U.S. State Department issues Worldwide Travel Alert.

This is some scary stuff. Oftentimes, I shrug these things off, perhaps foolishly, but this time, so soon after the many attacks on innocents around the globe, I am worried, saddened – aware. But, even as the real haters of the world continue to threaten us, and challenge our joy of life, I will continue to love and hope. I wish us all safe travels and enjoyment as the Holiday Season approaches. I can’t help but think of a verse from my Mother’s favorite Psalm 23:4
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Continue reading ›

CHI-RAQ the movie, a Spike Lee Joint

Me and one of my first favorite directors: Spike Lee

I can hardly contain my enthusiasm over Spike Lee’s newest film: CHI-RAQ (2015 US)! Loosely based on the Classic Greek comedy Lysistrata (which the lead character is named-not a stretch in the hood) by Aristophanes, about women in ancient Greece who withhold sex against their men to negotiate an end to the Peloponnesian War. In CHI-RAQ the women go on a sex strike: “No Peace! No Pussy!” to end a senseless gang war on a Chicago Southside neighborhood between the Trojans (led by Nick Cannon) and the Spartans (led by Wesley Snipes) and it’s collateral damage: the death of innocent victims caught in the cross-fire. It’s terrific, old-skool Spike Lee but of course it’s like nothing else. Crisp, popping, exciting, sexy (some nudity and full of adult themes), funny as HELL, lotsa cussin, full of fantastic performances, great scenes -it’s quite operatic -and despite all the hype over the name … It’s actually a valentine to our great city. I saw the world premier in Chicago (PACKED with folks, stars, free popcorn, soda & bottled water); then attended the exciting after-party (open bar, heavy hors d’oeurves, great D-J) where I met Spike, reconnected with my old college friend Harry Lennix, drank, danced and tried not to stalk all the other very accessible celebrities (Wesley Snipes, Nick Cannon) in attendance. Continue reading ›

The Adventures of Permanent Lifestyle Change Girl: Looking Forward to … Working Out and Being the Best I Can Be.

Looking forward to working out. What kind of nonsense is that? Being the best I can be. Duh. That’s the goal right? Well, let me tell you something: I got a bit bogged down in the mire (no work, no money, intense knee pain) and got stuck in a vacuum of inaction. I began to let life happen to me instead of taking charge of it and making my life happen. In case you haven’t been following my blog, I was gifted workout sessions with a professional trainer to “save my life.” And I was grateful. I jumped right in full of enthusiasm but like with any routine, it became just that: routine. I lost sight of the full picture – that I was working to save my life. It wasn’t the hard work that made me lose sight of this. Oddly enough, I love the work. I had forgotten the joy of the accomplishment. Fortunately, I didn’t stay there. A few weeks ago, I took control of my life. I got my knees worked on (by another great friend who happens to be an Ortho-surgeon) and I decided to look forward to my work outs (and my life in general) with a renewed enthusiasm. Continue reading ›

Love and Peace. (My Thoughts after the Second Paris Attack)

It’s Sunday morning and I have nothing to complain about and much to be thankful for. Blessed Be! Love and Peace is what is important to us all. And sharing the burden of mourning for ALL who have suffered is what we should be doing.You can politicize and lay blame all you want. It serves no purpose bcause it distracts us from the truth. People are suffering and it is our duty to empathize, pray, meditate and/or chant for Love and Peace to find the troubled spirits amongst us on this planet. Continue reading ›

Life turns.

Life turns on a dime. One friend experienced a great triumph, one friend lost everything in a fire, a baby is born, someone loses a loved one, one friend receives a serious diagnosis, one is thrilled over a cure. We are all in this together and the one thing besides our Humanity that holds us together is Love. I am convinced that we are all connected and we must strive to stay connected in joy and sadness. Reach out to someone that you have been meaning to call. Don’t put it off another minute. Choose joy today. Tomorrow is not promised to any of us. Namaste.

Diva in the Sky with Redmoon Theater and The Great Chicago Fire Festival.. Feeling Good.

Diva in the Sky

It was the most wonderful performing experience of my life. There I sat on a swing suspended some twenty feet in the air over my audience singing a song that I first sang as a teenager in a high school production of “Roar of the Greasepaint, Smell of the Crowd.” “Feeling Good” is such a simple song but thanks to Nina Simone’s arrangement, it has plenty of room for drama and dynamics.

And then there was the Full Moon in the night’s sky shining down on me, Continue reading ›

The Adventures of Permanent Lifestyle Change Girl: Sitting Up and down in a chair. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

It’s been awhile since I have reported on my actual workouts. I guess that’s because I have been busy writing and singing, going to France and talking about that. Going to the gym and working with my trainer has become less of a novelty which I guess is a good thing. It is part of my lifestyle now. It is routine like putting on my glasses or brushing my teeth. BUT because I work with a professional trainer it has not gotten easier, in fact Jeremy the Devil slave driver comes up with subtle ways to kick my ass, and I am not even aware of it until I am in the midsts of these seemingly innocent exercises that I realize: Damn! He got me! Again! Continue reading ›

The Adventures of Permanent Lifestyle Change Girl: France, July 2015, Heat, Pain, Endurance and how I got through it!

Time to get real with you. The Chateau de Blandy Les Tour was wonderful. The Opera “Don’t Worry, Be HaRpy” was gorgeous and a great collaboration. I don’t want to sound like a whiner but my last trip to France was tough! Heat, exhaustion, knee pain and obesity made it a real test of endurance for me. I KNOW that my fitness journey made it possible for me to persevere. Up until I started my fitness program, I was almost totally sedentary. All of the things that I mentioned above (except for the heat) had pretty much kept me in my bed watching TV for years. However since I started this journey, I have gotten my ass up and out of the house to go to the gym despite the pain and weariness. I know that I have to get up and move. I have to get up and live. I ain’t being no fool – I know my limitations – and I know that I have to rest, but resting and inaction are two different things. Pain is an obstacle, but for months I have pulled myself up and out to get healthy and that has given me the strength – and more importantly – the faith and belief that I can do this. It is mandatory. And that is exactly the attitude that I took to France.

I KNOW that I could not have survived that trip if I hadn’t been working out and building up my endurance and strength for the three months prior to my departure. And it wasn’t solely a matter of me being in better physical shape – it was an attitude and a confidence that all of this work has given me. It’s a lifestyle change for the betterment of my remaining existence and it must never stop. I got a lot of work to do and I have made the committment to do it for the rest of my life.

France: July 2015 Don’t Worry, Be HaRpy – The Whirlwind Adventure!

The Chateau de Blandy Les Tours – what a setting! It is fairytale-like, and very hot. There is a heat wave happening in the region with temperatures reaching Ninety-eight degrees Fahrenheit! We arrive in Paris and are driven immediately to the castle for the first of two nine hour rehearsals. This is no tourist trip. We get right to work. We have a show to do. Continue reading ›

France: July 2015 Don’t Worry, Be HaRpy

It was a whirlwind. A quick weekend to France to perform the original Jazz Opera: “Don’t worry, Be HaRpy” by French composer and harpist Isabelle Olivier. This particular weekend also happened to be my birthday weekend. It was not an easy trip but it was a wonderful one. High temperatures in the hot Sun, hours of rehearsal and my knees never add up to much in the way of comfort but it did make for a thrilling adventure. The show is wonderful, Isabelle is genius and the players and crew were fantastic. Then there was the setting! We performed in a Medieval castle called Chateau de Blandy les Tours. Talk about magical surroundings!
Continue reading ›