Monday, April 30, 2018

Jean Grae and Quelle Chris

Rolling Stone Magazine April 19 - May 3, 2018
This regular column, "The Playlist," I always check out because I find gems like Jean Grae and Quelle Chris. I listened to the recommended song, "Breakfast of Champions," but found the song, not video, on YouTube. I checked out one of their other videos, "Gold Purple Orange," and I became an InstaFan. They are so freakin' groovy. You H-A-V-E to give them a listen. While I was texting the link to my nephew, who shares the same musical sensibility, I got caught on just this jam. As it winds to an end of a long 7 minute video, one of their bros busts in to be in the video. I laughed out loud because I have a friend who likes to bust out his guitar and 'ting ting ting.' He wears a white robe and his Ray Bans ... he's be the old man that would fit right in to this scene.

Next, the YouTube gifted me with CZARFACE & MF DOOM's "Bomb Thrown" Czar face meets Metal face. I am not going to claim any real knowledge of this genre, but CZARFACE sounds to be like a better JayZ. This also has a retro vibe .... very spacey. I'm not a cartoon or Marvel sort of person, but I appreciate the graphics of the video. It all makes me want to put on a pair of go-go boots and groove out.

And the gift kept giving ... next on the play list that was sent to me by my new favorite friends YT, Moonchild's "The List." My sister and her kids travel a lot for soccer, and my nephew makes 'mixtapes.' When they are driving home late at night, he has a cool jams vibe mix that he likes to play to unwind from a hectic day. Yeah, he's 17, and he has a cool jams vibe mixtape ... well, I sent this to him because it would fit right into it. I'm not sure that I could listen to a whole album of Miss Moonchild in an evening, but I certainly can seeing peppering her calm into a rotation of other.

The last, and really I have to stop watching YT, is The Avalanches "Because I'm Me." Just watch it ... it's delightful. Boy meets girl, girl plays coy and it is all works out in the subway. And the boy is played by a young one, who could be Michael Jackson back in the day, but is his own self quite confidently as he moon dances and sings to capture a heart. It's beautiful.

That's all for my report tonight ... I could spend all night listening to what is the best of the Internet- an opportunity for artists to reach out to find listeners on a Monday night when said listener should be doing the dishes.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Adam Rippon

It was difficult squeezing Mr. Adam onto this blog page. I had wanted to present it in the same manner as the magazine centerfold that he is in this month's InStyle magazine, but technology prohibited me ... or rather, my inexpertise at manipulating pictures on this platform. As I look at what I've settle on, I like it. I see 'wonder' as Adam stretches out from the page; and boy, his torso as it bends back is stunning- nearly Nureyev-like.

Lately, I have had an ongoing conversation, mostly with myself, that in my profession, teaching, the practice of it could be rated, or scored, similarly to ice skating. I started to think of this while I watched this year's Olympics and the explosion of Adam Rippon across the ice. He is not considered, technically, the best skater. The American, Nathan Chen, performed 6 quads (quadruple jumps, which is 4 full rotations in one jump) in his final skate. He did not win the gold medal as he performed poorly in his short program, but the 6 quads were athletically and technically, amazing. His artistry ... well, I found him to be stiff and robotic in the part of the program that makes skating elegant, beautiful, and emotional.

Adam's programs, the long and the short, were some of the best skating at the Olympics that I've seen. He is so beautiful as he moves across the ice. His performance was dramatic and compelling. Ah, but he didn't attempt any quads ... he didn't even plan to do a quad. He landed all of this triples, but that put him behind the leaders; even though, a few of them fell in their skates.

So I got to thinking about that and what I do. I work with a woman, who like Chen, can land the quads. Technically, she is perfect- planned, scoped, sequenced. But the artistry? I wouldn't want to be a student in her classroom. Her execution is stiff, robotic, and flat. I'd rather be a Adam than a Chen. I want to be captivating, fluid, and showing my students that I love what I do! Technically, I'm solid, and I'll land all the triples in the world, but their 'ease' will not jeopardize the effectiveness of the artistic presentation.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

James Norton

Vogue March 2018
Grantchester is one of my favorite BBC crime dramas. Set in the idyllic English town of the same name during the 1950's, the handsome and vulnerable vicar drinks whiskey, smokes and listens to jazz while he struggles the balance of being a vicar and a man who loves his best friend, who has married her father's choice. Well, that was a mouthful! But it's all there in Grantchester. Another of the story lines that is charming is of his curate Leonard. Social awkward and gay, he finds a home in the vicarage of James Norton's character. The sensitive vicar is the best ally to assist poor Leonard in his battle against himself to live, as Oprah would say, his best life.

Norton was also in the series "Happy Valley," a real copper show that has him as an evil, criminal creating havoc in another English village. He's brilliant in the show, however, the true star is the female copper, Catherine Cowood, played by Sarah Lancashire. She's a ball buster make no mistake about it. And she's not a lot of what is typical in an American crime drama. Catherine is of a certain age, wears a uniform (not stilettos and mini skirts), and is so not perfect. I happened to catch a rerun of "Elementary," the American television show that stars  Johnny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Lui as his Watson. I have enjoyed the show in the past but while watching it again, I remembered that I was always thrown off by considering what Lucy Lui was wearing on the show. I didn't care for her style, and it was haute, and the shoes! What gum shoe could work for real with that get up.

And for this reason, I prefer BBC crime and detective series. Not only for the costumes, but for the fact that the producers of those shows are not ageist. Surely, some of the characters, like Grantchester, are handsome, but you are more likely to see a normal person play the role. And the normal person may even be over forty! I notice it. And I have to wonder, is it the creators or the audience that dictates this? Can Americans watch normal people act in television shows? Or is the American public so brainwashed by what I might call the 'Kardashian Effect' that they are only happy with what isn't really very ... real. An American crime show that I also liked was "Castle." My mom turned me on to it when we traveled together a few years ago. I liked the chemistry of the two main characters, and the sidekicks were pretty handsome, but Kate Beckett (Stana Katic), the detective in the series, always wore the most improbable shoes for someone who may have to chase a perpetrator down an alley. It distracted from the criminal aspect of the show.

I'm looking forward to another season of Grantchester. Apparently, it will be James Norton's last, which is too bad. He has apparently gone on to another show and possible, James Bond. Such is life as our own become everyone else's as well. I'm not too worried ... I know that the BBC, of whom I trust for the best in mystery and crime, has something else coming along for me to watch.

Monday, April 9, 2018


Harper's Bazaar April 2018
A couple of days ago, I listened to David Bowie's "Blackstar." I know the album in its entirety well as I listened to it on repeat for many months after it was released ... and after Bowie had died. I wondered then and still do if he purposefully began, especially, "Tis a Pity She's was a Whore" with a breath. And not just an ordinary breath, but a huge pull from the diaphragm breath that suggests that he was readying himself, gearing up, to breath at all. The album is probably my favorite of Bowie's, and it is made the more so in knowing that it was Bowie's last and for the fact that he certainly did not go gently into that good night. He lived ... and breathed ... until his last breath.

Seeing Iman in Bazaar right after that listen is almost unsettling. And I wonder if she catches herself listening to his breath? If I were her, I don't know if I would be able to listen to anything else.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Spring Sneaker Look

Harper's Bazaar April 2018

Two years ago, in March, I was out on a lunchtime walk when I hit a patch of black ice. One foot went forward when the other went back putting me down on the pavement in splits. When I was going down, I heard a snap, but it all happened so quickly that I didn't remember that moment until months later. Lying on the ground in pain, I wondered how I was ever going to get up off of the ice and back to work. I was walking along a quiet, residential street, and no one was around to help me up. It took a minute, but I was able to stand and limp back to the building. The next morning, I was stiff. Two days later, my right ankle swelled up, and I couldn't walk on it. I called in sick and went to the doctor. Naturally, as the appointment was later in the afternoon, my ankle unswelled, and I was able to walk in the doctor's office. He told me on my reporting that I had probably suffered a mild sprain.  Many months later, realizing that something was not quite right, I decided to go to an orthopedic surgeon. He told me that I had probably tore one of the ligaments in my foot which supported my arch, which he could fix with surgery and up to a year recovery. When I went to the MRI appointment and was nearly situated on the shelf to go in, I backed out. Shouldn't it hurt more? Shouldn't I be completely unable to walk if my foot/ankle is so bad? Nah, I can't do what he was suggesting. The fellow, who saw me first, explained about the arch, ankle, calf connection and hoped for me that I could avoid surgery and work to improve the strength of the ankle and calf to support the fallen arch. I decided to follow his program and have worked for the last year and a half to do just that. 

One of the major adjustments that I have had to make is my shoe apparel. Especially for that first year, I could not put a heel on. It was just too painful. I wore my joggers to work for a couple of months, but soon began picking up fashion sneakers to wear. I've always been a dress and heel wearer to work, so it was a major move for me. I had started a new job, and no one there knew that I wore heels because, especially in the beginning, I only ever wore my New Balance. But as I started to rock the more fashiony footwear, my colleagues began to take notice. I started the trend of rocking a Michael Kors slip on sneaker with my already existing wardrobe of dresses. Hey, if Victoria Beckham can step out in sneakers with fashion, why can't I? 

It's been two years now, and (knock on wood) my arch and ankle are much stronger and not nearly as painful. I've even been able to wear a stacked heal in a boot, which leads me to believe that I will be able to go to a heel ... for special occasions. This page from Harper's Bazaar reminded me of my new look ... a sneaker and a skirt. It's interesting how this forced changed has sort of given me a new clothes personality. In Spring purchasing, I've been looking for ... well, cool sneakers to wear with a new dress that I've bought for Spring. 

The sneaker has put a new lightness to my step that has moved up to my way of thinking.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Jesus Christ Superstar

Last week, a woman at work said that she's been a fool for love many times. It was like a dare to me and, not one to turn away from a dare, I told her that I could do better, many times over. Naturally, she challenged me. I decided to go easy on some of the really silly things that I've done when it has come to love and picked a fairly pedestrian tale.

A few years ago, I  went with a group of friends to watch a screening  of the original "Jesus Christ Superstar" film. When I was hanging out with the Doyle girls down the block when I was in junior high school (I have spoken of several times as the catalyst for my love of music), we listened to the  "Jesus Christ Superstar" album in their basement a lot. I don't know quite know how to explain this, but the music and movie, which I had watched with them, sort of scared me. Well, maybe not scared, but definitely haunted me. Today, I still can't figure out what that was, but I can remember it as if I were 12 and feeling the uneasy feeling that I had while listening. As an adult, reintroduced to the film and music, I was mesmerized once again.

After seeing the movie, I couldn't get the song, "I Don't Know How to Love Him," out of mind. Besotted at the time with what would prove to an inconvenient, more unavailable, man, I found the song to express exactly how I felt. And I needed to tell him ... I always need to tell man how I feel whether he wants to hear it or not ... which is a charm, so. Always putting hair brained schemes into action, I burned the song, just the one song, to a CD and mailed it to him. I may have written a note that read: listen to this. Apparently, when he received and opened it, he did. And he did so in front of his college aged son, who wondered what it was all about. When I asked him if he has received the package, he said something to affect of 'what the hell' and 'my son thinks that you're nuts.' That was not quite the response that I was looking for. If only I had been embarrassed. I wasn't. I expressed exactly what I had intended. The act made me happy.

The woman at work listened to my story and said, 'well, you were a lot younger, right?' Oh, no. This happened just a few years ago. And that is just the start of me and my bright ideas to express my love to the men that I love. Compared to her story, I was the clear winner. And I didn't even have to try very hard.

And this weekend, I was able to see most of the live "Jesus Christ Superstar" broadcast. My favorite song ... "I Don't Know How to Love Him." Not Mary Magdalene's singing of it; rather, Judas. I'm still on my "Call Me By Your Name" kick and was more moved by a boy singing it to Jesus than a girl. Wow. I get it.