Saturday, June 30, 2007

Rainha



I've been listening to this voice all morning. I caught CeU opening for Carolinhos Brown last night at Nokia, and while it was a random pairing, a sultry songbird and the life of the Bahia party, the polar temperaments worked somehow.

You might have seen her face plastered all over Starbucks, but I curiously never heard any of her music until now (well, I tend to steer clear of this world music as novelty craze, but that's a story for another time.)

I think I enjoy CeU's presence so much because she strikes me as a musician who is aware. CeU gleamed about her appreciation for the greats who came before her in between songs, revering the Afro-beat school of rhythm, and even paying homage to the father of that great musical tradition, Fela Kuti, with the throwback tune "Rainha."

And she whips up a more than adequate rendition of "Concrete Jungle."

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

He Must Be Happy

Found this XTC classic on Youtube.



XTC - Making Plans for Nigel

And if young Nigel says he's happy
He must be happy
He must be happy
in his work


Is it possible to fall in love with a guitar riff? Because I think I have.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Give Me the Words


I struggled a bit over what to say about this film. Indeed, it is well made. Michael Winterbottom, Angelina Jolie, and a terrific ensemble cast all deliver. It's a taut and wrenching thriller, and it successfully serves Marianne Pearl's aims of creating a dialogue for cultures to meet and attempt to understand each other. But given the unpleasant and timely subject matter, it was admittedly painful to watch. Yet it is an important film to see, and I am glad that I did.

The film is set in bustling Karachi, the scene of the grisly death of journalist Daniel Pearl. And in this colorful whirlwind, you realize just how impossible it must have seemed to find him. By the time you learn all of the conspirators' real names, and your hopes are let down by a dizzying list of fruitless leads, your heart leaps out of your chest and your sense of dread mounts; despite already knowing the horrid outcome. It's a bit much to take.

And then there is Marianne Pearl in the midst of the storm. I sat in the movie theater, marveling at her miraculous ability to see past her pain, to see that it is poverty and misery that breeds the violence that erupted and shook her world to the core, not a singular hate for her beloved. She lost her son's father, and possessed such a clarity to look into the face of death and defiantly say, "I am not terrorized." How does she go on? I honestly don't know.

Watching the film, I admired both Daniel and Marianne's incredibly idealistic commitment to their life's work as journalists, to uncover the truth however harrowing a task that might be, to lay all of the facts bare for an international community to become more aware and work towards a better tomorrow. Yet I wondered the same way I wonder about the BBC reporter that is currently being held captive by an extremist group in Gaza. Is it a certain western naivete and brashness to be so bold in a stranger's land? Whatever the answer, I would like to think that they are doing our world a great service. They are writing history as we live it.

free music


This is the song that plays at the end of the film. After Marianne says, "This movie is for Adam," the son Pearl will never know.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Up Against the Wall

Peter Bjorn & John - Up Against the Wall

They spot each other across the bar. She is with a group of girlfriends. He's alone, waiting for his roommate to arrive for some after work drinks.

He's cute, in spite of his stuffy business suit she thinks.
She's hot, he thinks, though she kind of reminds him of a hippie.

He walks over. The girls giggle. He asks her for her name, if he can buy her a drink. They move to his side of the bar. He tells her what he does, banking, but he tries not to stay on the subject. He fears she'll find him boring.

But she doesn't, and she talks away. About her classes, her PhD thesis, her art. He usually can't stand academia or art, but he finds everything about her fascinating. She's still talking, and he's falling in love with the way her mouth moves, her voice is so soothing. I could listen to this girl talk for the rest of my life, he muses. And then

She is quiet.
He can't think of anything else to say, he's not that interesting, he curses himself for being so boring. He sees that she's starting to nod her head to the music. Oh god, please don't ask me to dance, he prays. He tries to think of another subject they can discuss in his head. Politics? sports? the war? He opens his mouth to speak but then

"Hey! Would you like to dance?!" she beams.
"Sure!" he intones with equal but feigned enthusiasm.
Oh Christ, it's one of those Justin Timberlake romps with an impossible beat. She sways easily, tossing her hair. God, she must know that drives guys wild. He can't take his eyes off of her.
He tries hard to focus. He bites his lip. He starts snapping his fingers. She looks to her right and left to keep from laughing.
But he's trying, and he's adorable, she thinks. She wants to put him out of his misery. "Do you want to sit and talk?"

They go and sit down. Except they've run out of things to say. She toys with her necklace and looks down at her dress, wondering when he'll ask for her number. He thinks he can read her expression. He feels like he's failed her and wonders if they can go back in time, when the possibilities were still endless, when she still seemed excited to meet him.

One of her girlfriends taps her on the shoulder, 'we're gonna go.' She turns to him with her bright smile. "Pleasure meeting you, really, it is."
Is she overcompensating with the 'really', really? He's never heard a person use the word 'really' so much.

Okay, courage young man, he tells himself. She's gorgeous, you're a buffoon, but there is the slight chance that she sees something in you. She waits.
"Yeah, um, you too, listen, can I um, get your number maybewecanhangoutsometime." He mumbles that last bit, in case she didn't hear him and he can take it back.
"Sure!" she sounds excited, do you think she's really excited? Or is that what she tells every guy who buys her two drinks? He takes the number, they embrace and

She. smells. so. good.

She leaves, and he stands there in the moment, trying to remember every bit of her.

She waits for his call. He never does. She wonders what she did wrong. He glances at her number in his phone every once in awhile and wonders if she thinks of him at all.

Probably not, he reasons.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A Sullen Riot

I've been staring at my computer screen for like an hour. For the life of me, I can't seem to articulate my reasons for wanting to become a lawyer.

Well, I guess there's the answer.

Green Day - She

She...
She screams in silence
a Sullen riot penetrating through her mind
Waiting for a sign
To smash the silence with a brick of self-control

Are you locked up in a world
Thats been planned out for you?
Are you feeling like a social tool without a use?


It's beautiful out, I'm off to the museum.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Mincing you is fun

free music

The worst part is over
Now get back on that horse and ride.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Now I'm LOST!

This isn’t a sudden realization, but there’s something about confessing it aloud (or in writing); the fact that you haven’t the faintest idea of what you’re doing, or why you’re doing it, or why you continue to do whatever it is that you are doing. Because you’ve been driving this thing to the ground, and at one point on that hill you really thought you were stuck in reverse.

Mars Volta - Inertiatic ESP

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Out for a Swim

I don't enjoy swimming very much. Yet I imagine myself swimming in the bluest of blue oceans when listening to such gorgeously thick and dense guitars, getting lost in their lulls and waves.
My habitually furrowed brow at ease, my heavy mind weightless. Under the current I am able to let it go.
What I wouldn't give for the soundwaves to pull me under, if not for a little while.

It's not a death, it's more living than I've done in years.

Band of Horses - The Funeral

When the Stars Go Blue

Where do you go when you're lonely?
Where do you go when you're blue?
Where do you go when you're lonely?
I'll follow you

When the stars go blue.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

This is Not Chick Lit

Is the title of a collection of short stories that I picked up last week. The book's provocative challenge to round up America's best women writers as the antithesis to the ever popular chicklit tradition might have inspired me to leaf through its pages, but I ended up making the purchase almost entirely based on the strength of the first entry. Nigerian American author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's "The Thing Around Your Neck" was so good, I had to read passages aloud in the bookstore.
Sometimes you can read an entire book where a character never really develops or becomes known; Adichie reveals her central subject fully in a matter of 12 riveting pages. She is every bit of the writer I aspire to be.
Adichie's two novels have definitely made their way onto my summer reading list. She's no new marvel, but I am glad to finally be acquainted.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Justice for Genarlow Wilson

On Monday, a judge finally dismissed the sentence of Genarlow
Wilson--the honor roll student and homecoming king serving ten years
in prison for having consensual oral sex with a 15 year old when he was 17. Immediately after the ruling, Thurbert Baker, Georgia's Attorney General appealed it--leaving Wilson stuck in jail.

We can't let this innocent young man spend another minute in jail. If you're as puzzled as I am by all of this, then here are some steps we all can make to fight for justice for Genarlow.

-you can sign a petition here: http://www.wilsonappeal.com/index.php#whatcanyoudo
This website also has Thurbert Baker's contact information and current news about where the case stands.

-You can also send a form letter to GA Attorney General Baker through this website: http://www.colorofchange.org/genarlow/?id=2132-117289

Thursday, June 14, 2007

In Transit

I feel like I've been in transport for a good portion of the work week.
On Wednesday morning it took 30 minutes for the train to make it out of Brooklyn.

It usually takes ten.

It's disorienting. You're reading your book and listening to your tunes when all of a sudden you realize... Did I... Did I really just spend an hour of my life underground? Going absolutely nowhere?

Yes I did as a matter of fact, while sitting next to the girl who dramatically rolls her eyes to the back of her head and smacks her lips in order to make her annoyance universally known. With the husky fellow towering over me, leaning on the hand rail and perpetually checking his watch to emphasize the utter waste of his very valuable time. A few feet away from the couple leaning against the double doors talking about their summer share so loudly as if to personally invite all patrons to eavesdrop on their private conversation. Across from the teenage boy who insists on playing his camera/mp3 phone as a boombox, Headphones? Mere accessories and completely unnecessary.

And there we all wait. Perhaps two, maybe three blocks from our destination.

"Ladiesandgentlemen.wehavetraintrafficahead,assoonasitclearswewill
proceed,wethankyouforyourpatience."

Interpol - 2036-02-10

No MTA, thank you. I'll see you tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Once


Hunter Wry was right; Once is a great film. I liked the adorable love story between the two roving musicians, charmingly named "Guy" and "Girl" (yes, I'm a closet romantic, whaddya know).
I loved the film's stunningly intimate and honest portrait of the songwriting/music-making process. Its isolation, its joy, its 'eureka' moments, its frustration, its brilliance. Maybe it helped that the two actors are actual musicians. I found it fascinating.

There were so many quietly beautiful scenes of note; when the "Guy" plays his demo tape for his father, when the camera pans out on Marketa's face peering through her window, as she sits alone on her piano stool. I don't really consider myself a movie person, but when I like one enough, I absorb it, memorizing each line and scene. I guess I'm the same way with music.

I digress.

Okay, also of note, the amazing soundtrack to the film. The Yellow Stereo has almost all of the film's songs listed on their website, enjoy.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Isn't he a fetching young man?


Yesterday afternoon I took in the "Summer of Love" exhibit over at the Whitney. It's an excellent retrospective of the period, complete with a proper introduction to the movement through its west coast, east coast, and London scenes. All the politics, the lovers, the fighters, the beat poets, the drugs, the fashions, the light shows, the tragedies, and just about every jam band the five year period produced. I particularly enjoyed the music art included in the collection, like the above photo of Jimi Hendrix shot by Gered Mankowitz.

The show really is about the incredible music produced during the era, and has a musical audio tour as optional accompaniment. They got the whole crew to come out for this one; Janis, Jefferson Airplane, and Santana.

Carlos Santana - Samba Pa Ti


Although some of the hypersexualized and super-sonically charged imagery proved to be a bit of sensory overload, I admire the flower children's constant search for feeling and stimulation against the sterile and placid establishment . They were the first generation to witness a large-scale school shooting, and see their brothers fight an unjustified war. The future they were promised was not as it should have been, and they sought and found an escape route; in sex, drugs, and rock and roll. I feel like such a square acting out my mind-numbing directionless routine.

and



Yay for Duncan Sheik winning big at the Tony's for Spring Awakening, yet another show I've been meaning to see for quite some time now. Apart from singing aloud to "Barely Breathing" when I hear it in a department store (oh yes), I've come to enjoy some of Sheik's other songs too. I came across his website and blog a few years ago, I think he was just coming out of a rough patch with his former record label or something. There was some magnificent prose that I took to reading on the daily for a spell. I always think it is interesting to peer into a creative mind. His is brilliant. Apparently he's working on a musical with the Decemberists, how awesome would that be?

Duncan Sheik - Such Reveries
Duncan Sheik - Rubbed Out

Sunday, June 10, 2007

My, your furs are handsome

This has been the song of my weekend. It was made with a howl and a guitar and drum machine by a highly photogenic engaged couple of the Canadian persuasion. She's a writer. He's a singer in a shaggy hair/skinny jeans band. Despite their melancholic disposition, I think what they have is love.

Handsome Furs - What We Had


Unfortunately, Dan appears to be a bit of a cad.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Music Is

Music is my boyfriend!
Music is my girlfriend!
Music is my dead end!
Music's my imaginary friend!
Music is my brother!
Music is my great grand daughter!
Music is my sister!
Music is my Favorite Mistress!

CSS - Music is my hot hot sex

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Body of War



Today I happened upon an interview with Phil Donahue (yes, Phil Donahue, who is still very alive and well and kickin' it on a park bench in Westport...) The Q&A focused on Donahue's upcoming film called "Body of War." (Eddie Vedder supplies the tunes in the doc.)
I've seen Tomas Young in a documentary on PBS before, a young man who was shot and paralyzed from the chest down while on duty in Iraq, but there was something about this trailer that just moved me so. We all see the numbers dead scrolling across the television screen. Yet one look at this young man's face, and you realize the idealism, bravery, and tenacity of those who have volunteered to enlist out of want to do the 'right thing;' and the utter tragedy of a war that has proven to be anything but winnable.

We shouldn't be holding hearings, we shouldn't be discussing budgets,
we should all be shouting. At the top of our lungs. It's madness.

Marvin Gaye - Inner City Blues


No word on a "Body of War" release date from what I can see.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Break your own glass ceiling

Over the last year, some unforeseen circumstances have left me reeling in a paralyzing stasis of inaction. I know I have to do something, anything to pull myself out from under, but I inexplicably remain stationary.

Pushing it to the far right corner of the mind, underneath a bundle of loaded thoughts, and pretending to forget all about it doesn't stop it from being true.

Inside I'm screaming, the way Emily Haines starts and hesitates, then hurls herself into asking, "Whoooooo?"

"Whoooooo?"
"Who let it end up on the ground?"

I think it's time I break my own glass ceiling.

Metric - Glass Ceiling

Monday, June 4, 2007

Two pretty things I found

"Speak to me... be eloquent, be brilliant for me.
Improvise, Rhapsodize...
I ask for cream and you give me milk and water...
Please gather your dreams into words."
Roxanne, Cyrano de Bergerac

and

The Stills - Retour a Vega

That is all.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Plans

So this weekend was rather eventful. I went to not one but two (two!) social gatherings centered around work, and managed to strike up intelligible conversation with people who didn't even know I existed prior to Saturday morning.
Highlight: an editor I sit directly across from in the office introduced me to his kids and couldn't seem to remember my name. Despite the fact that I've formally introduced myself.
And we've talked extensively once or twice about being History majors in college.
And we've discussed our mutual interest in francophone literature.
It's an indescribable feeling.

After my day of schmooooozing I was invited out by a couple of different friend groups for Saturday evening plans and more plans, but I ended up going home instead. I was genuinely tired, but I think that a call from a certain someone could have changed that.

Too bad we can't make people care more than they do. I hate that I still think about him and I hate to admit it even more.