occupy together

Starting September 17, 2011, adbusters (ironically, a Canadian magazine, called for the American people to #occupywallstreet (that’s twitter talk). Four weeks later, the movement is alive and growing throughout this great country, the US of A. Yes, we have it good compared to Iran or Somalia but it can be MUCH better. Too many people are unemployed, sick, unhealthy, over worked, misrepresented, and disenfranchised to be living in a so-called free society or even a democracy. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch Democracy Now some time!

I have copied a few of my favorite links,  images, or videos that are related to the OCCUPY WALL STREET movement below (this should keep you busy):

WE ARE THE 99 PERCENT! (tumblr page)

Read this letter please (EXCELLENT!!) :

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/10/12/1025555/-Open-Letter-to-that-53-Guy

My 2 favorite protest signs:

Watch the LeeCamp youtube channel:

“Greed is no longer Good. … The revolution would like to apologize for shitting all over your apathy.”

this guy is hilarious yet right on … “STOP THINKING POSITIVELY … wake up from your vacation of innovation.”

and most importantly,

Get rid of your television! It’s the best thing I’ve ever ever ever done!!!

peace, love & adventure!

Lala

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HOT in London!

One of the hottest days in London during my stay was Sunday, June 26th. Days before the main topic of conversation was the temperature — a whopping 28 degrees Celsius. Being a lover of nature, I was eager to visit grass and trees that day so we walked to Hampstead Heath Park from Camden Market What a BEAUTIFUL DAY!!

Noticed this guy outside the park - RELAX!!

Giraffe Restaurant - Smiling is infectious 🙂

Love - Eat - Live

And many thanks to Fola and Joel for great conversation and laughter. Happy Sunday!

La La London!

Where to begin. Nearly twelve years ago, there were two cities on the re-location table: New York or London. My ex-dude and I decided we wanted more than what Philly had to offer and longed to try our luck in another part of the world. We booked a one week trip to London to get the feel of it. And, although the weather basically sucked, we had the most splendid of times, met the coolest people, danced in the best underground joints, yet made the decision to stay in the states since my father was ill at the time plus NYC was screaming loud and clear: Come here now!!!

Since then, I have visited the City of London 3 or 4 times. The last time being in the past two weeks. I had an amazing trip from start to finish! I also extended my stay by four days because my brother (Grey Reverend) had 2 shows nearby; I joined him for the one in Brighton.

Here are images from the first few days. I will share these in 3 or 4 blog posts because I’m photo-happy 🙂

Dalston, London - empty location of farmer's market

the Underground Tube

two guys at Ali Baba Turkish Takeaway - Dalston

stay tuned for artist's name

stay tuned for artist's name too

a view from a double decker bus

more art

Wahaca mexican restaruant in Soho

Wahaca mexican restaurant in Soho too

Afropolitan at the V&A - this model was ON every minute

music on Portobello Road

Dele Sosimi Afrobeat Jazz - incredible!

Dele Sosimi himself (i believe)

Mau Mau Bar - jazz re:freshed is the name of the night

A SUPER MEGA HUGE thank you to my hostesses, Stephanie B. and Elsa M! If they were any sweeter, I would have given them a kidney. And a quick shoutout to my very special, amazingly talented, inspiring, and generous friends, Fola, Alex, Angela, and Sam.

More photos to come, stay tuned!!

Cheers
*Lala*

left coast loving

yesterday in the bay, it rained and rained and rained some more but the temperature was a delightful 60 degrees Fahrenheit. i am loving the west coast or the left coast, a political expression that has been re-purposed in the art world on this side of america. it has everything to do with being in a new environment after nearly one year in NYC. what can i say, i am inspired by traveling and new experiences!

you ask, hey Lala! why do you love San Francisco so much?

1. FOOD – healthy, whole and heavenly. today we had lunch at Gracias Madre, an organic vegan Mexican restaurant in the Mission district. i nearly broke down and cried. yum yum! 3 words: Butternut Squash Quesadillas (with pumpkin seed salsa)

2. PEOPLE – easy, breezy, and friendly. many people greet each other on the street and everyone has been super helpful when approached (i’ve gotten lost a few times already 🙂

3. WEATHER – it’s not hot or even warm but it’s not freezing 🙂 need i say more?

4. LANDSCAPE – breathtakingly (is that a word?) gorgeous!! the architecture and surrounding mountains lift my spirit and my calves.

5. CLEANLINESS – i looked up in the subway station and was not horrified plus my allergic reaction to cheese pizza is non-existent here.

6. NATURE-ORIENTED – aren’t most Californians?

7. INTELLIGENT – in quoting the NY Times, San Francisco ranked in the top 3 of book sales around the country in 2009. reading is fundamental. i visited 4 or 5 bookstores within blocks of each other today and to my surprise, each were bustling with curious readers.

8. ARTSY – this post pays homage to the amazing 3 day art festival art called, Left Coast Leaning. my hosts, bryant and jidan got tickets for saturday night’s performance. each piece was engaging, meaningful and vibrant. this event was held at the Yerba Bueno Center for the Arts. a lovely evening which began with another fantastic meal at Osha, a thai restaurant owned by two sisters.

9. GREEN – there are recycle bins everywhere and reminders to conserve too.

10. ENTREPRENEURIAL – San Fran is a city full of boutiques, thrift shops, cafes and bars run by young, progressive types.

this is not a “dis” against NYC, my hometown. my love for the Big Apple is deep and undeniable. however, i can see san fran in my near future.

i should really go to bed now. i trust that you are keeping warm, drinking loads of herbal tea and eating hearty and whole food! winter is right around the corner!

love and light and more love

*Lala*

body clock


most weekday mornings start off nice and easy, with some reiki, meditation, music or a combination of the three. however, as the time creeps closer to nine a.m., the panicking commences. i have recently been tasked with coming to work a ‘little earlier … just in case there’s an emergency.’ at first i thought to myself, we are not saving lives and it’s kinda crazy that people find the need to make demands that go totally against another person’s body clock. by body clock, i mean some people rise with the sun (without the help of an alarm clock) and others (like me) have a hard time sleeping at night, hence the term night owl. punctuality has always been an issue for me. plus, i have never been a fan of rushing for anything, it’s important that i feel like my life is NOT being consumed by working for other people. yet the fact remains, i am currently working for some one and i must play by their rules. Suck it up Lala — at least you have a job to be late to!


while we’re on the subject of rules, i want to share a story about an occurrence last week with a police officer in a Brooklyn subway station. i wrote everything down after our brief interaction. Here are my notes:


C train – I swiped my Metrocard and immediately noticed a cop standing in the center of the staircase. When I am running late, which is often, I eat my breakfast before walking down onto the platform level — usually it’s a fuji apple or a bagel with some random spread or veggies on it.


When my brother first moved here, we foolishly jumped the turnstile at this very station. Seconds later, a cop approached us from this very same section of the staircase and promptly gave us a summons to appear in court. Of course, we weren’t carrying I.D. — at least that’s what we said. We never made it to court because we never gave our real names.


I knew exactly why that cop was standing there but since I’d just missed the train and had some time to kill, I approached the officer slowly, leaned in, and whispered, “is everything okay?”

He calmly responded, “Yes, everything’s okay.”

I pushed further, “are you sure? why are you standing here like this?”

“I’m here to make sure everything is safe, to protect you.”

“From kidnappers ..??” Playing along, I gave him my most quizzical look. “Is that why you are hiding?”

“Oh, well you know, if I stand here, I can see all angles of the station,” he fibbed.

“I can see everything from here, you should stand here.” I grinned.

“No, it’s better if I stand here,” he challenged.

That crazy whistle or ringing noise was activated to indicate the train’s near arrival. I moved in a little closer and purred, “Can I take your photograph?”

He raised his eyebrows, glanced upwards, and said, “the train is coming” in hopes that I would drop my question. Seeing that I was still standing over him, he responded by saying, “we’re not supposed to do that, I could get in trouble. They don’t like us to take photographs.”

“Whose “they?”

“The big guys, my boss — cause it may end up in the newspaper or on the internet.”

“Oh, I don’t work for any newspaper or internet, I’ll only take one,” then I held up my index finger to make my intention clear.

He hesitated, “If you didn’t already tell me … that would be different but now …”

Fumbling through my bag, I pulled out my camera gingerly. Speaking softly and quickly, “The train’s coming, stay still, I’ll be quick.” I switched my camera’s color mode to B&W then positioned it and made one photo.


Even though he failed to tell me the truth as to why he was hiding on the staircase — to fulfill his summons quota — I blurred his face to honor my word. I could never be a police officer or part of any military because I clearly have a hard time NOT breaking rules and pushing boundaries. I suppose we need both types: the rule breakers and the rule makers to make this thing called, civility, work.


Tonight, I am going to see Sufjan Stevens at the Beacon Theatre!!! YAY!! My second live performance this week … this past Tuesday I had the ultimate pleasure of seeing Brad Mehldau perform his latest album, Highway Rider, in its entirety at the Carnegie Music Hall. I totally love his work and think he’s brilliant.


And pick up a copy of this magnificent book by Ms. Isabel Wilkerson titled, The Warmth of Other Suns.

Giving thanks for the most gorgeous November weekend!

I love his beard!

Peace & smiles

*Lala*

Cuba: an interview with Kendra, a solar-powered dancer

Hola! October is almost here but the sun is still shining 🙂 I met this lovely woman at my buddy, Shane’s, Birthday BBQ a few weeks ago.  That afternoon, we talked at length about our travel experiences. I asked her to share some details from her most recent stay in Cuba with us!
Where were you born and where do you live now?
I was born in Detroit, MI and now I live in Brooklyn, NY

Are you under 30 years of age or older?

No, 25

When did you first leave your country and describe that experience?
Well, Detroit is 10 min from Canada, and my parents used to travel there often to shop (when the USD was double the Canadian dollar) but I don’t really count that.

I really left when I was 12 years old going to Cuba.  I went with my dance teacher whom I had been studying Afro-Cuban dance with for a year and a half.  It was amazing.  I remember everything being so beautiful to me.  It was my first time in the Caribbean and I was fascinated by all the bright colors.  The houses were yellow, pink, turquoise.  The cars were old, like I had seen in history books and just as colorful.  And the people exuded as much brilliance and color as the atmosphere.  They were warm and welcoming, but still full of fire.  I had my first kiss there in Cuba!

Do you have any fears? If so, please describe.
I have fear of failure.  I come from a community of unfulfilled dreams.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, because me and my personality were developed as a result.  However, I never want to have to say, I once wanted to do _____ and not be able to do it.

Although things have not been as expedient as I would have liked, I have been pretty good at accomplishing the things I have wanted to do. Dance and Travel have been the top two, and 2010 has been fruitful for both!

How do you spend most of your days? Working? Studying? Etc?
I spend my days either working like crazy or having nothing to do.  That’s been a semi-personal choice and I enjoy it sometimes.  I am in the nothing to do phase and I wish I was working more.  When I am in one state I always seem to crave the other.

How was your last trip funded?
By myself.  I work as a teaching artist and I worked my ass off last school year to pay for my trip and be able to not work for the summer.  I am also blessed by God and the financial angel that when I need it, it always comes from somewhere and right on time

Why do you travel? What do you enjoy most about it?
I mostly travel to dance.  I love dance, and I am committed to learning as much about dance as possible.  I may travel for other reasons superficial, but I’m always looking for dance where ever I go.

But along with dance I love to learn about other ways of life.  Art and culture and reflections of each other, and if you can engage someone through art, specifically dance for me, I can often get them to open up about culture and the reality of how they live.

So I enjoy seeing the beautiful works of nature and culture in the places I go and exploring how people really live; in my mind, I always juxtapose it to how I live in the US.

How many languages do you speak? or do you plan to speak?
Now I speak english and pretty good spanish, not quite fluent, but getting there.  I want to learn portuguese and possibly french and creole.

List 5 things you MUST bring with you when you travel.

1. Book to write in (even if I don’t use it)
2. A nice dress
3. Money
4. Open mind, eyes, and heart
5. Bug repellent

What is your earliest memory of traveling?
Driving to Florida from Detroit, MI in my Dad’s black Explorer. It was a 17 hours drive and I slept 11 hours.  I went to visit my grandmother who is one of the lights of my life, so I was excited.  I spent the time laughing and joking with her, shopping, and bowling with my family. Heaven for a 9 year old.

Tell me about your last trip. Where did you go, how long did you stay and what was the purpose of your trip?
I went to Cuba.  I stayed 38 days total, I was in Havana for 1 day, Mantanzas 1 day, Traveled by bus for 1 day, then stayed 28 days in Santiago de Cuba, and 7 more days in Havana.  I went to Cuba to study dance.
During this trip, tell us about your most memorable conversation and with whom?
I had a conversation with a woman and her daughter whom I had met a bar with live music the night before.  Funny story, I had in mind that this woman was a jinetera, Cubans who seek out tourists to hang out with while the tourist is in town with hopes the tourist would take them out to restaurants and buy them things.  I was supposed to meet the woman in a plaza, but decided I didn’t want to meet her to I went to a store a few blocks away to try to avoid the area we were to meet.  And  ran smack dab into her! Destiny.

Anyway, to my surprise, I ended up having a conversation about life in Cuba and the health care system.  She is a dance teacher just like me, and she was describing how on her salary, it is impossible to care for her two daughters (without help of their father, also one who had chronic asthma) so she had to do hair and nails, and sell knick knacks, and other hussles to survive.  We talked about the inaccessibility of medicines in the free clinic and how people had to pay a whole month’s salary for medicine in the international clinic.  We talked about the lack of means to show any dissent to the government policies and what was happening in the country.  We tried to explain to her the concept of health insurance and how for the poor in the US, out situation was not much different from those of Cubans, and in some cases worse.  I ended up buying her sodas and chips and went along my way with a wealth of new information.
What did you learn during this last experience or stay?
I kind of answered this question in the previous question, but in summary, I learned about Cuban dance and historical culture, which I already knew something about, but I newly learned about the reality about life in Cuba.  In the program I attended, I got to see the hospitality and good side of Cuban life.  But staying longer and really sitting down to have conversations with people, I learned about how it is to really live there.  I got the good and the bad.  I went to people’s homes, with 5 or 6 people living in house with 4 small rooms.  I visited a home with more space but with a dirt floor and roosters running through the house (but still had the latest jams bumping from the dvd player and tv).  I used to wish I was Cuban.  I now appreciate being American a bit more, but still have gained a desire to learn even more about Cuban culture.
Would you return? and why?
YES! I am trying to figure out how and when I can return now.  I need to learn more.  I want to take more dance classes and possibly do my own (or maybe through a university one day) anthropological studies of Cuba.

What and/or who inspires you?
I am inspired by women who can do many things but find the balance between work, friends, and play. I am also inspired by beautiful, soul filled music.

How would you describe your relationship with the sun.
I say that I am solar powered.  I love the sun! It’s color and how it illuminates the world.  Although it is very bright early in the morning, I hate to wear sunglasses it creates a barrier between me and being able to experience the sun and the true colors of the world. The sun gives me energy, and just like it comes everyday, reminds me to rise and go experience the world.

When the sun is not out I always feel completely drained and often a bit sad.

Are you happy?
SO happy!  I am alive and just got back from an amazing, inspiring journey, and feel better after having step throat for 2 weeks, I’m elated. But mostly I am happy because life is good and I choose to be happy.

Kendra is a Dancer, Teaching Artist, and Choreographer
Her email signature reads: Dance, Live, Love, Feel!!

I’ll post a few pics from Le Fooding in the eat or be eaten section later this week.

Until then, Be Happy!

*Lala*

passing through

greetings!

have you ever questioned someone’s presence in your life? over night, you two become tight as skull caps then in a flash, the thrill is gone — analogous to the tornado this past Thursday evening. while in my office, i felt a slight rumble followed by a series of boisterous crashing noises. i had been listening to a streaming episode of This American Life and had mistaken the ruckus outside for a glitch in programming until i noticed the raindrops on the ceiling-to-floor window behind me.

seconds later, a friend called to see if i wanted to grab a tea and a chat before heading home to Brooklyn. after confessing that i had forgotten to carry my umbrella, i reluctantly agreed. she responded with, “i’ll call you back in ten minutes” then hung up abruptly. i walked cautiously towards the window to see what the commotion was all about … the sky was a heavy grey with hints of blue and orange at the fringes but the rain was falling gently. twelve minutes later, my friend called back to say she was standing outside and the rain had stopped; she would walk towards my building and wait for me outside.

i was completely unaware of what had occurred that night until i received a text from my mother Friday morning:

Morning, did you have any problems with the storm last night?

i was rushing out the door when I read those words and had decided to respond once i arrived at work. storm? last night? that’s why my internet wasn’t working. i wasn’t phased then but it all makes sense now. just as i stepped out the door, i could see that two trees had fallen across the street and there were branches and leaves strewn everywhere — sidewalk and road alike.

where was i when this 80 mile per hour storm happened? i barely had time to experience the tornado, i felt jipped (or cheated). i wanted to remember something from this unusual new york city event. although, to my surprise, this was our seventh tornado since 1985. are we in Kansas or New York fuckin’ City?

on july 25th of this year, the Bronx experienced a Ef1 tornado which gave birth to one hundred and ten mile per hour winds, and on august 8, 2007, Staten Island was visited by an EF2 category storm. the EF is an abbreviation for Enhanced Fujita, the scale that rates the strength of tornadoes in the U.S. based on how much damage they cause.

last night, a wonderful friend reminded me of how lucky i am to have experienced many great relationships, and how important it is for me to give those relationships my full attention instead of focusing on those who have come and gone. i equate the short-lived encounters to a whirling tornado; and liken long term friendships to a memorable and cozy snowstorm. both scenarios teach us about ourselves but it’s important not to get caught up in the fury of the tornado. the snowstorm is where it’s at.

i have been working extremely hard on my book project. it won’t be long until my new web site is launched! i hope you are enjoying the last days of summer as i am !

eat lots of greens to build immunity and go to bed earlier – resting is key!

hugs and smiles and love all around!

Fallen trees (courtesy of EF0 Tornado September 16, 2010)

*Lala*

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