Thursday, March 19, 2009

For the Over 30 Crowd...

I thought this funny and wanted to share. If you're here in Atlanta and listen to V103 in the morning, this may be something you heard the DJs talking about. I think it was an email that was sent to Frank Ski.


Remembering the Old School

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant.

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright colored lead-base paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had baseball caps not helmets on our heads.

As infants & children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes.

Riding in the back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one actually died from this. We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar. And, we weren't overweight. WHY?

Because we were always outside playing...that's why!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. And, we were O.K. We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times,we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's and X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVD's, no surround-sound or CD's, no cell phones, no person al computers, no Internet and no chat rooms

WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and, although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them.

Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever. The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.

If YOU are one of them? CONGRATULATIONS! You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good.

While you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave and lucky their parents were. Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it ?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

UniverSoul Circus: Family Fun with Urban Flavor

As old as I am, I have never been to the circus. Never been with my family, school field trip, babysitting…never. I don’t really know why that is; it could be that I am not a fan of clowns or that Ringling jingle (the one that brings out the clowns) causes the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

I didn’t quite know how to react when invited to the circus recently. I wanted to say yes, since it came about through blogging and I was extremely appreciative of the opportunity, but wanted to run at the same time. James Harris, CEO and Chief Storyteller and Kristin Parker, Account Manager of Elemental Interactive / ListenShare kept in close and gracious contact with me (unaware of my fear) and with trepidation, I grabbed my friend crossed my fingers, and hoped for the best….Off to my first circus experience….

….And how excited am I that I went? So excited. The UniverSoul Circus is not your typical 3-ring, clowns-squished-in-a-car circus. It has elements of the circus we are familiar with, but with a cultural uniqueness and Urban flavor. According to the website and Cedric Walker, Founder & CEO, “The vision was to explore the various talents other than singing and dancing that black performers had to offer. We had the idea to present something different, to create a show that presented a wide spectrum of black talent to a wide demographic of spectators. To reach deep into our culture and search for what talent and skills lie asleep in the black entertainment experience. We wanted to apply our gathered years of experience in the live appearance industry, to make a difference, to change the industry we lived in, creating growth and new opportunity.”

This year, the UniverSoul Circus turns Sweet16. Headquartered in Atlanta, what began in 1994 at Atlanta’s Turner Field (which was the Atlanta Fulton County Stadium back then) has blown up into a must-go-to family event. The circus travels ten of the twelve months and hits up to thirty markets in the United States. Performances did go on in Johannesburg one year, but they haven’t gotten abroad much more to perform. Representatives for the company, like Cedric Walker and Denise Howard, Director of Talent and Production, however, do travel all over the globe to scout fabulous and unique talent to recruit and/or develop. Did you know that some countries, like China, have actual circus schools? Me neither. But, they do!

The whole production includes about 140 staff members, about 60/60/20 with performers, staff, and home office respectively.

The forty-eight meter tent has a capacity of 2500, but an addition of a big screen reduces the actual number of audience members.

It was really interesting walking around the lot. It’s a mini city with majority of the staff living on site and a small number in hotels. Meals, school for the children, sport activities (with soccer the preferred game) all happen in the back lot.

This year, the show includes 9 plus acts which include the Risley act (woman juggling tables and giant vases with their feet), China Soul Flyers Trapeze act, Casic Horse rountine (a Russian act, but performed by West African riders),

The Wheel of Death that has two men on a moving pendulum,

Two young contortionists

Caribbean/Trinidadian dancing and limbo

Human jugglers

And several dance acts, choreographed by Christopher Flournoy,

comedic interjections and the latest Hip Hop music keeps the crowd alive and jumping.

All in all, the evening was amazing. Not only were the top UniverSoul people present and mingling, they seemed so genuine and extremely hospitable. Mrs. & Mr. Cedric Walker were out and about, conversing with the audience, and I thought it was nice and Mrs. Walker remembered meeting me upon a later introduction. Astuteness is unfortunately rare and I found it very nice. Pat Murphy, Executive director was lovely and approachable. And, Ben Johnson, Director of Operations, checked on T & I and the other bloggers several times during the performance and even took a moment to bring T a wet and dry cloth when realizing she was wearing her funnel cake sugar. (Chivalry is not dead, gentleman….bring it and girls will swoon.) I had so much fun listening to the music I love, seeing families together and smiling, and witnessing remarkable, jaw dropping performances. I am hooked and can’t wait to go back next year.
(They're in Raleigh the rest of this week, then Richmond. Check out their calendar to see where else they will be headed at this point of the tour.)