Category Archives: Holiday

Rave of Thrones

Go ahead and pop your Molly, baby. No need for me. I’ve got wings.

Going in like a pro, like a club bunny, like a skater bum, like a B-girl, like a hype man. 

It’s inherent, innate. Insert my ear plugs, shut my eyes, deep breath, and soon, Terpsichore arrives.

Muse of Dance clasps my hands and leads me towards the 808s.

Suzy Solar sends me sailing, speeding over curious lands, spinning, dipping, playing.

My toes tip the highest spire of Angkor Wat. Bāt waves from the courtyard.

I salute the boddhisattva before descending back to the bar for a non-alcoholic drink.

What a lovely trip.


Look up and lo, there’s HODOR!!!

Kristian Nairn, who plays the giant protector of the Stark boys on Game of Thrones, is a super hot DJ and producer on his off time. He graced Florida with a multi-city tour, stopping in nearby Tampa, which meant a grand EDM fix, Hodor-style! After this experience, I can’t watch Game of Thrones without his beats etched in my brain.

Photos from Alliance Events & Nightlife Facebook Page

Happy Year of the Goat! Love Always, Von

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Love Always, Von

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Von On Bloggy Break: Feb 8 – Feb 21

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Getting new poetry and prose in publication condition, got two shows to prep for, and I’m taking a poetry class! Let me soothe your dismay with this especially dedicated song to you, my blogosphere neighbor. Crank it to 11!!

Miss ya already. See you in two!!

Behind The Poetry: ArcAngel

[Starting something new this year; let’s see if you dig it.]

November 2014, I received a Facebook message from the founder of Keep St. Pete Lit, soliciting submissions for their event, Fantastic Ekphrastic! Ekphrastic poetry is my favorite format, so I felt it was a good fit. I immediately thanked Maureen McDole for including me, then selected Mark Aeling’s piece for my reaction. I remember feeling very proud, having solidified what I intended to do three years ago: participate in and contribute to the local literary arts scene.

With a few weeks to play in, I set out to visit the piece in person. I met with Mark at his studio, then we both walked over to Soft Water Studios where his sculpture, Arc Angel, was displayed.

Practiced at information gathering, I asked him open-ended questions and limited my reactions so as to register the artistic frequency Mark was rocking out on. We chatted a bit more, then he dismissed himself while I remained with Arc Angel. I switched from data collection to reflection, and in that reflection, The Muse played with ideas and themes; me, noting them in my Darth Vader notebook. Once done, I took the notes home and let them sit. Marinate, I call it. Let the phenomenon of the interaction-reaction-reflection solidify in itself. Later, when in a creative space, infuse it with emotion, then shape it with technique.


Close to the submission due date, an unexpected event cast doubt on my budding romantic relationship. The situation was unfamiliar, dredging up foreign feelings, and I wasn’t emotionally prepared to manage it. I rapidly slid from overly ecstatic to completely overwhelmed to abject hatred to true despair. I imagine I was difficult to experience, but he remained with me, which I found rather brave of him.

The next morning, as he slept in, I went back to my Darth Vader pseudocodes and began to develop. “Use the pain,” I’ll always remember the creative advice from my childhood, and I did, quite a few versions. My body trembling, feeling rejected and fatalistic, I surrendered to my headphones and the musical selections chosen to exorcise the tempo of the piece.

The next thing I remember, he’s standing over me, looking deeply concerned. I realize I’ve been crying hard in my sleep. We both were startled by my outburst, “I FEEL SO UNLOVED!”

What a retarded thing to say, I remember thinking as he comforted me.

We talked and apologized and the roller coaster we were on came to an abrupt halt. He let me be while I finished my piece. About the thirteenth edit, I felt it was right. Treats of honesty, jubilation, and hope dipped in the vinegar of melancholy.

I submitted the completed piece to Maureen, and she passed it on to The Studio@620 for their performing artists to interpret.

While I got an opportunity to visit with Mark, I did not have an opportunity to visit with Bob Devin Jones or the talent at his studio. Therefore, my experience of the performance was phenomenological. I allowed myself to be thrown into the uncertain place, accepting the studio’s intentionality as my own, letting the wonderful ensemble take me away…


All visual and literary pieces from Fantastic Ekphrastic, including ArcAngel, will be available for viewing at Soft Water Studios, located at 515 22nd St South, during the Warehouse District’s ArtWalk on February 14th.

In Which I Am The Best Girlfriend IN THE WORLD.

It was in front of him the whole damn time!

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You’d think with his constant facing toward the television console, he would’ve caught on.

MEN.

We agreed on celebrating Valentine’s Day this year, but Book of Mormon was in town only until February 2nd, so I asked to push up my segment of V Day to last Wednesday. He wanted to know who/what/where/why, but I, fully invested in being an awesome GF, told him nothing!

What I did tell him was exactly what to wear, when in the day he would need to be dressed in such clothes, and that he’d need a proper sport coat.

Now, granted, Broadway shows don’t require structured dress in this century, but I’m of the school of thought that, if you are an aficionado of the arts, you need to look the part.

As I predicted, BF looked like Christmas morning once dressed and coiffed. He’s got those awesome eyes which change color depending on his wardrobe, and that evening, his eyes were solid blue.

Ooh.

Myself, I found a lovely red wrap dress to compliment my blood red dye job, then affixed a classic pair of high-heeled shoes to my feet, nicknamed “Run To Canada”! :D (great story there…some other time.)

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Over the bridge and to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, its facade beautifully bathed in majestic purple. We journeyed a bit to our seats (hey, I’m an artist, not a pharmaceutical rep) then immersed in the brilliance that is Robert Lopez, Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

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This show, right up our alley. We enjoy South Park and regularly engage in the meta of the show (PEWWDEEPIEEE!) and we also share an appreciation for live performances. Since I met BF, we’ve done outdoor concerts, classical music conciertos, and way more movies in our six month tenure than I’ve watched in the last six YEARS. I absolutely love that I have someone in my life who equally enjoys culture and crass as I do!

No, I won’t indulge you with a review, other than to say, GO SEE BOOK OF MORMON AND LAUGH YOUR BALLS OFF.

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As it was late, and we hadn’t made definitive dinner plans, and we were in Tampa, Florida, the BF made an executive decision:

“We are going to The Penthouse.”

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Stunned to silence by this glorious declaration, I eagerly surfed their website and hurriedly placed a dinner reservation for 11pm. We arrived on time, and with no wait.

Well, that’s because everyone was around the catwalk!

Ladies freaking out about eating at a strip club steakhouse: do not be alarmed. The poon is well away from the service area, so no lap dances into the lettuce!

We ordered two 12 oz New York strip steaks medium – mine smothered in roasted whole garlic and bleu cheese – then dined to contentment as sparkly skinny women shimmied against gold poles before us.

Blue eyes met brown eyes and agreed to get home. QUICKLY.

I believe I have Valentine’s Day mastered.

All Sold Out! See You At The Show #iloveyou

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The Case For Supporting [Adjective] Authors*

Union Station, Washington DC, circa 2004

Americanism requires my artistry to match my organic matter.

 

I was raised an American.

I physically developed, formulated a personality, practiced social graces, and made friends living abroad, almost entirely outside of the United States of America.

Beyond America, as an American, no one gave a shit if your father was this race, your mother was that ethnicity, and certainly, without a hometown to tout, nobody cared which city/town/state in America your people came from. The determinant of a shared drink at the bierstübe or an all-out beat down was simple: conciliatory manners, meaning, demonstrating respect towards the culture one is ensconced in, for the sake of peace. This is how I came to understand “relationship building.”

Thus, my confusion when I arrived on these shores to find the Americans acting rather…feral…towards each other. As soon as I smiled hello, the marginalization began: What are you? What are your parents? Where do they come from? What neighborhood do you live in? Marginalizing box after box after box instead of just a, ‘nice to meet you’ in response. I thought it was a phase, but, twenty-three years later, that fervent need to make a person fit in a narrow-minded box is still definitive Americana.

Artistically, my race/sex/ethnicity/nationality/sexuality/etc does not matter. I have voiced men, I have voiced South Asians, I have voiced transsexuals through my artistry. It’s because I allow myself to be infused by these cultures that these stories and poems manifest, and manifest with respect to the attributes of the culture.

As an independent author, I had to manage my own marketing, so I tried assimilating into the literary world fold without utilizing Americanism, because it belittles me. If I’m only an [adjective] author, then I’m saying my art is only valuable to [adjective] people, which would be me belittling my target audience, the global community!

The last two months During the summer of 2014, I did decent with general sales but abysmal in representing my work without getting forced into a social cubby-hole. I incurred derogatory statements regarding my sex, my race, my ethnicity, and those statements then erroneously defined the quality of my novel.

While I try to respect the perspective of those who protect their “-ness,” I won’t allow my principles to be subjugated to the -ness. Does that make sense? That’s not my crutch; that’s that person’s crutch, and I needn’t lean on it. Here’s a sample of that:

There was an opportunity for I Blew Up Juarez to be featured in one of Tampa Bay’s [adjective] bookstores. This [adjective] bookstore, according to its owner, is the signature bookstore for the area’s [adjective] community. As well, the owner was a contributing committee member for a major area festival celebrating the [adjective] community, and she was THE person to talk to in order to be a featured artist in that festival. Struck gold, right?

The bookstore owner felt her endorsement of my work would be integral to achieving success in the Greater Tampa Bay reading community. It was here in the conversation I started to experience trepidation, as I observed her mentally pushing four boards together around me in the middle of her shop.

A bystander to our conversation felt compelled to declare, “We need to support all [adjective] authors!” He nodded heavily, proud of this statement. He supplemented his declaration by talking about inspiring the future generation of [adjectives], and the struggles of being [adjective].

Very rah-rah-rah this guy! I saw an opportunity and replied, “Thank you for that! I have copies in my car, would you like to purchase one?”

He blinked at me.

He looked at the bookstore owner.

The bookstore owner burned eyes into him.

He looked back to me and declared, “I wasn’t going to buy a book today.”

I retrieved my review copy of I Blew Up Juarez from her weeks later, as it became more evident her intentions were to puppet my [adjective] self, not my artist self. Even if she was a fellow [adjective] person in the literary community, she behaved like a complete asshole.

Unfortunately, it is socially expected to accept marginalization and profitable to -ness it up.

It’s disparaging, but…I suppose I’m the only one who sees it that way.

*: original post 06.24.2014 – edited content and toned down cynicism

How To Ruin A Moment of Silence

Here it is, folks, the most visibly and audibly LOUDEST outfit I’ve worn yet!

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The host had me jingle the beat as she sang, “Jingle Bells.” We made it through one verse. 

At my friend’s house party, I overheard the most beautiful delivery of sarcasm of the whole of 2014: if you’re going to be an atheist, at least be dogmatic about it.

Moment to acknowledge: this was my first Christmas party sans alcohol since I was a KID, and you know what? I had fun! I laughed a lot, I met people, and I ate more than necessary.

No more crutches.

Create This Look

Wordless Wednesday: Maintaining The Board Game Empire

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