September 11, 2014

 

Aries Mar 21 - Apr 19

 

Clashes this week are possible, particularly as the Full Moon in Pisces could heighten feelings and cause you to overreact. Though you may feel like being blunt or having words with someone, it might be best to tone things down and opt for a compromise if possible. However, a positive midweek transit encourages you to explore the potential for collaborating on a plan or project. Later, you'll be in your element and eager to explore new pastures as Mars enters Sagittarius.

 

 

 

Taurus Apr 20 – May 20

 

Watch out for too much red tape early in the week that could scuttle a plan and cause delays. The Full Moon in your social sector could make up for any frustration by providing the perfect atmosphere for a party or celebration. Dating? Remember midweek that all that glitters is not necessarily gold. You may feel a lot more positive about investing time and energy into schemes and projects when Mars hikes into Sagittarius and your zone of shared assets. In addition, your intimate life could improve dramatically

 

 

 

Gemini May 21 - Jun 20

 

You may be in the spotlight on Monday, which could provide an opportunity to showcase your skills and talents or make a presentation. However, should difficulties arise on Tuesday, try to avoid getting into arguments with others as it might not look good. A delightful link midweek can be perfect for closing a lucrative deal or expanding your social circle. The weekend looks positively vibrant as new friendships may show up, paving the way for some delightful new experiences. A love adventure could be on its way to you, too.

 

 

 

Cancer Jun 21 - Jul 22

 

The Full Moon in your zone of travel and adventure hints at a fatal attraction with someone from another country or culture. Could this be "the one"? Go easy, and don't jump to conclusions too quickly. Give yourself time to make a decision. Later, the move of Mars into Sagittarius stirs up your health and work zone. You may be motivated to join a gym or explore new potential jobs. Anything too boring may be off the table as your need now is for something pleasantly challenging.

 

 

 

Leo Jul 23 - Aug 22

 

The early part of the week could be fractious as you and the folks around you may be feeling sensitive, so don't rock the boat. Take advantage of a midweek opportunity to expand your horizons, especially if it allows you to harness your creative abilities! Finances need special care midweek, particularly if you're set to purchase a big-ticket item. Keep receipts, as there's a chance you'll need a refund. Later, your zone of leisure and pleasure gets a visit from Mars, meaning it's time to relax and recharge.

 

 

 

Virgo Aug 23 - Sep 22

 

You're in your element with the Sun and Venus in your sign to boost your confidence. However, the Full Moon on Monday could coincide with mixed signals concerning a key relationship. Rather than get stressed, consider meditation or quiet reflection as a way to get your bearings. Later, when things have calmed down, you'll know exactly what to do. However, be careful if closing a deal, and be sure to read the terms and conditions before you sign. The weekend can be perfect for a get-together or party.

 

 

 

Libra Sep 23 - Oct 22

 

Try to lighten your schedule early in the week, as you may be affected by the energy of the Full Moon. Short or frequent rests can make it easier to work through the day without any mishaps. A sociable midweek transit may be perfect for that first date or generally having fun with your pals. Business meetings can go well at this time, too. Later, as Mars jogs into Sagittarius it's time to get your message out to the world and advertise your goods and services.

 

 

 

Scorpio Oct 23 - Nov 21

 

The Full Moon can be very romantic, so tying this in with a special occasion can make for a sizzling evening. However, watch your words on Tuesday because it could be all too easy to fall out with someone over something trivial. Later, Mars stirs up your money zone, which might entice you to splurge. As you're quite a generous soul, you'll want to spend on friends and family as well as yourself. Don't take things to extremes!

 

 

 

Sagittarius Nov 22 - Dec 21

 

While Monday's Full Moon could put you in the party mood, it could also lead to mixed signals. As feelings will be heightened, try not to overreact or do anything you might regret later. In addition, your family and career balance might need some attention, too. The weekend sparkles as new meetings connect you with like-minded folks. Plus, you'll feel more relaxed, easygoing, and energetic as Mars enters your sign. Perhaps it's time to sign up for a new adventure!

 

 

 

Capricorn Dec 22 - Jan 19

 

Complications around communication and romance need sensitive handling early on. It's best not to jump to conclusions, as things may not be as they seem. Despite this, you do have an excellent opportunity to close a lucrative deal or zero in on new business ideas midweek. The wheels of commerce can turn in your favor if you're ready to sign on the dotted line. Later, Mars moves into your spiritual sector, so expect your intuitive awareness to play a bigger part in making key decisions.

 

 

 

Aquarius Jan 20 - Feb 18

 

Go easy at the start of the week, as the temptation to splurge could be overwhelming. The Full Moon might entice you to part with a lot more cash than you need to. Keep receipts so you can get a refund if necessary. Later, a delightful offer around the midweek mark might entice you to consider a collaboration or partnership. In this case, two heads really can be better than one. Your social life sizzles with promise on the weekend, so make the most of it.

 

 

 

Pisces Feb 19 - Mar 20

 

The Full Moon in your sign on Monday could stir up feelings and encourage you to tell it like it is. Be careful, though, as there's a chance you might upset the apple cart. Opt for peaceful and harmonious ways to resolve an issue rather than rely on ultimatums or drama. Later, Mars moves into Sagittarius to revitalize your career sector. You may feel much more positive about pursuing a goal or career than you have in some time. Stick to a plan and you'll go far.

 

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

September 11, 2014

 

By MESFIN FEKADU

Associated Press

 

  

Nicki Minaj, who has recently dropped her colorful and oddball style for a more natural and sophisticated look, says it’s because she’s more comfortable in her skin.

 

“I kind of feel now that I look more like my regular old self, like what I look like when I’m at home,” she said in an interview Tuesday. “I think there’s just a little bit more confidence and so I’m like, ‘It is what it is. I am who I am. I look like what I look like.’ I don’t really have to change much of it anymore.”

 

Minaj’s new look includes her natural black hair color versus the wild and bright wigs she’s worn that helped establish her name in pop culture. At the Fashion Rocks concert Tuesday in Brooklyn, New York, where the rapper performed, she wore a blazer and skirt that came off like a little black dress.

 

“I just thought it was really, really sexy, but without being tight,” she said. “I thought it was different for me.”

 

Onstage, Minaj wore less when performing her rump-shaking hit “Anaconda,” which has peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Her other single, “Bang Bang,” with Ariana Grande and Jessie J, is another massive hit, giving the performer two songs in the current Top 5.

 

The songs appear on her third album, “The Pinkprint,” to be released Nov. 24.

 

“The album is going to be my best body of work,” she said. “It’s diverse, but it’s not trying too hard.”

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

September 04, 2014

 

By Ron Scott

Special to the NNPA from the New York Amsterdam News

 

  

John Blake Jr., who continued the early tradition of bringing the violin into the jazz arena and making its voice heard with the music of Africa to avant-garde, R&B, blues and spirituals, died Aug. 15 in Philadelphia.

 

The cause of death was complications related to multiple myeloma, said Charlotte Blake Alston, his sister.

 

Blake wasn’t a media magnet, but among his many fans and established and young musicians he inspired throughout the United States, Europe, Japan and South America, he is considered a master violinist and genius of the music. Those fortunate enough to have witnessed Blake in concert understand the concept of his genius and significant contribution to the world of jazz and beyond.

 

John Edward Blake Jr. was born in Philadelphia July 3, 1947, and began studying violin at age 9. Classically trained, he graduated from West Virginia University and continued postgraduate work at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Montreux, Switzerland, where he received a grant to study East Indian music. He later studied the music of West Africa.

 

Blake is considered a jazz violinist, but his collaborations illustrate a musician who seamlessly took to the mountainous terrain of world music before it became a popular cliche. He collaborated with his sister, the master storyteller Charlotte Blake Alston, for the program “Tell It on the Down Beat,” which featured storytelling infused with a jazz band. He was also significant in “Fiddlin’ Stories,” which focused on the role of string instruments in African and African-American cultures.

 

Blake gained recognition in the early 1970s with the avant-garde saxophonist Archie Shepp performing on his album “Attica Blues.” For three years, his reputation extended worldwide as a member of Grover Washington Jr.’s band, which double-Dutched between R&B and jazz.

 

With his reputation as a daring violinist in the tradition of Eddie South and Stuff Smith, he became a member of pianist McCoy Tyner’s various groups over a five-year period. Regardless of the band, Blake brought an undeniable sound and intensity to the mix. As a musical explorer, he disregarded categories, looking to bring new experiences to his fans and ­students.

 

His varied R&B, blues, jazz, and rock journeys included recordings with Norman Connors on “You Are My Starship” (1976), and again in 2010 with Connors’ “You Are My Starship/Romantic Journey,” Phyllis Hyman’s “One On One” (1998); Patti LaBelle’s “Flame” (1997); James Blood Ulmer’s “Harmolodic Guitar with Strings” (1993); Steve Turre’s “Right There” (1991); Pink Floyd’s “Atom Heart Mother” (1970); and Buster Williams’ “Dreams Come True” (1981).

 

When Blake held his violin, it turned into a magical instrument, accommodating all assigned performances, including the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Turtle Island String Quartet, Quartet Indigo, the Billy Taylor Trio, Avery Sharpe, Cecil McBee and Jay Hoggard.

 

“Maiden Dance” (1984) was Blake’s recording debut as a leader and composer, the first of five acclaimed projects on Gramavision Records, which included being reunited with McCoy Tyner and Grover Washington Jr., and one with fellow jazz violinists Michal Urbaniak and Didier Lockwood.

 

His most recent release was “Motherless Child” (ARC Music, 2010), an album of hymns and spirituals arranged for his quartet and the Howard University vocal jazz ensemble Afro Blue. In 2010, Blake also produced jazz violinist Regina Carter’s album “Reverse Thread” (E1Music). He was a mentor and teacher to Carter.

 

Blake was also an accomplished composer, arranger and producer as well as an author, teacher and lecturer who presented hundreds of workshops annually to musicians at all levels. With Suzuki educator Jody Harmon, he co-wrote “J.I.M.E.,” the definitive beginning string jazz method book and CD in use around the world.

 

In addition to lecturing on campuses throughout the United States, Blake was on the faculties of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and Manhattan School of Music in New York City.

 

In 2004, he was appointed to the Basler Chair of Excellence for the winter semester at East Tennessee State University, and during that year he was awarded a Chamber Music America Jazz Composer Grant.

 

In addition to his sister, Blake, who lived in Philadelphia, is survived by his wife of 38 years, Barbara Irene Blake; a son, the drummer Johnathan Blake; two daughters, Beverly Woodson and Jennifer Watson; another sister, Vivian Blake Carson; two brothers, Alan and Elliot; and six grandchildren.

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

September 04, 2014

 

Aries Mar 21 - Apr 19

 

Relationships and romantic opportunities show up this week as Mercury eases into Libra, making it easier to talk about tricky issues and find the best solution for all. Plus, the continued presence of Jupiter in Leo puts you in the mood for fun and fresh adventures, especially of the amorous kind. However, there's work to do, too, and the move of Venus into Virgo could be a reminder to keep things sweet with co-workers. Regarding health, you might want to amp up the attractor factor by getting yourself in shape.

 

 

 

Taurus Apr 20 – May 20

 

Getting the right balance between work and play or diet and exercise could be easier starting this week. You'll be motivated to pay attention to what works best for you and what doesn't in terms of lifestyle issues. It's time to review your habits and chuck any that don't support your ultimate goals. Romantic opportunities brighten over this week, too, with Venus enhancing dating options and enticing you out for more fun. Home-based projects fare well, too, especially if you have something ambitious in mind.

 

 

 

Gemini May 21 - Jun 20

 

Romantic opportunities show up as Mercury eases into Libra, enhancing seductive and flirtatious conversation. You might also be drawn to cultural activities, such as exhibitions, music, and the arts in general. You'll also be busy on the home front and eager to clear out clutter and create some space around you. The move of Venus into Virgo hints that you may be doing more entertaining at home for business or pleasure. You're also in a phase when researching and sharing important information could be quite lucrative.

 

 

 

Cancer Jun 21 - Jul 22

 

Concerning money, you may feel more relaxed and optimistic about your situation. The presence of Jupiter can incline you to splurge, though it also pushes you to seek opportunities to earn extra cash. In addition, a new focus on family matters encourages conversation as a way to increase harmony at home. Constructive discussion might also push you to start a project that's so far been in the planning stages. Meanwhile, the move of Venus into Virgo might entice you to explore fitness opportunities and so enhance your looks.

 

 

 

Leo Jul 23 - Aug 22

 

Though you're upbeat and positive, you might find that the situation at home taxes your strength. Thankfully, a tricky issue seems to be easing, which may reassure you that things really can improve. When it comes to getting your message out to the world, try to do so in as balanced a way as possible. Consider everybody's needs and target your words in a way that people can understand and resonate with. Financially, you may be motivated to splurge on small luxuries, but you deserve it!

 

 

 

Virgo Aug 23 - Sep 22

 

The spiritual and mystical side of life continues to be in focus as Jupiter enhances your intuitive awareness and encourages you to pay attention to dreams or unusual synchronicities. Ardent desires may find release as a budding romance develops its more passionate side. Either way, things are looking up. As Venus edges into your sign, this is an opportunity to think about your image and consider your style signature. Tweaking your everyday wear just a little could enhance your confidence and the opportunities that come your way.

 

 

 

Libra Sep 23 - Oct 22

 

You'll find it easier to put words to your feelings and express yourself in general as Mercury bops into your sign early this week. You'll be more inclined to chat if you have plans to share or something to get off your chest. Your social life continues to be a positive experience that you should nurture as much as possible. Make a point of networking regularly and you'll greatly benefit in the romantic as well as business sense.

 

 

 

Scorpio Oct 23 - Nov 21

 

Even though things may have been tough lately, you seem to have come through with flying colors. While you're not completely out of the woods, the current alignment adds strength and support that you'll greatly appreciate. You may be in the spotlight or in a position of importance, but a part of you may feel like keeping a low profile, or at least keeping your cards close to your chest as a way to ensure your privacy. Encouragement from pals may be all you need to stay strong and succeed.

 

 

 

Sagittarius Nov 22 - Dec 21

 

The idea of cutting ties and sailing into the wild blue yonder may appeal to you, particularly with Jupiter urging you on. Mercury's presence in Libra, starting Monday, hints that romance can happen when you're willing to socialize and move in new circles. Career ambitions also beckon this week, and it helps to have a plan or strategy that can move you along the path to success. As Venus dances into Virgo, you'll also find that mingling with the right folks can help you achieve your goals.

 

 

 

Capricorn Dec 22 - Jan 19

 

You're in the mood to profit from any business ventures and explore entrepreneurial ideas for investment and pure fun. There's also a focus on learning and discovery, suggesting that this is a good time to upgrade your skill set or explore subjects that pique your interest. A career matter or personal goal might benefit from liaising with the right people. Advice from someone in the know could be the missing ingredient that helps you make great progress this week.

 

 

 

Aquarius Jan 20 - Feb 18

 

Romantic, business, friendly, or other relationships continue to flourish. But Mercury's move into Libra hints that it's time to move in new circles and connect with people who can pique your imagination and enthusiasm for new ideas. Finances benefit from a sound budget and strong plan. This is a good time to start repaying debt and so ease any attendant anxiety. Make time to meditate, too. You'll find that it helps to bring peace of mind no matter what challenges come your way.

 

 

 

Pisces Feb 19 - Mar 20

 

Positive experiences on the work front may be giving you more confidence, encouraging you to showcase your skills and abilities, and helping you to feel good about the future. This is a great time to look for work that might be more challenging and lucrative. Relationships also come into focus, enticing you to see key connections in a new light or from a fresh perspective. Plus, Mercury's move into Libra is all about balancing your financial situation and feeling more harmonious as result.

 

Parent Category: Lifestyle
Category: Arts & Culture

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