I tried my first cup of Equator coffee a few years ago in Marin County, CA, which is where the company was founded in 1995. I remember being impressed, but chalked it up as one of those "I'll do that when I'm traveling in the San Francisco area", things.
A few weeks ago, I was sent a bag of their Mocha Java Blend and I was excited to see the bright red bag and distinct bold font that quickly jogged my memory back to sunny days in the bay area. However, "Mocha Java Blend" gave me the willies. Was this going to taste like some unfortunate mix of hot chocolate and dark roast coffee--please tell me no! Thankfully, it was anything but that dreaded blend.
This is a deep, bold, full bodied, complex cup, like nothing I've tasted before--simply put, it's phenomenal. Instead of chocolate, I more tasted hints of pure cacao mingling flawlessly with baking spices. If you enjoy complex flavors such as aged cedar and deep fruit, you'll love this coffee. If this sounds too bold or complex for you, it probably is, and you'll probably hate it.
However, if "complex" sounds intriguingly delicious to you, grab yourself a bagand give it a proper brew--my take is that you'll find yourself ordering this one again and again. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that I received this bag from Mistobox, which is an excellent box subscription for any semi-adventurous coffee lover--click here to try it out!
It’s easy to get caught up in the (by now cliche?) norms of startup life. The standing desks and open-office layout abound in a variety of snacks, catered lunches, breakout spaces, beer, cold brew on tap, and the list goes on.
I would never promote getting rid of these perks; I think they’re important. What I would say is, don’t overlook the true meaning behind why your staff comes to work at a startup, because it’s despite all of these cool-kid bonuses; not because of them.
These are some of the things that really drive your staff to work hard, long hours, to solve unforgivingly difficult problems and challenges.
There are far more challenges than solutions.
Startup staff is chock-full of overachievers who want to tackle disruption and innovation in antiquated or non-existent industries. Be transparent and communicative about the obstacles ahead. Your crew will be energized coming up with, and being a part of, solutions.
Don’t forget about the victories along the way. Sometimes they’re small, but always acknowledge (or celebrate) them!
You take chances on people and allow them to prove themselves.
Granted, this may not be fully startup-centric, but there is a distinct bend toward bringing on visionaries with great drive and less experience, over lengthy resumes and decades of industry entrenchment.
Grow your people (this is wildly important; probably the most important). People who join startups want to experience and learn. Provide them with leaders that can keep them motivated through variety, development, and exposure to new and challenging experiences. Yes, this is hard and time consuming, but your business will flourish on the sweat, creativity, and acumen of those you’ve cultivated, and who want to be a part of building something great.
You value individualism while promoting collaboration.
Archaic, often meaningless protocol is abandoned for freedom of dress and expression. In startups (by and large) gone are the days of suits and ties, pant suits and blouses; and that’s awesome. Hoodies vs suits is a real thing and, in my experience, it helps bridge the gap between these seemingly disparate factions (i.e., it promotes collaboration in an easy-to-do way).
Use of space, stock option grants, and more grey areas than black and white lines in job descriptions, promotes a feeling of ownership and valued opinion. This is important to startup staff, as it provides opportunity for ample mobility and buy-in within your growing organization; both future and real-time.
Remember, you employ and lead inspired, entrepreneurial, inquisitive, creators. Tap into that and you’ll truly have something special. The beer and cold brew will tap itself.
These are a few short points engulfed in endless possibilities for truly engaging your staff. If you want to discuss your startup, organization, or department in more specific detail, feel free to email me. I’m happy to see if I can help!
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January 7, 2019
Coffee Review: El Salvador Monte Verde by Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co
Brewing methods: manual pour-over and french press
This coffee, grown between 1,200 - 1,500 meters in the Santa Ana region of El Salvador describes itself in many of the ways you’d expect--a good balanced cup, dark but not harsh or bitter. I’m not so sure about “balanced” but the latter is certainly true.
First, the pour-over brew
You know that feeling when you grind, brew, pour, sniff, sip, and something seems to be missing? This was that experience for me. It’s like when you grab something off the plate that you think is an apple, but upon first bite, it’s obviously a tomato.
Aside from reality not meeting my expectations, the flavors I did get, weren’t as tangible as I would’ve expected. The earthiness (a nice way to say muddiness) let through some notes of unsweetened chocolate, but I was hoping for more hints of honey or possibly even citrus, which didn’t come through at all.
Next, let’s give the beans the benefit of the doubt and try a french press brew
Forget most of what I just told you about how this coffee reacts to a pour-over. Brewing in the french press was the key to letting loose any slight sweetness and citrus notes that the beans had to offer. The aroma of the coffee was noticeably improved as well--and who doesn’t like a good sniff?
All-in-all, a little muddier of a profile than I’d like, but not bad if you make sure and brew it in the french press.
According to Bottary, actually achieving your new year's resolution will involve doing two things: 1) Being honest with yourself as to whether your resolution is an actual goal or just a wish. Declaring it as a real goal will be the first step toward making a serious effort to achieve it; 2) Being willing to enlist others for help. Left to your own devices, you're likely to end up among the 92% of people who fail. This is where creating a People Plan will make the difference. Embrace the fact that self-help doesn't mean by-yourself-help and that making your goals public, engaging people who can encourage you, provide advice, and help you hold yourself accountable is what you need to actually achieve your resolution!
People Around the World Take On New Year #Happiness Challenge
The official global launch of the #HappinessChallenge takes place at JKYog headquarters in Allen, TX, USA on December 31st. The launch opens with an exciting Happiness Scavenger Hunt, followed by the viewing and discussion of the first learning video about the art of happiness. The launch program includes a challenge activity, and concludes with a Smile-and-Laughathon.
Starting December 31st, people from all walks of life around the world will take on a challenge to take happiness to the next level. They can take the challenge on their own on-line or in a group setting.
Inspired by the challenge, people across the globe are taking on a special new year resolution of achieving real happiness, instead of simply conveying new years wishes. Over the first 21 days of January, each day of the #HappinessChallenge people will take away practical tools and navigational guide for their own path to happiness. Daily group happiness activities in Allen,TX will be followed live around the world through social media.
We are all in constant pursuit, yet somehow more often we experience stress and anxiety. No matter what we seem to do, happiness seems to escapes us, or remains only for a brief while. "One of the most pleasing and beneficial arts in our life we can learn is the art of happiness", says Swami Mukundananda, international authority on mind management and creator of the challenge.
Focusing on building inward happiness is a truly a small investment that has been scientifically and medically proven to improve better overall health, reduce stress, improve relationships, and increase energy and productivity.
Happiness Ambassadors, volunteers who inspire others to take part in the challenge, have organized a growing number of events in USA, Canada, many parts of Asia, and Europe. Starting January 1st, thousands of Happiness Ambassadors across the globe are organizing both private and public group events to inspire people to participate in the challenge.
Organizers are setting up Happiness Concierges in public and private places where they will dispense doses of cheer, smiles as well as learning resource.
Having a global wide community focus on inner happiness will not only spread joy and sunshine inside, but it will have an outward positive effect on individuals and communities. It only takes a few percent of people around the world to have a huge impact on outlook, community cohesiveness, and even peace around the world.
Lately I’ve noticed a lot startups that seem to be haphazardly seeking their next hire. Don’t get me wrong, the positions they’re trying to fill make a lot of sense, but the strategy and logic behind who to hire when seems to be vacant or skewed.
This seems to happen for a few reasons:
Casting a wide net to see what the talent pool and level of interest looks like.
Assuming they (read: Founder, CEO, etc) can fill the shoes of whatever hire they don’t find first.
Being cautious with capital (ie, defaulting to small salaries over large salaries).
Early org and hiring decisions carry a disproportionate amount of weight, obviously. As you enter into these commitments, consider a few things:
Of the people who are currently at the company, what are their skills?
Early on you should hire around existing skills or fill blind-spots that exist.
For example, if you choose to hire a CTO over a COO (replace with: Engineer over Ops Manager), the existing members of the team should have significant operational skills and experience, with a distinct lack of tech chops.
Of the talent available to you, will a high-level hire make a larger impact now or later?
If you need an MVP to even have a product or service to offer, maybe you should hire a C-Suite, VP, or Director and use freelancers/consultants to build their vision.
If you have something to sell already, maybe the more pressing need is to hire a Business Lead and look to bring in someone above that person when it’s time start planning/launching the next phase of the business.
Is there a way to structure compensation to attract and hire the right person?
There are a lot of ways to structure a comp deal. Don’t limit yourself to thinking someone needs $250k to get on board. Maybe the right person would be happy with more stock options to offset salary.
If you’re willing to part with stock options over cash for salaries, seeking a Cofounder, Board Member, or Advisor that will cover areas where you lack experience or understanding might be a great option.
Also, consider that a Director of Sales can pick up some of the workload (especially at a startup) of an SDR or Account Executive. It might be more salary-savvy to have one Director of Sales plus one Account Executive, than to have three or four Account Execs to get the same amount of work done.
This merely scratches the surface of what levers you can pull to make things work best for you and your company. The important thing is that you make a decision for the right reasons and start building your startup’s organization in a way that makes sense now and for the future.
If you want to discuss your startup, organization, or department in more specific detail, feel free to email me. I’m happy to dialogue and see if I can help!
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August 23, 2017
WATCH: "Who I Am" by Caro
In August of 2017, Push The Line Entertainment partnered with record label service
and hip-hop marketing specialists Forbes Music Entertainment to
finalize the debut of the single "Who I Am." The deal would lead to a
global outbreak for Caro, with 10 thousand viewers in France, 18
thousand in the United Kingdom, 19 thousand in Italy and over 34
thousand in the United States.
Caro plans to announce the release
date of his debut album soon. He has recently released the official
music video to the "Intro" of his upcoming album to his newly found
YouTube fans. He admits that all things before music were done by
choice. He now has a greater perspective and looks forward to a long
career in music after "Who I Am."
Hear the latest song from Fores Outlaw, a 25 year old artist originally from New York, now living in Atlanta. My Way has already garnered thousands of plays and a lot of praise from listeners of Hip Hop and Rap. Click below to hear what all the buzz is about.
Speaking about his music, Fores Outlaw said: "I've always had a passion for music that fueled me to pursue it. Once I got the opportunity, listening to and loving many other genres besides hip hop and rap, it made me really versatile and original, when making my own music. When I made My Way I did it exactly how I would approach any song; I did it my way. I always want to be original and as authentic and true to myself as I can be. I don't ride anyone's wave, I create my own."
NY Times best selling author Bardi Toto Drake talks about how to use gratitude to brand your business and stand out from other businesses on social media (see video)
Social media networks are ripe with bragging, selling and "regurgitating"their product or service online without building relationships, according to NY Times bestselling author and branding expert Bardi Toto Drake. She attributes her success via Social Media to branding with gratitude.
innovative idea Bardi had which went viral overnight using gratitude
changed the way many people on social media approached their posts and
reached out to others.
She has gotten the attention of American
Airlines, Starbucks, Kathy Ireland, ABC, NBC, TV Realty Shows,
Celebrities, radio and sports personalities by branding herself with
gratitude as well as other businesses.
Bardi provides the
following examples for each of the big social networks of how users can
express gratitude to brand themselves.
Share videos on various social networking sites, commenting to express your appreciation of their content and value to you.
someone's comment. Retweets not only provide great info for your
network, but also recognize someone's contribution to your twitterverse.
A retweet is recognition of someone's value to you. That's a form of
It's also important to Tweet someone's photo/article/blog post/informative essay, because they've said something you find interesting and you're recognizing it publicly.
sure to give public recognition via #FollowFriday (or #ff). By giving a
shout out, you are showing someone you are grateful and your own
followers can learn from them. Make a comment.
can comment on an update, news story or just about anything else to
show your gratitude. Tell people, "Hey, I appreciate you putting that
up." The media and businesses have promoted to "like" something on
Facebook so much Toto says it has become over saturated. It takes a
second to comment and goes 100 percent further.
can comment on someone's Facebook Live, share and make comments. I have
made a Facebook Live video sharing a business, book review as well as a
testimony about another person or business tagging them in the Facebook
The very best way to express
gratitude on LinkedIn? Recommend someone, congratulate someone on their
job anniversary or endorse them for a particular skill set they have. It
takes less than five minutes and adds weight and credibility to their
profile. If a connection performs a great service for you (your
mechanic, your advisor, your real estate agent), write them a
sharing, liking, using # hashtags to acknowledge a company and following
others on Instagram is a way to show gratitude for the information
someone else has shared. Bardi Toto says Instagram will surpass Facebook
in 2017, partly because pictures do say a thousand words and are eye
candy to the consumer whether it is business to business or business to
Bardi Toto says she has not even touched on all the ways you can use Gratitude to brand yourself online. In her webinar Branding with Gratitude, she gives more ideas. To join the webinar, go tohttp://www.gratitudewebinar.com. Bardi also has Gratitude programs for corporations and Fortune 500 companies.
Majorfit.com launches new assessment that helps students choose college majors based on their competencies and aspirations. The company has been accumulated Big Data for years and has applied successfully to find student's suitability and strength.
Only 27 percent of college graduates in the United States have a career related to their college majors if a recent report finding by the Washington post is to go by. In another survey by Career Builder, a whopping 51 percent of employed college graduates confessed that their jobs have very little to do with their college majors. Unfortunately, on average, a 2016 college graduate owes the government more than $37,000 on student loans. Certainly, the students need a guide to help them choose college majors that are perfect fits for their talents, skills, and interests. Majorfit.com, a leading publisher of student assessment tools, has launched a program that will help the students make informed decisions when choosing college majors. The program consists of some self-administered assessments that will effectively guide students to determine what careers will be most relevant to their strengths.
"Many high school students work relentlessly for the 4.0+ GPA, yet most of them do not know what major they want to choose, and very few take time to explore the viable career options. Consequently, the college dropout rate has reached 38 percent and a greater percentage change their majors before finishing their college programs,'' says Majorfit's Co-Founder, Sara Park. "Considering the high cost of tuition in both public and private universities, the undecided bright young minds often waste a fortune and valuable time pursuing courses they won't practice. The need to guide them when choosing the majors is urgent. Majorfit.com will help them decide majors that lead to realistic careers."
Another Co-Founder, Steven Choi says "We use Big data analysis to find student's suitability and strength. That's totally different approach than any traditional personality test."
AccordingtoChoi, no special requirements are needed to take the self-administered assessments;any student can do them. The tests can be taken online, and results are instant and self-interpreted. All they need is a computer and an internet connection to access the website.
The Majorfit assessments are based on the fact that graduates tend to work in environments that are realistic, enterprising, social and more importantly relevant to their skills. The tests are structured to help the students determine their competencies and aspirations concerning the occupational information available in their database so that they can easily relate their skills with viable college majors. Majorfit aptitude test (MAT) is developed by big data analysis based on recent brain research and epistemology. This is why interpretations of the results are significantly different from most psychological theorized tests such as the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).
The new website has now been brought up-to-date with thousands of jobs at all skill and education levels as well as data collected from over 500,000 cases of interviews and tracking records. The interface works well on smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops.
Lyft teams with Refill to curb drinking and driving
Lyft the ride hailing app and Refill the alcohol delivery app partner together to reduce drunk driving in Ohio
Refill has announced a partnership with Lyft to get people who have been drinking alcohol where they want to go safely in Ohio. Lyft riders will be able to receive $10 Off their first ride using promo code: REFILL. Refill app users will also receive additional bonus Lyft credits ranging $10-$100. This partnership is focusing on Ohio where in 2016 there were 346 traffic deaths caused by alcohol and 7,198 traffic related injuries caused by alcohol according to the Ohio Department of Public Safety.
"We are committed to providing a safe environment for the community," said Refill CMO Anthony Reynolds. "My friend was killed by a drunk driver and part of the reason we created Refill, a safe and responsible way for people to have more alcohol without having to go drive and get it." "We look forward at the opportunity to work with State and Local agencies to help reduce drunk driving in Ohio."
Started by Reynolds and CEO Josh Walker in July 2015, Refill is alcohol delivery app available on both apple and android.
Find out more about Refill at http://www.alcoholtogo.com/.
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July 22, 2017
Three Square Market Microchips Employees Company-Wide
Three Square Market will become the first U.S. company to provide implanted microchip technology to their employees.
Three Square Market (32M) is offering implanted chip technology to all of their employees on August 1st, 2017. Employees will be implanted with a RFID chip allowing them to make purchases in their break room micro market, open doors, login to computers, use the copy machine, etc. This program, offered by 32M, is optional for all employees. The company is expecting over 50 staff members to be voluntarily chipped. 32M is partnering with BioHax International and Jowan Osterland, CEO, based out of Sweden.
RFID technology or Radio-Frequency Identification uses electromagnetic fields to identify electronically stored information. Often referred to as "chip" technology, this option has become very popular in the European marketplace. The chip implant uses near-field communications (NFC); the same technology used in contactless credit cards and mobile payments. A chip is implanted between the thumb and forefinger underneath the skin within seconds.
A micro market, also known as a break room market, has become a staple in the U.S. with over 20,000 locations and growing. While in existence for over a decade in the American workplace, the international community began to embrace this only a few years ago. A micro market is a mini convenience store located right in the employee break room using a self-checkout kiosk, similar to what is found at many major retailers. Businesses see multiple benefits when adding a micro market to their location, such as increased employee morale and productivity. 32M entered this growing industry over four years ago and is rapidly growing in market share and believes this technology will help it continue this trajectory.
"We foresee the use of RFID technology to drive everything from making purchases in our office break room market, opening doors, use of copy machines, logging into our office computers, unlocking phones, sharing business cards, storing medical/health information, and used as payment at other RFID terminals. Eventually, this technology will become standardized allowing you to use this as your passport, public transit, all purchasing opportunities, etc." commented 32M CEO, Todd Westby.
"When working with our operators over in Europe, we came across a company of chipped employees at BioHax International and the concept of using RFID with micro markets quickly grew," commented 32M VP of International Sales, Tony Danna. "We see chip technology as the next evolution in payment systems, much like micro markets have steadily replaced vending machines. As a leader in micro market technology, it is important that 32M continues leading the way with advancements such as chip implants" added Mr. Westby.
"The international market place is wide-open and we believe that the future trajectory of total market share is going to be driven by who captures this arena first," said 32M COO Patrick McMullan. "Europe is far more advanced in mobile and chip technology usage than the U.S. and we are thrilled with the growth opportunity this enhancement will bring to us. Thanks to our market partners in Sweden, we met this innovative company and look forward to working with them to take our market share to another level."
32M is envisioning this technology to help it grow its other self-checkout businesses. "We see this as another payment and identification option that not only can be used in our markets but our other self-checkout / self-service applications that we are now deploying which include convenience stores and fitness centers," added Mr. McMullan.
Employees will be chipped at the 32M inaugural "chip party" hosted at their headquarters in River Falls, WI on August 1, 2017.
32M based in River Falls, WI, is considered a leader in micro market technology. With its' patented technology and industry-leading smart phone application and inventory intelligence, 32M has grown to over 2,000 kiosks in operation in nearly 20 different countries plus it operates over 6,000 kiosks in its' corrections industry business, TurnKey Corrections. For more information on 32M visit http://www.32Market.com or http://www.BreakRoomRehab.com or follow them on Twitter, @32Market, on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn by typing in 32Market.
BioHax International is a company based in Sweden on the forefront of implanted chip technology. Osterland was recently a guest speaker on the TED Talks. Visit www.BioHaxSweden.com for additional information.
32M is inviting the press to attended and partake in the event on August 1st, 2017 at 11 AM CST in River Falls, WI for more information please contact 32M directly
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July 17, 2017
Startup Leaders: Your Team’s Job Isn’t To Make Your Job Easier...Yet
a startup, you need every bit of horsepower you can get; but few know
how to harness that from their staff. I promise you, your people are
hungry to achieve great things, they just have to be shown how.
know a lot of folks who work at startups; I have for over a decade. So
many times I hear about the staff being disappointed and frustrated by a
lack of meaningful communication, inclusion, and understanding. They
feel as though they’re constantly barked orders at, like they’re in some
unidentified race that they’re not clued into. This environment reminds
me of that stupid 1980’s slogan, “he who dies with the most toys wins.”
I really hate that saying.
these scenarios, mutual respect and the building-up of individuals in
order to make a stronger team, is abandoned for the easy, short-term win
of getting the furthest the fastest. But this will never be the path to
long-term success, and will leave your staff feeling excluded,
marginalized, talked down to, and exasperated.
could chalk this up to startup hubris, inexperience, or lack of caring.
I think, more often than not, it’s that the manager doesn’t understand
the natural and logical order of the manager-report relationship.
Instead of squeezing, hounding, and micromanaging, managers should be
seeking to understand how their individual team members work, how that
feeds into the overall organization, and start to work with them to
align those things.
some, the difference here will seem slight, but if you’ve ever
participated in it, it’s enormous. The change managers need to make is
from dictating every little aspect of how someone functions, and do the
harder work to meet them where they're at and foster growth,
comprehension, and understanding, through consistent, relevant, measurable steps.
once sat in on a “training session” where a program director went
line-by-line through a script with a new sales agent. The director was
irritatingly condescending as he was smirking and giggling in response
to how the agent was reading the script. To further the embarrassment,
he’d ask nonsensical questions about why the agent is speaking in a
certain way; questions that even left me wondering what he was trying to get at.
was attempting to change his direct report’s innate tone, inflection,
and cadence. Instead of offering any sort of conceptual framework for
his vision for these calls, he painstakingly went through this bizarre
line-by-line reading with the agent. To him, this was a "tactic", aimed
achieving a specific result.
what was the result? The agent was completely frustrated and was more
confused than when he started the training session. The director thought
that the agent just wasn’t up to par and couldn’t be easily honed or
worked with. I had to unlock my clenched jaw and come to terms with what
I had just witnessed; an epic, unadulterated failure of leadership,
communication, mutual respect, understanding, and collaboration. Truth
be told, it wasn't that the agent couldn't handle the job but, from what I saw that day, the director seemed to lack the skills to properly fulfill his role.
What I’ve always said and done, and what I’d plead with any leader to do, is to do what you can to make your staff’s job easier first.
Your main goal, every day, should be to make their job as easy as it
can be. Of course that doesn’t always mean you’ll be able to make it
easy, but do what you can to move the needle in that direction. Working
hard doesn’t mean that it is hard, it means that everyone is pulling their weight in the same direction with passion, vigor, and a sense of purpose.
there are things that you can do to make the minute-by-minute execution
of your team easier, you must do it! If this requires skills, tools, or
resources you can’t provide, allow your staff to pitch in. You should
always strive to build together; there’s no need to build alone.
day, after many months or years of making your staff’s job easier,
you’ll stop and notice that somewhere along the way, the tables turned.
Your team now makes your job easier, every second of every day.
believe the best measure of managerial success is that your team can
operate 100% independent of you, and absolutely crush it. If that scares
you and you feel that your value would be lost if this were the case,
you need to reassess your priorities.
you reach this point, you’re still necessary for guidance, mentorship,
collaboration, and support. Your team no longer needs you to do the job,
but they need you as their leader.
If you want to discuss your startup, organization, or department in more specific detail, feel free to email me. I’m happy to dialogue and see if I can help!
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July 9, 2017
As Boko Haram is Recruiting Teens in Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad -- Liberia is Fighting Back ... With Skateboards!
US based Foundation for Women launches ART FOR DECKS to 'Make Education Fun'
While US Government Budget negotiations are threatening to reduce, or
even eliminate, funding for African Development and Education, artists,
worldwide, are being invited to design and create art on skateboard
decks to help introduce the sport to Liberia. ART FOR DECKS exhibitions
in the US and abroad are now in the works -- these will culminate in
International online fine art auctions to help fund new skateboards for
will grow out of Liberia, the English speaking country that calls
itself America's "51st State." It will soon cross the continent to
replace violence with sport by arming kids with skateboards - not
weapons. The New York Times reports that, today, one in five of all
African suicide bombers are children, some are as young as eight!
was launched in Monrovia in February of 2017 by Foundation for Women
founder and CEO Deborah Lindholm. Almost immediately, the project drew
support from the Tony Hawk Foundation, Sector 9 Skateboard Company, the
Harnisch Foundation, and the Andy Warhol/Bessell project.
SkateboardBest.com branding, social media development, and public relations support are contributed by MISSIonLINES.com. 'Venice Surf-and-Skate
Exhibitions' organizer Mark Farina, documentary filmmaker Carolyn Day
and art consultant Aldis Browne are donating their time to help
Foundation for Women create, produce, and record this global union of
art, sport and philanthropy.
Art ForDecks.com invites artists interested in participating in these exhibitions and auctions to contact ArtForDecks@Gmail.com. A percentage of the sale price realized will be paid to the contributing artist.
For the first time, on June 21, 2017, Liberia joined in the celebration
of International 'Go Skateboarding Day'. Skateboarding is set to become
an Olympic sport in the 2020 games in Tokyo. Future goals range from
supporting public skateboard parks across Africa to sponsoring
DonateForTheBest.com through Foundation for Women.
A contribution of $60 US will buy a Skateboard which can be used by
several boys and girls, however, smaller (or, of course, larger) gifts
are welcome. The Tony Hawk Foundation will match each board with the donation of a helmet.
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July 2, 2017
Artist James Picard's Film The Dark & The Wounded Takes Top Award at New Media Film Festival
Canadian documentary The Dark & The Wounded, directed by James Picard and Jeff Dean, triumphed over 87 New Media films and content to win Grand Prize "Best Film" at the 8th Annual New Media Film Festival.
To go beneath the surface of our distracted reality and get to the root
of what is really happening to us as individuals, society and as a
species on the planet. By getting past our fears we can become more
compassionate and understanding towards ourselves and others. Beyond
fear, there truly is freedom."
James Picard's words ring true and, with the current state our world is in, are needed to be heard now more than ever. Picard's vision of The Dark and The Wounded
started over five years ago when a close friend revealed to him that
she was raped continually by her father throughout her childhood.
Picard's empathy took him into the deeper realm of the human psyche,
looking for answers. He soon began painting a series of artwork that
focused on the darker aspects of human nature and why our personal,
societal and global wounds of the past still haunt us in the present.
Picard began looking for a venue to exhibit the series, after being
rejected by the main stream galleries, and found a home in some of the
darkest and most wounded locations known to mankind: abandoned asylums,
prisons and hospitals. He soon began booking locations all across North
America and inviting guests in for midnight showings to which the
response was, as Picard puts it, "…absolutely mind-altering."
this spectacular idea to life required the addition of more creative
talent so Picard brought onboard renowned Hollywood composer Jeff Danna
to create an awe-inspiring soundtrack and Dr. Jeff Jean to co-direct and
lead as head cinematographer. Their unique and outstanding visionary
skills have helped bring the live visceral event experience to film.
Picard has exhibited extensively in over 160 art shows throughout North
America and Europe. His work has been exhibited next to Picasso,
Matisse, Miro, and Warhol. Harold Town stated that Picard's talent is
"rare in the art world". When Picard is not painting, he is teaching
others how to paint. He has received countless awards and accolades for
his work and contributions to communities throughout North America. He
is currently residing in Vancouver and Los Angeles and is touring his
award-winning documentary The Dark and The Wounded around the world.
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June 27, 2017
Meaningless Buzzwords Are Killing (what could be) Your Startup’s Culture
Here's how you can turn company values into a living organism, thriving in an ecosystem that is functional and makes sense
∞ The crux of the problem: It's not them, it's you ∞
A collaborative, team environment sounds nice and is a great buzzword for People, HR, and Recruiting teams to throw out to staff and candidates. But, more often than not, the reality far from lives up to the cliche. When this happens, not only has an opportunity to build something meaningful been squandered, but the fallout will likely leave your staff feeling unrest, mistrust, and a lack of drive.
My inner dialogue started crafting this article from the negative (as you can tell from the title!). Instead of focusing on what most organizations, departments, and leaders don’t do well, I’ll briefly mention a few things that are absolutely mission-critical if you want to turn a platitude into a reality.
∞ Talk about the things you’d like-to-have, do the things that are must-haves ∞
If you put together slide decks, send out emails, or speak in front of your organization in order to relay your vision for culture, transparency, and collaboration, that’s great! But you can’t just communicate the information and then leave it up to the staff to put your values and vision into practice.
Building community takes nurturing and effort from a leader who has a daily presence (ie, if you're a C-suite, VP, Director, etc, have your managers and team leads directly operationalize this, while you provide support and oversight). Remember, you’re essentially asking your staff to care about each other’s well being, to align together and foster practices that move many bodies in a singular direction; the direction of your company’s goals and mission.
∞ So what else should we do after communicating the vision ∞
Like anything else in your business, if you want something to succeed, it will require action! As an example, I’m a big fan of values; not just at a company level, but at a department level. Having team members work together in small groups to agree on values and what they mean to their specific role, and then bringing all of those ideas together at the department level in order to finalize those values, is a great way to get buy-in.
Remember: your mission should rally people to want to achieve your company goals, values feed the mission, actions breathe life into the values, getting buy-in will allow individual contributors to take appropriate actions. And, always, the continued vigilance of a leader who is present, is essential.
∞ But what about the individuals that make up the team ∞
Once you’ve taught the team how to think, what to shoot for, and how to achieve it, you can further deepen the connection by tying in the individual contributions of each member of the team. A great way to accomplish this is to reiterate to each person (one-on-one) what the collective, agreed upon values and actions of the team are. Then ask that person to take some time to review their role, trajectory, and goals, and come up with daily/weekly actions that they can take in order to contribute to live the team’s values.
∞ Make this work for your team/organization ∞
Yes, this is vastly generalized and is a singular example in a world of infinite complexity and detail. But, if you can spend some time and energy moving the needle in the direction of living, actionable values, it will turn your “culture” buzzword into a lifeforce, that you don’t have to over-index on, because it’s palpable.
If you want to discuss your startup, organization, or department in more specific detail, feel free to email me. I’m happy to dialogue and see if I can help!
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June 23, 2017
Verneda Adele of HUMAN INTONATION Featured in NYC-DOHMH "Bare It All" Ad Campaign for Sexual Health
Groundbreaking "Bare It All" ad campaign empowers LGBTQ New Yorkers to find a doctor they can talk to openly about their sex lives
Now in full swing, June is LGBT Pride Month,
the time of year that honors the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan, and
celebrates the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and
internationally. In connection with Pride Month, the New York City
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC-DOHMH) has launched a new,
citywide sexual health awareness campaign, "Bare It All."
a long-time partner and former Co-Chair of the Brooklyn region of New
York Knows, the NYC-DOHMH's city-wide HIV Testing initiative, Verneda
Adele White, Founder and Creative Director of the premium,
charity-driven apparel brand Human Intonation (www.humanintonation.com),
is featured in the provocative and groundbreaking campaign with
trailblazers including Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, Deputy Commissioner for
the Division of Disease Control at the NYC-DOHMH. The campaign empowers
LGBTQ New Yorkers to talk openly with their doctors about their sex
lives, drug use and any issues that affect their health. It also
encourages New Yorkers to find a health care provider who allows
patients to share details of their lives without judgment.
On June 6th, the de Blasio Administration published and distributed New York City's first-ever LGBTQ Health Care Bill of Rights,
which details health care protections on local, state and federal
levels to empower LGBTQ New Yorkers to get the health care they deserve.
The Bill of Rights also reiterates that medical providers and their
support staff are legally required to offer LGBTQ New Yorkers quality
care regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender
"We, at HUMAN INTONATION, believe in equal quality
healthcare for all, and personally as an avid ally of the LGBTQ
community, I welcome the opportunity for my image to be used in a way
that encourages others to access the care that is right for them," says
White. "We encourage everyone to 'Bare It All' as a gateway to making
positive choices about our sexual health including HIV/AIDS prevention,
testing and treatment." The "Bare It All" campaign has been covered by NY1, and will appear on the NYC subway, MTA bus stands and online in both English and Spanish.
ABOUT HUMAN INTONATION:
Inspired by Verneda Adele White's personal family experience during the
aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the loss of her very close cousin to
AIDS, HUMAN INTONATION® is the premium, charity-driven apparel brand
dedicated to raising awareness and funding for today's pertinent social
& human rights issues including HIV/AIDS prevention, testing and
SOURCE: New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
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June 1, 2017
Nick Brodeur Wins Studio Package from ReverbNation
Laguna Beach singer/guitarist awarded recording time with Orange County Production House
For the third annual year, Hybrid Studios and Orange County Production
House have selected a band or artist to receive free studio recording
time through a ReverbNation competition. The 2017 winner is Laguna
Beach's Nick Brodeur, a talented singer and guitarist who will now get
his opportunity to record at Hybrid Studios under the direction of OCPH.
of the mission of Hybrid Studios and Orange County Production House is
to bolster the local music scene," said studio Co-founder Billy Klein.
"With that in mind, we decided to pick a local artist this time around,
and we believe Nick is really going to shine in studio."
Brodeur was chosen from a list of nearly two thousand applicants.
Previous winners of the ReverbNation competition include Los Angeles'
Andy Allo and Yucaipa's Hoity Toity. Now a studio tradition, Hybrid and
Orange County Production House have every intention of running the
contest again in 2018.
You can catch Nick Brodeur live at the Montage in Laguna Beach on June 16th.
About Hybrid Studios
Hybrid Studios is a fully integrated multimedia production facility in Orange County, CA. Not only does Hybrid feature a state-of-the-art analog & digital recording studio, it also boasts a massive sound stage, including a pre-lit cyclorama. Equipped with the best gear and an experienced staff, Hybrid provides a variety of products and services to clients across the creative spectrum from recording, mixing and mastering to video and photography.
LGBTQ Authors Tour of Color Kicks Off Tour in Memphis on Saturday, June 17
Authors Toni Newman, Victor Yates, Armistead Burks and Craig Stewarts will kick off the LGBTQ Tour of Color at Memphis Tri-State Pride on Saturday, June 17, at the Crown Plaza Memphis Downtown, from 10 am - 1 pm. The moderator will be Victor Yates.
The LGBTQ Tour of Color will kick off the tour at the Memphis Tri-State
Pride on Saturday, June 17, 10 am to 1 pm, at the Crowne Plaza Memphis
Downtown. The LGBTQ Tour of Color includes Authors Toni Newman, Victor
Yates, Armistead Burks and Craig Stewart. They will be reading passages
from their books with open forum to follow.
Craig "The Writer"
Stewart is the author of Words Never Spoken and One Thing for Certain,
Two Things for Sure memoir series, which contains penetrating commentary
on drug addiction, incarceration, and transitioning from dating women
to men. www.craigthewriterstewart.com
Yates, 2016 Lambda Literary Award Winner for LGBT Debut Fiction, is the
author of A Love Like Blood and Half Somali and Cuban, in which 17-year
old Carsten Tynes deals with the intricacies of sexuality, race,
Americanism, syncretism, and migration under his dying father's abusive
Newman is the author of I Rise, the first African-American transgender
memoir in the U.S., which is the story of her transformation from an
effeminate, conflicted male to a proud and educated transgendered woman.
Burks, author of Sex and Surrender: An Addict's Journey, graphically
recounts his 12-year sexual addiction and how he finally reconciled his
sexuality and spirituality. In the 4 STEPS: A Practical Guide to
Breaking the Addictive Cycle, Burks provides a framework to break the
addictive cycle and uncover the sources of pain which trigger addiction.
GOALS of The LGBTQ Tour of Color:
Prepare the future leaders of the current and next generation to be
more knowledgeable and compassionate to the issues facing the LGBTQ
community of color
– Educate attendees on how the intersections of
race, religion, gender roles and sexuality affect the LGBTQ community
– Educate audience members about the transgender community
– Encourage attendees to lead authentic lives
– Deliver HIV awareness messaging that resonates beyond traditional Public Service Announcements
– Explain how undiagnosed cases of sex addiction are increasing HIV and STI rates
– Explain the signs and dangers of addiction
– Explore how The 4 STEPS can break the addictive cycle
– Address the stigma that the LGBTQ community of color faces within religious organizations
– Bridge the divide between intergenerational groups
– Empower current and future generations of the LGBTQ community of color to thrive and not just survive
Svjetlana Bukvich's "Once You Are Not a Stranger"with Janis Brenner & Dancers, Gibney Dance June 1-3
Bukvich Becomes the Go-To Composer for New Works from Innovative Dance Minds
KeyMedia Public Relations is pleased to announce that our client,
composer Svjetlana Bukvich, is continuing to share her talents within
the medium of dance. In her latest collaboration she has joined forces
with Janice Brenner and Dancers, costume designer Sue Julien,
lighting designer Mitchell Bogard, and installation artist Eva Petrič to
create the interdisciplinary work Once You are Not a Stranger.The
piece looks at the idea of empathy and "otherness" in a multicultural,
multi-ethnic, and multi-religious world. Performed with live music,
including Ms. Brenner on vocals and Ms. Bukvich on keyboards, the
company is excited to premiere this collaboration as part of Janice
Brenner and Dancers NY season June 1-3 at Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center at Gibney Dance,
NYC. The first time the piece was seen was on February 10, 2017 at the
National Theater Sarajevo as part of XXXIII Sarajevo Winter Festival -
The Silk Road Art. The work received the 2017 O'Donnell-Green Music and
Dance Foundation, Inc. grant.
Svjetlana's first collaboration
with NY dance occurred in 2013, when she composed music for the renowned
choreographer Carolyn Dorfman to create the stunning piece Interior
Designs. She would go on to work with the doyen of the NY downtown dance
world, choreographer Jeanette Stoner in 2015, and again with Dorfman on
TRACES in 2016.
The Brooklyn Rail states, "Bukvich is one of the
notable musicians who have embraced the energetic complexity of
prog-rock via contemporary composition (and to dispel any reactionary
social beliefs, prog-rock is cool, just ask Steve Reich). Her trademarks
are sonority, color, texture, and a feeling for the metaphysical and
her collaboration with Dorfman has earned raves."
accomplishments this year have been her composing Hard Rain, Johnny for
bassoon and electronic sound, which premiered at the Festival of
Microtonal Music in Berlin, Germany by the virtuoso bassoonist Johnny
Reinhard. It received its American premiere on March 12 2017 at the
Composers Concordance's 6th annual festival New York // New Music. This
piece went on to premiere at the Odessa Festival of Modern Art - Two
Days and Two Nights of New Music on April 22 held at the Concert Hall of
the Odessa Philharmonic Society. In January 2017, the fantastic ETHEL
string quartet premiered her piece for string quartet, bass guitar and
tape at (le) Poisson Rouge in NYC.
About Svjetlana Bukvich:
Svjetlana Bukvich specializes in an art-rock tinged blend of classical,
avant-garde, world and experimental music for dance, film, and the
concert stage. Integrating technology, trail-blazing performers, and
tuning of her own design in productions described as "ecstatic musical
(New Music Connoisseur), she has appeared in
numerous venues in the US, and internationally including Beijing,
London, Johannesburg, Berlin and Copenhagen. A 2013 New York Foundation
for the Arts Fellow in Music/Sound, Bukvich has enjoyed support from the
American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the
Soros Foundation, the American Composers Forum, the Institute on the
Arts and Civic Dialogue at Harvard University, GENERATE: The Frances
Richard Fund for Innovative Artists of Promise, New Music USA, 2016 Live
Music for Dance, and USArtists International. Critics have called
Bukvich's only solo release to date, the album EVOLUTION (PARMA
Recordings) "genre-busting," and "astounding and mind expanding."
About Janis Brenner & Dancers:
Janis Brenner & Dancers has performed throughout the US, Asia and
Europe since 1989 and has been presented by leading NY organizations.
JB&D is known for the caliber of its dancers, its multidisciplinary
residencies, its "emotionally authentic" and musically diverse work.
Brenner is an award-winning dancer/choreographer/singer, and
Artistic Director of Janis Brenner & Dancers. Known for "meticulous
artistry", she has toured in 35 countries and is acclaimed as a
"singular performer" with a multifaceted artistic range. Honors:
"Bessie" in Meredith Monk's work, Lester Horton Award, Fund for US
Artists, U.S. State Department, Asian Cultural Council, The Trust for
Mutual Understanding and O'Donnell Green Music and Dance Foundation.
About KeyMedia Public Relations: Located in New York City, KeyMedia Public Relations (http://www.keymediapublicrelations.com/)
is a results-driven, boutique PR firm and Production Company providing a
full spectrum of services which range from creative to strategic to
Actress Linda Kuriloff Brings Awareness of Mental Health to her Role in On Strivers Row
"I want my legacy to be how hard I made you laugh, how deep I made you cry, and how open I left your mind." -Linda Kuriloff
Actress Linda Kuriloff will portray the character of Ruby Jackson in the
play On Strivers Row, beginning May 19 and running through June 18,
2017. The performances will be presented at the Metropolitan
Playhouse located at 220 East 4th St. in New York. Tickets are currently on sale and can be ordered online or by calling 800-838-3006.
The role has special importance to Kuriloff, who works at East Village
Access, an organization that serves the mental health community. She
chose to play Ruby to bring awareness to mental health issues and the
far reaching impact they have on family members.
While the play
isn't about mental illness, at one point the character of Ruby describes
one of the symptoms of her grandfather's mental health episodes. Kuriloff
plays the granddaughter of a person with a mental health illness and
her performance is especially appropriate as May is Mental Health
Written by Abram Hill and directed by Timothy
Johnson, On Strivers Row is set in the early 1940s and opens with
Oscar and Dolly Van Striven preparing for their daughter's extravagant
debutante party in their upscale townhouse. Even as the Van Striven
fortunes are failing, they must continue the façade of wealth, power and
Ruby is a presumptuous lottery winner who made her
fortune betting on horses. Her goal is to find entry and acceptance in
the educated and elite black society of Harlem's richest community
nicknamed Strivers Row, beginning with the Van Striven ball.
play has been described as a satire by some, but the work is much more
complex. It addresses stereotypes and classism in the U.S. and within
the black community in the 1940s. On Strivers Row provides social
commentary and a unique look at the chaos that ensues when perceptions
and the accepted pecking order is disrupted.
The performance at the Metropolitan Playhouse
promises fun, enlightenment, and an historic look at the emerging
social and educational changes taking place in the black community of
1940s New York. The character of Ruby Jackson enables Kuriloff to
display her considerable acting talent and bring an added awareness of
mental health illness, a topic everyone should care about.
About Linda Kuriloff
Kuriloff is an actor, writer, stand-up comic, teacher and career coach
who uses her many talents to help others and address issues that can
sometimes be uncomfortable to hear but need to be explored. She connects
with fans through social media on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/lindakuriloff/).
Two brand new, original, all female, one-acts are coming to the 13th Street Repertory Theater in New York City in May. More to come on this exciting new show--for now, see a brief description below.
Hiraeth- a one-woman one-act, tells the tale of an eighteen year old girl working her way through a rough past. It's an uplifting story of the triumph of the creative human spirit over the dismay of things once had but lost. Hiraeth is a Welsh word that means- a homesickness for a home you can't return to, or that never was.
Limerence- a five-woman one-act, is an exploration of friends and acquaintances telling tales from their past and offering each other small bits of wisdom to help them get through whatever they're experiencing. It's a glimpse into the world of true, meaningful, unadulterated friendship. Limerence means- the state of being infatuated or obsessed with another person, typically experienced involuntarily and characterized by a strong desire for reciprocation of one's feelings but not primarily for a sexual relationship.
These two original one-acts, played by a phenomenal cast, will make for a spectacular evening in the intimate black box theater setting of the 13th Street Repertory Theater in Manhattan.
Limerence stars Kaitlin De Santis, Michelle Rocco,
Patricia Yeazell, Claire Thompson, and Crystal Sharadin
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April 6, 2017
Gypsy Jazz || Music Mapped Out
It's not always about discovering new artists. Sometimes it's about discovering artists you've somehow never heard of. Ladies and Gents, I give you: Django Reinhardt - I'll See You In My Dreams (1930s).
Music Mapped Out: How Fans Interact With Music Across U.S. Regions [INFOGRAPHIC]
Where we live plays a major role in how we listen to, buy and engage with music, according to a Nielson study. For example, music fans in the Pacific region of the U.S. make up the largest group of subscription streamers in the country. But the Mountain region has the highest overall listening rates across the country when factoring in all platforms.
The Great Escape is a major European music festival and convention that took place earlier this month in Brighton, UK. Two high points of the convention included an interview with Tru Thoughts founder Robert Luis and a keynote from CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke. Both shared some practical thoughts for record labels on the contemporary music biz with Cooke giving direct-to-fan a new take from the label's perspective.
Nostalgia is such a powerful thing, isn’t it? Don’t we all long for “how things used to be,” even if we weren’t alive to experience that thing the first time around? It seems to be one of those charmingly, deeply human qualities. I, for one, yearn for the days of champagne parties and jazz babies, when ladies were “dames” and a gentleman changed his shirt for dinner.
So, should you ever find yourself knee-deep in bootleg hooch with a wild-eyed fella who calls himself Bugsy, feel free to slap one of these records on the old phonograph and get a wiggle on. “Get hot baby, get HOT!"
The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn are an early jazz, swing, and blues band, composed of acoustic guitar/vocals, upright bass, homemade washboard percussion, trumpet, and saxophone. Their repertoire of witty songs from the 1920s and ‘30s is augmented by original tunes with moving – yet often bawdy – lyrics and catchy 4-part vocal harmonies. Feel-good, grab-your-gal-and-dance type songs.
Listen to: “Blue Drag,” from the Permanent Magic album
Davina & the Vagabonds are a quintet playing jazz, roots, Americana, and the blues in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. I was lucky enough to catch a performance in Atlanta this spring, and by golly, if that wasn’t one of the most energetic live shows I’ve ever been to. It’s exuberant, “rollicking New Orleans flavor” at its giddy best.
the 90°+ temperatures in NYC have me thinking of sitting on
Southern porches, swaying slowly in a rocking chair, a glass of whiskey quietly
sweating into my hand. Should you be so lucky to be doing just that, here are a
few musical suggestions to make sure your afternoon is a boozy, bluesy success:
Jessi Robertson, a Brooklyn-based singer and songwriter, makes magical
alt-folk-Americana music with a voice and lyrics that are at once sweetly
vulnerable and darkly gritty. Another reason to love her? Ten percent of the
proceeds from her album “Small Town Girls” are donated to The Rape, Abuse,
& Incest National Network, the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault
Danielle Bourjeaurd’s music has an undeniably country backbone with a
touch of rock & roll swagger. With a voice full of gutsy confidence à la
Patsy Cline, she sings of relationships gone sour with an “I didn’t need you
anyway” attitude that we seriously dig.
the recording and performance name of Philadelphia-based Christopher Bohn, makes
the kind of atmospheric folk music that is hazy and dreamlike, yet commands
your full attention in considering his poetic lyrics. If you love Bon Iver and
Iron & Wine (which we totally do), you’ll love this guy (who we also
Hi. Yes, you, hello there! No need to lurk behind the computer screen, we’re quite friendly here! Welcome to the very first blog post of Parachuting Buddha Records, where the beer and snacks flow as freely as our bad puns and worse metaphors.
Speaking of beer and snacks, I’d like to take a moment to introduce you to a band that has been rocking in the free world for nigh on 20 years: The Brothers Rigney. (Yep, that right there was the best transitional sentence ever . . . you drink beer and eat snacks in the living room, right? Whatever, just go with it.)
The Brothers Rigney is a hard rock trio based out of Austin, Texas. TBR was founded by brothers: Bryan is their lead vocalist and bassist, while Paul rips it on the guitar. Inspired by classic rockers like Jimi Hendrix and Bruce Springsteen, as well as more hard rock bands such as Great White and Montrose, this trio brings a real sincerity and energy to every performance.
Now, I don’t know about you guys, but I grew up the child of a disco queen and a flannel-sporting rocker dude. And though I can shake my “Hot Stuff” almost as well as any Donna Summer devotee, my musical tastes are aligned far more with the likes of your average Q104.3 radio rotation. From time to time, my dad would pack my sister and I into his Explorer, grab his favorite Stones or Who cassette, pump the radio as loud as the speakers could stand, and tear like an absolute madman around our neighborhood – whizzing through stop signs with total disregard for life or limb or New York City speed limits. He called these terrifying flights through the darkness “joy rides.” To my 12 year-old self this was, of course, the ultimate exhilaration, better than any rollercoaster.
I’m telling you this story because listening to The Brothers Rigney conjures up those memories, those feelings of panicked exultation: the deft guitar solos that come in during tracks like “Face the Day” and “Happy” are just right for rolling down the windows and letting the wind cut through your hair. But don’t mistake these fellows for the heedless type of hotel-trashing rocker: thoughtful lyrics like those of “Forever Blue,” and the clean, tight drumbeats in songs such as “Bastard” are powerful in their economy and the attending emotional clarity.
I’d say their brand of bluesy classic rock – the mix of Bryan Rigney’s gritty vocals with Paul Rigney’s skillful riffs – is the perfect addition to any late night joy ride.