Shifting and Shaping

January 2, 2013


Well it looks as though that with 2013 in full swing, I’ll be changing things up a bit.  I’ve decided to move A Boy Named Henry to Tumblr and focus on personal style content and media (DIY, music, photos, etc.).  I’ll host my long form writing, strategy and arts-related posts on my personal portfolio site (http://www.joshuahenryjenkins.com/).

Follow me on Tumblr and follow my personal blog for interesting things to come.

Happy New Year!


Best of 2012 | Albums

December 28, 2012

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2012 was a great year for music and for my iTunes library.  There were some great projects across genres that made compiling a top ten fairly difficult.  I’m going to avoid ranking them as assembling the top 10 was arduous enough.  Here’s the list though with a brief breakdown of what made each project (album, EP or mixtape) special.  I hope you found them as delightful as I did and if you haven’t heard one of the listed, here’s hoping you check it out.  Happy holidays!

Fiona Apple – The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do
No stranger to ambitious album titles, Fiona Apple resurfaced in 2012 and with this album reminded us just how perfectly paired the pen is with that roaring voice.

Jessie Ware – Devotion
R&B synth paired with a bit of Lisa Stansfield and Sade inspired delivery make digesting “Devotion” quite yummy.

Brandy – Two Eleven
Some found Ms. Norwood’s enlisting of every go-to producer of 2012 to be overly ambitious but I found it to be refreshing.  SN:  “Do You Know What You Have?” may be one of my favorite tracks of the year.

Passion Pit – Gossamer
Sometimes the actual music was so happy, I never realized the lyrics were so sad.

The Yes Ma’ams – Taste Test
Pop sassiness.  Any group who channels Vanity 6 successfully gets my vote.  Plus the EP was free.  Doesn’t get much better than that, right?

Robert Glasper Experiment – Black Radio
This album is so well crafted and the collaborations feel too good to be true sometimes.  Though often labeled a jazz musician, “Black Radio” actually ends up reminding us that R&B isn’t dead yet.

Solange – True
It ain’t for everyone but it surely is for me.  When Solange slows it down (see “Bad Girls”), I completely forgive the 4 year gap between albums.

Santigold – Master of My Make-Believe
It’s peppy, it’s rhythmic, it’s fun.  This was the perfect sonic transition from spring to summer.

Iman Omari – Energy
Easily the most chill project of my picks.  Omari’s strength lies in just how laid back his music makes you feel.

Syleena Johnson – Acoustic Soul Sessions
This woman sings.  I’m not sure if she can read, write, drive, cook or jump rope but she can sing every part of body off.  Plus, she enlists Tweet on “Angry Girl” and reminds us how angry we are that we didn’t get an album in 2012 from the Southern Hummingbird.


Quiet [Snow] Storm, Vol. 3

November 30, 2012

It’s my favorite time of the year.  The holiday season brings, above all else, great music.  I’ve got an  embarrassing amount of holiday music in iTunes that I’ve been collecting since I was a kid.  I’ve been sharing a holiday mix every year for a number of years now within my circle & now on my blog.  I call them “Quiet [Snow] Storm” because I have a love of Christmas classics by R&B singers.  🙂  Enjoy this year’s!


Track list:

  1. Boyz II Men – Let It Snow
  2. Ceelo Green – White Christmas
  3. YahZarah – What Do the Lonely Do at Christmas?
  4. Stevie Wonder – Someday at Christmas
  5. Faith Evans – Santa Baby
  6. Rahsaan Patterson – Little Drummer Boy
  7. Christina Aguilera ft. Dr. John – Merry Christmas, Baby
  8. Pentatonix – This Christmas
  9. Toni Braxton – The Christmas Song
  10. Ledisi – Give Love on Christmas Day
    Bonus: Jessie J – Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer (Live)

Download this year’s mix here.

Note: Last year’s “Quiet [Snow] Storm, Vol. 2” is still available.  Check out the blog post & link here.


The Arts & Social Media: Instagram (Part 2)

October 15, 2012

With my first post, I wrote about social media and the arts and how to effectively start using Instagram for your arts organization (especially for performing arts centers and companies).  My post relied heavily on explaining IG and its simplest functions and subsequently gave ideas on the type of image content to use as opposed to the capabilities of the actual application.  With Instagram slowly becoming a powerhouse platform with exceptionally high usage, it’s important to make sure you are using it to it’s maximum potential.

These are a few really quick ideas and tips on how to creatively use Instagram for the arts, outside of simply posting pictures.

  • Hashtag, hashtag, hashtag!
    • Instagram allows for hashtags to be incorporated in captions and are actually searchable by users.  Therefore, if you can effectively hashtag your picture, do it!  A simple hashtag can go a long way (#dance #theatre #Sondheim #Ailey #Gershwin) and getting specific can yield some great results.  A simple #LesMiserables hashtag can put your community theatre production’s photo in the company of content from past professional productions and other current productions.
  • Start a photo challenge
    • A lot of IG users are finding pleasure in participating in monthly photo challenges that call on users to follow a set guideline and post a photo a day based on that’s guidelines content request.  These challenges pop up monthly but can be adapted for weekly challenges, if a month proves to be too strenuous.  Check out a general photo challenge outline and think of how you could potentially adapt it to fit your own organization.  Perhaps think of incorporating the challenge into a contest, with its completion yielding a prize.

  • Follow your peers AND your devoted patrons.
    • Much like Twitter, IG can and should be a platform for two way communication.  Nothing reads quite as badly as an organization who has tons of followers but chooses to follow no one.  Social media is exactly that, social and should be taken advantage of in that way.  Therefore, interact with IG users and followers, whether they are other organizations or fans of your organization.  Follow them and don’t be afraid to interact with their photos, if relevant.  This builds a relationship and is likely to increase loyalty to your cause/brand/content.

More to come in future blog posts!  I’ll be hitting on best practices for Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms as it relates to the arts.


Saturday Antiquing

October 6, 2012

I’ll admit, I used to walk the streets of Warrenton, North Carolina as a child without even taking a glance at what was around me, instead, choosing to walk to the local drug store for a vanilla coke or to the library for a summer reading day.  All the Mayberry-like activities that us small town people really do engage in sometimes.  Back then it was about fun and fun only really manifested itself as games, food and friends for this young fella.

Now, as an adult, going back to those same streets is an entirely new experience.  Rediscovering what is already so familiar is quite humbling as most of us from small towns are used to being treated as if we missed out on wondrous things or that amazing things could never have broken through our rural town limits.  Today I found that lovely, delightful, delicate things do populate the same spaces that I was so used to walking by.  It’s all about taking the time to see them and maybe even revel in them.

Did I mention I found vintage Dior in a random antique shop for $4?


DIY: Belt Watches

August 4, 2012

I grabbed this idea from one of my favorite men’s style blogs, The X-Stylez.  Check out their post so you can see how they tackled this DIY as well.  What’s great about this DIY project is that you really only need two items to create a brand new accessory.

  • A small woman’s/child’s belt
  • A watch face

Be careful to make sure the watch face has big enough slits for your belt to fit through before actually going out and purchasing a belt, if you don’t have one on hand.  That the most difficult part of the process is making sure you’ve got the perfect belt for your watch face.  I found my belts at the thrift store $.50-$1 a piece and grabbed some old watch faces from my parents house as well as one from Goodwill.

Once you have those two items, just cut off the band of your watch (if you haven’t done so already) and slip in the belt in its place.  There you have it, a band new belt watch.  Check out three I made below.


The Arts & Social Media: Instagram

August 2, 2012

As an interactive media strategist and an arts enthusiast, my many loves have a way of colliding both professionally and in my spare time.  As I navigate the ins and outs of the lovely job market, hoping to find a gig that’ll allow me to help arts organizations transition into the digital era confidently, I’m coming up with so many burgeoning ideas that I can’t hold onto until I find full time employment.  So I’ve decided that I would start blogging some tips for arts organizations and performing arts venues to adopt when tackling social media and its appropriate usage for their particular brand.

Instagram is a great, and still relatively fresh, social media network that deals with photo sharing.  It quite easily allows you to take a photo, apply a cool filter and share.  Much like Twitter, it features a stream of content created by those you follow with two subsequent functions that allow you to ‘like’ a photo as well as comment.  In addition, your photos can be uploaded to other social media platforms making it easy to integrate into an already existing Facebook or Twitter strategy.

Performing arts organizations may not see an immediate benefit from adopting Instagram as opposed to just TwitPic‘ing or uploading photos to Facebook but the filtering process as well as the ability to play with highlighting and blur effects, makes Instagram photos a tad bit more interesting to look at plus it houses all of your photos for easy access as you continue to use the application.

NOW, onto today’s helpful strategy, for those performing arts venues who want to try out Instagram.

Breaking down the fourth wall with Instagram.  

The fourth wall is a term used in the theatre to describe the division between what’s happening on stage and the audience.  Performing arts organizations have a way of adopting this both as it was defined in the 19th century as well as organizationally.

Instagram provides a way to break down that fourth wall and digitally include the audience (in this case, followers) in on the action, from the stage to behind the scenes.  So the strategy I’m writing about today isn’t terribly difficult to adopt.  It merely has to do with the type of content being shared once an organization decides to use the program.  Instead of using Instagram to showcase only marketing materials or production photos, engage followers by giving them an insider look into the inner workings of what’s going on before, during and after an event.

  • Behind the scenes photos of rehearsals
  • Costume creation and design
  • Set production
  • Promotional events and receptions
  • Merchandising

Snapping pictures in these kinds of settings will undoubtedly make followers feel more invested in what’s happening, perhaps create interest if there was none before and subsequently build a sizable amount of anticipation for the culminating product or, in some cases, event.  Take a look at the recent Broadway production of “A Streetcar Named Desire” and its Instagram usage (Instagram username: @streetcar2012) for a nice example of proper implementation and use.

More tips on Instagram and other social media platforms as it relates to the arts to come!

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