Monday, January 31, 2011

2/12 - Joan Hanna & Angel Hogan - Women’s Writing & Spoken Word Series

The Women’s Writing & Spoken Word Series at Moonstone Arts Center presents Joan Hanna & Angel Hogan

Hosted with live music by Cassendre Xavier
Always Includes a Mixed-Gender Open Mic!

Saturday, February 12, 2011
7pm – 8:30pm
$5 Admission
Moonstone Arts Center
110A S. 13th Street (at Sansom St)
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Streaming LIVE at !


Joan Hanna was born and raised in Philadelphia. She is the new Nonfiction Editor for Joan will also be the new Managing Editor for Poets’ Quarterly, summer 2011. Joan's poems have appeared in: Common Threads and Moldicum, the premier issue of Glassworks and her nonfiction story “Breathing” appeared in the October issue of r.kv.r.y. Joan has a BA in Writing Arts and is completing her MFA in Poetry and Creative Nonfiction at Ashland University. (Joan says on her blog: "My soul has always been grounded in poetry which has tangled its roots in non-fiction. I took a chance two years ago, quit my job, went back to finish my BA in Writing Arts and found myself in an MFA program for creative writing at Ashland University in Ohio. Sometimes when you jump off a cliff you land in soft places that change your life. Welcome to my changing life." Read more at Joan is also celebrating her birthday this week!)


Transplanted from a rural horse farm to downtown Philadelphia in her teens, much of Angel Hogan's writing is fueled by her non-traditional upbringing, which she describes as “a heap of multicultural embarrassments.” After studying Literary Theory at Bucknell University, Angel traveled cross-country with a Chow-pit puppy in a diaper, and spent time at her Mom’s home in the Yucatan. As a toddler, her favorite foods were coffee and pan-fried liver. Angel currently works at the University of Pennsylvania and lives in West Philly with her cat Mamacita, and Sauce! the dog. She is a storytelling champ with First Person Arts. See more at:


Self-described “renaissance negresse” Cassendre Xavier is an award-winning Philadelphia-based musician, multi-genre writer and community cultural arts organizer. 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


The Women's Writing & Spoken Word Series (Est. 2002) is a nurturing environment that celebrates women in the craft of multi-genre writing. All are welcome to attend and participate in the Series' Mixed-Gender Open Mic. For submissions and schedule information, please visit Submissions only:, email WomensWritingSeries(at), call 215-436-9702 or send a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) to: Women's Writing Series, POB 30204, Philadelphia, PA 19103-8204.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

ME! ME! ME! A CX Museletter “Home Office At Last” ediccione

ME! ME! ME! a Cassendre Xavier Museletter
The “Home Office At Last” ediccione, as it were. (If you will.)

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

(Control Freak Reading Instructions: Best to print this bad boy out and read it over the john, the “jane”, the breakfast table, or in the sack. It’s a long ‘un.)



Since you can read my professional bio in my other museletters or online, I thought I’d take this rare opportunity to write a ME ME ME version from my heartal reggione, if you will. (As it were.) I’m basically your average Philadelphia-based Haitian-Chinese-American chyk who writes and plays music and is majorly into promoting community arts and culture. I’ve started a bunch of stuff, sometimes am actually not even completely broke in the process, and most enjoy sharing whatever I’ve learned along the way that helps me in the universal experience of life. My primary audience is creative people, and I believe everyone is creative, so that includes you! I was born under the sign of Aquarius, in the fair city of Brooklyn, New York, where, it seems all Haitians and other immigrants are required to be born (East Flatbush, baby!). The kind of work I most enjoy is performing onstage, meeting audience members after a show, recording albums of my own original (and a few covers) music and spoken word guided meditations, and running my own business(es). In 2002, I started using the term “renaissance negresse” to describe myself and any other black woman who works in 3 or more media. (It’s a controversial term for Americans for historical reasons, which I do understand. But with my French-influenced background, to me, “negresse” is a neutral word, which merely means black woman, and unlike “renaissance woman” who could be any color, it is melanin-specific. I stand by it. P.S. And hot stud Penn Jillette personally complimented me on it. So there!) I believe in progress, not perfection, that the journey is the destination, and that there’s no such thing as failure (although I also believe failure is your friend and guiding light). You probably met me at a show or in the hallowed halls of Suburban Station, where I sing and give out flyers of my work.

I’ve been living and working in Philadelphia since 1991. For my own creative and self-employed professional endeavors, I used to use the computers and internet of whatever day job I had, those at public/college libraries, or later, those at whatever sponsored office I had at the time. I’ve had two such official “sponsored” offices. The first was that of a friend, who allowed myself and Black Women’s Arts Festival co-organizer and former director Monica McIntyre to use her home office for much of the day when she was out – we had our own key and everything, and the second was the Midvale office of Resources for Human Development’s New Beginnings Nonprofit Incubator program, of which BWAF was a member from 2007-2010. Other than a few weak attempts in the early 2000s to have a home office, I really didn’t have much of an interest in having a computer with internet at home. I felt I didn’t want the hassle of computer viruses, and I believed at the time I couldn’t afford to pay the monthly internet service fee.
This all changed when I recently chose to resign from the New Beginnings program. After three years of trying to operate as a nonprofit, so many things happened to make it an uphill journey, that I realized things aren’t supposed to be such a struggle. It was a sign to leave. Once I accepted that, I realized I never wanted to be a nonprofit to begin with – I’d merely wanted an office and not to have to pay for it. What a revelation! When I got in touch with my feelings, I realized what I really, really wanted (as the Spice Girls sang), was to have my own laptop with wireless internet, and a cell phone with unlimited minutes and text messages. Things started coming together soon after that realization.
First, I was able to expand my plan to Unlimited Text messages very affordably, and while I don’t have unlimited minutes (yet!) I do have so many that right now every month I’m hundreds of minutes under my allowed usage. The unlimited texts allow me to post regularly, oh okay, hyper-regularly on Facebook, which, good or bad, does increase my visibility, and for a self-employed person, that’s pretty good marketing. I don’t just post what I’m doing professionally – I don’t like those Facebook accounts that only post the upcoming appearances of the person. I post what I’m going through, where I am, what the person on the bus just said, what I’m eating, how much I weigh, what my dating life is like, as well as beautiful inspiring quotes by people who sometimes aren’t even me! I’m sure many people have “hidden” my profile, but these same people, some of them, do check my profile to see what wackiness I’m up to. That’s better advertising than anything I could pay for – the sheer interest in my life and work. Not to sound self-congratulatory, I merely share this to show how one can be completely flawed, annoying, and still effective as a self-promoter – and this isn’t by design – I merely try to tweak my urgings, and make them work for Moi!
After doing some research, I learned I could get unlimited wifi service for only $40 a month from Cricket (, the least expensive I’ve found so far. That, plus a Dell Insprion laptop a friend gave me when she upgraded her computer back in 2007, and that I’d never used, makes it possible for me to be typing this from my kitchen table. Oh, also, what got me here was all the doors that slammed in my face when I sought another free “sponsored” office. I asked around, to various arts organizations and even individuals, and nothing panned out. I didn’t want to pay for an office for some reason, although I’m paying for internet service. Once again I took a look at the situation and asked what all the “No”s were trying to tell me. The universe answered, “You deserve your own office. It’s time. You’re a big girl. How long have you been doing this? Get on it!” So here I am. And I’m grateful. (Oh, the time frame from my last sponsored office to my home office? Nineteen days. Less than a month to a dream come true. I’m visualizing similar speed in growing my business and attracting my ideal mate!)

Since I last wrote ye, I was doing pretty well, was all raw until the holidays when I started incorporating more cooked foods into my diet after a date at a man friend’s house that ran a little, um, “over”. Let’s just say it started on a Monday night and ended that Friday. Hypothetically. Although I was prepared and had brought my Green Smoothie with me, by day 2 the Green Smoothie was just a far away dream, and in came the pasta, meat, and dairy of yonder past. I went from 206 to today’s 212 since Christmas day, whereas prior, on the raw vegan diet, I was losing 1-2 lbs a week. The last two weeks I have had almost no fruits or vegetables, not even cooked, as I was spending more time with this persun and not shopping for myself when I was home. I just got lazy, and honestly, the cold weather and holidays doesn’t make it easy to resist temptation when it’s in the form of a tall, sexy ass man with a fridge full of food. But, alas, he and I have just broken up (again! Oh the drama!) and hopefully the next few weeks will resemble some more balance. Who the eff knows. I mean, really. Whatever. See? The food you eat affects your brain. I’m sure if I had had some Green Smoothies this week, I’d have some nicer, spiritually high things to say about the matter. But all I have right now is pasta brain – whole wheat, brown, high fiber pasta, but pasta nonethless!

Submission info has been posted and available for weeks but none have come in, so I’m thinking there may be a technical problem. Also someone called to say she wasn’t able to apply online. This is one of the reasons I sacrificed part of my rent money to risk the purchase of internet access, so I can research the problem and fix it asap. Perhaps all is well, I’m not sure, as it is a major priority to get this newsletter out to you and look into the issue next (by Wednesday of this week any problem that exists regarding submitting online will be corrected). Only one way to find out – visit! Also, our new contact info is: Black Women’s Arts Festival, POB 30204, Philadelphia, PA 19103-8204, Phone: 215-436-9702, Email: BWAFphilly(at) Never let it be said!

The Series has re-started with a bang (back in November 2010 after a 4-year hiatus. Founded by Cassendre Xavier Enterprises in 2002 and run til 2006) and is soooo much more pleasant to run now that it’s only monthly instead of twice a month and that instead of being free, there’s a $5 admission. Neither I nor the venue are rollin’ in it, but boy does it make a difference to see even one dollar as an energy exchange for your work and time. The event streams live on the ‘net and welcomes men and women in that there’s a mixed gender open mic and men can host. For more about this wonderful series, visit Next date: Saturday, February 12, 2011. (2 female features to be announced. Previous 2010-2011 features: November - Renda Rose & Ruth A. Rouff. December - Pat McLean & Carol Bond. January – Anne-Adele Wight & Debra Wright-Powell.)

Please note that I’m not singing at Mango Moon anymore, although the venue and I would like me to. It became necessary to end my working relationship with my former drummer, whose gig it was. I wish them all the best, and I highly encourage you to m/patronize the restaurant!

On random weekdays or weekends, I can sometimes be seen performing at my new busking post – one that has much more visibility and heat!
The Subway Siren Suburban Station Tour continues – 3pm – 6pm, Designated Performance Area #2, on the concourse of Philadelphia’s Suburban Station, below 16th & Market Streets, near the SEPTA Sales windows. If you’re ever in the area, stop by for a smile, hug, CD, or all of the above!

You are among the very first to know that starting the next one on February 12th, I will perform music as the host of the Women’s Writing & Spoken Word Series! Usually I just share some of my writing before introducing the first name on the Mixed-Gender Open Mic list, but now I will include 2 songs. So, now every month, you know you can hear me sing at Moonstone! 7pm $5 Streaming live!

On Sunday, March 26th I’m opening for Tret Fure. You can buy tickets at and learn more about Tret at Legendary!

My book Expanding Your Capacity for Joy: a Raw Vegan Comfort Book, Sourcebook & Journal, sold at my most recent appearance at Arnold’s Way’s monthly potluck. It is still available there, as well as online. (I haven’t checked stock at Essene Market & Cafe and Giovanni’s Room no longer carries CDs nor my books.) Visit or for ordering info.

You can read my archived museletters/newsletters at or

My writing is also in various anthologies, available online, or in some stores. You can read more about these at my official writing site

Although I took a wee break during the wild and wacky holidays, I do write a monthly column for Wisdom Magazine’s online edition. You can read them here:

Living in the Light, by Shakti Gawain
Love is the River: Learning to Live in the Flow of Divine Grace, by Ann Albers
Your Best Life Now, by Joel Osteen
The Affected Provincial’s Companion, by Lord Braulove Swells Whimsy
Goodness Had Nothing to Do With It: The Autobiography of Mae West
The Holy Bible (Particularly the specifics regarding the construction of Solomon’s palaces and temples)
Truth or Dare, by Starhawk
The Sparkling Lavender Dust of Lust, by Tee Corinne

If any of these folks’ bios or work interests you, please do more than read – please engage. Contact them – get on their email list, go to see a show, buy a product or service of theirs. We working artists live for our art and for life, which to many of us includes our various beloved communities, and we can’t go on without community support from people just like you. Help us continue to create work that inspires ourselves, and the world in general. Thank you so much!

Shandra Staley, dancer/teacher, massage therapist (Look at my Friends list on Facebook)

NASSUNNI, fine arts painter (Facebook)

Alex Kudera, novelist, author of Fight for Your Long Day (Atticus Books)

Kelli Dunham, performer, lecturer, author,

Cheryl Burke, poet, (Cheryl’s the girlfriend of my ex, Kelli Dunham, and Cheryl just last week celebrated 10 years of sobriety! And as if that weren’t fierce enough, she’s currently transforming herself into a completely healthy body, after a recent diagnosis of cancer. Please send this awesome survivor some love, even if that’s in the form of stopping right now to say a prayer for and hold a vision of her many years from now in total glowing sober health. We love you, Cheryl!)

Esperanza Cortes, fine artist (interdisciplinary), Beautiful persun, beautiful artwork. Visit visit visit!

Traycee Lynn, poet, musician, publisher,

Larry Robin, Moonstone Artist Center Larry is really into promoting Frances Ellen Harper right now. It’s like he was chosen as a channel or something. He gets all googly-eyed and chatty about her like she was his girlfriend. Check it out!

Ignacio Rivera, performer, lecturer,

Arnold’s Way Raw Vegetarian Cafe & Education Center, Lansdale PA,

I’m pretty sure you can find the latest version of this either at or If not, well then I guess I’ll have to send another museletter out toot sweet, now won’t I? :-)


May you become better and better at receiving and promptly following your inner guidance.
May you believe you deserve the best life has to offer.
May you be surrounded by healthy love from friends, family, and sweethearts.
May you be guided by love and joy in your heart, and a willingness to serve.
May you feel blessed and abundant regardless of your health, finances, or circumstances.
May all your dreams and goals come true, surpassing all your expectations.
This, or something better, and may it be for the good of all.

Sincerely in art and community,

Cassendre Xavier (aka Amethyste Rah, aka Amrita Waterfalls)
renaissance negresse (musician, writer, visual artist, actress, award-winning community cultural arts organizer)

Founder & Director of Philadelphia’s 8th Annual Black Women’s Arts Festival (Thursday July 28th thru Sunday, July 31st) Now accepting submissions:

Founder & Director of the Women’s Writing & Spoken Word Series at Moonstone Arts Center

Recipient of a Leeway Transformation Award, which supports women and trans artists working in art and change.

Friend me on Facebook!

Watch me on YouTube!

Listen/buy downloads at iTunes! (search cassEndrE xavier)

Although I prefer you order from CX Direct (I get way more money that way), I also have product at CD Baby!

Again, if not ordering from CX Direct, my guided meditation albums are available at

Booking contact: cxmusic(at) (remove “at” and replace with @) or call 215-436-9702.

Maybe now that I have my own computer and internet at home, I’ll write these more often and they won’t be forty pages long. Ya think? :-)

Copyright (c) 2011 by Cassendre Xavier. Please forward and include credit and subscription info: To subscribe, send blank email to:

Number of times the word “ass” was used in this ediccione: 1. Sad, but true. Will have to do better next time!

Apologies for any typos. As soon as I get a printer, and can therefore easily proofread my work, that kind of thing will be slimmed down to a minimum.

To unsubscribe, reply with “Remove” in the subject. Never let it be said!