...and follow me to my new home at Wordpress. The new blog is Rainbow Colored Lens at the address is http://www.rainbowlens.wordpress.com/
Please update your links accordingly and come chat with me there. I will no longer be updating or posting here.
Wordpress is pretty. And bawse. You can still comment whether you're on Blogger, some other site, or Anonymous. So come on!
Monday, November 2, 2009
...and follow me to my new home at Wordpress. The new blog is Rainbow Colored Lens at the address is http://www.rainbowlens.wordpress.com/
*10,000 cool points to whoever finishes that line first.
Here are the tame pics of me and Crabby gettin' crunk and holy for Halloween. This was the best Halloween ever. In addition to Father and Sister Gem, there were Riley and Huey Freeman from The Boondocks, a sexy cop and baseball player, a monster, zombies, pirates, old school basketball players, a French maid, a woman in male drag, a hunter, a prisoner, a hood vampire (complete with jheri curl), a pimp, Wonder Woman, vampire queen, 2 doctors, and some other assorted fuckery.
This is unstretched length, stretched, my hair reaches almost elbow-length. Feel free to hit me up if you have any hair-related questions (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Friday, October 30, 2009
I am often called morbid in response to my interest in death. I find this extremely backward. The definition of 'morbid', aside from the physical definition of illness and disease, is an uncharacteristic propensity for gloomy thoughts. I ask questions about death, loss, etc. because we as a society don't know how to talk about it without deflecting or hiding behind something else. There are things people do concerning death in this society that I consider extremely morbid and probably contribute to us not having the capacity to deal with death in an entirely healthful way. Open-casket funerals come to mind. If you think about it for a moment, that shit is extremely traumatizing. I hate this practice. It feels wrong to gaze upon the body of your loved one in a too-expensive coffin, face made-up into a stranger, with that god-awful organ music in the background. It feels intrusive to me. This context is different than the medical study of bodies; forensics, etc. because there is something to be learned there. There is nothing to be learned from the open gazing upon a dead body in the funeral context. Just my opinion. I also don't like the feeling of walking over other dead people's graves to get to the nylon green tent set up over a gaping hole in the ground for the burial you are attending. There is something just unsettling about that.
This society is also morbid when it comes to profane, or everyday dealing with death. We speak in hushed tones, refer to the dead as "passed on", refer to the body as "remains", speak of a "better place", etc. The news shields us from our own dead bodies from the war, 9/11, everyday accidents, etc. In it's place, we glamourize death via movies and TV shows, trivialize it through video games and speech, we say this team "killed" the other team, we're "dying" of hunger.
For Halloween, we hang nameless, anonymous skulls and skeletons around, we buy fake blood for spattering, we make food creations resembling eyes, brains, guts, human limbs, maggots, etc. We volunteer to inject panicky fear into ourselves by visiting dark, "haunted" houses. This is morbid. It's fucked up.
Don't get me wrong, I like the fun of Halloween. But to me, Halloween can be fun without the aformentioned paragraph. I like costumes, dressing up, being spooky, etc. But spooky and morbid are two different things. I love scary movies, but this is not a Halloween-specific occurrence. Why don't we celebrate meaningful death, like Mexico's Dia de los Muertos or Japan's OBon? Here, death is remembered on a mass scale, but it is also meaningful because people are remembering who they actually lost. To just string up skeletons for decorative purposes with no meaning, is so devoid of any compassion and an example of how vacuous people can be.
Speaking of Halloween costumes, I hate when people use this day as an excuse to let their racist flag fly or be a gussied-up whore. Dressing up as a gypsy, an "Oriental", an "Arabic princess/genie", a MEXICAN (seriously, these ladies were trying on ponchos and sombreros in a Halloween store) is not a costume. You're just letting your secret racial ignorance be made public for a night. Don't get me started on the blackface costumes, nope not even going there. Now, I understand kids dressing up as gypsies/fortune tellers but parents should be a little more responsible in their children's costumes. For adults, there's no excuse. As for the whore costumes, there is a distinction. If it's an actual COSTUME, I have no beef with it. So I definitely understand the sexy nurse, police officer, fairy, princess, witch, she-devil, black cat, etc. I get it. What I don't vote for, are the blatantly made-up shits. Such as a costume I saw called the "Honey Bee". What the fuck is a honey bee costume if it's not an actual bee costume? Some antennae, and a couple of pieces of torn yellow fabric? -_- Just say no.
As for me and Crabby? Tonight we're going to be ain't shit at a party as a priest and pregnant nun. BAWSE. Pictures forthcoming.
I leave you with my last Halloween costume, from 2003 when I worked at a bookstore. I was a pimp, and my drag-queen co-worker Justin, was my ho. Yes, I had a purple fur (faux) coat. Yes, I had a cane. Yes, I had a "grill". Yes, my ho is puttin' that money in my hand. Yes, I know we were terrible, terrible people. We lived near each other at the time and worked 6am-2pm because we were on the inventory team. So I picked him up at 5am. Let that image marinate in your brains. The security guard at Justin's apartments was like O_o and it was hilarious to see customers unaware that Justin was a 'he'. Oh, and I had THEE STANKEST pimp voice ever all day. Good times, good times.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Been super busy. Work. School. Thesis. Papers. Doctoral program apps. Cooking. Twirling. And stuff. Be back next week. Have a funeral and a wedding to attend tomorrow, both in two different cities than the one I am currently in (Marlin, Halletsville, Houston, respectively). Have a magical weekend. Oh, and here are 7 reasons to keep your T-rex off crack cocaine. If you don't help him/her, who will?
P.S. Here's a list of things bears love. kBAI.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Serena Williams is on one of several covers for ESPN magazine this month. There have been comments going around on various websites about this cover that run the gamut of opinions. What's interesting is that the negative comments I have seen are coming mostly from black women. Comments such as Serena's being exploitated by white men, she's whoring herself out, she has fallen into the trap of showin' naked ass, she's reduced herself to a sexual object and thus can no longer be a role model, etc.
Others have rightly pointed out white women who have posed nude for magazines and have been called graceful, beautiful, artistic, etc. Serena's cover is posed pretty much the same way as these and yet she doesn't get these same comments.
I personally don't see how you can look at this cover and not see a celebration of a well-sculpted human form that has served as the foundation for greatness in sport. She looks BEAUTIFUL here. All that chocolatey, dazzling skin with her curves is just stunning. I mean, Serena is a straight brickhouse. However, she is NOT bent over, booty cheeks spread open for the world to take a looksie. She is not spread-legged, crotch all out. There are no tittays all in our face. This is as artistic as you can get, especially for sports.
Black female sexual repression is alive and kicking, and surfaces almost daily in judgmental words. I'm not here to start a revolution, but I can definitely point out these pockets of historical effects manifesting themselves in people.
Point blank, this is a celebration, bitches. Not exploitation. Not whoring.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Speaking of Corinne Bailey Rae, I heard a song featuring her today that I had never heard before. It's by The New Mastersounds, on their album and it's called Your Love Is Mine. Very fresh sounding.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Corinne Bailey Rae's debut album is still in heavy rotation in my household. Her songs are like moonlight. I was saddened to hear when her husband died of an accidental overdose in early 2008. Not much had been heard from her since then, but an interview has surfaced with her. She looks lovely as ever, beautiful hair growing out, sad eyes with fleeting smiles. She's working on her 2nd album, and I am very excited to hear it. Here are some excerpts from the interview:
Corinne went home to her house in Leeds and began writing songs, just her and her acoustic guitar. One of the first she finished was called The Sea, a powerful elucidation of loss that was based on a family story that had been passed down to her about her grandfather's death in a boating accident. It climaxes with the lines, "The sea, the majestic sea, breaks everything, cleans everything, crushed everything, takes everything from me."
She says now, "I don't know if there was something in the air or what, but the songs seemed different, a bit darker. With The Sea, I was just thinking about loss, about the impact losing your father would have on you as a child, how one event that big could colour your life, bleed into everything else and force you into a certain shape."
Another song she wrote around that time was called I'd Do it All Again. It was written after an argument with her husband, Jason Rae, a gifted jazz musician who often played saxophone in her band. It was a testimony to the strength of her love for him, a song about how nothing, not his restlessness or the occasional rows it precipitated, could ever make her question that love.
"It was written literally just after me and Jason had this massive disagreement, a big argument, a bad one," she says now, faltering. "Almost as he was leaving the room, I just sat down and wrote it. It's just about how I felt about him at that time. Even right in the middle of the worst times, I remember thinking that I would choose this exact life again, that I would do it all again. It was me saying, I'm not wishing myself out of this situation. I'm 100% committed to this person. I don't have any regrets about this relationship even though there are all these difficult times."
I'd Do it All Again begins: "Oh, you're searching for something I know won't make you happy/Oh, you're thirsting for something I know won't make you happy…". It sounds now like a plea, a calling-out to someone to accept the life they have been given. "I just wanted him to be content," she says.
She wrote I'd Do it All Again in January 2008, and "just kept on writing and trying out ideas". Then, on Saturday 22 March, she was in a taxi in Leeds when her phone rang. A voice she did not recognise said that it was the police, that they had been trying to contact her all day, and that they needed to speak to her in person.
The police asked me to meet them at a certain place so the taxi had to do a U-turn and go back the way we came," she says now. "I always think of that moment when I had to turn back. My life was going in one direction, then, in an instant, it was turned around."
The coroner's report found that Jason Rae, aged 31, had died of an accidental overdose of methadone and alcohol. The coroner described Rae as "a naive user", which brought a strange kind of comfort to the young widow who was struggling to make sense of a death that seemed so random, so senseless. "The word 'naive' jumped out at me," she says. "It's like Jase was playing with something he didn't know the consequences of. He was impulsive, I guess. He liked to have a drink, have fun. It could easily have turned out to be one of those stupid, drunken things you do that you get to talk about afterwards – 'You'd never guess what I did when I was pissed?' – that sort of thing. It's unbelievable that this one didn't turn out like that, that this was the drunken, curious thing that went wrong."
In the living room, she picks her way through guitars and amplifiers, and sits down at a piano in the corner with Steve Brown. As he plays a slow meditative melody, she sings I'd Do it All Again. It is breathtaking; sombre but defiant, and imbued with a whole other layer of meaning – and longing – since Jason's death. It feels almost as if I am listening in on someone singing to herself.
"A year ago I could not have imagined going out and playing these songs live," she says afterwards, "but now I'm looking forward to it. I want to play live as much as possible. I want to get to that place where it's just coming through. It's not a performance, it's not self-conscious, you're outside of time, outside of yourself."
Later, I tell her that the "before" songs have now come alive in a different way, maybe because she is singing differently, inhabiting the songs in a much more forceful way than before. "They have," she says, "they definitely have. What surprises me most is how the songs I wrote before it happened resonate almost as much as the ones I wrote after. The circumstances have cast it all in a different light. It began as a 'before and after' record, but it's become an 'after' record."
For a long time, she continued to refer to her late husband in the present tense, seemingly unable to grasp that he was gone for ever. About three months after his death, she tried to record some of the songs she had written, even turning up at a studio to meet a producer. "I laugh now at how deluded I was," she says. "I felt like everything would somehow go back to normal if I got on with things but, in reality, I was still in shock."
Then came the strange inertia that grief instils in those left behind, the long, terrible numbness that is, in itself, a kind of death. "I didn't do anything for a year. I mean, nothing," she says, still sounding as if she can barely believe it. "Everyone was asking, 'What have you done?' But I had nothing to show them. I didn't go anywhere. I didn't write anything. I didn't work. I sat at my kitchen table for a whole year, people came and people went, life drifted by. It was just bleak. Bleak."
Did she think that she might give up music altogether? "I did think that I could never do this sort of thing again because if anyone asked me about Jason, I would just explode. For a long time, I didn't even try and write. It was just too big a thing, too raw. It was just too destructive to make anything creative out of. All I wanted to do was destroy things. And I'm really not that type so it was all these emotions that were totally alien to me. It was just a bleak, empty, hollow nothing."
Earlier this year, though, Corinne began tentatively recording again. She had started writing after playing a few low-key club gigs at the end of last year. The intimacy of that set-up had led her to Limefield Studios, where she has worked at her own pace for months now.
Most poignant of all, though, are a pair of songs written in the wake of her loss: the plaintive Are You Here? and the slow-burning I Would Like to Call it Beauty. The first is a love song, or, more precisely, a lost-love song. It begins, "He's a real live wire, he's the best of his kind, wait till you see those eyes!" When I ask her about it, she says, "I actually don't remember writing it. That was one of the songs that just came through. It was like I was wishing him here. It's a song about grief and loss and that's really what the whole record is about. It's like I want to tell people about this thing, this thing that I could not make sense of and could not find anything I could read, or listen to, that would help me make sense of."
Anyone expecting the same kind of well-wrought, if hardly challenging, pop songs that made her debut such a big seller is in for quite a surprise. In her place is a singer of immeasurably sad songs, someone who has transmuted her well of grief and anger into something beautiful and raw. "I definitely feel more serious," she says. "I feel more impassioned. I have total belief in these songs and when I sing them in front of people, I want to pass that on. I don't think there is anyone of my generation saying these things, singing about these things. And it happens, you know. It can happen to anyone at any time. I want to be out there on stage with my hands out going, does anyone else feel the same way? That's what it's about, too."
Full interview and a video clip here.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Hey peeps! How was your weekend? Regulars, newbies, and lurkers are you ready to drop a song recommendation? Welcome to Suggest A Song Monday. I suggest a song that I love and that I think you would love. You listen to it. Tell me what you think in the comments. Then, you also recommend one song to me and I will listen to it and tell you what I think. You don't have to limit yourself to a particular genre, just any one song that you love.
Today, we're working with Don't Look Back by Telepopmusick. I love dreamy, enchanted, electronic, chill music so this is straight up BAWSE.
Sit still...and close your eyes/What's behind the door...oh/No more silence/Don't kill this thing we got called love/Just searchin' for the perfect drug//(Chorus) When love comes calling/Don't look back/When love comes calling/Don't look away/(Repeat)//And I'm standing over here/Watching you over there/Smiling, happy, unaware/Oh, life is spinnin' round/You're going underground, forgettin' who we were/Let's try and keep it...just one more day//Chorus//You take your love/Throw it all around/Like it's nothing special/Just a sound/Let me say one more thing/I don't think you realize/That a day is like a year sometimes//Chorus (repeat til end)//