Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Purchase The Quick & Dirty EP! (Brooklyn, London, Chicago, the World!)

Hey Everyone,

Here is where you can purchase The Quick & Dirty EP. There are plenty of ways to choose from. Walk into a store (yes records stores still exist), purchase a hard copy online or download. Do what you like, but do it.

Have a great holiday season and stay tuned for my Year End Review!


Dusty Groove America


CD Baby

Amazon MP3

Traxsource (For The Quick & Dirty DANCE EP)

In Store & Online
Dope Jams
580 Myrtle Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205

Ongoing Events
Jazz Re:freshed
Mau Mau Bar
265 Portobello Road
London W10
7:30pm (GMT)
Every Thursday
(Will be sold in online store beginning in January)

More to come. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Quick & Dirty EP Release Wrap Up

I liken putting out an album to having a child. I don’t have any actual children, but from what I see and hear it’s a bit like this. The first one is a real challenge because you don’t know anything at all. It’s beautiful and a blessing, but you are flying by the seat of your pants. When the second child arrives there is still a lot to learn because it’s a different person, but you are a bit more chill because you have the experience of the first. So everything is not as precious. That in a nutshell is how I felt about this CD. It is for all intents and purposes my second child.

Originally I wasn’t going to put this CD out with any fanfare at all. It took me so long to get it mixed that I had the mind to just put it up digitally, send out an email letting people know where they could buy it and call it a day. Then I could move on to getting the next studio project together. But how could I do that to one of my babies?

You see The Quick & Dirty EP a.k.a. the Q&D is quick because it’s only 6 songs and dirty because it’s live. I’ll give you a quick history and then we’ll get to the release show.

The Back Story
Last year I did a U People show during Brooklyn Pride with Staceyann Chin and Hanifah Walidah & the Fuckin’ Ladies at Southpaw in Brooklyn. Before the show the sound guy told us he would record the show if we liked. After which we could purchase the recording at $15 for a stereo mix and $50 for a multi-track. I was only going to go for the stereo mix, but then I thought I would go for the multi-track because if the recording sucked then it was only $50, but if it was great then it was only $50! As it happened the recording came out amazing!

So I have this recording, everything is separated so it can be properly mixed, but now here comes the challenge. Affording to have it mixed. I’ll jump ahead and say it took me almost a year to get it mixed and I had to go to Atlanta to get it done. Why Atlanta? Well let me go back a little further.

More Back Story
When I went to London with the band in 2007 I met some incredible artists. One of which is an emcee named LyricL. There were also a few UK folks who helped me get shows over there. One of them is Adam Rock of Uprock Recordings/Jazz Re:freshed and the other is Daz-I-Kue of Bugz in the Attic. Over the last year I asked people if they wanted to do remixes of my song “blaK Girls.” Brooklyn based producer and friend Lionel Sanchez Jr. is one of the people who remixed the song and he did a killer Afrobeat version that we are blessed to have LyricL rhyming on. Lionel sent the tracks to LyricL and she recorded it at Daz’s studio in London (he lives in Atlanta now), then the tracks came back to New York and ATL. Through this process, Daz and I developed a friendship and he agreed to mix the project. So in May I made a week of it in Georgia. I went down to mix the CD and I also went to Vinx’s Songwriter’s Soul Kitchen in McRae, GA.

Lionel finished the Afrobeat version and then Ian Friday surprised me by agreeing to put a remix of “Dance (Flying Home)” (from my first album) on the project. What?!! Now I’m psyched! Two remixes. Daz agreed to master the project and then he told me to look out for a surprise from him. Well, his surprise was a Dub of the “blaK Girls” remix! Now we’re cooking with gas!

They say you should never plan an album release until the product in hand, but I have never followed that rule. My master came in at the wire so I had to rush CD production. Everything was on track until it wasn’t. I got a call from the manufacturer saying that something happened at the printer and they had to split the CD shipment. Okay. I’m breathing. Fine, as long as I have something for the show.

The Show Brainstorm
I had some ideas for the Q&D, but I needed some help to bring them to life. So I called Achuziam and Monstah Black to help me brainstorm on the Quick & Dirty theme. We all come up with some great ideas that I was honestly unsure how we were going to pull them off.

You know the real meaning of the Quick & Dirty, but you also know what it sounds like. I like the play on words so I wanted to go with it. When Chuz, Monstah and I got together to brainstorm we came up with some pretty interesting ideas. Some of which I’ll save for the book, but I will say this. It had the makings to be much more dirty than quick. After a productive conversation this is what we decided.

I wanted the night to be an event and Kim Knox (who booked us at Littlefield) told me that no one had really ever dressed Littlefield. It’s a great room that has gallery space in the front, and in the back where the bands play is like a black box theater. So there was room to do a lot. We wanted people to know they were somewhere as soon as they walked up. So we decided to set up a bedroom scene in the courtyard that would be backlit behind a scrim. So all people would see as they entered were shadows of bodies. You might think you are seeing a man and a woman, two men, two women, three people, who knows. It was for the voyeur in everyone. Of course when we thought about that it was warm outside. We didn’t really think about the fact that it would be the end of November when this all took place and possibly very cold outside. Later I decided to move the bedroom inside for the comfort of all involved.

The second idea was the “showers.” The idea was that in life you usually go from the bedroom to the shower under various circumstances. *wink* Monstah said that he would put together two showers made of hula-hoops with clear plastic. We would need two platforms for the dancers to go on either side of the stage. I know you are thinking, what?? Just go with me. The idea was to drape rope over one of the pipes on the ceiling of the club so that the showers had a place to hang from.

Finally, I needed lights and platforms. Those were the two big items. Chuz had the air mattresses and the polls for the scrim. Monstah had the hula-hoops, plastic and the ropes. Kim said she knew someone who might be able to help us get the platforms and she also suggested reaching out to our friend Tillary about the lights.

It seemed like everything was moving along smoothly. Kim was looking into platforms and I called Tillary about the lights. Till put in me touch with his friend Jay for lights and it was supposed to be a hook-up. So I went to meet with Jay, he said he would look into the lights for me and I felt good about it. So that was that, for a bit.

The show date was getting closer and my hook ups for platforms and lights were not panning out. A couple of weeks went by and Jay informed me that I might be better off buying lights and it would cost me about $150 or $175 for what I needed. Well that couldn’t happen because that was not in the budget. So I needed a plan B. Next, the platforms.

Nothing seemed to be coming through on that front. Chuz told me to ask Aleijuan because he had some platforms made for a show he did at his school. Asked, but that was a no go. Then she suggested that I got to IKEA and see if I could find some cheap coffee tables that would be big enough or something in the AS IS section. I checked IKEA, found tables that might work that weren’t too pricy, but what was I going to do with two coffee tables after the show was over? Chuz said I could take them back which sounded good, but if people were going to dance on them who knew if that could really happen. I thought that was my final option, but then I remembered my theater and movie friends. So I put out a few emails, one in particular to Steven Sapp of Universes, and the next day I got a text from him telling me to reach out to a woman named Marisa Marshall at the Henry Street Settlement: Abrons Arts Center. I was hyped!!!

I called her, but didn’t hear back right away so I got a little nervous. I thought I was going to have to go to IKEA after all, but Marisa came thought in the clutch with platforms! Amazing. Much love to her and Steven. So the platforms were good to go, but what about the lights? I had given up on getting real theater lights at that point so now what? Chuz reminded me that she suggested I just get some clip lights from Home Depot. Well, I should have gone there in the first place because those lights were $7 a piece and they worked great lighting the scrim! I thought we were good to go, but then I was concerned about how we were going to get the polls to stand up since we didn’t have any earth to stake them in. I ran the situation by Chuz and after a bit of brainstorming and talking to her mother they came up with the idea of Christmas tree sands. Brilliant! Now that that was figured out I had to get clear on what needed to be done the day of the show and getting those stands was just one thing.

The day before the show I felt sick. Not usual for me. But the day of the show I was strangely calm. I had a lot to do, but I knew it would get done. My mother was coming in the morning so she could help as well.

Day of the Show
I got up in the morning and headed to LaGuardia to get a rental car. Why there? Frankly, it’s cheaper. When I got there I got a call from my mother saying that she had just entered the New York city limits. She was early. I got the car, headed back to my house and we arrived at the same time, which was great! We were supposed to pick up the platforms at 12:30pm and head to the club to drop them off at 1:30pm. Well you know what they say about plans and God. Marisa was late getting to the theater and then Kim called to tell me that the folks couldn’t get to the club until 3:30 or 4pm. Okay. So what to do now? My mother and I decided to go eat and hit Loew’s for the Christmas tree stands. After that we headed to the theater to get the platforms. At first we weren’t sure if they would fit in the cars we had, but with a little rope everything was good to go. We headed back over the bridge to the club to drop off the platforms and then I headed home to get my things, just to head back to the club.

Of course by this time everything is running a little late. Sound check was supposed to be at 6 and it really didn’t jump off completely until 7. Then I got news from two of my horn players that they thought I was going on at 9pm so they booked another gig at 11pm. Great! (very sarcastic voice). Well the show must go on.

We sound checked, California King checked, we got the bed up, we got the showers up, but we had to change their location and number of platforms. The dancers were in the house, Gaetano was in the house with my outfit, which I’ll get to. Videographers? Check. Photographer? Check. Folks to work the merch table? Check. The gangs all here. Let’s get the show on the road.

About 8pm we got the bedroom scene going. I only got to check it out for a little bit, but it was very cool if I do say so myself. Kim said she had to go back there and tell folks the who were behind the scrim to ease up on the “sexy noises.” LOL! I can only imagine. Of course it was a hit!

Ian began to spin until it was time for California King who went on at about 9:30pm. While they were on we were getting ready in the back. So what did I wear this time? You can check out the photos to see the full details, but it was a hot pink body suit, with black sequence butterfly appliqués, fishnets, knee high black boots, feathers in my hair and some killer makeup! It was sort of like burlesque meets A Clockwork Orange, plus a little costume surprise. Here’s a little backstage story.

When we were backstage getting my outfit together I was trying to figure out weather to put my underwear over or under my fishnets and my mother says, “Why do you need underwear at all?” What??!!! Now none of us were expecting to hear that from my mother. Well we quickly realized that would really be a “black bush” show if I didn’t wear any drawers! LOL! I think that statement was the highlight of my evening.

[My Beautiful Mom]

After California King killed it, I was ready for us to hit the stage. I had a pretty big band that night. Jerome (guitar), Ganessa (bass), Jeff (guitar), V. Jeff (sax), Matsu (drums), Ki Ki (b.vox), Achuziam (b.vox), Lionel (percussion/keys), Shawn (percussion), Taku (trumpet) and eZra (sax).

The music started I walked out. Not in my hot pink bodysuit, but in my green mechanics jumpsuit! Gaetano rigged the suite with Velcro so that it could be peeled or ripped off of me. Micah followed me out on stage and then when I gave him the cue he undressed me! He took my suit off to reveal my body suit underneath! It was very hot if I do say so myself. He not only undressed me, but he then also danced with me so it was lots of fun and the people really loved it! I had on lots of tulle. Tulle collar, tulle puff on the back of my suit and as I said that night, “Every girl should have a little tulle in their life.”

[Fluffing the tulle]

[The big reveal]

As the show progressed we had more and more fun. My makeup was running so there was a black mascara tear coming down my face. It was amazing! At the end of the show for the encore we did the “blaK Girls” Afrobeat remix. We were sans the whole horn section, but V. Jeff held it down. The surprise for the encore besides doing the remix was that I rhymed for the first time in my life! I know you are saying, what? Well you have to do what you have to do. On the recording of the remix LyricL rhymes. I couldn’t get her here from London, so I had to figure something out. So I channeled my love for hip-hop and wrote a rhyme. I’m no Lauryn Hill, but I do think I held my own. From the look on David Pilgrim’s face I think I did pretty good. I had so much fun! I think my rhyming days have just begun. You see! I’m rhyming! LOL! I also wanted to get the party started so I jumped in the audience and danced with the people. While I was on the ground Jerome, Micah and Aleijuan were holding down the dancing on stage. Ian spun us out of the song and kept the party going. It was an amazing night!

[Rawk 'n Roll!]

[Micah wiping my black tear]

[Ki Ki, Chuz and Baby Sanchez at their first show]

[Aleijuan & Micah taking us home]

When all was said and done we sold lots of CDs, blaKbüshe undies and bags so we were able to give to the Lower East Side Girls Club! I’m so happy about that. Giving back was one of the best parts of the night.

The dancing, mingling and breaking down wrapped up around 2am, but you know how it is after a show. There’s always that post-show energy that if you’re not careful can get you into trouble. So instead of trouble, Jeff, my friend Adrienne and I went out to eat. We didn’t get home until 4am, no sleep till 5am, and I was up at 10am because my mom was up. Needless to say I was beat on Saturday, but my work was not done.

My mom and I had to head back to the club to get the platforms so we could take them back to the theater. With some time to kill we took the Christmas tree stands back to Lowe’s (yes we took them back), went window shopping for furniture and then headed to the club. We packed the platforms in the cars and headed back over the bridge to the theater. We dropped of the platforms and then my mother got back on the road to MA and I went back to BK and to sleep. Now the show was officially over and I was beat!

Thank you to everyone who helped make the Quick & Dirty EP release happen. I’m so glad that I didn’t just put the album out and send out an email. It’s really about celebrating everything that you do. No matter how big or small. It’s very important to take note of all our accomplishments and all of our successes. Don’t take anything for granted. On some days just getting up and out of bed is a success. Sometimes making a few phone calls for the day is a success. Be kind to yourself and proud of all the things that you do on a daily basis.

Thank you everyone for your love and support of me and my music over the years. I am so proud to bring you The Quick & Dirty EP. I know you will enjoy it.

Have a great holiday season! May it be Merry, Quick & Dirty!


Thank You!

[Thank you and Goodnight!]

Shelley Nicole-lead vox/bass (yes I’m thanking myself)
Jerome Jordan-guitar
Ganessa James-bass
Jeff Jeudy-guitar
Shawn Banks-percussion
Achuziam Maha-backing vox
Ki Ki Hawkins-backing vox
Lionel Sanchez-keys
V. Jeffery Smith-Sax
eZra Brown-sax
Taku Kuroda-trumpet
Ian Friday-DJ

Monstah Black-Host
Ashley Brockington-Host
Micah Lee
Kiebpoli Calnek
Aleijuan King
Ebony Kuumba
Sunder Ashni

Gaetano Cannella

Olive Demetrius
M. Asli Dukan

Sara Zuiderveen

Hanifah Walidah
Chelsea Johnson
Mom (Thanks Mom!)

Last, but Not Least:
Kim Knox
Marisa Marshall
Steven Sapp

You can purchase The Quick & Dirty EP at cdbaby.com
Check for more photos of Shelley Nicole's blaKbüshe on Facebook and Myspace!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Election Reflections

Today when I read the news about the Republican party celebrating their wins in the states of New Jersey and Virginia, the media made it seem like their wins are some huge blow to the Obama administration and to Pres. Obama personally. I have to laugh. Why? Because politics is ALWAYS about ebb and flow and during the years that we had a Republican president many Dems and various other party leaders won big elections in their respective states. So why the big hoopla now? Could it be some folks want to knock the black pres down a notch by pointing out the wins for the opposition? Yes I said black pres. We don't really want to talk about the racial under and overtones that are still plaguing this country. I know what many of you are thinking. Why should we talk about this? Color is not an issue. We, all the people, elected the man after all. Well it's like this. If you hire a bunch of people of color in your office and then sit by and watch all the white employees harass the new hires and say nothing then there is a problem. Okay that was a bit dramatic, but you get my point. I know that Obama has a thick skin. He's not sweating it or at least he's making it look real good, but the truth of the matter is we still have a lot of work to do on the race front. But the election of President Obama has changed a few things in this country in a big way.

I have not seen or heard of so many people of color being elected to certain offices for the first time and some of them boldly in interracial relationships. Something that would have been frowned upon, I'd say even less than 20 years ago, for an elected official. Here in New York our newly elected Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is married to lock wearing black woman. Why do I emphasize the hair? You know why. Also my friend Setti Warren who just won his seat as the first African American mayor of Newton, MA, where I grew up, is married to a white woman. Here in New York we also elected the first Asian American Comptroller, John Liu and my mother informed me that in MA the first Latino mayor, William Lantigua, was elected in Lawrence, MA and the first woman, Linda M. Balzotti, was elected to the office of mayor in Brockton, MA.

I know that the offices I listed above are not governors or senators so their will be an arm of the media who want to make you believe that some folks are getting their "good old America" back with the election of two Republican governors. Let me say first that as proud as I am to be an American, the good old days were not good for all of us.

In New York mayor Bloomberg bought/stole this election and although I'm not happy about his return, I will say that hopefully next time whoever runs to unseat him won't rest on their laurels and they will work a little harder against old money bags. Bill Thompson almost won. I will admit that I didn't love everything about Bill, but just a little more push and...well...woulda, coulda, shoulda. We have term limits for a reason people. Just because someone is doing a "good job" doesn't mean they have the right to stay in office. This is not a dictatorship. There should be no King of New York unless his name is Jay-Z and even that is up for debate.

My grandfather, Matthew Jefferson, was an Alderman in the City of Newton for as long as I can remember. When I was growing up it was politics all day in my house. I was a part of running campaigns with my grandfather. He had bumper stickers, buttons, hats and all the things that made elections fun for me as a kid. As I got older I remember thinking that my grandfather should have run for mayor. Everyone knew him and loved him, but I also remember thinking that if he wasn't black he probably would have been mayor. He became the President of the Board of Alderman and after many years it was from that office that he retried from politics. My mother told me last night when she called that my grandfather had a hunch that Setti was going to win and he did. I know it's doing his heart really good. My Grampee is 85 and he has now witnessed the first African American President and Mayor of the town that he has lived in over 60 years. Kudos to you Newton, MA. His work was not in vain.

Exercise your right to vote. Let your voice be heard. It means something. We can continue to change the world!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Quick & Dirty EP Release!!!
Fall is here and the season of Scorpio is upon us! Although it’s getting colder and I’m usually not ready when that happens, this is my favorite season because I am a fall baby.

It was a great summer, but after seeing my band for the first time last week I realized that the summer was all about getting ready for Michigan and I hadn’t seen my boys in a while. I missed them.

I am back with the crew to get ready for the release of my album The Quick & Dirty EP on Friday, November 20th at Littlefield in Brooklyn, NY. Yes it’s a Brooklyn thing people. The album was recorded in Brooklyn, live at Southpaw during Brooklyn Pride. There are also four bonus track on the EP! I am so proud to say that besides working on the project with my awesome band, the project features remixes by Ian Friday (Tea Party Music/Libation), Lionel Sanchez Jr. (Audioglyph Prodcutions) and Daz-I-Kue (I-Kue Productions/Bugz in the Attic). One of the bonus tracks will only be available on the hard copy, but I’m not going to tell you which one. So some of you digital babies might have to break down and actually buy a CD.

The night of the show my new favorite band, California King, is going to warm up the stage for me. DJ Ian Friday will be on wheels and there are more special guests to be announced. The show is on a Friday night so all my close out of town folks, take a half-day and come on through. I would love to see my people from Philly, MA and DC in the house! Maybe ATL too! Holla!

Boldaslove.us Presents: Fire in the Dark
I’m so excited to be a part of this compilation! It’s so wonderful to be in the company of these other stellar artists some of whom are friends. The best part about this compiliaton is that you can download the whole album for FREE. Yes FREE! So take advantage.

I’m always hearing complaints from people about how there is no good music out there, well here it is and it’s free…for now. So jump on it and add some cool music to your MP3 player. Stretch your musical mind.


Final word on the Triathlon
Although the tri is behind me, I know I’m going to do it again. It was such an amazing experience. I didn’t want to let that whole experience go without acknowledging who donated to the cause on my behalf. I raised $565 and I’m very proud of that. So I want to give a personal Thank You to:

Alexandra Sanidad
Dalila Bothwell
Dawn Raffel
Dwayne Shaw
Howard Haywood
Ian Friday
Jeff Jeudy
Joan James
Lee Lee
Linda S. Murray
M. Asli Dukan
Marya Wethers
Michael Ashanti
Philip Lee
Richard Jefferson
Ruth Altchek
Sara Zuiderveen
& all those who swam, biked and ran with me in spirit!

Personal Notes
I want to give love to my girls Somi and N’dami for releasing their new projects on October 13th. If you are not familiar with these ladies then please Google them and get up on it!

Congratulations are in order for my friend an long time background vocalist Achuziam Maha and her husband and my sometimes producer Lionel Sanchez Jr. on the their forthcoming bundle of joy. For those of you who have seen me live, not doubt you have seen Achuziam by my side and I’m happy to say that she is expecting. So please send her lots of good vibes and love.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tri, Tri Again!


I did it and it feels great! I completed the Danskin Sherox Triathlon on Sunday Sept. 13th. I know some of you are wondering what made me want to do it so I’ll give you a little backstory.

About 3 years ago my friend Rochell told me that she had done a triathlon. What made this so exciting was that she was not the person that I would have expected to tell me that. You know how you have some people in your life who you think are one way, but then they do something that makes you think twice? Well that was one of those moments. After I heard that she had done it I was really curious about the tri and I got to thinking about doing it. The triathlon that she did was the Danskin Tri and she told me that it was an all women’s tri. With that, I was hyped and I told her I would do it the next year.

I started telling other women I knew about the tri with the hope that they might join me and I got a few people to bite. A few of my friends signed up before I left for London with my band, but I needed to keep all my funds at that time to take with me. So I told them I sign up when I got back. Well when I got back from London I found out that the event registration was closed. I had no idea it would fill up so fast. So I was left to be a spectator. That year my friends Laura, Rochell and Anna did the race. It was a great day, but I was supposed to be in it with them.

Then last year I was sure I was going to do it. Laura had raised enough money the year before that she got a free pass to be in the 2008 race. So I had to do it especially since I had convinced her the first year she did it and then I couldn’t get in. Well as luck or no luck would have it I was late to register again so I couldn’t get in. A few weeks before the race, there was an orientation at Paragon Sports. Rochell called to say that I could sign up on the spot if I wanted to. Well I hadn’t trained for the race at that point so I knew I had no business trying to do it. It was also a crazy summer. I did a lot of traveling with the band etc. So last year was out.

This year Laura and I were on it. We were checking ahead of time to see when the window opened to register for the tri. At the exact time that registration opened we were on horn. Well online really. There were so many people hitting the server at once that it was hard to get onto the website at first, but soon we got on. We registered and we were in! Now the work begins. Laura was able to get a few of her co-workers to join us and Rochell was in as well. So we had a little crew.

Race Preparation
They say that you only have to train 10 weeks to do a sprint triathlon, but I had been out of the gym so long that I needed to start as soon as possible just getting my body used to working out. I remembered Hanifah and Olive telling me about this boot camp class that they were going to at the Y with this guy named Gary so I decided to give it a shot and a least jump start my body that way. It was indeed a good start. Gary was kicking our butts, but that’s what I needed.

At 10 weeks out I knew it was time to get out of the gym and hit the road. So I tuned up my bike and got ready to hit the road. Luckily my friend Regina was already out riding her bike so I had someone to ride with. She did not break me in easily. One of our very first rides we went to Coney Island. From where I live that about 20 miles there and back. I sometimes forget how close I am to the ocean.

I found a tri sprint training program online and tried to follow it to the letter. I really focused more on the endurance side of training as opposed to weights and stuff like that. I just wanted to make sure that I could get through the damn thing. I wanted to make sure I could do all the distances required in the race individually.

My training schedule did not go as smoothly as I would have liked. There were a few travel interruptions. I think the biggest was Michfest. I was able to run out there, but not swim or bike. Then when I got back from Michigan I was so beat down that I really needed a week to recover. It was a challenge to get back in the saddle, but I did it. Some days I would bike to the park and run it. Some days I would swim, come out and get on the treadmill. It was serious, but it felt good. In the beginning I didn’t think I was losing much weight, which is not why I did this, but you figure with all this working out something has got to happen. I just showed me how much my body has changed over the years. It’s cool, but I did take note.

In the week before the race I thought I knew what my weak link would be; the swim. That’s not because I’m not a solid swimmer. I was on the swim team in high school and a lifeguard, but just because I thought I had trained in the pool the least amount of time. I’m a runner. Well at least I was in high school and college and of all the things I’ve kept up as time when on it was running. I thought the bike would be okay. Wasn’t too worried there. I’m not the best biker in terms of strategy and my bike is kind of heavy, but I knew I wouldn’t have too much problem here.

The Day Before the Race
It turned out to be just Laura, her friend Carla and I in the race. Rochell had to drop out because she hurt her ankle and Laura’s other co-worker hadn’t really properly trained so she decided to volunteer this year. Since Rochell couldn’t come we borrowed her bike rack, which was a huge help.

The race is called the Danskin New York Metro, but it’s really in New Jersey; Sandy Hook to be exact at the Gateway National Recreation Area. It’s right at the beach. We left on Saturday and our friend Adrienne joined us so that she could come and cheer us on. It took a little while to get out of NY as it always does, but soon we were off.

The day before the race we had to go to orientation at Brookdale Community College to get our race packets and draw our numbers on, etc. Danskin also has a little expo so that you can purchase anything you may have forgotten or just if you want some more gear.

When we entered the schools arena we had to check in on a big board to see what our bib numbers were and what wave we were in. Then we went downstairs and waited on the line that corresponded with our number to get our race packet. I was number 1291. In the race packet there is a bib number, a folding self-adhesive number for your bike, your timing chip and ankle strap (to calculate your time), and a sticker for your bike helmet. You also get a swim cap that corresponds with the color of your heat. At the table there is a sheet to see what time your wave leaves the beach in the morning for the swim. My heat was at 7:40am.

Then we moved over to the line where we got our official Danskin Tri t-shirt and a few other goodies in a bag, but it’s really all about the t-shirt. We could have gone to get our chip activated after that, but instead we walked around the expo to shop a bit. I bought a Spibelt, which is kind of like a fanny pack, but it doesn’t sit on your fanny and it’s a lot more compact and cool if that is at all possible. Basically the Spibelt has a little zipper pocket that expands so fit your keys, cell phone, camera or anything like that and it sits close to your body so it’s not bouncing around. Also we were given two clips of sorts so we could wear our bib numbers on our belt instead of having to pin it to our shirts or in my case my tri-suit. So this was really helpful especially since my mother sent me on a mission of getting a few pictures of myself. So I figured I would run with my camera. I also bought a pair of yoga pants and a workout top.

After a bit of shopping we were ready to head out. We got our chips activated and then we drew our numbers on ourselves. We had to put our number in black marker down each arm and then write our age down the back or our right calf. After that was done we headed to the hotel.

After checking in, we dropped our stuff off and headed out for some food. In the spirit of carb loading before a race we went to Olive Garden. It wasn’t the greatest, but it filled the hole. After dinner we went back to the hotel and made a game plan for the next morning. We decided we needed to leave the hotel by 4:45am. That meant we needed to be down at the car to rack the bikes at 4:15am. It had taken us some time to rack the bikes leaving NY so we wanted to make sure we gave ourselves time. With that being the plan I new I had to get up at about 3:30am. So I needed to go to sleep ASAP, which was really a challenge. I’m a night owl so trying to go to bed at 10pm was a challenge. I don’t know what time I ended up really getting to sleep, but it wasn't before I saw Serena black out on the judge at the US Open. LOL! I gave myself some Reiki to settle down a bit and it worked.

Race Day
I woke up before the alarm. I always do that when I think I might over sleep. I opened my eyes at about 3:15am and just lay there. I had set my alarm on my phone and on the hotel clock just to be safe. When the cell went off I jumped up. I turned off the hotel alarm clock because I didn’t want to hear it as well. I took a shower the night before so that the morning I just brushed my teeth, got my stuff together and got dressed.

[Check the time y'all!]

I have to say that I was pretty proud of myself because I was ready to go at 4:05am. I waited around a little and then I called Laura at 4:10 to say that I was going to come get the car keys from her so that I could rack my bike. Turns out she was ready too so we headed to the car. We racked our bikes and then Laura went back inside to get Carla’s bike. We racked hers and then we headed back to our rooms to get the rest of our stuff. We met back at the car, loaded and when Laura looked at the clock to pull out of the lot it was exactly 4:45am. I love when a plan comes together.

[Bikes? Check!]

We headed to the park anticipating traffic, which never came. We just breezed on in. There was a little slow down when we got close to the parking area, but that was just because people were turning in. It was great! We got there, parked, took the bikes off the rack, gathered our stuff and Carla, Laura and I headed in. Adrienne stayed in the car to catch a couple more ZZz’s since she was only spectating.

We made our way to the transition area found a place to rack our bikes and set up. A transition area looks something like this. Basically right beside your bike you set everything up so that when you come out of the water there is no searching for sneakers, helmets, etc. You place your bike gear toward the front of your transition area and your run stuff behind it because that’s last thing you do.

[My morning game face.]

It was still dark at that point, but the sun was slowly coming up and the bay was coming into sight. There was so much wonderful energy. Some people came with a whole crew to cheer them on. Kids, husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, moms, dads, friends it was just amazing!

[The People]

I was ready to go but now of course I had to go the bathroom. Turns out that before the race I had to go to the bathroom three times! That’s a lot, but the nerves finally kicked in. I was pretty calm, but that happens to me before I have to hit the stage as well. Someone once told me that nerves show that you care. Well I surely cared that morning.

[Let's Do This!]

When Laura and Carla got their stuff in order we all headed for the beach for the swim. The whole race began at 7am with the elite athletes. Laura’s heat was at 7:37am and Carla and I were at 7:40am.

The waiting, the waiting, the waiting…

We headed over a spot on the beach we could see the swimmers going out and also take a good look at the swim coarse. It didn’t look so bad. I calmed down a bit as we waited for our heat to be called. As the time got closer we headed over to where we would enter the beach in earnest to get ready to swim. Laura’s heat was first. She’s not a strong swimmer so she asked for a Water Angel. That is something that the Danskin races offer their racers who are not strong swimmers. Basically it’s someone who is on a surf board along side you so that if you feel like you can’t go further then you can stop, hang on to the board, catch your breath and keep going. Well that day there were either not enough water angels or they didn’t have them. Whatever the case they had to modify their approach with Laura. So while she working that out our heat was called to the beach.

On the beach I remembered watching a video that talked about getting out ahead of everyone else during the swim so that you don’t have to worry about having folks in front of you possibly kicking you. I remembered that, but I wasn’t brave enough to run out in front of everyone. So I made another plan. I thought I was stay on the side closes to the buoys so that A) I would be swimming a shorter distance than being farther way, sort of like running on the inside lane and B) I just thought that would be a good place to be as many people might want to be more in the middle of the pack or on the right side where there is more open space, but a longer swim. Well none of those things happened. Lol.

When I got in and got going I was sort of in the middle of the pack, which was challenging because you had to beware of the person in front on you. I learned a little trick to wear you goggles under your swim cap so that they won’t get kicked off and it worked. I did see someone out there who had lost their goggles.

The swim itself wasn’t bad, but the staying out of peoples way was a real challenge. It was challenging to find an open space. When I did I was able to get my rhythm. The only other challenge was swimming straight. I kept veering off so I had to look up and make sure I wasn’t way off course. By the time I made me way around and back to the shore I was so hyped. I thought that was going to be the hardest part for me. When I looked at my stopwatch I thought it said something like 11:45, which would have been an UNBELIEVABLE swim time for me, but as it turns out it was too good to be true. I think my watch really said 17:45 or something like that, but when you are looking quickly you see what you want to see. I’ll get to my real time later.

So I’m out of the water and run/walking to transition because I’m barefoot and the ground was full of rocks so I was being careful. As I came out to the road I saw Adrienne who took a picture of me. Then later down the road I saw Regina, Jeff, Josie and Dawoud who came to cheer us on as well. I stopped an posed for a photo because I was so glad to be out of the water. When I got to my bike I dried off and wiped down my feet. I put on my socks, sneakers and helmet and jumped on my bike. Carla was already there getting ready to ride. Even though she left after me for the bike ride I knew she would probably pass me because she more of a biker and her bike is a Cannondale and light as a feather almost literally.

On the first leg of the bike we had a tailwind. So it was a nice ride. I actually rode in a gear that I don’t usually so I knew that the adrenaline was pumping. About half was through the first leg of the ride Carla came racing by screaming “Go Shelley!” That was cool. I knew she would be by. I just kept on going. I wasn’t trying to out bike people, but I did pass a few folks, which the competitor is me was happy about. Lol. But coming back on the bike was tough because we had a head wind. Wow. I mean it felt totally different and I had to really work. On my way back I passed Laura on her first leg so I yelled “Go Laura!” to give her a little pick me up.

When I got to the end the bike route I was more relieved than tired, but when I got off the bike my legs were like rubber and I still had the run ahead. I racked my bike, took off my helmet, put on my race belt with my bib number, put on my Brooklyn visor (gotta represent) and headed out for the run. Carla was already gone, but I thought I might catch up to her because she had hurt her knee and was wearing a brace so I knew she wouldn’t be going too fast.

The transition between the bike and the run was the hardest part for me. I didn’t want to run, I just wanted to sit down and my butt was killing me! There is really something to be said for having a good bike seat. I took a couple sips of water and a small bite of banana that almost made me nauseous. I’m not a big fan of bananas but I felt like I should have something in my system. The banana almost took me out. Lol.

As I took off for the run my legs were burning. When it comes to sports a lot of it is mind over matter so I was really working it in that moment. I had a great boost when I ran by a volunteer who yelled out my number as I passed by with such jubilance. I felt like I had to keep going for her! In the run you have to make two loops before you head to the finish line. I wanted to pick up my pace along the way, but I didn’t want to kick to early and burn myself out before I could get to the finish. So I kept a pretty good pace. Eventually I did see Carla. I gave her a “Go Carla!” as I passed her by and just focused on the end game. One loop down, one to go. It was tough, but I made it around and then we came to a volunteer who said that there was only 200 yards to go. At that point the sprinter in me woke up and I started to kick. I could actually see the finish and I wanted to get there sooner than later. So I pushed. Before I knew it I was there! Someone put a medal in one hand and bottle of water in the other. Wow! I did it! Wow.


I looked up and saw Jeff and Regina followed by Adrienne all with cameras. So I stopped and posed a bit. Then gave them my camera to take a couple for my mother. I was just trying to catch my breath. I took a picture in front of the Danskin backdrop and then waited for Carla and Laura to come in.

Carla came first. She was spent, but looked great as well. I took a couple of photos of her and she also took a photo in front of the Danskin backdrop. We waited for Laura. In between time Carla saw some women she knew that were in the race. Not to long after we saw Laura coming to the finish. Carla ran out to greet her right after she crossed the line. After Laura caught her breath, we all took a pictures together for our peeps and then in front of the Danskin backdrop. It was amazing! Just amazing. Mission accomplished!

[Carla at the finish!]

[The Tri Crew. Laura, Me and Carla]

After chatting and mingling a bit we headed back to transition to get our stuff so that we could head out. It was time to eat! Regina and Josie had to head back to NY. Dawoud also had to head back to his place. So the lunch crew was Jeff, Adrienne, Laura, Carla, one of Carla’s friends, Laura’s co-worker Natalie and I. There were supposed to be a couple of Laura’s other friends but it took us so long to get to the spot that they had to leave. We ended up eating at a spot called Turning Point that was on the shore. It was part of a complex called Pier Village. I hate to say this, but I have never been the Jersey Shore in earnest. I mean I went to Atlantic City, but it was at night and in the winter. I went to cheer on Laura in her first tri, but we didn’t stay and hang. This time we didn’t really, really hang, but I got a chance to really see the beach and it’s really pretty. I mean it made you want to go to the beach. It was clean and nice.

[Jersey Shore]

We ate lunch finally, stopped at a chocolate spot and then a baker called Cake, Bake & Roll, which was amazing. Then we headed back to the car and home. A great day was had by all.

So here are my results. I did the swim (1/2 mile) in 18:10. That was 3 or 4 minutes better than in training! My transition time between the swim and the bike was 6:45. I did the bike ride (11 miles) in 39:54 with an average speed of 16.5mph. That's way faster than I bike at home. The transition between bike and run was 2:45. I did the run (3 miles) in 27:20. So my total race time was 1:34. I came in somewhere in the middle of the pack. I am very proud of myself, but the competitor in me says “You can do better!” So I will continue to work and I will do it again. On a side note, three months before the race my cholesterol was 171. For those of you who know, you know that's not good. After the race it had dropped to 114! My doctor was shocked. That's another great reason to keep doing what I'm doing.

I hope you will join me next time. I know, I know, you can’t swim, you don’t have a bike, your sneakers are jacked up. All of these things are excuses. When Laura decided to do her first tri she could not swim. Not only did she do the tri and just did another and now she even likes swimming. Lol. So I don’t want to hear it. You can do it!

I’m glad the Sporty Spice in me is getting a chance to come out again. Working out to get into that bikini or that little black dress doesn’t do it for me. That’s not enough motivation, but say that there is a race involved an I’m all over it. Yes ladies and gentlemen the woman that you see wearing heels and makeup at the show is really a tomboy. Meditate on that and I’ll see you next year.

[Yeah Baby!]

Friday, August 21, 2009

Michfest Part 9 (The Last Leg)

Day 10 (8/10) Tuesday
The drive to MA was brutal. I could hardly stay awake. I had to talk on the phone all the way in order to stay up. By the time I got to my grandparents house I was beat down. I could hardly keep my eyes open. My mother talked about going out to dinner and I almost turned her down. I just wanted to sleep.

When I got to my parents house I fell asleep in their big chair in the living room until my niece woke me up to say it was time to go eat. She’s so cute. I could hear her saying, “Nana, auntie Shelley is asleep.” I was way more than sleep. Hearing her felt like a dream.

I peeled myself up and went to dinner with my parents and my niece. We had a good time. We stopped at the supermarket after dinner and then I went home and washed my hair. As soon as that was done I bought my bus ticket back to New York and went to sleep.

The next day I was on my way back to Brooklyn and on my way to see Bonnie Raitt and Taj Mahal at Prospect Park. As if that wasn’t enough, on Thursday I had to do a show with Jeff and Shawn and the BEA Rock Camp for kids in Greenpoint. I didn’t get to sleep in until Friday and I did nothing that day. Well maybe I started writing this blog.

In Conclusion
As you can see we had a great time in Michigan. All the ladies out there reading this blog I want you to seriously consider coming next year. Michfest not only has music, but there are great workshops and the friends you make at Michigan stay with you for life. I mean it. I know some of you city girls are antsy about camping, but this is high end camping and trust you will be changed. If Gloria Bigelow can change, you can change. I love you Glo! If you are concerned about the cost, you can go as a worker and that will cover your entrance or get on the payment plan. This festival is one of the best organized events I have ever been to and I’ve played some places and seen some things. Trust! Sorry if I sound like a PSA for Michfest, but I love it that much. It is a refuge. It is a place of safety and peace. It is a land of womyn and what could be better than that? (That question is rhetorical. LOL!)

Thanks for taking the time to read my Michfest recap. I hope to see you next year! I will be there!


Honorable Mention
-The man who stopped to give us bunji chords on the highway in Ohio after our stuff fell off the roof of the van. Now that's what you call a good Samaritan.
-The man who helped Gina get to the hotel in Grand Rapids after getting lost four times. She thought he might be a serial killer, but he turned out to be an angel.
-The missing forks in the Belly Bowl (see the photo below).
-Showers under the stars. There's really nothing like it.
-Gal's Diner for making the food RIGHT every day and every night! (Where's the cookbook?)
-Maritri Camping. Who would believe it? (see photo below)

[Maritri camping. Yes it really happened. lol]

MVP (Most Valuable Players (meaning musicians))
-Julie Wolf
-Lee Free
-Ganessa James
-Pamela Means

My Healers
Shirley Jons (sweat lodge)
Luciana Padmore (reflexology)
Linda and Donna (crystal/energy healing)
The ladies in the workers massage tent (massage)

[The Night Stage Crowd on Opening Night. You can't tell, but the crowd just keeps going.]

[The Night Stage during the day]

[The Night Stage lighting and sound tower]

[The Night Stage stage door]

Michfest Part 8 (Sadly...We're On Our Way Home)

Day 8 (8/9) Sunday
The original plan was to get on the road right after Gina’s signing, but Gina decided to stay another day. So we took our time getting our stuff together to leave. Everything was wet. Hanifah, Olive, Bombshell and I had to lay our clothes out in the sun to dry before we could pack them. That took time. We also had to take the tent down and figure out how to put that big ass tent back into that little carrier. It seemed impossible, but we figured something out. I had to take the rest of my merch to Goldenrod and I bought a pendulum before Maritri left earlier that day. I also bought some earrings from Kelly. As you can see everything was just taking longer that we anticipated. So our 1pm departure turned into a 4pm departure. That wouldn’t have been so bad if we had 4 drivers, but leaving Mich we only had three because Ri decided to leave with Gina the next day. So more space in the van, but that meant longer driving shifts.

It’s always hard to leave Michigan, but this time around I think I was too tired to cry. I think I was ready for a dry bed and a flushing toilet. We finally got all our things together, got in the shuttle van to the gate, packed our van, took one last port-a-jane pee and headed for the real world full of cell phone signals and men. Yes in that order. I think I got my messages before I saw my first man. When leaving Michigan there is always the lament of going back to a world of men, but this time for me it was about going back to the world in general. I had to jump right in and it has been challenging.

[Farewell Michigan. I'll see you next year.]

The van ride home was good, but long. Hanifah took the first shift. We watched Sia’s DVD on Olive’s laptop while Bombshell slept because she knew she had the next shift. Hanifah got us to Ohio and then Bombshell took over. She got us through Ohio and into PA when I took over. I had the real overnight shift and it was brutal. PA at night and tired is no joke. Finally I had to pull off the road somewhere in PA and against my better judgment drank a 5-hour energy drink. Now I don’t do caffeine at all so this stuff was potent. It got me through the drive, but by the time we dropped of Bombshell in the Bronx I was hyper and jittery and exhausted all at once. That stuff says there is no crash, but that is a LIE!

Day 9 (8/10) Monday
After dropping off Bombshell I drove us back to Brooklyn. I dropped off Olive & Hanifah and headed home. Unfortunately I still had a whole bunch of stuff in the van. I had carried all of Ganessa’s guitars and Maritri’s not to mention my own. I was beat down and it as all I could do to get that stuff upstairs and park the car. The Universe saw fit to give me a space on the proper side of the street with no drama. I don’t think I could have circled around looking. I would have cried for sure. Then I went upstairs and thought I would hit the hay and take a shower later. Well that was a short lived idea because I was offending myself! So I jumped into the shower and into bed. When I woke up it was so hot that I smelled like I had never got into the shower! I think it was that 5-hour drink coming out of my pores. That was crazy. So I got in the shower again and then got up to face the world a bit. I had to get Maritri’s guitar to her so I did that, picked up my cat from my girl Iowan who was the cat sitter for the week and a few other things, but I had to get some rest because I had to drive my grandfather’s van back to him in MA the next day.

Michfest Part 7 (blaKbüshe Finally Hits Michfest)

Day 7 (8/8) Saturday
About 3 or 4 in the morning the monsoon rain began and I do mean monsoon. My wonderful condo tent started leaking at all the corners and I was cursing the ladies who helped us put up the tent who told us we didn’t need a tarp over the top or bottom of the tent. Lies! Lies! Lies! Okay I forgive them, but damn it was a mess. Then the tent started leaking from the top. So little drops eventually started falling on my head. Not cool at all.

I woke that morning very cranky because I didn’t get much sleep and then I was thinking, damn! I have been here all week waiting to do my set and then the rain of all rains comes on the day I’m supposed to perform. I mean I wasn’t the only one. Gina’s show was that day as well. Not to mention all of the other groups performing on that day (LAVA, Evolution V, Nervous But Excited and Jen Foster). It was a wet mess.

We were all up at the Belly Bowl for breakfast just shaking our heads. Chix Lix sound check was supposed to be at 8:45am, but that was a no go. So the ladies sat in Central Heating and practiced. I was told that my sound check may not happen, but then out of the blue I got word that it was happening because the rain had slowed. We gathered all our stuff and went over to the Day Stage only to have the rain start coming down in buckets again. It was a mess. I watched as the sound ladies did their best to keep that stage and all the equipment dry. We didn’t want any electrical mishaps out there.

Somehow they managed to sound check Nervous But Excited and then it was our turn. When we checked the rain was slowing, but still going. One of the stage hands was tipping water off the canopy so that it wouldn’t cave to the pressure of the water. We did a brief check and then I headed back to the greenroom tent to get ready.

My hair was still wet from the night before so no waves were holding. We tried to blow dry my hair, but it was too late. Bombshell started working on my face and slowly the band trickled back to the tent. Ganessa and Maritri had to go to Gina’s sound check and Pamela had to go back to Chix Lix sound check. Everyone got back in time, but Pamela was the last. There was no time to get her in gear because we were heading to the stage. It was all good. It’s really about the music right? Right! So we hit it.

[Beauty takes time...]

On a side note, Maritri had not originally planned to sing with me, but since she was there and I asked, she chimed in. Maritri knows some of my songs, but not all. I wasn't worried though. She jumped right in and sounded amazing with Tiffany!

Gaetano, my stylist, made me a dress for Michigan even though he couldn't go. It was a sheer sequence dress that hit above the knee that was screaming Tina Turner. You know what I’m talking about? Under it I wore a hot pink bikini top and hot pink hot shorts. I had on some hot pink heals and we were good to go. The colors were yellow, hot pink and orange. We looked great. Even the canopy matched!

[Maritri, Luci & I pre-show]

[Maritri, Ganessa & I pre-show]

[The büshe Rockin!]

[Ladies enjoying the show]

The sun came out and the show went off without a hitch. We had a lot of fun and were joined by the mud ladies who came running naked into the area of the day stage, danced and disappeared as quickly as they arrived. They were a lot of fun! You had to be there. I did a little shimmy with Bombshell and we all played to our hearts content. The set was "Release," "blaK Girls," "Give it to Me," "I'm a Woman (I'm a Backbone)," "Can't Blame a Tree," "Box," "I am American," "Go Head & Rise," with "Long Train Running" (slow blues) as an encore. It rocked! blaKbüshe on the land was Pamela Means (guitar), Lucianna Padmore (drums), Ganessa James (bass), Christelle Durandy (percussion), Tiffany James (BV) and Maritri Garrett (BV). I can’t forget Cathleen Ridley (on hands) who signed the hell out of my songs. The ladies put their stamp on the music. I know it will happen again. Hopefully next year. Please Lisa, Please!!! LOL!

After the show Lisa came up to me and gave me a big hug. She said my show was everything she expected and more! What a great complement. Elvia Kurt who is an incredible comedian and host for the Saturday Night Stage, also greeted me with very kind words. I think all my Buddhist “training” teaches not get to attached to things good or bad, but I did hold on to that moment and others to follow for a while. I worked very hard for this festival. It’s one that I’ve wanted to play for a very, very long time. I felt and feel very blessed.

After the show I made my way to Goldenrod to sign CDs. It took me a while to get over there so some folks bought music before I got there and I wasn’t able to sign for them, but others came through while I was there. Tiffany came with me so we both signed. The rest of the crew had to run to other stages.

While I was at Goldenrod two things happened. A sista named Olokun came by and give me a bottle of wine, which she insisted that I drink in the woods. Then Maria, one of the Native American sistas who worked the womyn of color sweat, came by the table to tell me the she enjoyed the show. I mentioned the Native womyn's sweat that was supposed to have happened that morning. I figured it didn't because the rain was coming down so hard I figured they would just call in off. Well Maria informed me that Barbara, one of the other sisters, got up at 3am and started the fire to heat the rocks for the sweat. She kept the fire going through the rain and then 5 women showed up for the sweat and they kicked it off at 9am as planned. What??!!! Do you really feel me when I tell you the kind of rain that was happening there? How do you keep a fire going through that kind of rain? Those Native sistas are fierce! I mean really. Maria said it was the hottest sweat of the week. Amazing.

After signing I want back to my tent, changed and headed over to see Gina Breedlove and Evolution V at the acoustic stage. Gina’s set was off the hook. Her band included Ganessa (guitar), Maritri (guitar), Judith Castleberry (vocals), Mayra Casales (percussion) and Jennifer Vincent (bass). Gina’s set was way too short for my taste, but as I said above the sets are shorter on the acoustic stage. Gina’s voice is like water and it just washed over us. Also I don’t know anyone who can wear a pair of jeans like Gina. Just beautiful. I hope to see her back at Michfest next year on the Day Stage so the festival hear more of her. After Gina was Evolution V. I really wanted to stay and see their whole set, but my stomach was angry at me. I had not eaten really the whole day because I can’t eat before I perform.

[Gina Breedlove setting the stage on fire!]

[Maritri, Gina, Jen & Mayra]

[Ganessa & Maritri holding it down for Gina]

Some of you know that I am witch. So it nice to be on the land and surrounded by my people. I have to be honest and say that many times when people think of witches they just think of white women, but we are much more than that. That was made very clear with Evolution V performed. This ensemble consisted of Aleah Long, Tammi Hessen, Ubaka Hill, Yaniyah Pathfinder, Queen, Nyame-Adama Selassie and Tory Trujillo. All women of color. All fierce. All doing the spiral dance! They opened with a procession down the long isle that leads to the stage. The called in the Goddess and proceeded to show Michfest how the sistas do it. I was only able to stay for the beginning before my stomach took over, but Olive has not stopped singing the Spiral Dance song. In fact she sang it all the way home. Fierce women! Just beautiful!

[Yaniyah Pathfinder calling in the Goddess]

[Ubaka, Tory & Aleah]

I headed back to the Belly Bowl to get some food and then I had to get ready for Chix Lix. It wasn’t starting until 10pm, but I just wanted to be ready. Christine Love let me borrow her white knee high platform boots. With them I wore a jean mini and a tie-dye shirt with a big peace sign. Was that 60s enough?

The night began with Leslie & the Ly’s. I had no idea what to expect and because of that I got way more than I expected. Leslie & the Ly’s was a lot of fun and although they do music, it was all theatre. Who knew that was going on in Iowa?

After Leslie was Melissa Ferrick. Her set sounded great! I was really getting ready at that point and helping other folks get ready for Chix Lix. Hanifah was singing “Girl From Ipanema” and she decided to wear a long dress. I was great! She looked incredible. Vicki was in her black gown for “Baby Love” something she says she rarely does, but she was wearing it well. The Topp Twins were decked out in wedding dress and suit while Teresa Trull was in her priests collar for “Going to the Chapel.” The Chix Lix band had on their CHiX t-shirts and we were ready to roll.

[I am ready for my closeup]

[Hanifah wowing the Night Stage with "Girl From Ipanema"]

[A few of the fab chix on Chix Lix. Pamela, Tory, Vicki & Aleah]

The set turned out really great. Some of the other songs we did included, Toshi doing “White Rabbit,” Aleah doing “Piece of My Heart,” Judith doing "Everyday People" and Ferron doing “Downtown.”

After the show there was a party in the Belly Bowl with DJ Rimarkable on the wheels. The place was packed and everyone was jammin’. I cracked open the bottle of wine I got earlier that day and shared it with my peeps. I was damn good indeed. Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz 2004. Check it out.

[DJ Rimarkable rockin' the impromptu set in the Belly Bowl]

[Happy dancing people in the Belly Bowl]

The party ended way too soon. In the workers section everything has to be shut down by 1am. It makes sense because the ladies in the kitchen have to be up at the crack, but it was our last night and I didn’t want it to end so soon. I wandered around a bit because I really didn’t want to go back to my wet tent and in particular my wet bed. My air mattress was soaked. Basically I had to sleep on the top half of the bed. That was not cute at all. We had contemplated staying for another day to see the Closing Ceremonies and to support Gloria who was performing her set on Sunday afternoon, but we decided to stick with the original plan and get on the road. I really wanted to stay another day because it's always hard to leave, but in retrospect I'm glad we left when we did. There is always next year.