Hello, Brouhaha fans! It has been a while since my last adventure, and my penchant for procrastinating never helps. It has been a busy year for me but there is always time for a little pleasure. After all, we have to remember that all work and no play make @Budom a dull girl.
Houston is a versatile and diverse city filled with many opportunities not just for work but for entertainment. Although it is a long drive from the lights of Broadway in New York, it doesn’t mean that Broadway can’t come to us. This year for my birthday a lovely friend treated me to a night at the theater. Along with my daughter and her friend, the four of us enjoyed a special night watching the play, Wicked. I was so excited and the bonus was that we were seated in balcony box seating! The stage was so close I felt like I could reach out and touch Elphaba.
The play was well written and followed pretty close to the books written by author Gregory Maguire. While reading the books would give more insight to the characters we all know that it won’t happen in a play.
When I saw original Wizard of Oz on television as a youngster, I always wondered if there was some back story for the witches. I have always been fascinated by witches and their magical lives. So, when Maguire’s stories hit bookshelves I devoured them like manna from heaven. The perceptions that Maguire’s books gave me were not what I expected to see. Elphaba the Wicked Witch of the West was the good guy (or girl) standing on her soapbox while nursing insecurities about herself, Glenda the so-called good witch, was actually an entitled self-absorbed brat, who later became more likable but not brave enough to follow her own path. In all reality, Dorothy was just an unexpected accident to the land of Oz. Dorothy was a literally a lost little girl who was used by the Wizard of Oz, as was everyone else in the story. The Wizard’s character was depicted most like L. Frank Baum’s version. He is still the ever glorified con man he was in the real world. I never expected to like Elphaba and agree with her fight, and I didn’t expect to want to smack some sense into Glenda.
The Hobby Center stage brought all the characters to life. The actors and actresses portrayed the characters to a tee. Elphaba’s sister Nessa Rose’s (aka the Wicked Witch of the East) character was well played balancing her sweetness and obsession to be normal as well as loved. While she is mentioned in the book I feel the play really told her story better. Her story gave fans a look at how still waters can run deep. Now I must also give credit to the orchestra. The music emanating from the pit wove an even more magical feel into the story. It was a lovely time and a wonderful theater experience. I will definitely do it again. Until then Brouhaha Fans “Defy Gravity”.
Yesterday was November 1st and the start of NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo is like the Boston marathon for writers. In one-month participants are challenged to write 50,000 (or more) words in 30 days. Many people constantly worry and nit pick their creations to the point that their story becomes a concept stuck in their minds. Don’t be that person. The point of the month long exercise is not to finish a novel but to just get one started period.
“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.”- E.L. Doctorow
There are also perks from sponsors like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing and Scrivener, who give free or discounted services, which aid writers who want to go further after the NaNoWriMo challenge. Plus you get cool badges and banners that help keep writers motivated and inspired throughout the intense writing period. It’s a wonderful thing, and I owe NaNoWriMo for getting me started in writing a novel as well as inspire me to create my blog site.
You are probably wondering, if you love it so much why not participate? I am not going to lie I did consider doing NaNoWriMo this year. I love the feel of keys tapping beneath my fingers, the constant need to type, and watching my story develop right before my eyes. But I digress, I only want you to remember that the key to success in this challenge is to just type. Writers (I include myself in this obsessiveness) need to stop thinking too hard on the grammar and mechanics. All that comes later in editing and rewrites.
However, this year I have decided to fine tune my manuscript, “Voices of Clara” for publication. Ironically, the story is one I wrote and finished during NaNoWriMo 2008. I was so excited when I saw how the story came together. No, it wasn’t perfect, but it was my imperfect story, and I had written it in 30 days. Now it’s 2014, and I still haven’t published, “Voices of Clara“. That’s a long time to sit on a book and have it go nowhere. I don’t want my work to have been written in vain. I like the story of Clara, a young adult woman trying to figure out life and what she wants from it. While having, a few funny and heartfelt adventures and discoveries along the way. I feel that many people could relate regardless their age because we have all struggled in our early adult lives.
Now you know why I am not NaNoWriMoing this year. I encourage other writers to give it a try even if you don’t reach the 50,000-word count goal. I have seen some participants’ word counts go far past the intended goal. Hopefully, I will be able to participate next year because I love a good challenge.
It’s Not Too Late To Participate!
Are you participating in NaNoWriMo 2014? How far have you gotten in your word count? A friend of mine and established author has written over 10,000 words, and she’s only just begun.
Good luck to all the participants and I wish you all the best success in your challenges.
On October 23rd, 2014 Houston’s Stereo Live was pulsating with artists of all types from slam poets, visual artists, fashion designers, and musicians. That night I was there to see and interview singer/songwriter David Justin who just released his new single, “Supernova”. Since the single’s release earlier this year Supernova has been played on Pandora, Sirius, and BBC Radio and is steadily gaining popularity.
David is a Houston native, and upon meeting David I found him to be the down to earth guy he was described to be. His love of music grew after he was presented with his first violin lesson at the age of eight. David proceeded to teach himself the drums at age 12 and eventually picked up songwriting. He never intended to make music a career but after writing several songs while in college David decide it was time to make his mark in the world, and he did. In 2009 David was nominated as a finalist for “best original song” with the 6th annual International Acoustic Awards.
However, “Supernova” is not David’s first well received work. In 2012 David’s first album, “Speak to the World”, which included fan favorites such as “Maria”, “Covergirl”, and “Paper Heart”. David’s acoustic style music, voice, and lyrics invite the listener to relate with clearly sung lyrics. I especially like his song, “Unspoken”. His music is reminisce of singers Gavin Degraw, John Mayer, or Michael Bublé.
The night of his performance David sat down with me for a short interview before heading on stage.
Budom: How are feeling tonight? Excited? Pumped?
David:Yeah, I’m excited. There is always excitement, that’s what makes playing live so much fun.
Budom: So tonight you’re going to be playing acoustic?
David: Yeah, yeah that’s pretty much how it all started by playing acoustic and playing by myself. Of course when I am out in LA I play with a band. But then tonight I’ll be playing acoustic style, and I have a drummer who will be playing the Kahuna it’s like a beat box thing, and then my other friend will be playing the bass. It’s going to be a good change up because there is going to be another band playing a full set, and I think the people will enjoy that a lot more. The music will be a lot more raw.
Budom:I read in your bio that you started at a very young age.Was your father your biggest influence as far as getting into music or were there other influences?
David: I mean from a young age I was around music, and of course my dad was my biggest influence because he was the one around the house who played music. So without him I probably wouldn’t have chosen the path I did, and done things or learned the instruments that I learned without him. But yeah, I would definitely say that he was the main person that I looked up to.
Then throughout my teenage years I got into songwriting. When I was about 17 or 18 I got really serious about it. I wrote about 10 or 12 songs that I felt really comfortable with and proud of and I didn’t know what to do with it. I never really thought about being a recording artist. I just loved music, I loved writing, and I would play for my all my friends and family and they said, ‘you should really records these things’.
So, I started off with a little tape track like a cassette and started to record myself playing, and the more I would do that the hungrier I got to make something bigger. I ended up meeting a producer in Dallas who actually produced my first record and recorded my album.
Then about two and a half years ago I got hit up by my manager, Joe Fontaine out in Los Angeles. We started a dialogue and started talking, and his mentioned to me what he was doing and trying to accomplish. Joe said he actually knew some producers and songwriters in Los Angeles. So he asked me to fly out and I flew out. I did a session or two and things went really well. We recorded some songs and I ended up signing a deal with him.
I have been flying back and forth maybe every two to three months going out there just writing and recording. It’s really been a fun experience. I’ve really enjoyed it, and I’m starting to meet a lot of people in the industry. It’s good being out there and then being able to come back home and play shows where I can play to almost two different audiences.
Budom: Yes, two different types of demographics and types of people?
David: Yes, yes, it really is. Because different people respond to the songs differently, and that what’s really exciting, seeing how people respond and connect with the songs.
Budom: You were nominated as a finalist for “best original song” with the 6th annual International Acoustic Music Awards. How did that feel? Did you expect that or was it like “wow” after getting the nomination?
David: (laughs) No, I didn’t. I, uh..just finished recordings some songs from my first record and I was just really trying to get a break, and get my name out there. It was actually the first contest I had ever submitted to. I was kind of leery about submitting to a song writing contest because they get thousands of entries, and you never know if they’re going to hear your song or what.
Yeah, I got a letter in the mail saying that I was a finalist and I think it was out of four or five thousand entries. It was really neat, it was kind of the first time I felt justified as a songwriter. I was up against pro songwriters and I really felt justified and excited. It really made me want to pursue more and do more.
Budom: So you mentioned that you want to build a bigger fan base in Houston. I have a teenage daughter, and I asked my youngest what type of questions she would ask if she had the chance. The first one question is: If there was someone you could collaborate with as a songwriter or singer who would you choose?
David: Hmm, that’s really tough because there’s so much talent out there. I mean it seems when I find a favorite artist then I find another favorite artist. I think that’s just the power of the Internet, and there’s so many tools to discover artist. I would definitely say I think it would be fun to collaborate with John Mayer. He’s a very versatile songwriter and musician.
Budom: Would you ever consider a collaboration out of your genre like Kesha and Pit Bull did as well as other artist?
David: Uh…No, the way I write songs I don’t usually listen to other people and think. ‘I’m going to write a song like that’. It really comes from within me I’m pretty true to myself and I don’t try to be anybody that I’m not. I try to keep it pretty pure.
Budom: Okay, last question. If you had a fandom what would they be called? Here are some examples for you Justin Bieber’s fans are “Biebers”, Lady Gaga’s are “Little Monsters”, and Taylor Swift’s fans are known as the Swifties.
David: (laughs) You know this has been an on going conversation with my manger. We’re still trying to pin point that now. I thought maybe the “Little DJs” but that’s kind of corny, you know? Or maybe the “Little Supernovas”, I don’t know that something we’re still working on. I think it’s going to be like one of those things when somebody else says something and then that’s it.
Budom: (laughs) Well, we need to get that out there. We need to see what your fandom is going to be like. That’s what we need to get a rally started on getting an idea on what to call your fandom.
David: I think so, yeah. We need to work on that. That’s actually a good question because I always think about that.
Budom: Well, David thanks so much for setting aside this time to sit here and chat with you. I look forward to seeing you on stage.
I had a wonderful time corresponding with David through social media and at the interview. He’s a musician with heart and soul and you can hear it in his music.
“It takes courage to chase your dreams and dreams to create courage, but either way I’m committed to both.”
– David Justin
David’s album “Speak to the World” and new single “Supernova” is available on iTunes. Look for the official “Supernova” video release coming soon, featuring Caitlin O’Connor(Sports Illustrated, The Gambler) and Christine Lakin(Step by Step, Melissa & Joey). Meanwhile, you can catch his “Supernova” lyric video on youtube.
“The best job I ever had.”– Sgt. Don ‘Wardaddy’ Colier from the movie Fury directed by David Ayer
I just returned from the theatre from watching ‘Fury’, which premiered Friday October 17th, and according to Variety is suspected to pull in 25 million dollars by the finish of this weekend. Some may think that ‘Fury’ is just another war movie, and maybe it is. But to the men who has served those tanks in a war this movie tells their story.
Fury, a WWII movie focuses on the decisive act of tankers who in 1945 war torn Germany decide to dig in, and hold an important position that would help defeat the German army and possibly end the war.
The war hounded and angst ridden team is led by Academy Award winning actor, Brad Pitt (12 Years A Slave, Inglorious Bastards) . Pitt, plays a man hardened by war and scarred by the missions he has led, but continues to promise his men he’ll get them home alive. Not too much later the tankers find themselves in the battle for their lives.
Shia Lebouf (Transformer, Nymphomaniac) as Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan (when focused on acting instead of antics) delivers a memorable performance as a soldier whose faith keeps him and his fellow tankers going even as they protest and tease him on his preachy ways. Michael Pena ( Battle Los Angeles, Gracepoint) and John Bernthal (The Walking Dead, The Wolf of Wall Street) hold their own switching from hard to compassionate when the moments called for it.
The most surprising performance was from Logan Lerman(Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, The Three Musketeers), who played newly assigned tank driver and desk jockey Norman Ellison. Norman is a young private who claims his specialty is not shooting bullets but typing 60 words per minute. Pitt’s character Sgt. Don ‘Wardaddy’ Colier takes Norman under his wing for many reason but the main reason is to keep him alive. As a form of solidarity the men tell themselves in what seems a sarcastic yet truthful salute, “this is the best job I ever had”.
The film is intense and the acting is right on. I cried, but then I always cry at every war movie I go to. I have my personal reasons. However, it’s hard not to cry when the scenes are so intense and the people are so real. The actors are heaving with such emotional turmoil your own insides ache for them. The tanker’s brotherhood resonates as I am reminded of all the people I have met who have been affected by war today.
“Ideals are peaceful. History is violent.”- Sgt. Don ‘Wardaddy’ Colier from Fury
Director David Ayers (Training Day, Fast & The Furious) did well in showing how war can cause conflicts within soldier’s about their moral values and faith as they fight to make it home from war. While at times Pitt’s character seems harsh he shows that he is harsh for good reasons in his lessons to young Norman.
The film is worth watching, and although the story is an old one, the stories told are relatable to some viewers out there.
Can a foreigner ever understand the harsh reality of the constant struggle of the Afghanistan people and their culture?
Omar Farhad’s début novel gives readers a closer look at what it takes for people to survive in a world where chaos has become the norm, but where deep cultural rituals and habits are kept alive.
While Farhad’s story is fictional the novel sheds light on real living conditions in a world constantly torn apart by war. Honor and Polygamy shows Afghanistan’s plight from a different perspective.
Nicholas Blake, a UN diplomat from New York is assigned one last deployment to Afghanistan. However, Nicholas does not realize how much this deployment would change his life. He never planned on getting kidnapped, and used as a tool for the very Taliban he is trying to help remove from Afghanistan. Nicholas takes readers on his journey of hardships, and the terrible decisions he must make to stay alive, and return home to his wife and children he left behind. Farhad describes both Nicholas’ American world and his Afghanistan world with the relatable interactions of his characters. Will Nicholas’ knowledge of Afghanistan culture, and his nearly perfect Pashtun help him survive his captivity? How far will he go to save his life?
“What if I had done it differently? Would I be in the same mess? If I explained it to Lisa, would she understand? No . No matter how good my intentions were and how bad my circumstances are, my wife will never understand. She will always feel betrayed by and disappointed in me.” –Nicholas Blake in the novel Honor and Polygamy by Omar Farhad.
As a spouse, mother, sister, aunt, and friend of men and women who have deployed to Afghanistan. I am very aware of the dangers that can occur for people on deployment military or civilians. I also think much about Afghanistan people and how the war must affect their way of life. Honor and Polygamy stirs the hearts of readers to empathize with Nicholas’ actions to survive. Readers are left to reflect on how Nicholas’ survival may conflict with their own cultural beliefs and moral values. How far would you go?
We speak briefly with Omar Farhad about his novel and what brought him to tell us his story.
Budom: Were you concerned how recent current events might affect feedback from your readership regarding the political nature of the story?
Omar Farhad: First, I want to thank you for allowing me this opportunity to express myself and at the same time explain the nature of my début novel.
Honestly, I am very concerned with the recent US government’s reckless behavior in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Looking at the recent government changes that the US made or encouraged starting in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, and now in Syria, the political situation in mentioned nations have become more dangerous. The new weak and corrupt governments are not able to defend their nations against the new created fundamentalist ideology. Therefore, “one dictator is better than many corrupt official”. That in mind, the US experimentation of forced-fed democracy in the Middle East must stop at once before the entire world is pulled into a world war III.
Budom: As an Afghan-American man writing, a reader might assume that the book is very one side. However, I found it was not. Was it difficult emotionally for you to write the story?
To answer the first part of your question, every reader will judge my point of view according to his or her level of understanding. As a writer, the very first thing I have learned in writing is to be honest and truthful. I will never deviate from stating the facts directly or indirectly.
I used to work as a contractor in Afghanistan for a little over two years. After the end of my second year, I realized the US efforts in Afghanistan will ultimately have fruitless ending. In Afghanistan and the rest of the Middle East where the United States has been involved politically, the US government simultaneously failed to recognize the cultural distance, societal complexities, and change political practices. One size does not fit all.
Budom: Could this have really happened in Afghanistan if someone like Nick should request “Nanawatai,” which means “asylum” in Pashtun’s culture, and the language of the southern and eastern Afghanistan people?
Omar Farhad: The honor codes that I have mentioned in my book does exist in reality and yes, if someone like Nick who needed asylum “Nanawatai” would have been taken in by a Pashtun family. These codes of honor are many thousands year old. In a tribal uneducated society like Afghanistan, these codes of honor are still good as gold to bring order and to keep peace.
Budom: What do you want ‘Honor and Polygamy’ to accomplish as a novel? Do you find it is getting good reception with readers and critics?
Omar Farhad: Yes, the book is received warmly. Feedbacks from Amazon and goodreads.com are all positive.
I as an Afghan born had many hopes for Afghanistan. However, “seeing is believing” and what I have witnessed in Afghanistan did not give me hope for a better future.
After 14 years of US involvement in Afghanistan, after many lives lost on both sides, and after billions of dollars lost to a created corrupt system, the American public does not understand why we are involved in that war. The most typical and basic perception of the American people is, the spread of democracy. Well, that is a great idea but, did every American woke up one morning and realized they were born free? The answer is no. Democracy in the United States was achieved over a period of 300 years with many sacrifices made by those before us. The same is true about other nations and the same process and time is needed to achieve democracy.
With Honor and Polygamy, I am hoping to point out missed opportunities, cultural distance, and cultural complexities that were first missed by the British invading Afghanistan in late 1800s, the Russians in 1980s, and the US since 2001.
Budom: Will you be writing more on this subject on a future novel or do you have something else planned?
I am currently working on my own memoir, which also have a political side to it. My journey as a child begins right before the Russian invasion and I grow to a young man in war torn country and as a refugee in Pakistan.
Thank you Omar for giving us a look into another world and culture. I look forward to your next book. Honor and Polygamy can be found on Amazon.com.
About the author:
Born in Kabul, Afghanistan Omar Farhad move to the United States over 27 years ago, and now resides in California. Farhad holds degree in Aviation from Spartan School of Aeronautics as well as a degree in Global Economics from the University of Phoenix.
Lately, I have been drawn into watching Discovery Channel’s show Naked and Afraid. Of course, it’s easy for me to critique the people who actually have the kahunas to actually be Naked and Afraid. I suppose I enjoy watching the show because it’s not just about survival but human nature getting real. Two strangers have to get naked trek to survive in some part of the world with only a burlap shoulder bag. In the bag is the one item the survivor feels will hold the most importance in helping in their survival experience for 21 days. Naked an Afraid feel that this show brings “survival of the fittest” to a whole new level. Each person is test for a PSR, which Discovery Channel calls Primitive Survival Rating. The ratings are from zero to 10 on the amount of skill they could bring to a survival situation (except their naked).
On this weeks show the two strangers, Tom and Carrie, find themselves dropped off in the Cambodia wilderness. Tom chose while Carrie, maybe it’s her inner Marine, chose a machete to tackle the bamboo covered wilderness. This show was intense as it the first time the two people actually didn’t get along. I agree with the new PRS assessments description are an excellent rating for these two. I know I wouldn’t want to be in a survival situation with either of these two. Don’t get me wrong there are some great teams out there. I mean like they made being naked and surviving look badass. However, I do not think that I will be applying to get on that show soon. I’ll stick to living vicariously through other braves souls. If any of you decide to apply, let me know how it goes. I look forward to watching you @NakedAndAfraid.
Watching of Naked and Afraid led me to tweeting about it on Twitter and @DailyReHash not only “favorited” my tweet, but they used it in their Web show. It was a strange experience hearing someone else use my Brouhaha Access moniker @Budom. Play the video and see me have my minute of fame. Want to keep up with what others think about Naked and Afraid? Then follow me @ Budom and @DailyRehash for more about Naked and Afraid on Discovery Channel on Sunday nights.
Hi Brouhahas…I need your help. Check out this trailer and let me know if you recognize any of the actors here. Now, if you had a chance to ask the director some questions about the movie, what would they be?
Hints: There are some pretty well known actors here, one actor appeared in GI Joe: Retaliation along with The Rock aka Dwayne Johnson and Channing Tatum. He played part of the Cobra Secret Service and is also a producer for this film Call Me King.
A lead character in this film is also known for his portrayal in the popular series Friday Night Lights as ” Coach Bill McGregor”. Do you know who this is?
This Chinese actress wows us with her unique and independent style on the red carpet, as well as making appearances on Entourage and Lost? Who is she?
The Shakespearean definition of “coiled” is described as the troubles and activities of the world. Coiled, a new drama directed by screenplay writer and director Tim French, can be described in this way. Coiled is the story of a man named, Cobb Mills (Hoyt Richards) who carries the weight of guilt in the death of his daughter Tess, seven years before. On the anniversary of Tess’s death Cobb returns to the small sleepy town to leave flowers at her grave stone then heads for home. However, this year will be different as Cobb finds that he won’t be heading straight home as planned. Cobb’s car breaks down during his annual visit, and he finds that repairs will take several days. Cobb has no choice but to stay in the town and wait. While he waits, Cobb becomes involved in a series of events that may lead him down the road to either condemnation or redemption.
During his stay Cobb meets and falls romantically for a much younger woman, Nash Fuller (Anabella Casanova) who has her own dark secrets. Cobb falls under her spell feeling that his love for her can break his bonds of guilt and remorse. That is until Nash runs off with $100,000 of his money. Soon, the police is hounding him to turn against Nash, and help them put her away for a long time. Cobb must make a decision he doesn’t want to make because even after Nash’s betrayal he still loves her. Nash’s betrayal hits him hard, and he goes on a self-destructive streak that will eventually lead him to answers he has been seeking all along. Cobb is definitely coiled in the troubles of his world. The question is, will he ever become uncoiled?
Director Tim French speaks on the making of Coiled and how the storyline came about. Tim French’s Q&A gives us a look at his enthusiasm for filmmaking and writing a screenplay.
Q:Hi Tim. “Coiled” sounds like a drama that many can relate to. A life ruled by regret of a long ago action can definitely impact a life. I read, on the Coiled Facebook page, that you and Michael French wrote the screenplay. What is your relation?
Michael is my padre and a novelist by trade. He currently has a new book he is promoting called “The Reconstruction of Wilson Ryder”, which is available at amazon.com.
Q:What inspired this story line?
The story line was loosely inspired by the loss of someone very close to Michael and I. Both grieving, we decided that writing about someone who experienced a loss of their own, would be good therapy for us. Next thing you know we wrote the first draft of “Coiled” and the rest, as they say, is history.
Q:Do you and Michael write a lot of your screenplays together?
Yes, we have written three screenplays together and hopefully we will collaborate on more in the future.
Q:What was the your favorite scene in the film to direct?
Jeez, that’s a tough one. I don’t know. I loved working with all the actors involved so… I guess one of them would be the scene when Detective Jackson (David Kagen) and Sergeant Flanders (Chris Cleveland) question Cobb at the police station. There was just something about the chemistry between the three actors that put a big smile on my face.
Q:Is drama your usual genre or have you also directed other genre?
This was actually my first time directing a drama. Before this I had directed a dark comedy called “Setback”.
Q:When is the release date for Coiled?
As of right now the rough release date is sometime in November. However, I am hoping to have it out before then. You can always check out the status of the release date at