Monday, November 29, 2010

The Doug of Edwards: Standards

Jazz supporter, DJ, and activist Doug Edwards from
Here's the poem I wrote on request and read at the memorial for Doug Edwards at Kimball's Carnival, Oakland, California, November 21, 2010.

The Doug of Edwards: Standards

© 2010 Lisa Bernstein (Lisa B)

He had found a cadence,
a voice to call listeners to the music
and I like others was invited
to step along with him, to enter the tide
of air across the airwaves, the phone line,
the moment of his onstage introduction
and then listen and sing and play
as the music we made floated out
to the world buoyed
by Doug’s support. He was ready to serve
in the army of The Music,
to push off the boat from the shore, sound a 21-gun salute
and then stand there laughing as we sped out.
And he always made the phone call to welcome us home,
to find out more about the trip of the
tones, the jones to scat the next passage, the new poem.

Doug’s was the stubbornness
of a gentleman. He would do you the kindness
of stating when standards were not met, gently if he cared about you,
forcefully if he simply knew you,
but always with courtesy. Standards mattered,
whether expectations for the show, the sound level,
the songbook, the degree of literacy, the way to act.
Doug loved to stress in his introductions whether one was an educator
and he never stopped educating
us – players, listeners, as an elder in a community
that he helped call into being by being here with us.

He died with his usual good timing.
No surgery, no lengthy stay in the hospitals he hated.
In his vet-hospital bed, what he wanted to talk about
was my new job, my parents’ health, and the next gig.
As he’d said two weeks before on the phone,
“I’m just trying to stay relevant.”
In that long telephone catch-up I’d told him about my despair –
what did it all matter
given the state of the music world and what I did?
“If you’re throwing all that around,” he said,
“I’d like to be part of the conversation.” And listed to me passionately
some of what of value I was. I was just one of those
privileged enough to have him defend me
to myself.

Doug hasn’t yet left us all the way. I can feel him watchful, grinning,
shaking his head at the way he would have done this
just a bit differently, but grateful for and graceful with the show.
It’s we the living who suffer
without his real live voice,
not him who chafes now against his ever-darkening sight,
against the difficulty in near-blindness
of getting to the station or the show,
against not having witty company enough hours of the day.
In death now he is not alone,
he sees and walks even with no dog or human arm to link his through,
he has been awarded all the medals of honor,
he has made peace with the wrong-headed and the rude, hearing only
the strong and mournful trumpet, the exactly swinging brush
on the snare, communing with Shirley Horn and Milt Jackson,
and the first blues singers, and still shaking his head
with a proud and easy smile about what we creators do,
just right enough to keep the human project going.

How often do you know that someone gets you?
Doug’s comprehension of my art was like walking into
an airy lavender building
full of gardenias, where the walls would give
space to work, where the floors became a stage for his audience.
How often does someone know where your art fits into history?
He laughed when I complained of not getting the attention
of this or that singer or songwriter.
“How can you even compare yourself?” he laughed,
his warm voice like velvet scattered with the scratch of emeralds.
“You’re in a whole different category.”
It took being that himself to know.

Doug, it’s me who is bereft beyond consoling now.
I wish I could still walk with you
into the control room and read a PSA for you,
hand you a bio downloaded in 14-point bold,
hear you announce Ear Thyme, Jazz Passages, BAJABA,
the Audible Art Gallery, And that’s the way it jolly well goes,
and the latest plans for an award from the Order of the Flask,
amble into Anna’s or Yoshi’s or the billiards place
where Kimball’s used to be for a taste of cognac and fish & chips,
hear your rare, wistful need and relief
when you told a story about Cindy your partner,
dish the latest about Dee-Dee or Dianne, laugh
at the latest foolishness, shake our heads –
and forgive it, setting the world right
with the articulation of standards.
And then get up and walk again, deliberately,
with you The Doug of Edwards, holding your warm, your cool,
your kind, your certain hand.

If you were here now, I know just what you’d say.
“Let’s not talk about me,” you’d say. “Tell me about you.”



Fellow Women Rock Member in 12/1 Show to Benefit Blue Bear Music: The Independent, San Francisco

Blue Bear School of Music in San Francisco is where I got my start as a singer and songwriter years ago, so I'm delighted to help promote a show this Wednesday benefiting the school and co-organized by, and featuring, my fellow Women Rock ( member Bernadette.

The BISS Silver Holiday Ball
Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Independent
628 Divisadero Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
415.771.1422 ::

The New Up, bernadette, Crackerjack Highway,
M80 Mailbox (featuring members of ALO and Tea Leaf Green)
Jack Frost (Antarctica/Blackcrack NYC) spins b/t sets

A portion of proceeds benefit Blue Bear School of Music
Doors: 7:30pm / Show: 8pm . Ages: 21+
Tickets: $12 adv/$14 door
Advance tickets available on:
Buy tickets with no service fees at The Independent Box Office and at the front desk of Blue Bear School of Music (Fort Mason Center - Building D, San Francisco).

Blue Bear School of Music is San Francisco's leading destination for aspiring musicians of all ages
and all skill levels who want to enjoy learning and playing rock, blues, jazz, folk, or pop. A nonprofit organization founded in San Francisco in 1971, Blue Bear is a place where learning and playing popular music is fun and affordable, where people come together who love music, and where each student's unique talents and goals are recognized and supported. Blue Bear's mission is to provide superior quality and affordable popular music education to aspiring musicians of all ages and skill levels within a supportive and encouraging community. For more info, please visit


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Oakland Tribune Article on Emeryville Poet Laureate Appointments

From Oakland Tribune, October 25, 2010
by Sean Maher

EMERYVILLE -- The city's sculptures and installations will soon be joined by the thoughtful verse of a new town poet.

Janell Moon, a 69-year-old hypnotherapist, was named Emeryville's first poet laureate during last week's City Council meeting, an honor that has her already setting a voracious schedule of plans and aspirations. First on the list, she said, is getting poetry in the hands and from the minds of local students.

"I'd like to work with some of the more introverted children," she said. "And I'd like to bring in a local rap artist to work with some of the extroverts. (The two approaches) make two very different kinds of poetry but they're both very valuable."

Moon finds the metaphors that figure in her poetry come pretty naturally.

After all, she spends her professional life dealing in hypnotherapy and dream analysis, coaxing her patients through the varying levels of consciousness and pulling out the meaning of symbols their minds create.

"My work very much dovetails with poetry," she said. "For example, I might ask someone who's anxious: 'When you wake in morning, what might you think of? Something in your life today or from childhood that would calm you?' Usually when they first wake up they're OK and then a second later they remember all their troubles and then they're anxious."

Their answers, she said, might be that they think of birds in flight, or the bloom and close of morning glories -- an image that conjures a feeling, a foundation of metaphor-based poetry.

In case Moon isn't able to finish her term -- and perhaps to provide a second voice of passion for poetry -- the city named Lisa Bernstein as its alternate poet laureate.

Also known as Lisa B, Bernstein has published two books of poetry, been published in numerous anthologies and magazines, and released four albums as a jazz [note: and soul-hiphop-pop] vocalist.

Bernstein got started as a writer when she was a child; her parents were "artistic folks" and she'd read Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" by the time she was 10.

She lives in Berkeley [note: actually, Oakland] and works in Emeryville, where she is beginning her fourth year as a volunteer running a weekly poetry-writing workshop with second-, third- and fourth-graders at Anna Yates Elementary School.

"You're never too young to be a poet," Bernstein said. "They're loving it, and their teacher is really astonished they're writing so much."

The children recently began learning how to use comparisons, Bernstein said. One young poet began a poem by describing herself as "mad as red glitter," progressing until she was "happy as a garden" by the end of the poem.

Both Moon and Bernstein said they hope to continue working with children and to publish an anthology of local poetry by young authors as part of the laureate program.

Emeryville Mayor Ruth Atkin said she is delighted with the new program, which reinforces and expands the city's already prevalent outdoor art program and its commitment to the arts in general.

The two poets will do a reading together Dec. 17 at Expressions Gallery, 2035 Ashby Ave. in Berkeley. For information on the event, go to or call 510-644-4930.


Poetry Reading in Monterey, Calif., Tuesday 11/9 at 7 p.m., for the Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium

Maria Garcia Teutsch from Lisa B (Lisa Bernstein) blog Maria Garcia Teutsch

The Monterey Bay Poetry
Consortium Presents:

Lisa B (Bernstein)
Maria Garcia Teutsch

Tuesday, November 9, 7:00 p.m.
East Village Coffee Lounge,
498 Washington Street, Monterey
$5.00 Admission

Poet-singer Lisa Bernstein (Lisa B) is the author of The Transparent Body (Wesleyan University Press) and Anorexia (Five Fingers Poetry). Her poems have appeared in 60+ anthologies and periodicals, including The Kenyon Review, Tikkun, Ploughshares, Calyx, Brilliant Corners, Field, City Lights Review, Zyzzyva, Antaeus, and Feminist Studies. She has won creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Ucross Foundation, Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Headlands Center for the Arts, and Puffin Foundation and was just named the alternate Poet Laureate of Emeryville. Lisa B is also a jazz-soul singer-songwriter incorporating poetry into original songs and standards. Her latest CD of four is The Poetry of Groove (2009). Raised in Santa Cruz, she lives in Oakland. See

Maria Garcia Teutsch is Editor-in-chief of Ping-Pong magazine. She also serves as president of the board of directors of the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur, Ca. She is widely published, and has three poetry chapbooks, Surrender Dorothy, Fractured Fortunes, and there are no cars on this highway. She teaches poetry and creative writing at Hartnell College. She is an MFA candidate at New England College.
Upcoming Events:
Dec. 14---Diana Garcia and Jim Powell

For more information, please contact John Laue:
(831) 684-0854
Cosponsored by the Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium, Poetry Slow Down on KXRA540,
The National Writers Union, Chapter 7,


Friday, October 22, 2010

Appointed Alternate Poet Laureate of Emeryville, Calif.

Emeryville, California, logo from Lisa B (Lisa Bernstein) blog

I was just appointed alternate Poet Laureate of Emeryville in a two-year term, the maiden voyage for this position! Janell Moon, the new Poet Laureate, and I will be reading with one of the judges, Joyce Jenkins, at Expressions Gallery in Berkeley, 12/17/10.

Almost all roads seem to lead to Emeryville lately: I recently became an editor/writer for an Emeryville environmental engineering firm and have just begun my fourth year of teaching poetry-writing in the city's public elementary school, Anna Yates.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Kumar Lived in the Flat Below Mine

cover of "Kumar" from Lisa B (Lisa Bernstein) blog
Kumar lived in the flat beneath mine  in what I called Bernal Depths (just off Mission Street, in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights)  in the mid-1980s. He was a skinny, smart, sweet, energetic guy in career and personal transition who had about him an air of mystery. We talked sometimes on our shared porch steps and went out to dinner once, but both of us were so busy that our mutual regard and affection never blossomed into a deeper friendship. His presence was both enshadowed and supportive in those months. I had just begun singing, was finding my footing with managing my diabetes, and was immersed in various turbulent and exciting romances, and Kumar could be relied on to smile widely and warmly and to share insights about life whenever our paths crossed, while still pulling an invisible curtain around his activities. Not long after, he moved without leaving much of a trace.

More than 20 years later, Kumar found me online and we began a sporadic correspondence. Then, in late summer 2009, he asked me to work with him – first as a clairvoyant reader and healer, then as a writing coach. I discovered quickly that the warm and sparking spirit I had glimpsed in the ’80s had endured some harrowing suffering before, during, and after that time. Yet he also had since learned a great deal about the contours of his body and soul, gained success in his career, and created a satisfying marriage. I was thrilled to be in touch again, relishing his agile mind, sweet heart, and questing spirit. And I was pleased by the great deal of talent I saw in his writing  a brand-new pursuit, and gift to himself, after years of relentless effort in the high-tech industry.

Beyond our work together, our delayed friendship found its footing. Kumar introduced me to his wife Jenifer via a lovely dinner South of Market. I confided in him on the phone about yet another dramatic romantic episode of mine, reminiscent of what I’d gone through more than two decades ago. He revealed that he was trying out a new medicine to help manage depression, but that his doctors feared it could cause a seizure because of some other physiological conditions he was managing, so he couldn’t drive himself anywhere for a month. Then he was given the all-clear. We had plans to hang out in a coffee shop after Thanksgiving. “You’d really like to do that?” he asked, with the guilelessness of a kid.

Then there was a silence of a few weeks between us. Too silent and too long. Kumar was gone. A seizure had caused his death.

I was robbed of the friendship that we were finally to have.

And yet now I have a gorgeous book: Kumar: A Love Story  stories and poems by Jeyakumar Shanmugam along with paintings and an introductory memoir by Jenifer Bacon, his widow and a longtime accomplished artist. Bacon also designed the book with unusual flair.

Bacon’s introduction reveals the intimacies and rewards of her challenging relationship with Kumar through evocative prose as well as journal and email excerpts. Kumar’s stories, augmented by a few poems, portray a childhood marred by vicious abuse from his father; wartime experience with Americans that’s both amusing and touching; the sometimes hilarious perspective of an adult newcomer to the U.S.; and the internal life of a suburban worker grappling with drug use, rage, and recurring painful memories – all of it conveyed with a well-constructed grit and accuracy that strikes at the reader’s heart. Bacon’s paintings dynamically illustrate a journey to “put some visual form to what it might be like after we die,” subject matter with which she had been “struggling for some time, long before Kumar died...imaginative landscapes of what we cannot see or even feel completely. This great mystery that someday all of us will experience."

Get the book from at

copyright 2010 Lisa Bernstein

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Autumn Vibration

Resetting my vibration at that clear autumn thing: we catch sight of the bridge to darker days yet still turn in the heat and light...

copyright 2010 Lisa Bernstein


Monday, June 28, 2010

Best Performance of My Life on Father's Day This Year

Now and then, all the years of practicing and singing and performing come together and I feel totally in control and in the flow — cracking jokes, singing well, telling the story, exerting magic, riding the cushion and the waves and the accents of the band, dancing, and knowing that the audience got it! (Plus, they told me.)

That's how it felt 6/20/10 in the house concert with Jennifer Lee (who was delightful to share the bill with) in Oakland.

And it helped immensely that the sound system/acoustics were excellent.

I appreciate these moments after a number of gigs marred by imperfect sound or a performance that wasn't up to my own exacting standards. This one: I know that we all did the best we could, and it was remarkable and joyful.

I am grateful.


My Dance Program Represents at 2010 S.F. Gay Pride March

This is the ODC School Rhythm and Motion contingent at San Francisco's Gay Pride March yesterday. Represent! I've done this routine many times, but never while traversing Market Street so quickly!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

House Concert Sun. 6/20 3 p.m. with Jennifer Lee!

back of postcard for house concert by Lisa B (Lisa Bernstein) and Jennifer Leepostcard for house concert by Lisa B (Lisa Bernstein) and Jennifer Lee

Jazz, Nujazz, and Spoken Word
Lisa B (vocalist/poet) and Jennifer Lee (vocalist/guitarist)

Sunday, June 20
3 p.m.
Avonova -

417 Avon St., Oakland, Calif, 94618
(nr. 51st & Broadway)

with Ben Flint, piano
Jeremy Cohen, electric bass
Raul Ramirez, drums; percussion
$14-20 sliding scale, $7-10 kids (checks to artists or cash only)
Free light refreshments
I'm thrilled to be joining forces with the very cool and very warm straightahead jazz singer/guitarist Jennifer Lee on this double bill! It's a house concert at an intimate Rockridge/Temescal venue with great sound, refreshments, and space to wander a bit outdoors.

If you're celebrating Dad's Day, do it with us  let us know and we will gladly dedicate a song to you or your father!

All welcome to enjoy this relaxing, grooving Sunday afternoon with us in sunny, safe Oakland. (Musicians, come check out this great venue.) - check her out! - to download a tune for you or yours...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Performing at Mamapolooza Festival and Conference/Bowery Poetry Club, NYC - Fri. May 21

Glad about the invitation to perform in this event, and to participate in NYC's Mamapalooza Festival and Conference!

Friday May 21
Spoken word, poetry and prose performances
8-10 p.m.
Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery New York, NY 10012-2802
(212) 614-0505 $10 + 2 Drink Minimum
near Broadway-Lafayette St. subway station

Hosts: Alana Ruben Free & Marjorie Tesser
8:00 Skye, Soul Poet
8:05 Mary Kate Azucay
8:10 Theta Pavis
8:15 Pandora Scooter
8:45 Lori Diamond
9:10 Candice Anitra
9:20 Jes Wright
9:30 Lisa B (Lisa Bernstein)

This event is part of:
Mothers in the Arts, Literature, Media and Popular Culture
Academic, Artistic, Cultural and Socially Relevant Presentations Welcome
May 20-22, 2010, Nola Studios and Assorted Venues, New York City
(and other New York Locations)
250 (244) W.54th St. (Between Broadway and 8th)

$25 daytime attendance (per day)
$10 per session attendance
Welcome All!
Conference Introduction: Dr. Gina Wong
Keynote Speakers: Dr. Phyllis Chesler
Jill Brooke, Huffington Post

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Interview w/ Joy Rose, Media Mom, on

Joy Rose logo from Lisa B (Lisa Bernstein) blog
Great interview w/ Joy Rose, Media Mom, just posted on Fun conversation with this smart, supportive NY feminist, played 3 songs, and even read an unearthed poem, "Two Nudes," in the run-up to the Mamapalooza Festival gig Fri. 5/21 at the Bowery Poetry Club, NY.
Click on "Listen to the New Podcast." Episode 38.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fun Workshop with San Francisco Kids

Lisa B aka Lisa Bemstein left after giving kids poetry workshop in SOMA, San Francisco

I was delighted to work with the kids earlier this month in singer Carmen Milagro's Peanut Butter and JAMM Music Sessions, at the after-school program directed by Lisa Baty in Mercy Housing, south of Market, San Francisco.

We two Lisa B's are the grownups in the photo (I'm on the left).

You can see that the kids  not to mention Lisa Baty  feel happy and expressive after their poetry writing and performance session!

Thanks, Carmen, Lisa, and young poets!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Poetry Extravaganza to Benefit Haiti/Chile

image to publicize reading including Lisa B (Lisa Bernstein) to benefit Haiti/Chile relief
Please come to -- and/or tell your Bay Area friends about -- this astonishing and rare line-up of poets and performers. Your contribution will help Haiti and Chile recover from their recent earthquakes.

I'm honored to participate!

Collective Poetry Reading by More than 35 Bay Area Poets

A Benefit for the Relief Efforts in Haiti
by Doctors Without Borders / Médicins Sans Frontieres

Also Dedicated to the Victims of Chile's February 27 Earthquake -- And Celebrating César Chávez Day!

Sunday March 28, 2010
7 - 10 p.m.
La Peña
3105 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 849-2568
$10 suggested donation - No one turned away for lack of funds

Guest Poet:Diane di Prima, San Francisco Poet Laureate

and reading/performing for only 5 minutes each!

Adrián Arias • Alejandro Murguía • Al Young • Boadiba • Carlos Barón • Daniel del Solar • Devorah Major • Dorinda Moreno • Evelie Delfino • Fernando Torres • Francisco X. Alarcón • Francisco Letelier • Genny Lim • Geri Digiornio • Graciela Ramírez • Jack & Adelle Foley • Jack Hirschman • Jennifer Andrea Porras • Jennifer Fox Bennett • Jewelle Gomez • JoAnn Anglin • Joyce Jenkins • Katherine Hastings • La Tigresa (Donna Nieto) • Lisa B (Lisa Bernstein) • Lorna Dee Cervantes • Lucha Corpi • Mamacoatl • Marc Piñate • Mary Rudge • Nicole Limón • Nina Serrano • Nellie Wong • Odilia Galván Rodríguez • Paul Lobo Portugues • Rafael Jesús González • Roberto Vargas • Rosa Escamilla • Samuel Iñiguez • Sharon Doubiago


Saturday, March 6, 2010

"I heard a Fly buzz -- "

Emily Dickinson image from Lisa B (Lisa Bernstein) blog

Taught my 4th-grade poets Emily Dickinson's great poem

"I heard a Fly buzz – When I died

The Stillness in the Room

Was like the Stillness in the Air –

Between the Heaves of Storm – ..."

They thought it was weird & unsettling. Right! They were more inspired than I'd ever seen them after we wrote a poem together on the board and then wrote in pairs. It's starting to happen. Better to begin in 2nd grade, tho'.


Saturday, February 27, 2010

"My Ship"

couple of weeks ago the poet Garrett Hongo commented on Facebook that he was listening to "Miles Ahead + 19" and that his favorite song was "My Ship" by Gershwin/Kurt Weill.

Some of the lyrics go like this:

"My ship has sails that are made of silk / The decks are trimmed with gold / And of jam and spice / There's a paradise in the hold // My ship's aglow with a million pearls / And rubies fill each bin / The sun sits high in a sapphire sky / When my ship comes in..." (I like that the paradise in the hold consists of jam and spice!)

I love the song and loved that he was writing about it (although actually, I don't think he was was focusing on the lyrics but on Miles' instrumental version). I had to comment:

"Heard that around the house a lot growing up plus my Mom's out-of-tune a cappella singing of it. Hence had to learn it once I became a singer.

"I felt it was really about singing (= lyric = poetry)!

'I do not care if that day arrives / That dream need never be / If the ship I sing / Doesn't also bring...'

I don't think it's just a scanning problem that led to not saying 'the ship I sing OF' but instead 'the ship I sing'  I prefer to think that one is really singing that ship into being."

Despite her utter untunefulness, my Mom sang its first couple of lines with heart and just the right mix of fervor and wistfulness  and then stopped, implying the rest with her bright-eyed expression.

Gotta remember to sing that ship into being  the only way it's going to get here.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Lisa B's 3-Dot Journalism for February

Dear Friends,

Bucking the trend of producing a beautifully designed, relentlessly self-focused newsletter, I decided to send out something including the cool happenings of some other creative folks in my immediate universe…(and I always loved those Herb Caen columns)…

Jamie Fraser, the hip-hop dancer in my recent music video for “The Poetry of Groove” (let’s face it, my only music video) will be competing on MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew” this Thursday Feb. 11 at 10 p.m. with his crew BreakEFX. Watch  and text or phone the show  to vote for them. A sweeter dancer-teacher cannot be found.

…And does anyone want to invite me over to see the show? As some of you know, I don’t subscribe to TV shows, not only to save the expense (forget the antenna idea, it’s completely beyond my skill set and would pick up only a few stations), but also to allow time to watch the uncountable number of DVDs supplied by my beloved father…

Speaking of which, I was happy to recently share some of these DVDs on jazz and Latin music with my good friend and very first music mentor since I became a grownup, the Latin jazz wonder Wayne Wallace, to show in some of his classes this semester. Wayne has produced a dizzying number of CDs recently, well worth checking out.

…About that same music video: Its L.A. director/cinematographer Royce Dudley also recently shot a wildly different piece called “Mind of the Demon: The Larry Linkogle Story”  which just won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the 2010 Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The film also was awarded Best Documentary at the Bel Air Film Festival. It explores the psyche of the dirt-bike legend who helped kick-start the freestyle motocross revolution, then battled problems with drugs and violence. I must say I’ve known folks who faced the latter, but who knew there was a motocross revolution?

…I was thrilled to have two very different kinds of interviews in the past couple of months, one by MSN Messenger  which method allowed both spontaneity and increased written eloquence – and the other by phone (for an online radio show) – which allowed my and the interviewer’s mutual female enthusiasm to bubble up complete with vocal nuance. The first, with the delightful writer Jordan Richardson, he titled “Lisa B on Assertive Women, Poetry and Monk’s Genius” and is at . The second, with the vivacious and talented singer Carmen Milagro, can be downloaded or streamed at . Both are very off the cuff, not that I have cuffs.

Francisco Alarcon kindly invited me to participate in a reading to benefit Doctors without Borders’ Haiti relief efforts. It’s at La Pena in Berkeley on March 28, 7 -10 p.m. An extravaganza of more than 30 poets reading for 5 minutes each, including Al Young, Diane DiPrima, and many others. I’m hoping to perform to one of the instrumental tracks from my recent “The Poetry of Groove” CD to add a shot of poetic spoken-sung experience to the proceedings. Francisco and I were published together in “Red Dirt”’s inaugural issue of 1991, edited by Lorna Dee Cervantes

…I enjoyed catching my friend Daria and Roberta Donnay, the two Lickettes for Dan Hicks’ recent show at Oakland Yoshi’s  not least because they were so funny, especially Daria. I didn’t expect that from her other performances. It’s a real talent to be a momentarily goofy comedienne who also sings so richly and hiply…

Also unexpected was the January 28 review of my new CD by Mark Saleski, in which he likens me to “non-standard” female vocalists Bjork, Kate Bush, and Meredith Monk but contrasts me with them because I lack any “perceived strangeness of presentation.” (He hasn’t seen me in the morning.) He describes the record as “spoken word beautifully sung excursions…in a bunch of snazzy grooves that vary from hip-hop to slinky jazzification” and calls it spiritually uplifting, evocative, hopeful, funny, and sexy.

…I’m back since October at Emeryville’s Anna Yates Elementary School teaching poetry-writing as a weekly volunteer, having graduated from my 2nd- and then 3rd-graders (I taught the same group for two years) to start anew with a rambunctious and sweet 4th-grade class...

One of the then-3rd-graders, whom I’ll call Star, wrote a thank-you at the end of the last school year that I only recently received. It’s one of my favorite responses ever. I was struck by her ability to look outside her own experience to insightfully portray and evaluate a grown-up: “I like the way U…/Use your colors./Always have Energy./Present your self,/And what you stand for./Out of know where come up with a rhyme.” The kids did work with color in their poem-writing, but I feel she also saw my use of color vibrations as a clairvoyant reader (which she knew nothing about) and my focus on “energy.” And I really like the spelling of “know where.”

...If you're a musician/songwriter and would like to collaborate, please get in touch and let's explore...

For your valentine or yourself, you might want to give “The Poetry of Groove” or the very pink and amorous “What’s New, Pussycat?” Aptly, the 2-for-1 holiday sale is still in force (get a free CD for buying one via PayPal). Delivery is rapid, and you will be hugely appreciated not only by the recipient but by me (demonstrated by a kiss if you want it or whatever inscription you specify). Links to retailers are at

So out of "know where," I wish you a love-filled and rambunctious February. Thanks, Lisa B (Lisa Bernstein)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

"Lisa B on Assertive Women, Poetry and Monk's Genius"

Singer-poet Lisa B (Lisa Bernstein) from "Center of the Rhyme" CD
I had the honor and fun of a long interview, before the turn of the year, with Jordan Richardson of both and Canadian Audophile's Reviews and News. Check it out at

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Free-Wheeling Radio Interview Yesterday with Carmen Milagro

singer-poet Lisa B (Lisa Bernstein) laughs
Really enjoyed this free-wheeling interview yesterday with the vivacious Carmen Milagro on how I became a poet and singer, using social media, coaching kids, advice to musicians seeking gigs (i.e., advice to self), making a living, using different sides of the brain, the biggest risk I ever took, and more. Stream or download from link.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Nice To Be Compared to Bjork and Kate Bush

Grateful for Mark Saleski's new review! I really enjoyed being likened to "nonstandard" singers like Bjork and Kate Bush but contrasted with them because of not seeming initially strange or inaccessible.

Plus he calls the CD sexy, funny, spiritually uplifting, evocative and more: "On 'The Poetry Of Groove,' Lisa B takes her spoken word beautifully sung excursions and wraps them up in a bunch of snazzy grooves that vary from hip-hop to slinky jazzification."

Check it out!

It's so good to have someone (else) get the record and describe it so articulately and entertainingly! I'm thankful.