Showing posts with label kids. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kids. Show all posts

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Better late than never, A South by Southwest photo journal


This mural on Sixth Street should say "self-proclaimed Live Music Capital of the World", but whatever, we love you anyway. Love the little buttons on the top there of Stevie Ray Vaughn, Willie Nelson, Janis Joplin (who spent like a year in Austin, but shhh), Townes Van Zandt and Roky Erickson.


I was super excited to catch a Planned Parenthood Rally right next to the Texas Capitol building (I LOVE that building so much). Texas-born President of PP Cecile Richards made it out for this rally, along with powerhouse Congresswoman Dawnna Dukes. There were performances by Marcia Ball, Carolyn Wonderland, Jimmie and Dale Gilmore.

Pro-lifer Rick Perry has shut down dozens of Planned Parenthoods in Texas, saying "no" to federal money. There were protesters across 11th St., one male high schooler had a sign that said "Don't' believe their lies". It broke my heart a little bit.

And on that note, this is a random sign I liked a lot.


At one point while walking down Sixth Street late at night, I thought to myself "there really is a distinct smell to this place that I would recognize anywhere". It's sausage, mixed in with sweaty people and beer. Tasty, right? I've eaten at BestWurst a few times in my years in Austin. That stuff is good at 2am. Smells like freedom. Tastes like Texas.


Yes, that is a guitar squid costume. I think someone off camera is climbing a tree.

I went to a Family Friendly show at an Organic Farm with ducks and chickens and saw Mother Falcon (again), and Japanese comic action punk band Peelander-Z. What Awesome fun NUTTY NUTTINESS!

My favorite song? WHY SO MANY MIKE? hahaha.



I did not take this photo, but you have to see these costumes.

And then there was my Okie Heights Hootenanny, which was a huge success. The bands had a great time, Elaine and Brian rented a bouncy house for the kids, all of the beer and milk was gone and we raised $500 in tips for the bands. It was great.

The Family Crest rocks the house... uh yard, as always. (See the yellow bulldozer behind them, yeah, it had just knocked down a house the day before and was still working that morning, but it quieted down before the bands started to play.)

This photo comes from Mashable of Backwords from Brooklyn (yeah, my party made it to Mashable). The caption read:
"Slightly off the beaten path, we had one of our most relaxing, best shows this year. Front lawn, sun shining, beautiful trees and cactus all around and people just lounging out. Cans of Lone Star on ice in the turtle-shaped sandbox nearby."
So awesome. The Backwords folks were so nice.

Stroller parking lot. Love this.

The ADORABLE Bella Ruse from Minneapolis. She played the typewriter and had kazoo solos. That's Marcus in the back futzing with the speakers. He helped us book the bands and took care of the sound system. He's awesome and we thank him enormously.

Brooklyn based Miracles of Modern Science and the crowd in the front yard.

Miracles of Modern Science (or the "taped up F-holes") have the instrumentation of a folk or bluegrass band (fiddle, cello, mandolin, drums) but sound like a rock band. This band is super excellent.

Awesome puppets at a Rubblebucket show. This might have been one of my favorite new finds, imagine Flaming Lips zaniness, but with a horn section. And the lead singer lady doubles on baritone saxophone, which of course is super appealing to me.



Frontyard parties are fun. Too bad this one (Brooklyn County Cookout) was shut down by the Fire Marshall.

Man, I wish I took this photo of the Austin bluegrass band Whisky Shivers with a better camera. My cousin has been talking about them sing Hardly Strictly Bluegrass last year. Here's a pretty weird and awesome video from them.



That's it folks. Jamie's headed to New York City tomorrow morning at 7am. Gotta be up in 4.5 hours.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Blaze's Mix Tape: a 2003 hip-hop mix made by an 11-year-old



Anything made by a kid is awesome. Anything this cool made by a kid is priceless.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

From 2003-2004, I interned for Smithsonian Folkways in Washington D.C. Folkways is the Smithsonian's record label and one of the few places an ethnomusicologist can find a job outside academia. The label publishes new and archival recordings of everything from American folk music to "world" music. Lucinda Williams started off on Folkways and they usually win some sort of Grammy every year since so few labels do what they do.

I worked with some really knowledgeable people, both interns and staff members alike. One day I had a conversation with one of them about hip-hop, and I confessed that I didn't know much about it (I still don't). My colleague said that his 11-year-old son loved hip-hop and would probably make me a mix if I wanted him to. And guess what, he did. And it's time to share.

Why I love this:
  1. The AWESOME kid handwriting
  2. The fact that this kid's name is Blaze, and he names the mix after himself.
  3. He calls this CD a mix TAPE (Must have hip parents).
  4. The CD packaging was a piece of white paper, taped together.
  5. Blaze is totally into Kanye, Snoop Dogg, Nelly and Ludacris, so watch out!
I pieced this mix together from playlist.com. I couldn't find everything and replaced a couple things, but I hope you enjoy it.

Blaze (if that is your real name): Thank you, wherever you are... probably in college by now.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Why Britney Spears' and Rihanna's "S&M" is the worst guilty pleasure ever


Beyond the obvious, the new collaboration from Britney Spears and Rihanna is a catchy tune. Now that I'm driving 6 hours in the car for work per week, I'm more liberal about what radio stations catch my attention, and I heard the new "S&M" on a top 40 station yesterday.

I am no prude when it comes to enjoying a good pop tune, but I just keep thinking, "I feel so badly for parents!" How does a parent deal with this?



People have been singing about sex for decades, from "rock with me all night long" to Britney's "I'm a Slave 4 U." But at least in those songs, you could easily tell a child that they were referring to dancing or something. I think what puts me on edge about this song is how specific it is.

Whips and chains? Geez, it's not sugar coated at all, is it? It's not poetic at all. I think that's what's missing, artistry.

Parents, how would you/how are you handling this type of thing? It's not like you can keep these tracks away from children when it's all over the place?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Vienna Boys Choir (and why kids are awesome)


What do you do when someone in front of you farts? What if you're performing in front of hundreds of people? Do you try to ignore it until it passes? Or do you wrinkle up your nose in a super obvious way, and when the song is over elbow your neighbor and give the kid in front of you the stink eye?

Kids are awesome. They can be insanely smart and silly all at the same time.

I was reminded of this, this is evening when I saw the infamous Vienna Boys Choir perform at Grace Cathedral.

(I really don't want to get that kid in trouble, but OMIGOD it was so funny!!)

These guys were so great. My choir of full grown adults should be so lucky as to pull off a concert like this group of kids did tonight, as they probably do every night. I heard not one mistake. They had EVERYTHING memorized. They sang half a dozen languages perfectly. And, of course they sounded amazing. Grace Cathedral was built for this sound.

But watching these consummate professionals, you see that they really are only children between, I'm guessing, the ages of 8 and 13.

I found myself being totally distracted and entertained by their individual personalities. Who was the troublemaker? Who was the shy one? What can I say, I'm a people-watcher, and kids provide the ultimate people-watching experience.

This is what I saw, and some of these kids fit more than one of these descriptions:
  • the eye-wanderer - not looking at the conductor, but at everything else.
  • the yawner - by the second half there were several of these
  • the one with the Bieber haircut - yes, they are Austrian, but there still has to be one
  • the one who makes funny faces when he sings - all choirs have one
  • the one whose voice sticks out - not necessarily in a bad way
  • the one who keeps forgetting to bow with the rest of the group
  • the overly animated one - often the one who makes funny faces, often they dance in place
  • the one with Harry Potter glasses
  • the one with funny ears - they're kids, this is a given
  • the one who's WAY taller/shorter than everyone else - again, they're kids, it's a given
  • the one who just looks really Austrian - whatever that means
Oh, maybe I should mention some of the music: Palestrina, Bruckner (both my favs), Pergloesi, Zoltán Kodály (they sang in Hungarian!), Orff and yes folks some Michael Jackson. They sang "We Are the World" in Austrian accents and it was adorable.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Maunal, Dwayne & Brian: the kids of Lynchdoche Eco-village

Manual at an end-of-the-year Christmas party for a program where kids learn to recycle (he has the best smile)

These videos are super special to me. I arrived in Cape Town from London early on a Sunday morning and headed directly to the Sustainability Institute and Lynchdoche Village, located east of Cape Town in wine country on the way to Stellenbosch.

The sun was out, it was warm and windy, and it was gorgeous country. I didn't really know what to expect from this place, and since it was Sunday, school wasn't in session and it was really REALLY quiet. During the week, these pictures would be filled up with people.

looking north: The crèche on the right (where kids play during the week) and some homes.

south

Then I heard some music. So I followed it (as I do) and found these guys: Manual, Dwayne and Brian (and Brian's little sister) playing music. Brian lives in the village, I'm not sure where Manual and Dwayne live, but it would be in the general area in small homes. All three go to school at the government run school located in the Sustainability Institute.

Brian's mother Makka runs the guesthouse where I rented a room. She just finished paying off her house (behind them) and was one of the first eco-village residents a little over 10 years ago. (Her tiny two-story home has a solar panel.) Brian is 11 and the oldest out of this bunch.



I love the extension chords leading out of Brian's house. Manual played that plastic trashcan lid like a pro. Brian's guitar was hardly tuned, but he would bar the frets to get a reasonable harmonic sound out of it. I later found out that he had taken guitar lessons, so this kid knows how to play chords and he's actually very musically talented. So he's chosen to play this particular instrument without much tuning. I found that really interesting.

I'm not sure what the first song is, but I imagine that it's a South African gospel tune. This second one definitely is. Gospel is really popular in the rural parts of Cape Town. Brian taught me how to play this second tune "I've got a Feeling" on his guitar. I also went and pulled out my ukulele which he tinkered around with.

Please ignore the fact that I interrupted them at the end, so I could give Dwayne the chance to play if he wanted to. Only now do I realize that Brian says "He can't play!" haha... oops.

This was really sweet though, and a wonderful way to welcome me to this continent/country/city.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Sesame Street wins again, and again: "I Love My Hair"

Despite the Katy Perry debacle, Sesame Street (via facebook) has been doing some very smart, pop-culture savvy, progressive things lately. And riding the tails of my Esperanza Spalding article, I'd like to help celebrate accepting and loving what you got on your head and workin' it like a rockstar.



And just for fun, Sesame Street's recent parody of Isaiah Mustafa's brilliant and hilarious Old Spice commercials. Proves that Sesame Street is hip. Love it.

I'm on a horse, MOO! cow.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Children's choirs sing Pomplamoose and Gaga

I was poking around Pomplamoose videos the other day on youtube and found this one of the The Gifford Children's Choir in Racine, Wisconsin. They are performing the Pomplamoose version of Lady Gaga's "Telephone". So. Awesome. Nataly and Jack are totally loving it. Nat said it made her cry. I love the choreography, so cute.



And an old favorite, the PS22 chorus (on Staten Island) singing Gaga's "Just Dance". This little lady Tirzah has a gorgeous voice. I hope she's still singing!



Hip Hip Hooray for kick ass music teachers like these who use contemporary music that children can get excited about! (My choir sang "We Didn't Start the Fire" when I was 11, and look how excited about music I am!) With the help of Glee, there is hope for our music programs yet!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Q&A with Kyle Jarrow, book and lyric writer of Duncan Sheik's new musical 'Whisper House'

Kyle Jarrow and Duncan Sheik teamed up to write 'Whisper House'
photo via latimes.com

One of my favorite things about Davies Symphony Hall is the variety of performers that grace its stage: like ukulele musicians and big band orchestras. But it’s a special treat when the Symphony itself invites someone extra special to be its guest.

This week, Wednesday to Saturday, The San Francisco Symphony slips something a little different between Poulenc and Gounod classics: selections from a new musical called Whisper House, composed by so-called “one hit wonder” and Grammy winning Duncan Sheik with a book written by New York City’s “hipster playwright" Kyle Jarrow.

Don’t be too surprised: Duncan Sheik went onto receiving a 2007 Tony for his masterpiece Spring Awakening and Kyle Jarrow won a prestigious 2004 Obie Award at the age of 24 for A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant. The two were introduced by a mutual friend and dove right into writing the musical Whisper House. The musical has just come off a successful six week World Premier run at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego.

Last week I was able to chat with Kyle over email and ask him some questions about working with Duncan and his experience with Whisper House...

TO READ MORE, CLICK HERE

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A request to help support and protect All-Ages performances spaces

These guys need a safe place to party too

Remember being under 21 and wanting to go out? I lived in Los Angeles and still ended up getting a fake ID. I mean I missed freaking PAUL SIMON at the House of Blues because I was under 21. I ended up hanging out outside with the doormen and watching the show on the monitor for smokers. That was not right, people. People under the age of 21 need a variety of places to go, that aren't just punk clubs. Not all kids are interested in that kind of music.

This is a notice from my friend Cary (from the band At Dusk) who has worked tirelessly to support and maintain All-Ages entertainment spaces across the country. I've gone ahead and signed up (you have to give Pepsi an email, but you have to specifically sign up for mailing lists, so don't worry about spam) please do the same if you feel that this is a cause worth supporting:
As I'm among friends and family here I'll spare you a long pitch and just ask for your help in securing a $50,000 grant from Pepsi for a non-profit organization called the All-Ages Movement Project (AMP) that advocates for and support people nationwide in starting, running and maintaining all-ages arts and music spaces.

They are in an online competition to be one of the ten most vote-getting applicant projects among hundreds by the end of February. If they finish in the top ten, they will receive $50,000 that will allow the organization publish a how-to book, organize a series of workshops and conferences, and take on some much needed staff. Everyone (or, technically, every email) can vote once a day through February 28 at:
www.allages.net/vote

Since you know me, you also know how important the cause of all-ages access to music and art is to me, and I can assure you that if AMP is able to make these projects happen it will help address some critical issues in creative communities across the country.

Any help you could offer over the few days by voting and encouraging others to vote through facebook, twitter, emails etc. would be greatly appreciated. You will not receive Pepsi spam unless you specifically check a box requesting to, so don't worry about that.

***Vote daily through February to help bring all-ages music and art to every town.***

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Count Basie Orchestra at Anthology in San Diego, a fun night out with my teenage cousin

"It's like touring with your grandpa, or great-grandpa! But they swing just as hard" says singer Carmen Bradford

Saturday night I was down in San Diego for work and wanted to take my 16-year-old cousin out for a nice evening. Going to the movies didn’t seem special and she’s not the kind of kid I would take to an all-ages punk show. And lets face it, I didn’t want to go to a punk show either. I saw that Anthology is all-ages and that the Count Basie Orchestra was rocking the house for two nights. This legendary Kansas City big band is swinging towards San Francisco and will be performing on May 30th at Davies Hall with Kurt Elling as part of the SFJAZZ spring season.

Celebrating their 75th anniversary, the Basie Band has never sounded better. It’s obvious from the smiles, the goofiness, mutual encouragement and choreography (the trumpet section has it down) that these guys thoroughly enjoy themselves on stage. And with songs titles like “Fun Time,” “Way Out Basie,” Right On Right On” and “Cute” a good time is guaranteed.

Some members of the Basie Band are new, yet the majority of the sound still swings from musicians handpicked by Count Basie himself. I would guess that at least 75 percent of the band is over 50 years old. Bill Hughes is the current director and has been in the band since 1953. That’s pretty incredible if you ask me. Basie hired singer Carmen Bradford in 1982 when she was 22.

TO READ THE REST OF MY ARTICLE CLICK HERE

The Count Basie Band makes an appearance in Mel Brooks' 1974 film Blazing Saddles

Friday, December 4, 2009

By Area Girls Rock Camp Silent Auction round up

Poison Apple Pie: Emmalee, Torrey and Jasmine

Just wanted to report that the fundraiser was a success! I don't know how much money was raised, but there were over 65 pieces of art donated and most of them were bid on. Everything I donated was sold which is very excited for me! Thanks again Jen, Lauren, Jemal, Jessica, Diana and Erin .

Poison Apple Pie played a fabulous set including "Superman" by R.E.M., "21 Guns" by Green day, "Don't Stop Believin" by Journey (complete with the intro that Torrey and I worked on last week), and originals "I Need a Chainsaw," "Flying Swines of Doom" and my favorite, "I Don't Want to Hug You." The last one sounds like a 1960s garage band tune. They've just been getting better and better and better. I can't believe they are all only 12.

I sold two lessons, one to someone I know and one to someone I don't know. Should be interesting!

Anyway, everyone did a fabulous job and I am very happy to have been part of it.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Local Bay Area artists featured in silent auction: Proceeds go to Bay Area Girls Rock Camp

Print by Jen Oaks


Artists and musicians are cut from the same cloth, but how often do the two communities get to directly support each other? Dozens of Bay Area artists have donated handmade items to raise money for the Bay Area Girls Rock Camp in a silent auction occurring this coming Friday, December 4th 7-10pm at Local 123 in Berkeley.

Just in time for the holidays, there will be everything from handmade earrings and jam to paintings, prints and sculptures. Check out the slideshow for a sneak peak. Homemade items can be special holiday gifts! Many items will start bidding at $10.

I'm auctioning off 4 music lessons starting at $20 each. Been meaning to pick up that guitar? Want to learn some piano? Always wanted to learn about African music? Bollywood? I can probably teach you about it.

These are some of the pieces that my friends Jessica, Erin, Diana, Jemal, Jen and Lauren donated. THANK YOU SO MUCH GUYS! I am so grateful that you are helping to support Girls Rock Camp, an organization that I have put so much of my own time and energy into.

Click here to read the article on examiner.com and check out the slideshow of some of the other art that will be there (I think my friends donated the best stuff, but I'm biased).

Also, "my" girls, Poison Apple Pie will be performing at the event. It's been so much fun to see Emalee, Jasmine and Torrey progress as a band. Can't wait to see what they're going to play.

Homemade Peach and Strawberry jam by Diana Kowalsky (I made the labels)


earrings by Jessica Hilberman


Painting by Erin Wapple



Doodles by Jemal Diamond

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Spring Awakening" addresses teenage sexuality in a buttoned up era

What young men do with all that pent up sexual energy: JUMP!

Teenage sex, masturbation, abortion, child abuse, suicide... sounds like another night of bad television right? Wrong. Spring Awakening is a musical based on a play by the same title by Frank Wedekind that was banned in 1891 for portraying all of these situations, many of them graphically.

Western society has come a long way since the Victorian era of zipped lips (and flies) when it came to sexuality. I figure, it was hard enough being a teenager in the 1990s when we had sex ed and 90210 to teach us, what must it have been like in the1890s when kids had nothing?

Right now, Spring Awakening is playing in Sacramento at the Community Center Theater just until November 15th. In 2007, Spring Awakening received eleven Tony Award nominations, winning eight, including best musical, direction, book, score and featured actor.

READ MORE OF MY REVIEW HERE

Taylor Trensch as Moritz

Christy Altomare as Wendla and Jake Epstein as Melchior

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

All the Single Babies

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

3 Tenors move on over, we got some new blood in the house

Um, these kids are 14 and 15. wow...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Smart Girls at the Party and Care Bears on Fire

Amy Poehler's new webproject "Smart Girls at the Party" recently featured the New York based band Care Bear's on Fire

Smart Girls at the Party "celebrate girls who are changing the world by being themselves" much like Girls Rock Camp. (Read my previous post about GRC here

Now junior high students, Care Bears on Fire have been playing together since 2005. Check out Amy's interviews with them on "Smart Girls at the Party."

Part 1


And also their spot on NPR.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Sungha Jung: this young guitarist is pretty amazing

There are no words: just listen...