Sonic Migration

Janelle Monae at the SF Symphony Gala

May 19, 2013
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Sometimes I get lucky. I was super lucky this past Thursday as I got to attend to the SF Symphony Spring Gala.  This is an event I wouldn’t think to attend but the opportunity to see an innovative and truly talent artist like Monae  with a symphony was a rare opportunity. Her music is theatrical and cinematic and I knew with the SF Symphony it would be a great performance and experience.  It was an impressive sight to see the whole symphony on stage along with her band of talented musicians.

Monae was amazing. She has such a great voice and puts on an excellent show. Her love of theater comes through in her dynamic performances. The energy she brings to her singing and dancing makes her so much fun to watch. It is so exciting to see her dance moves. You can see the James Brown and Michael Jackson in her moves.

She opened with Smile, a beautiful poignant song based on the instrumental from Charlie Chaplin’s film Modern Times. I wonder if she is basing her interpretation on Michael Jackson or Nat King Cole. I have a lot of questions for her. I would love to Terri Gross her for more than 15 minutes.

The best part for me was her beautiful introduction to the song ‘Cold War’. She dedicated to those in the audiences that working to being their own unique person resisting the pressures to conform and appreciating themselves for who they are.

Below is the video for ‘Many Moons’ from her first album ‘Metropolis: The Chase Suite’.  I knew I would really like the album once I learned the album was built around Metropolis the 1927 silent film. I love the aesthetics and the message of the film. The film is perfect since social inequality in the U.S. is at an all time high and very similar to the social conditions of 1927. I was glad to see she continues to use the Metropolis concept and aesthetic in QUEEN with Erykah Badu.



What are you?

May 12, 2013
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Are you a taker or giver?

First let me explain…For the last 3 years I have been quietly thinking about collaboration and how important it is to accomplishing great things. It was set off by an interview with Mark Moffett, the ant guy. He talked about ant communication and collaboration. Ants are tiny but they get together and do tremendous things for their small size.

I continued to think about collaboration when came across different articles related to it like Jonah Lehrer’s New Yorker piece “Kin and Kind” on the debate over the role of altruism on evolution and Martin Nowak’s Scientific American article “Why We Help”.  Maybe it is all about the survival of the fittest and most cooperative.

Then this past March I read an article in the New York Times called “Is Giving the Secret to Getting Ahead?” I didn’t get the chance to finished the article but I was fascinated by the piece’s description of Adam Grant. He is a young highly productive professor who makes the effort to help students and colleagues or connects them with others who can help. It turns out that giving (with some healthy boundaries of course) is beneficial, motivates and can lead to greater personal success. Would the possibility of a big payoff encourage more people to collaborate with others  as well as connect others? The comments by readers are interesting and insightful. Women and men with children point out the problems with his theory while others share their work experience that contradicts his studies.

Below is a NYT video interview link with Adam Grant talking about his book “Give and Take” and explaining what is a giver, taker and matcher.

What are you – a giver, taker or matcher? Were you a giver but got burned so now you help no one or you require immediate payment – quid pro quo style? Or did a bad giving experience it turn you into a taker?


Posted in Random Thoughts

Pleasanton’s The Big Draw May 10th & 11th

May 2, 2013
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To support Arts in the Schools Grant Program, the Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council is putting on The Big Draw Chalk Festival May 10 & 11th, 2013 in Downtown Pleasanton. It is an opportunity to watch professionals create chalk drawings and make your own.

The amazingly creative group I work with put together this great video for The Big Draw. It is under a minute and charming.
Follow us on Twitter @PleasantonArts#drawninchalk#pleasanton#chalk

Like us on Facebook

Share the video and post it on your friend’s FB pages especially if they live in the Pleasanton, Dublin, Livermore area.

Damn! I have been accepted…

April 29, 2013
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You have been accepted to the Intensive One Year MBA and yes, that would be the appropriate reaction.  You have just signed yourself up for a ton of work – not only did you volunteer but you are paying to have a fire hose of information crammed down your throat in one year. Congratulations! You are a smartypants and a masochistic.

Enough of my sarcasm – the MBA program can be a roller coaster ride but it can be less stressful if you do your best to follow the advice below.

Reduce your stress

  1. Be organized – whether it is on your calendar on your laptop, phone or old school paper, know your deadlines.
  2. Time management is the key and is part of being organized. You will have competing deadlines looming over you for individual and group work. There will be times when you have deadlines for 2 individual papers and 2 group projects in the same week.  You have to find the tools that work best for you to help you manage your course work, reading and deadlines. Use whatever you are more comfortable with – it could be a big paper calendar on your wall to set up your study routine or an intricate study schedule on your smartphone calendar application.
  3. Make sure those around you are supportive. Whether its friends or family make sure you have their support. It is a good idea to have someone to talk to when things get hectic and stressful.  It helps to have a support outside the program to provide an outside perspective especially when you gets so immersed in the program and the rest of life fades into the background.
  4. Balance course work with maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It is important to take care of your body and drag it (if needed, kicking and screaming) to the gym or outside for a walk.
  5. Eat brain food. Although stress can drive some of us to binge eat, it is important to eat good healthy nutritious food. Yeah, I mean veggies.’ What?!! I everywhere I turn someone is telling me to eat my damn freaking veggies.’    Yeah I know I find it annoying too. I hated to admit it but eating those damn stupid veggies make a freakin difference. A quick sauté of any green item of your choice with olive oil, onions, salt and chili (if you like your food spicy) is easy and tasty.
  6. Try to complete your assignments several days before they are due. This will give you time to step away for a day or two before you review and revised one last time or 2 or 3 last times or give to your professor for feedback.
  7. Pay attention in lecture. It can be tough to sit in a lecture for three and half hours so take notes. It helps to write the notes down.  It is an activity to help you stay focused when the professor’s lecture style is a bit dry.

Group Work Advice

8. You need to learn how to work in a group. First start by understanding your individual work process. This is important for working in groups. You can’t figure out how to work with people if you don’t understand yourself.

9. Eventually, you will take a class that provides a framework for how to work with a team. Instead of waiting for that class, I recommend you establish within your team agreements on how to work with each other.  Are there rules for how to express criticism of a teammate’s idea without offending the teammate? Is everyone comfortable with giving and accepting criticism?

10. Break up the group project into steps or pieces that can be tackled one at time. It can help make the project less daunting.

11.Set up different deadlines for each phase of the project.  Make sure everyone agrees to the time line and is committed to meeting the group deadlines. See advice #2 and #6

12. Finally, it is a good idea to do your reading so you are prepared in case a professor calls on you.

I think that is enough advice. It can be tough to implement just 2 two of the items listed above much less 12 but that is grad school and life – juggling competing priorities and deadlines.

Posted in Random Thoughts

Disaster Response and the Internet

April 21, 2013

In his Forbes blog post, Matt Butter shares how ordinary people mobilized the different technologies and social media to offer assistance after the bombings in the Boston through the use of tools like Google Drive, Person Finder and Twitter. Boston residents offered their homes to anyone affected by the bombings on Google Drive.

I think that technology and in particular social media is already shaping these kinds of events. The New York Times referred to the FBI’s releasing images of the bombing suspects as ‘the unprecedented crowd-sourcing manhunt urging the public to look at pictures and video on the FBI website.’ The FBI also used its own Facebook and Twitter page to solicit pictures and images from Boston Marathon attendees and participants to locate the suspects.

In the future, someone will pull together the various internet tools like Google Drive and People Finder and standardize their use by developing software for the next disaster to facilitate collaboration. One example is Sisters Caitria and Morgan O’Neill developed based on their experience of taking charge of their community’s disaster relief efforts after a tornado caused serious damage in their town. The Recovers software has been used by many communities to coordinate disaster recovery.  You can view their TED talk here.

These are great and exciting developments but there is a dark side to the use of social media tools. During the hunt for a suspect, a young man, Salah Eddin Barhoum,was mistakenly identified as a suspect. The tools are useful and nimble but if we don’t check our facts before releasing information we can do harm.

Nightlife: Surya Dub at Non Stop Bhangra, Cubcake, Cosmetics, more | SF Bay Guardian

July 16, 2012
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Hey Kids! Check out the piece in the SF Guardian about Surya Dub coming back. You can tune to Kush and Maneesh on Monday, July 23, 2012 when Surya Dub takes over Off the Beaten Path.

Nightlife: Surya Dub at Non Stop Bhangra, Cubcake, Cosmetics, more | SF Bay Guardian.

Brownout at the Elbo Room Friday, April 13th

April 12, 2012
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Brownout West Coast Tour

Brownout Latin Funk


Brownout is on a West Coast Tour appearing at the Elbo Room this Friday with support by DJ Oz & Chucha Santa Maria. I caught some of their set at the Roxy. They sound real good & tight together which can be hard for six or more musicians to accomplish. If funk is your thing you will probably dig Brownout.

Posted in Music, SF Bay Events

A Tribe Called Red Free Download

April 2, 2012
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For the new A Tribe Called Red Album click here:

If you have ever gone to a Pow Wow and ever wanted to remix the Pow Wow drummers, this is the album for you!

Posted in Music

Off The Beaten Path Playlist for 02-20-2012

February 26, 2012
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Off The Beaten Path with Victoria Z on KPFA 94.1FM for February 20, 2012

Artist    Song    Album    Label    Year

Ana Tijoux / Shock  / La Bala / Nacional

Ana Tijoux / Si Te Preguntan f. Los Aldeanos / La Bala / Nacional

Ani DiFranco / Promiscuity / Which Side Are You On? / Righteous Babe

Ani DiFranco / Which Side Are You On? / Which Side Are You On? / Righteous Babe

Balkan Beat Box / Part of the Glory / Give / Nat Geo Music

Balkan Beat Box / Enemy in Economy / Give  / Nat Geo Music

Novalima / Festejo / Karimba / ESL Music

Novalima  / Zarambe / Karimba / ESL Music

Bill Ortiz / I Still Believe (Montgomery Bus Mix) / Winter in America / Left Angle

X-Pensive Nframa / Aundy Adoley( Douster Remix) / Aundy Adoley / Akwaaba Music

Stand High Patrol / Entertainer / Midnight Walkers / Stand High

Maribou State / Got Me Down Jason Burns Remix)    /  /

Bro Safari & le Doom / Boink / Da Worm / Jeff002

Boogaloo / Xibaba (so shifty remix) / Xibaba / top billin
Dubmatix / Easy Down (Marcus Visioniary) / unreleased

Applescal / el diablo     /  /

Mak & Pasteman / Playboy  / Playboy / Hot n Heavy

Ras Zacharri + Roommate / The Place feat Chezidek / single / Avacaudio

santero feat illaman / we bring da vibes / we bring the vibes ep / santero music

Off The Beaten Path Playlist for 02-13-2012

February 26, 2012
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Off The Beaten Path with Victoria Z on KPFA 94.1FM for February 13, 2012

Artist / Song / Album / Label / Year

Jorge Drexler / Soledad f. Maria Rita / 12 Segundos De Oscuridad / Warner Latina

Andrea Echeverri / Quitapesares / Dos / Nacional

Ana Tijoux / Sacar La Voz f. Jorge Drexler / La Bala / Nacional

Novalima / Cardo  / Afro / Quango

Brazilian Girls / Sirenes De La Fete / Brazilian Girls / Verve

Nickodemus & Osiris / Mariposa (Bonita Fly Mix) / Turntables on the Hudson Vol 4 / Giant Step

Los Rakas / Abrazame f. Faviola / single / Soy Raka LLC

Boogat / Dos Cervezas / Pura Vida / Masalacism

PPP / On a Cloud / Abundance / Ubiquity

Sola Rosa / Turnaround f. Iva Lamkum / Get It Together / Melting Pot

Bonobo / Eyesdown f. Andreya Triana (Warrior One Remix) / Black Sands / Ninja Tune

Fat Freddy’s Drop / This Room / Based on a True Story / Quango

Creep / Animals f. Holly Miranda / single / Creep Intl

Creep / You f. Nina Sky (Subswara Remix) / single / Creep Intl

DJ Rekha & Dave Sharma / Pyar Baile f. Zuzuka Poderosa & Meetu Chilana / single     / Beat Bazaar Music

DJ Rekha & Dave Sharma / Bhanghall / Basement Bhangra / Koch

Guillermo Gomez Pena / Greg Landau    Hipsterismo 4         Round Whirled

Novalima / Zarambe / Karimba  / ESL

J Boogie / Blue Mountain Dub f. Jazz Mafia / Undercover / OM

Massive Attack / Girl I Love You f. Horace Andy / Heligoland / Virgin

Pretty Lights f. Leann Rimes & Dr. Ralph Stanley / Wayfaring Stranger / Re:Generation / Greenlight

Skrillex f. members of the Doors / Breakin’ a Sweat / Re:Generation / Greenlight

Anna Sia & Ill Gates  / Gene Splice / single / Muti

Beats Antique / Alleyway / Elektrafone / Antique Music

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