Friday, May 10, 2013

Wanda's Picks Radio Show, Friday, May 10, 2013

Dr. Zenju Earthlyn Manuel
Dr. Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, author, visual artist, drummer, and Zen Buddhist priest, lives in Oakland, CA where she teaches at East Bay Meditation Center and leads a small practice group in her home. Zenju, her dharma name meaning complete tenderness, was ordained by Zenkei Blanche Hartman, former abbess of the San Francisco Zen Center, and her priest training is being guided by Abbess Kiku Christina Lehnherr. She is also the author of the Black Angel Cards, "a book of messages accompanied by a deck of 36 cards to help us recognize, she says, wisdom and unearth our true nature which is innately awake and filled with healing capacities." See

Her book Tell Me Something About Buddhism (Hampton Roads Publishing, 2011) includes a foreword written by Thich Nhat Hanh, with poetry and illustrations by Zenju Earthlyn. In addition, she is contributing author to many books, including Dharma, Color and Culture: Voices From Western Buddhist Teachers of Color (Parallax) and Record of the Hidden Lamp: 100 Koans and Stories from 25 Centuries of Awakened Women (Wisdom Publications) edited by Florence Caplow and Susan Moon and and “What Unknowing Things Know: The Zen Liberation in the Art of Romare Bearden in the International Review of African American Art.”

She holds a M.A. degree from U.C.L.A. and a Ph.D. in Transformation and Consciousness from the California Institute of Integral Studies. She had been guest teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Green Gulch Zen Center, and the East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland. From,6,127&pageid=1885

Monica Anderson,  the founder and owner of Sankofa Events Project Management. joins us to celebrate the successful Oakland premiere of Shola Lynch's Free Angela Davis and All Political Prisoners, Tuesday, May 7, 2013. The venue was sold out and Dr. Angela Y. Davis was in the house and entertained a few questions afterward. The film has another screening Sunday, May 19, 2013 at the New Parkway Theatre in Oakland, at 3 p.m. There will be poetry and a panel discussion with the audience preceding and following the film.

Ms. Anderson created Sista to Sista in 2009 to connect Queer Women and Gender Variant Folks to free wellness workshops. Each workshop included a special awareness of the needs of those most marginalized within the LGBTQ community. During her Taboo Tuesday workshops, Monica used films and other forms of multimedia to seed discussion about topics that Queer folks rarely spoke of and yet often experienced. Films like Kortney Ryan Zeigler's Still Black, which takes a close up and never before seen look at realities encountered by Black Transmen, were paired with an open group discussion. Each workshop offered direct access to organizations that address issues raised by the topics.

Monica launched SPECTRUM Queer Media last year to offer LGBTQA films on a weekly basis here in the Bay Area. A demand to see her work expand has yielded screenings which include other U.S. cities like Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York and Boston.

Monica also is touring those same cities and reading her poetry - some of which is part of the published anthology "Letters to My Bully".

Our next guest Mia Pascal is a woman with many talents. She joins us to talk about her 30 minute solo piece,  "Heartbreak Velocity", in two group shows, one at DIVAFest in San Francisco, week 2, May 18, 8 p.m. at the Exit Theatre on Eddy, and the second performance, at The Marsh in Berkeley in its Tell It on Tuesdays solo performances, May 28, 7 (music, 7:30 (show)

She says, "Heartbreak Velocity" is a dark comedy about love, linguistics, and swinging your heart as hard as you can, like a funky marching band all up and down the street.

Mia Paschal, Actress, Solo Performer, Playwright
Born in Marvell, Arkansas, Mia Paschal moved to San Francisco from Milan, Italy to study with Ed Hooks.

As an undergraduate at Harvard, Mia studied acting with David Wheeler; she later studied with Bill Hickey at the HB Studio in New York. In Paris, Stockholm, Helsinki and Milan, she appeared in a number of independent films and video projects. In San Francisco, she has also studied with Bruce Williams and David Ford.

Mia has performed in a number of plays and independent films in the Bay Area. She produced and performed in Heroes Theatre Company's St. Valentine's Day Massacre, a collection of comedic and dramatic scenes about dysfunctional relationships. She produced, directed and acted in After the Fall by Arthur Miller (Maggie), Harold Pinter's The Lover, and Antony and Cleopatra (Cleopatra). Mia also acted in several productions of the Rough Theatre Company's Daytrippers, one-acts conceived, written, rehearsed and performed in 24 hours, one of which won Best of the SFFringe, as well as Best New Fringe Idea, at the 2001 San Francisco Fringe Festival.

One of her most personally gratifying theatrical experiences was performing in A Loud Little Handful, Greg Beuthin's site-specific production of works dealing with the aftermath of war and violence, directed by Emily Koch. She also wrote, produced, and directed the digital feature The Art of Etiolation which premiered at the EXIT Theatre's DIVAfest in May 2004. She made her singing debut in On the Sixes, a cabaret by Sean Owens and Don Seaver, which was part of the EXIT Theatre's 2006 DIVAfest, and her songwriting debut the following year, for the EXIT’s DIVA Cabaret.

In September 2004, her first solo show some life, directed by Emily Koch, won the Best Female Solo Performance award at the San Francisco Fringe Festival. Her next work, This Lily Was (Fontana), received the Best of the Fringe - Best Female Dramatic Solo Award at the the 2006 San Francisco Fringe Festival, and was performed at the Marsh in San Francisco, as part of the Marsh Rising series in January 2007, and at the 2007 Rogue Performance Festival in Fresno, where the Fresno Bee selected it as a Top Five Pick of the Rogue.

Her latest solo play, Along the Path of Larks and Swallows, premiered at the 2008 Rogue Performance Festival and was chosen as a Top Ten Pick of the Rogue by the Fresno Bee.  In April 2008, Theatre Bay Area awarded Along the Path of Larks and Swallows a CA$H grant for its extended production.

Mia participated in the Performance Initiative at the Marsh in San Francisco, where she was commissioned to write "My Soul for Rubies", a solo piece exploring exile,  loss, and linguistics, and "The Slaughterhouse Trapeze", an examination of sex and death.

Publications: "Some Life: three plays for solo performance",  a volume containing "some life", "This Lily Was (Fontana)", and "Along the Path of Larks and Swallows" is available for purchase. To make your order, please visit:

Meklit & Quinn
Meklit Hadero hasn't graced our airwaves in quite sometime. We are excited to have her join us to speak about two creative projects, one with artist, Quinn DeVeaux, from Gary, Indiana, who with Meklit have released a new album Meklit and Quinn where the two friends share some of theirs and our favorite songs, sort of the staple diet of any healthy rhythm and blues fan, the songs that underscore this American soundtrack we live daily. Visit

The two artists perform quite a bit this month and over the summer, beginning tonight, May 10,  at Davies Symphony Hall's After Hours, post concert music event with artwork by sculptor Cyrus Tilton, "The Cycle," "A Place In Between," and "Absence," courtesy of Vessel Gallery in Oakland. The artist's work express his concern for the environment and human psychological complexity.

This concert is free to ticket holders and is a part of the closing week of a two weekend festival May 2-11, of Beethoven's early music and lasting influence with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus with guest soloists. Program 3: MTT and Missa Solemnis. Meklit and Quinn will present a musical response to the piece. Should be interesting, Meklit's New York Jazzy with West Coast Funk meets traditional Ethiopian melodies juxtaposed and combined with Quinn's joy, grit and catchy crossroads Chicago Blues stirred and served a la New Orleans soul and gospel. Visit , and

We will probably catch Beethoven smiling his approval tonight, as he was all about access, his music inspired by events of the day and its people (smile). 

Mina Girgis, Executive Director,
Co-founder The Nile Project
We then shift personnel a bit and Mina Girgis joins Meklit and the two of them talk about their joint venture, The Nile Project, an organization that brings musicians from the 11 countries which call the Nile River Valley home together to exchange and share cultural values connected to this important tributary, as well as make music which reflects a plan for a sustainable Nile River -- this relationship emblematic of this goal, Africa vision for the continent beginning with these 11 nations. Visit

Mina speaks about how these two Africans meet in the Diaspora, San Francisco to be exact and begin the planning for this project one which though in its infant stage at barely four months old, is a precocious child that will probably skip walking and just start running (smile).

Born in Ethiopia in the early 1980s, she grew up in Iowa, New York, and Florida. After studying political science at Yale, she moved to San Francisco and became immersed in the city’s thriving arts scene. Her debut CD On a Day Like This party in San Francisco was one of those moments that really changes one's heart.  She was big before the release, but afterward, the travel began and nods from some of the industry's grandparents keep her at the top of the charts. It is not often that one can see a person make the Pan African connection between what is now and what was then, let alone what is to come, yet Meklit is an able conduit on this shifting platform with her embodiment or honoring of all that has come before.

Her work with other Ethiopian artists in diaspora through the Arba Minch Collective, a group of devoted to nurturing ties to their homeland through collaborating with both traditional and contemporary artists there or The Nile Project, her latest venture with co-collaborator Mina Girgis, this woman's creative life, whether that is as a 2009 TED Senior Global Fellow or the Co-director of the Red Poppy Art House, epitomizes ashay.  

Meklit and Mina's The Nile Project is a way to proactively affect what is to come--preservation of regional cultural values as the cultivation of new ways to enhance and preserve African antiquities is applied though technical resources we in the Diaspora often have easier access to.

Fatoumata Diawara from Mali shared as much when she took the audience in Berkeley last month (in April at Zellerbach) to her village and through both music and dance showed how one rhythm like our hearts connected those of us dispersed worldwide in the European slave trade as well as colonialism still remain one.

If you miss Meklit and Quinn tonight, she headlines with her band, the Charity Water Fundraising Event to dig wells in Ethiopia, May 22, 2013, 9 p.m., at Public Works in San Francisco: 

Music: We open with an excerpt from Victoria Theodore's "I'm Your Angel" (Grateful); Meklit & Quinn's "This Must Be the Place" and "Salaam Nubia" from The Nile Project. Meklit who is one of the soloists on the tune, introduces "Sematimba ne Kikwabonga," but we are kicked out of the studio before it airs. Stay tuned, I will play it on the Wednesday, May 15, show.

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