To listen to Annie Moonbeams, click onto the link: anne
Tune into Arts in the Valley for Saturday, September 10, 2011. Kim McMillon interviews musician Annie Moonbeams, and poet Stephanie Mendel.
Recording artist Annie Moonbeams and her daughter, Rose, dubbed vocals onto tracks for two original CDs featuring guest artist George Winston, courtesy of Dancing Cat Productions. Geoarge Winston appears on piano on three tracks (“Big Minnacca Boo Boo Blues”, “The Weight”, & “Big Minnacca-‘Flight’ Return”) and harmonica on two others (“A Mother’s Prayer” & “Someone Else’s Heart”). The project began with a song and a cause. “A Mother’s Prayer©” was composed when Miss (Jackie) Rose was serving in Iraq. “In a flash of Divine inspiration,” Annie wrote the song. She played it for George who then wanted to be a part of the project. He even composed a special intro on harmonica for the piece dedicated to his “pseudo-daughter”. When Miss Rose returned- thankfully safely, although now disabled–she recorded back-up vocals on this and three other songs. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of CDs and downloaded songs will be donated to charities benefiting our U.S. military “everyday” heroes. NEWS-Masters are now completed. Albums on Jackie’s Herocat Records will soon be available as well as downloads for sale.
Local Berkeley Cat Toby San is featured on the album cover. Here’s a one minute interview with Toby San.
Interviewer/Jacquelyn Sendak: many times I see you sitting still for hours in my yard. Oh Master, what are you doing?
Toby San: In Cat spirituality, many of us have this natural talent to remain focused for hours without moving. Humans have to develop this since they have monkey mind. First, sit in a comfortable position preferably in sun, in grass of someones yard. Relax. Gaze in front of you focusing on a mouse, bird, butterfly anything in particular in nature. Breath be quiet. Watch without moving. After a while you can pounce on it. The main point is calm the mind and focus. Shine is a Tibetan practice and many have said this cat practice makes me a cat Master of Shine. I am open to teaching humans this practice.
To listen to poet Stephanie Mendel, click onto the link:poet-1
Stephanie Mendel’s second book of poems, BARE BRANCHES, was published by Red Berry Editions in 2011. David St. John’s first line in his introduction to the book says, “Stephanie Mendel’s poems have a measured beauty, exquisite and spare reflections, as well as a poised, quiet elegance.”
BARE BRANCHES is sold on amazon, but it is less expensive to buy it from the NSDA (National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association) since they have free shipping. They are selling the book to help raise money to find better treatment and a cure for SD, the voice disorder Stephanie Mendel has. (spasmodic dysphonia).
Stephanie has served on the NSDA board and has been the leader of the San Francisco/North Bay SD Support Group for the last ten years.
Jane Hirshfield wrote, “…and yet there was happiness in touching the real,” states the final poem of this extraordinary book of grief, life, and praise. Stephanie Mendel is a poet who knows the nectars of transience, and Bare Branches a book that honors and returns reality’s touch on the skin, the mind, and heart of our continuing connection to all that is here and all that is not, but once was.”
Dorianne Laux wrote, “Goethe said “Presence is our duty, be it only a moment”, knowing how difficult it is to be still and revere. Mendel understands this and so continues to cup her hands around the twin flames of loss and desire. These poems are sometimes so quiet we can hear our own breath.”
Stephanie’s first book of poems, MARCH, BEFORE SPRING is now in its third printing. It is used by grief groups at hospices and by widows and friends of widows who are grieving.
She taught poetry in her home for eight years, served on the board of the Marin Poetry Center, and is in David St. John’s master class that has met twice a year for eleven years. She has also studied in workshops with Kim Addonizio, Mark Doty, Stephen Dunn, Carolyn Forche, Robert Hass, Brenda Hillman, Jane Hirshfield, Marie Howe, Jack Gilbert, Yusef Komunyakaa, Dorianne Laux, Li Young Lee, Gerald Stern and Al Young among other poets.
Her work has appeared in anthologies and journals including Confrontation, Folio, Harvard Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Rattle, Sixteen Rivers Press Anthology, Southern California Review, The Poet’s Companion (Norton), Western Journal of Medicine and Stanford University Medical Staff Update.
She is from Pittsburgh and has lived in Ann Arbor, Boston, Birmingham, Washington, DC, Berkeley and now lives in Marin County. She has two sons and two grandsons.
Her website is stephaniemendel.com.