Monday, November 28, 2011

the kickstarter project

i just launched my kickstarter project for my as-of-yet unnamed black americana album -- the one i've been working on since my last heartbreak. i don't know why this is making me feel so giddy. everything is rushing in all at once, all of a sudden. everything is converging. it feels like everything is happening, now.

once upon a time when i ran out of money, i'd just go get another crummy job somewhere downtown or whatever, and i'd work it until i got the cash i needed to make my art. but nyc doesn't work that way anymore -- and it hasn't for a very long time. there's crummy jobs but they don't pay enough to make a dent because the cost of living is so fracking high. that means instead of one crummy job, i'd need four crummy jobs. and i don't have it like that. i don't know how to split the space/time continuum to be in four different places at once. i'm batting a thousand when i show up awake and on time and on an even keel for the one crummy job i've got, whatever that is.

i didn't think that i needed kickstarter because that crummy job always came through for me. now that things have shifted, the idea of pre-selling the album makes perfect sense. actually, it always did. with kickstarter, i have a platform to do it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Monday, November 07, 2011

A teach-in?

here's the latest missive from -- a teach-in! what a great idea. i think a teach-in is exactly what america needs, en masse. wouldn't it be great if teach-ins began to spring up all over the country?

actually, there are national teach-ins -- on everything from global warming to debt, austerity and corporate greed. it seems that more and more are happening every month -- something for everyone -- with social media making it so accessible, even a total shut in can actively participate. educating the public is one way to win the fight against "corporatocracy". occupy colleges (in solidarity with occupy wall street) organized a national student solidarity teach-in last week. to find a teach-in or host one through the afl-cio for jobs and economic justice, click here.

i can't make it to this one, but i'm going to make every effort to learn all about it...


The economic collapse didn't happen by accident. It's the direct result of decisions made by Wall Street and our leaders in Washington to prioritize the 1% over everyone else.

If we want to rewrite the rules of our economy so it works for all of us, then understanding those decisions, and how we ended up here, is crucial.

This Wednesday, November 9, you can get answers and build your understanding at the "How the 1% Crashed the Economy" teach-in in Jersey City. An American Dream Movement volunteer is leading a discussion about how the economic collapse is impacting our communities, who caused it, and how we can turn things around.

Can you join the teach-in on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011, at 7:00 PM in Jersey City?

Host: Dave S., a fellow MoveOn member
When: Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011, at 7:00 PM in Jersey City.

The teach-in isn't going to be a dull list of facts and endless charts. You'll hear the story of exactly how the 1% wrecked our economy, the history behind it, and how we can reverse the damage they've done.

The Rebuild the Dream Innovation Fund has put together a presentation, with help from leading progressive economists, for teach-in hosts with information and key historical lessons. But the goal isn't just conveying information, it's bringing together people who want to get involved and
help fix our broken system.

Will you join in on Wednesday in Jersey City? Click here to RSVP.

Thanks for all you do,

--Lenore, Robin, Joan, Carrie, and the rest of the team

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Today's Sermon

today's sermon -- accepting and giving forgiveness -- by pastor ben crandall -- comes to you from the october 18th evening service at times square church. click here for the mp3 and be blessed.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

first glimpses of "the hobbit"

for the fall season, i've moved away from my usual diet of biographies, autobiographies and history books to sink my teeth into the hobbit. now that i'm almost done, mpb says i have to take a nosedive into the lord of the rings and then the silmarillion. anything after that -- and believe me, there's plenty -- is apochyphal, according to him.

it took a sec for me to get used to the rhythm of the language and the names of the characters are a bit clunky but everything was descriptive enough to explode onto my imagination and in no time at all, i was running through the rolling green hills to have tea and toast and good ol' english jam with the hobbit as i rode the subway.

so it was with a great deal of curiousity and some small sense of wonder that i watched the following clips -- glimpses into the creative process behind the film the hobbit: an unexpected journey. (it's in two parts, by the way. it's also in 3D.)

one day in the midst of a bustling tech rehearsal with george wolfe working on harlem song at the apollo -- when we were onstage and inside one of those moments when everything was coming together and falling apart at the same time -- he offhandedly remarked that directing musicals was like storming the beach at normandy. i surmised that this was especially true if you were originating work because you are creating it as you go along. (it takes 7 to 9 years to develop a musical if you're taking the conventional route. george put harlem song together in 7 to 9 weeks.) in this way, contemporary original musicals are a microcosm of what happens on the movie set, especially when it's this ginormous and ambitious and cool. they're basically setting up, feeding and moving a small army from one breathtaking expanse of new zealand after another. it's exhaustive, just thinking about it. and if you include pre-production and post-production, they've been at it for several years, now.

this clip gives a wonderful overview of what's happening on the set and lets the world see the hobbit's little home -- which looks exactly as i imagined it would.

this is director peter jackson's first video blog from the set.

this is the latest production diary/video. it's especially interesting because it delves into the technical aspects of the 3D camera work, what the equipment is like, the renderings and how complicated all of it is to shoot.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Mark Your Calendars

tomorrow -- november 5th -- is bank transfer day. endorsed but not started by occupy wall street, bank transfer day means exactly that: taking your checking or savings account out of a large corporate bank and putting it in a not-for-profit credit union, community bank, online situation -- whatever blows your hair back and suits your needs financially. actually, that date is more of a deadline, really. the organizers would like for everyone to do this before tomorrow because most big banks are closed on saturdays.

i think this is a pretty effective way to make a strong statement and speak truth to power. i can only imagine the seismic shift that would occur if most people in this country abandoned the likes of citibank and chase wholeheartedly.

i wish someone would sift through all of the banks and make a comprehensive list of the best ones. well, whaddya know -- someone already has.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

what, what?

i had no idea that society, the coffee lounge on a tony section of harlem's frederick douglass blvd -- the one that served such tasty treats as chicken and red velvet waffles (!!!) -- was closed as of october 10th. oh, well. looks like i'll have to have brunch someplace else.

at least the "speakeasy" 67 orange street, its sister location up the block, is still open -- so those red velvet waffles remain an option. here's a note i found online:

Society Coffee…One Last Time… (A note from Karl)

“Dear Loyal Guests,

After seven years of serving the best coffee, red velvet waffles, and shrimp & grits in Harlem, I have made the difficult decision to close Society Coffee on Monday, October 10. A pioneer on Frederick Douglass Blvd, Society has been a true labor of love and a place I’ve called home. Over the years I have shared Society with thousands; I’ve watched people meet each other and fall in love, I’ve watched families begin and grow, deals get done, and business plans get written. I’ve watched college students work, friends hang out, and poets write. I’ve met so many great people who have changed and elevated my life.

Rooted in the richness of the Harlem community and the transformation on Frederick Douglass Boulevard, Society Coffee leaves with a sense of pride and appreciation to all our friends who made each day unique and flavorful. Society has served its purpose and has set neighborhood standards for a new generation in historic Harlem. We were always very close and involved with the community and it remains in our hearts. 67 Orange Street will continue to operate and serve great cocktails.

I would like to personally thank you for all your support these past years. Thanks again for seven great years.


Karl Franz Williams

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Foreign Movies You Really Should See...

...and yes, they're all french. not that it matters. something in me tends to get giddy over things that intrigue me, and these trailers -- and the blurbs and the buzz that are trailing them in the press -- seem promising. art should excite you, shouldn't it? let's face it: if you and your date don't leave a movie talking about what you've seen, it probably wasn't worth watching.

house of tolerance is about a parisian brothel in the early 20th century. i have no idea what the plot is but here's an interesting tidbit: the soundtrack features the music of the moody blues. now that's ballsy, i'll admit -- especially if they tap into their earlier stuff -- but imagine what they would have had on their hands if they'd used muddy waters stuff instead. or lightnin' hopkins. or big momma thornton. or...

tomboy is about a prepubescent girl that pretends to be a boy. i'd love to see a movie about this. i was a tomboy -- and i still am, pretty much. it wasn't intentional. i was just being myself.

when do you ever see movies about this subject matter? i'm very curious to see how it's handled.

the artist -- a silent movie, shot in black and white, set in the 20s, and filled with foreign actors that most americans aren't familiar with in the least -- is getting a massive push from the bigwigs. it's about two artists and the trajectory of their careers as silent cinema diminishes in popularity and talkies become all the rage.

it's easy to forget that with movies, images are supposed to tell you the story -- not words. watching a modern-day silent movie that harkens back to hollywood's golden era should be a refreshing change of pace.

i wonder: outside of the usual major metropolitan areas, can most people in this country see these films? not that they'd want to but wouldn't it be nice to have the option?

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Are you seriously going to eat all that Halloween candy?

when i was a kid, my brothers and i would go trick-or-treating on halloween and come home triumphantly with shopping bags full of candy. not surprisingly, my mother wouldn't let us eat any of it. and when i say any, what i really mean is none. i distinctly recall coming home from kindergarden to her snacking on quite a bit of it with her one of her girlfriends. the rest was in the trash. i distinctly remember thinking, wow -- adults can do whatever they want. i can also remember thinking that someday when i became an adult, i'd eat all my halloween candy because my mother wouldn't be there to throw it away. consequently, i couldn't wait to be an adult. frankly, i still can't.

it should be duly noted at this point that i've never had a cavity as an adult. on the other hand, one of my older brothers has a mouth that is so riddled with cavities, it looks like ants had a wild west shoot out up in there -- and then they went camping, hence the root canal. go figure.

so it was with genuine curiousity and some real interest that i absorbed an item on the local evening news tonight. get this: you can take your sweet treats to the halloween candy buy back program, sponsored by dentists. there's a little money involved but really, it's a creative exchange. you and/or your kids get hygiene kits, coupons and more. the candy goes to soldiers overseas through operation gratitude. it's a great way to give back.

of course, i'm an adult now -- so i have no intention of giving up my halloween candy, now or ever. i'm way too health conscious (and body conscious) to eat all of it -- but that won't stop me from melting down chocolate for cakes and pies (and mexican hot chocolate!), crushing candy bars for homemade ice cream and sticking whatever i don't use in the freezer. (did you know that unopened frozen dark chocolate will last indefinitely?)