Tag Archives: music

Beyonce Makes Me Doubt My Womanhood

11 Nov

I feel like I would be more of a woman if I could gyrate like Beyonce.

We all feel this, right? It’s not just me.

I’ve been watching the Single Ladies video over and over again in awe.  I mean, I’ve seen it before – who hasn’t?  But I saw something or other for a recent video of hers, which inevitably led to Single Ladies sidebar suggestion, which inevitably led to me questioning my womanhood.

Take a moment.  Really, take a moment and just look at this madness.  Remind yourself of your inferiority.  Listen, you don’t have to watch the whole thing.  Watch from 0:51 – 0:58.   7 seconds is really all it takes to start doubting your femininity.  (If you’re a reader of the male equipping, you can just go ahead and enjoy it.)

Honestly, how does she even do that? I’ve seen women who can dance and then I’ve seen this detaching of the pelvis and whipping it around in circles.  It’s amazing.

Dave asked me last night why I was continually watching it and what exactly I was looking for.  Once I spotted the sequence, I shouted excitedly so he could come witness the magic.  He said, “what, the hip thing?”

“David.  That is so much more than ‘a hip thing’.”, I said.   “She’s swinging her pelvis around like it isn’t connected to anything else.  And then she just gets up and keeps whippin’ around.  It’s madness, I say.  MADNESS.”

Perhaps this is the reason he is with me.  He’s unaffected by the pelvic magic. The Beyonces of the world have no hold over him.  Which is a mighty good thing since I’m completely uninclined. In fact, I took a Modern Dance class my sophomore year in college just to challenge myself and smacked my head off the stage floor in the final.

There was an audience.  A fairly large one.

I got an A.  She noted in my final evaluation that I had great stage presence,  which is fantastic because I also had two left feet and an overwhelming inability to sense my surroundings.

I’ll admit that this past week I looked up a few YouTube videos with workouts that mirrored this sort of woman beastiness. I looked pathetic.  Also, the women in the videos are wearing very little so I also did a lot of feeling badly about myself while I jiggled.

So kudos to you, Beyonce – your hips have the power to make women doubt that they’re really women.  That’s a powerful quality indeed.   You keep on keepin’ on.  

I’ve got some weeping and jiggling to do. 

Unleashing My Inner Theater Yogi

29 Sep

I’m harboring a private desire to be a singer.

Not like an opera singer – that wouldn’t do anyone any good.  I would probably just spend all my time in my room singing ordinary songs in an operatic voice for my own amusement.  Things like Row Row Row Your Boat and Lady Gaga.

 I would much prefer a singer-songwriter chick voice.  Allow me to clarify: I do not mean the dark, pale, skinny kind.  They’ve got their own bag I suppose but it’s not a bag I’m interested in.  I’m talking about the ones that scurry around without a care in the world and then suddenly get all heavy-burdened and weary-of-this-world on you out of nowhere.  

I want that bag.

Of course, I’ll never get there.  I don’t play guitar, write songs, or really have any desire to do either in front of people.  But it would be cool to be the kind of person that could.  Because they’re so freaking intriguing and seemingly fantastic.  They’re probably a whole mess of crazy under all of it.

No, I should probably just embrace my type.  I am, after all, a theater person.  I will cherish that.  I will relish in my flowy clothes and freaky trinkets and accessories.  

I haven’t really been paying as much mind to my gigantic owl bracelet or enormous jellyfish earrings as I should be. 

Maybe I’ll just go full force and whisk around in all black and sporting yoga pants every day.  I could start wearing pashminas in the summertime too.  That will help.  And I can quote Shakespeare casually and say things that don’t make sense but look very stern while I do it and expect others to nod along.

Actually, maybe just embracing the stereotypical theater persona will be much more fun.  It’s much more natural, for sure.

It would be hard for me to stop walking around and spouting out cartoon voices all the time and I really don’t think that fits the whole “I’ve got deep scars” gig of the heavy-hearted guitar wielder.

I wonder if I can buy black yoga pants and pashminas in bulk. 

 

Sloop Jackie B

2 Aug

Once upon a time I attempted a Lollipop Tuesday where I sang at an open mic.  Unfortunately, there was a terrible turnout at the venue that evening and it didn’t feel quite worthy of a Lollipop Tuesday adventure.  So shortly thereafter I posted and asked my readers to vote on whether I should have to redo the event. 

And because 52.17% of you are heartless bastards, I had to do it again. So this past week I headed back out to the venue.  It felt kind of silly to just sing all over again but with more people present, so I decided to up the ante.

Exhibit A: The Poll

By rapping.

Happy Lollipop Tuesday folks.

Let me tell ya – if there’s anything that could get me more nervous than singing, it is certainly rapping.  Spitting.  Laying down some mad beats.  Because I’m super white.  Like, super duper white.  Not white like Eminem with the rhythm and the baggage and the anger and whatnot.  White like I looked up articles on line for how to rap better before I went out that night.

And then recorded myself on my webcam an played it back to write notes for myself.  Things like “drop voice more” and “don’t look so awkward” and “you’re doomed, cracker.”

You see, Dave has a song that has an alternate version.  He use to hang with a guy that called himself Moses McFly (I kid you not, he’s the raddest dude around) who loved one of his songs so much that he decided to pen a rap verse to it.   And truth be told, it’s pretty cool.  

You know, when he does it.

So with his blessing, I pulled out the piece of paper he Sharpied the lyrics on so long ago and began to try to lay down his mad rhymes.  It was a terrible, pathetic mess.  I tried so hard to fit all the words in the phrase but I just have no sense of rhythm or beat or anything pertinent to rap skills.  I had to break it down elementary music class style with tee’s and ta’s and whatnot.  

Finally I had to kick Dave out and tell him to take a walk because I was simply too mortified to do it in front of him with any sense of abandon.  While he was gone I decided I would have to make up a character for myself and just go for it.  So I put a hat on sideways and called myself Sloop Jackie B.

It was a Fossil hat.  It was white and fuzzy.  Almost crocheted, really, but it was the closest thing I had to a baseball cap with the sticker still on it.  

But it worked.  It really did.  I just decided to try to be the best rapper I possibly could instead of wallowing in how obviously terrible I was.   And it’s a darn good thing I put on my big girl pants and gave it a go because when I showed up at the bar that night there were three times as many people as usual.  The place was absolutely packed.  I walked in and my jaw dropped to the floor with the realization that I would have to follow through with my plans.  

Dave decided to do it quick like a Band-Aid and sign up 2nd on the list.  So before I could even think of relying on any liquid courage, I was up in front of the bar, explaining that I had a blog where I tried one new thing every week that I’m terrible at or have never done before and I share it with the world.  

Dave played, I rapped.  

I like, actually rapped.   I dropped my voice, put my hat on, put my lips right up against the mic like I was it’s middle school lover and I laid down the mad beats of one Mister Moses McFly.   It was by far one of the ballsiest things I’ve done in my Lollipop Tuesday saga.

The audience received it well.  You know, for the fact that I obviously was no good at it.  In fact, I got a lot of support from people I’d never met.  Dave was so excited about the whole thing he’s tried to get me to do it again. But let’s be clear: I have no plans to rap again. Sloop Jackie B isn’t cut out for the gangster life.

I mean, let’s get real: my gangster name was based on a song by the Beach Boys.

Jackie, African Drum Extraordinaire.

28 May

I have a djembe sitting in my living room that’s been staring at my face for an entire year.

Today's word is "djembe".

I bought the African drum last summer, thanks to a movie I watched called The Visitor.  In it, a reserved professor of something-or-other returns to his apartment after a long business trip and finds squatters.  One of whom just happens to play the djembe.  Instead of kicking them out, he decides to let them stay.  He also becomes one heck of a djembe player.

That’s not really how my djembe story goes.

I watched a movie, bought a djembe, played it once or twice, and then put it on a shelf where it’s been staring at me ever since.  It’s my drum of good intentions.  One day I’ll get the tutorial DVD for it and I’ll learn how to lay down some slammin’ African beats.  Or maybe I’ll go join a drum circle someday and learn from other players. 

So djembe it is.  I think I need to renew my commitment to it.   I’m not sure where to fit it in with the whole day job/2 film projects/daily blog thing, but my golly I have to because the guilt and silliness is building up and I can’t take it anymore.

I always thought it would be super cool to have a hidden, strange talent.  Not like tying a knot in a cherry stem with my tongue (I’ve tried – it’s not working out for me), but like fiddling or playing the bagpipes or being one heck of a step dancer.   I think the djembe fits the bill just fine.  I’ll look like a somewhat normal person, but in actuality, I could be a djembe-playing fool.  I could go out to open mics and sit in parks and strike the hide so well that even Dave stares at me in awe, attracted to my ongoing quirkiness and strange new attempts at human tricks.   And besides – being a mean djembe player is probably the last step in my transition into being a hippie.  …Well, it’s either that or I stop showering.

I think I prefer the djembe. 

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Rebecca Black & Spiderman the Musical: Is a Train Wreck an Instant Ticket to Fame?

26 Mar

We need to talk about Rebecca Black.

If you haven’t heard the most mediocre song in the world yet, join the millions who have.

You might need some time with it.   With hard-hitting, witty lyrics like “Yesterday was Thursday, Today is it Friday, Tomorrow is it Saturday, and Sunday comes after that”, I feel like I should give you time to digest.

I don’t want to talk about how much Rebecca Black does or does not suck or about whether or not people are being too hard on her.  She’s a 13-year old girl who showed up to an audition and had to choose between two songs that were already written and just needed a tween to represent them.  Do you understand that? She had the choice between two songs and she chose this one.

Imagine what the other song must have been.

She didn’t write the lyrics.  She didn’t say she was any good.  There were just some guys who thought they could throw autotune on that, stick her in front of America, and watch what happened..   We seem to be pretty all right with singers that sound like robots.

Don’t get me wrong – I hate the song with the firey rage of a thousand hellfire flames.   The video is a pathetic excuse for entertainment, and though she can certainly be blamed for the lack of enthusiasm and energy she shows in it, none of that is really relevant.   Because the point isn’t that it’s awful.  The point is that people are listening to it.

People are listening to her just because they think it sucks so much.  I’ll admit that the only reason I viewed it is because 20% of my friends’ Facebook statuses linked that video and something hilariously awful they had to say about it.

Her suckiness is viral gold.

Think about that.  Really stop and think about that.  Her video went from 4,000 to 70,000 views in one night.  The next morning, it had exploded into 200,000.   Now, it sits at 48 mill and climbing.  In spite of the fact that it has ~90,000 likes and ~766,000 dislikes it’s growing like a big, bad, mind-numbing monster.

Have you heard about Spiderman the musical?  It isn’t quite as high-profile as Rebecca Black given the nature of the medium, but suffice it to say it’s kinda in a similar boat.  After being plagued by severely injured actors, hiring a new writer, a new director, slashing ticket prices, pushing back opening dates, coming to a dead hault on final dress, and facing about 13 grand in OSHA violations, the musical is the costliest show to ever be produced on Broadway.  It will have to run 5 years at full capacity in order to make up the production cost alone.

That’s pretty sucky.

And you know what? People are going nuts over it.  When people spread news on Spiderman, it’s because they’re checking in on the next disaster.  High profile problems with the show keep people coming back to check for more.  The show is now running previews and is selling out.

That’s right; It’s selling out.

Whether or not it ends up being any good is irrelevant.  What put butts in the seats is people’s anticipation of disaster.  When polled during invited rehearsals, audience members claimed to have shown up because they heard what a mess it was and couldn’t wait to see it for themselves.

This just blows my mind.  And, quite frankly, scares the hell out of me.  Is this the future of entertainment? Is it possible that if you suck hard enough you can grab yourself a golden ticket to fame?

Rebecca Black could be just the beginning.  Imagine – an entire crop of tweens could take opportunity by the reigns.  Rich parents everywhere could throw money at producers and crank out an Auto-Tuned pieces of horror that will haunt our computers and social media.  And I, for one, am truly frightened.

Hey – this could be William Hung‘s big comeback. 

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I Will Never Be Smarter Than I Was in Third Grade

21 Mar

I was the smartest I’ll ever be in 3rd grade.  I’m sure of it.

Well, you know… relatively. When I was just a wee lass back in elementary school, they had this thing called the CAT test, which was an aptitude test they gave kids every few years to see how things were cooking in their cerebrums.    And when I was in the third grade, I aced it.  I got every single question right and was rated in the top 1% of third graders in the nation.

That was the shining moment of my brain’s career.

It really didn’t have much to do with me.  It had a lot to do with bopping from school to school and being lucky enough to have the last be a step ahead of the next.  And it had even more to do with my older brother teaching me his homework after school, which was 3 grades ahead of mine.

I was a super nerd and it was glorious.

So that was my moment: there in third grade.   Suddenly there was all this pressure to perform – and by the time I made it to the 6th grade aptitude test and ended up in the top 2% instead of the top 1%, it was clear things were headed quickly downhill.

After all this time, I’m finally on to the culprit for my brainpower’s slow decline over the years: Awful 90’s Music.

The decline of my brainpower directly correlates with the decline in quality of 90’s music.   You see, it wasn’t just that the music was bad.  It was that the music was bad and I liked it. There’s only so many times you can sing “Boom Boom Boom, I want a double boom” and “She had dumps like a truck, truck, truck” before something very real and very stupid happens to your brain cells.  I’m not sure if I can sue the 90’s music scene for damages, but I’m looking into it.  In the meantime, allow me to share with you some of the terrible 90’s songs that I *shudder* actually liked.

This isn’t an “all time worst” list by any means.  These are simply awful songs that I am embarrassed to say I enjoyed at one time.  And their videos are all awkward, to boot.  Real awkward.

Enjoy.  

Summer Girls by LFO

There were a lot of bad boy band songs in the 90’s, but I give a gold suck star to LFO’s Summer Girls for lack of effort.  They use all the same arm and hand movements, have a bad video with no cool dance moves, and managed to stick out for their bad lyrics in a time when all boy band songs had bad lyrics.

Dr. Jones by Aqua

A lot of people think “Barbie Girl” when they think Aqua, but at least that song was making fun of something.  I’m not so sure this song is making fun of anything.  In fact, it might actually have been them giving songwriting the good ol’ college try. I’m pretty embarrassed by this one.  Because I seriously liked it.  Watch the video; I dare you.

Boom Boom Boom Boom by Vengaboys

This is just a mess.  A big ol’ mess.  Terrible lyrics, some strange lesbian thing going on, and bad dancing.   But it has an infectious beat that digs into the deep recesses of your brain and doesn’t let go until you’re seriously stupid.

2 Become 1 – The Spice Girls

At the time, I didn’t realize how sexual this song was.  I find it amazing that the lyrics are “I wanna make love to you” and I didn’t catch on.  Even better is the part near the end where Baby Spice says “Be a little bit wiser baby, put it on, put it on”.  Condom reference? I think so.

The Bad Touch by Bloodhound Gang

It may not even be fair to list this one because obviously a bunch of guys in monkey suits don’t take themselves seriously.  But it was still an awful song and an awful video.   Someone must pay.

Lonely Swedish (The Bum Bum Song) by Tom Green

This one takes the cake.  Not only because it was massively idiotic, but because I thought it was funny.  And for a time, I thought Tom Green was funny.  And that pretty much gives you a good idea of what I was like in middle school.


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Orinoco Flow

23 Jan

Last night I got stressed and listened to Enya.

You know – pale faced, same-hair-for-20-years, Sail Away Enya.

It’s okay – I’m not ashamed.  There’s something very soothing about her carefully orchestrated harmonies with her own voice.   I mean, I have to admit that I have no idea what she’s saying half the time and I have absolutely no desire to change that.  She could be chanting some crazy Celtic witch curse into my ears and it would still calm my nerves at the end of a high blood pressure day.

I remember when I first heard an Enya song.  It was for a CD called “Pure Moods” that had its own infomercial trying to get people to dish out $17.99 plus shipping and handling (or $15.99 for cassette.  Cassette!) for what it called “the perfect soundtrack for your way of life.”   I wasn’t quite sure what that meant.  There’s a lot of chanting, humming, and tubular bells on this particular compilation.  What could America possibly have been doing in 1997 that made the Pure Moods Marketing Team think that this was the perfect soundtrack for its way of life? 

Apparently a lot of horseback riding and meditating in rooms full of candles.    Enya herself is featured in what appears to be a chalk pastel with a random hummingbird over her shoulder. 

Go ahead, take a look.  I’m sure you’ll remember it → Pure Moods

 No really, go ahead. I’ll wait.  I want you to experience the enchantment.

You really can’t beat the tactics there.  Did you hear what he was saying?! My favorite line is “Set adrift with the timeless pleasures of Tubular Bells”  I didn’t realize that Tubular Bells was a timeless pleasure.  And quite frankly I’m not so sure that I’m okay with people labeling things as timeless pleasures all willy-nilly like that.

A commercial like this really brings me back to the good ol’ times with my first cassette, which I stole from my older brother – Ace of Base.  Which I’m also not ashamed of.   Because the combination of their thick beats, sassy lyrics, and European chicks was too much to resist for almost anyone in the 90’s.   I specifically remember the junky little cassette player and headphones I had.  I would sit around flipping and playing it over and over again while penning in grammatical corrections to the lyrics on the insert.

Yes, I’m really that anal.

And yes, my brother was very, very unhappy with the discovery.

I’m curious – and after 2o something posts, I have yet to do one where I ask you about yourselves.  So tell me: what was your first record/8-track/cassette/CD/wondrous invisible music download?

Regale me.   I want to be regaled.

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