Tag Archives: review

Mama K & The Shades

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Originally written for and published by Texas Lifestyle Magazine 🙂

 

Mama K & The Shades are definitely a local must-see with their jazz-soul-R&B-funk combo of high-energy sound of a 10-piece band you have to see to believe. If you’re a night owl, catch them on the SXSW schedule: Maggie Mae’s Rooftop Bar on March 15 and Half Step on March 18, both at 1 AM.

White Light Exposure - mama k and the shades-1Mama K & The Shades have been together for almost three years and range from ages 22 to 62. Lead singer Kelsey Garcia says that they are much more than “just bandmates.”

“It seems like we’ve known each other forever—we’re family,” she said. “We’ve been playing together for long enough now that we’ve really developed our own true sound. We’ll always be influenced by 70’s and 80’s funk, but we’re not a replica; we’re our own thing entirely.”

Who exactly is this dime? Well, the vocalists are the leading —and only— lady Kelsey Garcia and Willie Barnes. The instrumentalists consist of: Johnny Storbeck (guitar), David Thacker (keyboard), Lee Braverman (bass), Chris Barnes (drums), Wesley Gonzales (percussion), Joseph Morrow (trumpet and flugelhorn), Dustin Hunter (tenor and baritone sax), and Donald McDaniel (trombone). Whew. Yeah—it’s a lot. Which means—big sound! Big sound does not always mean great sound, but in this case, it truly does. Somehow, they make ten people on a stage look and sound like every band should follow suit.

mama k -4Their first album, “Honey Made,” is dedicated to David McKnight, their original sax player who passed away two years ago. Their second album is in the works and will be out next year.

“He was the creator of the band, my best friend, and roommate,” Garcia said. “Whenever something was going really well, he used to always say, ‘Ooooh that’s honey made!’ [hence the album title]. Those were big shoes to fill, and we went without a sax player for a long time, but Dustin is incredible.”

If you’ll be at home avoiding the SXSW craziness this year, they’re also really excited to open for Big Freedia and The Soul Rebels at Mohawk on April 1. Or hey, need a vacation? Mama K & The Shades will be heading to Denver for their first out-of-state gig and the start of their first tour April 20! You get it—you have a ton of opportunities to check out these awesome local artists on their race to the top of the charts.

“Everyone’s passion is the music,” said Garcia, “and we just love sharing that with whoever we can.”

Austin Shakespeare’s Medea

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Originally written for and published by Texas Lifestyle 🙂

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Trade in the predictable rom-com at the movie theater for the twisted, intense Greek tragedy, Euripides’ Medea. The Austin Shakespeare Company is well-known for their free performances in the park every summer (this summer, get your blanket and picnic basket ready for Macbeth), but they perform all year at different venues. Medea will be at The Long Center through early March and it’s a MUST SEE.

Medea, portrayed by the brilliant, nationally-acclaimed classical actress Franchelle Stewart Dorn, is a woman scorned—her husband, Jason, is leaving her for a princess. To help with this transition, the king has decided to banish Medea—but she won’t leave quietly, that’s for sure.

I wouldn’t dare ruin the ending for you, so all I’ll say is get ready for an emotional roller coaster—this tragic tale is warped to say the least. But that’s what makes it so fascinating!

Dorn plays Medea with such ferociousness and elegance—you fall in love with her fierce, feminist character quickly. In fact, you’re still rooting for her while she’s plotting numerous insane schemes and violent murders.

Infidelity, friendship, family, revenge, death…Medea has it all.

Buy your tickets now! Eighteen dollars a piece is an awesome deal for this show, especially since the event is held in one of The Long Center’s smaller theaters, so the experience feels really intimate.

Fair warning though—this isn’t a “pleasant” or “romantic” story. Definitely not a first-date kind of feel. Medea is what all Greek tragedies are—shocking and horrific, but solid entertainment.

Authors + Social Media = ?

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Social Media stress

It’s definitely 2014, folks, in case you didn’t realize. Unless you’ve been living under a very large and very heavy rock, then you know this one beautiful yet terrifying fact: social media is truly the current leader of the world.

Self-publishing means self-marketing in most cases and IT IS NOT EASY. Le sigh. If I was rich, I would immediately pay someone to do all of this constant, tedious humble bragging for me, but alas, I am…a middle school teacher.

So what do you do? You want your book to sell. You want a readership that includes more than just obligated family and friends. But you’re just a laid-back WordPress blogger at heart! You have no interest in Pinterest (see what I did there?)!

Facebook was easy. I do love Facebook. So the official author page is up and running! I’m up to 225 likes. It definitely required bullying my friends and family into sharing the page and inviting their friends to like the page. I looked into Facebook advertisement, figuring, “How expensive could it possibly be?” Yeah. The answer is “too expensive.” Hopefully, when the lovely bloggers who have promised to write book reviews post said book reviews, the likes will build!

I was suuuuper hesitant to leap into the Twitter world. I created one years ago to see what all the fuss was about. And “fuss” is definitely the correct word. Twitter is filled with a ton of CRAP that you have to wade through in order to read something that’s actually interesting. You have to be VERY careful about who you follow. I messed up BIG TIME. I had no idea there was a follow limit! Amateur status. In my mind, the more people I follow=the more possible readers. So I became click happy, not even looking at who I was following. Then Twitter informed me that there’s a 2,000 follow limit. So now that I’ve found fellow writers whose tweets I actually WANT to read, I can’t even follow them unless I go unfollow someone else! Way to go, Alysha. I have connected with quite a few great people though, and I’m up to 800 followers.

Follow me here: alyshakaye7

My legit author website is in the works (the address will be http://www.alyshakaye.com).

I am officially on Goodreads. Pretty cool place. Can’t wait for my book to release so I can get my first star review! Friend me here if you’re a fellow Goodreads enthusiast: Alysha Kaye

I refuse to start an Instagram or Pinterest. Eh, I just can’t commit to those platforms, I don’t know what’s so unappealing to me, but I just can’t.

My WordPress continues to be my true social media passion. I just love bloggers and blog-readers! You guys are the best.

Whew. So there you have it. It’s been an extremely crazy time. Keeping up with social media is time-consuming to say the least!

Do I think all of this will pay off? I freakin’ hope so.

Until the book releases in July, the equation stays as is: Authors + Social Media = ?

 

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Book Reviewers: Donde estas?

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Calling all book bloggers! Where y’all at?

Looking for any and all willing bloggers/reviewers/critics (What do you like to be called?! Geez.) – I’d love to send a copy of my novel, The Waiting Room, to you for consideration!

A little bit about my novel and I (isn’t it cute how we sound like a couple?)

About the author:
Alysha Kaye was born in San Marcos, TX, where she also received her BA in Creative Writing from Texas State University. She worked in marketing for a brief and terrible cubicle-soul-sucking time until she was accepted into Teach for America and promptly moved to Oahu. She taught 7th grade English in Aiea for two years and also received her Masters in Education from University of Hawaii. She now teaches in Austin, TX and tries to squeeze in as much writing as possible between lesson planning. She dreamt about The Waiting Room once, and offhandedly wrote her boyfriend a love poem about waiting for him after death. Somehow, that became a novel.

Summary of The Waiting Room:
Jude and Nina are the epitome of that whole raw, unflinching love thing that most people are jealous of. That is, until Jude dies and wakes up in The Waiting Room, surrounded by other souls who are all waiting to pass over into their next life. But unlike those souls, Jude’s name is never called by the mysterious “receptionist”. He waits, watching Nina out of giant windows. He’s waiting for her. What is this place? How long will he wait? And what will happen when and if Nina does join him? The Waiting Room is a story of not just love, but of faith, predestination, and philosophy, friendship and self-actualization, of waiting.

Shoot me an email if you’re interested!

alyshakaye@gmail.com

Let me know where you post reviews- personal blog, GoodReads, Amazon, etc. The Waiting Room should be available for purchase this July.

The Waiting Room

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