Friday, October 30, 2009

A perfectly spooky Halloween playlist for your party this weekend

Looking for the perfect playlist for your Halloween Party or just music to get you in the mood while you're getting dressed up? This is a list me and a bunch of my friends have been working on via facebook.

These songs should all be available on iTunes!

Happy Spooking and have a safe weekend!

1. “Everyday Is Halloween” - Ministry
2. “Werewolves of London” - Warren Zevon
3. “Somebody’s Watching Me – “Rockwell”
4. “Dead Man's Party” - Oingo Boingo
5. “Bela Lugosi's Dead” - Bauhaus
6. “Everyone's Dead” - The Homophones
7. “Pet Semetary” The Ramones
8. “The Creature Stole My Surfboard” – Dead Elvis
9. “Thriller” - Michael Jackson
10. “This House is Hanuted” – Alice Cooper
11. “Spooky” – The Atlanta Rhythm Section
12. “This Is Halloween” - Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack
13. “Don't Fear the Reaper” - Blue Oyster Cult
14. “Walking Through a Cemetery” – Claudine Clark
15. “Living Dead Girl” - Rob Zombie
16. “Haunted House”- Jumpin’ Gene Simmons
17. “Zombie Eaters” – Faith No More
18. “Ghostbusters” - Ray Parker Jr.
19. “Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)” - David Bowie
20. “I Put a Spell on You” - Screamin' Jay Hawkins
21. “Monster Mash” - Bobby "Boris" Pickett
22. “Goo Goo Muck” - The Cramps
23. “Murder in the Graveyard” – Screaming Lords Sutch
24. “I'm Your Boogie Man” - KC & the Sunshine Band
25. “Welcome to My Nightmare” - Alice Cooper
26. “Dead Souls” - Nine Inch Nails
27. “Little Red Riding Hood” – Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs
28. “Bloodletting (The Vampire Song)” - Concrete Blonde
29. “Red Right Hand” - Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
30. “Down in the Park” – both Gary Numan and Marilyn Manson
31. “Season of the Witch” - Donovan
32. “Swamp Thing” - The Chameleons
33. “Ghost Town - The Specials
34. “Psycho Killer” - Talking Heads
35. “Grimly Fiendish - The Damned”
36. “Creature of the Night” - The Creepshow

Big thanks to Jennifer & G.R.!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pomplamoose says hello to all of you at Always More to Hear

I had the pleasure of meeting Nataly Dawn and Jack Conte of Pomplamoose last night in San Rafael and yes, they are as adorable in person as they are in their videos. I brought a camera to prove to you all that I had indeed met them, but totally forgot about it until I got in the car. So they made me this little video for us (like a radio station does where famous people say who they are and thanks for listening) and sent it over.

The interview will go up next week to help promote the second EVER Pomplamoose live show: (San Francisco at the Brainwash Cafe on November 13th!) But I couldn't wait to share this video with you all. Wanted to do it now.

Happy Birthday Nataly!!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls blogs "why i am not afraid to take your money"

Thanks to Jessica for sending this onto me. I felt the need to repost.

Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls recently blogged:
artists need to make money to eat and to continue to make art.

artists used to rely on middlemen to collect their money on their behalf, thereby rendering themselves innocent of cash-handling in the public eye.

artists will now be coming straight to you (yes YOU, you who want their music, their films, their books) for their paychecks. please welcome them. please help them. please do not make them feel badly about asking you directly for money.

dead serious: this is the way shit is going to work from now on and it will work best if we all embrace it and don’t fight it.
Read more of her blog entry here.

This is why I've been waiting to buy CDs from artists until I see them live. There is no middle man, and often you can get the CD cheaper than if you bought it at the store. The money goes straight to the artist. And call me old-fashioned, but I like having an actual CD to listen to instead of purchasing from itunes.

Palmer also goes onto say (and I love this):

feel ok about giving your money directly to paul mccartney. he may be rich, but he still rocks. show you care.

feel ok about giving it to fucking lady gaga if you’ve been guiltily downloading her dance tracks for free. rejoice in the fact that you are directly responsible for several threads in her new spandex spacesuit.
I do love the spacesuit. Is there any way to get around the $20 of fees ticketmaster will add to a $48 ticket? I think not. I'm glad people are buying them, I guess. Just not me.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Oakland Zombies participate in "Thrill the World" to break the world record

This little guy was milking the cameras with his MJ moves!

On Saturday at 5:30 pm, 169 Zombies gathered at Studio One Art Center in Oakland, California to dance to Michael Jackson's "Thriller." They were joined at the exact same time by 300 other locations around the world in an attempt to break last year's record set in Guinness Book of World Records 4,179 dancers from 10 nations. This year, it is already reported that there were 6,000 fans in Los Angeles alone and that 37 countries participated.

See the slideshow of the Oakland event

Zombies, young and old, had a blast learning the dance and participating in the event in Oakland yesterday. From 3-5pm there was dance instruction out on the Studio One plaza. At 5:30 sharp, the "Thriller" dance commenced in front of many on-lookers. It ended with the crowd chanting "Michael! Michael! Michael!" and doing it all over again just for fun. Zombies then invaded the Kona Club on Piedmont, many of them ordered the drink "the Zombie." (I did, it was tasty!)


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Two more crazy awesome youtube musicians: Pomplamoose and Lauren O'Connell

We all know that the internet is an extraordinary thing and has changed the way we live our daily lives (and I don't even have an iphone yet). The internet has also, of course, changed the way we listen to music and how we make music.

One of my favorite artists that I've written about before, Kina Grannis, is one of these people. She writes songs, records some covers and makes youtbe videos with her Mac computer and edits them into some gorgeousness.

But I've got some new finds thanks to my friends on facebook: Pomplamoose and Lauren O'Connell.

This is Pomplamoose. Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn hang out in their apartment in the Bay Area (I guess they are an item and live together) and make music videos. Nataly has a gorgeous voice that she layers and layers and layers and Jack plays all sorts of instruments. They remind me of the early recording experiments of Les Paul and his wife Mary Ford.

These videos are awesomely edited together and showcase a fabulous sense of humor. Watch Jack jump around, say silly things and put puppets on the kick pedal of a bass drum. Oh, and Nataly recently got a Master's degree in French Literature. So she's smart too. And did I say pretty? Because she's really pretty.

Pomplamoose will be playing live in San Francisco on November 13th at the Brainwash Cafe. I hope I can check it out. I would be very interested to see what they do live.

This is their cover of Beyonce's "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)." Yes, I still love this song. This is the first tune I heard of theirs, they have *ton* of good ones though. Click around on their youtube page.

I just discovered Lauren O'Connell this morning (thanks Joey), so I'm still learning about her and all her videos on her youtube page. But, she is friends with Pomplamoose and is only 20! She layers and edits all of her own stuff and does very neat things with percussive sounds (doors slamming, kicking things) to get the sound she wants. She also plays a bazillion instruments.

Oh, and she's freaking hysterical too: "Right next to my bed, is the FUCKING RAT POISON!"

She says on her myspace page that she "doesn't understand the internet." Yeah, right. She's genius at using it.

Oh look, I just found a Nataly and Lauren collaboration. Cool.

So, if you're looking to make it big on yotube as a musician, this is one of the equations that are successful. You must:

1) be funny, charming, silly, etc.
2) cool cover songs (originals are good too!)
3) edit and layer audio and video.

What do we call this? Patchwork editing?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Guest Halloween blogger Kim Kattari: Prepare yourself for a fiendishly freaky time with The Creepshow

Awesome Gilman poster just in time for Halloween

My good friend and ethnomusicologist Kim Kattari is writing her dissertation on psychobilly music for a Ph.D. at The University of Texas Austin, where I got my Master's degree. She's coming up to the Bay Area this weekend to see this show so I asked her if she wanted to be a guest blogger. I worked my magic to get her an interview with the band and this is the cool piece she sent me just in time for Halloween! Read more about Kim below.


Ghouls, demon lovers, zombies, the devil – just some of the characters found in the horrifically fun songs of The Creepshow. The group boasts four talented musicians: the cute but tough bombshell Sarah “Sin” Blackwood rocks on guitar and lead vocals, Sean “Sick Boy” McNab slaps away on a stand-up bass topped with a skull, Kristian “The Reverend McGinty” Rowles delivers dark-sounding sermons and creepy organ sounds à la J.S. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue, and Matt “Pomade” Gee keeps it all together with solid rhythms on drums. To get the hard-driving hybrid sound that makes this Canadian band unique and exciting, take a little Johnny Cash, mix in some Dead Kennedys and the Damned, throw in the zombie love child of Wanda Jackson and Elvis Presley, and add a dash each of skate punk, haunted house organ, 1980s goth, and 1950s/1960s vocal group harmonies. So whether you want to call it “horrorbilly,” “psychobilly,” “horror punk,” “punk-a-billy,” “hellbilly” or whatever other term people have come up with to describe the “rockabilly meets punk meets horror movie” style, the band prefers to simply call it “Rock n Roll.”

The Creepshow is currently touring to promote their second album, Run For Your Life , a record that ranges from angry tales of heartbreak and revenge in “You’ll Come Crawlin’” to boot-stomping anthems like “Buried Alive.” Then there are the peppier pop songs “Rock ‘n’ Roll Sweetheart” and “Demon Lover” featuring back-up vocal harmonies so infectious and irresistibly catchy that you’ll find yourself singing “ooh ooh ooh” along with the band in no time.

You’ll quickly fall under the spell of Sarah “Sin” Blackwood’s sultry, country-tinged sexiness. I asked her what it’s like to be a woman in a mostly male-dominated music scene. After joking about dealing with “the smell of dudes all the time,” she commented on the double standard that women face:

“Even if I am trying to tough it out [when I’m not feeling 100%], it still makes me seem wimpy if I complain, because I am a girl and that automatically puts me in a “diva” category. Like if the guys all ask for no tomato on their burgers and their fries not to touch their ketchup, it’s all good, but if I ask for that (which I f--king wouldn’t), then people think I am demanding and bitchy.”


About the guest author: Kim Kattari is a doctoral candidate in ethnomusicology at the University of Texas at Austin. She's currently residing in California, doing research for her dissertation on psychobilly music, entitled: "Bridging the Decades through “Mutant Rockabilly”: The Performance of a Working-Class Nostalgic Fantasy in the Psychobilly Community." She loves going to shows, doing her hair up, and hearing that thump-thump of the upright bass. If you'd like to contact Kim, email her at

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Jake Shimabukuro takes the ukulele to classical heights at the SFJazz Festival

Since when could you imagine the ukulele taking center stage at a symphony hall? Enter Jake Shimabukuro: a young Hawaiian who has been recognized as one of the world's most exciting and innovative ukulele players and composers.

This guy emits positive energy even through his dozens of youtube videos, I can't wait to actually be in his presense. If his last album is any indication, Davies Hall is in for quite a ride Wednesday night where he will be playing as part of the SFJazz Festival's season. Jake's latest album release is entirely live. Every track reveals a different side of the ukulele: soft and sensitive at times, other times cheery and playful, occasionally dramatic, and, once in a while, hard and aggressive.

Jake writes his own material as well as innovative covers such as "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (see the video below which has received over 3 million views on youtube), "Thriller" (which I bet will be played on Wednesday) and J.S. Bach's "Two-Part Invention No. 4 in D Minor."

Music education is very important to Jake. READ MORE OF MY ARTICLE HERE

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Come down to the Rickshaw Tuesday night for a romping good time with Those Darlins

Those Darlins is: Jessi Darlin, Kelley Darlin and Nikki Darlin. jferrara

“It just ends up a little more badass,” says a flu ridden Jessi Darlin from Utah over the phone about a Carter Family cover. “I definitely think that when we cover songs we reinterpret them, we toughen them up a little bit.”

Those Darlins originally caught my eye as the three-woman band that met at the Southern Girls Rock Camp in Tennessee. They have a raucous down-home party sound and could definitely drink me under the table. Nikki Darlin plays the baritone ukulele and Kelley and Jessi switch off playing lead guitar and bass. They wear funky fox fur hats, cowboy boots with mismatched socks and short skirts. Most of the record sounds like it was recorded live at a crazy party, so seeing them live on Tuesday at the Rickshaw Stop will be a treat.

The Darlins song themes include drunkenly eating a whole chicken (more on this later), getting hung up on and DUIs. Hardly themes you would expect from three women who met at Girls Rock Camp (Kelley Darlin started the camp) and now teach there. Or maybe you would?

I asked Jessi what she has learned from being in a band of mostly women (the Darlins are joined by a gentleman drummer) and what she would want other female musicians to know:


Those Darlins "Whole Damn Thing" from Tugboat Productions on Vimeo.

Waiting for "Rent" at the Curran Theater: starring Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal

For seven hours this past Friday I waited in line for $20 rush tickets for the musical Rent at San Francisco's Curran Theater. Yes my friends, this is the fun I have on my furlough Fridays. I am one of those crazy music theater lovers who would do such a thing.

The Curran Theater has been (I believe today is the last day of the short two week run) graciously saving the first two rows of the orchestra (rows AA and BB) for rush tickets buyers. There were only 26 seats. After those were snatched up they offered up some remaining seats for $30. We got the last $20 seat and the first two $30 seats in one of the boxes. The view was obstructed and we couldn't see anything that occurred in the back of the stage (missed all of Mimi's "Take Me Out") and anything upstage right.

HOWEVER, we were close enough to see facial expressions and to feel the full emotional force of these gorgeous songs. I cried when Angel and Collins expressed their love for each other in "I'll Cover You" and again when Angel died. Man, I love this show. Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal, the originators of the characters Roger and Mark. 13 years later, they sound better than ever. In fact, Adam Pascal's voice was one of my least favorite from the original Broadway recording. His voice has filled out and improved by leaps and bounds since then.

after-Rent glow: Diane and me

I waited in line for 7 hours. My bum is still a soar from sitting on the sidewalk. I even got yelled at by a homeless guy and we had a an Anthony Rapp sighting as he walked to Starbucks across the street. I also met a lovely new friend, Sharon, who is a voice student at San Francisco State University and aspiring music theater performer. We talked shop for most of our waiting time and the day flew by. Here's a picture of her getting her program signed by Adam Pascal. Go girl!

Sharon meeting Adam Pascal, the original "Roger"

Front of line - who knows how early they got there...

More of line, I doubt many of these people got tickets. The line got even longer that afternoon.

This was a fantastic performance and it was well worth the wait. I know the original Broadway recording well, so seeing Pascall and Rapp play the parts was a huge treat.

Furlough Fridays can be fun!

Be part of a "Thiller" dance world record: 300 locations worldwide participate next Saturday the 24th

You love the man.

You love the dance.

Join the worldwide record attempt for the most people dancing simultaneous to Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

Over 300 locations all over the world from Netherlands to Peru will participate on Saturday, October 24th at exactly 5:30pm (Pacific Coast Time).

To participate in this once in a lifetime event, check in with the "Thrill the World" website.

All dancers must know the steps exactly as shown in the demonstration video. Remember, the dance occurs EXACTLY at 5:30pm on Saturday, October 24th. Zombie costumes encouraged!

See the list of registered cities here or start your own!

To register for the Bay Area event click here.


p.s. how much do we love the internet for making this possible??!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Jewish Music Festival celebrates the art of the Holocaust created by both Jews and non-Jews

Through out my life, I often think about the fact that if it were not for Adolph Hitler, I would not be here. Plain and simple: my grandmother would probably still be in Germany and my Grandfather would have married another pretty Jewish lady in Los Angeles.

If it were not for the Holocaust, we would also not have any of the beautiful and inspirational art and music featured in They Left a Light: Masterpieces from Nazi Prison Camps at the East Bay Jewish Community Center on Sunday evening, October 18th.

This performance will be an educational experience with narration and a multimedia production performed by some of the Bay Area’s top classical musicians, including Susan Waterfall, piano and narrator; Jeremy Cohen, violin; Burke Schuchmann, cello, and Erin Neff, soprano.

By nature, human beings find ways to make beauty out of the darkness. Olivier Messiaen, composer of The Quartet for the End of Time, Sunday evening's featured piece, was a Catholic French composer who lived in the Theresienstadt (Terezin) concentration camp during the Holocaust as a prisoner of war...


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

videos my friends posted on facebook today

Thanks Lauren!

Thanks Aaron!

I really do have stuff to do. But this is so much fun!

New York Mix

This is a second version of a mix I made over the summer when visiting friends in New York. This time I opened up the track list to songs about the city (while maybe not mentioning it in the title) and the individual burroughs. I have to say, I'm pretty happy with this one. I listen to it all the time!

I collaged the cover as well back in August. It's cute.

Note: I only bought two of these songs from itunes especially for this: the Sinatra and the Busta Rhymes. SO, if you have any complaints here, blame it on the mp3 collection.

1. "New York S**t" - Busta Rhymes & Swizz Beatz
2. "N.Y." - Doves
3. "Spanish Harlem" - Aretha Franklin
4. "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)" - Simon & Garfunkel
5. "Manhattan" - Ella Fitzgerald
6. "New York City" - John Lennon & Yoko Ono
7. "Brooklyn" - Mos Def
8. "New York State of Mind Billy Joel" - Billy Joel
9. "Talkin' New York" - Bob Dylan
10. "Englishman In New York" - Sting
11. "There's a Boat Dat's Leavin' Soon for New York" - Louis Armstrong
12. "An Open Letter To NYC" - The Beastie Boys
13. "Autumn in New York" - Billie Holiday
14. "Angel of Harlem" - U2
15. "Manhattan"- Kings Of Leon
16. "Morning in Manhattan" - Raya Yarbrough
17. "Fairytale of New York "- The Pogues
18. "New York, New York" - Frank Sinatra

Almost made the list but cds aren't long enough:

- "What New York Couples Fight About" Feat. Kurt Wagner - Morcheeba
- "The Only Living Boy in New York" - Simon & Garfunkel
- "I Can't See New York" - Tori Amos
- "New York J-D Blues" - Pete Seeger
- "New York" - Sex Pistols

What would you put on your list? I know I asked this a couple months ago, but feel free to share again.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

President Obama declares October National Arts and Humanities Month: celebrating music education

Like February is African American History Month and March is Women's History Month, President Obama has declared October National Arts and Humanities Month. There are events planned all over the country this month to celebrate.

According to the National Agency of State Arts Agencies, National Arts and Humanities Month's four primary goals are to:

- Create a national, state and local focus on the arts and humanities through the media (which is where I come in)

- Encourage the active participation of individuals, as well as arts, humanities and other interested organizations nationwide (keep on reading... there's a list of my favorite music organizations, please comment below and tell us what yours is!)

- Provide an opportunity for federal, state and local business, government and civic leaders to declare their support for the arts and humanities

- Establish a highly visible vehicle for raising public awareness about the arts and humanities

The proclamation by President Obama states:
"Every American deserves an opportunity to study, understand, and contribute to the arts and humanities. This must begin in our schools, where children may have their first and most important exposure to these disciplines."
I'm glad to see the federal government at least showing some kind of public support for the arts and humanities. We can talk all day about how we need to put arts education back into our schools, but until the cash shows up, that's all it is: talk. And until schools start seeing this money, we have arts organizations to help take the place of music and art education.

To read more of my article click here

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Lady Gaga on SNL

Lady Gaga's awesome hair bow

I really like Lady Gaga. I don't like ALL of her songs, but I'm impressed by her talent and her crazy weirdness. It's interesting to see what she's going to wear next.

As far as pop stars go, I wish they were more like her. Along with women like Alicia Keys, she writes her own songs (she was discovered while she was a songwriter for Pussycat Dolls, Britney and Fergie) and plays piano.

I know she says all these ridiculous things, but I think at this point she says them just to see what the reaction will be. The media must be fun to manipulate once to realize it's all bs anyway.

Anyway, this is a cool performance from SNL last week. I love this weird hoop thing she's got going on. And I LOVE the alternate version of "Pokerface" with the alternate "New York" lyrics.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Friday, October 2, 2009

“How to Survive the Apocalypse” a Burning Man Opera for Burners and Burner-curious

Much like an actual visit to Burning Man, “How to Survive the Apocalypse” is a musical production with no obvious plan: you must experience what’s in front of you as it presents itself and just go with it. There is beauty you will be transfixed by and ugliness you will want to turn your attention away from. Sometimes you might not sure what’s going on, but it’s sure fun to watch.

A Burning Man blog describes it best:
The rock opera is a little bit Hair in that it tries to capture the zeitgeist of a movement, and a little bit Rent in the joyful exuberance that sometimes comes along with incredible hardship, and maybe a little bit Jesus Christ, Superstar in the way it touches your spiritual buttons."
My favorite line: "when we stop consuming, we create."

To read more and see more photos click here

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Los Angeles, California Mix

Made this for my Australian and English cousins that will be cruising across my home city and state for the next month. Enjoy guys!

Happy to make any of you a copy. Let me know!

1. California - Low
2. Hollywood Freaks - Beck
3. Old School Hollywood -System Of A Down
4. Hotel California - Gipsy Kings
5. California Girls - The Beach Boys
6. Back To California - Carole King
7. Hollywood Babylon - The Misfits
8. California - Frank Sinatra
9. Going to California - Led Zeppelin
10. California Dreaming - Mamas and the Papas
11. I Remember California - R.E.M.
12. Hollywood Love - Raya Yarbrough
13. Hollywood Swinging - Kool & The Gang
14. Say Goodbye To Hollywood - Billy Joel
15. California - Joni Mitchell 16. Hollywood Kids - The Thrills
17. Under The Bridge - The Red Hot Chili Peppers
18. Santa Monica - Bedouin Sound Clash
19. Free Fallin' - Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

Made some changes to the New York Mix, it's MUCH better now. I'll post it soon.