Category Archives: music

Powerful

This is the most powerful piece of music I have heard in awhile. (h/t @ShaunKing)

#BlackLivesMatter is a demand, not a plea. It is going to make a lot of white people (all people)(conservative AND liberal AND even so-called progressives) uncomfortable, but our nation is on fire. And it’s time.

As Shaun King wrote in an email to supporters of the new coalition and movement he’s putting together called Justice Together:

“In each generation, in each era, the overwhelming majority of people strongly preferred the status quo.

During the height of chattel slavery in the United States, in which people, by force, were brutalized into lifelong servitude, most historians suggest that nearly 80% of Americans approved of slavery.

We look back on that time and wonder how in the hell 80% of a country could support such a thing, but it’s the American way.

Dr. King was not popular nationwide. He was despised by most Americans and the Civil Rights Movement was WIDELY disregarded as overkill, attention-seeking, and completely unnecessary. The constant criticism was that it was seeking “too much, too fast.” Mind you, it was 100 years after slavery.

Today, in 2015, we live in an America that is VERY similar to the America’s I just described to you. Our nation is highly resistant to change, leaders who speak out on racial injustice or police brutality are demeaned and called outrageous names, and we are told that we are fighting for a worthless cause.

…Your family may not understand. Your friends may not get it. We created Justice Together so that you would always have a tribe that loves and supports you in this struggle.”

I had chills listening to the song at the top of this post. I feel it in my bones and in my hurting heart and in my soul that our nation is hurting, and that we need to move forward together. And I didn’t know where to share it. I retweeted it and got no retweets. I emailed it to colleagues and got no response. I posted it on Facebook and got two likes. I don’t know how many people heard me. I don’t know if anyone will read this. I don’t even know what reaction I’m looking for.

I saw this tweet last weekend during #FergusonTaughtMe to honor the anniversary of Michael Brown’s death.

It resonated because I feel the same. I DON’T know my place in this movement yet, but I DO know that I cannot — and WILL NOT — ignore it. I will actively be supporting it in whatever way I can. Even if it scares the shit out of me. Because #FollowYourFear. Fear means you care; fear means growth; fear means it matters.

This next year’s election is going to be a circus no matter what. I’m glad people are using the platform to get their voices heard. Let’s listen. Let’s amplify their voices. Let’s fight for the justice we believe in.

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A Happy List

Marian Call is re-releasing her album, Something Fierce, today. I love it, I love her, and I love following her adventures across the world. (She’s very good about taking her fans along with her wherever she goes.)

Take a listen! Some of my faves:

  • “Good Morning Moon” will cure what ails you
  • If you need some courage, try “All New” or “Whistle While You Wait”
  • Feel like the world’s going too fast too much? Try “Coffee by Numbers”
  • Some good advice in: “Ina Flew the Coop”
  • Want all the feels? “Anchorage”

And don’t just take my word for it. Here’s what Wired and American Songwriter and Bad Astronomer and Wil Wheaton have to say about her.

As part of the album release, she put up a series of Adventure Quest tasks for her fans to show the media folk that her fans are engaged and awesome. This last one was as much for her fans as for her.

“Today I had a task for you about emailing your local radio stations and things, doing important minion-y work, but in light of some journaling I did on the airplane today I have changed my mind.  Today’s task is for and about you.  You have been doing enough about me, blogging and posting and all.  This one is for you, and for everyone, and I hope you will keep it.  You are important to me and I’m thankful for you.

Choose a Marian Call song title or parenthetical title from Something Fierce.  Use the letters of the song title like an acrostic; each letter in order will begin a list item.  Create a list for yourself of Happy Thoughts, of things you do that make you truly healthy when you do them — think action words.  List only things you enjoy doing, mind, this is not a to-do list.  The results should be uplifting, not discouraging, and should include things you already do often as much as things you wish you did more.

“Post the list somewhere you can readily see it, and try to look at it, in an affirming and not discouraging way, on a regular basis — try not to let it become invisible. Remember what you feel like when you do those things for yourself. Double Fierce.”

And I need this today. So here’s mine. A happy list and a self-care list:

Feel the feels I need to feel

Read all the books

Eat good

Enjoy

Be kind to self

Initiate active habits

Remember

Do good

Amanda F*ing Palmer

I can’t stop listening to this song. Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra just released their new album, Theatre is Evil, and it’s available now for “pay what you want.”

I’m new to the AFP-universe, but reading her blog and her love for her fans and her retweeting her haters and her participatory instructions makes me love ARRRRRRRRRRRRT.

(here’s a review of Theatre is Evil and here’s another one, if you’re not convinced)

“What I learned when you went away”

Watch the video for Simone White’s “Flowers in May”. As NPR Music says, it’s an “achingly beautiful tribute to the memory of a friend who passed away.”

“The feeling I was trying to convey in the song had to do with the way I felt so strangely alive after she died,” says White. “…Every moment seemed precious. The banal little details of the day were magnified and became beautiful and important. There seemed to be a constant presence reminding me that I was alive and it felt like a tremendous gift. And I had to feel every moment, because she could not.”

Really resonates with me today because I have been creating stories out of the experiences I’ve had and the lessons I’ve learned from the deaths in my family. (As Neil Gaiman says, when bad stuff happens, make good art!) I’m hesitant to share because some of it can seem pretty depressing on the surface. But there’s nothing wrong with sadness–one of the lessons I’ve had to learn the hard way is the beauty of deep emotion and how to handle real emotions in a healthy way instead of suppressing or running away from them (which a lot of systems in our society inherently help us to do). And I hope the series as a whole taken in its larger context can be suffused with hope and beauty and love…which requires both volume and depth.

So I should get back to ‘work’. ;)

[via NPR’s All Songs Considered]

Old Blue Eyes

A couple weeks ago, we met Mike’s DadH in Vegas for a quick weekend trip. We stayed at the house where the Rat Pack used to hang out; it was actually built for Sammy Davis, Jr. It now belongs to the father of one of DadH’s friends, and they kindly hosted us for the weekend.

When we got back, I watched Sinatra: The Classic Duets on Netflix and fell promptly in love with the joy and easy camaraderie evident in all of the performances. There’s something irresistible about the simplicity of the performances—no big bands or flashy stage shows getting between the singer and the audience. Most of all, I love that they crack each other up in the middle of songs.

Here are some of my favorites:

Dinah Shore’s smile is contagious.

Man, I love Louis Armstrong’s voice and facial expressions.