Friday, April 12, 2013

I pledge allegiance to....

What? Who? Huh?

Tonight I was thinking about loyalties and allegiances... and passion. And I asked myself, "Is a lack of loyalty or allegiance a symptom of a lack of passion?" A lack of enthusiasm toward that which one "thinks" they are aligned?  Okay, maybe its late and I am speaking in code. But here goes.

Let's think of ourselves as little countries. When we form an alliance/allegiance with another country it is because we have common interests with that other country. Because we will like the idea of that other country watching our back side when the troops are storming the beach. Or in war the two countries can pool their resources and not fight the war alone.  They ban together to insure the boundaries are not crossed by those who are not in allegiance. 

For example Britian, Russia, and France formed an allegiance in World War I. Now when Germany invaded France on French soil.  Russia backed them.  The Russian troops came in and tried to help defend France on french soil since they had agreed to be allies. I can only imagine if Russia would have said to France, "Oh, wow this is your beef. You can handle it. We will just hang out over here while you handle that. We may loose some troops in battle. Not gonna interfere." That wouldn't have been cool considering they were allies. And, let's just say Russia did decide not to fight along France would they have, then, been considered a German ally? Either you are in loyal allegiance or you are not. There is no in between.

Needless to say.  You are either an ally or your not, when you look at it in these terms. We all know Switzerland is Neutral.  They have declared that.  So there is no way they can have allegiance/loyalty to anyone but themselves. I am sure being neutral serves us all in some way. We should all stop to consider the allegiances we make.  Some will serve us. Some harm us. In being neutral we will never be able to fully experience that allegiance that could have served us.

In my annoyance of loyalty, allegiance and passion, tonight....after pulling out my two cents and a soap box, I had to also pull out my mirror.  I looked in it  and ask myself "Am I too a human Switzerland?" Is this why the lack of it in others annoys me? Maybe loyalty is just overrated.

Check out these definitions.  Being neutral is the absence of loyalty and allegiance. 

loy·al·ty  (loil-t)
n. pl. loy·al·ties
1. The state or quality of being loyal. See Synonyms at fidelity.
2. A feeling or attitude of devoted attachment and affection. Often used in the plural: My loyalties lie with my family.
al•le•giance (əˈli dʒəns)

1. the loyalty of citizens to their government.
2. loyalty or devotion to some person, group, cause, or the like. 
neu·tral  (ntrl, ny-)
1. Not aligned with, supporting, or favoring either side in a war, dispute, or contest.
2. Belonging to neither side in a controversy: on neutral ground.
3. Belonging to neither kind; not one thing or the other.
4. Sexless; neuter.
5. Chemistry
a. Of or relating to a solution or compound that is neither acidic nor alkaline.
b. Of or relating to a compound that does not ionize in solution.
6. Physics
a. Of or relating to a particle, an object, or a system that has neither positive nor negative electric charge.
b. Of or relating to a particle, object, or system that has a net electric charge of zero.
7. Of or indicating a color, such as gray, black, or white, that lacks hue; achromatic.
8. Linguistics Pronounced with the tongue in a middle position, neither high nor low, as the a in around.
a. A nation nonaligned with either side in a war.
b. A citizen of such a nation.
2. One who takes no side in a controversy: "I am by disposition one of life's neutrals, a human Switzerland" (John Gregory Dunne).
3. A neutral hue.
4. A position in which a set of gears is disengaged so that power cannot be transmitted.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Theater Review - Lady Patriot - written and Directed by Ted Lange - reviewed by Natasha Dixon

What happens when you mix amazing acting, with amazing writing on a backdrop of American History? You get Lady Patriot, a historical play set in the 1860’s, during a time of American distress. This production takes on the task of entertaining while educating and succeeds.

I saw the world premiere of Lady Patriot opening weekend at The Hudson Theater, 6539 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA. This brilliant play is about a free slave who steps back into slavery and doubles as a secret agent for the Union army during the Civil War.

“The History of black slaves during the Civil War in America is generally underground and relatively obscure. A history teacher once told me that history is written by victors. Lady Patriot, based on historical fact, is one of history’s untold stories.” Ted Lange (Playwright, Director)

During the show I pretty much enjoyed the performances of all the cast, which is rare for me.  There always seems to be a weak link, even in casts of amazing actors, but with Lady Patriot this was not the case. This ensemble was cast perfectly and operated like a well oiled machine, keeping me on the edge of my seat. The cast included:  Gordon Goodman (Jefferson Davis), Anne Johstonbrowne (Varina Davis), Ted Lange (Old Robert), Paul Messinger (Judah P. Benjamin), Chrystee Pharris (Mary Bowser), Robert Pine (Mr. Sydell), and Connie Ventress (Elizabeth Van Lew). Additional cast: Zuri Alexander (Mary Bowser), Lou Beatty Jr. (Old Robert), and Greg Depetro (Jefferson Davis Understudy). They didn’t pull any punches when casting this play. Their training ranges from bachelors degrees and PhDs to classically trained and series regulars on TV.

Anne’s performance was impressive. You could see her thoughts without her saying a word. Her character was not the most lovable, but she gave you a better understanding of her motives. The multi-dimensions Chrystee brought to the character was a breathe of fresh air. Her character was a spy, yet there was a level of innocence that lured you in. Connie gave a jovial performance never indicating she was a spy. She had great chemistry with her counterparts. Paul’s performance made you have compassion for his character. Gordan humanized Jefferson Davis, that made you look at history from a different perspective. Although he had a smaller role, Robert’s performance packed a powerful punch. Ted Lange (Playwright, Director) stepped in as Old Robert. The relationship he had with each character was so distinct you never knew what to expect. His acting was just as impressive as his writing.

What was impressive about the writing was that the characters were not one dimensional. There was nothing black and white about any of these characters.  They were shades of grey allowing the audience to enjoy the play rather than judge the characters. Ted blended historical facts in such a personal way I wasn’t sitting in the audience offended by this story of slavery. When you go see the show be prepared to hear the N word. By act one, scene three I lost count of how many times the word was used.  Not just because it was used so many times, but because it was eloquently incorporated into the script.

I thoroughly enjoyed this production of Lady Patriot. I’m sure I will make it out to at least one more show before they close, October 14th. You can see the play Fridays and Saturdays at 8PM and Sundays at 3PM. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.plays411/

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Toxicity...who are YOU allergic too?

So I am detoxing again, but this time it is a little different than usual. No, I am not posting insanely grotesque pictures of my poo. So if that's what you are looking for you can stop reading now.
Usually two to three times a year I do a detox. It is so cleansing and invigorating. Most of you are familiar with all the detox fads. My favorite is the lemonade one. No food. Its a real cleanse. (**this is not a promotion for you to do this yourself - just my experience). I always detox with a spiritual fast as well and I come out of the other side of my detox renewed. My skin is impeccable. I am more at peace. I am overall happier. My body usually tells me when it is too toxic and it's time for a detox.

Some of the warning signs of toxicity are:

  • headaches

  • fatigue

  • weight gain

  • aching muscles and joints

  • poor concentration/memory

  • digestive complaints

Even for those who do not partake in such detox adventures they can usually sense in their bodies when it is time to shut it down. Too much junk food. Too much alcohol. Too much caffeine. Basically just too much of anything can cause a flare up. One area of toxicity no one wants to admit is the toxicity of people. Yes I said it. Interestingly enough some things/people have more toxicity than others.


1. The degree to which a substance is toxic

Other definitions are: the degree in which something is poisonous or grave harmfulness or deadliness.


How do you know if a person its toxic you may ask? Well, check the warning signs above. I think they apply here too. Like food I think we can label people. Too much of anything can kill you; whether it be chugging alcohol or chugging water. The goal is to know the toxic level of all things in your life. In order to do that you must be in tune with yourself. Not just going through the motions like most people do. We never want to admit when things are toxic especially people. But EVERYTHING has its toxicity level. For instance a person may only become toxic to us under certain circumstances.

Like bleach using a few drops to clean the bacteria out of the sink has a much lower toxicity than boiling it on the stove or drinking a full glass. There are some people you must relegate to taking in small doses. You may find they are "gravely harmful" in a much larger doses. There are those you may only be able to take in single drops while others you can drink like a tall glass of water. Identifying these levels may take some time or trial and error. You may have to completely remove the person only to add them back into the mix in small doses to test out their toxicity. Allergist do it all the time. They put you on a strict diet only to add certain foods back in one at a time. Doing this lets you know what you are and are not allergic too. People I know who have eczema do it. They know that having an occasional piece of cake may give them a little itch, but eating a slue of desserts over an entire weekend will cause a major flare up.

What must also be taken in to consideration is the combination of certain people. For instance it may be toxic to get your best friend and your sister in the same room for a long period of time. In that situation you know having a light tea with the both of them would be better than all day at the spa. That could possibly be "deadly".

I think discovery toxicity levels is much more valuable than throwing the baby out with the bath water. Which some of us may still have to do at times in our lives. Like throwing over heavy cargo when the ship is sinking. Not that I am totally equating people to heavy cargo. Just some people may weigh you down so much you will sink with them. But I find that to only be a tactic done in extreme circumstances.

When doing your toxicity inventory it is important do take responsibility and also inventory your own actions that have toxicity. This may be the most difficult labeling of all. No one really ever likes to look in the mirror, but this area can't be ignored.

DETOXING IS NEVER EASY. There are also symptoms that come along with detoxing. Headaches, nausea, acne, bad breathe, fatigue, etc. Very similar to the signs of knowing you must detox. When you are detoxing from people or bad habits you will most likely have similar symptoms: anger, digestive challenges, mood swings, depression - the list goes on. Though the difference with these symptoms is that they are short lived. However, you will get through them if you stay focused. And when you do the results are priceless.

Needless to say I am detoxing again, but this time it is more of an inventory of the toxicity of things/people in my life.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ride the bull until it's time to fight!

Life can be either a bull fight or a bull ride depending on who you are. I think most people think of it as a bull fight. They look it in the face and try to earnestly duck and dodge to not get hurt. They toy with it and tease it; chasing the all time adrenaline rush, dodging danger just in the nick of time. Daily life should be a ride not a fight. Fighting it is nerve racking to most and.... a completely out of control method.

Since "My name is Natasha and I am a control freak" I like to ride the bull. I must say I am bias and believe this is the best way to go through life. Riding it. Enjoying the journey - not fighting your every move. However, It also gives the control freak in me a sense of satisfaction. The bull has a mind of its own. Like life, it will take you somewhere whether you control it or not. Though, I must say I like thinking the spurs of my boots and my grip on the rope around life's neck gives me a sense of control. Its exilerating! The possibilities excite you. The opportunities are endless. You can feel the wind beneath your dreams and the passion on fire inside you, until it gives you a real good buck and you are flat on your butt facing life head on. This is when you are supposed to fight. At that very moment its the best of both worlds. Riding the bull to fighting the bull in an instance. This is where you fight your way to the next level of growth. You are staring the bull square in the face. It is intent on trampling you. You can almost feel the hot mist from its notrils. Life cannot get the best of you. You cannot afford to be afraid.

Only then do you fight the good fight. And enjoy EVERY minute of it - WITHOUT FEAR. Fear will hold you back. It is the killer of possibilities. It strangles opportunities. It will paralyze the very move that will take you to the freedom you DESERVE. Fear will suffocate you and suck the air out of your dreams. Fear will keep you living a mediocre life. Fear will douse water on your passions; putting out any flame that will bring you happiness. Do not turn your back on fear to ignore it, because it will trample your desires and ultimately kill your soul. No matter how scary life looks or how beat down you are, there is still more fight in you. Fight for your life. Look life square in the eye. Put the spurs on your boots and grab your rope. It's time to take a ride.

Ride the bull until it is time to fight!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Produced By Faith Book Review

Produced By Faith: Enjoying Real Success Without Losing Your True Self

Click here to order via Amazon

By DeVon Franklin

Format: Hardcover, 288 pages

ISBN-10: 1439171033

ISBN-13: 9781439171035

On Sale: May 3, 2011

Publisher: Howard Books/An Imprint of Simon & Schuster

Reviewed by Natasha Dixon

Very rarely does a book come along that can truly help give you direction for your life. The last book I read that seemed to do this was The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. Today I can add another book to the list of such greats. Produced By Faith: Enjoying Real Success Without Losing Your True Self by DeVon Franklin (Producer of Karate Kid, Pursuit of Happiness, Not Easily Broken, and Jump the Broom) is a guide for living your life fully without compartmentalizing or compromising any aspect of yourself.

Produced By Faith parallels the steps of producing a film with the reader’s life. It is divided into two sections, development and production. At first glance the table of contents seems impersonal: What’s the Big Idea, Selling It, Writing the Script, Getting Notes, Development Hell, God’s Budget and Production Schedule, It’s All About Casting, and God’s Green Light. However, these chapters do more than just tell you what goes into producing a movie. They guide you through the most important production you will ever be involved in, your life.

Produced By Faith is a very personal book that encourages the reader to review how they have been doing life. It gives practical steps to help you through the process. At the end of each chapter there is a list of questions that everyone should ask themselves at some point in their career; Making this more than just another stagnant book that goes on the shelf after its read. It has somewhat of a workbook or reference book quality, with a very conversational style. There is also a transparent quality to this book, because of the personal accounts of Mr. Franklin’s experience that have been weaved throughout. He gives insight into his journey from intern to Vice President at Sony Pictures.

This book comes from a faith based perspective, but it is also a practical guide for those who may not be believers; going as far as to say it is a good beginner’s manual for someone interested in producing alone. This is a book that should be handed out at airports, train stations, and bus stations to every bright eyed and bushy tailed artist coming to make it in Hollywood. At the same time it is a great read everyone, in any line of work, can enjoy and implement. When you finish reading this book you will have a renewed faith; faith in God, faith in yourself, and faith in the unlimited possibilities for your life.

Meet the Author:

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Are all creative minds created equally?

I am getting my creative itch once again. It lay dormant for two years. Which anyone who knows me, they know that is a rarity in my world. Actually, it didn't lay dormant. I suppressed it for two years. The wheels of my mind are always turning. Actually, more like spinning out of control. It is constantly creating new ideas. I can't keep up with it and in most cases it creates so fast I am paralyzed by not knowing where to start.

My dad always tells me "How do you eat and elephant? One bite at a time." I know we've all heard that at some point in our lives. I've taken that advice, and on many occasions it works. But it would be better if I could clone myself or days were actually 36 hours long rather than 24 hours, but that would be defying creation. I know, it was perfectly made and by no means am I saying God made a mistake. But I have to ask God, "What the heck did you do when you created my brain?" Not that its inferior or I'm not proud of it. "Just how do you expect me to manage the seeds that you so eloquently planted in my head?" There are so many! Cause at this point I have SOOOO many seeds but no harvest. Or a couple of the seeds have harvested in a field that only I can fun.

I was talking to a friend the other day and I had the audacity to say, "Well, you know what they say, the grave yard is the richest place in the world. So many people take brilliant ideas with them to the grave because they never stepped out of their comfort zones." As those words came out of my mouth I was totally convicted. I have two film scripts, a sitcom pilot, a treatment for a reality TV show and a short film script WRITTEN and waiting to be shot or sold, and about five more scripts in my head that I haven't penned yet. I have a children's book I have written that needs illustration. A blog that is being neglected. A radio show idea waiting to find time to creep into my schedule. A coffee table book that is halfway finished (waiting for me to finish the photography section) and probably about 4 more book ideas in my head that are just sitting there. Actually this week I was encouraged to finish one of my book proposals (progress :)). Not to mention my one women show that is about 75% finished. Two pieces of artwork I've painted that need framing. And two business ideas that are just waiting for the business plan to be written. I'm sure I have missed something. The crazy thing about this, is that list is the list of things I have actually decided to do. I'm not mentioning the many other half-baked ideas that I may not ever get to in my lifetime. I get tired just thinking about all of them. If I were to die today. The grave yard would once again increase its value.

No, seriously. I will soon be starting my creative journey once again,but this time I must have a concise plan. Or I will keep juggling all these ideas, for what, just to say I can juggle? ppff..that's nothing. Juggling is not doing. Thinking is not doing. Doing is doing, and I know God's gonna do God...but I have to do my part too. Shoot even the fishermen had to cast their nets to be blessed with an abundance of fish. I guess I just have to determine which side of the boat I will cast my net first. Instead of dragging the net through the sea in a speed boat...the net will break and I will have NO fish. ...or casting so many nets they get tangled and all the fish get away...or...okay you get the point. I WILL conquer the underachieved overachiever syndrome.

The way my brain works, it doesn't just create things for me. When people talk to me, my mind spins out of control with ideas for THEM too. Oh my!!! wheeew... So I ask what am I to do? One bite at a time, right? Of course! I need a manager. Someone to manage my crazy ideas and get me focused on the straight and narrow. Or maybe I need to sit down and do a business plan for my life. Aaa haa!! That sounds like a good idea with projections and plans and schedules and budgets - I already have budgets...eeerrgghh!! see I'm doing it again. Creating something more for me to do. My mind is like Tetris constantly moving, creating, running, flying, soaring, thinking, ticking, conforming, transforming, arranging, and re-arranging pieces of the puzzle of my life. Oh me oh my!! I must tame this dragon. I am determined to get this creative monster by the horns and ride it off into the sunset of completion.

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Letter of Love

Adonai T'suri v'go'afi, my love for you exceeds my wildest dreams. The mere presence of you takes the breath you give me away. Overwhelmed by your presence I will never be able to put the magnitude of my love in words. I thank you for loving me. I thank you for giving me rest that restores my soul. Adonai Ro'i you came for me when I didn't feel I deserved you, and you wrapped me in your love so tight the warmth filled my soul satisfying the chill of loneliness as if it were a heated blanket on a snow filled day. I cherish every moment I spend with you. Elohei Ma'uzzi, our relationship has grown to new heights I now know what true love is and what it feels like to know someone has my back, front and all sides. I am the luckiest woman alive. No other will ever be able to compare to what you have shown me. You lead me, you lift me when I'm down, you encourage me and protect me. You shield me, hold me when I'm hurt and cherish my mere existence. Your love gives me goose bumps. You complete me. There is no me without you. Peleh yo'etz, I could have never made it without you. I honor and cherish you. I love you and thank you for loving me. Adoni, I never knew I could love you like this.