Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Amazin' Zadie

One of the most exciting novels to come out of the late 90’s was the Dickensian epic White Teeth. The then 25 year-old British novelist Zadie Smith burst forth into the literary world as a new Talent To Watch.
Born in a London working class family and daughter of a Jamaican mother and a British father, Smith was also a physically striking woman, which made her the subject of countless articles and photo spreads. She won numerous awards (The Orange Prize for fiction for one) for her incredibly smart, multi-layered works. This month, Smith unleashed her fourth and newest novel, NW.
The jury is still out, but The Leopard will be among those first on line for a copy.

The New York Review of Books review by Joyce Carol Oates can be seen here:

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Happy Birthday, John Coltrane

The Leopard does not like to speak in absolutes, and I don't like to compare art. Yet, when I'm really honest with myself, the one whose music has mattered to me the most is that of John Coltrane.  His method of communication, jazz, and more specifically, his expressive tool, the saxophone, cuts straight to my heart and closes around it, like a fist, or a hug. He is everything I strive to be as an artist, and everything I admire.

Today, John William Coltrane would be 85 years old (younger than my own father). He was born in Hamlet, North Carolina on September 23, 1926.

Thank you, Mr. Coltrane. Your music lives on. 

Click here to listen to the Coltrane composition "Tunji".

Friday, September 14, 2012


The first time the Leopard saw a dragonfly was when I was about 7 years old.  I'm a city kid, but in the summer my family and I would go visit relatives down south. My grandmother used to take us fishing in a small pond. I remember hot, humid summers sitting in silence by her side, waiting for a bite as mosquitoes buzzed around us.

One day a huge insect that looked to me like a tiny helicopter hovering just a few inches above the water rushed toward me like a torpedo. It shot right past my ear. I was horrified! I grabbed onto one  of grandma's large, ample arms and cried out. It seemed to swing around the pond and come back towards us, making a terrible zzzzz sound as it swept past. I had never seen an insect that big and I screamed, holding her tighter. Grandma said, "Aww baby, they ain't gonna hurt you. They eat the mosquitos. They helpin' us."

After that, I fell in love with dragonflies. They may be my favorite insect. Streamlined and beautiful, they may be one of nature's most perfect creations.