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