Monday, December 26, 2011

Naomie Labaty

Born in Haiti after the ousting of Jean-Claude Duvalier, Naomie Labaty describes herself as a person with a creatively incoherent mind; therefore, she decided to write poems.
"I always have tragic thoughts in my mind,"said Labaty, who writes about Haiti, love (especially love that is unfulfilled) and other entities that she is deeply drawn into. 
She partly grew up in Haiti where she completed her primary education at Saint Francois D'Assise and spent two additional years at Centre D'Etude Secondaire.  At age 13, Labaty moved to the United States and finished high school there.
Labaty spent three years at a university in Boston, but  couldn't decide what career path to take. It wasn't until the massive earthquake in Haiti (12/01/10) that she realized that her actual goal in life was to be helpful to her country. Thus, she moved to Florida to feel closer to Haiti and to study political science and international relations at Florida International University.
Labaty also became involved in many cultural activities promoting the Haitian society. She even had the chance to perform in a spectacle called Ayiti Manman Libete, which focused on dance, music and poetry to support the culture of Haiti.
Along with a friend, she founded Boukan, a cultural night, at Moca Cafe in Florida.
In addition, she enjoys reading and reciting her poems, and to share those poetic thoughts with others, she videotapes them and uploads them on youtube. Above is one sample of her videos recounting the animated life of the haitian youth in a first person scenario. She had received great feedback for it and explained that many thought that she was telling her story.
"When something speaks to them, they give so much back," said Labaty.
Labaty, who describes speech as her forte, also host a show on Island T.V., called Plezi Soley, at 8 p.m on Fridays. 
She has a blog, Anthology of a Heartbreak, where she shares writings and videos pertaining to the subject of love. Please take a look at it at I find her poems conversational and undisguised with just enough literary devices. 
Do not forget to follow her if you enjoy her poems. 
Labaty is currently working on a CD version of her most praised poems and short essays. 
Here are additional links to her facebook page and youtube channel.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Photography, Jazz and Heather Pinson

Photo provided by Heather Pinson
There are many photographic books on Herman Leonard, but what makes Heather Pinson's book, The Jazz Image, unique is its focus on the life of Herman Leonard and his jazz photography, representing symbolic images of jazz players.
He was a photographer from the mid 1900's and worked for famous magazines, such as Playboy magazine and Life magazine.  He was also a commercial photographer and took pictures of album covers for major record companies.
Aside from his other works, Leonard, who loved Jazz, was a good friend of some of the jazz musicians and used to frequent Harlem where the African-American culture culminated. He would follow the jazz musicians from New York to Paris and took many pictures of them.
Even though he was not the only photographer to capture the life of jazz musicians, he was given credit for creating that jazz image. One of the main features of his photographs was his focus on smoke. Even in a dark background, Leonard was able to capture the immersing smoke, which helped symbolized the jazz image.
Even though those pictures were taken during the 1940's and 1950's, he only became famous in 1988 when he had an exhibition, titled The Image of Jazz, at The Special Photographer's Company in London. People started seeing his jazz photography and paying attention to his emblematic and amazing images. This show helped relaunch his career.
"Herman caught them at the right time in the right place," said Pinson, referring to Leonard's importance in photography pertaining to jazz.
Herman Leonard and Heather Pinson. Photo provided by Heather Pinson
Pinson wanted to write about how Leonard represented jazz in his photographs and created the visual culture of the jazz music. She also had the great pleasure of meeting this legend and interview him for her book.
"[this book] contributes to a view point about jazz that people don't look at," said Pinson. "It is about visual photography and music."
Her book is very important not only because it tells the story of the culture of jazz but because it is the last book written before the death of Leonard.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Luca Guardabascio

Photo by Noah Purdy © 2011 
Not too long ago, I met a very kind and extraordinary man walking along the campus of Robert Morris University; his name was Luca Guardabascio, and he was one of the visiting scholars for the Fall 2011 at this school.
I soon realized that Guardabascio was a very intriguing artist and a very dedicated soul to the Italian cinema. At six years old, Guardabascio published his first collection of short stories- 70 short stories to be exact. 
He always had an interest for eccentric movies, especially The Twilight Zone. As a matter of fact, Guardabascio formed a new genre for movies, called marron, that he introduced to the Italian cinema.
"Marron is a genre that I build from thriller and film noir," said Guardabascio. 
The first movie that he produced under this genre was Dismophobia, a short story about a man who has fallen in love with a woman who rejected him. The movie is in black and white with a single scene in sepia, and has a very original ending. 
Guardabascio, who is also an actor, took part in many cinematic projects in Italy, such as  Con Rabbia e con Amore and Anime Nera
He is also a screenwriter and a novelist. His book, Una Guerra Privata, depicts a friendship between an Israeli and a Palestinian. They both live in Italy under the same roof, and fall in love with the same woman.
In the story, both friends realize that despite the political and ethnic conflict between Israel and Palestine, they are not so distant as people. Nonetheless, falling in love with the same woman has created another type of conflict between the two friends, and at the end of the book, an unlikely resolution is revealed. 
"I'm very interested in other culture," said Guardabascio about the book. 
He wrote another book about the summer of 1983, entitled Ancora Un'estate o un'estate Ancora.
He further explained that it was an important time period because there was a lot of issues that were being raised in world, such as the discovery of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). 
"In Italy, with Betino Craxi in charge, the socialist party went into power for the first time," said Guardabascio. "It was a very good period of time. Italy went into G7."
As he mentioned, many other things happened during that time. A girl by the name of Emanuella Orlandi was kidnapped in Vatican and no one knows what happened to her until this day. In addition,  Israel invaded the South of Lebanon, which became the tragic first Lebanon war. 
As a result, the book emphasized on the growing fear among Italians of the world outside of home. The story focuses on a man who kills a shy singer because of jealousy and hides the body in the sea. People begin to speculate that the shy singer is kidnapped.
I have the impression that this is just one aspect of the book as the book seems to incorporate many more. Although I do not speak Italian, this book is definitely something that I would like to read. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Evan Wright, the retail guru

Just a few months after graduating college, Evan Wright decided to write a book about his experiences with spending and also based on his academic background in marketing. Yet, writing is an experience that Wright never thought would happen to him.
"I did not always think that I was going to be a writer," said Evan. "Since I was younger I always focus on ways to spend smarter and make good financial choices."
Written with a spark of humor and a rich content, the book is a collection of experiences and offers advices truly necessary for an average buyer.
The first chapter highlights questions that need to be answered before purchasing an item with exclusive examples of what could happen if the item is purchased without real incentive.
Throughout the book, Wright offers vivid and comical examples of what not to do when spending. Many of them are silly mistakes that we make and are most of the time unaware of. He uses gorilla vs. guerilla as the metaphorical example of distinct buyers while guiding the readers to how to transition from a gorilla state of mind to a guerilla state of mind. By the end of the book, Wright is hoping that the readers will acquire all the knowledge needed to become the ultimate retail guerilla.
 Wright also advises the readers on how to go about using loyalty programs and stressed on what types of loyalty programs are to be used and what other types are to be dismissed.
In the book, Wright does not only focus on what not to do, he also depicts many deals that readers ought to jump on.
"The only way to save is not to save money but to spend in a better way," said Wright, pretty much summing up the whole book.
I definitely think that it is a book worth checking out.
Wright self-published the book through (Amazon). Below is the link for the book.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Aton, A Work in the Making

Anthony Louis-Jeune, known artistically as Aton, is a 26-year-old artist who has the ability to put his hands on many different projects.
A native of Haiti, Aton has been drawing since primary school.
“When I started, my mother did not want me to draw,” he explained. “She would even tear up my drawings.”
This did not stop Aton from living his dream, neither did being colorblind.
"I feel normal because I never saw colors. I was born this way," he said.
Aton still manages to create colorful, dazzling paintings.
"I have a concept of the colors," he explained. "I concentrate more on the intensity of the colors. I know that yellow is brighter than orange and green is paler sometimes."
He buys tubes of paint and pencils that have the names of the colors written on them to help him. 

"I always knew I wanted to draw," said Aton. 
He was inspired by those artists or those minds per say who created the comic books he owned.
"I wanted to be like them when I get older," he explained.
Aton explored the idea of pursuing drawing as a profession when he sold one of his drawings to a band in Haiti as a logo for 300 USD at just 15 or 16 years of age.
"I was like 'man, I can make money out of it'," he said.
As a result, he began working for a marketing company named Graphcity to create logos. He then created his own company, Aton Concept, and freelanced. 
When asked about what his company offers, Aton listed graphic designs, illustrations and logos.
"[For graphic design, I make] business cards, billboards, shirt designs, [and] anything related to designing...[something]," he added. "I can conceive it and people can do it."
Aton also worked for other Marketing Agencies, such as Image & Marketing and Publi Gestion, and illustrated for big companies, such as Comme Il Faut.
In addition, he illustrated for the famous Haitian writer's, Gary Victor, popular series, Djamina, shown below.

Aton actually comes from an artistic family. 
"We all have some sort of love for doing stuff," he said.
They each embrace a different type of art. For instance, his grandmother is a dressmaker.  "She draws also,"  Aton added.
His mother is also artistic.
"My Mother... is really manual," Aton explained. She sewed the curtains for her house.
None of the members of his family, however, use his/her artistic skills as a profession. 
"I am the only professional artist," Aton explained. 
He does admit that one of his cousin is considering using her skills professionally.
"She's working on it," he said.
 Among Aton's art projects is a poster that he recently designed for a juice company in Haiti.
“[The poster is designed] for them to post anywhere they are selling,”he explained.
Aton is currently attending Altos de Chavon in the Dominican Republic, where he is getting a degree in Fine Arts/Illustration. Here are a few more of Aton's works:

Right-handed Aton drew the self-portrait, shown above, with his left hand. This was his first time using his left hand.
"In school, they teach us how to draw with our left hand and ...our feet," he explained.



Aton also enjoys to rap, which is a hobby for him. He did a remake of Gregory Isaacs' Night Nurse.

He also recorded his own song called "Get Foktop," which gained him fame on campus. 

Aton would actually like to release an album with 15 songs ranging from Hip Hop to House.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

An Irish evening with Batt Burns

On Friday October 14, Batt Burns performed at the Penguin Book store in Sewickley, PA for the book-signing event of his collected short stories, The King with the Horse's ears and Other Irish Folktales. This book can now be purchased at the Penguin Book store.
His other published works, including two CDs where he recounts stories of Ireland, were also available for purchase.
He performed a couple of well-known Irish folktales and sometime with an old Irish accordion played by his beloved wife.
At the end of the performance he chatted with the audience and offered more in-depth information on the spectacular story of Ireland.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Alyssa Delatore

Here is a brief video of Alyssa Delatore, a Robert Morris University student. There should be more videos of her soon.

Poetry out Loud: Chauncey Alexander

Being the youngest of four children is not easy; therefore, to be heard Chauncey Alexander would write his thoughts down on paper.
Alexander is a college student at Robert Morris University in Pennsylvania, studying Communications/advertisement. Nevertheless, one of his most precious dream is to become an actor.
He started writing at a very young age, but he would keep all his poems to himself (hidden from everyone, including his family) until, one day, his mother accidently found one of his work. She was very amazed by Alexander's talent and would encourage him to share his work.
"She would bring it up in conversations, and offer me to read my poems," said Alexander.
The first time Alexander actually perform was in the fall of 2011 at an open mic night at his university.
"When I heard about open mic night, I was very excited and told myself to do it," added Alexander.
He also explained that he was very nervous the first time he performed. Nonetheless, as he became more of a regular performer, doing poetry out loud became more relaxing and easier to him.
He focuses his poems on soul-searching and redefinition and has for role models Nikki Giovanni and Joshua Bennett. The first poem that I actually saw him perform depicted him through the eyes of an outsider.
To learn more about Chauncey Alexander, please visit his blog,

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Becoming a writer: Elizabeth Fabien

Elizabeth Fabien is a young and upcoming writer who caught my attention when she created a facebook group, Poetry Corner, to help her network with other people and promote her book W.O.R.D.S.: Wisdom to Survival. The title of the book is actually an acronym for Wisdom & Willingness, Objective & Obligation, Reason & React, Dream & Dare, and Suffer and Survive.
Fabien grew up in Haiti where she completed her entire schooling and discovered the joy of writing. She explained that she was listening to the beautiful christmas songs written by candidates in a christmas song competition that was held in one of the Haitian channels. The well written lyrics inspired her to write a christmas song as well. She wanted to know how that would feel. She also explained that it seemed like an easy task. Indeed she wrote her first song, "sonje wou ton nwel," and realized that writing was something that she enjoyed.
Fabien used writing as a tool to practice English. She bought a notebook, numbered the pages and came up with titles for every journal entries that she wrote. Eventually, writing was not just a tool to learn English; Fabien started writing about entities that were dear to her heart, including her country, Haiti.
Fabien moved to the United States in 2005 to pursue her post-secondary education.  She continued to write and occasionally shared her work with other people. Many who admired her work encouraged her to publish it. Therefore, Fabien decided to put her manuscripts together. In december 2009, when she finally completed the book, she sought a publishing company, submitted her work and got published.

I haven't had a chance to read her book yet, but as soon as I do, I will tell you what to look forward to when reading it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

New print by Marlie Decopain

Marlie Decopain just added a new print in her tumblr blog. Check it out!

P.S. If you have a tumblr account, make sure you follow her.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


Can a photographer tell me if this pic is good, and what can be improved?
Thank you.

Marlie Decopain, The Accomplished Artist

Marlie Decopain is a motion graphic designer and digital fine artist with an impressive list of clients like Stardust.
She developed an interest for art at a very young age.
"Every night I'd draw and give the drawings to my mom," she recounted. It's for this reason that her parents decided to enroll her in a Summer art school at age seven.
At age 12, she joined Graffi Colori, an art school ran by her neighbor at her house, where she learned drawing techniques.
She gave me a good foundation, which then allowed me to keep growing as an artist and expand my views and perception of art even after she was no longer my teacher.”
On her website,, you can find one of her Graffi Colori drawings.
“I was 14 when I made it,” she said.
The neighbor, who was actually an architect, taught the class every Saturday, and Decopain was her student for three years.
Then Decopain moved at age 16 to the United States from Haiti and finished her last two years of high school there. She took a regular art class her junior year and an Advance Placement art class her senior year.
“In the AP art class in high school, we did a lot of figure drawing but the teacher also allowed us to work on other projects of our choice in order for us to develop a portfolio,” said Decopain.
After reading the story of a digital artist in a magazine, Decopain developed an interest in digital art and enrolled in the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan where she graduated with a bachelors degree in computer art.
Decopain is also good with animation, but she stopped working on animation three years ago. She worked on animation on a number of promos for HGTV, NatGeo and HBO to name a few.
As a hobby, Decopain paints.
“I loved painting,” she gushed. “I still do.” But the lack of space caused her to set this hobby aside.
“I'm hoping that in the future I'll be able to have a studio space so that I can start painting again.”
Nowadays, Decopain works mostly on her computer as a freelance artist.
“I bounce from company to company,” she revealed. She works on specific projects for several companies in Manhattan.
Some of the companies Decopain has worked for are Stardust, Nice Shoes, and Click 3X. Her first gig was with Comedy Central where she designed a promo.
She is currently working though with a program called, Art Quake, in which 10 artists will sell their original prints in a portfolio. Cybil Charlier who previously worked with Decopain for an exhibition invited Decopain to be part of Art Quake.
All proceeds from this project will go to artisans who lost their works or art supplies in the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

Marlie contributed to the design of the video of Ricky Martin's song "Lo Mejor de Mi Vida Eres Tu"

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The surviving mind

It is no rare fact that Ireland is blessed with great folk tales and writers. On my trip to Ireland, I definitely anticipated on learning more about this creative side of Ireland. Little did I know that the tour guide, himself, was one of the gifted soul of this country.
Batt Burns who grew up in Sneem, a small town in Ireland, discovered the art of storytelling at a young age. His grandfather, Clifford, was a seanachie (storyteller), and Burns will spent relatively long period of time with him listening to the old tales of Ireland, including stories of the wee folks.
Batt Burns in turn became a seanachie, performing all over Ireland and the United States and keeping this old tradition alive. He laments about the gradual disappearance of this art, blaming it on technology because storytelling was a form of entertainment in a time when TVs were nonexistent. Nowadays, it is almost impossible to find a seanachie in Ireland.

Burns wrote an award-winning book, The King with Horse's Hears and Other Irish Folk Tales. As previously mentioned, Burns host tours of Ireland, and has incomparable knowledge of this land. For more information on Burns, please visit his website,

Saturday, May 28, 2011

When you're dead, you have more power

"When you're dead, you have more power," said Dr. Brenda Flanagan, author of You Alone are Dancing and In Praise of the Island Women and Other crimes.
And this power is also entrusted to her ancestors and inspires her to write those award-winning pieces that she published.
Every writer has something or someone who guides their thoughts and help them write remarkable pieces. Flanagan explained that she sometimes call to the spirits for help in writing her books.
"There are spirits that guide you," she said.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


While reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett, I was trying to imagine what it would look like as a motion picture. Well, Now I will know...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Life in a metaphor

"Life is like a pipe, and I'm a tiny penny rolling up the walls inside."
--- Amy Winehouse, Back to Black ---

Thursday, April 7, 2011

"Operation Beautiful" close to home

    I've never heard of this initiative before tonight. I was walking around my campus, and I found those post-it notes located at the most random places. It's amazing how words can reverse the mood of the day. Seeing those post-it notes doubtlessly made me happy. I tried to think about those single mothers and those abused individuals walking along the hallways where those post-it notes were placed and how great those post-it notes will make them feel.

This operation was initiated to help fight "Fat Talk." The creator of this project is Caitlin (, who admitted to have dealt with "Fat Talk" herself.

It reminded me of a comic book that I read a long time ago. I just wish I could remember the name of it! 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Colombian soap operas (Telenovelas)

I love to watch Colombian soap operas. They rarely fail to breath reality. Series, such as La Madre, contain good story lines and real life situations. The endings are not always about resolution, but mostly a lesson. La Madre is a good example of that. The ending did bring a resolution. However, it was mostly about a lesson. Here is a link to the series from Youtube if you want to watch it

Friday, March 11, 2011

The word Uniqueness

"Uniqueness is of course a dangerously over-used concept in historiography; firsly by definition, any country's experience is unique, and, secondly, every country specialist is tempted to perceive the subject of his or her expertise to be interpretable in its own right and on its own terms" (Kapcia, 2008, p.7).
--- Antonia Kapcia, Cuba in Revolution: A History Since the Fifties---

Saturday, February 12, 2011

"The Help" by Kathryn Stockett

Dear Ms. Stockett,

What a wonderful book you wrote. I haven't read a book that reached me so deeply in a long time. They say the best stories come from the heart, and in your case, it truly did. I compared Skeeter's character with the brief bio that was set at the end of the book cover for you. I might be wrong, but I felt that her character was inspired by your very own person. By the way, Skeeter was one of my favorite character, along with Aibeleen.

Nonetheless, it was Aibeleen's soft nature that I admired. Sometimes, I wanted to skip through the chapters just to catch up with her. I always say to myself that someone has to be righteous in this world (there just has to be one) to inspire the rest of us who are striving everyday. Her soul reached me through the book and gave me courage in a way. 

A Librarian once told me that some books are more focused on characters whereas others are more focused on plot ( I guess the ones that you can't put down would be categorized in the latter genre). This book was a fairly even mixture of a powerful plot and complicated characters. It kept me going, and I just wanted to ditch all my work just to read it. Yet, it also had enough emphasis on the characters that I took my time to learn every single one of them. 

I love the mystery of the characters. Such unexpected yet almost innocent revelations and such pleasant way to unfold everything!

My favorite quote from the book was about things unfolding like silk or something like that (I can't seem to find it. stupid me forgot to mark the page).

Congrats on a good work!




Dear readers,

I truly recommend this book to you. You will most likely have a different opinion than I did. I don't want to say more because I don't want to ruin it for you. I can almost assure you that you are going to love it. I looked at the reviews on amazon. They were full of positive feedbacks. The book is about motherhood, friendship, love, hate and how we all find a way to survive in this world of "madness."



Monday, January 17, 2011

Here is an article about Oxymorrons. The band talks about how they met and teamed up

Oxymorrons Freestyle in August 2010

Check out Bridget Kelly

One artist we should look forward to what she will offer to the music industry is Bridget Kelly. She was the young singer who filled in for Alicia Keys for the "Empire State of Mind" song with Jay-Z. Check out her bio in wikipedia, and her website