Unfinished Business for MLK

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“You will never say goodbye to the past, until you understand why the flashbacks haunt you.”Shannon L. Alder

Today on All Things Fulfilling, we’ll celebrate the birthday of one of the most influential civil rights activists of all time, Martin Luther King. His work to erase racial segregation and racial equality for all was tireless. Sadly, his unfinished business in Memphis is still a work in progress in our country.

We’ll take a trip through images to Memphis, Tennessee situated along the Mississippi River. The city’s cultural roots run deep and it’s known for his rich music heritage. Beale Street abounds with eateries of it’s famous barbeque and sounds of rhythm and blues, gospel, jazz. It’s also known as the birthplace of rock and roll.

The Orpheum Theatre is historically significant and today it plays an important role in educating children. Their belief is that “when kids find art, they find themselves.” Many celebrities have performed in this theatre whose beginnings date back to 1890, when it was then known as the Grand Opera House. In 1907 it was renamed at The Orpheum.

Memphis 57 signed

orpheum horse and carriage 2 (best one) signed

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WC Hand sign at museum signed

Beale Street signed

nat d williams first black radio announ

BB King books signed

miss pollys neon sign signed

blues cafe signed

 

girl sitting on window sill signed

Tragically, Martin Luther King’s life ended on April 4, 1969 in Memphis, Tennessee during a time of racial tension and upheaval. It was a period of unrest in my own life also. I write about this time in Chapter 21 Someone to Watch Over Her in my memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard.

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Advancing the Story

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We need to look hard at the stories we create, and wrestle with them. Retell and retell them, and work with them like clay. It is in the retelling and returning that they give us their wisdom.Marni Gillard

Avila and wife MaribelLast week I sat down with author and playright Jorge Avila, a member of We Write Steamboat, to discuss the gigantic leap of success that he has just experienced. To read a short summary of his musical, please go to the blog from last Thursday.

(Photo left: Jorge Avila and his wife Maribel)

Jorge had just returned a week previously to his hometown of Steamboat Springs, Colorado from a very busy six months in California. His live theatre musical, adapted from his book Maricopa Men in Pink had a three day run at the Plaza de la Raza, Cultural Center for the Arts & Education on Mission Road in Los Angeles. Avila was ebullient as he answered the questions I had for him to learn more about his experience. Here is part of our discussion about going from local author to playright in a very short few years:

Sue: Jorge, when was Maricopa Men in Pink published? 

Jorge: In 2010 it was published. A short time afterward I sent it off to a friend who is a stage designer in L.A. to get his opinion. He reviewed it and gave me some feedback about adapting it for a play. I decided that my vision for the work was a live theatre musical production. So I rewrote it exactly 2 years, nine months ago in script format along with song lyrics. Caleb Encompos, a resident who helps with the music program at the Christian Center here in Steamboat, composed the music to accompany the lyrics. I approached the Chief Theatre here in town, but it didn’t seem to be the right venue. So,then we sent it off to three production companies in California. 

Sue:  So, what was the response? 

Jorge: I’d like to say that there have been few  Latino or controversial political musicals that I am aware of other than In the Heights and Hamilton and the Book of Mormon. So I was happy to even get a response and it was positive response from two of them. I chose one of the production companies that I felt best understood my vision. I was offered a small sum of money from the production company, but I took half of that because I wanted to be directly involved in the entire process, so that the final product would be what I envisioned.

So, I began over the next six months going to L.A. one week out of every month. For the next six months, Caleb Encompos and I chose vocalists and actors for the live musical production. Once we heard my lyrics put to music and saw it performed by the actors we had chosen, there were some tweeks that were made before the opening.

Sue: So, tell me about the three night run.

Jorge: The turnout was outstanding compared to what I had anticipated. I was told for an unknown author/playright, typical sales would be 60% of the seats. The first and third nights we had 95% of all tickets sold, and the middle evening 75%. Surprising, considering I read in a New York Times article that out of 318 million Americans, 58 million agreed with Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s handling of inmates in Tent City Jail in Arizona. Seventy eight million disagreed, and the whole rest of the population knew nothing about the news story.

Sue: How did that feel? To see your musical come before live audience like that?

Jorge: Surreal! I feel flattered and proud but it was very stressful. I even started up a bad habit – smoking. I hadn’t smoked in six years and I ate too much and gained a little weight.

The musical was even mentioned on National TV on Spanish stations. While we were waiting for the production to begin on opening night, I stepped outside and there were 120 people in line to get a ticket – to my show! I couldn’t believe it and I counted every one of them!

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The rest of this interview on All Things Fulfilling will be posted the week after Christmas. Do return because we will be talking about Avila’s rewards in terms of personal fulfillment which were a result of his determination, persistance and his belief that what he had was fitting for a quality live musical production that still has great potential for future audiences. We will be sharing more about his special award from the City of Los Angeles also!

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, EVVY award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

 

 

Roads toward Building Community

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Tomorrow it’s time to head to Denver for Saturday’s monthly CIPA meeting (aka Colorado Independent Publishers Association). This month’s educational focus will be on social media marketing – attendance should be high. There are so many authors and publishers who want to know more about selling and marketing books effectively over the internet. I will be heading up a roundtable discussion on Taking Facebook to the Next Level, beyond the basics of using Facebook to promote independent publications on the world-wide-web. I am looking forward to sharing my knowledge.

I’ve got my work cut out for me on the three hour drive from where I live to Denver. I will be listening to my own audio book recording of “Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.” The recording has been edited but I’ve not had the chance to listen from beginning to end for any glitches.

helping othersThis is a good time to give a shout out to ColoradoMountainCollege student, Bryan Dow,  who was so helpful to me throughout the recording process. He edited my audio recording quicker than I could have ever expected. It was his first job at editing an audio book, but he has a wealth of experience with the program. Among his already deep curriculum vitae “c.v.” is the title” musician” so uses the software frequently. I enjoyed getting to know this college student a little bit. Someday I hope he tells his own story through an independently published book, film or music or perhaps a multi-media publication. He is working on a fascinating project, while trying to balance a busy schedule of work, study and building a future for himself.

It’s a wonderful thing to have people in this world who are whizzes with technology and can do great things with their hands, creativity and intellectual talents. Thanks again, Bryan, for lending me a hand, and helping me with the production of my audio book (in MP-3 format) “Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.” You are a person who can help build community in many different ways with your diverse talents. I am glad our paths crossed.

See you back here on All Things Fulfilling on Monday! This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

Ringing and Singing

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Sing with passion. Work with laughter. Love with heart. ‘Cause that’s all that matter in the end.” ~ Kris Kristofferson

nostalgic carollersI stepped into a local shop a few days after Thanksgiving and holiday tunes rang out. It stirred up memories of my childhood going from house to house Christmas caroling. People rarely carol anymore. According to an article in Time Magazine, a professor of popular culture at Syracuse University, Bob Thompson says caroling has seen a decline since the 1960s. http://ti.me/1bEe9IG

Hearing Christmas songs in the stores always puts a bug in my ear that it is clearly time to get out the holiday CDs and enjoy them. I never tire of the same old tunes. I’m endlessly delighted by the melodies. The Yule season passes all too quickly, and then it is time to put the Christmas CDs away until next year.

Today I thought I’d see what’s being sold on the internet marketplace for new holiday releases.

Here are a few CD suggestions. I bet you can’t go wrong with selecting any one of them. Each one would make for a fulfilling holiday listening experience:

  • Wrapped in Red – Kelly Clarkson
  • A Mary Christmas – Mary J Blige
  • Christmas Voices  – Celtic Thunder
  • Sending you a Little Christmas – Johnny Mathis
  • Hope for All the World – Craig & Dean Phillips
  • Angels Sing: Christmas in Ireland      – Libera
  • Christmas in my Heart – Gretchen Wilson
  • Christmas Spirit – David Arkenstone

If you are at a loss for an affordable gift-giving idea, a Christmas music is always greatly appreciated and it will be enjoyed for many years. CD’s are great stocking stuffers, too!

It Came Upon Midnight Clear, that glorious song of old…..”

Film Friday: Grace Unplugged

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 “In the rhythm of life, sometimes we find ourselves out of tune.” ~ Azgraybebly Josland

grace unpluggedLet’s start the morning with a little movie trivia on this Film Friday. Alabama is the setting for Grace Unplugged, a new movie that will be released in theatres on October 4, 2013. Parts of this movie depended on a lot of extras, however, the producers found that Saturday filming made it difficult to recruit the people needed. Why? People were unusually disinterested – it seemed they didn’t care about getting their “mugs” in the shooting of a movie for cinema. That’s because the movie was filmed during football season in a state where the sport is King.

So, what is Grace Unplugged all about? A young musician who has found her audience yet outside of her community of fans, she is undiscovered. In her desire to become a top recording star Grace rejects everything she has ever known and moves to Hollywood in search for stardom. Are there elements in her previous life that will help keep her grounded?

The name of the Director, Brad Silverman, may be familiar from his other movies “No Greater Love” and It Really Happened: The Flight of Apollo 11 (TV documentary short).

Put this film produced by Lionsgate on your list for fulfilling fall movie viewing.

Click here for info & ordering Grace Unplugged
Have a good weekend, everybody.

Return on Monday to All Things Fulfilling. This blog brought to you by author Sue Batton LeonardClick for info on Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com . The space where independent thoughts, words and views are all part of the business.

Artistic and Technical Minds

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Whenever parents with adult children gather, it becomes catch up time. “What is your son or daughter doing these days?” always enters into the conversation. Sometimes this question leaves my husband and me at a loss for words. A pat answer, like “our son is an accountant does not work!” Frequently, we answer “all kinds of things,” because it is the truth and hard to explain it. Only parents with creative adult children seem to understand this.

Our twenty-five year old son is an artist, with technical abilities. These words bring vague connotations because artists have a way of being involved in whatever moves their spirit. Their passions and interests can change frequently, especially if they are multi-media artists.

From now on, perhaps I need to write out on a piece of paper, the link to a website which will clarify his position(s). Here you go, this will explain it. He has his own number.
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3786343/ .

It’s very hard to keep track of what our son is doing from day to day, except to say “he is doing a good job of fulfilling his dream and that makes his parents very happy.”

The Artist’s Way for Parents: Raising Creative Children, http://amzn.to/19EfT6U available as an e-book,  is a great resource for adults with young children who are showing signs of becoming budding artists. This is a memoir by Julia Cameron.

Today, in this blog about children and the arts, I’d like to share some photographs. Having permission to use these treasured images is a gift to my husband and me. What is contained in the photos makes us very happy. All images are courtesy of Lindele Media http://www.lindelemedia.com/  in New Mexico, and I wish to say “thank you” for letting us use them.

I look forward to Lindele Media’s upcoming movie “The Garden,” set to be released in 2014. There is a trailer to watch on this website. http://bit.ly/UJrK73  and to learn more about the cast and crew, please visit the Internet Movie Database link http://imdb.to/14VZEjZ .

At Work: The Award-Winning Director of “Moses Stuttered” (2012):

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Photo courtesy of Lindele Media

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marc at work 3Photo courtesy of Lindele Media

marc at work 4Photo courtesy of Lindele Media

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Photo courtesy of Lindele Media

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Photo courtesy of Lindele Media

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Photo courtesy of Lindele Media

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Photo courtesy of Lindele Media

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Photo Courtesy of Lindele Media

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Photo courtesy of Lindele Media

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Photo Courtesy of Lindele Media

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Photo courtesy of Lindele Media

To Watch Moses Stuttered http://bit.ly/UJrK73

Tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling, our blog will be exploring the creation of each one of us as individuals. This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.

Artistic Energy Abounds in Steamboat

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Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.Margaret B. Runbeck

The 5th annual All Arts Festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado was this past weekend, and I was busy. On Friday afternoon I browsed booths filled with artisan wares of all kinds – jewelry, photography, sculpture, fiber arts, oil paintings, pottery and more. There was something of interest for everyone.

On Friday evening I ushered at Strings Music Festival, and I was so grateful I was able to see Love Letters. This play, by A.R. Gurney, earned finalist status for a Pulitzer Prize for drama. I adored it. It left me amazed at how two people reading a script could make an evening so engaging. Katherine Ross and Wilfred A Brimley showed their talents, as actors, by drawing me into the storyline immediately, from the first line to the last.

On Sunday morning at the UnitedMethodistChurch, an operatic singer was incorporated into the service. Although fabulous local musical talent is often showcased in our church, Elizabeth Gore-Stanley had come to town over the weekend as part of the Emerald City Opera. Her beautiful rendition of  “Blessings” aptly described the way I was feeling as I listened to her exquisite God-given voice, and thought about this place, Steamboat.

I wrapped up my weekend back at Strings Music Festival ushering.  Lyle Lovett and his big band gave a performance which did not disappoint. All talented musicians in their own right, with albums to their credit. A little bit country, a little bit Texas swing, some rhythm and blues made for a fulfilling evening. Arnold McCuller, Lovett’s sidekick (backup vocalist) was one smooth guy and you can listen to voice and song writing from his album Soon As I Get Paid on his website. http://bit.ly/13yUFog.

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As we move into midweek, this town in the northwest corner of the Rocky Mountains will continue to stay busy with tourists. The nation’s top bikers will pedal their way through Steamboat Springs on August 21 and 22nd as part of the US Pro Biking Challenge “America’s Race.” which begins in Aspen, Colorado and ends in Denver. Breathtaking altitudes (over 12,000 ft), treacherous mountain passes and spectacular scenery will bring over one million visitors to the State to witness this competition.

Come on back to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow. This blog is brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.