Javajune's Blog

Someone once said… “Laugh as much as you breathe and love as long as you live.”

The people of Michigan aren’t afraid despite what you may have heard.

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Look at this image and study the faces, see the pride and joy on each one of them and then just imagine you can taste the smoky flavor of barbecued ribs that’s floating thru the streets. This man calls himself the Latin Lover and he does hip-hop like I have never experienced  it before.

All we hear said about Michigan these days is that the economy is in the poop-er, unemployment may reach 20 percent and GM has called it quits.  Well, forget everything you’ve heard because this girl has something to say that may just change your mind. She took a little road trip to the Motor City this weekend and it taught her a thing or two about the great people of this state. This journey restored her faith in the spirit and resiliency of our people here in Michigan. We are alive and well in spirit and  talent and we aren’t giving up!

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Yeah, all the produce looked this good. It was a beautiful sight!

For years I have been saying that I wanted to visit the Eastern Market for a little fresh produce, blooming flowers and ethnic food. This market is right in the heart of Detroit and it’s not very well publicised throughout the state. I conned a few family members into taking the hour and a half trip to the city with me and I’m glad I did. I couldn’t believe what I saw, what I had been missing and how I felt when I left.  There was a lot of ethnic food ( we ate at the Taste of Ethiopia) and more beautiful produce under one roof than I had ever seen. The miles of gorgeous flowers were irresistible but they weren’t what inspired me most.

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This woman is Jackie Wilson’s daughter. He was a Detroit native who’s voice got him inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Her singing of “God Bless the Child who’s got his Own” shook me to my core.

I arrived at the market that morning not feeling particularly good or hopeful about Michigan and it’s future but what I experienced that day changed my mind forever. Although I live a short drive from the Motor City where Motown began and the car industry thrived,  I’m ashamed to say that I never really took the time to experience the talent and the energy that made Michigan, magic.  I was more concerned with the west side of the state with it’s trendy shops and the beautiful beaches of Lake Michigan.

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This is Alfonse Lawrence AKA The Maker.  Alfonse played the inner city clubs starting at the age of 16 but took a job as a tool and die maker when disco moved in, hence his nickname “The Maker” but after 30 years in the trades he’s back and has just put out his first cd. He was tucked away on a back street making R & B music and it was wonderful. I bought his cd “Evidence of a Party” and enjoyed his soulful sound all the way home.

After milling around the endless rows of flowers and vegetables and other wares that artisans had to offer we made our way to the Motown Room to sit at the sidewalk cafe/bar for a spell. With a drink in hand and a comfy seat I experienced raw talent like I had never seen before. I am both amazed and proud of the people who call Detroit their home.  

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The singers performing were just people off the street that took to the microphone and rocked the crowd. As the music played people got up and moved to the sound without a care about who may be watching.  There were kids break- dancing and a woman in her eighties that grooved her heart out.

In this spot not one person was thinking about GM’s failures, the rising unemployment rate or the shrinking value of their home. There were more smiles per inch than I ever remember seeing in one place. The talent of these every day people who took to the microphone was unbelievable. Now I know why Motown is a legend and Detroit was and still should be a proud place to call home. The people weren’t afraid to be themselves and the support they received was both inspiring and  beautiful.  There was pride, individuality and talent that mingled with the smoke of freshly barbecued ribs that slowly wafted over the buildings and out of sight. 

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Are you hungry yet? You should be. The mesmerising smell of smoked meat invaded every one of my senses. 

I left there feeling as though I had seen the true Michigan and understood for the very first time the spirit and tenacity that made our state a great place to call home.

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 Here’s the princess grooving with great-grandma.

I hope you feel inspired to check out some great places and people in your state this summer. You might be surprised by what is just around the corner.

xo-jj

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June 8, 2009 Posted by | confessions, me | , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Seduced by a naked mango

Seduce: to lead astray usually by persuasion or false promises.

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Have you been seduced lately? I bet you have without even knowing it. Just recently while I was flipping through a food magazine, I came across a gorgeous picture of a mango.  The ad said,” eat mangoes naked.” Maybe they taste better when you’re naked and the juice drips off your chin, runs down your chest and then settles in your naval.  I don’t know. Okay, I really don’t like mangoes, mango juice is pretty tasty but the fruit by itself just isn’t my thing. But this mango looked so appealing, so fresh, and juicy and well, I bought one. I started to eat it with my clothes on and then I tried the naked thing to see if it tasted any better-no better just sticky. Mangoes are kind of a sexy fruit and eating them naked didn’t seem like a too much of a stretch. The truth is I’m very easily seduced. I like the words sexy,  naked, seduction; what can I say, I’m a hopeless romantic, I told you , it’s in my profile.

Where is all of this talk about seduction and mangoes leading to: I wanted to rant a little about the subtle changes I’ve seen due to the current recession. Changes are necessary but I’m not sure I like what I see. I know my view is a bit obscure and probably something that most of you haven’t thought about but what would you expect from Junie?  The real question should be, “what does being seduced and eating mangoes in the nude have to do with our current economy?”  It sounds like a bit of a stretch but let me explain.

 The allure of the stage or the layout of your favorite magazine, the soulful sounds of  music or the vivid colors on canvas: it all has a way of drawing us in with it’s quiet seduction. We are seduced everyday, everywhere and in many ways. It could be the cool sophistication of a pair of designer jeans or that sexy sports car that says, “I’m successful” maybe even the comfort of religion and a promise of heaven. We see it and want it without question. We are so easily influenced and unequivocally seduced by the mere look of perfection or the smell of success. Nobody starts out wanting to be a store clerk or part of the roadside crew. We go for the allure of becoming an artist, a doctor, a lawyer, a fireman, or an actor. When in reality the job of a clerk or roadside worker is real and honest.  A lust for fashion and a quest for fame starts very early and is encouraged by our parents, our teachers and strangers too. The question, “what do you want to be when you grow up” starts before we reach the age of understanding. 

Is all of this about to change with the current condition of the economy and the feeling of disgust over greed and excess? Should it? If we settle for what will put food on the table and keep a roof over our head, are we at risk of losing our dreams and the notion that we can do anything we set our minds to?

I’ve seen a change and I’m not sure what to think of it.  The gloss on the page has become subdued, the expensive ads are few and far between. It’s true that things had become a little out of hand. We’ve been living a life of glitz and glamour and instant gratification and yet we dare to ask for more.  But yet, I wonder if we can’t scale back and get a little more real and down to earth without losing our ability to dream just a little. Is it possible?

Could you become resilient to the art of seduction and if you could, would you want to?  How many times have you bought a product because it promised to make you feel beautiful or become a success.  I have to admit I’m a sucker for a beautiful magazine, a romantic movie or an alluring commercial ad. I’m not sure I want to lose that feeling of being romanced, seduced and then pleased by my purchase. You’re not just purchasing a product your buying the idea or story that goes along with it.  It’s all so satisfying in an enchanting kind of way.

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I know we need to make a change in our expectations and lifestyle but don’t take away our lust for beauty, our longing for adventure or our need to dream. I’m afraid that during our quest for simplicity we might lose something childlike and magical along the way. The advice to keep life simple is wise but I don’t think that means we have to live a life of boredom or become too generic.

I’m trying to be more simplistic in my needs and mindful of how much is too much but I refuse to ignore the art of seduction or put an end to my dreams. I will still lust for a life that is filled with sparkle, allure and at times a little seduction. I refuse to give up on the lust of a dream and the quest for a career that suits me.

I’ve been seduced by a fruit that I don’t even like, what about you; are you easily seduced?

Think about it and let me know, right after you sink your teeth into a sweet, juicy mango. mmmm, it’s so good!

xo-jj

May 1, 2009 Posted by | me, rants, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments