Marching For Our Lives And Your Future

During a period where gun ownership seems to be at an all time high, there seems to be a shifting position on the thought of being able to own assault type style rifles. These guns have been used in some of the worst mass shootings over the last twenty years. For the most part, after these tragic events, Government agencies take the stance days after with “Thoughts and prayers go out to the victims.” This standard response is starting to be like telling someone who just lost a cat, ” If you need anything, let me know.” People just move on from it. With recent events however in Parkland, Fl, the story has taken a major turn. With the advent of social media over the last ten years, with smart phones and smart televisions, these children are also becoming smarter. Not in the sense of book smart, but able to see through the wool. Their opinions are strong and their voices need to be heard. These politicians are up against their own careers with the important decisions they make in the coming months with the mid-term elections. This seems to be a non-partisan issue. Bullets screaming down the hallway aren’t asking what your party affiliation is, they are meant to take the last breath before you even think about the next.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is a rather large high school in Florida who happened to be the latest victims of these weapons. On February 14th, Valentine’s Day, an ex student went into the school and took the lives of seventeen students and faculty. This loss of life has created a movement that doesn’t seem to be settling, but gaining momentum like a Mid-Western dust storm. The voices on television and radio of the survivors have had the most support for stepping up their efforts to do something about these weapons. They want to go to school worrying about what color prom dress to acquire, not which dress to wear for their funerals. Through social media, a wave of consciousness has been set forward. The students have organized and are ready to go to war. Not with guns, but with new legislation.

On Saturday, March 24, 2018, the movement gassed up their tanks. Marches were organized, not only in Washington D.C., but Philadelpia, New York, and all major and minor cities throughout the country. Let’s also add, hundreds of cities worldwide who support the right of life for the students in the United States. I was in Philadelphia. When I lined up, I didn’t know there was that many people in the opposite direction  of where I was facing. It was surprising when I stopped marching to split the crowd like a tree in the middle of a brook. Once everyone reached the staging area, about a 2 mile walk, people were anxious to hear the inspiring speeches from many politicians, students, and social entertainers. One story that hit home was of Mark Timpone, a parent from Florida who actually owned an AR-15 which he purchased from a gun show. He worked the legal loop holes in order to purchase this weapon. The guilt of the latest shooting has made Mark get rid of his rifle.

These events will only continue and I can see more marches and protests in the near future if there aren’t stronger laws governing these weapons. I don’t want to get into the people who are discrediting these students by saying they could never organize these events themselves. By having this thought process, you’re in essence saying that we have no confidence in the youth of this country to run it when all of us older folks are dead. I have strong confidence, without a shadow of a doubt that these students that are making these speeches and taking action in the voting booth will soon be running for office. You can either get with them or get out of the way. Whatever you do, be ready for some big changes to come.

 

Sierra Hull invades Philly

This weekend, I was pleased to get to see Sierra Hull and her wonderful group of musicians at Milkboy, a quaint restaurant in Philadelphia with an upstairs music venue. Leading up the stairs are posters of coming events, and it gives you a feel that you’re about to experience something special. Sierra showed up with three different mandolins, Eddie Barbash brought his alto saxophone, Ethan Jodziewicz was on the double-bass, and opening for this magnificent group was Scott Mulvahill on the double-bass and vocals. Scott opened the show by splitting through the crowd and entering up the steps. He stands tall, he is great looking, and had the power to keep the crowd’s attention throughout his whole set. His bass playing is excellent and he holds his own with his sultry voice on the mic. If Superman were a musician, he’d look like Scott Mulvahill. After warming up the audience, Sierra and her men entered the stage. The swift playing of her mandolin keeps your attention as you wait to see where she’s heading with each note of her playing. Eddie takes over with the smooth saxophone sounds that immediately bring to mind, the intonations of Johnny Hodges. Ethan was incredible on the bass, holding that back beat and providing the glue for the evening’s set. When Sierra speaks on the mic, you can hear the joy in her voice of being able to share her beautiful music with everyone. She’s small, but makes up for it when she starts to play. The band really gelled together for this evening of music and just when you thought you had seen and heard it all, at the end of the night, Sarah brought Scott back onstage to have a double bass playing quartet. After the show, the musicians had a meet and greet with the fans which I thought was fabulous. I’d say the evening was quite a surprise to me as I’ve never had the opportunity to see Sierra perform live. I will definitely follow her and the different bands she tours with. If you get the chance, check out Sierra Hull, I guarantee you’ll leave with a smile on your face.

 

 

 

THE UMBRELLA

This special project of mine is about togetherness. We are all under the same umbrella. Yes, we look different, we come from different places, but we all share the one kind resemblance, we are all human beings. I would like to capture people from all walks of life for this project. If this interests you, don’t hesitate to contact me. In the meantime, feel free to view the portraits by clicking on THE UMBRELLA.

Music for the Community- 2017 Style

This year’s Community Unity Music Festival took sort of a turn this year. Mostly draped with jazz musicians, it gave way to other genre’s of music and catered to the youth of our communities. From groups like The Jacob Kelberman Band, to The Block Church Worship Group, to The Royal Excellence Step Team, to The Robert Henderson Trio who swung hard as a baby on a overcharged swing set. The music filled the afternoon with joy for those who came to hear the artists and some sorrow for anyone who’s familiar with losing someone to gun violence. That’s what this event is about. Trading guns for instruments. Too familiar in Philadelphia are the scenes of police cars parked with their roof lights glowing, but no sirens. that only means that someone has already died. Carol Faulkner, the event organizer holds this event every summer in West Philadelphia’s Clark Park at at 43rd and Chester in Philadelphia, and YES, IT’S FREE!

The weather this year couldn’t have been more pleasant, the mango juice from the vendors any sweeter, and the music any more pleasant. Quizzy came with his R&B/Hip Hop brand and brought all the young ladies down to the front row, while Barbara Walker expressed her rendition of The Theme from Sesame Street in a bluesy flow that had the crowd singing along. Jazz, the female comedian and MC had people laughing while sharing duties with WRTI radio host J. Michael Harrison on the intro mic. The afternoon blended into the dusk of the evening while the musicians continued to brighten the spirits of the crowd with their own illuminating nuances. All-in-All, this was a superb occasion. Make it out next year if you couldn’t make the trek this year. The music is always uplifting, the food is on point, and maybe next year you will be able to tell someone else with your own words what you heard that day. Below I have added my photographic documentation of the days events. I hope the images move you and peak your interest that you will come back for some more visuals next summer. Thank you.

 

The Ravi Coltrane Quartet

Saturday nights in Philadelphia usually brings  big name to to town for the Jazz community. This weekend was no exception. Ravi Coltrane, the son of legendary saxophonist John Coltrane, came into town to bring some warmth to a city full of Brotherly Love. He brought along some friends that are proven in their own right. On guitar we have guitarist Adam Rogers, Dezron Douglas on bass, and E.J. Strickland on the drum kit. These guys brought their A game to town with a mixture of ballads such as Lush Life to the classic fan choice of the evening, Giant Steps. To be in a family of royalty with the last name of Coltrane, Ravi is a very humble individual. Talking with all the musicians and hanging around to also enjoy the jam session that followed his show. It’s always a good thing when you can see musicians of all walks of life sharing and having fun.