A Star is Born – Keeping it Real

20150620_203910 night sky copyr

 

Last evening, I ventured out with friend, Dena, to the local theatre. I was eager to see “A Star is Born.”

The film, (a remake of three previous films), starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, was one of the best movies I’d seen in awhile.

Without giving away the plot, Jackson, a popular country western singer, is played by Bradley Cooper. Ally, (played by Gaga) a server at a restaurant by day, moonlights as a nightclub singer by night. The two meet, and well, you’ll just have to watch the movie for the rest of the info.

I loved Bradley Cooper’s character. His raw vulnerability and honesty is appealing, despite obstacles he’s facing. And dang, what a voice! Not to mention, he’s a easy on the eyes.

Gaga is amazing in this movie – her voice, her role, how she loves the people in her life. I’ll be honest, I didn’t care for Gaga when she first started out, many years ago. Even with a tremendous voice, the weird costumes, makeup, and stage props were too much for me. But the more Gaga stripped down and evolved, the more talented, and naturally beautiful she became. I even pondered if “A Star is Born” could be her story?

Two messages stuck with me throughout the film.

  • Hold close your loved ones.
  • Sometimes it takes time to find yourself/your dream, just to lose yourself, just to find yourself again. And sometimes, you lose yourself again.

It’s funny how some people hide their talents because they’re either too shy, embarrassed, or not confident enough. Sometimes we hide under a ‘costume’, whatever that might be, when all we really need do is ‘be ourself’.

In keeping it ‘real’, we’re transparent, raw, humble, and vulnerable with everyone we encounter along the way.

When we love ourselves first, it’s easy to love others.

Then maybe we can be honest enough to write our own story, with some help and trust from above.

Hope you liked this post. If you did, please feel free to leave your comments. In the meantime, get out and go see this movie!

Peace, love and sand dollars,

 

Sheree

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Music, Poetry and True Glory

20150605_192734powell orchestra pitLast Friday evening, I attended a concert at Powell Symphony Hall with my friend Nancy. Like a child opening a gift, we were ecstatic to see Chris Botti and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra perform together. If you’ve never heard of Chris Botti, he’s only the best jazz trumpeter to walk the face of the earth. I’ve not missed a concert of his since he opened for the silken songbird, Diana Krall over 12 years ago at the Fox Theatre.

With no musicality in my family, I love to listen to music of all genres – jazz, classical, Christian and rock.

Entering the venue, seeing everyone dressed in their best, eyeing the winding staircases and the magnificent chandeliers, made me smile.

20150605_191709 powell chandelier 1As we settled in our seats and the lights dimmed, the audience became silent. I closed my eyes for a moment and listened to the sweet melodies permeating from the orchestra, the smooth sounds of Chris’ trumpet, and the weeping strings of the guest violinist. It was nothing less than magical.

Over the course of the evening, Chris brought out guest singers, highlighted his band, and introduced new up-and-comers. As the concert drew to a close, the lights dimmed deeper, and the spotlight was on Chris and his pianist. The room’s ambiance felt like an intimate jazz club.

On Sunday, I headed to another cultural event at the Unity Center in Columbia, Missouri, Friends Abby and Marcia accompanied me to the book launch of Well-Versed 2015. Marcia and I were receiving awards for our works from the Columbia Chapter of the Missouri Writer’s Guild. Our poems and prose were accepted for inclusion into the anthology.DSC_0145DSC_0135

Winners and contributors read aloud poems and stories about Moms, mystery, nature, pets, and even family conflicts. I listened intently.

DSC_0136Some stories had me rolling with laughter, others made me think; still others stirred up such raw emotion I found myself sobbing.

Each event had one thing in common. The performers – whether musicians or writers – glorified God.

When a human being is doing what he or she was created to do, then God is honored and glorified.

When God is honored, “Other people take notice. The world wakes up a little bit, sees things in a clearer/holier light, and seeks the source of that light,” says Coffee with God author, Sarah Arthur.

Performers glorify God by “using their talents to their utmost,” Arthur says.

Sometimes I don’t feel fully alive. I’m either wandering aimlessly throughout the day, depressed or unmotivated. (Like yesterday)

When I take the time to glorify God (right now with my writing), that’s when I feel alive.

And that when I think He is happiest.

Peace, love, and all that Jazz,

Sheree

A Few Kind Words and Some Beautiful Melodies

Having been pent up in the house for the past two weeks with back spasms and other menopausal ailments, I organized a much-needed evening with friends Tina, Donna and Patt.

We decided to meet at Picasso’s Open Mic Night in St. Charles, Missouri.   Picasso’s is a coffeehouse I have frequented for years, first patronizing the original location in O’Fallon.

As I entered the cafe, I was quickly directed to Dave, the host for the evening. Dave was a young good looking guy sporting a navy yarn cap with light blue bill.

I introduced myself.  He asked if I was a singer, and I laughed silently.

“No, I’m a writer.”

“Great.  I’ll put you down on the list.”  On the chalkboard, he squeezed me in after the first five singers.

The evening progressed with an eclectic mix of musicians.  Patrons filled the coffeehouse to the brim.

It was so refreshing to actually hear new voices, original songs and great melodies. I especially enjoyed the medley of popular songs Dave and his Dad sang from the Baby Boomer generation.  Another favorite was Chris Griffin.   What wonderful talent I thought, and shared my feelings with Tina.

Well, it was my turn.  Dave introduced me as a writer and I stepped up to the mic.

My choice was the essay that gave me the confidence I needed as a writer.  “The Perfect Day” first appeared in Cuivre River Anthology IV and again in “The Folly Current Newspaper.”

Unsure of how I would be received, I was thankful the smooth and mellow tones of 17-year old Caroline put everyone in a Zen mood.  I was surprisingly wired, but relaxed – induced by the sublime Expresso Martini I ordered earlier in the evening made by the crafty barista-bartender at Picasso’s.

While reading my musings, I surveyed the intimate setting and the faces of the audience.  Surprisingly, everyone was listening.  I tried not to look down, but rather into the crowd – a discipline I learned through public speaking.

As I spoke my last few words, I felt good.

Our host, Dave, walked back to the mic and thanked me for reading.  The audience clapped.  I retreated to the security and comfort of our table.

A few minutes later, the need to use restroom was in order.  As I snaked my way through the crowd to the back of the cafe, something cool happened.   Maybe four twenty-somethings approached me saying “great essay”, “awesome story.”  Some inquired if I was a writer.  I was proud to say yes.

But the best compliment of all came from a young man who had gone through five heart surgeries.  “I loved your story.  It was special.”

That comment made the evening all worth it.

As I sat down (with a big fat smile on my face), I thanked the Lord for a great evening with friends, and rocked out to the funk music of John, and the sweet harmonies of Josiah and Becky.

Open Mic Night. Sure.  Sign me up.

Check out my latest photo viewfinder on Patch.com

Hi everyone, check out my latest photo viewfinder on St Charles MO Patch of the Mozingo Music Percussion Competition 2011 that took place at Francis Howell North on Saturday August 27

http://stcharles.patch.com/articles/percussionists-take-the-stage-at-music-competition#photo-7543064