Given the atrocities that occurred to the native people in the “new world” at the hands of the European explorers, a history that I didn’t really learn about until college I might add, Columbus day has always left a bad taste in my mouth. A few years back, while on vacation, I remember seeing his actual tomb- an elaborate display in a cathedral in Madrid, Spain. Even then, in the holiest of churches, I sort of wanted to kick it. Today I read this essay from a blog called The Oatmeal. I found it so extremely enlightening that I thought it was important to share it with all of you today, on Columbus Day. All of the information in this essay came from A People’s History of the United States, by Howard Zinn, and Lies My Teacher Told Me, by James W. Loewen, both of which uses primary sources such as eyewitness accounts, journal entries, and letters from Christopher Columbus himself. After you read it, we can all work on replacing Columbus Day with Bartolome Day! Who’s with me!?
Picture it: After midnight at Hamburger Mary’s in West Hollywood, late fall 2010. A drag queen with a banging body in a black sequence mini-dress takes the stage and performs Robyn’s electronic heart wrenching hit, Dancing On My Own. Even though the song is about stalking some dude, I connected to it immediately. Don’t ask. Anyway, last night while playing on YouTube (instead of doing homework) I found this haunting rendition of her song from one of my favorite bands, The Kings of Leon. I had to share it with you. Enjoy. xo Dre
P.S. Does anyone knows where I can download this song? I want it!
No need for alarm, but I am currently recovering from a minor setback that pretty much left me bedbound for 7 days. I literally didn’t step outside my house for a full 7 days and although I’ve been cleared to resume life as usual, I’m still not feeling like myself. I spent those sick days in and out of consciousness sitting upright in an elaborate recovery camp I set up for myself in my living room. The essentials of my camp included pills- lots of them (prescribed of course), my iPhone, a bottle of water, a myriad of fashion and beauty magazines, and the remote control. As the days passed I got through all 5 seasons of Breaking Bad and the full season of Orange is the New Black. It just occurred to me that both of those shows are jail themed. That’s fitting actually. Anyway, lying around all day living on a steady diet of water, pills and soft foods like smoothies and Trader Joe’s Belgian chocolate pudding wasn’t so bad. Looking back now, with the prospect of going back to work tomorrow, I have to say it was fun! My inner 14-year-old was all over it…
Perks of my condition included:
- A loving 24-hour caregiver by my side carefully policing, I mean monitoring, my every move.
- A regular stream of visits from all of my favorite people.
- Fresh flowers!! They really do help in these situations…
- Lots of phone calls and texts from friends.
- Mom visited me a lot and even made me arroz con leche!
- I got to play on iTunes without any time restrictions. I love this right now. You may not recognize it, but its a Smashing Pumpkins cover…
So the other night, several days into my recovery, around 4 am- I woke up from an uncomfortable sleep. When I opened my eyes, there was an angel standing in the corner of my bedroom. She/He was HUGE and was sort of like a golden outline of light- wings and all- as big as the room. She was only there for a second and then vanished. I knew it was an angel and I wasn’t afraid. Do I sound a little koo koo? Bare with me… or blame the drugs…
Now I realize I had been on a regular dose of Percocet and sugar for days at this point, but I swear I saw her in that instant and then she was gone in the same blink, but I promise it was not a dream. I was definitely awake and soberish…
Back in April of this year, I saw a psychic, a woman who knew nothing about me. The reading was a gift for my birthday from a dear friend. The psychic told me that Archangel Gabriel is my guardian angel. Gabriel is female, FYI. She also told me that my “guides” were telling her I was a writer. I was amazed as I had told her I was in sales and never mentioned my education or writing aspirations. She said, “You must write.” I already knew this, but its like Hemingway said, “There is nothing to writing. All you have to do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed”. Anyway, the whole Gabriel thing totally made sense to me. Doreen Virtue, a spiritual psychologist who works with angels claims, “Archangel Gabriel inspires and motivates artists and communicators, helping them to overcome fear and procrastination.” Interesting connection there, right?
So as you can imagine, after my angelic visitation, I really couldn’t sleep. I grabbed my iPhone and googled “gold angel”. Guess who the gold angel is??? Archangel Gabriel!!
Doreen Virtue reports that Archangel Gabriel is the angel of communication and helps with:
▪ Adopting a child
▪ Artists and art-related projects
▪ Child conception and fertility
▪ Journalism and writing
Here’s the part that gets crazy. Well, crazier. Earlier that day, my best friend invited me to an adoption service/ceremony for her daughter, who she and her husband have been fostering and trying to adopt for years. This has been a LONG road for them and finally having a date to finalize custody was cause for celebration, even in my sedated state. In addition, recently, I too have been imagining a baby of my own- one with two legs rather than four. Lastly, I am in the final stretch of a master’s degree in the field of Communication from the school of journalism at USC. Given what I’ve learned about Gabriel, for her to make a cameo appearance in my bedroom at 4 am, even just for a blinking instant, was no mistake. I am grateful for the divine connection.
Invocation from Doreen Virtue:
Before beginning any artistic or communication project, ask Gabriel to guide and oversee your activities by saying aloud or mentally:
“Archangel Gabriel, I ask for your presence as I [describe the project]. Please open my creative channels so that I may be truly inspired. Help me open my mind so that I may give birth to unique ideas. And please help me sustain the energy and motivation to follow through on this inspiration. Thank you, Gabriel.”
Pretty sure I’ll be invoking her daily.
If you would like more information on the Angel realm or are curious about a reading, check out Marybeth Murphy. She is based in Orange County, CA. I loved her.
You can also look up expert and author Doreen Virtue.
This weekend you could go to a movie or spend less money and support the arts. I’m pretty sure this is a no-brainer. It’s time for the Hollywood Fringe Festival where for around $10 a ticket you get theater! The Hollywood Fringe Festival is an annual celebration of the emerging arts, and this year I’m so proud of my very talented friend Sara Fenton, who is executive producer and assistant director of a one-woman show playing now during the Fringe.
Performed by brilliant actress and writer Liz Femi and directed by Jane Morris, Take Me To The Poorhouse is a comedy about Lizzie, a middle-class Nigerian third grader who dreams of becoming poor to win the heart of her popular classmate. I was lucky enough to see this funny yet emotive show in both its budding stages in Sara’s back yard last summer, and in full bloom at the press preview night held last week at the Lounge Theater. The funny commentary and observations from this adorable little girl living in the rich Nigerian culture during the turbulent 80s reminded me of my own childhood, my own recollection of the 80s, and the often misled conclusions children draw about love, money, adults and life. I love this show and highly recommend you check it out if you are able to make it out LA. The show is running this month from June 8 thru June 28.
About the show from the website: Told through Lizzie’s perspective, we meet a charming 72 year old “African Matlock”, tackle Voltron (defender of the universe), experiment with Jerry curls, discover a local cook who serves “secret delights of a cow”, and reluctantly befriend a headstrong 7 year old suitor with an over-confident lisp.
Inspired by true events, this “upside-down Cinderella story” is a children’s story for adults – witty and wise, hilarious and heartfelt. Audiences are offered a fresh glimpse of African life as they are introduced to a girl eager to reject herself in to order to feel like she belongs.
Hollywood is home to dozens of Los Angeles’ premiere theaters and clubs, making it the perfect spot for the festival. The neighborhood has always been a source of unapologetic opinion, underground mentality, and a deep passion for the cutting-edge. The Hollywood Fringe is an immersive festival worthy of the neighborhood’s reputation.*
The Festival takes place June 13 – June 30, 2013, although this show premieres earlier on June 8th.
Take Me To The Poorhouse is playing at the Lounge Theater located at 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., 90038. Click here for tickets or more information. Call up your friends and experience one of the many reasons I love LA. Now hurry up and go see this show!!
*From Yelper Katie B.’s Fringe event invite.
This morning, Ralph Garman, one of the hosts on KROQ’s Los Angeles morning radio show, reminded me it was Morrissey’s birthday. He jokingly said Morrissey was probably celebrating his day by sadly rocking himself in the corner and all of his fans were going to finally kill themselves in his honor. I’m adlibbing of course, but you get the gist. I don’t take it personally because like most stereotypes, there is some truth in the joke. Don’t worry friends, I’m not killing myself… today anyway. I was born emo though. In case you aren’t sure what I mean, according to Urban Dictionary, the word Emo referrs to: the emotive style of lyrics and music. Punk music on estrogen. Often acustic guitar with soft, high male vocals that dwell excessively on the singer’s feelings, especially melancholy remembrances of past relationships/mistakes in life. Another definition says Emo is like Goth only much less dark and much more Harry Potter. Like the real dictionary, Urban Dictionary gives you a description of the word in an example so you get the picture. I will share the following examples for Emo: 1) “My life sucks and I want to die” 2) girlfriend: “C’mon let’s have sex.” boyfriend: “I’m to sad to have sex.” girlfriend: “I’m to sad too; lets have sex and cry.” boyfriend:”I’m already crying.”
Funny right? I will say again as I have said in other posts, that when I discovered the music of the The Smiths and Morrissey, my heartache, angst and every insecurity suddenly had a voice and a melody. A lifelong fan was born and I found a subculture of people that just get it. If you don’t get it, congratulations. You’re happier than us. If you do, well then when u hear the lyric yes we may be hidden by rags, but we’ve something they’ll never have… you know what he means.
I’m not alone in my admiration. Maybe you have seen evidence of the Morrissey Sticker Project in your city? I LOVE IT! Keep your eyes peeled. Here are some shots of these awesome stickers from my city… If and when you see one of these love stickers, perhaps you will hear my voice in your head and think of me kindly…
I’m definitely not wishing my favorite English lyricist with the amazing falsetto an unhappy birthday, even though it is one of my very favorite songs…
Happy Birthday Moz,
My very first Project Dre LA blog post was an homage to you. I’m proud to be a part of the Moz Army cult you have in Los Angeles, or Moz Angeles as some of us know it to be. I was saddened and concerned when I heard you got sick and had to cancel your tour. I hope you’re well and feeling better and will be on the road again soon. Thanks for your beauty and your music and the mindful example you set for all of us. Best wishes this year for good health, true love, and an even better world tour! You’re not right in the head. And nor am, and this is why I like you. xo
The one you left behind.
There is a movement happening for women right now. Have you noticed? It may have started with Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In. Her website, leanin.org, boasts that she wants to shift the conversation from what women can’t do to what they can. This message and her ideas about leaning in and sitting at the table where the real conversations are happening is critical messaging for girls and professional women everywhere.
An unspoken male dominated corporate culture exists today and yes women are marginalized. That is just truth and I know this from my own experiences. For example, I used to hangout with the East Coast VP of a large national bank. She wore suits to work everyday, but not pantsuits. She only wore the skirt kind along with pantyhose and sensible shoes too. She said pants on a women was frowned upon at work, sort of an unspoken rule, so she never wore pants. This was last year! I don’t know about you, but I’m more offended by the sensible shoes part of that dress-code than the no pants. Regardless, this is the tolerated corporate culture, boys club bullshit that we as women are not supposed to talk about or complain about, much less change. Sorry, for the tangent…
By taking on this important social issue, Sandberg has faced harsh criticism over her views. Curiously, it comes mostly from other women. I try not to have any judgment against these women as they are a product of the system they have unknowingly bought into. This unlikely opposition is not new. Women opposing the upward mobility of other women dates way back. Remember the suffragists too? The way I see it, when one woman stands up for equal pay, mentorship, opportunity and empowerment for women, both men and especially women should applaud! She’s standing up for all of us, our daughters, and frankly, for a better world. Still I wondered, who these bitter haters were.
Then last Thursday, Barack Obama was at a fundraising event in San Francisco and naively put his presidential foot in his presidential mouth. If you haven’t heard, he was introducing California Attorney General Kamala Harris, a long time friend of his and Michelle’s. “She’s brilliant and she’s dedicated — she’s tough,” Mr Obama told his audience. “She also happens to be, by far, the best looking attorney general.” Since then, there has been a firestorm of criticism from both camps, liberals and conservatives, calling his comments sexists, unsettling, insulting, and old-fashioned. She went on record claiming she was not offended, however after a day in the media spin cycle the President apologized to Harris for his comments and the distraction they created.
Here’s the thing though- Was that really sexist? Did he belittle Harris by acknowledging her physical appearance while praising her professional accomplishments? It’s a slippery slope here ladies and gents, careful how you decide to answer. Consider Ms. Harris. No doubt she’s beautiful at 48, and single too, FYI. As I watched the criticism build, an uproar coming mostly from women, I felt like I had missed something. Did he grab his crotch while making the comment? Did he think the mic was off and proceeded to make an off handed comment about ‘dat ass’ to John Goldman? What was everyone so upset about?
Then it dawned on me. These are the same women complaining about Sandberg. Its a collection of bitter, unattractive, marginalized women. Overweight, undersexed, lonely… She may be writing her strongly worded letter right now from a crowded cluttered apartment in the company of her cats and Nancy Grace or Fox and Friends. I know this hater of fabulous, professional, beautiful women personally because I have encountered her in every job I’ve ever had.
Indulge me for a second with this quick story from my career archive circa 2005: I’m fresh out of grad school, well liked, and things are going well in my department. My male boss *James calls me to his office. When I get there I see *Lori, the 300 pound HR lady wearing her hair in her signature tight perm. She has a bright yellow mumu-type top on over faded brown leggings, her callused feet in worn generic tevas. Teva’s are a crime against foot wear rivaled only by Crocs. Anway, she is sitting next to him with a contrite smile on her face. I’m wearing a black BCBG dress with a turquoise shrug and new classic black leather Charles David heels. I remember this like it was yesterday. James gets right to business and explains that he called the meeting because Lori complained about my cleavage. Yes. My boobs. Apparently my breasts made her uncomfortable and he wanted to bring it to my attention. I was mortified and in retrospect, I think James was too. Stunned, I awkwardly apologize to Lori and excused myself. Sigh.
On paper, even with TWO masters degrees, there is still a physical aspect that counts as an accomplishment, and here’s why. As a society, we don’t expect beautiful people to be smart. Remember Ms. South Carolina? When was the last time Kim Kardashian said something worth quoting? Now, I’m definitely no Mila Kunis here, or Kamala Harris for that matter, but as a working professional in Los Angeles, where the standard of beauty for women is extremely high, the fact is that there is a certain amount of expectation related to appearance in certain jobs.
Being beautiful is hard work! Even Cindy Crawford famously said she doesn’t wake up looking like Cindy Crawford. Personally, it takes me about one hour and a half to get ready for work everyday. We wont get into the truck load of cosmetics I use daily, my hair stylist Letty who I have on speed dial, my three closets or the myriad of personal trainers, gyms and studios I’ve belonged too. And does it somehow diminish my achievements? I guess this is where real sexism comes into play. Did I work this hard to live in a society where a friend can’t compliment my appearance? Sorry, but until we live in a world where a woman can look like Lori (from HR) and get ANY job she wants, then men should be allowed to comment on the beautiful ones.
Feeling like you could use a makeover? Here’s the best beauty advice I have ever read:
For Attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run their fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
People, more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms.
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others.”~Sam Levenson
“Sometimes people are beautiful.
Not in looks.
Not in what they say.
Just in what they are.” ~Markus Zusak
*Names have been changed to protect the ignorant.
Last summer I wrote The Baby Question, a blog post about the incessant backlash and judgment I receive about not having children. I know that post rang true for many readers with and without children. As women, yes- I’m calling women out, we judge eachother about having children, not having children, only having one child, having too many children… Seriously, everyone needs to calm down.
Today I heard about a book written by comedienne Jen Kirkman called I Can Barely Take Care of Myself. Awesome title right! In the book she talks about the judgement she endures for being one of a growing number of women who chooses to live child-free. Clearly this is a real issue for women that goes way past Tio Juan’s back yard bbq and I’m glad to see more women are talking it and stepping into the life they choose.
People need to follow their own bliss. Sometimes that includes a life of sleeping in on weekends, sharing pizza with a bulldog and collecting designer sunglasses. Just saying.