Monday, December 23, 2013

The Lower East Live EP by Teresa Jenee

Gorgeous minimalist soul ballads and experimental melodic chord progressions reminding us to connect. It's Teresa and her keys creating the music in the silence between notes. The Lower East Live, an EP recorded at Rockwood Music Hall in NYC can also be described as a "moment of zen."

It starts out with The Storm, a sound check that tosses in mishappenings in such rhythm and with such certainty that it's hard to believe they weren't orchestrated.

The second, Tahitian Vanilla,  conveys a reminiscence of ballads such as Ode to October with visual sound that enables the listener to hear the fragrance of an easy development from Haiku-esque wonder into a violent jazzy scat before returning home to nature.

Next, Cleopatra Love & War giving us piano accented by strings and an unsettling love story.

Finally, Electric Yellow, a remix that reminds us that Teresa was always a genius.

The Lower East Live EP  provides a brilliant re-interpretation of Electric Yellow complete with crowd participation. I'm both inspired and on the edge of my seat. And the artwork is dope.

Pop Robbery: What to do if you get robbed.

It happens a lot: Pop hop stealing beats from indie artists. Portland, OR based Indie hip hop news source, We Out Here Magazine, recently broke a story about a Portland artist who may have gotten robbed.

Rumor has it that there was "controversy surrounding the new Rick Ross x Jay Z track Devil Is A Lie where KE On A Track has been accused of stealing the beat from Major Seven. Well the story gets murkier and took a turn into Portland when Complex writer Edwin Ortiz traced the beat to new rapper Manny Monday’s October single, OG Shit, which he had reported as produced by Lex Luger" (We Out Here Magazine, Dec. 20, 2013).

Photo courtesy of We Out Here Mag
Often, indie artists feel like their hands are tied when they get violated by pop artists but pop artists are subject to the same laws everyone else is subject to. If a copyright is infringed upon, it's up to the artist to hold the thief accountable or not.

First of all, what's a copyright?
In short, a copyright is the right of an artist to make money off of copies of their art. If you have a copyright and somebody else is making money off your shit without your permission, they have violated your copyright.

Once you fix your work into a tangible medium, you technically own a copyright. So if you type your lyrics on a computer, you have a copyright. If you save your beat in Pro Tools, Fruityloops, Audacity, Garage Band, or any other mixing software, you have a copyright. If you create a video of yourself performing your song, you have a copyright. If you print the lyrics to your song on a T-shirt, you have a copyright. Even if you write a status on Facebook you own a copyright to that status.* Most of these electronic media have time stamps associated with whatever is saved or posted, so this can help to determine when the piece was created.

HOWEVER: if you perform your song live and it is NOT recorded, YOU DO NOT HAVE A COPYRIGHT. That means that if you sing your song at an open mic and somebody goes home and records it, THEY can claim the copyright.

Based on the example of OG Shit, it is alleged that the single Devil Is a Lie violated somebody's copyright. If this ever happens to you, you have rights that you can enforce if you choose to.

1. As a precursor to all of it, make sure you own your copyright. If you signed your copyright or your masters away to somebody else, like a label, you're probably not gonna have a leg to stand on. So don't give away the rights to your shit.

2. Register your copyright with the US Copyright Office. If you find the process confusing, Youtube instruction videos can help. If you register your copyright within the FIRST 3 MONTHS of having fixed your beat or your song in a tangible medium, then you might be able to get statutory damages. That means court costs, lawyer fees and shit like that. If you don't register your copyright within the first 3 months of creating your work, you may still get damages based on what was profited, but this is harder to prove.

The Poor Man's Copyright, you know, mailing a copy of your EP or lyrics to yourself, may help establish when a piece was made, but if you want to take someone to court for real, you have to register your copyright with the Copyright Office. Show a judge an envelope with your shit in it and you will be clowned in court.

3. Get a lawyer. If it's some round the way hood shit, you may be able to just go to a civil court, show your copyright registration and get damages. But if you're going up against pop industry folks, you don't wanna be alone. You can contact your regional arts commission or your local Recording Academy chapter. These folks are artist advocates and can lead you in a direction toward success. You can also file a complaint with the FBI's cyber division. If this all sounds like some mafia gangster type shit, that's because it is.

Another option is to make more music and keep it moving, but that's that illuminati shit.


*There was some controversy recently about whether or not a person can relinquish the copyright to their original work to Facebook if they post it, but this is not the case. When posting something to Facebook, you give them a license, to make money with your shit and use it however they want to on their site, but you still own the copyright.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A Twitch's Mind: Introduction to a Brilliant System

Imagine a skull, if you will, with a square shaped hole through the face of it. Running through from infinity in both directions, an industrial style, rickety, wooden railroad track. Protruding from from the temple is a lever that flicks back and forth from a tiny little embedded brass sign that says "forward" accented symmetrically with a tiny little embedded brass sign on the other side that says "backward". Now picture a train cart system of file cabinets on this train track that also sprawl infinitely in both directions. Each train cart file cabinet is stamped with a number system above the handle on their fronts. Sitting in a tiny lazy boy suspended by bungee chords to bolts drilled into the outer brows, is a tiny brilliant man with an addiction to rationalizing, and an eye on both his face and the back of his head. Perched in perfect sight of not only the numbers on the handles of the train cart file cabinets, but also their contents when requested, this tiny little brilliant man switches the lever back and forth at what appears to be thousands of miles an hour. The train cart file cabinets as expected correlate at even faster speeds as to reveal the correct file with the correct request. Imagine this is the average mind.

Now see the same scenario only the lever has been disconnected due to it's inefficiency and replaced with a twister wheel. The file cabinets are alive and speak harshly back and forth with the tiny little mohawked man suspended in mid air, darting to and fro around all sides of the talking file cabinets with bat wings and a home made pimp cane. The labels are confusingly perpendicular to the run of the train track on both temples etched in like phone numbers on a bathroom stall. One saying "fuck it" and the other saying "20/20". As they bicker back and forth for eternity the little tiny man valiantly debates very rarely with only one talking file cabinet while birds swarm around pecking at his eye in the back of his head... That's a nutshell version of a Twitch's mind... Surprisingly, this system works brilliantly...

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Return of the Raw: A Mix Tape by DJ Reminise of the Soulition

DJ REMINISE, of Different, Pa Dukes, and Paper Trail fame has released a new mixtape for the lovers of mixtapes:  
RETURN OF THE RAW. It's groovy as fuck, so just hit play and pour the dranks.

Reminise is also a member of the Soul, Afro Beat, House, Deep Funk, Reggae/Dancehall, True School Hip Hop, Latin, Breakbeat, Acid Jazz, Nu Soul, Rare Groove spinnin' DJ coalition The Soulition out of STL/ATL (That's St. Louis, MO and Atlanta, GA for those who ain't hip to hood slang). members of The Soulition include Nappy DJ Needles, Enoch Is Real, DJ Reminise, Will Power, DJ J Mo, DJ Nimbus, Applejac, DJ Rahdu, DJ Cuzzin B, Frances Jaye, M Knight, DJ Kase One, DJ 76kiD and DJ Agile One. 

 Click the cover art to download RETURN OF THE RAW
(avoid downloading spam by clicking the portion of the link that reads
"click here to download from sendspace")

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

It's Getting Icy Out Here

The Midwest is experiencing a winter for the history books. Writer and poet Teddi B shares with us the story of how he made it to the bus this morning in a piece called "It's Getting Icy Out Here."

:::Good Morning. Here's a story:::

Good Morning, beautiful people! I would like to share my morning with you today. here's how I got my day started.

I woke up 15 minutes before I had to be out the door, after having had three hours of sleep. I lazily woke myself and got dressed and then realized I didn't have Exact change for the bus, thereby adding 3 minutes to my morning. So, as I walked into 7-11 to break a ten and get change, a Pepsi truck pulled up outside blocking my view of the bus stop. I took note and resolved to get done extra expediently.... upon leaving said convenient (albeit overpriced) store, I headed for the Pepsi truck and heard what sounded like air brakes on the other side of it (if you ride the bus you know that sound lol) so I quickly trotted around the Pepsi truck and behold the bus was there! people were getting off luckily, though I wonder where they were coming from at 6:37am...

but I digress...

So... I proceed to run for the bus, which is something I NEVER do on sheer principle. but I made the exception rather than stand in the cold for thirty minutes.

Now to the good part...

as I rounded the bus, I barely missed slamming into someone coming out of the rear door. and in my haste to apologize and make it to the summit, which was the front door, I neglected to remember that it's winter time and thus was oblivious to the patch of ice that lay between myself and my destination. I took a sprinting step and BOOM.. Down I went with a loud thud, as I attempted to catch myself against the side of the bus but only managed to draw more attention to my seemingly endless tumble... as a last ditch effort, I reached for the door, half to stay up and half, I think, because it was my destination and I was so close! I grabbed it, but it did not hold. It flexed under me and I hit the ground, my head illuminated by the interior lights of the bus, and all I could do was look up at the driver from my snow covered embarrassment and say "it's getting icy out here".

I proceeded to board and ride the bus, making no eye contact with anyone aboard.

the end.

you're welcome.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Breaking Down the Game with Christopher Burns

Photo by Darius B. Williams
We know that the music industry is changing in real time, but how do we as indie artists take advantage of the change? Art lover, sneaker mogul, and music publisher Christopher D. Burns, MFA talks about his experience and breaks down the game.

What has to happen is an empowerment of the indie artist. I don't even do music, but this spring when my shoe company was doing really well, I diversified and produced a single. I paid for the video to be shot, I paid for the beat and studio time. I didn't know anything about the publishing industry and I wanted to help, so I didn't even put the publishing under my name. I let the artist do it all and I moved him towards Tunecore. I knew that Tunecore could get the music on all of the platforms and since it was one single I let it go. He has since gotten several royalty checks on that one song, the Youtube vid is at 20K and he's been invited by emcees in Europe to do small, but paid features. (I leave the name out because this is a post for the purpose of explaining how to empower). I state all of this to say that those of us in small business have to share our knowledge. I break my neck to share what I know with people. I post it in my blog and when I write on my other blog, I share as much as I can. Breaking an artist is definitely possible and attainable. If I can make my own running shoe and sell 600 pair in competition with Nike and Adidas, emcees with the right strategies can get to the public and sell downloads. Here is how:

1. Make sure you have a web presence that is central to your brand. One place. I want to visit your site and find everything I need to know.

2. Sign up with a digital distributor like Tunecore (they will get you with BMI or ASCAP or you can sign up to keep your catalog there on your own) to have your music placed on all of the digital platforms. You can also sign up for Createspace to control this on your own and release music through - 60% of all music is downloaded on iTunes the other 30 is Amazon, the rest is Google Play, etc.

Christopher sporting ARCH sneakers
3. Get you a dedicated Youtube station which you can later monetize if you get the traffic. When you have a solid base of 2 videos sign up with VEVO which will gain you distribution and connection to other artists in the genre and VEVO has an app on Roku and other wireless streaming devices.

4. Set up your facebook page/instagram/tumblr and grant yourself a budget of 30-50 dollars per month to build likes. I know personally that every 1000 fans/likes will get you interaction with about 70 people. Yep it's that small, but the more people you have like your page the more you reach your base.

5. Make dope fucking music and believe in it.

I think it's critical that we share what has helped us. I may have put my shoe company on hiatus, but after a lot of trial and error, when I'm ready to relaunch (deeper pockets) I have 4 years of experimentation with results to go to. I'm passionate about the small biz and artists who are willing to listen and learn.

Find out more about Christopher's publishing company at When you're done, check out his sneakers at because the only thing doper than empowerment is empowerment + new kicks.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Industry Boogeyman

A friend shared this article about the challenges of women in the music industry, even more specifically, Black women's challenges.. Reading the introduction, I couldn't help but think, "what is this? Suffrage?" I am always amazed at how far behind the times the art industry can be...especially since artists are supposed to be at the forefront of societal transformation, right?

The article brought up some things that I hear ALL THE TIME but don't necessarily experience.
I see my comrades in the struggle really suffering with their creativity because of the belief that women don't get support in the music industry, that white male domination is a hindrance to women, and that there's all this pressure to be something other than who you are when you're a female artist.

Spending time in LA, I discovered that artists' emotional connection to other people's opinions is often driven by money. For artists who are driven by money, rejection can be detrimental, as it directly affects immediate cash flow. However, being true to your voice usually pays off much greater in the long run because fans know they can trust you and your message.

Ultimately, it's not about the industry peers or execs. It's about the people who are buying your music. Take care of them and they'll take care of you. At least that's been my experience. Doesn't mean that support isn't necessary to keep morale and profitability up, but when your music touches people, it doesn't matter what industry moguls think. They're trying to get to the people themselves. The people are the goal...not money. Successful artists understand this.

I want to see more women of color creating more art and not being hindered by fear of the big bad industry boogeywhiteman myth.

If you're an artist with a vagina and/or melanin who doesn't define your value based on the opinions of white men, you'll find supportive folks all over the globe coming together to keep it real post-Civil War. Folks like The Female Producers Association. 

The purpose of The Female Producers Association is to provide a creative networking outlet for women worldwide. The organization hopes to facilitate learning, long term connections and business relationships that will allow creative women to progress within their own fields and creative endeavors.

Thanks, Danielle for the information. I learned something.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Healer's Testament: Transforming The Filthy Lucre

A challenge that many independent artists face is the challenge of accepting money as a part of the process. I know this challenge well. Learning to accept increasing amounts of money for the work I do is very difficult for me at times because my art is a sacred thing to me and money...well, money is evil, right? But what of those who appreciate me? Should they not be able to give to me as much as I want to give to them?

Sarah B. Tonin is an independent Spoken Word Artist and Healing Arts Therapist. In this piece, she discusses her history and indoctrination concerning money and how she is transforming "The Filthy Lucre" into Support and Abundance. I hope you are as inspired by her testimony as I was.

A Healer's Testament: Transforming the Filthy Lucre by Sarah B. Tonin
I had a conversation with a friend last week, and she asked me some very simple questions that had previously uncharted possible answers. I happen to believe that the solutions you seek usually always begin first with the right questions being asked. I thank God for having people in my life who help me introspect with certain accuracy.

My friend asked me, "What did money ever do to you, for you to dislike it so much?" I was determined that disliking money was not a problem I had, sure as I have businesses that I'm determined to see succeed. Then she illustrated to me my detachment from what I undoubtedly perceived to be "filthy lucre". She asked me again, "Why don't you see it as part of your processes, compensation for your effort, as opposed to a separate offensive entity that you want no REAL association with?" At first I defended with, "I am a healer, and money runs opposite my purpose." I thought after she pointed out, that I would not be able to continue to perform as a healer if I didn't first accept that capital will support my efforts and help sustain my practices (I knew this, but.....) She insisted, "If the universe wants to give you money, why won't you just accept that? It knows that you will not abuse and misuse people to attain it." So, I sat thinking for a moment, with tears in my eyes because we were being real, and stripped down and either I didn't want to admit money's importance to my missions, or because I just didn't want to go that deep into my own psyche at the moment....but I thought about it.

Two days later, after she was safely back in Portland, I was still contemplating. I could not recall ever being set aside for the love of money by the important people in my life. No one had ever stolen from me, or given me any funds that could be linked to illegal activity. I didn't know WHY I was so detached from the idea of accumulation of financial gain. Another day passes, and I think about how many times in the past I've been reluctant to work with money. I wanted NOTHING to do with people's cash. It was not worth the "headache" as I so often recall thinking. I actually made my path more difficult at times, in avoidance of dealing with money. That's when it came to me! I had not been at odds with money because of anything it had done to me. I had watched how corrupt people around me became with the prospect and actuality of money being within their grasp. I had seen the love of lucre destroy friendships, marriages, strain parental ties. I have witnessed people fight over it. Known of those being killed for it. I understood, without actually being in the midst of any of these instances that money could indeed created a volatile and hostile environment....and I was determined to exist in the midst peace and healing. Without ever really considering how far I had removed myself from the reality of things, money and I became estranged.

Today, with a renewed understanding of our misunderstanding, I'm prepared to kiss and make up. I know that I am who I am, and that money will not alter my character, to become like those I've seen descend to the most foul of lows because of character issues in them...not the money. I know that I will not lose my title of being a healer, and that money will work with me to further healing efforts for every single person it helps me to reach. I know I won't risk my individualism and become one in a sea of others, who live in the pursuit of money. And dear Universe, if you're still in a generous mood, I'm more than willing to accept the money you've been trying to send my way. Sorry it took so long to accept your offer of support and abundance. I'm learning how to get out of my own way more, with each passing day. I have long admitted to being an anomaly to myself though...even in all the good I seek to manifest for others. I'm gonna chill with that anomaly shit.

Sarah, let's get these monies!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

On Gatekeepers

On Gatekeepers:

When we do our work, we are undoubtedly confronted by gatekeepers who insist that we prove to them that we have done what it takes to be able to do the work that we do. So who the fuck is a gatekeeper? What the fuck difference does a gatekeeper make? And why the FUCK do we listen to them?

To understand the answer to these questions, we must understand motives. Here are 4 examples of some very common gatekeepers. See if you can identify their motives.

1. The Fragile: she is terrified of following her own path. Whenever she makes a comment or develops a notion that someone doesn't agree with, she changes her story in order to be perceived as intelligent (or at least, not foolish). By the time she's done explaining her goal, it sounds like some cliche shit from a made for TV movie. As a result of never having the back bone to achieve her original goal, she aims to instill fear in all those who display the potential to be powerful. She wants to water down the dreams of everyone around her in the same way she has been watered down. She is known to say things like "I wouldn't do that if I were you," "yeah, but all the work would never justify the outcome," and the famed, "sounds nice, but it's not in the budget."

What is The Fragile motive?

2. The Competitor: she prides herself in being at the top of her field. She is frightened by the truth that with the right mentors and cultivation, you will undoubtedly be doper than she is. She will poise herself to appear stronger and more powerful than she is in order to keep you intimidated enough to believe what she says. The Competitor probably went through the "system" to achieve all the honors, signatures, and tags that would keep The Fragile from having anything to say around her. In fact, The Competitor often surrounds herself with The Fragile in order to appear awesome by comparison. If challenged head on, The Competitor will fight or flee. If she fights, she'll sound ridiculous to a smart person. If she discovers her ridiculousness, she'll try to save face by discrediting her opponent. She devalues all things that lie outside of her institution, and is often overheard saying things like "you may be passionate, but from where did you graduate?"

What is The Competitor motive?

3. The Collector: she is much less interested in the actual work and much more interested in how much she can do before she dies. She can tell you all the schools she's been to, the people she's worked with, the degrees she's completed, the number of stamps on her passport and the papers she's published. The Collector is full of great stories and experiences. The Fragile and The Competitor look up to The Collector because she's living the life they always dreamed. She enjoys being perceived as amazing by those who value letters and accolades, but she's really just having aimless fun. If you ask The Collector what her passion is, the honest answer will have nothing to do with work. It may, instead, be something like "I love to travel and meet new people!" She may seem harmless, but her aimlessness and lack of focus can be a threat to someone who is relying on her for the work she claims to do.

What is The Collector motive?

4. The Hater: she hates anything that looks productive. If she didn't think of it first, it's wrong. If somebody listens to what she thinks and champions it, the hater will rethink her position. There is always a reason why "it just won't work" no matter what it is. She fails at what she tries because she gives up, not because she gives it a go and sees it through to the end. At best, she will reluctantly settle in the same camp as The Fragile. At worst, she will stay sick and look way older than she really is. Then she'll die at 55 from some rare illness. Avoid her.

What is The Hater motive?

Now that we know who the gatekeepers are, let's explore who they aren't. See if you can identify their motives.

1. The Champion: though she may be more decorated than The Collector and more influential than The Competitor, her goal is to find and highlight the awesomeness in others. A compliment from her feels genuine, as you know she's coming from a place of expertise. She has no need to pull others down because she is secure in herself. When finding a new student, The Champion won't withhold information in order to maintain an upper hand. In fact, she does just the opposite: she answers every question completely and honestly and encourages others to live their dreams, research their passion, hone their craft, and contact her if they ever need assistance. The Collector and The Competitor are always curious as to why the largest group of people at a networking event are surrounding The Champion, vying for attention. The Champion could care less because her work and the people she serves are way more important to her than who's who at the networking event. In fact, the only reason she's at the networking event is to find people to introduce to The Philanthropist.

What is The Champion motive?

2. The Philanthropist: she is looking for opportunities to connect people with resources. She keeps a bird's eye view of all the goings on in order to identify where links are missing and how she can be of assistance. If asked what she does, she'll respond, "I'm looking to give resources away." A curious thing occurs when The Gatekeepers interact with The Philanthropist: they either run away because they're full of shit, or they try to make others think that they discovered The know, doing that typical gatekeeper dance: "If you wanna get to her, you gotta come through me! Mwahahahah!" The Philanthropist will gladly give you her cell number if you ask for it, and only about 3 of every 10 contacts will follow up, so she's not as busy as one may think. The Philanthropist and The Champion are old friends who work together all the time, comfortably relying on each other to identify and provide resources for emerging leaders.

What is The Philanthropist motive?

3. The Renegade: she doesn't give a shit about any institution and looks very strange to The Gatekeepers. She doesn't dress like others. She doesn't talk like others, and she doesn't spend a lot of time with people who are not directly involved in her work. She has strong connections to the people she serves and she's only interested in whether or not an initiative works for those people. Despite her somewhat odd appearance and mannerism, she knows exactly what she's doing and what she came for. The Champion refers to the Renegade saying things like, "Welp, that's our Renegade!" and is always available to lend a helping hand.

What is The Renegade motive?

4. The Entrepreneur: the entrepreneur is the most auspicious of the non-Gatekeepers and was probably an ambitious teenager. She is a job creator, is usually very wealthy, and has absolutely zero time for bullshit. We rarely see the entrepreneur because she's in an office in a far off land scheming to discover a more efficient method for facilitating production and distribution. When she discovers her new methods, she pops her head out of the water. The unveiling is a big fucking deal, costs hella to get in, and The Collector has a ticket. The Entrepreneur is in the paper a lot and she can be followed on twitter.

What is The Entrepreneur motive?

Now that we know what gatekeepers are and what they aren't, we can gain the perspective we need to cultivate the relationships and motives that will help us get where we want to go. Gatekeepers make no difference when our mind, spirit, and resources are pointed in the right direction: the direction of service. So we don't listen to them. We listen to our hearts. We focus on the population we aim to SERVE because that population is going hungry waiting for us to mind our own business. Explore your passion. Then, see if you can identify your motives....

What is Your motive?

Thug Life,

Monday, October 14, 2013

I'm a GROWN ASS MAN! A Q&A with Sir Ervin Williams

Photo courtesy of Michael Thomas
I approached Sir Ervin after he ripped an open mic and exclaimed, "You know why I like you? Cuz you just don't care what people think!" He raised his eyebrows real high, creating a dozen wrinkles in his forehead. Then, without missing a beat, looked me dead in the eye with authority and replied, "You cain't! You will go crazy worrying about what people think!" At that moment, I fell in love. Not the gooey girl-boy "I like you. Do you like me?" kinda love, but the "Don't try to run from me cuz I'ma CATCHYA!" kinda love. I'd seen Ervin do what some would consider spoken word performances on the scene. But I'm a witness. I know that when this man is put on a stage, the room becomes a studio theater and Sir Ervin becomes a One Man Show. With a seamless weave of history lessons, drama, comedy, and poetry into an experience that turns audiences into congregations, the only thing folks gon be thinkin' and sayin' is "AMEN!" All creatures of the Galaxy, unite for an introduction to the incredibly talented and purpose driven Sir Ervin Williams! 

Blue: Where are you from and what hood do you claim?

Sir Ervin: I’m from Saint Louis, MO… North Side STL to be exact. And I don’t claim any particular hood I’m a grown ass man LOL!!!

B: Tell us a little about your history in the arts.
Photo courtesy of Michael Thomas
SE: I’ve been acting as long as I can remember…. I’m an actor, director, playwright, poet, spoken word artist (there is a difference), educator, mentor… Hell you name it and I probably do it. I’ve been in featured films, commercials, plays, I even directed a kids television program called “The Learning Express” google it…LOL! I enjoy the arts; all facades of them and I believe you should study your craft. This way, you will always know where it’s been, gone and where it’s about to go….

B: As a writer, actor, director, and educator how do you bring your talents together in your art?

SE: My #1 Goal is to always educate and enlighten the masses. Whether they agree with what I’m saying or not I love to evoke conversations that may never take place on a day to day basis. As a writer I challenge my audience to see life, or a lesson, through my eyes. I want them to experience my thoughts through my work. As a director I always make concise and conscious decisions with respect to what I’m portraying to my audience. I don’t like to shuck and jive anyone and I don’t smile unless I’m happy... and I don’t dance unless I hear music. With that being said, I like to create what I’m thinking and then broadcast my thoughts in the form of my understanding. As an actor, I like to take characters and experience them through everyday life… Place them in this time; give them a voice, a vision and a goal to obtain… If I’m remaking a character I never watch the original, I like to develop the character from “Sir Ervin’s” point-of-view and see how I can breathe life into the role… As an educator I always challenge my students to challenge me… I teach them how to “think outside of the box, to get into the box." My students are allowed to create, develop, and craft their own beliefs about art. I give them structure, but I allow them to give the subject matter meaning… I choose to encompass all of these talents in all of my work… The #1 goal is to educate and that’s what I try to do with my work.

B: How would you describe your artistic vision?
Photo Courtesy of Richard Keith

SE: I will describe my artistic vision as nontraditional and unconventional… I know I’ve been given a gift, so I am extremely blessed and proud that I was chosen to challenge the masses. I know I don’t think like anyone else in the room, I understand that the glass is always half full; and I also understand that everyone isn’t going to get what I’m doing with my art, and that’s ok….My artistic vision is to see past what’s in front of us and understand that there’s a horizon about to happen….

B: What inspires your writing?

SE: Life and history inspires my writing. I love to be able to tell the story of forgotten memories, or sit at the foot of an elder when they’re speaking about their past life experiences. That’s where I gain wisdom and understanding of what I should be doing with this short life that was given to me… Everything, and I mean everything, can inspire me: from a butterfly floating in the air, to a conversation I hear on the streets, to an article I’ve read… When my mind decides it wants to be creative it starts doing so without my permission LOL!

B: If you could go on a road trip with any historical figure from the past, present, or future, who would it be and what would you talk about?

Photo courtesy of Michael Thomas
SE: Oh good question… There are so many people in history who I would love to go on a road trip with, but I would love to put more than one person in the car if I can… Passenger seat Harriet Tubman, because I still don’t think people understand the courage it took for her to do what she’s done in history… and all by (Foot).. I will put Martin and Malcolm X in the back seat to hear them debate each other, because contrary to popular belief they actually shared some of the same views. That’s why they had to be assassinated… (Too Much Power)… And I think in the middle of it all I would put my concept of (God)… and we would talk about everything from the meaning of life, to asking God why did he/she choose to make a giraffe. It would be a great trip, that would charge me to enlighten the masses…. WOW! Great question…

B: As a teacher, what do you want your students to take away?

SE: As a teacher I want my students to take away from me the concept of “Any and Everything you put your mind to can and is ascertainable.” I’m walking, breathing and living proof of that concept. I also want them to understand that there are adults in the world who genuinely care about their future and well-being: African American Males in particular… Furthermore, I want them to understand the power in words and have the determination to educate themselves beyond the text books and what the media tells them they’re supposed to be…

Sir Ervin with the cast of ZELLA. Photo courtesy of Michael Thomas

B: If you could go back in time, what would you tell 15 year old Ervin?
SE: I would tell 15 year old Ervin, that life is too short. Enjoy your teen years, because you have the rest of your life to be grown. I will also tell him to make more mistakes, forgive easier and don’t be so hard on yourself. Contrary to popular belief you are not a man as of yet….

B: What's next for Sir Ervin Williams?

Photo Courtesy of Richard Keith
SE: What’s next for me is everything…. LOL! I’m currently in the process of writing my first screenplay. I’m taking one of my plays and turning it into a movie. I’m going to shop it and one day in the near future you will see the vision on which I wanted to create the film. Also, getting healthier and making better decisions about my life spiritually is on the top of my list… Please look forward to my Book coming out 2014 “Mr. Duplicity” also, more plays, more acting, more movies…etc

B: Where can the people find you?

SE: People can always find me on Facebook @sirervinwilliams also in Worcester Mass, because that’s where I’m residing now. I’m also re-launching my website with more in-depth information about myself. Be looking for that Thank you so much for asking me to participate in such an awesome blog and I’m looking forward to doing more things with you guys in the future… Love, peace and SOUUUULLLLLL! LOL!

Thanks for visiting Uranus!

Photo courtesy of Michael Thomas

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Q & A with The Mad Dabber, Justin James Bridges

Dubbed "The Mad Dabber" with a jersey that reads "The Godfather of Uranus Is Blue," Justin James Bridges don't take no shit from the man, using his music as activism against the police state and the oppression of the populace through wack policy...all with a peace pipe in his hand. I met and performed with Justin during a 4/20 celebration at the World Famous Cannabis Cafe in 2012. That night, I got the highest I'd ever gotten in my life. In fact, I think I'm still high. But I digress.

Justin has worked with motley bands such as Patchwork Family and Leprechaun Theory, and has lent his talents to the impromptu living room single, Zombified by yours truly. In February 2013, Justin released his 3rd solo studio album entitled Long Road to Nowhere, where he discusses his approach to life as an easy traveler amidst relationships, dodging the boys in blue, and taking on the devil himself. His like butter blues guitar and road stories make for good travelin' music or just something to have playing while you're making soup cuz soup is the shit. Boys, girls, twins, triplets and so-on of the Galaxy, meet Justin James Bridges. Say it on me. Bleed!

Blue: Where are you from and what hood do you represent?

Justin: I was born in San Antonio, moved around Texas a bunch, lived in central Florida for 7 years, and graduated High School in Houston, TX. I would say I'm from the Hill Country in Central Texas cause that's the area where I feel most at home. 

B: What is your artistic mission and from whence cometh your inspiration?

J: 90% of the songs I write come from my dreams...come to think of it, most of the art I've ever been compelled to do, has come from my dreams. I feel now that I'm older I like to use my music to make people think, and hopefully, bring about a positive change. 

B: How did you get your start in the music world? 

J: I've always loved music, but it wasn't until I was almost 21 that I decide to pick up a guitar. I was having crazy dreams with music I'd never heard before and I decided I wanted to start playing. I told my parents and they talked to my uncle. At the time he was managing Pat Green, a country singer from Texas, and he got one of Pat's guitars for my parents. They gave me my first guitar and I've been addicted ever since. I literally played everyday 'til my fingers bled...a lot.
B: Describe your history in activism and how your world view influences your creativity. 

J: I've always been vocal about how I feel and what I'm thinking. I guess my music was more political than I realized at first, 'cause of my songs coming from my dreams, but it didn't take long before I started to understand what I was doing. I got on the radio back in 2010 and that's when I feel like my activism started to really show. Working with Local Live Media LLC, I was able to start really networking and getting as much info out to people as I could. I moved to Portland back in Jan of 2011, bringing an internet radio channel with me, ready to get a medical cannabis card, and looking to make a change. I had a dream about revolution a couple months before Occupy happened and woke up to write my song "Mysteries." I had a friend contact me and let me know about Occupy Portland, so we went down to the march on Oct. 6th to get video footage and make a video using "Mysteries" to motivate people to join the movement. While I was down at Occupy, I realized that there was no interpreters for the deaf, but there were deaf people there. I started to interpret and I stayed until we were attacked by the cops.  

B: In November 2011, you were brutally assaulted by Portland's finest, resulting in an injury that cost you the use of your legs. How has this experience affected you emotionally and creatively? 

J: After I was attacked, I couldn't use my right arm for 6 months, and I still can't use my right leg. I went from playing guitar 6-12 hours everyday to not being able to play at all...It was the hardest time of my life. For the first time that I could remember the music in my head was gone. I didn't know if it would ever come back. On Christmas Eve of 2011, I started to get movement in my right thumb, but I still had no feeling, and no music. I strapped my arm to my guitar and started using my thumb to pick and after a few weeks, the music came back. I could never explain the emotional impact, but the musical floodgates have been opened and it doesn't look like I'm slowing down anytime soon. I'll be announcing the release date of my 3rd album of the year, "On My Way," within the next few weeks. 

B: Despite your injuries, you continue to perform, tour, record, and build within the national cannabis community. What have been some of your recent favorite experiences with fans and supporters?

J: I'd have to say that the cannabis community has been amazing through all of these hard times. I reached out and they responded. This year I've had the honor of touring from Portland to Houston & back, playing at Seattle & Olympia's Hempfest, Portland's Hempstalk, and even playing some of the booths at the High Times Cannabis Cups, but I would have to say meeting my fans has been my favorite experience. During the "Long Road to Nowhere" album release tour I stopped in Lubbock, TX for a show and we had some time to kill so we decided to get some footage for some music videos. While we we're recording a family stopped to hear me play. The two young daughters listened 'til I was done playing and then they asked me and my crew to autograph their faces and arms. It was awesome...My other favorite moment happened at this years Seattle Hempfest after I finished my 4th set on the McWilliams Stage. I was headed back to some friends when I saw this boy with down syndrome telling everyone "Happy Hempfest!" He gave me a high five as I rolled by, and I could hear him say "Mom, I really want some sunglasses." I went back and asked him is name, He responded, sticking his chest out with the "S" for Supper Man on it, "I'm Daniel." I told him my name and he got really happy (his mom said they just saw me perform) then I gave him my 710/OIL glasses and he started dancing. We parted by saying "Happy Hempfest" and another high five. I will never forget that smile.
B: What is the story behind POTRadio and where is it headed?

J: POTradio was formed in February 2011, as another channel for Local Live Media LLC. I launched the channel streaming 24/7 music, cannabis talk radio, and news. After being attacked by the police the channel went down for a few months, but relaunched in 2012, bringing in more shows. Earlier this year, POTradio moved to fb, twitter, and youtube. You can still follow us on social media and eventually we plan on relaunching as a streaming channel.
B: What advice do you have for young artists in these streets?

J: Stay true to yourself and your art, not everyone will "get it" or understand. Artists are the ones who can inspire people to make enough change to save this world.  

B: If you could madly dab with any historical figure from the past, present, or future, who would it be and what would you do together?

J: That's a hard one...I guess Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Vincent van Gogh or Edgar Allen Poe. They have all inspired me in some way or another and it would be awesome to share the love. I would dab and jam with Jimi and Jim and then when we're done we'd just dab again. Conversations with a dabbed out Poe, and who knows, a dab may save the ear of Vincent Van Gogh.

B: If you could go back in time, what would you tell 7 year old Justin?

J: Love as much as you can and Music will make you happy.  

B: What's next for Justin Bridges?

J: I'm currently finishing up my 3rd album of 2013, "On My Way," as well as booking for a big tour next year. The Cannabis & Hemp Advocacy Tour (C.H.A.T.) will start at the End of Jan in San Francisco and will be stopping in CA, AZ, NM, TX, LA, CO, UT, NV, OR, and WA. The focus of C.H.A.T. is to educate people about hemp and cannabis, raise money to help fund local areas with their fight against prohibition, and my personal favorite, put money on the books of activists in jail for fighting this failed drug war. "America, it's time we had a C.H.A.T."

B: Where can the people find you?

J: You can check me out at, twitter, & facebook. Or you can find the Mad Dabber on fb, Twitter, and instagram.

Thanks for visiting Uranus!


Watch the Music Video for the Title Track from Long Road to Nowhere

Monday, September 30, 2013

Q & A with Robert Dillard

When I first heard Robert Dillard, I was flabbergasted. I like to use the word flabbergast to describe stupification: Stupified because his lyrical content was both intimately outrageous and rhythmic... and he looked good in a white t-shirt...and what's better than intimate outrage with rhythm in a white T? Nothing. That's what. It was circa 2007 at Legacy Books and Cafe in St. Louis, MO and Robert was performing Coward, a piece that left no room for speculation about what "that nigga" did because he was a punk pussy assed bitch (my deduction, not actually found within the lyrics of that song). Robert had been performing since circa 1999, gracing the mean, mean streets of poetry jams and open mics; amidst the StL Boheme of that frequently reminisced upon era that ushered in spoken word as a regional pop culture love child of hip hop and gentle interpretive metaphor.
Yet Robert's voice, illustrations, candor, subjects, timing, and timelessness let audiences know that they showed up for him and not the other way around.

I became a spectator, then a fan, and finally a collaborator...partly because I loved his music and partly because people kept asking me (1) if I knew him and (2) if we were going to collaborate. Once a fan of his mistook a picture of me for a picture of him, I figured it was time for us to be seen together in public. I had the opportunity to accompany Robert on guitar, open for his shows, and ransack his refrigerator and cabinets for peppermint bark. I learned that behind the music lied a sensitive, compassionate Pisces with a knack for human connection and a cheese problem. I could imagine that most would perceive him to be eccentric, but being accused of such myself, I recognized him as a compadre in the struggle, an intriguing inspiration, a teacher, and a dude uninterrupted. 

Countless performances and 3 studio albums later, I decided to virtually kidnap Robert for a  Q & A and chop it up with the rhythmic wonderkind. Residents of the Galaxy, meet the man...the myth...the guitar playing lyricist: Robert Dillard!

Blue: Where are you from and what hood do you claim?

Robert Dillard: I'm from St. Louis, MO..born and raised in The Central West End area. The hood I claim would be CWE ALL DAY BABY!!!!

B: How did you get started in music? 

RD: It all started with me keeping a journal. I've always been the kind of person that needed to release so that I wouldn't explode or get sick. I'd been journaling and writing poems since i was 6 years old. In 2002, an ex boyfriend of mine bought me a guitar, and I didn't know how to play it, but I taught myself and within a couple months, I wrote my first song and performed it. The feeling of release was so amazing, I kept doing it...and have been making and recording music since that time.

B: Please describe your musical and creative vision?

RD: I'm a writer first and foremost, but the instruments are an amazing vehicle to deliver my emotions, message, etc. I see each song/album as a snapshot of where I am in my life. I assess, document, and move forward, so that when I'm 127 years old, I can look back at these recordings as if they were a photo album. I'm completely disinterested in corporate hands contaminating my art with their green papered agenda.

B: Girls love you. Guys love you. How do you keep them all satisfied?

RD: I DON'T. LMAO. I appreciate any love that is being poured into me, but I am less interested in satisfying people these days, and more interested in being WHOLE. If who I am in my entirety is satisfying to someone, thats awesome...if not, thats awesome too.

B: You recently added politics to your repertoire. How did this come about and what affect has it had on your creativity? 

RD: So much of my message is wrapped up in connection. I love how I feel when I am heard and seen. I have seen so many people's flames blow out because they didn't feel like they mattered. A politician came to my show one day, loved my message and solicited my help with a few projects. I gladly agreed to, and I even got to infuse my art into the legislative process. I learned that I could help enforce justice through legislation, which is something that my art always spoke to.. It's been amazing making these two professions bedfellows.

B: What advice would you give to someone reaching for musical stardom?

RD: I would just remind them to stay focused on their art and what they want to express. As for fame, I think it's important that you use fame as a means to an end as opposed to just an end. The latter could lead to having life feel hollow.

B: If you could share a vegan wrap with any historical figure from the past, present, or future, who would they be? What would you ask them? 

RD: It would probably be Bayard Rustin, a gay social activist and civil rights leader, who also happened to be an aide to Dr. Martin Luther King. I would ask him "Where did you get all of that strength and courage? Strength to fight as not only a black man, but a gay black man during that period?....and how do you think we could go about bringing out that light in today's gay black men?

B: If you could go back in time, what would you tell 15 year old Robert? 

RD: I would say to him "Hold on sweet prince, it's going to get a lot more difficult, but you can handle it. You were built to last."

B: What's next for Robert Dillard? 

RD: I'm kicking around some idea's for a future political run for office, I'm finishing up my new album 'Adversity, Love and Light' and I'm also going to write a book once I'm done with the initial promoting of this record.

B: Where can the people find you? 

Cover art for Damage Control (click image for download)

RD: You can like my Robert Dillard facebook fan page, or go to my website, or follow me on twitter @ TheDillardLife or search my name on youtube or google. Information about my upcoming shows and projects will be on my website.



Watch Robert Dillard performing Oh Pretender from his 2012 release Damage Control

Saturday, September 21, 2013

For The Musical Independent

Since 2012, there are only 3 major music labels: Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and Universal Music Group. The last of EMI (an international label out of Britain) was absorbed by Warner in July of 2013 (that's less than 2 months ago). These Big 3 are conglomerates that consist of publishing houses that own all the publishing and copyrights on all major music in the entire world. And be careful with labels that call themselves "independent". Do a little research and you'll find that many well known independent labels are simply beards for the majors who either own huge percentages of the companies, or operate as a parent company to the "indie" labels. Though these labels can provide great financial backing and star power for projects, some drawbacks to being signed are:

(1) there's no guarantee the label will release your project,
(2) you will not own the copyright/publishing to your music and if the song blows up, the label gets all the royalties, and
(3) in order to stay in the favor of the labels over time, you have to do what they require, which may compromise your creativity and/or artistic integrity.

Another drawback is that if you actually do become "famous" and you want to leave the label, the majors have a track record of intimidating artists into staying under their auspices, which can range from endless lawsuits to sullying their reputation and turning the public against them so that they cannot be profitable beyond the label. If this happens, good lawyers and indie art advocates are available, but success is not guaranteed.

For some, being a workhorse for the music industry can be very appealing. Major labels offer promises of riches and fame and many Earthlings live for riches and fame. But if you're one of the artists who isn't impressed by the machine, no worries. The music industry has changed so much in the past 20 years that you can be the writer, publisher, and copyright owner for your own music, seek your own licensing opportunities, and collect royalties from the international use and distribution of your music. The degree to which you are successful depends on the work you put in and the relevance of your art to the people who listen to it. The best part of running your own career is that once you've achieved success, you become a gold mine for teaching others to do the same.

Uranus Is Blue is a resource for indies. Learn how to monetize your own career and read Q&As full of tips for how to make it work from the artists, bands, DJs, publishers, and copyright owners who are making it work. Visit and subscribe to the blog, youtube, tumblr, and facebook

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Q&A with Needles X Nodzilla

The Nappy DJ Needles X Nodzilla is the Ghetto Blastic blendmaster of turntables throughout St. Louis. He has been dubbed Best Club DJ by the Riverfront Times and is a Uranus Is Blue endorsed reliable source for dance parties in StL where people actually dance (and look real out of place if they don't). In fact, don't show up to a Nodzilla event without a change of clothes. The groove is so groovy that the walls bleed funk, so warm blooded animalia don't stand a chance. I'm a fan because his DJing saved my life with a song...and it's fun to watch a master at work. XXs, XYs and XYZs of the Universe, get a load of DJ Needles!

Blue: Where are you from, what high school did you go to, and what hood do you rep?

Needles: I'm from East St. Louis, Il. I went to Cardinal Ritter College Prep and currently I rep the "grimy" hood of Dogtown.

B: You're arguably one of the hardest working DJs in the upper Mason Dixon Region, bringin' the consistent boom bap soul since 2001. Tell us a little about your beginnin's in the record spinnin' bidness.


N: I began doing parties in 1994. My brother Nick had a friend who needed music for her birthday party and I had mad tapes of stuff I taped off the radio and a few cds. Surprisingly, it went over quite well! I got bit by whatever dj bug exists that night and that never went away. A few years later, I graduated from tapes and cds to actual turntables and vinyl and my break came courtesy of Rich Money at the Red Sea. He took a break and let me get on the tables and it's been on from there.

B: Technology in music can get out of control these days. How are you able to keep up with the times while maintaining the rustic feel in your spins and blends? What does your current performance setup consist of?

N: I don't get caught up in needing to keep up per sé...I work with what I have at the time. I will upgrade when the time and funds sync up! As far as maintaining the feel of the spins, I just play what I like. Flat out. I'm of the generation that's kind of a bridge between the music of the 70's/80's/90's and what's happening today whereas we're old enough to remember when the older stuff was new but can also recognize and appreciate the good stuff of today. Currently, my setup consists of 2 technic 1200 turntables, a rane sixty-two mixer, mac laptop, beats headphones, shure and ortofon needles and of course more than not, vinyl.

B: If you could split a pizza with any figure in history from the past, present or future, who would it be and why?

N: I hate questions like this because as soon as you answer, so many other people pop into your mind! Anyway, I suppose it would be J Dilla. I'm a fan of his production and I'd love to just eat my pizza while he spoke. It'd also be dope if he had his mpc with him for some beat-making demonstrations.

B: Your quixotic blends and beat projects have put many an audience in a trance. What type of music inspires you and what do you look for in a groove?

N: I'd say the music that inspires me is vintage funk, soul, jazz & Hip Hop. There's something special about those drums, guitars, piano riffs, violins, horn arrangements and so on. I tend to look for a coherent melodic rhythm in a groove. Something that makes sense straight out the gate. Build up is cool at times, but when you're deejayin, you mostly want a groove that gets people on board quickly.

B: You've taken promotion to the next level with Art Haus: a pop art collage of large afros, tight fades, and nappy dreadlocks. What is the spirit behind Art Haus?

N: The spirit behind Art Haus is simple creativity. The notion of not being locked in some artificial box placed on me by others who have no idea about what art is or can be. My influences range from Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol to my friends Mike 2600, Kevin McCoy and Rhashad Whittier.

B: What do you love most about being a DJ? What could you do without?

N: I love being able to connect with so many people at one particular time on a very unique level. I could do without all the terrible music many people expect me to play.

B: If you could go back in time, what would you tell 10 year old Nodzilla?

N: If I could go back in time, I'd tell my 10 year-old self to start collecting vinyl now, visit New York often and ask Mom for a passport!

B: What would you like to tell your fans?

N: To fans: Come out to my events more!

B: What's next for Nodzilla? How about DJ Needles?

N: There's a Nodzilla beat-tape EP and full-length project in the works then of course more events and mixtapes for DJ Needles...kinda weird talkin about myself like that!

B: Where can the people find you?

N: People can find me on twitter (@nappydjneedles), facebook (nodzilla and nappydjneedles), bandcamp (nodzilla), instagram (nappydjneedles) and

B: Thanks for visiting Uranus!!!

Click on the images to the right to download these blends and mucho, mucho mas >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Healing MOvement

I met Mo, Portland based multimedia visual artist/photographer, in the summer of 2011. Mo sat on the floor while Butterfly braided her hair and told me stories of family, art, growing up, and her son, Monk. I was introduced to The Ancestors: rocks with faces that Mo had uncovered through paint. The following summer, I and some friends joined Mo at Roosevelt High School as she was putting the last touches on a mural she created for the school's Freedom Writers exhibit.  She let us tag the wall with our personal touches and even congratulated me on my newly discovered artistic capabilities *pops collar*. I found Mo to be an open, loving creative who wears herself on the surface of ways that even made me uncomfortable. I could never act around her. She'd see my pathetic attempts and call them out with compassion and quickness. For this, I am thankful.

Today, Mo is in the fight of her life. Diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer, the prognosis is grim, yet her hopes, artistry, and integrity remain in tact. She is even continuing the Good Days/Bad Days project that she started 10 years ago, documenting every day of her experience through photographs and testimonials. Her willingness to be open and vulnerable during this time has not only showed me how to be a huemehn, but also how to be an artist. 
Speaking of art, Mo's creations are for sale. Your purchase goes toward The Healing MOvement. Click the images throughout this post to learn more about them. 

September 10, 2013: 8:16am
Sept 2013 Ovarian Cancer the next phase in my journey through this life. A central place to know about Events, access donation links share cancer info you would like to share with me, well wishes ...LOVE
Headed out to the Doc soon ..and then we'll know what there is to know.

So..the results it is as bad as I suspected borderline between Stage 3-4, wont truly know until they get in there and really look during surgery. On the 19th I will be returning to Portland..OHSU and they will do a total abdominal hysterectomy including the muscle & fat walls, possibly lymph nodes and sections of my bowels if found there...(the Doc seems to feel confident if we have to do so there will be enough left that I wont need a colostomy bag)..and anywhere else it might be hiding they cant see on the x-rays, ...they also did more blood work ekg and took chest xrays today...just in case....I can't even think about that too...after surgery I will be in the hospital for a week and then when I have recovered enough from that I begin combo of chemo .radiation and alternative medicine...without it ..I wouldn't see 2014

I spent the day with my family and my GrandDoodle they were all there to support me and each other..gave me the strength I needed to hear what is to come...with The Reason sitting next to me only thing I could do was choose to fight.

I'm not going to lie and make it sound like it will be easy...statistics are a low 30% chance ...and if it goes/stays in remission ...that might buy me 5 more years....5 being very optimistic.... ..many things can happen in 5 years though.

I have decided I am going to pre cut my hair ...accepting it MAKING IT part of my warrior MOde preparing for what is to come...and donate it to Locks of LOVE. Got to walk it the way I talk it....LOVE even in my worst MOments

I also intend to hit it hard with a cancer fighting diet starting right a few days ago...I'm on high protein drinks ...can't eat everythings smashed together...getting my strength up...but after food...the right foods can be very helpful and are very encouraged


To my foodies...often with chemo you loose your desire to eat foods taste different etc me concoct some delish cancer cuisine I cant resist
I am a Pescetarian/Vegetarian (seafood/vegis) with nightshade allergies NO tomatoes potatoes peppers eggplant pimentos tomatillo etc ) ...

Scheduled shows 2013: I am going to see if someone can sit in for me in scheduled upcoming shows ..if not for obvious reasons I will have to cancel. I am also going through my work cataloging it in more pulling ones I want saved for my family ...and would with dignity prefer to 1st be paid to be the artist I am Monk will handle packing and shipping ..if anyone knows my work ...its him.

it is my goal to be healthy again feb 2014 ...and have a huge celebration of LIFE in my usual Feb spot...and if I am is my hope then that you may gather there and celebrate MY life.

Rach a nurse has offered to come help here and there now and then to give my mom a break ...anyone else with med skills wants to help...most appreciated

Farnell mentioned a benefit concert...those interested in the idea him each other ...YES if thats the way the road turns..ANYTHING that helps my family in this time.

..I am an artist...going to be one until my last breath...I have been documenting myself for over a decade now, I feel for me continuing to do so will help me through the journey ..they will be raw...and they will be real.. as I experience this new will see a part of me you may have never known...know that before you choose to look at them PLEASE if you cant handle it ...don't look and DO not leave any negative BS... I hope that you can understand my need to continue my Good Days/Bad Days project even through these dark days...

***ANY research/recipes comments etc you find please share HERE and...we can all become healthier life/cancer aware experts through this journey

Know that the notes encouragement etc are also better for me ...and us all all in one place... spread out here there everywhere ...hard to follow stressful so much love I feel guilty not being able to answer all directly..please accept it is not personal ...know they are read by myself or those helping me..they are heart felt ...and woven into the strength that will help me and them..all of us who are brave enough to walk this path with me ..I thank you so much for that. .I LOVE YOU ALL and thank you SO much for all that you return to me.

September 11
While at the hospital getting the results we also picked up info on donating my hair ...I'm not comfortable donating to the one through the hospital because it is a corporate label/product 1st and the charitable part is on the side...those that know me know how anti label I am seems locks of LOVE is no longer working with the cancer association ..I'm looking into that and why? I would prefer to donate it to one that makes wigs for children so if anyone knows about others or would like to help me on the research end of that it would be beauty FULL ... LOVE

September 12
Woke up at 4ish couldn't go back to sleep....decided to watch the sunrise...then sat at the computer too long trying to act like every things normal ...didn't take my pain killers on time ..., paying for it now... The sunrise was beautiful though.

September 13
Tough night Monk hardly slept ... My poor baby and mother that they have to watch the generation between them go through this....I have friends visiting today hopefully it will give them both a break. Meds are making me fall out while typing this ..LOVE you all
As my Monk recently posted ... Life is short... Be centered in the present in recognizing the gift of each breath... If it hasn't where you are go outside and watch the sun set next time watch the rain see the beauty in it ...compliment a loved one or stranger... Eat something healthy for dinner... Spend a few moments a do a self check mental physical spiritual...often ....forgive trivial transgressions. Try not to judge work on your personal compassion for others worry less about competing with someone else and focus on being a better BEing then you were yesterday.., Be it music literature tv food etc ... Make sure that you only allow positive healing energy and substance into the temple of yourself ...#LOVE yourself and each others

September 15
The mind is willing... But the body is unable, this will not be a journey for the weak. I'm not going to go have a surgery and everything will be all better next week...I'm going to get cut open breastbone to pubic bone and then have every bit of cancerous tissue they can cut out of me removed along with a full hysterectomy lymph-nodes... slamming me into the menopause I thought I was starting early (the irony)...if I'm lucky I leave the hospital with a valve or plug in my side instead of a colostomy bag,.. over the next 3 weeks of healing from surgery ascites (fluid in my abdominal cavity) will most likely return.. they will then for the next six months repeatedly use that valve to pump me full of poison in hopes of killing the rest of the cancer surgery couldn't remove...and potentially my immune system ...minus the immune part that's the "if I'm lucky" version. I've been living with my mother working as her caretaker ... For the last year ... now suddenly she and my son are mine...while they put up a good front I can see it in their eyes every time they look at me. The pain they feel seeing mine ....My brother Gabriel Jones and I are writing my will discuss what I want done with my work..,personal remains. Because it needs to be done just in case

....he his wife family all have the same look in their eyes I have to find some kind of balance in all this ....fighting... but not being afraid...face the reality of possibilities ...this is the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life... This time I will be literally fighting for it....My Life. I've stayed for the MOst part relatively strangely numb.., with random hysterical breakdowns....everything I just typed painfully sinking in over the last week... Feeling trapped inside a body no longer mine.., the brain races ahead the body breaks down... I've always tried to be the one who helped others ... And now I am the one needing the help... surgery to recovery could easily take over a year..My Mom Leslie Anne and my Monk Josh Jones will need all the help they can get just as much tomorrow as 6 months from now ...

please if willing connect with them and my brother and figure out how you can help... from laundry to bills to holding their hand while they cry...I ask too that any benefits now or later you might put together that you contact and include them as well. My mother Leslie is really having a hard time...a retired nurse she understands the medical terminology instantly and knows too many details...

I am her 1st born her 1st baby..and she being a cancer survivor herself ...she is tortured trying to face the reality of the pain I am going through what she knows I am about to experience... And that she may have to watch her child die. .... This healing MOvement will not be a journey for the weak those of you who do come help..will be dealing with the'll have to marinate on the reality of it all while deciding how you can help...I love you all SO much. I whole heartedly THANK YOU now for what you have all done so far and will do as this journey continues.....ALL of my LOVE"

September 16
K that part where I call you all extra.... SOOO serious about that ... Hospital mentioned it earlier... When I said family only call mom .. I meant right then for info needed ... Not to overwhelm her with tons of phone calls .., if you gotta ask should you come probably shouldn't .., but if my peoples wanna sit withy flesh and blood peoples ...,PLEASE DO... Just leave the extra combo platters at home people! Seriousness ... Love you ...bunch a'crazy ass artist poet musical type people ..bring if down easy now.
September 17
Trying to wrap my mind around the next stage. I think I can rock a baldy semi successfully ... #MOre so knowing I helped too.
September 19 9:23am (from Josh "Monk" Jones):
Just got the call from the doc. She has just started surgery and is doing good so far. Ill keep everyone updated!
Okay everyone. She is getting closed up right now. Should be in recovery room tommorow. Doctors say she prob won't be doing too much tonight but I will try to get certain folks phone calls. There is people first in line I'm sure you all understand. Were almost through this part of it though!!!!

September 23
YESTERDAY I've been unplugged from everything except oxygen and Meds been up walking 5 times used the big girl potty even ...

LAST NIGHT started to be rough until the clarity that I'm a night owl sitting too long ...position water retention etc..,
Had a great nurse who really put her soul into helping

September 26
Second Chemo Port...this one a smart port for blood tests etc added yesterday in my upper chest because my veins are too deep ...but it is also an be used for double wham chemo...
Home clothes smells...foods...and most of that disease out of doc seems to feel I have done so well she wants to talk about staring chemo in a week instead of 3..only part still really draggin me down is this water weight/cement pants I'm still trying to get off ...One step at a time.

The larger of the many cancer masses they took out of me ..hard to look at

"I will be stronger then I have ever been or thought I could....for her.
TODAY/ASAP what I got SCOLDED for and their right is trying / being social with family friends again sitting too long really leaving the brunt of the physical and emotional end of helping on josh ...he needs a break,a shower, and a hot meal that doesn't come out of Plaid pantries nuke it section... Please hit him up If you can help him with this ASAP LOVE

September 30
Staple come out today!

October 4
The only way to conquer... is to create.
 ~ Michael Crenshaw
WWFD? ...Need to get the lab in functional order so I can paint on days I feel well enough. I was in mid swirl when the big C decided to drop in and blow up all my plans. ..On average to be honest ..I don't feel sick ... Beat up lil but not SICK sick... And then I see the way people look at me... Or I try to move and the body can't do what the mind wants ... And finally ... I look at myself ... And I know there is no denying it ...I'm really SICK sick.. And I fluctuate back n forth between sad and anger/irritation...mainly selfish...WHY ME? But not really feeling fear until I'm faced with the "NOW"ness of the situation. Needles coming at me etc...

NOW ... What a packed word it is.

....I want<NEED
all my nows!
... All of them.

October 5
Hair today... Gone tomorrow. Monk cut my hair off today ready-ing myself for chemo. He did a great job loving and gentle made it so mama barely cried at all. LOVE YOU MONK Josh

October 8
Spent yesterday at the hospital being tested to see if I'm healed enough for chemo... loosing too much weight...railroad track runs down my belly now...not eating enough ...Spent today hairs gone.... life in general and not so general on cold turkey...out of sorts...this isn't me ..where am I ...weak barely can walk across the room.... let alone run away as fast as I can...... forcing myself to eat ..must get my protein up chemo's coming .. add ..everyone has questions wants answers, choices now now...calm down dont get all worked up... mass overwhelming me while individually not intending to .....I don't want to be rude but at the same time I want scream until my vocal cords bleed leave me alone for a minute ...cause apparently I have "cancer"..and I JUST. DO NOT. UNDERSTAND.

October 9
...the body wont ....but the mind still can.

October 15
It's not really the cancer that breaks you down... It's the side effects of and the "cures" ...I've been "online quiet" just trying to focus... Make it through "today"... ready myself for tomorrow. Can't really look to far past that. This pain riddled MOment is it.. With a blurry "maybe" just out of hands grasp. I can't relate to life as it dramatically different and yet simplified to some very raw quality of life basics ... Can we get any food in... Is waste coming many days has it been much pain "What is your pain level 1-10 ?" always floating in between the other questions. Trying to maintain some sense of positivity despite all that and the hormonal chemical reality of being gutted like a fish...because cancer by its self wasn't reason enough to feel emotionally hysterical ...days are centuries tar and feathered in pain layered in questions ...simple things taking forever... And in the same time precious MOment flying past...feeling wasted waiting... I think I'm going to cut off what's left of my hair today. Chemo starts Thursday.

October 17
Chemo day #1: after my checkup yesterday I was passed again but they changed my treatment plan to lighter but more frequent chemo 1..8....15....week off .. And then evaluate how I'm doing if we can increase dosage...still loosing too much weight.....not to bad so far....except the allergic reaction to the Taxol (sp) face/neck turned bright red couldn't breathe instant panic NOT A CUTE SCENE...with the panic I was ready to rip and run NOW: 15 min left on my second Chemo Carobplatin this second one has been a breeze comparatively 45 min compared to 2+ hrs on the Taxol... Tired... so far is as/and better then expected..LOVE

October 20
Not a lot to say right now ...the 1st 48 hrs wasn't too bad actually most likely because of the feel good cocktail they gave me before the chemo ....however....sicker then a dog last few days today I can barely keep water down...just want to curl up in a ball and cry...not a good day

October 23
Dr. Visit today to set my markers and get ready for chemo round 2 tomorrow ...truth..for the most part feelin pretty strong
October 24
Chemo round 2 ... Plugged in & oxygenated ...allergic reaction again.. Not cute but they, expecting it, caught before it was as bad as last time ...looks like treatment days are gonna be extra long ones.. Yay?!? ...not so much.

October 25
Just to remind me that this is cancer not a cake walk I was up all night hurling so bad my tum muscles ache still... This is only Round 2 ... I still have 5 months of this? My allergic reaction to the Taxol (1 of 2 chemo Meds they give me) .. And by allergic reaction I mean I turn bright red and stop breathing ... Messes up our plans for the once a month heavy dose of chemo we were planning for the next round and using the gut port they put in me because it's a fast gravity flush of chemo straight into the abdominal cavity and then they turn you every 20 min to make sure it "coats" every internal organ that had cancer on/in it... Patient needs to be breathing to really make that "work" ... Next fun thing they warned me to look forward to this week.. Probably going to loose all my hair...ALL of my hair. ...everywhere Not. So. Much. Grumpy today... Barfing for 10 hrs will often do that to ya though won't it. On a up note... I just farted ... Only in cancer/bowel surgery land is that a good thing. YAY for farting! ...Means my guts are finally catching up and trying to function again. Gonna lay here and whimper for a while. Love you all.

October 27
came back from the bathroom and found my blanket trying to freak me out
October 31
Night sweats body aches exhaustion insomnia tears...
Due to my allergic reactions to the chemo today ...postponed until tomorrow ..extra steroids right now and in the morning plus some other new drugs and we try tomorrow 8am instead...sooo not happy about the 8am ..nor the probably wont sleep tonight either..grumble grumble blah blah

November 1
Dear steroids, Thank you for letting me get a few hrs/zzz.. I would be more then happy to grab a few more from you ...but if not I'll also be grateful for what I got, they were much needed... My crankiness was starting to annoy myself.
Chemo round #3 wish me luck no allergic reaction ...breathing is alway a beautiful thing... So much steroids in me I'm talking a million miles a minute. #herewego #chemosucks

#LIKEABOSS ....done.....5 hrs problems "low n slow" was said so many times it's our new MOtto ...I am so amped up and tired right now I am probably already asleep but am too amped up to know if ...Humm feels like when the insomnia has me cause I need to paint ...had light bul bs over my head exploding like stadium lights I know the series now...I think it will be my bhm feb show focus.., if I start now I can use it to help pull myself through this... Signs so many signs right there if front of me I couldn't see/hear not dialed into the right frequency. #gottapainttobreathe
November 2
Returning to some normality ...I realized of the reasons I felt so out of sorts..."normally" ..I have music on 20 out of 24 hrs a day somewhere always on ...between the hospital stay and coming home...I forgot to turn it back on..and at times intentionally turned it off because the pain kept me from being able to enjoy it ...but I caught myself having a #minisolodancepartylite the other day...started crying when I realized it actually...I could finally kinda dance again..could "enjoy" MOving again ...#HUGE ...right here right now ..on random still steroid amped not over doing it ....but definitely doing it ...MUCH LOVE
...overloaded on the steroids still... I can't hold still been wide awake since 4 am in a cleaning frenzy ...currently working on getting the lab art ready...1st pic from a magazine i was reading during chemo me thinking about the big pink elephant thats always n the room since my diagnosis and then also ..2nd deep attraction to the hindu god Ganesha know as the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences and the deva of intellect and wisdom ( it around in brain batter figuring out how to smear him on a canvas contectively ...#gottapainttobreathe

November 3
Steroids have definitely worn off crashed early but been mostly awake since 2am painful cramps in my gut waking up feeling like your being stabbed & the knife is twisting...obviously not restful...said it before it's not the cancer that breaks you down it's the side affects of these damn "cures" ... Being slowly tortured on a maybe. Trying to remain positive but £@#%!!!
November 4
"You should be grateful for the time." ...time seems to be a repeating message much you your using it.... Or maybe I'm just very aware my expiration date got pushed visible closer. As fast as I many as I painted at a time ..over the years I always felt I was making up for lost time or felt there would never be enough ...truth I've been heard saying this before ...time is so short, and I had wasted so much time trying to "BE" for other people ..., while I'm laying here like this fighting cancer knowing for a fact that as you know it can be taken from you, reading your frustrations via timeline how much energy we give to the negative repeatedly... I feel the need to say to YOU: this is YOUR life... Live it for you WHY are you wasting it on "that"...step away remove yourself from it ....go do that thing you always wanted to do and do it for the joy of it without comparing it to anyone else... Go paint draw write run laugh dance fill your days with things you love ....#LIVE while you can.
November 6
Messed myself up today some...earlier I looked up Ovarian Cancer originally looking for more foods I can add to my diet that fight it and made the mistake of reading my "chances statistics blah blah " via the ACS (American Cancer Society)... For me stage lllc......35% .....been trying to keep it together head positive I've been behind some slim odds ..blasted statistics out of the universe before... its always possible...and so I put on music and was "OK" until...heard his voice ...before I could get to it to change it I listened to him... which made me look at the pictures ...I remember standing there outside his memorial with those folks ...our friends...even remember hearing myself say with intense passion ...we NEED to be doing what we are here to be doing it could be any one of us next. ...never even thinking I could be talking about myself.... Did I manifest this challenge?!?!... not being negative...but making myself face real..very good chance I will be seeing him before most of you do ....I CAN say I have been doing what I was put here to do...I DO feel like I #LIVED up to what I said ...I have always wanted a party when it comes..a celebrations with all my favs crying allowed...I suppose I'm going to have to talk to a few of you let you know... what for when...some will read that and think it means I'm not fighting ...those that know me just know I obsess over details and 360 angles that and..basically I'm a control freak when it comes to how I am represented lol...I like to see the whole at peace with the possibilities all ending up positive...I feel good that I have NO regrets re: my work, being an artist...I walk like I talk..and for years I have been painting myself with wings.

November 7
Nights are the hardest. Sometimes I cry just because I'm exhausted alone sore and there is no one there to hold me intimately, to allow me to emotionally tap out.. But as I watched the pain across partners faces last few chemo appointments I realized too I'm not putting another person through that emotional pain either... for "them" it's better I actually don't have a partner...there isn't someone laying next to me worrying wishing they could take my pain. If you do...if you are half of a couple....acknowledge them with a little extra just cause #LOVE someday they will really need it.
November 8
Been up since 4ish steroid twitchy... Gave me plenty of time to paint my face look lil more human... Headed to chemo #4 Monks going to stay the 6+ hrs with him mama today ...brought art stuff and bones with us #lowandslow #chemofriday Now that we are settling into a routine I've got thoughts for friends for the weekends (aka 1st couple days after chemo are the best...miss you guys kibble at the casa like some of us use to... Remember...#meMOrays) I'll concept share later... Just needed to feel as "comfortable" as I could with all this first update you soon ... #LOVE

November 14
...Thursday steroid day. Do I take them now and twitch all night...or try and take a nap wake up at midnight and take them then... I'm leaning toward the later they said as long as I have them in me by midnight for "Chemo Friday" ...and the steroid/Benadryl combo that makes me think I can Papa is taking me tomorrow doing the 6+ with me...lil snarkery for my musically inclined ...LOVE 15
Chemo Friday #5...sorry I didn't get this post in earlier ...I was awake since 2 am this morning ..the steroids had me ...just so you get the depth...I was in the kitchen baking ...(inside joke chuckles) making gingerbread cookies at 7 am...anyone really knows night owl me ...7 am normally I'm still staring at the back of my eyelids ...but everything's changed...everything...when this is over the person I was will no longer exist who I become and where that journey begins is still to be determined ..but it is MY intention that MANY years will be spent here discovering the new ME.

Chemo went really smooth no reaction I think we might be over that hump ..shorter session today forgot it was chemo lite aka only the Taxol so not the whole 6+..only 5 (Hey that hour+ is a million years with that ish pumping into your veins trapped in a chair)...while I am not taking any weeks off ..straight through ..we are running the 3 week cycles ...last week was heavy... today lite ...22nd will be lite too ...28th will be the ugly one again...

I cried a lot today ...but in the waiting room the treatment center I'm very young...and its apparently in my "favor" ..most everyone around me was really elderly today ...the tears were mainly for them ...listening to them there again ..3rd time back... chemo ..radiation ..poisons ..these are NOT Golden years. I learn my statistics ..that that whole 5 years is less about me living living and more about years of remission ...and then having to do this's to believing the next 5 yrs will find a cure ..cause I don't think I can do this again..its like willingly sitting down and letting someone shove bamboo skewers... under every one of your nails...every week ...lemme repeat willingly

I'm forgetting things now..chemo brain...about the only thing they forewarned me that would happen... that has happened ...not going to talk about the others by names and give them energy you can see one is thinner but still here me ...loosing too much weight still ..80ish lbs since surgery ...nutritionist came and saw me today ...I need to eat 100 grams protein daily ..DAILY....uhhh already gagging down food constantly... Fortunately those new wheys are 42g each and these wonderful ladies each bought and sent me a case THANK YOU Krysti and Sherrin ... still I had to go back "on the meat"...I was so proud of how vegi I was...but I need to have high protein foods ...anyone research willing or protein savvy...suggestions welcome especially if they can get me back off the meat...I'm avoiding sugars besides natural and even them more and more ...they feed cancer so anything from the savorly bland side preferred..and

..I have night shade allergies tomatoes potatos eggplants peppers etc ..yes it sucks royally.
I was too busy this morning doing and gingerbread cookie making packin chemo snacks and talking about everything and nothing all at once...didn't get a chance to paint my face ...didn't care actually truth told this ish has had me lil broke down this week kives and needles...gonna have to paint that too yeah my "tired/wired" is showing ..technically I'm probably asleep right now just cant feel it...gonna go work on my elephant while the chemo in my veins is "fresh"

...LOVE you all so much

November 22
...tough week
...middle fingers double barreled to you cancer...double.... barreled!!
Too many individual notes with the same hopefully you will all see your answer here...consider please while choosing what to say when ...really helps when they are asked here so others who know may share info...some of you are in more constant contact then others...

THIS LAST WEEK been noted ...I've been "quiet"... ...cause the cancer ache to the marrow wasn't enough I guess got a heavy hammer dropped from almost shoulder high onto big left toe earlier in the week will probably loose the nail.. so gross one for me looks DISGUSTING ..big toe of course.....been hobbling everywhere. Normally this wouldn't be a big deal...right now... No immune system...infection issue...Big deal.

..followed by a bladder infection few days later... No immune system....antibiotics= probable yeast beast ...yay!!! Not so much. ...and just a day later add chemo mouth sore by way of an abscess aka infection around a broken tooth back right of mouth face swelled up like a squirrel storing winter nuts lopsided right side only balancing the nice left side hobble sooo sexy...MOre not muching......again no immune system= another antibiotic (YBx2..given now) ...fortunately swelling is already down 48 hrs in on the antibiotics and just when we thought the trifecta of F#@kery had come to a final count ....add the new side kicker chemo affect Palmar-Plantar Erythrodysesthesia; PPE: aka Hand-Foot Syndrome aka numb/tingly fingers/toes and so far peeling bottom of feet... not good...can come with/at the cost of permanent nerve damage and my being able to paint or walk properly... yes I DID say paint 1st ... we want to get the cancer into remission... without destroying what I live to be able to do.

Hot cancer mess.
..ended "my week" ( they run Thursday to Thursday in my chemo world) with a moment of fear that my one and only was buried somewhere in the desert outside of Vegas...he's my kid...its very possible. (insert patented "ya know" Mo raised eyebrow here comboed with stern mothering looks for him when he reads)

SO THIS WEEK They canceled my chemo even though it was a light week so I am having a mandatory week off because after blood work it was clear my blood counts white red platelets etc etc were all too low to do it safely and because of the PPE as it can cause perm nerve damage ..we are also going to lower the chemo back again next few sessions see how I do... didn't really want to ..dont want it to last longer just want to power through it and be done..but i understand I NEED to and the difference between NEED>want ...learned that one along time ago ...I'll try and pretend its a vacation of sorts

On the humble side my lesson learned now...that will curtail some of my why me whining... I CAN feel worse then just the chemo routine...and all of this WILL get worse before it gets ready. My warrior status ...individually they could all bring even the strong down ...not to mention the stage 3c cancer alone...but I AM STILL HERE ...and retaining my snarkey sense of humor ...middle fingers double barreled to you cancer ...double barreled!!...and that's pretty much where I am at.

Til later...LOVE

November 29
I really dislike the whole "black" Friday title ...and yes before someone smart feels they need to tell me that it means being financially clear not in the red blah blah blah ...let's be real NO ONE out shopping is "in the black"....It's a whats not going to be in your wallet if its not already "holiday" ...."That" energy is out there emass and I had to travel through it ... And it's Chemo Friday. Had to do it today in as different place then normal got here at 10:30 didn't get plugged in until noon they are just hooking up my second chemo...The people are different ..they wear a damn hazmat looking kit when changing the bags...#TMF Doesn't exact strengthen the trust bond we already don't have..

They left me on the steroids too long before balancing with the Benadryl... Set a angry anxious mood it's hard to shake. NOT their fault ..they have had a BF line around the place today that could compete with the outlet mall..ADD its double whammy chemo day ..wasn't mentally ready for that's not a commitment it's a acceptance ...a surrendering if you will..and an empowering strength at the same time water #balance I'm sure the double whammied steroids will be speakin through me later I'll share that clarity MOment then... Right now I need to focus on not biting anyone...that and typing on this phone just seems to add to my get chompy state of mind... TY for all the #LOVE

December 3
I can not tell you how important this is...breast cancer runs in my family never thought I would have Ovarian...Genetic testing is a HUGE step ...get tested get tested get tested ...the help it will give your future generations ..male and female might be life saving.