Thursday, June 25, 2009


This has got to be one of the most monumental days for pop music. Michael Jackson has died. I'm still in complete shock over it. It's just somehow unbelievable that someone who seemed so immortal is gone.

He was not a perfect person. We all know this. But he was an AMAZING performer and musician. He will be missed.

He will always be our King of Pop.

Here's my favorite song of his. I'll be listening to it all day today. Sadly, there was never a video for it, but this is a nice retrospective of all the different Michaels we've seen over the years.

And no tribute would be complete without the two of his biggest (and longest) videos:


Watch Michael Jackson - Thriller (Full Length) in Music  |  View More Free Videos Online at

Bad (directed by Scorsese, feat. Wesley Snipes)
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Favor

I don't do this very often, but I'm about to get real personal on this blog.

When I was in undergrad, I became friends with a fabulous, gorgeous mezzo named Jamie who was married to an equally fabulous man named Jimmy. A few years ago, we lost Jimmy to suicide. You never think that it will happen to anyone that you know. You never think that it could happen to you or the ones that you love. But it does. It affects so many people in our country. Someone dies from suicide every 16 minutes. This statistic boggles my mind.

So this weekend, I'm walking in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's "Out of the Darkness Overnight" in memory of Jimmy and for all the people that struggle with suicide and depression. I would really appreciate any donations possible, and please know that every little bit helps. If you can't donate yourself, please spread the word.

It will make a world of difference and can help save someone's life.

Please donate to my page here

Many Thanks,

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Another Week Gone By

It has been a really LONG week, hence no posting. I'm wrapping up a set of concerts tonight in Millennium Park so next week, it'll be back to regular postings. For now, to tide you over, here's a little somethin' somethin' to remind everyone that summertime is finally here in Chicago! Now, you'll have to excuse me while I put off my homework (again) to go play in the sunshine. (This video makes me miss Daytona...almost.)

You know what else comes with summer? Dating. And with dating comes crushes, expectations, excitement, and heartbreak. Here's one of my favorite slam poets, Big Poppa E. It pretty much sums up what I'd like to find right now. *sigh* I mean, really? What girl wouldn't want to make a fort with the guy she likes?

So what are you all waiting around here for? Get out there! It's summer!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Fight

I have been fighting so hard to ignore Lady GaGa. She's all over the damn place, but after what I saw today, I had to post.

The girl is talented. There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind. She's truly outrageous (in that Jem kinda way) and I'm slowly falling in love with her. This will probably be the first of many posts that I will write.

But at least it's better than the Kenny Chesney concert that I'm forced to listen to right now. He's playing at Soldier Field and there is no escaping what is coming in from my porch. *sigh* (actually, to tell the absolute truth...I started up the grill and have been eating my dinner on the porch listening to the crowd singing along. It's not as bad as I thought)


The girl is crazy. I love her. Found another acoustic version which is a bit more raw and edgy than the one up above. Take a look. Very interesting to see how she can differ her artistic interpretation of the same song.


The weather in Chicago these past few weeks has sucked. Today was no exception. It's been raining all morning long, and I have yet to even open one book to start my homework. It's been one of those days where I've just been ruminating on things that I shouldn't be reflecting on. But from stormy skies and rainy days come better Missy.

I've been meaning to write a blog post exonerating all the amazing creativity that comes from this one woman. Missy Elliott is one of the few women artists that I truly respect and admire. Every video she puts out is unique and surprising. She is a woman who is always ahead of her time.

When The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly) first came out back in 1997, everyone was amazed at the trashbag on her body, the stopmotion camera work, and the overall weird feel of the video. Nothing like this had ever really been seen before in the pop music of the 90's. The angles of her body, the overly magnified facial features, and futuristic sets all came from the genius mind of Hype Williams, who's worked with the likes of Kanye West, Jamie Foxx, t.A.T.u., and Coldplay. Check out his extensive videography here.

What many people don't realize however, is that producer Timbaland sampled the chorus from an old 70's hit by Ann Peebles. Check out the original song along with some pictures of Ann from back in the day.

What can I say? Homegirl can still work it after all these years. (There's some great footage at the beginning of this next video of the the writers talking about what inspired them to write this song followed by Ms. Peebles singing it live. Definitely worth watching.)

So yes, the rain and haunting memories might suck right now, but there's always something just a bit better right around the corner, like the afternoon sunshine that's finally breaking through all these damn clouds.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

On Being a Student

It sucks being a broke student, having to wait on money that you know is coming (thank you financial aid office), but just unsure of when it is coming (again, thanks a lot financial aid. really. any day now would be great.)

So to rejoice in all that is great (and awful) about being a student, I give you:

It's a classic that everyone knows and loves, For the Love of Money by The O'Jays.

Some days, I really wish I had been born just a few years earlier. The 70's look so fun, what with their sparkly suits and big hair. Of course, it was far from perfect though, with a crap economy, continual struggle for civil rights, and oh yeah, a little something called the Vietnam War.

But still, I would love to go back just for one day to experience what our culture was like back then. Pop music was made for celebrating good times (and bad), artists weren't afraid to sweat on stage to put on a good show, and there was no such thing as lip-synching. Musicians knew how to really play live and having a brass section backing you up meant you were the shit. Funk was truly badass.

I can haz disco nau plz?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Something Brand New

Today you get two posts for the price of one!

I have to admit though, I'm not too thrilled about this second post of mine. DMB has released their first video off of their newest album Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King. The song, Funny the Way it is, has already become a great summer anthem among fans and the general public alike. But I was in for a shock when I clicked play.

Unfortunately, I'm unable to post the video itself yet. Here's the link to watch it. Take a look and you tell me. Just what in the hell were they thinking?

#1 Crush

In grade school, I was the girl who ran around the playground in pigtails trying to kiss the boys (and even planted one on a few of them). In high school, I had my first love that broke my heart multiple times. College came and went by in a non-dating blur, and here I am now, at thirty-years-old with those same stupid feelings; the fascination that comes with getting to know someone, your pulse quickening when they enter a room, and all the angsty stupidity that makes you feel like you have the self-esteem of a sixteen-year-old.

Having a crush sucks. Truly.

But having a crush when you're a girl especially sucks because there's nothing you can do. You have to sit around and wait, hoping that the guy down the hall will glance your way and see something special, something out of the ordinary. You aren't supposed to make the first move. The men are the ones who are supposed to do the chasing. Which leaves the girls to their own devices...

So all you can do as a girl, is think. Which complicates things. Which is stupid.

At my angst-iest, I was in high school. It was the late 1990's and my world revolved around boys and music (has much changed? yeah, that would be a big NO). When I was angry and needed to feel like a total badass chick, I rocked out to Garbage. Shirley Manson was my idol with her fiery red hair, heavy blue eye makeup, and black fingernail polish. There was something so primal about her attitude and her sexuality was able to break through the ugly grunge-pop mold of bands at the time.

What I love most about Stupid Girl, is the worn, used feel of the visual textures against the lyrics of the song. The scratched in text blocking the views of the band adds even more grit to the words being sung.

"You stupid girl
All you had you wasted"

"Don't believe in love
Don't believe in hate
Don't believe in anything
That you can't waste"

The video itself is a performance piece, inspired by the title sequence from David Fincher's 1995 movie Se7en. The clip was shot in just four hours entirely within a warehouse. Samuel Bayer, the video's director, cut the film into pieces, and soaked it in his bath, applying deliberate fingerprints and abrasions to the footage before putting it back together by hand.

Shirley Manson is quoted as saying the song is an "anthem for a girl who won't settle for less than what she wants."

Now, that's my type of song.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Deviation from the Norm

I know some pretty amazing people in my life; writers, musicians, health care professionals, computer geeks, historians, designers of different forms, scientists, singers, and teachers. All of these people bring me inspiration in some way and I'm always surprised when the smallest of details can make such a huge impact in my life.

My friend Erich is visiting me from Texas. He has a friend named Sara.

Sara has to be the most amazing person I've ever come across in my entire life. She is the embodiment of creativity. She writes and performs her own music; she sings, plays cello, guitar, and piano. She is a yoga instructor and competes nationally, has a master's degree in environmental science, and to top it all off, she is a phenomenal professional photographer. Her attention to detail and keen eye make me want to weep. I hope someday that I can meet her in person, but for now I'll be content to follow her blog, listen to her music, see the photographs she takes, and watch the creativity pour forth, knowing that she's inspiring people everywhere.

Take Me Down (the track on her photography page) has to be one of the most gorgeous pieces of adult contemporary music I've heard in the last decade. There's a sweetness to her voice that is undeniably honest and full of warmth. Her musicianship is impeccable and her lyricism poetic.

Unfortunately, Sara doesn't have a music video (yet?), but I felt that she is someone we all should look to for the inspiration we need.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Goodness in the World

Did I mention that the new Dave Matthews Band CD is out today? Yeah, it is. And I have zero dollars to buy it. 'Tis a sad day indeed.

So instead, I'm just going to post another wonderful video, Everyday.
(I promise that this blog will not become a shrine to all that good and beautiful about the DMB)

The video features actor/comedian Judah Friedlander in the act of doing one of the most simple and humane things that anyone can do, giving a hug. After his first minute and twenty seconds of unsuccessful attempts, he finally gets some. Dave's lyrics of "all you need is, what you want is, all you need is love" are a powerful statement (as were the Beatles back in 1967) and take on a whole different meaning when that little old granny finally gives in and says yes. And later come the celebrities...Conan O'Brien, Vincent Pastore, Sheryl Crow, Blue Man Group, Tiki Barber and Hallie Kate Eisenberg, as well as the band themselves.

I love the fact that this video makes me think. I spend everyday commuting on a bus, my earbuds in my ears, not paying attention to those around me. Most of the other riders are also in that same catatonic state. Simple conversation has become a lost art. So what would happen if I were to turn down the music for a moment to say hello?

So get out there. Hug someone today. I dare you.

Bonus DMB trivia about Everyday:
When the song is played live, the song "#36" is mixed in with the song "Everyday." It is also a tradition for the crowd to sing, "Hani, Hani, [sometimes transcribed as 'Honey, Honey'] Come and dance with me" during the parts of the song that #36 mixes in with. The song "#36" was written in response to the assassination of Chris Hani, who worked to end South African apartheid (as Dave himself is from South Africa). Here's a clip of a live concert where the audience begins the familiar mix of songs. This is exactly why I go to Dave concerts. The play between the band and audience is beautiful to be a part of and there's a mutual love and respect that you can't find in most performing acts today.

Monday, June 1, 2009


I'm finally back from vacation and it's time for another round of videos! There's nothing like a summer trip to get out of the city and into nature. I spent the past week whitewater rafting in the woods of West Virginia, and made close friends with the bugs that inhabited my cabin and bathing area. As much as I love being in nature, it's really great to be home and showering without all the spiders. Did I mention I'm deathly afraid of spiders? Yeah. I showered quickly out there.

For me, summers always consist of two things: Grant Park and DMB.

From June through August, I sing with the chorus of the Grant Park Music Festival in Millennium Park. It's one of the best classical singing gigs in the city. And for those of you in the area, the concerts are FREE. So come check it out, and let me know when. I may just meet you out on the lawn afterward.

Summers also mean that the Dave Matthews Band is on tour! I've been a fan of DMB for over twelve years now, and my dream is to someday see them live at their three day at the Gorge Amphitheater in Washington. For now though, I'll have to settle for the videos.

One of the first Dave songs that I fell in love with was Crash Into Me, a staple in any DMB fan's playlist. The band is known for their inspired (though not always sensible) lyrics and use of nursery rhymes. What I love them best for though, is their artistry.

Crash Into Me is a serene song and the video follows suit. Hazy pictures of the band in the woods, nymph-like dancers, and a skirt made of violins show the playful, creative side of the group. What's so extraordinary about this video though is the use of camera focus. It's never static and always showing us a picture that is worth a thousand words. The slightest shift brings the curve of a violin, the face paint of a geisha, or one of the band members paying homage to the instrument that enlivens him.

The other beautifully artistic choice made for this video is the use of sexual tension drawn from simplicity. There is no nudity, or overly vulgar, sexed-up women in bathings suits playing the saxophone (old skool style). The women are covered head to toe in full length gowns and costumes, and their makeup is other worldly. The sexual charge comes from small nuances (such as the almost parting legs of the geishas) and the exquisite lyrics themselves:

You've got your ball
You’ve got your chain
Tied to me tight tie me up again
Who's got their claws
In you my friend
Into your heart I'll beat again
Sweet like candy to my soul
Sweet you rock
And sweet you roll
Lost for you I'm so lost for you
You come crash into me
And I come into you,
I come into you
In a boys dream
In a boys dream

Touch your lips just so I know
In your eyes, love, it glows so
I'm bare-boned and crazy for you
When you come crash
Into me, baby
And I come into you
In a boys dream
In a boys dream
If I've gone overboard
Then I'm begging you
To forgive me
In my haste
When I'm holding you so girl...
Close to me

Oh and you come crash
Into me, baby
And I come into you
Hike up your skirt a little more
And show the world to me
Hike up your skirt a little more
And show your world to me
In a boys dream... In a boys dream

Oh I watch you there
Through the window
And I stare at you
You wear nothing but you
Wear it so well
Tied up and twisted,
The way I'd like to be
For you, for me, come crash
Into me

Tonight the band is playing a live concert at the Beacon Theater and you can watch it here on hulu for free starting at 9 pm (but of course, I have rehearsal). Tomorrow, the band's newest album Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King (an almost memorial album for LeRoi Moore, the band's Saxophonist who died last August) will be available for sale.

And of course, since this is a DMB post, there must be bonus videos! Here's almost twenty full minutes of the band from their free live concert at Central Park.