Friday, December 20, 2013

Winter's here! What's next

Hello all in!

Shieva, here. Just want to give you the updates and new happenings with C.L.A.P.

First and foremost, thank you to all the amazing supporters that gave their time and money to our kickstarter campaign. You and Ryn and I worked hard to continue to grow the amazing connections C.L.A.P. makes in the Twin Cities community and beyond. If you haven't received your gift in the mail yet, send us a quick email to remind us of our forgetfulness. Things have been busy on this end, so please don't take it to heart. We're still thinking of you.

Second we want to invite each and every one of you to contribute to the Winter 2013 issue coming out next. The theme is Lady (de)Constructed. What does the word "lady" mean to you? Do you use it refer to your girlfriends as a term of friendship and female connection? Do you think of it as an antiquated term? Let us know what you think in words or in visuals, and we'll put your work in our next issue. If you have any ideas for cover art, or know of someone that might be interested, please let us know at Details on contributing can be found on our Contribute page.

Third we will now be selling C.L.A.P. at Blue Moon Coffee Cafe in South Minneapolis on 38th and Lake Street. A big thanks to Jim for helping us make that happen. Blue Moon is right next door to the great mom-and-pop owned record shop Hymie's. Check them both out. A great way to spend an afternoon: peruse the fantastic record selection at Hymie's (perhaps for a holiday gift?) and then refuel at Blue Moon with a delicious coffee (excellent expresso) and pick up the newest issue of C.L.A.P.

Lastly we want to send all of you love and warmth this holiday season. How times flies! It's already close the new year. What are your new year's plans? What are your resolutions for 2014? Let us know in the comments below.

We'll see you soon.

All my best,
Shieva and Ryn
Mayors of

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Autumnal Equinox Updates

C.L.A.P. community, what's happening?

Summer's ended and fall is just beginning. We're going into a new season at C.L.A.P. as well.

Holly Hilgenberg, the sheriff of C.L.A.P. since its inception, has decided to focus her efforts on painting, her new house and her new career. She's handed over the editor duties to Ryn Gibson and myself, Shieva Salehnia. We've taken the oath of honor to protect and publish your work with the utmost care and respect.

With the blessing of the C.L.A.P. elders, we launched a Kickstarter campaign. We need your help to cover printing costs and to sponsor events around the Twin Cities community. The campaign is going on now through October 21st. Kirstin Olsen shot the film featuring several MPLS womyn, and features a smashing Kitten Forever track. Check out our video and project and gifts here: C.L.A.P. Kickstarter.

The Light 2013 issue is hot off the presses. Copies of "Make Art, Not War" will soon be available at our distributor locations. Inside you'll find illustrations, several essays, and even a recipe.

Twin Cities Zinefest was a success for us, and hopefully for all involved. It was really fun to meet so many people and to debut the new issue.

We're excited to start working with you and to hear from you all.

All the best,
Shieva and Ryn, the mayors of

Transitional Life Moment; Art in a Time of Unrest

The best thing about autumn is the finite changing. Leaves curl and slide their color scheme to the warm side of the palette. There's a tangible melancholy in the brisk and refreshing air. The Smiths are somehow constantly playing, although I never consciously put them on. I feel more awake than I did during the summer's humid daze, and more at ease than with spring's back-and-forth, hot-and-cold. Fall has an inevitability that is unparalleled in the seasons.

Perhaps I'm attached to autumn because I was born in October. (Welcoming birthday gifts as soon as tomorrow. Please email for details.) In astrology, there are three major signs that each person is assigned based on the month, day, time and location of their birth. Each essentially predicts your personality in various circumstances. I'm a Libra sun sign and moon sign, and a Sagittarius rising. To let you in on what that means: I'm artistic, diplomatic and nostalgic with a taste for the finer things in life. Those characteristics are prescribed and actually true. Apparently, and according solely to the book Sexual Astrology by Martine I found on the rim of a trashcan at the Uptown bus station, I also am incapable of deep emotional connections, and am incredibly frank. (Only one of those attributes relates to me. I’ll let you guess which one…)

Some people believe in the ability to predict one's path in life through a made-up science based on planet alignments and movement. Some people scoff at it. It seems likely that the time of year you were born affects your personality. When you begin to create memory probably makes the time of year nostalgic, or at least pleasant. Perhaps because I've always liked birthdays –the celebration, the cake, the gifts –that I associate positive feelings toward fall time, when I was birthed. With my love for changing leaves and butternut squash soup comes a seasonally melancholic reassessment of my life.

This year, I'm turning 25. This year I'm set for my quarter-life crisis.

I'm at a point in my life where every day, I ask myself the same question:

I ask myself for so many reasons. I ask myself because I don't yet have a "real" job, a career job, work that is relevant to the career I apparently chose for myself by picking a college major at 19.

You know what else happened when I was 19? I once got so drunk that I puked in the flower beds of Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland, waiting for Max to give me a ride home. (Max is the light rail system in Portland. It's not The Max; just Max.)

When I was 19, I also peed outside frequently because I thought it was hilarious. I wouldn't trust 19 year old me to do anything big or important. I just wanted to get tattoos and smoke cigarettes and drink with friends and find drugs. Ugh, talk about life goals.

Being young means you have time to grow and learn from the poor decisions you’ve made. (e.g. Don't eat oysters if there is a remote possibility that they've gone bad.) Being 19 is a fine way to kill a few brain cells, and learn from your mistakes. It is not, however, smart for 19 year olds to be charged with the responsibility of life-altering decisions.

Hey kid, make a plan for the rest of your life. That plan starts right now. BAM.  

Before I knew it, I was like every sap that wanted to go to school to be a writer, or a journalist. They teach you all the ways you should and shouldn't write, the way to be successful. They include footnotes on the trail blazers, the people that didn't follow the rules and are now known for their own groundbreaking styles. Why literary academic dickholes have to be so skeptical of change is beyond me. Scientists thrive of the new and unusual.

So I find myself here at my computer, on a Friday night no less, philosophizing the choices I made as a growing teenager obsessed with words and music, fashion and art. The good comes with the bad, etc. There aren't enough "words of wisdom" to wipe away my latter day sins; not enough chicken soup for this soul.

Now there are folks across the internet writing about how millenials can't find jobs with liberal arts degrees. I’ve quietly waited in my own desperation for adults over the age of 35 to understand the struggle I’ve faced, the emptiness I’ve felt when searching for jobs. All I’ve gotten is a bunch of twenty-something writers bitching right along with me.

I should feel comforted that my comrades share my grief. Finally, a voice like mine in the public discourse! But instead of accepting my angsty online peers, I roll my eyes at their logical explanations for my privileged unemployment.

Yeah, OK.

These bloggers and online personalities do have jobs. They get to write bullshit about my generation that is deemed credible based on the rest of their host site's somewhat justifiable content. Most pieces about millenials are garbage because they're so overgeneralizing and self-aggrandizing. (Am I a pot calling the kettle black?)

Please, random millenial on the internet, tell me why no person under the age of 35 has a creative job like the one you have right now.

There’s only so much “I’m-a-unicorn-AND-judgey” attitude I can swallow. Those writers probably made rash decisions at the age of 19 like I did.

All I know for sure is that I need to keep changing, and I need to keep creating. Even if my liberal arts degree has given me nothing but grief, at least now I know I’m not a journalist in the archetypal sense. Even if I’m not always diplomatic, or straightforward, I’ve learned that it’s good to be multifaceted, and that ultimately, I am the maker of my destiny (and the master of my domain).

Folks moving, folks starting or restarting school, folks getting married: this is the time you knew was going to happen and now, surprise, it is.

If you ain't a Virgo, you're a Libra. And if you ain't a Libra, you're a Scorpio. And after summer comes fall.

This program was brought to you in part by Tom Cruise and Mariah Carey.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

News! Upcoming Events!

If it seems like it's been a while since we got together for a chat, that's because it has been. At C.L.A.P. zine, we've been in the process of change and growth over the last few months. We'd like to get you all involved in what's happening.

First, we switched our printing schedule from quarterly to biannually. Time is hard to come by, and we want to give everyone the chance to sit down and contribute with care.

The deadline for Light 2013 issue - Make Art, Not War has been extended to Monday, September 2nd. Mark your calendars! You've got another month and a few days to put your great ideas out there and into the zine. You can reach us at Check out our Contribute page for FAQs, and feel free to email us with any further Q's you've got.

Second, we are lucky this year to be part of the Caffetto Craft Fair happening Sunday, August 18th from 11 am to 7 pm. Stop by and see what we've got to offer. (Hint: sweet stuff!)

We hope everyone is enjoying their summer and making the best of the sunshine.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Musings on Spirituality After the Singularity

by Katherine Hargreaves

1. It is no secret that language holds our creation story. Philosopher and theologian Philo Judaeus said, "language is an ecstatic activity of signification." A word brings ideas into being. In his trance stat the Mazatec shaman translates his vision: he speaks of a place outside time. Shapes and colors float by as he journeys through the mind. In his essay "The Mushroom of Language," Henry Munn describes how the "the shaman's words...indicate a creative activity neither outside the realm of reason or out of contact with reality." What is spoken of in the mushroom trance, he argues, is real.

2. Myths accrue meaning over time as cultures evolve. Language is the impulse of the living - it is a means of connecting our experiences to something larger. Similarly, the shaman operates with a sense of what the ancient Greeks called poiesis - or the verb to make. As Henry Munn notes, this word implies an act of transformation. The act of speaking breaches the void between separate worlds and strangers both.

Friday, June 7, 2013

You Can Get Paid for This?

Your dreams of being paid to make art can be reality

by Amalia Nicholson

When I was in art school there was constant chatter about who got what scholarship, who got the special exhibition wall for their senior showcase, and who would probably end up going to some ritsy grad school where they'd rub shoulders with Cindy Sherman and Robert Polidori. Competition is a great motivator for some people, but for me, it just brought out my insecurities about not being good enough. So I never tried. I would keep many ideas to myself and only share what I had to in class.

Once I graduated, the harsh reality that I no longer had access to equipment or even a computer drove to finally investigate the world of Minnesota arts funding in all of its glorious bounty. What I found is that there are a lot of organizations in this state that really, REALLY want to give you money to make art. It's just sitting there, and all you have to do is apply. So that's what I did.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Vagina Speak: Lion's Pose

Winter/Dark Issue 2012

If you are contemplating something, remember this

The universe will provide.

Here's a little story. A few years ago Chad wanted to find a huge painting of mountains with a lake and a tree. We had this sad blank wall space in our old apartment in Northeast Minneapolis, and he really thought it would tie the room together, so to speak...So months later, after hanging everything but this desired painting - including a stick found in the woods held up by two nails one night when we were hanging out with Dogboy, we gave up. Then one afternoon I came home to Chad and he was just hanging out in the living room, probably reading Two Towers or playing the banjo, and next to him was this four foot long landscape painting of mountains with a lake and a tree. He hadn't hung it yet.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Vagina Speak's Heart Center

Fall 2012: Peace, love, happiness

Vagina Speak sure has some talk for you this season. Actually, I'm pretty sure this "column" of sorts will from now on be from a new angle (angel?). Connecting our bodies with our spirits - a little contribution to making the world a happier place. Leave the mind out of the game, which is basically just an illusion that your ego wants you to play out anyway, am I right? Yes, turn your mind of and turn inward. Throw a blanket over the mirror, open the windows and burn some sage already!

So, now vagina speaks(s) to you not from our lulu's so much as she's reaching from the heart. The heart center. the place that one will close off in times of vulnerability, pain, fear, sadness, loneliness - you get the idea. When the heart center retreats, certain parts of you can start to feel that sting of btterness, resentful, regretful shit rising up. We've all been there to some extent. So, it might help to recognize that it's the ego battling your heart, wanting you to live in either the past or the future, but certainly not the present. The other day I read on facebook one of those people's shares for the day who love to share Buddhist quotes and photos of kittens sleeping with puppies:

If you are living in the past you are depressed, if you anxious you are worried about the future, if you happy you are present.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Dear Sheila: Erectile Dysfunction

Summer 2012

What to do when a relationship encounters Erectile Dysfunction? How can we be supportive of them while feeling like we are supported in our sexual needs in return? How can we (gals) feel optimistic that we'll have penetration-sex with them (ED boys) some day, or continue to have penetration-sex? Ir us this about giving up attachment to that?
--Edie Limpdick

First off, thank you for writing in and sharing your experiences with me, and the C.L.A.P. readership. As we say in school, if one person has a question we can be sure that other people do, too. There seems to be a few components to this dilemma-his experiences of ED, your experience of ED, and your shared sex life. Vis-a-vis his experience--has he been to the doctore?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

My Grandma Sent Us Stamps

Reading List Beginnings

What do a recently widowed Senegalese teacher and a U.S. postal worker have in common? They encourage literacy, gracious giving and critical thinking!

The post office in my grandma's town, pop. < 100, cut its hours again. So she sent my parents stamps. Her gesture was called 'quaint' and 'cute', but her strength goes beyond ill-begotten adjectives. She's got ballsy support for a government-run agency in a time of BIG GOVERNMENT FEAR (can we put a muzzle on Rupert Murdoch's media empire already?). 

Go ahead. Write a letter. Read a book. 

The Jolly Postman or Other People's Letters by Janet & Allan Ahlberg

Get your hands on this book; try to ignore the 'man' in postman and its children's book genre. Filled with envelopes containing post for beloved storybook characters, it also speaks to the idea of otherness. The idiomatic Wicked Witch receives a catalog of enchanting stock like Little Boy Pie Mix ("For those unexpected visitors when the cupboard is bare"), Halloween boots (looking mysteriously like the boots I wore in elementary school and right now), and a Cup and Sorcerer tea service. The bottom of the green-tinged insert says, "For further details call 1-800-555-UGLY. NO BAD SPELLS PLEASE." To borrow a phrase from George W. Bush, the witch isn't ugly...Just don't mis-underestimate her.

So Long a Letter by Mariama

Fiction speaks to truth as Ramtoulaye writes letters to her friend while she goes through the grieving process. The trials and delights of family and the deep connection of a childhood-bourn friendship surpasses geopolitical boundaries and illuminates preconceived character judgments. Suitors come a-callin' and the plot develops with real life tragedies, but the book is also a balm for lost love and those who think letter writing is a practice from the past. Doesn't a FB post, text msg or tweet convey the same sentiment? Nope. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Needed! Subjects for Feminist Photo Project

I just had a donut with the rad Taylor Paino, a photographer who is exploring the concepts of vulnerability, confidence and feminism in her latest school project. Taylor's past projects have focused heavily on the history of feminism and she hopes to look to the present of the topic with her more recent work. To see some of her past work, check out her flickr page (the nude woman in an Irish church is an especially amazing shot, with a fantastic story).

Taylor is looking for awesome women to pose as subjects for her current project, which she describes with the following artist statement:

"I wish to meet with and photograph current feminists and have a conversation about what being a feminist in the 21st century means. What is the vocabulary we use, what are the causes we fight for, and where are we heading? In this “post-feminist” society, where do we stand? Within that conversation I want my subjects to show me their most vulnerable and their most confident. In a media-saturated culture littered with faux confidence and a hook-up culture void of vulnerability where do feminists stand in these two places and how does that define or help the feminist agenda?

Each woman I photograph will have the opportunity to decide what makes them feel the most vulnerable and the most confident. Whether that be an outfit, an object, a person, place, or lack of those things, I want these photographs to represent real women, real strength, and show beauty that is outside of our cultures norm. I will leave the choices of where they are, what they are wearing, and how much they are willing to show me up to the subjects and photograph them in more of a documentary style while holding a conversation with them about their passions, fears, and the future of feminism.

In my past photographic projects I feel like I have had a heavy footing in feminist history.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

More Than a Woman: Musical Exorcism

Click: play all.

I am little without love.

While this sentence isn't substantial for the totality of the sentiment, I feel its truth.

I don't miss being single. I miss the unforgiving nights alone with my thoughts and my cigarettes. I miss the hair on my legs that once grew into tufts, wheat fields without anyone to pay attention to the muscle and skin underneath them. I miss the perpetual forgiveness I gave myself with mistakes in love: not calling someone back, leaving lovers by the side of the road like hitchhikers I'm not equipped to pick up and take along for the drive.

I miss listening to songs and finding someone to hide in their meanings. I miss finding anew.

I miss the cold-blooded freedom of the serpent, unwavering at the sight of others' human emotion.

These things I miss because sometimes I am a misguided person.

More than anyone or any situation from the past, I miss the music I listened to as a single person. More than that, I miss the songs I listened to as a heartbroken woman.

The songs I gathered in my times of devastation filled a void no rebound could have. I wept, wrestled into sleep, laughed and felt better about myself listening to the music. It was what kept me sane, what made sure I got the insanity out of me.

Listening to it all now, I'm overwhelmed, not with nostalgia for the boys I cared for, but by the separation I've created between the songs, those boys and the times I associate with both.

As Mick Jagger sings, "I can still look for someone else." When thinking of past relationships, that is the attitude I carry.

While there may have been a time when I thought of a certain boy listening to "Under My Thumb," that time is now gone. With all of these songs, I've performed a musical exorcism.

Much like a religious exorcism rids a person of demonic influence, a musical exorcism rids songs of particular connotations. In my case, those connotations are romantic.

A little behind...but WE'RE BACK!

Though we've been undergoing some pretty major transitions here at C.L.A.P. headquarters, a lot has been going on behind the scenes, all of which is starting to blossom into something beautiful and amazing, just like spring!

First, we will be printing our Winter/Dark 2012 issue very soon. On our last round of edits to ensure we have crossed our T's and dotted our I's, and we are super excited to share it with everyone! Thanks to everyone for their major patience in getting this issue out! We promise it will be worth the wait!

In the meantime, check out the cover of the Winter/Dark 2012 issue. Isn't it awesome!? Drawing by first time C.L.A.P. contributor Laci Marie, who rules.

Second, we've been gathering and uniting a great group of women through our C.L.A.P. support group. Our first meeting, earlier this month at Peace Coffee, was off the hook—we had about ten women show up from all walks of life with many different interests, all who were enthusiastic and excited about connecting with other creative women.

The beginning of many good times.

Several things came out of that first meeting:

1. Our next meeting will take place Tuesday, March 19th at 7 p.m. at the fabulous Anodyne Coffeehouse on Nicollet in Minneapolis. As it was decided we should try to have each meeting revolve around a certain topic/discussion of interest, our next meeting will be all about sharing our work, process and inspiration. To RSVP or to get more information about the meeting, check out the Facebook invite here.

2. We've started a Facebook group for the group so that women can stay in touch and share information between meetings. To join the group, click here and request to join.

Finally, the theme for our "Light 2013" (aka Spring/Summer) issue has been decided: MAKE ART, NOT WAR! You can take this theme to be as literal as you'd like, but some ideas we have are about collaboration, creation instead of destruction, community building vs. competition, process and inspiration, and all things anti-war and pro-peace!

You can pick up this fabulous Shepard Fairey
poster at Northern Sun,
 our favorite bumpersticker/poster shop.

If you are interested in contributing, email! We'd love to have you! Deadline is June 30. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

More Than a Woman: Sexiest Music Videos

In these cold times, we need something to keep things heated. Some imbibe in fine spirits, some cuddle up with a partner. I'm wearing sweatpants and eating a frozen pizza.

This month, I'm going to keep you warm with sexy videos.

Sexy means different things to different people. One factor I believe to be most common in defining sexy is confidence. If a person's confidence radiates through, the rest seems to fall into place.

That being said, a little hairspray and booty shorts don't hurt either.

We begin with my girl, Bey. Let's face it, everybody loves Beyonce. The woman has worked everyday of her life to become the famous and talented person she is.

A friend once told me, if Beyonce ever approached him, he wouldn't know what to do. He said she was "too much woman" for him.

GQ recently named her the hottest woman of the 21st century. There are Terry Richardson photos to confirm this.

A friend of mine believes Beyonce and Jay-Z secretly used a surrogate to birth their lil' baby Blue Ivy. Those GQ photos may confirm that conspiracy.

The video for "Baby Boy" is so sexy, it feels like you shouldn't even be watching it. Maybe Beyonce's bejeweled breast-wriggling has something to do with it. She's just oiled up and thrusting. Even Sean Paul's inherent creepiness can't reduce the sexiness happening here.

Full disclosure: The orange jumpsuit and hoop earrings Bey wears in the dance club scene is and has been a personal dream outfit of mine for many years.

Fact: Every Beyonce video is hot. She looks stunning in every single one of them, and good for her. The only reason I didn't pick "1+1" or "Videophone" is because I trust you to spend your own time exploring the catalogue of Bey's Vevo.

That being said, there are a few clips I couldn't leave unmentioned.

"Why Don't You Love Me"  - Beyonce is the best vintage sexy: the lipstick, the curlers, the drunken house-wife martini.
Kitty Kat - Feline femme fatale glamour at its finest, Bey's gold lips and leopard print nails compliment her sequins catsuit and nonchalant "over it" attitude. I would've picked this for my number one, but the clip is more of a snippet than a whole piece.

Next, to a woman I admittedly know little about, but somewhere deep down, have consistently been unable to avoid.

At the height of her new found sexuality stage, Ms. Britney Spears put out "I'm A Slave 4 U." Set in a time of post-apocalyptic drought, Britney's all slicked up, singing about sending you "to another time and place." There are so many sweaty bodies breathing on each other, you have to wonder how unsexy Britney must have felt catching everyone's stink-mouth on her face.

The video really is a flashback to the era of super low rise jeans. As a teen, I wanted to wear pants that showed my hip bones, but found them terribly unflattering. Honestly, Britney pulled them off for a very, very long time.

With her intentionally greasy-looking hair and heavy, blue eye make-up, she kind of looks like a punk princess from the neck up. I've got to give her props there.

I love the song title because it plays on a Prince idiosyncrasy: when U abbreviate and add numbers 2 the phrase 4 the corresponding homonyms.

"Toxic" - As a close second, "Toxic" has nothing to be ashamed of. It shows all the markings of a great, sexy pop video: near-nakedness, hot men, french kissing. Call me old fashioned, but I don't need a whole plot line to be entertained. Also, that black wig she wears at the end is a little jank.

Speaking of the Purple One, I can't talk about sexy without bringing Prince into the picture.

During a 1983 performance at First Ave, a benefit concert for the Minnesota Dance Theater, Prince performed "Electric Intercourse."

I hope I don't get a cease and desist letter for showing this to you guys. Prince is notorious for shutting shit down with his purple fist.

The video quality is poor, but his sexual energy and musical ability are so clear. He's panting, wearing only one earring, and by the end, he's kind of having an orgasm. Please, please watch it until the end. It's the best part, I promise.

The drummer's wearing a puffy shirt. Wendy's smiling and playing guitar. This is classic Purple Rain era Prince shit.

After viewing this online treat a few years ago, my personal obsession with Prince began. His genius more than makes up for his height and bratty attitude.

"Darling Nikki"  - On his 1985 Purple Rain tour, Prince outdoes himself with this amazing performance. The pants, the moves, the jewels all speak to the controversial nature of the song.

In the mid-1980's this tune, about a girl whom Prince finds masturbating in a hotel lobby, sent Tipper Gore into a tizzy. When she found her prepubescent daughter listening to "Darling Nikki", she co-founded the Parents Music Resource Center, and subsequently began the lyrical witch-hunt that ended with the creation of "Parental Advisory" stickers.

Quite a trouble-maker in his early days, Prince has now retired to being old and looking really young, his skin now taut and glowing. He's also become a Jehovah's Witness, so no more singing songs about having sex with his sister, or getting blow-jobs from a bride in her wedding gown en route to marry another man.

The final video on the list, while sexy, is generally misconstrued, and ultimately, emotionally conflictive for me.

After releasing his debut "Brown Sugar" in 1995, D'Angelo put out the album "Voodoo" five years later, and quickly became a young neo-soul sex pot.

Women champed at the bit for a little taste of this beautiful singer. I can't blame them.

In the video for "Untitled", you can see every muscle of his diaphragm moving as he sings, especially when he belts out the high notes. Not only does this clip demonstrate his musical prowess, it also shows off his killer abs.

Although the song lyrics seem implicitly sexual, the video's director Paul Hunter decided on a sensual focus. Last June, Hunter told GQ that at the core, "It was about his grandmother's cooking."

The concept of the video is less than obvious, said D'Angelo in the same GQ piece.

"The veil is the nudity and the sexuality. But what they're really getting is the spirit."

Regardless, female fans wanted to see D's hot bod instead of appreciating his music, often shouting "Take it off!" at concerts.

After touring for "Voodoo," D'Angelo hit a rough patch, finally cleaning up after several visits to rehab.

Now he's back, hopefully releasing his next album, and touring.

At the 2012 BET Awards, D and his band performed an extended 7-minute funk that begins with a little bit of "Untitled." Beyonce and sister Solange, and even Chaka Khan were standing and grooving.

In light of its soulful meaning and damaging consequences, "Untitled" has no runner-up.

I find D'Angelo attractive in this video, of course, but knowing the disrespectful treatment he received as a result sets me reeling. Women face similar objectification without taking off their clothes, just walking down the street. For a person's worth to be degraded to simply their physicality ignores the totality of their humanity.

All of the artists on my list are more than just a good face. They have lasting power because their music has a universality that appeals beyond the confines of your whitey-tighties.

Sure, they're good looking and dress cool. But more importantly, they've each used their artistic abilities to their own advantage. They worked what their mamas gave them.

The lesson we can all learn: do you. You're fierce and beautiful.

I bet there's someone who right now, wants to be snuggling with you to keep you warm. Who knows, things might even get a little sexy.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Steps I Took for a Mostly Quaint New Year's Afternoon, Funded by Thoughtful Familial Presents

I love my family. I appreciate their gifts. This is an homage of gratitude.

1) Light the 'wood' scented candle. The comfily crisp, earthy smell isn't cheesy; it reminds me of cuddling Dad's Lay-Z-Boy and looking out the window towards Mom's ASS - Angie's Serenity Spot, a white swinging bench surrounded by plants, complete with tiny fire pit.

2) Drink Teavana's Youthberry Wild Orange Blossom Tea sweetened with Wilelaiki honey miel. (Whatever that means, but it tastes good and quiets my I-bet-its-at-least-pneumonia-or-consumption-cough.)

3) Since the tea isn't enough to warm the ever present chill from this plague, put on the Deena and Ozzy artfully woven pashmina and vintage ultramarine-blue cable knit with white terrier pattern.

4) Put off writing in the new Moleskine to write this blog post. Although the front cover quote begs my hand to crack a page for an existential free-write:

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." - Ralph Waldo Emerson