Wednesday, September 2, 2015

SHAMc's First Conference Scheduled!

Dear SHAMc friends, supporters, and curious onlookers,
With thanks to the Safety Harbor Library Foundation for their support.
I am writing with great news. On November 8, 2015, the Safety Harbor Writers & Poets Conference 2015: A Focus on Craft, will be SHAMC's very first major event. I am thrilled to be facilitating something so worthwhile and I know that the building and the people who have helped to make it happen will also make it a success.

For those who don't know me, I run Safety Harbor Writers & Poets. I facilitate two writers groups, one of which is open to the public every 4th Thursday of the month at the Safety Harbor Library. I am also going to start a Teen Writers Group at the library in October. I host Safety Harbor's own Writers & Poets Open Mic Night. Our next event will be at Tapping the Vine on October 14th at 7 p.m.

But let's talk about the conference. We have two amazing Keynote Speakers: Roy Peter Clark and Ray Arsenault. These accomplished authors have the ability to attract the masses, but I won't stop there! There are going to be workshops from completing a novel,  turbocharging your sentences, to publishing, to writing your life purpose.

The cost for this full day conference is $65 if you register by September 30. As of October 1, the price will change to $75. and $85 the day of the event. If you are a student with valid ID, you qualify for the student rate of $45. If any of you would like to sponsor a writer, I know several who'd sincerely appreciate a scholarship, including teens. Any help is appreciated and your name will be publicly recognized.

My root dream for this conference is to help others find their happiness. I am living the life I always wanted and if I can help other writers to grow, it's all worth it. Space will be limited, so please take advantage of the early price ticket if possible. I hope to see you on November 8th at the amazing Safety Harbor Art and Music Center!

Words change lives. It's your time to write.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Caravan of Thieves is in the Harbor!

Like most Monday nights in this artsy city, I was hanging out with my writers group. We went to Nolan’s to talk about life (very common for us on a Monday), but as soon as I decided to head home, I received a text from Kiaralinda:

Going to Pub with Caravan of Thieves … Join us????

Also common for a Monday is that Kiaralinda and Todd are often out somewhere with really cool people—friends, musicians, artists, people who do things, make things, expand creativity … so, of course I accepted the invitation. They always open my mind to new ideas, even late on Monday nights. 

          Plus, Caravan of Thieves is the group who brought Emily Dickinson back from the dead.  

Although I love all of their music, I’ve binged watched Raise the Dead more than I should admit. The lyrics are phenomenal and I’m pretty sure my foot stomping is almost in line with theirs. I love the whole song, but especially the line: This is Miss Dickinson, go ahead and tell her, her poems really lived on …. 

Fuzz and Carrie Sangiovanni formed Caravan of Thieves in 2008. They added violinist Ben Dean and bassist Brian Anderson, and in 2009, released their debut album, Bouquet. Since then, the group has released Mischief Night (2010), The Funhouse (2012), and their latest, Kiss Kiss, which came out last week.

Even though it was after 10:00, the 8thAve Pub was hopping. I headed out back and got to meet Fuzz, Carrie, and Ben. Brian was in Miami, but the three included him anyway, even offering to make up a few quotes—things he would have said if he were with us. 

Whenever I have the opportunity to talk to visiting musicians, I always wonder what they think of our town. Fuzz smiled when I asked. “It’s like a Bohemian hippie town. That was my first impression,” he said. “But there’s money here, too. You need both elements for the arts to succeed.”

Ben explained how they had pulled up in front of Casa Loco at 2 a.m. and noticed what a cool neighborhood they were in. “There was a pink elephant … and a lot of selfies.”  

Earlier that evening Todd brought Caravan of Thieves to the City Commission meeting to offer an update on the huge success of  this year's SongFest and also to let people experience the band.

The group is used to live performances, bringing audiences into the mix, but they’ve never done a commission meeting. “We had no bass. No guitars. We showed up and it was like a street performance,” Fuzz said.  “That’s a big part of what we do—to bring the free-spirited feeling, like street performers in the park, trying to connect with people they pass.”

According to their website, “the band has had the pleasure of touring with such great artists as The Decemberists, Iron and Wine, Punch Brothers and Emmylou Harris.”  

Their music is a bit of Funk, a little Soul and Gypsy Jazz. There’s a swing influence—some Latin—on their latest album. “The trick is how to keep moving forward while maintaining our sound,” Carrie said.

They have nothing to worry about there. If you know their music, you won’t be disappointed, and if you’ve yet to discover them, you can’t miss their Safety Harbor show. It’s happening Thursday, April 9 at Sideshow, 737 Main Street, which is a partially-covered outdoor venue with casual seating. Wine, beer and softdrinks are available for purchase and plenty of parking can be found along Main Street. Tickets are $20 through the Safety Harbor Art and Music Center or $25 at the door. Doors open at 7.  

One more thing I love about Caravan of Thieves is that they apparently love cemeteries. I do too. Whether you agree or not, I just had to mention it. They take on love, life, and some thought-inspiring subjects in their lyrics. They put those words to music, they get your hands a clappin’, and your feet won't be able to help but stomp.

They also tell a hell-of-a good story.

See you at the show! - Laura

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Joseph Arthur at the 2nd Annual SongFest

                                                                   I learned about Joseph Arthur because of Chuck Prophet.

I’ve been nagging K. and T. to get Chuck for the Safety Harbor Music Fest. They are the dynamic-duo-plus-one (hey, Heather!) that brought us the first Annual Music Festival. And now this is the SECOND one. I see a pattern here. 

Anyway, just because my kid knows the Prophetmeister, doesn’t mean I have any influence at all.  On the other hand, Todd only has to show up at any concert and his magic grabs them. Musicians tell their handlers to find a way to schedule them for a SHAMc gig. I think it’s a Swedish thing.

I also think Todd was politely getting me off his back when he said he saw an artist named Joseph Arthur who had recently toured with Prophet. Todd asked him to play at this year’s
festival. The Arthur people booked him. (See, I TOLD you…)

My interest was piqued. I Googled and You-tubed the guy. It constantly surprises me just how much GREAT talent is out there.  I mean, really talented vocalists, writers, and musicians with so much charisma and so much to say in their music, are not as well-known as they should be. These artists, in my opinion, are better than, or at least equal to, the over-played pop stars of the commercial world. It’s a shame there aren’t more music festivals, car commercials, TV dramas, or late night talk shows to put these talents out there and cause people to say, “Who is that? Screw the car, what is that song in the background? I want more of that!”

And so we get to see Joseph Arthur, a veteran of the Letterman show, and actually has quite a
large following. He’s also a fellow Buckeye hailing from Akron, Ohio. Ohio produces superb
talent. We’re awesome people. [Here is a shameless shout out to Canfield.]

And this guy is a visual artist as well.  His paintings sorta remind me of Picasso or Keith Haring, but still feel original, colorful, and fun. He’ll be painting and performing live at Syd Entel Gallery for our SongFest Kickoff Party on the Friday night before the festival, the 27th of March from 6 to 8 p.m. His paintings have been to Berlin, Singapore, SXSW … and now Safety Harbor! Can you stand it?

According to my virtual stalking, he was discovered by Peter Gabriel. That’s a name we know,right? Although, I’m not sure how a person is discovered if they’re already here. Just sayin'.

If you type Joseph Arthur's name in Pandora, you’ll  find that he’s been grouped with bands like The Shins, Iron and Wine, Death Cab for Cutie, and the Weepies. When I read bios for these bands they all mention Leonard Cohen as an influence, as does Arthur. I sometimes worry about the deification of Cohen, but his writing is so impeccable and carefully  thought-out, that he will never be over-stated. I actually prefer to hear renditions of his work by other artists, because they seem to become new over and over again.

Arthur writes his songs impeccably, too. He tells stories. He finds new ways to describe
ordinary experiences, inner struggles. Some of his songs are presented like poetry, similar to
the talking style of Patty Smith or Bob Dylan. Travel as equals or not at all. He mentions God a
lot, and themes of redemption. His visual acumen comes through in his performances. See
Currency of Love. He’s good to watch. His band is good to watch. And when songs grab us
visually, they become visceral.

He took on a daunting project in writing a tribute to Robin Williams. Who can properly honor
such a soul as his without running the danger of trivializing it? Joseph Arthur managed it well. 
Venues like the Second Annual Safety Harbor Music Festival, an inspiration of The Safety
Harbor Art and Music Center, bring these talented musicians to our community so that people
who don’t necessarily listen to Community radio, or get to go to many concerts; can experience
imaginative and varied styles of music packed in to two days. Music should be a feast from
savory to sweet. Out on the sloping lawn by the water, with friends around, is one of the best
ways bathe in it, breathe it, move to it, or eat a taco and drink a beer to it. The music will float
on the breeze and through open windows. Joseph Arthur will be the soundtrack to your splendid evening. 

He’ll take the waterfront stage on Saturday evening, March 28th. For a list of all the bands or solo
artists, and a rundown of where and when they can be enjoyed, click here. 

See you at this and all the other SongFest events!
- Deb Klein

Download the free SHAMc app to receive updates on all of our pop-up concerts and events. It's easy! Just go to the app store on your phone and search for SHAMc.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A SHAMc Update

As Kiaralinda and Catherine Ventura are at Whimzey using colorful plastic bottle caps, corks and pop tabs for a SHAMc bathroom ceiling, Woody the contractor works diligently at SHAMc, and sings to a rock ‘n’ roll song playing on a nearby boombox. He's raking the ground in preparation for new parking spaces. 

Catherine is visiting from Japan!

I approach him, my voice loud so I don’t cause any strange accidents. “Hi!” I call, “How’s it coming along?”

Woody turns, rake in hand and smiles. “The project is proceeding once again.”

If you’ve driven by this past week, you’ve probably noticed the artsy construction fence has been taken down and a large Dumpster has been set in the street.

“We’re excited that the parking and sidewalks will be in soon,” Woody says. He explains that the restrooms are about ready, “if all goes well with upcoming meetings with the city . . . things should go really well though.”

It’s a quick update but I figured you all would like to know about the progress.

Todd says, “Our  short-term goal is to have it open by Songfest so we can have music there.”

Exciting, huh?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sideshow's first workshop (and more are coming!)

People have been asking when they'll be able to take workshops at the art and music center. Since the building is not yet ready for such things, Todd, Kiaralinda and Heather decided to rent a side space, behind SHAMc. It's a patio venue in the back of the building at 737 Main Street, the same building where Tapping the Vine is, adjacent to the large parking lot next to Cello's Charhouse. They're calling it Sideshow, and they're already planning more workshops, write-ins, and performances there.

Just this past weekend 15 women attended a mosaic workshop taught by Heather Richardson. Even though I had helped with several of the SHAMc building's panels and also participated in the Safety Harbor Library's mosaic fundraising project last year (also facilitated by Heather), I had never grouted.  I wanted to learn the process step by step, from beginning to end.

It was amazing how no two of us had the same idea for our pieces. We also got to create a collaborative community piece for a local business. Details about that will be forthcoming (stay tuned!). Heather encouraged us, advised us, and she was a great teacher!                                         

Scroll down and take a look at the following photos, share the blog with friends, and if you're interested in taking a workshop like this one, or something different, make sure to connect with the SHAMc mailing list.  This workshop filled up fast, so if you see something you'd like to take, be sure to  sign up right away! 

               Upcoming Sideshow Events: 

NaNoWriMo write-ins are happening at Sideshow throughout November for National Novel Writing Month. Want to know more? Read my article in Articulate Suncoast or LIKE the Safety Harbor Writers & Poets on Facebook.
November 1, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., November 11, 1:00 - 4 p.m.
November 25, 3 to 6 p.m.

November 9, 3 to 5 p.m. - Crafternoon ($20 per person)
Exercise your collage skills while making yourself
an original work of art and pitch in to create a group
collage. Get to know Victoria Vox at Crafternoon before her Sideshow performance at 7:30 p.m. ($20 admission)
Click here  to purchase tickets. Vox is an accomplished musician who is passionate about the ukelele.  You won't want to miss it! Doors open at 6:30.
Drinks will be available for purchase.

November 16, 7:30 p.m. - Charlie Mars ($20 admission) 
Singer-songwriter Charlie Mars will be performing
at Sideshow this fall! Mars has played at festivals
like South by Southwest and Austin City Limits.

January 23, 2015
Kris Allen (Admission price TBD)
Mark your calendar for this American Idol winner
Kris Allen will be tearing it up at Sideshow in January!

Heather, thank you for an excellent class. I felt informed and guided throughout the entire process, never at a loss as to how to do anything. You have a true gift as a facilitator of art expression, gained from years of patient experience. I am so delighted with my experience and my product. I look forward to participating with more friends in the future.  With fond waves of warmed sunshine to embrace your soul with happiness. -  Blythin L.

The mosaic workshop was really wonderful. Heather was great teacher and we learned a lot. The pieces of tile and glass and mirror available to us made it so easy to begin our journey to create a beautiful piece of art and to learn the process from start to finish was a great experience. I can't wait to do another workshop   - Nancy V.
Today was my first day mosaic-ing. At first glance I thought I'd never decide what to do. When I finally did, it occurred to me that it might take me all night. Somehow, with bursts of deep concentration and the continued distraction of getting to know some very cool and interesting women, I actually finished my first 18" square.  I had so much fun and felt so energized after spending time with such fun people, that I'm now ready to mosaic my entire house. - Rebecca G.

Wow- this was more than I'd hoped. I'm new to the area and was hoping for a little social activity ... okay, yes, this was social and inspiring and creative and connecting and so much more.  I've made friends that I didn't have yesterday and I feel like I can accomplish something creative that I had no idea I could do. Thank you for giving me this - an accomplishment of self and a connection to people and place.  
I look forward to seeing you all again!   - Tamara S.

More than just an art class ... no judgement for beginners. I felt fully embraced by the experts and learned so much ... just the beginning of my involvement. I feel so inspired!    - Kelly S.

      I'm not artistic but I felt like I was for this class. It's a very 'forgiving' art. You can make something beautiful - it's almost impossible not to make something beautiful! -Rebecca G.

Great class - having been wanting to try mosaics for a long time!  Learned a lot and will be attending more classes in the future!  Heather was very patient with my slow and meticulous style.   Debbie E.  Safety Harbor (30 yr resident)

I hardly ever get to do something for myself. This was an amazing day. Not only was it artistically inspiring, it was with a group of lovely people, enjoying the experience just as much as I. Kiaralinda and Heather created this magnificent event, the first for SHAMc, and it was totally the best kept secret around. Absolutely Awesome Day!        Beth B.   (Dunedin)

And this is me, with my finished piece. What a blast it was.  I think I'm addicted to this creative outlet! maybe I'll set up a mosaic studio in my garage. 

What kinds of workshops or shows would you like to attend or participate in at Sideshow? Let us know in the comments below. 

May you find lots of creativity and inspiration this week too!  - Laura