Month: August 2015

An Interview With The Purple Halo Project founder Dustin Craig Cromarty

COVER the purple halo_launch2-1

Dustin Craig Cromarty is the founder of the literary journal, The Purple Halo Project which has a Kickstarter campaign; here is a link to the website:



Q: What is the Purple Halo Project?

A: The Purple Halo Project is a production of a literary journal called The Purple Halo and an interactive adventure novel titled Chicken Boy and Little Peck Peck Save the World!!!



What makes it interactive is that backers are pledging to be in the novel creating a most unique and profound literary and engaging experience.

This plays out as well in the journal in that the articles within, feature those whom have joined us in the production of this wonderful project as backers/pledgers!

It’s totally awesome!!!

We have such a wonderful gathering hub of producers!

It’s amazing!!!

Encouraging all to delight in the many rewards offered through this project!

Q:  What inspired the project?

A: What a question…

Is that a genie in your lamp?

Do we get three wishes here?

Ha ha…

…Chicken Boy and Little Peck Peck are actual kids!

They inspired it! They are also writing it with us!

It would be fair to say also that the most potent forces in the universe join with us in this project and inspire us as well.

Q:  What is Chicken Boy and Little Peck Save the World about?

A: What a great question!

It’s about true expression!

To quote the first paragraph of the novel

“This is an adventurous tale of liberation, freedom, and happiness.

A story about being able to speak, shine, sing, and above all else, support the inspiration of creative brilliance that is ones birthright, purpose, and most natural expression!”

Q:  You say this is an interactive novel, how can people interact with the story?

A: The Join the Novel Reward on the project page

is how to get a character designed in your honor and actually be an uplifting and cultivating influence in the story of the novel itself.

It’s interactive also in that becoming a producer, meaning a backer or pledger, to the project you interact with it, in that you become a creator of it.

Every backer is a producer of the project!

Q:  What other Kickstarter Projects have you done?

A: This is our first one.

We have been studying Kickstarter for over a year now and have backed over 70 projects.

Some of the projects are just brilliantly awesome and we are so happy to have been a part of their manifestations.

Inspiring and exciting process!

Q:  Why do you like Kickstarter?

A: We love it!

Because it shines the light on the artist, the creator, the inventor, the dancer, the producer, and the realms and processes of inspiration made manifest.

To quote the great Nahko and Medicine for the People “We’re a part of something special.”


Q:  What kinds of stories will you be looking for in your literary journal?

The kinds of stories, articles, and interviews that you will be seeing in the literary journal are also of the stories and inspiration exchanges with the artist, creator, inventor, dancer, producer and the process of creation and craft.

A: What is your opinion of Kickstarter allowing equity stakes in film?

Are they vegan steaks?

Does it come with salad and potatoes?

Yes more potlucks and pow-wows for sure!

Honestly, to truly comment we would require more info but yes to bringing people together. We think Kickstarter has just begun to unfold its wondrous and magical capacities for empowering people to create and produce!

We are open to investor propositions, so sure!

Q: What kind of incentives are you offering to investors?


A: Backers/pledgers rewards to back the project range from playing cards to design and publishing rewards.

You can see all the rewards here;

Q:  What is the secret to a successful Kickstarter campaign?


A: We hope to be able to tell you this in 9 days from now!

Please join us in helping Chicken Boy and Little Peck Peck Save the World!!!

Live now on Kickstarter!

Pledge, Comment, Share!!!

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)


An Interview with Freelance Writer Leeann Minton


Leeann Minton  is a freelance writer, here is a link to her website:

Q: What inspired you to start a freelance writing business?

A: Last summer I was waiting to begin a new job working for ACE Americorps. I had just graduated college and was taking a year off before returning to work on my masters. Needing to help supplement my husband’s income while my new job began I searched through the craigslist ads where I found someone who was looking for someone to write articles for a new website. The pay was 1 cent a word. I would later learn that that was a horrible pay grade for the amount of work. However, it was fun and it was something I could do at home, while waiting for my new job to start. So I contacted them and started writing. December of last year I had to leave my Americorps job for two reasons one my husband had gotten a new job and the two of us having only one car made scheduling and getting us both to work difficult. In addition, I was feeling sick from what I thought was stress in addition my seizures had returned after four years of being seizure free. I had thought I had found a new job upon quitting Americorps, but the person I spoke with had not been honest about the location of the business and my interviews had been held via phone. My seizures and sickness turned out to be a result of the fact that I was pregnant. So I was stuck pregnant and without a job. I spent six weeks trying to find something else with no luck that is when I thought about the writing had done over the summer. I began to wonder if there was a way I could find other work like that and started researching it online. I discovered the term freelance writing and learned that there were probably thousands of people out there making a living this way. I was a amazed, I had always wanted to be a writer, but been made to believe that in order to be a writer you needed to be really lucky and write a best seller, work as a journalist, or possess a day job. Though I’m technically not past the phase where I should still have a day job, if I wanted to survive/live on my own. I know that there is the potential that if I work hard enough and develop a good enough reputation with my clients I will be able to do this without the need to take on something else once my son is older.

Q: What is the central theme of your blog?

A: My blog originally started as a food blog, however I became bored with the topic after a few months and realized I needed to choose a topic that was more versatile and would allow me to write on a broader variety of topics. I love research and often find myself focusing on a certain topic for a while before moving on to a new topic of interest. Some topics can hold my attention for a day or so others weeks, months, or even years. As a result, a few months ago I choose to change my theme. Now I focus on the ins and outs of adult life. From college, to traversing the career path, and family planning.

Q: What makes your posts worth reading?

A: I put a lot of research and thought behind my posts, those that I don’t do much research for typically stem from personal life experience. I am honest with my opinions and experiences, and when necessary I check my sources to verify accuracy.

Q: What are some examples of issues that are specific to millennials?

A: Currently the majority of millennials are entering the work force or entering college. And some of us are starting families. Some of the biggest concerns of millennials are how are they going to pay off their college debts if they have any and how are they going to progress up the ladder amidst the workforce. In addition, for those who find themselves starting families they are wondering how they are going to afford this new found family.

Q: Why do you go by two different names on the internet?

A: It was not intentional, initially I meant to stick with my pen name of Leeann Minton it is my preferred name even among friends. In fact it is my hope that sometime over the course of the next year I will be able to legally change my name as my common law husband and I make our marriage official on paper. My legal name Brittany Gregory ended being the name used on some of my work across the web when companies began having me fill out W-4’s in order to receive payment for my work. To prevent confusion I just allowed them to use my legal name.
Q:  What are some of the things you have done to promote yourself?

A: I have created a facebook page, and twitter account dedicated to my writing. In addition, I have also put ads up on craigslist and created posts on my personal Linked-In account. Currently I also offer four different Fiverr gigs. Fiverr has been where I have made the majority of my money since beginning my full time freelance writing career. I also promote my fiverr gigs and blog postings through google plus. I am trying to get better at putting my blog posts on Pinterest, but I have not gotten the hang of it quiet yet. I am hoping to eventually develop an email list of potential clients that I can contact and inform of my services.

Q: Who are some of your writing influences?

A: I wanted to be a writer even before I could read which I was a late bloomer when it came to reading I was stubborn and thought I could memorize everything and not need to read. J.K Rowling got me into reading and as a result made me believe that one day I too could be a world famous author. Of course time would only damper that belief as I would eventually begin to think writing was something you could not do for a living without becoming a journalist, which was not what I wanted to do.

In terms of blogs that I admire and follow religiously not just for their topics, but also there writing styles Sophie Lizard (Be a freelance Blogger), and Shannon Brown (Growing Slower). Sophie has a quirky sense of humor that I really admire; simultaneously she is also able to give you straight to the point information. Shannon on the other hand is more serious, but she is also motivational it is my hope that I too will develop a more motivating voice in my writing. Currently I feel my voice is more serious and overly academic. I am hoping with time as I gain more confidence in my abilities as a writer that I will be able to shed that academic voice at least when it comes in the form of my blog, and take up a voice that is more motivating and if I’m lucky has a bit more humor to it.

Q: Why do you think blogging has become such a popular pastime?

A: People have been keeping journals for centuries, perhaps millennia; we enjoy recording the events of today and keeping track of our thoughts. It allows us to leave behind a portion of ourselves, for us to rediscover later in life. Blogging is no different accept that it capitalizes on our current need to share every significant detail with the rest of the world. We as people I believe feel distant from each other despite being so close we have forgotten how to have a person-to-person conversation and instead we find camaraderie and understanding and relations through sympathizing with strangers on the internet. We are searching for those who are like us, we can share our lives and experiences online for the entire world to see, and in return we get the satisfaction of people commenting, liking, and sharing our posts giving us a confidence boost as we are made to feel as though somebody actually cares.

Q: What is the oddest thing you have ever been asked to write about?

A: The strangest request I ever received did not make sense to me, in fact, I was so confused by the request that I had to cancel the order and inform the client that I could not complete it. I received the request through fiverr this individual put in a request for a 250-word article that did two things. First, he wanted an article that would convince African Americans to utilize African American real estate agents. Second, he wanted me to help him disprove a research statistic from a reputable research organization, which stated that African American’s do not keep money within the hands of fellow African Americans. It was a very hypocritical request as well as a semi-racist request, the information provided made it sound as though they were wanting to create a website filled with content for a real estate company that would only cater to African American’s I couldn’t be a part of something like that. In addition, it did not seem possible to write such an article in 250 words.

Q:  What kind of day jobs have you had and how do they help you in your writing?

A: I have not had too many day jobs while in college I worked as a secretary for my Universities Writing Center, while there I learned about the different stylebooks including APA, Chicago, ASA, etc. In addition, as a secretary I was able to increase my typing speed and becoming more proficient at editing. Other jobs I held while in college include retail assistant at Forever 21, I worked in the dressing room and returned clothes back to their original racks. I am not sure what it taught in terms of writing, but it certainly taught me the beauty of perseverance and working hard. The job I feel that has helped me the most with my writing however is my work as an administrative assistant for R. J Wagner Realty. Since I was 16 Ms. Wagner has kept me as an on again off again virtual assistant of sorts. As a result, I have learned a lot about the real estate business, being as the majority of my clients tend to be realtors requesting blog articles and website content the experience I have gained working for her has been very useful and profitable. Currently she and I are discussing the beginnings of a blog and social networking campaign for her website. Other jobs I have had include waitressing at Golden Corral, and tutor. Tutoring definitely taught me how to best pre-plan my blog posting topics.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Writer Stephen Nawotniak


Stephen Nawotniak is the author of the children’s book Mubu the Morph; here is a link to the website:


Q:  Who is Mubu the Morph?


A: Mubu is the main character in the story Mubu the Morph.  As a Morph, he is able to change his shape into whatever he chooses to be, which, in the story, is a bike, a bird, a dog, and a fish.  In a companion story on a poster called Mubu the Morph, Origin Story, I explain how Morphs are made up of the hopes and dreams of individuals.

Q:  Why will children like Mubu?

A: The children that I have read the story to think the character is cute and love that he can change into different objects.  The various forms he takes are often pointed out as the child’s favorite part of the story.

Q:  You are an Occupational Therapist; what does the job entail?


A: As an Occupational Therapist I focus on supporting people in successfully completing meaningful parts of their lives for an improved quality of life.  When I worked with children it focused on coordination and fine motor skills to improve their abilities in school work and play.  I now work with the elderly and adult rehab where I focus on helping people regain the ability to feed, clothe and bathe themselves.

Q:  What kind of training did you have for the job?


A: To be an Occupational Therapist one must have a Masters Degree and obtain State and National Licenses.

Q:  How does your job affect your writing?


A: Occupational Therapy involves helping people address challenges of a physical or mental state and support them in developing a desired quality of life.  Through this I witness how people address challenges in their life and how those challenges can affect their identity.  This influence provides me with insight into themes of self identity and personal development I like to include as central themes in the children’s books I write.

Q:  How did you meet Jeffery, the books illistrator?

A: I met him at a local farmers market.  I found out he was an artist and asked if he would be interested in illustrating my children’s book.  I recited it from memory and he was hooked right away.  His talent for capturing my words in illustration, and artwork in general, is second to none.  I couldn’t have asked for a better illustrator.




Q:  What advice would you give to someone who works full time, but has creative ambitions?

A: Just start!  There is no recipe for success, no magic formula for having all the right pieces come together (or at least I haven’t found any).  You just make your creative project and share it with passion.  Expect “no’s” because they are part of the process.  The most important part is that you just let yourself have fun with the process.  It is that passion and fun that will draw people into the fold.

Q:  Who are some of your writing influences?


A: My favorite book is Oh, The Places You Will Go by Dr. Seuss.  I hope my books can deliver a timeless message in a fun format like he did.




Q:  What trends in children’s literature annoy you?


A: I think that messages on self identity and self confidence are important messages for children these days.  Fables and fairy tales had messages to them to teach a child important life lessons as they grow.  I’m not sure that we do that enough in today’s children’s literature.  Does this annoy me? No.  But I feel that it is an important niche that I hope to support.


Q:  If Mubu could make a guest appearance on a famous comic strip, which one would it be?

A: I think Mubu would love to make a guest appearance on The Peanuts Comic Strip because he would like to help Charlie Brown improve his self identity.  Mubu is also impressed with how the Peanuts gang accepts the idiosyncrasies of each other which allows the unique gifts and talents to be shared to improve everyone’s quality of life.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Writer Daniel O’Neil


Daniel O’Neil is the author of the novel Bodies on the Potomac; here is a link to the Amazon page:
Q:  What is Bodies in the Potomac about?
A: BOTP tells a story of corruption and greed both inside the political world and out. A Russian oligarch has designs on the USA’s largest automobile company because he wants control, both of the company and ultimately the entire country. Counterterrorism agent Taylor Clark is drawn in when a friend calls asking for help to reclaim his automobile dealership that is being taken from him because, he’s failed to support the effort to re-elect the sitting president. There’s action, intrigue, and vivid characters spread from Washington DC to San Francisco. There’s also danger, there’s passion, there’s love and a little sex and it’s all bundled into a fast paced fun read.
Q:  What historical events inspired you to write your book?
A: Real life headlines and the stories behind those headlines create material for stories such as BOTP every day. Colorful characters abound out there, laws are broken, people fall in love, others kill one another. But no particular event inspired BOTP, rather a combination of them worked in concert. Every time I sit down to write it amazes me the things that come to mind to embellish the base plot. And the people! These imaginary friends are so much fun to create. I’d love to meet some of them in person!
Q:  What makes Karl Blumenthal’s Bluffton a character worth reading about?
A: Karl is only one of many characters in this story that the reader will invest in. I won’t reveal how I hope readers react to Karl, but I will say that most people will relate and likely admire the ways he deals with adversity.
Q:  Who are some of your writing influences?
A: There are so many that it’s difficult to isolate ones that have been more influential than others. But I became hooked on fiction when I read Herman Wouk’s WINDS OF WAR and WAR AND REMEMBRANCE back in the 70s. Then Robert Ludlum arrived on the scene. Soon after Tom Clancy exploded to the top of the best seller list, and so many more followed over the years. I don’t pattern myself after any one writer, but as I read novels I pay careful attention to the writing, it’s pace and structure.  It never ceases to amaze me how the insertion of one word or one sentence can make such a difference. Also, there is a former literary agent who has encourage me over the years to keep writing, and I’ve listened to her.

Q:  What sort of day job do you have and how does it influence your writing?
A: I’m in the financial services world that’s filled with colorful figures and potential storylines. I don’t consciously view it that way, but it’s there and nearly impossible to miss, and then nearly impossible to ignore. But life is pretty much that way, not just the business world around me.
Q:  What are the elements of a good political thriller?
A: WOW. Great question. Action, of course. Some mystery, naturally. A bit of fantasyland for sure, but attainable. Complications, too. And love. Maybe some sex. And conflict, both internal and external. But mostly I think it’s in the characters. The good guys and the bad guys. The bad guys can’t just be bad, they should be complex enough that the reader doesn’t totally hate them. At some level, in fact, I’d like the reader to relate to the bad guys. It’s sorta like making chili; you throw all the ingredients into the pot and hope for the best. Of course some chefs are better than others.
Q:  Why do you think the Kennedy family fascinates people so much?
A: Money, sex, power, crime.
Q:  What is your process for coming up with a plot?
A: Observation mostly. Wondering what would happen “if”. And that’s why I don’r work with an outline. I know where I want to end, I know the general focus of the story and who my main characters are. But other than that, it surprises me every day what happens. Broad story line ideas are fairly abundant, it’s getting the characters to make it happen that’s the key. Somedays that’s easier than others.
Q:  What have you done to promote your book?
A: The usual social media plus a PR firm reaching out to traditional and nontraditional media. Radio interviews, too, plus a few blog interview like this one, Emails of course. Word of mouth is what any author is trying to create. A buzz.
Q:  What trends in literature annoy you?
A: It’s not annoyance, but from a selfish point of view I’d like to see publishing houses take more chances on new writers. I understand why they shy away from it, but I’m hopeful that will change because it’s important that new voices come on the scene. What I write are airplane books, not literary fiction. My work is commercial fiction with a broad potential audience, female and male, so if more authors like me get broader exposure it provides the reader more choices.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Aspiring Actress Sofia Riba


Sofia Riba is an acting student, here is a link to her Instagram page:

Q:  What made you interested in acting?

A: I can’t remember a time when I was drawn to performing. My parents grew up in Mexico City, and in their day extracurriculars in school were not common. When we moved to Miami when I was 4, my parents had me in piano, ballet, tap and singing lessons. But I was very interested in acting. I would impersonate Crocodile Dundee in my best Australian accent. I would recreate scenes from Charlie’s Angels with my sister. Then I remember watching The Amanda Show in the late 90s on Nickelodeon and thinking, “wow, I want to be her. She’s soooo lucky.” Amanda Bynes was 14 at the time and starring in her own sketch comedy show. I was impressed. Since then I stopped playing piano and dancing, but I’ve always wanted to act.

Q:  What kind of training have you had?

A: Before moving to New York, I thought I had pretty solid training under my belt. I had worked in commercials and community theatre for a while. It’s only when I became serious about the craft that I realized I did not know shit about acting. I’ve completed one year of training at the Maggie Flanigan Studio and I’ll begin my final year this September.

Q:  To what method of acting do you ascribe?

A: The Meisner technique. I first learned about it when I was in a staged reading in Boston. I was the only cast member who had not trained in Meisner. The director, a fellow Emerson alum, explained that he preferred Meisner trained actors because they were simply more truthful than any other actors he had worked with.

Q:  Who are some of your acting influences?

A: Jessica Chastain is such an inspiration. She has an effortless way about her. The scene in Jolene when she is caught having an affair, and she cries on her stoop completely humiliated gives me chills. Kevin Spacey is another treat. Watching him act is like having dessert.

Q:  What kind of day job (or income source) do you have and how does it affect your work?

A: I was a babysitter for years. I love kids. They’re so blatantly themselves. When I first started training, I would babysit an 8 and a 5 year old. They lived so freely! They’d say outrageous things because they hadn’t been quieted or “trained” by society yet. Their honesty inspired me to be more fearless. This summer I’m a server at a high pressure but rewarding restaurant. I think the long but enjoyable hours will prepare me for life on set or in rehearsal.

Q:  What was the most challenging thing you ever had to do in acting class?

A: I decided to do a scene with my acting partner in which my boyfriend had been in a car accident. He’d just been discharged from the hospital, completely healed. Elated, I decided to practice a strip tease I’d perform for him as a surprise. Taking off my clothes with such a deep joy related to the act, in front of my acting teacher and peers, was so nerve-wracking I didn’t sleep the night before.

Q: What is your strangest New York story?

A: I can’t think of anything particularly strange that’s happened to me. I’m sure that will change, I’ve only been in the city a year. I will say though, I am obsessed with St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery on 2nd Ave and 10th Street. Apparently, the church is haunted by the ghost of Dutch settler Peter Stuyvesant. Literally every time I pass by, I get goose bumps and feel light-headed. I can’t explain it!

Q:  You majored in Political Communication at Emerson. How does your training in Political Communication help you in your acting?

A: At Emerson, I was analyzing exactly how politics influence the masses. I’d break down famous speeches and documents to pinpoint the techniques used that appealed to the public. It was all about specifics. At my acting studio, we talk a lot about creating specific behavior. The sadness I would experience if my dog died, for example, is not the same sadness I’d experience if my mom had to sell my childhood home. If I approached both scenarios with the same emotional weight, I would be an untruthful actor. So it all relates back to avoiding generalities and being as specific as possible in order to be of good quality.

Q:  What famous role would you most like to attempt?

A: I would do ungodly things to play Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie. Tennessee Williams created a touching, silly but strong-willed former Southern Belle with zero self-awareness. Her delusions make me want to shake her and hug her at the same time. Amanda is fascinating to me.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Jazz Drummer Moses Eder


Moses Eder is a jazz drummer in New Orleans; here is a link to his website:

Q: What made you interested in becoming a musician?
A: My parents exposed me to music at a young age, which meant long drives out of the Santa Clarita Valley to Los Angeles.  That sense of

seeking out the  chance to hear something meaningful, and later to produce meaningful things out in the world is what I observed as a

guiding force lives of musicians.  Music meant escaping the monotony and predictability of the suburbs to learn about other cultures, the

chance to communicate with people who spoke other languages and an opportunity to form my identity while living in a valley that’s

sometimes referred to as a ‘culture free zone’.

Q: What inspired the song Peyote Rattle?


A: A peyote rattle was the device commonly used as a part of consciousness driving trance rituals of the Navajo Indians.  We mean for this album to be a tool to guide and aid its listeners while conjuring and manipulating themes which represent a polarity between

the deeply rooted cesspool of personal experience and the soaring, chaotic adventure of exploration.

Q: Who are some of your musical influences?

A: My biggest influence is Captain Beefheart, who’s avant-rock music has been a guiding light through several steps of my life.  Alot of my

personal heroes like him, the recently deceased jazz musicians Ornette Coleman and Paul Motian as well as the Maverick composer John Cage are

all people who invented creative languages and were each anomalies with their own personal voices.  I’m inspired when I see my peers and living

legends who masterfully craft their own worlds out of imaginative elements or unique treatment of non-imaginative, more canonical elements.

Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your work?


A: I’ve worked with dogs for the last two years, walking them in Bushwick and Williamsburg Brooklyn for 1 1/2 yrs and doing petcare in a

vet’s office in New Orleans since I moved here.  Working with animals, and dogs especially, gets me in touch with a spontaneous, non

linguistic approach to communication.  Engaging animal behaviors and playing music both share the capacity to develop empathy, understanding,

intuition and fast reflexes that are required to lead the life of an artist, which doesn’t make promises and takes you out of your element at

every opportunity.

Q: What is your strangest New Orleans story?


A: The first time I came to New Orleans, I was in the middle of moving my stuff from Los Angeles to Brooklyn.  The bisexual couple I

ride shared with from Texas showed me around, taking me to  dirty dozen brass band show st N awesome outdoor festival, my first strip club visits in my life and then to The Country Club (2 1/2 years ago, giving me chance to see how comfortable I was with my body. And this was all in the first day!  Although I was dead set on New York City at the time, the prediction from a stranger who read tarot cards for me in Congo square was true – that I’d never be able to leave New Orleans.

Q: What different styles of jazz do you like to work with?


A: My introduction to Jazz took me ‘through the back door’ into free jazz styles of the 60’s and open improvisation as a foundation.

Although I academically progressed through bebop and modern jazz and now am immersing myself in the folkloric, traditional jazz that’s so prevalent in this city, I resonate with the extended sound palette used by free improvisers and the ideologies surrounding that music (thanks to my mom, a contemporary classical music specialist), as well as with the folk/oral music practices exemplified by early jazz and blues (thanks to my Dad, a specialist in west African traditional music of Ghana).  Thus, I get along with jazz musicians who aren’t style biased, so much as they approach the music with a balance of historical awareness and the freedom which allows one to be simultaneously

spontaneous and socially conscious as a musician in the digital age.

Q: Why the drums?

A:  I started on classical piano, since I grew up listening to my mom play, but for frustrated with it after 6 years.  I wanted an instrument that was fun, and listening to the British Invasion bands like Cream, The Who, and Led Zeppelin guided my choice to play the drums. Also, hearing my father practice with the Ghanian drumming and dance group, Zadonu, created strong ties between drumming and motion in my mind.  I was a super hyper kid, so it was a match made in heaven!

Q: What trends in music annoy you?



A: Frankly, musical trends annoy me across the board. I believe that somewhere between a music career’s demand for inspiration and for real world application, a lot of artists second guess themselves and sabotage their own unique voice.  While its impossible to avoid being a part of trends contextually (especially in our deeply commercialized, statistic driven culture), I gain the most inspiration from …artists whose

voices seem the further away from the social contracts that define styles,

marketability and culture.

Q: What is the best advice an older musician has given you?

A: During a q&a with Wynton Marsalis at Lincoln Center, I asked him how he defined jazz in a time where more and more other styles and hybrids of improvised music are coming into being.  His answer upset me at the time: “If I want gumbo, I ain’t gonna want no Cap’n Crunch!”.  By that

point, even mentors were warning me that I could ‘never be as authentic as the greats’, or ‘never be as swingin’ as an African American’, so my teenage brain processed Wynton’s response in the same light, thinking that he was labeling me as the bland, non-substantial essence of the jazz community.  Now that I live in his hometown of New Orleans, a city founded on cross cultural understanding and the desire to create and preserve unique art with what everyone brings to the table, I am starting to think that his ‘gumbo’ metaphor was referring to the

borderlessness and fearless spirit of collaboration that defines this place and its greatest contribution to defining a nation of immigrants, jazz.  This spirit is what allows me to musically converse in any language as well as to examine and thoughtfully apply a broad musical palette of ideas.

Q: You get to hang out with the ghost of Buddy Rich! Where do you go and what do you do when you get there?


A:  I’ve heard all too much about Buddy Rich’s temper, so part of me really wants to see how far that would extend.  I’d want to interrupt a show of his in some way, by pushing over his cymbal stands while he’s taking one of those unnecessarily long, technical and unmusical drum solos, or by slipping him a laxative before he starts playing a big show.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)

An Interview With Mass Awareness Project Founder Tony Curatolo


Tony Curatolo is the founder of Mass Awareness Project; here is a link to his website:



Q: What is the Mass Awareness Project?

A: The Mass Awareness Project is more difficult to characterize than most organizations due to its multifaceted nature.  The best way to describe it is a community of likeminded people who have made it their mission to create an awareness platform that will be a friend to all who want to change the world for the better or are simply searching for knowledge of world issues.  We are doing this in a lot of different ways and through many varying forms of media.

For instance, we will be hosting a TV show in the Portland area with the help of our friends at Portland Community Media.  The show will focus on highlighting many of the world’s problems, pointing out the facts and what we could or should do about them. The show will also feature groups that are trying to make a difference like Children of Peace International, The Bloom Project, The Ingenuity Innovation Center and many more.

In addition, we are having great success developing a social media presence through several platforms; Instagram being the most popular thus far.  We haven’t been on Instagram 2 full months yet, but we already have nearly 1800 followers.  We want to continue building our social media presence so that eventually, any organization that is raising funds for a good cause can contact us and we will be able to spread the word to a network thousands strong with just a few clicks of the mouse.  All 100% Free.  And it will remain that way as long as the Mass Awareness Project is around.

We are also developing our own website that will feature original articles and news about our organization.

Q: What inspired you to start the project?

A: When I first started thinking about it, the concept was a simple web series that addressed world issues.  It sounded like a creative way to make a difference and a fun way to spend my free time.  I thought about it for years and never really tried to develop it.  A few months ago I posted an ad on Craigslist just to see if anyone would be interested in working on a project like that.  Overnight I was contacted by nearly 100 people.  I have to say I was stunned.  I never planned for that kind of response.  Very quickly I realized that I might have stumbled on to something and the idea grew from there.  Now we have a real chance to make a difference in the world.

Q: What kind of educational background do you have and how will it help with the project?

A: I went to college, but as a Music Performance major and I didn’t finish.  My real education was my experience in the business world.  I managed several successful businesses in several different industries and learned much of how the world works and what it takes to be successful.  My real talent was always bringing people together and orienting them towards a common goal.  I’ve done this with sales forces, marketing teams, call centers, construction companies and many more.  Now, I do it for the Mass Awareness Project.

Q:  What kind of day job do you have right now?

A: I run a small online business from home and work part time as a HCA to pay the bills.  The bulk of my time is spent on the Mass Awareness Project.

Q: What kind of stories are you looking for on your web-series?

A: What I have found is that there are inspirational people all around us.

We are looking to promote anyone who has a project or story that could benefit the world.  This could include inventors, non-profit organizations, farmers, business owners, politicians, victims of crime and anyone else who has a voice that needs to be heard.

Q:  You are currently taking submissions to your video series. What is the most popular topic people want to talk about?

A: Many of the topics have something to do with the environment.  It’s a huge issue right now and it will be until humanity decides to stop abusing our planet.  Many topics are political like Citizens United or the power of lobbyists on Washington. Education and Equality are also huge priorities.

Q:  Who is in your team of writers?

A: I really lucked out.  Derek Poe, Bryan Fuehrer and Paul Norberg have joined the project and have been absolutely amazing to work with.  We collaborate on every script and all though we all come from different backgrounds and our views differ we have yet to have a real disagreement.  Everyone checks their ego at the door and we get a ton of work done.

Q:  What is the most unusual problem someone has approached you with?

A: Someone asked if we could help spread awareness of the real meaning of parkour!  Really funny, but not quite what we are looking for though.

Q:  Does the project endorse any particular candidate in the presidential election?


Q:  What issues are the most important to you personally?

A: I am an Italian immigrant and didn’t speak English until I was 11 years old.   I lost my accent a long time ago and most people I meet can’t tell I’m foreign any more.  Still, when I was young, I got to feel racism first hand and was treated differently by many of my peers and teachers.  Even as a Caucasian child it was difficult.  Too many people deal with so much worse than I had to every day for a variety of bogus reasons.  The way you talk, the color of your skin, your sexual orientation do not make you better or worse than anyone else.  Inequality and racism will be at the top of my list of issues until they are abolished for this reason.

Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)