Artist - Songwriter
The 2019 South by Southwest (SXSW) activities was host to artists and filmmakers from all across the globe. I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with 'Gea' a very unique and welcoming artist. Gea hosted a showcase which not only debuted her music but that of other artists as well. Gea tells us that the event was a huge success.
Gea is a native of Helsinki Finland with songs which sounds like Nordic folk narratives delivered with present-day electro-acoustic production and fairy-like vocals. Gea's music can fall into multiple categories, such as EDM, Art Pop, indie pop, Folk-pop
Gea released her debut album in New York on September 11, 2017. The album was well received by mainstream music media in the USA, including Huffington Post. Her album reached the #30 in the top count down five times and the #10 in the count down twice. The ratings are noted on radio charts in the USA. In Germany, it was chosen NBT Music Radio's 2017 best album in the top 100.
Finland -(Nosteessa / Slope) artist of the week by YleX (major radio stations of the Finnish Broadcasting Company).
Hollywood Intl Golden Film Award -Music video ”Alone” best editing
Song ”Pink” won Best Soundtrack Award at the Social Machinery Film Festival in Italy
[Submitted by Ms M. Ssugah Chaney]
Raina is an American actress born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana and has come to Claim Purpose and Blaze the world of Entertainment! For more than 10 years she has been a student of the Arts. Being rooted in Theater, Raina has since discovered her passion for TV & Film.
Raina attributes much of her Strength, Inspirations and Upbringing to her Mother. Her mother’s kindness, integrity and work ethic is/were endless and helped to shape Raina’s perception of Life.
Raina grew up in east New Orleans. In earlier years, she and her older brother would create memories with other children at Joe W. Brown Park. Also, Raina would often visit the Historically esteemed French Quarters during school field trips; but it wasn’t until she was older that she truly learned the significance of what she had been exposed to.
Like her Mother, a lover of life and all things in it; Raina strives to mimic her- by exuding Love, Respect, and Compassion, daily. Although Raina’s purpose is Acting, she accepts responsibility to humankind and is deliberate in her role to reflect and breathe life into her story or project.
It didn’t take Raina long to learn that what she had fantasized of being for so long would also require exceptional dedication and levels of honing her craft. Raina begin training at the age of 12 at Anthony Bean Community Theater in New Orleans. Throughout her entire high school term, she was a member of the Drama Dept. of McDonogh #35 as well as a student at New Orleans Center of Creative Arts (NOCCA). Raina then studied and graduated (with Honors) from The Conservatory of Theater Arts of Webster University with a degree in Acting.
It comes as no surprise that whatever Raina touches will manifest into something great!
After graduation Raina relocated to Atlanta, Georgia with the same Blueprint in mind; she allowed her love for people to help navigate her into the acting circuit of Atlanta. Connecting with like-minded Artist; Raina had the pleasure of competing in the REP YOUR ACT 2017 Acting Competition. Naturally she Wowed the Audience, other contenders and judges- thus making her the Winner of the competition. Not quite a year after being a resident she is rumored to be a young Viola Davis!
Raina has served Background and Supporting Roles in films; Contraband, The Important Parts of Me, Ms. Devaux (2018). She has had the opportunity to work as an associate producer in Dirty Deeds (Keturah Miller in The Blue Series- Discovery}. Raina has also portrayed Idil in Stage Play, Where It All Goes Down (Natalie E. Davis).
While Raina continues to evolve as an Actress, she understands symmetry. In life, there will be highs and lows. She has learned that opportunity sometimes come in the appearance of opposition. While being a resilient actor, she cares for her Grandmother back in New Orleans.
Raina had already proven that everything she sought out to conquer was a success, so she was up for the dual residency challenge. As she has tattooed words to live and love by; “Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship.”-Denzel Washington and “The kind of beauty I want most is the hard-to-get kind that comes from within – strength, courage, dignity.”-Ruby Dee, her beacon radiates.
Raina’s goals are to tell as many stories and touch as many hearts as possible through her work; whether it be through TV/Film or Stage. She dreams to one day share scenes with Viola Davis, Cicely Tyson and Forrest Whitaker but more than that Raina aspires to be the best version of herself; holding true to always being intentional and unapologetically transparent.
Raina just completed a heart jerking deliverance as Van Miller, in the Blue Series Special, “Finished the Dream”, a tribute to Women’s History Month. She has accepted the role of Bianca in Superstar Dreamz, Live the Musical, which is projected to come out later in the year, and she will be featured in Queen of Resilience (a Magazine/Platform that targets mental health awareness, mentorship, and professional development). In addition, you can spot her in a few short films and web series the latter of 2019.
You truly don’t want to miss Raina’s Amazing Journey!
Fasten Your Seat Belts…RAINA HOUSTON is Indeed a WOMAN on the MOVE!
For Bookings: BYSB Talent Agency
““Since I’ve studied theater mainly, I felt a bit like a fish out of water moving to Atlanta to pursue a career in film and television. It hasn’t been a walk in a park and I’m still learning each day what serves me best as an actress. I simply had to become comfortable with failing and telling myself, “Hey, it’s ok! You live and you learn.” What’s for you is for you and no one can take that from you!” -Raina Houston
[Submitted by Sunny L. Kelley Aiken]
Lauren Keeton, native of Mobile, Alabama, became a residence of Atlanta, Georgia for 17 years; sets the Atlanta scene to a new standard with her passion for Youth in Arts and Entertainment.
Being an educator, Lauren has a considerable amount of experience in the area of the Private/Public school Sectors. In which, she would soon discover the need for Arts and a compelling vigor to commit to such an assignment.
Lauren was often approached by parents of youth as well as other mentors, expressing their interest in entertaining or how they- themselves might go about contributing to the Arts. Although Lauren didn’t have all the answers, she remembered encouraging nuggets her mother would share; “Seek God to make the Vision Clear” or “Practice Makes Permanent”. After experiencing a few personal (seemingly) set- backs of attempting to establish herself in the industry; Lauren realized the answers she sought God for- was already in her possession!
THEN THIS HAPPENED****HOTT THEATRE For CHILDREN
Lauren had made good on her child hood dreams! She earned a BA in Theater at Auburn University and after wards served numerous roles in Stage Plays. This gave her the fortitude to birth Hott Theatre for Children. On August 2014, Cobb County, Atlanta GA Film Industry would never be the same. Hott Theatre was the beginning of something Radical!
Lauren filed previous experiences and made Hott Theatre for Children answer the need of each child- no matter the creative facet. Hott Theatre provides a platform that gives voices to all Youth who have a passion in Theater, Music, TV/Film, Modeling and Hosting. In addition, it is geared to prepare the youth for public speaking, auditions, branding, and interviews.
Lauren partnered with other industry professionals and charities around the city of Atlanta to share with Hott Theatre. Many are zealously paying it forward, looking to make their mark in the world. “Your Reputation is Everything in the Film Industry,” says Lauren.
In a small amount of time, students of Hott Theatre for Children had been in pursuit of their acting and music careers. Films such as Birth of a Nation, Almost Christmas, Fixation, Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, and All Eyez on Me don’t even scratch the surface of opportunities they have been graced to appear in! In addition to TV/Films and Stage Plays, some have led and made cameo appearances on National Commercials and others have produced their own Music and Videos. There is No Box that can hold Hott Theatre for Children!
In an effort to create real life scenarios for children AND adults (who were seeking to make acting their career), Lauren’s vision for Hott Theater would soon catapult. Just when you thought you had an idea of what would be next for them; Lauren introduced an extension of her previous vision: Rep Your Act!
REP YOUR ACT
Rep Your Act is a Competition for all-age Demographics (projected to Grow Nationally) allowing Artist to Represent their Talent, whether it be song, dance, acting, performing monologues, comedy and etc. #RepYourAct2017 and #RepYourAct2018 were Huge Successes. Past winners and contenders are set to be the next generation of Talent to take TV/Film to Unseen Levels.
Approaching #RepYourAct2019, anticipation has grown! This exhibition is known to create more working relationships. Atlanta actors and Industry Professionals will have access to vetted Fresh Faces; trained by the Best acting coaches. And beginner filmmakers as well as public will have opportunity to network with Atlanta’s Who’s Who!
Thank You to Past Guest/Host/Honorees/Sponsors/Media/Venders/Judges:
Celebrity Radio Host, Saga Boss- DTTO Online Radio (Instinct Radio), Richard J Reynolds, Eagle Vision Productions, Medical Dermatology Specialists, January Curry (Casting Director) Destination Casting, Ibee Events, Poised Studios. Genuine Apparel. Bobby & Renee Peoples, The Peoples Network. A Sweet Obsession. Coko Lynn, Bright Star Talent, Singer/Actress Kimani Edwards, Casting Director Andrea Craven. Queen Nola (Caring Hands & Heart Foundation Inc). Fancy with Lavish Cosmetics. Kimberly D. Worthy (Author.Actress.Writer.Producer). Gypsii La Flor (Radio Personality), Tina Bridges (Host & Media Personality), Actress/Model Brenda Dubone Smith, Greg Lockett, Natarsha The Manager, Sunny Kelley Aiken, Wardell Richardson, Andree Harris, Actress DeEtta West (Aspire Tv), Auditions with Shay Mack, Marietta Theater Square, LeAnn Foster,Ray Knowledge, Tribel Nickerson, James Thompson, Ezron Benjamin, Morning Dew Style, Nova House, She ROCKS, And Many More…………..
REP YOUR ACT 2019 will Hit the Runway with a KICK OFF MIXER!
As Lauren introduces the Newest Vision of RYA2019, she remains truthful to her purpose. Rep Your Act is a competition but not synonymous with other Talent Competitions. The idea is designed for every contestant to Win by showcasing their talents and gain the necessary exposure. WIN WIN!
The Future Favors the BOLD
I’M COMING OUT!
There's a new me coming out And I just had to live And I want to give I'm completely positive I think this time around I am gonna do it Like you never do it Like you never knew it Oh, I'll make it through
Lyrics coined by Legendary Diana Ross- served as the Mantra for the 4th Annual Bold Lifestyle Awards as creator, LyNita Mitchell- Blackwell took to the dance floor in complete Celebratory fashion!
SOME PEOPLE MAKE IT LOOK EASY
LyNita Mitchell- Blackwell is for sure leading in many facets. Her extensive catalog of work- ranges from Corporate to Entertainment to Entrepreneurship as well as spiritual advocacy. LyNita’s education and Life Coaching skills afforded her the ability to hone her natural gifts; Loving People.
Not for sake of popularity or selfish gain but because LyNita understood alignment; She refused to cower from such an astronomical task leaving it for someone else to do. Instead she allows her nucleus to elevate and edify others!
LyNita Mitchell-Blackwell is Crowned as the LEADERSHIP CHAMPION.
She serves as an Author, Attorney, CPA, Life Coach, Speaker, Publisher- all while honoring her role as wife to Rev Brian K Blackwell, mother of Angelica, and friend to many. When considering the task, LyNita heeds a level of Symmetry in order to maintain traction while she carries her baton in this Marathon. Having been rooted, embraced, and exposed to a family and community of high integrity; it would only be natural for LyNita to exude Passion, Purpose, and Perfection in everything that she touches!
Extensive as Her Resume is, Her Heart is MUCH More!
In addition to traditional education and trainings, work-life balance incentivized her with rewards reflective of the services, she has rendered. LyNita’s relentless fortitude and ambition drove her to show up to meet the best version of herself. She has served on many notable committees, chaired non-profit events, and is recognized amongst her peers in Corporate America as well as Internationally. She is a Pioneer in her community and for the newer relationships- she leaves a lasting impression. Qualified and certified to run with the best; LyNita is most valued for her humility!
“When You Wake Up in The Morning, Don’t Roll Over, Roll Out!”
“Your mind is Ready, get your body Set, and let's Go!”, says LyNita as she barbarously conquers each goal!
LyNita’s previous WINS would include but not be limited to; a publisher of three Award winning magazines, an EP (Executive Producer) of entertainment and informative television and radio shows, and a Keynote Motivational Speaker. She commits to each destination and challenge while being true to self. Constantly engaging in personal growth and having a spirit of discernment has allowed LyNita to take the front seat to her Destiny!
It is no secret of how Extraordinary LyNita Mitchell- Blackwell is. Her magic is embedded in her WHY! “I love striking the match and setting people on FIRE with their reason for being.” No matter the platform, she is purposefully dedicated to transforming lives. While she is an Inspiration to others, she too is inspired by other icons! “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”- Eleanor Roosevelt, “Never, ever stay where you are not valued”- Dr. Robert J Watkins, and “The right thing isn’t always the easiest thing, but it’s still the right thing”- Dr. Byron L Mitchell are Gems she has sculpted and has been a grave contributor to the Wisdom she perspires!
LyNita knew early in her career that her brand was collective; and once she had written the vision it would be an expedition of responsibility. It was unlike her to not be generous with what she had been blessed with. In addition to being an accomplished author, LyNita sought to share her new vision with a dynamic force of Go-getters! What she had was something that would change the trajectory of How Stories are Told. It was BOLD!
BOLD Favor Media Group
LyNita had such a strict level of excellence for herself- that it would become repulsive to even witness others not walk in their own Purpose and Power. Images that many had become bored with- was Now the barometer for Television/Film and media. LyNita was frustrated at how women were depicted in media, particularly, women of Color. And thus, was charged to BE THE CHANGE!
“I was horrified the first time I saw an episode of the Reality Show, RHWOA. And THEN… they kept making more versions of that franchise. So, I prayed and asked God...…. He told me not to get angry; but do something!”
The Journey Did Not Come Without Opposition. But it would soon be WORTH IT!
LyNita was never oblivious to the height of her obligations. There was much to consider. In the beginning stages she took blind chances and had to do a few things over. She communicated with her family and colleagues- giving them heads up that she would be creating her own magazine.
Even when there were minor set- backs, LyNita used the experiences as a source of gain. The 1st Magazine issue, LyNita ranked it very low and described it to be “ugly” after having used a Microsoft Word format. She attempted a couple more times but it still didn’t meet her standards. It wasn’t until a good friend, Donna Werdelin, hired her cousin, graphic designer, Jodeci Richardson, where her vision for Bold Favor Magazine was indeed Exceptional!
LyNita launches Bold Favor Media Group. A rhetorical source fashioned to give voice to each Leading woman. The Bold Favor Media Group is the brand that introduces a culture that Everyone has the ability to Win! Being comprised of 4 Magazines; Bold Ageless Beauty, Bold Next, Bold Plus, Bold Favor, there was sure to be an overflow of leaders to reverse the agenda of how Women in Leadership is perceived.
By now, LyNita was a well-known author, publisher and owner of 4 successful magazines and was gaining exposure, Internationally. Her team and her had an unspoken chemistry. Each person brought their own flavor. This would elevate the initial vision as well as create more opportunities.
When it came to media, Bold Favor MG would make their mark! Not only were they a major part of the Atlanta Circuit, but they had established themselves throughout other leading cities in the United States. They are known for Giving Back and Highlighting ‘Make Sense’ Foundations.
A MOVEMENT. LyNita was Pleased with the Developments of Bold Favor Media Group. And even more, keen in keeping like-minded people in her circle. She would often welcome new ideas for the advancement of the Bold Vision!
BOLD Lifestyle Awards
2015 was the year for the Bold Vision. LyNita and her team was Intentional in Sharing the Mission and Goal of Bold Favor Media Group. BOLD Lifestyle Awards became a Thing!
Each year, BOLD Favor Media Group honors outstanding community leaders from around the world who have dedicated their lives to empowering and uplifting others to live powerfully! LyNita wanted people in the community to know they were appreciated and their offerings didn’t go unnoticed. Throughout the year, the mission of Bold Favor Media would be to connect and be in the know of these well-deserved leaders.
LyNita, What Fond Memory Would Serve as Your WHY – in Your Mission for the BOLD Lifestyle Awards?
“2017. The first time we were approved for a major Awards program to cover the red carpet was the 2017 Soul Train Music Awards in Las Vegas. We were all so excited! Tinzley Bradford did a phenomenal job covering it. And our own Awards program later that year was outstanding!”
As If It Couldn’t Get Any Greater!
On December 2018, at the 4th Annual Bold Lifestyle Awards, LyNita and the Entire Bold Favor MG Family was in complete Formation! Although they came to celebrate other Regal Men and Women of the Community, LyNita surprised her team with the very 1st Comic Book- honoring them for their service to the Movement. In the interim of pitching the Bold Favor Comic Book, yielded much stress. There was no one to bounce ideas from (seeing that it was a secret) and LyNita was adamant about Wowing her team with the most memorable Dedication. Rumors of success were inevitable after witnessing how high the Climax and Reception was from the Crowd. And in conclusion, the 4th Annual BOLD Lifestyle Awards was topped off with grand salutation on a job well done!
LyNita Mitchell-Blackwell has mighty shoes to fill, but she certainly has scribed the blueprint of success for a Sorority of Leaders to Follow.
You Don’t Want to Miss What’s Up Next for LyNita!
Be Sure to Connect https://livingthelifestyle.live/about-me/ for a Buffet of Enrichment Tools and Events.
[Submitted by Sunny L. Kelley Aiken]
The Platters, Trumpet, and Radio - What does all of this have to do with Mose Stovall?
Mose Stovall is a Birmingham Alabama native, with a passion for music. Mose was introduced to music very early on. It is reported that initially, Mose took an interest in the trumpet, and later began singing. Mose Stovall's singing ability was noticed by Choral Director Perry Anderson an Educator at A.H. Parker High. With nurturing from Dr. Anderson, Mose was taught ways to enhance his vocal skills.
A few of Mose accolades from early on include Birmingham Civic Opera, Birmingham All-City Chorus, a contender for Alabama Choral Ensemble. opening act for Grammy Urban Showcase in 2000, and 2013's Best Urban Male Entertainer of the Year recipient at Alabama's Urban Award.
Mose Stovall's style of singing is influenced by the late Luther Vandross, Anthony Hamilton, and Maze featuring Frankie Beverly.
Thus, the reason Mose Stovall has come to be known as, 'the Velvet Voice.' His expressive and soulful voice calls out to his audiences, as his feelings and spirit is reflected in his music.
Mose Stovall has appeared as show opener to Erica Badu, Willie Clayton, the O'Jays, and Maze. He appeared on Star Struck hosted by Donnie and Marie Osmond.
Mose has informed us that the following names are only a few of the artists he has been honored to work with: Tony Terry, Howard Hewitt, Frankie Beverly and Maze, Willie Clayton, Omar Cunningham, Vick Allen, Big Ro Williams, Erika Badu, Calvin Richardson, Benny Latimore, Angie Stone, Producers Robert and Thomas Harris, Jamil Debarlabon, Mark Price, Ant Madden of Switz Beats, GEO, Six Nine & A/C, and Wink from Gasden Alabama .
He is a current member of The Golden Sounds of the Platters.
Although Mose Stovall is a gifted singer, he makes it clear that he is also established as songwriter, producer and radio DJ. Mose also enjoys performing cover tunes of other great artists. He performs songs of all eras from the 70s to 90s and in almost all categories.
In August 2003, Mose released his first R&B solo album 'Private Party', with hits songs, 'Hold You', 'The Problem Is You', 'Good Lovin', 'Dance', and 'Can't Stand.' Later in 2007, he released his second album.
Mose is currently hosting 'BEATS TV' which is a weekly TV show seen on (ABC 33/40) Birmingham's local airways. Mose is working on his next album and excited about the hot new single, 'Dancin.'. Be sure to follow the 'Velvet Voice' of Mose Stovall.
Mose recalls motivational phrases spoken to him by his beloved grandmother:
“Once a task has just begun, never leave it until it’s done.” “Be the labor, great or small, do it well or not at all.”
Mose says, his grandmother would repeat these phrases when she believes he and her other grandchildren were being lazy. This has been motivation for Stovall’s generation and beyond.
Now Mose shares his own motivational thoughts: "God's purpose must always be our guide. Singing is my gift, through music I want to reach, to touch and to make changes in people's lives. My goal is to make people look at their lives and put it in a positive direction. Music is a universal language, that crosses all barriers and touches everyone - anyone. Healing souls is my mission. I thank God for the chance to spread His love through my gift of music. Through me, the gift is spread via records, Cds, TV, Radio, and Video."
We invite you to continue to follow the man with the 'Velvet Voice.'
[Submitted by Ms M. Ssugah Chaney]
It's a shame but very much a reality that there are websites and fake agencies out there that are attempting to copy what the US Press Association has been doing for the past 20 years. While many of these sites are cleverly produced showing some members and even fake publications, these sites can do very little for you when it comes to helping you as either a freelancer or professional in your designated field. With thousands of members across the globe, The US Press Association "THE USPA" is there for you to help YOU with the many requirements and tasks that you may face on a daily basis. From professional association requirements for credentials to social networking and website SEO, the US Press Association is here to help YOU. Many of the sites you may come across utilize deceptive practices to obtain members to help them artificially inflate their "members" in an effort to look like they are authentic. Truth of the matter is, most of these sites have been imitating the US Press Association and in some instances attempting to utilize our likeness in an attempt to deceive prospective members. Some of these deceptive practices include creating an elaborate web of "agencies" and bogus "publications" or news outlets in an attempt to lure those with journalistic passions with a place they can post their stories, photos, videos or other media. In their attempts to defraud prospective members, they have only succeeded in damaging legitimate freelancers and even professionals.
Stand with the US Press Association and let's work together to put a stop to those that attempt to defraud and damage the efforts of those with a passion for anyone involved in journalism and new media.
[Submitted by Michael Vanderpool]
First Light in Kenya By Jessica Tinianow
(Published in Summer 2005 Windy City Sports Chicago,Illinois)
Dawn breaks in Kenya. The plains of the Masai Mara are still. A herd of Thomson gazelles is grazing on the low grass. Suddenly, one runs to the outside and begins to lap the others. The lone gazelle accelerates and is galloping gracefully in ovals around the rest of the herd as if completing 200 meters on an outdoor track.
This gazelle mirrored the Kenyan running experience I had the prior week. I had participated in the first Runner’s World Kenya Running Safari and still had a runner’s high. This unique safari, organized by the magazine and Micato Safaris (www.micato.com) transported 12 Americans, one Japanese and this writer to the Northwest Highlands of Kenya, to Eldoret, a town located 3,085 meters above sea level from which most of Kenya’s elite distance runners originate.
It’s here that I journeyed into the home of Kenya’s greatest running tribe, the Kalenjin, in the highlands along the western edge of the magnificent Rift Valley. Over the course of 10 days, all of us socialized, ran and broke bread with more than 30 elite, world-class Kenyan runners.
As an avid recreational runner/triathlete I had watched Kenyans dominate many mid- and long-distance races for over 20 years. Yet before visiting Eldoret most of these runners were nameless to me except for a few of the most celebrated, like Kip Keino, Paul Tergat and Tegla Laroupe. When the Kenyans zipped by, I would clap and cheer for them collectively without any knowledge of their individual achievements. But I always wondered who these extraordinary runners were and why they were so good. What were the secrets behind all those anonymous faces?
From the moment I opened the van door and stepped onto the edge of the simple, dirt running track of Kamirriny stadium in Iten, a local Kalenjin town close to Eldoret, my surreal running experience began. Sprinting by me in midst of a morning interval workout was world-class athlete Lornah Kiplagat (see notes on all the athletes at the end). Then, my attention drifted to another three runners who ran with effortless long strides. I was told that I was watching three of Kenya’s most accomplished mid-distance medalists—Abraham Chebii, Sammy Kipketer and Ben Maiyo. A few daring souls in our group jumped in and tried to keep pace, though a running injury prevented me from joining the fray. Throngs of curious, smiling and shy schoolchildren surrounded us and squealed with delight as we gave them Bic pens and showed them our digital photos.
That afternoon I dined with Kiplagat at the training center she and her husband, Pieter, founded for young, gifted female athletes in the community. Over dinner, she shared with me her hopes and dreams for the future of female Kenyan athletes. “I encourage them to be the best they can be—they’re already doing very well,” she said.
Almost all the athletes, whether title holders or young future stars, come from impoverished backgrounds. Even with overseas race winnings they maintain strong ties to their family and community and never seem to lose a sense of their roots. The people live simply—without running water, TV or radio, but they all have enough to eat. The children walk or run to school, often barefoot in tattered school clothes.
Legendary runner Kip Keino proudly took the group on a tour through the beautiful gardens on the grounds of his training camp. He showed us where he grew pineapples, bananas and herbs, but he barely mentioned the home and school for 100 orphans that he built across the field. Brother Colm O’ Connell, a longtime coach who’d produced many champions at St. Patrick’s High School in Iten, proudly showed us his schoolyard full of trees—each one planted in honor of a graduate who went on to running fame. There was almost no room left to plant new seedlings. He shared with us the main lunch course of the student athletes, which is called githeri—a simple cooked mixture of corn and beans—as well as the other basic ingredients of their daily diet: tea, toast, meat and the aforementioned ugali. I wondered if perhaps these were the keys to the Kenyan success.
Often, celebrated athletes training and living in the Eldoret area joined our runners on casual runs along dirt roads past farms in the hills of the Rift valley. Though limited by my injury, I was able to participate in the enthusiasm of the experience.
In the hills of Chirchir I watched with envy as Eliud Kipchoge, Matthew Birir and Richard Limo ran with our group. The Kenyans jogged along as the pack descended and ascended the hills on unpaved, uneven dirt roads with beautiful panoramic vistas of the Rift Valley and its idyllic countryside at every turn of the road. Children appeared at the side of the road and stared with curiosity. It was a sight they likely had never seen before.
Overall, our group was welcomed into five training centers and five private homes. We also received an open invitation to participate in the North Rift Valley Regional XC championships in the fertile highland of Kapenguria. Nine of us signed up for the 4K and 12K races. Our team entered as the Mzungu Wazimu (crazy white people). Crazy indeed, for age, altitude and genes were all against us from the outset.
Hundreds of local villagers and children had walked miles in the scorching heat to watch and cheer on their own young talents, many of whom ran barefoot. They clearly were bewildered and bemused by the site of the Mzungu running in the searing Equatorial heat on the remote muddy dirt field. They pushed forward to get a closer look.
Our team placed last but won the hearts of the crowd. For the Kenyans, participating at Ngong meant a potential entry ticket to the next level of the African and World Championships.
I never discovered if there was really one secret to the success of Kalinjen athletes; it’s probably a combination of things. Though I suspect it’s the fact that running is more than a sport, but is instead woven into the fabric of their lives.
[Submitted by Jessica Tinianow]
I never realized that sitting in the Ravinia Pavilion I would have to duck to avoid flying objects as if I was sitting down the foul line in Wrigley Field. Yet the flying objects at Ravinia were not errant fly balls but errant flying panties being hurled towards the stage. The target of their trajectory was none other than the legendary “sex-bomb” Welsh crooner ”Tom Jones.
At age , 69, Tom Jones still had the ladies swooning from the moment he arrived onstage . Deeply tanned, wearing an all black suit sans tie with open neck and a shiny large silver cross dangling around his neck Tom Jones had the appearance of a Las Vegas showman. His schmaltzy getup and set , was supported by a strong fleet of musicians three vocalists a strong keyboardist Frank Strauss and his music director Ric Fierabracci on guitar.
He moved easily through many of his legendary hits including “She’s a Lady” and “Delilah”. The rich soulfulness of his voice was evident during his slower ballads. Many new songs from his first album in 15 years to be released in the USA.,”24 hours” were performed.
Shortly into his performance when he sang “I’m Alive” he reminded the audience that he felt “it was appropriate” that he sing that song. A load laughing roar filled the pavilion. Though aging, Tom Jones is more than alive. He is energetic ,vibrant and can still swing and swivel his hips rousing a response from his adoring audience. He hasn’t seemed to have lost his sex appeal . With “What’s new Pussycat?” rows of ladies stood on their feet and twirled panties above their head. More than a few made a run down the aisle toward the stage and with a pitcher’s wind-up they hurled their undies over the security guard towards the stage. Those who were successful were cheered by the audience. As one red satin panty lay at his feet ,Tom looked down and coyishly remarked “oh my”. He kept on course swiftly moving through his setlist.
After a two hour run without intermission Tom revealed he still had the moves and stamina to entertain, sing and keep the ladies titillated by his moves albeit a bit more muted than in his youth. At the concert’s end, though surrounded on stage by an array of multicolored panties ,that seemed like wildflowers growing in an English garden. Though showered with female adulation, the consummate showman left the stage alone.
[Submitted by Jessica Tinianow]