Thursday, September 30, 2010

How to clean out my junk room

"soul cleansing"

How I did it: when i jumped over that broom, clutching my permanent boyfriend's hand, i knew that things would have to change drastically in my apartment because i had to turn it into our starter home. (we didn't live together before we got married. i don't believe in it, for obvious reasons.)

our new life as married folk would begin here, in my two bedroom harlem digs - quite roomy for city life (the apts are like that up here) but with a little organization and decluttering, it could be near-perfect for two.

the thing is, i kept putting it off - until my friend elaine came over for tea and bisquits a few weeks ago, saw my 2nd bedroom and vowed to roll up her sleeves and help me. what i had put off for years, we pretty much cleared out in a day. (and it was bad. really bad. so bad, in fact, that i honestly couldn't enter the room once i opened the door.) the rest i could handle myself - and i did, right away. the thrill of a clean, cleared out room was too intoxicating to put off any longer.) what little is left is a matter of daily maintenance and upkeep.

i'm a packrat. there's always something around for me to dig into and organize. but it doesn't have to clog things. not anymore.

now my permanent boyfriend calls it his comic book room, and some nights, he works in there. i had a rehearsal for a gig the other day with a pianist and the upright wooden piano, though slightly out of tune, was in fine form. so are the guitars that hang over it, patiently waiting for the next project.

the room is awake now. and in a way, some part of me is, too. here's the kicker - we have a bigger apartment.

do i owe elaine or what.

Lessons & tips:

  1. give yourself a time limit to get it done - and be realistic.

  2. please don't beat yourself up if it isn't done in time. just make progress, and keep making progress. the progress - that's your reward.

  3. get someone amazing to help you. they can keep you on track when you start to fade.

  4. don't get stuck in the minutiae. reading old letters, books and sifting through business cards and photos can easily derail you. keep it moving.

  5. don't make that big trip to ikea/hold everything/the container store until you de-clutter and see exactly what you've got.

  6. if you live in nyc, your storage unit should be your attic - not your 2nd bedroom. readjust your belongings accordingly.

Resources: Honestly - I got by with a little help from my friend.

It took me 2 days.

It made me grateful

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The next gig - WeDaPeople Cabaret, 9/25

presented in partnership with the center for jazz studies at columbia university and the columbia/harlem jazz project, wedapeoples cabaret promises to be an exciting evening of poetry, music, film and dynamic performances.

wedapeoples cabaret was created four years ago by sekou sundiata as a celebration of art and activism, a time to “dance to the revolution.” carrying forward that legacy with his own unique persepective, carl hancock rux fuses political consciousness with artistic mastery in the spirit of max roach and abbey lincoln’s we insist: freedom now suite. rux curates a raucous night of music, spoken word, poetry, film and dialogue paying homage to sundiata’s ever conscious need for insurgent testimony and discourse to extend beyond the academy to reach the community at large.

just so you know -- this is happening on saturday, september 25th at harlem stage, 9:30pm. for more information and tickets ($20): 212 281 9240 ext 19 or 20

Friday, September 03, 2010

the last weekend of summer

hard to believe, but summer is days away from being officially over. i am closing that door reluctantly, with a lot of spring cleaning, preproduction notes and lists, and unplanned fun -- which for me is business as usual.

today i'm having lunch with jody and his partner charlie somewhere in hell's kitchen. they zip back to san francisco on sunday. i haven't seen jody in forever and we fell right back in step, like no time at all had passed. he's got his own successful business, he's got a lot of love in his life and he's genuinely happy. in a perfect world, i'd pop in on them every month.

after that, i'm bouncing up to harlem to take a meeting with my co-writer/co-conspirator danny about my idea, the alberta hunter project. i'm so glad i'm doing this project with him, if for no other reason than it gives us a chance to hang out a lot and have this high creative exchange that's so satisfying and full of joy.

what i'm not doing is going to boxing class, which makes me very sad.

wow. where did the time go? the next thing i know, i'm going to be freaking out about what to wear for new year's eve.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

great news!

i received notice earlier today from harlem arts alliance, lower manhattan cultural council and the field that i'm one of ten artists that's been chosen to participate in the 2010 uptown/downtown performance development program. i'm using this opportunity to grow the alberta hunter project, an idea written by storyteller daniel carlton and myself that was instigated by a commission from jazzmobile earlier this year for their vocalfest as a tribute to miss hunter.

the performance in the spring at harlem stages for vocalfest was wonderful. daniel and i were onstage with the hot five, strutting our way through the better part of the 20th century via miss hunter's action-packed life. i've got a lot of ideas. and needless to say, i'm very excited.

i'd like to take a moment to thank aj for letting me know about this opportunity and encouraging me to apply for it. ever since he saw my one person show queen esther: unemployed superstar, he's been quite the cheerleader. thanks so much, aj. i hope you'll like the art i'm growing now.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

What is Art?

Most people in America think Art is a man's name. - Andy Warhol

it's national blog posting month (NaBloPoMo) every month but i'm jumping into the fray this time around because the theme is ART -- whatever that is.

i inadvertently celebrated this magic moment by meeting elaine at moma in midtown for an exhibit that had unfortunately closed the day before. to lift our disappointed spirits, we sat in their sun-drenched cafe and had tea and biscotti, and then we left wishes on yoko ono's wish tree in the rock garden. i left elaine at the jewelry counter of the folk museum's gift shop next door and skipped off to the west side for a boxing class.

i live an art-drenched life, so this month should be pretty heavy-duty if my camera phone holds up. let's see what develops.