Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “kickstarter”

Beautiful Bay Area Voice

There are many good reasons to live in the San Francisco Bay Area: the public schools, the politics, unpredictable but ultimately great weather, and the amazing people, many of them artists, who gravitate here.  Two weeks ago, I attended debut author, Corina Vacco, a member of our writer’s circle, at her book launch for My Chemical Mountain (I am wearing the T-shirt, as I write this!).  The place was full of our writer friends, who have all toiled over each others work, offered encouragement, critique and shared successes and less successful times.

At the beginning of the month, I attended a first live performance of Ahri Golden, a friend and member of our  very special Jewish community, Chochmat HaLev, She played at The Red Devil Lounge on Polk Street and I have to admit, my better half dragged me along – midweek social events after a long day at work is never greeted with enthusiasm – but she just blew me away with her amazing voice and meaningful lyrics.

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Ahri is financing her album through Kickstarter, a crowd-sourcing way to raise money for projects. Ahri must raise $15,000 (breakout of costs on the webpage) by the end of this month. For a $25 investment, you will receive a CD of the album and a copy of the cover art (for as little as $1 you will receive good karma points).

Please listen to her music and consider investing in an exciting new Bay Area voice. If I haven’t convinced you, check out what Ahri has to say below. 

 

I am an award-winning public radio producer turned singer/songwriter. The journey to my singing and songwriting life has been a transformative odyssey, which began at my grandmother’s funeral in 2003. Bernice Friedman was a pillar of grace and wisdom in my life. She died suddenly in a tragic car accident only 9 days after my wedding. When she passed on, my mother, who always wrote and delivered the most brilliantly eloquent of speeches, was devastated, inconsolable, and speechless. I wrote the eulogy, enacted the story of my relationship with my grandmother, and sang. It was the first time I ever sang to a large group of people. It was cathartic and had planted a seed toward finding my voice.

Fast forward to 2009, when my son was 4 years old, and a new big brother, I became oddly adamant that he take music lessons.

I hired Dave Rosenfeld, who was a musician, music producer, private teacher, and creativity coach. Conveniently, he lived just a few blocks away. After a handful of lessons it became hard to get my son motivated to go. One day, I was struggling for us to make the lesson on time and he said to me with great frustration and breathtaking wisdom, “Mom, I don’t want music, YOU want music!”

I stood there, dumbfounded. We stared at each other. I remembered the visceral experience of singing at my grandmother’s funeral in a flash.

Then I took a deep breath and said, “Wow. You’re right. I do.” He was right. I wanted music. My son called a spade and spade. I listened.

The next week, I took his place in the music lessons with Dave and we’ve collaborated every week for 4 years to improvise, open and hone my voice.

Ahri has only 10 days left to raise the $15,000 – if she doesn’t, Kickstarter will not take your money. If you are as impressed as I am with Ahri’s voice and potential, please don’t delay and invest in another beautiful Bay Area voice.

Have a great weekend.

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Alon Shalev writes social justice-themed novels and YA epic fantasy. He swears there is a connection. His latest books include: Unwanted Heroes and the 2013 Eric Hoffer Book Award for YA – At The Walls Of Galbrieth. Alon tweets at @alonshalevsf and @elfwriter.   For more about the author, check out his website.

Lior Tsarfaty and The Prayer Songs Project Recording CD

I love the concept of Kickstarter – a grassroots start up opportunity wherein people donate as little as $5 to a project and only pay if the project reaches its financial goal. A friend of mine, a talented musician, Lior Tsarfaty, is trying to raise $12,000 (he has over $8,000 pledged) to record a project that includes music with Hebrew, Arabic and Sanskrit. He must complete the fundraising by Wednesday. Please take five minutes to check out his project and consider joining me with a small gift.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xc5DCo184bQ

In his own words:

“…record a musical collaboration CD where Hebrew and Jewish music, Arabic prayers, Sanskrit chants and English poetry intertwine in a sacred space of art and community. I play with an ensemble of international musicians that bring together prayers, art and music with the intention of creating healing. The CD will be mainly based on songs that I wrote and composed in Hebrew and then other musicians weave in their languages and music.

After 3 years of many concerts, rehearsals and after playing with many musicians almost each of my songs found an Indian chant, or an Arabic prayer or a poem, or a Bossa Nova melody from Brazil. One song combines Hebrew and Portuguese, another contains English, Arabic, Sanskrit and Jewish melodies, and some of the songs are songs in which only I am singing. Some songs preferred to stay simple – with my voice and Hebrew lyrics. Some of the songs in this project are coming from a deep place of healing, some to promote peace and justice and some to create a personal musical connection between different cultures and musicians from around the world.

I have finalized the list of songs I will be including on this CD, I have contacted all the musicians that will be a part of this project and they have all agreed to be a part of the recording. The money will be for paying the recording studio – studio time, editing mixing and mastering, and paying the musicians that are participating in the project, and for all the expenses of designing a cover and manufacturing the CD.

You can help take part in this project with any sum – the reward list is on the right. This is an open invitation to join me in this project and help reach the goal of raising $12,000.

Thank you very much for your support,
Lior

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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/ and on Twitter (@alonshalevsf).

Kickstarting Art

It takes money to make money. It often takes money to promote a good idea or bring an art initiative to fruition. A friend of mine is part of a theater group at San Francisco State University. While the arts are extremely popular, the university is becoming increasingly restricted in its ability to fund projects through to their production.

In a country reeling from economic mismanagement (yes we should begin to call it what it is before we forget and allow it to happen again), money for the arts is scarce and the process to obtain such funds complex.

Enter Kickstarter – an organization that harnesses the power of many individuals giving small amounts. An artist can prepare a project plan, promote it through the Internet and people can safely (through Amazon.com) pledge as little as $1. If the project needs to raise $10,000, for example, then they have 90 days to raise it all.

One of the aspects that stands out for me is that if the project does not succeed in raising the amount needed for the project then the donors are not charged. In other words, you pledge the money and only pay when the goal is met.

In an age when a young generation has been brought up on entitlement, I find this a refreshing framework. It might just separate the artists from the dreamers.

My friend and her colleagues are raising money to produce a play that deals with suicides off the Golden Gate Bridge. It is called Jump: A Love Story and is a play which incorporates multimedia.

Please click here to see their short promotional video.

And if you can pledge the price of a cappuccino, please click here. 30 days into their 3 months, they have raised over 60% of their chosen goal. These are students at San Francisco State trying to express themselves and an important social issue through art. And they are willing to get entrepreneurial to see it come to fruition.

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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/and on Twitter (#alonshalevsf).

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