Freeze Frame- Violence & After

Debbie Allen’s Freeze Frame, a modern day musical directed by Ricky Minor, set in the tough streets of Los Angeles, premiered at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Arts on February 5, 2016; Los Angeles high school students watched the show on the morning of the premier.   Gun violence and its consequences was fully debated and met head on with powerful dance, music and song from composers like Stevie Wonder, Ricky Minor, James Ingram, along with others.  Ms. Allen wrote several of the songs and also acted as the lyrists for several songs.  Thump, Ms. Allen’s son, added three songs and arranged Stevie Wonder and Ms. Allen’s composition. Girl Goddess. The music weaved together the tragic story of innocent death and the death it brings to the community.

The plot was well supported with the show’s strong character typing – David, the conflicted Bishop’s son, was played by Matthew Johnson, who worried about his place in his father’s message.  Eartha, played by Ms. Allen’s daughter, Vivian Nixon was the beautiful inner-city, high school senior who wanted to break the cycle.  Slick, played by Dion Watson, was the cocky inner-city high school jock whose dreams were big, but unsupported.   Bishop Washington, played by Clinton Derricks, was the glue that held the community together with faith.  Ms. Belinda, the strong teacher, played by Olivia -Diane Joseph, was the strong woman who protected her students.  And Rosanna, the grandmother, played by Debbie Allen, and her grandson, Eleo, played by Enrique Torres, gave cause to the plot since he was without words and noted as “The Quiet One.”

The plot centered around David, Eartha and Eleo as well as wide ranging and colorful cast of characters.  Eleo, Rosanna’s grandson, was mute since witnessing the gang murder of his mother and sister when he was seven in gang crossfire.  The story unfolds with powerful monologues and dialogue debating what can be done about the street and gang violence. It was not a surprise when Rossana introduced herself as the “the gang’s oldest member.” With all of the violence she had seen, she knew the only way she could control the “out of control” was to be a part of it.

The acting, sing and dancing transported the audience to the inner city, the dialogue was chock full of realism naming streets, Crenshaw and the Gangs who controlled the land there.  Eartha, filled the stage with her artistry of dance as the antithesis to the violence.  Her fluidity represented the gentleness of her character and her athleticism juxtaposed the toughness of her discipline,  the hard exterior she put up to protect herself.  Her voice was on pointe and it embraced the passion and pain of what she had seen.   The Bishop and the gun toting grandmother, were interesting advocates about the Second Amendment.  The community demanded change, they also demanded the voices of the lives lost to gun the violence be respected and heard.  The challenges were addressed by not solved with the scenes. The actors’ over exaggerated dialogue exemplified the conflict of the the Left and the Right and their opposing viewpoints. The actors stayed true to their characters with their gestures and body movements.  But when the characters mentioned their ages, 17, especially Jimmy the Collector, who was played by William Wingfield, it disrupted the audience’s suspension of belief.

The Set Designer, Michael Scott Mitchell established a definite mood of the inner-city and the “hood.”  The Gang violence and its poison was depicted by the videos, powerfully distracting at times, of the burning meth or heroin.  The aftermath was depicted by the graphic videos of the needle and the arm.  The Lighting Designer, John Rayment, used red and green sheens to define the violent moods.  The white light illuminated the stage and represented a beacon for the future.  The sound effects and music contributed to the show’s mood by suspending the audience’s belief – when the basketball team took the stage and after some playful rousing, ended in hip hop number, the audience realized, even in the tough inner city schools, friendship and fellowship can combat the violence.

The play had a dramatic effect on the audience.  Friday’s performance, full of high school students was different that Sunday’s performance that played to a packed house.  Not only did Debbie Allen encourage the students to be rowdy and to interact with the show, it added energy and inclusion into the performance. A much more reserved Sunday’s audience was generous with their applause and gave the cast a standing ovation at final bow.  Ms. Allen returned to the stage and encouraged everyone vote in November 2016.

Freeze Frame was a powerful show about an entire segment of society “stuck” in the cycle of violence.  Revenge, cross fire and forgiveness were intertwined through the scenes. The climax, when the police were chasing Jimmy, the audience witness violence touching the community again with a police shooting of mistaken identity.  Even though the conclusion was rushed, the message was clear, “Why?”  It could have been louder if,  Eleo’s voice returned  when Da ni was killed.  Instead of quietly carrying off the victim, why didn’t Eleo scream “Stop” to give a voice to the unheard.

 

A Special Thanks for the Day AFTER Thanksgiving :)

Happy Thanksgiving Sunbeams!

I hope you were able to stuff your faces with Pumpkin pie, topped with enough ice-cream to make you scream!

(In delight of course… heh, heh, not the way we normally do, after eating too much for Thanksgiving… or maybe both?)

But this Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 26, 2015, was one that will stay close to my heart for quite a while. Not only did I get to spend it with great family friends who accept me like their own, but my eyes were (and still are being!) gently pried open to how blessed I am, and have been.

Not only am I here, in Los Angeles, California, living my dreams (with a family who loves and supports me!), but I have met so many wonderful people who genuinely care about me, are always willing to help me in innumerable ways, and who understand my craft, respecting how I choose to live my life.

Because, in this business, it is SO easy to focus on everything that is not positive, focus on the scary, focus on the things I haven’t done yet- but these said people always remind me to do the exact opposite- to instead be continually working and focusing toward my goals, and to believe in myself and my abilities.

I am so unbelievably lucky to have these people, because I know not everyone does.

It can be scary to realize that there “nodda” positive people in your life, and even scarier when you realize that you MUST cut them out (because you MUST!)- especially when they are close to you.

And I know that as a library junkie, books can sort of replace people any day! …Or, at least put us on the right path to finding the kind of people who can really can love us and understand who we are.

To, “spread the love,” as they say, I’ve made a list of books that can easily help with this process.

And yes, these are books about creativity, I have found they apply to life more than any other kind of self-help book that I’ve read so far J

 

The Artist’s Way By Julia Cameron

http://juliacameronlive.com/the-artists-way/

This book is wonderful in that it covers SO MUCH in not that much time, and presents a very do-able 12-Step Program that I completed over a summer break, and am ready to follow the program again. And the Morning Pages… THE MORNING PAGES!

The Creative Habit: Learn It And Use It For Life By Twyla Tharp

http://www.twylatharp.org/content/creative-habit-learn-it-and-use-it-life

Oh Twyla Tharp, what else can I say about her? She’s straight forward, doesn’t sugar coat it and is yet so, motivating and inspirational.  A wonderfully successful strong woman, and someone who should be on everyone’s role model list.

Rip the Page! Adventures in Creative Writing By Karen Benke

http://karenbenke.com/books/

Though intended for young writers, it’s just so darn fun that no matter where you are going, or trying to go, you will get a whole lot out of this book- I find it’s great for reflection just to goof off a bit 🙂

Santoro Journal/Diaries

https://www.santoro-london.com/shop/diaries/2016-diaries/

Though not technically a “book,” the lovely part is that you can make it your own. I literally stumbled on one of these gems in France, and immediately fell in love with the adorably enchanting illustrations, and specially designated pages for each day.

 I am also looking forward to reading At Left Brain Turn Right By Anthony Meindl, as recommended to me by a great new friend today (who unknowingly helped inspire this post!)

May these books lead you on your journey, give you the promise of quieting your inner critic, those out critics, be thankful for all the opportunities abound, and always remind that “you are the company you keep!”

Check Back For More…

 – Jayde Sunburst

Jayde’s Summer Travels: One Girl, One World, Many Adventures

So… I might have traveled to France (alone- eek!) over the Summer in a complete month long dream, taken so pictures that my phone exploded, saw so many beautiful things that my heart burst, and heard so much français that my ears bled, but I wanted them to bleed more?

Yeah.

And it was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Umbrealla RIvera

Me on the Mediterranean Shore!

The experience was actually SO magical, that I’m having a bit of reluctance writing about it, even though only the fantabulous occurred during my visit… It was literally a dream that I never wanted to end, because of how much fun I had, how much stress I relieved, how much I learned, and how centered I felt afterwards.

If you are wondering how in the world I ever got this opportunity, then I will indeed tell you- my dad one day forwarded me a text from one of his friends, that said, (and I quote)

“…you have a 16-year-old daughter who speaks French, right?”

After a skeptical “…Why…?” from me, my dad forwarded me yet another text that said, (and I quote)

“I know a family over in the South of France whose daughter wants to come to America, and would be happy to host an American girl at their place for a month.”

And I texted my dad back, (and I quote)

“YES YES YES YESYESYEYSYEYSYEYSYEYSYEYSYESSSSSS!”

(okay, I might have eliminated some exclamation points, “asdfghjkl!”s and “gaaaaaahhhhha!”s, but…)

Even though I only had three years of French so far, I wasn’t going to let the fact that I couldn’t flawlessly round off all my “auxs” or perfectly conjugate all my verbs “dans le passé compose” slip and ruin my chances of a month in France!

ALSO, I was going to be in New York to open the JulyBalaya Music Festival just a week before the week they wanted me over, so it was the *perfect* way to show my fellow exchanger (who was an absolute dear) one of the greatest cities in ‘Merica!

In any case, it as the perfect excuse for the trip of a lifetime, and I was so ready for it.  I honestly had my bags packed an entire two weeks early.

After an absolutely wonderful time showing my new friend around, we went back to her hometown-

I got to stay with the most wonderful and welcoming family in the entire South of France, in a quaint little town called Valence- known for their sunflowers, wine and apricots- and made a friend for life.

I visited beautiful castles, saw breathtaking landscapes, discovered more than I ever anticipated about the history and culture of one of the most amazing countries ever, spent an entire weekend on the Mediterranean, and another weekend in Paris.  I know I am the luckiest girl ever.

Here’s the link to my Pintrest page with the best of my pictures from France 🙂

(I took so many though, that it might take a few months to complete posting all of them. Literally every. single. picture. I took looked good because of how beautiful this place was!)

https://www.pinterest.com/jaydesunburst/la-france-2015/

So, moral of the story?  If you EVER get a mysterious text from a family member that says, (and I quote),

“you have a ___ year old ______ who can speak _______, right?”

SAY YES! (with a few “asdfghjkl”s for fun)

Thanks for reading about my adventures, Have a Sunfilled Day, and, as always…

Check Back For More

~ Jayde Sunburst

Porsche 918 Spyder Anyone?

Porsche 918

Smoothing in the Perfect Porsche 918

Summer 2015!  Performing at Julybalaya 2015 in Brooklyn, experiencing Opera Season in Cincinnati, perfecting my French in Valance, what else? The 60th Annual Porsche Parade in French Lick, Indiana and it was fabulous.  Beautiful Porsches, a marvelous hotel with architectural delights.

My dad, who is a true Porsche aficionado, registered us early and of the 1,000 cars, we were number 562.  Our Porsche was ready to show off!

We began with the Concours, we saw gorgeous Porsches everywhere.  Our first stop was “60 4 60 Museum” celebrating Porsche’s sixty years.  Sixty cars over the last sixty-plus years were displayed together along with unique details about their places in Porsche History.  Absolutely loved seeing the 1949 356 Gmünd Coupe and the deep purple 2015 918 Spyder.  I was telling a gentleman how much I loved the 918’s deep purple color, and then he then stepped to the 918, opened the car door and said, “It’s mine, would you like to take a picture it it?  I’ve never let anyone else in the car except me.”  Another,  I gracefully slid into the cockpit, laid my hands on the steering wheel and  smiled!

Our next day was spent at the airport runway. In the morning, my dad drove our Porsche in the Autocross.  It was a blast watching him improve his time each time he owned the course.  They take autocross very seriously at Parade.  We were so honored to meet Wolfgang Porsche and his son, Felix. I begged my dad to let me drive.  He wouldn’t budge so I found my own event, the  Kids’ Concours and I won!

I hand painted my little wooden Porsche with a sunrise.  And then Dad said, “Jayde, let’s do some driving.”  I was excited to complete the Porsche Teen Street Survival Course, where, along with about 60 other teens, I tested our ABS brakes and maneuvered serious steering survival tips.  I know it will make a huge difference with driving in LA.

After the ice-cream social and then the Zone 4 Party at the Pete Dye Clubhouse, alas, our Porsche Parade time was coming to a close. We spent great times with  our friends, we met some wonderful new friends like Urban Outlaw, Magnus Walker, and together, all of us ogled over  the beautiful Porsches.

And now, I’m counting down the days to the next Porsche Parade, see you in Vermont!

Check Back for More…

– Jayde Sunburst

JULYBALAYA!

JaydeSunburst Poster

JULYBALAYA 2015

JULY 3RD-5TH  Presented by: Fire Haus Records INC and Freedom2Fit

FIRST ANNUAL MUSIC FESTIVAL KICKS OFF IN BROOKLYN, NY

WHERE: The Kymberle Project Concert Venue, 1332 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn

An Independent Festival for Independent Artists on Independence Day!!

The Kymberle Project promises to deliver an authentic New-York-Art-Scene backdrop for our double-day-dose of non-stop music and creativity.

The inaugural lineup* is heavily stacked with the greater New York Area’s finest indie talent – Eva and her Virgins, Pete Ayres, and Frank Knight.  Touring stars  Meridian Lights and Artanker Convoy.  And teen artist, Jayde Sunburst.

Here’s what you need to know:

Friday July 3rd: The evening begins with GLOW YOGA 4pm-5pm (first come first serve) @ the Kymberle Project (1332 Atlantic Ave Brooklyn, NY. FULL BAND LIVE MUSIC starts at 5pm and goes until 3am. Friday night is 18 to enter, 21 to drink. Activities include face painting, photo booth, body paint, raffle, vendor booths and more. Food and Beverages will be available for purchase inside the venue.

Saturday, July 4th: The day begins bright and early with FAMILY YOGA 11a.m to 12p.m (first come first serve) @ The Kymberle Project (1332 Atlantic Ave. Brooklyn NY). FULL BAND LIVE MUSIC starts with Jayde Sunburst, a very special teen pop singer at 12pm and continues with local Indie artists until 5pm. All ages are welcome 11am-5pm. . Youth under 18 must exit the premises between 5-6pm. From 6pm-3am on Saturday July 4th, it will be 18 to enter 21 to drink. Activities include face painting, photo booth, body paint, raffle, vendor booths and more. Food and Beverages will be available for purchase inside the venue. Sunday July 5th Balaya “Bounce Back” Day at the local Boys and Girls High School Athletic Field (1700 Fulton Ave Brooklyn, NY).

This is FREE to the community at large and will run from 3p-7pm. At 5:00, Jayde Sunburst sings the National Anthem then activities include yoga, outdoor fitness class, acoustic music, acrobatic performance, vendor booths, raffle drawing, and more by donation. Refreshments will be available for purchase with a portion of all sales being donated to Freedom2Fit.

***Parking is free all three days at the Boys and Girls High School

Take the Time to Enjoy – Recharge!

Is more really more?  Big question, bigger answer.This is a photo of the Los Anglese night skyline, slightly blurred.

Los Angeles is huge, and opportunities abound- so, to avoid the “do it ALL” illusion, you smartly focus on what’s highest on your priority list. Constantly focusing on priorities though, can leave you tried and frustrated.

And that’s when you need to focus on the highest priority of all — YOU!

We all relax in different ways, but I find one of the more fun ways to recharge, is to treat yourself with a place filled with beauty, wonder and comfort…  Here are a couple of my favorite places to *recharge*

Have you discovered Greystone Mansion and Park? It’s hidden away as a beautiful treasure; the flowers and landscaping defy description, and the old manor seems to come right off a storybook page.  An afternoon at Greystone leaves me dreaming to come back again, and again, and again.

Here’s the link to their website:

http://www.beverlyhills.org/exploring/greystoneparkmansion

Or how about Barnsdale Art Park, high atop Olive Hill?  It’s filled with beautiful art and inspiring architectural structure- and the views are fabulous. The Barnsdale Gallery Theatre also offers a schedule of great shows- my dance academy had our Spring Dance concert there, and I’ve liked the place ever since.

Here’s the link to their website:

http://www.barnsdallartpark.com

And finally, how can anyone recharge without a perfect place to eat savory Italian? Miceli’s is a great restaurant- and the lasagna?  You just have to experience it to believe it. C’est tres delicious (I know that’s French, but oh well). Their menu is huge, and it’s Hollywood’s oldest restaurant!

Enjoy this link to their website:

http://www.micelisrestaurant.com

Now you know some of my favorite spots to recharge. But, there are plenty of others out there. They are simply awaiting your discovery!

Check Back for More…

~Jayde Sunburst

You’re in LA! Now What?

Image of a map of Southern California with Los Angeles Highlighted So you’ve decided to come out to Los Angeles and see if you can make it in the entertainment industry.  You’ve packed your bags, arrived in town and found a place to call home. What do you do now?

The fun, glamor, excitement and possibility of stardom that Los Angeles represents gets all the attention.  But under that surface hides a lot of hard work, possibly some pain, and no promise at all that you will be the next “big thing.”

People have been coming to the West Coast for decades hoping to stand out from the crowd and get discovered.  But many come here without a plan, with no idea of what to do when they get here.  They just arrive with stars in their eyes, fascinated by the allure of Hollywood.

I wanted to share what we’re doing as we attempt to climb this ladder, like so many others have done before us.  To be out here, trying to succeed in the entertainment business takes guts, hard work, but most importantly some inside knowledge and a plan on how to proceed.

This is stuff that no one tells you but I’ll share what I know.  We can learn together.  

Check Back for More…

~ Jayde Sunburst