Mapping Media Scholars in the Art of Journalism

blackcocteau

Kofi Forson is a writer, poet and playwright living in NYC. His current blog is Black Cocteau, a mixture of philosophy and art on modern culture. His previously written articles include “Artistry and Celebrity: An Interview with Harry Goaz” among many others for White Hot Magazine.  Dr Samita Nandy’s (Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies) latest interview with Kofi Forson sheds light on his inspirations and advice for artistic and scholarly treatments of cultural figures and artifacts in popular culture. Read his insightful words below.

Samita Nandy: You blend cinematic art, poetry, and philosophy in ways that are rarely found in tabloid journalism. Why is it significant for you?

Kofi Forson: Primarily that is what drives me, hunger for art and intellect.

My video/film Cushion Pill premiered at curator Jo Derbyshire’s loft space in Liverpool back in 2005. It was originally staged as a theatrical play at The Riant Theater, NYC. The film was a production between me and model and actress Carolyn Day.kofiandaimee

Given the interview process I was interviewed for two films, Noah Becker and Steven Lane’s New York is Now and The Secret History of Contemporary Art.

Along with artist Daiva Gauryte, I participated in the Liverpool cultural initiative Transvoyeur’s video/film project, Gender, Space, Art and architecture.

Poetry and philosophy have been the basis for my dialogue and involvement with Transvoyeur and has resulted in projects both online and in art galleries, primarily Eickholt Gallery and Media Noche, NYC.

The relevance of tabloid journalism is that I’ve always felt being a pop star was the original idea, from my early experiences watching Michael Jackson, Leif Garrett, Shaun Cassidy and Donny Osmond.

The intervention I do now on commercialism with respect to art and journalism is to express intellectualism as thinker, “cultural worker” and curator of dialogue between me and the celebrity through the interview format which is a manifestation of my ability to ingratiate the celebrity into familiarizing themselves with me, bringing about justified and favorable answers.

Samita Nandy: Do you think it is important for scholars to become critics in the media?

Kofi Forson: I definitely think so. I remember my first introduction to Roland Barthes. I read his book S/Z in a humanities class at the School of Visual Arts. It changed my life and to this day I draw on my experiences of having read books by Barthes.

The key here is language. The scholar bases his or her language on theory and philosophy and importantly research. Knowing how to cultivate use of language for merit of communicating makes the scholar overwhelmingly pertinent to how information is acquired, how it is expressed and importance with which it is articulated, showing responsibility and respect given relationship between news source and worldwide public.

Samita Nandy: Would you recommend scholars to use interview in their creative and media work? If so, why?

Kofi Forson: The interview is singularly the most important way of acquiring information
from a subject, be it on the spot in a harried atmosphere and conducted in a hurried circumstance. This is relevant to the beat reporter at a scene of a crime or even in war scenarios. There’s also the planned interview between journalist and subject. And what has become the everyday talk show where a celebrity host interviews an invited celebrity as guest.

kodarkglassespropicThe circumstance of an interview is a remark on love and respect. Love as in human love, accepting another person as they are given race, gender and identity. The result then is an overvaluing of a need to get information. When both parties; the interviewer and subject accept their roles, the interviewer is at an advantage to use what he or she values as the best way to get answers from the source. It takes on parameters of psychology, emotiveness and cunningness.

The scholar’s purpose therefore would suggest getting information and sharing it. Interviewing someone as a whole is a productive way of showing interconnectivity between two people, the very thing a scholar is known for.

Samita Nandy: How can scholars approach the media so that journalists can implement research further?

Kofi Forson: The basis for research is to add credibility to how information is acquired and how it is revealed. Best way for scholars to approach the media so that journalists implement research further is through the book format or conducting seminars. The act of writing and publishing a book is singularly the most revered and important thing expected of any writer.

The advantage the scholar has is an ability to express how information is acquired. This can be achieved by publications as in a journal or book.

Furthermore the scholar can articulate thought on the importance of research through coordinated classes or conventions. The journalist has a lot to gain from the scholar.

By making use of modern technology and social media, the scholar can interject a system by which the journalist can achieve a more admirable way of sharing information.

Dr Samita Nandy
Director, Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies (CMCS) & Co-Producer, Celebrity Chat
Author, Fame in Hollywood North. Toronto: WaterHill Publishing
PhD Curtin University, Australia (Media / Celebrity)

MA and BA York University, Canada (Communication)

URL: www.samitanandy.com | Twitter @famecritic

Artistry and Celebrity: An Interview with Harry Goaz by Kofi Forson

Harry Goaz

Harry Goaz, “Self Portrait” (2015), photographs, mounted on Dibond, 63.75 in. x 63.75 in. (All images courtesy of the artist)

By KOFI FORSON, JUL. 2016

Harry Goaz was first cast as Deputy Andy Brennan in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, a role he has reprised for a continuation of the series to be broadcast on Showtime. Mister Goaz gleams from a jet set Hollywood allure, legendary in what he has become, an avuncular hero to millennials with works of fiction and photographs.

Kofi Forson: What a pleasure, Harry. I suppose everything goes back to and falls on your initial meeting with David Lynch.

Harry Goaz: Well, it’s a very famous and also a well-loved story by Mr. Lynch himself of our meeting. At the time I was a young whippersnapper scuffing around Los Angeles with some worn out Tony Lamas, working two jobs and studying. One of my jobs was as a driver for a private car service that specialized in getting high profile types in and out of places with little fanfare. One night I received a call to pick up Mr. Lynch in the Hollywood Hills to take him down into Hollywood for a memorial ceremony for the late, great Roy Orbison. At the time Mr. Lynch was already known to me as THE director of Blue Velvet, which happened to be an indelible game-changer of a film for me as a young and hungry artisan. He was very open, affable and completely without guile. After I dropped him off I impulsively decided to pull up and just sit in the car and see if I could see him coming out. He seemed surprised that I was still waiting. At the end of a very long evening as I was pulling up into his driveway he asked me what I did besides driving. I told him that I was an actor. His demeanor seemed to shift to a solemn and serious shade. He nodded his head and said, “It is the hardest life.” I said yes sir, but you have to love it. He nodded and said, “That’s it, you have to love it. You have to love it!” He told me he was working on something very special and asked me to send in my picture. Voila! Thank you Universe…and Mr. Lynch!

Harry Goaz untitled photograph

Harry Goaz, Untitled (2013), photographs, 31 in. x 48 in.

KF: You were cast as Deputy Andy Brennan in Twin Peaks. How did this character originate?

HG: Andy Brennan was a character created quick-on-the-draw as I was delivered to the set fresh and green in about two to three weeks after meeting Mr. Lynch.

KF: When did David Lynch contact you about reprising your role as Andy Brennan? Had you been in communication with him over the years?

HG: I started communicating with Mr. Lynch again two summers ago, prior to that I had no communication with him. That summer I had a very old-school cellular phone that was an expectantly low performer in the Black Hills of New Mexico, and with Mr. Lynch calling from Paris, our conversations consisted of us yelling at each other. I liked that. The conversations comprised of him asking many good questions. Many! Good times . . .

Harry Goaz "Kimmy on back lot"

Harry Goaz, “Kimmy on back lot” (2016), photographs, 18 in. 25 in.

KF: Did you sense early on David Lynch was making history? What was the mood on the set?

HG: I did not think in those terms, and in retrospect I guess that may have been because I was so young and excited to be on set. I think everyone was very cognizant of how special it was that Mr. Lynch was going to venture into television. There certainly was a palpable amount of wide-eyed exuberance on the set and on location. Months later, after all of the post production and editing, I remember being by myself on the night of the premiere on ABC Television. I was in bed in a glass room in the hills overlooking the entire Los Angeles basin. When the opening credits began to roll I remember looking out and the entire basin had turned a beautiful, forest green as thousands and thousands of televisions glowed with the opening credits. But, for the sake of our conversation let’s say MILLIONS, Kofi. In THAT very moment I realized that history was being made…

KF: Has it been an easy transition getting to play the same character after all these years?

HG: My apprehension was that I had lived in character as Andy for some very long periods. I had a hard time letting him go. I think that Mr. Lynch knew that a lot of us veterans were just going to need to know our marks and allow him not to direct us, but to paint his sets with us.

Harry Goaz Untitled 2016

Harry Goaz, Untitled (2016), photographs, Edition of 5, 64 in. x 60 in.

KF: You studied with William Traylor at The Loft Studio.

HG: The Loft Studio was a brutal and life changing experience for me. There were eight of us in our class. I remember regurgitating on the afternoons before some of my scenes because I was so nervous. Not one day passed during those times though when I had definitive flashes of just how lucky and privileged I was to study there. At nights I would get on the bus in those scruffy Tony Lamas to go home and be incredibly grateful. I remember all those rides home at night. All of them!

KF: Was it William Traylor who inspired your love for acting?

HG: NO!!!! Hahaha. He was one of the best things that happened to me in my education, however. He really drove me deeper into characters and vastly increased my concentration for timing. I’m sure he is in Hell somewhere right now kicking Andy Warhol’s feet off of a coffee table. Hahahaha. Can I say that? When I look back at my early exposure to film and television, Michael Caine comes to my mind. There was something about how much larger he resonates on a full screen as opposed to his physical stature as a mere mortal. I of course didn’t know that in my youth, but was able to fathom what was happening later as an actor.

Harry Goaz "Dakota's Death Bed"

Harry Goaz, “Dakota’s Death Bed” (2015), photographs, 36 in. x 71 in.

KF: What are your impressions of art? Do you value the role of the artist as an enfant terrible or do you enjoy works of art on the basis of talent and craftsmanship?

HG: BOTH!! Might I also say that there is an incredible amount of ravishing and impressionistic art coming from some very, very young kids in Istanbul? I’m not privy to what the protonic combustion happening there is, but I’m there two trips from now. Won’t that be a great phone call?

KF: Like the Tom Waits composition… Telephone Call from Istanbul!

Who are some of your favorite artists? What period in art do you like the most?

HG: Very young I was a devotee of Rauschenberg. Even though some viewers considered the strokes and texts as being impulsive, I found them to be frightfully complicated and in some ways crippling because of how much inference could be placed on the piece as a whole. There were also images of Ruscha floating around in my head and I did not identify them as such until later. I was very moved that art was being facilitated in such a clean and minimalistic way when Ruscha was delivered upon me. The messages seemed vast to me and I had never thought of art in that way. There seemed to be such honesty in it for me. I could go back to them over and over again.

KF: The movie Figurehead centers on the making and selling of art.

What interests you about the making of art? Do you still paint?

HG: I don’t paint anymore and have returned to photography. There was a rebirthing for me to return to the old Screbneski black and whites and the colors of Bourdin. Something just fired up in me again. It’s been simmering a couple of years and I have dived right into the deep end of it again. And you must understand I left photography in the late 70s!! I have curated a number of private collections and even that seems to be careening back to photographic images. Life — ‘Tis a tale of revisions and rewrites!

Harry Goaz "Skippy's Ghost on Bel Air Road"

Harry Goaz, “Skippy’s Ghost on Bel Air Road” (2016), photographs and Tempura, 8 in. x 12 in.

KF: You recently published a series of short stories which were translated into Russian, French and Portuguese.  

HG: I have a tidy little army of lovers for my stories. They run anywhere from one to three lines and are usually accompanied by my older images. It’s like when Keith Richards said “yeah” off-mic at the end of “Brown Sugar.” The kids are eating and I am feeding.

KF: Would you say your love for art is primal? Who are some of your favorite writers?

HG: Oh, excellent question! As for me I would say yes. Well let me amend that; I think art is primal for everyone until they get all layered and shellacked up and become encumbered with all of the “business” of becoming a human being and trying to live in a world with others.

Paul Bowles, Tennessee Williams, John Berger’s “The Shape of a Pocket,” John Cheever and Richard Bausch will all send me to a happy grave.

KF: In the book Image/Music/Text the French philosopher, Roland Barthes speculates on the theory behind the image, text and music. You have experienced the practice of art as performer, visual artist and writer.

What has been your involvement with music?

HG: Interesting that you would mention Roland, you psychic devil. I always go back to how his MANY hardships were the catalyst for his greatest academic concepts and victories. At this point in my life, as a more mature viewer, I rarely am able to ‘view’ ANY images without music. I compose all images with music whether it be conceptualizing or editing.

Harry Goaz "Door Open at 3:00AM"

Harry Goaz, “Door Open at 3:00AM” (1995), photographs, chromogenic print, 12 in. x 14 in.

KF: We now live in an internet and celebrity culture. Are you fascinated by the spontaneity in what has become a quick path to fame? Is the role of the artist as genius still relevant?

HG: I was, but so many people are famous now. I think artist as genius is relevant, but not to say that all great art has come from genius. I would like to think that there is more than an army of us out there who spend inordinate amounts of time consuming art and trying to find our place as mere mortals… WM

Kofi Forson
Kofi Forson is a writer, POET and PLAYWRIGHT living in NYC. His current blog is BLACK COCTEAU, a mixture of philosophy and art on modern culture.

*Originally printed in Whitehot Magazine in August 2016 issue here. View all articles by Kofi Forson here.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

1. When you enter a party.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

2. When you can’t believe what that dude just said.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

3. When the grocery store is out of the ice cream you wanted.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

4. When you’re plotting an elaborate prank.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

5. When you’re feeling a complicated attraction to someone.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

6. When you get bangs and immediately regret it.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

7. When you hear about that scene in 50 Shades of Grey.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

8. When you see a witch.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

9. When somebody at the table gets fries and you want some.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

10. When you’re very proud of yourself for not going home with someone.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

11. When you get a gross message on OKCupid.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

12. When you’re SO EXCITED you can’t contain yourself.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

13. When you get in an argument with your parents and revert to acting like a teenager.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

14. When you’re having a bad day and someone makes you feel better.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

15. When a friend needs some encouragement.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

16. When you know you’re looking good and you’d like to invite someone to flirt.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

17. When you’re mediating an argument.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

18. When you’re so excited that it scares you a little.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

19. When you’re feeling morbid.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

20. When you’re waiting for a text from an attractive person.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

21. When you can’t believe that idiot just said that to you.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

22. When your OTP finally makes out.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

23. When a cute dude or lady is looking at you.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

24. When you realize you forgot to call your mom back.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

25. When you encounter haters.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

26. When your ex posts pictures of their new significant other.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

27. When someone sees your Netflix browsing history.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

28. When your friend is creeping on you.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

29. When you’re the only one in the office.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

30. When it’s time to quickly exit a party.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

31. When you read the comments.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

32. When you throw up a little in your mouth.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

33. When there’s a Spanish quiz that you forgot about.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

34. When you’re happy with your choices, thanks.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

That’s it. Those are all the occasions.

34 Perfect David Bowie GIFs For Every Occasion

Introducing Laurie Brown of LJB Artist Management (Managing with Integrity)

LJB Artist Management LogoFor those of you who are following Scully Love Promo and me, Christine Bode, through social media, you’ve probably noticed that I have updated my website but I no longer have a Facebook business page. I deleted it about a year ago because at this point, as a solopreneur who works with musicians & artists, I don’t have the budget to pay to play on Facebook.

However, I have been utilizing the power of Twitter (for free) to make new connections and recently had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of a lady who I have a lot in common with. We both work in the music industry and think a lot alike in terms of how important it is to help each other out there in the social media stratosphere in order that we can all be successful at what we do.

Meet Edmonton based Laurie Brown of LJB Management (Artist Management), an artist manager with integrity, who can help both part-time and full-time musicians manage their day-to-day business operations and build their career.

With a professional designation in “Music Business – Artist Management” from Berklee College of Music, Artist Manager, Laurie Brown can bring a wealth of experience and organizational skills to your career and allow you, the artist, to do what you do best – create and play music.

MANAGEMENT SERVICES:

Craig Moritz and Laurie Brown

Country singer-songwriter Craig Moritz with his manager, Laurie Brown.

LJB Management offers services for full-time and part-time musicians whose careers have reached the point where they need assistance with day-to-day business operations. LJB Management helps artists with Career Planning, Grant Writing, Copyrights, Royalty Collection, Festival and Showcase Submissions, Branding, Corporate and Event Bookings and more.

MANAGEMENT CONSULTING and PROJECT WORK:

Not every artist needs to have a full-time manager on monthly retainer. SOME artists need assistance with SOME projects SOME of the time. LJB Management also offers management consulting services, tailored to each individual artist’s needs, at an hourly rate. Assistance with industry driven projects such as SOCAN paperwork, grant writing, showcase and festival submissions, and building a business/career plan is provided on a “per project” basis.

CORPORATE BOOKING:

LJB Management has a unique and diversified roster of talent to bring to corporate and private events. Whether planning a corporate party, family event, charitable fundraiser, sporting event, or any other gathering where entertainment is required, LJB Management will have an artist that will fit the bill.

INDUSTRY ASSOCIATIONS and AFFILIATIONS:

Alberta Music Industry Association (AMIA)
Association of Country Music in Alberta (ACMA)
Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA)
Western Canadian Music Association (WCMA)
Music Managers Forum (MMF)
Arts Touring Alliance of Alberta (ATAA)

Laurie keeps her rates as low as possible as she knows how tough it is for artists these days.  Her rates for consulting are $50 per hour (a normal consult is about 2 hours) and $25 per hour for projects. She will do an estimate on the project so the artist knows up front what the costs will be.  If the hours are higher she’ll honour her original estimate (as long as the project hasn’t changed drastically) and if the hours are lower, she charges the lesser rate. For grants, the fees vary depending on what type of grant you are applying for and what is required (i.e.: marketing plans add a lot of time to an application if the artist does not already have one), but Laurie will provide a quote for grant writing as well.

If you’re looking for Laurie’s expertise, don’t hesitate to contact her.

Website: www.ljbartistmanagement.com
Email: ljbmanagement@live.ca
Phone: 780-446-1849

You may not have visited the Our Global Team page on my website, but if you haven’t, take a look, and you will learn about the people on my team who I’m more than willing to refer to anyone who may need their services. They are all trust-worthy individuals who excel at what they do and their services are complimentary to my own. If you think you’d be a good fit and would like to join Our Global Team, please contact me.

God Save The King: Tom DiCillo’s 1977 Student Film Started His Career

Tom DiCilloA few months ago, one of my favorite award-winning filmmakers, Tom DiCillo – (Living in Oblivion, Delirious, When You’re Strange: A Film About The Doors) considered one of the founding fathers of New York independent film – found one of his student films, GOD SAVE THE KING.

GOD SAVE THE KING was DiCillo’s first sync sound film when he was in NYU film school. Back in 1977, student films were shot on real film and the move from silent to sound was considered a huge step. The original 16 mm print was recently discovered in a box under a bed in the basement of a juvenile correctional institution near Miami.

DiCillo wrote and directed the film, starring Liz Roker, Jay McCormack and Joe d’Angerio in his 2nd year at NYU. It was loosely based on an incident that had happened to him one steamy August night a few months earlier. The punk movement was in full spasm. For some performance photos needed for the film he went to CBGB’s one afternoon and they let him shoot Joe and Jay on the stage for 20 minutes.


After graduation DiCillo decided for some reason to scrape some money together and re-edit the film. He added titles, did a sound mix and made something that was almost unheard of for an ex NYU student with no job–a real 16mm print.

Eight years later when he submitted his first screenplay Johnny Suede to the National Endowment for the Arts, DiCillo sent the print of God Save The King as an example of his work. They gave him $25,000.

A year later he submitted the Johnny Suede screenplay to the Sundance Director’s Lab. Once again, he sent this only print of God Save The King as a directing sample. He got accepted.

In some ways you could say this little film started Tom DiCillo’s career.

(Published with permission from Tom DiCillo.)

Just Kids by Patti Smith

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.

 

Meet Dr. Samita Nandy, Founding Director of The Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies (CMCS) in Canada

Dr Samita NandyI’d like to introduce my readers to my friend, Dr. Samita Nandy, who just happens to have a very interesting story and is the founder of The Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies in Canada. Dr. Nandy holds a Doctorate in Media from Curtin University in Western Australia, a Masters on Communication and Culture from York University in Toronto and is a certified Broadcast Journalist. Her research and writing focus on celebrity culture, shifts in stardom, and intersection of cultural meanings of fame and social identity. Her work has been sponsored by international and national grants and awards in Canada and Australia.

Her international media relations and work led her to be featured with Global Television’s Anwar Knight and Allison Annesley on Daytime and prime-time show First Local on Rogers Television, CBC News, CTV’s Breaking News CP 24, OMNI TV, The Globe and Mail, ANOKHI Media, SNAP Downtown Toronto newspaper, Eternity Watch magazine, ATN Television Network, CINA 1650 AM, Rivaaj, Starbuzz Weekly, Cineblitz, Mississauga News, and J-Source in Canadian Journalism Foundation. Nandy has taught postgraduate and honors degree courses at University of Toronto, Ryerson University, and Curtin University. She is the Founding Director of the Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies (CMCS) and Director of Communications at non-profit organization Nouveau iDEA (International Dimensions of Entertainment and Arts) with over 8,000 members and 80,000 online readers. She has spoken at many international conferences and her published writings on social and cultural issues inspire many readers.

Samita and I initially became acquainted on Facebook when she wrote to me. She was still studying in Western Australia and wrote to me about an organization called Nouveau iDEA, for which she is Director of Communications, because I’m a big supporter of the Arts.  I told her that my best friend had lived in WA for many years and she shared that her boyfriend lives in Kingston, Ontario where I live and she calls Kingston her second home when she’s not in Mississauga. Samita told me that she’d get in touch with me when she was back in Canada and she did. We met in person over a year ago and became fast friends. She is one of those people who actually walks the walk and talks the talk when it comes to living her life with passion, integrity and spiritual purpose. She’s a truly lovely, intellectual and creative soul and I’d like to give her this opportunity to tell you about The Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies.

Dr. Nandy, please tell us a little bit about your background and what led you to pursue your particular course of studies.

Dr. Nandy: First of all, thank you for wanting to interview me for your Scully Love Promo blog.  A bit about myself: I am an academic, artist and activist.  Prior to joining university, I had a science background.  With a passionate interest and score of 86% in biology, I had the option to become a medical doctor. However, I preferred communication that brings social justice and change in representations of talent.  For me, media is a tool in communicating the change that I intend to see.  This intent and fearless determination led me to conduct my Doctoral research in media and celebrity studies.

What is the primary mission of The Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies? 

Dr. Nandy: The primary mission of The Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies is to administer and facilitate teaching, training, research, creative productions and an international network of scholars in critical studies of media and celebrity culture. We are committed to developing courses, conferences, seminars, workshops, discussions, writing retreats, exhibits, and performances in open-access formats.  Since we aim to restore the Latin root celebrem in the etymology of the celebrity, we recognize its connotation of celebrating distinction and merit in both academic and non-academic career paths. 

What inspired you to create it?

Dr. Nandy: While I was conducting my Doctoral research, I saw the Dr Samita Nandy receives her PhDgrowing academic and public demand for knowledge of fame and its practices. Soon after my Doctorate, the Routledge journal Celebrity Studies in the UK and its inaugural conference in Australia offered a formal and honorable introduction to its study and practices including creative arts.  I always felt the compelling need to bridge gaps between higher education and arts that Celebrity Studies enable. I also felt the urgency to make research and creative practice available to the public in artistic spaces, and empower social change through knowledge communities.  There were a number of faculty members that were inspired to make a significant difference in the public sphere.  I took up the inspiration to apply theoretical perspectives and methodological concerns, and enable social change that academic teaching and research often seek.

Who are the people who would most likely benefit from affiliation with The Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies?

Dr. Nandy:  Faculty, graduate students, and creative practitioners in academic and non-academic career paths will benefit from affiliation with the Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies.

Are you presently looking for staff and/or volunteers for CMCS? 

Dr. Nandy: CMCS will appoint an educational outreach coordinator and social media manager to disseminate our growing content.  Apart from that, we are always open to interns who are determined to develop and contribute academic knowledge and professional skills.  We have qualified faculty members, post-doctorates and media professionals that can support the development with adequate supervision.

What exactly does a Fame Critic do?

CMCS LibraryDr. Nandy:  A Fame Critic is a critic and commentator on celebrities in higher education and media industry.  The function is similar to that of a film critic offering reviews, analysis, and evaluation of films but in this case, media representation of celebrities is examined.  For a Fame Critic, criticism does not mean negating a celebrity’s work.  Rather, the critic positions talented personalities within varied yet specific contexts of fame, thus adding intellectual and aesthetic value to media representations.  In tabloid journalism, talent and emotions of celebrities are often commodified and sold as standard objects of trade.  In this respect, gossips, scandals and rumors are common but overlook journeys and contexts that are central to creating and understanding celebrated artists.  Through written reviews, spoken words, and performing arts, the Fame Critic offers an empowered understanding and appreciation of celebrities as well as media that represent them.

Why do you think that Celebrity Studies deserves to be considered as an important course of study?

Dr. Nandy: Celebrity culture has a pervasive presence in society and effect on our lives. In tabloid journalism, images of celebrities represent what Richard Dyer calls a ‘success myth’.  It is based on lucky breaks, special talent, hard work and ordinariness.  The basis of this success is not complete.  The reality is that fame is a media construction that conceals the role of publicity and promotions, and is not inclusive.  From this perspective, a celebrity need not be talented.  Rather, as Daniel Boorstin asserts, “A celebrity is a person who is well-known for their wellknownness.”  Many talented people do not know of necessary tools, remain unknown, or limit themselves to future hopes and standards of fame.  In order to celebrate one’s path and shine as a star, it is important to carve out a niche talent and know necessary tools but, more importantly, to focus on the journey and its moments that unfold limitless possibilities of the talent.  Celebrity Studies is important because it focuses on the critical exploration of fame in historical and contemporary contexts.  It also demystifies the industrial and political processes of production, circulation, and distribution of talent. Since fame is a media construction, Celebrity Studies is indispensable to critical understanding of knowledge and practices of media.

Tell us about what you’ve most recently been working on.

Dr. Nandy:  On behalf of the Centre for Media and Celebrity Studies, I am developing courses, publications, and performances.  The performances are based on music composed by Australia’s Myles Wright (www.myleswright.com). The work has been an exciting part of the post-doctoral phase of my career.

What is your primary goal right now in terms of your career?

Dr. Nandy: Right now, my primary goal is to facilitate integration of teaching, research, and creative arts in academic and non-academic programs.

What can students learn from the courses that you’re currently developing and teaching?

Dr. Nandy: Students can learn theoretical perspectives, research methods, and practical tools that are essential to understanding media and celebrity culture.  Since I incorporate an element of performance in my courses, students are able to use an arts-based approach in their career as well as their personal journeys in developing talent.

What role does spirituality play in your writing, public speaking and course development?

Dr. Nandy: For me, spirituality is a shared non-physical relationship with self and others.  A unique creative self is rooted in one’s spirituality and is expressed through embodied practices.  In order to push material and social boundaries, it is necessary to explore and accommodate one’s spirituality in the act of creating.  In my writing, speaking, and course development, spirituality is often expressed as unconditional love, which I bear in my relation to self and others. 

You talk about unconditional love a lot in your writing. What does unconditional love mean to you?

Dr. Nandy:  There are two kinds of emotions: love and fear.  I choose love Dr Samita Nandyand yes, I often mention it – I am passionate about it!  For me, unconditional love is a commitment to care that is free from past and social conditions including sexism, ethnocentrism, speciesism, and class discrimination.  From this perspective, unconditional love starts with self and ends with non-judgmental recognition of others.  If we question a practice, it should be about the conditions of society and not victims of the conditions.  Unconditional love is not meant to be perfect but rather a progression that includes taking one step at a time.  I believe that unconditional love is one of our highest talents that are not taught for the privilege of few. Yet it is easy and empowering once explored.  When we release ourselves from conditions, our creative core is free to recognize its distinctive path and shine as a star, which is the underlying message of all my work.

What is Nouveau iDEA all about and how can people get involved?

Dr. Nandy: Founded by media personality Tushar Unadkat, Nouveau iDEA is a non-profit arts organization that offers an inclusive and motivational space for diverse artists.  I started working with Nouveau iDEA as the Director of Communications in 2004.  Currently, Nouveau iDEA supports independent artists by sharing and promoting their upcoming work through our regular newsletters and posts.  The best way people can get involved in it is by joining the Nouveau iDEA groups on Yahoo and Facebook.  In the near future, we will be holding public events where artists can meet and share information in person.

Tell us about your favourite form of creative expression.

Dr. Nandy: I would say performance.  Writing is an embodied act and I find it fascinating to extend it into performances!  I am particularly interested in contemporary dance that offers living examples of change in intimate spaces as well as on stage or screen. 

Who are you most interested in connecting with and how can they reach you?

I am always interested in connecting with individuals open to learning in both academic and non-academic careers.  I can be reached at info@cmc-centre.com.

Thank you very much Dr. Nandy for your thoughtful and insightful answers to my questions. It is always such a pleasure to have a conversation with you and I hope that my readers will find not only information but inspiration in this interview that will resonate with them and inspire them to look at fame and the study of celebrity culture in a different way.

Please Help Little Sofia On Her Journey With Leukemia!

Sofia Handrick

Last week I found out that my friend, Irish musician Andrew Handrick’s three and a half year old daughter Sofia has Lymphatic Leukemia.  Finding out that your child has cancer has got to be a parent’s worst nightmare.

Andrew and his partner Eva run a small ceramics shop in La Spezia, Italy which is their only source of income. They have to close the shop a lot these days so that they can spend time with Sofia while she is in hospital.  Of course, they want to give her everything she needs to make her life as easy as possible during this challenging time.

Andrew started a fundraising campaign through YouCaring.com and has been overwhelmed by the support and generosity of people all over the world. We’ve all known someone we care about who has been plagued by cancer. If you can help, even in a small way, your gift will be most appreciated. These are beautiful, creative, hard-working people who deserve to be able to watch their daughter grow up. You can help by donating directly to Help Little Sofia at http://www.youcaring.com/other/help-little-sofia/72134.

Alternatively, Artist Sarah Ryan from Limerick, Ireland has donated

The Spirit of Sofia, an oil painting by Sarah Ryan

The Spirit of Sofia

this lovely oil painting of flowers entitled ‘The Spirit of Sofia’ to be auctioned off on EBay with all proceeds going to Sofia Handrick. The attached link will take you to where you can bid for the painting (17″ x 13″ inches, oil painting varnished with gloss).

http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=161065891635

Andrew, Eva, Sofia and I thank you for your support & compassion!

With love & gratitude,
Christine

Sharing the Passion with Cuban Dynamo and Latin, Torch & Sexy Jazz Artist, Deborah Ledon

Deborah Ledon Main promo photoCaptivating…Electrifying…Unforgettable…

Sexy singer-songwriter Deborah Ledon is as extraordinary as her life story.  A native Cuban, her family pulled off a daring escape to Canada when Deborah was just a two-year old toddling around her impoverished neighbourhood looking for food.  That audacious theme seems to have set the stage for her life.  The epitome of charisma, fierce determination and exotic beauty, Deborah Ledon frequently draws from her own fair share of challenging life experiences for lyrical inspiration.  The vocally versatile high-energy dynamo has a spellbinding stage presence and boasts a varied and eclectic background as an entertainer and performer.  Past gigs include everything from commercials and voiceovers to acting, modelling, musical theatre and touring the US with a funk band.  Deborah Ledon’s powerful, melodic voice led to her fronting a variety of bands ranging from a 25-piece big band, country, rock, punk, dance and Latin bands, as well as touring and performing for the Marriot Hotel chain, and fronting the house band for the Parkway Best Western for eight years. She’s also performed at numerous jazz festivals.

An entertainer at heart, Deborah studied acting at Brock University, later landing a lead role in the musical “Man of La Mancha”, a performance that earned her critical acclaim.  Deborah also performed in Vancouver’s “Vagina Monologues” to support a charity fundraiser, and played numerous roles in Carol Shield’s “Departures and Arrivals”.

Deborah Ledon’s raw and edgy independent album “Spilling Inside Out” earned her international acclaim.  The album won Best New Jazz/ Folk Artist inSpilling Inside Out 2004 and hit the Euro Americana Charts as one of 2005’s best albums.  In autumn of 2008 CBC Radio’s Hot Air program showcased Deborah and her former band Locura including a recording session and an hour-long interview.

Deborah Ledon is boldly reclaiming her Cuban heritage with her latest music success.  Her explosive Latin band promises to rock and shock and put you at serious risk of dancing.  Deborah’s contagious passion for her Latin roots defines her exotic, seductive jazzy sound, unmistakable in its unique versatility.  Deborah’s band members are some of Vancouver’s most talented musicians: Chris Haas on drums and vocals; Brent Gubbels on bass; Nick Apivor on percussion; Boris Favre on keyboards and vocals; and Musical Director Graig Robertson on sax, guitar and vocals.  The River Rock Casino in Richmond has become a frequent gig for Deborah and her band, bringing in an ever-increasing stream of fans.  But then it’s really not surprising.  Deborah’s captivating performances and sincere, un-Diva-like attitude could win anyone’s heart.  I love this woman!

If you’d like a CD of Deborah’s original material, it is available through her website at www.deborahledon.com and at CD Baby.  Her original material is unlike the Latin presentation but does have, along with Rock some Jazz and Latin influences.

Deborah in black performing at a casinoA Few Words from Deborah

“My influences growing up were quite eclectic.  I loved the versatility of Linda Ronstadt, the smoothness and range of Barbra Streisand, the Rock growl and scream of Heart’s Ann Wilson and Pat Benatar, the stage dramatics and comedy of Bette Midler, the dark edge of Carole Pope and finally, the infinite musical potential, sincerity and absolute femininity and style of Selena.  I’ve always admired women who had a backbone and never sold out to accommodate some suit sitting behind a desk.  It’s important to be true to oneself and able to sleep at night.

As for my music collection, I loved everything from Rush to Dreamtheatre to Sara Brightman to Gloria Estefan.  My favourite group is The Eagles although Rush is another one.  In concert I’ve had the privilege of seeing The Pointer Sisters, Wham, Michael Jackson, Carole Pope, Eurythmics, Seal, Bonnie Raitt, The Corrs, Rita MacNeil, Jann Arden, John McDermott, Natalie MacMaster, Pink Martini and the one and only, Ricki Lee Jones.  She was great!

The Internet is amazing because it exposes you to those who would normally have no chance of hearing what you do.  I love getting emails from around the globe from someone who has bought my CD and wishes to share thoughts on it.  I also get emails from those right here at home who’ve come out to see a show and want to share their thoughts on songs or thank me for a lovely experience.  The Internet can be a very good thing when used properly.  The downfall, of course is all the traffic and competition on it not to mention the garbage. So many artists and so little time.

I hope to make as many people feel the joy that lives in my heart when I perform and to be a living and breathing example of faith and importance in following one’s heart despite adversity and hardship.  Anything worthwhile comes at a price but surely if people were to know every detail of this journey I willingly signed up for, they would wonder why I didn’t change course years sooner.  I can’t imagine living a false life and yet so many out there do.  It’s a very sad thing and one of the reasons I believe we’re so out of touch with ourselves not to mention why we have high blood pressure.  People are afraid to be truly authentic.  One has to live one’s own song regardless of what anyone thinks.  I’m so darn lucky to have had a 4 foot high grandmother who encouraged my huge Cuban stubborn streak!  Ha!

Into my second year there, River Rock Casino out in Richmond, BC has been my regular musical home.  It was a strange thing initially to walk into that “Vegas style” atmosphere. There were lights everywhere and noise!  What noise!  I didn’t know how we would be heard above all that ringing and talking but once on that glorious stage with state of the art gear and amazing sound men like Tony and Steven at the helm, all was forgotten.  The place is magical and after all this time, we have a following which makes our shows that much more fun.  I love to tease audience members and include them in my act which makes my show very “in the moment”.  There’s no planning whatsoever and we fly with whatever material is at hand.  Along with this I’m blessed with incredibly talented players who along with their monstrous talents, like to laugh and can take some serious teasing themselves.  It’s really a wonderful mix of all positive and bright.  I’m beaming the entire four hours we’re on stage.  It’s such incredible fun.”

Upcoming Shows

Deborah will be playing at Lulu’s Lounge in the River Rock Casino in Richmond, BC on January 23 at 8:30 pm and January 24 at 9:00 pm.

She’s also performing at a very special Real World Benefit Concert for Cuba Benefit for Cuba Posterat St. James Community Square, 3214 West 10th Avenue in Vancouver on January 26 from 7:30 – 11:30 pm.  Advance tickets are available at Ali’s Dollar Store, 2881 West Broadway.  Door tickets are $25.  This event is co-sponsored by the Rogue Folk Club.  For further info, contact 604-266-3644 or visit www.dinosaurmusic.net/Concerts.html.

Connect with Deborah Ledon

www.facebook.com/DeborahLedonMusic
http://twitter.com/DeborahLedon
http://www.youtube.com/DeborahLedon

Book Signing Event for Healing Circle Puzzles by Cindy O’Neil at The Purple Door in Kingston, Sat. Dec. 15th

PDoor_HCPsigning_WEB (2)

Holiday gift buying can be an emotionally and financially gruelling experience, so Canadian author Cindy O’Neil is aiding philanthropy with her newly released Healing Circle Puzzles book, and helping shoppers give three times at once.

Healing Circle Puzzles – Word Searches beyond words is a unique book that Cindy began creating in the winter of 2001 after having just been released from a month long stay in hospital and diagnosed with severe, systemic Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).

From December 1st to 31st O’Neil is donating $4 from each Healing Circle Puzzles book sold.  The donations will be divided evenly, with $2 each going to the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and the Canadian Red Cross (CRC) respectively.

“The people who buy my book are showing their trust in me, and supporting Cindy Head Shotme as an independent writer. Every purchase is a big deal to me because of the sense of connection it builds.” says the author. “I want to extend that connection and say thank you by giving to society at large.”

Online purchasing is available from the book’s website https://www.passionatepuzzler.com

The public is invited to join Cindy for this upcoming book signing of Healing Circle Puzzles in Kingston, Ontario:

Saturday, December 15th
11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
The Purple Door Books & Gifts
376 Barrie St., Kingston ON 7K7 3T4

I haven’t been able to donate blood for years due to my health. Before the RA struck I donated regularly.” states Cindy. “That’s one of the reasons I chose the CRC. Both organizations do incredibly important work while maintaining higher than 87% efficiency in spending. The donation helps the organizations and people who buy the book because they get to give three times at once.

About the book:
Healing Circle Puzzles combines original paintings and photos with unusually crafted word searches.  Full colour images by very talented, undiscovered artists are featured throughout. Puzzle themes encompass things that helped Cindy’s healing: positive thoughts, music, books, therapies, foods and more.

SistersOnTheBeach _facebk_HCP_art copyDancingWater _facebk_HCP_artMusicalDream_facebk_HCP_art

Cindy, Susan Brecht (owner of The Purple Door) and I hope that you’ll join us for this special book signing event.  Healing Circle Puzzles truly makes for the perfect gift for that hard to buy for person on your list!

For more information, email http://www.cindyoneil.com/contact
705-207-4123.  Learn more about Cindy at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorandSongwriterCindyONeil