Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Birthday Celebration Highlights

Great weather. Check. Off Broadway show. Check. Quality time with my besties. Check. Everything fell into place this past Saturday. Not to hot, not to cool and the breeze caressed my face at the ideal times as I walked around New York City on Saturday. It was picture perfect day that made for a lovely birthday celebration. Here are some photos to highlight Saturday's events. 

The official posters at the gift shop.

If I was a Heather...watch out!

Via Della Pace's Brushetta

Dawn and I outside of the theatre.
After the show with my besties outside of the theatre.
Birthday Tiramisu from Via Della Pace.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Another Year Older: Happy Birthday to Me!

This weekend I will celebrate another birthday. YEAH for me. I consider it a blessing to be on planet earth another year and look forward to the different birthday activities. I have fond memories of having birthday parties up until around the age of 11. After I turned 12 my mom told me I was too old for birthday parties. That news was a blow to me, but I eventually got over it and started a tradition of celebrating my birthday in different ways. 

This year I'm looking forward to a day in New York City with my sister Dawn and best friends, minus one because she lives out of state. Wish you could be there Nat. 

The original mean girls.
I'm going to see the Broadway show Heathers, which is based off of the film with the same name. I'm big fan of the film and watched it numerous times with Dawn growing up. Back in 2004, people loved Tina Fey's Mean Girls. If you watch Heathers and then Mean Girls, you can see that Tina Fey refreshed the story concept for a new generation. Somethings never get old – high school cliques and teenage girl drama/trauma is one of them. It makes for a good story when executed well. In my opinion, Heathers is one of the last well-written and classic 1980s high school films released toward the end of the decade. The film helped propel Winona Ryder and Christian Slater's young Hollywood star power, although they had a number of films to their credit at the time. 

I love musicals and am looking forward to seeing how the producers adapt the story for the stage. After the show I'll have dinner at Via Della Pace. It's going to be nice catching up with my friends who I don't get to see everyday. The older I get, the more complicated life gets and making time for family, friends, work, hobbies and goals can be a challenge. There aren't enough hours in the day, so I have to make the time to stay connected. Even in a world that is more social online, nothing beats face-to-face. 

Since June marks the half-way point of the year, celebrating my birthday this month also allows me the opportunity to check-in with my personal and professional goals. While I don't want to think about the year being half over, I do need to evaluate where I'm at and think about where I want to be by the end of 2014.

This week I submitted my master's thesis through ProQuest Dissertation Publishing. Hitting that submit button felt very good, so good I decided to tweet about it and enjoyed a nice tweet chat. When I get my diploma in the mail in late August or early September I'll have complete closure, but in the meantime, now I begin my search to get my thesis published. I have a couple of publications on my short list. Stay tuned.

With my masters behind me, I'm ready to return to the world of screenwriting. Like Stella, I need to get my groove back. My goal is to finish two if I'm on a roll, maybe three draft scripts by the end of this year. I have my work cut out for me. I've deactivated my Facebook account to help me shift my focus of being social and get back to the craft. 

Thus far it's been a busy year and I have quite a few things a head of me, but this weekend I will take the time to celebrate me with my friends, family and husband.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Emerging Woman Artist: Actress/Singer/Songwriter and Contributing Author Denise Michelle

It's been a while. I know. You would think things in my life would slow down a bit know that I have a second masters off of my plate, but instead I keep it moving with a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Although my thesis has been approved I've been working on revisions before I send it out to publication. 

I've also had an opportunity to enjoy a few of the freedoms I've missed over the past two years and catch up with family and friends. However, I'm glad to be getting back to the blog. Now that you're all caught up, let me shift gears.

I'm both proud and excited to feature Denise Michelle, a multifaceted Connecticut-based performer in today's Emerging Woman Artist Q&A blog post. 

Artist Bio:
Denise Michelle (aka Denise Dennis and Denise Michelle Johnson) is a talented, passionate performer with an extensive resume who is based in the NY tri-state area. Denise has experience within every facet of the entertainment industry: acting in film, television, theater (including musicals), commercials, music videos and doing voice-overs and print. Denise is also an accomplished singer and songwriter who has honed her skills singing in showcases, talent competitions and nightclubs. She’s had radio airplay on the East Coast, England and online. In addition, a dance song she co-wrote and sang was featured on Saturday Night Live. Her goal is to continue to grow as an artist and work on union film, television and theater projects in great roles as well as continuing to sing live and record.

Q: How long have you been performing as an artist in film, television and theatre?
A: I started doing theater/plays around the age of 7. It’s always something I have loved to do. In college I continued to study theater/acting and after college started getting work in film/TV as well as continuing to do stage work. 

Q: When did you develop a passion for performing?  
A: Ever since I was little, the desire has always been there. My mother said I started singing early. I was put in pageants and talent shows and I would win them—so I believe it really started to take root then.  

Q: What's your favorite project and why?
A: I can’t say I have a favorite, but every artistic project I’ve been part of. I have learned/grown as an artist/person. My evolution as a creative person has been an interesting and fulfilling journey. However, I will say any project that keeps me on the path of earning a living full time with my art is definitely a favorite! 

Q:  Tell us about your most recent involvement in the Broken Heart Stone project. What peaked your interest about the project: What was your role?
A:  It’s very interesting how that came about. The niece of the doctor I work for part time ran into Andrew Wilson (author of the Broken Heart Stone) in a store in California back in 2012. They struck up a conversation and he told her that he was looking for a singer to write a song for a documentary he was doing about Michael Jackson. (Andy had the privilege of working with Michael Jackson back in the 1990’s.) 

Gena, the niece, suggested me and that’s how we connected. I definitely feel it was a Divine/meant-to-be connection. Also, the same month that Gena met Andy and told him about me, I was at a church prayer service and it was prophesied to me by a woman praying for me that there was a song I had not written yet. I believe my song, Michael’s Broken Heart Stone, is that song. The documentary about Michael will still be done at some point, but the book came out first.  The book, Broken Heart Stone- World’s Most Famous Handprint –Michael Jackson—King of Pop , is now out as a hardcover book and also available digitally. It is a beautiful coffee table book which gives a historical account/journey of how Michael Jackson’s hand impressions were in the basement of a Las Vegas casino for more than 20 years in obscurity until his death, and now reside in the world famous Mann’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood.

Andy was the man who made that happen. I helped do some research for the book and my tribute song to Michael Jackson is in every copy of the Broken Heart Stone book and also available digitally. What is also unique about the book is that fans can actually put their hand in Michael’s—they don’t have to travel to Hollywood to do it. There is a cut-out of Michael’s actual hand on the front cover of the book. Andy wanted to give Michael’s fans an opportunity to put their hands in his—it is an emotional experience for many. Michael actually had a heart on his palm of his hand and his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is the only star that has a crack running through it—thus the reason for calling the book the Broken Heart Stone. It’s hard to believe that next month it will be 5 years since Michael’s passing—he was a one of kind amazing artist that touched so many people all over the world. One last thing—I want to shout out Wayne Brown, a wonderful music producer from West Haven, CT. He really helped me to flesh out the music for my Michael’s Broken Heart Stone song.  

Q: Where can people find the book Broken Heart Stone?
A:  People can go to this link http://www.brokenheartstone.com/book_orders.html  to order the book, learn more and also hear clips of my song Michael’s Broken Heart Stone. We are currently looking for a publisher/distributor to take distribution of the book to a higher level and plans are being made to have it sold in Barnes and Noble. If anyone out there has any contacts in this area, please contact me. Denise Michelle, versatilesongstress@yahoo.com or via phone at 203-803-3941.

I would also like to let people know that with every purchase, a portion will be donated to Dr. Dana Flavin’s cancer non-profit Collmed (The Foundation for Collaborative Medicine and Research).  Dr. Flavin is an amazing physician/scientist who is helping to reverse and put into remission cancer of all types around the world while educating her colleagues on new, cutting edge  medicine/research in treating cancer and other diseases. She was based in Greenwich, Connecticut, but is currently in Germany. People can go to www.collmed.org to learn more about Dr. Flavin and her work. 

Q: Tell us about a current project you're working on? Do you have any projects releasing this summer?
A: Currently I am auditioning for projects in film/tv/theater.  I have a Motown band (you can check out timcurriesmotownband on Facebook) with several gigs coming up over the summer, including a benefit for the Make a Wish Foundation next month. I will be singing the national anthem at the Connecticut Sun game at Mohegan Sun arena June 15, 2015  and will continue to promote the Broken Heart Stone project over the summer. I also have tv appearances lined up in the next several weeks.