Remembering Cleven "Goodie" Goudeau

It’s hard to write a title about remembering someone, when that person gave so generously of his time both to me and my husband Tony Mims. Since getting the news from Jim Kern at the Vallejo Museum, we have been reminiscing about Goodie, as he wished to be referred to, and the many ways he was a part of both Listen & Be Heard Weekly and Listen & Be Heard Poetry Cafe.

From the very first days when we started circulating copies of the paper, Goodie started contributing “Goodies” comics similar to the ones he used to publish in Playboy Magazine. He shared his knowledge of graphic design with me while I struggled to learn how to use Quark and Photoshop and communicate with printers.

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Ms. Roberta Flack 2012

I’m a Roberta Flack fan. The first time ever I heard her voice, I was touched by her depth of feeling and purity of sound. She reached out to a part of me that is innocent, full of awe, and imbued with love. That is a great place to dwell when you can find yourself there. My husband spotted the announcement in our local newspaper, months ago, that she was going to appear at the Newberry Opera House, about an hour’s drive from Greenville, on April 20. We bought tickets on the phone that same day.

Yes, I love the songs that launched her career, and her duets with Donny Hathaway. I looked forward to hearing some of them. But really, I was excited to see Roberta Flack now, today, the older wiser woman with experience and grace. It would be the first time I would ever see her in person. I really didn’t have any idea what she’s been up to lately, but I knew it would be soulful and beautiful, that it couldn’t be any other way.

It was inspirational to see how she worked with her musicians and back-up singers. Resplendent in her natural beauty, Ms. Flack shone light on each member, engaging in a subtle and masterful musical conversation that I rarely see anymore and greatly appreciated. The acoustics in the “cute little opera house” (her words) were very nice. It was really a great venue to hear that same voice that I found so inspiring years ago. \n \nWe were indeed treated to some oldies, including Carol King’s “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” and “Killing Me Softly” by Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel. She took the opportunity to have the audience sing along with the chorus of more than one familiar song. People did at first timidly, and then a little more boldly. The audience was on the elderly side.

Honestly, I don’t know what a Roberta Flack fan looks like really, (probably they have every complexion under the sun) but I wasn’t expecting what I saw. I believe much of the audience were season subscribers to the opera house, who might have been familiar with a few of her most famous songs. We saw one gentleman who was clutching some albums, which I presumed he was going to try to get her to sign for him. So I know for sure he was a fan. I really enjoyed her version of “Sweet Georgia Brown” which she said she had to pay $25,000 for the rights to use her own lyrics, (so she makes sure to sing it every time she makes an appearance.)

But Ms. Roberta Flack is still a creative and inspirational woman, not confined to replaying her hits from the past. She has a new album, already available on iTunes, “Let It Be Roberta – Roberta Flack Sings The Beatles (Bonus Version + Digital Booklet).” At one point in the evening she said that she is a classically trained musician, and then expressed her appreciation for great songwriters, like the Beatles. She sang a song called “Say No” from a project called the Real Artist Symposium, that I liked a lot. It was a message to young women not to be so anxious to grow up so quickly. Throughout the evening I appreciated her message delivered in several ways, that is so feminine and so supportive of the spirit of women and girls.

The range of dynamics, of her musicians and singers, of songs and emotions, the arrangements, were all great, and there was nothing about the evening that I did not enjoy. When we were leaving a lady asked us if we thought she still had her voice, saying she didn’t think so. I, actually we, (my husband and I) disagreed. She didn’t give an athletic performance, but it was the same unforgettable voice. (We refrained from pointing out that she probably had lost a little something over the years too.)

If you’re in Peach Tree City, Georgia on June 23 you can catch her with Peabo Bryson, or in San Diego, CA on July 6-9, you can hear her with the San Diego Symphony. I’m sure that will be unforgettable. I left the concert feeling inspired to do my best to shine being the very best me I can be, and thankful to Ms. Roberta Flack for being so great at being Roberta Flack.

L&BH Weekly Print Covers – Contact Sheet 15

These were the final print issues of Listen & Be Heard, before moving exclusively to Web Publishing. For pdf files of specific issues, please contact the editor.

L&BH Weekly Print Covers-Contact Sheet 14

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Listen & Be Heard Weekly Print Covers – Contact Sheet 13

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Listen & Be Heard Weekly Print Covers – Contact Sheet 12

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Listen & Be Heard Weekly Print Covers – Contact Sheet 11

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Listen & Be Heard Weekly Print Covers – Contact Sheet 10

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Listen & Be Heard Weekly Print Covers – Contact Sheet 9

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Listen & Be Heard Weekly Print Covers – Contact Sheet 8

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Listen & Be Heard Weekly Print Covers – Contact Sheet 5

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L&BH Weekly Print Covers – Contact Sheet 4

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L&BH Weekly Print Covers – Contact Sheet 3

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Listen & Be Heard Weekly Print Covers – Contact Sheet 2

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L&BH Weekly Print Covers – Contact Sheet 1

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Poetic Symmetry in Downtown Greenville, SC

I met my husband Tony,  a poet, when I was hosting Listen & Be Heard Open Mic in Vallejo, CA.  He appeared to be trying not to be noticed, but after creating a sensation on the mic, he stood out in the crowd. I tried to act like he wasn’t going to rock my world, but he did anyway. After that fated meeting we published Listen & Be Heard Weekly together and opened Listen & Be Heard Poetry Cafe in downtown Vallejo. We had to close shop with the downturn in the economy, and I followed him to his hometown Greenville, SC.

He always told me that Greenville was a beautiful and unique city and he was going to move me there one day. And I’m glad I did! Greenville is indeed a rare gem, and in the five months that I have been living here, I’ve seen many signs of a flourishing arts community.

On Saturday December 12, at 7:30pm we will make our arrival official with a poetic performance in the theatre at the Coffee Underground in downtown Greenville. We have distinctive styles, quite different from each other. Both improvisational fun and the culmination of the decades of spoken word performance between the two of us, what happens when we come together is synergistic and transformative.

We look forward to sharing the excitement with friends, family and poetry lovers in Greenville. The Coffee Underground serves dinner and desserts and of course espresso drinks, coffee and tea. Seating is limited to fifty. Advance purchase of tickets is recommended, and will be available at the counter, at the Coffee Underground.

Saturday, Dec. 12, 7:30pm
Coffee Underground
1 E Coffee St
Greenville, SC 29601
864-298-0494

info@coffeeunderground.biz

Thanks for Listening

Dear All,

This will be my last letter from the editor of Listen & Be Heard.

Times are changing, and I am changing with them. Listen & Be Heard the open mic, Listen & Be Heard the newspaper and website, and Listen & Be Heard Poetry Cafe have all been learning experiences for me from which I have derived much pleasure over the years. It has been the vehicle which has allowed me to cross paths with a great variety of talented people. It has been my, and my husband Tony’s, contribution to the communities we have been a part of.

One thing I have never derived from Listen & Be Heard is financial gain, and I find that neither my desire nor my bank account will take this project any further. I do want to thank everyone who has contributed to Listen & Be Heard over the years. If you have writing, photos or anything else archived at the Listen & Be Heard website that you wish to keep, please be sure to visit in the next week or so and save your work to your computer, as it will not be available anymore in April of 2009.

If there is anyone interested in adopting the Bang! list please get in touch with me to discuss it further.

Wishing you Peace and Poetry
Martha Mims

Using what we already have.

This past weekend in Vallejo, it was warm and sunny. I ventured into the backyard early Sunday morning. As often happens, when I looked around I started seeing things that needed doing and wound up spending most of the day enjoying the weather and creating enjoyable work for myself. Apart from pulling the grass sprouting up around the baby lettuce in the lettuce box, I gathered all sorts of things to use for the holidays. While engaged in this way I was thinking about how much money we spend on things we don’t need and how we overlook what we already have. This is true for each of us, who are all in some way part of some kind of family or group. It’s also true for arts professionals and arts organizations.

In these difficult times, when The Arts feel the pinch like everyone else, we can all survey our territories to determine what we have been overlooking for its usefulness. Money is essentially an invention, to make a system work. But before money there are needs and the means to meet needs directly without any money changing hands at all. Those are not the words that retailers want to hear with the “holiday season” in full gear, but they are words worth remembering when we consider what is most valuable to us. Art came way before money and filled a basic human need before it ever became a commodity.

People once lived in caves and painted the walls and left their hand-prints. When I go into our little backyard, I gather lavender from the bushes and make bundles, cut the wild grass and make bouquets, clean the leaves off the willow branches my husband grumbles about cutting back every year, to make dramatic art in a large vase. I gather up the peppermint gone wild, and the lemon balm, and chives and sage and thyme and the last of the basil, put them in my favorite thrift store plates and leave them out in the living room to dry, and the bathroom too.

I see fruit trees all over Vallejo hanging heavy with fruit that never gets picked. But not at this house. I worked all summer long canning tomatoes, apples, apricots, blackberries and raspberries. My husband’s faithful watering also resulted in a deep freezer full of dark leafy greens, shredded zucchini and pumpkin puree. So, I won’t be buying holiday decorations, spices, greens, pumpkin puree, tomato sauce or jam over the holidays but my family will be eating “good” and we’ll have a great looking table too that the kids will remember helping me to create. The sun felt great in mid-November so I got extra busy doing a few loads of laundry to save a few bucks not using my drier.

I like to think big, but sometimes small is the way to go. I remember reading from a Suze Orman book some simple financial advice for getting out of debt. She advised people to clean their houses and get organized. (I’m paraphrasing here.) While cleaning, put all the loose change that you find in a jar. When you’re done cleaning and organizing you will feel energized. Then, you should take all the change that you found, whether it amounts to a dollar or thirty dollars (you will find something,) and put it down on your biggest debt. Now that always stuck in my head as some very good advice. More than just symbolic, each little payment on a debt reduces the interest on that debt. Making a positive step in the right direction opens the door of possibilities. Probably, if the banks and the auto makers would do some thorough house cleaning, they could eliminate a lot of their own problems themselves. But while I can’t do much about that, I can clean my own house.

It is important for arts advocates to work together for common goals in the arts, to band together just as big business and financial institutions do, to forward our own agenda. But it is just as important to be able to look in the mirror and examine each and every asset that we have no matter how small and insignificant it may seem, before we look outward to ask for something that we can accomplish ourselves with some sweat equity. Maybe it’s time to clean up the files and update our contacts. Maybe it’s time to put a “junk room” to a more productive use. Maybe we can’t do that big production we wanted to do this year without the funding, but what about a scaled down production that we could bring into classrooms to cultivate a future audience? Over time the value of our baby steps is magnified by the ripple effect, when we dip into the everlasting pool of creativity and ingenuity.