Monday, May 4, 2015

Weekend REplay: Conferences, Concerts & Comic book characters

This weekend, the weather rocked – sunshine, blue sky, gentle breezes. It looks like we actually get to experience spring, this year, and not just spring right into summer. Thank you Lord. I sure do appreciate it.

Friday, I began my day at a Women’s Leadership Forum, hosted by the Junior League of Atlanta. It was an amazing event, complete with two breakout sessions and a vibrant panel discussion on diversity over lunch. I spent the last forty-five minutes or so of the afternoon at the “kitchen table” of Terri Badour-Duckett, the Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross of Georgia. At the “kitchen table” attendees “pulled up a seat” to ask questions of some of the brightest, most accomplished women leaders in the Atlanta community. Not too shabby, right?

In other news, the month of May is home to the Atlanta Jazz Festival (AJF). For 31 days, we celebrate the beautifully diverse sounds of jazz, and there’s a BIG jazz festival in the park during Memorial Day weekend. Friday night, the AJF hosted a jazz festival kickoff party/concert that featured Canadian band BadBadNotGood (or BBNG). I don’t know where the name came from, but BadBadNotGood was more like GoodGoodPlusAwesome. Seriously.

This trio from Toronto includes Matthew Tavares on keyboard, Chester Hansen on bass and Alexander Sowinski on drums. Three instruments unite to create one crazy unique sound. Their set at the Westside Cultural Arts Center marked their first performance in the ATL. The crowd showed mad love and I was pretty happy to be in the number.


Friday night was my first time hearing their music, but I became an instant fan. The melting pot of rich sounds was surpassed only by the energy with which the band totally rocked out. Their sound is a unique amalgam of rock, hip hop, R & B and even classical influences. Then they had a guest saxophonist who threw the set into straight jazz beast mode.

BBNG drew such a diverse crowd of music lovers. I scanned the room and thought to myself, “surely we don’t share the same taste in music.” But on that night for about an hour and a half or more we certainly did. That’s the power of music that I love so much.

I kinda hate that BBNG was booked for the beginning of the festival month. Their sound was just so grand. I think it would fit well on an outdoor stage like the ones set up during the jazz festival’s Memorial Day weekend event. I could totally picture it. Maybe they’ll be on the line up for next year.

In the meantime, it appears these cats don’t have many shows in the states this year, but here’s a list of the upcoming concert dates through the summer. You can check them out on Soundcloud and here’s a taste from Friday night. Dude on the keys, though…. Does he not remind you of Linus from the Charlie Brown cartoons?

We stuffed the rest of the weekend with lots of errands and a three hour movie break to see the new Avengers: Age of Ultron movie. So, no one told me that when I got married my husband would turn me into a fan of comic book characters. Nope, I didn’t see that one coming. I’ve learned more about comic book characters in the last few years than I’ve ever known in my entire life. Who knew I’d become a Marvel fan? I’ve learned to keep my eyes peeled for Mr. Stan Lee’s cameo appearance in each film AND, most importantly, to NOT leave the theater until the very last credit has rolled. This ensures I don’t miss hints for one of the upcoming films in the, seemingly never ending, Marvel series.

Gotta find me a Captain America t-shirt, too, although I struggle to really decide which super hero (thus far) is my fave. I think I’m leaning toward Iron Man…or maybe Captain AmericaThor? Smh… Anyhoo, the movie was good. That’s all I’ll say about that just in case you haven’t seen it yet and plan to go.

Let’s see, what else happened this weekend. Oh, I bought a pair of sandals and some cute earrings. I love feeling like I got something for a bargain. A cute pair of Nine West wedge sandals (can’t go wrong with classic black) from DSW and two nice pairs of earrings from White House Black Market for just under $50 definitely speaks bargain to me. I have one happy little word for you – COU-PONS.

sandalsand Earrings

Got a chance to grab some hugs from some out of town family members. They were visiting for a Braves game, so that was a real treat.

Oh and we added these little guys to our fish family. FishI know the pic isn’t that great. They’d just arrived in their new home and were swimming around like crazy. You can’t see them all but there are nine of them.

So, now it’s your turn. Let’s hear it.

What did you do this weekend? Are you a Marvel Comics fan? If so, who’s your favorite Marvel comic book hero or heroine?


Friday, April 17, 2015

Theater Review: Blues for an Alabama Sky

FullSizeRenderLast night, my husband and I enjoyed  dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. Afterwards, we headed to Midtown for a show at my favorite theater. The play, Blues for an Alabama Skyfirst debuted on stage in Atlanta 20 years ago. Congratulations to the playwright Pearl Cleage on the anniversary!
I’ve been waiting for this play since I saw the announcement for it last year. I even bought the play from with plans to read it before I saw the show. Unfortunately, the reading it before the show part didn’t happen (nope, not even with a year to get it done), but oh well. 
It was quite cool to watch the piece come alive on stage. The cast was small – six members, with one who made only two brief (yet notable) appearances. But I loved it! Fewer characters just made it so easy for me to get swallowed up in their thoughts, feelings, emotions and actions. Each character brought his/her own depth to the stage, and it was beautiful. For two hours and some change I was a resident of Harlem, New York in the summer of 1930. A time when the Harlem Renaissance was interrupted by the perils of the Great Depression. 
After the show, a modest group of theater enthusiasts, students and fans gathered to hear Cleage talk about the play and other aspects of her career. Oh how I love to hear an artist “talk shop.” To be a part of the conversation in person is an even bigger treat.  Think buttercream frosting on your favorite, family recipe dessert. Sweet, right?
Every dreaming bone in my body began to twitch and tingle as my heart beat to the rhythm of the conversation. Questions and comments from those gathered showed just how successfully Cleage’s work had drawn in the audience. I didn’t ask any questions. I guess I was just lost in the listening.
Believe it or not, we didn’t decide to attend last night’s show until earlier the same day. We certainly couldn’t have planned the evening any better, though.
So, if you’re in Atlanta or plan to visit between now and Mother’s Day, consider adding Blues for an Alabama Sky to your list of things to do. Click here for backstory and an interesting interview with Pearl Cleage.
Do you enjoy the theater? What was the last stage play you saw and how was it?

Monday, January 12, 2015

5 things about the movie Top Five that didn’t make me nauseous

This weekend my husband and I went to see the movie ‘Top Five’ – a comedy starring Chris Rock that hit theaters two weeks before Christmas. If asked to describe it in one word, I’d probably just say, “Yuck.”

I’m not a big Chris Rock fan. From the previews (and past experience), I guessed his brand of comedy would be too much for my ears. I was right.

My husband, on the other hand, thought the movie would be a bit more tame than it was. I knew better. As we exited the theater, I said, “If Jesus had returned while I was in that theater I would’ve pulled an ‘Adam.’”

Lord, this man you gave me.”

We laughed, but he knows he owes me big for that one.

Like I said earlier, the language alone was just way too much for my taste. I felt the need to scrub my ears when it was over.

The next morning I thought, “I gave away two hours of my life in that theater. There has to be something about it that wasn’t so bad. After some thought, my mind eked out these five things about the movie that didn’t totally make me sick:

  1. Hearing everyone’s “top five” was probably the coolest part of the movie. Top five what, you ask. Unfortunately, I’m not into spoilers so I can’t tell you that.
  2. The unexpected twist with the character “James Nielson.” Check the full cast list and you’ll notice this character isn’t listed. That’s because he is, but isn’t, an actual character in the movie. Confusing? Sorry. Although I didn’t like the movie, still not into spoilers. Sadly, this means you’ll have to actually watch the movie to see the twist.
  3. The unexpected guest appearance by comedian and actor Jerry Seinfeld. Yeah, I didn’t see that one coming. Yet, I walked away almost disturbed that he was in the film. Go figure.
  4. Rock’s costar (Rosario Dawson) in the movie was a journalist. I always like to watch journalists work – real life or fiction.
  5. To my surprise, the movie had a decent storyline. Too bad you can’t strip away the overbearing profanity and at least one highly vulgar scene. The movie may have been a DVD I’d buy to watch on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

I’m not perfect by any stretch of even the most creative imagination. I get tickled just thinking about it. Suffice it to say, I’ve absorbed my share of questionable content. With mounds of content thrown at us daily, we almost can’t help it. But some things really do make me say, “Whoa! Now that was a boatload of unnecessary junk to which I just subjected myself.”

We do it with food. And we do it with what we like to call “entertainment.” Yet, for some reason we feel because it’s labeled “entertainment it’s ok. But is it? Consistently inhaling bad food causes all manner of sickness and disease in our physical bodies. So it makes sense that to consistently take in all manner of foolishness in the name of “entertainment” will cause disease in our emotional and spiritual bodies?

It’s certainly something to think about, isn’t it?

P.S. I haven’t been written since October. So Mr. Nixon suggested I should really thank him for taking me to see that crazy movie and getting my creative juices flowing again. *insert blank stare here* Ok, honey. Thank you. BTW, we actually set out to go so The Imitation Game, but it was sold out.