Published Writings:
Allison Sledge

The Quintessential Jesus Of Nazareth

The story of Jesus in the temple at the age of twelve is well known. In this instance, Jesus again points out the waywardness of Israel and proclaims that unless changes are made, disaster will fall upon Israel. The people were amazed at His words but the religious leaders were not pleased.

This rift between Jesus, His enlightenment and the entrenched priestly establishment did not have time to further fester at this time. It would develop into an unbridgeable chasm in later years. The reason it did not escalate further at this time was because Jesus was off to India.

A high Brahmin priest from India named Ravanna had observed Jesus in the temple and was duly impressed. He inquired about Jesus and Hillel, with whom Jesus had earlier stayed, told him about the prophesies concerning Him and much more. Ravanna asked directions to Nazareth and proceeded to go there. He found the family and requested that Jesus be allowed to accompany him to India. And so it happened.

Before we follow Jesus on His sojourns, we should complete His family. 

Joseph and Mary spent ten years: One in Bethlehem, Four in Egypt, and Five in Nazareth nurturing Jesus and getting Him properly grounded. 

They then continued to complete their family. A son James, a daughter 

Ruth and another son Jude came in succession. James was never too sympathetic with his “wayward” brother who went gadding all over the world and, in James’ eyes, neglected his family. 

After the crucifixion, James became a staunch believer and became the head of the Jerusalem church. Ruth always loved and admired her older brother. She was sometimes confused because of what her mother said about Jesus compared to what James said. When Jesus returned to Capernaum from his period of temptation in the wilderness, He was asked to speak in the local synagogue and Ruth heard him for the first time (Ruth was born in Capernaum).

Ruth was impressed and ever after was a faithful supporter. The sermon raised quite a tumult in the town. 

There was a Roman examiner named Philoas who met Ruth at that time of public dispute. They were immediately attracted to each other. Ruth, Philoas, and a Roman doctor went to Mary to warn her that such trouble as the sermon created could draw the Romans into taking some action. Ruth married Philoas. 

Just before the crucifixion Jesus attended the wedding. Ruth went to Rome with Philoas and they had children there. She was a great help to the believers who were being persecuted in Rome and was a pillar of strength for the cause. Ruth gave encouragement and strength to James to accept the role of the head of the church in Jerusalem. Jude was quite lukewarm to the teachings of his older brother but Ruth convinced him to be a follower. 

He did not remain a strong supporter, and as Edgar Cayce said “faltered much.” It is indicated that he did later become a leader in the new movement in the trans-Jordan land.

Read The Book of Ruth and understand... Amen.

Read Allison's Book Here On Amazon:

               World's Greatest Female Drummer:
                         Terri Lyne Carrington:

                    AND THE GRAMMY WENT TO...

               Dedicated To Octavia Butler ~ (June 22, 1947 – February 24, 2006)



Peabody Conservatory of Music, Baltimore Maryland, February 24th, 2006


Allison Sledge:  Ok Terri, let's talk about your Mom and Dad and your other family members and how they supported you from the very beginning up until your first album...


Terri Lyne Carrington: Wow, that's a big subject...


AS: Yes, I know.


TLC: Family... My Mother and Father of course they're extremely supportive, and have always been extremely supportive. My Grandfather played the drums, and he was a big inspiration to me even though he passed away right before I was born. He actually died right after he played...  I think he may have even had a heart attack in the middle of ending a song. He finished the song, and that was it. My Mother was pregnant with me - this was my Father's Father - and I pretty much came out of the womb playing... My Father played drums as well, and saxophone, so I come from a musical family... and I think that the support of my Father and my Mother and Grandmother and all of my relatives basically really had a lot to do with how I was able to flourish, because a lot of the people that I know, that I see that are talented, they just don't have the same kind of support, and I wonder what would have happened to me without that. My Father also knew everybody - you name it - my Father knew everyone in the jazz world; Cannonball and Nat Adderly would come over to the house. Clark Terry... My Father played saxophone with Rhythm & Blues bands - Ruth Brown, James Brown - he was in horn sections - he went to college in Georgia and Virginia in the fifties. My Grandfather actually played with Chu Berry - not Chuck Berry (giggles) Chu Berry - he was a saxophone player in the thirties - and he also played with people like Duke Ellington, Sammy Davis Jr. when they would come through the Boston area. So my parents - my Father and my Grandfather knew multiple musicians in the Boston area - and I was the first one to, I guess, take it a step further. My mother, actually - I don't want to slight her - she played piano - she studied piano while she was in school - classical, yea...


AS:  So is it true that you started with sax until your teeth fell out, and picked up drums?


TLC: Oh yea, that story... (Laughs) ... maybe this is the last time I'll have to tell this story... I guess this will never be the last time. For some reason it's such an interest to people. I don't really remember when I was playing the saxophone, because I was five, and for some reason I don't have any real recollection before age seven, eight, nine - which is pretty terrible, actually…


AS: No, it's not.


TLC: Yea, my teeth fell out, as they do when you lose your first set of teeth, then I switched to the drums.


AS:  Cool... alright, let's for a minute talk about Gary Thomas  - one of the greatest saxaphone players in the world  - the stories about your gigs together playing on each other’s albums, tours, Peabody - anything and everything about Gary.


TLC: Oh wow... well, I met Gary the same time I met Greg Osby, Geri Allen and Wallace Roney - they were all going to Howard University at the same time.  I think I was about eleven or so  - or twelve, and I came down  here - I say down because because Boston is North, and did a clinic at Howard... I think Keter Betts brought me in town to play Blues Alley, and Geri, I think played with us as well. There was also a group that people didn't know so much about back then called "Pieces Of A Dream" and Keter, I guess, had "Young Talent Night", so Geri and Gary and Greg and Wallace - I think they all played with me at a clinic at Howard - but I don't really remember...  the only person I remember from that time, really, is Geri Allen, because she played at the clinics as well. But then Gary - because I was so close with Greg Osby, Gary would come to New York to visit and hang out -  Greg and I were roommates in New York for four years, so he would stay with us, and Greg would just tell me "Oh, my boy Gary is just like the best - wait 'till you hear him!  Wait 'till you hear him!" and just on Greg's recommendation - alone - I asked Gary to play a gig with me, so he always says that this was his first gig in New York City.  I can't remember who else played with us, and I can't remember if it was the Jazz Times Convention - I think it was the Jazz Times Convention.  I recommended Greg - and Gary as well - to Jack DeJohnette's band, and that is kind of what I think jump started Gary... really. So we go pretty far back. He's always been one of my favorite horn players because his sound is so original, and ... the way - not just the sound he gets out of his instrument, but the lines that he plays, his phrasing - everything that he does is very interesting - it's not what you would expect to hear. Even when Gary may start to play something, you might think it is going one direction, and it goes another direction.  Left of center...  I mean, that has always been what appeals to me. So I actually started using Gary a lot when my second record (CD) as a Leader as came out: "Jazz Is A Spirit", and I started touring Gary - and I had many different bands, but Gary was the consistent person, and pretty much did every gig.  We toured Europe four or five times.


AS: Tell us about your first Grammy Nominated Album "Real Life Story".


TLC : "Real Life Story" that came out in 1989, I believe. I was playing on the road at the time with David Sanborn, and I'd been playing with Wayne Shorter. Before that time period with Wayne, I normally played acoustic straight ahead jazz, and when I started playing with Wayne, I started playing more contemporary styles. And then I think David Sanborn heard me with Wayne, and wanted me to play with him. That was more R&B style.  I hadn't really done much of that. That was a very interesting time period, because in one year,  I played with Stan Getz - which was really straight ahead acoustic jazz, and Wayne Shorter which was more "fusiony" jazz, and then David, which was instrumental R&B kind of jazz, so I was all over the place... and then I got this record deal...  and I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do, and I just decided to do a contemporary jazz record - they didn't call it smooth jazz back then.  It wasn't really that smooth. I was very fortunate that it was the same timing as when I got on "The Arsenio Hall Show," because when the record came out, a lot of people knew me from being on that show. So, for a jazz record it sold very well. I think it was somewhere around one hundred thousand units.  I got nominated for a Grammy.... the other Nominees were Miles Davis, Pat Metheny, Larry Carlton and John Pattituchi, so I was in excellent company. You know, the funniest thing about something like that - what I got is - they give you a plaque, or something that you can frame - that says you were Nominated... and I gave it to my parents, and we framed it, and it's on their wall... and I never thought about keeping it because I was twenty-three at the time, and I thought: "Oh, this is the beginning of my career...  and this will happen AGAIN!"  And I never thought about keeping it, and every time I go home to my parents’ - I look at it on their wall - I think "maybe I should have kept that..." (Laughs)…


AS:  Speaking of Arsenio Hall  - (which is where I  first met Terri Lyne – we were both working on the “The Arsenio Hall Show”) ... can you tell us the beginnings, and how you got that and how you felt about being there, and the instant fame that occurred once you were the House Drummer?


TLC:  A lot of people found out about me during that time period, but there's no such thing as overnight success. What happened was, I was staying with Patrice Rushen... I decided to move to L.A., and went for about two or three weeks in December, or the end of November...  I believe December. I needed to get an apartment, buy a car, and make this transition.  L.A. always spoke to me...  I had been living in New York for five years, originally from Boston... the weather was getting to me - the cold winters...  and every time I went out to L.A., especially in the winter, I just said "Why am I not living here?"  At the time, one of my best friends, was Dianne Reeves, who... we remain very close... but she was living in L.A. then, and Wayne Shorter was living in L.A. then, and I was playing with him and I met Patrice Rushen - well I had met her when I was a kid, but we became closer when we recorded a record with Wayne Shorter together.  I'm so old school, I know I say "record" all the time (giggles).  We recorded "Joy Rider" with Wayne, and she actually was very instrumental in convincing me to come to L.A.... and Wayne too... He would always say "L.A. is hip!" (Laughs).  And once I was out there on a visit and Wayne had a Sister-In Law that had a club that she opened called "Samba y Sol Dolce" - a Brazilian club - and for the opening, she had Me and Wayne and Herbie Hancock and Nathan East play, and I was like "Wow, I'm playing a party with these kinds of musicians! (Laughs)... yea, I think L.A. is hip!" - and I decided to move. And when I went just to get my apartment and everything in order, there happened to be an audition for "The Arsenio Hall Show"...  Now, who recommended me for that?  Narada Michael Walden recommended me for that - and somehow it went through Patrice as well - and between the two of them, I got the audition.  I think Arsenio actually called Patrice and asked her, because they were looking for a female Artist /Instrumentalist - and Michael Wolff was already chosen to be the Musical Director, so that's probably why Patrice wasn't involved. I think they had already chosen Michael. So between Narada and Patrice, I got recommended, auditioned, and got the job. So I had a week to go back to New York, pack up my apartment, and get back to L.A. for the show...


AS: Cool. And what about Vibe?


TLC: Vibe... actually Vibe was - it's funny - I was only on "Arsenio" for three months, and I got so much attention and mileage from that because the time period was different. Everybody was real excited that there was a Black late-night T.V. show, and so many people remember me from "Arsenio" - which was three months in 1989 - and then I did Vibe for an entire year, and it was not the same type of response or publicity in that regard.  I enjoyed Vibe more - musically - because the band was outstanding - Greg Phillinganes was the Musical Director, and he's just amazing at what he does. He's got, I guess what I'm going to call a "phonographic" memory. We played anything... his goal was to make sure we played all the songs, the cues, just like the CD's, so we were paying tribute to all of these older and current R&B Artists. We played with so many people when they came on the show, because the band was pretty tight, so people didn't have a problem playing with the band. So I played with... gosh, Rick James, Aliyah, The Gap Band, Wayne and Herbie came on, Gloria Gaynor.... now some of it escapes me... but, you know, it was a lot of fun because that was the music that I grew up with, and to be able to play with those people...  I'll never forget - Oh, and James Brown - my goodness - he had the most interesting way to count off a song... I think we were doing "Sex Machine" and he was just like "One, one two, one two three, one - now when I say one, one two, one two three" (laughs) I was like totally - I was like "Wow!" but somehow we pulled it off - we just did it somehow, but I didn't get his count off!  But we pulled it off. To play that with him was amazing. And just like the song "I Will Survive"  - always had special meaning to me, because I had an Aunt that had - I think it was breast cancer, yea - and that was her theme song, so she would always quote that song - cause that was the time when it came out. So I would always think about her whenever I heard that song... so to play it with Gloria Gaynor was a lot of fun, and just special to me...


AS:  Deep..  and beautiful at the same time. So let's talk about your tour with Herbie Hancock. How did that come about? How was the tour...  and how is it like touring, being - basically - maybe, the only female in an all-male environment?


TLC: Oh, well that's been my situation since I started. I've pretty much always been the only female. I started playing with Herbie just through my relationship with Wayne Shorter, and like I said, I think the first time was at the opening of this club, which was basically a big party. And then my real relationship, musical relationship with him started when we played a benefit for a friend of Herbie and Wayne's that was dying of cancer... her name was Portland... it was at this big mansion in Beverly Hills. It was me, Herbie, Wayne and Stanley Clarke played this benefit, and somebody that was there - I think it was Paxton Baker from BET - he was doing the Aruba Festival, and he had us come down there, he wanted the same group, so that was a big deal for me to have this special project with those three guys. We were there and Herbie said, "Well, I'm actually going on the road this summer with this electric project" a record he had out that was called "Dis is Da Drum" - very difficult for me to say (laughing),  and he said "Well, you know,  I  can't afford you.  I normally play Europe with a Trio, and I'm getting the same budget, same gettin' paid for the shows, same amount, but I have, like, you know, fifteen people on the road, so, you know, the money's really low, so could you recommend somebody" (laughs)  I had just found out that I wouldn't be touring with Stan Getz, because he passed away... and that was who I was going on tour with that particular summer, so I didn't have any work, and so I said "Well I don't think I can recommend anybody... I think, you know, I would love to do it myself! You know, we can work it out!" And then from there, that was one incarnation, and the next project he did - because Herbie will do a record, and then tour supporting that record - and his records are always different... so the next incarnation was a project that I actually played on called "Gershwin's World" and we toured a sextet and that was more of an acoustic tribute to George Gershwin... Acoustic setting, so, very different from the hip hop setting we had done.  Then his next project was back to the electric stuff. The name of that CD was "Future 2 Future" I wasn't on that CD - Jack DeJohnnette played drums, Tony Williams was actually on one song, and there was a DJ, and Bill Oswald produced it - he produced "Rockit" for Herbie. We toured that, and that was a lot of fun... Wallace Roney played and Matthew Garrison on Bass. Darrell Diaz, second keyboard. Herbie and the DJ of course, and that was just very open, very, very adventurous for electronic music. We had a screen behind us with computer generated images, and it was the first time anybody had toured with surround sound, so it was a lot of fun. We did a DVD called "Future 2 Future", it's, I think, probably the only DVD that I've played on that I'm really proud of... when I can say, when I'm seventy or eighty years old - and if I never recorded another thing - and you know some kids would say "Could she play?" That would be the only thing that I would want anybody to listen to... I've done a lot of stuff - but some of it was when I was really young - where, you know, situations weren't optimum, but this - we had been on tour - the band was pretty tight, and I'm really proud of that...  after...  God, I've been on the road for twenty-two years, and I'm kind of amazed myself that I can only say that about one project! (Laughs) I also did a DVD with Herbie that was straight ahead, supporting the "Gershwin's World" project that I did not feel the same way about. We all walked away from that with our heads down, like "Oh, God..." So it's nice when you have one that you do like...  and then, after that, I did quartet dates with him - with Gary - I recommended Gary Thomas. Scott Colin played bass, so we did many quartet gigs, tours, dates - and then after that,  Herbie did "Directions In The Music" again with Micheal Breckland and Roy Hargrove, about a year ago... I did that with him, so it was about seven years or so of constantly playing with Herbie. And then after that, actually, I would say the most fun I ever had was playing with the Headhunters tour - we did just a couple of - just two tours, with Marcus Miller on Bass, Roy Hargrove, Kenny Garrett and John Mayer did one tour with us, and "Wah -Wah" Watson did the other... Nenela Wicke - let me make sure I pronounce his last name correctly - but that was great, playing that old Headhunters music. That was just so much fun... so, I've been real fortunate to play with Herbie in all of his different settings, and I've grown immensely as a musician, from him.


AS: Is Wayne Shorter as hard to figure out as people say he is?


TLC:  No, no... Not to me. I understand Wayne, and I've always understood Wayne. Wayne speaks...      



Our interview is suddenly interrupted by the blaring sound of sirens from a fire engine rolling down the street.


TLC: What it is that Wayne really gets excited about... Want me to wait for this to pass? The sirens?


Cameraman: Yeah......


AS: Good looking out, Terri Lyne...


TLC: Uh hmm...






Assistant Kirsten Lavin: "What time do you play?""


Cameraman: "Is it 7:45?”


TLC: We don't play 'till like 8:30 though, right? Gary said they were playing for like 45 minutes...


AS: Go ahead, with Wayne, Terri...


TLC: (to Cameraman) I thought you said.... are you ready?


Cameraman: Uhhh...


Allison Sledge: Yes, we're ready...


{We later found out that one of our mutually beloved writers, Octavia Butler, died at this EXACT moment in time}


TLC: Wayne Shorter... what it is with Wayne - people always say that he's hard to understand, or whatever they say... I've always understood Wayne. Wayne is such a unique combination of old school, and modern. You have to understand the history of the music to be able to talk to him intelligently. So a lot of the younger musicians, they don't really know where he's coming from... like he and I would have jokes, you know, about certain voices and certain records  - old records - certain songs, really old stuff, you know...  I knew all that stuff, just from my Dad. What Wayne gets excited about is small things, and I think that's what keeps him so young. And if more people would pay attention to the child spirit within them, then I think that the world would be a better place... and the people that do that - don't have any trouble understanding Wayne. He practices Buddhism, and he's actually one of the people that turned me on to Buddhism, and Herbie practices Buddhism too. I've been practicing it for, I guess about eighteen years or so - off and on - my practice is nowhere as strong as them, but it's like when you can get excited about what you're going to have for dinner - I mean, not in a way that your relationship with food is not healthy - but I mean like "Let's have some ice cream!", you know, or "I gotta go read this book!" you know, (excitedly). That's Wayne!!!  And it's just his spirit that is excited about regular things... and the way that he phrases things, like if he listens to somebody play, he might say - or some people might say - well, he has great technique, or he has a great sound, or you know, he can play through these changes great. But Wayne might say, "He has good follow through" and that makes perfect sense to me...  If a person can follow through with their idea, you know, and their ideas aren't scattered, their ideas are complete - and that's just how Wayne talks, and it makes a lot of sense.  I have a book right there in my purse that Wayne recommended to me. He's very much into reading Science Fiction, and different kinds of novels.  I read one that he recommended called "The Shadow of the Wind" which is great... The other one that I'm reading now is called "The Adante Club" ...  I think that's what it's called... (Laughs)... 


AS: Plug that!  No... Speaking of writing and Science Fiction, tell us about your relationship with.....  


Terri Lyne becomes distracted. She warms her hands.


AS: Is it getting cold?


TLC: It's alright....


TLC: (to Kirsten) - Does that work though? (Referring to the heater) I guess so...

***** ASIDE ~  Many people have described that when a death occurs, a person gets cold when the soul of the deceased passes through them. Remember, we had no idea that Octavia Butler had just died moments before...


AS: Let's talk about your connection and work with Octavia Butler, and how you feel about everything that you've read and how connected you are - and how you feel about her and everything, and what you're going through - musically - on that, with her.


{Octavia Butler had just died moments before – without our knowledge - which is worth repeating here, because of the depth of the conversation}


TLC: Oh, ok... well that's ...  I know what you're referring to... where did you read that? Did you read that on my website?


AS: Yea, sorta....


TLC: See, I don't update my website (laughing)... I think that was a long time ago...


AS: Yea, I realize that...


TLC: I didn't work with her specifically, I just wrote the music.........

AS: Let me re-phrase that. What attracts you about Octavia Butler and her style of writing and her stories?


TLC: Dianne Reeves was the first person to tell me about Octavia Butler.  I can't remember which book she recommended. I've only read maybe three or four Octavia Butler's books, and you know, she's written these trilogies: "Mind of My Mind"...  I wrote some music for a dance company - Winifred R. Harris' "Between the Lines" which was the name of the dance company, and Winifred was the choreographer, and she, was a big Octavia Butler fan and she had asked me to write the music for "The Coming of Dawn"... and what was the second sequel?  Well "Dawn" was I think, the name of the book...  and then, I can't remember...


AS: I can't either and I know it too...  I'm trying to think of it....


TLC:  "Adulthood Rights"  


AS: There it is...


TLC: “Adulthood Rights”....  anyway, so I collaborated with two friends of mine....  fine musicians. The first half of "Dawn", I wrote the music with Charles Mimms, who worked a lot with Patrice Rushen... produced all of her hits, "Forget Me Not's" and all of that stuff... and then the second half of "Adulthood Rights" I collaborated with another friend, a fine composer, Ed Barguiarena, and so that was very interesting, because I had never done that before. And Bob Saden - who I met through working with Herbie and Wayne - who has produced and written for both of their orchestral records - CD's (laughs), we even went to Denver and it was a Cleo Parker Robinsion Dance Company that performed this ballet. That was a few years back.


AS: I think that was fascinating, and a lot of fun... yes...


TLC: Well writing is very important to me. Writing music has always been very important to me, as you can probably tell from my CD's, I try to write most of the music on them. There's really only been two CD's that I've done as a Leader. The last project I did, I co-led with Greg Osby, Jimmy Haslip and Adam Rogers - who we all contributed musically - and that's called "Structure". But writing has always been very important to me.


AS: Now tell us about "Billie and Me". How did you come up with it? Being the Musical Director, where you toured, and who you've worked with.


TLC: "Billie and Me" - the concept of "Billie and Me" was thought up by - well, let me re-phrase that... "Billie and Me" was conceived by Sara Cropper. She was a BBC radio producer and she did a six hour radio production called "Billie and Me". She had Nenah Cherry host it, and she had a lot of people - she interviewed a lot of people for this radio project - I was one person... and somehow, through all these interviews - maybe it was something I said, I don't know - but when she decided to do a live show, called "Billie and Me" at the Barbican - the Barbican actually produced it - she was actually the Artistic Producer and conceptualized the whole project, and the Barbican made it happen. The Barbican is a big.... I don't know what you call-


AS: Shakespearean?


TLC: It's kind of like the Lincoln Center, or something I guess, of London. Maybe that's one way of looking at it. They self-produced a lot of projects, and you know, people also just go there to play as well. But anyway, she had the idea of me doing the music - and she really came up with the repertoire as far as walking through Billie Holiday's life and what songs would be appropriate. She really knew more about Billie Holiday's life than I did, because she spent so much time doing this documentary, and then I came up with arrangements for all these songs - based on singers. We tried to do jazz as well as contemporary styles. Joan Osbourne did an incarnation of what we did in the West. Chrissie Hynde from the Pretenders, she sang... Dee Dee Bridgewater sang - so we had a big gamut of song stylists:  Fontella Bass sang, Michelle D'Angetello did some poetry and played the Bass as well... Amy Winehouse, who is someone that is very well known in London with the kids - she's very popular, she brought in a lot of fans that night. Carmen Anderson who sang with... (Laughs with exasperation). Yea, details, sometimes they just go!


AS: That's OK, we'll edit it right out...


TLC: Brand New Heavies, Brand New Heavies! (Laughs) This is too much information!!!  It's hard to remember it all... Who else was there?  I'm missing some people. Nenah Cherry, of course…


AS: Um Hmm...

TLC: Anyway, it was a pretty incredible event - we had eleven singers, and it was just a big production. There was some audio-visual stuff that was really nice because it wasn't just the music... we had this narration through the whole thing that walked you through Billie Holliday's life - and a lot of images of her - of her speaking - it was very nice. We scaled it down and did some shows - here - in the fall of 2005 - Carnegie Hall in New York, Royce Hall in L.A., the Kennedy Center... Nancy Wilson hosted two L.A. shows at U.S.C and at Royce Hall, and Rita Coolidge hosted the East Coast shows...  Fontella Bass was supposed to sing, but she got ill and couldn't make it, so Nikki Harris - Gene Harris' daughter took Fontella's place. Joan Osbourne sang, Dianne Reeves, and it was basically five singers instead of eleven, so everybody had more of a chance to stretch out - we changed up a few of the arrangements to fit these singers - but used some of the other arrangements as well. Some of them were straight from Billie Holliday's book and then others were completely new renditions - like a sort of hip hop version of "Ain't Nobody's Business"; a rock-like Led Zeppelin type of version of "Now Baby or Never" and kind of a Steely Dan "ish" type of version of "Lovin' Man". So we did kind of different things - also the original show, Angelique Kidjo was there, so we tried to do something that would fit her for "The Man I Love" and then Rocio Traore - I think she's Mali born - she did the U.S. shows, so I listened to her music and tried to come up with some arrangements for her that would work, so I utilized some of the rhythms from her country...


AS: Let's talk about you signing with ACT... what prompted you? Was it a spiritual thing - you were saying that you were not going to just shop it around, you were going to wait until it feels right - and that was what felt right?


TLC: Nooooo... I was totally amazed, shocked, surprised - that I could not get a record deal for ten years after the success of "Real Life Story".  And still, to this day, I'm not sure exactly why. A combination of me not being quite assertive enough and the drums being a hard instrument for people to really look to and consider you a Leader. Not the right management... I could go down a list of reasons and try to think, you know, maybe it was this or maybe it was that, but in the end, it just wasn't in the cards. I had a friend that had a studio and he said: "Well, why don't you just come in here for a couple of days and record some music?" And I thought, well if I'm going to do that, then I'm going to really make this special. So Herbie came and played on three songs, Gary came - I used my frequent flyer miles to get both Paul Bollenback and Gary Thomas out there. Bob Hurst played Bass - he lived in L.A.  And for two days, you know, we recorded

the basics, and after that I did a lot of overdubs... Wallace Roney, Terrance Blanchard, Kevin Eubanks... just different people.  Malcolm Jamal Warner did some spoken word and the record evolved - the CD evolved - into something that I could be proud of. Well, you know, in the beginning, I just had a couple days’ notice to start it - but I had written some songs that I thought would be the right ones for this project - just the basics - and then I recorded a couple of songs after the fact as well.


AS: O.K...


TLC: As far as ACT goes, I just shopped that project to a couple of people. There was kind of only two majors left - at least at that time - now, there's other people, but Polygram and Blue Note - they both passed - and Siggy Loch of ACT Records was really anxious to do it, so.... My Father always taught me to go with people - to hire people that really want to be there, you know, and same thing with a Label. Really go with the person that, you know, really wants you there... so I thought it would be better for me to be on a smaller boutique Label than a larger Label and take the chance on being lost in the shuffle... so it worked out for ACT, and for me... the second CD I did for ACT was "Structure", which I just mentioned - and now - I'm a free Agent again! (Laughs)...


AS: Good... Let's talk about the philosophy of “Jazz Is A Spirit” because it's going to be the Title of this Documentary, and it's also a larger picture.


TLC: Well, it's so funny because for so long I went through a phase of not wanting to call myself a Jazz Musician... it's such a big part of my roots, I mean, it's what I grew up playing, grew up listening to - I mean, I listened to everything - but I just wanted to be a musician. A total musician... and I didn't want a label. Then I started thinking about that more and really investigated why I had an aversion to this, and I talked to Wayne Shorter about the word "Jazz", you know, and he finally, like, came up with the conclusion that "Jazz" means no category to him. Jack DeJohnnette, who was a Mentor of mine, he says that - his music is multidirectional; he calls his music multidirectional music - and I think that people start labeling their own music. A lot of people came out of a "collective" in New York called M-Base, which basically became also like a "name" of a style of music. And then I thought "Well, what does jazz really mean to me?" and that's how "Jazz Is A Spirit" came about. There's some spoken word on the record that Malcolm Jamal Warner narrates, but those are my words... and, you know I just kind of talk about how it means no category and how I have to---- (looks around, laughing)... That's a shame I can't even remember it word for word -


AS: (laughing along with Terri Lyne), ‘Forgot your lyrics’?


TLC: I have to think about it for a second! Good thing you can edit this...


AS: Yea...


TLC: I've got to hear the music in my head - wait... (Silence)... let me think of phrases...? Do I have one (CD) with me?  "The logical undoing of... "   I don't want to mess it up. So maybe I should -


AS: No, cause we can always tape it again, somewhere else...


TLC: Yea... do I have my computer?


AS: You know what I mean? I mean, do what you can now, and we'll re-do it, maybe at a distance...


TLC: Oh...

{Allison, as the Director, had to change out of her casual clothes and into her glittery outfit while ordering her camera crew to set up downstage without her. Perfection is dreamed of in creation, and yearned to be visualized ~ but a LEADER must  make it happen!!!}


AS: Do what you can do....


EDITOR'S NOTE: We are pressed for time; Allison needs to finish this interview for the Documentary's sake, and Terri Lyne needs to get down to the stage to perform for the audience's sake! (And her opening act ‘Exiles Gate’ sake too!!! - Terri’s Opening Band). We are very close to SHOWTIME here... and we are upstairs in a room at The Peabody Conservatory of Music... the opening act is finishing their set, as we speak... so, the pressure is on! A few hearts are beating very fast at this moment... trust me.




TLC: O.k, well, I don't have to quote that necessarily, but what I will say is Abbey Lincoln came up with the phrase "Jazz Is A Spirit" and that really resonated with me. I was on the phone with Dianne Reeves one day. She did a panel discussion with Abbey, and I guess it was kind of "What is Jazz?" and everybody had all these Definitions, and Dianne said that Abbey just said: "JAZZ IS A SPIRIT"!!!  And that just, like ... it hit me - I was like "She's right!" you know, everybody's trying to come up with these intellectual definitions of it, but it's not so intellectual. I mean how to play it is quite intellectual... but what it is, is not. It relates to people - not just on an intellectual level. It relates to people right in their core (Terri holds her hand to her heart). The feeling of the music - and this prompted me to think about not only what it means to me - but that it doesn't have a definition, really. It's just many things to many people... but it prompted me to think of where your spirituality connects with your musicality... and if one thinks that - all musicians don't feel that way - I think that when you are playing jazz music - or any music, really, at its highest level - there is a spiritual connection. What I've realized through many, many nights and days of questioning if I had this connection - other than I felt like I had a "God given " talent - because I started young, and I was considered a prodigy and all that, but I didn't make the connection... all these other people did - but I didn't - I couldn't relate to it in that way. And it wasn't until I realized that when I'm playing is the only time that I'm completely in the present: Now, like I can go into what I guess people might call a "No Mind" zone, where the music is completely all-encompassing and nothing enters... not anything in the past - not even what I played two seconds ago - or what the other person played two seconds ago - I don't have an agenda of what to play next, or what to do next... I'm definitely not thinking about what I had for breakfast or lunch -  and I'm not thinking about what I'm gonna do after I play - it's the only place where I'm totally in the present. I read this book, called "The Power of Now", by Eckhart Tolle, and it just talks about, you know, just trying to be that close to reality, you know, trying to stay in the present and how difficult it is...  I realize I do it naturally when I play, and then I realize, that's a spiritual act in itself. That was the starting point, for me, to then try to look at other artists and how they feel about the same subject. So I interviewed Herbie and Wayne Shorter, John Pattituchi, Wallace Roney, Mike Stern, Kirk Whalem... that's where I started, and I have a lot of work to do with that idea, but it's fascinating what people think about that - and how difficult it is to actually articulate - but just the fact that you try, really brings up a lot of interesting points. So, for me, Jazz is an entity that really can't be defined in just words, you know?


AS: Well put....  We should go... let me ask just a few more questions, and we'll wrap it up. If you can talk about the Scholarship - Berklee - the Scholarship in your name.


TLC: Zildjian (the famous Drum Company) put up the money to do an endowed fund that basically gives a Scholarship to young women instrumentalists every year, in my name, and that was a very proud moment because a lot of times that kind of stuff doesn't happen until you've "gone on"...


AS: Right......


TLC: There was a connection with me, Berklee and Zildjian when I was eleven years old. Buddy Rich actually got me an endorsement with Zildjian... Sylvian drums at the time... The same time period, I got a full scholarship to Berklee from the President Lawrence Berk and his wife Alma. They're both in Boston, so Berklee and Zildjian have their own relationship and those are the two institutions - or entities - that I had the strongest relationships with, outside of my own family, that were supportive of my career from age eleven, until now. So, it sort of made sense that it came back around in that way. Then, about a year or two after that, which was 2003, I got an Honorary Doctorate from Berklee, and that was pretty incredible...  I didn't expect that at all. They lowered the age, because Lee Berk, who is what Berk-lee is named after, he wanted to make sure that I got it before he left... and he retired. So, you're supposed to be 40, and I was 38 at the time... (crew laughs) and I think that was, you know, one of my proudest moments because recently, I had some family that passed away - and, you know, that was for all of them... for all the people in my family that.... for those who went to school and were educated and were Teachers, and Doctors, and even for the one's that didn't...


AS: You've probably been asked this a million times, but what would you do if you weren't born to be a drummer?


TLC: Well, I'm not sure I was born to be a drummer... I feel that I was born to participate in music somehow. I really don't know what I would have done... I graduated third in my class in high school - and a year early - so I feel like I probably could have done whatever I put my mind to. A lot of my guidance counselors thought I was sort of wasting my time with music - (The entire crew laughs in shock and surprise) - 'cause I could really do something... with my life...


AS: Wow!


TLC: But I had a scholarship to college when I was eleven, so I never thought about doing anything else. All I thought is "Wow, I get to save my Parent's some money, you know?" (Laughs)... that's not all I thought about, but that was one thing that I did really think about. But also I thought about... this is what's natural to me. Later on, I may have had second thoughts about it all. Not that I didn't want to do that - I always wanted to do this, but the thoughts were: "Well, if I had gone to a different school, stayed and graduated - I never graduated from Berklee - had taken some classes of other interests - psychology, world history - just things that I was interested in, but I never really pursued. I wondered, you know, how things would have been different... I think I would have still had a career in music, it's just that I might have been sidetracked a little more... So now that I'm teaching,  I hope to have more time to do stuff like that because, when you're on the road, I mean, it's impossible - just to take classes and to pursue other interests. It's impossible, really, for me, to even have a hobby - because there's nothing I can do weekly or monthly, you know, so for me, teaching is great now because I can really take the time to develop other areas of my life that have been put on hold, in a sense. I've always wanted to just take some painting classes; art classes... so now I have a canvass set up in an area where I can explore that... (Smiles)...


AS: Cool.... if we weren't pressed for time, we could go on - there's so much more.... we have time in the future...


TLC: Of course...


AS: This was a great interview!!! Thank you all.... everybody... LOVE IT!!!

Terri Lyne Carrington Playing at the White House Tribute To Prince with Aretha Franklin 2016 

               World's Greatest Artistic Prodigy:
                           Akiane Kramarik

"Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others." 





For those who have not heard of Akiane, the time is now. 

Akiane, in my opinion, is the world’s greatest Artist, and her paintings depict her deep connection with God - and the multi-dimensional Universes in which she travels regularly - in order to share her gift with us.

An internationally recognized 13 year old prodigy, Akiane is considered the only known child binary genius, both in realist painting and poetry, which the world has not seen the likes of in over four centuries.

It would benefit anyone reading this interview to first go to Akiane’s website, and view her paintings, before continuing.

This recorded, transcribed interview is uncut and unedited, and will be referenced in the future for feature articles in nationally and internationally recognized magazines and newspapers.


Allison Sledge: Hi Akiane!!!

Akiane Kramarik: How are you?

AS: Oh, I’m doing great, how are you?

AK: Oh, good…

AS: I didn’t mean to interrupt your painting, by any means.

AK: Oh, no problem at all! (Laughs)

AS: I’m sure your Dad told you…

AK: I don’t remember – probably – but it doesn’t matter!

AS: It’s funny, because I’m on the East Coast, even though I’m from California - I completely forgot about the time difference! We were supposed to have this interview at 12:00 PM - your time - but your Dad reminded me that it’s only 9:00 AM in Idaho… I’m all set up, yet I got the time zones backwards… I should have called you at 3:00!

AK: Oh, don’t worry about it.

AS: It’s such a delight talking to you, Akiane.

AK: Thanks!

AS: You’re welcome. As I told Coliuke: (Akiane’s Publicist) “Where do I begin with you?” It could take 10 years, and we wouldn’t even scratch the surface, would we?

AK: Well… I have a lot of mystery behind me…

AS: I know, and that is what is so fascinating!

AK: Oh, thank you.

AS: You’re welcome. Well, you know… you were born on July 9th, and I was born on July 7th. We’re both Cancer’s as in “Moonchildren”…

AK: Wow! That’s awesome!

AS: So, we have that in common, isn’t that cool?

AK: Yea!

AS: What’s really neat is that my 3 dogs are sitting around us as we speak…

AK: That is so sweet, what kind of breed?

AS: Well, my oldest is a mix of Coyote and Pit.

AK: Wow! That’s awesome!

AS: She’s beautiful… her name is Isis.

AK: Isis? I love that name!

AS: Yes, and it fits her too, because she looks like an Egyptian Queen…

AK: Wow…

AS: I know. My other one is a Boxer Pit named Angel, and my young boy is a Hound dog named Buster.

AK: Oh wow, you’ve got a little mix there and a little group there…

AS: I do. They were all excited because they know I’ve been looking forward to talking with you, so they’re all sitting around the phone, listening to your voice – so it’s really, really cool!

AK: That is so awesome!

AS: No doubt. You are so sweet… What are you working on now? What were you painting when I called?

AK: Well, I was working on a landscape, it’s actually my longest canvass… it’s 36 x 72….

*** note the numbers, backwards… 763 (Hebrew and Aramaic are read backwards) so…it reads 763. My birthday is 763… 7-7- ‘63. Ergo, 763… no need to explain why 2 is there, right? ***

AK: (Continuing)… It’s is about a farm type of scenery with hills. It’s like a really calm scene, a really beautiful landscape…

AS: Oh, wow… I can’t wait to see it!

AK: Yea, it’s really different than my other paintings.

AS: I was going to say… what’s the mystery? What’s your idea behind this one?

AK: I live in a place with very different sceneries… mountains, lakes, forests – so I just got the inspiration by just looking at one of the sceneries by where I lived. I just LOVE the colors! I don’t know - that’s just where I got the idea!

AS: That’s awesome! I mean, you’re so inspired in so many ways…

AK: Oh, yes!

AS: I’m just so fascinated with the beauty of your artistry, Akiane. I stare at your work for hours on end. I will look at one of your paintings for 4 hours… I mean each one of them, when I say that. I didn’t even know where to start with our interview, because there is so much to discuss.


AK: Well, thanks…

AS: It’s like a puzzle within a puzzle – where do you start – because you know you’re never going to end, right?

AK: Oh yes! I’m going to go on forever!

AS: So, I told Coliuke: “I have to start somewhere, right?” And trying to choose one painting was very difficult, so I said: “Let’s just do this!” So, I thought we would begin our conversation by discussing “The Hand of Destiny

AK: Oh yes… “The Hand of Destiny”

AS: Yes, Maestro…

*** Note: Please view the painting on Akiane’s website, before you continue… Observe “The Hand of Destiny”, and then continue… ***

AK: Well, that was a very interesting painting that I have done, because when I was doing that painting, I figured out that I was just going to paint a lady touching her hair – or she’s holding her hands - or holding a flower. But, when time progressed, I felt there was something missing. One day, I was upstairs, about to go downstairs and paint – and I stepped on a piece of paper – and it ripped… Well, for some reason, I picked up the piece of paper. It had these holes in it, and I thought to myself: “Oh my goodness, this is a perfect idea!” So, I took that idea and I put it onto the canvass… so it looks like it has three dimensions.

AS: I saw seven dimensions…

AK: Oh my gosh, really? In my story I say: “Punches of sorrow” because it (the painting) looks actually like punching the paper.

AS: Wow… Piercing the veil…

AK: That’s so interesting, because that story is just about how we can co-create with God, and choose our own destiny. This young lady is holding… she’s hoping. She has so much hope that even though punches of sorrow have touched her, and is coming through her – one came through her heart – she decides to hold that rip, and she’s saying: “I don’t want any sorrow to go through my heart. I’m going to stay hopeful and stay alive.” That’s kind of what I really want other people to think of it – even though they’re having hard times in life, and much sorrow – they can still hold on to that rip and say: “There’s going to be another day… there’s going to be tomorrow… just be strong.” That’s what the painting describes.

AS: That is so very deep…

AK: There are so many more sentences I would like to add, but I could go on forever for that specific painting.

AS: And I could listen to you forever about that specific painting.

AK: I kind of shortened it a little bit.

AS: But in shortening it, Akiane, you speak volumes.

AK: Oh, thank you.

AS: You’re welcome.

AK: When I started painting that – oh my goodness – I thought there was going to be no end, and I was stuck. That morning changed everything, and I finished a Masterpiece

*** Note: Akianes paintings sell in the Millions of dollars.

AK: (Continuing) I’m so, I’m thankful.

AS: Absolutely a Masterpiece, Akiane, as are all of your paintings. They are each Masterpieces, all of them. Actually, they are beyond Masterpieces.

AK: God Bless You.

AS: God blessed you… Isn’t it interesting how you had never thought about that? You just stepped on a piece of paper…

AK: I know. All those little things add up to something big, and it can explode into many possibilities… gosh…

AS: I know… You are so connected with God that it seems to me that every single iota – whether you’re awake or asleep – your soul is so connected…. Akiane, you are going to see invisible dimensions in anything and everything you do.

AK: Exactly. Thank you.

AS: You’re welcome. The painting that you painted for your Mom – your secret painting…

AK: Yes. (Akiane laughs)

AS: That was so cute.

AK: Oh, thank you.

AS: You’re welcome. The cuteness was its ‘secret’. Akiane, this special painting was so very sacred to you. You painted for your Mother. You told her: “Please don’t share it with anybody, or reproduce it” - but even with all of the love that you both shared with this special painting, she still said: “The people have to see this.” Thank God she did, because we’re here talking about it! This story of yours is so sweet. And, this painting is so brilliant. I know you hear this every day, Akiane – from people all around the world – but I wanted to tell you from my own heart how much I love your work.

AK: Thank you.

AS: Coming into this interview was hard because I had to think “What hasn’t she heard before?” “What question has she not been asked?”

AK: Yea, a lot of people say “What can I ask you that no one has ever asked you before?” I’m like “That’s the question that nobody has ever asked me before!”

*** Note: Allison and Akiane both laugh hysterically!

AK: And it goes on and on! It’s very humorous at the same time!

AS: It is funny, Akiane, it really is, because even with your regular celebrities – they realize that when they go on press junkets – they are going to be asked the same routine questions by a thousand different reporters. It’s just part of their game; it’s to be expected. But, interviewing you is totally and completely different.

AK: Oh yes, lots of questions to answer….

AS: We’re just now beginning our interview. You are so profound with your connection with God, and it is so evident – and I know that you know that “We Are All One”…

AK: Oh, yes…

AS: And you are at one. A lot of people cannot grasp that concept.

AK: Yea, I’ve dealt with a lot of people who are going through hard times, and they said they lost hope. And, they don’t know who to turn to – and when they e-mail me or call me, or send me letters, I just answer them back. The loneliness is probably the worst thing that could ever happen to you, because it’s so sad. So I say “Don’t worry about it – we’re all connected – we’re all One. When you look inside yourself, you can see everybody… you can be connected with everybody. That sentence actually helps people stay stronger every day, and it’s just amazing that those little words can help so many people.

AS: I know. And they don’t realize it. A lot of people lack the connection that you have, Akiane, and of course – you had it so young – and it’s instilled in you… where some people search their whole lives, and never find it. So they’re wondering “Why can’t I feel that way?” “Why can’t I express myself that way?”

AK: Oh yea. I heard a lot of people say that. This man who was 80 years old came up to me and he was like “Oh my goodness! You’re so young! It took me 80 years to search for a small, little piece” And I didn’t know how to answer him. I don’t know how to answer that, because even I do not have all the answers – no one has all the answers like “Why this? Why that?” But, I believe it will come to you – you don’t have to search for it – it will come to you, somehow, somewhere – even though you could still be young, or you can be older – but at least in your lifetime you will grasp that little piece.

AS: Oh, that’s so beautiful, Akiane, and I know when you were 4 years old you actually went to heaven.

AK: Yes, I did.

AS: Did it just happen the one time, or is it happening as we speak?

AK: Well, when I was 4 years old, it happened very often, but I did not tell my parents, for quite a while. Months upon months, actually… It was very secret. I had visions, and whenever I had my visions, I kept them to myself.

AS: What visions, Akiane?

AK: Of Heaven, or galaxies, or people. I just kept it to myself. But one day I kind of had a little explosion inside of myself, and I said “I need to tell someone because it’s all building up in me, and I had no one to share it with. So, my Mom was the first one who heard it. It took a while for her to understand that. This young girl is having these visions of these unknown areas, so it took a few weeks. It took time. But it was worth it, and soon she believed in me, and since then – my whole family has been by my side.

AS: It doesn’t get more righteous than that!

AK: I had so many visions inside myself, Ali -I wanted to put it down somewhere. It could be put down in word, but I wanted more… so I put it down on paper instead, and later – I painted. And here I am today, being interviewed by you!

*** Note: Allison and Akiane laugh heartily!!! ***

AS: Exactly! And, as you say, Akiane, oftentimes your Artistry comes effortlessly….

AK: Yes, exactly. That’s how I write poetry, actually. I write effortlessly without me even taking a note of it - without me even thinking about it. I think that’s probably the best way to have the creative feeling – to not think – to just go, even though you’ll have mistakes, and you can always fix them later. But, it’s just the idea and the flow – you have to keep it moving.

AS: Exactly. My friend, Terri-Lyne Carrington is a famous jazz drummer. I recently filmed her in concert, and interviewed her as well. She is a pure musical genius, and was a child prodigy like you – and she described her greatest moments onstage as being in a “No Zone” area, in fact she said she is at her best when she’s “Not even thinking about anything” Like you said “To Not Think”… This, in fact, is why I feel so connected to you, Akiane, it is because I experienced something very profound in my life, in terms of meeting God, and going to Heaven too.

AK: Really?

AS: I couldn’t explain it to anybody, and I still can’t. It’s very hard. I experienced something very profound myself in terms of meeting God, and going to Heaven, which is why I feel so connected to you, Akiane. I ….

AK: Really?

AS: Yes, and I couldn’t explain it to anybody, and I still can’t. It’s very hard. And I know you have difficulty with it too…

AK: Same thing with me, Ali... it’s very hard to describe what you’ve seen. The only way I could ever describe it is to put it on paper. But even that is so hard, because you have to see it yourself to understand it…

AS: Right, like with you… you see colors in other dimensions as being more brilliant than we can ever imagine. If only people could understand your portraits….

AK: Exactly.

AS: Yet, your paintings are so brilliant, with colors we have never seen.

(Akiane giggles)

AS: So, it’s like you’re bringing what you’re seeing here to us…

AK: It’s just a little piece of what I have seen – but more. I want so much more.

AS: Please, describe that.

AK: I can’t, because there’s limited colors that I have to use… but what I’ve seen in my mind…. The colors - the colors are so much more brilliant… the colors that are not here on Earth are so different. … I see so much more. The colors that are extraordinary, they are too hard to describe. You can’t. …

AS: It’s impossible to describe, isn’t it?

AK: Exactly. Even what I’ve painted, of course are brilliant colors, but you really have to see it personally, to believe it. God, even to this day it’s very hard to describe to people, what I have seen…

AS: Naturally…. And I’m wondering if you are eventually going to invent new colors that have never before been seen on Earth…

AK: One day, yea, I will create new and exciting colors!

AS: I know you will!!! You’re going to be the one, for sure. What comes to mind when you feel frustrated by your limited palette?

AK: Well, when I want to put them on the painting – the canvass - it’s like… gosh… I want so much more! I want this, I want that… but, you know, the colors we have here on Earth, it’s like a little piece of what’s in Heaven, and I’ll always use whatever I can, wherever possible.

AS: No one does it better than you… no one. I’m going to read you a passage from my favorite book. It’s pretty heavy stuff, Akiane…

AK: Great!

AS: Of course, I know you’ll get it, so tell me what you think of this, ok?

AK: Ok.

AS: It’s from “The Keys of Enoch: The Book of Knowledge.” It speaks about color. I’m quoting now: “This key speaks of the biological synthesis of geometries of color codes within the chromosomal factors which carry a physical form of consciousness between time zones”

AK: Wow!!!

AS: “This is possible because the chromosomal patterns exist in grids which have unique colors in geometric form existing within every consciousness time zone. Therefore, colors are capable of being fused into different light time zones by the right cross matching”

AK: That is very deep…

AS: I know… sometimes when I read these paragraphs, I sit for hours and meditate on the meaning of it…

AK: Oh yes. Who is the author of that book?

AS: JJ Hurtak.

AK: When I hear the description of the meaning of colors, I have to give them props! They are giving such an effort to explain. When I get older I’m going to do my best to describe colors, which she’s describing so profoundly. I like to say she – but yea, that is amazing… that’s very deep. That’s actually, well… When I was in Heaven, I could actually taste the colors.

AS: WOW!!!

AK: That’s how profound they are. The music… I could actually taste the music, as if it were purifying music. There are so many things I would like to add to that sentence, because it is so profound.

AS: I think you would really enjoy this book.

AK: Oh yes, can you spell the name of it?

AS: Sure. Very few people can actually understand this book, Akiane, and you’re one person that I know who would truly, truly get it.

AK: Yes, I really want to read it, now that you brought it to my attention.

AS: It’s called “The Book of Knowledge: The Keys of Enoch”

AK: Got it!

AS: The first page describes it as a teaching given on 7 levels to be read and visualized in preparation of The Brotherhood of Light to be delivered for the quickening of The People of Light.

AK: Gosh, that is so profoundly worded. What a gift of words!

AS: I know, big time! In fact, I believe the understanding from the very first paragraph to the last – including the glossary – was transmitted in much of the way that your connection with God is transmitted – it is so perfect, it just IS… it’s not the author writing… it is God writing through the author.

AK: Exactly. I can Soooooooo relate!!!

AS: I knew you would! You’ll be amazed when you read this book, Akiane. Have you ever been to the Louvre?

AK: No, I don’t believe so. I haven’t heard of the name.

AS: The Louvre is a museum in Paris, France.

AK: Oh… no, I haven’t been there before.

AS: Because you paint on such big canvasses, I thought of that. I spent a month at the Louvre, and there were some older Italian paintings, like 14th century paintings, that were huge… They went from the floor to the ceiling on walls that were very, very tall.

AK: Wow!!!

AS: I think you belong at the Louvre!

AK: Thank you!

AS: You’re welcome. They filmed the DaVinci Code in the Louvre.

AK: Oh yea?

AS: Like you were saying, you can taste the music and taste the colors in heaven.

AK: Exactly, it’s unforgettable, you can’t forget it.

AS: I’m thinking… I understand it as you are expressing it to me, and I realize that it’ probably the simplest form that you can try to tell somebody.

AK: Exactly…

AS: How can somebody comprehend tasting a music note, or tasting the color yellow?

AK: You have to actually be there to even see that – that’s probably the best way I can even describe it.

AS: Right, and we’re all like – golly, how is that so?

AK: I know, it’s like “I just don’t understand… “What is this? What is that?”

AS: But you understand the Infinite galaxies on an intuitive level, because you’ve been there. Some of your paintings depict underwater scenes… and I understand that you were born underwater.

AK: Exactly.

AS: Were all of your siblings born underwater too? Is that the way your Mom wanted it?

AK: Oh yes. We were all born underwater!

AS: Unbelievable, because you have a lot of themes of water in your work as well.

AK: Oh yes! My favorite color is blue, I love the ocean, my name means ocean. Delfini, my oldest brother – his name means dolphin. He loves the water. We love the water!

AS: Yes, absolutely! That’s very interesting to me. Have you ever heard of Edgar Cayce?

AK: No, I haven’t.

AS: He’s known as the Sleeping Prophet. He also had a deep connection with God, and he would describe things in a trance state, that he had no idea about in his waking life.

AK: Wow… really?

AS: Yes, he’s awesome. And there are a lot of people who don’t understand the physical look of Jesus.

AK: Yes, people think “I can’t imagine it” and there’s no way anyone can put it down on paper or words, but people out there – little by little – they can piece it all together.

AS: Exactly. And that’s what is so profound to me, Akiane. I’ve been studying Edgar Cayce for over 30 years, I mean, that’s what an effect his body of work has on me, and he describes Jesus physically, and it’s a very brief description… Edgar Cayce has over 144,000,000 readings that are stored in his library in Virginia Beach, called “The Association for Research and Enlightenment.” Hundreds of writers take the information from his readings, and write their own books designed around certain themes he touched upon. And, I’m telling you, Akiane, the physical description that Edgar Cayce’s described of Jesus, and your painting of Jesus, are identical…

***There is complete silence ***

AK: Are you serious? Oh my goodness…

AS: I know. It blew my mind, because you see all kinds of images of Jesus – this, that, you know? I’ve known about Edgar Cayce’s description of Jesus for many, many, many years – and I’ve never seen it depicted as Mr. Cayce described. So, when I saw your painting of Jesus, being identical to his description, I was blown away, completely.

AK: That is so amazing! There are some people in Russia who said my painting of “The Prince of Peace”, looks like the exact copy of “The Shroud of Turin.” Some say that the stars in the sky form a portion of Jesus, and my painting fits exactly like the stars!

AS: Yes, the Pleiades, Orion or Archturus.

AK: Wow!!! I’m so blessed to even hear that! Many people describe how my painting fits what they know about Jesus in ways that I never imagined. It’s truly God that works through me.

AS: That’ so true, Akiane. In fact, it couldn’t be any truer. I’m getting goose bumps right now because, well… I wrote a book about Jesus.

AK: Really?

AS: Yes. My gift is a little bit different. It’s mathematical, astrological and astronomical. I can’t explain it to anyone either! I have a gift of grasping Spiritual Mathematics – which I have to draw, in order for it to be somewhat understood, and then it’s still not comprehended by anyone other than me!

AK: Wow!

AS: As you know, there is a difference between religion and spirituality – a lot of religions try to say that Astrology is not cool and all that, but when you look at the Three Wise Men who followed the Eastern Star… the Magi were Astrologers… they told Mary and Joseph to flee to Egypt or else Jesus would have been killed as an infant by the edict of Herod, right?

AK: Yes.

AS: So, if the Astrologers hadn’t been on the scene, there might never have been a story about Jesus.

AK: I never thought about it like that.

AS: God created all of the planets, the stars and heavenly bodies…

AK: Right…

AS: So, my book is a little tough, because I analyzed the Astrological Natal Chart of the birth of Jesus. It’s heavy!

AK: I really want to read your book now!

AS: I knew I could feel easy talking to you about my book!!!

AK: God, this is the most exciting, and the most good, unusual, fun interview I’ve ever had!!!

AS: Are you serious?

AK: Yes, Oh my God – I can so relate to you – you’re so amazing, and so fun!

AS: No, YOU are!!!

AK: No, YOU are!!!

AS: No, no… You are!!!

***Allison and Akiane begin cracking up with laughter***

AS: Akiane, I will send you copy of my book one day. It’s still a “work in progress.” I entitled it “The Quintessential Jesus of Nazareth: An Astrological Interpretation of The Messiah’s Natal Chart.”

AK: Wow!!! That sounds so interesting…

AS: Cool… Well, what’s interesting is that most people celebrate Christmas on December 25th, when in fact Jesus was born on March 19th.

AK: Really?

AS: Yes. And the Chart that I got, well, it’s kind of like when you stepped on that piece of paper - and it ripped – which allowed you to discover that whole third dimensional “punch” that you incorporated into your painting “The Hand of Destiny” It came out of nowhere, right?

AK: You got everything right…

AS: That kind of happened with me too, because I’ve known for many, many, many years that Jesus was a Pisces and was born on March 19th, but I’ve never had anything to back it up – and I was in Hollywood – well, I’m from Hollywood, by the way…

AK: Wow…

AS: Yes, and I always went to this one sacred bookstore on Hollywood Boulevard – which is not very sacred grounds, right?

***Akiane laughs***

AS: But in the middle of it all, there’s this sacred bookstore and I used to love to go there. One day I was there looking at a book, and literally, a book from above me, fell on my shoulder.

AK: Wow, and that’s how you got the idea?

AS: No, that’s how I the Natal chart of Jesus.

AK: You did?

AS: Yes. The book fell on my shoulder, I picked it up, and it was a book on the planet Pluto… Pluto is symbolic of the Soul in terms of planetary language.

AK: Yea, yea… oh my gosh! In one day so much can happen - you can do so much. That was meant to be!

AS: It was wild! Too wild, really! So, I opened the book, which was written by a wonderful Astrologer named Jeff Greene – who interprets a lot of people’s Charts, like John F. Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe – everybody’s Birth Charts. So I said “Cool, I get to see all of these Charts”, and then as I’m flipping through the pages, I get to a Chart that says “Jesus of Nazareth”… and I went “Whoa, let me make sure Jeff is on the right track here.” Sure enough, the Sun was in Pisces in Jesus’ chart conjunct all of the other Planets that the Three Wise Men saw!!!

AK: Wow! That is incredible…

AS: So I said “I’ve got to interpret the Natal Birth Chart of Jesus myself”, which I did – and that’s the book I wrote, which I’m going to send you.

AK: Wow… that’s so awesome!

AS: I thought you might like that…

AK: Yes, you read my mind from the very beginning!

AS: See, we’re there. We have that connection, right?

AK: Oh, yes!

AS: Akiane, your paintings completely blow my mind. “Quantum World” for example… Holy smokes, let’s talk about that Masterpiece, shall we?

AK: To be truthful, when I saw that little scene there, I never knew anything about the word “Quantum.” I never knew about photons or electrons. I never knew anything about that area. When I painted “Quantum World” this Quantum Scientist – no, Three Quantum Scientists came into my studio and said “How did you know that? Your painting looks exactly like those string theories, those little circles, the parallel universes – I never knew anything about it until hundreds of people started calling me and e-mailing me saying “How did you know this? Where did you read the book? And I was like “I don’t know what you’re talking about – I just saw it in my mind, and I painted it!” You know, those little things mean so much to so many people…

AS: I know, that’s the phenomenon, that’s the puzzlement because people cannot grasp you, Akiane, they’re like “What?” “Where did SHE come from?”

AK: Yea, they’re like “How can you know that?”

AS: And you’re like “I don’t know – I just know that I know – but I don’t know the words you’re saying… and honestly, your paintings are just so diverse, it’s like you can go from one thought – like the painting you’re working on now – when you’re finished with this one depicting the landscape, and people are going to say “Is this the same artist?”

AK: Oh yes, it is. It’s Akiane!

AS: Of course! The One and Only Multi-Dimensional Akiane!

AK: Oh, thank you…

AS: You are quite welcome. And the way that you describe it, people would assume that you really know all about Quantum Physics.

AK: Yea, they would say “What book did you read? What television show did you watch? I’m like – “I don’t know, I just saw it! Sorry I can’t answer your questions!”

***Akiane and Allison both laugh hard***

AS: Well, did you see it in a dream state, or were you…

AK: Well, actually, that specific painting “Quantum World” was done all in pieces. I had no idea what I was going to do that day. I went downstairs, and I just picked up my paintbrushes, and I said “I just love blue… let’s just put the blue there – probably this, probably that. But when it was finished – well in the midst – in the mid-process, I started having images, little images like those string things, those balls, those Parallel Universes – they were all coming to me and I just pieced it all together to make that painting. When I was finished, I just looked back at it, like a few feet away, and I thought – I remembered – “I saw that before!” I don’t know where, but I saw that. It was really weird.

AS: Oh, it’s a beautiful thing…

AK: Yes, it is.

AS: I’m going to read something again to you, from the Book of Enoch, because there’s a glossary that is just as profound as the book. Tell me what this may or may not mean to you.

AK: Ok…

AS: “Quanta: The irreducible minimum components of electromagnetic radiation of light of any wavelength or frequency. A discreet packet, or unit of energy representing a minimum, indivisible quantity. Does this resonate in any way with you?

AK: That describes every atom, and every photon. Every minuscule detail has a never-ending world, and there’s so much more inside of that little detail that is never-ending. It has energy, it has life; it has light in it. There’s so much more that we don’t know. And, you see, our bodies can never end because there’s so much detail, and the atoms are inside us, and there’s so much life inside those little atoms – which keeps on forever… it’s never-ending. That’s what I translate from those words. There are so many different things I could describe for that specific sentence, and that person has a true gift of writing those profound words.

AS: I know, that’s why I can’t wait for you to read the book!

AK: Oh yes, I’m very excited!

AS: I’m excited for you because I’ve read it a million times over, and I can’t talk to anybody about it. They go “What is it that you are you talking about?”

AK: Yea, “What does that mean?”

AS: “What does that mean?” Exactly. And I’m thinking, “How are we going to have a conversation if you don’t understand what I’m saying?”

AK: Exactly…

AS: Your painting “Mother’s Love” just warms my heart.

AK: Thank you. That was actually inspired by my own Mother and me, you know? She has always been there for me, and she was always holding me tight if I was down or if I gave up. She was always there, keeping me going.

AS: Wait a minute – hold on – you gave up? What did you almost give up on?

AK: Oh yea, I wanted to give up many times, because sometimes it was too hard, sometimes I really didn’t understand why God wanted me to do this or do that, but you know, my mother was there all along. She said “I don’t know either, why God has given you this gift – so keep doing this – I know it’s for a reason. She kept me strong all the way. My brothers, my Dad, my new baby brother – they help support me, which is so amazing. That’s why families are so important… to support their kids, their brothers and sisters.

AS: Right… and I understand you want to get married…

***Akiane laughs out loud***

AK: Yea, one day!

AS: Have you met Mr. Right yet?

AK: Not yet!

AS: He’s going to be one heck of a guy, huh?

AK: Oh yea!

AS: Your story is so amazing, Akiane, and the support of your Mother, and how that’s expressed in all of your art work… she must sometimes not be able to find the words to share… her feelings are probably beyond words. I can only imagine. She is probably so deeply touched because you always express with such love.

AK: Yes… Well, thank you.

AS: Oh, you’re welcome. I love what you say “I want my art to draw people’s attention to God, and I want my poetry to keep people’s attention to God” How much more profound can you get?

AK: Well, there are so many more profound words I’d like to describe. I’m publishing my third book, probably early next year, and it will have all of my thoughts on life, religion, art, gifts and God. I’m really, really happy and really excited for it to come out.

AS: Oh, I am too…

AK: Thank you.

AS: You’re welcome. Now, You are in Idaho, and you mention that there are not too many different races or nationalities there, and so you were inspired to paint all races.

AK: Exactly.

AS: Finding people of color was very hard for you.

AK: Yes. There are people all around the world with different colors, and I just said “everybody needs to know this, and everyone can now relate to the painting, even though they are a different color, they can still relate to it.” I don’t know. Every time I searched… I gave up… but it always came back, like a gift.

AS: Right… and your painting “Found” is one of the most exquisitely beautiful paintings I have ever seen in my life.

AK: Thank you so much.

AS: No, thank you, Akiane! You painted this profound beautiful painting, and then you changed the background and you put the waterfalls in. When their adoptive parents saw that, they must have flipped out.

AK: They were in awe. They were like “Oh my goodness, how did you know that?” I will never in my whole lifetime ever figure that out – if it weren’t for that gut feeling that I have to do something more. I painted the waterfalls on the canvass, and, my God, “Found” is probably the most priceless painting I have ever done.

AS: Really?

AK: It means so much to me, for all the children around the world. Yes, it’s the most priceless painting I’ve ever done. It holds so much meaning.

AS: It truly does, Maestro. Like I said, I just love to look at your paintings for hours at a time, and I always see something that I missed before, or something will take on a new meaning. And when I read your words describing the painting, and then your poetry on top of it, well, I’m just mesmerized and, I get lost into a whole different world.

AK: Thank you. I’ve written all I can on “Found”. When each day passes, I have new ideas to add on to that meaning. If you mention any of my paintings, I could write 10 books just explaining that one painting. There’s always so much more to add to it.

AS: What about when the gold materialized? Tell me a little more about that.

AK: Well that happened about a year ago. We went to this church, just visiting this church to see how it was, and this man invited us to his house. We heard some stories that gems appeared – 51 Karat gems – that are not here on Earth. They’re from Heaven, and it’s unexplainable. We just wanted to visit, just to see how it all happened. I was curious, just like you. So, we came to his house – and we thought it would be this huge, gigantic house, but he was living in a mobile home. He was very happy, along with his wife. We asked him some questions, and we were hanging out like close friends. Well, all of a sudden – there was no wind, no clouds in the sky - it was a clear day……

*** Note: I will have to re-interview Akiane for this question, as the tape ran out. I know what she said, but it needs to be written verbatim as she says it. Sorry to leave you with such a cliffhanger! ***


AS: Tell me about how you got on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

AK: Well, her Producers called my Agent, and he called me, so that’s how it all started.

AS: How did you feel about being on National Television with Oprah?

AK: Truthfully, I did not know who Oprah was at the time…

***Allison and Akiane both crack up laughing***

AK: I thought it was this little local television show, but sooner or later, when I got a little older, I figured out it was pretty, pretty big!

AS: Well yes, and that was such great exposure for you, Akiane. Oprah adores you and loves your paintings. I’m sure that’s when everybody got to know you. You didn’t have a website back then, did you?

AK: No, it was right after Oprah that I got my website, and you’ll see Oprah and me right there on my front page!

AS: Yes, she’s describing your self-portrait. I saw that show, by the way.

AK: Oh, you did?

AS: I certainly did.

AK: Good!

AS: That’s how I discovered you!

AK: Really?

AS: Yes.

AK: Wow, I didn’t know that.

AS: Yes, I was sitting there going “Oh my God!”

AK: Well, you got the words right!

AS: Amen!

AK: See, life’s incredible!

AS: Yes, and it’s so funny because I was so touched… I was so moved, and I was just blown away. I really never had a computer before. I’ve only been computer literate for the past year, believe it or not.

AK: Really?

AS: Yes. I didn’t even know what e-mail was!

AK: No way!

AS: Yes! Finally, my sister said “You know, you need to get into the 21st century. Here’s a laptop! So, after I figured out how to turn it on….

AK: Don’t feel bad, that’s how my Mom is. She’s an immigrant from Lithuania and she didn’t know anything, but for the past four years she’s gotten a little more progressive, so you’re not alone!

AS: Thank you for that! I said, well, I guess I better make this leap! And then when I started realizing what everyone was saying about the world being right there at your fingertips, I started looking around. After a deep meditation one day, I was thinking about you, and I thought “I bet I’ll be able to find Akiane.” So I Googled you!

AK: Really?

AS: And you wouldn’t believe how exciting it was for me to find your website.

AK: Yea, the internet can be useful sometimes!

AS: Indeed, and even though you were on Oprah with the paintings you brought to her show that were awesome, I had no idea about all of your other paintings– of course – because you hadn’t painted a lot of them yet!

***Allison and Akiane both laugh wildly***

AS: So, I got on your site, and stayed for hours on end, for days on end. Now, I’m writing an article about you! Maybe a book!

AK: What’s the name of your article?

AS: You mean ‘our’ article…

AK: Yea…

AS: You and I will create a name together…

AK: Cool!!!

*** Unfortunately, the tape ran out altogether and I cannot recall verbatim what was said after that, so this concludes our first interview.

Akiane invited me to call her anytime that I wanted to. She told me I was part of her family now, and she promised me that her Mother would give me a new Lithuanian name, which I am excited about, after hearing Coliuke’s story. Of course, Coliuke is a Lithuanian name for Akiane’s Publicist, who is American.

Stay tuned for another dynamic interview with the one and only, incomparable – Akiane Kramarik!!!

This concludes our January interview in 2008…

Peace and Blessings...

                Hollywood's Most Beloved Producer

                               Bonnie Tiegel

Entertainment Tonight's Bonnie Tiegel Receives Phenomenal Woman Media Award

The Hollywood Reporter went behind the scenes of CBS syndication cash cow "Entertainment Tonight" as Executive Producer Linda Bell Blue and team usher in its first new female co-host in 29 years.

Linda Bell Blue hurtles through a warren of hallways, khaki skirt clinging to her yoga-hewn form, peroxide hair glistening as if volts of electricity are coursing through it, a dozen aides scurrying to keep up in CBS' Studio City offices.

If Entertainment Tonight's Executive Producer seems even more possessed of nervous energy than usual, there's a reason: This is the first day in 29 years that her show will welcome a new woman to the anchor desk: Nancy O'Dell, the former Access Hollywood co-host who is replacing veteran Mary Hart.

It's 9:30 a.m. on Monday, May 23, less than 72 hours since ET bid Hart farewell at a champagne-soaked party. Now the staff isn't just recovering from the celebration, it's also coming to terms with adding an outsider to the mix of this CBS syndication jewel. "It's the biggest challenge I've faced on the job," Bell Blue admits. "Finding the right person was everything."

Seconds later, she and the "right person" are hugging warmly in O'Dell's dressing room. They're a study in contrasts -- one a human tornado, the other a picture of Southern charm, immaculate in a bright red dress that Bell Blue has personally approved for her debut today. "You're gonna be great, hon," the producer says. "You're gonna do just fine."

Then Jamie Foxx sweeps in for a "surprise" visit and soon they're all racing toward ET's studio, where O'Dell clambers onto a revolving stage, takes her place beside fellow anchor Mark Steines and, as light and bright as a souffle, scans through the day's top stories -- from the Dancing With the Stars finale to Arnold Schwarzenegger's "love-child." Two hours later, it's over, virtually without a flub. "One thing's for sure," O'Dell beams as a stage manager helps her down -- no easy feat in six-inch heels -- "I'm always going to remember Arnold."

Whether audiences remember O'Dell may prove more germane.

At a time when television has been rocked by some of the highest-level departures in history -- from Katie Couric at CBS Evening News to Simon Cowell at American Idol to Oprah at The Oprah Winfrey Show -- it's been easy to overlook another with almost equal significance to CBS: Hart at ET.

The 60-year-old anchor had already cut back her hours over the past year, allowing the show to reduce her salary from $6 million to approximately half that, when she formally announced in August 2010 that she would not return for a 30th season. Finding a substitute would impact ET's annual $100 million-plus in profits, according to sources, still immense in the midst of a declining syndication business that has led to some layoffs and cutbacks, reducing ET's total budget from around $40 million to $35 million per year. "The money's not there anymore," an executive notes of syndication. "CBS doesn't have Oprah as a bargaining chip, and stations don't want to pay as much. They say, 'I know you're throwing the ET spinoff  {The Insider} in, but you've got to drop your price.' That's where the problem lies."

To address this, Bell Blue created a shortlist of five names as potential replacements. But when she heard O'Dell was available -- a candidate embraced not only by her, but also by CBS Television Distribution president John Nogawski and the division's then-head of creative affairs and development, Terry Wood -- everything changed.

In 2009, the presenter had left Access of her own volition after 13 years on the show. "It just didn't feel like the right fit anymore," is all she'll say. While still technically under contract to NBC, that was about to expire, and she would be free to join ET.

Following an initial meeting with Wood and Bell Blue, a second get-together took place Oct. 7 among Bell Blue, O'Dell and Nogawski. The three searched for a place where they could confer in secret, finally settling on Nogawski's country club. Almost immediately,  they bonded. "I said, 'I remember watching Entertainment Tonight from my home in South Carolina as a teenager and thinking, I'd love to work for that show!' " O'Dell recalls. "And John made a comment, 'Boy you're going to have your dreams come true!' "

After a brief period of radio silence while Bell Blue was abroad, O'Dell got a call offering her the job. Within weeks, her agent had wrapped negotiations guaranteeing his client some $2 million per year, and on Nov. 8, ET made the signing public.

If O'Dell was ecstatic, one person wasn't: Lara Spencer, the co-anchor of 'The Insider', also Executive Produced by Bell Blue.

The news was especially embarrassing given an erroneous Aug. 5 blog report stating Spencer had closed a deal for Hart's post. Soon after, she chose to leave, even though that meant walking away from a salary of almost $3 million. She has since joined Good Morning America.

Spencer's resignation was the only blip in a smooth segue as O'Dell joined ET Jan. 3 to prepare for the transition and was embraced by the staff. "She is, like Mary, the loveliest, sweetest, most genuinely hardworking, all-around fantastic human being," says a colleague.

True. But would that be enough to make her a success?

It's 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 25, and key members of the staff are gathered in a small conference room just off ET's spacious news floor. Bell Blue sits at the end of a table, surrounded by a dozen Producers, including her No. 2, Linda Fuller; senior line producer Elise Backus; and news director Rick Joyce -- all plotting the day's show. 

Phones are ringing; half-finished clips play on a huge television screen; computer keyboards click away as each staffer races to update the day's events. Bell Blue dominates the meeting with a star's charisma, peppering them with questions: "How are we doing with Russia and the Transformers premiere? What about John Edwards' indictment? Those Oprah graphics, did you get them changed?"

Nothing escapes her, from Schwarzenegger video licensing rights to the fonts used for each story. Her lightning-bolt style cascades through everyone here -- essential, given that they have precisely seven hours to finish a 22-minute, 51-second show before it "hits the bird" and goes out via satellite at 12:30 p.m.

Behind the Executive Producer, three columns of multi-colored Post-its are stuck to the wall, one for each remaining show this week. Every Post-it represents a different segment, with some 10-13 per program, ranging from mere seconds to several minutes. There's a Post-it for the American Idol finale; a Post-it for the last Oprah; a Post-it for Dancing With the Stars -- and, of course, multiple Post-its for the Governator. "Where's Arnold?" Bell Blue inquires. "No one's seen him," a staffer shrugs.

That's bad news, especially given that ET has two or three camera crews stationed around town, ready to catch him the second he emerges. It's even worse given that the show needs a fresh spin for the video it's obtained of his mistress drinking at a party, and an exclusive interview with her ex-husband. (ET, like other news magazines, doesn't pay for interviews, but it does pay for licensing rights, which often just happen to come with an interview attached. Bidding for rights connected to the husband reached well into six figures, sources say.)

At 55, tanned and trim in a bright purple dress, Bell Blue doesn't flinch at the pace. Action is her dominant mode and has been ever since she took over ET in 1995 after a stint at Hard Copy, perhaps ever since she was a kid in Springfield, Missouri, shaped by her father, who ran an oil distribution company. "My daddy gave me my drive," she says. "I always wanted to prove to him that I could do something. He was a kind father, but he was always pushing my buttons  ~ 'Linda Bell, you're never gonna amount to a hill of beans!' " She laughs. "My dad was a big personality, and when he died seven or eight years ago, I had a moment where I didn't know why I was trying so hard anymore."

Now she's doing it out of sheer love. Up at 4 a.m. each day, she watches the East Coast news with her husband, Comcast executive Steve Blue, then scans the Internet as she's getting ready for work. She's on a conference call with New York before the 5:30 meeting begins, then has another staff meeting at 9. She watches 'The Insider' and ET feeds around noon and her day can continue well into the night if she has events to attend.

But it's all worth it, if she wins. "It's unacceptable not to win," she says, puzzled that one might possibly think otherwise. "That's why I'm here. To win."

She's been winning for years, keeping ET among the top 10 syndicated shows on television, with ratings that dwarf the competition, even if they're down, like all TV, from its historic highs. She's done so by blending rapid-fire editing with bright graphics and cutting-edge scoops -- and a unique mingling of tabloid news with a star-friendly vibe. 

She's also done it by maintaining the loyalty of almost all her 230 staffers -- including a great many strong-willed women like herself -- ranging from senior producers to a 23-person Internet team to eight editors, five graphic artists and the group of 20 who run the "vault," where 579,216 video clips are stored from past ET and other shows.

Not everybody responds to her zeal: She recently parted ways with Heidi Clements, a mere eight months after Clements was named Co-Executive Producer. But most collaborators sing her praises. "ET's success is simple," says one of the show's most admired newshounds, Bonnie Tiegel. "It's Linda Bell Blue, Linda Bell Blue, Linda Bell Blue."

O'Dell shares her enthusiasm. "I remember I left our first meeting and called my husband saying, 'I love this lady!' " she says. "You click or you don't click, and we just clicked."

It's Thursday morning, right after the last day of sweeps, and O'Dell sits back in her vast, empty office as her week draws to a close, relieved that everything else has clicked, too. She laughs at the office's Spartan décor. "I've been working so hard, I haven't even had time to furnish it!" she says.

It would be a mistake to think O'Dell is simply a glorified newsreader. She's constantly out at premieres, interviewing celebrities, doing marathon "radio tours" to promote the show and texting sources for information.

After stumbling into journalism, following a start in TV sales, she did everything from covering local news to pretending she was a prostitute, walking the streets with a black wig while taking part in an on-air police bust -- twice.

Today, she's been up since 5. She hopes to be done by mid-afternoon, but is prepared to handle breaking news -- like yesterday, when word spread as the show wrapped that Schwarzenegger might be indicted by California's Attorney General. Even at home, she has a dedicated high-speed line for quick voice-over updates. "One of the first things they did was build that," she notes.

At the same time, she's juggling a marriage to Conviva Networks exec Keith Zubchevich, two stepsons and a 3-year-old daughter -- all with an unbridled enthusiasm that makes one think nothing can possibly have gone wrong in her life.

Which is, of course, ridiculous.

Dissatisfied during her last years at Access, she was there when she learned her mother was terminally ill. "It was the most traumatic thing I have ever gone through in my life," she says. "She lost her voice for about a year and we couldn't figure out why. She was hoarse, then got a whisper, then her voice completely went away. A year later, she was diagnosed with ALS" -- Lou Gehrig's disease. Eight months after that, in 2008 she died. Her death may have impacted O'Dell's decision to leave Access before her contract was up, plunging her into the unknown. "I was a little scared," she confesses. "I wondered if other things would come."

They did -- first a series of freelance gigs, then ET. "I didn't have any idea Mary would announce this was going to be her final season," she marvels. "Had that not happened, I'd never have been available."

With only a few hours' work ahead tomorrow before her initial week ends, the future looks good. These first four days, ET's ratings have been up 8% over a year ago, according to a CBS spokesman. In some major markets, they've been even better -- like New York, up 27% over the previous Monday-Thursday.

The Schwarzenegger maelstrom has helped; so have all those staffers toiling behind the scenes. But O'Dell has been crucial. "I'm very happy," she admits modestly. Then her eyes glint, and some of Bell Blue's drive seeps out. "But we've still got the next sweeps ahead."

Allison Sledge: Bonnie, many people may wonder why I published that story first, rather than start my interview with you.

Bonnie Tiegel: Because they don't 'get' you! And you 'get" me!!!

AS: Of course! First of all, most people do not comprehend what goes on behind the scenes of a major Television show and I felt it was apropos to convey the reality of this life, especially knowing you and your role in making it happen.

BT: Yes, I am such a behind-the scenes person, as you know, so I believe it was entirely appropriate for you to give your readers a glimpse of the reality of producing a hugely popular entertainment show in Hollywood, before our interview.

AS: Thank you. I respect you more than you will ever know. Let's start our conversation with how we met.

BT: Wow! That was so many moons ago, but I will never forget. We were in Pre-Production at Fox Television in Hollywood with a show called "Personalities" - which was supposed to be a very intelligent show, by the way. It was my understanding that the broadcast would be very different than any other show on the air in that time-slot, meaning that we would go in-depth with just one celebrity, or public figure, for the entire show. It was to air at 7:00 PM, which competed against Jeopardy - and Alex Trebeck - in that time slot.

AS: Yes, and I had worked on Jeopardy with Alex Trebeck, prior to joining you on "Personalities."

BT: Yes, and I think we wanted some inside information from you during that time so we could steal his audience away from NBC! I'm just kidding, naturally, as I had no idea of your background then. It was Velma Cato that brought your resume to the table when we were looking for an overnight Assignment Editor.

AS: It was surreal for me. I had just graduated from college and had to leave the dorms. That was something I hadn't planned on, especially since I had to work three jobs just to share one room with 6 other students in our place. My roommate was from Germany, which was cool. But for some strange reason, I thought I could live there forever!

BT: Oh, the dreams of youth!

AS: True. After graduation, I had nowhere to go. Strangely enough, my best friend in life, Pam Pearson, called my mother's house one day while I happened to be there. We hadn't seen each other in years. Her family had been living in a big house in my old neighborhood and she said she had an extra room, so I moved in with their family.

BT: I remember being a mother figure to you, but we won't get into that.

AS: I don't mind. I just look back at it as God intervening...

BT: Yes, and at the same time, we were searching for the perfect host of the show, you know, someone famous and intellectual who could set the world on fire! We ended up with our first choice: Charlie Rose.

AS: True, but I didn't know that at the time.

BT: But you weren't hired yet, how could you know?

AS: How could I possibly conceive that I would ever work with my hero?

BT: I'll never forget the look on your face when I introduced him to you as the host of our show.

AS: You kept it a surprise, Bonnie. 

BT: Well, you have to remember, Charlie took a chance on our show. He was from the East Coast and moved out to Los Angeles with hopes and dreams of connecting with a wider audience.

AS: I was in a state of shock. I adored Charlie Rose since I was a teenager. I used to skip parties and stay up all night watching Charlie Rose for the entirety of his four hour show "CBS Nightwatch."

BT: Me too. I found him to be intellectually supreme.

AS: So did I. In fact, I was intrigued and captivated by the ease in which he interviewed everyone from politicians to blues musicians and everything in-between.

BT: That's why we brought him out here. He was so eloquent and sophisticated, we just knew he was the right person for our show.

AS: I agreed at the time, but as the show progressed, it was painfully obvious that he wasn't in his comfort zone.

BT: He walked out on a 2.5 Million dollar contract.

AS: Yes, he did. We went out to dinner one night and he asked me point blank: "Allison, how do you think I'm doing on the show? We both had a few drinks at the time and I said: "Charlie, this is beneath you. You are nothing but a talking head and no one will ever get to know your depths if you continue to allow this to go on."

BT: And the next day he flew back to New York.

AS: That was not what I expected and I was destroyed by his departure.

BT: But you were still under contract with us.

AS: Yes, I was. For another year. That's when I began to really get to know you.

BT: I noticed how devastated you were and invited you into my office, after your long night as our overnight Assignment Editor.

AS: That's when I realized that it was you who ran everything on the show.

BT: No, it was always teamwork.

AS: Not from my perspective at that point. 

BT: You were fresh out of college. I'd been around the business for a very long time. I took you under my wing because you reminded me of myself when I first started out.

AS: Really?

BT: Yes, really! I told you that so many times.  As a Television Producer, I had to oversee all aspects of the production - and that included watching your performance, which was always outstanding, when you were "on." But you weren't always "on" and that is what led to our problems. 

AS: I think I was distracted by "In Living Color" filming in the studio next door to us.

BT: Yes, we all knew that. 

AS: What made you want to get into the entertainment business?

BT: I don't really have the typical answer to that. I got into the business by working on sets, seeing how the production element worked, and I knew that my mind was geared and focused on perfection and how everything was put together in a precise manner with someone in charge behind the scenes. I knew that person was me. I've done other productions, including  The Bat, the Cat, and the Penguin (1992) and Robin Hood: The Myth, the Man, the Movie (1991). I saw how important it was to be in charge and seamlessly make "magic" happen, and I knew I would be the one to do that. 

AS: I was blessed to see you do that firsthand, I must say, Bonnie. So, tell us why and how you became an Executive Producer.

BT: Well, Allison, as you know, it is a natural progression. As a Producer, you have a job to do and you must do it well to have a lasting career in Hollywood. Therefore, you learn every aspect of Production from the top to the bottom and the bottom to the top, so to speak. I learned every single component of Production from my many years as a Producer. When it came time for me to be an Executive Producer, I knew what that entailed. An Executive Producer (EP) enables the making of a professional commercial Entertainment product, whether it be Television, Film or Radio ~ or in these days, Internet Productions, "Live" Facebook Feeds, Podcasts and so much more. The Executive Producer is concerned with management accounting and oftentimes we are associated with legal issues (like copyrights or royalties). 

AS: In other words, the realities that the Artists don't want to be involved in.

BT: It's not that they don't want to be involved with these issues. More often, they want to be Artists and leave the business up to their Managers and Agents, who are paid to do these things for them.

AS: And that is often the 'gray area' where financial disagreements are heated up, right?

BT: Yes, that happens a lot of the time.

AS: I remember clearly when Robert Goulet sent a dozen roses to you before his appearance on our show.

BT: Yes, I blushed all day long because I always adored him!

AS: I remember how special that was for me, watching you blush!

BT: You didn't even know who he was!

AS: Yes I did!!!

BT: Oh, he was so charming... 

AS: I know. I thought he would set the bar for the other guests...

BT: Never happened.

AS: No, it didn't. He was truly one of a kind.

BT: I can't believe you remember these little things.

AS: I remember everything.

BT: Including?

AS: Yes, that too. Let's leave it at this; I never quit and I was never fired.

BT: Very diplomatic of you...

AS: Well, they brought in, what's his name... Jim Moret. He was arrogant and pompous. I hated working with him. He was nowhere near the elegance and class that Charlie Rose was. He was not qualified to replace Charlie. It wasn't until recently that I read a story about Jim that I had compassion for him. He was at the end of his rope, evidently, and was considering suicide by driving off of a cliff. He realized what a jerk he was and changed his life around. I was glad to hear that.

BT: So it was Jim that made you give up the spectacular career ahead of you in Television?

AS: No. Television wasn't my thing, nor was film. I had written a screenplay and worked with Arsenio Hall and a lot of other celebrities and I discovered that the industry was filled with empty promises and lies. I had seen all kinds of people in and around Hollywood who were homeless, on drugs, yet hoping for a big break in the business. I had writers and directors coming to me asking (and often begging) for me to show their films to you, Bonnie, in hopes that you would give them a segment on our show, and make them stars, overnight.

BT: Oh yes, I remember the one you really wanted me to attend and I couldn't make it.

AS: Red velvet crushed seats, a full bar with waiters coming to our seats, catered food and limo's, all for me to see their film. You wanted me to go, knowing I would be all alone there with these filmmakers and their entourage. I thought you did this on purpose to initiate me into your world!

BT: Well, I did! You needed to see what I went through on a daily basis. Every single day, I was inundated with invitations to go to screenings so I could feature them on our show. I couldn't possibly do that, but you were so enthusiastic and wide-eyed about every new artist in Hollywood... I had to give you a taste of what it was in terms of business. SHOW BUSINESS!!!

AS: Well, I couldn't wait to get out of there! The Director kept coming on to me, practically begging me to get his promo on our show, but I absolutely hated the film. The only thing I liked about it was the music, and the Musical Director happened to be there too. His name was Willie Hutch and he had created some of the biggest hits with Motown, most notably with The Jackson Five. Willie wrote "I'll Be There" and as much as I loved that song, I never knew who Willie Hutch was. I simply told him that I hated the film, but loved the music. Willie told me that he appreciated my honesty and that he scored the entire soundtrack for the film I just watched. Since I needed a Musical Director for my film, I asked him to play that role. He told me to send him my script, he love it, signed on - and we became the best of friends for many years after that initial meeting.

BT: What happened to the Director of the film?

AS: Oh, I avoided him like the plague. 

BT: See? That's what I have to do all the time on a regular basis when I go to events like that. I wanted you to have a taste of it and multiply it by a thousand!

AS: One was enough for me!

BT: Everybody in Hollywood is looking for that one big break. If you are a "higher-up" on a major Television show, such as we were on Fox Television, then everyone you meet who has a script, a film, or an idea is suddenly your best friend. You found that out in one night, Allison. I remember you came into my office and fell on the couch crying, "I can't do this. I feel so bad. The Director invited me to his private showing and I left with his Musical Director signing a contract for my film."

AS: You were supposed to be there, Bonnie.

BT: For what? To shield you from the realities of the entertainment world? 

AS: Yes!

BT: I was certain that you were a rising star because you had all of the qualities that I looked for and admired. If you had stayed with me, you would have been one of the biggest Producers in Hollywood today, that is a fact.

AS: I know, and I appreciate your faith and belief in me, Bonnie. I simply realized that it was not the path I wanted to continue to take...

BT: Can I ask why?

AS: It was too fake for me. I was born in Hollywood and I'm probably one of the rare individuals who have Hollywood, California on their Birth Certificate. This is MY HOMETOWN! So, to have all kinds of people from all across the country and the world come into my town and take over with their arrogance, assumptions, egos and superiority complexes, was too much for me to deal with. At times, I tried to reverse it. I would say "How would you feel if I came to Wisconsin and told you that you didn't know how to make cheese and that I was the best cheese maker in the land?"  They wouldn't take kindly to that. Or, if I went to Idaho and told them that I grow the best potatoes in their land? They would laugh at me. Yet, everyone thinks they can come to my town, Hollywood, because they have a script, think they can act, or want to be a movie star. I had to deal with that while I was in the business, because they were my friends and neighbors, but it was my town, still...

BT: Yet I saw that many of them were your friends...

AS: Of course. I tried to school them.

BT: I feel the same way about most of the young people who come to Hollywood to try to make a name for themselves in this business. Most of them have starry eyes and have dreamed of fame throughout their life. Many of them are the "big thing"in their small town. Some of them are the "greatest thing" in their big cities. Most of them do not know what it takes to make it in this town. You need an agent before you can go to a casting call. Those who go to casting calls without an agent might forever be pigeonholed as "extras," Being an extra is not the way to make it to stardom. Very few have done it that way.

AS: Because you have to have your SAG-AFTRA card.

BT: Right. And it cost money to get that card, SAG-AFTRA represents approximately 160,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other media professionals.

AS: And they generally have to have some sort of resume, reel, or acting performances to get the card in order to work, right?

BT: Right, so it can be a catch 22 on top of the money they have to pay to stay in the game.

AS: For a struggling actor, that can be a lot. They have to be working in some sort of stage performance for quite a lot of time. Not just one, but at least 3 or 4, before they can even apply for the SAG card, yet they cannot act in any films or television roles without it. 

BT: Onscreen talent needs a lot of support to make it in Hollywood.

********* To Be Continued... My dear friend, Bonnie Tiegel died on January 23rd, 2017.