Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Original Chocolate Nut Cracker - Dec 19, 2010 @ 3:00pm - Wilshire Ebell Theater

I am so looking forward to seeing The Chocolate Nutcracker at the Wilshire Ebell Theater this afternoon!
The Los Angeles Preparatory & Performing Arts Center is a multicultural theatrical dance adaptation of Tchaikovsky's famed Nutcracker.

This version of the holiday classic is set in 1950's Harlem and tells the story of young Claire and the Chocolate Nutcracker as the two journey the world in a dream from Harlem, to Egypt, to West Africa. The multicultural dance adaptation is cast with theatre professionals and children from The Los Angeles Preparatory and Performing Arts Center.

The Wilshire Ebell Theater - 4401 West 8th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90005-323.939.0126

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Women's Conference 2010 - The Grand Finale/Minerva Awards

It was wonderful to actually have the First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama, California's First Lady Maria Shriver, Previous First Lady of the United States Laura Bush, The Honorable Sandra Day O'Connor, Oprah Winfrey - and her best friend Gayle King, Mary J. Blige, Sarah McLachlan, Deepak Chopra, Holly Robinson-Peete and her husband Rodney Peete, and a whole host of other intelligent people, all under one roof. I mean, it felt a little like what I'd imagine it would be having dinner with Queen Hatshepsut, Queen Yaa Asantewa, Madeleine Albright and Thomas Robert Malthus. This is one of those moments in my life where I am so amazed by the sheer awesomeness of what can be accomplished if an over abundance of people who are problem solvers, get together in the same space/time continuum. People who have shown that authenticity, positivity, creativity, coupled with faith, courage and wisdom (key ingredients to being an Architect of Change)

It's called California's First Lady Maria Shriver's Women's Conference. It was where all of this massive amounts of positive energy circulated over these past three days.

(If I were you, I'd go to the website and watch the entire 3 day event. It was absolutely wonderful.)

Why? Because now, more than ever, we as a people, need to collectively get together and discuss what it is that needs to be done to make this world a better place - eradicating the world of Breast Cancer, Alzheimer's disease, Autism*, obesity, poor nutrition, homelessness - then put into action what our ideas are. If one can visualize and idea, one can make it happen. Mary J. Blige, who has an organization called FFAWN, bravely stood up and told us about the abuse that ran through 2 generations in her family and not only did it touch my heart, but had everyone in my section in tears. The Asian woman sitting two rows up from me had to be handed tissue because she couldn't stop crying. All different nationalities yelling out, "We hear you Mary, We feel you, Mary!" Lord, have mercy! Just ask the women who were the recipients of the Minerva Awards 2010 - Carolyn Blashek, Oral Lee Brown, Sister Terry Dodge, Sandra Day O'Connor and Oprah Winfrey.

I'm hoping that this note motivates you to discover how you too, can be an Architect of Change. I'd like to thank Lena Cole Dennis for a wonderful day. Now, what are WE going to do? That's the question. Remember, it starts with you.

Love & light,

Deepak Chopra -
Gayle King - The Gayle King Show
* Holly Robinson-Peete & Rodney Peete -

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Happy 93rd Birthday Dizzy Gillespie! 10/21/17- 1/6/1993

Dizzy Gillespie once said, "My Father made me a rebel against everybody but him." Because his Dad was a musician, picking up an instrument was second nature to Dizzy. His unique style of performing, with the big cheeks and comedic timing really was authentic. He was an original.

Dizzy made his way from Cheraw, South Carolina to Philladelphia, with his family - one of 9 children - when he was 14.
It was in 1937 when the great Cuban trumpeter Mario Bauza took Dizzy to hear the Latin sounds of Spanish Harlem and Dizzy fell in love with it. Eventually Dizzy, along with Charles Mingus, Stan Getz stepped up the Big Band game with amazing sounds and created a movement that caused multiple revolutions w/ Be-Bop and Afro-Cuban music. According to composer and jazz theorist George Russell, "Be-Bob was uneasy music, meant to shake people up."

Donald Maggin wrote a book entitled, Dizzy: The Life and Time of John Birkes Gillespie. According to Mr. Maggin, Dizzy blew that trumpet, which someone accidentally sat on at his wife's birthday, and he didn't want to upset his wife by not performing, so, making lemonade out of lemons, he rocked that Trumpet, which, as a result, tilted upwards at an angle of 45°, becoming his signature instrument - it was magic!

His contemporaries - Thelonious Monk, Ella Fitzgerald, Charles " Bird" Parker, Cab Calloway, Kenny Clark, Sonny Rollins wrapped sound around your senses and couldn't help but seep into your very soul.

Ever since I was a child, I loved Jazz. I was so young and didn't realize how fortunate I was to know Dizzy Gillespie. The last time that I got a chance to spend time with him, was when he was visiting the West Coast back in 1985. I was the baby of the bunch, back stage watching Dizzy as he got ready for a performance at the Henry J, Kaiser Convention Center in Oakland, CA. It was a fund raising event for the East Oakland Development Foundation. The late Jerry Dean ( KJAZ emcee) emceed that night. Dizzy, Max Roach, Nancy Wilson were on the Markquee. Everyone was still celebrating Dizzy's Birthday, and so there was a party for Dizzy after the concert. It was an amazing night!( If you were there, shoot me a note please)

I loved Caravan, Salt Peanuts and A Night in Tunisia. What were some of your favorites by Dizzy Gillespie?

Do yourself a favor and get to know Dizzy Gillespie - Read:
To Be or Not to Bop - Memoirs - Dizzy Gillespie w/ Al Frazier
Dizzy: The Life and Time of John Birkes Gillespie - Donald Maggin
Also, check out NPR radio - The Lasting Impact of Dizzy Gillespie
photo property of - just - John Birkes "Dizzy" Gillespie

Love, C

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sisters at the Well - 5th Annual We See You Awards Gala

It was a crisp, cool, rainy, Sunday evening here in Southern California. There was just no way of getting around driving in the rain, Southern California style, to one of the most anticipated events - the 5th Annual Friends of Sisters at the Well, Inc. We See You Awards Gala Event, which takes place every year at the beautiful Skirball Cultural Center.

You guessed it - it was a full house and everyone was dressed for success. Barbara A. Perkins, Founder and President of Friends of Sisters at the Well, Inc., looked magnificent and truly was the perfect Hostess, making everyone feel so welcomed.

The Mistress of Ceremony was Erica Alexander, Actor/Producer/Activist/Advocate. (Great job, Erica!) The Announcer was the incomparable Ms. KiKi Shepard, who knocked everyone out with her grace and style.

The event started out beautifully with Rev. Andriette Earl speaking true words of wisdom with such a positive spirit.
Branice McKenzie's voice reminded me of a Mother's love. Everyone should hear her sing at least once in their lifetime!
Next, Eartha Robinson, dancing to the rhythm of vocalist Laurnea's tone/beat - as Laurnea
ascended from the depths of the theater using her vocal range to control the motions, then the two of them joining in unison, mid stage, stepping together in a syncopated rhythm, then separately - still feeling the vibe as Eartha continued to move to the mellifluous voice of Laurnea, and it was so exhilarating!
The world renown Artist Synthia St. James, who designed the first Kwanzaa Stamp for the U.S., Postal Service and whose art work graces the cover of 70 books, including Alice Walker and Terry McMillan, created the most beautiful paintings that were specifically for the Honorees at this We See You Awards Gala Event and are not for sale. When I tell you that Synthia St. James had so much positive energy and a light hearted spirit - simply going with the flow of things - you see, Barbara A. Perkins had stated that Synthia St. James really could dance up a storm, and when Synthia took the stage, to our surprise, she started dancing, and it just made so many of us laugh because the woman was smooth!

The Harpist from the Hood, Destiny, the Sound Sculptress ,who is also a vocalist, performed with friends. The Honorees for 2010:
Honorable Congresswoman Diane E. Watson, a lifetime resident of the 33rd California Congressional District, currently serves on the International Relations and Government Reform Committees.

Charisse Bremond-Weaver, President of the Brotherhood Crusade, the community service and development organization founded by her late father, Walther Bremond, in 1968.

Denise Pines, President of denise+pines inc., a brand strategy, media development and event production firm. Previously, Denise served as the President of The Tavis Smiley Group, Inc. for 15 years.

Kimberly Freeman, Director of Community relations Southern California Gas Company. Kimberly is the "Go to person" with regards to charitable donations in the community.

Lady Yvette Williams, Chairperson of the Women's Ministry at Ward AME Church. Lady Yvette is fortunate enough to wake up every morning blessed to be a role model in the community, assisting and leading others on the path of righteousness.

There was a lovely Tribute to the late Dr. Dorthy I. Height, a pioneer of change who worked closely with Mary McLeod Bethune, both women broke the ground and set the pavement for better education and equal rights for women in the USA.

Susan L. Taylor, Founder/ CEO of The National CARES Mentoring Movement, spoke of the importance of everyone of us taking an active part in mentoring our youth. Susan showed a moving video with so many celebrities - Danny Glover, Harry Belafonte, Oprah Winfrey -
all unitedly supporting Susan's initiative to improve the odds of children matriculating through the educational system; inviting all of us to spend just one hour a week mentoring a child. This will most certainly make a difference given the odds that are currently stacked against the children who are being educated in our public school system.

I solute Susan L. Taylor Founder/ CEO, Barbara A.Perkins, Executive Director and Brent Burton, Chairman of The National CARES Mentoring Movement.

What will you do to help our youth today? Please get in contact with The National CARES Mentoring Movement and volunteer ONE hour a week. It could change a child's life.

Love & light,

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Varnette P. Honeywood, Artist (1950 - 2010)

African Woman (1976), Varnette P. Honeywood

In 1997, I met Varnette P. Honeywood while I was attending a Holy Royal Family Reunion that Dr. Asa Hilliard, III organized during the same time that an Art Fair was in full swing, at the Omni Hotel, in Atlanta, GA. One thing I will never forget was her warm spirit and how patient and kind she was.
After a two year battle with cancer, Varnette P. Honeywood laid down with her ancestors on September 13, 2010. She was 59 years old.

There were so many positively lovely depictions of African-American self love in her paintings until it was very difficult for me to narrow it down to one, so I say, you owe it to yourself to view her artwork.

Dr. Bill and Dr. Camille Cosby fell in love with Varnette P. Honeywood's art work and used her painting entitled "Birthday" (1974) on the living-room wall of "The Cosby Show" from 1984-1992. Honeywood told Jacqueline Trescott of the Washington Post in 1997 that the Cosbys "came into my life at a time when I needed that confidence. People had been chipping away at my confidence." According to King Solomon, "There is a time and a season for everything."

Rest in peace, Varnette. You will be missed.

Funeral Services for Varnette P. Honeywood will be held at
Messiah Baptist Church, Friday, September 24 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
Please send flowers

Messiah Baptist Church
4500 West Adams Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90016

Love & light,

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Happy Birthday President Obama!

...Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise, I rise, I rise - Dr. Maya Angelou

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I'll Always Love my Mama - She Brought me in this world

I truly don't know how she did it. She got up each morning that God sent. Made us a hot breakfast - "no cold cereal for my babies!" - and was off to work - arriving at UC Hospital at 6:15AM. She was a Phlebotomyst. Her specialty was taking the blood samples of infants and people with hard to find veins. She had the Midas touch. Then she switched gears and became a Legal Secretary. She worked for a family of Lawyers in Downtown San Francisco - The Millers. She also took time off to take care of my Grandfather until he passed and my Grandmother until she passed. I'm talking about my Mother. She gave birth to 4 of us - Albert, Stewart(R.I.P), Valerie and me - but raised one of her sister's children, allowing me to nurture them as well.
My Mother was her sisters' keeper. All of her siblings relied on her strength as well. She never gave it a second thought when they were in need. They would move right on in with us! Now 4 of the 6 have passed on. Now it's just her and her sister, KellyRose.

This Sunday is Mother's Day. Please, take a moment and thank the Mother in your life. It could be an Aunt, Sister, Cousin or a neighbor. Show that woman some love as often as you can.

Give her her flowers while she can still enjoy them!

To all of you Mothers out there - Happy Mother's Day to you - Super Women!

Click on to: The Intruders - "I'll Always Love My Mama"


Photography by Nick Gizpenc

Sunday, April 25, 2010

RAMLA.ORG at the LA Sports Arena April 27 - May 3, 2010

Stan Brock and his team are returning to the Greater Los Angeles Area to assist those who are are in need of free Medical, Dental and Vision care.
At this moment, CALIFORNIA licensed/certified specialists are needed:

If you need emergency medical assistance right now, please call 9-1-1. If you can hold on for just a little while longer, head on over to the LA Sports Arena

The address:
3939 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, California 90037

Get a wrist band so that you can get medical assistance. We'll be there to help you.

Keep in mind that "...We have to lean on one another, help one another, love one another." President Obama

Love and light,

Sunday, March 14, 2010

David Hrobowski's Riffstick Art Exhibit

Last night's solo Art Exhibit at MorYork Art Gallery, featuring David Hrobowski's Riffstick Art was a huge success! There were so many people there until we were walking shoulder to shoulder, eagerly trying to see each piece of Art work that was displayed. Functional Art work. Riffstick Art work is "Green" friendly Art work that can actually be used. The pieces are created by a man that is an Engineer/Entrepanuer/Artist. So you can just imagine how the strutcure and the different demensions of tables, lamps, screens and miniture houses are designed.
It would be a good thing to gather up the family and go see for yourself, the beautiful Art pieces that were created by David Hrobowksi. The Art work is original, creative, "green friendly" and truly something you've got to see. I loved it!
David Hrobowski - Riffstick Art -riffstick@cuflinkkingcom - 323.782.1973
MorYork Gallery - 4959 York Blvd. (at Avenue 50) Highland Park, CA 90042. 323.663.3426

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Riffstick Furniture - David Hrobowski

David Hrobowski is a man that can create anything with his hands. This 6'6"man is actually sitting on a chair that he created out of ice cream sticks. Yes, I said ice cream sticks!
His artwork is amazing. David has created one of a kind chairs, mirrors, lamps and a host of other lovely items that are truly works of art.
Come meet David and learn all about his journey - what was his motivation to create Art out of ice cream sticks.
When: March 13, 2010
Where: MorYork Gallery - 4959 York Blvd., ( at Avenue 50) in Highland Park, CA 90042.
What Time: 7:00 PM - 10 :00 PM
I hope to see you there because I wouldn't miss it!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Bernard and Shirley Kinsey - A Journey in Four Parts - Feb 6, 13, 20 & 27, 2010

Last evening I had the pleasure of attending
The Ebony Repertory Theater's latest event -
featuring Dr. Bernard and Shirley Kinsey Presents
"A Journey in Four Parts" series.

The first part in the series is entitled:
What You Didn't Learn in High School History

It was very enlightening. Dr. & Mrs. Kinsey brought knowledge to the table . Hear me when I tell you that most everyone in attendance was hungry for knowledge.

The real history of African American triumphs and contributions should no longer remain a secret. It should explode into our classrooms and into our collective conscience.” - Bernard Kinsey

Dr. Kinsey essentially said that we need to re-language our thought process and words with regards to what actually happened to those who were captured during the slave trade. Black people/African Americans/Negros - which ever adjective that one prefers to use to describe Africans in America - were enslaved - kidnapped by brutal force (guns) and held against their will.
Only the strongest of the strongest survived the rocky 6 month journey in the bowels of a very crowded ship. A ship as cold and unfeeling as the captors and the many people that orchestrated the journey.

Yes, there were free Africans that navigated the globe and conducted business in America before this country was colonized, but by far and large, the vast majority of African Americans were picked up in the interior of West Africa - between Senegal and Angola - as Free people and brought to the shores of America enslaved. Yes America's African Ancestors were FREE People that were ENSLAVED by Europeans (British, French for starters). These slaves were pure human capital, distributed throughout what is called the triangle - Africa the Caribbean and North America an Europe.

This information was just one of the many morsels of information that was
disseminated last evening by Bernard, Shirley and Khalil Kinsey.

I could have listened to the Kinsey's talk all day and night. But I must say, if it were not for Kevin Ross and Facebook, along with his, who featured Bernard Kinsey on one of last week's shows, I would not have known about this most momentous event.
I do hope to see you all next Saturday, Feb 13th @ 8:00PM at Nate Holden's Performing Art Theater multi - use complex which houses The Ebony Repertory Theater. The topic is Love. Don't miss the other 3 parts of the series happening Feb 13, 20 & 27, 2010.
In closing, last night's event reminded me of a poem that was written by Gordon Nelson called,

"Science tells you that Black
is the absence of light.
But your soul tells you that Black
is the light of the world."

Love & light, C

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dr Martin Luther King Jr. - Happy Birthday!

This is a time for reflection.
What does Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday mean to you? That's the question.
During one of his sermons at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, a couple of months prior to his death, Dr. King Jr. touched so many hearts that day.
He said, in part:
" If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don't want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long...Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peach Prize, that isn't important. Tell them not to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards, that's not important...I'd like somebody to say that day, that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to love somebody...I tried to feed the hungry... I want you to say that I tried to serve humanity...tell them that I was a Drum Major for peace..."
I hope that everyone around the world understands that this American Holiday is not just a "Black" American Holiday, no - this is an American Holiday. African Americans came up from slavery working shoulder to shoulder with other ethnicities, building this country with blood, sweat and tears. Yes, this is a day to learn more about America's history. We will tell you the story and not romanticize it. Better yet, ask your Grandmother, Grandfather, Aunt, or Uncle about the Civil unrest that reached it's peak during the 60's in America. I'm sure the elders in each of our families can add a demension of light on the subject.
I suggest that on a rainy day like this day, one bundles up the young ones and go visit the California Science Center here in Los Angeles, CA. There is an exhibit that quantifies so much of what America the Beautiful has become because of the richness added by its fellow Americans. Please visit Tavis Smiley's exhibit America I AM.
Celebrate this day. As I walk out the door, I'm humming Happy Birthday to you, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - Stevie Wonder style....Love C