My Website Is Live!!!

It is finished! It is done! (Highly sacrilegious, I know, but I’m feeling a little like triumphant Jesus right now).

The official Arts website I’ve been designing for over two months is finally ready! I can’t wait for you all to see it, share it, and love it. I’m still blogging, but this is the site where I’ll be adding most of my new content from now on.

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Check it out: www.cSArtsHaven.com

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Rejection Letter #1

It’s been almost two months since I got my first R.L. from one of the Arts applications I submitted. Admittedly, I’ve been stalling about updating everyone with the results. More interesting, though? My video diary belting out a Barbra Streisand classic and tracking what I’ve been up to since I got the e-mail. Why is Babs being dragged into this? Because there’s nothing like a little drunken (yes, there was alcohol involved in the making of this video) ode to Nikki Arnstein to make me forget how sucky Rejection Letters can be! #PushOnThroughTheStruggle ~ cS, Constance SHERESE

August 20, 2014
Dear Applicant,
Thank you for your interest in the Critic-in-Residence Program. We received a number of outstanding applications and were only able to choose three finalists for this year’s inaugural program. The review committee has considered your request and regrets that we cannot invite you to participate at this time. 
We appreciate the effort you put into submitting your application and we highly encourage you to remain in touch with our organizations in the coming year. 
Sincerely,
Your Latest Motivation

Coronas and Chocolate Chip Cookies!

I have another major Arts Application coming due this week. I have a million and one contacts to reach out to and details to finalize. I have a full time job. I have a husband and a household to manage. I feel insanely behind schedule. And to top it all off, I just got a reply email from one of the applications I submitted a few weeks ago.

They said I wouldn’t hear from them until August 15th. Is it good or bad that they contacted me ahead of schedule? Would a phone call have signaled better news? Is this the beginning of Rejection Letter #1? I haven’t even read the message yet and already I can tell I’m over-thinking the whole thing. But, I’m still not stressing out the way I’d like to, because that would be bad for my Lupus. So, I have no choice but to indulge in one of the finer stress-reducing delicacies of the known world: Coronas & Chocolate Chip Cookies! Check out my update video below while I engage in a little nervous eating. #PushOnThroughTheStruggle ~ cS, Constance SHERESE

The Creatives Project @ Ponce City Market

The old City Hall building and surrounding lot are being renovated and turned into loft apartments/small business shops on Ponce De Leon. The majority of this new ‘Ponce City Market’ site is still a large scale WIP, but a small area on the back side of the block – a.k.a. North Avenue – is up and running. Tonight, the hubby and I got to check out the soon-to-be hot spot, courtesy of The Creatives Project; with a little Art, Education, and Community Involvement thrown in free of charge!

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The basic concept of tonight’s Capturing Community event was a grand finale exhibition that both capped off TCP’s summer youth program and launched their month-long residency at the PCM Gallery. Neda Abghari, the founder and main photographer with The Creatives Project, spent the entire summer partnering with Big Bethel AME Church to provide photography lessons and educational outreach to a group of Atlanta Public School students in collaboration with Operation P.E.A.C.E. Then, TCP sent those students out into the streets of their own neighborhood – Auburn and Edgewood Avenues to be precise – with a mission to interview and photograph the interesting community members they met along the way.

Tonight’s exhibition showcased the talent of those budding photographers and shone a light on the citizens of a long neglected neighborhood. I was most impressed by the ages of the students ranging from 12 to 15 years old!

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My favorite picture/interview of the evening was taken by 13 year old Anton Cousins – A candid photo of Ms. Wanda Little. I immediately connected with Ms. Little because we share a bond in our mutual fight against Lupus, and Anton captured perfectly the strength in her eyes despite a debilitating illness which has placed her in a wheelchair. I write often about Lupus advocacy and it made me smile to know that I happened to be wearing my Lupus butterfly ring tonight. It’s not purple like the butterfly in our logo, but I was feeling the sisterhood anyway. Thank you, Anton for capturing just the right community member to make my day and thank you Ms. Little for being willing to share some of your story with your young photographer.

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I won’t show you all of the pictures from the exhibition because I want to leave you with something to go see for yourselves, but here are a few of the many photos that jumped out at me tonight. The Creatives Project is doing great things in Atlanta and you won’t want to miss it! #TCPatPCM ~ cS, Constance SHERESE

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Captain’s Log, Star-date: 071514

Over the past year, I’ve started recording a lot of my creative thoughts and ideas to help with my writing. In the meantime, my husband has reignited my love for Star Trek. He’s been watching old episodes on YouTube and giving me flashbacks to my childhood and Thursday nights spent stretched out on the living room floor with my dad and Sir Patrick Stewart – sorry Shatner, but I’m an eighties baby!

The recordings are meant to help with the fact that I struggle to fully translate my outgoing, welcoming, artistic side because I’m also a bit of a perfectionist. The way it usually goes is that I have this great, original idea but by the time I finish “tweaking” it, all that’s left is a highly accurate albeit emotionally void shell of what I first came up with. And that’s if someone else hasn’t beat me to the punch because apparently tweaking takes time!

The Rabbits in my mind are fun, vibrant, and a little cheeky but unless you happen to be in the room when my inspiration first strikes, you’d never get to see that side of my personality. Which is why I’ve started making video recordings as well. At first, I was only making audio recordings for my own personal benefit. But in recent weeks, I’ve started to feel like I need to share a visual of my process as well. How late am I on the whole self-recording wave???

Anyway, I figure if I’m starting to put myself out there with grant applications and public art projects then it’s time to dive into the deep end and let it all hang out. So, here are two videos I made a few nights ago when I was going through a pretty nerve-wracking experience. ~ cS, Constance SHERESE

Captain’s Log, Star-date: 071514

Oops! I ramble when I’m nervous and I guess I ran out of memory … Here’s the rest!

Coming Through My Headphones: @Joyful_Sings!

I’m counting down to the 4th of July tomorrow … make that in less than an hour. I’m looking forward to some All-American barbecue, fireworks, quality time spent with family and friends,  & a celebration of our freedoms. But I’m also counting down to the iTunes release of @Joyful_Sings first single, “Deepest Fear”!

@Joyful_Sings aka Joy Conaway is one of those independent artists I really like because she has focus and direction in a way that most haven’t quite figured out yet. Joy knows her vocal strengths and she totally plays into them. She’s released about 12 covers and one original song on her Sound Cloud profile and my favorites all have the same tendencies even though they’re across different genres.

Joy’s voice has an ethereal, whispered quality to it that all of her fans love. Add that she’s brilliant at executing the ever challenging Self-Harmony and it’s hard not to enJOY as she asks of all her listeners. But don’t let her breathy signature sound fool you. Her range and power vocals are equally present as displayed in her penchant for covering Hayley Williams’ tracks. Those are some of my favorites, actually.

So you know I’m dying for more of her original content to see how she weaves in her own unique style. She’s proven that she has roots in such greats as Nina Simone (my imaginary auntie), Anita Baker, and Michael Jackson too, so what’s next?

Like any growing artist there is always room for improvement: Her self-harmonies are so amazing, I’m almost underwhelmed by her attempts at duets with other actual people – is that really a flaw though? And her enunciation in her original songs isn’t quite clear enough to follow the lyrics, but even that comes across as a typical production issue for someone trying to fund her own breakout.

cS Favorites:

There’s her original song “Finally”

Her cover of ZEDD & Hayley Williams “Stay the Night”

Beyoncés “XO” – Her best duet, I think.

Katy Perry Mashup – Flawless transitions!

A Thousand Years – There’s that heavenly vocal quality again!

The Only Exception – More Hayley …

Plain Gold Ring – I told you there was Nina! Daayyyuum, she did Auntie proud didn’t she?

and these live performance gems that really can’t be described …

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SN-0n0-OuE

In a world where support for Indie artists is hard to come by, I’m jumping on the Team Joy bandwagon with both hands in the hair. I’ve only got one question: Is it midnight yet???? ~ cS, Constance SHERESE

 

My GeeChee ♡ In Greece!

 

I’m a GeeChee Girl at heart. Down in my soul, before I even fully understood what it meant to be Geechee, I knew that I was it. So, what is Geechee? Oxford English, Wiki, and Miriam have their official definitions. And combined, it’s not bad. But like I said, I’ve been a GeeChee long before I learned the technical renderings.

Geechee

Line breaks: Gee|chee

Pronunciation: /’gi:t:CHi’ /


NOUN

1. [MASS NOUN] An English-African creole dialect spoken by African Americans in the Low-country regions of South Carolina and Georgia. Compare with Gullah.

2. A speaker of Geechee.

3. A native rice farmer from the U.S. Gullah region.


ORIGIN

from the name of the Ogeechee River in Savannah, Georgia, USA.

from Kissi, an ethnic group living along the border area between Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.

A variant of Gullah, from present-day Angola or the “Gola” ethnicity in Sierra Lone and Liberia.

 

That’s what the “experts” have to say on the subject. But, I grew up on the memory of my family teasing my mom that she was “nothin’ but a Geechee … ” because she loves to cook white rice with every meal, is stubborn as all hell when she has her mind set on something, and can never be content with any one thing or place. In short, she’s a countrified wanderer. And based on that understanding, I don’t see my Gullah GeeChee ways as all that different from Roma “Gypsies”, French “Bohemians”, or S. Asian “Dombas”. That’s something I’m passionate about – finding the universality in our unique cultural differences.

So it was a dream come true for me when I started planning my first international trip last January. My husband and I had decided to go on a delayed honeymoon in the Summer and, as long as I made sure to carefully organize everything (read: not blow our budget), I had free reign to follow my hearts desire. I chose Greece because I’d wanted to go there since my college days as a business student in New York. Study abroad programs in school always said their economy was closest to ours for case study purposes – the tragic irony of which has not escaped my notice.

In true Geechee fashion, I couldn’t be satisfied with a trip to just one city in Greece. I craved a romantic beach getaway in Santorini and a historically rich tour of artifacts in Athens. I wanted to make wild, crazy memories in hipster party-town Mykonos and unwind in a refined Italian-esque village on Crete. A cruise seemed too structured and formulaic. But bed-hopping through the country like blogger Lucky/Gutsy – with no set plans except a backpack and a prayer – while tempting, was way too adventurous even for me. In the end, I spent the past seven months toiling over my own happy medium and then spent ten days experiencing it all.

We flew into Eleftherios Venizelos Airport in Athens, took the metro to the first of five hotels we would stay in, and let the island-hopping fun begin. Clearly, I was inspired by the experience because I came home with almost 3,000 photos total between each of our 2 Gig camera phones! Let’s just say I was dumping to my Dropbox app like mad. I’ve shared some of the more touristy pictures to my private Facebook page and I’m in the process of curating the rest for future photography exhibitions. But I couldn’t let this experience pass without sharing some exclusive, edited and unedited pics with you guys too.

We may have been in Greece, but it didn’t take long for me to find the “universal” parts of the culture. One of the first things I noticed was the street art. It was seedy and edgy and dirty and provocative and political and bright and bold and beautiful beyond my wildest imaginings. So without further ado, I give you: My GeeChee ❤ In Greece – The Graffiti Edition! ~ cS

P.s. Of course, all wall murals, tags, and graffiti belong to and are under the ownership of the their respective street artists. However, photographic images in their edited and unedited formats remain the exclusive property of myself, Constance SHERESE and are not available in part or in whole for copy, reproduction, sale, or other mass marketing without express written permission as solicited through post or electronic mail. (c) 2014.

The Legal Stuff. So, sue me! Better yet, how ’bout we skip that part. Deal? Thanks! 😉

 

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Apparently, Shakespeare was visiting Greece at the same time as us!

Apparently, Shakespeare was visiting Greece at the same time as us!

Free Kostas

 

 

 

 

Love the way someone turned this old electrical box into a "supply box".

Love the way someone turned this old electrical meter into a “supply box”.

Octopus

Never let a photo op slip away ...

Never let a good Photo Op. pass you by …

Cool Cat!

Cool Cat!

Holy Mosque Scrollings?

Holy Mosque Scrollings?

Make that Holy Mosque Taggings!

Make that Holy Mosque Taggings!

Gonna have to brush up my language skills for this one …

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(c) Constance SHERESE, 2014

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