Thursday, September 20, 2018

Safe Space.

     Hey Omaha!
So in the past few days, I have repeatedly seen several statuses that state such person's house is always open if others ever need to talk. A great way to start a conversation about mental health! I love it, but I am going to be that person to remind you that 'people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care' and this entails selfless and genuine questions like 'how are you?' and really be attentive to what's not being said just as much as the response itself. I, as a person with anxiety and depression, cannot see myself calling for help. Most of these suicides happen because they did not reach out for help and we stay behind wondering why; we are perplexed at the fact that the person did not look like the type to do such thing. 'He was so happy!' is what irks me the most when a life is cut short. Like I said in a past post I am lucky to have an amazing support system that I can rely on. I am not in danger to myself. However, others aren't as fortunate. So let's be more outspoken about this.


When you are out with friends, put your phone down and enjoy of each other's company. Call them out! If they're having a hard time being out in social outings, you can catch it and address it. If they're simply on Facebook or checking their texts, ask if they need to be elsewhere; maybe they have a friend that needs them. Communication is key. I've learned this time and time again. Be straightforward and caring. That's the best way to handle this, I believe.
I am an open book. You can tell from my more personal (and very old) blog. It's all out there. In a way, I have been reach out for help, in a subtle way, and to write it out helped me find an outlet to the voices in my head. So if you are having a hard time and you're reading this, you're still here. Your friends mean well. SPEAK UP! The world still needs you. We are put in this Life for a reason, find it.
I know it's easier said than done. I am still in the process of reinventing myself. A newer and better version of me. It is a hard road, but well worth it putting the effort because you are worth it. It's hard to ask for help, but try. Push yourself to do something with someone whose company you enjoy. Surround yourself with the positive people in your life. Laughter is the best medicine and sharing a laugh with a friend is priceless. Please, give this some thought and next time you are having a bad day, reach out to this advice.

Oh, and one more thing,

[… Relax. Take it Easy.]

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

EXTRA! EXTRA!

Hey Omaha!
How you doing? How has this week been treating you, I hope all is well.

So I have a few updates to give you. First of all, I hope you have checked out my Picks of the Week because I am giving you my favorite album and movie of the year!!! I didn't mention it on the post, but I am telling you right now so you can go and check it out.


Okay, Omaha. So let me tell you a few years ago I was obsessed (and still am) with documentaries and I made my own. I filmed a few friends (and myself) talking about what it's like to be in our twenties. I've recently uploaded them again to YouTube because I want to bring this Series back with a whole new cast. It is in the works, so please wait for more. In the meant time, please watch (and forgive the quality) of "TwentySomething" season 1 and 2.






Along with 'TwentySomething' project, I have also started 'Men Vlogs' where I'll be talking about masculinity and what it's like to be a man in this times. I will add the Playlists on the side bars for you to keep up, if you have any interest to waste your time haha

And of course, I've added a couple of throwbacks in the 'Get to Know' tab above soyou can check it out if you are new to my blog, or to re-read if you are a veteran with me :) I am bringing you Ms. Fatima and Mr. Nikolas Decker for your eyes to meet. Give yourself a chance to get to know these two AMAZING people doing great things in the community. For next session on this tab, I'll bring you Mr. AXCESS to get to know! Stay tuned!


In the meantime, with this picture I took today after the storm, remember to...



[...Relax. Take it Easy.]

Picks #3

Hey Omaha!

I hope your week has been going fair. On the bright side, it's Hump Day! 
Hurray!

So let's get to it, shall we?

TV SHOW
INSATIABLE, on Netflix. 
Still! Yes, this is a MUST watch. I finally finished watching it. Yes, I recommended it last week even when I wasn't done watching, but I am done now and I am telling you, I laughed and I was mad, and it made me think, and it made me scream STOP!!! as the main character..... ha! you gotta watch to see what I'm talking about. A show to make you think about inner beauty.

BOOK
UNDER THE WOLF, UNDER THE DOG. by Adam Rapp.
The Catcher in the Rye of the 2000s, if you must have an idea in your head of what to expect. Except, I felt more related to the characters in this book. Following the 17year old go through rehab is a roller coaster that you do not want to miss!

MOVIE
DESIERTO, on Netflix.
We watch a group of Mexicans trying to cross the border to the USA illegally, chased by an angry American. This movie, starring one of the biggest names of this times in the national cinema Gael Garcia Bernal, made me scream quite a few curse words, a few 'do not shoot him', 'stupid dog!', and 'please God forgive him'. To keep you on the edge of your seat for sure. Subs available. 

ALBUM
ONLY HUMAN, by Calum Scott.
The Britain's Got Talent contestant has dropped his full length album and it is a MUST LISTEN. It's available on Spotify, but it is always recommended to buy it to support the artist. I had the pleasure to meet him and he is a humble and very sweet attentive person. His album is very chill and a treasure for love and appreciating love and heartbreak. My favorites: 'Give Me Something', 'Not Dark Yet', and 'Rhythm Inside'. Go and give them a listen!

thank you, Omaha!

The Artists Chronicles 1




One of my main goals for this blog has been to bring to you the type of people making a difference in the community, and Nikolas Decker is just what I'd like the rest of his generation to be: dedicated, passionate, consistent, persistent, and their vision focused on their future.

    When I met The Sons of Rome, they told me about Nikolas whom at the time played the drums with Suburban Crisis. Later on, with social media being a big part, I learned that I definitely wanted to sit down with him and hear what he's about, and it is great to know that I can share the interview with you guys.

I was welcomed at the door by his mother, who handed me treats to give their dog to avoid any issues. Beautiful dog, by the way! We ended up going down the street to the park, since the day was sunny and nice to sit outside. We found a table a few feet away from the pool, and he waited patiently as I got the camera, my phone, and iPad ready; once I set up, we started from the beginning.



What does a booking agent do?
If I'm a booking agent and I want to throw a show, or have a band come out and play, I would contact the venue and see what dates they have open, then I'd contact the bands and see if they're available to play that day. Then I go back to the venue and say I want to have a show this day with this type of band, and they'll tell me if I need to do anything special for it; if not, I call up the bands and have them book the time for the show. I see if other bands can play along with them.

I've read that a booking agent is like a political campaign. Would you agree?
Yeah. I'd say it is very much like one. You gotta start somewhere for your campaign, find what you want, and what you want people to hear. In my case, I want people to have a great time and discovering new music. For instance, The Sons of Rome, Psycho Relay, and House Arrest as well just played their actual local show at a venue, where they got paid.

How do you choose the bands?
If a band comes to me and asks for a show, I set them up with the similar sounding bands; but if I just want a show with the type of sound that I listen to, then I book the bands that I like seeing a lot from Omaha. Or if a band already has band that they like to play with, then I ask them to play.

Do you have specific bands you represent or book often?
I usually book local Omaha bands because I don’t really know any bigger bands, and I don’t have the money to pay them to come out and play. But I really want to change that, other than that, it's just all the local Omaha bands, and whoever contacts me. The one that I've booked the most is Psycho Relay; they're really good friends of mine, and they've played at most of my shows, under various names because they can't choose a name (giggles). And also, my Dad's band.

How long have you been doing this?
I've been doing this for five months now, and I'm going to be on my fourth show. I can see myself doing this until I can't… I really enjoy it, although it's really stressful if a band can't play, and I need to find another band to replace them. But it's a great time when everything falls together on the day of the show.

Top three skills that a booking agent must have.
Time management. Also, knowing how to talk to people, how to get the word out. I know I can do this. I'll have my friend Rick Bennett helping me along the way. I have the time management down. I'm a straight A student. I can get it all done, and I'll have the contacts that I need for this.

You are also a musician. How do you manage being in two bands now AND booking shows?
I try to book show around practice days and my job; but when it doesn’t work, I take days off work and miss a practice if I have a show.

What turned you to Booking shows?
I've loved music for as long as I can remember; I've always been going to shows, and I just kind of realized that Omaha doesn't have any people who books shows -maybe three main people, and one big guy that books the big bands that come through. And I want to be one of them because they're getting older and they won't be able to do it for too much longer. So I thought might as well start doing it now, and getting my name out there so when I'm older I can start booking the bigger bands.

You're being trained to take over No Coast Booking. When are you going to be doing it alone?
We're actually talking about booking the first show with me and her, the owner Emma Reker. It's a non-profit; all the money goes straight to the bands so if I'm making flyers, it comes out of my pocket. So she's going to show me where to go, the best places to put flyers up, and everything else she does… She's known my dad for a while since she's been booking in Omaha, and my dad has always been in music. I started going to shows when I was little, and I really didn’t know her, I just knew she was a person that I saw at shows all the time. Then I started talking to her, I started going to her shows, and she booked my band, and started being friends because we have similar taste in music (laughs).

In this short time that you have been doing this, what's one thing that you weren't expecting?
I'd say bands dropping out at the last second. If they're not sure they're ready, I tell them to just go for it; it's punk-rock usually what I book so you know, it doesn't have to be perfect. Just do it! We have tons of punk bands, yeah, but they just don't get many shows or publicity; because Omaha's punk music scene isn't big, but we want to make it bigger and better.

Are you going to only book at the same venue?
I'll be booking with MAS, a collective group that wants to keep the music and arts going in Omaha. We’ll have slots for four shows a month; I'll be taking two shows and my friend Rick Bennett, who is A13 Booking, will be taking the other two show slots.

How do you approach a venue?
For The Lookout, since they don’t really charge a fee to book there, I just ask them what days they’re open for a show, but if they're minors that'll come, they usually take a percentage away for the alcohol sales that they're not selling. So it's not really paying them; you get to do it for free and make money doing it. I've made zero dollars because I don’t pay myself; all the money goes straight to the bands.

What do you expect from the bands that you book? And what would they expect from you?
I just expect them to be nice; to be nice to the crowd, not assholes, because if they're going to do that, I don’t want to book them again, and that will give me a bad reputation too. It hasn’t happened to me, and I hope it never does (laughter). And they can expect from me some good hospitality, I'm going to be nice to them. I want them to do what they have planned for the show, and have them contact me again if they want a show.

What challenges have you faced in this time you've been doing this?
Definitely time management.  And finding rides, because I don't drive, and what I have to do to get around for like, putting up flyers all around town. I pay my friends in gas money, I mean, I have a job, but I want to make sure I don’t spend much of it.

Do you ever make suggestions to the bands?
Yeah! That's being like a producer because I'm learning how to record also. So after the show, I give the bands suggestions like what they should do or can do. For instance, The Sons of Rome, when they play they need a little more energy; I see their drummer got it, he's doing it. And also their lead guitar player. But I see the bass player and the other guitar player…  and I'm like, jump around! Get some energy flowing! (laughs). Not sounding mean, or anything, but I'm talking about their performance.

I've interviewed The Sons of Rome before, and their opinion on covers was that new bands need somewhere to start. What’s your take on that issue?
I feel like people are there to discover new music; no one wants to hear what's always on the radio. I mean, covers, they're good, but I don't want to do cover band shows. I mean, one or two covers ok and the rest originals. Would I book cover bands? It depends on what kind of show I'm going for, or if there are other bands in the same genre, I'd let them play.

Growing up in this environment with your dad being a musician also, did this influence you to follow the same path?
I love my dad so much. I want to be just like him; like, the type of shoes that he has, I have them. The style of music he plays; I find that when I'm playing drums, I play like his type of beats and how he would change from different rhythms. He's just the coolest dad, he plays shows, he records music, he's in a band. He's the perfect role model for me.

What's your ultimate goal?
I want to have my own band, but if I was asked to be a band's manager, I would take it in a heartbeat because I get to do what I love, being in music, and help out my best friends play awesome shows.

Besides music, what else do you do for fun?
Pretty much music is everything I do (laughter). I do BMX, but not too much lately because I have school and I have to worry about music a lot more. So I have been vinyl collecting, writing music, hanging out with my friends, listening to music, playing music…

Speaking of music, what kind do you listen to, that people wouldn’t expect you to?
I really enjoy the newer pop-punk stuff. Not necessarily the band, but the sound of the music. I also enjoy ska and reggae, and the 20's style music, like swing…


I believe that our future needs more people like Nikolas, driven and perseverant; as adults, we need to raise our children to never give up on their dreams, to support them, and show them that they can achieve anything they set their mind to.
In the meantime, keep an eye out for Nikolas and support his events. You can look him up on Youtube for videos of his shows and drum playing, and of course, Facebook. Look up No Coast Book for all the shows that you might want to check out, and to book a show with him also. We'll be hearing more of him, I am sure.

The DREAMERs Chronicles 1


Dreams Come True.

By Fatima Flores Lagunas.


My name is Fatima Flores Lagunas, I was born in Mexico, but raised in the USA. If I had to identify myself, I would say that I am an aunt, a daughter, and an activist searching to find equality beyond the stigma that we [Latinos] have now. A person trying to make a positive change in the world and leave it a little different that when I came in.

[I am young] And had you asked me [What does Fatima do for fun?] years ago, my answer would have been totally different. But beyond my activist work and working full time, I find a lot of pleasure in just going home at the end of the day, watching Netflix, a glass of wine, spending time with my family, carne asada during the summer, taking walks, doing photography, rocking out in my car when I'm driving. I take pleasure in the little things in life.

I was part of a non-profit organization, the Heartland Workers Center, and the Young Nebraskans in Action which is a group of motivated individuals that really want a positive change for the youth in Omaha. So those two are my main objectives right now; social work has always been part of my upbringing.



How did I become involved with these organizations I am in, you may ask? When I was younger, I used to think, "I'm a fifteen-year-old girl that really doesn’t know what to do with her life amongst many other things, so how can I make a change? How can I make something positive with so many obstacles around me?" Fast forward ten years, and that's completely different; I'm a leader, I'm just a person that cares. I became involved with the Heartland Workers Center through my own volition; I realized that I didn’t agree with a lot of the decisions that were being made for the youth here in Nebraska, and I was tired of living in this society that I was not welcomed in.

 My entire life I felt prosecuted because I was an undocumented immigrant, it was a choice made by my parents to improve our way of life, and I don’t think is fair that because of a decision that another person makes we should be judged harshly. So my involvement began last year in October, I held an event at House of Loom that focused on the importance of voting, awareness for Dreamers, and the impact made when you vote. It was right before our state election time so I realized that we could change the governor that we had, we could change a lot of the senators that were in office because it wasn’t fair that because of their decisions my life was impacted. So I hosted the event at the House of Loom, we had a lot of key speakers that shared their input about how these issues affected them. We had Justice for Our Neighbors, they're a legal advocate group here in Omaha that are pro-bono for their clients; the Heartland Workers Center; the Democratic State candidate David Domina who is pro-Dreamers, and unfortunately he did not get elected, but it was amazing to hear he was willing to make changes; we had  a lot of DACA recipients, and a lot of supporters and allies who gave their two cents in how these issues affected them. From that event I met the Heartland Workers Center, and I just jumped on board with them because since the legislative session was going to begin on January, we wanted to introduce a bill that would change the law at the time.

Jeremy Nordquist, the state senator at the time, really took the bill (LB623 to authorize younger Dreamers and DACA recipients in the state of Nebraska to obtain drivers licenses) and ran with it because he was very supportive of the youth; he took time to sit down and listen to our stories which I feel a lot of people don't realize how important that is because you know the issue but once you put a face to it, it becomes something that you care about, so the fact that all these kids came to him asking for help, he was like ABSOLUTELY. We introduced the bill, and from there it took flight; we weren't expecting the amount of support that we got, but the mayor of Omaha jumped on board, the Omaha, Nebraska, and Lincoln Chamber of Commerce; the Nebraska Cattlemen Association, and many other institutions showed their support. It was such a empowering time because all my life I was told that I was wrong, that I was not supposed to be here, that I am a criminal, that I cheat the system, and that I am taking away the State benefits. I've known different because of the support from my parents; they’ve always said they're doing what's best for me, we are here to stay, we're not here to take advantage from anybody. My parents worked three or four jobs when I was growing up, so it wasn't like we were out to look for the easy way; their support protected me from believing what those people said.

When I shared my story with the senators, they told me I am just as Nebraskan as they are; Spanish is my first language, but there was a time when English began dominating because it was [part of] my daily life. I grew up with the American ideals, but also respecting my Mexican culture; in their eyes I am as American as they are, only difference is that I unfortunately wasn’t born here, but we shouldn’t be prosecuted because of it.

After that, we sat down with a lot of senators, and they got to know us as people which I think is really powerful because they actually believed in us. A lot of them didn’t know what DACA was, they had no idea what a Dreamer was, and it's not like they didn't know, but it just didn’t affect them; you know, they grew up in a different life, they weren't aware of the people in the community. So I guess education and involvement are the biggest key in this project.

I got to speak at the Capitol, and I gave my testimony which made me feel validated because I was looking at the people making a decision for my life, and the fact that I look at them and I told them "YOU'RE STABBING ME ON THE BACK, YOU'RE FORCING ME OUT OF MY HOME. SOMETHING I HAVE DONE ONCE, AND I DON'T FEEL LIKE DOING AGAIN." If you want to change the way the system is currently running, it is up to you. We had overwhelming support; we had, I believe the total of three opponents in a room of over 200 people, and I think the committee really took that seriously. It was beyond just a few kids getting together presenting this bill; it was a population showing their support. It wasn't surprising that the governor vetoed it, we knew that he wasn't supportive of Dreamers, but we had enough votes to overcome it, so the effort and time put into this project and winning, it was empowering, a sense of victory that I've never felt before. It was the first time in my life that actively stood up and presented myself.

[Today] I'm making it my career for the person that doesn’t know yet, or the person that's afraid to. Coming out of the shadows is not easy; I remember when I gave my first news interview, I was a ball of nerves because I hadn't even told my friends about my status; they found out through the news because I was that afraid that they wouldn’t want to be my friends, that they would look at me as a criminal, that they were going to think I'm a bad person; but I had to throw caution to the wind and not only speak for myself, but for all the other kids in this country. Personally, I'm going to finish my degree, I'm a Political Science and Psychology major, and my long time goal is to become a State senator in the State of the Nebraska which is more down the road, but everything I am doing now is leading me to that position. I feel like a State senator you really have a key role in changing the way the State works.



Who inspires me to keep going? I'd say the leaders that I met through my work. Ruth Marimo, an LGBTQ and Immigration activist. The women and men from the Heartland Workers Center very involved in social changes, selfless people that don't like to see others suffer. The Dreamers and DACA, although they may not be as active (in the project) as I am, they still have the same needs.

But if I had to say the person I admire the most would be my mom because she came to this country with the clothes on her back, the ambition in her heart, the sweat, blood and tears that a hard-worker has. She is my rock, if anything, she is the person I aspire to be; she is very loving and accepting, she's very hopeful. She always has a positive outlook.

[Lastly] I want people to know that hope should always remain. As an undocumented immigrant and as a queer woman, I felt like giving up, but I want you to know that I won't. One way or the other we will make a positive change for you. At the end of the day, everything I do, is for the people that are affected by these issues. If you need someone to talk to, I have a few people I can put you in contact with, but please don’t lose hope. Like the saying goes, IT DOES GET BETTER!



-Fati





Fatima recommends the following places if you want to actively volunteer to make changes in the community:

Heartland Workers Center

Young Nebraskans in Action


And for legal (free) advice:

Justice for our Neighbors

ACLU of Nebraska for legal advice.



If you have any other questions, feel free to contact her at fatima1280@yahoo.com

She's an awesome (and busy) human being you would love to sit down and talk to.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

ONLY HUMAN.

     While I'm still on the high of meeting Calum Scott, I want to write this post regarding sexuality. Before I dig in, please follow this link to know Calum's background. Then come back and continue reading the post.  

Welcome back!

So as Calum was telling the background of his unreleased and most personal song, 'No Matter What', my husband caught on that Calum is gay. This was the theme of our conversation after the show. Should celebrities be open about their sexuality? Will it ruin their career? Fair question. I believe it not necessary, but knowing that a person with such a big platform can bring light to many issues that the LGBTQ community needs help with. We surely have support from heterosexual celebrities from decades (Lady Gaga, Dan Reynolds, Jason Mraz, Ed Sheeran, Macklemore, Shawn Mendez, Matt Nathanson, Ann Hathaway, Tori Spelling, Kesha, etc.), but one of us is even greater to know that they're not afraid to put it out there. No, they do not have to flaunt it, make a parade of it, but being public kind of 'normalize' it, I feel, and I hate to put it that way. 

 I yearn for the day when coming out is no longer a shocker; when saying, 'Im gay' is no longer necessary; when kids can talk about their significant others without using THEY as pronoun to avoid the S/HE. We have come a long way for sure and it gets better. So if you are in a safe place, help others be comfortable with themselves. We have enough hatred from other people, do not bully your own brother/sister that's still in the closet. You know, or luckily may not know, what it's like to be there.



Now, to end this post in a lighter note, allow me to tell you my Meet & Greet experience with Calum. I brought a sign for me to wave at him as he sang the cover that made him famous and won his the golden buzzer. But you know, my paranoia, anxiety, fear, I did not wave it out in the open. I kept it folded. He was only singing a few songs so I put my phone down and I enjoyed of the rest of his performance. It was magical. The audience responded to him, even though his style is way different than Echosmith or Pentatonix whom played after him.
So after his performance, I followed instructions and waited at a post until his manager came to get the group. I was super nervous and couldn't keep from shaking. Then, there he was, standing right in front of us, waving hello, opening his arms for cuddles, as he had mentioned in his Instagram stories. I told him about my failed attempt with the sign, he loved it and asked his manager to take a picture with his phone!!! He was amazing. He also signed the notebook that I bought off his website. And of course, we go our signed poster of the tour. And more hugs. Manager and Calum were very accessible and great sports.

I recommend his album ONLY HUMAN for you to look it up and listen to it through and through. Ballads about heartbreak, but more than anything, about love. One fact about his songs, there are no pronouns so anyone can sing and relate to them. Of course, except those songs that talk about friendship and his parents. This is something that I find unique because as of right now, Calum and Shawn Mendez are the only ones doing this. It eases my soul to know there are people out there like them two.

With this being said, remember to [...Relax. Take it Easy.]


Sunday, September 9, 2018

Pick #2

Hey Omaha!
This weekend I dropped the ball and I didn't blog in a Friday, like I said I was going to start doing. I just got busy with Life which is always a good reason to stay away from the internet and social media. Anyway, I had a date night with the husband and it was amazing. For anyone first time visiting this blog, yes, I am a Homo; the content of this website is not about me being gay, but it will come up here and there. The theme of my website is to be ok with who you are, live and let live, and be happy. As my signature on each post says, [...Relax. Take it Easy.]

Anyway. I know it's late today, but if you have days off or time off, here are my recommendations:

TV SHOW
INSATIABLE, on Netflix.
A teenager that used to be fat, now in the road to beauty pageants as a weird way to get back at the people that used to make fun of her. Witty, clever, and dramatic. A great combo a-la-Ugly-Betty. Alissa Milano, the most well known star in the cast, plays the wife of the beauty coach, trying to keep her socialite status.

BOOK
The Time Keeper, by Mitch Albom.
Three different stories told individually until the few chapters where their story lines come together. A book that makes you think about appreciating the time that you have been given with life. The amazing inspiration from the author of 'Five Minutes in Heaven'.
 

MOVIE
FUNNY FACE
Starring my idol Audrey Hepburn as a innocent bookkeeper turned model. Just an easy mindless movie to watch and relax. it is a musical so beware!

ALBUM
T1, by Tatianna.
Rupaul's Drag Race alumni, and an All-Star-3 robbed cast member, Tatianna drops her full length debut album following the step of Adore Delano who broke the mold of music that drag queens tend to make and landed #3 in the Billboard Dance/Electronic list with her debut 'Til Death Do Us Party'. Tatianna, on the hand, brings us Ciara realness. If you were to listen to her lead single "Cya" on the radio, you would think it's a new breakout artist which she is. Tatianna is bringing it and you need to listen to the album. I recommend 'I know' and 'Never Be' to listen on repeat. Available on Spotify, but buy the album and support my girl Tati. "Thank you" (inside joke; you'll get it if you look up Tatianna's career as a drag queen. Just do it.


Alright, peeps. That's all I got for you. Check out my recommendations and let me know what you think!

Adrian.