honey bees love pussy willows; flowers love the sun and rain
grass don’t mind being cut ’cause it’s just gonna grow again
spiders building their summer homes; birds eating bugs on the lawn
run to the beach! escape to the mountains! spring’s done come and gone

picnics and fireworks; the fair on the outskirts of town
humidity and chores to shirk; slow your fast self down
watermelon and lemonade; tomatoes heavy on the vine
run like hell ‘n find some shade! ’cause honey, it’s summertime
yes, honey. it’s summertime…

hey y’all…

the fans are on high, i’m in shorts and a tank top, the flowers in my garden are freshly watered and hershey, the neighbor’s cat next door, whose owners are on vacation, has received her daily petting and rub-down. the other neighbors on the other side are in charge of her feeding, entrance and egress. somebody up the street from us just celebrated their 40th birthday yesterday and their “friends” surprised them by putting toilet paper in the trees, suspending 20 assorted bras across their garage door in a “40 cup salute” and sticking 40 lollipops made out of tissue paper in their yard. i love my neighbors…

i wound up the last session of my SLAM (Sing Like A Murderer) Vocal Therapy Workshops this past weekend. boy, have i learned a lot. whoever it was that said “talking about music is like dancing about architecture” surely spoke the truth (i’ve heard it was thelonious monk). seemed like as soon as i opened my mouth to talk about my approach to singing, the whole thing felt watered down, diluted and less than it was than if had i simply kept my mouth shut and just sang (an audience member said that to me once: “just shut up and sing!” i had to laugh. and sing). but, in spite of all that, i’m considering conducting another series of vocal therapy workshops in the fall, though i’ve not totally committed to it yet.

if i do – or don’t – it’ll be in the next newsletter.

we’re going back to the studio in Charleston, SC in august. me, Kevin Bales, Rodney Jordan and Quentin Baxter – and hopefully some special guests. after our “Voice Of My Beautiful Country” tour last year, we realized we have so much more to say, musically speaking. most likely, the CD will have the same name as our 2009 tour.

KUVO 89.3, denver’s jazz radio station (and the place i met my sweet, sweet husband) celebrates its 25th anniversary on aug 14 and i’ll be joining in the celebration by singing a few songs with Ken Walker and his sextet. and, because it’s the 25th anniversary, KUVO is going all out by having my photo and ken’s put on bottles of syrah and cabernet, respectively. and i’ve seen some of the proofs, y’all. we look good. and it’s gonna be hot!

speaking of august, it’s only been 5 years since the winds of Hurricane Katrina uprooted the lives of thousands of folks living along the gulf coast and beyond. some of us are still reeling from its impact in our lives or the lives of our family and friends. at the same time, it’s been the source of inspiration for artists of all genres. Ted Hearne, an award-winning composer, has composed a one-of-a-kind masterpiece that speaks to the events surrounding Katrina, and has entitled it The Katrina Ballads. Ted has asked me to be one of the 5 singers and 11 musicians involved in this amazing and moving project and i have happily accepted. we will be performing the Katrina Ballads in NY on august 24 and in Houston on august 28. details of all this and more are in the attached itinerary.

if you can’t open the attachment, you can always just go www.renemarie.com and click on the “itinerary” page where everything is listed with links.

let’s see…what else?

oh, yeah! an online interview with the Jazz Diva Joan Cartwright sept 1, the Jazz Kitchen in indianapolis on sept 3, Chicago Jazz Fest on sept 4, the Jazz Standard sept 9-12 and Dazzle on sept 17 – it’s all in the attached newsletter.

heading into the fall, Carla Cook, Allan Harris and i will be stirring things up with a great big ol’ spoon at the Kennedy Center on october 15 & 16. i had this crazy idea to put together a show called “Two Skirts And A Shirt”. it’s a lotta lipstick and legs, fine-ass singin’, cuttin’ up and carryin’ on and gettin’ down in three-part harmony. and that’s just me and Carla! Allan just stands there lookin’ all fine and singing that smooth and sexy way he does while the women sit there drooling. we give him a hard time up on that stage, but he loves it! awww, i’m tellin’ you, you’ll just have to come see it. betcha five dollars you won’t be disappointed!

and finally, please take special note of jan 28 & 29, 2011 because, out of this entire itinerary, that’s the date i’m most proud of: my one-woman show, “Slut Energy Theory – U’Dean”, is coming to Dallas! ever since the play premiered in october of last year, we’ve been working so hard trying to “get the show on the road”. it’s a new arena for me. i mean, i think i got the music thing down in terms of getting booked at various venues. but it’s been quite an adventure figuring out how to introduce myself as a playwright and actress. i’ve learned one doesn’t book a play in exactly the same way that one books a gig. nope. it’s a whole new world out there…

but i believe in U’Dean.

i believe in her story, her personality and her…uh…ahem…’charm’. it’s hard to describe her, except to say once you’ve met U’Dean, you will not forget her! lawd, i love that woman! many thanks to The Black Academy of Arts and Letters for bringing U’Dean to Dallas. may it be the first of many more venues outside of Denver. there’s more on my website about U’Dean and her story, and you can check the itinerary for details of the Dallas show.

the itinerary takes us further into 2011 with dates in Atlanta at Spivey Hall and overseas into Israel for a week. if you can’t download the attachment, just go to my website and click the “itinerary” page. it’s all there.

well, that about does it, y’all. i’m off to put the finishing touches on the email for our family reunion. and when you have your next barbecue, throw an extra ear of corn on the grill for me – extra butter!

love yourself
love your family
love your neighbors
love the world…