Thursday, September 16, 2010

How (NOT) to meet a European journalist on a plane

OK so I am in the middle seat of a smallish airplane on a late evening flight from Zagreb to Dubrovnik, in Croatia, and we have all been given very welcome glasses of water. I am studying my music for an upcoming performance this week and minding my own business, glass of water in hand, when jetlag suddenly takes over and I fall sound asleep mid-swallow. The next thing I hear is a startled but quite polite shriek from something or someone next to me so I manage to open one eye and groggily begin to notice that the suave young European gentleman next to me seems to be wearing thoroughly soaked jeans. Rather bemused at my gradually awakened state and profound apologies he actually has the courtesy to THANK me for the invigorating bath:

Gentleman: You know, I have to be very awake when we land as I am being met by some people and I was having a hard time keeping myself awake but now I am quite alert in fact - thank you for that unique experience!
Me: (trying not to be too obvious in noticing that the majority of my glass of water had chosen to hit the absolute worst possible location on the front of his jeans): say you are being met by people and have to be working when you land (oh great!)??

Me: (changing subject while hoping the flight were longer so his jeans would try before landing): What do you do?

Gentleman: I am a journalist in Austria and am being sent to Dubrovnik to cover a major charity event there for UNICEF, with Roger Moore and John Malkovich and other stars helping to raise funds to combat violence among youth for peace....

Me (never miss an opportunity, no?): oh, you write up charity events about peace or related to UNICEF.....what about UN and peace day and renowned musicians from many cultures donating their time and talents to do a big event for Peace Day?

Gentleman (strategically placing the myriad of napkins I by now had procured from our airline steward while filling him in on all the details about Oakland and why this event would matter to his magazine readers throughout Europe): You know that sounds really interesting and if you can send me some good pics of the events I will write up an article about it with pleasure though of course I can't promise my editor will include it right away.....but you say you have internationally recognised musicians involved yes?

SO I explained that they are not famous as in hip hop or pop culture celebrities but are much more important for the representation and encouragement of their own cultures, and why we work so hard at Listen for Life to give them opportunities to make that happen, either through concert series like Notes for Nourishment or events like Peace Day or interactive broadcast programs like Travels with Music. He asked more about that one and when he heard that Travels with Music content has now been acquired by the BBC, which they watch in Austria where he is based, he got even more enthusiastic

Maybe he was just extremely polite but he said we should see how we can work together, and while giving me his card he said "one thing is for sure - I will NEVER forget how we met!"

With that we were landed and off to the baggage claim, where - spied him ever so nonchalantly walking with his leather jacket draped down long over his arm which was folded in front of his body "just so"

Thank you, sir.....for letting me live to tell the tale and smile while sharing it.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Work in progress - a dispatch from London en route to Zagreb!

Philosophers say we are all a "work in progress" and that is certainly true, not only of individuals but also of global organizations with local teams, like Listen for Life - and most especially of the major new city-wide event that we are in the middle of producing for Oakland, California! Only two weeks to go before Listen for Life produces the 1st annual Festival for Peace on September 21st in Oakland, involving 7 venues/ events and over 100 internationally renowned musicians performing for free throughout the city to raise awareness of UN International Peace Day and its potential meaning for a wonderfully diverse but challenged community like Oakland: []

Listen for Life volunteer staff teams - music listeners, performers, educators and producers alike - are struggling valiantly to accomplish a trillion small tasks in a rapidly diminishing number of days, so anyone reading this is warmly invited to join in, from wherever you are! Our tech and Web guru from the UK has been brushing up on long-forgotten (to him) graphic design programs in order to create publicity flyers, our PR head is acting as driver since our logistics person had his car totalled last weekend, and on it goes.....

This present opportunity is literally creating work around the clock for our small but energetic team in Oakland, but we all believe passionately in the reasons behind Peace Day and in Listen for Life's potential to use cross cultural music to bring the many disparate groups of our community together in a wordless discussion about peace ....

And in the midst of this, while recently returned from doing a series of Listen for Life Notes For Nourishment concerts throughout the Pacific Northwest, I now find myself on a flight to Europe to perform Peace Day-related concerts that were primarily scheduled well over a year ago!
- have just landed in London en route to Zagreb so more on that in my next dispatch...... A work in progress, indeed!