Thursday, March 05, 2015

Women in the World

So I wrote this song after being inspired by the book "Half the Sky".  Originally it had these sort of verse/choruses and in-between them we (The Pacha Mamas) would each do a monologue- taken from the stories of real women from the book and their journey of empowerment coming from very oppressive situations.  In an effort to arrange the piece so that not only we could do a powerful recording of it, but also so that it would fit into our "Touch of Goddesspell" concert, we took the monologues out and replaced them with poetic, rhythmic spoken word pieces with the same themes.  We (The Pacha Mamas - including Anahata Iradah- in other words the ensemble for "A Touch of Goddesspell") performed this piece for the first time at The Revolution of Love concert in February.  Even though it wasn't perfect - it was strong and we got lots of great feedback about it.  We will be recording this song at the end of this month and subsequently creating what we hope is a very powerful, moving music video to go along with it.  So keep posted!!! And here is the spoken word verse that I created/performed, just to give you a little taste/preview;-)
Her words of wisdom
Her acts of courage
Her poetry have all 
touched me deeply
And set my soul free
And The Caged Bird Sings
And The Caged Bird Sings!

And I think about the fact
That Maya grew up black
In a segregated south
Other side of the tracks 
Scorned. . . 
For the color of her skin
And the Caged Bird Sings
And The Caged Bird Sings!

And at the age of seven
Raped. . .
By kin of kin
When she spoke his name
Death came to him
And she took the blame
Didn’t speak again
For  (everyone) 5 Years!
5 Years of listening
5 Years of reading every book in sight
Shakespeare became  
Her first love of white
And finally
it was the poetry  
That set her voice free
And the Caged Bird Sings
(And) The Caged Bird sings

Creating beauty from pain
A woman she became
Whose words found Their power 
from within
And touched the souls 
Of thousands 
and thousands
And the Caged Bird. . . . ..   is. .. .. (sing) FREE!

Monday, February 09, 2015

The Revolution of LOVE!

So, I have been distracted by the creation of a new arrangement of "Women in the World" which will be a recording and hopefully eventually creating a music video of to use as one of our promotional tools for "Goddesspell".  We (The Pacha Mamas AKA Touch of Goddesspell core ensemble!) are getting ready to perform the piece for the first time at The Revolution of Love (a benefit concert that I have put together for Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence)- a One Billion Rising Event in Atlanta!!!  So if you are in the area, come out and see us (there are lots of great restaurants in the area including Sufi's A Taste of Persia!!!).  You can buy $15 tickets here!!! Otherwise they are $20 at the door.  Parking is $5 in the deck behind the building with a voucher from the theatre.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

"Hair" with Goddesses

So, I watched this 30 min video of Eve Ensler (Vagina Monologue author, One Billion Rising founder) giving a talk at the Bioneer Conference.  She is intense!!!  At times, she shows her (what I call) "righteous anger" which can at times be a turn off unless you really understand she has been in the trenches with women around the world.  BUT if you hang in there to get the fullness of her message, it is so POWERFUL and the reason for the season. . wait a minute. . . reason I feel passionate about this project and it's underlying message.  BUT make no mistake, Goddesspell is NOT heady or intense overall (there are a few moments ;-) - it is full of heart.  As I wrote to a friend just today: 
This is definitely not a traditional piece of theatre and it is very musically driven.  It's not very heady at all really(on the surface). . . it's meant to get to the heart via the experience- as a whole- via ALL the senses but not to the exclusion of thought provoking ideas via what dramatic action there is.  There is definitely an element of comedy- a must!!- but it's not a comedy and the end of the show is co-created with the audience- after a certain sense of community is established.  For me the bottom line is always seeking to be inspired by the divine and trusting that if I make choices from that place in guiding the creation of Goddesspell that others will be inspired by the work as well.

AND I LOVED his reply:
Okay, now I get it. It's Hair with goddesses instead of hippies.
Hair BTW changed my life. Never saw Godspell.
Yo go girl, 
I have never seen the musical Hair, but I'm pretty sure there is a DVD of it. . .so I guess that will be on my list of movies to watch this holiday season!

I hope you take the time to watch this video of Eve and that it helps you understand the importance of this work. . .maybe enough to help with our fundraising efforts (please click the fundraising campaign page above and help make it happen!)  DEEP thanks for your support - in whatever form it comes!!!
Friend Goddesspell on Facebook!

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Surrendering AKA Going with the Flow

I'm listening. . ..I'm getting so good at listening and not pushing or forcing my plans!    I'm listening because I'm committed to this process coming from inspiration.

About a month ago or so, I felt inspired to adjust my idea of trying to mount a workshop performance of "Goddesspell" this next fall and instead make "A Touch of the Goddess" (AKA "A Touch of Goddesspell") preview concert sort of an ongoing workshop performance piece that will tour for almost a year before attempting a first actual production of "Goddesspell".  And then a friend turned me onto this grant that would be perfect for helping to subsidize this show as a tour during the exact time that I had envisioned!!!  So I submitted a Letter of Intention this past weekend and here is part of what I wrote, that gives clarity to the direction I'm moving in!
Describe the physical manifestation of project or program. What will the project look like? When and where will it occur? What is the duration of the exhibition or public access to the work?* (1500 Characters)
“A Touch of Goddesspell” is a scaled down sampling of what we are creating as a much bigger project called “Goddesspell” (an innovative collaborative musical celebrating the feminine spirit primarily via goddess mythology). It will be presented as a theatrical concert with four main players/performers and 2-3 guest artists who vary depending on the location of a particular performance. During the concert, the synopsis of “Goddesspell” will be creatively shared including select pieces being performed from the actual show- which will rotate/change concert to concert as part of the development process. There is an ensemble of 5 core members who are developing the key pieces but a good portion of the show is made up of goddess vignettes that will also be created from works by contributing artists of various disciplines. The concert version will act as an experiment- a way to gather new material and get feedback on what has already been created from collaborating artists and audience members. It will also act as a promotional tool for “Goddesspell”, a much more expansive venture. We plan to open “A Touch of Goddesspell” in May 2015 in Atlanta, GA and then subsequently tour the show for the next 10 months. In that time, we will have a 2-3 week mini tour on the east coast as well as another on the west coast using the connections we have all made through previous work. We will also be taking the show out on weekend trips to closer destinations in between tours.
Describe how the project or program fits the program’s mission, grant criteria, and definition of interactivity.* (1500 Characters)
One of the points of doing “A Touch of Goddesspell” tour is to collaborate with the audience and guest artists in the creation of "Goddesspell". We will be seeking ideas/feedback from our audience and inviting guest artists who already have pieces with appropriate themes to perform as part of the concert. These will be considered potential ideas/pieces to be developed into goddess vignettes for “Goddesspell”. The show itself is being developed to be a very interactive experience with moments where the audience is invited to respond to THE MOTHER character as the narrator. Participants will be planted in the audience to not only participate in isolated acts from the audience as a way of connecting everyone but also to help encourage participation at certain points, i.e. giving a hug, singing part of a song, moving, dancing etc. Towards the conclusion of the show, we are brought into real time with the issues that are present as a result of the suppression of the feminine (yin) energy in our present cultures. The cast then engages with the audience as themselves in performance forms that focus on improvisation using reflections/ideas from the audience. There are moments that audience members are encouraged to turn and talk to a neighbor as well including during a call to action- a commitment to identify at least one way in which to bring more balance into the world. In addition, we will be utilizing the internet to encourage an ongoing conversation with our audiences.

If I do get asked to submit for this most recent grant, I will have to show that I have raised at least $3000 from individual donors to be eligible to receive the grant.  If you feel inspired to help an inspired project that will be helping to transform the world at the level of SOURCE, please make a tax deductible donation here

AND Share the 3 min promo video!!!
AND Friend "Goddesspell" on Facebook!

By the way, I did not get asked to submit a MAPs grant following that Letter of Intention I submitted a couple of months ago.  Their notification of this fact was actually very odd.  They basically wrote that my submission got the strongest ratings based on all their criteria and then told me I was not invited to submit a grant- no other explanation ??  Oh well, that letter was based on the previous plan anyway!  Moving on . . .or should I write FLOWING ON!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanks for Giving

I am grateful for the people who have been inspired by this project enough to take action- some of whom even dug in their pockets to help support it's birth financially- to actually put it out in the world for ALL!  This is critical. . .this project is critical and feels inspired.  Most days the idea and creation of it really lights my fire but there are days I feel like "why me?"  I volunteer my time for this project at the moment and sometimes it feels like too much to take on especially when I feel like I'm sacrificing my personal financial "stability". . .but then I'm reminded that I'm not taking it on by myself.  I really am totally supported!!!

First of all a shout out to the seven fundraiser donors thus far - who didn't hesitate- who really got that it can't happen without their financial support.  (I can't even get grants without a track record of fundraising for this project.)  Here's to y'all!
Sarah Thorsen
Dan Read
Aaron Bennett
Jennifer Denning
Karen Miles
Second . . there are a few special people who have taken substantial amounts of time and energy to give me lots of feedback and/or emotional/spiritual support:
Elena Bennett
Susan Ahl
Julianna Erikson
Anahata Iradah
THANK YOU!!!!!  This is so valuable to me!

Third. . .thanks to all of you have taken time to show your support by sharing the YouTube video and friending us on Facebook!!

Most of all I thank the Divine - who has shown up in amazing ways to affirm and support this project over and over- making the way thus far relatively easy, graceful and joyful- as long as I listen;-).

And for those of you still on the fence. . it's time to jump off now!  Here is the video and the fundraising campaign page is one of the pages listed above!

Thursday, November 13, 2014


So I created this promo video early last week as part of a fundraising campaign through my non-profit fiscal sponsor C4Atlanta.  I launched the campaign by writing about it and sending the link via my Roots Productions e-newsletter last Thursday- one week ago- to over 1500 people.  I felt so empowered and excited that first day after receiving 4 generous donations hoping that things would continue moving forward with that kind of energy.  By this past Monday, I couldn't help but let my disappointment get the better of me.  Even though I had started the process of writing personal notes to my friends about the campaign, I hadn't received any additional donations and to date only one other person has donated.  It's been interesting to witness myself in this process and the feelings and thoughts that come up- my fears around not being able to raise the money not just for the specific things mentioned but in order to really be taken seriously when going after grant money.  Anyway, I won't go into the details, only to say that despite  my fears in this process, I feel inspired and I will continue moving forward trusting that what I need will be provided somehow - someway.
I'm not sure what stops people from donating even the least amount of $25 when they feel inspired by the work.  I could make all kinds of assumptions.  At any rate, I'm grateful that one of my male friends who has the capability of making a generous donation, didn't just shut me down.  He seriously wanted to know, after watching the video: "What is the exact problem and what is the exact solution?"  And then proceeded to let me know if I took the time to answer this and it was something he felt good about getting behind, that he would make a generous donation.  I know that he is the kind of guy that wants specific, concrete ideas he can wrap his head around.  So I let it go and here is what I wrote:
Dear . . .,
The fundamental problem that Goddesspell addresses is awareness of the imbalance of masculine and feminine energy throughout modern history and in the world today; and, awareness that the root of many of our human problems are caused by this imbalance.  Awareness is the first step to healing/solving problems.   Goddesspell attempts to shift the way we perceive the world, expanding perceptions to then inform balanced/healthy actions.         
We as humans in general have a tendency to see problems and solutions as outside of ourselves, as caused by something we do or not do.  I would label this tendency as one of our masculine characteristics.  There are aspects/energies, beyond the physical, that are inherently but not exclusively masculine and those that are inherently but not exclusively feminine.  The Taoists call these energies yin and yang and believe that true health in every sense of the word comes from a balance between these two energies.  At the very basic level, masculine energy is that part of us that drives us to hunt and gather so to speak (more focused on our “doing” and external nature) and the feminine to nurture (more focused on our “being” and internal nature).
At the moment, the masculine principle which is absolutely necessary to advance civilization and simply live in this world quite frankly is out of balance with the feminine principle- that of BEING in true relationship with one’s inner most self and others- the acknowledgement that we are truly all (all of life!) connected on an even deeper level than meets the eye.  We are ALL suffering as a result of this imbalance- people are running over other people and the environment. As Time magazine reported – no matter how much money you have, only about 30% of the population says they are truly happy.   The pharmaceutical companies are selling mass quantities of drugs for stress (blood pressure) and depression.  This is our cultures answer to our disconnection to our Source and each other.  I would like to see a world in which most of us are not just living- but living from a place of joy and peace, something that I believe more balance would ultimately bring. 
I believe that many of our problems are rooted in this imbalance.  We have been embracing masculine characteristic as our God - literally and figuratively at the expense of the feminine.  We have very little respect for those characteristics of ours labeled feminine.  And it shows up in how we look at and treat women (ourselves) in general as well – you saw the statistics.  This is not something we can use our masculine energy to fix- it’s not a problem out in the world to fix. It is something to look at within our culture and ourselves.  It’s a matter of the heart- not the head. It’s a matter of making relationships more important than things.  It’s not something to figure out or analyze – it’s something to let ourselves feel and experience and then allow the solution to come from that place as an individual.  As you know, we can’t truly fix problems from the same space they came from - otherwise we just repeat the past.   
The intention of Goddesspell, is to immerse the audience in an experience of the wisdom of the feminine energy- to stop- to breath it in- to experience a space of BEING held and nurtured- of having your heart opened and remembering what being held by the MOTHER feels like again.  My intention is to open people up to a new perspective/awareness- to see the importance of holding up the feminine principle as equally in importance to the masculine.    Also, when you read the synopsis of the show on the website, you will see the intention to create, during the last part of the show, a space for a conversation with the audience to share what has opened up for them, what they see as possible moving forward (that would be solutions), and a call to action.  So for example an individual may be opened up to how his/her own life is out of balance and come up with a way in which they are committed to bringing balance into their own life and they will be asked to speak or write it out for themselves and make a personal commitment.  We also intend to have information available in the lobby about various local and national organizations that are helping to empower women/girls and heal the environment. 
Change has to come from within first in order to have a true and lasting impact and in order for change to happen on that level, one has to reach into the heart and soul of another and we intend to do that with this piece.  It is the nature of art to meet the audience where the audience is, so the effect will be as varied as the individuals. . .but this is where change will need to begin.  I also realize that in order for change to move out into the world from the individual, there has to be the masculine principle of action- out in the world!  This is an important piece to our show as well- the call to action-  being that change out in the world.   
There will be a myriad of different more specific outcomes depending on the individual.  This is not meant to be a relatively quick solution to one problem- as you could see from the video- there are many problems that come from the root of our imbalance.  This is a show that is meant to help shift consciousness and the actions that come out of it.  The effects will be subtle but profound and long lasting.   You may not be able to measure the results but you will be able to feel them.  We will encourage an ongoing connection with our audience by asking them to share outcomes of their shifts which we will then share with the larger internet audience. 
I personally  have struggled with balancing my masculine and feminine energies/characteristics in my own life due to the culture I have been brought up in.  What many of us struggle with is those feminine aspects of ourselves not truly being held in high esteem and acknowledged - thinking that we have to take on all this masculine energy because that’s what will bring us so called success in our culture- resulting in a culture that let’s their children be raised and the elderly taken care of primarily by institutions; school teachers get paid like education isn’t as important as being a CEO of a major corporation etc etc etc  And then we have the obvious atrocities that are committed all over the world, in part because what women have to offer inherently as women-beyond their bodies-is not seen as valuable. 
Does this answer your question?  I really hope so because we could use the support!  At any rate, I REALLY appreciate you taking the time to engage in this conversation.  It means a lot to me.  Many of my friends are artist activists who can't afford to donate that much and many of my wealthier friends haven't yet responded.  So yeah, I'm inspired by your willingness to engage.
Deepest thanks for your time and hopefully your tax deductible donation:
And if you made it this far, thank y'all for reading this long ass blog! And hopefully being inspired to support this project in the way you feel personally inspired!  We need your support- it's important- you do make a difference!!
And now here is a treat. . .the Goddesspell core ensemble (minus Anahata who is in Brazil) together and doing what we need to bring you "A Touch of the Goddess":

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Coincidences??? I don't think so!

Since filling out the MAP Fund Letter of Intention and stating once again that the specifics of the show would be created as an ensemble, I have been seriously considering the implications of this especially in light of potentially seeking grant monies.  I really started meditating on what the best scenario would be and felt like I needed to go back to my original plan of the having The Pacha Mamas (Marquetta Dupree, Vivian Slade and myself), a performance group that I started and performed with on and off for about 5 years, as the core ensemble along with Soyinka and Anahata.   But I had some misgivings as to the other Pacha Mama members level of willingness and commitment especially given that we basically broke up almost three years ago for the third time! Although we have remained friends, we rarely perform together anymore.  Despite my misgivings, one particular day I came to this deep knowing around the "rightness" of getting together to work on this project in particular.  The VERY next day I got a text from a friend in the Bay Area who has our CD who obviously didn't know we were no longer officially a group.  She was wondering when we were going to put out another CD because her clients who she plays our music for are always asking for more AND also wanted to know when we were going to come out and perform in the Bay Area again!    I "casually" forwarded the message to Marquetta and Vivian . . .Marquetta replied with enthusiasm at the idea of getting together  but no word from Vivian - at least right away. .  and I wasn't going to initiate that conversation.  BUT to my surprise, Marquetta prompted her to call and she did saying she was on board.  So there it is.  . . and here we are  . . .AGAIN!  This time bigger (with the addition of Anahata and Soyinka whenever possible) AND better- just watch us fly!!!

Now, when it comes to possible grants. . .well. . .that's another story.  Early this spring, I interviewed Heidi of 7 Stages (and wrote a blog about it) and got some ideas and feedback around the development/funding of "Goddesspell".  She mentioned the National Performance Network's Creation Fund.. . hitch is that you have to have at least 2 NPN presenting partners that "sponsor" your project (agree to contribute $2000 each and present your work within 3 years of getting the grant).  She let me know that 7 Stages would be willing to consider doing this and she suggested establishing a relationship with JuneBug Productions out of New Orleans as a possible 2nd "sponsor".   I didn't really know a thing about this company so it seemed at the time like somewhat of a shot in the dark.  BUT when I attended the Annual Alternate Roots retreat in August, lo and behold I ended up rooming with Stephanie- the artistic director of . . .. ta da!!!  JuneBug Productions.

I actually didn't get much time to talk to her then then (she came late and I left early) and once I got home, I considered emailing her to begin a dialogue about the possibilities.   Before, I had taken the time to do that . . on October 9th, I attended a performance that was part of the Imagining America conference in Atlanta and guess who was there?  Yup. . .Stephanie!  And this time I point blank told her my intention and that I wanted to make sure she saw the Goddesspell promo concert: "A Touch of the Goddess" when it's ready and out and about after the New Year.  She was super friendly, positive and open to the possibilities. GO TEAM!
You can help by "liking" the Goddesspell page on Facebook- 
potential presenters/producers like to see the interest. 
THANKS!!! and LOVE!!! Angela