Dr. Michael Olding, MD is the director of the Cosmetic Surgery Center at The GW Medical Faculty Associates, and is chief of Plastic Surgery at The George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences. He has over 20 years of experience as a surgeon, is one of Washington’s premier cosmetic surgeons, and is ranked in the nation’s top 1% of cosmetic surgeons by US News & World Report.
In this episode I get a chance to have an in-depth conversation with a master of his craft, who clearly loves what he does and cares deeply about his patients’ outcomes and the quality of his work.
Under the tutelage of Louis Tibbs and Charlie Young, Brent Birckhead has become a dynamically versatile saxophonist of many genres. With a unique style born of his deep passion for the art of music, Birckhead has established himself as one of the bright young musical voices of his generation.
Educated at Howard University (BME, MM), Brent was named best blues/pop/rock soloist and outstanding instrumental jazz soloist by Downbeat Magazine as part of the annual Student Music Awards.
The Baltimore native’s talent earned him the honor of gracing the same stage as many legendary performers including Benny Golson, Joe Chambers, McCoy Tyner, Andrew Cyrille, Eric Benet, George Duke, Stanley Clarke, Earl Klugh, Bob Baldwin, Frank McComb, Wale, Dwele, Gregory Porter, Bilal, Lauryn Hill and many more. He has also performed at some of the world’s most prestigious venues such as Blue Note NYC, Smoke Jazz and Supper Club, Beacon Theater, Ginny’s Supper Club, Smalls Jazz, Blues Alley, Bohemian Caverns, 9:30 Club, Highline Ballroom, Key Club LA, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Billboard Tokyo and Osaka, and the Apollo Theater.
In 2014, Birckhead joined the faculty at Morgan State University. He currently resides in New York City.
Bashiri Johnson, mentioned briefly in the conversation with Brent, is a brilliant percussionist who will appear in a later episode.
Zoila’s story about her child’s inner struggle and their relationship is moving and profoundly inspiring. Although English is her second language, she speaks more eloquently than one can possibly imagine.
The situation she had to face, embrace and deal with was one of enormous proportions and with various implications. And how she did it was awe-inspiring. Her story is also an opportunity to support tolerance and specifically in the transgender community. Zoila is obviously a wonderful speaker and a sort of activist in the LGBTQ community, though her message extends far beyond. And so I can’t recommend her enough for speaking engagements, interviews and whatever else it takes to help her be able to get the word out—her word out—and in a more expansive way.
And for anyone dealing with prejudice of any kind, and particularly if you are struggling with feeling different, in this complicated world, then this is also a story for you—to help you know that you are not alone and that it is possible to not only survive your struggle but also to subsequently thrive. I encourage you to “like” the Extraordinary Ordinary People Facebook page and engage in a community dialogue through the comment section.
Jeremy Safron is a devout champion of nature, eternal student of the martial, meditative & mystic arts and a musician, author, teacher, and inventor. Jeremy has initiated innovative ideas and alternative angles in the fields of yoga, culinary arts, fitness and sustainable living. Jeremy’s permaculture farm known as Avalon offers WWOOFing internship experiences on Maui where they host the Haunted Haiku Hike an Interactive outdoor theatre and Mythological Creature Sanctuary for Halloween as well as farm exotic fruits and healing plants year round. He is best known for his books The Raw Truth and The Fasting Handbook, and for creating the Dragon Yoga system, the Unpredictiball—a reflex training game and for being one of the founding fathers and pioneer of the Raw Food Movement.
Windcloud is the definition of an extraordinary person. He is over 90 years old though looking at him one would never know it. Viewing photos of him dancing, you’ll see how limber he is and how effortlessly he seems to move. And his memory is razor sharp.
Being conceived, in the “summer of love,” Windcloud’s mother did not know who the father was and she sent him, at a young age, to a Catholic boarding school outside of New York City. When he was finally able to fly the puritanical nest, he joined the Coast Guard and then left to travel the world, discovering the wonders of music, which unleashed his passions creating an outlet for years of pent up emotions.
After he and a girlfriend unexpectedly had a daughter, they got married and Windcloud settled into domestic life, which he eventually found did not suit his untethered lifestyle leading to divorce. At 42 years old, he sold and gave away all his possessions, though gifted his precious music album collection to his daughter. He and a new girlfriend moved and traveled Mexico and Guatemala.
In 1967, once again alone, he moved to San Francisco and led a vagabond lifestyle until he heard about a group of around twenty-five people building a sort of education and parent-based commune in Berkley. Soon, they were gifted a plot of wild and unruly land in the mountains of Mendocino, where he stayed for twelve years.
The next step, in his journey, brought him to Willits, CA, where he worked as a shopkeeper in a small community led by a guru-sort of Indian woman. This didn’t last long and finally, at 60 years old, he found himself in Maui – his true home – where he has lived ever since for the last thirty plus years. There, he learned about living a simple lifestyle, and further delved into music, helping to connect with himself, to be present in the moment, and connect with community.
Today, he is discovering “the gifts” that come from having age slow him down. This is a man who has truly experienced all life has to offer, still is, and has accumulated great wisdom to inspire us all.