Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Author Travels Europe to Trace the Roots of Dracula


Vampires aren't my thing. Actually, horror movies period aren't my thing. "Twilight" and other vampire media have unleashed serious fangdamonia (get it?) recently. The obsession is not a big surprise to me because there's been a huge cult-following of vampires for years. Hollywood and the book industry are just now figuring that out. I'm not biting because I'm a scaredy cat. I couldn't sleep in my bed for a week after I saw Fright Night back in 1986. I wasn't crazy about The Count from Sesame Street either.

Childhood fears aside, Cocoa Fly can't resist a good story. Author Steve Unger is a huge vampire fan and actually traveled to Europe to research the roots of the original blood-loving seducer Count Dracula. Unger shares his adventure through England and Romania in his book, "In The Footsteps of Dracula: A Personal Journey and Travel Guide."  He writes of his experience scouring graveyards and castles, while also providing travel information to readers also interested in packing up to explore the history and sites that inspired writer Bram Stoker's creation of the Dracula character. I met Unger recently at a random trip to Borders Bookstore. He was signing books and during our chat I became fascinated about his travels. I may not like vampires but I love a traveler. He has bicycled in Madrid and London. During his college years Unger was an exchange student at the historically black college Tuskegee University in Alabama. This was during the Civil Rights Movement and he was the only white student there at that time. Unger worked with other students, teaching farmers how to read. Traveling to dig up Dracula was the cherry on top for me.
Back to vampire stuff...Unger explains Bram Stoker built the Dracula character on real-life Romanian Prince Vlad Dracula The Impaler from the 1400's. The prince lived in a castle, was born in Transylvania and exercised harsh punishment on his enemies. Unger hiked to Prince Vlad's fortress and was a bit creeped out by the auroa:

*But let's get back to Poenari, the real Castle of Dracula. I had traveled to other remote, forbidding places. But never before or since have I felt the apprehension and isolation I did while climbing to Vlad Ţepeş' mountaintop fortress at Poenari. The forest was as quiet as a tomb; I can't recall hearing the song of even a single bird...Of all the places I explored that are associated with Vlad Ţepeş, only at Poenari did I feel that he was somehow still keeping watch. Thousands of boyars and their families had been force-marched there from Tărgovişte to die rebuilding the castle for Prince Vlad... And it was here that Prince Dracula's wife cast herself from the highest window of the eastern tower, choosing a swift death over the torture of the stake.


Fortress Ruins at Poenari*


Kind of eerie and cool. We usually don't associate history with pop culture, but Unger is giving historical context of the origins of vampire mythology. As someone who loves history, I find that pretty interesting. But I'll leave the vampire searching to him.

"In the Footsteps of  Dracula" is available on Amazon.com.

If you're in California Steven P. Unger is holding booksigning at the following:

Saturday, October 16th, 2010 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Borders, 2765 E. Bidwell St., Folsom CA 95630 (916) 984-5900


Sunday, October 17th, 2010 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Copperfield's Books Petaluma, 140 Kentucky St., Petaluma, CA 95404 (707) 762-0563



*Parts of this article previously appeared in Romar Traveler and Patricia's Vampire Notes

















Wednesday, September 22, 2010

No Wedding No Womb:
Sista Stop Settling for the Sperm

Sperm

No Wedding No Womb is a cyber movement featuring 100 black bloggers speaking out against the high percentage of African-American children born out of wedlock, fatherlessness in the community and to encourages black women to be more sexually responsible. Writer Christelyn Karazin of the blog Beyond Black and White is the brains behind NWNW. Below is CocoaFly.com's contribution...

R&B singer Kelly Price has a new song I play when my soul needs to vent called “Tired.” Price gives me chills when she belts how she’s tired of everything from lies and paying bills to keeping it real. Well, I’m tired too. I’m TIRED of sistas settling for the sperm. Too many black children are coming into this world fatherless. We’ve bought into this false idea hurting our community that BABY - MARRIAGE = BLACK WOMAN’S FATE. While many sistas desire to be “Mrs. So and So” one day, some of us think the title “Baby Mama” is the best we can do. Instead of setting our sights on true love, marriage and commitment from a man, we settle for his sperm and make babies. We all know the sista who settles for the sperm. She’s working the register at JC Penney and making moves at JP Morgan. She’s our girlfriend in love with the guy who isn’t ready to settle down. But she gives her womb and heart to him anyway. She’s the neighbor who takes out her frustrations from her past mistakes on her child. “You no good just like your daddy!” she yells to her kid over and over. But everyone on the block, including her, knew the guy was a loser. He never had time for his other kids and only made time for her when in the mood. But she settled for the sperm and a swollen belly. Both of these scenarios often have the same ending. She’s due in nine months. He’s gone. As for the baby, he or she may see their dad a few times. It’s no surprise Daddy split. He wasn’t serious nor reliable when they were dating. So why would he be there for his child?


Melancholy Child

I understand things happen. Condoms break and faulty birth control pills work more like Skittles than sperm blockers. Or the baby’s father was supportive in the beginning but did a 180 and vanished. Those cases aren’t settling for the sperm. They’re “oopsies.” I’m not putting all of the blame on this crisis on sistas, nor am I attacking single black mothers. Men who make babies they don’t care for need to be responsible. And not all black kids from single-parent households are troubled. But some of us women are more selective about which shoes to buy for a Trey Songz concert then we are about the men we bring into our lives. We’re so thirsty for love that even when “the one” won’t put a ring on it, we still let him put it in. And the overwhelming consequences in our community are fatherless boys with no map to manhood so they turn to the streets. And Daddy-less girls search for a father-figure in any man who’ll give them attention. Then the sperm-settling cycle continues.



Ultrasound


But what really, really makes me TIRED is how the black community accepts fatherless homes as the norm. A girlfriend told me when she attended a family reunion relatives asked when were she and her boyfriend planning to have children. My friend responded, “Can we talk about marriage first?” I’ve shocked people when I told them I’m in my early 30s and have no children. One brotha asked me, “How did you do that?” But he didn’t miss a beat when I said I wasn’t married.

portrait of a groom holding the bride from behind



Some think black women have a better chance of finding a purple unicorn than a man who will say“ I Do” before we tell him, “I’m due.” The media, your family or friends may have implied you’re not marriage material because men don’t like black women. And just be happy that any dude with most of his teeth and enough sperm to give you a few babies is interested in you. All are FALSE. I’m aware when it comes to who exemplifies womanhood, society rates black women toward the bottom. And I know since slavery, black women’s bodies have been seen as “baby-making factories.” But this internalization of ourselves must stop. As Maya Angelou wrote in the poem "Our Grandmothers",” …my description cannot fit your tongue, for I have a certain way of being in this world.”


Couple with champagne embracing and toasting


So sista define yourself as being worthy--worthy of good , stable love and joy. Set your sights for that man who you KNOW will be a good partner to you AND a great father to your children. Until you find him, use a condom. Please. The Black Girls Blues soundtrack of single and lonely with kids is not your destiny. Michelle Obama, Holly Robinson-Peete, Iman and countless sistas around the globe can attest to that. Sista, you don’t have to settle for the sperm.


Fly with Cocoa Fly on Facebook & Twitter

Monday, September 20, 2010

Girrrrrl Tell Him
'No Wedding No Womb'

No Wedding. No Womb.

Have you heard?

On Wednesday Sept, 22nd roughly 100 black bloggers are going to fire up the blogosphere with posts about how 70 percent of black children are born out of wedlock. The movement is No Wedding No Womb . I'm excited about this. Christelyn Krazin over at Beyond Black & White came up with the idea. This sista has gone all out with the help of other bloggers. There's even a theme song and video you can check out below. Shout out to Lorraine Spencer over at Black American Brides for writing the lyrics. Cocoa Fly is bringing her opinion to the mix. My post deals with sperm...kinda. You have to check back this Wednesday to read my post "Sista Stop Settling for the Sperm."

I grew up in a single-parent home and this one issue I'm very passionate about, especially as it pertains to the black community. My mother did an excellent job raising me. Still, having a good father in the home is important in a child's life. Fathers are a girl's or boy's first example of manhood. I had a relationship with my father but he lived six hours away and wasn't around to do things like teach me how to ride a bike or threaten my prom dates when they came to pick me up. At least I know my father and his side of the family because some kids raised solely by their mothers have never seen their father. Everyone should know where they come from.

Remember: Wednesday, CocoaFly.com and No Wedding No Womb. You can see both sites for my post. Until then, here's a taste of what to expect:




No Wedding No Womb Theme Song! by LJpress

Dreaming and Hooked on Andy Allo


My blog hasn't blown up yet, but it's getting there. One of my favorite artists who I KNOW is going to blow up is Andy Allo. I don't feature artists on here if I don't think they're special. Andy is super-duper-crazy talented and I play her CD UnFresh when I want to mellow out. Trust me, between hustling a blog and pitching news stories, I need to mellow out often. One day Andy will be touring with the likes of Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, The Roots, Maxwell etc. See for yourself in her latest video "DreamLand" featuring rapper Blu. And peep her earlier-released video of one my favorite songs from Andy's album, "Hooked."

That beauty of Andy's you see on the outside is just as radiant on the inside. Check my interview with her here and you'll see what I'm talking about.







Saturday, September 18, 2010

Guess Where Cocoa Fly Has Landed?

Here's a clue....





Get It? Mc Hammer. He's a rapper from Oakland. So Cocoa Fly has landed in...

Los Angeles was a fun ride. The beaches, celebs, parties, friends, shopping and the sunshine were hard to give up. But one major thing missing was a J-O-B. I love LA. But being jobless in LA, well, how should I put it? It SUCKED. The recession had a sista packing her bags and heading back to where Cocoa Fly first got her swag--Oakland. Also known as The O, The Town or for those who partied in the 90s, OakTown. But I'm excited to be back and spread Cocoa Fly's wings even farther. In the weeks few I've been home I met a cool author who traveled to Europe to write a book on the history of Dracula (I'll tell you about him in a future post), wrote a blog post about single black mothers for the No Wedding No Womb cyber movement set to happen next Wednesday, Sept. 22nd (the title of my post includes the word "sperm"), hit up a few family parties, got a nice email from London blogger Sober In The Cauldron (Hammer lyric: "I've toured around the world from London to the Bay"), was invited to cover Good Vibrations Indie Erotic Film Festival in San Francisco, made some Hollywood connections (keep your fingers crossed on this one) and got some much, much, much needed R&R. Speaking of rest, I'm sure the victims of the San Bruno gas line explosion could use some rest. My prayers and positive energy are going out to them.

Special shout out to Oakland Voices' project coordinator for helping a sista in her moving process. And another shout out to MC Hammer. Why? Because I'm from Oakland and I love Hammer. Before Puffy, Jay Z, etc., Hammer was one of the earlier rappers to make hip hip mainstream. And he did it while keeping his lyrics clean.

Cocoa Fly is READY to soar in the Bay Area and beyond. Keep flying with me. It's going to be fun.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cher Turns Back Time With Fierce Outfit at MTV Video Music Awards

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Singer Cher performs onstage during the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards at NOKIA Theatre L.A. LIVE on September 12, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

If you read the post below you know I've been a busy bee, well a busy Cocoa Fly. I'm still unpacking and settling in my new spot, which I will reveal to you very soon. But I had to take a break from the boxes because I heard the OG (original goddess) of fierceness herself, Cher, made an appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards tonight. Like many of the Cher costumes we love from back in day, this outfit only took one spool of thread to make. It looks like a throwback to If I Could Turn Back Time video. Not bad for a woman in her mid- 60's. I know Cher has had some help from a scalpel to slow down the aging process. But I don't care. She's Sixty and Sexy. I love a woman who lives by her own rules and Cher does just that. Girl, you go.

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