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    Today, the last day of Mental Health Awareness month, I’m proud to announce the launch of a new video series on our channel titled RHAPSODY IN ALCHEMY, an intimate peek into the lives of artists with lived mental health experience. This first video, winner of April’s Art With Impact mental health film competition, features an extraordinary filmmaker named Sal Tran who reflects on staying grounded and empowered through battles with suicidal depression and PTSD.



    “I get everything from songwriting. It’s therapy, free therapy.” In our latest episode, James Taugher performs two songs off his latest soul-inspired album. To celebrate the release of this new record, James will be playing Neck of the Woods in San Francisco THIS FRIDAY at 9pm! For tickets and more info go to http://www.jamestaugher.com/



    “Every time I’m on stage I feel like I have two jobs- one is to engage and entertain, and the other is to educate… I want my melodies to uplift people’s hearts and inspire them.” Join Hawaiian Slack Key master Makana in Nashville at the final show of his whirlwind tour with Joe Walsh and Bad Company.



    Painter Bradley Platz and his wife Kim Larson, who has a background in jewelry making and sculpture, originally opened Modern Eden in North Beach a couple blocks away from its current Greenwich street location and were told 4 years later that their rent would be doubling. Kim tells me, “We could have given up so easily; it would have been by far the easier decision but we did’t want to see another business, another gallery go under. It diminishes the whole city that we kind of fell in love with and it’s changing but we’re so stubborn to hold on to it.”



    “The mind, when you look, it’s like the house on fire, but we don’t know how to put out the fire… the cooling waters of mindfulness, it’s like putting a hose on the fire of the mind.” Insight meditation teacher Grahame White sat down with us in Honolulu where he was leading a retreat at the Palolo Zen Center and discussed how he became interested in Buddhism, the practical benefits of mindfulness meditation practice, and what he hopes people gain from his teachings.



    I caught up with indie folk rockers The Wild Reeds at San Francisco’s Outside Lands festival, one of the last stops on a long west coast tour before they headed back to their native Los Angeles and then on to the East Coast for more shows. Check out their epic cover of “House of the Rising Sun”, an exclusive acoustic performance of their beautiful tune “Selfish” and my interview with these amazingly talented women who reflect on how they’ve evolved as performers and the power of music to make you feel connected during lonely moments when you’re convinced you’re “the weirdest person in the world.”



    “To me music is the universe. I don’t know, it’s everything… The moment you release something it’s no longer yours in a way because everybody can make it their own.” On a sunny afternoon in Paris during a short break from her summer tour, talented singer-songwriter Mariama took me to her apartment near the Metro Laumière in the 19th arrondissement. Born in Sierra Leone and raised in Cologne, Mariama says her rich multicultural background has contributed to the curiosity that fuels her music.



    “We get a depiction of young brown and black people in the media that sets us up for failure. Our kids are getting ideals that they can never live up to instead of having an accessible form of expression that they can use to find out who they are… these cultural forms of expression are so necessary for us to have for ourselves as a community that it is a travesty to say the least what these corporations have done with the platform for our culture. So that’s what Hip Hop For Change is bringing back.”



    In addition to singing in a ‘Sensual Garage Rock Band’ with her husband called Rikkha, Juliette Dragon puts on scintillating cabaret productions with her burlesque company, Le Cabaret des Filles de Joie, and founded the first burlesque school in Paris: Ecole des Filles de Joie. Girls at her school learn more than just how to dance– they are learning not just to shake but to own and feel good about what their mamas gave them. “You have to like and to love yourself to be able to be loved by someone else. In my school the girls are learning how to love themselves and love each other.”



    “Music has grown to be a part of a cycle in my life where I experience everything that the earth has to give us and in return I have this music I can share as a thank you to the universe and a way of sending my story back into the world.” It was a very cold and windy day at Sutro Baths in San Francisco but Christine Donaldson kept a cheery attitude throughout our shoot, noting that the grey and foggy weather suited the melancholy tune of her song.