Dreams of a Better Life in Action All Around Me

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Yesterday I saw a new project launch on Indiegogo that is showing how a cool fashion accessory can be leveraged to support amazing causes. Then last night I saw a show that reminded me that it’s hip to be socially conscious. A branded watch, and a rock musical. They couldn’t be more different from one another, but each in their own way is illustrating the power of love and idealism in a time of fear and cynicism.

Let’s start with the 1Face Watch. The brainchild of Fam Mirza, Creative Director of the branding and design firm Mirza Minds, this sleek and stylish watch is sold in six different colors, each one corresponding to a different charity. Priced at $40 each, they are very affordable, and purchasing them either singly or in groups corresponds to different charity metrics. For example,three blue watches will result in the purchase of a charcoal efficient stove for a family in Haiti via The Adventure Project, while 14 pink watches provides a mammogram for a woman in need courtesy of the National Breast Cancer Foundation. You can find all the details on their indiegogo fundraising page, where over 250 funders have already pledged their support!

The design of the watch cleverly expresses the essence of the project in so many ways. When not showing the time with its illuminated LED panel, the face of the watch appears as a mirror, reflecting back the wearer’s own face. What a beautiful symbol for the fact that each of the purchasers wears one of the faces of change, in that we are all contributors. Also, the simplicity of the design reflects how easy it can really be to help, if we create the right structure to house our intention.  Another similar project I recently wrote about is called Champagne (v.) for a cause, the live event series of a new company called Wine Awesomeness. They, too partner up with a variety of charities at their different events to show that you can have a good time and still support good works around the world.  I LOVE it.

In the musical Barcode, creators Mike Blaxill and Debbie Andrews have written a rock musical around the simple idea that the unstoppable urge for freedom and the expression of love will ultimately win out over corporate dominance of our lives. Clearly in line with the Occupy movement, the show reflects the sentiments of those who would break out of the regimented existence that our increasingly corporate world has attempted to create. Fortunately, there will always be artists and rebels who refuse to be subjugated by the overwhelming demands of a purely for-profit society.

As director Johanna McKeon pointed out, “It’s a happy show.” Indeed it is, and its anti-corporate theme lives very comfortably inside the basement theater of Bowery Electric, where the cast is performing the last night of their 3-night run tonight. Perhaps it’s not easy to visualize this play inhabiting the same house as staged recreations of Disney animated films, but it could definitely fill a good sized off-Broadway theater. Especially with songs that contain such anthem-like qualities as “Is It,” “1961” and “We Believe in Love.” I still believe in love, and good strong harmonies, smart lyrics and a witty script. Sounds like a successful musical to me!

I do a lot of writing about a lot of things, much of it related to business and commercial ventures. When I can put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) in service of something that is about a deeper sense of connection to ourselves, our communities and the world around us, then I get powered up in a whole different way. This is the kind of stuff that keeps me going.

And when it comes to music, it’s also the kind of stuff that will keep me dreaming. As Debbie sings in the song 1961, reminiscing about the pre-GPS days, remember when “you could still get lost if you wanted to.” Yeah, I need to get lost like this more often…

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