Category Archives: Music

Have Tea With Me On Saturday!

Join us Saturday March 28th from 2 to 4pm for Sawgrass Bar’s Afternoon Tea! As you nosh nibbles provided by Ray’s Vegan Soul, me and my Wordier Than Thou pals shall ear-tain you with diverse readings!

Reader lineup:

C Abraham Bellamy
Shae Krispinsky
Von Simeon
Austin Scott Collins
Anda Peterson
Tiffany Razzano

Located at 2315 Central Ave, Saint Petersburg, Florida 33713 Donate what you can at the door! See you soon.

Read the Creative Loafing article

Remember the Literary Pub Crawl

all photos stolen from the Internet – Google ‘Victorian afternoon tea’ (why lie)…

Turn It Up Tuesday! Salt N Pepa, The Hip Hop Muses

Let’s close out Women’s History Month with a musical group who impacted my most formative time-space moments: Cheryl ‘Salt’ James, Sandra ‘Pepa’ Denton, and Deidra ‘DJ Spinderella’ Roper! Collectively, you know them as Salt N Pepa.

I remember my first encounter with Salt N Pepa. “Push It,” came on the radio, and I listened to the lyrics as it played. I had no earthly connection to what they were talking about, but their vocal delivery, their ‘out there’-for-a-tween lyrics, and frankly, their female-ness sent me into an array of emotions: Amazing! Who are they? How cool; they’re rappers…and women! With boom box in tow, I ran into my brother’s room, breathlessly exclaiming, “They’re girls! And they’re rappers!!” in a tone suggesting, “See big brother? Girls are just as good at hip hop as boys!”

He responded, “GET OUT OF MY ROOM!” which, translated, meant, “You are the best sister anyone could ever ask for. You are correct; that is a wonderful discovery and what a historical vault for American womankind.”


During our last art date, Marie and I talked about how “Let’s Talk About Sex,” the seminal Salt N Pepa pop tune that spurred much controversy, saved us from haphazardly jumping into an activity with serious life consequences. The song came out about the same time my classmates were getting physical, yet none of them could answer for me, “Why do you have to have sex?” Here they were, 13, 14, 15 years of age, engaging in mating ritual, without putting much thought to the significance of the act. Then this song came out, and I’m practically stuffing my headphones into my ears. What the hell is this ‘sex’ business about??

Let’s talk about sex, baby
Let’s talk about you and me
Let’s talk about all the good things
And the bad things that may be

I set out to talk about it. My mother, when confronted, checked out a copy of “The Joy of Sex” from the library and hid it under my bed, with a simple suggestion to check under there for answers. My best girl friend gave me a copy of Nancy Friday’s “Forbidden Flowers” to peruse. The following summer, I took a job at the local daycare center for Army babies. Oh boy…that’s why everyone’s having sex?? Seems like non-fun.

Salt N Pepa prepped me with life-saving messages in lyrical form. As such, when the guys pushed up, I asked, “We’re friends. Why complicate that with sex?” I had no want for disease or oopsie babies, thanks to my hip hop muses.


I fear today’s young ladies in their formative years aren’t receiving the right empowerment messages. Iggy Azalea prides herself in…what? Guys noticing she has friends and a huge ass (which is how I summate her freshman album)? Nicki Minaj wants to encourage sexual desire, but only on the B side does she refer to its consequences (which is how I summate her sense of accountability)?

Perhaps I’m just a tired old bag who feels the genitals have nothing to do with self-esteem or positive living, but I am glad that, because I listened to my musical mentors and their messages of truth, I own my sexuality. I determined upon my start and still today, when, how, and with whom I engage with sexually. I am a goddess, I only get this one body, and only I am responsible for it!

Thank you, Salt N Pepa, for using Hip Hop to educate, influence, and lift up those within listening range.

Turn It Up Tuesday Double Feature: School ‘Em Sista!

To celebrate Women’s History Month, I am featuring TWO artists! One, a discovery: new to me, doesn’t mean they haven’t been out there for a while and the other, a reflection: I want to introduce you to musical artists whom influenced my wordcrafting, all women.

I do not review, I do not critique, I merely esconce myself in the artistry. But I’d love it if you all, especially if you’re talented at music critiquing, to please use my Comments field to share your aspect of the experience. And by all means, share share share to the moon and back!

Enjoy!

Discovery

Reflection

Turn It Up Tuesday! Double Feature: Lyrics Be A Lady

To celebrate Women’s History Month, I am featuring TWO artists! One, a discovery: new to me, doesn’t mean they haven’t been out there for a while and the other, a reflection: I want to introduce you to musical artists whom influenced my wordcrafting, all women.

I do not review, I do not critique, I merely esconce myself in the artistry. But I’d love it if you all, especially if you’re talented at music critiquing, to please use my Comments field to share your aspect of the experience. And by all means, share share share to the moon and back!

Enjoy!

Discovery

Reflection

Turn It Up Tuesday! Double Feature: Femcees Reign Supreme

[read time 49 seconds] 

Am excited and nervous about this; hope I pull it off just right!

Regularly I’ll participate in the global hashtag, #TurnItUpTuesday by featuring A song by AN artist, highlighting either my mood or theme, whatever. But this, my friends, is going to be special.

To celebrate Women’s History Month, I plan to feature TWO artists! One, a discovery: new to me, doesn’t mean they haven’t been out there for a while and the other, a reflection: I want to introduce you to musical artists whom influenced my wordcrafting, all women.

I do not review, I do not critique, I merely esconce myself in the artistry. But I’d love it if you all, especially if you’re talented at music critiquing, to please use my Comments field to share your aspect of the experience. And by all means, share share share to the moon and back!

Enjoy!

Discovery

Reflection

Von, Master of Hip Hop

(read time 7m22s)

I found Trish and settled in the seat to her right. She scored us an ideal location, perfect line of sight to the podium, a couple rows back. The aisle was two seats away, good. There’s the door. Got my noise cancellers around my neck, check. I’m fully prepped to endure crowd anxiety for this momentous occasion: an evening with my teacher, Chuck D of Public Enemy. I open my Darth Vader notebook and prepare to shorthand whatever lessons I can gather today.

I noted my inflammed joints and stiff hip from a week of unusually low temperatures, and imagined what it’d be like now to kick up into a one-handed handstand from a flattened cardboard box. My seven year old hands clapping along to the beat, sidestepping to the tempo, watching my brother attempt to breakdance. As I entered into the obligatory, “Go ‘head, go ‘head…” with the other block rockers, I thought, yo that kid is WACK! Hours spent in my room, duplicating what I observed on the cardboard then snapping it tight. My brother wouldn’t let me join his crew, but I figured, one day I’ll have my own, so I better be ready.

A group of three slide from the left into the row in front of us, and I see the muscular man in a blue t-shirt intends to take the seat in front of me. As I scrutinize his eyes and nose, I feel certain I know him. Personally? Historically..? Been a lot of places/seen a lot of faces… My mental Rolodex is spinning wild. He sits down, and I’m relieved his sculpted shoulder doesn’t impede my view of the podium.

We’ve just finished playing Masters of the Universe and my brother has a swell idea: let’s be DJ s! He orders me, as is his right as the elder, to pick some vinyl records from our parents’ collection. Tina Turner’s Break Every Rule? no… Michael Jackson’s Thriller? no… Commodores..? Hmm. Nah. So I grab Kenny Rogers’ 1983 Greatest Hits. That one’s mom’s. She won’t miss it.

I watch my brother and his friends pull the vinyl back and forth, three fingertips along the grooves, making the now iconic rip rip rawr a la Jam Master Jay of Run DMC. We giggled once the record was left to play, only to interrupt his vocals:

You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille/ rip rip a fine time/ rip a fine time/ rip rip

We didn’t know scratching the record might actually cause scratches to the record, and once mommy told daddy, our DJ days were squashed!

A thought fills my head: what if you get a chance to speak to him? Mr. D..? Mr. Chuck? Can’t just call him Chuck, he’s not your friend. Consummate confusion of mine; how to formally address an emcee. Madame Lyte? Mr. Cool J? I never could come up with a cool MC name. Heck, I wasn’t even a good emcee to begin. Middle school lunch room, two rows decide to enter into freestyle rapping. Me, the closet poet and at the time, theater kid, went up against my best friend. Oh I got her, I was sure, she don’t know about rap! So I busted out something so generic: My name is Vonnie, and I’m here to say… surprised that wasn’t followed by a round of boos. She stands up, smug faced, and I immediately realize I have failed. I still hear the smackdown clear in my ears: C to da A to da R-OL-I-N-E/Sweet/Ahh!/Like caramel candy…

Grimace. Melt. Never battle rhymed again.


The poetic political enemy takes to the podium and I grin big, taking in the fitted cap, the wide stance, then eagerly press pen to paper. Chuck’s voice has a signature resonance, and everytime I hear it, I’m called to listen; I the faithful, he the muezzin. Listening to Public Enemy, these “radicals” telling you to question authority and call out injustices, conflicted with daddy’s job, and the environment we lived in. As hip hop flourished into a global movement, hitting the Armed Forces Network radio airwaves and featured on MTV Europe, daddy was adamant in keeping those sounds and influences out of the home. Disobedience meant repercussions:

Playing Salt ‘N’ Pepa too loud from my little red boom box smack!

Dad home early from work, caught wearing sneakers with no shoelaces twack!

To no affect, of course. I’m still pissing people off with my principles to this day.

My teachers – musicians, storytellers, poetic prophets – provided examples of how to protect my mind, gave me fodder for philosophy, reminded me bruises may break my skin but never my soul. It dawned on me as Chuck D reminded the collegians how valuable intelligence is, Hip Hop saved me from abandoning my wits. The movement, not just the music, fortified in me that my art is just as powerful a weapon as a machine gun, that I could equally call for change or kill a man simply by placing the right set of words together. My teacher lamented that we remain a society too caught up in SocMed to truly understand our reality for what it is: too much individualism, too little discourse, too few moments when information technology doesn’t intercede in decision making. Oh my gosh, I realize, I attack those very issues every day, on this blog, in my prose, and in my freestyle poems. Good job MC Von, you paid attention. 

@CoachDTalks @eckerdcollege What I enjoyed was @MrChuckD reminding us to question authority as a collective and hold fast to intelligence :) — Von Simeon (@VonSimeon) February 27, 2015

As he entered into the original days of hip hop and the struggle for equal air play, Chuck pointed out, “The Cold Crush Brothers were selling out shows, never blew up, never got their fair share of airplay…” Ah yes, nodding in my seat, I remember the Cold Crush crew, and then Chuck D extends his right arm my direction and says, “Charlie Chase is sitting right there, he can tell you…”

Rolodex stops at Cold Crush Brothers. The DJ. DJ Chase. DJ CHASE IS SITTING RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.

Don’t. Explode,” My inner sargent-at-arms instructs. I shudder with pure excitement, then chuckle a bit. My big bro can suck it!!

I wanted to pull DJ Chase towards me and exult, “You know, I used to DJ my friends’ house parties? I love music! I love youuu!”

Phone is ringin/oh my god Get it together..


I still dance but I’m afraid if I start popping I won’t be able to push my bones back into their joints! I may not have vinyl to scratch, but I’ve got eclectic playlists out the wazoo, and I share what’s new to me every week on Turn It Up Tuesday. While my spoken word sucks, my written word is vicious, and now, available in book form.

Knowing there are few moments in life when you can credit people who’ve positively influenced you, after the presentation I quickly, timidly tapped Charlie Chase on his shoulder. He was slow to turn then presented a warm smile once he saw me. I fought the tremors to tell him, “I just wanted to shake your hand and let you know because of you I wanted to be a DJ.” He was kind enough to shake my hand tightly, then asked, “What’s your name?”

What’s my muthafuckin’ naame..?

My name is Von Simeon. I’m a local artist. Thank you for your time.” Zoom! Towards the door.

You handled that very well,” Trish complimented. I could feel the tremors building up. There’s no way I can approach Chuck D in this state, so I’ll just follow him on Twitter, @MrChuckD.

Oh. So it is the full emcee name after Mister or Madam. Good to know.

chuckdtwitter

:D

#TurnItUpTuesday Megamix!

I couldn’t decide on one particular song, as I have been pleasantly inundated with all forms of music during my bloggy break, so, I’ll just pick the top four rotating in my headspace. Enjoy!

 

Genre: Hip Hop   Emotion: Pissed Off   Rationale: Yet another shooting in Killeen, Texas.


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Genre: Blues   Emotion: Smug   Rationale: She called me ‘intimidating.’ All I did was show up. 


 

Genre: Jazz   Emotion: Focused   Rationale: The goals I set for myself trump what others set for me.


 

Genre: Dance   Emotion: Accomplished   Rationale: My psych ward terror stories and poems WILL BE PUBLISHED!

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

Time To Take Your Ambien(ce) Medicine

Quality speakers or headphones very much recommended! (Crank the bass and flat the treble slightly)

Don’t blink!

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.

strazcenter_purple

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.”

penthouse_splashpage

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.

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