Do you need help? Since 2020 this is the kind of question that became almost rhetorical. If you are feeling 100% all right and do not think you need any kind of help (financial, emotional or psychological), chances are you´re in a denial process and yes, you need help to get out of it.

I understand you. We are all humans and we try to defend ourselves in any possible way, it´s our instinct, but as I recently heard from an eminent Brazilian neurobiologist: if you have any common sense, you´re not feeling all right now. It is not the good, old “this world is a mess”. This time it is different. We are all facing something new (though, by the way we handle the planet, we could see it coming) and although optimism and faith are important tools in overcoming the pandemic, they cannot replace a sober, lucid approach to reality.

The only problem about this rational exercise is that reality has been quite bitter for a while now on a level that is hard for us, human beings, to handle. Financially, emotionally and psychologically speaking. With that in mind, it is not difficult to assume that we are all in the need of some sort of extra help. At least so I thought, when I reached out to one of my favourite jazz web radios.

I listen to their channels basically everyday and got pretty used to their catalog and I´ve realized that there was a lot wrong or missing information concerning the names of the songs in Portuguese and many Brazilian interpreters, specially female singers were not credited.

Trying to help, I wrote them this very respectful e-mail, starting by congratulating the team and offering my services as a volunteer to double check the content written in Portuguese. Then I clicked “send” and waited for the answer, with that warm feeling of self-contentment we experiment, when we believe we did something good. If you like happy endings, you might consider stop reading now.

The following day I got an answer (goodie, goodie), but their reaction was kind of disappointing. They claimed they do not have any Portuguese speaker on their team (so I figured and this is precisely why I volunteered in the first place) and, well basically that was it. They also said they would welcome any notice on missing or inaccurate information. Hum… ok, I guess.

Was I upset? A little bit. Can I say they were impolite? Not at all! Did they ask for my help? Nope. Maybe they considered my offer an inconvenience, who knows? Maybe it was just a bad day in the office. After all, as anything in life, offering and getting help is also a matter of timing.

Be seeing you!

G.F.

Hey there! How are things going? Did you notice how it took me less time show up again after my semi-philosophical approach to cakes and jazz? I know you would! I´m trying, you see? Thank you! By the way, I still haven´t tried a new recipe, but I will keep you informed, don´t worry.

It is a good thing that I have you fully attention now, because I am starting our reflection today with a question: have you ever realized how comic book superheroes save Hollywood from time to time? Well, my theory (I have a lot of them, you know) is that Bossa Nova plays the same role of lending prestige to pop star careers.

In both cases, there´s a solid base of die-hard fans that will be at least interested in checking up (meaning clicking and possibly sharing) the new movie or single. A quite tempting and always welcome extra boost to any project, specially in the current three-second attention span society.

But what happens next? I wonder how this strategy actually helps building either a movie or a jazz audience. A long term, proactive, well informed consumer is kind of different from being a die hard fan. One does not exclude the other, they are maybe even complementary, but they are not the same thing.

Take my personal example: I am a comic consumer since my childhood and they became my research topic (you can check my research activities here) at the University. I even posses a small collection at home and I am always looking for comic stores when I visit a new city. Yet, I am not interested in superhero movies.

A similar thing happens concerning Bossa Nova: I am not only a huge fan of it, but I´m also an enthusiast about the current developments of the genre and I always include Bossa Nova songs in my performances. As the great Brazilian singer and composer Alcione says: “Samba is a cousin of Jazz” and since Bossa Nova has Samba in its DNA, for me they are all part of a big family. And yet, I am not interested in each and every pop remix using samples of Jobim for more than the three-second attention span.

In one line: you can borrow prestige for a while, but you cannot keep it forever.

Be seeing you!

G.F.

Hey there! So nice to see you! This time you probably thought it was the end of The Red Flower Press and I don´t blame you for that at all. With that said, I would like to inform you that I have the best excuse ever: I was improving my website! I am sure that even if you do not have a site (yet), you understand that making changes to our virtual home-sweet-home is the sort of thing that can consume a lot of your time and basically all your patience.

And what´s new? First of all, I added three (yep, three!) new pages. Let´s check?

Interviews: They ask, I answer.

Research: Talking about music, comics, visual arts and more (includes a link to download my PhD thesis).

And last, but not least, a new podcast: 10 Minutos de Jazz com Geisa Fernandes. The idea was to talk about Jazz to a general audience in three short episodes of ten minutes each. I am specially proud to announce that this podcast is part of 2021 International Jazz Day official events. So, if you understand Portuguese (or would like to learn it), check it out!

If you check the new pages, you will see that I´ve been quite busy lately, talking to fellows from Brazil, Colombia, Mexico… meaning that I had to stay a really long time seating in front of a notebook screen. In order to do some stretching, from time to time I would stand up and do some house related activity, like cleaning, cooking or, the most challenging of all… baking cakes.

If you are one of the happy few that think baking is easy, a piece of cake, so to speak (sorry, I couldn´t resist), my suggestion is that you stopping reading this post, for now I am talking to you, my dear sister or brother in arms in the eternal fight for a cake that goes right. You, that cannot understand how can your cake look (and probably taste) so different from the one in the picture or video tutorial. I get you. I am with you. My last failure was a lemon cake. A simple, foolproof (so they said) lemon cake recipe.

Watching the result of my attempt, I realized that baking cakes has a lot to do with classical music. Ever thought of that? Each ingredient (instrument) must be added respecting a predetermined order and treated in a specific way. Try to use a bit less sugar or a bit more butter and the whole thing is ruined. Eggs are a separate chapter. Same thing when we talk about the temperature of the oven. The result depends on this beautiful perfect balance.

Now think about jazz, a genre that has improvisation in its DNA. A totally different creative process. As beautiful as, but different.

And suddenly, there was a light. That´s it! I finally understand my problem with baking cakes and it is not a problem at all, just a matter of style: I cook like jazz.

Be seeing you!

G.F.

p.s. My next try in the baking field will be a pumpkin and coconut cake. I´ll keep you informed.