Martha My Dear

For some light Saturday viewing, here is a pictorial tribute to Martha, Paul’s sheepdog a.k.a. The Real Fifth Beatle:

Why that last picture never made it as an album cover is a mystery to me.

And also, because Post-Beatles Martha must not be forgotten, here are some McCartney family photos that also happen to showcase how cool of a dad 70s Paul was:

AAAAND because I’ve already gone too far with this post, might as well share this video featuring more Martha and Cool Dad Paul. Can I also just take this opportunity to profess my unabashed love for Linda McCartney, and how unfair it was that she had to die and Paul subsequently got involved with this hot mess? I like to keep things chill on this blog, but for the record, Heather Mills is the absolute worst.

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But back to Martha.

She lived a long life (15 years!) and saw Paul through the end of the Beatles and the start of his family. It’s obvious from the pictures and video that they were meant for each other. <3

An unexpected collision of interests

Ok, clearly I am not interested in publishing blog posts in sensible intervals. Sorry for the rather spastic blogging recently, but certain things are really exciting me right now and I can’t keep it in. Namely, a collaboration between my most recent musical hero David Byrne, and an activity I love dearly: WGI.

More information here, complete with quirky, KVHS-inspired promo video.

To be clear, I was always involved in the percussion division of WGI, but winterguard is the OG “sport of the arts” and it’s so cool to see it getting some unique recognition!

When Byrne agreed to lend a composition to a high school performance team back in 2008, he knew little about the color guard phenomenon, which is wildly popular in high schools across the North American continent. … At the time, Byrne’s only request was to see for himself how his music was used. Upon viewing an electrifying DVD of the Winter Guard International’s World Championship, the creative seed for Contemporary Color was planted. “I was stunned at what I was seeing,” Byrne recalls, “and being a musician I naturally wondered to myself: what if these performances had really great live music? Wouldn’t that lift it to another level?” 

You mean, like drum corps? :) Seriously, though, it makes my heart sing that he would be so interested in the activity to want to collaborate with WGI. It’s awesome that he asked to see the performance in the first place. I am almost done reading Byrne’s book How Music Works and it’s cool to see that throughout his career, music and the visual arts have been consistently intertwined. And that’s the special thing about WGI and DCI, it’s art and music and athleticism all at once.

“I’d never seen anything like it,” Mr. Byrne said. “Because it was in an arena, I could tell that this was a hugely popular thing, but completely unknown to 98 percent of New Yorkers.”NYTimes

Story of our lives! Here is a throwback video of the colorguard I am most familiar with, Fantasia from good ol’ Riverside, CA:

I would love it if anyone could share with me their favorite WGI videos from the past few years. I’m still stuck in 2009. (PS – not every WGI show has a large monolith in it. I just happened to pick two monolith-centric shows, haha.) Anyway, I guess it’s unlikely that I’ll be in the New York area at the end of June, but if I am, you’ll know where to find me………

LLAP

This post is overdue. It still feels unreal because I heard about Leonard Nimoy while on vacation, and by the time I got back, all the news stories and tributes had already quieted down. So I can’t really wrap my head around the fact that he’s actually gone. :( Maybe it’s like a Wrath of Khan/Search for Spock situation where he’s just resting in a capsule on another planet and we’ll bring him back in a while? Maybe?

Bye for now, Leonard. I will miss your adorable tweets and your big heart.

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About that show we traveled 5500 miles to see

My boyfriend and I have very different musical tastes, although there is definitely overlap in some very important places (Paul Simon and the Beatles, for instance). I actually remember when we became friends on Facebook, and my first thought after seeing his favorite music section was, “Uh oh. We’re not going to have anything to talk about.” Note to September 2009 self: you were super wrong about that. One of the best things about having different tastes is being able to introduce each other to new stuff.

Long story short, that’s how I ended up at a D’Angelo concert halfway across the world, grooving to the now-familiar soul/funk/R&B-infused songs from Voodoo and Black Messiah. Before that, it was years of hearing Voodoo in the car and on the record player, being shown YouTube videos of rare performances, and hearing rumors about that long-awaited album. But seeing it all in person is what finally made me really appreciate D’Angelo as a musician and a performer (sorry it took so long, Alex!).

[YouTube took down the original video I had posted here. But below is one of comparable quality, from the same week.] Throughout the night, D’Angelo was channeling some serious James Brown, and the Vanguard was on point:

Moral of the story: Share the music you love with the people you love. Share it with strangers, too. SHARE MUSIC EVERYWHERE, so that someone discovers something new every day.

/end preaching

Record stores of Amsterdam (a new travel hobby)

What better way to combat jet lag than writing a blog post at 4am? I’m sure I’ll be coming back to edit this one once I “wake up”…

Anyway, I’m back from my trip and it would appear that I’ve fallen in love with Amsterdam.

The city is beautiful (even in cold weather), and the people are a wonderful, eclectic bunch. In addition to cruising canals, observing cat art, and partying with D’Angelo at the Paradiso, we spent a good amount of our trip doing what we do best: perusing rows of used records at hole-in-the-wall shops. I had no idea until we’d spent a few days there, but Amsterdam has A LOT of record stores. We went to eight(!) different places within walking distance from where we were staying, and there were still at least five more that we didn’t get to. With the limited space I had in my suitcase, I settled on four albums:

Astral Weeks – Van Morrison (Dutch pressing). After making this purchase, we went down the street to this bar (“brown cafe”). The bartender saw the bag and asked “Is that a long-playing record?” and then when we showed him, gleefully remarked, “Ooh, it’s a retro record!” I love the Dutch.
Rain Dogs – Tom Waits (German pressing). I couldn’t pass it up. My dad was awesome enough to give me a (his only?) copy of this album, after I’d searched for an original version for a year. Turns out I just needed to go to Amsterdam to find it! Dad, want a “made in West Germany” version of Rain Dogs?
Fear of Music – Talking Heads (Dutch pressing). My musical theme of this trip was definitely Talking Heads, so I was pretty excited to find a new album to add to the collection, made in Holland no less!
77 – Talking Heads (Japan pressing). I was just trying to get any old version of this record, and the one I happened to find was from Japan! Pretty awesome:

IMG_2182 copy

It was interesting to note the slight differences between US and foreign (in this case, Dutch) record stores. Like, Mike Nesmith has his own divider in several of these stores, even the tiny ones (is he a bigger deal in the Netherlands?) and Kraftwerk is everywhere.

So if you’re ever in the area and, you know, want to look for second hand vinyl, I can highly recommend the following:

– RecordFriend Elpees – Cool selection, good prices, plus I love the name. :) There were cute signs in the entrance saying things like “I’m a record friend.” RECORDFRIEND! This is where I got the two Talking Heads albums.
– Record Palace – Great place by Paradiso and Museumplein. I wish I knew more about “Nederbeat,” because there was a lot of it here. This is where we bought Astral Weeks.
– The others: Concerto (tons of new and used vinyl, plus CDs, books, DVDs), Distortion Records (tiny, cluttered, and awesome), City Records (really friendly owner, and also where I got Rain Dogs), Waxwell Records, Velvet Music, and Second Life Music (the three of which were about a 5-minute walk from each other).

Conclusion: besides the fact that Amsterdam has beautiful canals and lots of friendly cats, I would go back just for the record stores.

IMG_2087LP’s, ???, & more…