Volunteers Wanted This Weekend!

BWAF Philly 2019: Philadelphia’s 13th Annual Black Women’s Arts Festival! We are looking for folks to help with stage management, assist the vendors, do mild crowd control, and just in general be on hand to support Yorz Truli, the founder and executive director (Moi!) and venue staff, venue director, sound engineers, etc. (All respectful persuns are welcome!) Volunteer shifts are 2 hours, you don’t have to message me first – just show up and say, “Need any help?” or something silly like that!
Location: The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Dates and showtimes:
Saturday, September 21, 2019
1:00pm – 9:00pm
Sunday, September 22, 2019
1:00pm – 5:00pm
Attendance is free. Space is drug, alcohol, and smoke-free, and wheelchair accessible. It’s all-ages and kid friendly. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!
P.S. Oh, and if anyone’s interested – I’ll be singing and playing guitar today, Saturday, at 5:40pm until a succinct 6:00pm. 🙂

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Special Needs Adult/Disabled Artist – Sept. 20, 2019

Special Needs Adult/Disabled Artist – Sept. 20, 2019




After, I dunno, maybe three years of mostly social isolation I am particularly touched to see how many of you, my appreciators, are still there, and here supporting me one way or another. Whether it’s your prayers, holding a vision of my success, sending a warm and encouraging email, showing up in real actual physical persun to an event of mine (shocker!) or sending a donation to one of my online fundraiser, I am so appreciative! Thank you so much. You remind me that although I may not write “Me! Me! Me!’s” as often as I used to, or gig as much as I used to, or upload YouTube’s as often as I used to, I am still here, too 🙂
I started using the term “Special Needs Adult” for myself a few months ago, because I identify with the term “special needs child” except that I’m not a child. And I also add “Disabled Artist” because I saw a peer artist use that and she and her partner are both disabled artists who seem to be doing just fine. I figure if I use that title, I too, a few years from now, could be doing just fine – no major housing crisis every few years because I can’t work enough to keep my bills paid. Oh how I wish I had listened to my first therapist, who in the early 90s, told me I had a mental disability. But mental health stigma being even stronger back then than it is now, I didn’t want to admit there was something with my brain – and also quite frankly I didn’t believe her. (Denial.)
I used to always think of admiting a weakness as strength, that only when we admit we have a problem, be it an addiction, a personality flaw, or a disability, can we then address and work around the issue and then be much more successful and effective than if we continue to deny or ignore it. It took my being in my late 40s to come to that realization. It was 2015, actually, and I was in a women’s homeless shelter. I remember sobbing into the arms of the only friend I made there (we are still friends today), that I was starting to realize there really was something wrong with my brain. So began the journey, and now here we are – here I am 🙂

On Sept. 10th there was an incident that made my moving out much more urgent than before. I called for a fundraiser, and gave myself the date of Oct. 10th to hopefully find a place. In the interim, I’ve been receiving donations at http://gofundme.com/CXYear50 but I don’t really have a clear cut idea of how a persun who can’t work at least in the typical ways, has no recent work or landlord references, gets a place. So, I decided to relax and not focus on that for the moment. I will continue to meet with my life coach and therapist and focus on today and tomorrow. One of the most important things to do is stay in feeling of having what I want. My life coach reminded me that what helps us manifest things is to feel the way we will when we have it. Find that feeling, and hold it for as long and as often as possible. She said that this feeling will help attract what we want, as well as help to remove the obstacles to what we want. And my therapist reminded me that I manifested a place to live for 3 1/2 years (where I am now). In session today, I suddenly realized that, “Hey! I tend to manifest places to live easily – I always have. But they just don’t last long.” And that’s when she pointed out that this one did. That was really helpful to remember. It’s always been very easy for me start working on something, once I know I have done it before, even just a little bit.
One thing I do know is that I love being an artist. I am so excited about the Black Women’s Arts Festival this weekend (more on that later). Not even the performances, but just being there and running, or helping to run the event. I really love the hustlery and bustlery. I can’t believe it’s only 2 days a year of my life. I really must try to figure out a way to have more of that kind of thing in my life. I feel certain that this, along with other things I will do to earn income, will help make me resolve and solidify my housing issues. Thank you for listening!

Alternate methods of donation:

Check or US Postal Money Order – Payable to Cassendre Xavier
Mail to: Cassendre Xavier, c/o Bindlestiff Book, 4530 Baltimore Ave, Philadelphia PA 19143-3705

I am the founder and executive director of Philadelphia’s 13th Annual Black Women’s Arts Festival. It’s happening this weekend (starting tomorrow), Sat-Sun, Sept. 21-22, 2019. Sat hours 1pm-9pm. Sun hours 1pm-5pm. Location: The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104. Free. All respectful persuns are welcome. Non-smoking, no alcohol, all-ages, wheelchair accessible. Very thankful to outgoing producer Amor La Luna for her stellar contributions to BWAF in the previous two years.
Please join us!

Wanted: Organizers and volunteers for BWAF Philly 2020
Email: BWAFphilly (at) gmail.com
Or via Facebook Messenger

I don’t sing or play my guitar anymore unless I have a gig booked. So, because I’m singing and playing guitar at the Black Women’s Arts Festival tomorrow (Sat 9/21) from 5:40pm-6pm yesterday I practiced for less than an hour. The good news is that I started by trying to write a song, and I haven’t written a song in years. My guitar needs to be tuned and I have no idea how I’ll sound tomorrow if I to belt anything. So, that, plus the fact that I know there will be several bands that bring the house down makes me think I don’t need to belt at all tomorrow, although I would like to. I don’t know, I still may. I know I have to use my instrument – the instrument that is my body as an artist – to sing. Even if I may not still be committed to the guitar as my instrument. But I realized a few days ago, that I do want to sing. That’s it. I love to sing, and I have a voice that should be used and heard. There is a lot of healing in my voice, both in my giving and in my receiving it. Meaning both from the inside and the outside.
I have had always had false statements blocking my road to success as a singer. I thought the music industry was corrupt and cruel and would destroy me. I am not a nightclubber, and I thought all singers had to be out late at night and perform in those partying kinds of settings. I also thought I had to look a certain way or I just would never get to be heard or seen. I believed all those things when I was more conventionally attractive than I am now. I was in my twenties, I weighed less than I do now, I removed my facial hair 🙂
Today, I’m 50, I weigh 220, and I sport a rather significant lady goatee – proudly! I don’t know what that says about what my music career will do over the next few years. But I’m not worried about that. I’m just going to continue pursuing what makes me happy.
My music is sold online various places:

And a store that sells my CDs (and chapbooks) is:
Bindlestiff Books
4530 Baltimore Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19143

One of my greatest joys in life is writing a monthly column for Wisdom Magazine online. I’ve done this since 2009. Special Needs/Disabled Artist tip: You may notice when you review my archives that sometimes I skipped a month. This was due to my bipolar symptoms – mania and depression. I had asked my editor if I could submit two or more at a time when I was manic, to help offset the times I couldn’t send any when I was depressed. I don’t think I told her the mental health reasons at the time – I only asked to send more than one periodically. She said no, and I don’t recall the exact reason why, but I believe it had to do with her system, and it being more convenient to do it the way I was asked to. So I tried to continue, even though I had missed a month now and then, due to depression. At some point, it was becoming a pattern of my skipping months, and so I asked her again, only this time, with the mental health backstory. She obliged right away. Since then, I have been much more consistent in submitting my articles by deadline, each month.
I’m really proud of the one below, although the title may be a wee lengthy! I had been having some challenges with a partner, and wrote the article. But being a conflict-avoidin’-like-the-plague-Libra, when we got together next, he very gently intuited what was bothering me and we never even had to do this exercise! Enjoy!
(P.S. And I really do believe resentments block intimacy, and should be cleared as soon as possible, no matter how minor they may appear to be!)
Soulmate Attraction (& Tantra) for the Rest of Us: Clearing Resentment for Improved Intimacy:

I’m recording a lot more these days. In my 20s I was all about sharing my life as an artist – my struggles and such. I suppose I did in my 30s as well. But in my 40s that mostly stopped for various reasons – I think mostly to do with the way the music industry went insofar as CD sales go. I guess I gave too much value to selling CDs, and lost hope when that stopped in my life. Traveling folk artists can still do well. I know that , but I may have another story a brewin’ as an artist. We shall see what that will be! Meanwhile, I will share my journey via my little free government phone ($15/month for unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, and enough data for my needs)!
Here is the video I recorded today:
Special Needs Adult/Disabled Artist/Housing GoFundMe Update

At a cute and charming little West Philly bookstore called:
Bindlestiff Books
4530 Baltimore Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19143-3705

I am super sleepy. I saw a great documentary on YouTube today about the importance of sleep. It’s called “The Price of Sleep,” and is about how the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders is rapidly becoming big business. We need 8.5 of sleep nightly for the body to do all the healing work that it does. Most of us are sleep deprived. Good sleep prevents diabetes as well as other conditions. Very interesting!
Anyway, I hope to be in bed soon, but I know I have to go get my laundry from the dryer first.
Hey! Did I say this was a farewell *blessing*? Well, let’s get on to the blessing part, shall we? 🙂
May you get plenty of sleep every night, and feel the rewards.
May you become adept at navigating your emotions to help more quickly attract and attain your desires.

Wishing you a wonderful day, and I thank you for reading!

In art, spirit, and community,

Cassendre Xavier
renaissance negresse
Multi-Media Healing Artist

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My upcoming artist support group & workshop series!

Blog version: http://cxwriting.blogspot.com/2019/05/my-upcoming-artist-support-group.html

By Any Means Necessary: Support for the Challenged Artist

A workshop and peer support group series with Cassendre Xavier

Dates and Time:

The following Saturdays, from 1:00pm-4:00pm:

May 25
June 1
June 15
June 29

(Registration Deadline: May 19)


Leeway Foundation

The Philadelphia Building

1315 Walnut Street, Suite 832

(8th floor, elevators/wheelchair accessible)

Philadelphia, PA 19107

Are you an artist or creative person struggling with some real life issues that present a major challenge to your creative output? Life happens, and creative people need extra support to get beyond those challenges and still create, by any means necessary.

Don’t let a midlife crisis, economic hardship, physical/mental health issues, or difficult relationships stop you from being the fully self-expressed creative you were born to be and were years ago. You can create again, and you can become an artist, in ways that work for you and your own particular audience!

In this gentle, inclusive and interactive workshop-meets support group and vision team, you can learn skills and build your own “tools” to get over significant hurdles to creativity. Accountability and peer support as well as making deadlines for everything are some of the tools to higher creativity.

About the presenter:

Cassendre Xavier is a “multi-media healing artist” known for her award-wining work as a performing and recording singer-songwriter-guitarist, spoken word artist, poet, and community cultural arts organizer. She has released albums, written-produced-acted-and directed a cast of 5 in a play, and is currently working with Black Women’s Arts Festival 2018 & 2019 Producer Amor La Luna on the 13th Annual BWAF in Philadelphia (Sept 21-22, 2019 at The Rotunda) as well as working on producing a BWAF in Denver Colorado in 2020. Cassendre’s main work on a day to day basis, however, involves dealing with the symptoms of bipolar and posttraumatic stress disorders, which were diagnosed in 1993, she was in her early 20s. Now at 50, Cassendre attends 14 medical appointments per month for various health issues and struggles to find time to be the artist she once was. Cassendre has also faced significant financial challenges over the years, has been both shelter and street homeless, and continued to create, perform, and produce events during those struggles. During those times, she met other people who have done the same. Financial hardships do not have to stop creativity!

Cassendre says: “I’ve been dealing with an artist crisis for years. I stopped gigging, and I rarely even pick up my guitar and sing. As a typical bipolar, I have millions of ideas, but it’s really hard for me to get settled and actually write an entire cohesive work, or book, as has been my longtime dream. I know as a healing artist, that the best way for me to solve problems is to do so within a structure of a group teaching setting. I look forward to being more productive as an artist, now that I have a place to share what I have learned in the process. Having a place for accountability is one of the greatest helps to an artist, and I am so grateful to be able to create that for others as well as for myself.”

Cassendre’s previous arts-related workshops/classes/self-help groups (in Philadelphia) include:

1)…AIM: Artists in Motion: a peer support, networking, and accountability group for artists. (1996; Homes and cafes.)

2)…Creating & Supporting the Active Artist (a 12- week series) (2002; Wise Women’s Center/W.I.S.E. The Women’s Initiative for Self-Empowerment, West Philadelphia)

3)…How to Record & Release Your Own CD (a 12-week series) (2005; PASCEP-The Pan-African Studies Community Education Program)

4)…Active Artist 101 (a talk) (2006; Mount Airy Learning Tree)

Cassendre is also known for her inspiring quotes and writings on social media as well as her monthly articles at Wisdom-Magazine.com.

Cost: Courtesy of the Leeway Foundation, which funds women and trans artists creating art for social change, this series is free of charge to attend. However, the presenter requests upon completion of the series, that attendees fill out a questionnaire to assist in improving future workshops. (The completion of this questionnaire is appreciated, but optional.)


Open to women, trans, and respectful male participants.

Be over the age of 21.

Participants must have been productive artists for at least 5 years (been published, exhibited visual art/work, screened original films, acted in publicly seen roles, performed music publicly, created saleable product of some sort, etc.).

Be willing to work with a group; give and listen to suggestions from group members and presenter.

Commit to attending all sessions.

Registration (Deadline May 19):

Space is limited, and all attendees must be pre-approved.

If qualifications above are met, please post a comment or email the presenter at cxwriting @ gmail dot com (email address is split up to prevent spam).

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In The Kitchen in Denver!

I’m at The Kitchen, 1560 Wazee St (on the corner of 16th and Wazee), in Denver, CO with BWAF Denver supporter and black woman artist Latasha Dunston of Jitterbug Art Studio. We’re here until 8pm and hoping to meet other organizers! 😊🌟☑️♥️

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BWAF Denver 2020 Organizer Meetings 4/15 & 4/16

Blog version: http://cxwriting.blogspot.com/2019/04/bwaf-denver-2020-organizer-meetings-415.html

The Black Women’s Arts Festival https://Instagram.com/OfficialBWAFphilly is an annual showcase of multi-media creative and healing arts, performances, workshops, vendors, and more by black women, created with our supporters, and presented to the public at large. All respectful persons are welcome.
BWAF Philly 2019 – The 13th Annual Black Women’s Arts Festival is Sat-Sun September 21-22, 2019 at http://www.TheRotunda.org
Producer Amor La Luna https://Instagram.com/amorlaluna

Plans are under way for BWAF Denver 2020: Colorado’s 1st Annual Black Women’s Arts Festival.

We are seeking a producer for BWAF Denver. There is a small stipend available and the time commitment would be commensurate with the size and kind of venue selected. For information, please stop by one of our in-person meetings or email the director. Info below:

Monday, April 15, 2019
Hours by appointment, between 12:00Noon and 7:00pm.
At a hotel in Northglenn, CO.
(Meeting is in a public seating area. RSVP required – to receive hotel address, email BWAF founder/director Cassendre Xavier https://cassendrexavier.wordpress.com
at BWAFphilly at gmail.com )

Tuesday, April 16, 2019
1560 Wazee St. (on the corner of 16th and Wazee)
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 623-3127
Meet BWAF founder/director Cassendre Xavier and Denver-based black woman artist Latasha Dunston of Jitterbug art studio https://www.jitterbugart.com
at the bar.

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2019 Performance & Workshop Dates Added

* Sun April 14 – Presenting workshop (Coming Out: A Spiritual Practice & Social Action) at the 6th Annual Rocky Mountain Poly Living Conference, Denver CO http://www.LoveMore.com
* Sat June 8 – Singing, playing guitar & selling CDs at http://www.LansdowneFarmersMarket.com , in PA
* Sat-Sun Sept 21-22 – Singing/guitar, reading poems, selling CDs, chapbooks & buttons at the 13th Annual Black Women’s Arts Festival, at The Rotunda, Philadelphia PA http://www.facebook.com/BWAFphilly
* Sat Dec 21 – Singing/guitar/CDs co-bill with http://www.RupertWatesMusic.com at The Living Room at 35 E, Ardmore PA

Please contact the venues for more information~

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Bearded Lady – Bipolar & Binge Eating & Shame & Progress

(New YouTube video!)
Visit https://youtu.be/eQiuGdE_jMU Or:
https://tinyurl.com/CXYouTube and click “Videos”

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Calendar update!

Fri-Sun April 12-14, 2019 – Presenting workshop “Coming Out: A Spiritual Practice and Social Action” at the Rocky Mountain Poly Living Conference in Denver, Colorado. http://lovemore.com


Sat June 8, 2019 10:30am-12:30pm. Singing at the Lansdowne Farmers Market http://LansdowneFarmersMarket.com


Sat-Sun September 21-22, 2019 Reading my poetry and singing at the 13th Annual Black Women’s Arts Festival, The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut St, Philadelphia PA 19104 http://TheRotunda.org


Sat December 21, 2019 – 8pm Co-bill with singer-songwriter Rupert Wates, The Living Room at 35 E, Ardmore PA.


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What can we do to stop child abuse?

What do you think the 3 biggest causes of child abuse are? (Poverty? Addiction? Mental illness? The failure of social service workers/system?) And what can the average persun do to help stop it? I feel called to make this issue part of my life’s work, and your feedback would help!

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Bearded Lady / Healing Artist: Your Life Experiences Are Precious Regardless

YouTube Video link: https://youtu.be/GNXZgLnFEGQ

Video Description:
Artists are fortunate in that we can turn any life experience into a creative project that may entertain, uplift, or inspire others. We pay for that gift by carrying the responsibility to do this work. When we don’t do this work, we may become physically or mentally ill, or financially challenged.
But even when we don’t do anything with our life challenges, transitions, and observations, they still have value.
Remember to stay open to your inner muse and wisdom – they are your gift and your survival.
We are meant to need each other, so come out of your shell and share your stories.
And if you are too challenged with painful circumstances to do your creative work, seek support. And if you don’t find what you need, create it. Someone else will need what you have to offer.
Be yourself, express yourself.
Thanks for listening!

Cassendre Xavier (aka Amethyste Rah, Amrita Waterfalls, and Endowed Goddess)
Multi-Media Healing Artist
renaissance negresse

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