David Friedman Broadway composer, conductor, author, speaker, television personality is in SF

David Friedman Broadway composer, conductor, author, speaker, television personality is in SFWhen there is more talent than time, what is a person to do? Aha, you do what David Friedman does. You do not let time, doubt, pounding heart or tomorrow’s to-do list stand in the way. You do what David does. You do not dawdle in the past or future; you live in the moment.

David’s main career, should you feel the impossible need to categorize, is as a Broadway, film and popular song composer for many of our best-loved singers, conductor, lyricist. You would think this would be enough, but there is more. He is equally successful as an author of The Thought Exchange and public speaker, and is  a regular guest on the Today Show Everyone Has a Story Series with Kathie Lee Gifford on which he writes a song each month and performs with a current Broadway star on the first Thursday of each month. He travels in his realm of public speaking. And, he has time for a family and social life!

May I invite you to listen to David talk about The Thought Exchange, his metaphysical system for paying attention to the signs your body is sending you and finding your way to living a sensational life. David’s life is, as you can see, sensational and then some. Visit David’s website for information on his work, his shows, his music, and his speaking engagements like the one in San Francisco California right now this weekend where you can take part in his music and his motivational speaking, which he does with compelling candor, inimitable wit and the ability to present the complex as utterly accessible. His love letter? To himself I hope.

The personal and musical joy of Jonathan Poretz

Jonathan Poretz with his father Arthur

Jonathan Poretz with his father Arthur

San Francisco’s Jonathan Poretz is a talented San Francisco singer. Before that he was a New York singer, who, at the age of 4  was given a mic and coerced into singing The Twist, a la Chubby Checkers, to accompany his cousin at a dance recital. He caught the bug. He sang in the school choir and had his own band at the age of 13. Jonathan’s love for and appreciation of his grandparents and parents (Arthur and Florence) is not only joyful but a lesson in the success that family love can enable. When it comes to parental influence, he says his mother is the Frank Sinatra and his father the Mel Tormé. Although Jonathan is described as having a  style that blends Sinatra, Tormé, Bennet and Darrin, truth be told, his style is all his delightful own. This is a man who is filled with love and with music, and you can hear one in the other. There is contagious enthusiasm in his voice as he talks about his family and his music.

His love letter? Plural, really. For starters his dad, but there are others to follow. When I heard the name of Jonathan’s new show, Songs From My Father, the Art of My Music, to be done on his father’s birthday, I reached for the kleenex.

Mary Anne Radmacher and the gift of greatness in every woman

Mary Anne Radmacher, a woman of many talents that speak to many people

Mary Anne Radmacher, a woman of many talents that speak to many people

Mary Anne Radmacher is, with Liz Kalloch, co author of She: A Celebration of Greatness in Every Woman, a gorgeous book in tribute to just that, the greatness in every woman. This book is the result of a wonderful friendship and imaginative partnership of two women who lovingly communicate in a fusion of lyrical words and vibrant pictures. To hear Mary Anne talk about her childhood time in the hospital and the influence that had on her creative spirit is a lesson in what inventive children absorb. To hear her talk about what followed is to learn about possibilities realized. Her personal history with letter writing, not to be missed, is beyond charming. Yes, She: A Celebration of Greatness in Every Woman is a book about women, written and illustrated by women but a book that will hold meaning for men and women alike.

Robin L. Flanigan on her book, climbing Mt.Kilimanjaro and adopting her daughter

Robin L. Flanigan is a freelance writer with a wide variety of experience who knows how to talk about what is important and do it with the kind of honesty that lets others into her personal sphere. She knows that sharing stories is a direct route to helping other people. So she writes essays. And, now a book. Personal narrative non-fiction is her joy and power as you can see from her new book and her adoption story that she retells here (get tissues ready). To hear Robin talk about her writing and how she gets there is a teaching about paying attention to the details that give depth to a life worth sharing.

Robin’s book is a true story about a woman named Bonnie who comes home one night to find that her husband has died. She mourns for 18 months and her decision to move beyond her grief sends her to the summit of the world’s tallest free-standing mountain, Mt. Kilimanjaro, an experience through which she falls in love with one of the climbers. Yes, really. Robin, not just brave enough to conquer personal mountains but to scale them physically as well, was on that same trek and how she came to meet Bonnie.

Stay tuned to hear when this book is out and ready for you to read. To stay in touch with Robin, you can reach her on twitter via  @thekineticpen

Dawn Mittleman sifts through the “stuff” to give you space for living

Dawn Mittleman sifts through the "stuff" to give you space for livingGetting rid of the stuff that is crowding you out of your own living space is sometimes too overwhelming to tackle. Do you need to keep every little collectible? Should you keep that fabulous dress if only it would come back into fashion? Photographs? Your mother’s china? Whether you are downsizing or just trying to get into your own closets or basement, the choices can be too daunting to face alone.

The good news is that you do not have to face it alone. Dawn Mittleman, with patience and without judgment, can walk right into your life of overwhelming jumble to give you space and peace of mind that you thought was either out of reach or buried beneath mounds of litter. To listen to Dawn talk about the art of de-cluttering is reassuring in its own right. Whatever the reason to lesson the amount of material goods in your life, Dawn has her eye on what to keep and what to let go. Love letters? They stay.

Noah Griffin bringing back the elegance of Cole Porter

Noah Griffin and Meredith Browning devoted to musical literacy are bringing a new awareness of Cole Porter.

Noah Griffin and Meredith Browning devoted to musical literacy are bringing a new awareness of Cole Porter.

To say that San Francisco’s Noah Griffin is a singer is to under-explain his status in the entertainment world. He is a performer with the exceptional style and elegance of a sort not so often seen these days. He is also a born educator with a passion for musical literacy and history well taught. His wife Meredith Browning has her own interesting connection to the world of musical theater as well as a talent for launching projects. With this team, lamenting what seems to be a vanishing awareness of the music and thoughtful, well-crafted lyrics of composers of yesteryear went so far, and they decided to do something about it. Noah and Meredith have created The Cole Porter Society with some interesting plans and goals. To listen to Noah and Meredith talk about why they created this society is in itself a musical history lesson. Their love letter plan? Historically charming, and relevant to future generations.

Amena Elaine talent, energy and love everywhere she goes

Amena Elaine talent, energy and love everywhere she goesAmena Elaine is new to San Francisco and brings with her an endless load of talent, energy, contagious enthusiasm, appreciation of everything that surrounds her and beauty. She sings, plays the piano and violin and is a whiz at fashion retail with a strong feel for street style. To see her walk through a room is to be engulfed in the feeling that the world is on the right course. To listen to her talk about her family is a lesson on love. Tip of the iceberg. The youngest of seven children in a multicultural family (French, Haitian and Jamaican), she was loved and pampered by her siblings, taught the value of hard work and family devotion by the example of her ER nurse father and her joyful mother and raised to be independent and at home everywhere she goes. Her love letter? Plural I hope. Mother, father, siblings and the grandmother whose fashion sense she has.

Jane Storeseter on rising to the unexpected life-changing challenges of motherhood

Jane StoreseterIn preparing for motherhood, it seems the best you can do is prepare for what you think it will be. What it will actually be, you will learn with the birth of each baby. And, each one, as you may already know, will come into this world with his or her ever-changing unique physical and emotional needs.

Jane Storeseter, mother of four, knows what it takes to raise a child who has been struck with a life changing condition. To listen to Jane talk about what motherhood requires when unexpected and sometimes life-threatening challenges arise is to learn what unconditional love really means, about emotional resilience and tenacity, and taking on the school system, and keeping up her own physical endurance so she take on the world in defense of a child who was hurting. Her love letter? To her daughter who has reached a beautifully independent adulthood.

The joy of a Cordes Christmas can be yours next year


Betsy Cordes about to share her family Christmas magic with the world

Betsy Cordes about to share her family Christmas magic with the world Photo by Sarah Deragon/Portraits to the People

Betsy Cordes was raised by parents who, in her words, “really believe in the magic of Christmas and made it such a special time in our home. They still do!” There were carols on the stereo from dawn to bedtime, fresh greenery, lights and candles everywhere. Her dad’s crazy Christmas toys, and stockings but not being allowed to come see the tree until parents had “confirmed” that Santa had been there. And, the glee of adults acting like children. Oh, yes, one more essential ingredient, Mr. Dog.

Mr Dog’s Christmas at the Hollow Tree Inn, written by Albert Bigelow Paine in the late 1800s, is read by her father every Christmas Eve as it has been for two generations now. Betsy is in the process of insuring that it will be passed down forever and to everyone. She is going to republish this book  with new illustrations by San Francisco artist Adam McCauley. Listen to a very joyful Betsy read part of the story and talk about the sustainable magic created by her parents with the help Mr. Dog. Next Christmas you will be able to read this to your children and start a whole new family memory. Her love letter? Hopefully two of them and maybe incorporating one into the new book?

Lina Misitzis with an unusual love letter plan

Lina Misitzis with an unusual love letter planLina Misitzis, born and raised in Virginia to Greek parents, brings together the strength of two disparate traditions. Greek was her first language and culture, yet Grammar school field trips were to Civil War battlefields and grand plantations, excursions based in troubled history. Listen to her talk about her life at home, the chunks of life she spent in Greece, the differences between her and her American born friends, her leaving home to forge her own way in life, her zig-zag journey across the country and the endearing adventurous reason she is in San Francisco. Lina is brimming with historical knowledge and personal creative experience, so the telling of her life is a fascinating and charming tutorial. She is a joyful young woman with the power to appreciate. She is also a gifted writer with a wonderful plan for a love letter. In her words, “I could write a thousand love letters to Brooklyn.”