Thursday, May 27, 2010

From a Sad Cafe

I’m in the midst of planning another trip to New York City. On my first trip, my main goal was to visit the Dakota and Strawberry Fields (John Lennon places). This time, I want to visit some Simon and Garfunkel places. Did I ever mention how excited I was walking on Bleecker Street?
I love how in the middle of At The Zoo, you can actually hear Paul Simon smile. Monkeys do stand for honesty.

“It’s a light and tumble journey from the East side to the park, just a fine and fancy ramble to the zoo…”

Bleecker Street is one of the most beautiful songs that I’ve ever heard. I find it inspiring and if anyone ever thought that things I’ve written are half as poetic as Paul Simon’s song, I would feel like I did something right.

“I saw a shadow touch a shadow’s hand…”

Music Stories

While watching the first episode of The Beatles Anthology, I thought about the movie Backbeat. At 14, I loved that movie and was in love with the idea of becoming a photographer like Astrid Kirchherr. Even though I wasn’t able to experience Beatlemania and the 1960’s, I still felt connected to it because of all the beautiful black and white photography. I wanted to be able to do that for my own era.

It got me thinking about music biopics and how an amazing biopic (or good documentaries for that matter - a la Beatles Anthology, No Direction Home, and hopefully the new George Harrison one by Martin Scorsese) can allow you feel like you’ve been there.

These are my favorite music biopics.

The Doors (Special Edition)5. The Doors
I don’t care what anyone says, Val Kilmer played an amazingly hot Jim Morrison. Maybe the movie was way over the top, but then again, isn’t all of our visions of Jim Morrison?

I'm Not There (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
4. I’m Not There

This movie was so original. I love how they played with all of the tall tales of Bob Dylan. It was fun and quirky, and I wouldn’t expect anything less. If you are really into Bob Dylan, I suggest seeing No Direction Home; it is great for giving this movie some Dylan context as well.

Control (The Miriam Collection)

3. Control
When I watched this, I didn’t know a lot about Ian Curtis or Joy Division, but afterwards I was completely hooked. As depressing as this movie is, it is beautiful. Sam Riley was amazing. I worship the simple beauty of black and white

Backbeat (Collector's Edition)
2. Backbeat
I love the time period and the intimate portrait of the Beatles lives before they were so super famous. I loved being able to watch the love affair before Stuart and Astrid.

A Hard Day's Night
1. A Hard Day’s Night

This one feels like cheating because it’s The Beatles playing the Beatles in this farce, which after watching footage of their lives, actually seems to portray them really well. I love getting to see George and Pattie on screen together too. This is a must see for any Beatles fan. I would also suggest seeing Help! and Magical Mystery Tour, but they are really different types of movies.

I actually came up with a huge list of these types of movies, but I limited this list to the ones that had a strong impact on me. I also found a bunch that I haven’t seen that have been added to my Netflix queue.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I’ll Take My Twist with a Shout

I’ve been watching The Beatles Anthology, and I’ve gone olde timey this week. The male rock stars from the 1960’s are the epitome of sexy to me…The Beatles, The Stones.Don’t get me started on Pete Townshend. If I could time travel to 1969, I’d bring him home with me. I know that would somehow disrupt the whole space time continuum, but I’m good with that.

Twist and Shout is one of my favorite songs to go-to-town rock out on when playing Beatles Rock Band. Just generally because the song rocks, but part of it is because it’s just so fun getting even a small feeling of what it would have been like to see The Beatles perform at The Cavern Club. Whenever I sing this, I pretend that I’m right there on that float with Ferris in Chi-town.

The Rolling Stones are my favorite band to listen to when I’m painting. I always listened to Flowers on vinyl. By far, the version of Out of Time on that album is my favorite Rolling Stones song and again one of those songs that you just can’t help but to sing along to.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Because of This Guy…

I hate to state the title that way, but it is the truth. I get all goggley about some guy, my heart goes a flutter, and every song sounds amazing to me. Giving into feelings starts to make everything else seem a little better. So these were a few songs that struck me and made me smile in their truths.

I saw Ingrid Michaelson live a few months ago and was impressed with how talented she is and the poetry in her lyrics. Her stuff always strikes me with both a strong feminine independence and a vulnerability.

“I never thought that I could love anyone but myself
Now I know I can’t love anyone but you
But you make me think that maybe I won’t die alone
Maybe I won’t die alone”
Michael Trent is like the complete opposite. He’s jarringly honest, yet guarded. How does that even happen and why do his songs always remind me of the guys that I fall for? I had a hard time finding a version of this, but believe me the whole album is worth checking out.
Anybody's Boy (on
“If I could be anybody’s boy I think it would be you
I’ll stare at your lips while we lie on the floor
And I’d stay there all afternoon.”
I’m not even sure how to explain Ra Ra Riot, but I love them. This song is so perfect at capturing that restless feeling that overcomes you when you’re really digging on someone and just don’t know what to do about it. Love and attraction is complicated by all those crazy emotions and pride. At least we have great songs so we don’t feel alone in those feelings.

“Oh baby baby baby babe,
How long am I supposed to wait?
I think about you nightly
Oh, can you tell I'm losin' sleep?

Oh what am I supposed to do?
It's hard to stay cool.
Oh, when you smile at me
and I can notice every time you speak.

My bed's too big for just me
and when you turn your eyes,
I promise I won't care.”

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

George and John in the Big Apple

While I visited New York last month, I saw some pretty awesome Beatles memorabilia and cool John Lennon places. Being the crazy little Beatles freak that I am, I went a little photo crazy.

Hard Rock New York in Times Square - Beatles suits with their TWA travel bags. Not that you can really tell, but I'm standing in front of George Harrison's suit and bag.  It is so sad how excited I was to be this close to Beatles suits.

Hard Rock New York in Times Square - One of George Harrison's guitars. I am so exhausted at this point and we ended up waiting well over an hour to get in to eat. Even all of the Beatles memorabilia didn't quell my food deprived grouchiness.  
Hard Rock New York in Time Square - A handwritten John Lennon poem hung on the wall. 

Hard Rock New York in Times Square - We were seated at the bar right next to this beautiful sight. I still wish that I could have smuggled this and the giant poster of Pete Townshend home with me.

Me at Strawberry Fields in Central Park with all of the other lovely hippies. It is such a beautiful memorial to John Lennon. New York really does things right.

More of me at the Imagine memorial in Strawberry Fields. It was a cool place to be and nice to see how respectful and yet excited people were to be there. I would love to go back for one of the many John Lennon tributes.
A view of the Dakota from across the street in Central Park. It is such a beautiful, yet creepy building. 
After reading and hearing so much about the death of John Lennon, it was so emotional to be standing at the entrance to the Dakota. 

Sunday, May 9, 2010

New York, New York

Last month, I visited my sister and her family in Maryland. We traveled around the area and had a great time.
The first few days there, we went up to New York City. It was definitely an interesting few days. I was apprehensive about the whole thing: terrified of the subways, nervous about the crazy masses of people, and just worried that I would be completely overwhelmed by the whole city. It's hard to explain, but from the moment that I could see the outlines of the buildings from the distance, I was so excited.

View of the Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry
We took the ferry from Staten Island, which passes by the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Coming up to the city from the water was an experience in itself. Then, touching ground there and just getting thrown into the craziness of the city was so exciting. I've always heard people talk about how the city itself has a life of its own and I could instantly feel that. Everything was fast-paced, confident, and beautiful. We walked for hours, there were people everywhere, and every time we made a turn, I was amazed to see another building, park, or iconic view that I never really understood were all from the same place.

In less than two days, I had quite the whirlwind tour of NYC and fell in love with the city instantly. Thinking back, it is not so shocking because I've spent my life fascinated with people like Bob Dylan, JD Salinger, the Beats, and Simon & Garfunkel (I actually walked on Bleeker Street!). I found the city inspiring and beautiful. I want to go back and just walk the streets and see things, hang out in central park, take photos in the Village, journal in the sunshine in Washington Square park, and just watch the interactions between the people. It really is a magical place, and now I finally get it. Here are a few photos of some of the places that I saw:

Grand Central Station

Me in  crazy, crazy Times Square

Near NBC studios trying to hang out with Liz Lemon

In the Poets Walk in Central Park 

Saying Goodbye to New York City

Anyway... the trip was long, so I'm going to cover everything I saw in a couple of different posts. I have a whole ton of photos of just The Beatles stuff (George and John in the Big Apple) that I saw while in NYC.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Razorblades and Fairytales

The Strokes are great because they are just so rock’n’roll and not some smarmy cross-over, transition emo-rap-christian-punk-mindless-we-want-every-type-of-possible-fans kind of band. And basically, Julian Casablahblahwhatever is always singing about some pretty messed up stuff, which is exactly what I expect from my rock stars. So basically like everything in life, I dig the drama and any chance to rock out.

“Oh no, my feelings are more important than yours
Oh, drop dead, I don’t care, I won’t worry”

Speaking of rock stars that sing fairly messed up, snarky songs, I am back on my Stephin Merritt (as The Magnetic Fields here) kick. Long Forgotten Fairytale is one of my favorite songs because the lyrics are so perfectly genius. I love that all of his songs are always so emotional yet so in denial of emotions. That kind of emotional dysfunction really takes some work.

“If somebody told me I’d succumb
If someone said I’d be so dumb
After all the sleepless nights, when I turned on all the lights
I would have hit them”