VERBALLY PENETRATED: An Evening with The Punany Poets ft. Ms. Night Lyfe and Mike Guinn

Houston Cast of The Punany Poets (l to r): Jessica Holter, Founder; Ms. Night Lyfe of Houston, and Mike "Mr. Humanity" Guinn of Dallas

Houston Cast of The Punany Poets (l to r): Jessica Holter, Founder; Ms. Night Lyfe of Houston, and Mike “Mr. Humanity” Guinn of Dallas

If you were an HBO subscriber during the 1990-2000’s, you were privvy to their performances.  They made up a large portion of the cast for the smash show “Real Sex“. This was considered by most to be a raunchy, extreme adult show, and in many aspects it was.  But there was also a learning element to it about healthy sexual relationships as explained in one of the interludes this night by Author/Activist, and Founder of the Punany Poets,  Jessica Holter

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Author/Activist and Founder of The Punany Poets, Jessica Holter

“Sure, we are all about sex.  But we are on more than just an orgasm.  We want to teach you about healthy love, safe sex, intimacy, freedom.  And if you get one in, all right!” On Sunday night in Houston at the Red Cat Café, I got to see The Punany Poets live and in person.  And I do mean, LIVE. From beginning to end, this show is one of the best ‘mindgasms’ [my word] you will ever have.

Body art reads: “Good Love Is Hard to Find. AIDS is NOT”

At the onset, a talented artist with a gorgeous man as her canvas provided the backdrop during the entire performance with a powerful message in the art at the culmination that spoke of love, sex, and Aids painted over his entire body.  It was also displayed on the company’s exotic dancer Punany’s Pearl, who upon turning her silver spray-painted torso  away from us became a walking billboard of The Punany Poets Owner and Founder’s face; Jessica Holter. The entire black staging of the Red Cat’s platform was an excellent backdrop to the trio’s presentation of sight and sound so if you happen to catch them in an intimate setting, your senses are in for an extra special treat. Each woman is clad in beautiful lingerie and nose-bleed stilettoes oozing raw sexuality in their walk, talk and presentation.  Special shout out to Ms. NightLyfe who repped Houston to the Fullest! [and a thick chick! Woop! Woop!]. The ladies were all shades and sizes, and it was a beautiful display of the human body which should never be shameful to look at.  It is after all, God’s most perfect creation.

As the tour moves along the country, there are different participants by way of singers and guest poets. For this particular show, they had one of Dallas’ finest Spoken Word artists, Mike “Mr Humanity” Guinn whose delivery about sex, being bald, and the true desire to please a man was delivered with passion, sensuality, and at times a touch of humor.

Mike "Mr. Humanity" Guinn

Mike “Mr. Humanity” Guinn

After his bold proclamation to love his woman up and down every month of the year in his Calendar Love poem, The representative from YWCA of Houston proclaimed “I will never be able to look at a calendar the same way again!”  In a time where poetry has seemed to lean towards the degradation of a woman in sex it was very refreshing as a woman to hear a male poet’s command of the English language pain beautiful portraits of love, intimacy, and a woman’s imagery. Mike is considered the #1 Open Mic Promoter in the West, has held down a radio show on the internet for poets, is an accomplished author,having contributed to Jessica’s latest work: Punany: The Hip Hop Psalms III: The Onliner’s and is the Founder of the Dallas/Fort Worth National Poetry.  If you have ever heard his delivery outside of this event, you know that he brought the passion and fire.  It also helped that he is one cute piece of Chocolate!  If you are in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, he holds down an incredible night of poetry 2 Sundays a month.

Mike Guinn

As mentioned above, joining their tour as a result of alive audition that brought the house down is Ms. Night Lyfe, who mastering the Eartha Kitt purr took us from one level to another in her prose about love and lust.  Her writing is strong and profound, as one of the poems about a crush on someone she wanted to love and make love to turned out to be herself brought a round of applause and cheers just as strong as those for intimacy one to another.

Ms. Night Lyfe was added to the company last year after impressing Jessica Holter in a live audition

Ms. Night Lyfe was added to the company last year after impressing Jessica Holter in a live audition

She was thickly beautiful in her blue lingerie, but it was her attitude and presence that heightened her appeal.  Totally unashamed of every curve she embraced herself and us lyrically and physically as she swayed, dipped, and glided us thru her sections of each set. Not merely one who can sling a group of words together, Ms. Night Lyfe has an MBA from Le Tourneau University, Bachelor of Science from Texas Wesleyan University and is pursuing a MA in Psychology from Texas Southern University.

This show is far from a sit back and observe event; in fact its appeal is largely due to audience participation.  They stop at different intervals and give room for participation thru expressions and communication. In the “Love Confessions” section, the audience was invited to come up and share about the love of our lives.  A gentleman from the audience came up and shared about his wife; how he loved her from the time he first saw her, their wedding in Vegas and how he cried when she walked the aisle.  He boldly stood and declared his love for her stating “you are all I ever needed and wanted. No other woman can do anything for me.  I don’t WANT any other woman doing anything else for me. You are my Queen for life”.  Not a dry eye or quiet voice in the house, I tell ya!. There were also expressions of love from woman to woman, friend to friend, and an interlude where guests were invited to come up on the stage and allow us to voyeur a PDA (Public Display of Affection) as they addressed how the black culture is not know for the freedom to indulge in it. In this session the wild card was thrown as the founder, Jessica Holter herself invited members of the audience to come up and show a PDA to her as well.  Needless to say, this interlude of couples engaged in unashamed affections totally brought the house down!

"Punany's Pearl" - Exotic Dancer

“Punany’s Pearl” – Exotic Dancer

As I said in the beginning, some have deemed The Punany Poets to be a totally raunchy, undisciplined group of erotic poets.  They are..and they are Not.  Raunchy yes, but only because they have no boundaries when it comes to sex and those who are restricted deem them so.  They speak of sex freely and no underlying topic is taboo. But when it comes to their poetry, they are intelligent gifted writers and some of the ones delivered were the best written pieces I have ever heard, erotic or not.  Even in the most sensual of prose they lend to your higher sense of sexuality just as much as the base carnal lust from one to another.  It was the perfect blend of blunt and metaphoric; even at times sweet, loving and tender.  The dancer was tastefully erotic while suggestive, even with the lap dance given to the lucky audience participant, and the music provided a very romantic backdrop.

The Punany Poets are strong educators in their shows.  Sure, you have scantily clad women and men, dancers, musicians, and participation, but they also fight for many causes and are supported along their tour by many reputable organizations.  As mentioned above, the YWCA of Houston came out and in the intermission taught some real truths about AIDS and safe sex that you don’t hear everywhere.  As well, there was an organization there called “The Wild” Program who works with displaced young women named .The night was filled with laughter and hormones, but at the end you left not only wanting to make love to your lover. You left with a renewed love for your own body and more education on how to take care of it; a freedom unleashed within to openly show the world that you love the one you are with; and a deep sense of respect for them as they have taken simple prose and turned it into an amazing educational tool while entertaining us to our fill.

Check www.punanytickets.com for event and ticket information.

Check http://www.punanytickets.com for event and ticket information.

HBO could only give you snippets.  You HAVE to go see them.  If you love Spoken Word, and if you are looking for that something extra; beyond the poet that is still wetting their chops on erotic poetry and is leaning more towards the offensive than affective? You need to go.  And don’t do to just sit and look.  Go and participate.  Feel free to laugh, and join in.  The more you do, the better the entire experience for you, your partner, and The Punany Poets. Be sure to get a VIP ticket as it comes with a free DVD: “Verbal Penetration”.  And wow.  And WOW backwards.  Excellent material! A $20 value within itself.

For ticket information be sure to check out http://www.punanytickets.com for performance and ticket information.  You can also take Punany on the go with this mobile ap!

http://www.reverbnation.com/mobile-app/14476/thepunanypoets

Be sure to check them out! You will NOT be disappointed.

In Rhythm and Blue,

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Mike Guinn

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NeoSouljah Joins Radio Wave Forces with LONDON’s JSM!

JSMJazz Syndicate Management & Promotions ( in association with Aja & Claire Simone’s award winning Ketch a Vibe internet station ) is the brainchild of Aja Allsop. Offering management and promotion services to Artists, Musicians and Bands creating Jazz, Soul & Blues music, including all the bits in between.We have recently been joined by Urban Unrest from the USA, and now, Singer/Spoken Word Artist NeoSouljah has teamed with us both as an Artist, and Media representative.

DSC_6381NeoSouljah brings a lot to the table with her experience and talent.  Having performed, worked for and  closely with several organizations including the 2nd largest Gospel Conference [Babbie Mason Music Seminar] as well as the 1st largest Jazz Festival [Tri-C Jazzfest], she has a keen ear for great music.  And being a celebrated artist herself with a project that has been played in over 14 countries, her command of the English Language combined with performance skills sets her in a place of understanding quality Spoken Word.

Together there will be a sharing of Independent Music from these genres, along with some of the best Spoken Word that the world has to offer.  Yes, the world.  Between the 2 shows you will hear art from nearly every continent.  NeoSoul from The Netherlands. Jazz from Zimbabwe. Blues from Australia.  All in one place!

If you are interested in submitting material in any of those genres [Jazz, Blues, Spoken Word, Neo Soul, etc.], Please contact us.

Let Your Voice Be Heard! [as Neo Says]

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Houston’s’ Sexual “Healing”: The Punany Poets with Special Guest Michael Guinn Feb 3 at Red Cat Cafe!

ThePunanyPoetsWebBannerHey Fam!

 On Sunday I will be blogging from Red Cat Jazz Cafe, where The Punany Poets will be performing!

The Punany Poets are hands down the best erotic/sexual health educators dressed as wordsmiths in the game.  The YWCA is teaming up with them for this show in an effort to heighten Sexual awareness regarding AIDS/HIV, while the Punany Poets will also lace it up with some Grown Folk Business by way of Sight [Dancers], Sound [Music], and Words [Poetry].

Here is the information below.  If you are in or close to Houston, You Don’t Want To Miss this. Come out and be entertained, educated, and also help those who help others.

In Rhythm and Blue

NeoSouljah.

FROM THE DESK OF AUTHOR/ACTIVIST & FOUNDER OF PUNANY POETS: JESSICA HOLTER:

Hello friends in Houston,

Thanks you very much for agreeing to share The Punany Experience with me in Houston. I am emailing you now to update you on the events of the day.

First of all, I have taken into consideration that we will be together on Super Bowl Sunday, so I have changed the event time to 8:00pm to offer a little more time for you to prepare.

Pure Zen Massage Services and Accessories Boutique one of our sponsors will offer massage services through the event and will also give a massage demonstration to one of our lucky VIP Guests on stage! We are excited about having them and are already planning a Spa Day Performance for women in their beautiful Boutique on Mother’s Day! Ladies can register for that at the Show.

We are pleased to announce that YWCA Houston will be joining us on Sunday night. Their involvement with me is 3-fold:

1.      YWCA of Houston is a benefiting agency of AIDS WALK HOUSTON 2013 & The Punany Poets Primary mission is to promote Sexual Health. The will be registering walkers, and taking donations during the event.

2.      Lisa Milburn, Program Director will also be speaking on the Subject of HIV AIDS and dissemination Testing information and safer sex supplies, pamphlets and prizes!

3.      Finally, I support the efforts of the WILD Program. As some of you know I, Jessica Holter, grew up in the foster care system in Oakland, CA. I was raised by a woman from Longview, Texas. Mrs. O’Nick instilled in me many of the values I write about today. See “Momma’s Barren Hips” below. I invite and encourage you to help these young women as they age out of the system and into the world ad adults. The statistics on girls like me are staggering. Representatives from The WILD program will be present to offer you information about how you can help.

ABOUT THE SHOW:

As Seen on HBO – Author, Activist Jessica Holter presents The Punany Experience on stage inside the Red Cat Jazz Cafe, 711 Franklin St, Downtown Houston, TX 77002, Sunday, February 3rd at 8:00pm. Come enjoy these gifted and talented storytellers and poets as their words are interpreted by music and dance. This interactive show in a unique blend of spoken word, comedy, music, dance and audience interaction that is all at once fantastic and familiar. Fresh and honest, this sensual production for adults only, also speaks to sexual health issues in this age of HIV, without being preachy or judgmental. The Punany Experience is one you will not soon forget, it will turn the pages of your mind making memories that can last a life time. Doors will open at 6:30pm, please arrive on time.

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EVENT LOCATION

Red Cat Jazz Cafe
711 Franklin St
Downtown Houston, TX 77002
next to Historic Magnolia Brewery Building

DOORS OPEN: 7:00pm
SHOW TIME: 8:00pm
RUN TIME: 90 Minutes

*Please arrive on time, the show will begin and end on time.
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I will be headlining the show; performing some classic and new material. My guest performers are:

Michael Guinn is a contributor to my anthology Punany: The Hip Hop Psalms III: The Onliner’s. This will be his second time performing with The Punany Poets. He hails form Dallas, Texas and is a powerful performer who represents the image of “The Black Man” as the strong, self-respecting, confident father and lover Black women know they can be.

 Ms. Night Lyfe did a live audience audition last year in Houston and really showed out for the crowd. She is very sensual and drips with that thing I look for in recruiting people for my productions. Her education is also apparent in her poetry. (Or, as my Momma would say, “That girl can turn a phrase.) She has an MBA from LeTourneau University, Bachelor of Science from Texas Wesleyan University and is pursuing a MA in Psychology from Texas Southern University.

This will be our first time at the Red Cat Jazz Cafe. In keeping with the Jazz tradition of this historic Houston venue, I have written live Jazz music into the show, when Punany dances with the Saxophone… magic happens!

Momma’s Barren Hips

we buried her real proper
in a royal purple dress
in honor of our momma

momma had big barren hips
lips of prophesy
and eyes with the sight

she found broken little chain links
welded them back together with hope
took care of us the best she could
with hardly anything one could call a formal degree
her texas pedigree
was all the education
she needed to stand

we were like black folks on the whole
lost children on the lamb
messed over and up, up and over
entirely dependent on missing fathers
(fathers who were missing) ,
and daddy sam’s economically twisted will

they didn’t understand us
didn’t respect us
didn’t appreciate us
and did care to

neither one of them.

our natural mothers
were lost to insanity’s insatiable desire
burning them in fires of worldly lust
and self indulgence
pharmaceutical drugs
leaving us one and all
by the wayside

but momma had a big strong back
she carried us to the light
planted her seeds in tender minds
built a home where happy, stable children
proudly washed the woodwork
spoke when spoken to, and then respectfully
treated antiques
dusted her prized chandelier
washed pressed and rolled her hair
and tried never to leave fingerprints on the mirrors
where are reflections grew more beautiful over time

she raised strangers to be family
against the odds so plain to see
in ghetto streets where
even Jesus had little power

no man knows the day or the hour
but when hers came we mourned
but delighted in what was surely to come
I see her now at God’s feet
proudly looking down on me
saying, “Lord that there is my gifted child!

kin is as kin loves
love is as love does
but respect is what the heart trusts

Our family union may have been
fostered by social workers
who don’t remember our names
but honor was an ancient African scroll
engraved on a southern momma’s soul

We tried to give back the love
the best way unwanted children could
until the sweet chariot
carried our momma home

By Jessica Holter for Speak the Unspeakable

Jessica Holter’s writings are available for purchase at www.Amazon.com

& for reading www.poemhunter.com

-30-

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NeoSouljah To Host New Spoken Word Radio Show: WE NEED YOU

open-mic-by-eschipulPOETS, SPOKEN WORD ARTISTS, PERFORMANCE ARTISTS: Beginning on Sunday, February 3,2013, I will host a 2hr show on a 1fm radio station, with the focus on Spoken Word!

I’m targeting those of you that have recorded material, with special emphasis on Jazz, Blues, R&B and NeoSoul music backdrop [tho others will be played as well]. There will be some nights where you can call in and spit Live, but I really want to have a place where people can hear your recorded material, then BUY it. We will also have Features, and some other Major things coming up. If you are interested in having your material played, please send me MP3’s of your material, at least 3, to eyewriteit@gmail.com. See below for the criteria.

Of course I wont’ share all that is coming up, but trust me when I say this is a next level show. I will do all I can to service you. Deadline is TUESDAY, JANUARY 23, 2013. NO EXCEPTIONS. Let Your Voice Be Heard.

spoken_workCRITERIA:
1. It must be submitted in MP3 format directly to the email. Use Yousendit, Sendspace, Dropbox, etc. We won’t go Soundcloud shopping.
2. Mild censorship. If you are trying to see how many curse words you can use in 3 minutes, it will not be considered.
3. Theme can be anything you want, however we do not support material that debases or devalues women, religion, sexual peference, etc.
4. CRUCIAL! IT MUST BE AVAILABLE FOR SALE ON THE INTERNET OUTSIDE OF CD BABY!>> This is a MUST. You have to have it available on another site so that your listening audience will not have to wait until you re-stock CD Baby. If you have not, get an account with Bandcamp, Spotify, etc.
5. It must be available for sale at the time of airplay. Sorry, only established recording artists will get pre-release airtime.

You will receive an email from me letting you know what date you will hear your material. SPREAD THE WORD!!!

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Incredible, Indeed! – Up Close and Personal, Singer/Songwriter/Musician/Producer, CHAZ

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You Don’t Know Who You Are Until…

You find out who you are not.

When I left Cleveland I left a lot.  My immediate family, all that live there (the rest are still in ATL). All of my closest friends except the ones in GA and FL.  I left my church. Huge for me. In a nutshell, I left my DNA.  Everything and everyone that comprised who I was. And that is the point.

All of that, was who I was.  And the who I was had completed her assignment in that capacity of life.  My leaving was surrounding a lot of reasons.  For most, I simply left it at new opportunities. One of which was the magazine, but that could be virtual. Another would most definitely be to pursue my music career, however my desire to be on stage has waned over time.  I’m leaning more towards song writing and the other end of the industry. I will still perform.  It’s just not the end all for my lifewalk.

My leaving?  I was no longer satisfied with the me that I was.  Now, I will never take credit from God.  It was Him, after all, that supplied the resources, and people, and everything else that had to come into play. And it was Him that instilled in me a desire for a ‘more’ that I was not going to get in Cleveland.  Ultimately however, it is my will, my choice, my decision to follow Him.  So, I left.  I know I surprised everyone, as I had been threatening to leave for years.  I knew I would, I just didn’t know when. But I knew it was coming.  Because while I love my friends and family and church, my existence there was more for their enjoyment than mine.  And that is not a bad thing, that is just what it eventually culminated to.  They enjoyed, and still enjoy me as a part of their lives.  And I the same for them.  I just could not continue to stay there as a condition of that enjoyment.  They all know what I mean.

I made the statement at the top of this blog, because until you have gone someplace where you are out of your comfort zone, out of the security of the world that you have created for yourself, you will never truly know who you are.  Because you have not experienced who you are not.

I have now officially been a Houstonian for about 2.5 months.  The city is big. Compared to Cleveland, close to triple in size, especially since you can drive from the tip of Warrensville Hts. all the way to Columbus and it is the same distance from one end of Houston to the other. There is a feeling to this place.  It’s FOCUSED.  But more than that, it is different.  The diversity here is Oz like compared to home.  In my complex, and I live in the Westchase area near Galleria Mall, you will find white, black, asian, indian, latino, mexican.  All living together, shopping together.  Texas is a bible belt state, so there are lots of Christians. The people here are direct.  They either like you and are friendly and speak, or they don’t  And if they don’t, they just keep walking as if you were never there.  I respect that.  Totally. I am observing how they live and work together, and it takes a totally different mindset to do that compared to where I am from.  And this is in no way a put down on Cleveland. It’s just different.  And a difference that I have embraced and love.

In the short time I have been here, I have dealt with heartache and disappointment both from home and here.  Life. But when the tears dried from this part of my path, I learned some more things about me.  Things I will do, and won’t.  Some will take courage to implement.  Others, will take a determination to just do. I am looking forward to my next, and waiting to see what will happen in those areas that I must now adjust.

I encourage all of you who read this, to really examine your life.  Are you happy in the life you have made?  Is this what you believe you are to do with your life?  And if it is not, what are you doing to change it?

Who are You?  More importantly.  Who are you NOT?

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New Focus, New Vision

Hey Lovelies!

So far, I am finding Houston to be the best therapy I could have ever had in my life at this moment. The transition was not easy.  I left all of my family on the east coast in Ohio and Georgia.  Every close friend except one.  Basically, you could say I left my DNA there.  Do I regret it?

Not at all.

Sometimes, in order to achieve the next phase of your vision you have to totally change your surroundings.  And it’s not always as simple as a new apartment.  Or new friends.  Mine was difficult yet simple.  Being an artist it Ohio is difficult.  That is a legendary fact.  Most artists that have succeeded in their career have had to leave, from Steve Harvey and The Ohio Players to LeBron James.  It’s the talent vs. opportunity ratio.  There is some amazing talent in Ohio.  But very few opportunities.

So, I loaded up the truck [well, van lol] and moved to Beverly [Houston, that is :-) ]

The weather has been great for my skin, newly cropped hair, and health.  Gone are the steroids needed for breathing in Ohio, so I can now focus even harder on my total weight loss goal of 250 lbs. 65 more to go! [oh.. you didn't know?  I was kissing 500lbs.  See? ]Image

The area that I live in is really nice.  It’s in the Galleria Mall area, so I am close to all shopping, the beltway, everything.  What I love about stepping outside is that there is an air of expectancy, and focus.  You can sense it.  The atmosphere here is goal oriented.  Every region, I believe, has that driving force to it, be it oppression, carefree, etc.  Think about it.  Go to Miami, and you want to live the uber rich lifestyle.  Los Angeles – Superstar.  Las Vegas – Wealth.

Houston? Purpose.  At least, that is what I am sensing.. could just be around me lol.

At any rate, I am working on building my business and artistic brand.  Will be posting links to the business soon, as well as gearing up the magazine for the July edition.  I have Missed it! Had an amazing series of conversations with the owner and editor-in-chief, who has also become a very valued and trusted friend.  I appreciate the liberty given to me by him to express views and opinions as the enterprise representative on the print media side.  Far be it from me to say that I am the end-all-be-all authority on music, but having as many years in the business on the back and forefront, I have learned a few things.  Being a proponent of preserving our music heritage, it is important to me that we do not simply judge music today by music today.  The barometer should always be those who went before. Not to sound like them, but to retain their work ethic, professionalism, and most importantly, focus.  Sound was priority.

Ok, off that soapbox lol.

Once I have finished unpacking [like, I still have stuff in the car lol], and settling, my next focus will be to meet some musicians here in the 713/832/281.  I’m starting to feign a mic!

Live Life Large!

In Rhythm and Blue

Neo

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The Walk of The Talk [Forgiveness]: After the Show with Maxi Bond of The Mary Jane Girls on LOTL Radio

Hey Family,

Long time no talk to!  I have finished my across country trek and landed in the beautiful city of Houston, Texas where EVERYTHING is big!  Apartments [I have a 1 bdrm that is 934 sq. ft with major amenities], the streets [6 lane major streets], and men [so far the average I've seen is 6'5"..yaaaahoo!] Big transition right after the Jazzfest, so for a few days I have been a sluck [definition - blanket, recliner, remote].

Tonight, I listened to Reginald Teddybear Ford, the C.E.O. of our magazine Purifying The Mic on his radio show, LOTL Radio [see link below].  The person of interest: Maxi “B” Bond from Rick James’ infamous super group, The Mary Jane Girls.  Now if you don’t know which one she was, she was the “vanilla” sister in leather.  In the magazine, I interviewed JoJo McDuffie who shared her story about her experiences in the MJG and with Rick. He was a tyrant; cruel, stingy and selfish.  On that point, they both agree.

But the reason I am blogging about this, is because I have NEVER to date heard anyone speak of their issues in the industry – having gone thru so much – with as much grace, and kindness, and realness, and forgiveness in their delivery as Maxi Bond did tonight.

In her interview she was direct, and brutally honest about everything they went thru.  Their struggles, pains, everything.  To date, she has yet to see a royalty payment from all of her years on that stage with the ladies and in his camp.  She spoke of these injustices, and the issues with the ladies coming back together. And she was exact in her speaking ["I will not allow all of our hard work to go down to the basement like that (other MJG groups). I am going to work and bring us back up to the Penthouse!"].  But even in that, she was loving, and caring, and expressed her determination to walk in Forgiveness, having called each member and left an apology as well as forgave and released them.

Because of this, Maxi is a totally healed woman.  You can hear it in her voice, and you can see it in her life.  Maxi is one of the Premier Caterers to the stars, and has also self-published a cookbook entitled “Champagne and Collard Greens”.  She is a representative for a Cosmetic line [well.. LOOK at her.. That is what 53 looks like!], and is working on another book for healthy living via Super Foods.  AND she has new Music!  And it’s GOOD!  In her interview, there is no hatred. No malice. No “look at me now!” mentality.  She is just down to earth, and matter of fact in her approach.

“Ok, so Rick did you bad (speaking of the other MJG members who refuse to come back). But hey, he did us all bad. But that does not have to be the end of our story!  Take that lemon, make some lemonade, and keep it moving.  Forgive, and keep going!”

I shared this, not to plug the show or her product, but her heart and attitude.  In this industry we will always have cause for offense: a bad deal, a show you have not been paid for.. so many things.  But with all of her issues and struggles in that arena she has come out stronger, wiser.  The beauty and power of her decision to walk in Forgiveness shines thru every note and timbre of her conversation, and thru every fiber of her being.  I encourage you to listen to her testimony, because even though I do forgive, I learned a whole other level of the power of it from hearing her share.

 

In Rhythm and Blue

Neo

(link to the show)

http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.blogtalkradio.com%2Freginaldford%2F2012%2F06%2F06%2Fthe-beautiful-talented-maxi-bond-of-the-mary-jane-girls&h=qAQGoiyCs

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My Journey to my New Home – Day 3

It’s morning.  Wow, what a night last night.  We drove thru Mississippi.  Now, my plan was to stop in every state and buy something.  I bought a shot glass in KY, forgot TN.  And that was because when my partner in crime Kelly [we call ourselves Thelma & Louise] took the wheel, she felt as if we should not  stop in MS.

Turns out, that they had announced on the news just 2 hours before we drove thru that a man was shot by a fake police officer on the very highway we were driving on!  Wow.. we did see a lot of trooper cars.  Did not know why.  The MERCY and PROTECTION of GOD.  Amazing.

Moving forward….

We decided to stop in New Orleans today.  Neither of us have ever been so we are super excited.  We found a fabulous hotel near the airport, it’s bigger than my last apartment I think..lol.

Headed towards my new home in Houston.  People keep asking me, do I have something lined up there. Not really.  Do I know someone there.  A few, but only one good personal friend.  But I am  not going there to find friends.  And hang out.  I am on a Destiny move.  There is something there for me.  What?  I don’t know.  But hey, if we knew everything that life was going to have in store for us, we would not need Faith, or Courage, or Strength.  We would never fully laugh because we never cried.  And never enjoy because we were never disappointed.  Feel me?

It was hard to leave my family and church, and friends.  But I know they love me as I love them.  They are praying for me, rooting for me, calling me on the road.  I am confident that they will be cared for and do the same.

In life, you can only live 2 ways.  For others.  Or for yourself.  You have to decide.

 

Talk with you soon,

In Rhythm and Blue

NeoSouljah

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Started With A Bang, Ended With An EXPLOSION: Tri-C Jazzfest: TCJF Soundworks @ Nighttown

Hello Jazzians!

I have sat here in front of the computer for a good while now trying to figure out the best way to explain what took place last night.  Most definitely, it was one of those “you had to be there” types of events, but I will try my best.

Held at Nighttown, Cleveland’s most elite Jazz supper club, the place was beyond packed.  So much so that it was inevitable to get an elbow or hip in the head [or in my case, hair in your face from the long haired woman in front of me]; you’d have to play assistant waiter and ‘pass it down'; at one point in the middle of their talking 2 of the musicians had to step off the stage so that a late patron could navigate her way thru the microphones and music stands to her seat up front. But the crowd was friendly and lively.  For the first show, my friend and business partner Andrea Green and I were blessed to sit next to Betsy and Jim Sampliner.  They have been regular attendants for 32 of the 33 years that Jazzfest has been in operation – missing only the first one. “When we met, she [Betsy] was not even a Jazz enthusiast!” Jim said.  They took our breath away as they relived the history of the artists of Jazzfest, especially a rare opportunity they had to sit the the undisputed Queen of Jazz, Ella Fitzgerald.

The room while totally full was very friendly.  Everyone knew everyone, or instantly accepted everyone.  I have noticed that about Jazz.  It’s very elitist – but in a good way.  This family of music admirers truly appreciate all of the intricacies that music affords, and the pure joy that it can bring.  99% of it’s format is simply an artist and their art. No flashing lights [unless you are Trombone Shorty which so fits him!], no video girls or hip hop guys. No disappearing acts and bells and whistles.  Just real musicianship, and real vocals. You MUST be at the top of your form to earn a spot. But once earned, you are well appreciated and supported.  I Like That!

The TCJF Soundwords concert is, as explained by Terry Pontremoli and Willard Jenkins, the culmination of the whole Jazzfest.  The band members are their resident ensemble which this year was comprised of some of the best musicians ever presented, as all agreed.

Shown from left to right: John Clayman – Baritone Sax/Flute; Chris Anderson – Trumpet/Music Director; Sean Jones – Trumpet; Howie Smith – Soprano/Alto Sax

Glen Holmes – Bass Chip Stevens – Piano

Chris Baker – Drums

As I said, this was one that you had to attend.  Because there was more than just an amazing concert.  If you observed, there were so many interesting factors that made the whole event even more special, like the change in the chroma of the sound of the trumpet when Sean Jones played with a martini glass as opposed to a brass mute.  It was a brighter but more reverberated sound.  Then of course, the man that I totally fell in love with, Chip Stevens, who is a total mad scientist on the piano, who never, ever looks at the piano, not even in the most intense of solos, and often plays with his hands crossed over each other or plays the lower octave keys reserved for the left hand with his right.  The Bass player, Glen Holmes, who is vocal with the notes that he plays on the bass, ala’ George Benson style.  Chris Anderson served as Musical Director, however John Clayman was also instrumental in helping the band navigate thru their material.  So many nuances on the stage, and off.  The crowd was super enthusiastic, clapping and whistling, cheering and asking for more.

I stayed for both shows, and it was a musical feast.  Everyone was treated to a night of incredible music, all composed by the resident band members.  3 of the highlight pieces for me were “Searching” by Chris Anderson, “Off The Mark” by Howie Smith, and “Sadness & Soul” by Chip Stevens.  They all show a very interesting ear when it comes to composition, in that there were serious progressions from easy listening slow to progressive straight ahead, varying time signatures, all often within the same song.

Sometimes in a band, you will have that stand out musician that just takes the night.  Now I expressed super love for pianist Chip Stevens, but that is more attributed to my love for piano jazz.  This night was super Jazziliciously incredible, because each musician, when given solo room, was over the top exceptional.  Regardless of your choice of love for instrument representation, you were given some of the most exemplary available.  It was my extra super treat thanks to the piano, and the flute, played by John.

Surrounded by great friends and people, including 2 gentlemen that were walking history buffs of the Cleveland  jazz scene, indulging in hands down the BEST Lobster Mac & Cheese in the Tri-State area, and being blown away by the array of talent and sound coming from a stage 6 feet away, this night could not have been any better.

Tri-C went above and beyond this year bringing in incredible talent.  We celebrate every artist, from the upcoming youth in the Shaw High School Marching Band, Paul Sanders Ensemble, Salty Dog Brass Band, Esperanza Spalding, Walter Beasley, Peter White, Brian Simpson, Maysa, Norman Brown, Gerald Albright, Ki Allen, Kellylee Evans, Aretha Franklin, Ben Williams, Marcus Strickland, The Tri-C High School All Stars, Dominick Farinacci, Jerome Jennings, Steve Enos, Bob Hurst, Ernie Krivda, Matt Wilsons’ Arts & Crafts, Jack DeJohnette, David Sanborn, Joey DeFrancesco, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Diana Krall, Oikos Ensemble, TCJF Soundworks, and every accompanying musician not named here [but are listen in their event blogs].

We Thank You, for your discipline to your craft and your hard work.  For bringing us quality music night after night, making us laugh, cry, and providing great medicine for the soul.

And I thank you Tri-C.  As a music lover, you have tirelessly provided quality music to us in the Jazzfests for over 33 years, and as your blogger this year I was treated to some of the best of todays’ representations in Jazz, Blues, Soul, and just feel good music.

STAY TUNED everyone – Coming up, some interviews with some of the artists, directors, programmers, volunteers, stage hands, and of course, video clips.  This is not an easy feat to pull together a large festival like this one.  Let me show you how this comes together!

In Rhythm and Blue

NeoSouljah

Official Blogger,

2012 Tri-C Jazzfest

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