Video Busker Mashup 2014

A fantastic year of capturing buskers in New York City including having the camera turned toward me while I perform and spontaneously jam with others. Check it out and please share. What we do matters.

What inspires buskers? Music, People, Life, Hot Chocolate, Snow, Love Stories, People of New York!

some of the artists in clip:

Ray Blue, subway car dancers, Innove Gnawa, Melissa Elledge, Delta Dave Johnson, Zach Orion, Courtney Bassett, Mr. Reed, Moon Hooch, Robert Leslie, Burt Lee, Tom Swafford, Tim Higginbotham, Samantha Echo, Raices Group, Matt Vorzimer, Yacouba Diabate, Mecca Bodega, Geo Inti and The Moon, Maestro Moses Josiah, Leah Coloff, Remy Francois, Nadine Simmons, Arlethia, Shogo Kubo, Annette Taylor, Luellen Abdoo, Yaz Band, Samantha Echo, Glenn Roth, Gabriel Aldort, Maya Miele, Ebony Hillbillies, Jason Cordero, Juan Castillo, James Graseck, Suki Rae, Natalia Paruz The Saw Lady, Mike Groisman, Luke Ryan, Robert Anderson Jazz Band, Sean Grissom, Salieu Suso, Train'd singers, Scott Stenten, Poor Cousins, Tailz, Vincent Dennis, Frank Ames, Verbal Ase, Jason Ruan, Maalem Hassan Ben Jaafer, Henry Young, Mairi Mason, Michael Rorby, Omar-violinist, Steve Rubel, Israel Jules, Breakatronz, Alejandro Salvia, Matthew Christian, Courtney Bassett, Jovan Johnson eBONE Underground, Erik Robert Jacobson,  Sara Giraldo, Andy Friedberg, Elizabeth Watts, Will McCain, Niles Luther,  Sung Lee (Beatbox), The Family (Street Bucket Drummers)

instruments and performers represented: 
bagpipes, ukulele, flute, trumpet, trombone, tenor sax, alto sax, soprano sax, cajon, didgerdoo, hammered dulcimer, saw, bucket drums, snare drum, electronic drums, violin, fiddle, accordion,electric guitar, acoustic guitar, 8 string guitar, double neck guitar, classical guitar, banjo, blues harmonica, harp, double bass, electric bass, kora, electric piano, washboard,cello, breakdancers, Chinese ErHu,

 

Happy Christmas Uke jam with Courtney #tbt

Last year I met Courtney Bassett in Columbus Circle and she sang a wonderful version of George Michaels classic Christmas song "Last Christmas"  I share it here with you today as a Throw Back Thursday #TBT.

What inspires Courtney?  Christmas spirit, family, her sister, getting together with other musicians and letting create juices flow.

Today I sing in Brooklyn at the Atlantic Ave LIRR station. I am hoping that Courtney surprises me again and we can have a fun jam!

See more inspirations from my Inspiration Project and Video Gallery.  I have 100's of clips featuring the amazing people I meet.

Maya Miele benefit Inspired woman

I love my inspiration project and this one by guitarist Maya Miele who is gender transitioning is so beautiful in it's authenticity and passion.

What Inspires Maya besides Hendrix, gorgeous sunsets and anything that makes life beautiful? Her inner woman.

I am proud to be performing tonight at Cake Shop NYC to help Maya's medical costs as she transitions from male to female.

8 pm Cakeshop 152 Ludlow Street. New York, NY 10002 | 212-253-0036

TUESDAY DECEMBER 16th:
Benefit for Maya Miele
proceeds will help offset the medical costs of Maya’s transition from male to female.
Performance by: Maya Miele and Cathy Grier
Music by The Qualia (thequalia.com) and Prima Primo (primaprimo.com)
with DJ Patrick A. Reed
$10, 21+, 8pm-12pm

See more inspirations from my Inspiration Project and Video Gallery.  I have 100's of clips featuring the amazing people I meet.





Happy Thanksgiving! Thankful for Spontaneous Sharing in The Underground.

I am filled with joyful and warm memories from The Underground as we approach Thanksgiving through this wet and snowy day. Without fail, each time I venture out to one of my busking gigs, I meet someone who fills me with inspiration and happiness. Asking them "What Inspires You?" is often on the tail of a spontaneous and inspirational interaction that we have just shared. Such was the case with Rose, a traveler I spotted in LIRR station with a mandolin case. It turned out she was up for a little jam session and broke out her mandolin for me as a crowd formed around us. It's hard to be a part of the spontaneous action and film the action, but no matter the frame, the composition is all there. Check her out below in a playlist of similar moments. I am so very thankful for moments like these and I carry you all in my heart as we remember to be grateful on Thanksgiving. 

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

NYC Subway Girl

Gallery of clips co-edited by Ian James MacRae Jackson 

See more inspirations from my Inspiration Project and Video Gallery.  I have 100's of clips featuring the amazing people I meet.

Oh Honey Honey! Twin Spruce Retires from the Honey Biz.

After 30 years of supplying NYC with honey at the Union Square Farmer's Market, Twin Spruce Apiaries says farewell. While 30 years is a long time, they admit, it's more than time that has them throwing in the towel. They say their supply of honey doesn't meet the demand of NYC markets and GMO products have driven them out, but they retain a positive outlook on their retirement. Watch below! It's been a year since they left the market, and they are truly missed. 

See more inspirations from my Inspiration Project and Video Gallery.  I have 100's of clips featuring the amazing people I meet.

Music Under NY Violinist Luellen Abdoo Sparks Grand Central Tango

I was recently approached by fellow Music Under New York artist Luellen Abdoo who asked me to film a short music video of her. Still dizzy with excitement from my recent Chain Film Festival Best Documentary Web Series win, I was happy to put my energy into a fun video like this.

Thanks Luellen!  

Best Documentary Web Series Chain Film Fest

It's a lovely honor to have The Inspiration Project win in the Best Documentary Web Series category at the 2014 Chain Film Festival.

Pictured from Left to Right:

1-Evan Bass The Eve-Audience Award, 

2-Miranda Noelle Wilson The Eve-Best Actress,

3-Danny Thykaer Backgammon-Best International feature, Kenneth Skoubølling Backgammon-Cinematography

4-Festival director Kirk Gostkowski and Christopher Wilson-You Have His Eyes-Best documentary

5-Festival intern Ian

6-Evan Bass The Eve-Audience Award, Cathy Grier The Inspiration Project-Best Documentary Web Series, Valerie Corrales Patrol-Best Director + Cinematography short, Rich Devaney Patrol-Best Director, Danny Thykaer Backgammon-Best International feature, Kenneth Skoubølling Backgammon-Cinematography, Miranda Noelle Wilson The Eve-Best Actress, Emanuele Michetti Frammenti (Scraps)-Best International short

 

Thursday final screening Inspiration Project

Thursday August 14th 9pm is the final screening of my 2 films Inspiration Project and Music Under NY auditions 2013, selected as part of the Chain Film Festival in Long Island City NY. Get Directions

diyf_chain2014_footer.jpg

Thursday night, August 14, at 9 PM, will be the second of two screenings of my Documentary Short film, The Inspiration Project, and Web Series selection, Music Under NY Auditions 2013.

Please join me in celebrating the Inspiration Project. The Official Selection versions are up on my website and I'd love you to rate them on the Chain Film Festival website, even if you can't attend in person, and I invite you to share with your friends and families.

link to rate Music Under NY Auditions 2013 web series (you can also write a review)

link to rate The Inspiration Project short documentary (you can also write a review)

Hope to see you there

Picked from hundreds of submissions from all over the world, The Chain NYC Film Festival is presenting 108 films. From short documentaries to full length narratives and web series; encompassing work from filmmakers in Australia, Belgium, France, UK as well as our own Long Island City; an innovative and diverse set of topics is curated in thematic groups, featuring both indie actors on the brink of stardom as well as actors such as Academy Award Nominee Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight), Louis Lombardi (The Sopranos), Nicholas Brendon (Xander from Buffy), and the debut lead performance of 2014 Miss Golden Globes, Sosie Bacon (Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick’s daughter).
 
Films will be presented on a rotating schedule from August 4 through August 17.Tickets are $10 for all performances. For more information please visit www.chainfilmfestival.com.

Chain Film Fest screening now online

The first screening of my films was last night. It was a fun night of meeting other film makers and seeing great films with an NYC theme. The next screening will be Thursday August 14, at 9 PM of my Documentary Short film, The Inspiration Project, and Web Series selection, Music Under NY Auditions 2013.

The Official Selection versions are below and you can rate them on the Chain Film Festival website, see the links below each clip. Even if you can't attend the screenings in person, I invite you to share with your friends and family.

link to rate Music Under NY Auditions 2013 web series on the Chain Film Fest website

link to rate The Inspiration Project short documentary on the Chain Film Fest website

I want to thank everyone over the years who has answered the question, "What Your Inspiration?" and in doing so, motivating me to continue asking and finding beauty in spontaneous interactions with passersby. This project would not be possible without you all. 

Thanks so much!

The Chain Film Festival continues until August 17.  There are some wonderful films in this charming Film Festival in Long Island City, NY. Get Directions I plan on going to many of the screenings.  See the schedule here

 Q+A with festival director KIrk GostKowski photo by Ini Udosen

Q+A with festival director KIrk GostKowski photo by Ini Udosen

Picked from hundreds of submissions from all over the world, The Chain NYC Film Festival is presenting 108 films. From short documentaries to full length narratives and web series; encompassing work from filmmakers in Australia, Belgium, France, UK as well as our own Long Island City; an innovative and diverse set of topics is curated in thematic groups, featuring both indie actors on the brink of stardom as well as actors such as Academy Award Nominee Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight), Louis Lombardi (The Sopranos), Nicholas Brendon (Xander from Buffy), and the debut lead performance of 2014 Miss Golden Globes, Sosie Bacon (Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick’s daughter).
 
Films will be presented on a rotating schedule from August 4 through August 17.Tickets are $10 for all performances. For more information please visit www.chainfilmfestival.com.

The Inspiration Project: Official Selection at Chain Film Festival

I am really excited to share that my The Inspiration Project series episode Music Under New York auditions 2013, and my short film The Inspiration Project are both official selections in the Chain NYC Film Festival. Check out my screenings:

Aug 4th, 8pm and August 14th, 9pm

Chain NYC Film Fest - 21-28 45 Rd Long Island City, NY 11101 Get Directions

Special thanks to all those who have stepped in front of my camera to answer, "What's your Inspiration?" I look forward to sharing your moving and uplifting answers with these two film selections. 

 image by Nousha Salimi

image by Nousha Salimi

For those who can't make the screenings, I will post the edited Film Festival Selections after the first screening date and you can rate the films on the festival website even if you can't make it to the theater. 

Thanks for all your love and support and see you in the subways. 

Picked from hundreds of submissions from all over the world, The Chain NYC Film Festival is presenting 108 films. From short documentaries to full length narratives and web series; encompassing work from filmmakers in Australia, Belgium, France, UK as well as our own Long Island City; an innovative and diverse set of topics is curated in thematic groups, featuring both indie actors on the brink of stardom as well as actors such as Academy Award Nominee Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight), Louis Lombardi (The Sopranos), Nicholas Brendon (Xander from Buffy), and the debut lead performance of 2014 Miss Golden Globes, Sosie Bacon (Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick’s daughter).
 
Films will be presented on a rotating schedule from August 4 through August 17.Tickets are $10 for all performances. For more information please visitwww.chainfilmfestival.com.

NYC Pride. We have Won, When We're One.

The 45th annual New York City Pride Parade will kickoff at noon this Sunday, June 29, with a long day of official and unofficial celebrations throughout Manhattan. 

PrideFest, the LGBT street fair now in its 21st year, will showcase vendors, entertainers, and activities in Abingdon Square from 11a.m. to 6p.m. 

Just a few summers ago, in June of 2011, I was enjoying the afternoon at the second annual Hudson, NY pride and interviewed Matthew Hamilton who was sporting a homemade t-shirt saying it all, "I might be straight but I'm not narrow." 

He shared his passionate plea to "make it happen" while describing how his mother and her partner of 21 years aren't able to marry. "Brittany Spears can be married for 36 hours, but not my mom."

Later that week, June 24, 2011, at 10:30pm, the Marriage Equality Act passed in NY Senate 33-29. This Act gave both New Yorkers and out-of-state residents the authority to marry whomever they choose, regardless of gender, in the state of New York. 

In a recent post to me Matthew wrote  "I got to walk my Mom down the aisle and give her away at her wedding last year. It was far and away one of the best days of my life."  He then added in the exchange, "My daughters were both in the wedding as well. My oldest who is seven now, was a ring bearer and my youngest, now four, was a flower girl. It was without question, one of the best days of my life, one that I must admit, I wasn't sure I'd get to see. Nobody can ever walk into a room with a clipboard now, and say to one of my kids' Grandmas, "You have to leave because you're not family. We are indeed a family, have been for many years, and our family values LOVE."

Now that's what I call inspiration at it's fullest.

The fight for equality in the LGBT community has been tumultuous both outside and inside of the movement. This year's NYC Pride Parade organizers came under intense scrutiny when the grand marshals for the 2014 parade did not include a bisexual identified person. The issue was resolved and the parade marches on in all its pride and glory this Sunday afternoon

I think the tagline for NYC Pride says it all, "We have Won, When We're One." Let's not forget, the words "heterosexual" and "homosexual" that began dividing us into categories were not even in use in the US until the early 1900's. 

We have won, When We are One!

Happy Pride! I'll be out enjoying the festivities with my Pride Poodles. I'll be sure to capture some great inspirations from the proud and the colorful! Here's a throwback inspiration from the 2011 Hudson Pride organizer Trixie Starr. 

Etta and Lily say "Happy Pride" (or more honestly "will someone please take these silly hats off our heads")



New Guinness World Record set for NYC Subway

In 2012, I met Adham Fisher in Union Square as he attempted to break the world record for fastest time traveling through New York City's subway system. Unfortunately, in 2012, he was unable to beat the last recorded world record, and he continued on his journey in other cities, including Toronto, Boston, and Chicago. 

In 2013, Adham and a few friends mapped out a superior route, including the Staten Island Rail, and finally set a new world record with the help of the navigation app Kickmap. 

Last week the  Guinness Book of World Records announced the news.

The fastest time to travel the entire New York City Subway is 22 hr 26 min 02 sec and was achieved by Andi James, Steve Wilson, Peter Smyth, Martin Hazel, Glen Bryant and Adham Fisher (all UK) between 18 and 19 November 2013.

When I met Adham I asked him my favorite question with a twist, "What inspires you to break this world record?" Check out his answer below and congratulations Adham!

Happy Mother's Day: Inspiring Moms

There are instances that inspire.

Some days it's the wind on your face that inspires you. Other days what really moves you is watching a New Yorker help a tourist find something more interesting to see than the Levi's store.

And there are constants that inspire. 

Throughout the years of my filming and asking "What inspires you?" for the people in these below, it's a mother, or a grandmother, and although there is a day for the celebration of these women, these clips show the inspiration is truly constant. 

See Najah Lewis and her mother share a bench and their Inspirations, hear Kalli Meisler: Inspired by Grandmother and what Inspires Actress Joan Allen? Her Mother of course, it's Mother's Day.

Like My Mother Always Said...

Also, in celebration of Mother's Day, check out this amazingly heartwarming and witty book just released by my friend Erin McHugh. After visiting together one afternoon, I pointed out that she used her mother's words of wisdom so often that she should write a book about it, and she did. Congratulations Erin on "Like My Mother Always Said"

 Available now on Amazon.com

Available now on Amazon.com


and of course here's to my Mom Diane. Happy Mother's Day!

on the left Mom pregnant with me, and on the right last year 

Inspiration Video Gallery

I've put together a page with just video clips of my Inspiration Project and here it is. Check out  Inspiration Video Gallery. You can look through and select one of the 100's of videos of people I have met over the years and who have shared what inspires them.

Inspiration Video Gallery

There is no absence of people inspired by life by what they see and hear, willing to walk up to me while I’m performing and chat. I’ve just recently had the guts to say, “hey would you mind if I record what you're saying for my website?"  So that’s how I discovered Paradise at 125th street station who matter-of-factly said, “keep love in your heart everyone, remember that.”  Sherwin at Penn station expressed,  “Joy is my inspiration."  These people need to be heard, they make our world a better and interesting place to live in.

And their inspirational stories resonate with me deeply.  We live in a harsh world, and here in New York City it’s a very crowded and chaotic one.  Ester shared, “today we have ‘soundicians’ (sic) that make noise, but real music is compelling.  Music is in my soul, I get goose-bumps, I feel heightened.  Maybe if people had the right music they’d be happier.”   "Soundicians” ? !!  Wonderful, that description is compelling enough to make me want to find more and more Ester's of the world to share with you.

Heartfelt, honest, strange, inspiring….you be the judge. Stay tuned as I introduce you to the people I meet in the subway on this website, maybe you’ll feel compelled to share or leave a comment.  It’s easy.  And maybe one day if you happen upon me in the subway, you too will feel inspired enough to share what inspires you.