Friday facebook Interview # 36: Matt Willhelm - Musician and member of Houston band Whit

I’ve never met Matt, but I really enjoyed how his intelligence and humor really shown through in his interview.  I went to soundcloud.com to listen to his music, and he has some unique sounds worth checking out.  My faves are LibertyLaserz and All I Need.  

How did you get into doing your chosen art form/business/career, and how long have you been involved in it? While I’m sure a lot of it is rooted in neurology and environment in my earliest years, it all officially began with an attempt to embarrass my older brother. He was attempting to play drum rudiment for middle school band try outs and couldn’t quite get it. I took the opportunity to shame him and started playing the rudiment. The band director took noticed and made sure that upon entering middle school I would join the band. Later I bought a bass because drum kits are too expensive.

What inspires your creativity? Just about everything. I am fairly neurotic and tend to over think the most mundane things. So after a while, everything starts to have narratives and themes. Its rare that any occurrence doesn’t become a metaphor for about a dozen other ideas. The connections spread and like a raindrop, once it reaches a critical mass, things start to come out.

What challenges have you overcome? What motivates you to keep going? I get hungry a lot. I think that answers both questions. But seriously, I don’t think I’ve overcome anything. I’ve had hardship and sadness, but that’s just life. I haven’t overcome, I’ve just lived. Should I achieve immortality, maybe I’ll claim having overcome something. As for what motivates me to keep going? Well, how do you feel about boredom?

Who or what has been the greatest influence on your life /creative journey so far? I can’t pinpoint it down to one. I try and learn from everyone I meet. I really learned how to play music just by going out and watching local musicians and local bands. Currently I’m really in to trap music and its showing up in a lot of the things I’m messing with. I’m also particularly in to the music my friend Alejandro is making right now. So what I guess I’m trying to say, is that the greatest influence on my creativity has been Houston.

If you could be any food item, what would you be? I already am a food item and I am delicious.

What current project(s) are you working on, and when and where can we come see your latest project(s)? I used to be that guy who couldn’t say no to a project and I’ve burnt myself out that way. So I’ve gotten better at saying no. Right now, my primary focus is a band called Whit, which is led by Maddie Whitaker (who you interviewed not that long ago). I’m also working on a SciFi Country album called Space Marshall with my friend singer songwriter Frank Freeman. Then there’s a couple of other projects that are still in the works and others that I may be getting involved with. But that’s all too early to tell. Finally, whenever I’m home I’m probably working on writing my own music. You can check out Whit at www.facebook.com/saywhitnow and you can hear random ideas and half finished things on my soundcloud, www.soundcloud.com/popenqm.

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Friday facebook Interview # 35: Leona Hoegsberg - Performing Artist: Actress, Singer, Storyteller, Children’s Librarian

Leona is a fantastic actress, who has portrayed Mae Peterson, the overbearing mother of Albert Peterson in “Bye Bye Birdie” numerous times, and considers Mae to be one of her favorite characters.  I got the chance to see her in that role, and as one of the sweetly insane aunts in “Arsenic and Old Lace,” and it was a hoot.  She also has a great singing voice, and can rock a story like nobody’s business.  

How did you get into doing your chosen art form/business/career, and how long have you been involved in it?  I always wanted to act but did not get the chance until I stopped teaching and had a little time to take classes and audition. I also started storytelling then, when I decided to tell some of the stories I had read to my students when I taught.

What inspires your creativity?  I am inspires by a lot of things- the beauty of nature, dance, music, but my big inspiration is a great story. I want to share it and make it live.

What challenges have you overcome?  I have had to overcome fear and doubts and a struggle to promote myself, especially with my storytelling.

What motivates you to keep going?  I am motivated by the love of story that feeds my soul and my desire to do more than just work a regular job and not do what I love most.

If you could be any food item, what would you be? Food item? I don’t know. Maybe ice cream- cool and refreshing. Or down-to-earth like an apple.

What current project(s) are you working on, and when and where can we come see your latest project(s)?  I am trying to do more of my storytelling, doing more to promote myself, both by contacting places that might need a storyteller or trying to make a website. I am not getting as much done as I want but I did book a couple of performances back in CA this summer, so I can have a vacation and share some stories. I do perform occasionally at CMH and the Woodlands Children’s Museum (next on March 14, 2014).

http://storiesfromthebookworm.blogspot.com/ 

Friday facebook Interview # 34: Vonetta Berry - CEO of ABC Bodyart/Body Artist Extraordinaire

Ms. Berry and I go waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back, all the way back to being bored in the back of  what could have been an interesting UH art history class taught by an instructor with a monotone voice and beautiful eyes.  Anyway, we both got our start in body art at Astroworld as facepainters, but she has taken it to a whole ‘nother level.  From the monstrous to the drop-dead sexy, she breathes new life into paint adorning the human form.  She will be unleashing wild sides all weekend at Comicpalooza.  Come check her out.  

How did you get into doing your chosen art form/business/career, and how long have you been involved in it? I have been a face painter since 1990,(I know I’m dating myself) and after getting my degree in illustration and Animation from the school of the Art Institute of Chicago, I fully expected to embark on a career in animation or children’s book illustrations. Fortunately fate had a different path which led me back to Houston and subsequently to bodyart. ABC BODYART is celebrating ten awesome years in existence. I pray for many more.

What inspires your creativity?Most often I’m inspired by spiritual ideas and physical form of bodies on which I paint. I get a great deal of inspiration from my conversations with my models and their experiences. I also get visual inspiration from several artists, photographers, illustrators, other bodyartists, and musicians help create my visions for the work that I’m allowed to breathe life into. I really am moved by connections we have with our environment and the world around us.

What challenges have you overcome? Being a working artist and mother has been my greatest challenge. As a single mother, I am thankful for my village that helps me to move and create through the challenge of parenting, cooking cleaning, and Creating, simultaneously. My children really help out now that they are older to allow me to work. And in turn, me working allows them to eat…. its a win win. Another great challenge that I still struggle with is how to build the bodyart community up as a whole. I really love what I do and I see others out there hustling as well. I live creating opportunities to allow all of us to flourish.

What motivates you to keep going? I am motivated to paint the bodies that other bodyarts may pass up. Although many of my models look like the fit a mold, there are many more I choose to work with that are atypical in physique but amazing in confidence! I love working with a variety of people because it is a great confidence boost to feel this awesome

If you could be any food item, what would you be? I would be sweet and delicious pecan pie….. sweeet, and the nuttier the better.

What current project(s) are you working on, and when and where can we come see your latest project(s)?I have an ongoing relationship with Comicpalooza, May 23-26, at the GRB, that will be a major part of the next two months for ABC BODYART. We are super excited to we will host an event called Color Me Cosplay which will partner a capable body artist, with an outstanding cosplayer, for a judged event each night of Comicpalooza. The final night will determine the winning team. I am honored to be hosting the competitions. It will offer exposure into my body art world to more people. In turn creating awareness for body art to a broader crowd.

Vonetta Berry
ABC Bodyart
713-213-8376 
Unleashing wild-sides near you.
 www.abcbodyart.com

hahamagartconnect:

UMBERTO DATTOLA 

find out more about his work here.

indefenseofart:

EVNI, giant furniture designed by Umberto Dattola. The objects are reminiscent of Salvador Dali’s long-legged anthropomorphic inventions. Here, Dattola has re-purposed old antique furniture —unable to fulfill their original functions, these sculptural creations are reminders that everyday objects occupy the realm of the arts and imagination.

Friday facebook Interview # 33: Madison Whitaker - Lead singer for band Whit

It is uber awesome to be present for the birth of a terrific new thing.   And, I think pissdom can be a wonderful impetus for creativity.  Come see the fruits of that creativity on May 9th, 2014, at Whit’s debut party at 2215 Commerce Street.

How did you get into doing your chosen art form/business/career, and how long have you been involved in it? 

I’ve been playing live music in Houston for about 3 years now, but grew up performing in choir since I can remember. I also watched my dad play in clubs a lot so from a very young age I always wanted to be on stage like him. I have no idea how I started getting into booking, I kind of just fell into it, which is funny too because Dad did that in L.A. for like 30 years before I was born. 

What inspires your creativity? 

Being pissed off, or stoned, or not. It’s kind of a difficult thing to trigger, I feel different each day and sometimes I don’t want to do anything at all or will have to force myself, but that doesn’t usually turn out well… or it does. Ha. It’s kind of a mystery to me still. There are the days when I JUST CAN’T STOP. Whether its writing, singing, playing guitar, or booking, I just get in the zone like a crazy person, that’s usually when the good stuff comes out.

What challenges have you overcome? What motivates you to keep going?

Confidence in myself, and realizing that other people do care. I have to tendency to harden myself and go into the “everything is meaningless” mindset sometimes. I guess everyone does. I still struggle with it, but I am getting better at remembering that each of us have worth, as well as ideas that need to be expressed and acknowledged, including myself. We all need something to relate to so that we don’t feel alone, and I have the opportunity to provide that for others.

Who or what has been the greatest influence on your life /creative journey so far?


COLLEGE.

Not.

If you could be any food item, what would you be? 

ALL OF THE FOODS.

What current project(s) are you working on, and when and where can we come see your latest project(s)?

In addition to Whit, I am contributing to the next Vega Neue album which is in the process of being written. That plus booking and planning events always keeps me pretty busy. Our (Whit) debut show will be held at 2215 Commerce St on May 9.

https://www.facebook.com/events/472647496199523/

Also on the set is the lovely and soul shaking Darwin’s Finches, Tejas, and Howl and the Rougaroo. It’s going to be a very uplifting and powerful night. We are also playing with Glish, Violent Youth Subcultures, Belvoir, Costumes, Devil Killing Moth, and more on May 29 at Avant Garden.

Who else do you think would be an awesome subject for this interview series?

Vega Neue. Whoa, Man. Monorose. NIKKHOO. Belvoir. Darwin’s Finches. Sandollar Swing. There are so many awesome bands in Houston!

Also, Vega Neue is my other project with band leader Andrew Schmidt.

https://www.facebook.com/whitband

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Friday facebook Interview # 32: Darcy L. Rosenberger - Visual Artist/Sculptor

Through a quirk of fate and one of the many on-the-job meetings I am required to attend, I met Darcy. Yay!  She is a petite and precise person, always impeccably and stylishly dressed, out of whom intense and unique art flows like water.  Plus, she graduated from University of Houston, so, Go Coogs! 

How did you get into doing your chosen art form/business/career, and how long have you been involved in it? The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts really solidified my intent to pursue art professionally. I went on to get a Sculpture degree from the University of Houston and just never stopped creating and showing artwork. I couldn’t stop if I wanted to - life gets ugly when art is not being created.

What inspires your creativity? I’ve just got a lot of energy that needs to be constantly released, and creativity just seems to be the healthiest conduit for that.

What challenges have you overcome? Working with limited resources has become normal to me. I don’t have a studio, tools, or money to buy materials, but am constantly making things anyway.

What motivates you to keep going? My pulse.

Who or what has been the greatest influence on your life /creative journey so far? Every wonderful person I have ever met and really connected with.

 If you could be any food item, what would you be? This is a strange question. I took a poll of some volunteer lickers. Result = cantaloupe.

 What current project(s) are you working on, and when and where can we come see your latest project(s)? I am currently working on a series of sculptures that have branched off from my geode sculptures. The geode sculptures are minimalistic on the outside, but open up to reveal glittering embellishment on the inside of the structure. The new series I am working on are still minimalistic geo-crystalline forms, but they have colorful/spectrum tumor-like growths forming on the outside surface.

http://www.behance.net/darcyrosenberger

 

Friday facebook Interview # 31: Natalie Jill Horton - Trucker Lady and my Sister from Another Mister

Natalie and I share the same birthday, and both like some pretty off the wall shiz.  I’ve known her since we were both in elementary school, and even then, she was always her own unique person.  That she is a truck driver really comes as no surprise.  Here is her interview, that, like her, is short, sweet, offbeat, and liberally spiced with snark.

How did you get into doing your chosen art form/business/career, and how long have you been involved in it? My third husband was training to be a truck driver back in 2002. I was not having a lot of luck finding good paying work where we were living at the time (Palestine) and so I decided to train with him the next year to get my CDL. I have always loved to travel so it seemed a good fit to get paid to see all of America. So this year will be 11 years for me.

 What inspires your creativity? My life and the people in it. Although mostly what I create are snarky comments and ways to make the grumpy guys at work laugh. But I have learned that you must create your own happiness because no one will just walk up and hand it to you.

What challenges have you overcome? I’m a five foot tall woman with a CDL. I have overcome ALL of them. What motivates you to keep going? Partially my family. They depend on me and I can’t let them down. And partially the people that don’t think I can do, or should do anything that I have done. Is it wrong that so many of my accomplishments are motivated by spite?

If you could be any food item, what would you be? A cup of Tom Hiddleston’s favorite tea.

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What current project(s) are you working on, and when and where can we come see your latest project(s)? I am renting a cute little house out in Kirvin and I have been working very hard to get it more lived-in. Right now it still looks sort of abandoned. I am trying very hard to make this house more of a home. A place where friends gather and family feels accepted. Sort of my own version of Hobbiton. When it’s more group-friendly, I plan to have a big party. Maybe a big 40 celebration?

Friday facebook interview # 30: Sheryl James of Back to Naturel Hair Salon - Natural Hair Technician and Muse, Crafty Chica, and Groovy Gardener

Sheryl and I met at the University of Houston many years ago in a ballroom dancing class.  I’ve always admired her down to earth graciousness, strong positive attitude, and boundless resourcefulness.   She has handcrafted a life that is a beautiful, ever-evolving work-in-progress, focusing on health, wholeness, creativity and joy.  She doesn’t mention it, but she also has a heck of a green thumb.   Be sure and check out images of her fabulous natural hairstyles and happy customers on her facebook page.      

Q1) How did I get into doing your chosen art form/business/career, and how long have you been involved in it? I developed a passion for hair after facing some challenges of my own in the process of transitioning from relaxed hair to an natural style. For me learning to do hair started as a necessity and then grew into a passion one morning as I was waking up I heard a voice that came to me loud and clear (I think it was the Holy Spirit) and it said quit school and do hair so I did I never looked back. That was over 15 years ago 

Q2) What inspires your creativity? For me creativity is like breathing air … I am a professional stylist by trade so every day I have to be creative there are sometimes however that my creativity is through the roof and at this time I notice its after periods of rest and relaxation and being in touch with nature.

 Q3) What challenges have you overcome? In the last year I have endured moving, a breakup and the relocation and now finally I am reaching my equilibrium again

Q4) What motivates you to keep going? Believing in God is the number one as well as share willpower and determination and knowing that nothing says the same forever. To be honest sheer will power at times because I have been in situations where I have been so down and discouraged it would have been so easy to throw in the towel but now I look back and see that all that was necessary to be who I am and where I am right at this very moment.

Q5) Who or what has been the greatest influence on your life /creative journey so far? Necessity is the mother of invention. ..my needs fuel a lot of the decisions I have made up to this point and of course my parents have both influenced me creatively

Q6) If you could be any food item, what would you be? I think I would have to be a warm brownie topped with vanilla ice cream….there is just something sensual and delicious about the combination of the flavors n textures coming together that resonates with me.

Q7) What current project(s) are you working on, and when and where can we come see your latest project(s)? My main creative expression is hair and my work can be seen at facebook.com/backtonaturelsalon.  As far as projects I hope to do a self help hair video series on YouTube in the near future. I also enjoy the process of repurposing defunct/ unwanted items into new things. I love wool felting and creating items such as when I made a felted purse from an Abercrombie sweater and scarves from an old sweater.  I also enjoy making jewelry as well as sewing and decorating the homescape.

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theblackamericanprincess:

sophygurl:


10 Things Food Banks Need But Won’t Ask For
Some items are in high demand at the food bank and you may not realize it. Because they aren’t essentials, the staff doesn’t publicly ask for them. A survey asked volunteers what items people would be most appreciative of and we’ve listed the top 10 below. If you’re looking for an easy way to help out, pick some of these up while shopping and drop them off at one of our area food banks.
1. Spices.
Think about it. People who rely on the food bank eat a lot of canned food, rice, oatmeal, white bread, etc. They love spices. Seasoned salt, cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, oregano, basil and so on.
2. Feminine Products.
Can you imagine being worried about affording these? Pads, tampons, panty liners, etc. Recommended: Buy in bulk at Costco for donating.
3. Chocolate.
People don’t need it, but think about being in their shoes and how nice it would be to be given a chocolate bar or brownie mix along with your essentials.
4. Toiletries.
Grocery stores are great about donating surplus or unsold food, but they have no reason to donate toilet paper, tooth paste, soap, deodorant, shampoo, etc. Food stamps often don’t cover these.
5. Canned meats and jerky.
This isn’t true of all food banks, but some struggle to give users enough protein.
6. Crackers and tortillas.
They don’t spoil and everybody likes them.
7. Baby toiletries.
Diapers, baby wipes, baby formula, baby shampoo, baby soap, baby food, bottles, etc.
8. Soup packets.
Sometimes you look at rice, beans, instant potatoes, and cans of vegetable and think, “What do I make with this?” Hearty soup is a complete meal.
9. Socks.
From a former homeless person: “Socks mean the world to you. They keep you warm, make you feel like you have something new, and just comfort you.”
10. Canned fruit other than pineapple.
Food banks get a lot of pineapple donated. Their clients love it when other kinds of fruit are available.
[SOURCE]
And remember! Food banks love cash donations because it allows them to buy whatever they need!

As a sometimes food pantry user myself and with friends who rely on them to varying degrees - I want to specifically stress some of these:
 - non-food items like tp and feminine products and baby needs are SO incredibly important because 1) they are rarely donated, 2) people who have food stamps can often afford their food staples but might still need help with toiletries and cleaning items, and 3) folks who are homeless especially need that kinda stuff!
 - treats! Like, yes of course, if I am in need I am appreciative of canned goods and rice and pasta and stuff. That’s great for putting together healthy meals. But everyone needs a treat once in awhile - so when there is candy or chips or a nice expensive brand of organic something or other available at the pantry - it is just so incredibly exciting.
It can be a humiliating experience to visit a pantry, and it can make you feel very much less than. So to get a treat of some sort just really really makes a difference. And believe me - there are enough loaves of bread, cans of fruit, and dried beans to go around at these places. You won’t be starving someone by donating some microwave popcorn or chocolate chips now and again. I promise!

To add to this already helpful list:
low sodium canned vegetables (many clients, especially elderly ones suffer with diet related illnesses and these are KEY and rarely donated).
I know this sounds so simple but food YOU would actually eat, so many people give away food that they would never eat or feed their children…so why would someone else want to either. C’mon now.
Fruit canned in it’s own juices (as opposed to in syrup)- low-income populations suffer from diseases like diabetes at a much higher rate and while fruit is a good option to maintain low blood sugar while still have a sweet, the syrup in canned fruits makes it nearly as bad as some candies.
shelf stable dairy products.
I would hesitate on candy simply because most food banks get a TON of seasonally branded candy as soon as the holiday is over especially this time of year: Halloween & Christmas candy are huge donations from large corporations like Wal-mart & Target who can’t/won’t sell it after the holiday passes, yet it is still good.
diapers! gotta reiterate this one—-so essential and not just infant diapers, but adult diapers as well.
gluten free/vegetarian/etc. food—there are MANY people who have food allergies, sensitivities and typically they are ASS out at food pantries because these are not things typically donated.
lastly if you work at a grocery store/retailer that sells food and they DONT donate their unsold food, PLEASE encourage them to do so, not only is it helpful to those in need but they also get a tax break!

theblackamericanprincess:

sophygurl:

10 Things Food Banks Need But Won’t Ask For

Some items are in high demand at the food bank and you may not realize it. Because they aren’t essentials, the staff doesn’t publicly ask for them. A survey asked volunteers what items people would be most appreciative of and we’ve listed the top 10 below. If you’re looking for an easy way to help out, pick some of these up while shopping and drop them off at one of our area food banks.

1. Spices.

Think about it. People who rely on the food bank eat a lot of canned food, rice, oatmeal, white bread, etc. They love spices. Seasoned salt, cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, oregano, basil and so on.

2. Feminine Products.

Can you imagine being worried about affording these? Pads, tampons, panty liners, etc. Recommended: Buy in bulk at Costco for donating.

3. Chocolate.

People don’t need it, but think about being in their shoes and how nice it would be to be given a chocolate bar or brownie mix along with your essentials.

4. Toiletries.

Grocery stores are great about donating surplus or unsold food, but they have no reason to donate toilet paper, tooth paste, soap, deodorant, shampoo, etc. Food stamps often don’t cover these.

5. Canned meats and jerky.

This isn’t true of all food banks, but some struggle to give users enough protein.

6. Crackers and tortillas.

They don’t spoil and everybody likes them.

7. Baby toiletries.

Diapers, baby wipes, baby formula, baby shampoo, baby soap, baby food, bottles, etc.

8. Soup packets.

Sometimes you look at rice, beans, instant potatoes, and cans of vegetable and think, “What do I make with this?” Hearty soup is a complete meal.

9. Socks.

From a former homeless person: “Socks mean the world to you. They keep you warm, make you feel like you have something new, and just comfort you.”

10. Canned fruit other than pineapple.

Food banks get a lot of pineapple donated. Their clients love it when other kinds of fruit are available.

[SOURCE]

And remember! Food banks love cash donations because it allows them to buy whatever they need!

As a sometimes food pantry user myself and with friends who rely on them to varying degrees - I want to specifically stress some of these:

 - non-food items like tp and feminine products and baby needs are SO incredibly important because 1) they are rarely donated, 2) people who have food stamps can often afford their food staples but might still need help with toiletries and cleaning items, and 3) folks who are homeless especially need that kinda stuff!

 - treats! Like, yes of course, if I am in need I am appreciative of canned goods and rice and pasta and stuff. That’s great for putting together healthy meals. But everyone needs a treat once in awhile - so when there is candy or chips or a nice expensive brand of organic something or other available at the pantry - it is just so incredibly exciting.

It can be a humiliating experience to visit a pantry, and it can make you feel very much less than. So to get a treat of some sort just really really makes a difference. And believe me - there are enough loaves of bread, cans of fruit, and dried beans to go around at these places. You won’t be starving someone by donating some microwave popcorn or chocolate chips now and again. I promise!

To add to this already helpful list:

  • low sodium canned vegetables (many clients, especially elderly ones suffer with diet related illnesses and these are KEY and rarely donated).
  • I know this sounds so simple but food YOU would actually eat, so many people give away food that they would never eat or feed their children…so why would someone else want to either. C’mon now.
  • Fruit canned in it’s own juices (as opposed to in syrup)- low-income populations suffer from diseases like diabetes at a much higher rate and while fruit is a good option to maintain low blood sugar while still have a sweet, the syrup in canned fruits makes it nearly as bad as some candies.
  • shelf stable dairy products.
  • I would hesitate on candy simply because most food banks get a TON of seasonally branded candy as soon as the holiday is over especially this time of year: Halloween & Christmas candy are huge donations from large corporations like Wal-mart & Target who can’t/won’t sell it after the holiday passes, yet it is still good.
  • diapers! gotta reiterate this one—-so essential and not just infant diapers, but adult diapers as well.
  • gluten free/vegetarian/etc. food—there are MANY people who have food allergies, sensitivities and typically they are ASS out at food pantries because these are not things typically donated.
  • lastly if you work at a grocery store/retailer that sells food and they DONT donate their unsold food, PLEASE encourage them to do so, not only is it helpful to those in need but they also get a tax break!

(Source: optais-amme, via theblackamericanprincess)

Tags: food banks

"So, do it. Decide. Is this the life you want to live? Is this the person you want to love? Is this the best you can be? Can you be stronger? Kinder? More compassionate? Decide. Breathe in. Breathe out and decide."

— Meredith Grey (via creatingaquietmind)

(Source: whilde-daisi, via tenthousandangels)