Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Michael Sam Wins Arthur Ashe Courage Award

Tonight Michael Sam accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2014 ESPY's for his courage to be the first openly gay football player drafted into the National Football League.

Since 1993, cable network ESPN presents ESPY (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) awards to individuals and teams to recognize sports-related achievements.

If you are unfamiliar with Arthur Ashe, I encourage you to visit his website.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"Zeppelin" by Eli Lieb

I was thrilled today when Eli Lieb dropped his new single, "Zeppelin."

I've been watching the music video on repeat ever since.

Of course, I've already purchased the single at iTunes.

I write in this post on the blog about his single, "Young Love," which reminds me of...the one who got away.

If you haven't already checked out Eli's website, I encourage you to do so now.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Tamar Braxton on the Cover of the Carolina Parakeet Issue of 360 Magazine

Volume 16 of 360 Magazine is now available at Magzter and Blurb!

Known as the Carolina Parakeet issue, it features Tamar Braxton, Gabrielle Aplin, Iggy Azalea, Johny Dar, Jhene Aiko, Art by J Taylor, Cliff Watts, James Hicks and much more.

Tamar Braxton discusses her album Love and War, her successes on numerous television shows, and the influence Whitney Houston has had on her since the first evening they met.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Proud To Play: Celebrating Equality for All Athletes

Released yesterday, the video, "Proud To Play: Celebrating Equality for All Athletes," has gone viral.

A lot has changed for LGBT athletes in the United States since February, 2013, when Major League Soccer player Robbie Rogers retired from the sport, came out, then signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy to become the first openly gay man to play in a top North American professional sports league.

In the May 6, 2013 issue of Sports Illustrated, professional basketball player Jason Collins came out.

In January, 2014, Conner Mertens became the first active football player to come out as bisexual.

And after finishing his football career at the University of Missouri, Michael Sam came out. On May 12, 2014, he was drafted into the National Football League by the St. Louis Rams. If Michael plays in the league, he will be the first openly gay football player in the NFL.

The more LGBT athletes come out, the more visible they are to each other and to the world. Stereotypes are shattered: anyone can play who has the skills.

The video includes a clip of former South African President Nelson Mandela saying: "Sport can create hope where once there was only despair."

June is LGBT Pride Month. The World Cup is nine days away.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Doreen Taylor, 360 Magazine, #globalsociety and You

Every Friday at 2:30 PM Eastern/11:30 AM Pacific Time, 360 Magazine hosts an hour-long Twitter chat.

We encourage you to join in by searching Twitter with #globalsociety. When you use that hashtag in your tweets, everyone can see you've joined the conversation.

It was a pleasure to chat today with Doreen Taylor, the American singer, songwriter, model, actress and recording artist.

50% of the proceeds of the downloads of her song, "Colors of the USA," benefits the National Parks Conservation Association. The National Parks celebrates this year its 100th anniversary. The money raised will help protect and enhance the National Parks for future generations.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

San Diego, Encinitas, Leucadia and La Jolla

To celebrate our tenth anniversary over the long Memorial Day weekend, my partner Phil and I flew past Monterey to San Diego, California.

I wish we'd been able to transport Monterey's Portola Hotel and Spa to San Diego. So far, it has been one of the nicest hotels we've stayed at south of San Francisco.

San Diego's Hillcrest neighborhood was our home base.

We devoted much of one day to exploring massive Balboa Park. I especially like the Spanish Village Art Center. Phil told me a glass decoration in the front of our house was purchased here some twenty years ago.

The next day, we drove north to the beach towns of Encinitas and Leucadia, where Phil lived in the early 1990's.

At the top of the staircase he used every day to reach the beach where he surfed and swam, I saw this street sign painted on the curb. I wonder if these towns might be the inspiration for Rob Thomas' television series, Veronica Mars. The heroine lives in the fictional beach town of Neptune, California.

There were lots of surfers on the water that cold, foggy day.

Not far from Phil's old house in Encinitas is the Self-Realization Fellowship founded in 1920 by Paramahansa Yogananda. The gardens built right up to the cliff edge are spectacular.

Our favorite place in Encinitas is Pannikin Coffee & Tea, which is located in the historic Santa Fe Railroad Station built in 1888.

Farther north is the long beach of La Jolla. We climbed down cliffs to the beach at Torrey Pines to enjoy the best weather of the trip.

We ended our weekend at the Hillcrest Brewing Company, where we had amazing beer and pizza. Ask for Gavin. You can recognize him by his tattoo. He was excellent.

It was a perfect weekend in San Diego to celebrate our anniversary.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Tim Sweeney at Beats in Space

If you spend any time at my house, you'll soon be exposed to Tim Sweeney at Beats in Space, a radio show mixed live every Tuesday night from 10:30 pm to 1:00 am on WNYU 89.1 FM. The weekly show has run without fail since its premiere in 1999.

This video was recorded during the FLOW Festival at the Boiler Room in Helsinki, Finland.

I often play this on my iPhone while walking around San Francisco.

On our music server at the house, my partner and I have nearly all of the BIS podcasts. Tim Sweeney has brought on his show so much amazing talent, it's nearly impossible to choose favorites, but here are mine:

BIS Radio Show # 723 - Part 1 with Jamie XX (from The XX) and John Talabot

BIS Radio Show # 689 - Part 2 with Tim Sweeney

BIS Radio Show # 681 - Part 1 with Veronica Vasicka

BIS Radio Show # 638 - Part 1 with Breakbeat Lou - All vinyl 45's!

BIS Radio Show # 637 - Part 1 with Dukes of Chutney

Monday, April 21, 2014

MAD MEN: The Final Season

The first episode of the seventh and final season of AMC's Mad Men aired April 13, 2014.

Created and produced by Matthew Weiner, Mad Men has been one of my favorite series this century. Don Draper (Jon Hamm) is a fascinating, damaged character who seems split in two: his id does whatever and whomever it wants, while his ego – that part of him knowing right from wrong and guiding him through the mindfield of everyday living – has a powerful corrective effect on his self-destructive behavior with often spectacular results.

I love all of the other characters in the series, but especially adore Megan Draper (Jessica Paré), Don's wife so thoroughly a modern individual as Don is a man shaped by and chafing against the morals and mores of the first half of the twentieth century.

The gorgeous psychedelia of this final season promotional video suggests Don at last transcends the chaos of his destructive duality.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Demi Lovato on the Cover of the Mbashe Butterfly Issue of 360 Magazine

Volume 15 of 360 Magazine is now available at Magzter and Blurb!

Known as the Mbashe Butterfly issue, it features Demi Lovato, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Zendaya, Lorde, Enrique Iglesias, Britney Spears, Pharrell Williams, Gary W. Goldstein and much more.

I wrote the piece on Gary W. Goldstein, about whom I also write in this post on the blog.

Demi Lovato discusses her current Neon Lights Tour, the reasons why she founded the Lovato Treatment Scholarship, and what's next for the popular singer/songwriter.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

"Give Me One Reason:" Interview with Nisha Nandez

Last month, Nisha Nandez released her first music video, "Give Me One Reason," an outstanding cover of Tracy Chapman's classic, featuring guitarist Jason Richard.

I had to find out more about Nisha, whom I'd met through Twitter.

I checked out her album on iTunes and visited her website, where I learned she'd overcome serious personal tragedies in pursuit of her singing career, and that she is a retired U. S. Army officer, who sang in the army band during the first Gulf War.

I was happy when Nisha found some time between her music and MBA coursework for an interview.

I started with:

I really like your cover of "Give Me One Reason." How did you select this song for your first music video?

I enjoyed recording it with Jason Richard and AJ Mancabelli. After I released it on iTunes, I saw how much my fans enjoyed the song, too, so I decided it would be fun to shoot a music video for it. I’d already had so many people asking when I was going to release a video.

"Give Me One Reason" just seemed perfect.

You say on your site music has always been a part of your life. Who are your musical influences?

Primarily, my family. I come from a long line of musicians and singers. My father was a pianist. My mother’s side includes phenomenal singers.

Other influences range from Mozart and Beethoven (I’ve played the flute since I was 9 years old.) to Evanescence, P!nk, Kelly Clarkson, Justin Timberlake and Destiny’s Child.

I just love music. All styles and genres. I listen to music more than I watch television. [Laughter.]

You've been quite frank about the tragedies you've dealt with. What advice would you give someone finding their artistic dreams roadblocked by their current circumstances?

People too often come up with excuses for why they can’t accomplish their dreams or even pursue them.

The only thing that can stop you is yourself.

I’m a firm believer that all things are possible. The only direction is forward, even when life takes you back a few steps.

I've learned to see each obstacle as a learning experience, another great lyric, a steppingstone toward making me a better person. There's nothing I can't achieve if I put my mind to it.

And I believe that is true for everyone, when you just believe in yourself and your dreams.

What's next for you?

I'm writing more songs and looking into some ventures outside of music. I finally complete my MBA this summer and will put that to use. I’m considering going for my doctorate. Not yet sure about that, though. [Laughter.] Graduate school has been quite challenging.

I'm working with some great people toward a record deal that works both for me and the label.

Mike, I want to thank the people I’ve been so blessed to have worked with over the past year and a half, and who have stopped at nothing to support me, listening to me whine, complain and sometimes cry.

There are so many people in my life who have been awesome.

The ones who gave up on me, I thank them, too, because they made me stronger!

I’m so grateful for how well my music career has been going. I hope to bring more music to the world in 2014.