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:

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.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Bloggin’ it Up


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!


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.