Archive for May, 2011

Off-Topic Tuesday, or, Harlem before Starbucks, the Disney Store; Ben and Jerry’s

Posted in Uncategorized on May 31, 2011 by ctgalaw

On occasion I have posted images of the stylized, elegant pictures depicting the Harlem Renaissance as captured by famed photographer James Vanderzee (1886-1983).   Harlem during its Renaissance had the likes of Langston Hughes, James Baldwin,  Dorothy West, Richard Wright, Claude Mckay, and Margaret Walker to serve as resident wordsmiths to chronicle the Harlem that was and will always be the Black Cultural Mecca of the World.  Through their poetry and novels we as mere observers and readers of history are allowed to walk the famed boulevards of Harlem of old in our “Sunday best.”  We are able to taste the sweet and savory chicken and waffles of Wells Restaurant and we can hear the big band swing of music royalty– The Duke and The Count— as we stomp at the Savoy.

If  Hughes, Baldwin, Walker, Wright, McKay, Walker, Ellington and Basie captured the spoken words and lyrical sounds of  Harlem, than James Vanderzee, through his  portraits, indeed captured the sights, beauty, harmony and essence of Harlem during that same period.  His photographic works of art showcased  middle and upper class Harlem residents at home, at work and at play–everyday scenes of Harlem life.  Nothing out of the ordinary. For Harlem residents of that time were well aware of the achievements, dignity and glamour of its neighbors–the  neighbors–politicians, singers, actors, writers, entrepreneurs, lawyers, doctors, civil servants, school teachers and street cleaners.  Vanderzee captured it all:  Funerals, weddings, social events, celebrities and family portraits.  From 1907-1954, Vanderzee chronicled life in Harlem.  

After decades of creating art through his camera lens, Mr. Vanderzee’s photographs were “discovered” by New York’s downtown  Metropolitan Museum of Art.  The photos were featured in a 1969 exhibit entitled Harlem on My Mind.  The exhibit exposed the world to not only the genius of Vanderzee’s work but it also exposed the world to the beauty, talent, and achievement of Harlem during its true, original heyday.

My parents attended the opening of the exhibit.  And subsequently purchased the companion book to the exhibit, Harlem On My Mind–One summer day in the late 1970’s my mother and I happened by an elderly, rather portly, dignified man sitting on a chair outside of  a photo studio on a Harlem grand boulevard.  My mother engaged the grandfatherly man in a conversation and the next thing I know we were given a private tour of James Vanderzee’s studio by Mr. Vanderzee himself! 

Today the book, Harlem on My Mind, sits grandly on my living room’s coffee table, Vanderzee original photographs are safe in my mother’s care and it is my sincere hope that  Harlem during its “new birth”  will retain its true character, its history and its decades- old residents.

 

 I apologize for the small images.   I do implore you to steep a cup of green tea or pour a glass of your favorite wine  turn on your computer and get lost in Mr. Vanderzee’s prolific portfolio.  And ENJOY!

COPYRIGHT 2011.  The Recovering Attorney Un-Blog(tm).  All Rights Reserved.  And I will sue.  Ha!

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“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” or, Gil Scott-Heron Has Died

Posted in Uncategorized on May 28, 2011 by ctgalaw

Poet and spoken word innovator and originator Gil Scott-Heron has died at the age of sixty-two.  He passed away Friday in a New York City hospital after returning from a holiday in Europe.  At this time the cause of Mr. Scott-Heron’s death is unknown.  Scott-Heron’s death just a blip on internet jazz sites or big city newspapers’ obit pages?  I should think not. 

The 1970’s saw the rise of Scott-Heron’s career when the Chicago native’s soulful, “bluesy” and anti-establishment storytelling was set to melodic, yet simple jazz percussion beats.  His unique stylings (coupled with his mellow, soothing voice) was the precursor to today’s rap, hip-hop, neo-soul, and spoken word genres– think Jill Scott (no relation),  Eminem,  Musiq Soulchild, and Usher.   A diverse group.  Yes.  When Chuck D of Public Enemy learned of Scott-Heron’s death–his response:  “…we do what we do and how we do because of you.”  

As a testament to Scott-Heron’s influence on today’s music, he was often described as the godfather of rap ( a title he rejected beacuse he believed that today’s artist lost the “message” of the music) and the black Bob Dylan.  His iconic album, The Revolution Will  Not Be Televised, has been heavily sampled by Common and Kanye West.

As a little girl in the 1970s, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised and the seminal hit In the Bottle  were on heavy rotation in my home.  According to my mom, my dad was going through his “What’s Going On Stage” a la Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, and of course, Gil Scott-Heron.  I am grateful for the early exposure to Gil Scott-Heron’s creativity and originality.   And I am equally grateful that as an adult I had the opportunity to see Scott-Heron perform live at a jazz festival in Tampa, Florida.

Thanks, Dad,

The Recovering Attorney

COPYRIGHT 2011.  The Recovering Attorney Un-Blog(tm).  All Rights Reserved.  And I will sue.  Ha!

Barbie Has Her Ken and I Have Mr. The Recovering Attorney, or, Happy Birthday, Love!

Posted in Uncategorized on May 27, 2011 by ctgalaw

This weekend the love of my life, the person who keeps me grounded, feed, sheltered, clothed (pays my Neimans  bill and our children’s tuitions.  Ha!), centered, focused AND whole is celebrating a milestone anniversary of his birth. 

I have known and loved Mr. The Recovering Attorney since we met the summer before my freshman year of high school.  We often joke with our family and friends that we have practically raised each other.  And to some extent we have.  

Mr. Recovering Attorney and I have  learned “How to Be” and “Have Come to Be”– Together.  And we have discovered the world– Together. 

When you meet the love of your life at the age of 14, among other favors, you are allowed the gift  of creating childhood dreams with the person that you actually get to live out your adult realities. 

We have been Together ever since the day we met.  No: “I think that we should see other people.”  Or:  “This is not working for me.”  No interruptions.  Not even a slight pause.  I truly believe that we were created for each other. 

I do.

We enjoy each other.  And we enjoy the life–the family that we have created.  Together.

From an ocean and a sea away, his parents have brought forth and nurtured a perfect specimen of a man — my soul mate, my husband, my partner in crime,  my baby daddy, my provider, AND my protector.  And I thank them both for a “childhood” well done.  

He is my Best Friend.  Then. Now. Forever.

COPYRIGHT 2011.  The Recovering Attorney Un-Blog(tm).  All Rights Reserved.  And I will sue.  Ha!

What Makes A Good Guest?, or, The Recovering Attorney Un-Blog(tm) Reflects on “How To Be”

Posted in Uncategorized on May 26, 2011 by ctgalaw

 

Many years ago–way back when my family relocated to Atlanta from Greenwich, Connecticut, long before I decided to sit for the Georgia bar (I had my Connecticut attorney’s license and I felt accomplished.) exam, when I was in my “younger” motherhood and Mr. Recovering Attorney and I decided that Precious Child I deserved  my/our complete attention, energy, sustenance and protection (I still thank Mr. Recovering Attorney for allowing me–our family to have that gift), I along with my mother owned a full service bridal consultancy.   My mother is uber-creative, uber-talented, uber-social, and uber-elegant–Martha Stewart and B. Smith have nothing on her I tell you–my mom’s teenage nickname–Jackie O–need I say more.  Ha!  As for me–  I managed the paperwork, made the contacts, drafted our contracts, and served as the “youthful” face and voice of the business.  Great events and even better memories.

We rented a loft-like space in a building listed on the National Register of Historic Places http://www.nps.gov/nr/.  We styled the space with soft lighting, comfortable, plush seating, scattered area rugs on century old  hardwood floors, and eclectic original art work graced the  exposed brick walls.  Our many brides to be would often enter our space and would wish to have their bridal showers hosted in our offices.

The bridal consultancy allowed me to have my cake and eat it too (pun intended, indeed).  I would drop-off Precious Child I at his liberal, artistic, call your teachers by their first names, yet academically rigorous, independent day school in the morning and get to planning one-of-a-kind weddings by 9am.  By 1pm my “day” was over and it was  Mommy Time. 

But in between my morning and afternoon carpools, I  connected with the people of Atlanta’s emerging music scene, I networked with  entrepreneurs, rising politicians…. our creative wedding concepts  appeared on local television programs; we received positive press in Atlanta newspapers.  Our reach even extended to my hometown…

Harriette Coleof Harriette Cole Mediahttp://www.harriettecole.com/the New York based lifestyle maven, author, advice columnist, former magazine editor (Essence Magazine), television personality, wife, mother and friend in this Recovering Attorney’s head–even weighed in on our bridal consultancy.   When her business was in its infancy and carried the name Profundities, Inc., I reached out to Harriette to compliment  her on  the release of her highly successful publications, Jumping The Broom and How To Be, books that spoke directly to all things Wedding, Bridal, Etiquette, Social Graces and Beautiful.  So yes, the books became our reference manuals and she became our long distance mentor (again, in my head).  But Harriette and I did share a telephone conversation or two way back then and her graciousness made me a lifetime fan of her talents, perseverance and her ability to Re-Invent herself.  SO………………

In an ode to my Mom, Mylestones by Marci, A Wedding/Bridal Consultancy, Harriette, Good Manners, The Wedding Season, Summer Time House Guests, Re-Invention, and Recovery, I offer these words:

A Good Guest

Arrives slighty late.  And leaves on time

A good guest brings energy and

charm and a small present.

A dinner guest engages the person on his

right and his left.

A party guest mingles and meets everyone.

A house guest is self-sufficient, not needing

constant entertainment.

All good guests write thank you notes.

Very good guests also call the next day.

 

“The Season” is upon us and I need a reminder  every now and again.  I will re-read this gentle “admonishment” early and often.  And  though the aforementioned primer appeared in a Tiffany & Co. advertisement in the August 20, 2010 publication of the New York Times, I could not have said it better!

 

To the Season,

The Recovering Attorney

 

COPYRIGHT 2011.  The Recovering Attorney Un-Blog(tm).  All Rights Reserved.  And I will sue.  Ha!

 

Off-Topic Tuesday, or, Smart Strategy. Smart Woman; No. I am not talking about The Recovering Attorney

Posted in Uncategorized on May 24, 2011 by ctgalaw

Oprah Winfrey

I believe we are down to the last 2 shows.  And we kinda sorta know what 1 of the 2 remaining shows is about.  Super, mega, A-List, I am- so- famous- and- established- that- you- reference- me- by- my- first- name celebrities–Will, Jada, Tom, Hank, Patti, Beyonce–serenade, laud and applaud Ms. Winfrey.  Deservedly so.  For many of the “surprise”  A through C  (yes, some are C-list)  list celebrities owe The Oprah Winfrey Show a great deal of credit for their enduring success. Homage warranted and somewhat expected. 

Oprah is an unabashed fan of the “celebrity culture” and she counts many of the “Hollywoood Elite” as her dear, personal friends.  Careers  were made by The Show and that was a very smart strategy on Ms. Winfrey’s part.  Allow the established AND rising star to come and promote early and often and you will have a Friend of the Show for life.  When you need to boost ratings, invite your good friend Julia on to discuss the upcoming  birth of her twins.  The exclusive interview will undoubtedly get you another couple of million viewers.  Smart strategy.  Smart woman.  But we already knew that………….

But do you recall the origins of The Show?  Klans men, skin heads, polygamists, and the like were the guests  du jour.  Ms. Winfrey’s, show like that of her predecessor’s Phil Donahue (where popular lure notes that Ms. Winfrey ran Mr. Donahue out of Chicago–to New York City) appealed to the 1980’s cultural lust for once taboo topics (now, skin heads and klans men– neutralized carnival barkers).  And Ms. Winfrey delivered.  And as a society we could not get enough.  Ratings soared and Ms. Winfrey delivered more.  Smart strategy.  Smart woman.

And as Ms. Winfrey approached the “woman of a certain age” status (HELLO), she changed it up on us:  “How to live your best life,” “How to find your passion,”  and “How to pass on kindness.”  Ms. Winfrey was growing as a person and she was correct in assuming that her audience, mainly composed of woman of all ilks (stay-at-home moms, working, professional woman, entrepreneurs, and grad students), was growing and maturing too.  She knew it was time to change it up.  She did.  Successfully.  Smart strategy.  Smart woman.

And like all women with a life plan–Ms. Winfrey now recognize that it is time to take her ball and go home.  So to speak.  Home for Ms. Winfrey is something just a wee bit different than for most of us.  Home is her own network  the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).  And yes.  OWN is working out its kinks–but no worries.  When The Show wraps this week, Ms. Winfrey will be able to devote more time to  OWN.   She will grow the network just as she grew the O Brand.  Smart strategy.  Smart woman.

COPYRIGHT 2011.  The Recovering Attorney Un-Blog(tm).  All Rights Reserved.  And I will sue.  Ha!

This Recovering Attorney is Now Feeling a Certain Way, or, Why Did So Many Persons Embrace the End of the World Prediction?

Posted in Uncategorized on May 23, 2011 by ctgalaw

Now that we have made it through the doomsday prediction of May 21, 2011, all of the sidebar laughs, giggles, late night monologues, intelligent witty postings  (please see last week’s The Recovering Attorney Un-Blog ™ postings)  will start to dry up like a week old zit ( I have adult acne and zits  unfortunately are still a part of my reality).   But.  Wait.  We still have to factor in the late night comedians who will have to get in their last jokes this evening –so, yeah, by Tuesday we should have heard the end of it.

But I am starting to feel a certain way…why were so many people, i.e. “believers” willing to embrace one man’s (I have decided to not name the charlatan–he’s received enough free press) manipulative and apparently faulty prediction of the demise of the world?

“Believers” emptied their 401ks, their savings accounts, quit their jobs, stopped paying their bills, and even left their families in dare I say giddy anticipation of the world coming to an end on a certain date and a certain time.  Their reward of course for liquidating all of their earthly assets was a promise to live a life free of sickness, turmoil, debt and stress–yeah, you must admit, that’s tempting–a pretty good trade-off.  All of your cash for everlasting life?   Hmmmm…

From my understanding the man  behind this faulty prediction was the recipient of all of those liquidated assets.  His organization used a portion of the funds to put up billboards, print leaflets and purchase buses in an attempt to get the word out.  The remainder of the funds–straight into the organization’s coffers.  Where the funds will undoubtedly remain from May 21, 2011 until, well, the “real” end of time.  

I was saddened when, on Sunday, May 22nd, a “believer” during an NPR interview said that he hoped the organization would return his nearly $100,000 “tithe” now that the world is still rotating on its axis (my words–but you get the point).  I think that it is safe to say that the “believer” should not sit around and wait for the refund.  Back to the “real” world for him and the others.  

How. Sad.  For this “believer” and the thousands of others who are now in the same predicament.  Yes.  The world is rife with turmoil:  Wars.  Tornadoes.  Genocide.  Inhumanity. Personal Strife–so I can readily understand the pull/push factor of the “believers”–they  simply did not wish to cope with the world in its present condition.  They were offered an easy ,” God-aprroved” (from their perspective) out and they took it.  It’s Monday morning.  Now what? 

Again, how sad. 

   

 COPYRIGHT 2011.  The Recovering Attorney Un-Blog(tm).  All Rights Reserved.  And I will sue.  Ha!

Saturday Afternoon, or, The Recovering Attorney Says Why Not Enjoy The Rest of Your Weekend

Posted in Uncategorized on May 21, 2011 by ctgalaw

It’s Saturday afternoon.  And all is well.   AND all will be well at 9:01pm eastern!   Enjoy the rest of your glorious, sun drenched (in my little corner of the world), magnificent,  beautiful weekend on awe-inspiring planet EARTH.  Why not?  Life is short.  Right?  Ha!

“Recover, Re-Invent and Re-Connect–it’s the weekend, baby,”

The Recovering Attorney

COPYRIGHT 2011.  The Recovering Attorney Un-Blog(tm).  All Rights Reserved.  And I will sue.  Ha!