Monday, September 29, 2008

I'll tell you what I did this weekend......

I took up a series of relaxing perches in order to prepare to be the best wedding singer ever!!!!!!

Once we ushered off the new couple- congratulations Elizabeth and Brad - my family and I went up to Brown mountain where I fed apples to goats and tried to get a good profile shot of Nelson's overbite.














Thursday, September 25, 2008

Notes from the recording studio: Collapsable Studio 9/24/08

First, Michael took a nap.  He kept two thumbs up to illustrate his default opinion in regards to our mixing decisions.  He needed to conserve energy. 

Next, Jon took a nap and wedged his fist under his chin as if to appear thoughtful.  He was feeling weak because he had to get up "early" and "hates" the morning.


Then, Michael woke up and spun around in his chair wizard.  It made him feel sick.




And, don't worry, we did accomplish something when I realized that the tom toms sounded like "getty-up getty-up" and proceeded to work on my new dance routine.  If I didn't have to play the piano I would have more room to showcase my dancing abilities.



In other news, Sarah Palin made me feel sick today.

Please vote....please please please

It reminds me of the "one who got away."

Sometimes, presidents are like boyfriends: America's boyfriends.

This country had it right, then got its feelings hurt, then started dating an idiot. I miss Bill Clinton!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I am ready for Jumpsuits


I am guessing that everyone who reads this blog follows fashion and knows we are in the whirlwind of collection viewing.  Someday I will be blogging catwalk side, but I will still have to check out the collections on the internet afterwards because I can  barely see.  

But who  needs expensive pret-a-porter when you can have a jumpsuit!!!!!!!

Next order of business: last night I pinned up my unicorn poster and had a good cry, and this morning received a test message from my dear friend Sarahbrown that read: "Go to the magical horn of plenty, the unicornicopia.  Let the crystal tears come over you."




This topshop jumpsuit, as seen on style.com, is gonna be Asheville's new best friend.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Oh how the Bowerbird loves to decorate!!!!

Here is a video showing the male Bowerbird's bower that it has decorated. It likes to make a really nice display because the females are pretty into raising the kids alone.


I can't embed the most impressive video, but check it out, please because David Attenborough is kind of amazingly funny; he loves to just relax there on the moss. So yes, these cute birds and their fancy houses are my new best friends.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPbWJPsBPdA

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A little inspiration from band practice





And just in case you are one of those people who thought that Carmen Sandiego was the "good guy/girl." She wasn't. She was the one who was always stealing stuff: jeweles, countries, pyramids, etc.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Thank goodness Joti found me

From the beloved blog
http://thesartorialist.blogspot.com/ 
my grown-up fashion doppelganger  has been spotted.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cheetah Button makes breakfast

A little song to sing, while making breakfast, on an official Cheetah Button camping trip.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

It's only funny if you were there.......

Where are you going? Hopefully where the streams of Whiskey are flowing. Three year olds who like the Pogues can help you get there.



My band likes to get comfy when they practice. Notice how relaxed Michael Libramento is. You can tell by his nicely crossed ankles.




Sarahbrown will try anything once for fifteen minutes...


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Things I love about Karl Lagerfeld



He has a little pillow from his childhood that he snuggles when traveling.

He takes fantastically hot photos; it helps that the subjects are very attractive

He sticks with his look- note the above photo.

He is very liberal and speaks his mind.


try watching: Lagerfeld Confidential for more snippits like these one



a tiny tiny dog named Foxy Gentleman

In the above photo there is a tiny caterpillar sitting on one of my planters.  It happened to look a lot like foxy gentleman, who is smiling in the below picture.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Notes and observations on Bandazian and their latest album: O Pioneer



Hailing from the strangely diverse amalgamated suburbs of Washington, DC are four boys (men?) who have got it in their heads to live in this town, make music, and get it right and real.  Yes, I have met them.  I have sat while they praise and tease each other.  I have heard them draw a crowd.  I have seen them sad, happy, bored, and awkward.

 

First comes Ricky “the siphoner” Powderly, perpetually broke and homeless.  It seems no one sat him down and schooled him on how to write a pop song, yet he wields a knowledge and instinct most likely retained from his past life as Ian Curtis of Joy Division.  Here is the deal with Powderly’s (keys) talent: he knows when to stop, when to pull back, and that is what is just right with good rock and roll.  He brings the slightest variation to outlining a chord progression without overplaying, keeping a solid ground on which to build a song.  Listen to Clippership off of “O Pioneer” to hear Powderly work. 

 

With all of his wits about him, Timothy “the robot” Shull (bass) is the only member of Bandazian with a college degree and a full time job.  Though he has a degree in music, he returns to the point that it was NOT in performance.  Yes, he is irritatingly smart and seems to have a knowledge of music that informs the band’s decisions, but do we really need to be lectured on the history of rock and roll and the African Diaspora.  Maybe we do, maybe every band needs the one guy who can point out why exactly it is preferable to record on an out of tune piano.  I think Josephine off of O Pioneer is a good one to listen to if you want to hear Tim’s brain working.

 

The one and only Kevin “Krum” Rumley (beats) secretly runs this town.  Not even he knows it yet, but with a frequent high five and lavish praise he has won over many a cold cold heart.  Though he is a mere 23 years old, Krum has seen more than enough loss for one man. This is not the forum on which to elaborate, but take note that there is something in his playing, in his sensitivity as a drummer, that gives backbone to Bandazian’s music: a will to live and hit hard that comes from surviving tragedy.  A band is only as good as their drummer and thank goodness for these boys, Krum is their strongest asset.  Though Krum’s beats and playing give depth to every song, even if he is just shaking a tambourine, a great one to listen to is Cheap Champagne off of O pioneer. 

 

Alex “sensei” Keena  (leading/singing/guitaring/engineering), the one with the rat tail/mullet, has faithfully moved down to Asheville with his fiancĂ© after realizing that everyone in his band had left Virginia.  He is not a daft fellow by all means. He is quite the resourceful intelligent type, engineering local Richmond band’s albums on a pirated q-bass. Keena’s true gift, in my opinion, is his lyricism: telling the story that draws Bandazian’s music down through the layers of sediment to rest on bedrock. He has an ear for pop hooks and a blues infused voice to match.  If he danced like Yacht I am sure he would be a superstar by now, but all in due time.   I can’t pick one song out of the eight on O Pioneer to showcase Keena’s multifaceted talent.  Yup, you will have to put it on and listen to it all…..the….way….through!

 

When they self-released their first album, “in vacant fields” in 2006 they were young and green.  They had, “no reason to do it, we just wanted to make music,” notes Alex.  Not yet sure of what their sound actually was, Rick and Alex road-tripped to Iowa to find some inspiration and record, later Krum and Tim adding tracks. The album itself was the impetus for becoming a band. In Vacant Fields, has a lot of different ideas, it is almost an experiment in pop forms, but what it showcases is their natural talent for  arrangement.  It sounds good, tight, but a little unrealized, not yet the Bandazian I heard play last month.  That is not at all a bad thing, they are actually growing in each recording, which happens to be counterintuitive in the music business.  Many an indie band or a major band for that matter will put out  a great record and never live up to it.  Many of the bands they loved in High School: Smashing Pumpkins, Weezer, Pearl Jam etc, did just that.  why not keep making better and better albums?

The next year 2007, saw the win of a battle of the bands at the Orange Peel.  A fortuitous win brought them the experience of recording at Echo Mountain, having to write the songs in the few days before starting to record.  The Crocodile Tears EP is a four piece popping’ rock party, both pleasing to the ear and danceable.  Again the arrangements are quite impressive and I have a feeling that Krum’s beats have a lot to do with that. They are all without pretension, willing to learn and grow  and listen to each other.  There is not a lot of ego-driven bullshit that has the ability to stop musicians in their tracks and make them question everything too much.  They are fresh and wide-eyed, full of possibilities.

And now to “O Pioneer” the album they released this year. After scrapping the first draft of it, they found what they really wanted and raced the clock finding a lot of inspiration in the deadlines.  Wanna know what I think of it?  I love it:  it has overarching themes of faith, displacement, renewal, and individuation .  O Pioneer is a complete whole, it has a strong story arch that mirrors a life cycle, from birth to death;  and finds a way to be both pop sensitive as well as political and empathetic.   The songs tell both personal stories, as well as reach into the third person to find and tell the stories of others.  There is musicality in this album: interesting melodies, solid melodic and harmonic hooks, and great beats.  But the most important musical element I hear is simplicity.  There is a feeling of sonic space.  Their sound is stripped to its essential elements without being dumbed down. 

Without any kitsch or gimmicks to hook you in, like matching cardigans or pyrotechnics, these boys still manage to have something uniquely cohesive that identifies them.  They have an innocence and loyalty towards each other, they are brothers: stalwart and loving.   Before they get too big for their breeches, take some time and have a sing along with the boys of Bandazian.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My friend Saolo (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis)




My friend Saolo is one of the world's rarest animals, right up there with the Northern Hairy-nosed wombat and the dwarf blue sheep. The reason I love Saolo is becasue this little (200lb) ox-like thing had stayed away from western scientific discovery until 1992 and inhabits a very small chunk of Vietnam and Laos.


Because Saolo is so very rare and solitary, scientists keep trying to breed them in captivity, but they are sad, like unicorns, of being in captivity and die of sadness.

Monday, September 8, 2008

singing on Sunday in the sunshine


IMG_2679 124.JPG
Originally uploaded by osovagabundo

LAAFF (Lex Fest) seemed to be a huge success. I hope that everyone had their crazy asheville whacky fun. I am just glad I didn't get a sunburn.  Notice the necklace around my neck.  The gold seemed to rub off on my neck over the course of the evening and now I have necklace poisoning. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A slice of America for breakfast

On August 19th 2008 I woke up at 4am; dressed myself; stepped into a hired car and left Harlem to travel the fifteen minutes to the Meadowlands in NJ. A wave of nostalgia for India began at that sweet and quiet hour, a time for prayers and anticipation of the sun, and as I got closer to the gigantic sports complex, housing concerts, professional sports teams, all-American in its bloated enormity, I felt excited to witness the sun rise, something so simple, yet unique to my life stateside.

The car drove up and deposited me into a mass of thousands (actual thousands) of people all waiting with their friends and families, chatting and laughing in order to wait outside, then inside..all day,to sing for thirty seconds in front of tired and jaded judges. And what did I feel as I obediently listened to a 17 year old musical enthusiast rattle off the different parts she had played, giving examples, both speaking an singing?  What did I feel? Strangely, I felt an overwhelming love for each person there, each teenager with their delusions of grandeur, being fed the captivating and delirious praise for their talents by parents, friends, community members, etc.

Now, before you judge me, I have to get one thing straight: I did this because I wanted to see this massive longing. I wanted to know what it meant to stake claim on something that is more improbable than winning the lottery.  I needed the empirical data that comes with trying any and all strange things to find out that it doesn't fit, that it is the wrong path in  concept and reality.  I just needed to see for myself is all.  I did not audition for American Idol because I thought that it was the right path to a career in music, I tried out for American idol because I had to make sure that it was the wrong path to a career in music.

The sun came up bright and unclouded as these kids sang to each other and chatted about the process.  It kept breaking my heart at every turn.  This wasn't mass hysteria, it was just a massive amount of people who all wanted to be...singers.  Floating in this blissed out love for each of these quirky kids I walked into the arena.  We took our seats and proceeded to be lead through television show starts and stops while camera's panned and songs and chants were taught.  I actually found it funny, thousands of people singing "hit me with your best shot."

They set up thirteen tables in the middle of this huge sports arena and "producers" from the show sat at each table.  They would empty a section out into an organized chaos in front of these thirteen tables.  A group of four would step up and then each in turn would step even closer to the table to sing for about thirty seconds.  It was so weird watching this.  Well you all know that for me, "watching" isn't quite the right word.  I was listening to all of these singers and then the "audience's" reaction.  Those who had pretty good eyes  could see who was sent to the next round of competition and who was sent home. Most everyone was sent home.  A couple dumb f-ers would sing terrible in some awful costume and get sent to the next round as the thousands of waiting auditioners would boo to the judges.  Honestly, there wasn't that much that sounded great, but every once in a while I would hear something lovely and my friendly seat neighbor would tell me they got sent home and then a chorus of disappointed "boos" would echo.  Everyone was very involved in each person's performance.  How strange we all witnessed this together.


Still feeling this love for each and all, a helpful and balanced irony kicked into accompany the former emotion.  I started to feel so thankful that I was actually living my dream. I was singing.  I was recording, for myself and assisting others.  I was doing what I loved to do.  I took my turn in solidarity with the impossible and irrational dream
of stardom.

I sang thirty seconds, impeccably pitched and deeply felt.

I smiled at the compliments on my "unique and beautiful voice."

I nodded to say goodbye to my comrades who were also, "not what we are looking for, for the show."

Then I went back to Harlem, had a glass of wine, and made dinner with my best friends, only a little bit embarrassed that I had actually "wasted" an entire day to audition for American Idol.