Believe the Hype: Indie Music at Adams Morgan Day

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With over 70 performances on 6 stages, over 200 artists and an expected crowd of over 30,000 people Adams Morgan Day is making an amazing attempt at reviving itself as DC’s premiere family festival! Indie Adams Morgan is the machine behind getting a diverse line-up of amazing local talent to showcase at tomorrow’s festival. The organizers of Indie Adams Morgan have a founding organization called Songwriters and Poets wherein they hold a festival of their own every year. If you are anywhere near the DC Metro area or can get here you DO NOT WANT TO MISS ADAMS MORGAN DAY 2013! 

Hashtags to follow: #ColumbiaStage #BelmontArts #BBS #FloridaStage #AdmoDay2013 

Check out the mobile site at 

I will be hosting the #ColumbiaStage check out the line-up i’m rocking with and come rock with us! 

Feel free to copy the individual posts below and tweet/post along with me! 

11:30am #ColumbiaStage I will welcome the crowd and The Haiku Hitmen warm the stage. #admoday2013 

12pm #ColumbiaStage @gandersonmusic “I write songs to figure out my thoughts, play with ideas, and communicate.” -Garrett Anderson

12:20pm #ColumbiaStage @rillamusic Christine Havrilla “the quintessential pop-rock goddess.”-Dena Marchiony,Philadelphia Songwriters Project

12:50pm #ColumbiaStage @christielenee unique guitar fuses folky/funky playfulness w/ pop/rock inspired songs & virtuosic guitar compositions

1:30pm #ColumbiaStage @laurabaronmusic Song poet Laura powerfully performs and composes contemporary folk, blues and jazz. #admoday2013

1:50pm #ColumbiaStage Kitty Boy! Fans are asking…what is the ‘Kitty Boy’ way! #admoday2013 

2:20pm #ColumbiaStage @moonliscious Some funky helping of rock & jam intensity;shake on some soul and jazz. The flavor of Moonliscious.

2:50pm #ColumbiaStage @wiseeyestribe “we’re about franks tattoos,organic foods, oriental rugs,& a wood-burning stove for the ambience.”

3:20pm #ColumbiaStage @peprmnstr815 “I’m 23. Been writing since 2008. Bow ties are cool. I make faces. Have fun!” -Juels Bland

3:30pm #ColumbiaStage @uglypurpledc Ugly Purple Sweater is an acoustically-tinged indie rock band from Washington, DC. #admoday2013 

4:30pm #ColumbiaStage @lbpdc #LBP is a homegrown, Washington D.C. 4 man, hard-rock band with a penchant for kicking ass! #admoday2013

5:00pm #ColumbiaStage @crochetkingpin collaborates with @boomscat and does what bad muthaf*ckers do with Hip-Hop/Poetry/Soul Fusion!

5:10pm #ColumbiaStage @konshensthemc Konshens views life as change. “Without struggle, there is no progress.” -Frederick Douglass #HipHop

6pm THE HEADLINER #ColumbiaStage @paperhaus Paperhaus is a set of passionate songwriters believe in the transformative power of music.

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K-Ci & Jo Jo at the Howard Theatre (Photostory)

The following is a photostory of my experience at the K-Ci & Jo Jo show at The Howard Theatre last weekend. Special thanks to Keith Estep Photography (who had no clue I was going to do this) for the pics!


Two baptist preachers walk on stage disguised as K-Ci & Jo Jo. Wait! Whaduya know?! It is K-Ci & Jo Jo. I wonder if they’re sober. You were thinking it too! We all are. What will they do? Will K-Ci strip down to bare chest and boxers? Will Jo Jo be able to carry a note? Who cares?! Just sing my song! My song = Tell Me It’s Real, Get On Up, All My Life, any Jodeci song, and their rendition of If You Think You’re Lonely Now.


Surprisingly K-Ci can still hold a note. He is not the sexy 90’s R&B brother from Jodeci anymore….wait! He was never that guy. It was Mr. Dalvin I was after. K-Ci was the voice of the group no one can deny that. The vest and tie are light years away from long black leather coats, shorts, and boots.


Jo Jo….can’t hold a note anymore. The sound folks kept placing annoying echo affect on the mics to help them carry the notes a little further. This didn’t help Jo Jo much. He sounded like a drunk uncle at Karaoke after bible study. He’s somewhat spiritual, somewhat hopeless, and you find yourself somewhat cheering for him to “sing it Jo Jo, SING IT!”


Please tell me that the above picture is does not look like Sunday night service at your local mega church just as they are about to ask for the offering. It sounded this way too. I swear that I was waiting for them to start talking about the building fund and how they were about to open a new church in the year 2017. Then claim it as God’s year because it ends with a 7.

To sum it all up the show was disastrous, but being the 80’s baby and 90’s R&B fan that I am I can’t help but love K-Ci & Jo Jo no matter what they do. The most realistic expectation of their shows is that you will be entertained and they will sing your favorite song of theirs. I am not sure if this song will sound like the song you call your favorite but it will be something like it.

Here’s a new joint from K-Ci & Jo Jo – Knock It Off

I did write a more serious review of this show. As soon as it’s up I will tweet the link @iamshellybell. Thank you for reading! Stay tuned for more photostory coverage of your favorite artists!


Regret Nothing Write Everything

How to get over “IT” in 3 Days


When life gives lemons you don’t always know the recipe for lemonade. Sometimes you’re at a lost for steps to take to get over the hump of “IT.” What is IT? IT is “intuitive truth.” The realization that you are facing something your inner self just can’t ignore. IT is real. IT hurts. IT makes you suffer. IT gives you bubbling butterfly guts. IT has you on edge while watching cartoons and comedies. IT is consuming you. I have decided that IT will not conquer me! I have developed my own 3 day process for getting over IT.

Day 1 – Day of Feeling: cry, breakdown, feel humiliated, find blame in you, the thing, or the other person; phone a friend and yell in their ear about how your intuition has to be truth; hang up on your friend (text and apologize); take a walk; don’t do anything to hurt yourself physically; call yourself names (you will correct these on day 2).

Day 2 – Day of Reckoning: Ask questions of yourself about what’s next. Answer your own questions. Have an epiphany. Communicate with the necessary parties. You made it through the most hurtful part of IT. Sage! Turn everything you said yesterday into something positive. Know that you’re human. Know that IT is the result of human action. Know that from today on every decision made is yours. Know that you can make a different decision than the last. Repeat to yourself “I have the power to create the reality I desire.”

Day 3 – Create the reality that you desire. Listen to music that only reflects the love you want. Speak words that reflect the person you are working to be. Wear clothes that show you as comfortable in the beautiful parts of you. Know that you’re the creator of the things you want to see in your world. Know that you can live with or without IT!

Relax. The thing that brought IT about will die in it’s own time. You may not be able to control life’s whirlwinds but you can be happy while staying afloat. Happiness is a choice. Find a joyful bathing suit and JUST KEEP SWIMMING!

Regret Nothing Write Everything!

Frank Ocean and the Elephant

The lights go down, the crowd screams, the 9:30 Club, Washington, DC is again successful at packing the room with a diverse audience of live music lovers. The air is curious and comfortable, as I imagine the crowd was like prior to Maxwell’s episode of MTV Unplugged, just in a less intimate space. Arriving after 7pm is never a good idea at this venue especially when the artist is Frank Ocean and his recent “coming out” story has made him the poster child for homosexual Hip Hop artists at a time when homosexual is the hippest thing to be. My tardiness positioned me in the back right corner of the room. As I scanned the crowd I imagined that I was not the only person secretly evaluating the sexuality of the people around me. I imagined that I was not the only person in the room questioning whether the fanfare was sincere towards talent or support for his so-called brave expression of being “himself.”

Regardless of sexual preference Frank Ocean’s writing ability is undeniable. As a vocalist, however, his voice is a cross between Keith Sweat’s whine and Akon’s tone, and lacking vocal range. Opening with Sade’s “By Your Side”  it was a smooth familiar way to start the show. This was followed by “old” favorite “Thinking Bout You” which is slowly making its way into Top 40 radio rotation. As the average “hey girl come with me to the show” concert goer his choice of song position in his set was a bit boring for me. Every song sounded the same plus or minus a little bass.

The moment we had all been waiting for came suddenly, as he introduced the oft discussed tale of same-sex love,“Forrest Gump.” Saying “recently, I had to say some things so yea, this song is about that,” it was definitely questionable. I paused and thought the following:



“What? Frank are you telling us that you recently told your mother you hate her cooking or that you’re gay? What does “had to say some things” even mean?


The crowd screamed and cheered as if he had just confessed his sexual preference on stage. This is evidence that saying you’re gay has become a huge deal. He had to say something. This elephant is too huge to ignore. I’d heard the song once before, but didn’t realize that chorus uses the word “boy” regarding who he’s singing to. Interestingly enough, the men in the room responded to the song with frozen stares and stiff posture. There was this one guy directly in front of me who was rocking and dancing so hard to every song. I imagined that he was gay even if he wasn’t. This begs the question, will men be able to express themselves as fans of Frank Ocean without being considered gay?

Also performed were “Novocane,” “Swim Good,” and “Made in America” from Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne album. I was waiting for him to rock the crowd with call in response while singing the chorus to “No Church in the Wild.” That didn’t happen! He ended the night abruptly by singing a portion of “I Miss You” by Beyonce while playing the keyboard.

It’s difficult to produce great showmanship when you don’t really have any songs in the mainstream. Frank Ocean’s music is the music you know because you’re in the know about Hip Hop music. I dig the use of Frank Ocean’s voice, I dig the instrumentation in his music, and I am a fan of his writing. However, for now he should focus on developing his show from a homogenous batch of songs to a more entertaining set of musical stories.

Blue moon out tonight…


 Every BLUE MOON (5th Monday) I host…

4251 South Campbell Ave 

Arlington, 22206

APRIL 30, 2012



Busboys and Poets is a community where racial and cultural connections are consciously uplifted…a place to take a deliberate pause and feed your mind, body and soul…a space for art, culture and politics to intentionally collide…we believe that by creating such a space we can inspire social change and begin to transform our community and the world.

Expect to be moved, expect a packed house, expect the unexpected, but above all come with an open mind and ear. List opens at 8:30 PM. 



5 Myths about Love

Myth 1: You complete me

If someone says this to you…RUN! OR make sure that you are an incomplete person who is looking for another incomplete person. When you read that out loud it sounds absolutely ridiculous. If you are looking to fall in love or find love and haven’t yet this is possibly your problem. Become whole and complement one another. Unless you are an incomplete person hearing the words “you complete me” will not be the moment you decide this person is the “ONE.” Complement me don’t complete me. I am already a whole person. This is a great transition into the next myth.

Myth 2: I am looking for the ONE

Being that you will be a part of at least two relationships where you feel completely satisfied with the someone and they won’t be so satisfied with you it is not realistic that there is a “ONE” out there. It could be the “first kiss” crush from elementary school to the high school sweetheart or even the college mate. The relationship could have lasted a short three days, but for that three days of agreement you felt like he/she was the ONE. You were perfectly correct! Even though you were considered too young to be kissing, or too old to be letting go of such a long relationship you still considered yourself lucky to have them! Once you noticed that he pees on the toilet seat or she does not cook you probably became less in like therefore less in love. Then determined that this person is not the ONE after all. This is not true. They were the ONE for that time period. That’s completely OK. Now on to the next ONE.

Myth 3: Love is all we need

BULLSHIT! Love is an emotion and just like all emotions, guess what…IT WILL PASS! It will come back, then go away, then pass, then go away. In the moments that love has passed you will find yourself actually trying to relate. “Relate” is the root word of “relationship” however people forget all about this when they have the overwhelming “love” bug. You know the one where all you can hear, eat, breath or think about is THEM…the ONE….then you sit in the pee he left on the toilet seat or get hungry and look for her to cook a meal and realize you don’t know if you like them so much. If something happens once or twice it’s considered an incident, but when habits become routine it should be considered a part of your personality. Evaluate each personality you feel overwhelmingly in love with for compatibility. Can you last 20 years sitting in pee or not having a hot meal from the one you love? Will your ideas of family fit into that space? Is this person a dirty person? Is this person forgetful? Do you want to clean up after them or always be the ONE cooking? The biggest question…”IS THIS RELATIONSHIP SUSTAINABLE.”

Myth 4: If you love me you would….

If you have to say this what you probably mean is “if you like what I want you to do or are able to like me enough to just do what I want then you would do it.” This is rooted in instant gratification. We all want it. We all need it. The momentary “I will do anything you want me to do because I love you so much.” Emotion is measured by action. If you’re sad I wouldn’t know you’re sad unless you say or act sad. We think the same of love. If you don’t do something like marry me, buy me gifts randomly, or create a romantic atmosphere of some sort you don’t love me. We have to ask ourselves questions about the relationship we seek/allow. We feel like we’re in love in a matter of weeks due to the way we are treated. Some people actually marry each other in a few weeks and it works for them. You may not be that exception. Stop trying to be. Love does not look like a particular action that takes place a few times a year. It’s actually a feeling. Feelings motivate you to be romantic, to spend time with a person, to hold them, to be there when they need you, and to just be a part of their lives holistically. The ideas of love in one person have to complement the ideas of love in another. The actions of love look very similar across relationships of all sorts. Think about it. What does the media tell us love looks like? We use these images as our definitions of love. The most widely known and marketed ways of love is what we determine is our own way of showing love and being in love.

Myth 5: I love you but I am not “in love” with you


love is to feet wet as “in love” is to underwater

love is to warm as “in love” is to fire

love leads to exclusive dating as “in love” leads to marriage

love is to like a lot as “in love” is to like a lot more than anybody

If you have ever defined love as something you are inside of, outside of, sitting around, on top of, or under you are delusional. In fact, if you refer to love as any type of locale whether relative or geographical you are delusional. I have also been this person. Love is  a feeling. It is triggered by experiences. Most of these experiences are not new. They come from childhood, previous romantic and/or platonic relationships. When people become conscious of the fact that a sustainable relationship is not possible with a person they are involved with they will consider themselves falling out of love. How much does this say about falling in love? Is love something we feel we can take our time with? Has the media put us on notice that everyone whether male or female has a love clock ticking? Maybe they are right! Maybe they are on to something, however it’s not the something shone so plainly in the happy ending of a movie. It is the portion of the movie that is too long and boring to show. The part where the person keeps a running checklist of the “likes” and “don’t likes” of the relationship they’ve chosen. It’s the part where he pees on the toilet and you clean it 100 times all the while head over heels in love, then the 101 time you decide you don’t want to make to the 1000th time. It’s the part where your “going out” budget is becoming overwhelmingly taxing on your lifestyle all because she can’t cook. You begin to realize that you can’t eat out forever. You realize that you’re getting older and fatter all because your woman can’t cook. These things sound so minute in the first two years of a relationship. They end up being the simple death of lots of relationships.

Of course your thing may not be peeing on the toilet or cooking, but there’s some quirk about you that makes you an unsustainable mate for someone. However that someone has to determine this before riding off into the sunset with you then wanting to ditch you by morning.


If you would like to be in a committed relationship that leads to marriage consider actually focusing on relating! By this I mean don’t start unsustainable actions to impress someone. Don’t begin a romantic routine you can’t keep up. Notice that this person does not have the lifestyle that best fits you early on in dating. Be conscious about what you really want. Use paper and pen to write down what you think you want then re-evaluate after each relationship. Meet, greet, relate, reflect, move!

Thank you for reading!

Pura Vida,
Shelly Bell

Homo After Sex

If we replace the word “sex” with the word “gender” in the phrase “same sex” maybe the world could get over thinking of “sex as gender” and “sex as an act” as the SAME thing. Our society is so oversexed that even typing the word sex as many times as I have thus far feels nasty. When talking about relationships whether homo or hetero our dialogue is often incomplete. I feel that women spend more time profiling a man for the future than seeing him in a moment. The first few dates are equivalent to a sandbox where his end looks as fun as hers but is filled quicksand. The woman sits as a giddy kid with a new playmate figuring out whether or not she should throw him a life line of some sort. The men feel themselves sinking while hoping they’re swimming. At the same time the men want sex as a validation that they are not sinking. However, society presses a woman to have sex as long as it’s not too soon or too late. Too soon would make her a “whore” and too late would cause her to miss out on an opportunity to have sex with a “good man” in order to evaluate him as a “good husband.”


Well, it’s the same in “same sex” relationships.  Except with lesbians it’s two women sinking in quicksand on both sides of a sandbox and I imagine with gay men they both think they’re swimming while sex is just a part of the process. If people could get past the idea that two men or two women are only together to have sex then homosexuality would be just as any other relationship. People have said so many things about homosexual relationships and they are all related to having sexual intercourse. I’ve heard the argument that God meant for women to procreate and you can’t do that with same sex relationships. Who knows what God meant? The only book we have to figure it out was written by all men and we can’t possibly believe that God stop inspiring people to write centuries ago. Not only that the only people he inspired was men? Really? That’s a whole other story. The point is “sex” as in gender is not the same as “sex” as in sexual intercourse. If you’re homosexual you probably had these feelings before having sex and after having sex. Yet either way you still have to actually get to know a person another person regardless of gender in order for a relationship to work.

Could I marry a woman?

I said all of the above about sex and gender to say that in the course of getting to know a potential mate I begin to see patterns in the women just as I did in the men. I have to step back and ask myself who am I choosing and why. I believe that the potential mates you choose are a reflection of where you are in life. The one who succeeds as the actual mate should be one you see going into a new life with. Now after being homo and hetero in my lifetime I realize that after sex we still have to relate. It’s not that I didn’t know this before. I just think that I too was guilty of making homosexuality all about the “sexual preference” as in “sexual intercourse preference.” This is an ignorant thought. At the moment I can’t see myself marrying a woman because I haven’t found a woman that makes me feel the security I would want in a “forever mate” situation. This could change. Honestly, I don’t know if I see myself getting married to anyone of any gender. I will always like women and I will always like men. Until there’s individuals who can understand this about me I will be single. I like relating to men and women alike not just that I like having sexual intercourse with men and women.


Call to action…

1. STOP grossing yourself out over homosexual relationships because you view sex between the same sex as inappropriate or nasty. “Sexual preference” should refer to gender not sexual intercourse.

2. START considering that two people can get to know and love each other regardless of gender. You have friends right?

3. LIVE your life as you truly please, but realize it’s your life not mine, hers, or his. LIVE yours. Be slow to judge books by spines, at least look at the entire cover.

4. RESPECT your own choices by allowing someone else to have choice. Know the difference between your choice and the choice you want for all men or all women.

5. DON’T think that every lesbian or gay male likes you just because you think you’re sexy. Just because you are desired by the opposite sex does not mean you are desired by the same sex. Most times heteros are too big an obstacle to convert to homos therefore, no one would really care to take on that challenge.

Your perception is real to you. Ignorance disbands positive reality. Open your mind or stay closed minded. If closed minded people would stay closed mouthed everyone would be much happier.

Thank you for reading!

Pura Vida,
Shelly Bell

Poem inspired by classical composition

Poem inspired by “Debussy: Nocturne (1892)”

If Dreams Had Dance

 If dreams had a dance,

I’d call it rain;

the first movement would involve,

a she curtsy,

a he bow,

and a wink of agreement;

his arms extended in invitation,

her arms flirting back in wonder,

toes tapping like magic wands on the windshield of “voila.”

 they’d slide past roaring piano tones

like clouds tip through thunder,

calm eyes,

dim lit romantic posture,

prancing elbows;

the second movement would include,

shifty air pushed away by his pull;

she’d flail gently from the belly of a cloud,

they’d become one mist,

and two moments of cooled dew drops.

If a dance had dreams,

I’d call it nocturnes,

an evocation of night showers,

an adoration for a musical water cycle;

the third and final movement would be,

the evaporation of a key stroke;

he’d play her chords till clouds wrung empty,

the night would still,

rest would have to happened,

a beautiful new would be conjured;

alas he and she would have enjoyed it till end,

they’d retire an everlasting evening in the palm of mystery.

2012 My March Madness Challenge (2012 MMM Challenge)

Today is the first day of March. This month I am challenging everyone out there as well as myself to dedicate themselves to working on one or more aspects of their life for 31 days! This challenge was inspired by DJ Heat (…she is challenging herself, I am challenging myself, you should challenge yourself!

Here is what I am challenging myself to during the 2012 MMM Challenge:

  1. Workout everyday at least 30 minutes a day
  2. No fast food
  3. Write everyday
  4. Cook every Sunday
  5. Promote my Kickstarter campaign everyday (

Workout everyday at least 30 minutes a day

30 minutes of cardio a day keeps the doctor, the fat, and some of the fatigue away! Having narcolepsy makes it difficult for me to workout because most days I am lethargic. I often feel like I am moving in slow motion. I am going to fight this! I am going to try to take the “mind over matter” approach and push myself as hard as I can.

No fast food

This is about all I can commit to! I have 101 things going on. I eat fast food well, because it’s FAST! In the midst of living a very fast-paced lifestyle it is easy to pick up something unhealthy to eat.

Write everyday

Writing everyday includes my book, songs, and finishing Act I of my script.

Cook every Sunday

When the kids were younger and I was working 3 jobs I would cook for the week on Sundays. I would make about 3 meats and 2 sides then pick up can goods to pop open later in the week. This made life so much easier. We would have healthy food ready everyday.

Promote my Kickstarter campaign everyday (

The deadline for my Kickstarter project is April 7th. I have about 38 days to promo hard and raise the remaining funds for the project. I am kicking it into high gear, dropping all pride, and reaching out to as many people as I can.

Maybe I will blog everyday…#shrug….who knows! I don’t want to over commit myself because I would be setting myself up for failure! This challenge is about setting yourself up for success!

LEAVE A COMMENT……What will you do for the 2012 MMM Challenge?

Pura Vida,
Shelly Bell

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