Saturday, October 31, 2009

Expecting the Universe’s Elevator (Wisdom Magazine Column)

[The following will appear in November 2009’s Wisdom Magazine online edition. Visit Cassendre’s archived Wisdom articles at]

I performed recently at the National Constitution Center.
It was a benefit for Women Organized Against Rape and a surprise for me (though I don’t think it was a surprise to the organizers) was Philadelphia Mayor Nutter’s appearance and subsequent speech.
In one of the emails I received from the organizers just prior to the event, I was given directions to the venue’s exact location in the building. Upon finding the Constitution Center, and entering, I was to “look for stairs” in a certain area. “Stairs?” I thought. In a huge building like the Constitution Center? With my guitar and suitcase full of CDs and credit card swiper, and flyers, that weighs a ton? Stairs? Oh, I don’t think so.
Immediately, I discarded the concept that rudimentary, exercisatory (yes, I made that word up), laborious “stairs” were going to lead me to my destination. I immediately replaced the word in my mind with “elevator”. And sure enough, when the time came to apply this expectation that an elevator would be there for me in all its glory, when I walked into the main lobby of the C. Center, I went into the first store I found and asked a very helpful man who told me where the elevator was --- a mere few feet from the store’s front entrance.
Stairs? Why would I want to take stairs when a building this new and of this size and importance would likely have several passenger elevators and a few freight ones, too?
I got to thinking about how easily I was able to navigate that, simply because I expected and felt entitled to a comfortable, smooth, and easy situation and experience. Wouldn’t I love to do that in every area of my life?
In practicing learning my lessons through joy and not struggle, I’ve been trying to take the gentle route whenever possible.
I’ve also begun to notice others’ behaviors, where proverbial and literal “elevators” are involved.
For instance, when I’m singing in Suburban Station, which thankfully is becoming a rarer and rarer experience, I’ve noticed people lugging heavy suitcases or struggling physically up the stairs, when there’s an elevator right behind the stairs. Sometimes a mother with a stroller and two other children will automatically seek out, find, and use the elevator – most people don’t even look for the elevator – even folks who use canes. It’s heart-wrenching to watch someone begin to struggle up stairs, when there’s an elevator so close by. (I do tell folks where the elevator is, and sometimes, for their own reasons, they refuse it.)
Now, when I remember to, I ask the universe to show me the simplest, most direct way to accomplish a goal.
I’m learning to expect an elevator everywhere I go.
Is there something you’re working on?
Try imagining that there’s a smoother road to accomplishing it, and opt to take that one. Ask the universe (or who/whatever you have these kinds of conversations with) to show you the simplest, most direct, yet effective way to do it. It can even be the best way, just expect it to be a pleasant experience, and it will make the work a little easier, the journey a little more pleasant.
The universe is grand, full of all sorts of tricks and smooth entrances for you to travel. There’s always an easier way – all you have to do is expect it and when necessary, ask.

Cassendre Xavier is a “renaissance negresse” known mainly for her music and writing. Her latest CD Capable of Love and book The Opposite of Fear as well as her Affirmations for Survivors guided meditation recordings, book excerpts/articles, and upcoming appearances are all available through her website. Based in Philadelphia, she is founder & director of that city’s annual Black Women’s Arts Festival (Est. 2003). Visit

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To read this article on Live Journal visit

© 2009 by Cassendre Xavier. All rights reserved.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

CX Direct Order Form - renaissance negresse catalogue

(Updated 1/18/10)

Here is where you can learn what products are available by Cassendre Xavier, and how to order them.

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Cassendre Xavier (aka Amethyste Rah, aka Amrita Waterfalls) is an award-winning multi-media artist and community arts leader based in Philadelphia, PA, USA. She coined the term “renaissance negresse” in 2002 to describe her work as an author, musician, visual artist, and actress, and is the founder and executive director of Philadelphia’s annual Black Women’s Arts Festival (Est. 2003). Visit Cassendre at www.cassEndrExavier.

ORIGINAL & POP SONGS BY CASSENDRE XAVIER (in CD and Downloadable MP3 formats) featuring Cassendre on vocals and guitar, and performed in a bluesy, folk, acoustic style. Available to order by mail, phone, or online using your card or check at or call 1 (800) BUY-MY-CD [289-6323]. Cassendre’s official website is

Titles (click on their corresponding links for reviews & product info):

Capable of Love (2009) [Available also as MP3 Download] Featuring sacred chanting, humorous, and haunting songs. A cross between Tania Maria and Bobby McFerrin with guitar. Album highlights: overdub harmony vocals, “The Water is Wide”, “O Shenandoah,” and original songs “Run to You”, “Chapstick Lesbian Song” and “The Damn Dog Song”. More reviews & product info:

Live at Tin Angel (2006) [Available also as MP3 Download] Critically acclaimed live recording at esteemed Philadelphia acoustic listening room, the Tin Angel. Honorably mentioned by Philadelphia City Paper music critic M.J. Fine as the number 9 of top 21 Local EPs of 2007. Album highlights: humor with live audience, between song banter/introductions, and original first-time released sexy-funky song “To Be”. More reviews & product info:

4OUR: a sampler (2004) Four songs representing live, studio, original, and cover song performance. An inexpensive introduction to Cassendre’s music. More reviews & product info:

Beautiful (2004) “Cassendre could not have picked a better name for her CD! She summed it up into one word: Beautiful. She captivates the listener with her angelic voice, smoothed over with powerful lyrics and the affair she holds with her guitar. Tears actually sprung to my eyes after the first listen, I was so moved by the magnificent combination of a stunning voice against awe-inspiring lyrics. You'll play this CD on repeat all day. Don't let this one get away, you need it for your own CD collection.” -Heather Corcoran, Assistant Editor, CoffeeHouseTour. Album highlights: overdub harmony vocals, original songs “Letters from Heaven,” “A Little Bit of Love”, “BOG’s Song” and Sheryl Crow cover “Strong Enough”. More reviews & product info:

Live at the Krafbrau, Kalamazoo (2004) “ …a prime example of the artist's lyrical dexterity. Xavier showcases her ability to use her voice as an instrument. With the intensity of her emotion in the vocal arrangement, Xavier accompanies her voice with the simplicity of her acoustic guitar-playing, creating a polyrhythmic kinship with the instrument.” - Sherella Gibbs, PAW Print (Philadelphia Arts Writers) Album highlights: Humor with live audience, first-time released original songs “Your Eyes” and “Hatred’s Too Easy”. More reviews & product info: More reviews & product info:

The Cassendre Xavier Collection, Vol. 1 (2004) “Sultry, smooth, and soulful... Her voice is sultry, smooth and soulful; her guitar rhythmic and rich.” -Debra D'Alessandro/Producer & Host of Amazon Country, WXPN 88.5 More reviews & product info:

Live at Café Improv (2002) “Cassendre Xavier has combined an unlikely mixture of contemporary and timeless influences to create a smooth yet distinguishable style beyond the usual singer songwriter pattern. It is hard to tell where her jazz, folk and rock influences inform her sensibility, yet informed by all of these she is. It is as consistent as it is memorable, soulful, and real.” - David W. Wannop/Journalist and Promoter. Album highlights: Original song “I’m Happy Now” and an unforgettable cover of B.B. King’s “The Thrill is Gone”. More reviews & product info:

The Whittenberg Sessions (2002) Debut album, recorded by and named for Emmy Award-winning film score composer Rodney Whittenberg. This album received its first major radio play (Power 99FM, Philadelphia) and features powerful originals “Friend,” “Your Woman”, “Happy to be Alive” and “Life of the Party”, as well as unique interpretations of cover songs including Pat Benetar’s “Love is a Battlefield” and Nina Simone’s “Four Women”. More reviews & product info:

Cassendre’s CDs are also sold at Giovanni's Room Bookstore, 345 S. 12th Street (at Pine)
Philadelphia, PA 19107 (215) 923-2960


Cassendre gave herself the spiritual name of Amethyste Rah in the late 1990s when she began writing about spirituality in national women’s magazines. Always an artist to deal with personal issues in her work and to bring together community to help solve them together, she founded Sisters Healing Together, a peer support group for women survivors of incest with a special focus on compulsive overeating in 1996 which ran until 1999 at the William Way LGBT Community Center in Philadelphia.
In 2003, she produced and co-starred, with 4 other actresses, in a play called Sex for Survivors, which she also wrote and which was a Philadelphia Fringe Festival 3-day feature.

Throughout, she read a lot about healing from abuse, and coupled with counseling and producing written works about the issue, began recording guided meditations and affirmations very similar to the ones she’d been using on her own healing journey.

[The following are soothing spoken word guided meditations with angelic music background to help you reclaim, heal, and empower your self to live with more joy and ease. Written and spoken by singer-songwriter and former workshop and support group founder Amethyste Rah (aka Cassendre Xavier). While this recording is tailored for self-identified recovering survivors of incest/sexual abuse, and addictions, it is helpful to anyone wanting to improve their self-esteem. Music of Light by Thaddeus © LuminEssence Productions Used with permission.]

The following have been very highly recommended by mental health professionals and their clients, as well as friends and business associates of Cassendre’s who prefer to remain anonymous:

Affirmations for Survivors: Self-Love CD (2007)

Affirmations for Survivors: Self-Love MP3 Download (2007)

Affirmations for Survivors: Spirituality CD (2007)

Affirmations for Survivors: Spirituality MP3 Download (2007)

Cassendre’s Guided Meditations are also sold at Giovanni's Room Bookstore, 345 S. 12th Street (at Pine) Philadelphia, PA 19107 (215) 923-2960

BOOKS AND E-BOOKS BY CASSENDRE XAVIER (To order, email: for product availability and latest order form)

secrets & lies: poetry and other words (2004)
a Curious Bookling™ (chapbook) by Cassendre Xavier. Highlights: Poems “The Day I Was Born”, “telegram to erotic from terror”, “Shrimp Savannah: a Recipe”, “Be Coming Magickal: a Blackwomyn’s Journey (Or: How to Become a Witch When All Your Teachers are White)”, “Hair Like Mine”, and “to the 4’ asian woman who swears she’s so tough”. To order, email: for product availability and latest order form.

Making of a Woman/Artist: a book for every black girl & every black woman who has ever wanted to be an artist (2005)
a Curious Bookling™ (chapbook) with original cover artwork by Cassendre Xavier. Highlights: Essays “Boundaries – the Stronger the Better”, “Unconditional (Self) Love”, “Radical Self-Acceptance”, “Affirmations for the Black Woman Artist”, Exercise: “If I Were a ‘Real’ Artist…”, and Recommended Reading. To order, email: for product availability and latest order form.

Expanding Your Capacity for Joy: a Raw Vegan Comfort Book, Sourcebook & Journal. For product description visit Expanding Your Capacity for Joy is also sold at:

Arnold's Way
Raw Vegetarian Cafe, Store & Education Center
319 West Main St. Store # 4 Rear
Lansdale, PA 19446

Essene Natural Market & Cafe
719 South Fourth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Giovanni's Room Bookstore
345 S. 12th Street (at Pine)
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 923-2960

Erotica: a Liberation [Explicit] Forthcoming in 2010) Writing, photographs, and drawings by Cassendre Xavier writing as Amrita Waterfalls. For product details, visit

For the occasional arts and crafts fair, Cassendre sometimes creates stationery and postcards featuring her original art and inspiring quotes.

To be on her official mailing list and receive regular newsletters and announcements, please visit send a blank email to: and then add to your safelist or contacts. Thanks!

© 2010 by Cassendre Xavier. All rights reserved.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Raw Foods with Cassendre Xavier on Saturday Mornings with Joy Keys 10/24

Hi, folks!

This is going to be my first podcast! It's scheduled for Saturday, 10/24/09 at 11am.

For more information, please visit:

For my complete schedule of appearances, which is regularly updated, please visit

Complete bios:

Cassendre Xavier is a Philadelphia-based award-winning multi-media artist who has been on the forefront of the raw/living foods movement since 2005. (A raw vegan, she primarily consumes uncooked plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.)
Her book Expanding Your Capacity for Joy: A Raw Vegan Comfort Book, Sourcebook & Journal (ARtivist Publications/May 2009) has been acclaimed by the proprietors and managers of such respected health establishments as Essene Natural Market & Café (“a fine publication,” – Ed Mitinger, manager) and Arnold’s Way Raw Vegetarian Café, Store & Education Center (“very good” – Arnold Kauffman, owner).
Her latest book about food is called The Opposite of Fear: A Food, Mood & Progress Journal (ARtivist Publications/October 2009) and will be released at a live signing at Arnold’s Way in Lansdale PA on October 28th, 2009.
She is co-founder with Judi Rhee Alloway of REAL Raw Life – a raw vegan support group that ran for three months last summer and is now an initiative creating products to support folks in the raw and living foods lifestyle.
In May 2009 she started Cassendre Xavier’s Running & Walking Club, which was modeled after, and endorsed by athlete/health author and activist Gary Null’s Running & Walking Club who said, “I am glad to see you are on your journey.”
Cassendre’s work as an artist focuses on her life journey, hence the raw vegan experience being part of her writing life. She believes the raw vegan lifestyle is perfectly suited for optimal health, wealth, and overall wellbeing, and uses her books to assist herself and others in achieving this lifestyle, which in itself is challenging, and even moreso for people living with further challenges such as food addiction, survivor issues and/or self-sabotage.
She hopes her work makes the raw and living foods lifestyle more attainable for more people, especially people of color and of lower income.
She believes and promotes the idea that anyone and everyone can get healthier by adding more living plants to their diets. Visit her at

“Saturday Mornings with Joy Keys” is an interactive, live Internet talk-radio show that focuses on providing people with tools to enrich and advance their lives mentally, physically, monetarily and emotionally. Previous features have included singer Angie Stone, author Kevin Powell, and poet Nikki Giovanni. Callers are encouraged to call (646) 929-0368 to listen or ask questions.The show is live every Saturday at 11:00 a.m. Eastern.Joy Keys is a native Philadelphian. She is a mother, trainer, speaker, mentor, actress, writer, producer and director. Ms. Keys is a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG). She is a Leeway Art and Change grantee. Ms. Keys is currently working on a video documentary about African American single moms. She is passionate about making a difference in her local and global communities.

Hope you're having a brilliant day :-)

Cassendre Xavier
renaissance negresse

Founder & Executive Director of Philadelphia's 7th Annual Black Women's Arts Festival

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Upcoming Events

Please visit for the latest, or better yet, send a blank email to to be on my official email list. Thanks!

Cassendre Xavier coined the term "renaissance negresse" in 2002 to describe her work as a musician, mult-genre writer and community cultural arts organizer. A 1st-generation American-born citizen of Haitian & Chinese heritage, she is a Brooklyn, NY native who has made Philadelphia her home since 1990.
Her 6 independently-released albums are described as "a cross between Tracy Chapman, Sade and Enya" (Borders Music Expert, Steven M. Wilson). She also creates spoken word guided meditation and affirmation recordings under the name Amethyste Rah and erotic writing under the name Amrita Waterfalls. The founder and director of the Women's Writing & Spoken Word Series ( as well as Philadelphia's Annual Black Women's Arts Festival (Est. 2003,, Cassendre is a recipient of the Leeway Transformation Award for her work in art and change. For more information, please visit


10) Capable of Love (2009)
9) Affirmations for Survivors: Spirituality (2007)
8) Affirmations for Survivors: Self-Love (2007)
7) Live at Tin Angel (2006)
6) Beautiful (2004)
5) The Cassendre Xavier Collection, Vol. 1 (2004)
4) Live at the Kraftbrau, Kalamazoo (2004)
3) 4OUR: A Cassendre Xavier Sampler (2003)
2) Live at Café Improv (2002)
1) The Whittenberg Sessions (2002)

Join the Yahoo Group (by sending a blank email to: to receive Cassendre's various "museletters" under various names including "renaissance negresse" and "ME! ME! ME!" among others.

These museletters usually feature:

· News about Cassendre Xavier’s schedule of house/concerts/Affirmation Sing-Alongs, performances, recordings, publications, and classes/workshops & other appearances
· Raw vegan lifestyle tips
· Personal Growth/Inspiration
· The usual malarkey, shenanigans & tomfoolery!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Yoko Ono & Brad Pitt's Art Class: New Poems & More

Release date: October 2, 2009

Celebrated Philadelphia-based multi-media artist Cassendre Xavier has released her first book of poetry in 5 years. Yoko Ono & Brad Pitt's Art Class: New Poems & More (ARtivist Publications/October 2009) is a collection of creative writing that features the artists' usual themes of pleasure, inspiration, exploration and delight.
In addition to poems like "Body Lotion & Cherry Lip Gloss", the book features her highly unique "Dreamlogue & Interpretaccione", in which the reader shares her lucid dreams with the audience and analyses them for best use and aftereffect.

About the Author:

Cassendre Xavier is known for her many talents as well as her names. Sometimes using the name Amethyste Rah for spiritual essays, Amrita Waterfalls for her writing on sexuality, or renaissance negresse to describe her multi-genre artistic interests, she continues to create work based on her desire to inspire, inform, and entertain.
A Leeway Foundation award-winner for her work in art and change, she is the founder & executive director of Philadelphia's annual Black Women's Arts Festival (Est 2003), has recorded 9 albums of original music described as "a cross between Tracy Chapman, Sade & Enya" (Steven M. Wilson, Borders Music Expert). Her "Live at Tin Angel" was honorably mentioned as number 9 of the "Top 21 Local LPs of 2007" (M.J. Fine, Philadelphia City Paper) and she has also received acclaim for her guided meditations of affirmations for survivors of abuse.
Ms. Xavier's multi-genre writing has been published in national anthologies including When Falls the Coliseum: A Journal of American Culture Or Lack Thereof (Free Reign Press) and We'Moon: Gaia Rhythms for Womyn (Mother Tongue Ink, 1999 & 2001 editions), among others.
Her writing has been described as "snappy" and "redeeming" (Karen Gross, Philadelphia City Paper), and she has read her work at varied venues from the Five Spot to the Free Library.

In 2004, Xavier released her first of several chapbooks, "secrets & lies: poetry and other words". The book featured her multi-genre writing - poetry and essays mostly, as well as the script to her 5-member, 3-day Philadelphia Fringe Festival 2003 play, "Sex for Survivors".

Not since then have we seen writing by Xavier, other than her popular "ME! ME! ME! Newsletter".
But it doesn't mean she hasn't been writing.

Moving to New York City in December of 2008, she began writing prolifically about her experiences there and throughout all of 2009. Her "Green Smoothie Raw Blog" and "If I Did It/Working Girl" blogs generated a high volume of interest from her ardent fans, readers, and fellow imperfectly practicing raw vegans/live foodists.
Features such as "Dreamlogue & Interpretaccione", "Elimination Station" and "Duckling/Swan/Piece of Ass Chronicles" all have cemented her in her audience's conscious as a creative artist to watch.
She is a columnist for Wisdom Magazine, a former columnist for the Philadelphia Gay News, and a former editor of Labyrinth: the Philadelphia Women's Newspaper.

Upcoming Appearances:

Oct 24, 2009 - Will be featured on Saturday Mornings with Joy Keys' podcast talking about raw foods.

Oct 28, 2009 - Will be reading and signing copies of her new book The Opposite of Fear: A Food, Mood & Progress Journal, at Arnold's Way in Lansdale, PA.

Jan 20, 2010 - Will be the featured artist at the Erotic Literary Salon in Philadelphia PA. (Will be reading her new writing about sexuality, and singing a song or two.)

Yoko Ono & Brad Pitt's Art Class: New Poems & More by Cassendre Xavier (ARtivist Publications/October 2009). To order your autographed copy, send a postal money order (no checks please) PAYABLE TO: CASSENDRE XAVIER ENTERPRISES, for $9.95 + $2.50 shipping & handling (total $12.45) and mail to: Cassendre Xavier Direct, POB 30204, Philadelphia, PA19103-8204 USA. Free gift & a copy of the renaissance negresse museletter with every purchase! Please include your Name, Mailing Address, Email Address & Phone Number, and allow 2-4 weeks for delivery. Want to order online using your credit/debit card? Go to and "Send Money" to: For more books by Cassendre Xavier, visit

Body Lotion & Cherry Lip Gloss (Poem)

after bathing
rub sweet or spicy smelling
all over your body
(and especially your ass cheeks)
and heels
if you don't expect

you will feel more attractive
and you'll attract your next mate

put on sweet tasting
cherry flavoured lip gloss
even if
you just broke up with your lover
and you aren't expecting
to be kissed
you may be surprised
you may surprise someone

do it to feel sexy
and cheerful
and to lick and to taste
your own sweet lips
your smile will cheer
those around you
your love will pour out
and attract your next mate

or not...

but in the meantime
you will be joyful
your skin will be soft and fragrant
for yourself
for you
are enough

you can always choose to be joyful
you can decide that you are enough

--------Excerpt from Yoko Ono & Brad Pitt's Art Class: New Poems & More by Cassendre Xavier (ARtivist Publications/October 2009). To order your autographed copy, send a postal money order (no checks please) PAYABLE TO: CASSENDRE XAVIER ENTERPRISES, for $9.95 + $2.50 shipping & handling (total $12.45) and mail to: Cassendre Xavier Direct, POB 30204, Philadelphia, PA19103-8204 USA. Free gift & a copy of the renaissance negresse museletter with every purchase! Please include your Name, Mailing Address, Email Address & Phone Number, and allow 2-4 weeks for delivery. Want to order online using your credit/debit card? Go to and "Send Money" to: For more books by Cassendre Xavier, visit

© 2009 by Cassendre Xavier. All rights reserved.