My ArtistShare-powered site has finally launched. I know I’ve been talking about it for awhile now — I didn’t know how big a job it was to prepare — but now it’s ready for the world to see. was born today, October 16, 2006 at 1:15pm Pacific Time. Weighing in at approximately 34 web pages, proud parents are all doing fine and are anxious for you to visit.

Here’s the overview press release with links to more detailed releases about the two projects that are ready.

The Launch of
A consortium of projects powered by ArtistShare

Three is a magic number and is all about magic.

  • SNAP: the magic of music – Clairdee
  • SIZZLE: the magic of making people come alive on a page of words – People on the Page
  • BOP: the magic of seeing through a camera’s lens – At the Feet of a Jazz Master

SnapSizzleBop is a web site powered by ArtsistShare featuring a team led by writer Devra Hall, with jazz singer Clairdee, photographer Leroy Hamilton, and personal manager/jazz master John Levy. Their first ArtistShare odyssey is a group of three independent projects, each of which has a Snap-Sizzle-Bop three-pronged approach.

The Inside Story: Have you ever wondered who an artist really is beyond the music they make? Clairdee takes participants on an exclusive expedition to discover the vignettes of song that will become a limited edition 12-track ArtistShare recording. The Inside Story brings you into the life of this artist and behind the scenes in the making of this recording. Inspirational, educational and part memoir, this experience will focus on

  • SNAP: The art of storytelling – lyrics are more than words set to music.
  • SIZZLE: Revealing a common thread between music and Clairdee’s life, and
  • BOP: The various steps Clairdee is taking to move her career to a strong national presence.

People On The Page: If you like to read biographies, People On The Page will give you a new perspective on what goes into researching and writing someone’s life story. And if you have any interest in jazz, Broadway musicals, or African-American history, you will also be intrigued by the life of Luther Henderson, a Black man who attended Juilliard in the 1940s, was Duke Ellington’s “classical arm” and musical director for both Lena Horn and Polly Bergen, composed and arranged music for many of Broadway musicals, and had a hand in dozens of popular recordings and television shows. People On The Page is:

  • SNAP: Part memoir of Devra Hall’s life as a writer and the issues she grapples with as a biographer
  • SIZZLE: Part behind-the-scenes look at her process as she works on the biography of Luther Henderson
  • BOP: And part exploration of what readers and writers of biographies think about…. with insights from several biographer colleagues such as Walt Harrington, Doug Ramsey, Terry Teachout, and Bill Zinsser, among others.

At the Feet of a Jazz Master: This is a soft-cover coffee-table book with photos by Leroy Hamilton and text by Devra Hall that will share the current thoughts and wisdom of John Levy. This project is slated to roll out after the first two, but here’s a little preview. In January 2006, John Levy, the jazz bassist turned talent manager, was named an NEA Jazz Master. Photographer Leroy Hamilton was on the scene and shot some 7000+ photos over a period of several days, following John through:

  • SNAP: The official NEA events (Jazz Masters luncheon, panel discussion and awards ceremony attended by so many legendary jazz people who John has known),
  • SIZZLE: Interviews and book signings, and
  • BOP: Rehearsals with the newest artist on his roster (Clairdee) as well as in the studio with Nancy Wilson.

At The Feet of a Jazz Master is a sequel of sorts to Levy’s life story, “Men, Women, and Girl Singers,” and will include snippets and stories, reminiscences and ruminations, from a man who, at the age of 94, has lived a long life in jazz.

While each of these three projects stands alone, you may surmise some crossover appeal. Those who are jazz fans may find interest in all three projects. Those interested in the art of biography may also enjoy the highly biographical flavor of the photo/essay book. “At The Feet Of Jazz Master.” Fans of Leroy Hamilton will enjoy exploring one of Leroy’s personal passions, jazz, as documented through his unique lens. Clairdee fans curious about her manager, John Levy, will especially enjoy the section of “At The Feet Of Jazz Master” that will be devoted to his work with her and Leroy’s photos of her rehearsal and performance at IAJE in January of 2006.

So please visit and then comeback and let me know what you think.

Too Hot To Trot

For those of you have been following my horseback riding escapades, it’s been too hot to trot in recent weeks. An article on the front page of today’s Los Angeles Times has the California death toll at 130, higher than the deaths caused by the Northridge earthquake and fires combined. The effects of heat on multiple sclerosis are well documented and each MS-related publication is full of ads for these flack-jacket-like apparels with pockets in which you can insert ice-packs. I can’t imagine carrying around added weight of ice in this heat, but whatever works for those who need it is a good thing. Thankfully, I have air conditioning and, while surrounding neighborhoods have been hit with major power outages, my immediate vicinity has suffered nothing more than momentary interruptions. Of course such interruptions are supremely annoying for no sooner do I reset all the clocks and answering machine and re-boot my computer than another surge hits and I have to start all over again, but not worth complaining about in the face of others who are powerless for hours if not days on end. I have friends who have decamped to local movie theaters or the homes of friends and family.

So thankfully, my personal neural network has remained relatively cool. But such has not been the case at the data centers housing the servers on which my web sites reside. In addition to and I also run and a new site for Nancy Wilson that was to have launched already but has been set back by these power struggles. (More about Miss Nancy next week.) Status reports from my hosting service spoke of dead shorts, ram upgrades, over-taxed generators, core router upgrades, system disk problems, network cards gone bad, a broken Power Distribution Unit, and a filer crash causing a chain reaction heavily affecting other parts of the network and saturating network interfaces. That last one was on July 19th and nothing has been functioning properly since then…until now. Hope that I do not speak too soon; each problem report over these last ten days was followed by an “all fixed” report that was too good to be true. No, they weren’t telling tales, but the problems were cascading and no sooner was one thing fixed than another failed. It looks to be pretty stable now…I hope.

Enjoy your weekend — I know I will — and if I remain empowered, I will be back with you on Monday.

A Colleague Needs Help

The call has gone out: “Richard M. Sudhalter, the distinguished trumpeter, biographer, and jazz scholar, needs your help.” Our paths have only crossed online in a jazz researchers’ newsgroup, so I cannot count Richard among my personal friends, but we share many friends in common and he is an esteemed colleague. For the last three years Richard has been recovering from a stroke, and now he’s been diagnosed with a rare, debilitating illness of the nervous system called multiple system atrophy.

Terry Teachout and Doug Ramsey have both posted more about Richard’s accomplishments and his needs. His friends are rallying and a benefit concert is planned for September, but the bills are mounting now. Having faced serious medical challenges myself, I am all too familiar with the costs of medical care and the additional damage to one’s health, or lack of, that is inflicted by the added stress of struggling to pay for care that one urgently needs. To find out what you can do, go here.

Yippee!!! I’ve been blogrolled.

I feel like I’ve been knighted by the King of Arts Blogdom, none other than Terry Teachout. If you’ve come to me via About Last Night, thank you for taking the time to visit. Music, books, good works, and other reasons for living – that’s what this blog is about. In other words, whatever is on my mind – snapshots of my life as a writer and a reader, a listener and a watcher, a wife and a daughter. The categories under which these musings, opinions, and commentary are filed include Boos & Bravos, Notables, Hmmm…, Word Play, Writing Life, Reading Life, I’m All Ears, Jazz Ears, Date Specific, and This ‘n’ That. I post five days a week, usually in the evenings (California time), and while I do not plan to allow readers to post comments directly, I do welcome your emails. Only one thing can make me even happier than getting a nod from a much respected colleague and that would be reader feedback. Please stop by often, and let me hear from you.

Minor Reorganization

It’s amazing how voluminous a blog can become, and how correspondingly difficult to navigate if you do not visit every day. Knowing that my postings touch on a variety of subjects, and understanding that many of you are unable to check in daily, I have tweaked the categories a little to make it easier for you to stop by whenever, and narrow your focus if you so desire. Personally, when reading the blogs of others, I enjoy the serendipity of seeing things I would not have thought to look for, but I know that sometimes we just don’t have time to take in everything.

Every posting is assigned to a category (under the title and date you will see Filed under:…), and most postings will reflect more than one category. For example, my writing life often involves my reading life, and sometimes the books I mention may be about music. If you do not want to browse down the opening page (which is, of course, in reverse chronological sequence) you can limit the display by clicking on a category in the blue box on the left side of your screen.

So the categories are:
Announcements – general info, such as this very posting
Boos & Bravos – (used to be called Rants & Raves) While this might include reviews of products and performances, most often it is an expression of my displeasure or delight in a particular event or experience
Date Specific – subjects pegged to a particular date, be it a birthday, anniversary, ….
Hmmm – subjects on my mind, and food for thought
I’m All Ears – (used to be called Sensitive Ears) has something to do with music
Jazz Ears – relates specifically to jazz
Notables– about people
Reading Life – thoughts, quotes, lists, and occassional recomendations, as well as comments about the kind of writing that I like to read
This ‘n’ That – doings and other items that don’t seem to fit elsewhere
Word Play – anagrams, word derrivations, and such
Writing Life – my own thoughts, activities and experiences as a writer, plus thoughts (my own and others) about writers and writing

And don’t forget I’ve Got Mail, which will cease to exist if you don’t drop me a line. Send it to: devra AT

Behind Schedule

“I might be late, but did you think I wasn’t coming?” and “When the wolf gets off your back, the lion’ll still be on your trail” are two expressions that feel appropos at the moment. For those of you who stopped by last night or earlier this morning and were disappointed not to find a new posting, I apologize. I had started out with a regular routine of of posting after dinner, but, well, life got in the way. Come back in a few hours and I will tell you all about it.

By the way, the opening lines of this post were borrowed from a friend who liberally peppers conversations with such colloquial constructions. Others include, “Ain’t no shame to my game,” “Walkin’ up and ridin’ back,” and “Don’t go to a banquet with a sandwich in your hand expecting dinner.” One day soon I am going to research their derrivations and write about them.

See you in a bit.

Devra and Dudley

To blog, or not to blog? That was the first question, and the answer was yes. The second question was what to call my blog. After a 2-day brain dump of every play on words I could think of – write turn, write now, write or wrong…ad nausea, my publicist jokingly said “DevraDoWrite.” We laughed it off, but it began to grow on me. I find the imperative tone appealing – DevraDoWrite! – a daily reminder to commit thoughts to prose. But the real appeal for me may have been the nostalgia factor, hearkening back to a cartoon from my childhood. My peers all remember Dudley Do-Right by name, but while the light bulb goes on immediately, it illuminates little in terms of detail. Collective recall includes “yeah, he had a prominent chin, rather pointy,” “he was the dork who saved people,” and “didn’t he sound the bugle?” Dudley Do-Right, the feckless Canadian Mountie, his unattainable love interest Nell, and his nemesis Snidely Whiplash, were all the brainchildren of Jay Ward, along with Bullwinkle and Rocky, Boris and Natasha, George of the Jungle, and others. My activities and musings are not likely to provide the melodrama of a bumbling hero untying distressed damsels from railroad tracks in the nick of time, but hopefully you’ll find something of interest and come back for more.

Hello world!

Music, books, good works, and other reasons for living – that’s what this blog is about. In other words, whatever is on my mind – snapshots of my life as a writer and a reader, a listener and a watcher, a wife and a daughter. Categories under which these musings, opinions, and commentary are likely to be filed include Rants & Raves, People, Hmmm…, Quotations, Word Play, Writing Life, Reading Life, Discerning Ears, and Timely Thoughts. My goal is to make daily postings (at least on weekdays), and while I do not plan to allow readers to post comments directly, I will welcome your emails. Please stop by often, and let me hear from you.

If you are a creative nonfiction colleague from Goucher College’s MFA program, a jazz cohort from the Jazz Journalists Assn (, a friend from the Creative Nonfiction Foundation, a compatriot from PEN, a fellow member of The Authors Guild, or a fellow FLXer, please accept my special thanks for your virtual attendance at my blog launching.