“I hate the homeless. I don’t feel sorry for you. If you want change, let me throw it at you as hard as I can at your dirty face.” Thus begins a heartbreaking video that has gone viral this week. The powerful PSA shows people who are experiencing homelessness reading mean tweets about their situation -- and it’s no laughing matter. The video shows that though we laugh at the “Mean Tweets” segments on “Jimmey Kimmel Live!”, whether the celebrities who read about themselves laugh or not (they have feelings, too), treating people with hatefulness, whether it’s behind a tweet or in person via dehumanizing speech, hurts.
CBC News reported March 31 that the advocacy group Raising the Roof Canada, created the video as a way to change the conversation surrounding homelessness. Their new campaign Humans for Humans speaks to people who are experiencing homelessness and shows them responding to the comments they have just read. For example, to the tweet that reads, “I hate when it get cold out cuz then all the homeless people get on the bus :) [sic],” a young man named Jesse replied, “Buses are public transportation. That’s what they’re there for. Plus, they’re warm and get you from point A to point B. Just because they’re homeless, doesn’t mean they don’t have to travel.”
Dehumanizing people who are experiencing homelessness has to stop and it can only happen when “people stop saying nasty things, stop assuming the stereotypes are true," said Carolann Barr, executive director of the nonprofit Raising the Roof. That’s why the campaign does so much more. On the website, hard conversations are started, bringing to the fore actual answers from those who are experiencing homelessness to those who might otherwise be ignorant of why or how people become homeless.
Wrote the CBC, “Barr points out that the people chosen for this campaign represent some of the many forms that homelessness can take.” One man has been homeless since birth, for example. A woman seeks refuge from abusive relationships but has nowhere to spend the night. Another who once was well-to-do, lost everything...and there are others, too, many of whom are invisible.
The nonprofit sought out ten people who were willing to talk about their experiences with homelessness for their campaign, bracing them for the hurtful comments. The words still hurt, even after three preliminary interviews prior to filming. "The fact these words caused so much pain and created so much emotion was proof that people living with homelessness feel second class," said Barr. "The words hurt."
"Their reactions [to the mean tweets] will remind you the conversation around the issue needs to change. All humans should work together," reads the caption to the video.
*originally published on the now defunct Examiner.com
The old adage, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” may not be as simple as the saying goes. A new study published this week by researchers at Dartmouth Medical school took in data by way of a survey and found that, "While the direction of the associations we observed supports the superiority of apple eaters over non-apple eaters at avoiding the use of health care services, these differences largely lacked statistical significance.” Further, though daily apple-eaters were not less likely to visit emergency rooms or even mental health centers, they didn’t use as many prescription medications, reported Time, March 30.
In the study, which was published online on Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine Journal, 8,399 participants, 7,646 of whom were not daily apple-eaters, were surveyed over the course of three years. Out of the small portion of the study group who were daily apple-eaters (753 people), only 39 percent avoided medical visits each year. That number wasn’t much different than the 33 percent of non-apple-eaters who also avoided doctor visits. Other factors were considered, as well, including education level, age and health habits. When applied, those factors seemed to whittle the idea ofapples nixing the need for doctor visits down to something not very significant.
The researchers did find that daily apple-eaters, who were usually more educated and didn’t smoke, filled less prescriptions than those who didn’t eat apples every day. “It could be that their visits to the doctor were for preventive reasons rather than illness,” said Dr. Sharonne N. Hayes to ABC News.
But, there are still a lot of questions. The study seems to be a bit limited. Two of the main limitations are that the study speaks from self-reported surveys and there was no clear link drawn between doctor’s visits and apple-eating. Further, the overall conclusion seems to point to less prescriptions, rather than doctor visits. Perhaps the adage should be changed, then? Instead of the former, try “an apple a day keeps the pharmacist away.” If nothing else, eating an apple a day will fulfill one daily fruit requirement and add to the inherent health benefits, like lowering the risk for heart disease and colon cancer.
*originally published on the now defunct Examiner.com
Alabama mother, Kyesha Smith Wood knew it was going to be a long shot but she sent out a public message on her Facebook page, nonetheless. She wanted to reach out and apologize to a woman who had been treated rudely by her daughter and stepdaughter in a local theater showing of “Cinderella” last weekend.
The two girls were talking during the film and when the woman asked them to be quiet, they became “rude and obnoxious” towards her. After the film, the woman approached the girls and told them that because her husband had been laid off, this would be the last movie she would be able to take her daughter to for a while,” reported Fox 8 News, March 30. Of course, the girls’ actions kind of ruined the experience and when their mother found out, she was “disappointed and ashamed,” and she set out to make amends with her post.
"This rude, disrespectful, and awful behavior is unacceptable and they owe you an apology," Wood wrote. "Please message me if this is you. I apologize profusely for their disrespect."
The post was shared tens of thousands of times on Facebook, wrote AL.com; the Jefferson County Sheriff even shared it. At some point, it reached the woman in question, Rebecca Boyd.
After connecting with Boyd, Wood related that she and her husband have had their daughters write letters of apology to the Boyd family. The daughters are also to contribute their allowances to fund the Boyd’s next movie outing, tickets and snacks paid.
To set things even more right, it seems that the publicity of this story has been so great that support and job offers have been knocking on the Boyd’s door. And as far as how the girls are faring in this matter, ABC 7 notes that they are more than remorseful and probably will never treat anyone like that again.
*originally published on the now defunct Examiner.com
Young girls are told more and more that they can do and be anything. Still, girl’s clothing does not reflect the full breadth of possibilities available, especially in the world of science. Enter buddingSTEM, a new science-themed clothing line created by two Washington mothers who asked the question, “Why is it so hard to find clothes for young girls who aspire to explore the universe or dig for dinosaurs?”
Co-founders, Jennifer Muhm and Malorie Catchpole wanted to expand what is available for girls. With their clothing line, girls 18 months to 8 years old can dress in clothes reflecting their interests without solely being a pretty pretty princess. Muhm related to ABC News, March 31, that “We’re not anti-princess. We’re not anti-pink. We’re not anti-girly. We just think there needs to be more than just that offered for our girls.“
The clothing line, which celebrates science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) features leggings, t-shirts, dresses and onesies with images of dinosaurs (some of the pieces are even pink!), outer space (rocket ships, included), and other science-themed items. Muhm told GeekWire that the idea came from trying to find clothes and costumes for the two cofounders’ young girls. While looking for Halloween costumes, for example, they noticed all the costumes for girls were princess and cat themed, while the boy costumes included things like firefighters and astronauts. Muhm’s daughter wanted to be an astronaut but was disappointed when she realized that those costumes were just for the boys.
Out of their frustrations and wanting to be sure that their daughters weren’t imprinted with the idea that possibilities such as becoming an astronaut weren’t for girls, Muhm and Catchpole went to work, picking the brains of friends, family and professionals about fashion and logistics and then started their business and brand. Now the two have launched a Kickstarter campaign to make the clothing line a reality. The Kickstarter campaign, which has just over a week to go, has already surpassed its goal and will most likely include a train-themed collection of shirts, leggings, dresses and undies if it reaches the next stretch goal.
Can rocket ship leggings and dinosaur dresses really empower young girls? “The images matter,” write the women on their official webpage for the clothing line, “They tell young girls that things like science and engineering aren’t for them.” It’s more than time to stop discouraging girls and start supporting them in such a way that they can express their interests.
*originally published on the now defunct Examiner.com
Askimbo has come out of an indefinite hiatus to bring back their rollicking combination of jazz and funk to Colorado stages and airwaves. This month, the fun loving team of musicians debuted a brand spankin’ new album called, A Stranger in the Alps, which is a funky collection of danceable tunes that will keep your toes tapping.
Members Anthony "Medicine Man" Aleman (Harmonica/Vocals), Zach West (Drums), Dave Simpkins (Bass) and John Simpkins (Trumpet) recently regrouped to put the album together. A Stranger in the Alps has been a year in the making, and according to the band, the album consists of new tunes, as well as tunes they never got to record in the past. It’s the third release from the band’s current lineup of musicians.
AXS caught up with the band after noticing a fairly consistent campaign which offered download codes to fans for their new release on their Facebook page. Though the band might not be as visible on Colorado stages as they have been in the past (with more than 100 shows per year), Askimbo’s new campaign seems pretty serious and it’s drumming up attention from old and new fans alike. You can keep track of show dates and upcoming releases on Facebook.
It looks like you’ve been drumming up some attention lately after being quiet for quite some time. Let’s talk about this end to what seems to have been a significant hiatus for the band.
Askimbo: It was a sort of a reproductive hiatus! Dave Simpkins (bass) and John Simpkins (trumpet) decided to have kids and play less shows. Zach West (drummer) had offspring as well, but decided to play and teach drums for a living. Anthony “Medicine” Aleman’s kids are all grown up!
Now, we get together when we want to do a project or we are asked to play for an event. It’s mostly for fun, and people still seem to enjoy us, as well!
When and how did Askimbo first start out? What reformations has the band gone through along the way?
Askimbo has a long and treacherous history with many characters. Dave and Zach formed something called Askimbo in high school to ignite a funk exploration of sorts. John came on fairly early on, and Medicine joined in 2000, which awakened the core group (Anthony, Dave, John, and Zach). This fundamental group has been together since 2000 A.D.
What is the relation between the Grown-A$$ Man Band and Askimbo? How is the music different? Are the players different?
Grown-A$$ Man Band (GAMB) is like a child that was spawned by Askimbo in order to further the aforementioned funk adventure. A monthly Appaloosa gig was an additional motivator to keep things going.
The music is similar… some of the songs overlap. Anthony, and Zach are the remaining members of Askimbo in GAMB. They hired Matt Skellenger and Adam Bartczack to fill the horn and bass spots.
Do you have some gigs set up?
No [but there was an album release show for Saint Patty’s weekend, March 13] -- but GAMB has A LOT!
When did your new album officially release?
We released it at Appaloosa for St. Patrick’s Day weekend; it’s called A Stranger in the Alps (we like to keep it mysterious). An Askimbo alumni, Geoff Orwiler, recorded it. He is a Denver music staple.
How are the tracks that you are putting out with your Facebook campaign being received?
We decided to go with download cards, and tracks are available on CD Baby and iTunes. The campaign has been received better than we expected, but honestly people really show the most fervor by supporting our live shows!
Any plans to tour?
No, we never really toured because the money was never very good. We did play in Nebraska a lot, for some reason….
What's the ultimate vision for the band?
We like putting together projects and people keep asking us to play! We all work hard on a lot of projects.
Our next collaboration, that we are VERY excited about will be Vitaphilia. It’s a Zombie Opera that was written by Dave and John Simpkins. They also have a group called Muchly Suchwise with a guitar player named Jim Disner.
6675466480861165417618y2015m03d25The Athena Project Festivalis currently on! The festival is a yearly event led by a group of professional artists who are dedicated to supporting Denver women in the arts. The Athena Project aims to empower women and girls and strengthen community by showcasing their artistic contributions and amplifying their voices so that the Denver community and beyond recognizes those contributions. This year, it features over 200 women across two galleries and five stages with 40 different performances spanning between March 20 and April 5.
The festival features just about every kind of art you can think of including theatre, dance, visual art and music. One of this year’s firsts is a musical showcase featuring some of the innovative ladies in the Denver music scene. The acts are diverse and powerful. Rounded up by Sarah Grace Slater, a promoter, curator and founder of TitWrench -- a festival that supports female-identified and genderqueer experimental artists -- Wheelchair Sports Camp, Melissa Ivey,Serephine Music and The Horse Latitudes will perform (more information about the artists follow this article).
Sarah Slater graciously made time Tuesday, March 24 to answer some questions about her role in the festival.
I was honored to be asked to take part in the Athena Project Festival by their founder and executive director, Angela Astle. She contacted me late last summer for my expertise and skill in booking within the local music scene. She and her board wanted to expand the music portion of the festival into a full-fledged mini-festival within the larger program.
Does this festival have any relation to TitWrench?
This festival is not related directly to Titwrench, but we do have similar goals when it comes to amplifying the voices of new artists and highlighting new works of art, building community around them, making challenging and innovative artwork in Colorado and beyond and raising visibility of women.
Could you tell a bit about your background in music curation, your philosophy and overall goals?
I began booking live music shows over 20 years ago, as a teenager. My first show was held in a living room and people brought food and drinks, potluck-style. I was involved in the punk and hardcore music scenes, both in Denver and as an attendee of festivals across the Midwest. I loved the freedom and inclusivity of punk and I wanted to be a part of it, though I had no real desire to be on stage. I realized there was a place for me as a music promoter within the all-ages punk and music scenes, and there were lots of resources and knowledgeable people around me, so I began booking shows in backyards, living rooms and just about wherever I had the chance. I don't think it was until recently that people began calling me a "curator", but I'll take it.
With all the music shows that I put together, I'm most interested in creating event spaces that are accessible, inclusive, safe and welcoming to all ages whenever possible. By creating platforms for live music and performance, I most enjoy highlighting artists that are underrepresented in other scenes, that are doing unique and challenging work, and that are in need of new and different forums for their expression. My favorite shows tend to be diverse in style and genre, as well as smaller and more intimate, so that the audience has a chance to connect with each other, as well as the performers much more easily.
There is a great selection of artists that you have chosen. Could you speak a little about that?
I'm very proud of the depth of talent and dynamic artistry that all of these artists represent in their own way. They are locally-based artists with world-class talent. I like all of my music shows to represent a diversity of sounds, styles and backgrounds and this show is no different. I get bored easily at shows where all of the bands fall into the same genre!
Serephine is one of my favorite ethereal ambient artists around. She has a huge following atARISE and some of the other outdoor festivals around the country. Serephine creates these expansive soundscapes with only her voice and a handful of instruments. There is a meditative feel to her songs that I really enjoy too. I have been a fan of Bonnie Gregory's music for quite some time and she will be performing with a new incarnation of her trio called The Horse Latitudes this Sunday. She imbues all of her songs (on harp, piano and guitar) with this sense of wonder and wanderlust that I find really refreshing and pure. Bianca Mikahn's solo work is deeply felt and it comes across in every performance of hers. I love that she is always experimenting, collaborating and releasing new work. Her artistry as a word seamstress and performer is phenomenal. Melissa Ivey, the Gypsy Rocker, is someone I met many moons ago around the local open mic circuit and she's always had this fierceness on stage that blows audiences away.
Part of what I love most about being a music promoter is watching artists evolve their sound and really find their voice as artists. Melissa is one of those who really stands out to me as someone who really OWNS what they are all about and what they want to share as an artist. Wheelchair Sports Camp is really my favorite local band right now. They're funky, experimental and jazzy and they have a fabulous sense of humor too. The energy of their live shows is just electric. I've also added L Presidente, a new local DJ to the mix - she has fantastic taste and brings a really fun, sensual vibe with all of her selections so she'll be keeping the energy going all night with great panache.
Athena Project Festival Music Showcase
Athena Project Festival / Facebook
The Athena Project mini-festival will feature new music by Wheelchair Sports Camp, Bianca Mikahn, Melissa Ivey the Gypsy Rocker, Serephine, The Horse Latitudes and sounds from DJ L Presidente. Come and check it out, Sunday, March 29 at The Other Side - 2635 Welton Street, Denver, 80205. Tickets are on sale now. $12 prepaid and $15 at the door. Ages 16+ are welcome! Doors open at 6:00 pm. Music starts at 7:00 pm. All proceeds go towards the artists and the expansion and programs of Athena Project Festival