Monday, October 12, 2015

Bits & Pieces

1. Whoa, it's been a while, right? Let's get caught up with all the voices in my head, or at least 10 of them:

2. A quote that I have been thinking a lot about lately, in regards to blogging and interneting and well, life in general is, "Don't trade in your authenticity for approval." So easy to pin to a Pinterest board, or whatever the kids are doing these days, so hard to actually figure out it all out. 

3. A little part of my soul dies whenever a friend starts posting about the latest and greatest multi-level marking thing. I mean, I do wanted to support my friends in their endeavors in life, even if I might question the business practices of some of these ventures, but sometimes it just feels like I am being moved from "person I might care about' to "source of income." So I guess I am just taking a polling on how much guilt I need to feel when I start to quietly hide all their status updates?

4. Newest addition to the list of things that make me irrationally nervous: my horoscope is getting closer and closer to the top of the page of that free newspaper that they give out on the Metro. That means my birthday is getting closer, and with that all the pressure of doing something big and exciting for the big day, and 98% of these big things are really for other people, because dude, sleeping in and eating a piece of cake is really your jam, but that sounds so boring, and you are still wild and wondrous (no, wait, that might be West Virginia), and you you can't have a boring birthday,  YOLO you know, and what have you even done with your life . . . See why I'm nervous?  

 Also on my nervous list are "hummus" recipes that don't include chickpeas. It's like they are totally trying to trick you.  Zucchini Hummus? What even are you?

5. I know that running barefoot is a thing, and that people have been doing even since man took his first breathe,  and yadda, yadda, yadda, but every time I see someone running barefoot, even if they are obviously a "runner" aka, running on a trail, running in full running gear, maybe even with a sporty headband and water-bottle-fanny-pack, I always have to fight the urge to stop them and ask, "Are you OK? Do you need help? Is your house on fire?" Because really the only rational that my head can handle for running barefoot is that your house is fire.

6. I had a very adult moment the other day: I was about to stop a running nose with my sleeve, and then I thought, "No, I shall use a tissue." I'm growing up so fast y'all.

7. I am watching The West Wing on Netflix, and  I forgot how good it is! So good, (clap my hands) especially if you like political dramas. I remember watching it when it came out, many, many years before I even thought about working in DC, but I think it subconsciously taught me a very important lesson: one of the greatest skills that you can have working in politics is the ability to walk, talk, and grab and hand off folders all at the same time. I am pretty sure, 85% of the action  of this TV show involves this cycle of events, and I am also sure that a large percentage of my actual job involves these things. Also, one of the main characters is played by Rob Lowe, and Nick Offerman guest stars on one of the first episodes as a constituent who is pushing for a special highway just for wolves. Yes, a highway for wolves. And I was like, WAIT. Is this the beginning of Parks and Rec?

8. Today in the US, it is Columbus Day. And since this is somewhat of a controversial holiday, I am choosing to celebration Canadian Thanksgiving instead because the calendar tells me that it is also today, and plus, I am pretty thankful for Canada. They super fine upstairs neighbors, they have poutine and ketchup flavored potato chips, they gave us both Anne of Green Gables and the band Arcade Fire, and I feel like  any "thanksgiving" holiday is a free pass to eat pie.

9.   I've been told that they are loads of pro's about being married, but the fact that I haven't emptied the dishwasher that has had clean dishes in it for like over a day now, and have been just picking out the clean forks out whenever I need one, and there is no one here to judge me for that, is kinda a BIG pro on staying single. But now that I have told all of the internets, I guess I should probably just go and empty it for real.

10. I've switched Sirsi's accent of my phone from an American accent to an Australian accent , basically so I can feel extra fancy when she gives me driving directions, because we all know, accents =  mucho fancy points. But I've discovered that she now, in her new accent,  pronounces Missouri, as Missour-ah, like the locals do. So, there's that. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Sunday Inspiration

If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. 

You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime.

I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories — science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.

— Ray Bradbury

Monday, May 25, 2015

Weekly Playlist: Current Faves

A couple, or 5, tunes soundtracking the parade which is my life this week:

1. Hard Wire--Shakey Graves
I saw Shakey Graves back in March in one of my favorite shows this year. If you have been to enough concerts with me, you know that I tend to bite my bottom lip to try to keep inside all my fangirl glee, and the glee was so strong that March night, that I am completely surprised that I didn't bite right through my lip. Hard Wired, off of his 2014 album, And the War Come,  was one of the last songs performed that night.  It turned into a beautiful sing-a-long with the crowd and it was just the perfect moment. And when you find a song that brings a perfect moment, you kinda have keep playing it.  

2. Strangers--Langhorne Slim & The Law
I've been a fan of Langhorne Slim since I heard his song "My Future," which is a cover of the old Blues "Future Blues", I mean you have to love a guy that has an appreciation of the Blues.  His new album, The Spirit Moves, doesn't come out until August, but the first single, "Strangers" was released last week, and I have played it so much, that I am pretty sure that all my neighbors now know it by heart. And that is what I call community service. 

3. Things Happen-Dawes
Dawes' songs always seem to have the perfect combination of sadness, introspective and truth in them, that makes you just want to shout AMEN, at the end of each performance.  Their new album, All Your Favorite Bands, comes out next week, but is streaming this week over at NPR. SPOILER ALERT: they will be making an appearance shortly in my Adventures in Audio series!

4.  One Last Look--Tom Waits
Did you catch Tom Waits on one of the last shows of David Letterman? Now, I know that he can be an acquired taste. I have a friend who swears he sounds like Cookie Monster, which I can never tell if that is an insult or a compliment, but I always response declaration with, "Well, then Cookie Monster is cooler then us all."  I love pretty much every note that Mr. Waits has ever sang, and holy cow, his performance of a new song, "One Last Look," on Letterman brought tears to my eyes. 

5. Mr. Tambourine Man--Bob Dylan
This past Sunday was Bob Dylan's birthday, so I spent a little bit of the long weekend listening to his greatest hits and watching some footage of his 1964 performance at the Newport Folk Festival. So great. So. Great. I can barely stand it. And there is a bonus in this clip: a young Pete Seeger!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday Inspiration

Do one thing every day that scares you.
--Eleanor Roosevelt

In the Del Ray Neighborhood of Alexandria, VA there is a huge chalkboard and in big letters across the top of the board reads: I wish I had the courage to:

The rest of the board, called The Courage Wall, is filled with declarations from the public of things that they fear. It seems like such a simple thing, picking up a piece of chalk and writing a couple of words. But giving light to the things that we hide in the dark can be a pretty powerful.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Adventures in Audio-Catch Up: Part III: 14-18

Continuing on my quest to catch live music at 50 different venues:

Adventures in Audio 14: Parquet Courts at The Black Cat. Stupid fun. U Street at midnight on a Saturday night may be becoming one of my favorite things. A city so alive

Adventures in Audio 15: A community dance party in the courtyard of the American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery. A live band brought the funk and DJs spinned Soul music from the 60's and 70's and so, so, many people danced their feet off. Gosh, I sure love this city.

Adventures in Audio 16: My Morning Jacket at the Global Citizens 2015 Earth Day Concert at this rad new venue called The National Mall. See also, my first sunburn on the season.

Adventures in Audio 17: Local bluegrass/roots band Dead Man's Hollow at my neighbor public library. I love that libraries are becoming more and more community art centers.

Adventures in Audio 18: DC Funk Parade down U Street. That's right. Funk. Parade. In addition to the parade led by this awesome all woman percussion band, there were street musicians and performances a plenty and many of the clubs along U Street opened their doors for free shows.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Weekly Playlist: Lady Sings the Blues

I have always thought and felt that there is something powerful  about a woman singing the blues.  In his book, “The Land where the Blues Began,” the great American music folklorist Alan Lomax recounts his travels collecting stories and recordings of and  from some of this country’s earliest blues singers  in the Mississippi Delta region. It is both a beautiful and heartbreaking book, showcasing  the rich cultural history of this country, alongside some the harshest and most horrible pages of that same history.  I don’t have any thing close to answers, but I find it interesting to think about why and how beauty can come from deep suffering, and why art can be a survival mechanism.  Huh. But, circling back to the Lomax’s book, in one of my favorite passages, he talks about how The Blues were a popular form of worship in the poor rural churches, and it was the women in the audience that would spontaneously start singing when they were moved to. There are just some sorrows that you can’t keep inside. They are just some pains that you have to sing, lone words just can’t reach some depths.  Then the idea of organized gospel choirs and their mostly male choir leaders came into fashion, and well, women singing The Blues from the pews faded out.  But women singing The Blues didn’t die out. In fact, in many cases, they got moved into the national spotlight. In the first half the 20th century, there was a whole slew of amazing women Blues singers, singing of all the complexities of life, aka, not all women are saints sitting in church pews. Here is just a few of my favorites: 

  1. St Louis Blues—Bessie Smith. This is actually one of favorite all time ever Blues songs. Bessie's  sad, deep roar, matched by the moan of the trumpet, it all gets me every time.

  2. Crazy Blues—Mamie Smith. If you ever been in love with someone who is bad for you--your heart has beat to this song.

  3. Lady Sings the Blues--Billie Holiday. This song is pretty much flawless. THE END. 

  4. Crazy Cryin' Blues--Memphis Minnie. Not only could she sing like the best of them, but she could also play the guitar like the barn was on fire!

    5. Deep Moaning Blues--Ma Rainey. Ma Rainey was one of the earliest Blues singers and is often referred to as the Mother of the Blues. Her booming voice and dynamic stage presence really set the stage for so many after her and also the foundation for so much of our modern music. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday Inspiration

"for whatever we lose (like a you or a me),
it's always our self we find in the sea."
--e.e. Cummins

The first 12 years of my life were spent in the sunny land of Southern California. Every summer my family would spend a long weekend or maybe even a week camping on the beach. I still hold these simple sand filled vacations as some of the happiness moments of my childhood.  I can remember lying on the beach and closing my eyes, listening to the waves coming and going and believing those tides were the earth's deep breathes, in and out, in and out, and it so calming and so deep. 

My beach umbrella and beach chairs are already packed in the trunk of my car, but it might be a little while before beach days get penciled onto my calendar.  But that hasn't stopped me from searching out the peacefulness of bodies of water.  I started to take walks down to the Potomac River on Sundays mornings and it has become a favorite and needed weekly routine. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Dream A Little Dream

Dreams, the sleepy nighttime ones, are funny things aren’t they?  I know people who don’t dream or at least don’t remember dreaming. I have a friend who only really dreams when she is on medication. I, on the other hand, have always lived in a world of dreams. Sometimes I only remember my dreams for a split second after waking up, like my subconscious is all, “Oh, she’s waking up! Quick, shut this party down,” and I can only glimpse the last few stragglers as they slip into morning light.  But other times dreams stay with me well after my eyes open and my feet hit the ground for the day.  I still remember dreams, both of the beautiful and frightful kind, that I had as a child many moons ago. Some of these remembrances are still so vivid that, honestly, there are a few hazy memories that I still don’t know with 100% assurance if they happened in waking hours or in slumber.  At times I try to tame my dreams and tell them what worlds I wish like to visit that night,  like dreaming is one of those tattered choose your own adventure books, or a menu of streaming videos to pick and choose from. But much like it sisters fate and destiny, dreams most often are wild, bow to few masters and stubbornly do whatever they well please.  But I find it so deeply interesting that we keep telling ourselves stories, even when are sleeping, as if our existence maniacally depends on that the stories keep going.   Part of me wants to know why we dream and what those dreams say about ourselves or their place in our own personal mythologies. They must mean something, there must be a reason, a purpose, a big old WHY, supernaturally, evolutionary, medically,  we dream.  But then there is the part of me that tells that other part to stop asking so many questions and just let the dreams spin their webs. 
 Two Recent Dreams.  
The first one starts out pretty dark, finding my dream self in an awful situation, a scary predicament that I hope that my awake self never find it’s self in. But in this midst of all this, enters in a favorite singer/songwriter and band of mine, who see me in my dire straits and tells me, “We will help you. We will get you at of this.” And they did just that.  Which singer/songwriter and/or band  really isn’t the point, let’s just say the really hero, for me at least, is music, in general, in entirety. It was like a physical manifestation of all those many times that the words and music of others have helped me.  
The second dream finds me throwing a dinner party in my current and still pretty new to me apartment. Filling the chairs around the dinning set that I grew with as a child are friends from many chapters of my life: Missouri friends,  DC friends from my first stint here, and friends that I have only know for a couple months.  I didn’t catch the exact menu, except for a huge pot of mashed potatoes on the stove, but I have been known to dream about potatoes, so that is really nothing new, but there were plates and bowls and pitchers, seemingly overflowing and seemingly everywhere.   A bountiful feast for my tribe. And even though this dream was dreamt several months ago, I still remember waking up with my chest almost bursting with happiness. 
You Are My Constant.
One of my favorite episodes of the television show LOST was an episode in the fourth season called “The Constant.” In this episode, the character Desmond, and his Scottish accent, time traveled—kinda, LOST was a wacky show—back and forth between roughly 1996 and 2004, and it’s confusing and a little terrifying.  But in all this chaos and turmoil there was one constant, present in all the different time jumps, his love interest, Penny,  that served as an anchor to keep him from spirally uncontrollably into this time warp.   I have never time traveled, so I can’t compare it to dreaming, but who is say that dreaming isn’t a sort of travel between selves or different lives that could have been lived , whoa, did that just get weird?  But I love that music and friendships are my constants in both in my wide awake life and my life of repose,  bringing  me heaps and heaps of joy, and keeping me anchored safely from the winds of both worlds.   

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunday Inspiration

Poetry knew where hope lived and could elicit that lump in the throat that reminds me it’s all worth it. 
This quote is from this beautiful article about how a mother used poetry to reach out to her struggling daughter.   Poetry, and well, almost all forms of art, might just be some of the truest of storytellers, letting us know that hope can spring from even the darkest pain. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Lend Me Your Ears: The Local Strangers

Around these parts, Winter has been a pretty fierce beast. Brutal temperatures, streets covered in snow and ice, people covered in layer after layer of hats and scarves and there even seems to be a little coating of  weariness settling over people, places and things.  Days and nights turn into scavenger hunts for warmth: steamy beverages, thick wool socks and even music to warm the bones as we all pray for hibernation and the hope that maybe one day soon our  bare feet will be buried deep in warm beach sand.  

Today, Seattle, Washington’s The Local Strangers, released their newest album, Take What You Can Carry, breathing warmth into  these frosty days. The album includes 2 discs  filled with new, carefully crafted songs showcasing Aubrey Zoli's and Matt Hart's signature soulful harmonies. The first disc finds the duo backed up by a full band,  and the second disc shares acoustic and live versions of many of the same songs from the first disc, testifying that there are many  ways to tell a story, even while using the same words.  Music is based on emotion, often times emotion in conflict- brokenness and forgiveness, lost and found, hurting and healing. I love having two versions of a song and I think it plays well into highlighting the emotional complexities of life; sometimes we live life out loud and shake our tambourines like we just don’t care, and other quieter times  we yearn for a more stripped down life that  scrapes at our mortal rawness.

All the songs on Take What You Can Carry are strong stand alones but together they weave together a rich and passionate story full of all those messy things in life that makes us human; love, betrayal, longing, and those dread good-byes , all while cementing Matt and Aubrey’s  talents as  strong storytellers and powerful performers.  The lead single off the new album, Gasoline, caught my ear upon first listen, and has been happily stuck in my head for the last little bit.  The imagery in the song is vivid and striking, “Got a heart filled with gasoline, it  burns so long, but it don’t burn clean,”  and the haunting repetition of “You already forgave me,”  tenderly tugs at long past personal memories . And that my friends,  is a sure sign of a good song,  it has its own strong story, but it also has the ability to grab a hold of something in the listener’s own story. The layering of captivating lyrics,  dynamic vocals and impressive accompaniment  from the band makes for a  song that sparks the heart, no matter the temperature outside.

More information about Take What You Can Carry and The Local Strangers, including upcoming nationwide tour dates, can be found on their website.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Adventures in Audio - Catch Up: Part II : Adventures 11-13

Continuing on my quest to catch live music at 50 different venues:

On the top of the list of things that I have learned to appreciate about the music community in DC is its use of space. Shows and concerts are not  restricted to clubs, bars, and venues that charge service and handling fees.   From libraries to museums, house basements and churches, all kinds of spaces around the District open up their doors to community events, especially musical performance of all tastes and flavors. I have especially been moved by the amount of churches that exemplify community by becoming welcoming, safe and unique venues, even for music that  falls outside of the realm of so called churchy music . No proselyting, no guilt ridden sermons, not even a needed pronouncement of faith when you walk through the doors, just a heart and ear for some really good music, which at times is the perfect solace for the soul.  It just goes to show that something is sacred because you make it sacred.

Adventures in Audio #11: Jazz Night @ Westminister Church, SW (The Jazz Church), Washington DC
Started over a decade ago, Jazz Night at the Westminster Church in Southwest, known by the locals simply as the Jazz Church, has become a most beloved tradition. Every Friday night local and nationally known Jazz groups play in the main sancutary area and Soul Food is served in the basement, and if you don't think listening to a trumpet player so good it makes you want to cry while eating red beans and rice and pie is the greatest thing, then I don't think we can ever be friends. The night that I went with a friend, we ended up sitting by a couple who have been coming to Jazz Night since the beginning. They were both in their 80's, married for over 60 years and have been living in DC since the 1950's. In between sets, they shared with us stories of living under segregation, traveling to all 7 continent, raising 6 kids and all the secrets of a happy life. I honestly felted honored to be hearing their story. 

Adventures in Audio #12: Punk Rock Show @ St. Stephen & the Incarnation Episcopal Church, Washington, DC
“So I went to this punk rock show at a church on Saturday . . .  It sounds like the set up for a joke, but in reality it is the beginning a great true story.  Actually, St. Stephen's has been hosting all kinds of community events for decades:  country square dancing, breakdance contests, punk rock shows. If lost souls need somewhere to go, the doors of this church up in Columbia Heights, will always be open. On the night that I went, the first band that played, the Black Sparks are young kids, like high schoolers, but when the singer grabbed the microphone he ROARED. This was the first time I saw this local band, so I was a little taken back, but then I just had to smile. If this the future of America, we are all going to just fine. 
Bands played: Black Sparks, The Rememberables, Radiator Hospital, Max Levine Ensemble 

Adventures in Audio #13: John C. Reilly and Friends at Sixth and I Synagogue, Washington DC
Picture this: Oscar nominated actor John C. Reilly and friends playing old tymey American folk songs in the sanctuary of a synagogue, makes perfect sense, right? Totally.  The friends Mr. Reilly brought included vocalist Becky Stark and singer-songwriter Tom Brosseau I’ve been to several events at this historical synagogue, from musical performances to community events and each time has been a wonderful experience in such a lovely peaceful place. During their DC visit the group also stopped by NPR to tape a Tiny Desk Concert of their sad cowboy songs. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sunday Inspiration

"Everybody has the blues. Everybody longs for meaning. Everybody needs to love and be loved. Everybody needs to clap their hands and be happy. Everybody longs for faith. In music there is a stepping stone towards all of these."

Martin Luther King Jr. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Currently Listening To:

For a week or so I have been praying for chocolate cake and a mixtape. First, what a great title for a memoir, imiright? Second, my dad always told me I shouldn't pray for things that I could get myself, aka,  don't be a lazy soul.   Sadly, no chocolate cake has materialized yet, but maybe the Universe is working on that mixtape thing, since many of the bands that I find myself listening too lately are stomping through DC in the next couple months to play some of that fine live music for me (and other people too, I guess. but mainly for me).

Sleater Kinney: I'm actually seeing this band tomorrow night, the second of the two sold out shows, and I am beside myself exciting.  Along with the great blues legend Bessie Smith, Sleater Kinney was one of the bands that taught me that girls don't have to be delicate flowers who sit quietly in the corner. Girls can talk about the big things in life and not just the length of our skirts, and we have all the rights in the world to share our stories however we want.  I am very, very nervous of reunion bands that just reunited to try to relive a long ago moment. I don't Sleater Kinney falls in that group, at all. For one thing, they are touring with a new album, a great album, just released last month, and the energy of the new music just adds to their legend.  For another thing, they are still awesome. The end.

Sufjan Stevens: Every time Sujian Stevens releases a new album, I feel that the music collective holds it's breath: is it going to be weird Sufjan or genius Sufjan? We can all breathe a little easier, songs that are being released from his upcoming album,  are just goresous. He is coming to DC on May 5, which, sorry to be a Debbie Downer, is also the anniversary of my father's death. So, as corny as it seems to others, to me, this show is a little band-aid from the Universe helping to keep my heart together on a very sad day for me.

 Lord Huron: New stuff from this guy has just start to leak it's way down through the innerwebz, and into that part of our hearts that make us all warm and fuzzy, and deeply sigh. Coming to the District in May, one night of his two night parade is already sold out.

William Elliott Whitmore: the best description of WEW is that he sounds like he ate Tom Wait's voice box for breakfast. He can also be found in 87% of mixtapes I force on people.  His tour was just announced today (coming to DC in April with Esme Patterson, who is that classy lady in the below Shakey Graves vid!) and I think that I have played this new song from his upcoming album more times that I have taken breaths today.  He is know for his beautiful acoustic guitar and banjo skills, but he picks up an electronic guitar for this new records. I don't think it takes away from the rawness of his music, it just adds another layer.


Shakey Graves: because I am pretty much always listening to Shakey Graves. His March DC show is already sold out, because we love him here in the Nation's Capitol. We do. Everyone start warming up those handclaps!

 Madisen Ward and The Mama Bear : Not coming to DC (yet!), but this ma and son duo from Kansas City (!) are finally getting the attention that they deserved. So plate up some tastily KC BBQ and let the music sink in. 

Hey, anyone got some chocolate cake? I'm pretty sure that I have spent my entire food budget on concert tickets. In long run,  music probably is better for my health.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Bits & Pieces: Snow Day Edition!

**There is a fresh layer of snow on the ground, schools, businesses, and governments, are closed and I'm here typing on my computer  in fuzzy socks and pink yoga pants, in the middle of the day, on a Tuesday. It's a Pancake Tuesday Miracle! I've got Brit/Irish blood sailing through my veins so this gentlewoman does Pancake (Shrove) Tuesday instead of Mardi Gras, but in theory the idea is basically the same, one last moment of debauchery before Lent starts , but instead of parades and beads, we do pancakes. The reasoning, other than duh, pancakes, is to use up the last lit bit of flour and sugar and all the things we give up during Lent. See also the double chocolate cookies that are currently cooling on my stove top.  

**The snow gods decided to knock out the local television stations from the cable lineup. At first, I was like, WHAT NO PEOPLE'S COURT? But then I realized what a boon this is, since we all know that during winter weather, local news folk will bust in every couple minutes to tell you that it is cold or that it is snowing and you are like, thanks I have a window, please go back to trashy daytime t.v.   Also, I've been told that I use the word "like" a lot, and I am like, YO, you can take the girl out of the Valley, but you can't take the Valley out of the girl. So, like, whatever. 

**I am using all this precious snow day no cable time to catch up on the Daily Show. I am really, really sad that Jon Stewart is leaving the show, like really, really sad. Now my bucket list of seeing a live taping is on hyper speed. How are we ever going to get through the next presidential election without going completely insane? 

**Yesterday I went to the store,  you know, just to hang out with the masses grabbing, pushing and shoving for that last loaf of bread or dozen eggs or potted plant before the snow storms starts. It's all about the community coming together in times of need.   Throughout my little adventure, I kept running into the same, rather dashing, fellow in the aisles. What? You need the necessaries of life too?  I think that means we're soul mates. And then he ended up behind me in the check out  lane. This was my moment to shine. Stand back, you are about to be dazzled by my a-ma-zing self check skillz. 

** I have to say that I am enjoying Winter a lot more this year since I have underground, covered parking. No more shoveling out my car, scrapping ice off the windshield or hoping that the snow plow will go down the street so I can get my car out of the driveway. Sure, I pay a little bit for all this, but so worth it. So. Worth. It. 

** Contrary to the popular opinion, snow days are pretty rare beasts around here, so while I am grateful for the this day,  I don't see it becoming a repeat offender.  So high fives and cheers around,  but tomorrow its back to the work, slow train commutes, meetings, spreadsheets and scarfs that wrap around our entire heads to keep our faces from freezing off.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Adventures in Audio-Catch Up: Part I: Adventures 7-10

Continuing on my quest to catch live music at 50 different venues:

Yesterday the realization that I have gone to twice as many shows as I have posted about in my Adventures in Audio series hit me a boat load of busted up drum kits.  I think that I lived with the notion (ahem, excuse), that I had to write some long deep essay about each show, venue and experience, and all that self pressure has obviously led to nothing. Is it Lent yet? Can we give up shame and guilt and fear for Lent this year? Let's give up all that instead of chocolate. Done.

So here is an attempt to catch up with blurry iPhone photos and a kind word or two.

Adventures in Audio #7: Benjamin Booker @ U Street Music Hall, Washington DC

Benjamin Booker's self titled album was most definitely one  my most played album in 2014.  I still listen to bits and pieces of it almost every week if not every day. So blasted good. Not only does Mr. Booker's barbaric yelp of a voice make you believe that he has already lived a thousand lives, but the energy of the music is ridiculous, and the songs are smart too. Every now and then, a line or two of lyric will pop out to be exactly what I need to hear.

So the album was gushing and great, how about seeing him live? High Fives. High Tens. If I was flexible I would add my toes for High Twenties. I left this show a sweaty mess, but in such a good way. I like to think that I just absorbed the music and energy of the performers and the audience and left with an awesome glow. 

Benjamin Booker returns to DC in April to play at the 9:30 Club. From a small downstairs club to one of the most prestigious venues in the city within less than a year? That is Superstar with a capital hell yeah.

Listen to Benjamin Booker

Adventures in Audio #8: Milk Carton Kids with Sarah Jarosz @ The Lincoln Theatre, Washington DC

The historic Lincoln Theatre is definitely a place that you have to dig out your fancy pants and brush your hair for, but this show was minutes of extra grooming. The Milk Carton Kids and their witty and delicately gritty folks songs are pretty stellar on their own, but adding in the beyond talented Sarah Jarosz hits this musical extravaganza out of the park, or theatre. 

Listen to The Milk Carton Kids and Sarah Jarosz

Adventures in Audio #9: First Aid Kit @ GW Lisner Auditorium, Washington DC

Gah, so good.  SO GOOD.

In a perfect folky, dreamy world these Swedish sisters would rule the world. RULE. THE. WORLD.   And they told jokes! Cheese jokes, because that is exactly how awesome they are:
How do you disguise a horse?
Mascapone! (Mask a pony). I honestly still crack myself up with that one at least once a week.

Listen to First Aid Kit

Adventures in Audio #10:  Punk Rock Basement Show @ DC Public Library, Washington DC

The DC Punk Archive was set up in 2014 to help collect and preserve the local DC punk rock history, which is quite the history. I love to seem smaller niche archives pop up, concreting the idea that everyone's story is important and should be saved and preserved, not just the ones that are seen as socially acceptable by the masses. And this loud raw music was such a huge part of my growing up, which I still am doing, and my gateway to going to live shows, that seeing (and helping) to preserve it, in some small ways validates that those parts of my own life are as also worth preserving and sharing.  The DC Punk Archive was recently featured on the BBC, so it is pretty much too legit to quit.  Along with the physical archives, DCPL has programs to promote the archives and the music, including punk rock shows with local bands held in the basement of the main, MLK Library downtown. The bands are all from the DC area, and like everything else in the library, the show are free to the public.  The bands for the show I went to were Nox, Blockhead, and Priests. Katie Alice Greer, singer for the band Priests, said that she started being in bands because she wanted to be brave and to be able to talk about the big things in life. That really stuck with me. Isn't art all about being brave and talking about things bigger us? 

Listen to Priests