Monthly Archives: July 2015

TED Talks!

I have a bit of an obsession with TED Talks. I rarely watch television shows or movies, but I watch TED Talks almost every day. In their own words, TED is:

a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.

Here are five of my favorites.

Do you watch TED Talks? What ones do you like most? Do you have any recommendations for me? Comment or email me at [my email]. I’m always looking for new talks on any topic to watch.

Sidepony Express Music Festival: An Interview With Anamieke Quinn

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Sidepony Express Music Festival played a large part in getting me to Bisbee, and in Bisbee Pride itself. It is also my favorite festival of the year, so I decided to interview Anamieke Quinn, one of the founders.

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When is the next festival?

November 13-15, 2015

How long has Sidepony Express Music Festival been around?

This will be the 4th annual

What is your main goal or mission with Sidepony?

The primary mission of the Sidepony Express Music Festival is to stand up for artistic integrity while pushing independent artists to realize their potential and boosting the local economy of Bisbee. We want to highlight underrated artists and create a scenario where they can feed their passion and grow their businesses. We want to expose the musicians to the magical, inspiring town of Bisbee, and in turn, expose the good people of Bisbee to all kinds of new music. We want both Bisbee AND the greater independent music community to bond and flourish. We pride ourselves on finding diamonds in the rough and left-of-center talent. We like to watch them turn into polished gems and cult favorites.

Why did you pick Bisbee?

It is a magical place that has been part of my personal and professional history most of my life. At some point, I started inviting all my friends to come enjoy it too, in a way that made sense for them to justify the trip on their shoestring budgets. I care deeply about that town and its people, as much as I care about all of the musicians that are giving it their best shot out there. I felt they should meet. Since we were already operating the Sidepony Music promotion entity up in Phoenix and the first year was 100% Phoenix-based artists, we called it “Sidepony Express” because we were on the road at the point. I suppose we just refer to ’Sidepony’ as a noun now, though, in reference to the festival itself, which now goes well beyond AZ and includes musicians from all over the country, even international.

What do you like best about the festival?

My favorite part of the festival is the aftermath. I love watching all the connections that people make flourish throughout the year. Bands meet other bands, they tour together. Bands connect with venues, they come back and do their own shows. Bands make friends and fans in the area to support them, they write songs about their experiences there. Local residents tell me how happy they were to discover particular artists and how they listen to their albums and can’t wait for them to come back. The merchants and business owners of the area tell me how much they enjoyed the boost of business and how they can buy Christmas presents for their grandchildren and stuff. It’s pretty awesome.

How do you see Sidepony expanding in the future?

Bisbee is a tiny historic town, and we are already approaching its capacity when it comes to physical infrastructure and volume of visitors. However, each year we improve upon the last in other ways, and add new elements and textures to the overall event. The artist lineup is getting more competitive and while still underground, the caliber of performances is ever-increasing. We also continually get more diverse in our programming. Last year we added some hip-hop and metal acts, and who knows what may come next. Ultimately, we intend to be on the international music festival circuit map and become an annual destination event that is known for its high standards of artistic integrity.

How can people find out more and/or get involved?

It’s one of those things that people just don’t get until they’ve experienced it. Trust me, I’ve explained it til I’m blue in the face, but it makes no difference. People just have to come down and check it out for themselves. As far as getting involved, we are always seeking volunteers, sponsors, vendors, and even have a little internship program for music industry students. People can go to our website www.sideponyexpressmusicfestival.com for details on all those things and find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr under “Sidepony Express”.

 

Bisbee Pride, Pt 1

Bisbee Pride, Pt 2

Bisbee Pride, Pt 3

Bisbee Pride, Pt 4

Poem Interlude: Stage Fright

Central School Project: Interview with Pete Goldlust

Sidepony Express Music Festival: Interview with Anamieke Quinn

Light in Loss

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A precious friend passed away recently, and her death has been one of the hardest things I’ve survived. A lot of me died with her, but not all the things I lost were bad. When her light disappeared from the world, so too did my ability to justify procrastination. I lost some of my distractibility, and a large portion of my reserve from those around me.

She was so young when she died. She taught me time is limited, and that we never know how much more of it we have. We can only live, and live fully, so that when our stars burn out, we leave without regrets.

Since she passed, my creative output has soared, but my heart is still long from mending. At the most random of times, I find tears leaking from the corner of my eyes. I’ve never been one to cry, even at loss, but I find myself doing so every time I remember she’s gone.

My grief bares my soul in a way I am far from comfortable with, but I’m still not sure that it’s bad. Still, every poem I write holds her at its heart, and I weep with the words, happy or sad.

Central School Project: An Interview with Pete Goldlust

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Central School Project (CSP) is a cooperatively-run non-profit community arts center located in the heart of the Bisbee, Arizona’s Historic District, and the home to KBRP, Bisbee’s community radio station. KBRP is dedicated to bringing culturally enriching programming to the Bisbee area. CSP is also home to Bisbee’s Obscure Productions (BOP), Bisbee’s local community theater company, and hosts all kinds of other community groups for various events.

CSP brought me to Bisbee for Bisbee Pride, and organized the Strong Words Series, a group of performances on identity. I interviewed CSP’s Director, Pete Goldlust, so I could provide a bit more information about the organization that had been such a joy to work with.

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What is the core mission of Central School Project?

We have a three-part mission- providing affordable studio space to artists; providing arts programming for the Bisbee/Cochise County community; and keeping up with the historic preservation of our 100+ year-old building.

Do you have any more events or programs coming up?

Over the summer we host the LEAP program, which offers low-cost hands-on educational programming to local kids. They do everything from Creative Dance to Journalism/Media to studying the local wildlife. Then in the fall, we start our programming season, which will include our 2nd annual Day of the Dead exhibition/festival, and our Bisbee Biennial, plus visiting artists like Scott Williams, a wonderful painter who’s coming in from NY this winter.

What do you like best about the organization?

One of my favorite things is our Visiting Artist Program. It’s always fun to bring in talented people who are new to the area, and have something exciting to share. It was great to have you here!

How did you become involved, and what led to you becoming Director?

I became an artist member at CSP in 2008. I started doing more and more in terms of writing grants and public art proposals and stuff for myself, and that kind of led to me being interested in the administrative side of the art world. And then the job opened up last year… It’s been the most satisfying Real Job I’ve ever had.

Where do you see CSP going in the future?

I’d like to see us continue to grow the Visiting Artist Program, and explore new ways to provide inclusive opportunities for our whole community to be involved in the arts. I’d also like to build tighter partnerships with other organizations, both in Bisbee and around the state and region.

How can people more people and artists become involved, and what is the best way they can help support CSP’s mission?

Of course monetary support is always huge! Gifts help keep our programs going. Your dollar goes a long way in Bisbee. Please visit http://centralschoolproject.org/involved.html

…but of course, beyond that, we love it when folks come from out of town to our events. Drop me an email at csppete@gmail.com and I’ll put you on our mailing list, so you can keep up on what’s happening down here. And of course, Like and follow us on facebook!

Is there anything else we should know about the organization?

Again, I’d say please just keep us in mind if you’re looking for art-partnerships of any kind. We love collaboration.

 

Bisbee Pride, Pt 1

Bisbee Pride, Pt 2

Bisbee Pride, Pt 3

Bisbee Pride, Pt 4

Poem Interlude: Stage Fright

Central School Project: Interview with Pete Goldlust

Sidepony Express Music Festival: Interview with Anamieke Quinn

Poem Interlude: Stage Fright

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Stage Fright

It was June 2013 when I first told the world
the doctors were wrong. I’m not a girl.
I said it from the stage, the educator’s way;
then I stepped down as my entire life changed.

When I think of fear I think of success,
of turning points where there’s no going back.
Of my first Open Mic when I forgot my own words,
yet people cheered and I still was heard.

The deepest fear I’ve ever felt on stage
was the end of a festival, the day I told my best mates,
“I am male. I want to go by James.
Respect it or not, it is still my name.”

See, none of the musicians I spoke to knew,
and when the camera turned off, my shaking grew.
I didn’t expect the hugs and encouragement.
They admired my strength, and I’m better for it.

I keep seeking the stage to fight my fear,
and two years later, I’m still here;
my own books in my hands, words on my tongue.
They’re how I fight back, written, spoken, or sung.

But I no longer fight alone.

Bisbee Pride, Pt 1

Bisbee Pride, Pt 2

Bisbee Pride, Pt 3

Bisbee Pride, Pt 4

Poem Interlude: Stage Fright

Central School Project: Interview with Pete Goldlust

Sidepony Express Music Festival: Interview with Anamieke Quinn

Bisbee Pride, Pt 4

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Bisbee Pride, Days Four and Five

Saturday-Sunday, June 20-21, 2015

On the morning of the fourth day I woke up still unsure of how to transition between performance and workshop, nerves a jangling mess in my chest.

I started thinking about my biggest and most transformative fears then, the ones that changed my life when I worked up the courage to face them. I realized something startling during my tracing down of fears: I’d faced them all on stage.

Thus was born the poem used to transition between the two parts of my upcoming time on stage, a poem I called “Stage Fright”. Writing it taught me something unexpected about the wiring of my brain, though: I equate fear with success.

Ever since I realized all of my greatest successes were born of facing my most terrifying fears, fear itself, or at least its limiting aspects, have become a positive indicator that my life is about to change in the most powerful ways for the better.

All too quicky upon completing the poem, though, it was time to find “The Silver King” and prepare to perform.

Off I went. Before my set, Treasurefruit owned the stage as they gradually added instruments, and with them, the band members playing them for their impressive acoustic performance. The music blended seamlessly with the powerful vocals, and then they stepped back into the crowd.

Suddenly it was time to face my fears again. I firmed my back and stood.

My poetry inspired attention and cheers, especially “Stage Fright”. It was the workshop that would change lives, however. First a kid with paralyzing shyness worked up the courage to ask for advice on how to show others his art, and the whole group tossed out helpful suggestions and helped him feel less alone with his fear by give examples of their own similar ones.

My set wound down soon after that, but there was still another life it would change in a big way.

As I stepped away, one of the audience members took shaking legs to the stage to perform poetry of their own to an audience for the first time. He enjoyed it so much he came up after the last set to perform again.

I felt at the top of the world.

Later that evening, I got to see Treasurefruit and Sister Lip play again, and spent a while getting to know a band member I hadn’t really interacted with before. I also reconnected with a friend in a nearby town who was there to see the band Fairy Bones.

I went to sleep exhausted and happy, and at six in the morning, I was on my way home with only a Bookmans foray to distract me.

Bisbee Pride, Pt 1

Bisbee Pride, Pt 2

Bisbee Pride, Pt 3

Bisbee Pride, Pt 4

Poem Interlude: Stage Fright

Central School Project: Interview with Pete Goldlust

Sidepony Express Music Festival: Interview with Anamieke Quinn