Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Love Letters

I signed up for the Love Letters from The Times, which is a promotion for a new book. I’ve enjoyed them up until now, but my favorite so far has been Margret Atwood’s letter:

But I'm not turning down as many applicants as I'd like, these days. My stock in trade has always been the graceful and effective manipulation of the written word, directed towards a desired end - copulation at midnight, long-drawn-out sweet'n'sour flirtation, full-throttle white satin wedding bells - but grace seems to be flying out the window. Now a young man can text-message his target on her cellphone - I WON 2 FKU - and she might actually turn up at the video arcade and go through with it. The decline of modesty has not been a plus, from my point of view. It's bad for trade.

Once there was a heavy demand for well-turned sonnets - Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, that sort of thing - or even for lighter verse - Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, and so forth. It showed a girl - however erroneously - that a man or woman had more on his or her mind than her or his body. Now it's just URAHOTTEE. Where's the art in that?

I’m not sure yet whether I’m still as excited about the book from the other two letters, but if there are more like the above coming this in my in box on Thursday and Friday I’m sold.


My Favorite Things (link heavy)

A friend and I were discussing, or rather are in constant discussion about our favorite albums. He told me, when we first began talking about it, how he loved an album so much that he couldn’t listen to it with anyone for fear they wouldn’t have the same reaction. I feel that way about quite a few albums. The worse [best] being The Department of Eagles LP, Whitey on the Moon, its absolutely one of my favorite albums, as well as being on the oddest albums I’ve ever listened to. It combines the normal indie sensibilities with of say, Grizzly Bear (in which member Daniel plays) with the oddness of Fog’s Andrew Browder, and a little bit of Gorillaz thrown in (listen to Forty Dollar Rug). If you’re having a hard time picturing the sound. Just stop, please, for my sake. I can’t deal with you not enjoying it.

This is one of the few albums that I can (and do) listen to from beginning to end, over and over again. And have done so consistently for the past four years. I wanted to post a song up, but I’m at work now. Check for it later on tumblr. I'd feel more comfortable linking to their myspace page, but the new stuff their sounds a lot more like a more boring indie music. Pretty but a little uninteresting. (Check out their Old site too, there are songs still available for download there I believe)

Also I found out about the record from Turntable Lab, which is where I used to go to find out and sample a lot of my favorite music.


I signed up for Gum Drop...

...from Stereo Gum. Usually they're lumped in with the other email lists I'm on and treated as spam (after I look for the download that is) but this one had a quote from Jesy Fortino (Tiny Vipers) that I found personally relevant. Especially now that I’m combing through journals in order to find poetry to post to my new site.

I keep journals. Sometimes I pick up a journal from a year or two ago and the pages are typically full of crap that doesn't matter anymore; lists of things I need to get done, trivial situations that upset me, things I'm worried about. But if I think back, in my mind, to the time period those entries were written, I come to images and feelings that those entries do not depict ... You never know what you'll take from the present ... Some people say that we each have a purpose in life that is often hidden from us.
PS. I really, really like her songs too.

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Between me, you and the blank page.

I've a new journal

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rilke Week

It's Rainer Marie Rilke Week at Chekov's Mistress. Which is great because I love Rilk. Letters to a Young Poet moved me as a young writer and still to this day I can read it each time like its the first. There are so many times in my life when the passages have been able to explain various stages of my journey though life and my journey as a writer.

This poem was posted in her comments section.


His vision from the passing of the bars
is grown so weary that it holds nor more.
To him it seems there are a thousand bars
and behind a thousand bars no world.

The padding gait of flexibly strong strides,
that in the very smallest circle turns,
is like a dance of strength around a center
in which stupefied a great
will stands.

Only sometimes the curtain of the pupil
soundlessly parts –. Then an image enters,
goes through the tensioned stillness of the limbs –
and in the heart ceases to be.

I almost posted this to m.i.n.e. but I like it more here.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

New Poetry Added

I've added poetry to my writing site, or rather made what already existed on the site live and linked in.

Again, Enjoy.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

I'm waiting for this:

But until that comes, I've signed up for this.


Why Write?

I'm finally getting through some of my google reader blogs, now that its up to 1,000+ (yes and it is actually 6am in the morning). I cam across an post from Neil Gaiman (yes THAT Neil Gaiman) about writing that I instantly loved:

The best thing about writing fiction is that moment where the story catches fire and comes to life on the page, and suddenly it all makes sense and you know what it's about and why you're doing it and what these people are saying and doing, and you get to feel like both the creator and the audience. Everything is suddenly both obvious and surprising ("but of course that's why he was doing that, and that means that...") and it's magic and wonderful and strange.

You don't live there always when you write. Mostly it's a long hard walk. Sometimes it's a trudge through fog and you're scared you've lost your way and can't remember why you set out in the first place.

But sometimes you fly, and that pays for everything.

Check out his blog here.

PS, if you've never seen Mirror Mask it is an absolutely stunning and breathtaking film.

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I'm so fast

It's up, its still being tweaked, but its up. I'm linking now before I lose my nerve.



Friday, October 19, 2007

I've finally decided to put my writing on-line.

I hadn't previously thought of it, but suddenly today I had the inspiration and so I've decided to load a few of my stories, even in all their glorious imperfections on the interweb. I've spent years being ultra selective about who I allowed to read my work due to my constant paranoia about the quality or due to the fear of judgment, but its time. If I don't open myself up now, I could possibly carry allow this to stand in the way of achieving my dreams.

Also if I blow hugish monkey chunks, I'd sort of like to know before I get my hopes all high and dedicate all my time to writing.

I'm going to be publishing it onto my wordpress blog which I previously used as personal journal of sorts (I'm taking down the old post). Hopefully, it'll be all working and linked in by the end of the weekend.

Check back for links.


No more drinks least for a short while.

I've been doing a little self assessing and I think its time to take at the very least a short break from drinking as much as I have been. It seems over the course of October that every weekend, I'm recovering from some debaucherous evening and its been a fun, wild ride. But I think that as soon as it stops being fun, (even if it only loses its luster in retrospect) its time to take a little break.

I feel as of now that its been sort of interferring with my daily life, I have a harder time focusing on things (hence less blogging), clear thoughts are more elusive (hence less writing), its making it harder for me to get it together at work. Beyond that, lately I feel as if I've been making more and more decisions that are not exactly sound, and saying or doing things that I might feel an inflated sense of regret about. I don't want to wake up and worry what people think of me, or if I offended this or that person. It sort of ruins your memory of the night when you feel as if you behaved inappropriately.

Then there is the Autumn (even though the temperatures have thrown it off a bit) which is quickly slipping by. There are so many things that I want to do during autumn and early winter. I'd like to visit the cloisters, visit the Sackler wing of the Brooklyn Museum, go see a dramatic play, see my first opera, walk through central park in the brisk air, and so on. There is an urge that I have during this time of year (conditioned from years of schooling) to experience things that are culturally enriching and I'd like to take advantage of the desire, which I can't do if I'm too busy recovering from a night out to get my energy up.

Thats all-- just thinking it might be a good thing to take it down a notch.


Monday, October 08, 2007

Common and Q-tip live at Nokia

Instead of buying my best friend a gift that should could have this weekend, I decided instead to buy her an experience. Choosing to give someone something intangible that they can remember and think back on. Plus she hearts Common Big Time.

All in all the concert was Fresh! minus the first hour that we stood around waiting for Q-tip to come on. They began the night off with a DJ 88-Keys. 88-Keys apparently has a new album coming out, 88-Keys told the audience he had a new album coming out in the middle of every song. He'd start playing a beat that he'd made for Mos Def or Talib and then half way through he's stop the song, Why? Because he needed to talk more about his album coming out.

The next guy, Percee P, is from the same place J-Dilla came from. That's all. That's how they announced him, and that's all I remember. Oh and the guy in the audience who has his middle finger pointed at the stage the entire time he performed.

Q-Tip was so freakin fresh. He performed a lot of old Tribe Called Quest songs such as "Scenario" and "Find a Way", which kept everyone hyped up. He performed some of his own old songs, and songs from his forthcoming album. I'd never seen someone work the crowd the way he did, it was like an hour of dancing and sweating. He had a guy come up to the stage and perform a popular song with him as Phife. Q-tip also brought out Dres from Black Sheep to perform "The Choice is Yours." I wish I'd gotten more pictures and video from his performance but alas here is the only one. Q-tip "Let's Ride":

Then at the end of his performance Scratch took the stage and killed it. I didn't get the best part of his performance, just the intro:
By the time Common took the stage, everyone was fairly tired. To be frank, Q-tip had the better show. Tough act to follow. Although I have to say he did a fairly good job with a crowd that was losing their steam. One of the first songs he performed was Driving Me Wild:
I kept waiting for him to bring out a special guest, and there he was in all his glory Krs-One performing "The Bridge is Over":
Common, Krs-One and Q-tip all got on stage together for a freestyle:
Side note: I've never seen anyone change clothes as much as Common did, not even Kanye when I saw him a while back and he changed quite often. Every few songs, the stage would go dark and he'd come out in a completely new outfit, complete with new accessories (Malcolm glasses, a knit scarf, two/three hats, sunglasses, etc.).

Near to the end he performed "I want you" which I had been waiting for all night:
And "The Light":

There is no way to conclude this except to say sick concert, sick night

(extra song info via: Fantasy Dopegirl)

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Hipster Extravaganza

The live artist I tend to enjoy the most are the ones that I happen to stumble upon, somehow, accidentally. Maybe while wandering into a bar for a drink (how I first heard Ryan Scott or Melody Gardot) or as opening acts for other bands.

On Wednesday my friend and I went to Peter Hadar's "Hipster Extravaganza" (I'm not even sure he knew why he chose to call it that because the crowd, the venue and the artists were anything but hipster) at SOB’s with the slight promise of seeing Janelle Monae perform even though I had to scour the interweb to find even just a small hint that she might be there. There was obliviously as well the pull of seeing Mishal Moore, the youtube chanteuse that has been making her name known through hard work the modern way, figuring out a way to make the most well known video sight her bitch. I'd briefly perused Hadar's Myspace page and found the songs satisfactory, upon a brief listen, with the added benefit of his being the writer for Carl Thompson.

The first artist to go up on the stage was a young rapper, that I'd love to write about but I can't remember anything about him. His face draws a blank, I can't even think of his name. Not to say I didn't think that he wasn't talented at the time, but he did not have the added benefit of having a stage presence and the over all night of talented performers who seemed to have their shows a little more polished and on point just generally overshadowed him all together. I did feel for the guy. He was playing to what at the time was a luke warm crowd.

Mishal Moore came next and I have one word to describe that girl's voice: breathtaking. The beauty with which she sings is enough to arrest your attention in a way that I don't feel many artist can. Its soulful, its gentle, its strong, and it can stand on its own without being overproduced. Hearing her voice feels intimate, making me witsh simultaneously that I was seeing her perform as the headlining act (they only allowed two songs) and that I was in a much smaller venue. She came out, meekly proclaiming herself as a non guitarist and asked the audience "How many of you heard of me through youtube?" and played two of her YouTube hits. "I Put a Spell on You" by Screaming Jay Hawkins has forever been one of my least favorite songs (right up there with "The Little Drummer Boy"), and the fact that its played in televised ice skating showcases repeatedly and at one too many Halloween parties has not ever helped the song ease into something that I might casually enjoy. Not even hearing Nina Simone singing it can save it for me. BUT hearing Moore belt the tune was enough to change my mind, I've been singing her rendition repeatedly for the past two days. From her the song becomes less the annoyingly gimmicky song that it seemed in my youth but an actual plea for love. Her next song was titled "Make Up Sex". I'd heard the song on YouTube but I enjoyed it much more in person. Although I have to agree with my friend upon a better listen there were times that I felt the lyrics lagged, especially when she gets to lines "I will wrap my hands around your neck/ slowly let them fall to your stomach/ the butterflies will make you rise/underneath the sheets all night" But I can honestly say that the rest of the makes me want to over look the small fault for the bigger picture. I wanted suddenly to find a lover to start a fight just so I could potentially make up again. Also, I would definitely recommend that everyone check out her Sunday songs on Youtube, before she gets famous and it’s not free.
I'm definitely a lover of hip-hop when its done right, which everyone knows so often is not the case, but every so often you get a chance to see someone new and fresh at the beginning of their career that you know could potentially change the game. Blitz the Ambassador is one such MC. Fresh, Fresh, Fresh. Listening to Blitz, I wasn't just blown away by the full band, or the innovative crisps rhymes, but it was his clarity. To see an MC for the first time, lacking a certain familiarity with their music its so important to be able to actually understand what they're saying so that the message can actually come through. A dope beat is a dope beat, and someone may sound great and put on a good show, but if you have to strain to understand what they're saying its just not as effective to me. Then to have someone who's voice was so clear and then to find out that they were dope, that they were spitting lyrics that were political and sometimes funny but always true. I would definitely go on to say that he was the most skilled performer at the show (and probably the most well known having opened for KRS-1 this summer at Prospect Park and Slum Village at South Paw he's been making a name for himself) He worked the dead crowd up and even got a little audience participation from the otherwise quiet and small crowd. He performed his song Hypocrisy among others.

Next up was Shae Fiol from Portland Oregon. God, this girl went up on the stage alone following what was at the time the best performance of the night thus far and worked it as well. Now, I know if you've been reading this long you're beginning to think, well you just liked everyone but I'd definitely invite you to take a listen to her music and believe it for yourself. I wasn't quite expecting her to be so awesome when she walked out in her "Hipster Extravaganza" socks. I only say that because I was so moved by the entire performance of Blitz that he seemed like a hard act to follow. Fiol held herown beautifully. She likewise kept the crowds energy up with her folky jazzy songs. Her voice is sort of like a better version of Esthero. Her last song: Catch a Ride is the type of song I wish I'd had on repeat all summer.

After that was 8th W1 and Peter Hadar, who performed separately but with the same band. First off, I can't begin to talk about their performances without first acknowledging the talented band, a better than average funk/jazz quartet. They stole the show during 8th W1's performance.

First off let me start by saying that I might have been slightly put off by 8th W1 due to the fact that he was standing behind me during Fiol's performance talking and cajoling much louder than necessary, so my opinion of him prior to his getting on stage was not to high. That being said, his performance seemed lackluster. From Moore to Blitz to Fiol the roster seemed to be a group of incredibly talented, if not eclectic group of performers. So I'm not saying that I didn't feel that he was talented, I think he was, but I just didn't feel he was the most talented of the bunch. And his cocky attitude did not particularly help, if you want to have an ego like Mr. West, then you sure had better have his talent to back it up. I've gone to his myspace to listen to a few of his songs, and I enjoyed the two that were there, but his lack of stage presence killed it for me, that and the fact that half the time I missed most of his lyrics into the mike, it was easy just to focus simply on the band as they place their jazz hooks.

Finally I wanted most of all to be impressed by Peter Hadar. I check out his myspace page briefly preceding the show, which I liked all the time. And he'd assembled a wonderful line-up of artist's in an event as the headliner so I wanted him to bring it. Again, Hadar didn't live up to the rest of gang that followed him. I strained to stay interested in his average voice, to songs that I thought could possibly been above average had they been sang by someone else. His voice was merely average considering the wealth of talent that is on the airwaves in the R and B category. I definitely hate saying harsh things about someone just at the beginning of their career, but while he looked good on stage and seemed really to get into the songs his lack of vocal dexterity quickly made me lose interest. I wanted him to be as good as all the names under the roster of singers he's worked for. I have to commend him on the other hand for assembling a mostly sick show. He definitely has an ear for talent. Tried though we might, we actually ended up leaving before he finished his last few songs.

All and all it was a wonderful night. One worth writing about, had a great time and found some new music in the process as well.

*the gift bags contained clear rolling papers
**photos courtesy of brandon king

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Gladwell Talks: Go

The Newman Lecture: Malcolm Gladwel is the author of two bestsellers: The Tipping Point, which revolutionized our understanding of how and why change happens; and Blink, which analyzes snap judgments and explores the power of successful decision-making. Gladwell is a staff writer for The New Yorker. In 2005, Time named him one of its 100 Most Influential People. He discusses what he has been up to lately, and given his wide-ranging curiosity and breakthrough ideas, the possibilities could lead nearly anywhere.

Date & Time: Mon, Dec 10, 2007, 8:00pm
Location: Lexington Avenue at 92nd Street Directions
Venue: Kaufmann Concert Hall Seating Chart
Price: $26.00 All Sections

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Monday, October 01, 2007

An Open Letter to a Good Friend

I wrote this to an old friend late last night and decided to post it.


I've quit my job to pursue something bigger than myself, my destiny if there is such a thing. I'm writing to you as you are one of the many inspirations that moved me to make the decision. You always remind me, however accidental, to be a fool for love, in all its myriad and complex forms, to be a fool for passion, even blinding and all consuming, and to be a fool for life, while I'm still young enough to believe in the infinite possibilities it might hold.

wish me luck,

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