THE LOFT SESSIONS
A New Birth (literally!)…

The last time I wrote you at the end of May, we had just completed our 7thLoft Sessions featuring Nadia Manzoor and Dr. Jason Hill. I let you know I was taking an indefinite hiatus from my weekly emails to go into a period of reflection. Since that time, I’m thrilled and honored to announce that my wife Diane is almost in her 4th month of pregnancy with a baby boy!!!

This will be our first child. Its catalyzed a lot of contemplation about the profound influence we’ll have on shaping our son’s life. He’ll learn more about the world by who we are than what we say. I can’t think of a deeper motivation to become a better person living with a sense of purpose and passion. Whether or not you have (or even want) children, you may relate to the adventure of changing yourself to impact the lives of those you love. Writing to you supports my commitment to this kind of growth. I hope it’ll provide some value to you.

Each week, I’ll offer you something that is giving me energy and vision to strive to be a greater soul. Perhaps you’ll feel compelled to share with me what’s inspiring you most? Together, I hope we can make this weekly email a searchlight for the hidden gems of meaning at the edge of our experience. It’s why I’m calling it The Signal.

What’s been on my mind lately is reflecting on how we’ve grown into the people we are today. Now that I’m going to be a father to a son, I’m looking at my childhood in a new light. I read a thought on fathers by Richard Rohr, a Franciscan priest and author, which was eye opening… 

Read More

Goodbye (For Now!)

I wanted to let you know that I’ll be taking an indefinite hiatus from these weekly emails I’ve been sending you (for however long you’ve been on this list). As the Signal Collective, over the past year and a half, we’ve produced seven amazing Loft Sessions and five Signal Salons. We love bringing people together in the spirit of creativity and community.

However, it feels like it is time for us to go into a period of reflection and reimagining. There are new ideas and inspirations to gestate. I hope that when these seeds come to flower, you’ll be open to enjoying them with us!

In the meantime, I would love to keep in touch with you. Please always feel free to drop me an email (kenzo.an@gmail.com) – and if you’re in the Boston area, trust that I’ll never turn down an invitation to get together in person for conversation.

Thank you for your interest and support, which has been the fuel for all our work.

With warmest regards,
Kenzo for the Signal Collective

PS. For those of you who loved Nadia Manzoor’s excerpt of her one-woman show "BURQ OFF!" at our last Loft Session (or if you wanted to see it), I’ve got something for you. Sign up for her newsletter on her website, as you’ll get announcements on when the full show will be coming to premiere in Boston!

Nadia Manzoor -
Compassion in Action…

As we’re moving out of our South Boston Loft on July 1, I wanted to extend an especially cordial invitation to you for our last Signal Salon (as we’ve known it) on Saturday, May 17, 6pm-9pm.

Like our other salons, we’ll serve a delicious dinner and drink, offer warm and intimate conversation, and host a featured speaker who’ll give a 20 minute talk to inspire a larger discussion. For this salon, our featured speaker will be Mick Quinn, author and co-founder of the Integral Heart Foundation. Mick will be visiting Boston from his home base in Antigua, Guatemala.

Mick, born in Ireland, immigrated to America as a young man, and went on to establish many successful businesses. Along the way, he had a powerful epiphany that catalyzed him to write and publish a bestselling book on human potential entitled “The Uncommon Path”. In 2009, together with his wife and fellow co-founder, Debora Prieto, they set out on a bold experiment to put their ideas into action, in some of the poorest neighborhoods surrounding Antigua.

They founded the Integral Heart Foundation, which directly supports disadvantaged children and their families by teaching them critical thinking skills, providing inexpensive solar power for their homes, and a program for people around the world to sponsor their education and nutrition needs. 

For our Signal Salon, Mick will give a 20 minute talk entitled "Compassion in Action". He’ll speak to some of what he’s most passionate about his work now. Here’s a 7 minute documentary on Mick that aired on TV in Guatemala (subtitled in Spanish) from 2010. I’m truly looking forward to hear how his work has evolved. I hope you’ll join me for what’s sure to be an amazing night!

Mick Quinn - TV Documentary - Guatemala

Click here to see a short documentary on Mick Quinn’s work in Guatemala (subtitled in Spanish)

 
With Featured Guest
Mick Quinn
Co-Founder of the Integral Heart Foundation
 
 
6pm – 9pm
 
The Signal Building
154 West 2nd Street
South Boston, MA 02127
 
A delicious dinner and refreshments will be included along with
Ample time for socializing and great conversation
 
Admission: $15


Please note that the space in our loft for these salons is limited (around 30 people).

Thank you as always for your interest, attention, and support!
WIth warm regards,
Kenzo
Magic Captured…
I wanted to share with you photos from our Loft Sessions “Courage, Creativity, & Identity” from last Saturday night! We’ve been so excited for this program, but we couldn’t have imagined the magical chemistry that emerged between all of our talent and everyone who attended…From Nadia Manzoor's electrifying and moving performance, to Dr. Jason Hill's profound eloquence, the mindblowing cuisine of Capone’s Kitchen & Flourish Boston, and the roof-raising energy of our house band, The Stretch Collective. Click on the photo below to see it all captured by our gifted photographer for the event, Lenka Flaherty Photography (who I highly recommend you consider for your own event!)

Facebook Photo Album of Loft Sessions VII: Courage, Creativity, and Identity

Click here to see our Facebook photo album of the evening (by Lenka Flaherty Photography)

As this was our last Loft Session for quite some time, we’ll also be having our last Signal Salon for a while on Saturday, May 17, as we’ll be moving out of our South Boston loft this summer!

Just to refresh your memory, our Signal Salons are our smaller gatherings than the Loft Sessions. They’re intimate evenings where we host a delicious dinner, drink, great conversation, and a featured speaker giving a 20 minute talk.

On Saturday, May 17, from 6pm-9pm, our featured speaker will be Mick Quinn, founder of the very unique and inspiring 501(c)3 non-profit, the Integral Heart Foundation

Mick, with his co-founder and wife Debora Prieto, moved from America to Guatemala in 2009, to start their foundation. With a small team, Mick and Deborah directly support disadvantaged children and their families by teaching them critical thinking skills, providing inexpensive solar power for their homes, and a program for people around the world to sponsor their education and nutrition needs.

 
With Featured Guest
Mick Quinn
Co-Founder of the Integral Heart Foundation
 
 
6pm – 9pm
 
The Signal Building
154 West 2nd Street
South Boston, MA 02127
 
A delicious dinner and refreshments will be included along with
Ample time for socializing and great conversation
 
Admission: $15


Please note that the space in our loft for these salons is limited (around 30 people).

Next week, I’ll send out more details on some of the original and incredible work Mick and Debora have done. You can also check out their website.

Thank you as always for your interest, attention, and support!
WIth warm regards,
Kenzo
Be Blown Away…
            

An experience unlike any other… 

Animated_GIF_Loft_Sessions_VII_April_26_2014

You meet extraordinary people—from all walks of life. You think—about life in brand new ways. You eat—delicious food that stirs your senses. You dance—to music that moves your soul, and your body. That’s what happens at The Loft Sessions, an event many describe as one of the most unique and ecstatic events in Boston.

Don’t miss it this Saturday. It may be our last one for quite a while, so we hope to see you there…

The Loft Sessions VII Flier: Courage, Creativity, and Identity


Click here to purchase your space for April 26


Loft Sessions VII:

Courage, Creativity, and Identity

Saturday, April 26
7:30pm - 10:00pm (doors open at 7pm)

At the Venture Café 
@ the Cambridge Innovation Center
1 Broadway, 5th Floor
Cambridge, MA 
(Steps away from the Kendall Square T-Stop, Red Line)

Featuring:

Nadia Manzoor
Dr. Jason Hill

Live Music by The Stretch Collective
Photo Booth by Tara Jones Photography
Food & Drink by Capone’s Kitchen and Flourish Boston

Conversation with YOU

Admission: $25
Space is Limited

Click here to purchase your space
 

It’s going to be a unforgettable evening…

With warm regards,
Kenzo

Thinking about Monday…
Here’s a photo of me with my wife Diane Bensel, and our close friend Laura Hartzell, taken this past Tuesday. We’re sharing the honor with over 2,000 people of attending a beautiful Tribute for those affected by the tragic events of last year’s Boston Marathon.

At_the_Tribute_2014

Last year, the first of the two bombs injured Diane and Laura, as I had just crossed the finish line. As you can see, we’re all doing well now. But it’s been a challenging road to recovery over the past year for so many of us… 

The resilience and strength of the greater community, in the face of such devastating horror, was spoken about frequently at the Tribute and throughout the week. As we approach the 118th Boston Marathon this Monday (which I am honored to run in again), it is deeply inspiring to see so many people in this city, and around the world, committed to making this important moment one that we’ll always cherish, and never forget.

I shared an article last year published in The New Republic, entitled “Let’s Not Return to Normal”. My dear friend Sam Rosen, who was with Diane and Laura when the bomb exploded, wrote it. I read it again this week. His reflections struck me as still being relevant today, and I thought it’d be worthwhile to send it to you, almost a year after he wrote it. It’s my hope it will inspire you in the coming days to celebrate and honor the truth of our interdependence and interconnectedness. 

Lets_Not_Return_to_Normal

Click here to read, “Let’s Not Return to Normal”, published in The New Republic


A year later, it is still my wish that we “Not Return to Normal”, and that we build off all we have learned and sacrificed for, so that we can create and live in a better world together.

I wish you a wonderful Marathon Monday, and I hope you can join us at our upcoming Loft Session on Saturday, April 26.

The Loft Sessions VII Flier: Courage, Creativity, and Identity


Click here to purchase your space for April 26


Loft Sessions VII:

Courage, Creativity, and Identity

Saturday, April 26
7:30pm - 10:00pm (doors open at 7pm)

At the Venture Café 
@ the Cambridge Innovation Center
1 Broadway, 5th Floor
Cambridge, MA 
(Steps away from the Kendall Square T-Stop, Red Line)

Featuring:

Nadia Manzoor
Dr. Jason Hill

Live Music by The Stretch Collective
Photo Booth by Tara Jones Photography
Food & Drink by Capone’s Kitchen and Flourish Boston

Conversation with YOU

Admission: $25
Space is Limited

Click here to purchase your space
 

It’s going to be a unforgettable evening…

With warm regards,
Kenzo

Loft Sessions VII: Courage, Creativity, & Identity
            

Join inspired individuals from Boston and beyond to explore…

The Loft Sessions VII Flier: Courage, Creativity, and Identity


Click here to purchase your space for April 26!


Loft Sessions VII:

Courage, Creativity, and Identity

Saturday, April 26
7:30pm - 10:00pm (doors open at 7pm)

At the Venture Café 
@ the Cambridge Innovation Center
1 Broadway, 5th Floor
Cambridge, MA 
(Steps away from the Kendall Square T-Stop, Red Line)

Featuring:

Nadia Manzoor
Dr. Jason Hill

Live Music by The Stretch Collective
Photo Booth by Tara Jones Photography
Food & Drink by Capone’s Kitchen and Flourish Boston

Conversation with YOU!

Admission: $25
Space is Limited

Click here to purchase your space!
 

It’s going to be a unforgettable evening!

I can’t wait to see you there!

With warm regards,
Kenzo

In 4 minutes…Burq Off!!
            

Produced for Moral Courage TV (“the most inspiring channel on YouTube”), I have for you a wonderful & powerful 4 minute film on Nadia Manzoor and her acclaimed one-woman show "Burq Off!" 

In Cambridge, MA, on Saturday, April 26, Nadia will perform an excerpt from “Burq Off!” as part of our Loft Sessions VII: Courage, Creativity, and Identity. In this 4 minute feature (linked below), you’ll see clips of some of the 21 characters she embodies in her show, drawn from her own journey as a British-Pakistani-Muslim woman transcending conflicting cultural norms towards self acceptance. You’ll feel her culture-shaking passion as she speaks to what’s motiviating her. And you’ll also get a shot of some of her phenomenal street dancing skills!

Improv artist gets real about life as a brown girl in Britain

Click here to watch Nadia Manzoor on “Burq Off!” from Moral Courage TV (4 minutes)

On April 26, along with Nadia Manzoor, we’ll also be featuring a talk by the profound and provocative Dr. Jason Hill, professor of philosophy at DePaul University (as seen in my email last week). We’ll rock out to our awesome jazz-funk-hip-hop house band The Stretch Collective. We’ll have delicious food and drink. We’ll have the warm social-space architecture of The Venture Café. And most importantly, we’ll have you! 

Loft Sessions VII:

Courage, Creativity, and Identity

Saturday, April 26
7:30pm - 10:00pm (doors open at 7pm)

At the Venture Café 
@ the Cambridge Innovation Center
1 Broadway, 5th Floor
Cambridge, MA 
(Steps away from the Kendall Square T-Stop, Red Line)

Admission: $25
Space is Limited

Click here to purchase your space!

THIS IS GOING TO BE A PHENOMENAL EVENING.

I can’t wait to see you there!

With warm regards,
Kenzo

He’ll take you there…
            

Jason Hill

Returning to our April 26 Loft Session will be Dr. Jason Hill, professor of philosophy at DePaul University, and author of several books including: Becoming a Cosmopolitan: What it Means to be a Human Being in the New Millennium, and Civil Disobedience and the Politics of Identity: When We Should Not Get Along. 

Dr. Hill was our featured speaker at our debut Loft Session in February 2013. Now that it’s been a year of many spectacular Sessions, we’re honored to have him back to the forum that he helped kick off!

As I wrote you last week, our April 26 Loft Session will also feature Nadia Manzoor, performing an excerpt from her acclaimed one-woman show Burq Off! (just covered this week in The Daily Beast). In the show, she embodies a cast of 21 characters drawn from her own journey as a British Pakistani Muslim struggling through conflicting cultural norms towards self acceptance. We simply couldn’t think of a greater mind and voice today than Dr. Hill to speak to the kind of moral courage that’s required to create one’s own authentic identity. Here’s a quote by him from one of his books:

Rather than waiting for others to create a world that you yearn for, a world that must be in place for your so-called true self to emerge, you imbue the world with the noblest of values wrought from the depths of a dissatisfied spirit whose hunger only you can sate. Moral creativity satisfies this hunger, and in the process it provides the world with a new model, a new paradigm of existing and of dealing with your fellow human beings. In your efforts, you are in effect forging the honorable traditions of tomorrow.

Click here to see and learn more about Dr. Hill’s books available on Amazon.com

This is a magnificient Loft Session lining up for you: Nadia Manzoor & Jason Hill. In next week’s email, I’ll reveal to you even more featured talent for the evening, and the link to purchase your ticket.

SAVE THE DATE: Saturday April 26!

Thank you as always for your interest, attention, and support.

With warm regards,
Kenzo

PS. Here’s some photos from the amazing Signal Salon we had last Saturday night at our South Boston loft, featuring author Michael Wombacher via Skype from San Francisco. He spoke to an excerpt on Beauty from his upcoming book: The Purpose Driven Cosmos: Evolution and the Search for Meaning.

Signal_Salon_3_Dinner

Signal_Salon_3_Hanging

Signal_Salon_3_Watching

And here’s a “behind-the-scenes” shot. It’s our test run earlier that day of Skyping Michael in from San Francisco. We were all delighted with how intimate it felt to bring him to the salon virtually…It’s opened the possibilities of the speakers we can bring for future Signal Salons!

Signal_Salon_3_Testing

"I started to unravel at an early age…"
            

Nadia_ManzoorLet me introduce you to Nadia Manzoor. She’s a dazzling actor, comedian, and cultural critic. We’re honored to have her as one of the featured talent at our upcoming Loft Session on April 26 at the Venture Cafe (in the Cambridge Innovation Center in Kendall Square).

Nadia will perform an excerpt from her acclaimed autobiographical one woman show, “Burq Off” (currently showing in New York).In the show, she embodies a cast of 21 characters drawn from her own journey as a British Pakistani Muslim struggling through conflicting cultural norms towards self acceptance. It’s a story infused with comedy, cultural critique, and philosophical depth. And as a former street dancer, she’s got some poppin’ sprinkled in there too. 

"I grew up in London, went to an all white, all girls English school. While my blonde friends were teaching me about handjobs and smoking, I was learning how to be a good Musilm in my home. Constantly perplexed between the cultural dichotomy of the English and the Pakistani, I started to unravel at an early age, and later on find myself again through the page."

I’d like to share with you Nadia’s recent interview on CNN (4 min) where her passion and inspiration behind this show really shines through:

Nadia Manzoor interviewed on CNN about


Click here to watch Nadia Manzoor’s 4 minute interview on CNN from December 2013

 
We’re so thrilled that we’re bringing to Boston a sneak peek of her boundary-breaking show. I will let you know in next week’s email about some of the other amazing talent we’ve got lined up for the April 26 Loft Session! 

It’s going to be an unforgettable event…Save that date!

With warm regards,
Kenzo