Saturday, June 22, 2013

Song of the Week (June 22 - June 29)

Sticking with the first days of Summer of my very favorite tracks from one of my very favorite bands off of one of my favorite albums of all time!

I really need to make a post about what The Monkees mean to me and about the time I met them!  I'll work on that...

Friday, June 21, 2013

Happy 1st Day of Summer!

Finally!  It's been more than warm enough (and sometimes humid enough) to feel like summer over here in New York - and now it's official!

I've already hit up the lake by my house, which was lovely.  The picture above was taken on Wednesday when I did a little sunbathing there.  I mean to read and be at least a little productive, but I ended up kind of falling asleep, haha.  Living in the 'burbs of NYC (about 45 minutes outside the city itself) there are a lot of lakes - both natural and man made to relax at during the warmer months and it's one of my favorite parts about where I live.

Of course, I'm rather close to the ocean and the Long Island sound as well and I LOVE being able to spend the extra money to go to the real, proper "ocean" beach during the summer at least a few times!  Nothing beats the salt water and sea shells and that fantastic beach smell.

These, other than some NYC jaunts and concerts in August and the beginning of September, are my old concrete plans.  Hopefully I'll be able to have some wonderful summer adventures to blog about!  

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Song of the Week (June 15 - June 22)

I know it's (basically) three months away, but I'm starting to get really hyped up for Depeche Mode in September.  I've loved them so much since I was 12 or 13 and I've wanted to see them in concert FOR-EV-ER but it never seemed to work out.  FINALLY it's happening!

New Life is one of my very favorite Depeche Mode songs.  It's just so perfectly synth-y (of course it is - Vince Clarke wrote it) and Dave's vocals lace everything together so perfectly.

I discovered this clip on YouTube a few days ago and fell in love with it because it has some really rad things going on.  For one, Vince Clarke is still in the band.  He was the band's early song writer and left DM in 81' to form Yazoo (or Yaz here in the States) and later Erasure.  Both group's had a decent amount of success, but nothing like the mass appeal of DM (none the less, Clarke is still regarded, and rightly so, as a synth and electronic music pioneer).  The other thing I really love about this clip is how young they all are!  I don't think people realize that Dave was only 17 or 18 when he joined the band - and in this clip he's only 18 or 19.  Such a baby!   I also love seeing Fletch on his mini Casio keyboard and the way the announcer pronounces the band's name.  The 80's were clearly a magical time.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Happy 91st birthday, Judy.

“I wish you would mention the joy she had for life, that’s what she gave me. If she was the tragic figure they say she was, I would be a wreck, wouldn’t I? It was her love of life that carried her through everything. The middle of the road was never for her — it bored her. She wanted the pinnacle of excitement. If she was happy, she wasn’t just happy, she was ecstatic. And when she was sad, she was sadder then anyone. She lived eight lives in one, and yet I thought she would outlive us all. She was a great star, and a great talent, and for the rest of my life I will be proud to be Judy Garland’s daughter. It wasn’t suicide, it wasn’t sleeping pills, it wasn’t cirrhosis. I think she was just tired, like a flower that blooms and gives joy and beauty to the world and then wilts away.” - Liza Minnelli 
Before I idolized or adored anyone else, I adored Judy Garland - and I didn't even know it. 

When I was a little, little girl, like two and three, I would watch The Wizard of Oz endlessly.  Honestly, I would sit the basement (which was a play room at the time) while my mom tended to the laundry or cleaning or my older siblings and watch it two or three times in a row.  Every day.  For months.  My mother would ask me if I wanted to watch something else and I would say no and if she tried to suggest of put in another video tape I would pitch a fit.  Now, I have no idea why I felt (and still feel) so connected to this film.  I mean, I adore the imagery, the colors, the songs, the story - but I could very easily say the same thing about West Side Story or Disney's Snow White.  There has always been something so magic to me about The Wizard of Oz and I think I'd be terribly amiss if I didn't say it was Judy.

To me, Judy embodied something to magical - in her beautiful, expressive face, that incredible voice and all that talent - that I don't think anyone else ever had.  Oz was my induction to the world of Judy (and I personally can't thing of any other film, song or piece of art that means more to me), but I've spent the last 27 years immersed in it.  In many ways, I guess one could say that Judy Garland is the greatest obsession of my life.  As much as I may adore Gwen Stefani or Elizabeth Taylor, no one gives me goosebumps, makes me weep or makes me feel like Judy.  Whether it be a tone in her voice, a twinkle in those deep brown eyes or showing off her brilliant dancing or comedic chops, there has never been a Judy Garland performance that didn't make me feel something, anything, on a deep, visceral level.

When her daughter, the incredible Liza Minnelli, did a run of shows on Broadway at the Palace Theater in 2008 I went.  I was so beyond ecstatic and I promised myself I wouldn't get too emotional (as I tend to do).  I didn't want to sit there, crying, making a fool out of myself.  It was an unbelievable show and she told some really lovely and funny stories about her mom and the mood in the entirety of the theater was so joyous and positive because it became clear that not only were we celebrating Liza, we we're celebrating Judy's legacy.

At this point, I need to mention that this show took place in the middle of December. The night wound down and Liza's last song was "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas".  So many people have covered this song that you might not think that this is a big deal, but in fact the song was written for Judy for her film Meet Me In St. Louis.  A lot of Judy fans (this one included) count that film, and this song in particular, among Judy's most beautiful and golden moments.  In fact, I can't even think about it without getting weepy with the chills.

I couldn't help it.  As Liza started the song the floodgate opened.  Just, uncontrollable tears and as I looked around I wasn't the only one.  Every single person in that theater was just crying, even Liza was having a bit of a hard time getting through it.  We were all so united in that love of Judy and the memory of everything she gave us and it was so overwhelmingly beautiful and one of the best memories I could of ever hoped to have.

People don't merely "like" Judy Garland, you love Judy.  You adore her. She was so dynamic and polarizing that there isn't an in between.  I would like to thank my mother for allowing me to watch Wizard of Oz for all of those hours when I was young, I'm so thrilled that I'm the type of person who understands what Judy was about and that I gravitate to her so much and, most importantly, I'm eternally grateful to Judy for giving her life to us and sharing that incredible talent with the world for us to hold on to forever.

In this blogger's very humble opinion, there was never or will ever be, anyone as talented, beautiful or lovely as Judy Garland.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Catch up!

Eek!  So sorry for the unexpected hiatus!  It was completely unintentional!

The last week of May I ended up being super busy helping out with surprise family things (isn't that always the way it goes?) and then this past week I've been really sick.  In fact, I'm just starting to feel kind of human again (thank goodness).

But some awesome things did happen!  Last Saturday my friend Jen and I took a road trip to The Stacks in Bethlehem, PA (about two-and-a-half hours away from where we are) to see the legendary Mr. Dave Davies of The Kinks!  Now, I do love The Kinks (like any good classic rock fan should) but Jen is the SUPER fan, and as I found out, Kinks fans are serious business.  They are like...this huge nomadic bunch of wonderful, sweet people who are just so into The Kinks and Dave and Ray.  I met some really lovely people, made some great new friends and over all had a really terrific time!  About two years ago, Jen and I drove up to Albany to see Ray Davies so Kinks-related road trips are kinda our thing :).

Me (in the middle), my great new friend Brie
and my dear friend Jen last weekend!
If you wanna check out a few pictures from the show (and the super cool venue) you can head over to my Instagram (via Statigram)!  I do take quite a few pictures of useless things so you may have to scroll a bit!  Speaking of concerts, I'm going to see the luscious Adam Ant August 17th (a few after my 28th birthday - urgh) with my beautiful friend Meg who is basically coming into NYC from Chicago just for the purpose of seeing Mr. Ant.  In fact, Meg is the one who got me into Adam so I'm really, really excited about all of that!  More excited than for my birthday!  And then on September 8th I'm seeing Depeche Mode at Jones Beach.  I could write a whole post about how excited I am about that, and I probably will once it starts to get closer and more real for me!

Then there was the sick.  Last Sunday is when I got a sore throat and things started to go ~down hill~.  This week has pretty much been a blur of sleeping and medication and nose blowing and hacking.  So yucky and un-fun.  The only good part is that I watched (and re-watched) a lot of films, so they'll be lots of posts about all of those great films that got me through being so sick and feeling so gross!

I also have a lot of ideas for posts about Summer, crafting and inspiration posts.  Hopefully I'll get around the posting them all and I have no more hiccups!  I also want to do some work on the blog, add more contact links on where to find me around the web, start up my blogroll and a few other things to make the blog shinier and prettier.  AND the song of the week will be back next week - I promise - I love sharing the music I love with all of you!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Song of the Week (May 25 - June 2)

Sorry it's a day late!  I wasn't feeling too hott yesterday and spent most of it in bed, but have some Stone Roses to make up for it xo.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Films: Repulsion (1965)

Repulsion is a 1965 horror/thriller film directed by Roman Polanski starring the forever perfect Catherine Deneuve.  In fact, this was really the film that broke Catherine into the mainstream and into her stardom AND this was Roman's first English speaking film, so it's all pretty important in my opinion.

I know that there is a lot of controversy surrounding Roman because of things he might of or might not have done, I'm not here to talk about that.  Strictly in terms of films he is one of my favorite directors of all time.  His films are visually flawless and they all have such compelling stories.  Repulsion isn't my favorite Polanski film, but I just re-watched it the other night and I just wanted to talk about it and share it!

Firstly, I don't want to give away the whole story but the main gist of the film is Carol Ledoux (played by Denueve) is a woman living in London in the 60's who is both obsessed and repulsed (get it?) by the aspect of men, attraction to men and any sexual needs she might have.  The film follows this along with her mental breakdown.  That is kind of all I want to give away simply because I feel very strongly about films I love and I want whomever might read this to see the film and be surprised and shocked and whatever else emotions you may feel when you see it for the first time.  I don't want to give you the whole story, I'll give you the bones.

What I DO want to say is that I really don't feel like anyone else but Catherine could have played Carol as convincingly as well she did.  She was so perfectly cast in this film and, it's not about overcoming and being strong with this character.  It's about submission to whatever she's thinking and going through and Roman needed a leading lady who could play into this fragile, soft spoken baby doll girl and she was just so flawlessly put into the roll.  She played it so, so perfectly and not only with her dialogue and the way in which she used her voice, but with every glance and hand movement.

And if you have any reservations about watching Polanski's films, PLEASE let it go.  It's simply not worth it for you to miss out on this man's art.  I would take it a good chunk of you have at least seen Rosemary's Baby, but in my opinion that is only the tip of the iceberg.  There is a reason why so many people are still obsessed with his films and they champion them and it's because they are brilliant.  And it isn't just one thing that makes his films great, he's really director who made films that were consecutively really beautiful and intriguing   The actors were always casted perfectly, the cinematography was always incredible.  Another thing I really love about his films is that, while they are all quite different, there is a link between them all, and it might be a really tiny link and you might have to watch a film a few times to get it?  But it's there.  I tend to favor directors who give those little touches like that, I always felt like that made films a little more special.

One last point I'd like to make, I did say it was a "horror" film, but I don't want you to get tripped up by that label   While there are some violent moments it's not a blood bath.  It's much more of a cerebral horror film, much more in the vein of a film like Rosemary's Baby or any of David Cronenberg's films.  While the violence is there, but it isn't the frightening part.  The worst part is what is going on inside of Carol's head and what it's doing to her world.  The physical manifestations of that is truly the "horror" of it all.