shadowkat: (Default)
1. Just finished watching Chess in Concert on Quello Concert App, which has a 7 day free trail before you have to subscribe. I don't think I will. There's not a lot on it.

Chess is the probably the reason I ended up watching Head on Buffy, but who knows? I saw him as The American, Freddy Trumper in the London Cast edition of Chess in the summer of 1988.

Here he is singing Pity the Child from that performance, except you just get the voice recording. I fell in love with him. And when he popped up in the Taster's Choice commercials and then later VR5, followed him. Wasn't really interested in Buffy that much, having seen and been disappointed in the film version, but at that point I was a fan of ASH and basically following him around the television set. VR5 (which had also starred Lori Singer or Darly Hannah, Michael Easten, and Head, was cancelled. Head popped over to Buffy, and so did I.

Anyhow, Chess and I have a bit of a history.

In 1986....strands of it floated from a boy's dorm room on same floor I was living on. Read more... )

2.) Started reading Witches of Karres by John Schmitz and surprise, surprise, I'm actually enjoying it. Was a little worried after all the good press, that I wouldn't. I went in with low expectations. It feels vaguely familiar in places, which is either because various sci-fi writers have ripped off the plot or I read it when I was a teenager and have forgot. Probably the latter.
Did read a lot of books by Andre Norton that I've forgotten the names of and most of the plot. Have vague recollections of them. The only ones I remember usually resonated for me in some way or really stood out because they were different or they were made into a movie or play.

* Lord of the Rings, the Hobbit (movies and play, I was in the Hobbit in the 6th Grade, played the Great Goblin. I was a very tall sixth grader and I can pitch my voice deep. I'm a deep alto. Wasn't going to cut it as a dwarf. And I towered over the high school boy (wickedly cute) who played the Hobbit.)

* CS Lewis Chronicles of Narnia

* The Westing Game

* The Witches of Worm by Zelphia Keatley Snyder -- it scared the shit out of me at the time, that's one creepy novel

* The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephan R. Donaldson

* The Dragon Riders of Pern

* Restoree by Anne McCaffrey

* Ship Who Sang by Anne McCaffrey

* Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Quinn

* Dune by Frank Herbet

* Escape to Witch Mountain

* The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

* The Darkest Rising Books by Suzanne Cooper

Don't remember the rest. I read a ton, and pretty much everything I could get my hands on. I read all my parents books, all my brother's books, all the books at my grandparents house, at the library.

See, I had troubles learning how to read and desperately wanted to learn. Read more... )
shadowkat: (Just breath)
1. From J. Scalzi - Twitter:

2016 hates us. Each and every one of us. On a personal level that's hard to grasp. It's just sitting there mouthing "you know what you did."

Ugh. Yes.

2. So, Prince...

I adored him in the 1980s and 1990s. Sort of lost track of him, after he changed his name, which he changed back again. Still adore him actually. He was such a kind soul. Did you know that he helped struggling artists? The bands in Purple Rain said in interviews afterwards, how he'd discovered them and furthered their careers.

What he also did, much like David Bowie, although in some respects even more so, was make it okay to be different. More than okay, cool. He embraced his eccentricity and encouraged others to do the same.

Here's an article in The Guardian - Prince Broke Expectations for Black American Men.

He exuded love, kindness, and acceptance wherever he went. He was possibly one of the greatest musicians that ever lived, on piano and guitar, with extraordinary vocal range. A good businessman, who held onto the rights of all of his songs.

And his favorite color was Purple. (Which you know, is as it should be.)

Spike Lee threw a block party last night in Forte Green to celebrate his life, and buildings around the world turned purple. New Yorker's turned the Prince Street subway station into a makeshift memorial within hours of his death..

So yes, I adored him. And I know he's still dancing...in the afterlife.

Two renditions of on my favorites...Let's Go Crazy

SuperBowl Performance - 2007 Live )

1985 Performance - with the Revolution )

The Lyrics:


Dearly beloved
We are gathered here today
To get through this thing called life

Electric word life
It means forever and that's a mighty long time
But I'm here to tell you
There's something else
The after world

A world of never ending happiness
You can always see the sun, day or night

So when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills
You know the one, Dr. Everything'll Be Alright
Instead of asking him how much of your time is left
Ask him how much of your mind, baby

'Cause in this life
Things are much harder than in the after world
In this life
You're on your own

And if the elevator tries to bring you down
Go crazy, punch a higher floor

If you don't like the world you're living in
Take a look around you
At least you got friends
Read more... )
shadowkat: (warrior emma)
1. Beautiful day. Felt like spring, finally. In the 70s, clear blue skies, and soft breeze. Trees in bloom. Sprigs of soft yellowish green, white, pink, purple, and red flowers.

Had a lovely brunch with U and her boyfriend at a place in Brooklyn Heights. Was considering seeing the movie Batman vs. Superman afterwards, but chose to pick up food instead. Besides no time.

Me: Was considering Batman vs. Superman, but it's far too pretty a day to sit in a movie theater-
U: Why? Why would you want to see that movie? Why do that to yourself?
Me: Well, yes, it would most likely give me a headache.
U: It's had horrible reviews. As much as I love Caville, he's horrible as Superman...
Me: True. (We'd seen Man of Steel together and despised it.)

My mother asked me the same question on the phone.

Methinks I'll watch it on demand or HBO or something instead.

Proud of myself for nixes the Gluten-free Buckwheat pancakes with maple syrup and whipped butter and blueberries, and opting for the healthier burger and lettuce instead. I'm on a no grains, sugar, dairy, soy, potatoes, chocolate...diet for the foreseeable future. It gets easier every day. Just have to deal with it, with a sense of humor.

2. Once Upon a Time

This show at times feels like I'm watching cross-over slash fanfic for children's stories. This week's episode focused on, of all things, a romance between Red Riding Hood and Dorothy (yes, that Dorothy from OZ). Darn, I was shipping Red Riding Hood aka Ruby and Mulan. Although admittedly she had better chemistry with Dorothy. The Wicked Witch puts Dorothy under a sleeping kiss and Ruby aka Red Riding Hood, kisses her and she wakes.

So...so far, we have the following cross-over romances:

The Evil Queen from Snow White/ Robin Hood
Captain Hook/Emma Swan (daughter of Snow White/Charming)
Belle/Rumplestilskin
Wicked Witch/Hades
Red Riding Hood/Dorothy...

3.Haunting rendition of the Simon and Garfunkle Song - "The Sounds of Silence"



Also, oddly apropos...for what is happening at the moment in NYC and other urban areas...

4. Interesting New Yorker article on how Northern Europe views Bernie Sanders views. He gets his ideas from Northern Europe of the 70s and 80s, but even Northern Europe has drifted away from those policies towards a more pragmatic system. (Also, Northern Europe doesn't have the same cultural, economic, and government that the US does. This is important. There is a huge difference between a centralized parliamentary/constitutional monarchy and a joint federal constitutional republic with three balanced branches of government plus individualized and separate state governments. Trying to pull the socialist policies of Northern Europe, which didn't entirely work for Northern Europe into a country that is governed like the US is...
Sample section or quotes from the article )
shadowkat: (warrior emma)
Been listening to the cast album of Hamilton and it's really frigging good, which is coming from someone who doesn't like Hip Hop or Rap.

Here's a link to the 60 Minutes special on IT

Some of the lyrics haunt you....

Hamilton: "I'm not throwing away my shot, I'm young, scrappy, and hungry, just like my country, and I'm not throwing away my shot."

Thomas Jefferson: "When Britain taxed our tea we got frisky, imagine what we'll do when you tax our Whisky."

Hamilton: "Thomas that was a real nice declaration, welcome to the present, we're trying to run a nation, would you like to join us, or run back to whatever it is you do in Montecello?"

See below - as done in the White House - which basically explains why we ended up with a Civil War 100 years later. After my mother read the book upon which this was adapted from, she stated, well it's not at all surprising we ended up in the Civil War.



And...King George who sings a hilarious British style invasion love song from the 1960s..

"You'll be back, like before, I will fight the fight, and win the war for your love, for your praise and I'll love you till my dying days, when you're gone I'll go mad, so don't throw away this thing we had...cause when push comes to shove, I will kill your friends and family to remind you of my love."

Highly impressed by the Cast Album. And I can see why people have gone nuts over it. It's not just Hip-Hop, he blends various Broadway and other musical forms and redefines them.

I'm also intrigued by the book by Chernow, which my brother told my mother he'd read in the space of a week and found to be a page-turner. Took her a bit longer.
shadowkat: (Just breath)
My Granny used to say they come in threes..and so they do. David Bowie, Alan Rickman, and now Glenn Frey of the Eagles.

Who was Glenn Frey - he was one of the headliner's of country folk rock band The Eagles - along with Don Henley. The Eagles were supposed to receive a Kennedy Center this year, but the Eagles opted to wait until next year - when Glenn Frey could join them, since he was deathly ill. He died of pneumonia and colitis. (Colitis also killed my good friend Maribeth Martell (aka [livejournal.com profile] embers_log a few years ago. I still miss her. She haunts the internet. A truly beautiful soul.)

When Frey's death was announced, the Guardian posted this article You Mourned David Bowie But You Mocked Glenn Frey - Why?.


What is it about social media that brings out the mob mentality in people? What is it about social media that can make someone credibly claim to be distressed at being mocked for their (very public) grief, and then only a few days later turn around and mock others for feeling precisely the same about someone different? Your taste is your own, but that does not give you a licence to claim it is superior to someone else’s. Nor does it give you a licence to mock a sense of bereavement. Perhaps such “music fans” should remember the John Peel axiom of popular music: there is no such thing as good or bad music, only good and bad listeners.


Why, indeed? Seems sort of cruel to me. But then, I'm an odd cat, I loved both musicians and have both on my ipod, along with the Beach Boys, Nine Inch Nails, Tom McCrae, Lady Gaga, Sand Sheff, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Linda Ronstadt, The Kings of Leon, The Beatles, The Who, Led Zepplin, Luis Manueal, various musicals, Adele, Norah Jones, Ghost in the Robot, Sting, Rolling Stones, Lush, Bjork, Garbage, One Direction, Cold Play, Nirvana, Beethoven, Mozart, Gershwin, the list goes on and on. What? You all know I have wildly eclectic taste in everything. I'm the opposite of a culture vulture, I'm a culture junkie!

A little bit more back story? One of my buds in college adored the Eagles and introduced me to them along with Jimmy Buffet, who wrote a homage to Glenn Frey - A True Friend and an Inspiration

In case you've never heard of Glenn Frey and the Eagles, although I'm not sure how - considering the songs pop up in various television serials and have made an imprint on our culture.



Glenn Frey is memorable for his theme music to the 1980s television series "Miami Vice". Particularly this hit, which every college kid in my dorm had on tape back in the 1980s:
Read more... )
And let's not forget my personal favorites:

Hotel California - which the Eagles put up in Tribute to Glenn Frey.
Read more... )
And..the iconic, Desperado

Read more... )
I mourn Glenn Frey, who gave me pleasure on many a late night studying jam in college. And still does. I hope this post may bring him some more fans...
shadowkat: (warrior emma)
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] cjlasky, I was able to catch the David Bowie Documentary Five Years, which is a fascinating look at his musical career, and how he created his music, and his performance art, and to a degree his persona.

Littered with quotes, and interviews with Bowie and various musicians who worked on his various albums, it shows how he changed his style over the years and continued to redefine himself. He states at one point that he defined who he was, the world and no one else did.

It highlights five key musical stages in his career from the early 1970s to the early 1980s, featuring bits from the 1990s. The documentary features the creation of the songs: Fame, Life on Mars, Major Tom, Let's Dance, Ziggy Stardust...China Doll. There's a fascinating bit with Brian Eno, regarding the LOW album, which my brother gave me for Christmas one year. David Bowie -- I was introduced to in stages, first by the theme song to Cat People, then in France with Let's Dance, and then through my brother, who discovered him via his love for King Crimson and Brian Eno.

End quote:

"I never expected all of this to happen, in the sixties I was told that I was too avant-guard to be successful."

Which in a nutshell states what I always admired most about him -- he did not cater to others. He did what was in his heart. And he defined himself. He explored who he was and the world around him through his music. It is also an inspiring quote for all of us who have been told we're too this or too that...for our art to truly resonate with others. Bowie clarified that it's okay if the world thinks you are weird and undefinable. Heck, it's better than okay.

Trailer for the Showtime airing of the documentary is below:

shadowkat: (Just breath)
The news of David Bowie's untimely death blew me away this morning. Found out reading Facebook. Couldn't believe it. He just turned 69, released one of his best albums in years, and realized a life-long dream of bringing a musical to the Broadway stage or rather Off-Broadway stage (ironically named "Lazarus" about a man who fell to earth and cannot die.)

Speech Tilda Swinton Gave at the Opening of the David Bowie Exhibit in London

And a link to the Ten Deep Cuts of David Bowie featured at the Exhibit: http://soundcheck.wnyc.org/story/ten-deep-cuts-reveal-true-genius-david-bowie/?utm_source=sharedUrl&utm_medium=metatag&utm_campaign=sharedUrl

Song, Blackstar, from his last album:




And ...the song "Lazarus" from the New Bowie Musical entitled Lazarus




And yes, in case you hadn't figured it out, I am a David Bowie fan. He was amongst the small list of performers that I'd have paid money to go see in concert. Never got the chance. Unfortunately.
Loved him since I first discovered him, at the ripe age of 16, in the mid-1980s.
shadowkat: (warrior emma)
1. Empire Magazine's 500 Greatest Films of All Time - is a fun little quiz to take - check to see how many you've seen. I've 370 of them or 75%. I also don't agree with a lot of the choices on the list.

Honestly, as much as I enjoyed the Star Wars and Indiana Jones films, the only ones that belong on that list are Star Wars - New Hope, Star Wars - The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Arc, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. All the others? Not so much. And seriously, "The Transformers" , "Grease", "Superman Returns" and "Batman Returns"??

Also where are "Peggy Sue Got Married", "Body Heat", "Beckett", "A Lion in Winter", "Guys and Dolls",
"West Side Story" (yes, Grease made the list but not West Side Story), The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Red River (which is actually a better film than The Searchers), Strangers on a Train, Shadow of a Doubt, and they ranked Howls Moving Castle above Spirited Away???

2.) Hmmm, was reading [livejournal.com profile] londonkds's posts on songs that fits Buffy villains, and he chose a rather good one for Spike S2 -Till the Following Night" (properly titled "Big Black Coffin", until the record label objected) by Screaming Lord Sutch and the Savages. .

So I was thinking, in regards to Spike, who seemed to become a different character for each season of the series, what songs would fit him for each season?

* S2 - Till the Following Night by Such and The Savages is perfect. (or I can't come up with a better choice.)

* S3? (Lover's Walk) -- I'm thinking a ragged breakup song -- going with Billy Idol's White Wedding.

Vid of Spike with White Wedding )

S4 Buffy and S1 Angel? Dancing with Myself by Billy Idol

Spike Dancing with Himself - S4 )

S5? The Ramones - I Wanna Be Sedated

S6? Two possibilities:

* Florence and the Machine's "A Kiss with a Fist"

video of Buffy/Spike with the song for S6 - a Kiss with a Fist )

or

* Bad Romance by Lady Gaga -- but sung by someone else.
Spike Buffy vid with an interesting rendition of Bad Romance )

Personally, I'm swinging towards Kiss with a Fist.

S7? - Pavlov's Bell by Aimee Mann

Pavlov's Bell

Angel S5? -- My Way by the Sex Pistols

see vid )

or maybe...

Carry on My Wayward Son by Kansas

What do you think?
shadowkat: (warrior emma)
So bored with my music, I recently added the following music to my MP3 Player, with an itunes credit that I got for Xmas and hadn't gotten around to using yet:

1. St Vincent - Stars in My Alignment )

St. Vincent reminds me a great deal of Amanda Palmer, except I think she might be a better vocalist. More lyrical. Think Sinead O'Connor meets Amanda Palmer.

2. Pink - Greatest Hits - Don't Let Me Get Me )

This is an amazing song. Really nails it. Sorry, it just is. I adore Pink.

3. The Handsome Family - True Detective Theme Song from their album Singing Stones )

These are country western folk singers who sing very dark twisted songs, that are sort of the musical equivalent of a horror short story. Reminds me of a twisted Johnny Cash meets The Kingston Trio.

4. The Jezebels singing The Brink from their new album The Brink )

Reminds me a lot of Arcadia and The Cranberries...angsty alternative, with haunting lyrical melodies.

5. David Bowie singing Stars from his new album The Next Day )

David Bowie has never more haunting or iconic.

6. The Kings of Leon singing Family Tree )

Another new favorite...sort of a mix of country folk and Americana...although my ipod puts in some other genre entirely.

7. Haunting Spainish version of White Rabbit from American Hustle soundtrack )

American Hustle had one of the best music soundtracks that I've heard in a movie in a while.
Soundtracks really do affect movies and television series - the better ones use them effectively. I adore the compilation from The Hunger Games - but oddly, none of the songs were in the movie or on the movie track.

For examples of soundtracks used effectively in televisions series see:

* Buffy the Vampire Slayer (bought the sound track)
* MASH
* True Detective (bought the theme song)
* True Blood (bought the soundtrack)
* The Wire (I've bought it)
* Supernatural (bought portions of it...particularly the theme song by Kansas)

Soundtracks that aren't used effectively or hurt the show:
* Grey's Anatomy (dear sound editor, do not ever lay a music track over voice over narration and dialogue.)
* Vampire Diaries (barely noticeable and often sappy)
shadowkat: (Default)
For Women's History Month: Three ladies that revolutionized the music industry and broke through barriers.

1. Etta James - 1950s, blues singer who defied classification and opened for the Rolling Stones in the 1980s. She died just a few years ago. And struggled with drug addiction throughout her life.

Here's one of her tunes:
Read more... )
Etta James (born Jamesetta Hawkins; January 25, 1938 – January 20, 2012) was an American singer. Her style spanned a variety of music genres including blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, soul, gospel and jazz. Starting her career in the mid-1950s, she gained fame with hits such as "Dance With Me, Henry", "At Last", "Tell Mama", and "I'd Rather Go Blind" for which she wrote the lyrics. She faced a number of personal problems, including drug addiction, before making a musical resurgence in the late 1980s with the album The Seven Year Itch.[2]

James is regarded as having bridged the gap between rhythm and blues and rock and roll, and is the winner of six Grammys and 17 Blues Music Awards. She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Grammy Hall of Fame in both 1999 and 2008.[3] Rolling Stone ranked James number 22 on their list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time and number 62 on the list of the 100 Greatest Artists.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etta_James


2. Nina Simone

http://www.ninasimone.com/about/bio/ - Known as the high priestess of soul, she was also a strong social activist, and wrote and sung songs about the Civil Rights Movement.
Read more... )
Here's one of her songs, a favorite of mine entitled Four Women written and sung by Nina Simone in France. It's about four different women, who are different colors.



3. Tina Turner

Tina Turner battled domestic violence against Ike Turner and the music industry to become a powerful female performer in her own right and a pop icon.

From wiki:
Read more... )
Here's my favorite signature Tina Turner Song, which she originally sang with Ike Turner, but now sings on her own quite well:



Two earlier versions of the same song as performed by Turner:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqIpkMDRjYw&feature=related

And here's the Ike and Tina Turner version of Proud Mary )

And for Tina and the current fight in the US Senate/Congress for the passage of the Violence Against Women Bill, I'm including one more songstress who wrote about domestic violence, Janis Ian - "His Hands".



[As an aside, in a former life...I volunteered with the Domestic Violence Coalition - Legal Aid of Western Missouri, to obtain orders of protection. (Not restraining orders, we couldn't get those under the law at the time, but we could get an order of protection which was basically the same thing. What a lot of people don't know is many states still have laws on their books that permit husbands to beat their wives, since "wives" were considered "property of the husband" under the old laws. This shocked me when I found out about in Missouri. Most states have fought to put new laws in place.]
shadowkat: (tv slut)
1)So far I adore the new tv series Smash - this week's episode was better than last week's. Smash review, vague spoilers, also referencing tonight's Glee, which wasn't quite as good. )

2) There's another mid-season replacement that I'm excited about - Jason Issacs (you know him as Draco Malfoy's Dad in the Harry Potter films) portrays a man who's split his consciousness in two - and isn't sure which world is real. He has had a car crash with his wife and son. In one reality his wife survives. In the other his son survives. He closes his eyes and he is in the other reality. He doesn't know which reality is real. He's a detective. So it is episodic in that sense, with a mystery to solve each week but the catch is - the man is living two lives and is aware of both. What innovative idea. It's called AWAKE and premiers in March. Definitely one to watch out for.

3)In personal news?Read more... )

4) Mark Watches...I'm still reading, but close to giving up. my issues with Mark Watches )

5) After downloading both Adelle 's album 21 and Florence and The Machine's Lung's last night and listening to them at work today, came to the conclusion that Florence and The Machine is a lot more interesting and was robbed. Adelle got old fast. She has three good songs on her album, Somebody to Love, Rolling in the Deep and Rumor has it. But everything else feels repetitive. Reminds me a lot of Amy Whinehouse and Christina Aguilerra vocally - that deep multi-layered voice. Lady Gaga's voice is similar. Goes up and down the scales, yet tends to be a deep alto. I love altos and bass, not a fan of high soprano. Meanwhile...Paul McCartney's Wings Greatest Hits is also quite good, diverse and not repetitive. It doesn't sound the same. My hunt for a perfect mix is music that does not sound the same.

Florence and the Machine does remind me a great deal of The Cranberries though sound wise, has that same psuedo British/Irish Gaillic sound, not that they are, really have no idea, but they have that lyrical feel...and the lyrics haunt in the same way. Not a bad thing, I rather liked the Cranberries.

my weird eclectic music tastes )
shadowkat: (Default)
The Grammy's weren't as good as last years, in part because a lot of musicians were protesting due to the elimination of various categories which pissed everyone off.

That said there were some interesting moments.
Read more... )
Okay off to bed. Thank god I have tomorrow off. Sleeping in. Then researching singing lessons and exercise programs.
shadowkat: (Tv shows)
Saw the new musical television workplace drama entitled Smash last night, which I keep calling the anti-Glee in my head - not that it is, but in some respects I prefer it to Glee (a little satire goes a long long way, just saying). In others? Glees musical acts are more interesting. But they are vastly different shows, with only the whole "musical" thing in common. Say what you will about Glee but it paved the way for shows like Smash - a venue for music to be performed in a believable manner without throwing the modern audience out of the story.

While I enjoyed Smash, I do have quibbles...based on both the pilot and the preview for what to expect from the series this season. But first the good stuff or what I liked about it. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly so to speak...although there isn't really much ugly, since it is a workplace drama that for a change of pace has no violence, and no crimes. In short one that actually doesn't deal with cops, doctors, lawyers or forensic scientists. Shocking! Isn't it? And we thought no one in Hollywood had any new ideas. I give Spielberg credit for coming up with a workplace drama about the lives of people putting on a Broadway musical. That's actually more interesting to me than the case of the week. So kudos. Plus, different! And no violence! And female centric with powerful women leads. (I've watched too many violent male centric tv series...and I work in a male dominant workplace, so this makes me happy.)
Review of Smash, does contain vague spoilers )
shadowkat: (Calm)
1. I think I need a really good book to read, to escape into and away from the world, not to think deep meaningful thoughts or crack-wise/snark at the world (I apparently am quit good at doing that on my own, I don't need help). Bit depressed. Work has sucked the soul out of me and I just want to crawl into a hole somewhere. It's complicated and not worth boring you with.

my attempts for hunting a good or rather just enjoyable book, but not a satire because clearly not in a satirical mood. )

2) Finished watching the premiere of Luck - which has an amazing cast, as well as a great production team. Luck Review )

Off to watch a movie I think, maybe bake some gluten-free cookies. Try a mindfulness exercise. Feel a little less...bummed out.

3) I feel as if all week long I'm lying. Lies by omission. Restraining myself. Suppressing something. Playing a role. Do you ever feel like an actor in your own life? Saying the words...with a bright smile, a laugh, but not quite feeling it even though you do appear to? Poker face fixed, smile intact? Quip at the ready? Not sure I want to know the answer to that. Don't want advice. Just want ...well there's a lovely song by Janis Ian that fits what I'm feeling right now perfectly.

Here it is:

Janis Ian's Arms Around My Life )
shadowkat: (smiling)
As a kid, I used music to relax. Would go up to my room and study for hours with the radio playing, often made mixed tapes of the songs. We didn't have DVDs, CDs or MP3 players back then. I played records, 8 track tapes, and cassettes - which had a nasty habit of degrading over time. Remember reading American History to the Rolling Stones or the Beatles or...*cough*Air Supply*cough*. My taste has always been incredibly eclectic. I loved Rush - favorite song in Junior High was "Tom Sawyer".

TV shows and films are often more memorable if they have a really good musical score. Songs that hit home, nail the feeling or plot arc. Not music videos - although we became a video world a long time ago. Back in the age of MTV - remember that? Dire Straits song Money for Nothing, Chips for Free...I Want My MTV - a defining moment of the 1980s and the beginning of the "video revolution". It was so long ago, and yet it sometimes feels like yesterday. Odd that. Where did the time go? I wonder if that's why people have kids - to track time - you see it as they grow and age...no most likely not.

No...a good song, a good band can make a show that is okay amazing. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is amongst the few shows that had an excellent soundtrack. I'm not sure I can give you a favorite song. But I own both compilations. And there are songs on that show that I still can't find. One is from Crush - the initial scene, in the Bronze, I can't remember the title and I can't find it anywhere.

My favorite? It changes. Right now it's a four way tie between Ballade for Dead Friends, Pavlov's Bell, Key, and Lucky. All ballads. Although I love Pain and the Teenage FBI. God, whoever decided on the score - was a genius. But we also had a musical fanatic behind the show-running duties - who turned one episode into a self-mocking, fourth wall breaking musical - which was by the way the episode that got the Momster's attention and was when she understood, finally, my insane obsession with the series. I showed her The Body, but you just can't get that episode unless you've watched all the episodes that came before. The other series that had a marvelous soundtrack was The Wire - which I also own the soundtrack too. It's songs furthered plot and resonated. It hammered the themes of that series home. TV shows with good soundtracks - I tend to get fannish about, I remember them long after they've left the air. This was true of Battle Star Galatica who turned "All Along the Watchtower" into a plot point, and True Blood - who has the best credits song on the planet..."Bad Things" and oh god, the great Nick Cave cover She's Not There! There's
also Farscape's soundtrack, although they didn't have many songs, unfortunately. But a good soundtrack.

Anyhow...I need new songs. So I've a favor to ask to anyone who comes upon this post...and you can link to it, if you want:

Please provide...

1) Your favorite song for this year - the one that you listened to the most, that made you the most happy, that made you dance at your desk
2.) Your favorite tv show song - whether it be from Buffy or some other show.

See easy. Just two things. If I get five responders? I get five new songs...or maybe two, in case they pick ones I already own.

Oh and if you wish..the song you wish was nominated for a Grammy or already was...since they are coming up.

As someone told me a few weeks ago...music is like a lifeline to the soul. When people sing, you hear their soul. When they play the same. I can't sing, tone death, but the woman who told me this believes everyone can...they just need to learn how. I wish that were true. Sometimes I think it is.
shadowkat: (work/reading)
It's late and I'm restless. Taps internet impatiently. Did finish watch S3 of Fringe finally, very weird series. Impossible to follow if you don't start towards the end of S2. There is no way that show can attract new viewers. It's more complicated than a soap opera. It has dual universes. At the end of S3? It merged the universes. And introduced a whole new wrinkle about the first people, which frankly made no logical sense. Think LOST's bit with time travel and magnets but thrown into a meat grinder. It is brilliant in places, there's an episode in S3 that takes place in Olivia's mind that pays homage to Art Linkater's animated film about Dreams, Chris Nolan's Inception (someone on Fringe is a Nolan fan - there's a lot of Nolan references in that show), and Star Trek (although that may just be Leonard Nimoy's presence).

Been thinking about criticism.

Me to Momster: You need to be critical of entertainment medium. Of things. Of information. You can't just accept it at face value. Thinking it through is crucial. Regardless of what it is.
Momster: Except for politics apparently. People seem to take that at face value.

(Newt Gringrich won South Carolina. Momster isn't that upset, because it means the Republicans don't a viable candidate and well the Republican Establishment hates him.)
politics, look away, look away )

Anywho...criticism is important. Critical thinking is important. Particularly with all those choices. So much information is sent to us on a daily basis. On tv? At least in the states, we have more channels than I know what to do with. Then there's the internet, also lots of information, competing blogs, etc. I remember having a discussion with a professional film critic/reviewer and writer about this. This guy has a degree in film studies, he worked hard to hone his craft and he writes beautifully. No text-speak, OMG, or CAPS. He knows his craft. It's Glenn Kenny who once upon a time wrote for Premiere Magazine.

Me: Is it harder to get jobs as a professional writer/freelance writer now with the internet than it was before?
Glenn: Harder? Try impossible. It's harder for everyone. There's so much competition, mainly from amateur bloggers. People who have no background, no knowledge, no film history or literary history.

He's right. I've read some of the upstarts, who's idea of writing is well "OMG" or "EVERYONE, I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS!" They haven't honed their craft. You read some of them, and think, has this person read a variety of literature? Have they seen a variety of films? Go read Glenn Kenny, who I seldom agree with but has taken time with his craft. Or go read Rob Will Review - a guy who also honed his craft, read and watched a wide variety of series and has taken the time to explain what works and what doesn't in each in detail. He is more emotional in his reviews than Glenn, but he is also genuine. And blatantly honest. He's worked at it. Each review is different from the next. It's not boilerplate.
Rob is sort of like Mark Watches, except...more genuine, smarter, and a much better writer. Go read him instead.

I think reviewers and critics who make a living at their craft, require the same scrutiny and critique applied as those who make a living creating art. We are all evaluated at our jobs. I am.
You are. Whether it is as a student getting a grade, a teacher teaching a course, an actor playing a role, or a database builder - building a database. I do however agree with a poster, I think it was sue_world who told me a year ago that I shouldn't apply that level of criticism to fanfic or fan posts...she may be right about that. Should we be critical of the person who plays real well for free, who is doing it for love not money? After listening to a Harry Chapin Carpenter tune - Mr. Tanner several times at work...my ipod keeps landing on it for some reason...it strikes me that a line must be drawn.

Mr. Tanner )
It's a song about a man who sang in his free time and loved to sing. He makes the mistake at his friends bequest to sing at a public performance in front of a Simon Cowell style critic. The critics tear him apart. And as a result he never sings again.

Criticizing someone like Joss Whedon or MARK Watches or Steven Speilberg or Nora Roberts or Stephen King...or even Glenn Kenny, isn't a big deal, we should do that. But not someone who is merely blogging on lj, or blogger, who is not a professional. Is not making his livelyhood at it.

It reminds me of another song...this time by Joni Mitchell, as sung here by Mitchell and James Taylor:
Read more... )
This song expresses more than anything else...the pure pleasure of seeing art that one creates for nothing more than the love of it. To not make a dime. What I loved about the Buffy fandom that I discovered in 2001 was people wrote and blogged real good for free. Constructed websites. Created vids. And art. They did it for love. Not money. The only applause...the posts and comments they may or may not get in exchange.
shadowkat: (Tv shows)
Watching this extremely good HBO documentary on George Harrison and The Beatles which was done by Martin Scorsese, with Harrison's full participation before his death, that is entitled George Harrison: Living in a Material World. [Yes, that Martin Scorsese, which may explain why it is so good. Scorsese does understand how to do film editing. We have a brilliant filmmaker doing a film on a brilliant musician, doesn't get any better than that.]

Here's a great comment by Ringo about fame: "At first it's great, you get the best seat at the restaurant, the best car, get to go to the star's house, and then you just want it to all go away. You work really hard to get it, the fame, and then you do, and you wish it would just end, but it never really does - that's the deal." They got isolated and ended up hanging almost exclusively with each other because of that fame. Another story - when they went to NY for the first time, they got the entire floor at the Plaza Hotel, but they ended up all hanging out in the bathroom, because of the immense pressure outside.


George Harrison: "You do like the fans, and you don't really realize it's about you - that it's you who you are reading about in the paper, it seems to be about a whole another person."

Interviewer to George and Ringo: do you have a public persona?
Ringo: What public persona?
George: No, we're just us.
Ringo: Well we are, I don't know about the other two.

Ringo: George had two different personalities. There was the bag of beads personality who was really sweet and there was the bag of anger. He was very black and white.

George Martin: When I first met the Beatles in 1962, I wasn't terribly impressed. I didn't understand the sound they were doing. So I tried different things. Realized there was no real leader, and their voices blended best together. I took them around to the sound box and played a few things and said, listen, if there's anything you don't like tell us. And George said - "well, I don't like your tie for one thing", the others were horrified and thought they'd lost their chance, but I burst out laughing, that's when he endeared himself to me.


Documentaries are a mixed breed. You either end up with a lot of boring talking head, you just give views, or you get actually story - with photos, songs, and interviews - this is a biopic documentary, told in an almost half non-linear style, from the little seen perspective of George Harrison. It's quite informative.

Paul McCartney on song-writing, and George and Ringo. "We'd write the song in the morning. Come in the afternoon, share it with George and Ringo who had never seen it or the music and they'd immediately pick it up, that's how good they were. The song how I love her, George came up with the riff - dooodedooo.. and if you think about it, that's the song, and its there because he said it needed a riff, but I didn't write it, but that's how extremely good he was. " George was also the only one who could really play guitare - he taught John Lennon how to play. They got him in the beginning, this is back way before Ringo, because they needed a guitar player and neither of them were very good. [What I love most about the Beatles is they are all very aware of how talented and how necessary the other people were. They were also very different personalities and clashed. But hey, human. But unlike the Rolling Stones - you didn't have a clear front man, or clear leader, you had four people who were all in charge in a way. John and Paul leading as the writers at first. John, Paul, and George were all extreemly versatile and accomplished muscians outside of each other. And very different in what they wanted. This lead to a versatility you don't see in other bands like The Stones, who stayed together longer. Also the Beatles were very young when they hit it big and they continued to create amazing music in a various venues and styles up until their deaths or in Paul's case in his mid-60s. ]
Read more... )
shadowkat: (Ayra in shadow)
Feeling a bit culturally compulsive tonight - also bored of my television choices, so I read Neil Gaiman's journal and decided to ask him a question on his Doctor Who episode. He's taking questions. Mine aren't great and I'm hoping he didn't answer similar one's elsewhere. The first was about process - the degree to which Stephen Moffat and the show-runner contributes or influences a writer's episode and how much of it was influenced by Moffat to maintain the arc. The second was how he writes - what the jumping off point is - a specific theme or a character - ie. The Tardis. See, not great questions, but I was bored.

me and my weird music tastes and current addiction to downloading tunes from itunes, which I am stopping now! There has to be a free downloading music site somewhere on the net. )

Speaking of Repulsive? Read in the Metro that novelist Jonathan Lethem moved to LA from NYC, because NYC is repulsive with novelists. He's not wrong. In the last ten years - it seems as if anyone who ever got an MFA in Creative Writing or wanted one has moved to the city. I've never seen so many writer's meetup groups in my life.
shadowkat: (Calm)
Should make dinner soon. Have several things taping via DVR tonight...amongst them, yes, The Lady Gaga Monster Ball Concert in Madison Square Garden on HBO - it should be noted that the only other concert I taped and watched in recent memory was Madonna's Truth or Dare. Okay maybe not the only one. There's been other's I'm sure. Not a huge fan of going to concerts - find them noisy, overly crowded and not conducive to hearing let alone appreciating the actual music. There are exceptions. The best concert that I've ever been to - was in Wembley Stadium outside London, England in 1987, with Peter Gabriel - we had to stay seated, that is until surprise, surprise, out of the blue Kate Bush appeared and sang the last five numbers with Gabriel as an encore duet. Everyone stood up in unison, roared and light matches and Gabriel threw himself into the crowd and they caught him. Was quite the moment. Far and away better than the Pink Floyd reunion tour in 1988 at Denver Stadium. Or Aimee Mann's concert in NY. I wish I saw U2 at Red Rocks in 1986, but oh well. I like live music, I am just allergic to huge crowds, cheap beer (literally unless gluten free - I think Rolling Rock (which was all the rage, because we hated Coors) may have done me in), stadium food (see beer), and smoke.. and background noise and bad stereo feedback. This may explain why I hate fan conventions and avoid them like the plague.


But enuf of that. To the interesting stuff, before I race off to make myself something to eat. Sigh, I feel like I'm always eating. This would explain the expanding waistline, wouldn't it?

1. Glee - sigh. Hmmm...apparently they can only create one great episode a month or maybe every two months? This week's was sloppily written. On all counts. Bad bad episode. vague spoilers )
shadowkat: (smiling)
I don't usually do this but instead of just leaving after the concert, I descended the creaky wooden stairs to the undercroft and shook hands with Janis Ian. She's a small woman. Half my height. With pure white hair. And warm brown eyes. When she thanked me, I leaned forward and said, "you are one of the few singers that make me cry, and I've loved you since I was 15." And this incredibly warm and kind woman, who came up to my bellybutton, took my hand in both of hers and warmly thanked me, her eyes wet. She wore corderoys and a flannel shirt, no makeup. 60 years old.
With a voice that sounded the same as it did at 15. And she sang in my church, looking up at it in awe and a bit of foreboding. I kept wanting to tell her - it's Unitarian, we're pretty much all inclusive - ie. Jewish, all Christian, Buddhist, Cultural Humanist, Atheist, Agnostic, whatever your faith...you are welcome here. But hard to tell by the stained class, and deep mahogany wood.

It's hard to explain why this little woman is my hero, why I have loved her since the age of 15, and yet no one seemed to sing her songs in college, Dylan, yes, or Neil Young or Joni, but Janis Ian...seemed to sit lonely, her tape wedged between Tracey Chapman and Suzanne Vega, listened to until it broke. And the first song that I heard of her's? Taped off the radio at 15. Her voice is quiet like, and her songs pull at my heart. Ella Fitzgerald said Ian is one the best singer's out there, Chet Atkins stated, forget singing, have you heard her on guitar? Her first song? She wrote at the age of twelve. Her first concert at 14. Her first hit at 15. And a has-been at 16. She also has written science fiction short stories and is an avid sci-fi fan. Several Science Fiction Short Stories by Janis Ian and other sci-fi writers were published in 2003.

At the Toronto Sci-Fi Convention - she married her long term partner, Patricia. Then wrote a song about how interesting an experience it was to be treated like a normal couple in Toronto but no in the US. With dry wit and honesty, she made me laugh hard and cry, silently. I think the only other musician that I've seen in person that moved me in that way was Peter Gabriel way back in 1987 at Wembley Field Auditorium in London.

What follows are two songs, written at different time periods and sung at different ages, which explain better than anything else why this woman is a hero of mine and I love her.

The first song is about inter-racial love, the second about same-sex love. Both are about love and both are about society preventing it.

Janis Ian at 15 singing Society's Child on Smother's Brothers and years later in 2008 in the pouring rain at Groversnors Island, NY.




Janis Ian's story about marrying her long-time partner, and the song "Married in London" - regarding Gay Marriage:




I really hope both of these make it to LJ.
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