Monday, March 24, 2008

Meeting Pearl Cleage

Pearl Cleage is one of my favorite authors. I discovered her first book What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day in 1998 after asking an employee in Books-A-Million for a title that was not in stock. I do not remember the employee's name, but she suggested Ms. Cleage.

I devoured that book in a couple of hours and went searching for more of her titles. I have since been a devout fan of hers and seemed to always miss her book signings and appearances.

Until last week.

With a leisure stroll through the local newspaper, I stumbled upon Ms. Cleage's next book signing and eagerly drove into downtown only to find her appearance rescheduled. Bummer.

Disappointed, I put the new date on my calendar and almost stayed home. The book addict in me took over and I am elated that I ventured back into the mangled asphalt of downtown. Ms. Cleage is an inviting, honest and sincere warm-spirit that can be described as nothing short of simply a joy to be around.

She read from her new novel Seen it All and Done the Rest. With a small crowd, it was delightfully easy to have a great question and answer section and even have my first purchased Cleage novel signed.

Thank you Ms. Cleage for the open and honest discussion. I enjoyed myself tremendously, and the writer in me is soaring with inspiration and new ideas ;-) Can't wait until the next book signing. (I have a few friends who are peeping my book, but this one is not being loaned out!)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Me'Shell...the experience continues

"You want me to go see who?" I asked.

"Me'Shell. Me'Shell Ndegéocello." He looked at me like I had lost my mind for asking him to pronounce her name again.

"You should come with me, just look at her name on this ticket," He said as he quickly pulled two tickets from his wallet.

"Anyone whose name can use up an entire ticket like this deserves a couple of hours of your time."

That was 12 years ago.

It was my introduction to the neo-soul, funk, jazz infusion, bass guitar playing, openly bi-sexual woman who rocked the 14th Street Playhouse and my idea of live music.

I was not ready then for the Me'Shell experience and being one of the few heterosexual couples in the joint. But, she converted me to a fan for life and I always have her music in my CD player or on my jump drive at work.

She doesn't seem to tour often, similar to Prince with his hit and run style tour dates, so after 12 years I had the chance to see Me'Shell again live at Apache. None of my friends wanted to go, not wanting to miss her again I flew solo. After all, it might be another three years before she returns.

I got there early and claimed my spot on the floor mere feet from the stage and enjoyed every minute of the 1 1/2 hour set. Being on time had it's advantages since there were only two people separating me from the musical genius and I could hear her whisper to the musicians when she pulled away from the mic.

A little disappointing that she only did new songs, but they got into a groove that included seeing her play the hell out a bass guitar. I really missed some of the older stuff, but she opened the set by saying she was "40 years old now and her music is changing." Very few people seemed to mind the new sound.

It was a great night.

Check out one of my favorite songs from her old music.