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.

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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?

 

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.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Girl’s Eye Review: Think Like A Man, Part 2

“When are you going to finish your review,” read the text message from the one sent from heaven to hold me accountable. And where was I? In the nail salon! 🙂 A girl must always  keep her hands well manicured. That’s a girl’s eye rule! Don’t forget it. Anyway, he may or may not have thought I’d forgotten I owe you a part two, but I had not.

First, here are quotes from a couple of comments about the last post and/or the movie itself:

“This is a thoughtful review and a reminder that what Hollywood is feeding our young ladies must always be filtered through our own values.”

This so true. We MUST take it upon ourselves to give our young women the truth of our own values and beliefs. If we don’t, make no mistake about it Hollywood will always be waiting with a star-studded fork to shove their truth right down our princesses’ throats. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Hollywood. If you’ve been journeying with me long enough you know I even had dreams of moving to La La Land (Los Angeles, that is). There’s always been something about Tinsel Town that stimulates the creative turtle diva in me, begging her to come out of her shell. Being a follower of Jesus Christ doesn’t mean I think everything about the place is rotten. But I do know we must be vigilant about making sure we know where our truth comes from and filter everything else through that truth.

“…I definitely saw pieces of myself in some of the characters(male and female). It made me reflect on how much I’ve changed and how God has kept me despite my repeated foolishness in relationships.”

O.M.G. If I didn’t know any better I’d think I wrote those two sentences myself. When I read those words it sure was refreshing to find I’m not the only one singing “look where He brought me from…” Well maybe you don’t know that old church song, but believe me, while watching the movie I had many a moment where I was thinking, “here is a good place where that old song doth apply.”

I saw one main theme displayed differently between each of the women in the movie, yet prominently throughout. It was the theme of VALUE. Here’s something you will hear me say time and again: You can tell a lot about a woman’s worth or how much she subconsciously believes she is worth by the type of unhealthy relationships to which she will allow herself to fall prey. We easily see the reflection in romantic (semi-romantic, wanna be romantic, she THINKS romantic, etc) relationships with men or even general friendships with other our girlfriends. However, for the purposes of this post we’ll stay with the theme of the movie and talk about the romantic relationships.

The darling divas in the movie represented well from one end of the value spectrum to the other.

On one end: We have a woman who gives herself away in sexual encounters with a man or men who barely even or can’t at all remember her name after the deed is done. Awaking to shame and regret, she often feels helpless to break the cycle. That’s because she’s looking for something – validation. She’s desperate for someone to let her know she’s worth more than she’ll ever even believe and to treat her accordingly. Now whereas a good man can certainly serve as God’s “man on the ground” for this, a woman must ultimately come to know her priceless value for herself. Otherwise, attempts to convince her will be futile.

On the other end: There’s the woman who swings so high on the corporate ladder until she feels the only man worthy of her attention is a man swinging equally as high (or, of course, higher) on his own ladder. Is her view of her worth overly inflated or is she just “not settling,” one might ask? Those are pretty good questions. Maybe topic for debate here one day.

Raise your hand if you can (from your past or your present) relate to either of these scenarios – maybe one more than the other or another scenario somewhere in between. My hand is raised and waving like a crazy woman, because I certainly can. Praise God for His grace, mercy and unending patience as I’ve struggled to learn who I am and how valuable I am.

As I think about it, I guess Steve Harvey’s movie did address this flaw in women, albeit indirectly. Although I’m not interested in learning how to think like anyone else (I have a hard enough time simply being me), the movie prompted me to check my personal worth-o-meter and see what the reading is these days. For me to get an understanding of how much I’m truly worth and begin acting accordingly, I first had to consult the One who I believe created me. He certainly knows what value He placed on me and means for me to have. I’ll admit, it’s a constant process, though. There have been seasons of embarrassingly low measure on my worth-o-meter as evidenced through all sorts of relationships and situations – friendships, employment relationships, and of course, relationships with men. One day I’ll have to share with you some of the ways God has taught me about my value. I’m sure a few of His unique ways will surprise you, because they sure surprised me.

For now I’ll let you go, but I hope not without prompting you to consider what your relationship choices say about your value. Especially if you’re one of my unmarried girlfriends… Ask yourself this question:

Do my relationship choices confirm that I am priceless or diminish my value?

Hmmmm…. See you in the comments.