Saturday, July 30, 2011

check the film

I just saw the documentary Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest and enjoyed it on about ten levels. The film thoroughly, humorously, and respectfully traces the history of this seminal Native Tongues group and its remarkable place in NYC hip-hop history. I was enthralled with the band footage, the New York footage, the interviews, Q-Tip (what a charmer!), the guest appearances (Mos Def, De La Soul, DJ Red Alert...), the music, the history of their friendship, and on and on. The rest of the audience which was audibly delighted, nostalgic, and moved throughout as well, applauding with each song and cameo. I was pretty excited out of the gates as the opening credits feature animation by the No Mas group, a team responsible for one of my favorite animated documentary shorts.

I was also thrilled because this theater sold delicious cookies, and was merrily chomping away at one until we reached the achy segment about Phife Dawg's harrowing struggle with Diabetes. I froze mid-chew and the cookie went back into my bag. He subsequently appeared in a Cookie Monster shirt. I took that personally.

After the movie I came straight home and fired up the hi-fi. Here's one:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

ladybug at transistor

We recently played an afternoon set in Chicago at a store called Transistor. This place was my fancy-pants dream scene: Rare and unusual boutique a/v gear and instruments, art and photography books, art works, and a carefully curated vinyl section. It's as if my career paths opened a store. I appreciated it as a gallery space as much as anything, replete with beautiful objects I wasn't going to buy, but it was pretty lovely playing music surrounded by the lot of them. The owner was extremely hospitable and genial and bought us a heap of delicious snacks.

I can spot my sister and mom in the back window.

something old something new

A new friend just introduced me to this oldie but goldie. I have listened to it a mazillion times, subsequently.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

growin' up

I recently remembered how much I love the song "Growin' Up" by Bruce Springsteen. Here is a quieter live version as the recorded version is nowhere to be found on youtube:

My first concert was Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band on the "Born in the USA" tour in Chicago, 1984. My entire family attended. I was throw-up excited. My brother and dad have always been huge Boss fans and his albums were on heavy rotation in our household since I can remember. When "Born in the USA" came out, I finally really paid attention and sat with my first Walkman in the back of our family car on every family trip determined to memorize each word of that album. (That and Paul Young's "No Parlez"—my sister's influence.)

My bulletin board was plastered with images of the Boss along with my other muse, gymnast Mary Lou Retton.

The night we spent at Soldier Field watching all four hours of that concert I was never bored, even though Bruce was the size of an ant from where we sat. It was a general admission concert, meaning no assigned seating—controversial given The Who's free seating fiasco years prior. My brother went rogue and hit the floor of the stadium. The rest of us remained in binoculars-required distance.

It all worked out. I still have my program. My brother still has his baseball concert tee.

I was thrilled just to be included. The family affair music outing prior to that was my father, brother, and sister attending the Rolling Stones' "Tattoo You" concert in 1981. Today, I love the B side of that album with a lot of my heart. Back then, I didn't know that. I just knew I was left out of something important and cool that allowed them all to stay up way past bedtime. As a rule growing up, if my brother and sister were involved: I wanted in. No such luck for me that evening. My sister returned with this t-shirt:

...along with a copy of the album featuring the tattooed lady. My mind was blown, struck with the thought, "What on earth happened last night?! There was a DRAGON there?!?!"

poster child

This poster offers some sensible in-the-kitchen counsel. Kitty's not havin' it. He looks pretty insulted by the entire situation.

billy joel goes crazy

My band mates recently showed me this clip of Billy Joel losing his cool (read: his marbles) on stage. The soundbyte was put into constant between-song rotation on the ole van hi-fi.  Sometimes I worry we have shows that aren't up to standard. Or that we embarrass ourselves. I will always have this video to console me.

Monday, July 4, 2011

in addition

A soundtrack for today. While I always enjoy a locked-in rhythm section, I also have great appreciation for Naomi's melodic, exploratory, independent bass lines.

enter sandback

On this day of explosive, flashy celebration of independence, I thought about how, for me, more calm, subtle, careful statements often yield the most monumental sense of significance and impact. This is certainly my feeling about artist Fred Sandback. This installation artist carefully employs gauzy threads of yarn to redefine perceptions of space and boundary to great effect. His specific placement of such modest, discreet, unobtrusive material, create lines that reimagine one's sense of personal and institutional space and boundaries, while firmly underlining the power of suggestion.

Ok. Enough modest, sensitive-artist thinking. Time to dress up like Tootsie and celebrate this holiday in style.

(Will someone please remind me that I also need to dress up in this outfit for Halloween? I mean, I love my reliable standby dog or football player outfits, but this one would really give 'em the ole Razzle Dazzle.)