blog > 2013 > March

ARE WE READY – introduction by Misha Lyuve

Mar 30, 2013

Director and editor: Zao Wang

ARE WE READY – it is a question and not a question…

All profits from album sales go to Worldwide Orphans Foundation. Be generous

E.M. Forster on Life by Misha Lyuve

Mar 28, 2013

“Life is a public performance on the violin, in which you much lean the instrument as you go along.” – from “A Room with a View”

What if you are really against gay marriage? by Misha Lyuve

Mar 26, 2013

What if you really against gay marriage? – Could it be because of your religious views – after all, the Bible says what it says. Or you might have some other socio-economico-political reasoning of why gay marriage is not a right thing for the society.

I don’t have any intentions to change your mind.

All the arguments have already been made and I don’t think anyone can change one’s mind here. What most people are missing is that gay marriage is really not a mind’s matter at all – that’s why arguments don’t work. It is the matter of the heart, and your heart is either in it or not. And if it is not – you better don’t go against it or you will have heartache. By the way, all these politicians that are coming out in the support of gay marriage, really had a change of heart first, and then they found logical arguments for the public explanations. Otherwise they would look silly, and politicians don’t like that.

Next I would like to discuss freedom. You see, freedom can be tricky. If you were a non-smoker earlier in the days, your freedom to be in a smoke-free environment didn’t even exist as a concept. But once non-smoking laws in public spaces took effect, smokers experienced their freedoms taken away. Literally, one day they could smoke in a place and next day it was illegal. In the matters of freedom, often laws and social policy are like a dial that takes away freedom from one group and gives it to the other. Hopefully for the better of the society. Or at least of a majority.

Issues like gay marriage are fundamentally different because, by their nature, they don’t take away anyone’s rights. In spite of all the drama, next morning after the Supreme Court strikes down DOMA, you might wake up cranky, but your life will be very much the same as it was a day before – you can ask gay marriage opponents in Ohio and Massachusetts. You will go about your business not supporting gay marriage as before, with the same right to be vocal about it, not entering into a gay marriage yourself and teaching your kids not to.

Now, it does suck to lose. But once the dust settles and you lick your wounds, you will see that you are fine. And then consider this – the energy of your activism, your ideas and your financial resources are very much needed to address many local and global issues. Like for instance there are 132 million orphans in the world (per UNICEF). And then maybe we can combine our forces and do some great things together.

The mystery of your Potential by Misha Lyuve

Mar 23, 2013

How do you know what you are capable of? Don’t even argue with me here – you have no idea. Our own potential is a mystery. It might show signs of itself here and there. But its true abundance can only be revealed in a committed courageous exploration.

If you really want to appreciate an idea of potential – look at children: their development process is all about uncovering their potential. And there is nothing more moving for their parents than seeing fruits of that – whether it is a first step, a good grade or a musical performance.

Adults, on the other hand, often either stop thinking about their own potential or narrow it down to one specific area, like career for instance. You have to look for yourself – is it that you are too tired? Busy? Not excited? Lost hope?

Let’s acknowledge this truthfully – there is something tragic about potential that is not being realized… It is like something taken away from oneself, others and the whole world – without hope to find out what it could’ve been.

Again, the easiest way to see that tragedy of the unrealized potential is by looking at children. When I was in Haiti (by the way, make sure you don’t miss my Joy of Haiti), we visited an orphanage. There was a room of 30 cribs with little people in them. It was a “better” orphanage (if any derivation of “good” could ever stand next to “orphanage”), the kids were at minimum fed and cleaned. But they spent all day lying in the cribs by themselves.  Every moment pushed them one step back in their development. It was a cemetery of potential. Heartbreaking. Tragic.

One could explain this by poverty, the recent earthquake, really nasty circumstances and that children require a loving adult to facilitate their development. But when you look at your own life – is there really any meaningful excuse for not living fully to your potential?

Joy of Haiti by Misha Lyuve

Mar 10, 2013

A drummer starts the beat. In a school playground, the teenage youths break into a dance. Several dozen of 6-14 year-olds can’t take their eyes off them and they are about to join in. It’s a dance class. The teenage instructors don’t take showing their moves lightly and the youngsters  try hard. They repeat the dance several times together; then the instructors leave and the little ones do it themselves. Then clapping and shouting and laughter. A sense of accomplishment. A minute later all of them are running around playing ball. Joy.

If you knew that the little ones come from local orphanages and tent villages (where many people still live after they lost their homes during the 2010 Haiti earthquake), you would have even greater appreciation for this scene. And even more so if you saw what I saw during my trip to Haiti.

We visited an orphanage, a rehabilitation center for malnourished children, a ward for abandoned kids in a Port-au-Prince pediatric hospital and a tent village in Kenscoff. The big brown eyes will be following me for a long time – some of them full of tears and they cry; others full of sadness and they stare; the most heartbreaking are the blank ones: they don’t see you.

There were moments when I felt helplessness and despair. In one orphanage I wished I had more arms so I could hold more than two babies. But I just had two arms and I would leave in an hour. It became clear – money, supplies and good people are not enough. It all has to be applied thoughtfully and deliberately to transform communities in a way that they can start taking care of themselves.

In Kenscoff, a mountain town about 10 miles south of Port-au-Prince– Worldwide Orphans Foundation (WWO) took on that kind of a transformation. Partnering with local government and a community center, WWO serves four orphanages and a tent village to provide programs that allow for children’s growth. If kids don’t get what they need for their development at the time they ought to, they leg behind and it’s harder or impossible to catch up.

With one exception for the program coordinator Melissa Willock, the WWO programs are run by local staff that is trained by WWO. All programs reach deeply into communities, engaging and educating volunteers to be a part of the solution. In Haiti teenage youths partner one-on-one with at risk kids, teach classes and serve as counselors in camps. It is win-win for community: the little ones get playmates and the older ones learn to contribute and be leaders. That is sustainable.

In the dance class, I watched a four-year-old girl with thin legs and awkward posture. She kept her eyes on the instructors, carefully trying to catch the moves and not always succeeding. When she finished her dance routine with a victory clap, she smiled. That might’ve been the only time in the day when she got to be a kid. And that joyful smile Haitians are famous for is what WWO does in the world.

Jane Aronson, the founder of WWO in a tent village Kinscoff, Haiti

“Happiness” video + Haiti + another show by Misha Lyuve

Mar 3, 2013

There is so much to share, my friends.

- On Wednesday I am heading to Haiti with Worldwide Orphans Foundation (WWO) to see firsthand the work they are doing in the country and report back to you. You can follow me real-time through Facebook and Twitter.

- On Monday March 11th, two of my friends, talented singers and songwriters Jesse Rube and Ayo Awosika are joining me at a Worldwide Orphans benefit at legendary (le) Poisson Rouge. Now there is something to look forward for you on Monday. If you are in New York City, join us and bring your coworkers and friends – this is a perfect group outing opportunity. You can print the full size flyer for your office, building where you live or your hobby place. Buy your tickets!

- The last but not the least – we premiered the “Happiness” video at the release party – and now it is out in the world.

Directed by Patrick Aubert & Damian Siqueiros

Cinematography: Simon Lamarre-Ledoux

Choreography: Bobby Thompson

Dancers: Bobby Thompson & Roxanne Dushesne-Roy

Editing: Liliana Ortiz

Master of human connections: Alexander Lembert

Full list of contributors

Read about How we shot “Happiness”