Blog Venture, Everything Miz Meliz

Whatever You Do – Don’t Laugh! Being a Total Rock Star Isn’t Easy!

In order to express myself, I must first accept myself.

One of my biggest fears about expressing myself and sharing my creativity and talents has always been the fear of being laughed at or dismissed.  I have so many defense mechanisms in place to avoid being laughed at and ridiculed.  I don’t want to place blame.  That doesn’t change things now.  Heck, I don’t even want to explore the reasons why I am the way I am.  It won’t really matter.  I already know. I am the way I am.  I accept myself the way I am.  I have fears and I handle them.

I am at a point in my life that I have accepted myself and now I am ready to express myself.  I began doing that when I began blogging.  Sharing my thoughts, my feelings, and my experiences with the “world” – with you – has been the key that unlocked my true self and set me free!  That freedom has fueled the flame that keeps my desire for love, joy and happiness burning in my heart.

It’s my time to shine!

Miz Meliz at Urban Desert Cabaret http://mizmeliz.com photo property of Lito Reyes Copyright 2013

This week I had the opportunity to share one of my poems at a performance of spoken word alongside some very talented musicians, poets, and artists.  When I was asked if I wanted to read a poem I said, “Yes!” without hesitation.  When I was asked if I was nervous, I said, “Yes!” but it was the excitement kind of nerves, not the sick or stage fright kind.    The fears that came to mind were brief fleeting moments of panic.   What if I mess up?  What if they laugh at me?  What if no one likes my poem.  What if I get sick to my stomach?  What if I have an anxiety attack? What if I get a migraine or vertigo and can’t go on?  These things have happened before.

The thoughts of my biggest fears did not remain in my consciousness for very long. I have always wanted to get to a point in my life where the things I enjoy doing are not a challenge.  They are just a part of me.  I want to show the world that I can do these things well.  I have always wanted to be able to share my talents without concern for what others think, without fear of judgement.  This was significant in my life’s journey because I have now become more confident in myself and my abilities than ever before.  It was because of that confidence that I did not get nervous or sick. And you know what?  I rocked it!  It was great!  Not just because I did not get ill.  Not just because my friends said I was good.  Not just because I didn’t mess it up.  I enjoyed the experience.  I shared my talent with my friends and family.  And – no one laughed!  I did great because I believed in myself.

The Urban Desert Cabaret

Thursday night’s performance of The Urban Desert Cabaret was a show that my cousin, Joe City Garcia arranged.  The show takes place about once a month and if you like folk music, art, and poetry – you should definitely see it.  Most of the performers have a few things in common, they either know Joe City and/or have some connection to Joshua Tree – a community of artists who live or work in the desert.  These men and women all have a soulful camaraderie and connection to the earth, to light and to love.  Even if you just appreciate great music and song – this show is for you!  You can read more about UDC in my previous posts: Hollywood Nights and Urban Desert Cabaret.

copyright Joe Garcia 2013
It was exciting to be named in the event flyer!

I don’t want to forget anyone, so here is the line up from the January 31st show: Guest artists: Billy Gill (songs), Paul McCarty (songs) Monique Caruso (songs), Cari Banke (art/spoken word), Lalo Kikiriki (song/spoken word), Laura Anne Lacy (songs), Miz Meliz (Melissa Reyes) (spoken word) and more TBA! Plus songs and jams with the UDC combo: Jeremy Gilien, Tonya Lee Jaynes, Robert Matsuda & host Joe City Garcia.  First, Joe City and the Urban Desert Cabaret combo band started off the show with a few songs.  Their music is transfixing.  It brings me to a place of soulful reflection.  Have you ever driven through the desert and listened to the album by U2, Joshua Tree?  It opens up your horizons.  That is how Joe’s music is to me!  He is a rock star that I have admired my whole life.

Joe thanked everyone for coming and explained a bit about UDC.  Then, he said something like “who wants to go first?” and at that moment, I had just stood up.  He looked at me and said, “Miz Meliz – are you ready?”  I had told myself ahead of time that whenever he asked me I would say, “I am ready!” and I did.  And I was!  I didn’t expect to go first, but I was happy to because then I could relax and enjoy the rest of the show.  It was a bit of a bummer because some of my friends missed it, but it was good for me.

Next up was a great performer who played accordion and sang, her name is Lalo. . . her songs were light and fun and she told her stories in a way that made me smile.  She was a bit of a crack up and brought some humor to the scene. After Lalo, Billy Gill came up and performed a few songs.  His guitar playing is remarkable and his singing is impressive! I enjoyed the guitarist Monique Caruso and was impressed that one of the pieces she performed had just been written the night before!  (I wrote the poem that I read over a decade before!!  Some people cant help but share their talent, it precedes them.) Then we had the pleasure of a performance by the  Wicked Saints with Paul McCarty and Retro Rob Thomas.  They were awesome!

Cari Banke spoke about her art that donned the walls all evening and shared some introspective poetry that she wrote to accompany her pieces.  When she took the stage, she said, “Are you all in a good mood? Having a good time?  Well, I am about to bring you down.”  Her art and poetry was about genocide and survival.  She was very insightful and did manage to leave everyone on an upbeat note! There was more singing and guitar playing, more poems were shared and the UDC combo wrapped up the evening with more tunes. It’s surprising that all of this is put together and performed without rehearsals or much else in the way of planning.  It always comes off flawlessly, because of the spirit and expertise of Joe City – all the performers make a commitment to be there and they bring their best to share for that moment.  It was an honor to be a part of it!

My performance is on my You Tube Channel and the poem is posted here: That Funky Tree.

Two Funny Brains

Saturday I had the chance to spend some time with some very creative friends that shared their unique talents with others too!  I have recently shared some of my humor with Fazel Huts and I always say that laughter is the best medicine but a true comedienne is a hot commodity!  It is not easy to be a woman and be funny.  That’s why I love the Two Funny Brains!  two funny brains

I had the unique opportunity to visit Jessica Bern and attend a “girly clothes party” at her home.  Debbie Anderson was there, too.  I couldn’t believe how lucky I am!  I asked Jessica, “You know who I am, right?” when she invited me to this intimate setting.  She was surprised by my question.  I know we are friendly on Facebook and have “talked” late into the night via instant message on many occasions.  But to me, she is a total rock star and I am a total groupie! (I met Jessica for the first time when I had the rare opportunity to be an extra on an episode of Blog This.)

photo credit AJ Ferman Copyright 2013
Jessica Bern & Miz Meliz

To me being “a total rock star” is being able to show off your talents in a big way.  I admire everyone who does that and makes it look so easy.  I know it is not easy. 

The Poetry Salon

After hanging out with the ladies at Jessica’s house, I headed over to The Fat Dog Fairfax, a fun eatery in Hollywood.  I had the pleasure of being invited to attend a special event hosted by Jennifer Styperk, poet and CEO of Poetry Salon.  It was their annual Valentine’s Day event to kick off this season of love.  What better way to celebrate your love for someone than by getting them a bespoke poem for the occasion.  (A bespoke poem is a custom crafted work of art based on stories you provide, inspired by an individual muse whom you want to honor.)  I was thrilled to meet this amazing entrepreneur rock star poet!  I was impressed that Jennifer took her talent as a poet and made it into a business that is thriving and employs and engages other poets to use their craft to help others. (See this great blog post with an interview of Jennifer Styperk for more about Poetry Salon and Bespoke Poems: http://mngirlinla.com/2013/02/04/looking-for-a-personalized-gift-try-out-poetry-salon/#comment-22702)

Photo Credit Deanna Leigh of Poetry Salon copyright 2013
Miz Meliz with Jamie Gall and Jennifer Styperk

Creativity and rocking a special talent comes naturally to some people and it is a difficult journey for most.  No matter what, keep at it!  Don’t ever give up hope!  Face your fears.  Find ways of making it work.  It’s your time to shine!

Behind the scenes busy at work at all the above events are the bloggers that I know that help to promote and in doing so are encouraging and supporting one another constantly.  Please check out their blogs, Like them on Facebook, and Follow them on Twitter and Instagram. Carolyn, Jamie, AJ, and Deanna. I had a blast sharing these experiences with them and I am glad to have their friendship!

Blog Venture, Everything Miz Meliz

Hollywood Nights: The Urban Desert Cabaret Review May 17, 2012

Miz Meliz at the Urban Desert Cabaret in HollywoodI had a really good time in Hollywood the other night!  I attended the Urban Desert Cabaret show at the Pig & Whistle Back Room on Thursday night, May 17th.  I spent some quality time with my family.  My brother and sister-in-law were there with my niece and their friends.  I was accompanied by my two best girlfriends.

The music was great and the night was special because there was a performance of a portion of Varieadades, a presentation of spoken word and music by the acclaimed writer, Ruben Martinez.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1adw4z1U7Tg

Besides the amazing bass guitarist, Juan Perez and the phonetic stlylings of Martin Holmes’ poetry, it was kind of a girl’s night at the Urban Desert Cabaret.  The room was visually enhanced by the abstract art installation of Joanna Fodczuk.  Her paintings are passionate and stirring and really set the mood for the evening’s talent.

Miz Meliz with Rachel Gutierrez at the Urban Desert CabaretI was impressed by Raquel Gutierrez who performed with Martinez and included a reading of her own work as well.  Even though she comes off edgy, deep, personal and raw – I found Raquel to be cool, smooth and a powerhouse of Latina strength and fortitude.

I dropped her this note after she accepted my friend request on Facebook:

“Hi Raquel, I enjoyed your performance at #UrbanDessertCabaret! I’m posting a review on my blog, do you have a website I can link to? Or upcoming shows you’d like to plug?”

She replied promptly:

“Hi Melissa, that’s really cool! My blog’s been http://raquefella.blogspot.com/ for years now and I am on twitter @raquefella. I’ll be here on June 8: http://www.facebook.com/events/224357277677919/?notif_t=plan_edited

Awesome!!  I look forward to seeing her perform again!

Miz Meliz with Cala Elaine at Urban Desert CabaretThe highlight of the evening for me was early on when I was delighted by the incredible performance of guitarist/songstress, Cala Elaine.  I can’t wait to see her perform again. I was intrigued by the combination of her strong sultry voice (reminiscent of Stevie Nicks) and her soulful charm and grace (a little like Jewel.)  She had so much energy and depth in her performance and when I had a chance to meet her, she was friendly and genuine.

Cala and I also exchanged Facebook pleasantries and she has some website updating and more gigs in the works.  Definitely go see her (and any of the artists from UDC) if you can – you will not be disappointed!

Everything about the line up was just as described by the organizer (my cousin) Joe City Garcia on the Facebook Event Invite.  All the terrific artists coming together for a show that always seems to end too early!  The poetry, the exceptional musicians, the atmosphere and the venue – all added to the perfect evening.

The food at the Pig & Whistle was great, the margaritas are pretty good (made with a splash of orange or pineapple juice.) I just hated to leave!  The UDC combo is just getting started when they “play us out.” as everyone says their good byes.

I hope to see you next time at the Urban Desert Cabaret this Summer.  You might even see me make an appearance and read my own original poetry!!

Miz Meliz and Jonathan at Urban Desert Cabaret

Blog Venture, Everything Miz Meliz

Urban Desert Cabaret A Favorite Hollywood Hot Spot

Bien Venidos a Todos! Welcome All!

Tonight’s special event hosted by Joe City Garcia will be one to remember!!

Featured guest artists for tonight’s performance include: Martin Holmes (Poeticus Racontaurus), Martínez del Río – Variedades (Ballad of Ricardo Flores-Magón), Cala Elaine (Songster of Exquisite Passion), Juan Pérez (his Awesomeness of Bass), Joanna Fodczuk (abstract installation) and songs and jams with the UDC combo: Dean H. Chamberlain, Jeremy Gilien, Tonya Lee Jaynes, Robert Matsuda & host Joe City Garcia.

Deets:

  • Thursday, May 17, 2012
  • Back Room, 714 Hollywood Blvd.  http://www.pignwhistlehollywood.com/
  • $5 cover.
  • Full menu and bar.
  • Street parking only enforced until 8PM
  • $5 lot @ Cherokee & Selma.

Join the Event: @  http://www.facebook.com/events/147032125418919/

Tell Me More Miz Meliz!

  • The Urban Desert Cabaret is a collaborative bi-monthly event consisting of guest songwriters, poets, spoken word artists and musicians. Conceived and hosted by Joe City Garcia.
  • The Pig’n Whistle Back Room is an intimate venue, a secret oasis amid the ‘new’ Hollywood Boulevard. Located between Las Palmas and MacCadden Place, you can enter from the side off of MacCadden Place between Selma and Hollywood Blvd. In fact, if you wish to avoid the boulevard altogether, you can circle around the back from Selma and look for street parking (only enforced until 8PM on Thursdays) or park in one of the lots ($5 lot @ Cherokee & Selma.)
  • Segments of L.A.’s hit performances of Variedadeswill be part of tonight’s showcase at Urban Desert Cabaret.
  • Joanna Fodcuk’s installation of Abstract Art will be highlighted tonight at the event as well.

Come back this weekend to read my ramblings of my experience at tonight’s Urban Desert Cabaret!!

VARIEDADES, the regular “performance salon” hosted by author and performer Rubén Martínez took stage in four installments at the famous Echo Club in Echo Park, in November of 2011.  Variedades focussed on an expansive theme: the Desert, in all its immensity, beauty, and fearsomeness. An eclectic bill of artists rendered the “land of little rain” as desert scribe Mary Austin once called it, with music, spoken word, comedy, performance art and even a “performance lecture” by a leading theologian. This resulted in a dramatic and poignant portrait of a place where Mexican migrants cross a searing land, monks seek spiritual purity, soldiers wage battle and students stage revolution… the many deserts within the desert. The show at the Echo Club featured legendary alternative folk figure Victoria Williams (founder of Sweet Relief), internationally recognized performance artist Elia Arce, comedian/playwright/activist Richard Montoya of Culture Clash, and author and Loyola Marymount University theologian Douglas Burton-Christie.

Variedades, as does the Urban Desert Cabaret, pays special tribute to the powerful art scene that’s taken root in recent years in Joshua Tree—a Mojave desert destination long popular with Angelenos. Angelenos are certainly obsessed with the desert. Sometimes we even say that we live in it. (We don’t—you have to cross over the mountains to get to it.) It is certainly our escape-landscape, a screen upon which to project all kinds of desires and fears, and a real, physical place to inhabit. (In the 1990s and first decade of the new millennium, the Desert West saw the fastest population growth of any region in the country.)

As long as people have been traveling to the desert, artists have been representing it. The desert is a recurring character in both the Old and New Testaments. It is the setting for the American passion play of the Western. These days it is often the mise-en-scène for narco noir and neo-nativist politics—Arizona’s SB 1070, an electrified “border wall.”

VARIEDADES is inspired by the Mexican Vaudeville Shows in 1920’s Los Angeles in which Martínez’s grandparents were regular performers.  VARIEDADES v.4 approaches this vast, contradictory space the same way previous themes had been approached (migration, the drug war, anarchy): with artists of different genres and generations bringing passion and humor, pathos and spectacle to illuminate the theme.  The original four part series, performed last year, was made possible by a generous grant from the Material World Foundation (http://www.georgeharrison.com/mwf/main.html) and Liz Garo and The Echo.

A native of Los Angeles and the son and grandson of immigrants from Mexico and El Salvador, Rubén Martínez holds the Fletcher Jones Chair in Literature and Writing at Loyola Marymount University, and is an artist in residence at Stanford University’s Institute for Diversity in the Arts. An author and a veteran journalist, he won an Emmy Award for his work in public television. As a musician, he has collaborated with the likes of The Roches, Los Illegals, Ersi Arvizu, and Marisoul Hernandez. (From: http://www.attheecho.com/2011/10/24/saturday-11-12-11-variedades-echo/ )