Wednesday, July 9, 2008

WO+MEN 4 A CAUSE


Welcome to my blog about WO+MEN 4 A CAUSE. My mission with WO+MEN 4 A CAUSE is to build a global community where we can empower eachother by becoming informed, educating ourselves, sharing information, and utilizing our knowledge to help those in need. WO+MEN 4 A CAUSE promotes and features different organizations that cover topics ranging from Peace, Cancer, The Environment, to Autism, Abuse, Poverty, The homeless, gangs and more! We are a growing community of artists, mothers, daughters, sisters, fathers, brothers, sons, survivors...who strive to make a difference through our experiences, our music, art, books,  photography, film and the theatre. We have found a way where we can educate ourselves and share what we've learned, by building a COMMUNITY together to make a difference. Let your voice be heard!

"We are an experiment...Can we live together...grow together...as one race...the human race...We are crayons in the box, different colors, but all made the same, for one purpose, to color the picture..."-From the song "Crayons" by Denise Vasquez

Another one of my favorite lines is "Together WE CAN make a difference"! Don't ask me where I picked up that line from, maybe I made it up, maybe I read it someplace...the point is, I feel WE ALL have a purpose in this life! As an artist, I truly believe that my gifts as an artist are only a part of my purpose and everything I have experienced has led me to become the woman I am today!

In my early teens, It might have been my first real job, I worked at "Camp Lee Mar" (in Lackawaxen, PA) at a summer camp for children who had Autism, Down Syndrome and more...these children were seen to some as being "Handicapped"...I saw them as my "Teachers"! These special children taught me SOOO much!!! Seriously, aside from my mom, these children were my BEST teachers! I believe that is their purpose...they are here to teach US! They taught me patience, appreciation, understanding and I personally believe that many autistic children are boderline GENUIS! Their minds move so quickly, and their hearts are soooo open! They may not speak our language to our understanding, but some of the things I saw these children do & create artistically were pretty spectacular...talk about inspiration!!!

I myself had some BIG obstacles in my life and I feel many of the obstacles I have gotten through are also a part of my purpose. Through my personal experiences, I've gained courage and also the strength I need to help others who now experience the same challenges.

I've volunteered my time to create, produce, host, promote, and perform in my 10+hour music festivals (LADIES NIGHT MUSIC FESTIVALS, LADIES IN THE COURTYARD, SOCIAL BUTTERFLY NIGHT, WOMEN WITH A CAUSE...so far 8 very successful festivals & more to come). With the help of my sponsors and fellow artists with a cause, our community helped bring awareness to organizations like The Red Cross, Ovariancancer.org, Green Peace, Hep C, The Wish & more! 

I also wrote a One-Act Play which was presented at "The St. John School Of The Arts" in the Virgin Islands called "SISTERHOOD" which is about female gangs. My play received RAVE reviews by the press!

What inspired me to create these events? I'm thinking about writing a book...

MY LIFE!

Art and music, being a strong woman, and having a strong foundation around me, saved my life, my entire life, leading me to where I am today! I left home at the age of 17, and I have been working and traveling since! I've lived in Scotland, London, New York City, The Virgin Islands, Los Angeles, and now Ventura. I've always been really good at acting, dancing, singing, playing music, casting, producing and promoting. I've always enjoyed working behind the scenes as well as in front of the camera. 

When I moved to the Virgin Islands, amongst many things lacking in paradise (Believe it or not, there are many things lacking)...I noticed the lack of female performers on the music scene, and there were too many amazing female performers not being given the chance to showcase their talents. I also noticed a lack of awareness for people in need. I came up with an idea that would help raise awareness, showcase unknown talent, bring the community together, while helping those in need. It took some convincing, but I managed to convince my boss at the time to loan me his BEACHFRONT bar/restaurant, for the night after 9pm so I wouldn't interfere with dinner service, to try out my idea, and I guaranteed he would not regret it!

The first event took me a few months to plan as I was living on a very small island, and I was volunteering my time, working at least 2 jobs full time, and doing everything on my own! With careful planning, for the first event I organized 6 HOURS STRAIGHT of LIVE MUSIC! I went around and found businesses to sponsor the event, in exchange for promotion for their business; I found a good soundman; equipment...not as easy as it sounds on an island that's 9 miles long & 2 miles wide!!! I invited talented female artist who I heard jamming at parties on the beach, or house gatherings, and I searched HARD for one unknown artist, someone that no one had any idea that she was a performer...i wanted to add the "surprise effect" to my event..I found her...the first unknown I am sooo happy I discovered to date, her name is Rebecca. She is one of the most mesmerizing voices I've EVER heard!!! I found her one day, I walked into my friend Luigi's jewerly store to thank him for being one of the sponsors. When I walked in, a young girl had her back to me, she was "Skatting" away...I was Like "SHE'S IT MAN!" I approached her to perform in my music festival. She said she had never sang in front of people. I convinced her to do it. She was terrified, but I held her hand and had her close her eyes. As soon as she opened her mouth, the angel sang, and WOW!!!! On a side note...Years later, I ran into songwriter Steve Seskin, (the first time) in Lyons Colorado and he told me that Rebecca put out a cd & on her cd, she thanked me for getting her to sing! The entire event went off REALLY well! I left people wanting more, it was praised by the press, and so I was asked to do another one!

The next event I decided to bring awareness to a different cause, and I featured more unknown female artists, that now came to me from different islands, wanting to be discovered. I tried to fit as many female artists on the bill as possible. With more artists on the bill, the event grew to 10 HOURS. It was amazing to watch the event grow...people coming together...all ages, all races, men & women, from many islands, listening from their boats, camping out on the beach, hanging out in the trees, just to experience the music, the love, purpose, COMMUNITY...I can't even find the words to describe the energy, but the second event drew HUNDREDS of people & it was unlike anything anyone on that small island had ever seen! Not to mention, I was organizing these events on my OWN...I was part of something that was WAY bigger than me!

Due to the fact that the event was growing each time we had one, I had to move locations after the third on the beach. I began moving the events to different locations for each one, which helped the businesses as well! By the time I left the islands, I had organized 6 very successful "LADIES NIGHTS MUSIC FESTIVALS". When I moved to Los Angeles, I organized a "SOCIAL BUTTERFLY NIGHT" to test the waters. I was immediately inspired, having artists like Lahna Turner, Cassie Burns, Kat Lague & Sarah Cloud on the bill! I organized another event called "WOMEN WITH A CAUSE" on a larger scale in Los Angeles (featuring women, but not excluding men)- 26 musical artists/bands, 10 comedians, 10+ HOURS straight LIVE performances...artists, sponsors, music, laughter, love, community, for a cause...IT WAS AMAZING!

ART & SOUL
Denise Vasquez

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