Thursday, May 28, 2015

I'm in The Red Sea...!

If I weren't flying the Japanese flag tonight, I'd be at Gin Fizz Lounge for @MarcCaryMusic's The Harlem Sessions. Instead, I'm at home -- watching Blazing Saddles and riding the cotton pony.

Yes, that's right.

I'm in The Red Sea.

I'm dropping an egg.

I'm entertaining the general.

I've got red sails in the sunset.

I'm chasing the cotton mouse.

I'm surfing the crimson tide.

My hammock is swinging.

I have a visitor from Red Bank.

The tide is high.

The infantry has landed.

My Granny's here.

I'm percolating.

No gym this week.

I'm off duty.

I'm indisposed.

I've been hit.

The only thing that going to fix this is a deep tissue massage and a nice long soak, a plate of Mongolian BBQ and a five mile run -- preferably one after the other, and not necessarily in that order. This is a job for K-Town. Or Spa Castle. Either way, I'm not leaving my apartment tonight.  This movie is right on time. When I'm in this much pain, I really need to laugh. A lot.

Why do I love Blazing Saddles so much? 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Happy Birthday, Malcolm X

Malcolm X would have been 90 years old today. Imagine that.

Here's a timely quote:

"I think that an objective analysis of events that are taking place on this earth today points towards some type of ultimate showdown. You can call it political showdown, or even a showdown between the economic systems that exist on this earth which almost boil down along racial lines. I do believe that there will be a clash between East and West. I believe that there will ultimately be a clash between the oppressed and those that do the oppressing. I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the systems of exploitation."

Monday, May 18, 2015

Yes, Mercury is in retrograde...!

Mercury is in retrograde (in Gemini!) from May 18th to June 11th. What does this mean, exactly? Retrograde happens when a planet slows down in its usual orbit, appears to move backwards and is in a resting state, thus leaving all the areas it rules to run amok. 

Here's the thing: I don't "believe" in astrology as much as I acknowledge the truth within it. Case in point?  I know how to cut my hair by the moon. (Yes, it works.) 

According to Susan Miller of AstrologyZone, Mercury rules communication of every kind. That means listening, talking, learning, reading, editing, researching, negotiating, buying and selling.  It doesn't stop there. That list includes formal contracts and agreements as well as any other important papers like leases, wills, deeds, book manuscripts and such. This planet also rules travel, transportation, shipping and all kinds of code.  So when your cell phone is constantly going in and out, when Skype won't work, when the email you carefully composed disappears from your screen all of a sudden, you know it's in full effect.  The kicker is that because it's in Gemini and this is the sign that governs the same areas as Mercury, the effect could be twice as powerful.

Fun stuff.

When this stitch in time happens, I try to make myself scarce and stick to a routine to keep my equilibrium: morning workouts, practice sessions, low key evenings. I declutter like crazy.  I eat clean.  I double check everything. I'll send a text and follow up with an email, to make sure my message went through.  I'm painfully aware of everything I do and say.  Blah, blah, blah.

Remember: Forewarned is forearmed.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Yay! It's Official!

I"m going home for my birthday in June, to South Carolina's Lowcountry.  This is what home looks like.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

My Blackgrrl Spring Bucket List - 2015!

Now that the winter chill is no longer in the air, it's time to get moving all over again, wake all the way up and get the lead out.  This is my personal top ten (in no particular order): stuff that will make my spring time swing into high gear, no matter how everything else is falling together.

New York City has over 100 museums, with many seasonal exhibits that will only happen here.  Sure, most museums are filled with dusty, Eurocentric masterpieces. And I know plenty of people of color who don't go to museums because they're convinced that there's nothing there for them.  But that's changing.  More curators are realizing that if they want a younger, more diverse audience for their art, they have to be more inclusive.  All it takes is a great, grand idea  - and it's a refreshing surprise that this season offers several options. There is something for absolutely everyone this spring.

My brother Emmett who's married with two kids and lives in the ATL, has fallen into the habit of humoring me by going to museums with me when he visits the city.  Strangely, he always enjoys it -- much to his genuine surprise.

This gigantic Jeff Wall photo After "Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison, the Prologue totally blew him away.  I can remember standing in front of it with him, listening to him find the words to explain why he liked it. Then I read from the passage of the book that this photo illustrates.

If Kehinde Wiley doesn't blow him away, I'll eat my favorite pumps.  And that goes double for the Jacob Lawrence exhibit at MoMA.

Here's my list. Enjoy!
  1. Get my 15 speed bike tuned up -- and yes, get a helmet.  Once the weather is good, I'm going to toss my Metrocard for a month or two.  If that doesn't wake up my thighs and my butt, I don't know what will.
  2. An entire afternoon of relatively cheap insider beauty treats in K-Town, followed by Mongolian BBQ -- preferrably with my friend Jane, who lives to eat and shop. No one can appreciate a hardcore, no-frills, three hour scrub down more than her.  Except me, of course.
  3. A Ladies Tea Social is in order, where me and a few of Those Who Know dress up in our vintage finery and nosh -- preferrably at The Pembroke. Or The Pierre. Or The Mandarin Oriental.
  4. That Kehinde Wiley exhibit at The Brooklyn Museum. I'm not a fan but still, I can't miss it.
  5. Curlbox BODY -- from Myliek Teele, the founder of Curlbox, comes a monthly non-subscription skincare package that should make anyone's skin glow.
  6. Harlem Jazz Shrines -- don't miss it!
  7. ...that Jacob Lawrence exhibit at MoMA, tho...
  8.  The Black Girl Swap -- wherein a bunch of us blacktresses convene over dinner and wine at our fearless leader's apartment with our beautiful elegant slightly used clothing, mix it up and donate whatever is left over to a great cause.
  9. The Frieda Kahlo exhibit at the New York Botanical Gardens must be seen to be believed -- preferrably when the all-female mariachi band La Flor de Toloache is performing...! (I love them!)
    ...and last but certainly not least...
  10. Pool my savings and purchase what guitarist Kelvyn Bell considers to be a real guitar. (I'd like a Fender Strat.)

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

NaBloPoMo for May: PHOTO!

This should be fun: post photos -- or write about them -- all month. 

MPB says that I have an eye and that's good to know. Taking snapshots on the fly has become another kind of journal.  Just about every smart device I've got in my purse has a great camera on it so it's hard not to take a picture or squeeze off a video when something interesting pops up. 

The thing is, I'm in the midst of giving myself a pretty severe makeover -- dental work, weight loss, hair ideas, and much more -- and all of it is forcing me to look at my physical self in a way that I find difficult. Or at least disconcerting. I was always too focused on technique as an actor and a vocalist to fret over something as seemingly frivolous as my image.  I mean, sure. I'm obsessive about how I look in performance, I push for a healthy lean strong body but what it takes to do what I do on the stage is light years away from what I need to do to come off well on camera.  

The thing is, I don't want to believe that talent doesn't matter -- even when casting agents say talent is only 7% of what they consider when auditioning actors.  (WTF?)

I get it, I get it -- film/TV is a visual medium.  My body was the first thing that came together.  It was, and continues to be, hard work.  Every morning, I start all over again, like Sysyphus -- beating my body into submission.  No one can say that I'm not taking my visuals seriously. I have an eyebrowist, for crying out loud. Because it takes time for bones to heal, my dental work will be the last thing and it will take the longest, and it will cost me plenty.  (What am I saying? It already has.) 

Once I'm done, I'll never stop smiling. Never.

I have to take new headshots, I have to make an actor's reel, I have to make a 2 minute EPK/video and I have to take promo shots for my upcoming European tour.  I need all of that as of yesterday. Yeesh. That's a lot of eye candy.   Very necessary, though.

Here's the blogpost epiphany from 2009 that triggered it all -- Your Inner Svengali.  And if you're curious about the snapshots I take or the images I like, you can find me on Instagram and that minimalist wonder,  ello.

In the meantime, here I am goofing off with my girl Chicava Honeychild of Brown Girls Burlesque.  I don't think we're capable of not having fun together.

Monday, May 04, 2015

...boxing conditioning sessions, karate and piano practice...

Believe it or not, I think I've found a hobby to make money (more on that later). The hobby that's giving me my body back is definitely boxing -- although I'm going to make a concerted effort to give karate a chance this summer because I'm so abysmally bad at it, and I should allow myself to be really bad at something for awhile, to see where it goes. 

I love boxing because when each swing is deconstructed and I can get it into my body, it makes perfect sense. I feel as though I'm using my physical self to play a very elaborate and exhausting game of chess. If I can make my body outlast the other fighter, if I have enough stamina to outlast the fight itself, I may win -- but more importantly, I will outgrow myself.  That has happened in a thousand ways since I started boxing.  It can't be helped. The more you learn, the more your body remembers, the more you grow.

It's the same with the piano.  Right now, I'm practicing scales and fingering technique. It's so labor-intensive that it feels like I'm working with someone else's hands.  They just won't obey me.  I'm going to stick with it, though.  I'm convinced that I'm sticking every note into my voice and making it stay there by playing it and singing it and playing it and singing it, one at a time, over and over again.

So that's my summer: boxing conditioning classes and piano practice; getting knocked on my butt all the time in karate; writing a slew of songs and recording them; and playing music with all my projects, including Georgette and my original Black Americana songs.

Oh! And fun the Jazz Age Lawn Party, of course...