12 hours left and 10 reasons to support my book Grow!

I can’t believe there are just 12 hours left in my fundraising campaign on RocketHub.com to support my book Grow’s North American tour and the development of workshops for creatives with do it yourself projects to plan for success and sustainability. In these final hours (the campaign ends at 11:59 pm Eastern Time tonight) I wanted to share with you ten reasons why I believe so much in this project and why the support of my community for this project will extend far and wide.

One: Grow supports independent entrepreneurs
Grow is a tool kit for those who want to launch their own business.  Small businesses provide 55% of all jobs in the US according to the Small Business Administration and by giving to Grow you are helping those entrepreneurs develop a road map for success.

Two: Grow helps dispel the myth of the starving artist
Grow helps artists and creative people plan to be innovative and sustainable so they can live their dreams, make art, pay the rent, and put food on the table.

Three: Grow supports independent, print media
You’ve heard the statistics – book stores are closing and large publishers are further consolidating. By supporting Grow you support an independent publishing company  that is not beholden to shareholders or corporate interests.

Four: Grow is the future
With a tough job market and declining funding for the arts and innovative endeavors creative people need to seek new ways to support their projects. Grow shows the way for creative people to support for themselves and how to turn challenge into opportunity.

Five: Grow is the culmination of my education, professional and personal experience
Grow was inspired by my time playing in bands, organizing underground cultural events, writing zines, working as an educator and helping artists find resources for their projects. It’s my chance to share my passion for supporting creative projects of all kinds with the world.

Six: Grow builds community
Grow emphasizes the importance of building and nurturing community. As Amy Schroeder said, “It takes a community to do it yourself,” and Grow needs the support to nurture a strong community of DIY entrepreneurs.

Seven: The rewards are awesome (and made with love!)
I’m making a brand new issue of my zine Indulgence just for Grow campaign supporters! In addition, there are plenty of titles from Microcosm Publishing as rewards so you can build your own DIY library and carry it home in a special Grow tote bag. My cat Crackers has even agreed to sign books for everyone who gives over $100!

Eight: Grow celebrates successful DIY projects
Grow showcases successful DIY entrepreneurs and gives them chance to share the lessons they’ve learned along the way. Independent creatives can feel isolated when they strike out on their own. Grow demonstrates that there’s a community of support available to creative, do-it-yourself entrepreneurs and nurtures their success.

Nine: Grow believes that small is beautiful
Grow shows how individuals with an exciting vision can have a big impact. Even small contributions to Grow make a large difference in being able to go on tour and spread the word about building strong DIY businesses and communities.

Ten: Grow is shaping a movement to help creative visionaries succeed
Supporting Grow means supporting hands-on workshops all over North America that help creative people develop the skills they need to strengthen their DIY projects and launch sustainable businesses. Help spread the message of DIY from coast to coast!

Running this campaign has been an exciting and humbling experience. I’ve felt so grateful that people from all corners of my life has stepped up to support this vision and I would love to count you among them! Thank you, all, for spreading the word and helping to demonstrate the power of DIY community through your support. Visit the campaign here to keep sharing and supporting!

Cats, Crowdfunding and Community: Support Grow!

Oh, hello! How are you? I know things have been a little quiet on this blog lately, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy. I’ve been working like crazy on the crowdfunding campaign to raise $7,000 by April 1st to support the North American tour for my book Grow: How to Take Your Do It Yourself Project and Passion to the Next Level and Quit Your Job! , which comes out June 1st. Here’s a little video I made that introduces you to my vision for workshops that will help creative people with do it yourself project plans for sustainability and has a special guest appearance by my editorial assistant, Crackers the cat. I would love to have your support and involvement in the campaign and share the book with you when it’s completed. So have a look, share the link, and give if you can! Thanks for all of your support of all my creative endeavors. My community, both on and off line, means the world to me.

Introducing the Grow book trailer and fundraising campaign!

I’m so excited to share this trailer for my book Grow: How to take your do it yourself project and passion to the next level and quit your job! with you. The animation was created by the talented Mackenzie Katz and it lays out the passions, ideas and experiences that drove me to write Grow. It also highlights what I hope to achieve with this project, from helping creative people clarify their vision and build their own sustainable path to success to working together to build an economy that is supportive of creative businesses and careers of all types.

This book trailer is being released in conjunction with a crowd funding campaign on RocketHub.com to support the production and promotion of Grow. Grow is about building DIY community and your participation during this campaign will enable me to develop and present workshops with other DIY entrepreneurs all over North America to help creative people strengthen and sustain their ideas and businesses.

The campaign is a great time to pre-order Grow and pick up other fabulous titles from the book’s publishers, Cantankerous Titles and Microcosm Publishing, as well as rewards handmade by me, including a special, new issue of my personal zine Indulgence that will only be available to campaign supporters.

You can watch the video, peruse the campaign, learn about all the fabulous rewards, and make a contribution here.

We have until April 1 to reach our $7,000 goal and hope to build as much support as we can in the early days.

Thank you in advance for your support of DIY creativity and for spreading the word about how others can get involved in the growth of the Grow project! The ideas, inspiration, and support I have received from the DIY community has sustained me over the years and I continue to be buoyed by all that my community offers me. Thank you for your attention and support!

Corita is Going to SXSW!

Contrary to popular belief, this is not Corita's press photo

So there’s this little film/media/technology/music festival in Austin, Texas every spring called South by Southwest, or SXSW, or just “South by.”  You’ve probably heard of it. I generally hate things that cause a lot of media hype and draw a lot of crowds, but I decided that for once in my life I’d like to join half of Brooklyn in heading down to Austin for South by and it looks like this is the year!

#SXSW @CoritaNYC set preview

SXSW Setlist sneak preview

I’m really excited because I’m speaking on a panel about crowdfunding for musicians on the morning of Wednesday the 14th with awesome folks from RocketHub, CD Baby, Zero Management and Ariel Publicity. I hope you can join me if you’ll be doing the conference thing! I’d also like to invite you to very casual, “unofficial” artists networking breakfast I’m organizing at Cherrywood Coffeehouse on Thursday the 15th from 10 to 12 noon. Let me know if you want to drop by and have a breakfast taco with me!

Big bowl of @CoritaNYC buttons!

Bowl of Corita buttons!

My band Corita will also be joining the fray and will play an unofficial showcase at Waterloo Cycles on Saturday the 17th. We’ll be playing around 2pm, the show is free and there will be free beer too! Playing SXSW will be our first time playing outside of New York City! As we thought about how we would present ourselves to our audience in Austin we quickly realized we had nothing to represent us as a band: no press photos, no physical copies of our EP Memento Mori, no badges, no flyers, no business cards, not even a bio describing the band that we had all agreed on!

Corita CDs and buttons! Cover art by @wunderfemme

Corita CDs with artwork by Eve Badia, aka Wunderfemme

About a month ago we got down to work. We took press photos as a secret location with Stefano Giovannini (I can’t wait to post them when he’s done working on them), and scheduled two Sunday afternoon “Merch Atelier” sessions. We enlisted the help of our very supportive friends and spent two Sunday afternoons drinking mimosas, eating Peter Pan doughnuts, and cranking out badges, CDs, writing our bio, and getting ourselves set up on all the social networking sites we could handle.

Photoshoot aftermath (glitter/confetti explosion)

Photo shoot glitterbomb aftermath - real photos coming soon

Thanks to our efforts we not only have beautiful CDs and badges to give away, but you can hear Corita on Soundcloud, Reverbnation, and follow us on Twitter! You can also “like” us on Facebook, but we already had that, in addition to our bandcamp, myspace and last.fm pages, at least.

Crafting artwork for Corita badges

Crafting Corita badge artwork. 10 points if you can find the reference to the art of the "real" Corita Kent.

What was so fantastic about the merch atelier sessions, besides the camaraderie and the awesome Corita swag they produced, is that it really helped us think differently about ourselves as a band. We all have “day jobs,” and that fact isn’t going to change. We are in the band because we love playing music and being creative as a group. However, previously, we were really blasé about it. We didn’t make an effort for people to remember our names or build a fan base beyond our friends. However, in talking together and getting excited about sharing our music with new friends in Austin we realized we have collective goals for our band and we can work towards them and have the ability to make them happen.

Corita badge #2 in process

Making another Corita badge

This year Corita will stop playing schlocky New York clubs and focus on playing more art spaces and DIY venues that attract more of the type of people we connect with and feel at home with; we will play out-of-town shows in Philadelphia, Boston and Portland, ME and other northeastern cities where we have like-minded friends in bands; and we will put more of an effort into representing ourselves as a band and taking pride in who we are and what we make. I also decided that I need to stop treating the band as something that will inevitably loose money and ask that we get paid for shows. It doesn’t have to be much, enough to cover the car service to get our equipment there, but if bands don’t start standing up for themselves no one else will.

So, will we see you in Austin? If you’ve been to SXSW before, any tips you want to share with a first timer? And if you come to our show (or my panel discussion) I’d love to give you a Corita badge and CD! Also, if you have a band and want to play a show with us – let me know. We’d love to do a “show swap” between our two cities!

@CoritaNYC badges by @byglam

Corita's merch atelier was international - Stephanie Byglam contributed some typography to us!

And for good measure, here is Corita’s official bio:

Brooklyn-based Corita delivers the shimmery guitars of UK shoegaze, the jangly melodies of C86, creeping angular post-punk rhythms, and overdriven choruses that hark back to 1990s indie rock overlaid with three-girl vocal harmonies. On the 2011 EP Memento Mori, Corita explores the hazards of late capitalism, cinematic European daydreams, animal friends, and human enemies. Named for the visual artist, and former nun, Sister Corita Kent, the band has been an active participant in Brooklyn’s vibrant independent rock scene for the past three years. The songs are a vision shared by four experienced musicians. Guitarist and vocalist Marisha Chinsky found her sound as the leader of the cult-favorite indie-pop group The Consultants, while drummer Nick Cearlock honed his skills in the Pacific Northwest punk scene of the 1990s. Bassist and vocalist Aileen Brophy delivers an encyclopedic knowledge of post-punk sounds, and guitarist and vocalist Eleanor Whitney brings a love of angular melodies and syncopated rhythms from her training as a jazz musician. As a band Corita is the shared vision of four close friends who imagine music as a conduit to a more fulfilling everyday reality.

Be a a philanthropist this holiday season!

Lights and the Moon

Paris steet decorations, 15eme, 2007

In lieu of showing you a list of all the ridiculous glittery shoes that I dream of and the stupid expensive perfume I want, I thought I would tell you about how you can become a philanthropist, a patron of the arts, and a contributor to social change this holiday season. Instead of being a period of extreme conspicuous consumption, for me the holidays are a time when I really think about how my limited money can really give back to the world and create value that goes beyond its monetary worth. While I contribute to charitable causes here and there throughout the year, the holidays are when I take the chunk of my income that I would usually allot to holiday presents and give it to charities and causes that are close to my ethics, interests and values, as well as those of my family.  Nobody needs more stuff, even stuff that sparkles, and I think my small contributions go a lot further helping these organizations and causes then to buy another glitter goo-gah.

Printemps Lit Up for the Holidays

Printemps dressed up for the holidays, 2010.

On Christmas morning I give my family members small things, like an eco-friendly ornament or some delicious, artisanal snack  produced in Brooklyn (shhh… I’m not telling what I’m giving this year) and a card that tells them about the cause I donated to.

This holiday season, I will be supporting:

The Independent Publishing Resource Center

Located in Portland, Oregon the IPRC has computers, work space, a letter press print shop and library for all things zine and independent comic related that also offers classes and workshops. They do fantastic work around supporting young people, media literary and empowerment and provide an important touch stone for the independent publishing community.


Because this community radio station introduced me to independent music and is a vital source of alternative news, local issues, and music programming in a rural area.

Literacy for Incarcerated Teens

Because everyone deserves access to literature and reading and critical thinking bring hope.

Brooklyn Public Library

Because I use this resource almost every day and I don’t want to be a free rider. They provide vital programming and resources to people of all ages in Brooklyn and have the most dedicated staff of librarians.

Heifer International

Because by giving people living in poverty animals and skills that can help them secure their livelihood they support empowerment, not a cycle of dependency on aid.

The Food Bank for New York City

Because hunger in urban areas in unacceptable in this day and age.

The Good Shepard Food Bank in Maine

Because hunger in rural ares is unacceptable in this day and age.

Full apple boughs

A farm in NY State

Hurricane Irene Relief for Upstate New York Farms

I buy local produce whenever possible and am a member of the Sunset Park CSA. The hurricane left NYC unscathed, but seriously effected our neighbors upstate. It left fields under water during one of the key points in the growing and harvest season, ruining farmers crops and livelihoods. Put your money where your farm to table ethics are.

The Coalition for the Homeless

Because homelessness in NYC is at an all time high of at least 41,000 people and without a secure place to live it is almost impossible to build a secure life.

I will also be looking to donate to the artist projects and organizations on Artspire, the website for the New York Foundation for the Arts’ fiscal sponsorship program (full disclosure, they are my employer and I co-run this program). The great thing about Artspire is you can make a tax deductible donation to an individual artists project. What about this one, which will showcase young dancers and composers and benefit Central Park?   You could also look through the many great projects on RocketHub, Kickstarter and Indie GoGo (though in most cases you can’t get a tax deduction for giving through those sites), like this one supporting 131 Washington, a DIY show and art venue in my hometown of Portland, Maine! Or how about helping out Booklyn, a Brooklyn-based book artists alliance which provides key representation for artist book makers?

Also, this holiday season you can be a patron of the arts by buying handmade products. I know venues like Etsy, the Brooklyn Flea, and the Bust Craftacular (which is this weekend) have popularized this option, so you have many options for discovering the perfect handmade item. What about something like the recently released Remedy Quarterly full of recipes and stories about food and feeling good? Perfect for a cold winter evening. Or how about Alejandra O’Leary’s new CD? Supporting independent musicians is always in style.

Remedy Quarterly by Kelly Carumbula

You can also learn a new skill with a friend. Like beer brewing at Bitter and Esters, a new, friendly brew shop in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. Or what about a membership to your favorite local cultural institution? While the big guys like the Met and the MoMA are always popular, what about something like the Brooklyn Historical Society or the Queens Museum of Art (or you can adopt a building on the NYC panorama, the most affordable NYC real estate you could own!)? Discover an amazing cultural institution you never knew was as cool as it is!

There are just so many ways to contribute your hard-earned catch to holidays gifts that have deep meaning and will be worth the investment. They are so much more gratifying to give then something from a chain store. Giving back is my favorite thing about the holidays, even more then pretty white lights everywhere, and something I look forward to all year.

What charitable causes and organizations will you be giving to this year?

Galleries Lafayette

Galleries Lafayette, 2010.