Monday, September 17, 2012

My #1 Eat Clean Inspiration: Annette Larkins

lean, strong, vibrant, healthy - with a glowingly pretty, wrinkle-free complexion and plenty of energy to spare. who wouldn't want that? then again, i suppose the real question is, would you be willing to give up eating garbage to have all of this?

the first time i saw this story in the video below about mrs. annette larkins, it freaked me out so much, i didn't eat meat for a week. i'm not the kind of person that can't make it without a hamburger ever other day but if what little meat i consume is damaging me as much as i think it is, i'm ready to make the jump - if not to veganism, most definitely to eating clean. as a matter of fact, i stumbled onto the eat clean program after i saw this. it's been slow going since then but thankfully, i haven't looked back.

this 70 year old lady - a resident of miami/dade county, by the way - has maintained a raw vegan lifestyle for 27 years. she grows what she eats in her backyard - everything from nuts to aloe - which she calls her fountain of youth. she simply doesn't eat anyting that's cooked.

absolutely no cosmetic surgery whatsoever. amazing, right?

here she is with her husband of 54 years.

people usually assume that she's his kid. he takes medication for diabetes and high blood pressure daily. he looks like he's falling apart - especially in comparison to her.

i honestly believe that after a certain age, you can't eat and drink whatever you want without paying a high price for it - especially nowadays when so much of what we consume has been genetically modified and is loaded to the absolute hilt with salt, fat, sugar, additives, antibiotics, preservatives and lots of other colorful and interesting things that our great-grandparents would never consume.  they'll put anything in food these days. anything.

i'm growing towards eating clean and after 3 very solid go-rounds, i'm very nearly there - totally over starches like rice and potatoes, carbs like pasta and fast food like mcdonalds. i can even keep salt and sugar and fat at arms length without freaking out too much. i do have a permanent weakness, however, for chicharones. (God help me.)

don't get me wrong. i've always stuck to a pretty healthy regimen. the thing is, i've hit a fork in the road, so to speak. i have to work harder to maintain it all and i feel myself giving way sometimes - eating the wrong things, not hitting the gym for a week, falling off in one way or another. when this happens, i see and feel it almost immediately. 

i can't slack off anymore. i've got to get a grip. i mean, seriously. look at annette!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Today's Sermon

here's a video sermon (!!!) from today's service, with pastor carter conlon of times square church -- Prayer For a Desperate Hour.  watch, listen in and be blessed.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

wait - whodidwhat, now?

apparently, myspace is making a comeback. this should be interesting. (hm. better find my passwords and update my junk...)

The new Myspace from Myspace on Vimeo.

Friday, September 14, 2012

the charleston sc short list

i can't leave here without these five things:
  1. benne wafers
  2. muscadines
  3. black pudding
  4. palmetto roses - my favorites!
  5. vidalia onions - i know the season for growing them is over, but maybe someone has pickled a few...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

progress: fitness, clothes, life

Fashion can be bought. Style one must possess.” — Edna Woolman Chase

good news, sports fans: i'm getting my body back.

every season, i fight for it all over again -- the size 4 body i had when i came to new york city a million years ago. i don't fight for it out of vanity, either. sure, it's a job requirement. pulling this off certainly feels like a full time job. and yes -- after years of living hand to mouth with absolutely no insurance whatsoever, i consider maintaining a lean, strong, healthy body with exercise, clean food and vitamins to be preventative medicine. the real reason is that i'm simply too cheap and/or broke to buy new clothes.  i love my vintage dresses, pencil skirts and what little designer items i have too much to throw them away.  i'm not trendy enough to keep up with what's hip.  wearing the latest fashions takes a lot of money. most of that stuff looks pretty tacky on me, anyway.

why, it's almost as though i'm about to get a new wardrobe because i'll be able to wear all these clothes i haven't been able to fit into in ages.  more on that some other time.

what's my big secret? i stopped eating garbage and got my butt to the gym everyday. i try to make it happen in the morning because although i love the way exercise makes my backside look, i really don't like doing it. and no, i'm not a morning person.

here's an interesting little clip about how little exercise it takes to change your life.
Source: via Queen on Pinterest

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

ten things

i'm getting ready to skip town with blood. in my head, my bags are already packed -- sort of. one of them is practically empty to make room for all the stuff i'd like to bring back, like kirschwasser and kindereggs (just in time for halloween!) and of course, something strange and unexpected, like a vintage pair of lederhosen. (just in time for halloween!) who knows what i'll find, if i look hard enough.

believe it or not, i need a separate zippered container in my suitcase for all of my beauty products -- because frankly, my left leg could drink up one of those travel sized bottles of lotion overnight, all by itself. and no, i'm not even going to get into how thirsty my thick, thick hair is in its natural state.

this is my latest list, spun out of me haphazardly on the way to the gym:
  1. zantac
  2. grether's pastilles blackcurrant glycerine drops
  3. universal adaptor
  4. digital recorder
  5. humidifier
  6. slippery elm tea
  7. small (but powerful!) mini-speakers
  8. collapsible water bottle
  9. collapsible to-go container
  10. motrin
there's got to be a better, more efficient way to travel internationally -- without paying a lot of fees. maybe this is it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I don't get it

Why would Mr. Peanut want to know how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll?

Sunday, September 09, 2012

see how beautiful harlem is?

stunning, right? taken earlier this afternoon as i was zipping down the cherry walk on my bike. enjoy.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

saturday classics

when i was a kid, it wasn't really saturday unless i spent the morning watching bugs bunny in my pajamas. so of course nowadays something in me wants to oversleep, crash land on the couch in my underwear and watch cartoons.  i can't think of a better way to start the weekend.

i don't understand people who think that television is bad. i think there's something fundamentally wrong with them -- especially when they watch tv shows on whatever computer they use.

it's not an idiot box. it's whatever you make of it.

i love bugs bunny -- but more importantly, i love chuck jones. he was and still is a constant inspiration. through those wb cartoons, i learned about opera, slapstick, vaudeville and consequently, the proper usage of the lazzi from the classic commedia dell'arte tradition.  because you really can't do comedy without understanding the anatomy of the lazzi -- and nothing teaches it to you like a good bugs bunny cartoon. 

of course, i learned a lot of novelty tunes and tin pan alley songs. sometimes i even sing them on my gigs. more on that some other time.

Friday, September 07, 2012

a few thousand words

i almost forgot.

here are a few stellar moments from a performance of an as-of-yet untitled piece that i'm growing with dancer/choreographer francesca harper. its an exploration of billie holiday's life and times through movement, music and multimedia. these moments photographed here found us dancing to the sound of her speaking voice, edited from an interview that she did with mike wallace, accompanied by pianist jeremy bacon.

we did this at the first ever harlem arts festival in the newly renovated marcus garvey park ampitheater. huzzah!

this performance has clung to my heart ever since for several reasons. first of all, it happened on my birthday. i really felt as though something wonderful was born on that stage that day. or maybe it was growing out of the pit of me all along. what it was, i can't say exactly. i remember feeling especially overwhelmed by it all. and grateful.

secondly, i danced -- something that i was always made to feel that i was incapable of doing. more on that some other time.

interestingly, francesca has instigated all of this movement in my life -- or at least, tilted my perspective enough to make me believe that i can do it. and i am doing it -- professionally. i met her at a boardwalk empire audition for jazz dancers. we both got the gig and i've been kicking up my heels (more or less) ever since. it's so important for me to challenge myself, to do things i've never done before, to push myself outside of my comfort zone, to try new things. if i don't, i will not grow. and if i don't grow, then really, what's the point?

 as kenyatta beasley watched me dance with the francesca harper project, i think he was totally overwhelmed.   "i didn't know you could do that," he kept saying, like a mantra.

"neither did i," i replied breathlessly.

and lastly? afterwards, kenyatta remarked, "you danced for me today. you dancing was a gift you gave me." and him saying that felt like the best birthday present i had ever gotten and would ever get, ever ever ever.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Lillian Lopez, Rest In Peace

 I couldn't help but take notice when I heard about the passing of Lillian Lopez today, at the age of 76, from cancer.  She was an original member of the 70s dance group Odyssey, the one who sang their biggest hit, Native New Yorker.  I quite liked the group. I thought they were breezy, lush and elegant.

It is understood that emotional connectedness to a song - having it belong to an important person or situation, for example - is what sells it and keeps it alive. Immediately, my mind floated back to the moments when I would ride around the city with Ralph on our way to God knows where, blaring this song. The way that he would stop, sometimes in mid-conversation, to sing these particular lyrics emphatically will be forever engrained in my memory.

And love, love is just a passing word 
It's the thought you had in a taxi cab  
That got left on the curb  
When he dropped you off at East 83rd

Click here for a colorful and interesting blog/blurb/review of their self-titled album. (Totally forgot about the Good Times episode.) Interesting tidbit: they were managed by (a then unknown) Tommy Mottola.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Election Protection? There's an app for that!

there's a jillion apps out there for everything that you can think of -- from the mind-numbingly idiotic to the daily necessity. sorting through a veritable sea of options at the flick of an eye is the way we define ourselves digitally and stitch together the ordinary moments in our modern lives. in the best case scenario, an app will make the world -- or at least, your world -- a better place.

along comes election protection, an app that puts all the information you need to know about voting -- including the rules and regulations for each state! -- in the palm of your hand. this could seriously hinder voter fraud and give everyone an instant civics lesson.

from their website:

In order to meet the needs of the Digital Age, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, National Association of Latino Appointed and Elected Officials Education Fund, New Organizing Institute, Rock the Vote and Verified Voting Foundation have joined forces to deploy the Election Protection Smartphone Application to provide all information and resources, in English and Spanish (branded Ya Es Hora), that voters need to fully participate in the 2012 elections.

what a brilliant idea.

stats say that most people who use cell phones prefer smart phones, most people of color use smart phones and the smart phone usage is strongest amongst african-americans aged 18-34. why not reach people of color right where they are -- on their smart phones.

i suppose that would shed some light as to why black folk and latinos dominate twitter, for example. but i digress.

wouldn't it be great if everyone had this app?

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

pause, shift gears and go

i'm eating clean for the next 30 days -- and working out diligently every single day with my boxing coach -- to jumpstart my system, dropkick myself into fall and give myself a boost physically. whatever seasonal sluggishness i feel needs to dissipate. i have way too much work to do.

i even joined a workout group, to keep me on the straight and narrow. the sticky part? taking "before" pictures and weighing in every week.

everything feels like a new beginning, somehow. the rain is off and on all week and i want to feel sad about it but its washing away the filth in the streets and making everything new all over again, especially when the devil beats his wife. 

yeesh. it almost feels as though i'm saying goodbye to the sun.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Happy Labor Day, y'all!

"A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving."  -- Albert Einstein

I hope everyone found a way to enjoy what has become the unofficial last day of summer. The great news of the moment is, now that the season is pretty much over, i've found a way to grill in the ghetto.  And I didn't do it on the sidewalk.

I can't believe summer is about to be over.  Time is flying, crazy fast. If you're in Gotham, here's some things to do in the month of September that might soften the blow.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

big dreams, scary moments

I don’t know where my ideas come from. I used to think I dreamed them up but sometimes when I take a long walk, they jump me in the street and drag me away. I resust, of course. But I know when they stick when I can’t stop thinking about them. Unfinished songs -- bits of lyrics and imagery and feeling -- spilling all over my clothes and making my hands sweat. A twist to a one act that I would never have considered if I hadn’t gone down that street and run into that guy and had that conversation. Hearing an argument and writing it down compulsively.  Sneaking away from a bunch of screaming, cavorting friends to sing a strange melody into my phone. How ever do they want me, pretty much.

Tuning into all of this is where the fun begins. Having the discipline to organize all that flotsam and keep chipping away at all of it until it grows into art – well, that’s fun, too. What am I saying. Nevermind my student loans, hanging from my neck like an invisible noose. When things are purely creative, it’s a fun life.

And now, as everything shifts –body weight and waiting games and weighty matters, summer into falling into the back of my closet, the sun moving away from me dejectedly – I am starting all over again, as usual. Twitter – yes, Twitter – has presented several challenges that are going to clean me up and out just in time for me to be bright and shiny and new in time for the new year.

Joan Crawford was right. Everything is discipline.

Saturday, September 01, 2012


i'm headed to the deutchland in a few weeks to sing/perform/have fun/cut up with guitar icon james "blood" ulmer so there's a lot of german words spinning through me at random these days.  i don't care if everyone speaks the good king's english. i intend to pick up a phrase book and learn how to say a few basic things while i'm there. stuff like, what is that and don't touch my stuff and where's the bathroom and what time is it and get away from me. (heh.) yeah, stuff like that.

i'll level with you: when i was a small tot, dreaming of becoming a chic, sophisticated chanteuse/performer, set adrift in the world whilst drowning in flowers and champagne and happiness -- i thought i'd be the toast of paris,  not berlin.  but berlin, as it turns out, was -- and still is -- quite the decadent little metropolis, and germany is a very trippy place.

oh. we'll be in austria, too.

the line-up:

mark petersen - bass
g. calvin weston - drums
james "blood" ulmer - vocals, guitar
myself - vocalist

my phone won't work over there but (hopefully) i'll have internet access and if i do, expect some crack up stuff. in the meantime, here's one of my favorite songs from blood -- "church: are you glad to be in america?"