Music

34 Years Ago Today...

MixTapes...Seabury Hall had a dance, planned and executed by the Social Committee, headed by - guess who? - that's right - ME.

On February 15, 1984, we put on a Valentine's Dance and I made mix tapes for them. Two mix tapes to be exact: #1 called "New Music" and #2 called "Harder Rock". 

(Quick thing to point out: Seabury back then was 7-12 grades, about 200 students total. And we had dances every month or six weeks and everyone could come, very casual, you didn't have to ask anyone or dress up or anything. We also had a prom in the spring every year which was just for 10-12 graders and it was very fancy.) 

So, here is my Mix for:

VDDance#1

(All spellings as per the paper label inside. Gosh-my all caps handwriting hasn't changed at all!)

A SIDE:

Bowie - Modern Love 

English Beat - Jeannette

Madness - Madness

Rod Stewart - Young Turks

Squeeze - Piccadilly

Pretenders - Pack It Up

Men W/O Hats - Ideas For Walls

Duran - Lonely In Your Nightmares

BowWowWow - I Want Candy

Culture Club - Karma Chameleon

Billy Idol - Dancing With Myself

B SIDE:

Duran - Is There Something I Should Know

Stray Cats - Rebels Rule

Rob Stewart - Tonight I'm Yours

BowWowWow - Louis Quatorze

Bill Idol - Baby Talk

Bowie - Without You

Stray Cats - Sexy & 17

Duran - Girls On Film

Led Zepplin - Stairway to Heaven**

Billy Idol - Mony Mony

 

**All my Seabury Peeps will understand the inclusion of this song 

 

Let's get to the Harder Rock! (OMG can't wait for this, I haven't read this list yet.)

VDDance#2
 

A SIDE:

Rod Stewart - Baby Jane 

Led Zepplin - Black Dog

The Who - Who Are You

Van Halen - Jump

U-2 - Sunday Bloody Sunday

Foreignor - Head Games

Black Sabbath - Mob Rules

Soft Cell - Frustration

Thompson Twins - Love On Your Side

Madness - Our House

 

B SIDE:

Pretenders - Bad Boys Get Spanked!

Led Zepplin - Rock and Roll

Joan Jett - I Love Rock And Roll

AC DC (I wrote it with the bolt in between!) - For Those About To Rock

Alice Cooper - Schools Out...

Kajagoogoo - Too Shy

Thompson Twins - We Are Detective

U-2 - Refugee

Forgeignor - Dirty White Boy

Alice Cooper - I'm 18

AC DC - Let's Get It Up

 

Okay I think we can all agree that the "er" in "Harder Rock" was critical in that description...! 

Wow that takes me back. And now I have Rod Stewart stuck in my head. Of all the songs from these lists. {eyeroll}

I'll make a spotify playlist for you later so you can enjoy it out loud. Check back in a bit for that. 

Oh the 80's on Maui...

 

 

 

 


Moana and Wayfinding

The movie "Moana" is big at our house. I'm lucky enough to get screeners and Moana was one of them so we've watched it quite a few times. The soundtrack is on heavy rotation in the house and car and Harper often looks askance when I start doing fake hula and maori dancing in the kitchen, though she's getting used to it now.

While the song "You're Welcome" (Sung by Maui) is super fun, my favorite song is "We Know The Way". It's the song about Moana's Polynesian voyaging ancestors teaching her who they were and it makes me cry every time. The first half of the song is sung in Samoan and Tokelauan and the second half in English.

Here is the full video for the song:


Being from Hawai'i, the northern most tip of Polynesia, and growing up when I did, the navigation story point hits deep in my heart.The song tells the story about ancient navigators, wayfinders, who learned to read the elements to find their way across the Pacific and back. This kind of navigation was almost dead but came back to a full life in the 70's when The Polynesian Voyaging Society built a replica canoe called Hokule'a. Master navigator Mau Piailug from an island called Satawal decided to share the ancient knowledge with the Hawaiians, even though he was not Hawaiian and this knowledge was held in secret. Thankfully he did share so that this knowledge would not be lost (there were 5 other master navigators on his island, but Mau was the only one to share).

The Hokule'a set sail in 1976 and made it to Tahiti from Hawai'i and then back, using only ancient navigation techniques. It was a huge touchstone in the life of everyone in Hawai'i at that time. I still get emotional when I read stories about the current voyages that the Hokule'a makes. (She was in Boston last summer!)

With all that in mind, the moment in the video that slays me every time. EVERY TIME is this moment right here:

A bird means land. Land means you found food and water and you navigated correctly. I love the look of relief and pride that the navigator conveys and the acknowledgment of the other crew members. That's powerful stuff, but might not register for a lot of people.

Aue! I just love it.

 


David Bowie Can't Die

Zoolander was the first movie we went to after 9/11 happened. It seemed the no-brainer choice -- total escapism. I was having a good time, laughing an enjoying the ridiculousness of it all.

Then.

Then came the moment where the two models have their "Walk-Off" and they need a judge. I knew, I KNEW it was going to be an amazing cameo by someone huge and I was so excited SO EXCITED to see who it was going to be. Then this:

Davidbowie_zoolander

And I felt like nothing bad could ever happen again. David Bowie was there.

It was not dissimilar from the scene in Extras where Ricky Gervais' character is in the VIP section and tries to connect with the genius who is David Bowie. I'm sure I did a spit take when Bowie just launches into singing with "Poor little fat man..." Then a bigger spit take as he swivels round to the piano and just launches in to the full song.

 

I don't know Bowie's music very deeply. I don't relate to Ziggy or The Thin White Duke. I was about Putting Out Fire With Gasoline and China Girl from Let's Dance. I could probably sing all the songs by heart if you played it for me right now as it came out when I was in high school. I have fond memories of listening to it at Lisa's house in Makawao. I do know all his greatest hits, though, and have been surprised this week to realize just how many there are.

Of course I knew who he was and that there was a big important history to him in the music world. And yet, I truly fell in love with David Bowie in the movies.

Now you are going to scoff at me because having said that, I will confess I've never seen The Man Who Fell To Earth.

I know, I know.

I think I first heard about David Bowie in any serious way from my friend Jai. When I knew her she was just Karen. But she came to Seabury from Honolulu with a stack of records that blew my little Maui mind. She might have had Bowie, I don't remember (Adam and The Ants stood out to me more). But she talked about Bowie and about The Man Who Fell To Earth. This was back in the day when you couldn't just pop over to the video store and grab it, much less download it. But the way she talked about him and the movie and how much she admired him really stuck with me. It's almost like I don't want to see the movie because it might not live up to what I heard about it from Jai.

Jai died in 2003. I miss her so much.

There were two movie theaters in close proximity to me on Maui and I lived in them. In 1985 a movie came out called Into The Night with one of my favorite actors, Jeff Goldblum. It looked funny and I went to see it. (Probably alone as I loved going to see movies alone!) In the middle of this wacky awesome movie comes this scene:

BowieIntoTheNight

Bowie playing a hit man, out to get Jeff's character. Bowie is suave and smiling and charming and amazing. He's in the movie for about 5 minutes but it made me happy and surprised. I also thought, "How cool that this amazing musician (so I'd heard) was just having a laugh doing a little part in this movie!" (I own this movie and can watch it over and over. I also love it because it is such a loveletter/postcard/snapshot to LA in the 80's for me as I was just about to move there.)

Also in 1985 was The Breakfast Club. That seminal John Hughes movie that defined a generation (I can use that phrase, can't I since I'm that generation?). And what was the opening visual of that movie?

BreakfastClubQuote

I'm not sure which movie I saw first that year (They both came out in February of 1985), but David Bowie just seemed to always be there, always kept showing up. (Let's Dance came out in 1983.) And again, I didn't know much about him, but clearly he was important.

Important is not quite right. Significant. Exceptional. Vital.

One of his last big roles was playing Nikola Tesla in The Prestige.

BowieasTesla

If you know anything about Tesla (and you should because he's astounding - read this from The Oatmeal) you know that he's otherworldly in his genius. I believe he was also kind and open minded and misunderstood. Who better to play this wonderful soul, but another wonderful soul?

And while everyone is posting images of Bowie from the Glam Rock period  -- you know the one with him and the big painted bolt on his face -- I will always remember him like this - impeccably dressed, handsome, gorgeous, enigmatic. Those eyes.

Davidbowiemodernlove

As my friend Laura said upon hearing the news: "Bowie seemed timeless, so his passing just feels incongruous with reality."

Incongruous with reality.

That is the truth to me. How could this ethereal, otherworldly, but oh so human being actually die of something so crass, so low as cancer?

Bowie just keeps showing up on social media this week and I'm glad. I don't want him to ever go away. I want to be surprised by his cameos forever.

Maybe he'll make a cameo in my dreams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Music Class Continues

We've been to three classes now and Harper is getting better at jumping in. In the previous classes when they bring out the instruments for the kids to play with the teachers, she is not interested in getting close. However...at this last class she did actually touch the snare on the snare drum that the teacher held! Maybe she just likes the drums best...maybe I have a Tre Cool on my hands. Awesome.

MusicClass2013_02

No matter what, Harper likes the bubbles that end each class. It's the first thing she points to every time we walk in.

MusicClass2013_01

Last week we played the keytar (!!!!!!) and the electric bass guitar. I couldn't get a good picture of the keytar, sadly, but I did want so much for Harper to brave trying the bass so that I could show Dor how Harper is a girl after Dor's own heart, but no luck. This is as close as we got:

MusicClass2013_03

By the way, this particular model of guitar? "Destroyer". HA!


Excellent Break Up Songs

I think I have heard Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know" about ten times in the last three weeks. On the radio, in stores, doctor's offices, random places. It's haunting and sad and awesome. I was watching the video today (because I had been steered to a Star Wars/Gotye mashup version and wanted to see the original...) and I realized what a truly awesome breakup song it is. (Doesn't hurt that Gotye is easy on the eyes...ahem.)

 

Luckily, I don't need a break up song in my life anymore. But man, if I did, the above would really be excellent. It's got downbeats and slow depressing parts, but then there are the parts where you can really shout out the lyrics. That's what you need in a good break up song.

I have had two major break ups in my life and luckily there were two AMAZING songs I had to help me through. The first was from the late 80's. Okay, in reality this song didn't make it big until 1990. But I swear it came to me in the Summer of 1989 becuase that is when I knew my first real relationship was over. Truly over. First major heartbreak. So along came Sinead with "Nothing Compares 2U" and the healing began.

 

This song has what you need -- slow parts and shouty parts.

Then in 1995, another big break up. But I was angry this time. So the universe gave me Alanis. Thank you Alanis! I was working freelance and was doing a lot of driving across LA (Westwood to Burbank to Downtown for various shoots and screenings) and having "Jagged Little Pill" on my CD player just made the anger better. This whole song (practically) is a shouting song. Bonus: you get to say "fuck".

 

 

What are other break up songs? To qualify as truly great, there have to be shouty parts!


Harper's First Music Class

Yesterday we went to Toddle Tunes for Harper's first music class. There were only two other kids there (normally there would have been about eight, but it was a quiet afternoon...) and it was quite fun. First they just put out a bunch of instruments to bang on while everyone is gathering and one of the teachers plays the piano. And it's loud and it's awesome.

FirstMusicClass1

THere are two teachers and one of htem starts out with a guitar and we sing some standard kid songs (Wheels on the bus, etc) and some not so standard kids songs: The Rolling Stones "Sympathy For The Devil". The kid tie-in is that they toss out stuffed animal owls and we all sing the "who who" part and play with the owls. (They do change the words a bit as well...)

Then another couple of songs and then they bring out other instruments -- a glockenspiel (not a xylophone because a xylophone as we learned yesterday is made of wood ('xyl" being the greek root for "wood") so a glock is made of metal.) And the big stand up bass. They play each instrument and the kids each get one then we sing "Doe a deer" and everyone (parents too) play the mini-glocks. Then they bring the big glockenspiel out as well as the bass into the play area the kids each get a turn playing them. For the bass, they lean it low so each kid can put one hand on the bass itself and their other hand on the bow as the teacher plays. It's LOUD! And Harper was better with the low key glockenspiel than the bass.

Firstmusicclass2

Here everyone got a turn putting their ear on the bass. But Harper was not quite ready...maybe next week. (we signed up for six weeks.)

Firstmusicclass3

But then at the end -- the best thing ever: BUBBLES! And more piano playing.

Firstmusicclass4

It was good to be out with others in an organized setting. Harper hasn't had much of that and I'm excited to get her out and experiencing a few new things.

Next week: Dance Class!


We Were VIPs

AtDenisLearyShowVIP

Last Thursday the Rescue Me Comedy Tour came to Los Angeles and we went to see it. We love Denis Leary and Rescue Me to begin with, but this was made even more fun by the fact that my cousins Charly and Adam are in the band! So I got in touch and we made plans to see each other at the show. Charly very kindly got us VIP passes! We already had tickets, so this was mega bonus. I've never been a VIP like this before.

The show was at Club Nokia and there is a lounge behind the upper seats where you can buy cocktails and food before the show. After the show they block a section of this lounge off and people gather there to talk after the show. By people I mean performers. We didn't have backstage passes, just party passes. Which means we didn't get to meet Mr. Leary. But that would have been icing on the bonus cake because really we were there to see Charly and Adam and Charly's wife Robin.

A bit of backstory -- Charly and Adam are my 2nd cousins on my mom's side. My mom and their mom are first cousins. Got it? Cool. I met them in 2001 in NYC when I was working on Kate and Leopold. Their father is Arnold Roth and he is a famous cartoonist. You've seen his work in many many books and magazines. Their mom is also a talented painter.

Below: Kurt, Adam, moi, Charly and Robin. 

Cousins2 

We can't wait to go back to NYC sometime soon and see them all together. 

The show was a blast, Denis Leary was hilarious as were all the comedians. The music was fantastic with a horn section and full rock and roll band. I highly recommend catching the show if you can! Here's the link.

 


Memorizing Lyrics

As you may have read once (maybe twice) I've gotten very much into Green Day lately. I have Dookie, American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown in the car and listen to them all just about every time I drive somewhere. What is interesting is that, even after all this time, I still stumble over a lot of lyrics. I realized a very important reason why. 

I'm not 11 or 12 anymore. Also, I'm not listening to records on a record player.

Not sure if this is a girl thing or a tween/teenage thing in general, but think back (those of you of a certain age) to when you were a tween/teenager and we had to listen mostly to records -- actual records. And this generally meant you loaded up the records and put the needle on and you listened to the whole side, then turned it over and listened to the other side. (Actually, even when cassette tapes came out there was a time before the "stop between songs" technology came about and you did the same thing.)

I remember spending what seemed like HOURS lying in my room, listening to music, writing in my diary journal, writing letters to family or my German pen pals or just studying the album covers -- inch by inch. I'm sure I also spent time copying the song lyrics into notebooks or on book covers. That connection of fairly focused listening for hours at a time and writing down the lyrics over and over made memorizing the words so ingrained. For example, I think I could still sing most of the way through most of the songs on this album:

The_Best_of_Bread

For good or for ill, I could. Hey, if a picture paints a thousand words, then why can't I paint you? The world will never know the you I've come to know, etc. I can do the same with Jim Croce and John Denver and Carly Simon and Carole King and some (not all) of the Carpenters.

So I find myself frustrated that I don't know the lyrics to Green Day like I know the lyrics to any of the above. I'm a little nostalgic for that beautiful free time we had when we were able to just listen and take in all that music, getting to know the words like we had written them. 

I'll keep working on my Green Day memorization. And I'll keep feeling 12 (which is a good thing on so many levels.)