Tuesday, June 30, 2009

SOTD: The Postal Service, "Sleeping In"

Why it's song of the day:

I slept until noon today. It was amazing.

Why you should love it:

I know, I know, The Postal Service is sooo 2004. Frankly, I've never been the hugest fan, either. But this is a great song for a lazy summer day. So relax and enjoy it.

Monday, June 29, 2009

SOTD: Michael Jackson, "Will You Be There"

Why it's song of the day:

From the day I began posting the SOTD, I had been planning last Friday's song. To commemorate the final day at my miserable apprenticeship, I needed a song that would perfectly encapsulate all of the joy I had about leaving. "Free At Last," for example. "Freedom" by Aretha Franklin, or "Nah Nah Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)," by Steam, perhaps. Or maybe something new and hip, i.e. "Leavin" by Jesse McCartney (don't you dare judge me). 

A world of possibilities came to mind. And then.. I had to actually finish my job, clean out my desk, and, oh yeah, move out of my apartment. So I didn't have time to post.

Also, Michael Jackson died (just in case you hadn't heard), which threw another wrench into the perfect SOTD equation. How do I pay homage to the king of pop while still celebrating my freedom from indentured servitude?

But then, as I was diving through the waves in the Outer Banks this weekend, it came to me.

"Will You be There" may be one of MJ's lesser known tunes, but if you grew up in the 90's you will recall it as the theme song from Free Willy.

I do realize that in this song choice I am likening myself to an orca whale... but let's face it, our stories aren't so different. Like Willy, I am finally free. Free from my tank and free from the abusive villains who just wanted me around to exploit my beauty and ability to do sweet tricks. With them, I only knew the confines of my captivity, but now there is an ocean of opportunity before me. 

Also, I've put on some weight this year, so I make a pretty big splash when I hit the ocean.

Why you should love it:

Michael is gone. To not love this song is to spit on his grave. 

Also, I'm pretty sure that if you dislike this song you must also hate nature and endangered species. 

Show some respect, people.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

SOTD: Les Miserables Cast, "One Day More"

Why it's song of the day:

I only have ONE DAY left at this job! And.. it makes me want to break into a full-on musical theater number.

Why you should love it:

Come on. It's Les Mis. Even if you hate musical theatre. It's CLASSIC.

Also. You're welcome for the tune that will now be stuck in your head for a week. ;)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

SOTD: Count Basie, "One Mint Julep"

Why it's song of the day:
I think this is proof that there is a song out there for EVERY occasion.

Yesterday, that occasion was my first ever mint julep (hard to believe, I know) at The Willard Hotel's Round Robin Bar.

For those of you who aren't capital history buffs (which, I will admit, I was not until I decided I was leaving and had to do and learn everything I possibly could in one week), here's a crash course:

Since 1813, The Willard Hotel (now The Willard Intercontinental) has catered to the elite of Washington and the world. Abraham Lincoln stayed there for two weeks before his inauguration in 1861 and legend (and by legend, I mean Wikipedia) has it that Julia Ward Howe penned the Battle Hymn of the Republic after she heard union soldiers singing "John Brown's Body" outside her window there. Folklore also holds that the term "lobbyist" originated there, after the people who would ask Ulysses S. Grant for favors while he was enjoying cigars and brandy in The Willard lobby.

Writer Nathaniel Hawthorne, a regular at The Round Robin Bar, observed the following: "the Willard Hotel more justly could be called the center of Washington than either the Capitol or the White House or the State Department." Basically, if you were anyone in Washington in the 1860's, you hung at The Willard.

After several renovations, The Willard today is still one of the classiest spots around. And its Red Robin Bar is the place to go if you want to get "gussied up" and have a nice drink before going out on the town (or out to the monuments, as was the case last night-- oh how I love summer strolls!). With plush, mahogany decor and old-fashioned, top-shelf cocktails (sidecars, manhattans, gin fizzes) it attracts a clientele of businessmen, politicians, wealthy tourists, and... yours truly.

The Red Robin is especially famous for its mint julep recipe, insisted upon by Kentucky senator-turned-secretary-of-state, Henry Clay. Our bartender claimed to make a hundred a day on a hot summer day like yesterday.

Unfortunately, at fourteen bucks a pop, "one mint julep" was all a poor apprentice, three days from unemployment, could afford.

Why you should love it:

Originally recorded by The Clovers, this song has been covered by many (most notably, Ray Charles), but this instrumental version by Count Basie is my favorite by far.

Like a good mint julep, this song is smooth, cool and refreshing. And like The Round Robin, it is classy as hell.

Is that nostalgia? Nope. Probably just indigestion.

So tonight, after a lovely drink at the Round Robin Bar in the Willard Hotel (more to come on that experience tomorrow). My friends Laura S. and Laura M. came with me on one last tour of the national mall.

Aside from a few pesky gnats, it was a perfect night in every way--from the fireflies flickering around the reflecting pool to the way the fading sun struck the Washington monument.  And for a moment, sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, I felt a little bit sad about leaving this place in a few days.

I've made some good memories this year. But I know that even more memories are out there to be made. So, onward and upward. Or Westward, I suppose, to be most accurate.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

SOTD: Rolling Stones, "Gimme Shelter"

Why it's song of the day:

Last night, I went to opening night of King Lear at The Shakespeare Theatre. The production, starring Stacy Keach as Lear, was originally staged at The Goodman Theatre in Chicago and let me tell you-- it is phenomenal.

For those of you who are in DC and might want to go see it, Shakespeare offers discounted tickets for patrons under 35, and I promise, even if the bard has never held your attention before, this production is definitely worth the 10 bucks. BUT I will give you this warning: this Lear is not for the faint of heart. Strangulation, asfixiation, rape, nudity, eye gouging and lots of dead bodies. BUT. Everything the director chooses to do can be justified by the text, and therefore, the play's themes are stronger here than I've ever seen them before. (Though a close second is the Lear in the final episode of Slings and Arrows.) And while the production is devastating, it is also a very honest depiction of the darkness that exists within the human soul and the dangers of embracing sin.

So what does all that have to do with The Stones?? Well, yet to be mentioned here is the seriously awesome sound design of the show. You'd think that "Gimme Shelter" in the middle of the storm scene would be overkill-- it's not. Somehow, it works so perfectly with the rock-and-roll pace of the show.

Why you should love it:

With The Beatles, The Rolling Stones pretty much defined the Rock and Roll genre. And this song is The Stones at their best. Hope it pumps up your Tuesday.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ashton Kutcher on Broadway???

I'm not sure whether I should laugh or cry right now.

SOTD: Little Texas, "God Bless Texas"

Why it's song of the day:

A few weeks ago, my acting teacher approached me about helping out with some dramaturgical research on a Capital Fringe Festival show she is a part of. As it turns out, the play is about Texas, Elvis, rodeo, and seeing Jesus-- how could I say no to that??

So yesterday, armed with a slew of research, I attended a rehearsal and shared with the actors, director, and stage manager all the information I could find about ranching, rodeo, and religion in Texas. Did you know that there is an organization called the Texian Christian Writers whose sole purpose is to record and spread "the providential history of Texas" to the world? I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried. (Note the fact that they make a "God and Texas" coloring book. Crucial.)

Here's the shameless plug: Riding the Bull is going to be great. And if you live in DC, you shouldn't miss it. So check out the website, get your tickets, and GO. You won't regret it.

Why you should love it:

Yes, it has its stereotypes. And its residents probably have an inordinate ammount of state pride. But the fact is undeniable: Texas is a special place. My daddy came from there, and so did tex-mex, cowboy boots, line dancing, and Friday Night Lights. So why not love it? God does. ;)

"First He lit sunshine
Then He made the waters deep
Then He gave us moonlight
For all the world to see
Well everybody knows that the Lord works in mysterious ways
He took a rest then on the very next day

God blessed Texas with His own hand
Brought down angels from the promised land
Gave 'em a place where they could dance
If you wanna see heaven brother here's your chance
I've been sent to spread the message
God blessed Texas"

SOT(N): Madeline Peyroux, You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go

Why it's Song of the Night:
Because it's too late for it to be song of the day, obviously. (Ba dum, chik)

In all seriousness though, as ready as I am to leave my job, I'm starting to get nostalgic about DC. I know I don't want to live here forever, but this is a great city with a lot of lovely people and leaving it is going to be very hard for me to do in a few days.

To those of you who have been in my life this year-- thank you for your friendship. I have been busy a lot, I know. Cranky a lot, as well. But know that despite all of my personal growing pains and workplace frustrations, getting to know this town and the people in it has been a very big blessing to me.

Why you should love it:

Welp, I've talked about her before and I'll say it again. Madeline Peyroux is awesome. 

On Saturday, I went with my dear friend Abby (who is definitely one of those people that I'm going to be lonesome for in a few weeks) to see her perform at GW's Lisner Auditorium, which is, by the way, an awful venue for a jazz concert--not intimate or loungey at all! But despite the environment,  Peyroux and her band were great!

She opened the night with a pair of "drinking songs"-- two bluesy numbers that showed a much darker side to her than I was used to. But she anticipated this, I guess, because she went on to "cheer us up" with the effervescent Don't Wait Too Long, which perpetually plays on my "girlie happiness" Pandora station. By far, though, the best part of the night was a set of parisian street songs her four piece band came forward to play with her. With the pianist on the accordion, the guitarist on ukulele, the bassist on a standing bass, and the drummer on a cardboard box, I almost thought I was in Paris instead of that god-awful auditorium.

I will admit this.. Peyroux does appeal to the Norah Jones/Michael Buble crowd-- there were more than a few "mom & dad's date nights" happening on Saturday. But frankly, her music is wistful and jazzy and romantic, and if that is wrong, well, I don't want to be right.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

SOTD: Queen and David Bowie, "Pressure"

Why it's SOTD:

I have three pieces left to write for this performance guide I'm working on. And they're due Friday. Preferably Thursday. Basically, three pieces of academic writing. And I work in an open office. With people who are loud. And I have ADD. And am a major perfectionist and can't allow myself to turn work in that I know is not 100 percent right.

 And I've just been told that I am supposed to spend half of every day working in our ticketing database seating subscribers. By the same guy who took away my part-time job and handed me the speeding ticket the other day.

If I believed in re-incarnation, I would believe he was Pharoah. But that's another song for another day.

The point is.. I'm under pressure here and trying real hard to curb the ADD, so I probably won't be posting for the next few days. Try not to be too disappointed.

Why you should love it:

I think we've been over this... Queen? David Bowie? What's not to love?

Real World Update

Annnd. The house has been confirmed. Not quite as close as we originally expected. But close.

T-10 days until I leave. Let the stalker fest begin.

SOTD: Sandra McCracken, "Halfway"

Why it's song of the day:

In the past few days, God has been so so good to me. And with each new moment, Ephesians 3:16-19 is becoming more and more of a reality in my life.

This album just came out today, and this song is track 1. Word for word it is the story of my life right now.

“all that I knew I am having to learn again.
and it’s taken me over
taken me over
and the heart I thought was full
was halfway.”

Why you should love it:

Sandra McCracken is a modern psalmist. Her lyrics are poetry. Metaphoric, honest, vulnerable and just genuinely beautiful. And the way she sings and plays, it’s raw and open, strong but still sweet. Hers are songs that cut to the core of human emotion yet even the saddest of her songs are painted with hope.

If you don’t know anything about McCracken, she’s the wife of musician Derek Webb (who is the harmony you hear in this song and visa-versa for yesterday’s SOTD, “Beloved”). He heard her singing in a coffee shop one day and soon invited her to tour with his band Caedmon’s Call. Today, they each have several solo albums, one collaboration (Ampersand E.P.), and a son. This album, Live Under Lights and Wires was recorded live (under lights and wires) in their living room in front of an audience of friends. You should probably listen to all of it. I'm slightly obsessed.

Monday, June 15, 2009

SOTD: Derek Webb, “Beloved”

Why it’s Song of the Day:

While I spent an absolutely beautiful two days in Charlottesville with great people, this weekend was not an easy one for me.

In short, I made some realizations about my life that were not fun to deal with. I have come a long way from the person I was a year ago. Like I’ve done so many times before, I’ve lost sight of the promises and redeeming love of God. And this weekend, I hit a breaking point.

But the healing process has begun. And, with help from some wonderful friends, I’m starting to see anew how redeeming and beautiful the grace of God is.

Why you should love it:

Regardless of your faith background, this is a beautiful song. And the story it tells is a powerful one. Call it metaphor if you must. I call it truth. The beautiful truth that life with Christ is more bountiful and rich than anything the world can offer us.

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and deep and high is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."
Ephesians 3:16-19

Saturday, June 13, 2009

SOTD: Lonely Island, "On a Boat"

Why it's song of the day:

Today, I'm off to Charlottesville for what promises to be an epic day of nautical goodness. Bonnie Creech is having an "I'm on a boat party." And while I don't have a nautical themed pashmina afghan, my flippy floppies are packed and ready!

Why you should love it:

If you haven't seen this video yet, where have you been for the past six months? Unless you hibernated for the winter, you really have no excuse.

The first time I saw it I was like "what is this? not that funny." And then, as with all my favorite SNL sketches, I began having opportunities to quote it (i.e. going on my uncle's boat in April) and I saw the glorious light.

If you went to JMU-- you'll also love the follow-up "On the Quad" by our very own Madison Project.

Friday, June 12, 2009

You Got Served


I just got handed a ticket for speeding in the theatre van when I was visiting a school the other day. Apparently a camera caught me going 41 in a 30. Don't worry Dad, no points will be assigned. I just owe 50 bucks to the District of Columbia.

Ironically, the guy who handed me the ticket was the same one who decided that apprentices should not be allowed to have second jobs after he'd been signing my telemarketing checks for four months. He thought the whole thing was pretty funny.

Sometimes I wish I had a dartboard of his face.

In other news, my supervisor just passed along this interview with John Krasinski. I must admit, I'm mildly cheered up.

But I'm still out 50 dollars. And I still have to stay at work until 8:30 on a Friday.


SOTD: Ben Kweller, "Sundress"

Why it's Song of the day:

I have only worn pants once this week. It's summertime. And summertime means three things:

1. Sweet Tea.
2. Porch Sitting.
3. Sundresses.

Some women collect shoes. Some collect purses. I collect dresses. At last count I had 32. Excessive? Probably. Fabulous? Always.

Why you should love it:

With catchy lyrics and an upbeat, hummable tune, it's the perfect summer jam. Give it a listen and get excited for the weekend!

Happy Friday, Y'all

Thursday, June 11, 2009

SOTD Late Edition: Passion Pit "Moth's WIngs"

Why it's song of the day:

No reason, really. I just like it a whole lot.

Why you should love it:

Because I said so.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Why, God? Why?!

I just finished watching My So Called Life. Seriously upsetting. SO many loose ends that will never be resolved. 

Why why why did it get canceled?

And is this what is going to happen to me when Friday Night Lights goes off the air?


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

SOTD: Queen, "I Want to Break Free"

Why it's song of the day:

1. Yesterday, I turned in my notice. On June 26, I am OFICIALLY breaking free! Hooray!

2. It's gay pride week. And my neighborhood is officially rainbowed out! Flags, streamers, you name it-- 17th street is colorful this week. So who better to celebrate with than the "Queen" himself- Freddy Mercury. Just watch the video. It doesn't get much gayer than this.

True story: when I studied in London, the closest tube station was Tottenham, which let off just in front of the west-end theatre where We Will Rock You, the Queen tribute musical, was housed. For the first few weeks, the way I'd find my way home in the city was by locating the giant gold statue of Freddy Mercury on the theatre's awning. And.. i'm not ashamed to admit this. I paid 20 pounds to see the show before I left. True, the critics panned it. I'll admit the plot was absolutely ridiculous (It's the year 2302 and rock music has been banned, but Galileo Figaro and his friend Scaramouche save the day when they rediscover and sing the music of Queen-- I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried). BUT for a die-hard Queen fan like myself, an hour and a half of Broadway voices belting Queen songs was worth every quid. Judge if you must.

Why you should love it:

Um, because if you don't you probably have no soul. I find it hard to trust anyone who doesn't like Queen.

Monday, June 8, 2009

SOTD: Madeline Peyroux, "Instead"

Why it's song of the day:

I don't know anyone who would argue with the fact that Mondays suck. It's just that. A fact. (except for next year, when I'll have Mondays off, but that's beside the point..) Hopefully, this song will turn your Monday around.

"Instead of feelin’ bad, be glad you’ve got somewhere to go
Instead of feelin’ sad, be happy you’re not all alone
Instead of feelin’ low, get high on everything that you love
Instead of wastin’ time, feel good ’bout what you’re dreamin’ of.

Instead of tryin’ to win something you never understood
Just play the game you know, eventually you’ll love her good
It’s silly to pretend that you have something you don’t own
Just let her be your woman and you’ll be her man…

Instead of feelin’ broke, buck up and get yourself in the black
Instead of losin’ hope, touch up the things that feel out of whack
Instead of bein’ old, be young because you know you are
Instead of feelin’ cold, let sunshine into your heart."

Why you should love it:

With a voice that's been compared to Billie Holiday, Peyroux is the reigning queen of American jazz. Love her. Love this song.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

It's Wedding Season!!

Wedding season is upon us. I have one friend in particular who is attending SIX weddings this summer!  Fortunately for both my sanity and my bank account I don't have that many friends getting married this year. Nonetheless, I have spent the past two saturdays at big catholic weddings. 

Last weekend, I was my cousin's plus one at a wedding, which is always fun, because as a plus one you can be as judgmental as you want about the wedding and reception and have zero guilt about it. For example, the bridesmaids dresses were mint green floor length satin with baby pink sashes. WHY on earth would you do that to your best friends?!? I actually overheard one of them talking about how they "could totally have it hemmed and wear it again as a cocktail dress." Oh really? Is Baby Bop having a cocktail party? Because that is pretty much the only occasion for which I can ever imagine wearing a pastel green dress in any style. I know this because I HAVE a (much prettier) pastel green dress from David's Bridal hanging in my closet at my parents house, and while it looked perfect on the day I wore it, it will likely never make an appearance again. Of course, I could always dress up like faberge egg for halloween...

Anyway, as mentioned yesterday, this weekend was the wedding of one of my dear friends from college. Fortunately, her bridesmaids' dresses were lovely and totally re-wearable (kudos to the bride on that one). But unfortunately, instead of being the completely random date attending solely for the free food and booze, I came alone and actually had to converse with the other guests, most of whom were minor acquaintances (read: Facebook friends) from college. During every conversation, the same thought kept running through my head: did this person make the cut when I did my post-college Facebook purge 2 months ago. A word to the wise: when impulsively deleting 500"friendships," it's not a bad idea to take a moment and think about the chance that you might actually have to face them again at a less-disposable friend's wedding. Whoops.

The conclusion I have come to is this: if you are single, weddings are not really that much fun. The exception, of course, is for those in the bridal party or close relatives and friends who know lots of the guests-- they can boogie without shame. For the rest of us, weddings are really just a cross between high school reunions and high school dances. On the reunion side, there are the aforementioned chats with people you never really liked or expected to see again. And the fact that you have to look good and make your job sound exciting and exotic (if you, like myself, are not in med school and about to start your second full-time internship after college, good luck with that one). On the high-school dance side, there is the singles table, which might as well be the punch bowl at homecoming that year you thought it would be a good idea to go "stag." Then the dancing begins, which is fine when everyone's doing the cupid shuffle, but the minute the DJ decides to take it slow-- if you're anything like me, you're headed for a refill on that awful glass of white zin you just chugged. 

Case in point: last night I knew no males at the wedding. No biggie. Until, no lie, "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" by Aerosmith starts playing. (Um, hello, flashback to 7th grade!!) At this point, I am already off the dance floor, so I've dodged the embarrassment of having to bashfully exit when a slow song begins, and I'm talking to one of the bridesmaids. Mid chat, one of the groomsmen comes up to her and asks her to dance--totally legit. So I turn to talk to another friend, who is behind me. Or was behind me. except she got asked to dance at the exact same time as the bridesmaid I was talking to and is now exiting stage left. Cut to me standing awkwardly in front of a table of people I don't know. It was like a moment straight out of a John Hughes film, and I was Anthony Michael Hall.

Ever the resilient one, I managed to bounce back and cut a rug on the fast songs. I even had one sweaty-palmed slow dance with one of the groom's teammates from JMU track. But the highlight of the night by far was when the groom's grandmother tracked me down to tell me that she "had watched me all night and I did I know that I was stunning?" (Do you know that you are the sweetest woman ever and maybe just redeemed my night of shame??) 

Still, you better believe that when Beyonce started belting "All the Single Ladies," I was leading the conga line! Hey girl, heyyyy!

Which reminds me... SOTD, June 7, 2009:

No explanation necessary.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

SOTD: George Strait, "Check Yes or No"

George Strait, "Check Yes or No"
(so, you actually have to click the link for this one, embedding was "disabled upon request"-- but this music video: so worth it)

Why it's song of the day:

Today, I'm going to the wedding of a one of my suitemates from sophomore year of college, Liz Nappi. Liz has been dating her soon-to-be husband since tenth grade. And it all started when he passed her a note that said, "will you be my girlfriend?" She checked yes and passed it back.

Why you should love it:

Ok, I'm aware that if you are not a country music fan, this SOTD is probaly not for you. As my housemate Kate told me the other day, I'm a little bit "trailer" (I was not aware that that could be an adjective), so I guess this kind of cheesiness is just in my blood. But before you naysayers just dismiss this one entirely, it's important to understand one thing about country music. For country musicians, it's not really about the music at all. The simpler it is to play around a campfire with a case of bud or sing along to while driving too fast down a dirt road in a pickup truck, the better. Country music is really about storytelling. And this one is a great story (especially today).

Not to mention the awesomeness of the video. So cheesy. So unashamed. I love the fact that after he picks his lady up in that hot white limo, where do they go?  A George Strait concert! Awesome. The late 80's were a good time for CMT!

Friday, June 5, 2009

SOTD: R.E.M., Everybody Hurts

Why it's song of the day:

Do any of you remember the children's book Alexander and the No Good Very Bad Day? If not, I think the title is pretty self-explanatory.

Yesterday I had a No Good Very Bad Day. First off, when I went to pay my credit card, which I thought was due on the 6th, I had a 30 buck late fee. The payment was actually due on the 3rd. Strike One. I decided to try and call the company and sweet talk them out of the charge, except when I went to my purse to find my card, my wallet was not there. I figured I had just left it at home, but I hadn't had time to make lunch or eat breakfast and now couldn't purchase anything to eat. Strike Two. In the meantime, it was raining and I had also forgotten my glasses. Cue the major headache. Finally, at 6:00, I headed home to eat something, grab my glasses and hopefully find my wallet. Pretty much the only thing I'd been happy about all day were my plans to see Up in 3d with a cute boy. Except I got home and my wallet was absolutely nowhere to be found. Strike Three.

I searched everywhere. Under my bed. In my laundry basket. In the freezer, even (don't judge me for having lost stuff and found it there before). I went back to the place I'd last used my wallet. They had nothing. Went back to work. Maybe it had fallen out of my purse and was under my desk. Nope. Finally, I had to call said cute boy and cancel. 15 minutes later I found my wallet in my pajama drawer. I'd run home from dinner in the rain the night before and immediately changed into pjs. Somehow, I'd left my wallet in the drawer and closed it. When I called the boy back--voicemail.

I wanted to cry. Real bad. Instead, I walked to McDonalds (dangerously close to my apartment), got a cheeseburger and fries, came home, drank half a bottle of wine and watched three episodes of My So Called Life. All better.

So here's where REM ccomes in. At the end of the pilot episode, Angela (Claire Danes) is also having a No Good Very Bad Day. She'd gotten in a fight with her mom, her old best friend won't even look at her, her best friend just got sexually assaulted in front of her, and the boy she totally sweats doesn't even know she exists. Then she sees her dad having a heated argument with a 20 something woman. Cue the anthem for angst in the 90s.

I jest now, but be aware that last night, this moment happened at exactly the same time that the half-bottle of wine hit me. And I cried. A lot.

Why you should love it:

I don't even know how to answer that one. It's universal, right? No good very bad days befall even the best of us.

So go ahead, eat that cheeseburger. Drink that wine. Wallow in self pity while watching hours of early 90's television. But remember. You are not alone. Everybody hurts.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

SOTD: Jose Gonzalez, "Storm"

Why it's SOTD:

At about 7:00pm last night the heavens opened up and poured down rain on Washington, DC. I was eating dinner outside at the time. Cool.

About an hour later, as the storm raged on outside, the fire alarm in our building started going off for no apparent reason. About the same time, the basement started flooding. So, my housemate Carrie and I did what any rational people would do. We ignored both problems and went puddle jumping.

I may have contracted the hiv from jumping around in DC puddles.(I think at one point my exact words were, "something sharp is stuck in my shoe, I hope it's not a syringe.") BUT. It was worth it. Most fun I've had in weeks!

In the meantime, our more responsible housemate Kate called the alarm company and swept the water out of the basement. She's not bitter at all.

Why you should love it

Well for one, it was on an episode of Friday Night Lights, which has one of the best soundtracks of any show on TV right now (Let's face it, FNL is the best show on TV right now, but I'll save that for another post).

But it's also just a downright great song. For more rainy day fun, play it with your windows open in a downpour. And then watch Friday Night Lights season one episode 20-- "Mud Bowl." You won't regret it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

An update on the previous post:

Apparently there has been speculation that the Real World house will be located at 1800 New Hampshire Avenue, NW.

That is literally one block away from my house.

Oh man. I am glad I have a blog. Stay tuned.

MTV is stealing my life

For the past year I have been living in a townhouse in Dupont Circle with 7 "strangers," fellow apprentices at the theatre where I work. Since we live and work in such tight proximity, there is often a lot of drama. It's like The Real World, only there are no men, no cameras, and no fish tank.

Welp, apparently there is a new group of biddies in the neighborhood.

DCist just broke the news that The Real World: Washington, DC will move in and start filming in Dupont Circle on June 20.

Guess who has two thumbs and will be spending her last 10 days in Washington, DC snaking her way into 15 minutes of fame....

SOTD: "God Made the Automobile" by Iron and Wine

Why it's SOTD:

In light of last night's post about GM, it's just too perfect a choice.

"God made the automobile to pass all the pretty girls
The smoke by the side of the road, the blues lovin' boys in tow
To drive to the end of the day and bow to a borrowed flag
To ride all the brave and the blind, and men without men in mind

To pass all the things He made and then never bothered to name
And no one will tell the truth, and no one will hide it from you
Like birds around the grave "

I think there is some truth in those lines today, for sure.

Why you should love it:

Well, the YouTube version is just Sam Beam and his guitar, which i am NEVER opposed to, but it is a lot slower and generally less musically interesting than the version that is track 14 on Around the Well, Iron & Wine's new CD. The cd version has some light percussion and really beautiful harmonies that are missing here. So, if you're an I&W fan at all or if you like folksy acoustic music, I highly recommend downloading the track. Or better yet, buy the whole CD, which is a collection of tracks recorded and previously cut from other projects. (Read the review here) I've been listening to it all week and love it!

Just a spot of personal history: I first discovered Iron and Wine my freshman year of college, when one of my high school friends brought their CD on a ski trip one weekend. We built a fire and played it on repeat all night. I've been hooked ever since.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Car Trouble

So, for those of you who haven't been watching the news lately, here's a quick news flash: General Motors declared bankruptcy yesterday.

Now, I am not generally as up on current events as I should be. But this is particularly relevant to me due to the fact that for the last week and a half, I have been researching the corporate history of General Motors.

No joke.

Allow me to back up and explain. For the past year I have worked as an "apprentice" for a certain small professional theatre in our nation's great capital. It's been a year of ups and downs that I don't care to discuss here (or ever really) but one of the things I actually really enjoyed about the job was getting to be a part of the selection process for next season.

I can't speak for anywhere else, but at our theatre we have a committee that starts meeting in about september and reads plays nonstop until about the first of march, when we announce the five we are going to produce in our season next year (that is, of course a VERY simplified version of the process, not including any of the business of getting the rights for the plays we want to do. buuut that's another story entirely)

Well.. around the end of February this year, we were stuck. With the economy failing and whatnot, the selection of plays coming from New York this year was at an all time low. We really wanted to do a play about the economy, but nothing seemed quite original or relevant enough. And then one Thursday morning our artistic director showed up with this dusty old copy of The Best Plays of 1953. She had found it! THE play about the current state of the American economy. The Solid Gold Cadillac, a farce by George S. Kaufman and Howard Teichmann.

Now, our theatre is not generally known for its great revivals of 1950's comedies. We did a play about pedophilia at Christmas. We're about to start rehearsals for a modern take on The Scarlet Letter called Fucking A. We generally keep things pretty edgy. So we all looked at her like she was crazy.

BUT. as it turns out, the play is hitting pretty close to home right about now.

In the play, a little old lady stockholder raises her hand at a General Products of America shareholder's meeting and asks the Chairman of the Board why he makes so much money. (Sound familiar?) She eventually ends up exposing the big bad executives for the greedy villians they really are and winning control of the whole company by a proxy vote. Apparently, the idea for the whole play came after GM stock had dropped in the early fifties, and George S. Kaufman, hearing someone remark "poor general motors," thought that might be a good title for a play. Well, the title changed, but the fictional corporation at the center of the play is mostly based on GM, which owned over half of the automobile market when the play was written in 1953.

Right now, I'm working on our performance guide for the play-- a 10-15 page book with background information for lucky subscribers (oooh aaah) and I've kinda become an expert on the history of GM (especially in the 1950's and early 60's).

Its just so fascinating to me that for decades GM was considered to be a perfect example of great business practice and now many of those same key principles have come back to kill it.

Is there a lesson to be learned here, perhaps?

Anyway, enough moralizing. I'll leave you with a few fun facts about the late, great General Motors:

1. Alfred P. Sloan (President of GM from 1923- 37, then chairman until 1956) is largely credited with the early financial success of GM. He is most famous for coming up with a marketing strategy called "planned obsolescence." Basically, he decided that models of cars would update every year so that people would want new cars before they actually needed them. (Sidenote: Sloan was also scrutinized for aiding the efforts of Hitler during WWII. Take from that what you will.)

2. In 1953 (the same year The Solid Gold Cadillac was written) Charlie Wilson left his position as president of GM to become the defense secretary for Dwight D. Eisenhower. Wilson is famously misquoted as saying, "What's good for General Motors is good for the country." What he actually said is "What is good for the country is good for General Motors." We'll see how that plays out...

3. In 1955, Harlow Curtice became was the first president of a corporation to see a billion dollars in profits. In January, 1956, he was named Time Magazine's man of the year for 1955.

4. Exactly one year ago tomorrow, a proposal was raised at the annual GM shareholder's meeting that would tie GM executive's salaries to company performance. It was voted down.

If that's not enough irony for you, here's one final morsel, a quote from Harlow Curtice:

"You never stand still in this business. You either go up or down."

Song of the Day

As mentioned in my previous post, my computer was stolen a little over a month ago. About a month before that, my hard drive crashed and I lost all of my music and photos.

I don’t have very good luck with computers.

But an up side to these technical difficulties was that, not being able to rely on my faithful ITunes library, I started to venture out and discover some new music, soliciting mix CDs and downloads from friends and listening to a LOT of Pandora.

I should interrupt programming here for a brief public service announcement: If you do not use Pandora.com to listen to music. You should start. Immediately. It is BETTER than sliced bread. Maybe even better than Gmail (wrap your head around that!).

Basically, how it works is this: you type in an artist or song that you like and it generates a (Free!) radio station based on the musical qualities of your selection. For example, it is summer now, so I could pretty much lie around and listen to James Taylor all day. So I just type in “James Taylor” and Voila! I have a whole station of folksy, acoustic goodness. If you like variety, you can add other artists to the same station, or, my personal preference, you can create new stations with completely different genres and use the underutilized “quick mix” button which will make the player jump from station to station. Currently, I have my quick mix set to rotate from Ghetto Fabolousness (Kanye, Girl Talk, Beyonce), to Girlie Poppiness (Kate Nash, Ingrid Michaelson, Lilly Allen), to Indie Rockness (Arcade Fire, The Strokes, Modest Mouse), with a little Explosions in the Sky and Sufjan Stevens thrown in for good measure. The result: musical euphoria!

My office is completely open… we don’t even have cubicles. Just desks. And, if you haven’t noticed by the fact that I am posting this in the middle of my work day…I have ADD. And my job requires me to sit at my desk and research and write all day. So. To tune out the distracting work environment, I rock a pair of headphones and Pandora at all hours. Of course, now instead of being distracted by the people around me, I spend about half of my day going, “ooh, what’s this song….” But, at least I’m not blankly staring into space, right?

Speaking of ADD. I should get to the point here. Which is not Pandora at all (remember, that was just a PSA).

So, when I lost my music files the first time, my friend Michael Zanchelli started sending me a Song of the Day via Gmail. It fizzled and now it’s pretty much a song of the month, if that (hint, hint, zanchema…). BUT. The idea was pretty freaking awesome, and I have decided to employ it here.

I should forewarn you all that I am not very hip. I don't know who's big in music right now. Or who sounds like who with traces of whoever else. Or who was big like 2 years ago and is SO overdone now. I just know what I like listening to. Today. Take it or leave it.

So, that said, I now present without any further freaking ado...

LadyGoWest's Song of the Day, June 2, 2009: "Hometown Glory" by Adele

Why it's SOTD:

Are you kidding me!? Listen to that freaking voice. If I could sing like that, I would tell this place to shove it, stand on a corner and sing my little heart out. ( i'd probably make more than I'm making now, too)

Also the lyrics just SCREAM "Hey, y'all, it's June in DC"

"I like it in the city when the air is so thick and opaque
I love to see everybody in short skirts, shorts and shades
I like it in the city when two worlds collide
You get the people and the government
Everybody taking different sides."

Oh hey, 90 degrees and humid. Adele kinda makes you seem sexy.