Aurel and Elo tribute, victims of Paris massacre

Aurelie de Peretti and Elodie Sappy, friends of mine from St. Tropez, France, visited me in NYC in November 2013. I showed them around the city and they especially enjoyed the subway music we found along the way. 

Aurel and Elo were in Paris on November 13, 2015 attending a concert of Eagles Of Death Metal at the Bataclan concert hall. Aurel was killed, and Elo was gravely wounded. As of this post she is in a Parisian hospital.  My heart goes out to the families of these dear women. They loved life and music

May the death of Aurel and the injuries of Elo not be turned into fear. I found this clip in my archives and am so happy to see them once again filled with light, love and wonderment.  As Aurel exclaims after hearing the brass duo perform on the platform at Broadway and Lafayette, C’est magique which needs no translation.

Love and Light to us all.  I was lucky enough to have know Aurel for the short time I did, and I hope one day to visit Elo and give her a huge hug of love and support.

Music heals.

Spontaneous is a Journey

If you have been following my social media posts, you know I am currently on a road trip (I call the Wander Tour) around the USA. I left NY on September 23rd (my grandmother's birthday and the first day of Autumn). I headed west from Old Chatham, NY to Erie, Pa. and then onward stopping in Detroit, Grosse Pointe where I had the pleasure of performing with my partner in the 80's Lenore Troia.  We hadn't performed together for over 2O years and it was a wonderful reunion. I traveled north in MI to Torch Lake, where I connected with long time musical friend from the days that I lived in Key West, Fl, Leanna Collins.  Leanna is an amazing musician and songwriter, happily still performing. she and her husband have a wonderful cafe, performance space.  

Then I traveled onward to Holland, MI,where a new friend provided the poodles and me with a comfortable home, fresh bread, met a loving neighbor, and a fun visit to a Mom in independent living. Thankful for laundry, we headed off to Sioux Falls, SD, where I found new friends of the the owners of a restaurant Parker's Bistro, who then invited me to perform the next night, which I happily stayed around to do.  I found myself after my performance joining in on a hysterical Karaoke trip with new friends with poodles joining along.. 

 karaoke with new friends and poodles in Sioux Falls, SD

karaoke with new friends and poodles in Sioux Falls, SD

 me and Leanna Collins at Torch Lake Cafe, MI
 

#IWD 2015 celebrating Women's Achievements

Sunday March 8th is International Women's Day. 

"The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights" Gloria Steinem

In celebration of International Women's Day I honor the work of Rebecca Price and her wonderful HerStory podcast, a Chick History Project. Rebeca interviewed 50 women about the women who inspired them. I am excited to have written the theme song. "She Shall Not Be Forgotten"

Here is my 2012 Blog about HerStory in which I also was interviewed sharing a woman in history who inspired me poet Edna St. Vincent Millay

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Maria Montessori

Last Chance for Year End Donations

There are a few hours left to contribute to your favorite organizations, cause or program. With online donations making it even quicker and easier to do so, I urge you to take a moment to contribute.

NYCSubwayGirl donates a portion of performance contributions to organizations who help to make this world a better place.  I call them The Champions I Support.  

Supporting with a gift of any amount goes a long way.

I hope you join me.

Giving Tuesday

Between Black Friday hijacking Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday pushing us to consume goods, the emphasis should be on giving. It's why I am getting on the bandwagon for #GivingTuesday.  We shouldn't need a day of the week to give, but it is true, it doesn't hurt to make an event out of giving to a cause or organization you believe in. If you are like me the year end comes pretty quick and organizations that depend on giving could use those funds now. The internet makes it quite simple (and safe) to go to your favorite website and give online.

NYCSubwayGirl donates a portion of performance contributions to organizations who help to make this world a better place.  I call them The Champions I Support.  Whether you give today on #GivingTuesday or not isn't the point, supporting with a gift of any size is.

I hope you join me.

 #nycpoodles supporting #MadSqAppeal Madison Square Park Conservancy

#nycpoodles supporting #MadSqAppeal Madison Square Park Conservancy

World AIDS Day

In 1990 I recorded the song Fallen Friends in a New York City studio with my band. I wrote it for my cousin Peter VanderPutten who died of AIDS in 1989 in Key West Florida and for all the others who were disappearing before our very eyes. 

Today in 2014 AIDS is still a crisis in our world. 

I am offering my song as a free download, please share. I hope that the words and music I wrote long ago will remind us of the fragility of our world and that we can join together in strength and love.

click here for your FREE DOWNLOAD

Lyrics

                       Fallen Friends Words/Music-C. Grier Sesac Singerfish Publishing 

Where Have My Friends Gone

They Have All Fallen

Where Are My Many Fallen Friends

I Hope They Are Somewhere

 Where No Anger Resides And There's No Hate

Where No One Decides What's Wrong Or Right

Before Its Too Late 

 Where Have My Friends Gone

Last I Looked They Were Healthy And Funny

But Where Are My Many Fallen Friends

I Keep Looking Again

Chorus:

And They're Falling

My Falling, Falling Friends

My Falling, Falling Friends

Some Saw Denial

And There Lifestyles On Trial

Some Tried To Say

Why Has The Government Looked Far Away

Number Days Are All Gone

And What We Are Missing

By Not Taking A Stand

Are The Many Numbers Too Afraid To Lend A Hand

And There's Such A Demand

Lives That Are Cut Short

It Doesn't Make Sense

Why Can't We, Why Can't We Rise Up

And Help Find A Cure, Others Aren't Sure

And They're Falling Falling Lovers, Falling Men

Falling Women, My Falling Friends And They're Falling Children

Falling Lovers, Falling Men, Falling Women, My Falling Friends

Will The Falling Ever End


Veterans Day a pacifists support

Today we celebrate Veterans Day. I live near the parade route.  throughout the day besides lots of marching bands and bag pipes Veterans of all ages, race and gender will march.  I will be there to support those who chose to fight in war.  

I found the image below on the engaging website: Mic

This sculpture is a truly stunning tribute to America's veterans for Veterans Day.

The stone pillars in Anthem, Arizona, are calibrated to achieve maximum emotional and visual impact: The sun only highlights the Great Seal of the United States at 11:11 a.m. local time on Nov. 11.

By Matt Saccaro  On Veterans Day, you might be looking for something a bit more meaningful than just a $2 "support our troops" bumper sticker or lapel pin.

How about this series of stone pillars in Anthem, Arizona, that's calibrated to achieve maximum emotional and visual impact — the sun only highlights the Great Seal of the United States at 11:11 a.m. local time on Nov. 11 — on Veterans Day. For those who don't remember history class, that was the day the armistice bringing World War I to a close was signed.

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Source: Imgur

A rear admiral by the name of Ron Tucker conceptualized the idea, and an artist named Renee Palmer-Jones brought it to life in 2012.

To add even more gravitas to the monument, the bricks contain the names of 750 American war veterans.

 

Here are some words from my last year's blog sums up my sentiments:

call me a dreamer

but I believe in peace

call me a contradicted peace activist because I can support a Veterans Day parade

and still believe that Peace is the only answer

2012 marked 11 years since America launched head first into Afghanistan

To have watched the parade with so many women vets, injured vets, all proud vets.

Vets from the Coast Guard, National Guard and all branches of what we could consider the usual branches of military.

Now we have drones and NSA spying to protect our freedoms, the unusual the norm. 

In an ongoing never to end war on terror, how can you stop a war on terror with Terror?

This is not the America I believe in. 

I grew up in the Vietnam generation, the Nuclear Age before the Age of Aquarius, learning to use song and activism to stand up against a government, against a ideal that I don't agree with or understand.  

Today I'll be standing along 5th avenue applauding those veterans of all races and gender. It's theirs to celebrate, their survival, their aliveness.

I will continue to hold from my beliefs. I will

Let the sunshine in. Let the sunshine in.

                                                             and a video I created:

 

 

Source: http://s3.amazonaws.com/policymic-images/w...

Stand With Me + my Pups

A follow-up to the massive march on Sunday where 400,000 were counted not including at least 2 poodles (and the countless other canines that were there):

The impactful 350.org has created a petition to ask world leaders to stand with us in finding a common goal in carbon reduction to stave off negative Climate Change:

I stand with the People's Climate March because I am ready for action, not words. I will take the action necessary to create a world with an economy that works for people and the planet – now. In short, I demand a world safe from destructive fossil fuels, and the ravages of climate change.

here's the link, please consider signing

Their amazing campaign to support the People's Climate March was very succinct.

"In order to change everything, we need everyone."

and a People's Climate wrap-up clip they created from the worldwide event

if you've been following my posts you know how much I care about the future of this planet. I even have a sustainability category here on this site where I post important information.

Stand with me. Think about your daily efforts to reduce waste and energy consumption. and if you don't have at least one thing you do to help, it's time to start.

and speaking of the canines in the march, I received this wonderful image of my pups by canine photographer Alice Su

400,000 in the streets of NYC

the march was quite an experience. I am still exhilarated by the showing of awareness to get in the street and be counted. The amount of young people there was amazing. It means a lot to see youth concerned about their future. I had a chance to be interviewed for an article in The Epoch Times. So many slogans caught my eye, my favorite being "Change the System Not The Climate."

I went with my poodles and was joined by friend photographer Nousha Salimi (you see many of her shots of me throughout my site).  And here's one she took of me and The Epoch Times journalist Shannon Liao as she was interviewing me.


911 The Names Union Square

fading with every day, yet the memory stays just as strong.  

In Union Square in the underground corridor above N/R line on the west wall, are all the names of those who perished. Label stickers that John Lin (I only discovered the artist by posting this clip) put up onto the subway tile, some names are fading. You could miss it if you're not paying attention. In this clip I took my niece Sara to walk the corridor. She was 9 at the time of the tragedy living in NJ and like us all, forever changed by the event. Every time I perform in Union Square, I point out to people as they rush on by, this moving simple tribute. A quiet reflection of the gravity and loss, slowly fading from the finger tips that brush over the names.

It's still there. You should check it out.
Thanks to Melea Seward for informing me that the wall sticker installation was created by John Lin. 

She writes: My friend John Lin did this. He measured the space, mapped the white subway tiles, printed all the names of those that died on 9/11, and enlisted a bunch of us to help him make this wall. It was the weekend after September 11 -- maybe 20 people or so -- unpeeled Avery labels and affixed them in alphabetical order -- to the wall. I had just moved to New York a few months before. I have recently left NYC -- was there a few weeks ago and ran into this wall, noticed the peeling stickers. And had a moment. I was writing about it and wondered if anyone else had noticed it.

I'm pleased to see that you made this video. And accompanied the long walk down that hallway with your song.

Thank you.

music performed and written by Cathy Grier

Past 911 blog posts:

2012 after Hurricane Sandy Stirred Not Shaken

2011 September 11

2010 Where Are We Now

2009 Remembrance

 

15th year Blueberry Festival for community spirit

I love summer in upstate NY,  it's a time as a subway performer when I look forward to the many "above ground" performances and volunteering work that I do.  And this weekend it's the 15th annual Blueberry Festival held on the grounds of Old Austerlitz Village, in Austerlitz, NY.  The Blueberry Festival helps to fund the amazing relocation and restoration of the many gorgeous 19th Century homes found on the site.  Crafters and Artisans set up booths to showcase and sell their wares in many of the 19th Century traditions. Spinners spin, Pottery and Brooms, rugs and looms, petting Zoo for the kids young and old.  And lots of entertainment. 

Since 2003 I have been the entertainment coordinator, sound reinforcement company, engineer, MC and basic all around grunt to ensure the entertainment is non stop and well...entertaining! I also will be performing at 1pm

here's a clip I created from 2012 to get you in the Summer Blueberry mood.

 

The annual Blueberry Festival is held the last Sunday of July since 1999 and starts at 9am with Blueberry Pancakes-using local ingredients, real butter, milk and maple syrup. Proceeds go to support the mission to present our community's rich history through preservation and education.

My friend Cindy noted that the event is rain or shine and over the years we've had plenty of both. She wrote "There are so many things to do in case of rain!  Pancakes, gift shop, music, other activities under the tents.  Maybe suggest umbrellas and raincoats--I like the motto of the Adirondack Mountain Club--"There is no bad weather, only bad equipment--that could be modified-- into something that suggests comfort and fun in the rain with your wellies and mackinaws.  Bring your boat.  Nice thing to do in the rain." 

 

ScratchBox Project: An Interactive Neighborhood Art Installation

A few weeks ago while walking the poodles, I stumbled upon an interesting array of light bottles in Madison Square Park. It was a group of artists and designers promoting the Scratchbox Project. Of course, I asked them to scratch the poodles in the bottle!

The bottles are coated with a special paint that scratches away to reveal the light beneath and, of course, the art.

This interactive project aims to build relationships within a community by encouraging residents to share their experiences within it. In doing so, each person will get to know both the place and the people living in it. Check out the short video below!

The first Scratchbox event and panels are set to go up at First Green Street on August 16 & 17. The team at Scratchbox are crowdsourcing this project through a Kickstarter campaign that is in its final day! As a huge supporter of art, music, and life in public spaces, I want to see them succeed in this campaign. Check out more about the project on their Kickstarter page! 

 

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")



Memorial Day to "Remember"

I am a pacifist who believes in the preciousness of life through non-violence.  Memorial Day is bittersweet for me as I can't help but remember and honor all those who lost their lives in fighting for our country. And to those who continue to serve.

Today at your BBQ or party, take a moment, a pause to give thanks to our lost soldiers and those who continue to serve.

  Remembering my cousin Charlie Mcglauflin who was buried last week at The Brigadier General William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery, NJ. He was a United States Marine Corps veteran as well as a Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteer. 

Remembering my cousin Charlie Mcglauflin who was buried last week at The Brigadier General William C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery, NJ. He was a United States Marine Corps veteran as well as a Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteer. 

As another reminder of how precious life is, here are some veterans of our armed services who are part of the inspiring I Wish For Project, by photographer Nousha Salimi :

 Anna / US war veteran  "I wish I owned a Harley, so I could participate in more memorial runs with Rolling Thunder and Patriot Guard Riders."  Oct.2013      Bronx,NY

Anna / US war veteran

"I wish I owned a Harley, so I could participate in more memorial runs with Rolling Thunder and Patriot Guard Riders."

Oct.2013      Bronx,NY

 Myles / US War Veteran  "I wish a happy and healthy life for my family and a new camera so I can take good pictures so I can write another cookbook."  Oct.21.2013     Bronx,NY.

Myles / US War Veteran

"I wish a happy and healthy life for my family and a new camera so I can take good pictures so I can write another cookbook."

Oct.21.2013     Bronx,NY.

 Sidney / War Veteran  "I wish to live my life the best I can in the eyes show me the money."  Oct.2013    Bronx,NY

Sidney / War Veteran

"I wish to live my life the best I can in the eyes show me the money."

Oct.2013    Bronx,NY

 

I also celebrate the work of The Josephine Herrick Project this is from their website:

Josephine Herrick Project Honors our Veterans

"As we celebrate veterans as heroic young people who risked their lives for their country, today of all days, we must also commit to helping the more than 2.9 million disabled veterans from wars over the last seven decades. Josephine Herrick Project has had the honor of serving veterans with free photography programs for over 70 years. Join us and commit today to helping veterans in need"  Executive Director Maureen McNeil

Transient

Photograph by Mai Jun Li, an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran and participant in JHP photography programs "My dog tag is important to me. It was there with me with witnessing things good and bad. Taking photos of my ID is making me feel grateful. When I try to remember the past, my dog tag has been on me for years. It means a lot to me. I hold on to it like it's saving my life."

and what I wish for:

 "I wish we truly lived by the people,of the people and for the people,and that the glass is always 1/2 full".  Cathy / Musician / New Yorker   www.nycsubwaygirl.com   March.27.2013 / Manhattan,NY

"I wish we truly lived by the people,of the people and for the people,and that the glass is always 1/2 full".

Cathy / Musician / New Yorker

www.nycsubwaygirl.com

March.27.2013 / Manhattan,NY

1964 Worlds Fair a memory

Inspired by today's article in the New York Times read here by Joesph Tirella, I thought I'd share my own memory and family slides of the 64 Worlds Fair.

My Mom gave me an old box of family slides to scan and archive. I was very excited to find images that my Dad took of our visit to the 1964 Worlds Fair (he was quite a good photographer).  The experience is one of my earliest childhood memories. In '64 we were living in Connecticut. My parents were both raised in The Bronx and had many relatives living in Queens, so it was an easy commute!

I was really disappointed when they told me I was too small to ride in the convertible. My favorite was sitting in the boat and floating through while singing It's A Small World as loud as I could.  My first NYC singing in public space experience!  My sister and brother are seen in a few of the shots.

You also might find interesting the images in another NY Times article by Alan Feuer about the dismantling of the Fair.

Nelson and Hayden wild mustangs meet

I'm honored that a my song Easy Come Easy Go was featured in a lovely clip created by Karen Wagner of Equine Advocates in Chatham, NY. Nelson a rescued wild mustang has been living at the sanctuary for some time now and Hayden another resuced mustang arrived late last year. This clip shows their second encounter.  it's a wonderful example of animal kindness.