By Natalie GeldWhyAreWeWhispering.com
“I should have called instead of updating my status on social
network sites, no I am not well, yes I am struggling…
Gone are they, the days of coming by with chicken noodle
Now I would rather send you an e-cauldron of broth via face book…
But I give you my poetic word that I’m dying to live again. and just be.”
(excerpts from Humanity by Azure Antoinette)
Natalie: You have a sensual vitality at hello, a powerful feminine presence that I’ve admired - your work expresses this in various ways. Why?
Azure: We aren’t walking around as brain stems. I would say sensuality plays a huge part in who I am as a person, who I am as a writer, definitely who I am as a poet. For women, it’s important to cultivate their sensuality – because it’s a vital part of what creates us, of who we are.
Our mind is not separate from our body, our sexuality not separate from our heart and spirit – it’s all combined, unified.
Natalie: Many of us are still banging around in the dark about our sexuality, who’s your greatest influence? Sounds like they’ve imparted a healthy sense of sexuality and a consciousness of your own emotional life that you can harness.
Azure: My mother – she’s breathtaking, and adopted both my sister and I, raised us as a single parent. She taught us subtlety, was very competent and danced with cockiness, but never quite stepped over the line. I have always seen my mother cry for exactly the right reasons, never reckless with her emotions just because she’s a woman or whatever the hell that means.
Watching her interact with the opposite sex and people of her demographic, whether in her corporate structure or society, has been very pivotal for me as a young woman growing up, transitioning into each phase of my life. I found men really respond to a woman that knows what she wants, yet isn’t crass about it.
Natalie: What catalyzed your decision to become an artist and Spoken Word poet?
Azure: I don’t know if it was a conscious decision on my part - it seems it was designed and destined for me.
My mom was heavily into literature and the arts while I was growing up. I started reading Maya Angelou around at 8 or 9, segued into Edgar Allan Poe and then into Shakespeare. Def Poetry Jam was the first time I’d ever seen Spoken Word, (which is performance poetry), and Chicago poet, Marty McConnell, the first poet I’d seen perform. She did this poem called Instructions For a Body, an amazing piece about doing your part. At any rate, I was hooked. In that particular moment, I thought ‘I want to do this.’ I had seen Maya Angelou read before and she is not what I would call Spoken Word. She would be classified there, but you know she can read a cereal box and it would be profound for me because she just carries a vibration about her as a person.
Natalie: You’re a dynamo - spreading your creativity and vision generously... what else are you involved in?
Natalie: Is that how your poem ‘Humanity’ came about?
Azure: Yeah…she noticed at the register of a convenience store that day there were 8 or 9 energy drinks ready to pick up. She felt it’d kind of taken over - people’s ability to stave off sleep, because they're so inundated with what they consider to be important; when in essence, you know, saying ‘hello’ and sticking around for the end of ‘how are you’ is really what we need to focus on. She asked me how I felt about that, and I realized I’d been struggling with that myself. My mom taught us about the art of writing a thank-you note, and how we don’t practice the simplicities of person-to-person interaction anymore because it is all e-mails and text. And I am so attached to all my electronic devices! I can’t even function if something goes dead or I forget my Blackberry, or I don‘t have my laptop ... I am like, oh my gosh, I could have capitalized on this time, I can’t believe that I left my computer at home today… instead of just taking it all in or saying hello, or grabbing a cup of tea --
Natalie: The art of simple gratitude and just being in the moment... right?
Azure: Just existing, without juggling 7 tasks in 7 different cities with the touch of Send, you know. Seems we’ve all but forgotten about time prior technology.
Natalie: Are you intimating that our communication is being numbed by electronics and that if we’re no longer interacting personally, intimacy is somehow stunted and our humanity drained?
Azure: Yeah, I think it’s being diluted. Communication’s so e-mail and chat-driven... how can you possibly get the meat and potatoes of a conversation when you are preoccupied doing 6 different things at once via some sort of electronic screen, all the while having a “heart to heart” with your best friend?
Natalie: Being in overdrive constantly…with little rest, or regard for restorative space.
Natalie: You just mentioned a catharthis, can you elaborate on that a little bit?
Azure: Yeah sure, sure. You know when I think about it, poetry really fills my life... What I have really enjoyed about becoming a poet, and then being a student of language is how to communicate effectively. You experience the beauty of using verbal imagery and have poetic license to do what you will, you know. And so as long as you stay true to the craft, it really allows you to describe sense.
Natalie: Sense…can you give me an example?
Azure: You may never have smelled despair before, but in poetry you can really talk about that and people understand - they know exactly what you mean - they know what despair smells like, it’s a familiar scent.
So I have really enjoyed getting to know myself in that respect, to have a relief from emotional storms as opposed to a hollow - 'hey, how are you doing, ’oh, I’m good' - knowing damn well it means, 'I couldn’t be any worse.' Just to write and get the darkness out. Once it’s out and on the page, it’s not lurking in my subconscious anymore, it’s not shrouding my conscious mind, it’s just out, it’s gone.
Natalie: Is writing a good tool for women to ‘get it down and out’ for themselves?
There is no joke in that, because when you reread something and you thought it sounded really good when you wrote it, you find yourself realizing, ‘I don’t even know what I said right there.’ It's very therapeutic, because you may realize you sound ridiculous or want something completely unattainable.
Natalie: Or, it's not what you really meant, or you’re riffing off of old triggers.
Azure: Right. Or what you think should be important, may not really matter to you at all. You know right away when you hear it. So say it.
Natalie: ’Bittersweet,’ your new book of poetry, is beautiful work Azure – is there a message, an underlying theme?
Azure: Love. However you want to look at it, whether it's bitter or sweet, all love comes from that premise. I couldn’t find another word that explained the emotion of love better. Because it's not all good, it's not a honeymoon all the time. When you love, you can’t be reckless and it's got to have some mobility to it too, it's got to have a bit of reverse - some reciprocity.
And it’s cool that there’s no gender bias to Bittersweet, because I tend to write from male and female perspectives.
Natalie: How have you evolved from your work?
Azure: I have learned to be more pliable with my own beliefs of what is relevant. To really see those you love for who they are, and like and share in what brings them joy, to just take blessing and pleasure in knowing that you are one of the things that they love. And, to be more forthcoming really, to speak out.
Natalie: Another poem of yours that strikes a chord is ’Take It Sweetly,’ which seems to be an expression of the value of a woman - of her power, fragility, humility and simplicity, even sensuality.
Azure: We women are quite the conundrum, although we’re simpler than men give us credit for. Also, if men and women would operate from a humane perspective and a point of decency, we would get along so much better - as people and in relationships. http://www.azureantoinette.com/
"Gotta have a life aim dahling... I've got my two life aims, you know?
Yoga is one. You are witness."
"What's the second one?"
"To have Christmas with Sting and Trudie Styler."
She credits her daily practice with strengthening her mind, the warrior poses with flowing movement, mimicking daily life: “I admire the courage of women for their every-day heroism, keeping it all together in the battlefields that are often their lives. The idea of the Warrior Woman is a genuine and central aspect of feminine nature, and one worth celebrating.”
A win-win for multitudes because while expanding your consciousness, health and fitness possibilities – you’ll be creating healthy possibilities for communities in the Ecuadorian Rain forest. A portion of the DVD proceeds support the UNICEF Ecuador Water Project.
And what about those rumors of eight hour Tantra sex-a-thons with husband Sting? Mythinformation... Sting chimes in with some potent insight, “For couples who have been together for a long time, sustaining intimacy is an important ingredient in the chemistry between the two of you. Tantra is basically about devoting time to one another, making a date with your partner.” He adds, "People get very silly about the whole idea of what Tantra is. It's using your normal life as a devotional practice. Breathing, walking, eating, making love. . . it's all the same. Practice consciously. Music is my Tantra. It's my way of saying thank you to... whatever."
Of course Edwinna's path holds its own virtues... "Pretty soon I'll be able to kiss my own ass from both directions."
* Growing Energy – a lifestyle piece featuring Trudie Styler and Sting discussing how they use the Il Palagio land to create an environmentally friendly home.
* A calming meditation sequence.
* Interviews with Styler, Sting and celebrity fitness trainer James D’Silva.
How do you shift your consciousness? How do you change your beliefs about yourself and what you’re capable of in the world and step into a brand new paradigm where anything is possible? Where there’s a hoop, there’s a way ...
Now, you can thank Christabel Zamor, M.A., aka HoopGirl for reviving this craze into coolsville, and making it super sexy. You’ve got nothing to lose but your pesky inhibitions, so tune in and turn up the volume of your mind~body connections to get fit, feel sexy, and have fun!
Playful activity can also be real exercise ~ it has emotional benefits too.
Sexy? Feminine? You Bet! “You’re swinging the hips around in this very yummy, juicy, feminine way and in western society we don’t really get a lot of encouragement to move our bodies in that way. And so, it’s very freeing!” Although she seems as if she were born swinging a silver hoop, turns out Christabel struggled with being overweight and out of the loop. “I didn’t grow up hooping at all, never could do it as a child. I went to a class, picked up a hoop and I couldn’t do it. I was kind of overweight at that time. I didn’t have a lot of confidence; I was 40 pounds heavier. I picked up a hoop and started practicing.
…my whole life transformed.”
If you’re in a fitness rut or crave to try something exotic and out of the box,
HoopGirl has what you’re looking for.
“Hooping is good for all ages …people as old as 84, as young as 6! Really big, big people and really tiny, skinny people – it doesn’t matter, and it’s so much fun. People think of it as a child’s toy, but it’s a full body workout and dance form.
It makes you so happy and makes you feel good about your body.”
A few erotic, uplifting moments for you to savor. See you in class!
Goldie Hawn shares her secrets for looking & feeling great at any age
Q: Your character is pretty far out and gutsy in many respects. Did you have any reservations playing her?
Goldie: First I thought, 'Can I do this?' This was a real fun thing for me to approach...which was language. And we did take some of the language out because some of it was really not good. But we didn't modify her character at all. We kept her tough. And real. And free-flowing...
I was thrilled when I got this role. I thought it was an amazing opportunity to do stuff I've never done. And to kind of - be more grown up. Because a lot of my roles have been about trying to be younger.
Q: But, as far as seeing a mature woman on screen jump a guy (played by Geoffrey Rush) - - you just don't see that in movies. Most of the time some young thang is arm candy for an older man - but never, ever, do you see a woman over 40, let alone 50 want some hot steamy sex!
Goldie: Right! And by the way, in terms of that [sex]...I think any of us at any age are really not aware of age.
Whether we mount our husbands or our boyfriends or however we experience our sexuality - we don't approach them through age. We approach them through pheromones and chemistry and our sexual energy. Therefore those kinds of feelings happen at any age. So that character was sort of an ageless ball of energy and yet, she's older. It was great to bring that to life!
Goldie Hawn in The Banger Sisters
Courtesy of Fox Searchlight
Q: It is so wonderful to see you and Susan Sarandon really get to show off that sexual energy that so many women in our country repress. But what about the rest of Hollywood? What's the dealio?
Goldie: It's a young business. The advertising world is young. The people who buy tickets are young. Older people don't go out to movies as much as young people do. There are a lot of real reasons for this. We can all sit and cry in our soup and feel sorry for ourselves, letting our egos take over...but if you look at this as a business you realize that if you're going to make a movie for your demographic - just make it for less money. You can't not feed the people what they need - and you can't deprive older people.
Actually, I think this film…makes you feel good. So as far as where Hollywood is on the whole thing - I don't think it's ever been any different and I think it's because it's driven by money. Personally I think it's wrong.
I think women are sexy as they get older and the more we see it in the media, then the more identification will come of it and young girls won't be so afraid of getting old.
But Rome wasn't built in a day - and hopefully we won't blow up the world before we get a chance to find out how we can evolve into a higher species!
Q: You haven't changed in 30 years. Is it genetics? Good clean living? How do you do it?
GOLDIE: I think it is genetics. My father looked very young. But I also think it's good clean living... exercise, not much drinking, sleep, not burning your candle at both ends, knowing when you're tired, knowing how to love, knowing how to recede love, knowing how to surrender... these things help...
But I pretty much don't get angry. I don't feel that frustration. I am human, but for the most part, I don't remember the last time I felt anger.
Anger will age you faster than anything.
Q: Are you aware that we really can't protest the way we could in the 60s?
GOLDIE: How about that. I went to American University and this woman said, 'Where are all your voices? Where are the voices of the universities? What happened to the days when we would stand up and protest these things?' And it really brought tears to my eyes because we don't anymore. We can't.
We've been repressed into apathy. Because - if you do [stand up and protest] - you're not American. Whoa! It's some heavy stuff.
Q: Are you a political person?
GOLDIE: No. I don't think I am. I am very concerned about the world but much more on a spiritual level. Politics are like movie stars - they come and they go. And some last - some don't.
It's the overall holistic look at the Earth and where ultimately we're going in terms of mass consciousness - that is what I'm most concerned with and worried about.
* Republished by permission of BeatBoxBetty.com
By Natalie GeldWhyAreWeWhispering.com
NG: What a beautiful sculpture Lori, what and who inspired her?
Lori: Thanks Nat. Daphne modeled for me a few years ago. She was a great model…sensuous and expressive. Because I wasn’t able to complete her from our sessions, I relied on memory, imagination and observing my own form.
NG: Her body language seems open, yet emotionally she’s struggling somehow…
NG: Is this stress connected to her sexuality somehow?
Lori: Perhaps. I don’t know that her internal conflict is driven by sexual angst per se. But if we’re talking about the relationship between stress and sex, well, I would refer to stress as the sexual annihilator.
Stress is death to sex. Coping with stress requires shutting down or desensitizing, essentially turning off. Sexual pleasure, turning on, is really about opening up, and trust, allowing yourself to be vulnerable. It’s the antithesis of shutting down.
NG: How do you and your art influence one another?
Lori: I am always discovering things about myself through my art. The process itself is isolating and unpredictable… sometimes joyous, at other times painful. But invariably the journey leads me to unexpected places both emotionally and intellectually. When I finish a piece I study it over and over. I often realize something about myself, through my work, which is surprising. Something intuitive will materialize that I was not otherwise conscious of.
Discussing my process with you now, I’m reminded that we are all alone in some ways, whether we’re truly alone, in a relationship, or surrounded by people, we all deal with a certain amount of isolation in our lives.
I often internalize my thoughts and feelings. I use my art to express myself. But verbal exchange, like the one we are having, is great because I can bounce off of your input and energy which gives me an enhanced understanding of my work, my process, and of myself.
Communication is so important.
NG: This is the beauty of sparking a dialogue! What has the response been to ‘True Blue’ – your bold sculpture of a woman masturbating, pleasuring herself to orgasm, which we can actually listen to?
Lori: Everyone gets so into it – men and women. I love to observe people experiencing it; their eyes get really big and their surprised faces seem to say ‘Oh my God, that’s it!’ Everybody laughs…it is such a private moment that it almost makes you feel like you are spying.
Also, I think everyone secretly wonders what orgasm is like for everybody else. We wonder if our experience is universal. I personally love this piece.
NG: And her title?
NG: Many women don’t touch themselves, don’t explore or look at themselves, don’t have good feelings about their sexuality and don’t experience orgasm.
Lori: It’s too bad too. I’ve found that very few women really feel comfortable talking about it or bringing it up with their partner or even their girlfriends. I feel it's important to know your own body. Women need to take responsibility for their own pleasure. Our sexuality is an essential part of us…
And it’s tricky - sexual pleasure, for women especially, requires a tremendous amount of focus. We are the natural multi-taskers, the natural caregivers; we are the mothers. Women are supposed to take care of everything, be alert and have an awareness of everything going on around us.
It’s important, for the purpose of sexual pleasure and intimacy, to be able to create an environment that is free from distractions like kids, work, household tasks, all the things that we are usually responsible for.
Plus many women quantify their value sexually by the level of pleasure they are able to give to their partner. We forego our own needs because we feel that that creates a burden for our partner when, I think, the opposite is true.
Too often, we are so concerned with what others think about us, what others expect us to be for them, that we lose sight of our own needs. We try to fill some void we imagine exists, or may in fact exist, for somebody else. We deplete our energy this way – always fixating externally.
NG: ‘Going Down’ is a bold, unique piece, what led you to create it?
Lori: It started out as a lark, really; I had a client that asked me to create something for him…anything that I wanted. Glass is such an elegant material; I thought it would be perfect for an erotic work. I also wanted the viewer to be an active participant so I made it a sash window - double hung - which slide over one another.
NG: I understand you’re also a graphic designer …
Lori: Yes, since 1986 I’ve designed various ad campaigns, and graphics from wine labels, like Barefoot Bynum, to packaging for Nintendo. And the heart of the success of this business is aligned communication. Everybody has to get the same message, that’s key.
NG: Communication is central to your business life and your art?
Lori: Yes, there’s a certain amount of intimacy that develops even in a business relationship, and every good relationship is based on communication. Whatever you mean to say, wherever you mean to be coming from, the goal is to come across as you intend.
Successful communication is a big issue for me, in my personal life, professionally and in art.
I taught an art class at Otis School of Art and Design that had to do with ‘self perception.’ The only assignment I gave the students was to create two pieces of artwork, one that reflected how they perceived themselves, and the other reflecting how they thought others perceived them. The differences were startling.
NG: I’ll bet, and fascinating too. The human dilemma is our shared challenge, being constantly in battle internally - chasing our tails - we don’t step forward.
Your animatronics sculpture, ‘Blah Blah Blah’ cracks me up – and immediately resonates. In essence, it depicts a failed conversation, am I correct?
Lori: Yes, ‘Blah Blah Blah’ illustrates how difficult it is for linear and sporadic thinkers to communicate.
Women, being natural multi-taskers, often think sporadically while most men are linear thinkers, which allow them to focus exclusively on one task at a time. Our early history required men and women to be different in this way, as the woman’s role was to take care of home and family and man’s, to hunt. Now our roles are blended but we still process thought differently, which challenges our ability to communicate.
NG: And these two eventually shut down to one another completely. So what’s the message, the through line?
Lori: A major relationship downfall is lack of communication. You can’t have real intimacy with someone if you aren’t communicating. That involves taking risks, being honest. That’s how you develop trust. We are so motivated by fear - that’s just the killer...the killer of any form of productive, fulfilling existence.
Life, art, it’s the same. Fear gets you nowhere and bullshit is boring.
NG: Thank you, Lori, for sharing with us. I hope it was good for you…
Lori: (Laughing) You’re welcome, it’s been my pleasure!
‘Going Down’ Piece