Elexu Creative Live Success!

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012|Elexu Live Events|by Amy Bloom|1 Comment

It was the biggest and most nerve-wracking day for the Elexu team so far, weeks of preparation had gone into our first community event and we were all determined to make it a massive success.

Running short of time, a handful of interns pile into Via, Canary Wharf and frantically set up, to our surprise there are guests arriving already, half an hour before the start time, maybe this is going to be bigger than we expected?

It’s 6pm and the doors officially open, already there are at least 20 people in the venue and by 8pm we had checked around 120 people off the guest list! The venue was buzzing and the positive feedback coming from our guests was really overwhelming!

Our staff were strategically placed across the venue, from the Elexu booth, film room and the live drawing area, all of which were running fantastically smoothly. Despite the slight glitch with the PA system right at the beginning of the night everything had run according to plan.

There was such an array of talent performing that evening and the enthusiasm and creativity of our guests made the event the success it was! We could not have done without their support!

Some of the social media reaction to our event!

Once again huge thanks to all the performing artists – you were amazing! For those of you who would like to follow the creative artists from the first Elexu Live event here are their names and links to their sites (in chronological order in which they performed).

We will be hosting more events in the future so stay tuned.

Truly Scrumptious!

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012|About Elexu, Advice, Interviews|by Fiona Smout|No Comments

Today, Katherine Dawn Perry is a full-time office worker and the proprietor of Kit’s Baking Boutique, an online company selling delicious sweet treats made to order. Tomorrow, she sees herself pursuing this passion as a full-time career, perhaps even with the hopes of one day owning her very own boutique! In this Elexu interview, Katherine talks about how she made her dream a reality, and inspires others to have the confidence to do the same.

Tell us a bit about when you first realised you wanted to start up your own baking business. How easy was it to make this a reality?

I’ve always wanted a career where I could use my creative talents. I started off making greetings cards and cute crochet toys that I successfully sold at school fetes and on websites such as Etsy, Coriandr and Folksy. Then I had a breakthrough! In December 2011 I baked my first batch of cookies for my husband and family, and they loved them! This encouragement fuelled my passion for baking and after a few months I was making Macaroons, Whoopie Pies and Cakepops… I was officially hooked and I knew this was something that could turn in to a successful venture. My business is still in its infancy, but I believe that with the support of my family and friends, by this time next year it will have grown; it is my hope that the business will become my full-time career.

Read more »

Elexu Creative Live!

Thursday, July 19th, 2012|Event|by Crystal Yang|No Comments

Part of Elexu’s mission is to not only create a virtual community, but help to provide environments for physical communities to meet, connect, and inspire. We will be hosting Elexu Live (free) events to help each community get plugged in. So to kick things off we will be hosting a creative community event on the 24th July!

This first event will be hosted in London at Via in Canary Wharf.

So if you or anyone you know would like to come down to mix with a creative community and find out a bit more about Elexu, then come visit us for a night of great entertainment! There will also be a free raffle on the night one lucky attendee will win two tickets for a trip up the Shard (Europe’s tallest building)!

Entertainment will include:
Live Music; bands and acoustic acts.
Spoken Word Poetry.
Live Drawing.
Short Films.

Feel free to share this invite with your friends! To find out more and RSVP check out our Facebook event page.

Art and Community

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012|Elexu Team Posts|by Crystal Yang|No Comments

“Fortunately art is a community effort – a small but select community living in a spiritualized world endeavoring to interpret the wars and the solitudes of the flesh.” – Allen Ginsberg

Elexu recently partnered with [ S P A C E ], a charitable organisation providing affordable studio space for artists in the UK. On Friday the 6th of July they had an open house in three of their studios and we were excited to attend.

We met a number of the artists and viewed some of their incredible artwork. The people were friendly, interesting, and bright. They told us about their work, the ideas behind it, and their experience with [ S P A C E ]. However, one thing that they consistently mentioned was that though they all worked in the same building on their art, they knew very few of their neighbours.

That’s why we’re so excited to debut Elexu Maps to [ S P A C E ]. Here artists can share their online portfolios, find local hang outs, and follow each other on a social network. We hope this will encourage the artistic community to connect and engage with each other. After all, our mission is to empower people and this is just another way we hope to help.

Check out the work of some of the Space artists we met through the links below:

Rui Pignatelli – ruipignatelli.com

Kim Bennett – www.kim-bennett-art.weebly.com

Kennard Phillipps – http://kennardphillipps.com

Tomasz Laczny – www.artificial.cc

Matthew Webber – matthewwebber.co.uk

Phin Manasseh – phinmanasseh.com/

What do you mean “Empowerment?” (Part I)

Thursday, July 12th, 2012|About Elexu|by David Smuts|No Comments

This week we have a real treat for you: a blog post directly from David Smuts, the Co-Founder and CEO of Elexu. Enjoy!

I’ve been asked to contribute to our blog and this has been long overdue I must admit. With this being my first “public” posting here, I wanted to kick off by addressing an issue which is at the core of what Elexu is here to do; empower people.

OK, so what does “empowering people” mean? What does the word “empowerment” mean? Who are the “people” we are attempting to empower and why do we think they need or even want to be empowered anyway? It all sounds so vague.

I get asked these questions all the time, sometimes with genuine curiosity, sometimes with a tinge of disbelief as if we must be so naive to think we can empower people, and sometimes with an element of some perceived threat, as if empowering people is a negative thing.

What unities us and drives us at Elexu is our shared commitment to achieving this mission. We are helpers by nature and any other mundane project just would not get us out of bed in the morning. But you’re still left with the question; so what does that mean again? The Who, How, What, When, Where and Why questions to that explanation of empowerment remain.

So let me put in terms which are more tangible. Empowerment is attained when people have access to what we call the “Three Pillars of Success”; Capital (meaning funding and resources), Content (meaning relevant and accurate information or data, both audio and visual) and Connections (people, helpers, advisers or supporters). Without access to these three pillars people will face hurdles in achieving their objectives and aspirations in life (whatever those aspirations are), be they artistic, economic, social or political.

Let me give you one example:
Jeff who has an aspiration to secure a top job in finance, is at a distinct advantage (having power) if he has access to Capital (money from mum and dad) to be able to afford to attend the best University. His access to Content (knowledge and info about which is the best University to attend, how to get in and how to pass the exams) and finally his access to Connections (daddy’s friends at the University and chums he meets there) will pretty much ensure he is able to get a top finance job. Jeff’s access to capital ensures he can buy the right content and the right connections at any time. Such is life!

Compare this situation to the student Claire who does not come from a wealthy family but still wants to land a job in finance. Her efforts are already hampered by her lack of access to Capital as she can only afford a regional college. Her lack of access to privileged or disparate Content (information which could have helped her raise some capital or introduce her to connections). Finally, the fact that her friends are not sons of wealthy businessmen, she will find it much harder to secure the top finance job she has been dreaming of. She will need to go and apply to work at small town finance company USA for lower pay and for a longer period before she will ever be able to land the top job she craves.

To top it off, Claire is actually a much better, harder working, smarter and ethical financier than Jeff. It’s just she did not have the same level of access to the 3 pillars that Jeff has. This is what we in Elexu seek to redress.
So we have identified what Empowerment is; having access to the 3 pillars of Capital, Content and Connections, now we are left with the following questions:

  • How do we provide access to the 3 pillars (in other words, “How do we Empower people”?)
  • Who do we do this for? (Who do we “Empower”?)

I will be addressing these questions in Part ll, but for now I wanted to leave you with a simple enough explanation of empowerment. Our mission and tag line states “Empowering People” and by that, we mean Elexu exists to help people connect and access the three pillars. This is empowerment explained in its simplest and most basic form. Next post will expand on this, with examples of how we do this, how this process and works and answer many more of the Who, How, Where, What, When and Why questions surrounding empowerment.

Intern Feature – Fiona Smout: Turning a Dream Into Reality

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012|About Elexu, Elexu Team Posts|by Fiona Smout|5 Comments

Fiona Smout is one of Elexu’s newer interns; her passion is performing on stage in a local amateur theatre group. In this blog post, she talks about her experiences and wonders what the future could hold for her group, if only it could form an alliance with a company that could help move it into the realms of professional theatre…

It’s opening night. The adrenaline is pumping and backstage the rest of the cast and I are putting the final touches to our costumes before going through the ridiculous, (yet hilarious!), ritual of singing “Zip-a-de-do-dah”, as we will do before the start of each of the four performances in this run. Panic sets in. Three minutes to go. Heart pounding. Two minutes to go. Palms sweating. Why do I put myself through this? It is my passion; my purpose in these next two hours is to show the audience that I am this character. With one minute to go, I take a deep breath and enjoy the familiar flutter of excitement as it courses through my body, reminding me of how great it feels to be alive and living my dream. Then suddenly…applause. The curtain is up! Hearing my cue, I step out onto the stage and bask in the warm glow of the spotlight…

In a little over two days, this will be me. As a member of an amateur theatre company, called Leighton Buzzard Drama Group (http://www.lbdg.org.uk/), I have always enjoyed the sense of belonging to a group of like-minded individuals who share the experience of exploring a text, spending weeks rehearsing in order to get it just right, and then giving it the recognition it deserves in front of a full audience. An amazing prospect for the future would be for the theatre company to tour its productions around the country to gain broader public interest, with the hope of moving from the realm of amateur to professional theatre. Making this prospect a reality is where we would need help. Where would we even begin to look for the information to access how to pursue such a goal? How could we contact people with the right connections in this industry to put our plan into action, and where would we get the much needed money to finance such a venture? Luckily, the answer to all of these questions is simple: Elexu. By hosting competitions (called “Endowments”), Elexu can enable anyone with an aspiration access to the right content, capital and connections to make their dream a reality. The Endowments are sponsored by brands, charities and other organisations who have themselves benefitted from the Elexu platform. If this alone doesn’t inspire you, Elexu members have the facility to set up their own Endowment for whatever grant needed, whilst encouraging other members to vote for and financially back their ideas. As member Endowments are set up under the Elexu Foundation, you (or your company) are saved the personal and financial expense of creating your own charity for this purpose. So very simply, my theatre company can advertise through Elexu, increasing public awareness of itself, and informing members of why it is eligble for their votes, and if so minded, their donations. Sounds like an efficient, stress-free and exciting alternative to taking out a loan or putting your dreams on the back burner, doesn’t it? In the future, individuals and companies such as the theatre company I belong to will reap the benefits produced by Elexu, but it all starts with you. Please follow the Elexu journey today, and who knows, maybe my theatre company will be performing in a town near you in the future.

My favourite word? It would have to be: courage. Without it, you will probably achieve very little.

 ’The Importance of Being Earnest’ runs from Thursday 12th July 2012 – Saturday 14th July 2012 at 8pm, at Leighton Buzzard Theatre, Lake Street, Leighton Buzzard, LU7 1RX. Tickets are £9.50, or £8.50 for concessions. For bookings, please contact the box office on: 0300 300 8125.

Life on Tour

Thursday, July 5th, 2012|Interviews|by Amy Bloom|No Comments

Musician Nick Klar couldn’t believe his luck when he was asked to join Gringo Star for their summer tour. Here he describes his experiences.

We’re halfway through the Gringo Star UK/EU tour, which has taken us around all of the UK, to some pretty diverse venues and some equally diverse but hugely appreciative audiences. Living on the road you start to fully understand the real meaning of ‘roughing it’, but more often than not there’s a floor or sofa to stay on. Which is just as well; at a truck stop on the A1 in Yorkshire that we had chosen as our place of rest, we were rudely awoken by 4 or 5 police officers checking to see if we were diesel thieves. Luckily we weren’t. The next night we were permitted to sleep in a swanky hotel lobby after the bar shut and we were too drunk to go anywhere else. Unfortunately the morning staff weren’t so accommodating and kindly asked us to leave the hotel and go out into the cold, wet street at 5am.

I came to join the band after their long-time drummer, guitarist, pianist and songwriter Pete DeLorenzo decided to put relentless and extensive touring behind him, leaving the band a few months before the tour started. They contacted me in March to see what I was up to and when they found out I was free they asked if I could drum on their tour, an offer which I could hardly turn down. We had limited time to practice but it didn’t take us long to get the set primed and ready to blow minds.

We’re just about to play our last UK show in Brixton before we set off for our first European show in Dresden tomorrow only to return to Camden on Saturday via Berlin and Paris, after which we go straight back to play Hamburg and several Italian dates with Black Lips, this time accompanied by Max Lewis on the merch stand. If this first stint is anything to go by, the second half of the tour is shaping up to be a belter…

The Downside:

I suppose the hardest things you face when you are trying to become a full-time musician are gigs where you play to literally nobody. It always happens and can be pretty depressing but you can actually have a lot of fun if you think of it as a practice. My advise to people just starting out in bands is to play as many shows as you can, you’ll always get at least a few great ones and the people at those shows will be more inclined to come and see you again. Also practice, because if you are not very good people won’t want to see you again.

How to make it:

Personally I prefer a more grass roots approach to finding new music and getting people interested in my own music, whether it’s hearing about a band from a friend or seeing a support act you’ve never heard of that you then start listening to. There’s also something very gratifying about people approaching you after a show and praising your performance and maybe buying your music there and then.

Favourite Word:

Like – because it applies to everything!

All Out – Empowering People

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012|Elexu Team Posts, Interviews|by Martin Zeman|No Comments

This week Elexu is supporting another group, All Out, with a similar mission to ours…to empower people! All Out is an organization whose aim is to form a world where everybody is accepted and can live freely. A platform dedicated to fighting for equal rights; for Gay, Lesbian, Bi, Transgender and straight individuals. Trying to make the world a better place each day through campaigns to inform and engage the public’s attention.

William one of Elexu’s newest team members, shares his experience with the organisation.

What made you become a member of All Out?

All Out really grabbed my attention when I came upon a story that was about a potential ban on “gay propaganda” in St. Petersburg. Having lived in Dubai where being gay is actually illegal I was flabbergasted to hear that a country was moving backwards in terms of human rights and equality rather than forward. All Out was protesting the decision by posting videos and getting people to sign petitions, and I thought “why not? If I could make a difference just by being aware, spreading awareness, and signing petitions, I should.”

Do you feel like you are part of a community?

Having grown up all over the world I really do feel like a global citizen so feeling like a part of a local community is difficult sometimes. However after finding All Out I was able to mix my global lifestyle with becoming a part of different communities around the world.

How can others get involved in All Out?

Very very easily! Go to the website (www.allout.org) and check out the different stories they are currently following/supporting/protesting against. If anything it’s a great way to become aware and help without having to go and march down the high-street (you can do that too though!).

Do you have any advice for somebody trying to hide their sexual Orientation?

I believe everyone should be comfortable with themselves/their sexuality before coming out. Find someone that you trust and know will support you no matter what and then work towards becoming comfortable enough to tell them. In this case you’re allowed to be selfish because you should never hide who you are and keep yourself from being happy.

And finally, what is your favourite word and why?

“Cracker” because it seems to mean different things but all fun! And my English friends call me a cracker, not sure why but I like it!