Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Kindness is not REVOLUTIONARY.....

Hello Luvs,

Who could find fault in that...
Happy Tuesday (or Wednesday) to you! Today I was struck with a thought. It is not something new to me and not an 'aha' moment. In fact it is something I strive to live by everyday. What is it....random acts of kindness.

We have all had moments when we have seen someone drop items and go to help them retrieve/pick up whatever that item(s) was/were. We found a wallet sitting next to a rack in a department store and took it to the closest cashier for them to ensure that it is returned to its owner. A child is lost and calling out for their parent, and we help them return to that frantic person searching all around. You notice a driver who has been waiting for a long time to merge and you stop and wave them in. An elderly person has their hands full and you offer to return their cart for them. A person in a wheelchair at the grocery store cannot reach the item on the shelf and you offer to grab it for them.
Your heart deserves it!

The list can go on and on. Do you find yourself doing any of these random acts of kindness? I know that sometimes one sees a need and is unable to stop. Other times they walk right by knowing that they had that moment available to assist the person. The latter is inexcuseable. 

Growing up it was never optional that you helped others. You saw someone in need and you stepped in. We have unfortunately become a society where the acts I listed above have become an anomaly. There are others out there doing this....living to spread kindness and compassion. But there are not enough of us. 

These are not empty words...
People sometimes look at me with an expression of disbelief. Often remarking that their day was made and how kind I was being. WHAT?!?! My actions should be the standard for all Human Beings. Just saying I am a village person is not enough. I NEED to live it,  and I am constantly working to instill in my children the life principal that caring about the child who is headed toward injury is second nature.

So, why am I on this particular tangent? Today I realized that kindness needs to be on the forefront when it comes to rebuliding our relationships and communicating with others. It IS NOT A REVOLUTIONARY thought! Responsiblity to ourselves dictates that we do this. Not just for others, but for OUR well-being. Giving of yourselves in an unconditional way is heart healthy. There is a sense of being in the moment it brings. To me...that is priceless.

Will you join me? Will you decide that you will make the effort to make this a priority just like eating, working out, and device time. I tell you what Luvs....your heart and mind will be thankful!
PLEASE join me!

Til next time,


Monday, January 11, 2016

Bowie...David Robert Jones that is!

R.I.P. David Bowie

Hello Luvs,

Even as I write this I am still in shock. My eyes well up and my heart pounds. I know we are all mortal and with life comes death. It still does not make it any easier to accept. The Hubster walked into the kitchen this morning and told me that David Bowie passed away. Damn! His video released within the last couple of days was his way of saying goodbye. Damn! He proved once again that he lived on his own terms and would go out doing what he was born to do. He would put his frustrations, fears, and gift of words out there and let it stew. Let us revel in the fact that he was a gem. Whether in a rough state or polished to perfection with all it's facets. 

There are probably many just like me who are still in disbelief. Writing to you about it will help me work through my heartache. The inferno of his light now blown out. Even though his music and movies will live on forever we will never be able to experience him live again.

Hearing that he had been ill for some time makes it easier to accept. Do I sound insensitive saying that? It is not meant to be inconsiderate in any way and hopefully not taken as such. In pain from an illness (especially cancer) in not something I would want. Referring back to his video....he did THAT at a time when he knew his demise was imminent. I feel for his family and close friends. Like all who lose someone they love it is heartbreaking. To have watched while he battled and not being able to do anything about it was probably frustrating. To love and be loved by him their only solace. To know he is at peace makes my heart happy.

Around the time the Hubster saw him in concert.
Photo courtesy of postpunk.com
I was 11 years old when I discovered his music. There was something that grabbed my heart and made me feel as if he was singing directly to me. He was encouraging me to step outside the reclusive world I had built around myself. To leave behind my shyness and fear of societies biases. To be my true self. For he was not afraid. He was a trailblazer on so many fronts. As a musician, producer, style icon, and actor his divine talent had no boundries.

For my family, people who let their artistic freak flag fly was not something to be embraced. Still to this day they say "That looks like Kathy." With me being the literal black sheep of the family. Believe me, I have come to terms with that. I have embraced it with pride. As if things that I subscribe to are so far out there. Bowie represented the chance for any boy or girl to live a motto of.....share your art, dream, style, and sexuality as a gift to add more color out into the world. That was/is not something I was brought up thinking. It was life changing for me. He had a profound affect on my life. I am sure there are others who feel the same. The power of music is all at once life shattering and uniting.
Many have bitten off his style!
Photo from David Bowie Is exhibit at V&A

There are so many of his songs I can list as favorites. I can see him dancing and smiling while he gently places the ball of his foot to the floor and sways his snapping fingers. He might even march while holding a walking stick. To list artists he has worked with is another feat. One of the first songs that was worn out from play was 'Fame' a song co-written with John Lennon. I can also say that 'Changes' will always be a song that represents a message aimed at society to say something needed to be done to allow people to be PEOPLE. He would inspire the style of other musicians and artists. It is endless, and I am sure that you could list several movie characters fashioned after Ziggy Stardust and/or The Thin White Duke. You know this already.
Yes Mr. Bowie...I see you.
Still from video 'Valentine's Day'.

My reason for writing this blog today is to say 'THANK YOU' to a Man who changed the world. His music escapes definition and his smile lit up the world. We witnessed his many metamorphasizes...all while swaying to his timeless music. 

We are also a generation that has been blessed to have had the possibly to see him live. The Hubster did.....so jealous! Even though I did not I can still see him bopping toward the sunset with his right shoulder angled, his foot tapping, and a devilish smile shining over his shoulder as he looks back. I am beyond looking forward to hearing his final album 'Blackstar'. He had something else to say, and I for one, will listen.

Til next time,


Friday, January 8, 2016

The beauty that is 5P1NOK10 (Spinokio)......!

Hello Luvs,

We find ourselves in a new year! What a time we will have.

As always I like to use this blog as a vehicle in which I share people and/or items which inspire me. I know that you have many things on your plate, and I always want to offer up something that will resonate and engage. 

So, on December 30th the kiddos and I experienced the beauty of the Hip Hopera 5PINOK10 (pronounced Spinokio) at the Nasher Museum located in Durham. It is a take on Carlo Collodi's 'Pinocchio'. Before I get into this work of art I need to share my moments up til then. First off, it was raining cats and dogs.....and I am NOT exaggerating! The rain was coming down like a blanket and several of the roads were beginning to flood. However, this was not going to stop me and the kiddos from attending. I was prepared for it to keep people away (which would have been unfortunate). Boy was I wrong. The parking lot was full and there were lines at the pay stations. Oh, and I did mention that it was raining baby elephants.....you know me, I am a wimp when it comes to extreme weather and I admit it wholeheartedly! ;-)

Once we entered the building there was a line to pay and another to enter the performance space! So, what inspired all of these families to come out in such weather? As it turned out he museum had to add a show (and live steam the second showings overflow) because of the turnout. They knew what I knew....we were there to experience performance art brought to us by the artists Tarish Pipkins (Jeghetto the Puppetmaestro) and Pierce Freelon (multitalented artist) along with his band The Beast.

Before I get into the actual performance I should elaborate more about these two Gentlemen. Each stands on their own as an artist. To see them on stage together was a treat to behold.

Tarish is an artist I featured previously on my blog. You can revisit it here: http://katsmeoww11.blogspot.com/2015/01/be-inspired.html. He began his performance career in Pittsburgh. He is a painter, rapper, educator, and muralist just to mention a few of just talents. However, it is his genius when creating (yes, he does create these gems out of recycled material) his puppets that has caught everyone's attention. I should add that I believe that it was MORE THAN PAST THE TIME  for this. So often artists are not appreciated for their gifts. Especially ones that warrant it. I digress.....! If you have seen Missy Elliott's WTF video or performance at The Voice finale then you have seen his work. He brought life to Pharrell for both. There are big things in line for him, and I would not be alone when saying that it could not happen to a nicer person.

Tarish with the other puppeteers. Brentton (hoodie)
is one of my Committee Members
Pierce and members of The Beast
Pierce is someone of whom I heard so many wonderful things about. He is an educator, poet, singer, artist, and beatmaker. He has received numerous accolades for the passion and love he puts into educating young minds. It was partially through this that I first heard mention of his name. Via the Commission I am a member of he submitted his beatmaking lab  project up for consideration to receive additional funding. The goal of the program along with it's far reaching capabilities made it a no brainer selecting him and his partner. You can find out more about the program/community here: http://www.beatmakinglab.com/video. To experience his skill along with the body swaying sound of his band The Beast (a Hip-Hop Jazz quartet) was an additional pleasure.

** Together they spit rhymes and Tarish beatboxed....LUVED!**

So now that you know a little more about them I can share the work 5PINOK10. For me, this Hip Hopera tackles the struggle our society faces with violence, oversite of our actions, and realizing our individual identities. I am sure there were others who experienced something different. After all, this was/is an art piece. What is art but a means in which we are challenged to interpet, experience, inspire, etc., etc., etc? We are more likely to come away with a different perspective simply because we are all free thinkers and souls shaped by our life experience. I believe that this piece (of which Pierce shared with me came from a freestyle session) with it's language and racial pride was meant to do all of the above things all while entertaining a diverse audience.
Oh My Nina!

There were images of constellations, warfare, and the artists Tupac and Nina Simone (ya know they had me there....!). All of these which for me added a sense of recognition that those who are no longer with us offered up a wisdom that still resonates.

Then there were the puppets! Because I am unable to load their pictures directly you can see them on the Museum's Blog here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nashermuseum. The Hip Hopera had brought us Jeghetto, 5PIMOK10, a soldier, and the troubled soul that was Jeghetto's son. The latter's journey was one about making choices and whether you choose to embrace the negative influences that surround us in today's society. Because the truth of the matter is that even though the timeline was set in the future, there are many portions which spoke to what we are dealing with now in the present.

To top off all this goodness there was a point when Pierce (who was our narrator, singer, and poet) mentioned all the children dancing. This is when several kiddos took to the stage. It was a joy to see them dance their hearts out! Pretty impressive moves too......

The onle thing I have issue with is the fact that they stopped and said, "Look out for Part II". Of course there was a collective sigh heard thoughout the venue.

It was worth coming out in the rain, braving street corners where the water came up to the bottom of my car door, and waiting in line to experience this Art Piece. I highly recommend that you experience it yourself when it comes to your neck of the woods.

Til next time,


*update (1/10/16) The Nasher Museum has asked for a return engagement in March. I will make sure to pass on additional information as it becomes available).*