The Global Spotlight Podcasts with Twitter Marketing Specialist Keith Keller

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Keith KellerMelbourne based Global Twitter Marketing Specialist Keith Keller is considered amongst the top 1% of Social Media influencers in the world.

Keith is a popular speaker and has appeared on numerous radio shows, teleseminars, webinars and Google hangouts around the world.

I’d like to help Keith spread the word about some of his brand new projects, products and podcasts because he’s taught me so much about Twitter and is always helpful to me there as well. You can read more about him and his latest projects here.

Here’s the first two installments in the brand new series of podcasts: The Global Spotlight

“Believe In Yourself & Ignore The Naysayers” 

www.TinyURL.com/BelieveMP3

Do You Have “Passion & Purpose” For What You Do?

www.TinyURL.com/PurposePodcast

Keith is very VERY excited about this new project and would love your feedback.

THE GLOBAL SPOTLIGHT PODCAST

A fresh episode comes out every two weeks on iTunes now and Keith has a lovely newsletter that goes along with that as well – If you would like to get a copy you can register here.

Follow Keith Keller on Soundcloud for his Crack The Twitter Code one on Crack The Twitter Codeone coaching series and more, or become an affiliate for his new Coaches Connection Academy.

Just Kids by Patti Smith

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Just Kids by Patti SmithBook Review
Title: Just Kids
Author:  Patti Smith
Publisher: Ecco
Released: October 24, 2010
Pages: 306
ISBN-10: 0060936223
ISBN-13: 978-0060936228
Stars:  5.0

Like Patti Smith, I grew up writing poetry and listening to rock’n’roll. That is where the similarity ends because I am not an artist, only an appreciator of them. Although I haven’t read Arthur Rimbaud or Jean Genet, nor have I yet been to Paris, I have always been captivated by the music of the 70s and the writings of Sam Shepard, Jim Carroll and Jim Morrison. I had no idea that Shepard and Carroll were Smith’s lovers but reading the dreamy, tender narrative of her relationship with artist Robert Mapplethorpe surprised me in many ways, including the fact that he was also her lover, because I knew he was openly gay. Until now, I haven’t known very much about Patti Smith except that some of my friends are big fans of hers, she’s collaborated with Springsteen (one of my music heroes), and that her poetry, music and art earned her a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

I often dream of where I’d go if I had my own hot tub time machine and New York City during the late 60s/early 70s is definitely one of the places I’d choose. Patti Smith was born almost 20 years before me, but I’ve listened to and loved a lot of the music that was created by her contemporaries (in particular, The Doors and Janis Joplin) and have been a fan of Robert Mapplethorpe’s photography for a long time. However, she has made me appreciate his work with new eyes and I’m grateful for that. Reading Smith’s autobiography Just Kids is the next best thing to using a hot tub time machine as she has written an exquisite account of her early years as a struggling artist and Mapplethorpe’s muse.

From 1967 to 1978, Patti shares her memories of their lives in New York City and specifically at the infamous Chelsea Hotel, a dreamscape so perfectly realized and vividly fascinating that you feel as if you’re there with them. We meet many legendary artists including William Burroughs, Andy Warhol, Sam Shepard and Tom Verlaine, although none of them holds a candle to the flame that is the telling of the birth of Smith’s and Mapplethorpe’s artistic legacy.

Patricia Lee Smith was born in Chicago on December 30, 1946 and was part of a close knit family that included her siblings Linda, Todd and Kimberly, who later relocated with their parents to South Jersey. What struck me about Patti that I wasn’t expecting is that she’s a very down-to-earth, deeply spiritual person and was never a drug addict as one who hasn’t known her might imagine based on her skinny heroin chic look and the time in which she came of age and became famous for being a punk rocker poet. In researching her for this review, I discovered that we share a very similar view of religion as well:

I believe there is good in in [sic] all religions. But religion, politics and business, all of these things, have been so corrupted and so infused with power that I really don’t have interest in any of it – governments, religion, corporations. But I do have interest in the human condition. (Rolling Stone)

Patti’s love for Robert Mapplethorpe was utterly pure and transcended any boundaries that society might have wanted to instill upon them. Although they weren’t meant to be together as husband and wife, they were most certainly soul mates (regardless of her marriage to MC5 guitarist Fred Sonic Smith) up until his tragic death at the age of 42. On March 9, 1989 Robert died from complications due to AIDS. Her recollection of his passing within the pages of this book brought me to tears. Just Kids opens with the phone call she received from Robert’s brother Edward telling her that he had finally succumbed to his illness, at which moment she was listening to Tosca’s “Vissi d’arte”, and it ends with her making peace with having to say goodbye. (“Smile for me Patti, as I am smiling for you.”) In between, we get to know Robert Mapplethorpe as intimately as a stranger can and develop an understanding of what inspired him as an artist as she traces “their first meetings (there were two of them before one fateful night in Tompkins Square Park) to their days in and out of hotels, love affairs, creative collaborations, nightclubs, and gritty neighborhoods…” (Interview Magazine)

Just Kids is a masterpiece, filled with iconic black and white photographs of Smith and Mapplethorpe, including some of their art and a few of Smith’s poems as well. She’s a very gifted poet and although I confess that I was never a big fan of her music aside from “Because The Night” and “Power To The People”, (I was 11 when Horses was released) I’m listening to it now with new ears and would love to read more of her poetry and song lyrics because this book has made me fall for her…hard. I now understand why she has endured and why there will never be another female rock artist like her. Anyone who can write a memoir that inspires someone to discover their career forty years after it began deserves to be the national treasure that Patti Smith is.

 

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Canada’s Finest Recording Artists: Amanda Martinez, Sultans of String and Fearing & White

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Amanda Martinez Valentine Concert - Kingston Road Concert SeriesI have to be honest. As a chronically single, 50-something, die-hard romantic female who feels that the Ship of Love sailed without me, Valentine’s Day is not my favourite holiday and most of the time I do my best to ignore it as I never have plans to celebrate. I’d be at home watching Netflix like most other evenings. However, this year, I’m trying hard to think positively and working as a social media manager for musicians does have its perks. I’m a huge fan of all of the artists that I mention in this post, not just because I’ve worked with them, but because, quite simply put, they are among Canada’s finest recording artists.

If you live in the Toronto area and are looking for something special to do with your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day Eve: Friday, February 13th (you’re not superstitious, are you?), I highly recommend going to see the extraordinary Amanda Martinez at Kingston Road United Church in the Beaches.

Amanda’s voice is an elixir for the soul! She is a Toronto-based singer songwriter whose music blends her unique Mexican and South African roots with flamenco soul. Her solo CDs have garnered her multiple nominations for Latin Jazz Performer of the Year, and her songs have appeared on three Putumayo world music collections, including Latin Dreamland and Cafe Latino. Martinez has headlined concerts at the 2011 PanAmerican Games in Guadalajara and the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Her newest CD Mañana was helmed by Grammy-winning producer Javier Limón (Buika, Mariza) who hails Martinez as “one of the greatest voices in the world.”

She captures the raw emotion and passion of Latin Music making us sit up and listen” ~ CBC Radio

Amanda performs for the Kingston Road Village Concert Series at Kingston Road United Church on Friday, February 13, 2015 at 8:00 pm. Get your tickets now here.

What do we really know about the origins of Valentine’s Day? We know that Saint Valentine was a third century Roman martyr, but he had nothing to do with the romantic traditions that became associated with his holiday. In this century, we celebrate February 14th by sending cards or “Valentines”, flowers and chocolates to our loved ones; by going out for dinner to our favourite restaurants; or even by creating the perfect CD mix to let our beloved know just how much we care.

Award-winning world music super group Sultans of String recently released their official video for the Chris McKhool penned “Will You Marry Me”, theChris McKhool of Sultans of String proposal song he wrote for his lovely wife who appears in the video with their beautiful young daughter. The video has now surpassed 80,000 views! Valentine’s Day is not only one of the most romantic days of the year for many, but also one of the most popular for popping the question. “Will You Marry Me” from the 2015 Juno Award-nominated album, Symphony! (Instrumental Album of the Year) is the perfect proposal song. Unabashedly adoring, this is certainly one of Sultans of String’s finest moments and the perfect addition to your Valentine’s Day Mix CD!

 

So, what am I, the Hallmark Holiday Cynic, doing THIS YEAR to celebrate Valentine’s Day? I confess that I did not make a mix CD. However, I am going with my sister to see that brilliant, Irish-born, singer-songwriting duo knownFearing & White Tea and Confidences as Fearing & White perform songs from their sophomore album Tea and Confidences at Abbott Hall in Tamworth. The Napanee Guide featured multiple Juno Award winning Blackie and the Rodeo Kings member Stephen Fearing and fully paid up 21st Century Troubadour (and author) Andy White in this recent article. There are only a few tickets left for this show so if you’re interested, call 613-379-2808. You won’t be able to miss me there…I’ll be the chubby red-headed woman with the ear-to-ear grin on her face sitting with a chubby blonde who’ll undoubtedly be tired but happy to be there.

Thank you Stephen & Andy for giving this woman a reason to cast off her usual cynicism and believe in the power of love and gratitude.

Sultans of String Nominated for Instrumental Album of the Year at 2015 Juno Awards

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Juno Awards 2015 Instrumental Album of the Year nominees When my client, Chris McKhool, who is the leader of Juno nominated, CFMA winning, SIRIUSXM Independent Music Award winning and IMA Independent Music Award winning World Music super group Sultans of String asked me to put aside some time for him this morning as of 11:00 am to watch the 2015 Juno Award Nominees broadcast online live from The Danforth Music Hall in Toronto, I did.

I was very excited for them and it felt like it took a while (although I was excited for other artists who I know and love who were nominated) but finally, the Instrumental Album of the Year nominees were announced and Sultans of String made the cut for their album Symphony! They join fellow nominees:

Canadian Brass for Great Wall of China
Daniel Lanois for Flesh and Machine
John Stetch for Off With the Cuffs
Encuentro for Quartango

It’s such a thrill for me to see one of my clients be nominated or receive a prestigious award for not only their undeniable talent but also the heaps and heaps of hard work that they put into their careers. I work with a lot of musicians but no one I know works harder than Chris McKhool for his craft or the production and marketing of it. It truly takes a village to keep a band like Sultans of String moving forward in the music industry and his team, including manager Dave Wilkes, publicist Lisa Weitz of LW Communciations, and incredibly talented band mates, Kevin Laliberte, Drew Birston, Eddie Paton, Chendy Leon and Alberto Suarez have what it takes.

Sultans of String are currently working on their fifth album, a collaboration with sitar fusion virtuoso Anwar Khurshid, whose music has been featured in the Oscar-winning movie Life of Pi.

I can’t wait to see what happens next for Sultans of String! The 44th annual JUNO Awards will be broadcast on CTV from FirstOntario Centre in Hamilton on Sunday, March 15, 2015.

Drew Birston, Kevin Laliberte and Chris McKhool

Drew Birston, Kevin Laliberte & Chris McKhool at the 2015 Juno Award Nominations at Danforth Music Hall in Toronto today.

 

Women’s Music Weekend with Katherine Wheatley, Linda McLean & Jane Lewis May 29-31, 2015

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Women's Music Weekend

Canadian singer-songwriters Katherine Wheatley, Linda McLean and Jane Lewis are the resourceful women’s trio who will stretch and challenge you through an unforgettable Women’s Music Weekend (May 29-31, 2015), hand-crafted to deliver a rewarding, enlightening, and fun-filled experience. You’ll leave nurtured, inspired, and with a song in your heart!

Experience the joy and the power of making music with other women. Create, share, enjoy, listen, learn, stretch, play, harmonize, heal, sing. Sing your heart out. All weekend long.

Choose from workshops that include vocal play, creative mining, song writing, jamming, restorative yoga, vocal and performance techniques. Join the weekend chorus, play in a pick-up band or write your own song.

Katherine, Linda & Jane are going to keep the focus on morning yoga and group singing, and open up Saturday afternoon to a series of optional workshops on a range of topics, such as Freeing Your Natural Voice, How to Sing Harmony, Girl Jam, Creative Lyric Writing… Join the weekend chorus or put together your first rock band. They’ll have a Friday night concert & singalong, a Saturday night “open mic,” and a Sunday concert by participants. You’ll have lots of opportunity to make music, explore, and connect.

The weekend is designed to help you explore your musical side within a supportive atmosphere. If you need to unlock your voice, Linda’s heartDSC_1360 opening yoga sessions can help dissolve the blocks to your singing. Her workshops focus on connecting your creative voice to what is in you, and around you. If you’re tentative about making music, Jane is your guide. She has years of experience helping people find the place inside themselves where they can find great joy in music. If you’re up for a good challenge, count on Katherine to pinpoint the part of your music-making that could use a little shake-up. Whatever stage you’re at, Women’s Music Weekend will inspire and ignite your musical passion.

Join them in May for another dynamic weekend of inspiration, creativity, empowerment and community!

Their May 2015 retreat will be held at the Ignatius Retreat Centre, located in the beautiful countryside 2 km north of Guelph, ON. The Centre is the perfect setting for Women’s Music Weekend, known to be a place of beauty and sustenance, ‘where nature gives strength to mind, body and soul.’ The estate is home to the internationally acclaimed Loyola House, and surrounded by the Ignatius Farm, 650 acres of hiking trails, ponds and streams, fields and forests. Loyola House is spacious and comfortable with private bedrooms and spacious meeting rooms. The kitchen serves fabulous organic food, most of which is grown on the property, and alongside delicious meals, the kitchen is always open for snacks and refreshments.

The fee per person includes all workshops plus accommodation (private bedroom), meals from Friday night to Sunday lunch, snacks and refreshments throughout the weekend, and full access to Ignatius Centre grounds.

Fees & Registration for May 29-31, 2015

Early bird fee: $475/pp before February 14, 2015
Regular fee: $525

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER!

Jane Lewis, Linda McLean & Katherine Wheatley

Join Women’s Music Weekend on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WomensMusicWeekend or Twitter at twitter.com/womensmusicwknd.

www.womensmusicweekend.com

The Shadow of the Great Nebula of Orion by Boris Glikman

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Orion NebulaOne day, the nebula in the constellation of Orion, already the brightest nebula in the night sky, started to shine even more intensely, emitting a piercing blue-green light. Its luminosity was now so brilliant that it cast shadows during the daylight hours too, something that had always been the sole prerogative of the Sun.

This caused great excitement, for never before had such a bright celestial body been observed in the day sky. Everybody rushed outside to see this new heavenly wonder and to gawk at their double shadows, the old familiar one and the new one created by the Orion nebula.

It was then that the world was hit by a very unpleasant surprise, for there was something quite peculiar about the shadows cast by the nebula. Instead of being mute, inert outlines of a person’s physical form, they revealed the shadow of a person’s character. Everyone’s inner anxieties, delusions and insecurities were now exposed for all to see.

No one could be found who did not possess a nebula shadow. Even newborns had a shadow accompanying them, thus, coincidentally, vindicating some psychological theories and theological dogmas, while demolishing others.

Naturally, the consequences of this new phenomenon were immense in their scope. Many lives were wrecked, relationships destroyed and careers ruined, as a person’s innermost complexes were revealed to their spouses, family, friends, work colleagues and complete strangers. The very structure of society was threatened, for its smooth running depended so much upon one’s true feelings and nature being suppressed and hidden, even from oneself.

The world was in a dilemma on how to cope with this situation. It certainly couldn’t dim or extinguish the nebula’s brightness. It could try to adapt to a nocturnal existence, when the shadows would be less distinct, but surely that was too radical a solution. Yet who could risk the shame and the burden of walking around with all their flaws showing?

Inevitably, cults arose that chose to embrace this new state of affairs. For them the Orion nebula was The Bearer of Truth, The Great Enlightener of Mankind. Just as the Sun brought outer illumination, so the Orion nebula was deemed to bring inner illumination to the world. The adherents of these sects took pride in letting others see their most intimate neuroses, and experienced catharsis in coming face to face with their fears and insecurities for the very first time. Having accepted their shadows, they felt more fulfilled and whole than they ever did before.

And then, just as suddenly as it flared up, the Orion nebula dimmed to its usual luminosity. It didn’t take long for people to re-adjust to having only one shadow again. Relationships and careers wrecked by the Orion nebula were quickly rebuilt and almost everyone resumed living their old lives, maintaining total silence about that awkward period when their failings were exposed, the way a faux pas is ignored in polite company.

Getting To Know The Artist Known as Melissa Rebronja EMAR

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Melissa Rebronja EMARMelissa Rebronja, also known as EMAR, is an extraordinary, multi-talented, multi-media artist who was born in Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia, grew up in Canada (in Toronto and Vancouver) and now resides in The City of Angels: Los Angeles. One of the most amazing things about beautiful Melissa is that she performs and records world music, singing in over 10 different languages, including Serbian, Hindi, Farsi, Persian and Arabic. Not only can she sing with the voice of an angel, but Melissa performed her debut stand-up comedy show in 2013 with DANTE at The Jon Lovitz Comedy Club. She is currently the host of EMAR EVOLVE TALK on YouTube where she discusses Consciousness, Spirituality & Oneness among other topics and Music Dreams TV, in which she raises awareness about the current music industry. It is my genuine pleasure to interview Melissa Rebronja for this very special, end of the year, feature.

I’ve known you as Melissa Rebronja for a long time, however, you are also known as EMAR.  Why the re-branding? 

The first rebranding happened back in 2007 when I recorded my first EMAR EP. Since my first two albums were Adult Contemporary, and once I specifically started branching into World Music, I thought using a different name made sense. EMAR is really just an exotic way to write my initials M.R. In the last year I’ve actually started using both names as one: Melissa Rebronja EMAR.

You’ve been making music for over ten years. I can remember when your song “Beautiful” came out as well as your stunning cover of “Wonderwall” that became a download hit on CD Baby as I’ve been a fan since those days. What have you recorded since then? 

Since my debut album Embrace Yourself, which included radio singles “Wonderwall” & “Beautiful”, I’ve recorded two full albums and two EPs. In the last few years I have been collaborating with new producers on songs being licensed for Film and TV.  My voice and music made it in the soundtrack of ABC’s TV Series ‘Missing’ and Bollywood’s Salman Khan’s first North American feature ‘Dr. Cabbie’.

What musical achievements have been the most rewarding for you so far? 

I consider myself an Artist Raising Consciousness and Evoking Peace in all that I do.  So with that said, the most rewarding thing for me is evidence that my music is bringing people from different backgrounds together and evoking peace. I was deeply touched that my version of Church Slavonic Christian Orthodox Chant song “Tebje Pojem” was showcased to Catholic Priests of Society of St. Paul in Rome. What’s beautiful about that is the image of two different religions that have been at opposite sides in the Yugoslav wars coming together through respect and admiration for spiritual music.

Another example is when I first arrived in Singapore after a 24 hour flight a few years ago I noticed my cab driver had Hindu statues and symbols all around his car. I told him I sang in Hindi. He was stunned and didn’t believe me. I proceeded to sing to him my version of “Tumare Darshan” live in his car. He was almost in tears of joy. When we arrived to my destination he gave me a big hug, thanked me from the bottom of his heart and told me that if I lived in Singapore I would be a star. That was one of the most beautiful and touching welcomes I received yet.  

Do you have plans to record a new album and if so, what will it focus on and when can we expect it?   

Yes. I have brand new songs, covers and re-mixes.  It will be a culmination of Melissa Rebronja & EMAR in one.  It will be songs that have touched my heart and call for healing of our soul’s wounds. I plan to sing and record in English, Serbian, and Croatian. 

Because it is relevant to your own creative projects, would you share a little about your spiritual beliefs? 

I believe in our Oneness.  I would call my religion Love. I embrace all religions, all cultures and all people as one. I have respect for all no matter what their spiritual beliefs are or lack thereof. Like I’ve stated on the home page of my website, “It doesn’t matter if you’re an atheist, agnostic, religious, spiritual, whatever. If you are a kind human, have love in your heart, are open-minded and do your best not to judge but extend love, kindness and acceptance to every human on Earth – You are living in Oneness and we need you.” 

Can you tell us first about some of the guests you’ve hosted on EMAR EVOLVE TALK and share some highlights from those interviews in terms of what you learned? 

I started EMAR EVOVLE TALK as a passion project and it’s also a wonderful way to have my music in front of a wider audience. I talk to guest on topics of Consciousness, Spirituality and Oneness. My notable guests have been Spiritual Author Jeff Brown, Consciousness Author Graham R. White and Founder of UK pop-band Londonbeat, Will Henshall. What I learned is that we have some amazing people on Earth right now who are shifting our consciousness, expanding our minds and healing our hearts. This makes me feel very hopeful about Earth and its inhabitants.

Out of everyone you have interviewed so far, who left you with the most spiritually profound impression and why?  

I love all my interviews. Jeff Brown has left a profound impression because he has some very interesting, non-mainstream views on topics such as Forgiveness, which I find very intriguing and am still absorbing. I am hoping to have him back on the show again.

Can you tell us about Music Dreams TV and how you got involved with it? 

Music Dreams TV is another passion project of mine. I started the first episodes in Canada in 2009 and just restarted it recently in LA. It’s how I give back to the Independent Music community. Being an independent musician can feel daunting and lonely. I’ve been lucky to have the guidance of some amazing people along the way, including mentors in the Industry such as Derek Sivers, Tess Taylor, and Dave Kusek.  My wish is to share with others all that I learn and am learning to enlighten the Music Industry as a whole. 

Where can we tune in to these shows online? 

EMAR EVOLVE TALK is at youtube.com/mrebronja

MusicDreamsTV is at youtube.com/MusicDreamsTV 

I understand that you were nominated for “Best Social Media Artist of the Year” by LA Music Awards in 2014. Congratulations! What was the nomination based on? 

Thank you so much. It’s exciting. The “Best Social Media Artist” Award is based on my overall online social media presence and personal website. 

Tell us about your experience at the Awards ceremony Melissa Rebronja and Linda Blair

Being at the LA Music Awards Ceremony was super fun. I got to experience being on the red-carpet for the first time in my life. I realized there is a whole art to it, and I think I did pretty well for my first time.  I also got to meet some amazing people in the entertainment industry such as actress Linda Blair. Most of all it is nice to be acknowledged as an independent artist. We could use more of that. 

Do you enjoy living in Los Angeles? What’s the best thing about being there? 

Los Angeles is a great city. I definitely enjoy being here. Beside the obvious weather advantage it really is the entertainment capital of the world. I have met and worked with some amazing people from all around the world while in LA, people that I probably wouldn’t have access to otherwise. Mostly I like being on the West Coast as my soul resonates with it the most. I spent five years of my life in Vancouver, BC and that’s where I first fell in love with the West Coast.  

Melissa Rebronja EMARDo you have any acting aspirations? 

I did at one point in my life. I am not so sure anymore. When I see how passionate and committed some actors are, I must admit I am not. For me music has always been my obvious choice.  

Are you venturing into comedy now? 

I did take a class and had my debut performance last year, which was absolutely terrifying for me. I faced a big fear that day. I highly recommend it to people.  I have not been back on a comedy stage since then. I would like to be. 

Do you use music in your comedy routine? 

I haven’t yet but would love to have a portal to combine all the crazy characters that live within me with my musical abilities. That sounds like one fun challenge to face. Stay tuned.  ;-) 

Are you going to make any New Year’s Resolutions? If so, would you be willing to share any of them with us?  

Surrender completely to the power that created me. 

What would you most like to achieve in 2015? 

Be Love in moments when it’s especially hard to.

Thank you so much for talking to me Melissa! It’s obvious that you have a lot of passion for not only your music career but also for humanity in general. Oneness and Love is a movement that I can certainly get behind and I’m truly inspired by your goals. Los Angeles is really lucky to have you as a part of its entertainment community.

Celebrate! Holidays of the Global Village with Juno Nominee/3x Parents Choice Award Winner Chris McKhool at St. Francis Centre, Saturday, December 13th

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 3, 2014

JUNO NOM/3X PARENTS CHOICE AWARD WINNER CHRIS MCKHOOL
celebrates the multicultural mosaic with his award-winning young audience show

“CELEBRATE! HOLIDAYS OF THE GLOBAL VILLAGE”
ST. FRANCIS CENTRE – SAT DEC 13, 3:00 PM
 

Celebrate! Holidays of the Global Village with Chris McKhool

 

[Ajax ON]  JUNO Award Nominee and 3x Parents’ Choice Award winner, Chris McKhool, celebrates the multicultural mosaic with his award-winning show, “Celebrate! Holidays of the Global Village”, at St. Francis CentreDecember 13, 2014, 3pm!

Celebrate! Holidays of The Global Village” is an interactive and playful musical journey into the myriad of holidays, customs and festivities enjoyed in our country showcasing songs about Christmas, Carnival, Chanukah, Chinese New Year, Diwali, Eid, Kwanzaa, First Nations traditions, Ramadan and many more! Children can visit with Santa after the show!

Hailed as a “Children’s musical star” (National Post) and “Canada’s greatest eco-troubadour for young people”, Chris McKhool is one of Canada’s greatest musicians for young audiences. McKhool has reached over 1 million children live in concert, winning 3 USA Parents’ Choice Awards, 2 Canadian Folk Music Awards and a JUNO Award nomination. He also won Best Children’s Entertainer at the Festivals & Events Ontario Awards, a Green Toronto Award of Excellence, an Environment Canada Action Award and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for his commitment to multicultural and environmental issues through music. He also created the World’s Largest Bicycle Bell Ensemble in Canada!

 
WHEN:
Saturday, December 13, 2014 – 3:00 pm
Children can visit with Santa after the show!

WHERE:

St. Francis Centre for Community, Arts & Culture
78 Church Street South, Ajax

TIX/INFO:
$15 
(incl.hst)  | 905-619-2529 ext. 2787 (ARTS)  www.stfranciscentre.ca
Available at the Box Office, Ajax & McLean Community Centres, Audley Recreation Centre

www.fiddlefire.com
“Chris McKhool and the boys are fantastic. They can play my bar mitvah!” Bob Ezrin, Producer (Pink Floyd, Kiss)

“I was impressed by his musical virtuosity and personal appeal…His songs succeed!” Ernie Coombs (Mr. Dressup)

“Many have tried but none have come as close to capturing what it means to truly celebrate multiculturalism as Chris McKhool. The Toronto singer-songwriter epitomizes what many Canadians have come to love about this country.” Deanne Fisher, City Parent

“A children’s superstar!” Brent Bambury, CBC Television

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MEDIA ENQUIRIES:

Lisa Weitz,  LW Communications  lw@lwcommunications.ca  416-624-3466 | 416-846-6877 (cell)

The Pen of Plenty (or A Portrait of an Artist as the Entire Universe) by Boris Glikman

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The Pen of PlentyPart I

“Take this Boris, may it serve you well!”, a booming voice commanded, as a hand, holding a shining writing implement, extended towards me.

I was all of thirteen years old when the Hand from Above bestowed the Pen of Plenty upon me.

” You shall be my voice! I shall speak through you with this pen. You shall be a conduit to that Other Reality, the one inhabited by Eternal Truths, Infinite Beauty and Ineffable Questions. From this pen will spring forth an inexhaustible flow of Magic, you will not be able to help begetting works of perfection, each one more perfect than the one before it.

There is a price to pay. You will not be able to feel, smile, laugh, love, pursue ordinary human activities. You will only be able to write, writing alone shall be your existence.

You shall move solely in the Infinite, Eternal, Universal sphere. You will capture and portray through your writings every permutation, manifestation and aspect of life, yet you shall remain cut off from mankind.

This pen shall be the bathyscaphe with which you will descend to the lowest abysses, and it shall be the alpenstock with which you will ascend to the highest heights not yet scaled by mankind. The world will ostracize, scorn, misunderstand, persecute, laugh at you and it will cherish, adore, worship, celebrate you. But you will stay numb, unmoved by both love and loathing.

You will not know how to be young, yet you will not grow old and will stay a man-child, for, by not partaking in the outer world, you shall be free of its deleterious effects.

You will give life to an infinity of uniquely bizarre, wondrous realities, yet you yourself will be a mere metaphor, an empty shell of a shadow, never being able to feel real, concrete. The worlds you engender will be suffused with sensation and meaning, while your own outer reality will be bare, senseless and pedestrian by comparison.

This pen shall be the flame that will illuminate truths as yet invisible, you will help others find their identity, will bring clarity and enlightenment to humanity, will reveal the underlying, inner structure of existence, yet you will be forever lost, confused, at odds with yourself and the world, drifting aimlessly through existence, a jellyfish in the ocean of life.

This pen shall speak with a thousand voices, educing hysterical laughter, uncontrollable tears, twisting minds into Moebius strips, creating transcendental beauty that will stop others dead in their tracks, dumbfounded with awe, even if they have had just a fleeting contact with it, but you will be blind and deaf to its powers and will stay frozen inside. You will feel no pride or pleasure in your creations, for you will know that you are merely a conduit.

But even though this is a Pen of Creative Cornucopia, one day it shall run out and will write no more. Consequently, writing will be the hardest and most terrifying task of your existence, for you will be forever insecure, not knowing when you no longer will be able to create any more. Yet, before that time comes, you shall be flooded with a ceaseless deluge that will demand every instant of your life and your very sanity.

Once you take this pen, it can never be un-taken, you can never disown it or rid yourself of it.”

The voice stopped. I waited a while for it to resume, but it remained silent. Then, with childish, reckless eagerness, I extended my hand upwards, to meet the hand reaching down from above, caring not at all about the consequences.

                                                     Part II

The Writer sits in his room, writing at his desk. He has access to the deepest secrets and mysteries of the Universe, but the question that the whole world, from the tiniest and simplest organism upwards, seems to know the answer to, he can not solve: ” Why live?”

The Writer is torn apart by two contradictory thoughts that occupy his mind simultaneously and seem equally valid. He is certain that he is blind to a fundamental truth that the rest of the world is in possession of, for how else can one explain the whole world choosing life over death and existing with a purpose, something that he is not capable of. Yet he also knows that he is in possession of a fundamental truth that the rest of the world is blind to, for if it was privy to this truth, it would not be able to live in certainty.

The Writer is triply trapped by his room, his mind and his pen. Occasionally, overcome by curiosity and longing, he steals a brief, wistful glimpse, through the window, of the world outside that is teeming and pulsating with life in all of its infinite variations, life that he can never be a part of and whose simple pleasures he could never enjoy or grasp the meaning of. Other times he catches sight of a sliver of the sky that is visible to him from his sitting position. But he immediately feels guilty for neglecting his sacred task and hurriedly resumes scribbling, letter after letter, word after word, sentence after sentence, in his notebooks of madness.

Life passes him by, and then death passes him by too. He has no time for life and he has no time for death either. Neither life nor death can arouse his interest or get their hands on him, and just as he has forgotten all about time, so time has forgotten all about him. In any case, the Writer can not die, for the pen is still working and so he must keep on writing, for his commitment to his pen is greater than his commitment to life and death.

Years, centuries, millennia, billions of years elapse. The Sun expands into a red giant and then collapses into a white dwarf. The stars are torn apart by the forces of the Universe’s expansion, and the protons themselves rot into pieces. Cosmos begins to wind down, all of its energy having dissipated and turned into useless forms. Then the fabric of space-time dissolves.

Still, the Writer remains writing at his desk, which is now floating in vacuum, separate from time and space. Now and then he sneaks looks at the outside world, even though nothing remains there but pure nothingness.

And then, for the very first time, something leads the Writer to take a close look at the pen he was gifted with. He examines it carefully and notices the faded blue letters forming the words MADE IN CHINA etched on its side. Distant memories come flooding back to him, memories of his mother buying pens at the local supermarket, for the start of the new school year; memories of the bare walls of the bathroom that distorted the acoustics, and how he liked to speak to himself there and listen to his boy voice transforming into the stentorian voice of a man. He remembers standing in the bathroom and hearing a million voices calling out his name, then turning around and seeing all of humanity in the mirror looking back at him, as his left hand passed the pen to his right hand.

The Writer now realises that he is the Creator. Having had encompassed the Universe with his mind, the Writer expands to encompass the Universe with his body, so that the Universe and the Writer become one and the same, identical entities, coinciding precisely with one another.

With quiet satisfaction the Writer slowly puts the pen down and that is how the Universe

( and this story) ends, not with a bang or a whimper, but with a .

Note

 1) In Australian English, “.” is known as “full stop” rather than as “period”. 

 

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