Last year when I called Norma on her 98th birthday the ring tone was odd, followed by a message in Italian that seemed to say, 'the person you have called...'. I left a a birthday greeting when I heard the beep. I picked up a few items she had sent me in the mail; a Christmas card with a colorful drawing of Norma steering a gondola in a Christmas hat, and, her latest CD; A Swinin' Love Fest recorded with The Billy Bros. Swing Orchestra also of Italy. I smiled thinking about this unique lady and the incredible life she lives. Later when I talked to her she tells me she lives in Italy a few month out of the year and that she wanted to have a 100th birthday party there called, 'Goin' Out Swingin'. I screamed with laughter and told her, 'hell yeah, I'll be there'!
Today, December 2, 2019 is Norma Millers 99th birthday and I along with countless people world wide honor and celebrate her. On Instagram Toni Basil posted photos of Norma's birthday celebration at the Pasadena Ballroom last night. Chester Whitmore was there along with a huge jazz orchestra. And that's how my friend rolls. From city to city, world wide, with the most incredible artist around.
Happy Birthday Norma!!!
I'm grateful for your gifts you share with the world. I'm grateful for your wisdom, your laughter, your friendship, and for trusting me as an event producer. There's so much more I want to share so I'll add more to this blog but for now, it's a celebration for the
Queen of Swing!!!
dance for love
tapping in to the divine
passion and power is revealed through the rhythm of my feet
the arc of my back as I stretch to the heavens
I get it
Here are the last of my tomatoes of 2018. It's a sure sign of the change of season. There's a just a few tomatoes left on the vine so I'll harvest this plump one for my breakfast.
If feels great to step into my garden in the morning to find something to eat. The sun is bright but everything is cool and damp from the morning dew. I'll harvest some oregano to go with my tomato and have also spotted a few wasabi arugula. Now, arugula is spicy on it's own and this wasabi arugula has and extra kick.
Now that I have my ingredients I can get to work.
This mornings menu is soft boiled eggs with butter, salt and pepper. Creamy grits with a bit of Parmesan cheese. Tomato and herb salad on a bed of wasabi arugula. This quick meal was yummy, hearty, fresh, and delicious. Getting ingredients from my garden is fulfilling and simply makes me smile.
In 2008 when I created The West Oakland Hostel, now known as B-Love's Guest House, my target market was the international community of artist I know and love. With my background as a performance and visual artist I knew of all the dance conferences, film festivals, live shows and other creative events that brought people to the Bay. I immediately put the word out to my tribe of artist that I had rooms for rent when they came to town for a weekend gig, or for several months of an artist residency program. And my people came through! Before Air BNB and now countless other short term housing services, I called, emailed, and through word of mouth let me artist community I was in business.
One of my first guest was my girl Lori I've known since the 90's. We were regulars on the house and dancehall club scene and loved to party together. In this photo I shot Lori for an assignment with 4080 Magazine to shoot a fashion editorial in 1996.
I loved Lori's vibe and in the coming years I would see her on the Hip Hop dance scene in LA, NY, and even an International Hip Hop Festival in Madrid Spain. She was a perfect example of my target audience. In one of her trips home to the Bay she stay with me the first year I was in business and wrote the first review. That you Lori for believing in me and giving my business a try. Here is her review of the West Oakland Hostel.
"The West Oakland Hostel is the best place that any one could stay in the Bay Area without the huge price tag! In addition to being extremely centrally located from San Francisco which is a hop skip and a jump away, Jack London Square/Downtown Oakland/Chinatown, it's clean, cozy and secure, has everything you need for an enjoyable stay i.e.: fresh linens, towels, iron and fully equipped kitchen, cool people and great vibes and the hostess Traci is very sweet, accommodating and helpful. The train is less than a five minute walk and a fantastic 99cent store which has everything you need as well as high quality food and fresh produce! Take my word this is the Bay Area's best kept secret!"
Lori M. 9/21/2008
New York, SF Bay Area Native