Showing posts with label book report. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book report. Show all posts

Sunday, July 22, 2012

I'm the editor of 'All Together Now: Women in Music' and it's a kickstarter campaign that needs your support


The photo above is my choir Conspiracy of Venus (I was not in the group when it was taken) by my friend, photographer Audra Marie Dewitt. The photographs are part of a book she's self-publishing called All Together Now: Women in Music. Right now there is a kickstarter campaign to get this book printed, and it needs your support!

Click here to see the kickstarter campaign. ONLY 7 MORE DAYS!

Read this post I wrote on Hear it Local's blog addressing why a book about female musicians is needed. This is a book for anyone who's ever wanted to stay true to themselves and "follow their bliss" (Thank you Miho Hatori)!

Audra gave me editor credit in the book, which is really awesome! In the last three years I've helped out and worked on researching and contacting artists as well as copy editing and marketing. I saw the mock up, which is gorgeous, and figured I had a hand in about half of the images. I'm very proud of this project.

Women included in All Together Now are on the famous side as well as unsung heroines of their genres. Here are some of the ladies that are in the book:
  • Corin Tucker, of Sleater Kinney, and The Corin Tucker Band
  • Exene Cervenka, of X, and Exene Cervenka and the Original Sinners
  • Miho Hatori, of Cibo Matto, Gorillaz, and Smokey and Miho
  • Claire Evans, of Yacht
  • Sean Yesult, bassist of White Zombie
  • Noelle Scaggs, of Fitz and the Tantrums
  • Amanda Palmer, does she really need a byline?
  • Peaches, electro raunch queen
  • Theresa Andersson, Swedish born/New Orleans dwelling songstress
  • Jolie Holland, Americana singer-songwriter
  • Faye Carol, jazz/blues vocalist
  • Rachel Flotard, of Visqueen and backup vocalist for Neko Case
  • Rykarda Parasol, songwriter of dark metaphoric tunes
  • Grass Widow, SF postpunk phenoms.
  • Laura Bergmann, of The Family Crest
  • Netta Brielle, hip hop/R&B vocalist
  • Megan Smith, of SF based Misner & Smith
  • Melora, of Rasputina
  • Evie Ladin, old time banjo player
  • Kelly McFarling, Americana singer-songwriter
 Please consider contributing!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

'Cadillac Records': a review


I am a huge fan of biopics. It's very exciting to see the lives of real people illuminated in front of you. Knowing too much about the historical reality of their lives can get in the way however. Hollywood, as we all know, likes to "Hollywoodize" biopics: twisting and tweeking the details of lives to make them more interesting to the viewer.

I figure, you have to get over that. But sometimes it's hard.

Take the movie Cadillac Records: a biopic about the legendary rhythm & blues record label Chess Records. The movie stars Adrian Brody as Leonard Chess, Beyonce as Etta James, Cedric the Entertainer as Big Willie Dixon and Mos Def as Chuck Berry. I enjoyed seeing these notorious musicians come to life, but it was really hard for me to get past some of the added Hollywood aspect.

I cannot help but compare this movie to Dream Girls, but the big difference is that Dream Girls was an intact musical before it was ever a movie. And, even though everyone knows that the movie is based on the record label Motown, it's highly fictionalized.

In the film Etta James and Leonard Chess have an adulterous relationship that challenges racial stereotypes and employer/employee boundaries. As far as I know this is a fabrication, and it bothers me. I wonder what Etta herself had to say about it? I DO know that Etta was pissed that Beyonce got to sing "At Last" at Barack Obama's inauguration and not her...

I was also bothered by the character of Leonard Chess and the ABSENCE of his brother, Phil. It was the Chess Brothers that started and ran the label, it wasn't a one-man operation. But alas, Leonard was the more colorful character. He was a crude-mouthed, smart-ass and the role only brought that out in a very minor way.


Rich Cohen's The Record Men is a fabulous recount of the Chess story. Leonard Chess is quoted all over the book and his words are something right out of a Mel Brooks comedy routine.

"How to you celebrate a hit? You go to the bank, schmuck!"

or

"Who knew you could strike it rich with a few schvartzas and a reel-to-reel?

I imagine the producers consciously toned down... scratch that... DELETED the ugly money-grubbing Jewish Stereotype that was Leonard Chess. I guess as a Jewish person I appreciate that, but I still miss the personality.

What I did love about the film was much of what I simply love about the story in general:
  • Muddy Waters and Howlin Wolf's frenemies relationship
  • Etta James' dramatic and traumatic life (her autobiography Rage to Survive stresses the fact that she owes Leonard Chess for keeping her alive and keeping her house)
  • Howlin Wolf's devotion to his band (he always made sure they got paid fairly)
  • Leonard Chess' devotion to his musicians (he took care of many of them, heightening his "White Daddy" status)
  • Muddy Water's womanizing
  • How the Rolling Stones loved and respected Muddy Waters like a god.

Chess Records has a fascinating story, and while I don't agree with some of the "Hollywood" type additions, I do feel that the essence of the label is treated fairly and with great respect in the movie Cadillac Records.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Best of San Francisco music 101: SF playlist.

I'm published! Check out this series of travel books. From San Francisco on I will be compiling the playlists for the "listen" section. Soon to come is Portland, then I hear Seattle, New Orleans and Brooklyn.

If you were to make a playlist of 35 tracks summing up music of San Francisco, what would it look like? Keep in mind that my list here, featured in the newly released GrassRoutes: Urban Eco Travel Guide by Serena Bartlett, includes all genres and all decades of music. What do you agree with? What have I left out?

Note: All of these songs I found on itunes, lastfm, myspace or somewhere downloadable on the internet. We wanted to represent music that people tend to think of when you think San Francisco.

1. The Dodos: “Red and Purple”
2. The Botticelli's: “Who Are You Now”
3. Jefferson Airplane: “Somebody to Love”
4. Grateful Dead: “Uncle John’s Band”
5. Janis Joplin & Big Brother Holding Company: “Piece of My Heart”
6. Steve Miller Band: “Rock’n Me”
7. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: “White Palms”
8. Dead Kennedys: “Holiday in Cambodia”
9. Counting Crows: “Mr. Jones”
10. Faith No More: “Epic”
11. Huey Lewis and the News: “Do You Believe in Love”
12. Journey: “Lights”
13. Santana: “Oye Como Va”
14. Third Eye Blind: “Semi-Charmed Life”
15. 4 Non Blondes: “What’s Up”
16. Beau Brummels: “Just a Little”
17. Aphrodesia: “Bus Driver”
18. Sly and the Family Stone: Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)”
19. Oona: “Trouble”
20. Charlatans: “The Shadow Knows”
21. Invisibl Skratch Piklz: “Ah One Two Three Cut”
22. Mike Relm: “Tron”
23. Foxtails Brigade: “The Hours”
24. The Frail: “Floated Away”
25. Michael Musika: “The Traveller Loses Possession”
26. John Vanderslice: “The Minaret”
27. Maus Haus: We Used Technology (But Technology Let Us Down)”
28. Loquat: “Swingset Chain”
29. Chanticleer: “Revenna Sanctus”
30. Lord Loves A Working Man: “The New Hat”
31. Michael Tilson Thomas, conducting the San Francisco Symphony No. 7 and 8
32. DJ QBert: “Redworm”
33. Jawbreaker: “Gutless”
34. Train: “Meet Virginia”
35. Deerhoof: “Twin Killers”

Please join me and Serena Bartlett at The East Bay Express Best of the Bay Party this Friday, August 7th at the Oakland Museum for the launch of the three new GrassRoutes Urban Eco Travel guides of Oakland & Berkeley, Northern California Wine Country and San Francisco.

GrassRoutes San Francisco offers a wealth of ways for small-footprint visitors to deepen their experience of one of America's most exciting cities. Written by locals immersed in the eco/indie/alt scene, the book covers everything from carpooling and volunteering, to potluck dinners and fair trade caf├ęs, to attending community events and buying CDs from local musicians. Categories include Up Early, Hang Out, Pamper, Listen, Get Inspired, Farm to Table, and many more. Black-and-white illustrations show the city in all its splendor, while clear maps help visitors get around easily on foot, bike, and public transportation.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Some Liked It Hot": book examining female jazz musicians in film and television 1928-1959


Do you remember that Marilyn Monroe was on tour with an all-girl jazz band (as a ukulele musician!) when she met Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in the 1959 movie "Some Like it Hot"?  These women were not a figment of the movie's imagination, but a real opportunity for woman at the time. This new book by Kristin McGree published by the Wesleyan University Press takes it's name from the film.

Women have been involved with jazz since its inception, but all too often their achievements were not as well known as those of their male counterparts. The book "Some Liked It Hot" looks at all-girl bands and jazz women from the 1920s through the 1950s and how they fit into the nascent mass culture...

Read more of my Examiner article here...

Watch this scene from "Some Like it Hot" with Curtis, Lemmon and Monroe. I believe the boys have dressed up like women to hide from mobsters (who shot holes in Lemmon's upright bass). In this scene Monroe sings the tune "Running Wild."