 30316
If you guys are in the area or are interested in making the trek, feel free to come out. I’d love to see some familiar faces out and about. I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to meet some incredible artists and just bring this experience to fruition. Atlanta, I’m coming back to you!

Also, I’m performing in the HATCH Scramble this Thursday at The Hunter Art Museum. That means that my week (starting today) is going to consist of making a setlist and rehearsing. It’s going to be big fun. I can feel it, and yes, I’m calling here, on Easter.

Well folks, that’s all I’ve got today. For those who believe, Happy Easter. For those who don’t, Happy Sunday. Either way you slice it, I hope you get the love and affirmation you are in need of today.


Thursday, April 5, 2012



Man, what an opening week it’s been for April. Last night, I attended a show at Rhythm & Brews headlined by The Cumberland Collective, which consists of Mike Willis, Noah Collins and co. The band is nine members strong, and they sounded great on the stage.

About three or four songs in, I got pulled up to come up with… something to one of Mike’s songs about being yourself. So, I did what I’ve been known to do and I just started going to work. It was TREMENDOUS fun. I think we sounded pretty good together, and I hope it’s not the last time that we get to get down.

Last Sunday, I got to attend my good friend and mentor Shane Morrow’s Jazz Appreciation Month kick-off at The Hunter. The energy was wonderful. The talent was phenomenal. If you weren’t there, you truly missed out.

I had the opportunity to perform with The Undoctored Originals, who, as you know, are the featured band for the next MANIFEST on the 21st of this month. We NEVER plan anything out in advance, so I followed their lead and broke into the extended version of my poem Love’s Theme. Also, before we rocked together, they performed with a magnificent dancer. It was art, plain and simple, and it was really what I needed to experience.

I didn’t get a chance to break out the Mingus poem, however. It’ will be making its rounds this month though. I recorded a take of it that I initially planned on shooting out to the web, but I think I’m going to wait. There is so much music in the piece. I need to do a better job of playing it up. It’s a great opportunity to try some new things with my voice, so I’m looking forward to falling on my face until I can get it right.

Recently, I had the honor of being named one of the winners for the Origami Poems Project - Celebration Contest. You can check out my poem as well as the other winners here:

Well folks, that’s all I’ve got for now. I’ll be in touch soon. Do the same!


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

MANIFEST Returns with Jazz Poetics!

After a month off, Christian J. Collier’s MANIFEST series returns to celebrate both Jazz Appreciation Month and National Poetry Month on April 21st at The Camp House (1427 Williams St.). The Undoctored Originals, who are a local improvisational jazz band, will serve as the featured musicians for the night.

For the past few years, The Undoctored Originals have been the house band for Ray Zimmerman’s New Voices poetry readings and also performed at The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival last year. In addition to the music, several local poets and dancers will be performing throughout the course of the evening.

General admission for MANIFEST: Jazz Poetics is $8. The doors will open at 8 PM and the event will begin around 9.