Gifts to Give and Get: Roku Streaming Stick

roku-streaming-stick-w_package-1024x768Are you thinking about becoming a cable-cutter?  Do you look at the cable bill with dismay every month?  I found I could save $70 a month by just paying for internet service instead of a full-service cable.  I’m happier than ever with more shows to watch than before and a variety of movies and specials to chose from.  I added an antenna so that I could access 20 local and national channels mostly for local news and sports.  The other essential tool-the Roku streaming stick.  I had an early version of the Roku streaming media center but found the interface to be more trouble than it was worth. The new Roku streaming stick beats the Chomecast and the Amazon Fire on speed and variety of available programming. A win win situation.

The Roku streaming stick allows me to access both netflix and hulu so I had to make a decision whether I wanted or needed one or both of these.  I chose Hulu (unfortunately with annoying commercials) because of the exclusive programming that only airs on Hulu (the show Nashville ’cause I’m hooked).  Accessing either service is easy once to enter your log in and password for Hulu or Netflix.  If you are an Amazon Prime subscriber you can access all of that programming as well as Vevo, YouTube, CBS news, PBS kids, Sling,FX Now, Red Bull TV,  Watch ESPN, and Pandora.  If you subscribe to Showtime or HBO to go,  you can watch all of this programming as well.  Some channels require rental fees for certain programming.

Setting up the stick was easy even for the non-techie me.   The important thing is to know what HDMI slot you put the stick in.  Use your input on your television so that you can see the set up for the streaming stick.  Configure your account and you are finished.

The Roku streaming stick sells for $49.99 and is available at all of your big box retailers as well as from Amazon Prime (free 2 day shipping) here.


Raven Lenae is Making a Name for Herself.


Written by: Aubrey V

Seventeen year old, Ravyn Lenae, is on her way to making a name for herself as a singer. She blends the genres, Hip Hop, Soul, Electronic, and R&B, together to create a perfect melody with her master vocals. After releasing one successful single “Greetings,” she continues to create impressive songs that introduce a new style to the world.

Growing up on the south side of Chicago, Lenae began playing the guitar and piano in elementary school. Her musical influences include, Timbaland, OutKast, Eminem and Erykah Badu. Later, she decided to become a singer, which lead her to attend an art school. While in school, she joined forces with producer, Monte Booker, and rapper, Smino, to create a local music group called Zero Fatigue.
Her first single, “Greetings,” produced by Oz, become a big hit over in the south side of Chicago. It has achieved over 100,000 listens and 3,000 likes on Soundcloud. The music video, shot by AZaeProduction, came out over a year ago, and received more than 100,000 views on Youtube.
After releasing her first single, record labels started to pay attention to Lenae. She took a specific interest in Lyrical Eyes Management. A company that has previously managed, Tink, Lil Durk, Candace Price, and more. She signed with Three Twenty Three Music Group, an independent record label that coincides with LEM.
Lenae has received recognition for her first song. She was named Verzion’s Big Break Artist on WGCI in Chicago. Also, she was mentioned on BBC Radio’s New Names of 2016. Besides that, she has performed across the country and headlined for shows including, Atlanta’s A3C, Chicago’s House of Blues, and performed at African Fest in Chicago.
Later, she released many songs with different artists, including, “Blossom Dearie,” which was produced by her fellow Zero Fatigue member, Monte Booker. “Blossom Dearie,” received more than twice the amount of listens and likes on Soundcloud compared to Lenae’s first single, “Greetings.” “Blossom Dearie,” and “Greetings,” both appeared on her EP titled, Moon Shoes.
In August 2015, Lenae debuted her EP titled, Moon Shoes. The EP premiered on My Mixtapes and Lake Shore Drive, with an overcoming success. Her EP introduces eight tracks that will be released on her completed album, Moon Shoes. These tracks include, “Venezuela Trains,” “Moon Shoes,” “Blossom Dearie,” “Recess,” “Free Room,” “Sleep Talking,” “Greeting,” and “Everything Above”. The producers on the album include, Monte Booker, Oz, Keyzus, and more. The EP has over one million listens on Soundcloud.
Her album, Moon Shoes, will feature two new songs, “Right of Spring,” and “Something In The Air”. The album mixes unique instruments that flow together to make a smooth tone. The vocals are amazingly sung and gives each song an eery vibe.
Ravyn Lenae is a talented singer with a bright, successful future ahead of her. Her mixture of genres and amazing vocals will certainly make her stand out compared to the other artists. Her album, Moon Shoes, available on July 29th at all DSPs, will definitely show her talent. Go buy her album and see why everyone is talking so highly about Ravyn Lenae.

Written by: Aubrey V

Here comes Harleston


Interview by Lexi Segal

Harleston  Band.  Ring a bell?  Well, get ready to hear a lot about them because these boys are going to be off the charts!
Harletson is a  band made up of three 18 year-olds named Nathan, Weston, and Jackson.  All three boys have a love for music that stems all the way back to their baby years.  One of the things that makes them unique is that all three boys self-taught themselves to play various instruments before the age of 12.  They owe all their love for music to their family members who either played music themselves or inspired them musically.
Nathan, Weston, and Jackson, all California natives, met while performing in the open mic circuit in Los Angeles.  They all individually hoped for solo careers but, after meeting, realized they all had a similar taste and a love for music that could take them unified, all over the world.
Sharing similar musical idols makes their songwriting and love for music so much stronger and harmonious.  One of them said: “it would be awesome to collaborate with the Beatles or even the Eagles.”

Since the open mic circuit, they have performed at various venues and opened up for a variety of acts.  Nathan said that the most amazing fan experience they’ve had, to date, was after opening up for Sabrina Carpenter. The boys were backstage and all these fans were swarming around them, begging for pictures and autographs.
Get ready to hear all about Harletson after Friday, July 15th, when their first single “Say Our Goodbyes” is released.  “We are really excited for the world to hear what Harletson is all about, they said.”
Spoiler alert: “Say Our Goodbyes” is an awesome song with a unique, funky beat. Get ready to fall in love with Harleston.  They are ready to knock our socks off!

Harletson Say Your Goodbyes

Hartletson Cover of the 1975 “Paris”

Harletson Video Interview

Scholastic Video Game Workshops June-September 2016


2016 video game workshops:

June 26-30: Turtle Mountain Reservation, Turtle Mountain, ND
July 16: NAACP | ACT-SO Convention, Cincinnati, OH
July 16: Art Academy of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
July 22: Philadelphia Writing Project, Philadelphia, PA
August 1-5: Red River Valley Writing Project, Fargo-Morehead, ND
August 19: Philadelphia Writing Project, Philadelphia, PA
August 20: University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, Philadelphia, PA
September 17: National Museum of American Jewish History
If you or someone you know is interested in the video game workshops please contact Tendo Mutanda at For more information about the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, please visit

How to interview a musical artist


OKGO with JEff filming

Interview with OK GO in West Palm Beach Florida

Wow we get asked all the time about how to actually shoot an interview with band members.  There is no exact formula but if you try to shoot everything in the guide below you will have choices when it comes to editing.

  1.  First shoot 3 seconds of an establishing shot of your location;  the venue, the band set up on stage, or another shot that sets the place of the interview.
  2. The interviewer does an introduction and that is used as the establishing shot for the interview segment.  The interviewer can first be a voiceover on top of the establishing shot.  Make sure that your transition doesn’t cut off the interviewer talking because if you don’t leave extra space on your clip this will happen.  COMMON MISTAKE.
  3. First part of interview questions.  Listen to your subject and don’t be caught being too eager to cut the subject off and go to the next question.  LISTEN.
  4. In an interview we let the subjects tell the story what ever it is.
  5. The bridge moves the interview to either:  a cut from the artist performance or the interviewer using transitional words like “Looking forward to your new album or Everyone catch these guys on their tour starting…..”  This should provide information that moves to the closing.
  6. Closing:  Thanks for sharing your stories about Asia, spending time with us, etc.  If the interviewer has not identified themselves at the start of the interview then he/she should say this is __________ from  Swept Away Media.
  7. Have the band shoot a short tag that can be used to “tease” the interview.  “This is the Sandband and you are watching Swept Away Media.”  This is used before the interview but shot last.
  8. Do not use your camcorder zoom during an interview.  Pan slowly, very slowly to move the shot.  Use a tripod or a monopod to avoid shaky video.
  9. Have something to add or share we’d love to add it!

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