Monday, March 09, 2015

Queen Esther Sings Billie Holiday -- Minton's in April

Queen Esther Sings Billie Holiday: The Rare Sides
A different program each week!
Every Tuesday in April
Sets at 7:30pm and 9:30pm
$10 at the bar — $20 at the table
Minton’s Harlem
206 W. 118th St.
for info/reservations 212 243 2222

April 7th    Holiday on Broadway
In honor of Billie Holiday’s centennial (April 7, 1915 – April 7, 2015), Queen Esther recreates the program from Lady Day’s Broadway debut Holiday on Broadway, which opened on April 27th, 1948 in the wake of her first Carnegie Hall appearance.

April 14th   Queen Esther Sings Billie Holiday at Carnegie Hall, 1956: A Refracted Set
Using personal letters, soundbites and interview segments from Lady Day herself, Queen Esther puts a refracted spin on Miss Holiday’s last Carnegie Hall performance, giving the audience a new perspective on the greatest jazz siren of the 20th century.

April 21st and 28th   The Billie Holiday Project
With the relatively unknown yet timeless songs of the iconic siren Billie Holiday as an aural backdrop for several newly unearthed Zora Neale Hurston short stories from the height of the Harlem Renaissance – including Monkey Junk, an uptown “fable” of Black city life and an instant classic – Queen Esther explores new ground by giving this unexplored material a fresh perspective.

This presentation will be followed by a set of rare sides.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

My Travel Essentials -- The Top Five

Of course, there are certain things that live in anyone's carry on bag when traveling internationally -- passport, wallet, a very smartphone, housekeys.  And there's the well-stocked girly bag that always lives in just about any purse -- hand cream, hand sanitizer, lip balm, tissue, etc.  These are a few of the other things that are coming with me when I fly the friendly skies next week.
  1. Bose Quiet Comfort Acoustic Noise-Cancelling Headphones -- When it's time to make the world go away, accept no substitutes. 

  2. A fully loaded iPad Air 2 -- With this handy ultra lightweight tablet, I'll be able to make videos, write and record songs, watch movies, practice the piano and work on my music theory, Skype my pals and a lot of other things I haven't even thought of yet. 

  3. A Satechi bottle top portable humidifier -- Nothing has the capacity to minimize my vocal mojo quite like a dry hotel room.  If nothing's wrong, that dryness can make things problematic. And if there's a problem, it can make things worse. The steam from a hot shower helps in a small room -- but not for long. This portable device is a great solution.  Its simple, fits on just about any water bottle and will last up to 8 hours.

  4. I hate to sound like Howard Hughes but the tap water on airplanes is notoriously filthy and everything else is suspect.  Thanks to Britta, I've fallen out of the habit of buying a bottle of water whenever I'm thirsty.  And when it's this easy to drink water, I tend to avoid everything else.

  5. ...and because I'm turning into a boy scout, I'll need a portable charger.

Monday, March 02, 2015

The NaBloPoMo for March: News

I keep a journal, I'm diligent about my morning pages and once in a blue moon, I'll write an article or an essay that gets published somewhere.  Writing every day for a month at a time via NaBloPoMo has proven to be excellent mental floss. It never fails to shake something loose creatively, especially if I'm spreading that information around.  Spring is almost here.  I've been growing a lot of ideas.  It's time for them to bloom. 

When it comes to news, most people I know trust Reddit or Twitter before they'll tune into a network. I don't trust any of them, so I'm constantly cross-referencing whatever I can get my hands on until the mosaic of information that I collect gives me a three-dimensional picture of what's really going on.  Sorting through bits of "newsworthy" flotsam is such a constant, I do it without thinking about it.  All manner of trivia gets stuck in my head that isn't necessarily newsworthy.  Like the weather in Bora Bora vs. Walla Walla, or what A'lelia Walker's last meal was or what happened at Attica or overtly racist white people who justify their cultural appropriation or fun details about Freud's cross-dressing niece Tom. And having wide-ranging conversations with people who are smarter than me is really important because that's a wonderful way to grow and learn new things.

The problem is, most people don't know how to think critically.  It's not what's taught in schools, which is why most people don't know how to argue a point with any real clarity or insight.  They repeat what they heard or what they're emotionally clinging to or what some conservative news outlet told them.  They're too emotionally attached to what they're saying to be truly objective. Or they're just flat-out not listening to what is being said. All of this is compounded by the fact that they usually have a conflated sense of self that won't allow them to admit any of this. 

Meh. MPB is right. It's better to not engage in the first place.