Spring ChatterBulletin 2015

First Day of Spring 2015 Photoby Louisa J. Curtis

First Day of Spring 2015 Photo by Louisa J. Curtis

Greetings everyone and welcome to Spring… well almost… It still managed to snow here in New York on the very 1st day of Spring! And even yesterday, we had a few flakes in the morning… Everyone is “itching” to get outdoors again after months and months of cold, uninviting and miserable weather.

Events are starting to appear again on the calendars – including my own upcoming presentation for the Washington, DC Chapter of ASMP on Tuesday, April 7th!  So if you are in the neighborhood – we would love to see you there.

And, I will be holding one-on-one consultations the very next day Wednesday, April 8th.  I will also be offering a special discount to ASMP and Association members and event attendees! Here are some of the details:

ASMP DC Presents – Refresh Your Presentation And Reach The Right People! With Louisa J. Curtis of Chatterbox Enterprises

2015_0407_ASMP_DC-Event-Banner420Date and Time: Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Doors open @ 6:30pm Event 7pm-9pm
Location: StudiowerksDC
To Register for the Event: Click Here
To Book a Consultation: Tel: (646) 221-0206 Email: Louisa@chatterboxenterprises.com

Event Overview:
In this fun and informative presentation, marketing consultant Louisa J. Curtis of Chatterbox Enterprises covers everything from websites to promotions, personal projects and creating your own PR. Whether you are just starting out, or have been in business for a while, this seminar will inspire you to revamp your presentation and marketing – make it fresh, focused and more personal. With lots of visual examples and plenty of time for Q&A, you’ll walk away with a new enthusiasm for marketing your work and a solid understanding of how to communicate what you do in the best light possible.

PBNY -photobyMonicaCipnic PBNY-Monica3

Now if you are not able to catch this presentation, fear not, Chatterbox is still available for consulting sessions, no matter where you are located – thanks to the telephone and the Internet!

If you would like more information about this particular presentation and are interested in bringing it to your local Chapter and/or City, please contact Louisa at Tel: (646) 221-0206 Email: Louisa@chatterboxenterprises.com

 

 

Read more.. Sunday, March 29th, 2015

Holiday ChatterBulletin 2014-2015

Holiday ChatterBulletin 2014-2015

Greenwich Village © 2010 Louisa J. Curtis

Season’s Greetings
To All My Clients, Colleagues, Family & Friends…

ChatterBox Enterprises
Appreciates Your Continued Support
And Wishes Everyone Well For 2015!

ChatterBox Events
After yet another successful photo panel discussion at Photo Plus Expo, be sure to watch out for announcements in the coming months for my solo seminar:

“Refresh Your Presentation And Reach The Right People” – Coming to an ASMP Chapter near you… soon!

ChatterBox Consulting
For inquiries regarding my consulting services – please email me at Louisa@chatterboxenterprises.com or call 646-221-0206

Read more.. Saturday, January 3rd, 2015

October/November 2014 Photo Events!

October/November 2014 Photo Events!

October is “Photo Month” here in New York, and as always, there are lots of great events, gallery openings, conferences, seminars, portfolio reviews and of course parties! At the end of October we have the annual Photo Plus Expo, and I am proud to announce that this will be my ninth consecutive year presenting or moderating a panel! This year I have a wonderful group who will be discussing how to present your work to multiple, or different markets – so if you haven’t already, be sure to register for the Conference/Expo and sign up for my panel listed on the Seminar Schedule! Here is the Session Name and Number, Sponsors and of course, the panel Line-up:

Session SA3 – Navigating Multiple Photo Markets:  Saturday, November 1, 2014, 10:15am – 12:15pm

Sponsors – PhotoShelter and Yodelist

Moderated by Louisa J. Curtis – Creative Consultant & Writer @ Chatterbox Enterprises with the following line-up:

TV & Print: Megan Re – Director of Photography @ The Food Network

Advertising: Michael Kaminski – SVP, Director of Technology & Production Services @ JUICE Pharma

Editorial: Sarah Rozen – Director of Photography @ Women’s Health Magazine

Fine Art: Thomas Werner – Private Art Dealer & Consultant

Everyone always asks me about what is going on this month, so here are just some of the other events to watch out for in October and November:

Wednesday, October 15 – 35th W. Eugene Smith Grant Ceremony @ SVA Theatre, 333 West 23rd St – 7pm

Sunday, October 19 – Tuesday, October 21 – PACA 19th Annual Conference @ The Altman Building, 135 West 18th St

Tuesday, October 21 – PACA Networking Reception @ ICP Museum, 1133 Avenue of the Americas @ 43rd St – 7-10pm

Tuesday, October 21 – The Open Road Aperture Foundation Benefit Party @ Terminal 5, 610 West 56th St – 7-11pm

Wednesday, October 22 – Visual Connections @ The Altman Building, 135 West 18th St – 12-7:30pm

Thursday, October 23 – ASMP NY Image 14 Contest Winners Exhibition @ Chelsea 27, 617 West 27th St – 6-8pm

Wednesday, October 29 – ASMP National Annual Meeting @ Photo Plus Expo @ The Jacob Javits Center - 3:30pm

Wednesday, October 29 - ASMP NY/Yodelist – Market Right 2014 w/Suzanne Sease & Kat Dalager @ 353 West 46th St – 6-10pm

Wednesday, October 29 – Saturday, November 1 – Photo Plus Expo Conference (Seminars) @ The Jacob Javits Center

Thursday, October 30 -Saturday, November 1 – Photo Plus Expo @ The Jacob Javits Center - Show Dates & Times

Thursday, October 30 – Saturday, November 1 – Palm Springs Photo Festival Portfolio Reviews @ PPE @ The Jacob Javits Center

Friday, October 31 – PDN PhotoPlus Halloween Monster Mash @ 230 Fifth, 230 Fifth Ave – 6:30-8:30pm

Saturday, November 1 – I have my panel from 10:15am-12:15pm, followed by portfolio reviews from 2:20pm-5:10pm

Saturday, November 1 -The Lucie Awards “Best of Show” @ Splashlight Studios, One Hudson Square, 75 Varick St, 3rd floor – 7-10pm

Sunday, November 2 – The Lucie Awards @ Zankel Hall, Carnegie Hall, Seventh Ave @ 56th/57th Sts – 7pm (meet & greet 6pm)

Wednesday, November 5 – AI-AP Big Talk @ SVA Theatre, 333 West 23rd St – 1pm

Wednesday, November 5 – YPA Fund-Raising Gala @ Morgan Library & Museum, 225 Madison Ave @ 36th Street – 7-10pm

Thursday, November 6 – AI-AP Party @ Masonic Hall Grand Lodge, 46 West 24th Street & Sixth Ave – 7-11pm

Saturday, November 8 – Cole & Heisler Workshop @ Bronx Documentary Center, 614 Courtlandt Ave @ 151st St, Bronx – 9am-6pm

Wednesday, November 19 – Footage Marketplace NY @ The Art Director’s Club, 106 West 29th St – 11am-7:30pm

Wednesday, November 19 – Slideluck Annual Fundraiser @ Lightbox, 339 West 38th St – 6:30pm (social) 7:30pm (food) 9:00pm (party)

Read more.. Monday, October 13th, 2014

APA NY Portfolio Reviews – Tuesday June 24 6-9pm

APA NY Portfolio Reviews – Tuesday June 24, 2014  6-9pm


APA NY is holding their Portfolio Review at Wix Lounge on Tuesday, June 24, 2014 from 6-9pm.

Venue location is 235 w 23rd st, 8th floor, New York, NY, 10011

All registrants will see three reviewers, for 15 minutes each.

On Friday June 20th, attendees will be asked to request their top 5 reviewers in order, APA NY will then place attendees and reviewers together, doing their best to get you in front of who you want. The sooner you respond, the more likely you get to see who you want!

First three Pro members: FREE

Next ten Pro members: $50

APA members: $75

Non-Members: $150

We have an amazing line-up of Reviewers who want to see YOUR PORTFOLIO.

For more information and to register for this event, please click here.

Read more.. Sunday, June 15th, 2014

ChatterEvents – May 2014

ChatterEvents – May 2014

Here are some events taking place this “merry” month of May:

Saturday, May 10 & Monday, May 12, 2014

Two Upcoming Screenings at the Bronx Documentary Center

Located @ 614 Courtlandt Avenue, Bronx

Saturday, May 10, 2014 @ 7pm – Everybody Street: Legendary Street Photographers

Monday, May 12, 2014 @ 7:30pm – Tighten Your Belts, Bite The Bullet

Tuesday, May 13 – Thursday, May 15, 2014NYC Fotoworks Portfolio Reviews

Located @ Go Studios, 318 West 39th Street, Penthouse

Wednesday May 14, 2014   6-8pmHow to Land the Job – Corporate Photography Panel

Presented by APA NY & Frank Meo / The Photo Closer

Located @ the PhotoShelter offices, 33 Union Square West

Saturday, May 17, 2014   2-6pmART 3 Gallery Inaugural Opening

ART 3 Gallery @ 109 Ingraham Street, Suite 102, Brooklyn

Opening @ dutesco STUDIOS, 109 Ingraham Street, Suite 105, Brooklyn

Wednesday, May 21, 2014   1-2pm

You’ve Won the Job, Now What? – Webinar w/Kat Dalager

ASMP National’s May 2014 Business as unUsual

To register, please click here!


Wednesday, May 21, 2014   7-9pm

Open Show NY #11

Guest Curators, Gallerist & Writer Charles Guice and Miriam Romais from En Foco.

Located @ The Invisible Dog Art Center, 51 Bergen St, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn

Saturday, May 31, 2014   7pm Potluck, 9pm Slideshow, 11pm Afterparty

SLIDELUCK Bushwick III

To submit by May 15 please click here!

Located @ Sandbox Studio BK, 154 Morgan Avenue, Brooklyn

Also takes place during Bushwick Open Studios 2014

Read more.. Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Tips using Oats – ChatterTip April 2014

Tips using… You Guessed It – Oats – ChatterTip April 2014

Before I get into the tips, here’s a nibbly little tidbit for you – as I mentioned earlier I was born in The Year of the Horse and I love Oats, and we know that Oats are one of what we call the Cereals. In Astrology, besides the Planets, we also have what are known as the Asteroids, and Ceres is one of them. The word Cereal comes from Ceres, who was the Roman Goddess of Agriculture (and in Greek Mythology she was Demeter, Goddess of the Harvest, who presided over Grains and the Fertility of the Earth). Ceres is connected with the 2nd Earth sign of Virgo and is associated with all Cereals including Barley, Oats, Rye, Wheat and Grasses. Now, here’s where it gets even more interesting…

Horse with Cereal Snack

I have the Asteroid Ceres right on my Rising Sign (or Ascendant), which explains why I love all things Cereal! I can quite happily eat Cereal for breakfast, lunch or dinner, but I always used to feel guilty because growing up in England, one only ate cereal at breakfast-time, one was supposed to eat “breakfast” foods at breakfast, tea-time foods at tea-time… and that was that, but for me, a bowl of Cereal or a slice of Toast was always a favorite snack at any time of day or night. So once I learned that Ceres was literally right on my Ascendant, I realized it was perfectly natural for me to enjoy all those foods. Now I eat a bowl of Cereal or a slice of Toast whenever I want – totally guilt-free!

According to the Bach Flower Essences: Wild Oat is for capable people who have ambition to do something meaningful in their lives but have not yet found their true calling. They may have several choices or directions they could follow and may be working hard on a given path, but fundamentally they are dissatisfied and frustrated. Somewhere deep down they know that they have not found their vocation in life, and are emotionally or spiritually unsatisfied. Wild Oat helps to tune the heart (ruled by Leo) to what will bring true meaning and purpose. It helps us the make choices, sometimes difficult, which unite all aspirations. It also helps us to balance the needs of spirituality and making a living. [Excuse me while I run out and get me a bottle…]

No big surprise that I am giving you 5 Tips using Oats this time…

Oats for Convalescents

According to my old Herb Book, although Oats are used primarily for their nutritional value, they are also particularly helpful for certain convalescing patients. In Europe for example, Wild Oats (which are picked whole as a young green plant and known as Oat Straw) are used to make a tea to help with Chest complaints, and Oat Straw is also used in various baths, which aid in healing a number of ailments including Rheumatism, Lumbago, Gout, as well as Liver & Kidney problems.

Oats for Menstrual Cramps and More…

Eating a daily bowl of Oatmeal can help to end Endometrial pain, making Menstruation less miserable with fewer cramps, aches & pains. Oats can also help to control Hormonal activity, lower blood Cholesterol levels, ease Constipation, as well as aid with Fatigue and Depression. Who knew?

Oats for Poison Ivy

If you happen to have a bad case of Poison Ivy, or even the Chicken Pox, grind 1 cup Oatmeal (or Oats) until fine and wrap in cheesecloth. Place the cheesecloth in the end of a stocking or pantyhose leg and tie it so it hangs under the faucet when you run the bathwater. It’s best to go with lukewarm water and soak for about 30 minutes. You can also apply the Oatmeal pouch directly to the infected areas to help soothe the rash as well.

Oatmeal Facial Mask

Make a simple face mask by combining Oatmeal with a little Warm Water until it forms a paste. Especially good for oily skin, and rubbing Dry Oatmeal directly onto the skin will remove any flaky or peeling skin. If you want some thing a little more tasty, then combine ½ cup Hot Water with 1/3 cup Oatmeal. After about 3 minutes, mix in 2 tablespoons Plain Yoghourt, 2 tablespoons Honey and 1 small Egg White (optional). Apply thin layer of the mixture to your face and leave on for about 10-15 minutes. Rinse off with Warm Water.

Oatmeal Dry Shampoo

For those days when you don’t have time to wash your hair, this can apparently be a great solution. Take 1 cup of Oatmeal, place in blender and grind to a fine powder. Add 1 cup Baking Soda and mix well. Rub a little of the mixture into your hair, give it a minute or two to soak up the oils and then brush (or shake) it out of your hair (preferably over the bathtub or a towel). This can also be a great solution for bedridden patients who cannot bathe or wash their hair in the shower. And, it can even be used to deodorize your dog’s coat!

Read more.. Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Oaty Sausage Cakes & Granola Bars – ChatterRecipes April 2014

Oaty Sausage Cakes & Healthy Granola Bars

Image from Jessica Grajeda's Blog

Ironically, as I mentioned in the ChatterLog, even though I may not feel as drawn to Horses as one might expect, being born in The Year of the Horse – I do however, love to eat what they eat – Oats! I have always loved anything with OatsOat Bars (which in England we call flapjacks, but in America flapjacks are what we call pancakes – go figure), Oatmeal Granary Bread, Oatcakes, Oatmeal Crisps, Oatmeal (as in good old “porridge” oats), Oatmeal Cookies, Granola, Granola Bars, Muesli, even Oatmeal Soap… bring it all on… Now, if you’re at all curious as to the difference between Groats, Old-Fashioned or Quick Oats, then check this blog post on Oats by Health & Nutrition Counselor Jessica Grajeda. All Oats start out as Groats, the Steel-cut Oats are Irish, while the Stone-ground Oats are Scottish. I found this first recipe in an old M&S cookery book by Louise Steele that includes both Oats for our grazing Horse, and Meat (in the form of Sausage) for our carnivorous Aries! And since this newsletter is also entering into the domain of Taurus, ruled by Venus, lover of “sugar & all things sweet” I am giving you a second recipe using Oats that is sweet instead of savory!

Oaty Sausage Cakes

Ingredients:

1lb Pork Sausage Meat

1 medium Onion (peeled & finely chopped)

3 heaped tablespoons plus another 2oz Porridge Oats (quick-cook variety)

¼ to ½ teaspoon dried Mixed Herbs

1 teaspoon Mustard (or Mustard Powder)

¼ teaspoon Salt

Freshly-ground Black Pepper

1 Egg (beaten)

4 tablespoons Vegetable Oil

Flour (for dusting)

Recipe (makes 8 cakes):

Place the Sausage Meat in a large bowl with the chopped Onion, 3 tablespoons of the Oats, Herbs, Mustard, and Salt & Pepper. Mix ingredients together well (preferably with your hands!) until thoroughly combined. Divide the mixture into 8 equal portions. On a lightly-Floured board, form each one into a 3-inch round cake or patty. Dip each cake into the beaten Egg and then roll in the remaining 2oz of the Oats and coat thoroughly. Heat the Vegetable Oil in a frying pan and cook the cakes over moderate heat for about 15 minutes, turning frequently using a fish slice, until golden brown and cooked through. Drain on absorbent paper (a brown paper bag works better than a paper towel, which tends to make “crispy” turn to “soggy!” The recipe book suggests serving these for breakfast with fried eggs and tomatoes, but I wouldn’t limit yourself to their suggestion…

Healthy Granola Bars

Granola Bar © Matthew Klein

So for our sweet treat using Oats for Taurus, I found this “healthy” and very easy recipe for Healthy Granola Bars on a website called Red and Honey: The Art of Valiant Living The beauty of this recipe is it not only uses healthier ingredients by substituting Honey for Sugar for instance, but it is also totally flexible, meaning, if you want to switch up some of the ingredients, you can. Use your favorite ingredients or experiment with something new…

Ingredients:

2/3 cup Almond or Peanut Butter

2/3 cup Virgin Coconut Oil

2/3 cup Honey or Maple Syrup

2 cups Old-Fashioned Oats

2 cups total of whatever else you’d like in the bars…. Chopped Nuts such as Hazelnuts or Pecans, Dried Fruit such as Apricots, Cranberries or Dates, Coconut Flakes, Pumpkin, Sesame or Flax Seeds, Dark Chocolate Mini-ChipsYou get the idea…

Recipe:

Mix together the Almond or Peanut Butter, Coconut Oil and Honey in a small saucepan and warm until everything is melted. Sir together and add in the Oats, and then the rest of your dry ingredients. If you are using Chocolate Chips, you might want to let the Honey Mixture cool before you add those, otherwise they will all melt. Another recipe I read on a website called Inspired Taste, suggests adding a few of the Chocolate Chips to the warm mixture so it helps to set the bars and hold them together, and then add the rest of the chips later when the mixture is not as warm. Press the Granola Bar mixture into a 9×13 pan and refrigerate until firm. Cut into bars, wrap individually and store in the fridge.

© 2014 Louisa J. Curtis And just to prove my love of Oats – these items are all currently in my pantry!

Read more.. Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Oaty Sausage Cakes & Granola Bars – ChatterRecipes April 2014

Oaty Sausage Cakes & Healthy Granola Bars

Image from Jessica Grajeda's Blog

Ironically, as I mentioned in the ChatterLog, even though I may not feel as drawn to Horses as one might expect, being born in The Year of the Horse – I do however, love to eat what they eat – Oats! I have always loved anything with OatsOat Bars (which in England we call flapjacks, but in America flapjacks are what we call pancakes – go figure), Oatmeal Granary Bread, Oatcakes, Oatmeal Crisps, Oatmeal (as in good old “porridge” oats), Oatmeal Cookies, Granola, Granola Bars, Muesli, even Oatmeal Soap… bring it all on… Now, if you’re at all curious as to the difference between Groats, Old-Fashioned or Quick Oats, then check this blog post on Oats by Health & Nutrition Counselor Jessica Grajeda. All Oats start out as Groats, the Steel-cut Oats are Irish, while the Stone-ground Oats are Scottish. I found this first recipe in an old M&S cookery book by Louise Steele that includes both Oats for our grazing Horse, and Meat (in the form of Sausage) for our carnivorous Aries! And since this newsletter is also entering into the domain of Taurus, ruled by Venus, lover of “sugar & all things sweet” I am giving you a second recipe using Oats that is sweet instead of savory!

Oaty Sausage Cakes

Ingredients:

1lb Pork Sausage Meat

1 medium Onion (peeled & finely chopped)

3 heaped tablespoons plus another 2oz Porridge Oats (quick-cook variety)

¼ to ½ teaspoon dried Mixed Herbs

1 teaspoon Mustard (or Mustard Powder)

¼ teaspoon Salt

Freshly-ground Black Pepper

1 Egg (beaten)

4 tablespoons Vegetable Oil

Flour (for dusting)

Recipe (makes 8 cakes):

Place the Sausage Meat in a large bowl with the chopped Onion, 3 tablespoons of the Oats, Herbs, Mustard, and Salt & Pepper. Mix ingredients together well (preferably with your hands!) until thoroughly combined. Divide the mixture into 8 equal portions. On a lightly-Floured board, form each one into a 3-inch round cake or patty. Dip each cake into the beaten Egg and then roll in the remaining 2oz of the Oats and coat thoroughly. Heat the Vegetable Oil in a frying pan and cook the cakes over moderate heat for about 15 minutes, turning frequently using a fish slice, until golden brown and cooked through. Drain on absorbent paper (a brown paper bag works better than a paper towel, which tends to make “crispy” turn to “soggy!” The recipe book suggests serving these for breakfast with fried eggs and tomatoes, but I wouldn’t limit yourself to their suggestion…

Healthy Granola Bars

Granola Bar © Matthew Klein

So for our sweet treat using Oats for Taurus, I found this “healthy” and very easy recipe for Healthy Granola Bars on a website called Red and Honey: The Art of Valiant Living The beauty of this recipe is it not only uses healthier ingredients by substituting Honey for Sugar for instance, but it is also totally flexible, meaning, if you want to switch up some of the ingredients, you can. Use your favorite ingredients or experiment with something new…

Ingredients:

2/3 cup Almond or Peanut Butter

2/3 cup Virgin Coconut Oil

2/3 cup Honey or Maple Syrup

2 cups Old-Fashioned Oats

2 cups total of whatever else you’d like in the bars…. Chopped Nuts such as Hazelnuts or Pecans, Dried Fruit such as Apricots, Cranberries or Dates, Coconut Flakes, Pumpkin, Sesame or Flax Seeds, Dark Chocolate Mini-ChipsYou get the idea…

Recipe:

Mix together the Almond or Peanut Butter, Coconut Oil and Honey in a small saucepan and warm until everything is melted. Sir together and add in the Oats, and then the rest of your dry ingredients. If you are using Chocolate Chips, you might want to let the Honey Mixture cool before you add those, otherwise they will all melt. Another recipe I read on a website called Inspired Taste, suggests adding a few of the Chocolate Chips to the warm mixture so it helps to set the bars and hold them together, and then add the rest of the chips later when the mixture is not as warm. Press the Granola Bar mixture into a 9×13 pan and refrigerate until firm. Cut into bars, wrap individually and store in the fridge.

© 2014 Louisa J. Curtis And just to prove my love of Oats – these items are all currently in my pantry!

Read more.. Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Aretha Franklin – ChatterQuote April 2014

Aretha Franklin – ChatterQuote April 2014

“I’m a Big Woman. I Need Big Hair.”

Image from Wikipedia: Trade Ad for “Baby, I Love You” Billboard Magazine, page 9 - July 15, 1967

What better than an Aries to say, “I’m a big woman, I need big hair.” Anatomically Aries rules the head, which also means hair, hats, wigs, and so forth, but they are also extremely “headstrong” personalities, and The Queen of Soul certainly fits that description. Aretha Louise Franklin, an Aries, was born on March 25, 1942 in Memphis, Tennessee. She began her illustrious career as a child, singing gospel at her father’s church. In 1960, at the age of 18 she initially signed with Columbia Records, but it wasn’t until she moved to Atlantic Records in 1967 that her career really took off. And by the end of the decade she had already earned herself the title, The Queen of Soul.

In 1979 she moved from Atlantic to Arista Records, which led to her cameo role in The Blues Brothers movie. Some of her most successful hits were “Think,” (You Make Me Feel) Like a Woman,” and “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” (yes, that’s the one our President was unable to spell correctly a few months back. I mean, I know we all make mistakes, but seriously…?) In 1987 Aretha was the First Female Performer ever – as in ever – to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Let’s consider for a moment that single-handed game-changing achievement … and how well it ties in to the pioneering spirit of the Aries. It’s no Accident that Aretha Franklin paved the way for many more black female artists who came after her. She was also inducted in to the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2012.

iTunes screen grab showing just a few of Aretha Franklin's albums...

To date, our Aries Aretha has won a total of 18 Grammys (and counting) and is one of the Best-Selling Female Recording Artists of all time – as in all time – having sold over 75 Million Records worldwide. She recorded 88 Charted Singles on Billboard, including 77 Hot 100 Entries and 21 Number One R&B Singles, becoming the Most Charted Female Artist in the chart’s history. Seriously? Then, as if that wasn’t enough, on Rolling Stone Magazine’s “100 Greatest Singers Of All Time” list, Aretha placed – go on, take a guess – yes, she took Number One. No big surprise there, not only because of her undeniable talent and track record, but Aries literally is the sign that says, “I am – I am the first sign – I am the first one – I am number one.”

Read more.. Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Aries: New Year, Spring & Horses – ChatterLog April 2014

Aries: New Year, Spring & Horses – ChatterLog April 2014

Aries, The Ram

Greetings everyone and welcome to the Spring 2014 ChatterBulletin! Remember last time I talked about January being the start of the “calendar” year, but in Astrology and Nature, New Year begins with the 1st sign of Spring – the sign of Aries, and the month of April. Spring (not winter) is the time of new life, and new growth in Nature. Notice we are just now beginning to come out of our “winter doldrums” and months of hibernation. The blooms and the blossoms are bursting through (finally), the weather is gradually warming up – well almost – and we hopefully have a little more energy. And I’m sure I speak for most New Yorkers here when I say we have had one of those very long winters and can’t wait for springtime!

Blooming Bleecker Street, NYC April 26, 2014 © Louisa J. Curtis

Speaking of Spring and the New Year, shortly after I sent out the Winter newsletter back in January, we also entered into the Chinese Lunar Calendar’s New Year, and The Year of the Horse, which is also my animal, being born in 1954. There are 12 animals in Chinese Astrology (just as there are 12 signs in Western Astrology) and the cycle of animals takes 12 years to complete. Consider this: I have completed 5 cycles, in Astrology Leo (which is my Sun Sign) is the 5th Sign, in Numerology my number is 5, and I live on the 5th floor. And yes, this also means that I will be turning 60 later this year, which is a crazy thought all by itself. But surely it has to be a good thing to be turning 60 in the year of your own animal, right? So our theme for this newsletter is New Year, Spring, and Horses

I grew up in an area called The New Forest in England, which is now The New Forest National Park, where about 3,000 New Forest Ponies essentially roam freely, although technically they are owned by New Forest Commoners. To read more about these Commoners, Ponies, the Verderers, and the 5 Agisters who work for them (yes, I said 5), The New Forest and more, please click here. I also reached out to local wildlife and nature photographer Mike Read, who happens to live in the same town my mum lived in, and whose calendars she would send me every year so I could have pictures of our beloved New Forest on my walls in New York City. Since Spring is all about new life, then what better to show you than a young foal with its mother…

New Forest Pony Foal © Mike Read

Interestingly (or not) I have never felt that drawn to Horses, even though I was around them growing up. I don’t dislike them, I think they are magnificent creatures, just not when I’m riding them! I identify more with my Western Astrological animal, the Lion for Leo, or more simply Cats. Growing up in the English countryside, there were a few standard activities that one learned as a child, one of which was horseback riding. Thus we were sent for lessons at a local stable in the small town of Brockenhurst, where the rather “seedy” Gerald Rickman instructed his young pupils… The horses ranged from the larger, lumbering steeds that were so tall you needed a stepladder to climb up on them, to the much smaller ponies, with names like “Bracken” and “Slipper,” and although they moved a lot faster than the bigger horses, they were notoriously naughty and far more difficult to control. Please Note: These were not the wild New Forest Ponies, although they may as well have been…

New Forest Ponies During Drift (round up), Near Brockenhurst © Mike Read

One year, during our school half-term break, my sister and I were booked in for a riding lesson, but because it was probably Easter break, they were busy and we did not get our preferred choice of rides. Instead, we found ourselves on the smaller ponies – the ones who could smell your fear a mile off! Fast-forward (literally) to the surrounding countryside and picture my out-of-control pony bolting through the bushes at breakneck speed, with me hanging on for dear life! Until we reached the road, that is, where, instead of falling on to perhaps some nice soft grass on the verge, I waited until we were right in the middle of the road where I promptly landed in a heap on the hard tarmac. The other riders were not far behind me and scampered across the road in hot pursuit of the runaway pony. To add insult to injury, one of those horses actually trod on me and I ended up with hoof-shaped bruises – no kidding.

You’d think that was bad enough, right? But as I was struggling to my feet and attempting to recover myself and my pony, a car drove by, which sounds reasonable enough considering it was a road we were standing on, except that this particular car contained one of my headmistresses from school. I prayed she had not seen me. The next week, I was back in school again and was mortified to discover that I would be sitting at the “top” table in the dining room at lunchtime with you guessed it, the headmistress. Without hesitation, she leaned in my direction and said in her terribly “English” accent, “Was that you Louisa I saw in the middle of the road…” or words to that effect. My face went redder than the beetroot I was probably eating. It was bad enough that she had seen my equine demise, and recognized me from her moving vehicle, but to then bring it to the entire table’s attention was completely mortifying for me… After that, I stuck with ballet and swimming.

Papa Feeding New Forest Ponies: August 16, 2006 © Louisa J. Curtis

Continuing with the Chinese Astrology for a moment because interestingly, this year is specifically the Year of the Wooden Horse, which immediately brings to my mind Greek mythology and the story of The Trojan Horse. In brief, the King of the Gods Zeus had a daughter with the King of Sparta’s mortal wife Leda, and that same daughter Helen was married to Menelaus. After a quarrel between the goddesses Athena, Hera & Aphrodite, the beautiful Helen was abducted by Paris and taken off to Troy, hence Helen of Troy, and this dastardly act brought about The Trojan War, which lasted many years. Another interesting note about Helen of Troy (formally Helen of Sparta) is that two of her siblings were the twins Castor & Pollux, and it is Castor & Pollux who are connected with our 3rd sign of SpringGemini.

Illustration of The Trojan Horse

But back to the War: The city of Troy finally fell to the Greeks after they devised a cunning plan by constructing a Giant Wooden Horse (inside which were hidden a select number of soldiers) and left it at the entrance to the city. Then they pretended to sail away in defeat. The Trojans, being curious creatures and probably ready for the war to be over, pulled that big old horse right inside their gates thinking it was a victory trophy. That night however, the concealed soldiers crept out from inside the horse and opened up the city gates, thus allowing the Greek army (who had sneaked back again from their ships) to enter, conquer the city, and decisively win the war.

And while we’re talking about wooden horses, anyone remember the classic 1950 British World War II movie, The Wooden Horse based on the book by Eric Williams, in which a group of prisoners attempt to escape the infamous German POW Camp Stalag Luft III (the same camp in which the perhaps better-known movie The Great Escape starring Steve McQueen, James Garner and Richard Attenborough also took place) by digging a tunnel that was concealed underneath a piece of exercise equipment, or more specifically, a Vaulting Horse. It’s a brilliant story about a lot of grit (literally) and determination that tells of how these prisoners strategically worked together as a team, some of them as the physical “exercisers” while others were the physical “diggers.”

From the Movie: The Wooden Horse Image Credit: Silver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Another interesting note is that through our discussion on Horses, The Year of the Horse, The Trojan Horse and The Wooden Horse, notice how it all brings us conveniently back to the topic of War – which is associated with Mars, and our sign of Aries. The Planet Mars, who rules over Aries, the Ram and our first sign of Spring, was the Roman God of War. Then we had Ares (notice the similarity to the word Aries) son of Zeus & Hera, who was the Greek God of War and one of the Twelve Olympians (yes I said 12). But how many of you know where the word April, the month Aries rules, comes from? Well, thanks to my teacher, I am going to tell you: April is derived from the Latin word Aperio meaning, “to lay bare, to expose, to view, to open and render accessible (at this time).” Spring is therefore a time for all creatures (both human and otherwise) to open themselves up in preparation for the rest of the season and the coming year ahead by taking in this newborn energy and life. This is also why people born under the sign of Aries are said to have a “spring” in their step (hmmmm…) because they are the most energetic of all 12 signs.

Horses © 2014 Elizabeth DeRamus Photography

I recently noticed a post on Facebook by Birmingham, Alabama photographer Elizabeth DeRamus. It had been ages since we’d been in touch, so I reached out to her and asked if I could show you one of her beautiful images. Now consider this for a moment… In Chinese Astrology, the Horse is connected to the element of Fire, which is Red, and it is no big surprise that the color for Aries, the 1st Fire sign of the zodiac and the Planet Mars that rules it is also Red. In Chinese Five Element theory (there’s that number 5 again!), the Horse is in the Fire group. The Horse month is in the middle of summer (my birthday is in August in Leo, which is the 5th sign of the zodiac, and our 2nd Fire sign). The Horse is the strongest Fire animal in all 12 zodiacs. 2014 is the year of the Wooden Horse. Wood can help Fire to burn, so Fire can last longer.” And 2014 is more specifically The Year of the Green Wooden Horse, and the color for our 2nd sign of Spring and our 1st Earth sign of Taurus is also Green… Hmmm…

Taurus, the Bull

So now, while we’re talking about the color GreenGreen not only relates to the money that the practical Taurus likes to earn, and to their precious stone the Emerald, but also to their naturally Green Thumbs and gardening abilities. A few years ago in May 2011 for the Taurus newsletter I featured several garden photographers, but this time I wanted to mention one particular photographer from that group again, because not only is Saxon Holt, a Taurus, he was born on April 22nd, which is Earth Day – how perfect is that? It’s no accident that the Earth sign of Taurus begins with a celebration called Earth Day… and it’s no accident that Saxon Holt photographs gardens! So here are a few images from a new project Photobotanic Extractions inspired by his love of botanical illustrations.

California Native Shrub, Arctostaphylos Manzanita ‘Monica’ © 2013 Saxon Holt

California Native Shrub, Arctostaphylos Manzanita 'Monica' © 2013 Saxon Holt

Photobotanic Illustration of California Native Shrub, Arctostaphylos Manzanita 'Monica' © 2013 Saxon Holt

Not all Taurus photographers necessarily photograph gardens – the Taurus loves many beautiful things, including great food, music and art. So another photographer I’m showing you this month is Charlotte, NC-based photographer Mitchell Kearney, a “late” Taurus born on May 19th (right before we head into Gemini). I particularly wanted to show you some of Mitchell’s “artist” portraits, since it ties in nicely with Taurus’ love of the arts, along with his captions.

Claudia Borgna: Visual + Performance Artist © 2008 Mitchell Kearney

Imagine a work of art which utilizes the lowly “trash bag” as it’s primary physical ingredient in such a transformative approach as to force you to reconsider the concept of REcycling. Claudia’s ephemeral tongue-twisting works of art which exceed the limits of speech to wordlessly touch your heart strings with her highly minded need for emotional engagement on a global scale at this moment.

Mail Order Brides: 21st Century Troubadours 2003 © Mitchell Kearney

Visited Charlotte back in 2003, during their residency at the McColl Center for Visual Art, and left such a delightful dent in our space/time continuum that we have been changed forever, for the good of Wo+Man kind…!

John W. Love Jr.: Poet + Creative Artist © 2011 Mitchell Kearney

My relationship with John extends over many years and revolves like the earth around our sun. I am in awed by the creative heat, which John gives off, constantly…! His multi-discipline approaches to his creative work are astonishing examples of the finest mind of our times.

Michele Tejuola Turner: Visual Artist + Educator © 2013 Mitchell Kearney

In response to her sensitivity to the issues which surround her, ‘Tejuola’ works out her thoughts about a subject on the surface of large dried African gourds – carving & painting the story to life, in her own special way – quietly. Like all things African, ‘Tejuola’ deals with an issue from all sides and her art is all encompassing – literally and figuratively – her canvas is a far more global form, a pear-like form which allows her to carve & paint figures and text over & under the round, female womb-like form, telling the story of an idea… a person… or a family of people. Her picture-stories reveal the wisdom of her family and her care for those who have come before us, who are to be remembered for their strength. My task was to share her fortitude on this road called life – her life & her resulting art making. ‘Tejuola’ has gifted me with a far greater understanding of the human condition than I had previously known.

In closing, I have to give a mention to Kseniya Simonova, an incredible Performance Sand Artist and winner of Ukraine’s Got Talent back in 2009. Photographer and old buddy Kristofer dan Bergman recently mentioned her on Facebook, and when I clicked on the link and saw what she did, I simply had to share it with all of you, so please click here to see her winning performance on YouTube. Now, not only is what she does amazing and incredible but also how fitting is it that this girl is a Taurus, born April 22, 1985, and even better, our Taurus is literally making art with the Earth itself! Click here to see yet another of her amazing videos on YouTube in which there’s a Horse, of course!

Sand Animation by Kseniya Simonova

Read more.. Wednesday, April 30th, 2014