February 26, 2018
Startups: Hire Top Down or Bottom Up, Just Make a Smart Decision
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."
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August 14, 2017
Fores Outlaw - My Way
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."
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August 9, 2017
How To Use Gratitude to Brand Your Business
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.
An 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.
Retweet 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 thanks.
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.
Make 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.
You 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.
You 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 Live Video.
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 recommendation.
Reposting pictures, 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 consumer.
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.
Learn More about Bardi Toto athttp://www.barditotodrake.com.
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August 2, 2017
Big Data Helps Students Choose College Majors
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."
According to Choi, 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.
For more information on the program, visit their website https://majorfit.com/
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July 26, 2017
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
In 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.
I 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.
In 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.
Some 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.
To 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.
I 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.
If 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.
One 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.
I 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.
When 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 kids.
SkateboardAfrica.com 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!
SkateboardLiberia.com 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 world-class teams.
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.
Eventually 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."
Bringing 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.
About James Picard
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."
As 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 expression.
"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 treatment.
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.
"Part 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."
Nick 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.
For more information on Hybrid Studios, please visit http://www.hybridstudiosca.com/.
For more information on Orange County Production House, please visit http://www.ocproductionhouse.com/.
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May 30, 2017
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
Victor 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 hand. www.victoryates.wordpress.com
Toni 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. www.tonidnewman.com
A.D. 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. www.the4stepsguide.com
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 and society
– 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
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May 26, 2017
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."
Other notable 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 experiences"
(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 advisory.
For more details about the NY Premiere of Once You Are Not A Stranger, see the link below: https://gibneydance.org/venue/gibney-dance-agnes-varis-pe.... Please visit http://www.svjetlanamusic.com for more news from Ms Bukvich!
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May 22, 2017
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 Awareness Month.
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 importance.
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.
The 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
Linda 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/).
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May 11, 2017
Video Trailer: Hiraeth // Limerence
Just released: a short and sweet video trailer for the upcoming show HIRAETH // LIMERENCE, on stage at the 13th Street Repertory Theater in NYC from May 18-20. Get tickets here.
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April 16, 2017
Hiraeth // Limerence
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.
Written, Directed, Produced by Daniel Coyle
Hiraeth stars Ashleigh Kiven and Jing Zhang
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).
If that piqued your interest, you should try Django Reinhardt [FULL ALBUM]
Music Mapped Out: How Fans Interact With Music Across U.S. Regions [INFOGRAPHIC]
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March 24, 2017
A Video From Dia Frampton || Indie Label Advice
September 9, 2013 was the second night of Dia Frampton's residency at The Hotel Cafe (Los Angeles). This video captures what a typical show with Dia is like. See how enjoyable this is?
Indie Label Advice From The Great Escape 2014
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March 18, 2017
Music We’re Loving || Jazz Babies
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.
Listen to: “Pushpin,” from the Black Cloud album
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February 28, 2017
Boys, Girls, Booze, and Blues
Lately, 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 organization.
Listen to: The title track, “Small Town Girls”
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.
Listen to: “Way Too Late,” her independently released single
Moon Palace, 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 totally do).
Listen to: “In Our House,” the second track of his self-titled album
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February 17, 2017
Joy Rides with The Brothers Rigney
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.
To find out more about The Brothers Rigney, please visit their website athttp://thebrothersrigney.com
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