by Taki S. Raton
Urban fiction writer and journalist James E. Causey will be featured for a presentation and book signing this Saturday, December 15 at the Ayzha Fine Arts Gallery & Boutique in the Grand Avenue Mall, 272 West Wisconsin Avenue.
His first book, “The Twist” was proclaimed “a great debut novel” by an online book reviewer. The sequel “Twisted” has recently been published in 2012. Causey is an editorial writer and columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. His novels are available for sale and will be signed by the author.
Causey was a 2008 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. In 2011, he received a first-place award for sports writing from the National Association of Black Journalist and a National Headliner Award for commentary. He additionally received numerous Milwaukee Press Club recognitions for his writings. Causey is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. and holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University in Fox Point and serves as president of the Wisconsin Black Media Association.
The Nieman Fellowship is an award given to mid-career journalist by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. This fellowship allows winners to reflect on their careers and cultivate their skills. The Nieman is awarded to reporters, editors, photographers, producers, editorial writers, cartoonists, and Internet specialist with at least five years of full-time professional experience in the news media. The fellowship home is at the Lippman House in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Ayzha Fine Arts opened its doors October 19 in observance of the October city wide “Gallery Night” festivities. The gallery represents original works by local, regional, national and international artists for sale, as well as prints, jewelry, cards, books, CDs and organic hair products.
Ayzha is located on the second floor of the Shops of Grand Avenue across from the elevator. The Causey book signing presentation is free and open to the public. For additional information on the author or Ayzha Fine Arts, please contact the gallery at (414) 220-4355.
The Terry McCormick Gallery of Contemporary Fine and Folk Art hosts Blanche Brown: Celebrate Obama–Forward America Exhibition & Sale on Saturday, December 8, with a reception from 12 Noon through 5 pm. The location is 2522 North 18thStreet, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Enthralled by political perceptions, self-taught artist Blanche Brown intuitively conveys the electric chaos of psychologically loaded commercialism, kitschy clichés, sundry slogans, and multi-layered symbolism surrounding the election of America’s first “Black” president. Plus, integral to this body of work, each collage includes President Obama’s image. Unrelenting drama, energy bombardment, and visual eye-candy simulate environments, in her art, that affect viewers differently. In some instances, the work creates deeply disturbing confusion and in others, it creates exciting aesthetic gratification.
President Obama’s monumental election impacted Brown to embrace this historical event as a theme in her collages beginning in 2009. She feels, “Despite ‘hateration’ in our nation, President Obama’s first four years have resulted in several significant accomplishments. The pieces speak to and applaud the fundamental ideology of progressiveness and change while also encompassing the dignity and humanity of all people. This is at the heart of Barack Obama, President of the United States. It is in this light that my collages were created.”
Brown, a native of Chicago, currently resides in Milwaukee with her husband and family. A professional artist for almost 10 years, she exhibits both locally and nationally, while sometimes teaching as an artist-in-residence at schools and community sites.
Also being exhibited is artwork by Kevin Boatright, Shana R. Goetsch, Ras `Ammar Nsoroma, George Ray McCormick Sr., Jacqueline A. Richards, Anwar Pruitt, Mikal Pruitt, and Evelyn Patricia Terry.
Everyone feels vulnerable, sad, and lonely from time to time but if you know how to cheer yourself up, then you’ll get through many of those tough moments just fine.
If you’re just having a bad day (or week) and need to cheer up, try some of the following. I hope you feel better soon!
1. Make your own CHEER UP book. If you’re experiencing lots of days of feeling down, you might benefit from creating your own “Cheer Up” book. Create a list (like this one) of every activity you can think of that will cheer you up. Type it up, add some pictures, print it out, and have it bound.
2. Breathe. Deep breathing is a relaxation technique that releases tension from the body and clears the mind. You tend to breathe shallowly or even hold your breath when you are feeling anxious. Many people do this and are not even aware of it. Shallow breathing limits your oxygen intake and adds further stress.
3. Water. Drink some water. Mmmmm…water. Dehydration can cause a variety of problems, including imbalances in your noggin. So fill up a glass with that clear liquid and take it down. While you’re at it, why don’t you take a multivitamin just for good measure? Don’t stop at that one glass. Be sure to have a few through the rest of the day.
4. Hugs. If a friend or loved one is available, go snag a hug from them. You have to give a hug to get one. Sometimes all we need is a good old fashion hug. A study by University of North Carolina researchers found that hugs increase the “bonding” hormone oxytocin and decrease the risk of heart disease. Touch also releases two feel-good brain chemicals, serotonin and dopamine.
5. Play with a dog. If you don’t have one, go get one! When I say play, I mean really play. Get down on the ground, chase her around, throw her “ball” and have a good old time. You’ll be spreading some love, exercising, and making both you and her feel better.
6. Caffeine. Go get a soda or coffee (iced or hot). Caffeine is a natural mood enhancer. Not only does it taste good in coffee and soda and make you feel better – it also helps to get out of the house to get some fresh air. For a couple dollars, this is a cheap and pleasurable pick-me-up.
7. Call a friend. Open up that cell phone, and start going down the contact list. If you’re not willing to call them (unless it’s a professional contact), then maybe you should delete them. Family members and friends should be available to support one another. A good old-fashion chat will add a new perspective on life in general, and it might provide some pleasant distraction from whatever is getting you down.
8. Watch a funny movie. If you have the time, slip in one of your favorite comedies or go rent one. And when you get to the funny parts, give yourself permission to laugh and laugh hard. Laughter is very good for you, especially when you don’t think you can.
These should lift your spirits right up! Commit to just 15 minutes, and you’ll be surprised how much you’ll want to keep going after your 15 minutes are up.