Revisiting the .:Seeds:. Literary Arts Journal Spring 2012 Issue

Just reflecting on past work… Work contained herein is credited to a group of truly phenomenal folks that I had the great fortune of working with. The time it took to pull together a design for this body of work, was well worth it. I can only hope that you have as much joy perusing this journal as I had helping to create it.

.:Seeds:. Literary Arts Journal Spring 2012 Issue.

A Gay in the Life: Carla Therese Bruni

CarlaTBruni-JLWatkins2014Carla Therese Bruni is the type of woman who wants to “make the rest of the world fall completely in love with, and become stewards of, vintage architecture, intangible histories and sustainable places.” She strives diligently towards that goal in everything she does.

Bruni often takes the time to learn about the histories of our local area, gaining a greater understanding of the ways we live today. “I love history,” said Bruni, “understanding where I’m from. It’s a way of understanding the world.”

Bruni was born and raised in the Chicago’s northwest suburbs, the middle of three children. After moving to the city, she became disheartened watching building after building being torn down, materials destroyed. She decided that she wanted to do something about it.

Bruni learned more about how she could do something creative and constructive surrounding the destruction of buildings in Chicago at the School of the Art Institute Chicago ( SAIC ), where she received her masters in historic preservation. Now, she uses those skills to teach, restore and run a community repair clinic in the Edgewater neighborhood.

“Through Community Glue Workshop, we run these clinics where people can fix stuff for free,” said Bruni. By ‘stuff’, Bruni means items ranging from lamps to toasters and clothing. “I work with craftsmen and groups who need a few tools to do some really cool stuff. You can start a deconstruction company with a few hundred dollars in tools,” she said. And, she helps to make that happen.ERW doorknobs photo

Her deconstruction work also creates jobs, like where she works part time with Evanston Rebuilding Warehouse. The salvage warehouse is a place even artists go to repurpose materials for use. “Hands-on work is good for the soul,” said Bruni. Aside from her hands-on approach, she also teaches within organizations like SAIC from time-to-time, Neighborhood Housing Services and the Bungalow Initiative.

Bruni’s work not only satisfies her need to rebuild, teach, learn and explore histories through historic preservation; there’s a job creation component as well. “If you demolish a building, you’re using one guy, the wrecking ball guy,” Bruni said. “Whereas, if you’re deconstructing a building, you employ about six to eight more people, and up to 12 people for historic preservation.”

Bruni is not the sort of lesbian who is all work and no play. She lets her hair down on road trips to the Deep South, poetry writing, listening to jazz and brass bands and through sculpting. Her ideal outing would be learning to swing dance or weld. She could also make herself comfortable in a writing on her blog, or kicking back to watch dramatic thrillers, or old Kung Fu movies.

erw2-Pic-CourtesyBruniWhen she’s not helping with reconstruction efforts in New Orleans or restoration projects in Idaho and Washington, Bruni’s writes about all things sustainable and restorative. Her musings can be found on her blog at .


Age: 37

Neighborhood: Edgewater

Hobbies: Theater, Origami, sculpture, dive bars, biking with friends

Favorite movies: To Kill A Mockingbird, Mommie Dearest, Poltergeist, French and Saunders, The Color Purple and the 1973 version of Jesus Christ, Superstar

The Other Paris…

Parisian break dancer flexes his skills. (Photo by Janean L. Watkins, 2013)
Parisian break dancer flexes his skills. (Photo by Janean L. Watkins, 2013)

Many visitors to the City of Love make time to see such famed sites as Cimetere du Pere Lachaise, Le Louvre and Arc de Triomphe, just to name a few. But rarely, if ever, do everyday tourists visit those gems hidden in the hearts of Parisian  arrondissements.

Le Centquatre (Photo courtesty of

One such place is La Centquatre, in the 19th arrondissement. This spacious, nearly 242,000 sq ft, public cultural center houses visual  artisans, dancers, actors and performance artists for showings, practice or just to hang out.

The space is equipped with a bookstore, galleries, performance studios and practice areas, even a quaint cafe/deli is onsite. One other great location convenience is that it offers close proximity to the Canal de La Villette section of River Seine.

Stepping through the courtyard of this historic monument, you’re submerged in a wave of sights and sounds. Sounds like soul thumping, house music blaring from one set of doors; Vivaldi oozing from behind another. The sights are of small clusters of various types of people littered about the giant space.

Dancers practice out in the open. (Photo by Janean L. Watkins, 2013)

For your best La Centquatre experience, you should check out their offerings ahead of time. You’ll search their programming (translator will help) and happen upon many expositions of notable artists. From artists of the recent past, like Keith Haring, to one of their 200 artists in residence — they display fascinating exhibitions with the help of the French government and notable art houses, like Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.

Chicago visitor does yoga under the Keith Haring exposition. (Photo by Janean L. Watkins, 2013)

On occasion, you can catch the Hip Hop Dance Expo, sponsored by area resident  Sidy Seye. In this expo, you can watch some of the best break dancers display their craft to onlookers. For over ten years, Seye has taught break dancing, DJing and English to young Parisians. In collaboration with local area businesses, Sidy is able to offer after-school and weekend lessons to area youth for little to no money.

This is just one of the many gems in and around Parisian arrondissements. Be sure to make this community cultural center a mandatory stop on your next trip to Paris.



Hey FB Fam, I need your help!! I’ve got to choose five (5) photos to print for the upcoming exhibit – ONLY 5! Help me out by commenting on the photo you would choose for your home or business. “Like” any, but ONLY COMMENT ON THE ONES YOU CHOOSE! Remember, folks, we can only choose 5! Thanks for the help!

Visit us at Mosquitoe Art and Music Fest!

I’ll be selling prints at this year’s Mosquitoe Gallery Art and Music Fest in Waukegan on August 2nd. What prints would you like to see featured at my stall (#12!!)? Cast your vote in the poll and don’t forget to check out the flyer for the event!

Visit Janean at booth #12!

I’ll have photography on exhibit – come check it out!

Come check out my work, have pancakes and booze!

***ANYONE INTERESTED IN SUBMITTING ART please follow the link below.


After the success of the 1st three shows, LA’s FAMOUS UNDERGROUND ART SHOW has made a home in CHICAGO!!!


ONLY $5 COVER – 21+ EVENT!!! – 8PM-2AM!!!

2109 South State Street
Chicago, IL 60616

To get a taste of the event please connect with us on any one of our social media platforms!


CHICAGO FB PAGE: Pancakes & Booze Art Show – Chicago

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Sneak Peek: The Naysayers

 Excerpt of “The Naysayers” by Janean L. Watkins

Here’s a FLASH of a snippet from a forthcoming novel… does it reel you in?

~:Part 1:~

The impact of the asteroid rainstorm on Earth was nothing compared to the storm’s effect on citizens around the globe. I was one of them. The asteroid rain brought fear, death, prayer, and in some cases, transformative capabilities. A number of people underwent a metamorphosis; one that increased the abilities humans already held and helped us to develop new ones.

In the Spring of 1998, experts predicted a Doomsday asteroid would make impact on the Earth. Before the five-mile wide missile reached the surface, it broke apart as it traveled through the atmosphere. It showered down, predominately on the Central America, the U.S., Northern and Central Africa. The day it happened was chaotic. Central Africa was hit with the largest chunks, but neither land nor sea was immune to the fallout. About two months after it happened, Americans began to riot, demanding help from their government.

No one expected there to be a shower of large, fiery rocks that burned brighter than stars. No one knew what the asteroids brought with them. For some people, the abilities didn’t crop up for years. But, for others, the results were immediate and extraordinary – if not frightening.

Scientists later discovered that the asteroid was a mixture of some undiscovered properties and the rare minerals amethyst, malachite, mercury and moon quartz. These stones were known for causing metaphysical changes in people according to the Crystal Masters.  Many people thought the makeup of the asteroids is the reason for the extra abilities. Around the world people displayed new skills that were beyond astonishing. How often do you meet someone who can walk through solid steel? Or jump as high as a light post? Or run faster than a train?

See what I mean? This was one of the things that frightened the people in power. Their power stemmed from having their citizens under control. But, with these types of abilities, people were less likely to be controlled. Hence, the need to save this world from itself.

It was up to the three of us to right the wrongs. Many, for which, I take some responsibility. Some of the injustices are the fault of misguided humans, and some atrocities were caused by “ambitious” world leaders. Whoever gets the lion’s share of the blame, we all did our part. But, I’m skipping too far ahead. You need a bit more information.