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BLAC Inc. director to receive Creative Women of Oklahoma Award

Anita Arnold

Anita G. Arnold, executive director of Black Liberated Arts Center (BLAC) Inc. in Oklahoma City, OK, has been chosen to receive the Creative Women of Oklahoma Award at noon on Saturday, June 9 by Delta Kappa Gamma of the International Society for Key Women Educators.

Arnold learned in a letter that she would receive the Gamma State award as the author of “Oklahoma City Music: Deep Deuce and Beyond.” The award is given in recognition of Oklahoma women who excel through an expression of creativity that encourages, inspires and reaches children. According to the letter, “the extraordinary story of the place and people of Deep Deuce is exemplary of these qualities.

Delta Kappa Gamma Society of International Society for Key Women Educators is a professional honorary society of 150,000 women from 14 different countries. It is a membership by invitation only society. Among their several purposes are 1) To unite women educators of the world in a genuine spiritual fellowship and 2) To honor women who have given or who evidence a potential for distinctive service in any field of education.

Arnold, who is in the field of arts education, said she is thrilled to have been recognized by the international organization for the work that she has done. 

“It is reflective of the great music history, traditions and African Americans in Oklahoma City. It is wonderful to know that others in our state and across the world think so highly of this history,” she said in a news release. “I am just an instrument to bring that awareness to Oklahoma. It is an honor, indeed, and an humbling experience to find myself in this place at this time.”

The affair will be held at Yukon High School. Arnold will do a book signing of “Oklahoma City Music: Deep Deuce and Beyond” at the event. She is an author of three other books.

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BLAC Inc. director Anita Arnold receives Charlie Christian Tribute in Texas

Anita Arnold, right, receives framed Tribute to Charlie Christian.

During an evening of celebration and tribute to Charlie Christian in Bonham, Texas, Anita Arnold, executive director of Black Liberated Arts Center (BLAC), Inc. of Oklahoma City, OK, was presented a framed Tribute to Charlie Christian made from the wood of the house where the jazz legend was born. 

The tribute contained the words to the song “Rose Room” that launched Christian’s career with Benny Goodman and, ultimately, led to his iconic stature in the music world. A picture of Charlie Christian and his birthplace are, also, included in the tribute that sold for $1,000 in an auction and was donated by the owner of the piece.

The evening was filled with Charlie Christian music played by the James Deering Quartet of Grayson College. The talented guitarist, Seve Mexia, featured in the quartet played music that he transcribed from music played from Charlie Christian CDs as a final test from his jazz music professor at the college. Arnold narrated the concert with little-known information about Charlie Christian throughout the evening. The evening concluded with a book signing by Arnold, author of the book, “Oklahoma City Music: Deep Deuce and Beyond.” 

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P. Diddy protege Brian H. and Jamia Alesia collaborate on ‘Truly Everlasting’ soundtrack

With the smooth vocal style of Tank or Tyrese, Brian H. (aka Brian Harris), became a TV sensation as J-Rome after his stint on P. Diddy’s reality TV show, “Making the Band 4.” Now, he’s aiming to make rhythmic noise all over again. He has teamed up with rising star, Jamia Alesia, to record the sultry movie soundtrack, “Truly Everlasting” (Emtro/$13.99). It’s the companion CD to the film that has just been released on DVD.

The Jacksonville, Fla., singers sang two duets, “One Love” and “I Think I Love You.”  Alesia did three solo tracks. The mid-tempo, “He’s So Fine,” is reminiscent of SWV back in the `90s. Her warm alto shines on the groove “The One” and she shows her sass on the track, “Changed.” Brian H. rounds the collection out with five tracks: the computerized “Beautiful Girl” and the aching jam, “Truly Everlasting.” There’s also a cozy acoustic version of the latter, as well as, the catchy love songs “Take It Slow” and “Imagine.”

Brenda Jackson, known as the Diva of Romance, is the best-selling African-American romance novelist of all time. She began reading romance novels to distress herself from her hectic job as an insurance executive and wondered why there weren’t more romance novels revolving around black people and started to write her own. She’s written 80 romance novels that have sold over 3 million copies and made her the top in her field. She’s now taken one of her most popular books and bankrolled the independent film, “Truly Everlasting” that is based on her best-selling 1998 book of the same name. 

In the story, a man named Trask and woman named Felecia who have hated each other since childhood are drawn together when Felecia’s son wishes for a father to spend Christmas with since his biological father is dead. When Trask hears of Austin’s unique request from one of Felecia’s relatives, he volunteers to be Austin’s dad for the holidays. Against her better judgment, Felecia relents and allows Trask to act as Austin’s father. Forced to be around each other for the child’s sake, the adults fall in love and the story takes on a unique twist that includes a protracted custody battle for Austin.

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BLAC Inc. director Anita Arnold named 2012 Multicultural Citizen of the Year

Anita Arnold
According to a recent news release, the Multicultural Education Institute at the University of Central Oklahoma in Oklahoma City, named Anita Arnold, executive director of Black Liberated Arts Center (BLAC) Inc. as the 2012 Multicultural Citizen of the Year. 

The ceremony was held March 9, 2012, at the UCO Student Union Ballroom.  According to Dr. Silvya A. Kirk, the annual award is presented in recognition of excellence in multicultural education to an individual who must meet one or more of the Institute’s 10 selection criteria which include being an upstanding role model in the community. 

Kirk said Arnold’s years of service in multicultural and diverse activities as well as involvement in the community was what influenced the committee’s decision. 

Among the many programs that Arnold has presented that reflects multiculturalism include BLAC Inc.’s Statewide Professional Development Conference for Teachers and Artists as well as the Charlie Christian International Music Festival.  For more than 21 years, Arnold has worked to establish a reputation of excellence in the arts and education by bringing to Oklahoma experts in education and music. 

Arnold, an Oklahoma native, is the recipient of many local, state and national awards including the prestigious Governor’s Arts Award, City/County Pathmakers Award, Oklahoma Human Rights Award, and the ONE Award. She is also the author of four cultural history books on Deep Deuce and Charlie Christian.  Her most recent book is “Oklahoma City Music: Deep Deuce and Beyond,” published by Arcadia Publishing, South Carolina. 
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Mitch’s Books: The Tattered Cover in Denver hosts author Boyd Norton

Catch a presentation and book signing 

with author Boyd Norton at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011, at 

The Tattered Cover1628 16th St. at Wynkoop in Denver, Colo. Drawing upon author and acclaimed photographer Boyd Norton’s more than 45 years of traveling to some of the world’s most wild places, Serengeti: The Eternal Beginning beautifully captures the history, people, animals, and the great migration of this ecosystem that makes this one of the most fascinating and special places in the world. For more information, call (303) 436-1070.

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Mitch’s Book Review: “Gamification by Design” by Gabe Zichermann and Christopher Cunningham

Gamification by Design (O’Reilly Media, $24.99) provides the design strategy and tactics the reader needs to integrate game mechanics into any kind of consumer-facing website or mobile app. For example, learn how to use core game concepts, design patterns, and meaningful code samples to create a fun and captivating social environment.
“Gamification is fundamentally changing the way we design products, consumer interactions, and marketing strategies,” says expert author Gabe Zichermann in a news release. “Harness the power of Foursquare, Farmville, Nike+, and hundreds of other apps and games with the proven methodologies in Gamification by Design.”
The author presents examples that are well-written and easy to understand. It does a good job of presenting the key ideas of Gamification. The use of real world examples showing what people have done is great. There’s even some real code showing how a forum being enhanced with Gamification. The code examples and examples of interactions with gamification services complete a good book.
As great as this book seems, it would be more intriguing to game designers versus an ordinary reader just wanting to understand what gamification means in the marketplace today.

NOTE: Review copy was provided to Mitch’s Muse by O’Reilly Media Inc. 

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Mitch’s Book Review: “A Dangerous Woman: The Life, Loves, and Scandals of Adah Isaacs Menken, 1835-1868, America’s Original Superstar” by Michael Foster and Barbara Foster

Michael Foster, author of the novel Freedom’s Thunder, and Barbara Foster, an associate professor at the City University of New York who specializes in women’s studies, have written an interesting account on actress and poet Adah Isaacs Menken.
A Dangerous Woman: The Life, Loves, and Scandals of Adah Isaacs Menken, 1835-1868, America’s Original Superstar details the life of Menken, who was born in New Orleans to a Jewish, “woman of color” and a father whose identity is debated. 

Menken eventually moved to the Midwest, where she became an outspoken protégé of the rabbi who founded Reform Judaism. In New York City, she became Walt Whitman’s disciple. During the Civil War, she was arrested as a Confederate agent — and became America’s first pin-up superstar. Menken married and left five husbands. Ultimately, she paid dearly for success — she mysteriously died at age 33.
The authors have done a remarkable job of chronicling Menken’s life with information generated from special collections in the United States, London and Paris, books, periodicals, and photography. It was mentioned that Menken, until her death in 1868, was the prime suspect of the first celebrity photography, Napoleon Sarony. 
The authors show that her star power inspired poets like Walt Whitman and writers like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who used Menken as the basis for the classic Sherlock Holmes supporting character of Irene Adler. Her popularity was fueled by a new advent of the period, mass circulation newspapers. Their reporters couldn’t wait to write about her latest adventure, according to biographers Michael and Barbara Foster, who call her the originator of the modern celebrity femme fatale.
A Dangerous Woman is an interesting read for those interested in women’s history, the roots of modern-day American Judaism, and African-American history.

NOTE: Review copy was provided to Mitch’s Muse by News and Experts.

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“Oklahoma Music: Deep Deuce and Beyond” is subject of research project

Evelyn Larue Pittman

According to Oklahoma City author Anita G. Arnold, research is being conducted by researchers on radio in the 1940s, and included in the information being collected is the 1940s WKY radio program, “Southern Rivers.”
The program featured Evelyn Larue Pittman of Oklahoma City. Pittman had an active career in composing, teaching and choral composition during the 1930s and 1940s. A book, “Oklahoma Music: Deep Deuce and Beyond,” written by Arnold, led researchers to Oklahoma seeking information. Pittman was mentioned in Arnold’s book. Researcher Karl Schadow stated in a letter that he has been able to find only one copy of Pittman’s show in the NBC Collection at the Library of Congress.
“Here is another example of the rich music history of Oklahoma City’s African Americans that is highly valued and sought after by others outside our state. It has been my pleasure and joy to have documented some of this history in this book,” Arnold said in a news release.
“Oklahoma Music: Deep Deuce and Beyond” was published and released in June 2010. Arnold continues to accept invitations to speak about history and sign books. Her next book signing will be Sunday, August 28, 2011, at St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church, 5700 N. Kelley, Oklahoma City, OK, before and after the morning worship service.
Books may be purchased at Black Liberated Arts Center Inc., Barnes & Nobles bookstore, Borders bookstore, Capitol Square Station, Charlie’s Jazz, Rhythm & Blues Store, Dean’s Typesetting Service, Full Circle Book Store, Hastings Books, Music & Videos, Walgreen’s and online through Arcadia Publishing or
For more information, call BLAC Inc. at (405) 524-3800.

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Coming Up: Livestream with author Gabe Lyons on Feb. 17th @ 2pm ET.

Check out author Gabe Lyons on Feb. 17th @ 2 p.m. ET (1 p.m. CST). The event will be moderated by Tim Keller, and Gabe will be answering questions about his new book – The Next Christians. 

Watch live streaming video from waterbrookmultnomah at
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Mitch’s Reflection: “Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball” by Donita K. Paul

Just in time for the holidays, author Donita K. Paul weaves a brilliant tale of family, relationships, romance and religion all into one for an unlikely couple in Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball: A Novella Searching for a perfect gift leads Cora Crowder to an unusual bookshop on Sage Street, where she meets bookshop owners Bill and William Wizbotterdad. The owners not only direct Crowder to finding perfect gifts for her unruly family members, but Cora Crowder also encounters co-worker Simon Derrick. Derrick is not only Crowder’s boss, but his distant manner makes her hesitant to approach him. But the unlikely bonus of special tickets to a Christmas Ball from the Warner, Werner and Wizbotterdad’s bookshop leads Crowder and Derrick down an unusual path. The storyline is easy to follow, and the reader will chuckle or frown along the way. “Two Tickets to the Christmas Ball” is so heartwarming and inviting that the book could be finished in a day! With just the right elements, Paul makes it possible for anyone “to dream of a true love beyond imagination.”

Editor’s Note: A copy of this book was provided by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. Rate this review here: