Friday, August 31, 2007

201/365, aka 365/365 Roam

Fly the great big sky
See the great big sea

Kick through continents

Bustin’ boundaries

Take it hip to hip rocket through the wilderness

Around the world the trip begins with a kiss

Ah, what to write for what might be one’s final post in the Dancing about Architecture project? I thought about Mozart’s Requiem, because that piece slays me in its utter requiemness. (Plus, I used to know the alto part, so my mind just loves to follow that line along . . .).

But I digress. I am, in fact, signing off today. I have taken Helen’s suggestion and slapped a 365 before the 365 in this post’s alternate number. I like 201. I challenge all of you on the project to get this far—better yet, get to 365! I’ll keep reading.

But I’ve decided that the daily music thing is wearing me out and that I miss working on Alphabird, where, according to Helen, I am currently engaged in breaking the record for the world’s longest kiss. I don’t want kissing to get too boring, so I really need to come up for air over there.

I hear a wind
Whistling air

Whispering in my ear

“Roam” is one of those B-52’s feel-good songs. I’m old enough now to have lived to see its use in a cell phone service ad. But it seems like a good song for the grand finale. Cheery, full of dreams, maybe even some freedom. Plus, there are camels in the video! And they show up more than once! This song makes me think of Mali, one my favorite blogger/world travelers. Here’s to you, my adventurous friend!

As I sign off, I am happy to announce that my dear friend Sewa Yoleme is signing on for a month, beginning tomorrow, with his new project, September Songs. I can’t wait to read him. I encourage you to do so. Bookmark that bad boy.

Here’s “Roam.” This video is so much fun, so vintage. Keep writing, and watch for me at Alphabird. I’ll try to get back there soon, after a little roaming . . .

Roam if you want to
Roam around the world
Roam if you want to
Without wings, without wheels
Roam if you want to
Roam around the world
Roam if you want to
Without anything but the love we feel

Thursday, August 30, 2007

200/365 Dat Dere

Hey mama, what’s that there?
And what’s that doing there?

Hey mama, up here!
Mama, hey look at that over there!

And what’s that doing there?

And where’re they going there?

And mummy can I have that big elephant over there?

Who’s that in my chair?

And what’s he doing there?

Mummy, up here!

Mummy, can I go over there?

Hey mummy, what is square?

And where do we get air?

And mummy can I have that big elephant over there?

I love this song. It’s been around longer than I have, which gives it a bit of that “always been there” feeling. But I have to admit that until recently, I had taken for granted that it was written as a song—music and lyrics together. If it has words, it always did, right? Well, digging into its past, I discovered I was dead wrong about that.

Of course I’d heard Art Blakey play it. I didn’t realize that the guy who wrote it—the tune—was part of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, pianist Bobby Timmons. A little later, Oscar Brown Jr. added the lyrics. (Susan, no doubt, knows all this. Duh.)

I think the only recording I have of it is Rickie Lee Jones, and I love love love her cover (channeling Eloise now). It’s on Pop Pop. I have a strange memory of the first time I heard this CD. I was with my friends Janet and Jeff, and they took me to their friend’s apartment—was her name Ann? Had she and her partner broken up? Because I remember him, but not his name, and I think she lived in a house across the park with him before. Anyway, we’re in this basement apartment. It’s summer, it must be hot, but not as hot as it could be, because, as I said, it’s a basement apartment. Ann is there, and she puts this CD on, and all of us and Ann’s dog, which is some kind of basset hound, maybe, some kind of Hush Puppies dog, all of us just sit there as the sun goes down, and it goes down, and no one moves to turn on the light, and there is just this mellow CD of Rickie Lee Jones singing all these wonderful standards, most of which are slow moving but fluffy like clouds. Hi-lili, hi-lili, hi-lo. And I must must must have this CD, ooooooooooooooooooo I absolutely love this song.

So first, here’s Rickie Lee Jones, words and all, being fabulous, and second, for good measure and more fabulousness, here’s the classic by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Postscript Post, or A Little Extra for Wednesday

Faithful readers are sure to recall that about a month ago, Tim and I got up early one morning to attend a rocket launch with George, Michelle, and Emma. (For a refresher in the details, see “Rocket Man”; the most important detail is that George likes to launch rockets into which he has placed a small video camera.) About a week after the launch, a DVD arrived in the mail for us. Not only had the camera in the rocket worked well, but George had created a short film of first Michelle’s footage, then the rocket’s. This short film ends with actual George footage. You’ll see what I mean—I got word yesterday that he posted this piece on Youtube.

I managed to stay out of both video and audio range, but I was there, very much hoping that the descending rocket would miss our car. Given that I appear in the title of this film, this is likely the closest I have ever been—or may ever get—to being on Youtube.

Check it out.

199/365 Zydeco Gris Gris

Two years ago today, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, and the levees broke. I never got to meet the New Orleans everyone so loved.

My friend Elizabeth lost her family home in that storm. But she worked hard on a rebuilding project for some family friends, becoming part of the startup of a nonprofit group—the Conway House Project—to make things happen for one family. I recently got a postcard that Arthur and Ceal were due to move in mid-August.

To mark the day, here’s the Lafayette band BeauSoleil. If you ever get to hear them live, you may think you’ve died and gone to heaven. They are technically a Cajun band, not Zydeco, but this one’s called “Zydeco Gris Gris.”

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

198/365 Wheels

So I had a plane to take me to a place so far away from you
Eventually we began to see that we could be completely free
And I could get away from you
And you could get away from me
And we could live each separately in our cities in the sun

There were a couple of days last week during which I felt fairly worthless. I’d had a couple of conversations that had, without meaning to, rather shattered my self-esteem. I knew what I was feeling was temporary, but it sucked.

I had seen a movie earlier in the week, Waitress, during which a Cake song was played called “Short Skirt/Long Jacket.” I like Cake, and I liked the song, but I don’t have that CD (and yes, I’m still a CD buyer). But I’d had that experience of having been so into my first Cake CD (Fashion Nugget) that when I bought my second (Pressure Chief), I played it a few times but wasn’t that into it, so I never bought another one. After the movie, I thought I should give Pressure Chief another try. It could be Los Lobos/Colossal Head all over again.

It kinda was. All of it sounded good on Friday. The first track, “Wheels,” is one of those great, bitter, I-am-so-over-you songs. (But then again, no: [I don’t know] why you say you are not in love with me.)

Then a friend called me with a story about picking up the phone to—on a whim—call a former lover who had pretty seriously screwed up her world a couple of years back. She’s over him, quite moved on, and in a position of strength-and-being-past-it-ness, so she called him to check in.

Thinking back on this love gone seriously wrong brought this song into my head once more.

It sounded like their conversation was tentative, but good, maybe healing. I can’t say I would have advised her to do this, if I’d been asked. Sometimes it’s best to never see or talk to someone again. (Obviously, though, I can’t know what’s best for someone else.)

There are very few people in the world I hope to never see or hear from again, but maybe one or two or three bring that Clarence Darrow quote to mind: “I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.” So far, these people have not appeared in the obituaries, so I don’t know for sure that reading them would bring me pleasure—but it’s possible they would not bring me sadness either. Who knows? So far, I don’t.

Speaking of possible death, I found this great longboard footage on Youtube to go with this song. Totally fun.

In a seedy karaoke bar
By the banks of the mighty Bosphorus
Is a Japanese man in a business suit singing “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”
And the muscular cyborg German dudes dance with sexy French Canadians
While the overweight Americans wear their patriotic jumpsuits

Monday, August 27, 2007

197/365 Love You Like a Man

Last night I went to a kickass party. Leo had (what might be becoming) his annual lobsterfest.

The lobsters arrived from Maine yesterday afternoon.

It had been a long day, what with finally making it to the Washington County Fair after all these years, and I was pretty tired when it that was time to decide to make an appearance at the party. All four of us who had planned to go together—me, Tim, Alison, Sioux—were extremely low energy. Sioux suggested we start by unwinding on her porch by the river.

We did. Had a beer and some talk. For two of us, it was a school night, so at six o’clock I initiated migration. I knew that none of us had energy, but that we’d all be glad we’d gone once we got there.

That feeling turned out to be immediate. Leo’s place is right in the village, and he has this huge backyard, which was already filled with a hundred or so people. The party had started midafternoon, I think. I have no idea how Leo could serve so many lobsters to his friends. At some point, he made an announcement that he still had “about 100.”

There was live music from local musicians. Matt played his guitar a good bit, and Darcie got up to sing with him. She’s got a killer voice, and her first tune was “Love Me Like a Man.”

“Love Me Like a Man”—rather, “Love You Like a Man”—was written by Chris Smither when the guy was like, twenty-three. It is a great song. And although the Bonnie Raitt version is admittedly amazing, there is nothing like hearing Smither do it. Not sure why it is that I can feel these lines in my loins when he sings them:

Cause they all want you to rock them
Just like their back ain’t got no bone
What you need is a man who can rock you
Like your backbone was his own

There’s something about the original version that’s all baby-here’s-what-I’m-gonna-do-to-you that’s different from the woman’s switch to baby-here’s-what-I-need-you-to-do-to-me. There’s something about a man singing about other men having their balls up on the shelf that hits harder than a woman singing about guys who have their souls up on the shelf. Yeah, I know Bonnie recorded it in 1972 for a wide audience. It’s still a down-and-dirty song, but it’s been cleaned up for people to look at it. I wish I could find a Smither clip of it, but alas. You’ll have to listen to Bonnie (always a treat).

Being in the room with Smither is a jaw-dropping experience. (I know what you’re thinking. Stop it. But I’ll continue in this double-entendre vein.) The more intimate venue, the better. To get a slight taste of him, here he is (in a nonintimate venue) covering Dave Carter’s “Crocodile Man.” Smither always says he should’ve written this one, and believe me, it’s surprising he didn’t, because it sounds like him:

Mama she raised me on riddles and trances
Fatback, channel-cat, lily-white lies
Rocked my cradle in a jimmy-crack fancy
Never knew papa and I never asked why

Now that’s poetry. Like last night’s party. So glad I was there.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

196/365 Bamboleo

About a decade before the turn of the century, back when the old gang was in its prime, we would eat many a dinner together, consume many a bottle of wine, and inevitably someone would throw on the Gipsy King’s self-titled CD. It starts with “Bamboleo,” which always managed to get us going, somehow, and remind us that together, the eight of us were our own perfect party.