Saturday, May 26, 2007

I will Survive?

It is a Saturday afternoon, and to those who may not know, I have an affinity to the Saturday morning lineup of cartoons. I like the art and design and the plot lines that try to teach kids morality as well as hopefully giving a little chuckle. I like the cartoons. You can make fun of me....I can take it.

The reason the cartoons are mentioned is once the morning turns into the afternoon, channel 5 here in Los Angeles, plays the Best of Soul Train. Now I want to say that since I have been actually home on the weekends this is purely entertaining to me. Three is nothing like beautiful black men and women in spandex, leg warmers, colorful tanks, and gold chains (and spandex in case you didn't pick it up the first time) dancing to the likes of Rod Stewart and disco classics. It really brings to mind what we think is cool one moment tends to fade within a year or now a days just a few months.

I am constantly entertained by life.

I think it is humorous that KTLA values the importance of Soul Train. Like clockwork every Saturday the dancing divas are video taped for their dancing prowess and Top 20 Hit for the moment. I think it is like a time capsule that we have dug up and found (or placed) cultural significance on the value of the song, the singer, the fashion, the dance moves. I feel like I have performed a few of those steps at the Macomb Performing Arts Center in late Junes for most of my childhood.

I hope and pray that the people who are featured as dancers on Soul Train recount their days on the show and pull out this little factoids at parties or late nights at bars talking to the stranger over their shoulder. This is my hope. If not that there is a copy of the video tape, or BETA, of the moment they were featured, or just in the corner, of the dance floor of Soul Train.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hip Hop Project

Last Thursday I spent the afternoon watching the documentary "The Hip Hop Project." The Film focused it's attention on a group of artists out of Brooklyn that was connected to an after school program. It was a good film, not excellently shot, but worth watching if you are involved with working with people.

For me the film was a true manifestation of the church. It was the church as I want or desire church to be. They were honest, vulnerable, imperfect. They prayed together, worked with one another, was challenged by one another. The 'rabbi' was not perfect and was forced to deal with his own issues, those of being abandoned as a child and grew up without his mother. Those are tough issues and many people face the issue of what does it mean to be left without love.

The group as a whole seemed to have genuine love for one another. They seemed to really want the betterment of a culture that told them that material goods could provide the worth that they needed. They used culture to express their pain but seemed to be a dialogue where they could work at living outside of the pressures of the culture. The music was the escape as well as the purpose.

I walked out of the movie seeing what the church could look like if we were not afraid to engage in and with our culture. I am excited to see church happen outside of the church. I have spent this quarter being the teachers assistant to Theology and Hip Hop culture. I am in love with the culture. I am in love with engaging in this dialogue and helping to push the universal church to move past theological traditions and move into a space that uses culture to help see and communicate the nature of God.

There is no perfect way to do church or even be the church...all i know is that i have to move with it. Listen. Hear. Ask a lot of questions. I don't know where it will lead me but I hope that it continues to have me fall in love with life, living, people, and interacting with people. I need to be vulnerable. I need to be honest. I need to explore. I need to love others without strings attached but I need to feel it in return. That's the beauty of community. What can we learn from community? Where can we be vulnerable and where can we be guarded?

How do we explore in this space and where do we let ourselves create and be vulnerable?

Friday, May 18, 2007

hands in a box of beans.

What is the value and worth of senseless beauty?

Years ago I was introduced to the film Amelie. It is a beautiful film with brilliant color schemes, simple plot line, and a sense of wonder in a world that many days seems out of your own personal control. The last two weeks have seemed to be full of chaos. Heartache. Soul cravings and searching. It seemed so out of my hands, out of reach, out of touch. I choose not to do anything tonight. TO take a night for myself and sit in awe of what is my life or escape into anthers for just a couple of hours.

I have viewed Amelie I can't tell you how many times. I escaped tonight into her world and reevaluated my own life through the story line and musical pulse of Yann Tiersen. I am blessed by this movie. I saw something completely new tonight. I saw this flim with fresh eyes. With a new sense of my own life and story.

I think about the simple beauties in life. It helps me question what I value, what is my purpose, and what eyes do I choose to experience this ever so chaotic world. I have cried a lot in the last few days. Some for my mother, some for myself, some for direction, some for love and other tears for the lack of love. I don't know where my life is headed. If I could have written this is where I would be a month from my 26th birthday I would have never believed you.

I enjoy that my life interweaves itself with literature, movies, music, and art. I am grateful and blessed. There are days when i do not deserve it and there are days when I feel so lucky to be surrounded by these arts. I have been able to ask so many questions and develop a personality that breathes it all in, asks a lot of questions, and dances to whatever may be in the air.

Life is overwhelming. Life is mean. Life is simple. Life is a bitch. Yet can I take the time to see the small simple pleasures in life? Can I see the little girls holding the hands of their fathers? Will i be able to see ballons flying in their air with their owners standing wide eye as it is let go? Will I be able to see the flocking birds? Or leaves change color? Will I stand still long enough to see this happen?

Can I stand still long enough to see this happen?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

choice.

Ever since I was a little girl I was always given the ability to choose. Being a twin sometimes forces you into the same or very similar choice as your sister. If she is wearing the red dress you should as well. Ever since I was little I fought for my choice. If Lindsay was eating vanilla I wanted strawberry. If her dress was purple mine was pink. It help to define my personality. I always wanted to be different.

When I have a few extra minutes I like to read books that have really nothing to do with theology and dive into the word of popular culture. I just finished Nick Hornby's "A Long Way Down" that I thoroughly enjoyed. His work is always something that I enjoy and learn a life lesson through the reading. The loveliness of his writing is smart and witty on top of it dripping with musical commentary.

There was a comment about Nick Drake and his brilliance (this is not something that I am debating) and the essence of pop music. It left me with the question, are our musical choices based upon our life choices?

It doesn't seem to be that tough of a question but I had to think and ponder about how my life choices might reflect the music I am listening and infiltrating my life. I meet people on a regular basis who do not know anything really about music and the impact it has on it's listeners. Pop music is left for Kidz Bop and Now44! These mass produced compilation discs that commemorate a moment in history, pop summer hits mixed with love ballads to remember the horrible breakup of this time period. When all you do is listen to pop music does that mean that your life is filled with the attitudes of this pop? Do we just want things to be all bubbly and pretty without the pain or brokenness?

When our life is filled with brokenness, why do we try to cover it up with the sounds of Nelly or Nelly Furtado? Why do we try to mask the pain?

What could happen if we took the time to really sit through our emotions and pain? The sounds and sighs of musical geniuses take a step closer to what behind curtain number two, the good stuff, the sticky stuff, the stuff that makes us grow, change, and develop as a person. When we spend the time listening to nick drake, jeff buckley, or other types of sad bastard music, do we let the pains of life sit with us? Do we let ourselves choose to go against the pop manifesto and drown a little in our pain?

Do we allow ourselves to be challenged and changed by the music? Do we allow ourselves to be swallowed up into the brokenness?

I guess I choose to not head down the pop route. I enjoy it when I am stuck in traffic, dancing at a party, or help the beginning of a great mix tape. I choose the underground, but then again I seem to choose to be a little different.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Sky Blue Sky

I listened to the new Wilco, Sky Blue Sky, in my car on the CD I had burnt it to. It is way better than an MP3 ...it makes me think of purchasing everything on CD and then transferring it to my computer. It's amazing what GOOD sound can do for the understanding and message of the song. The simple subtleties in the background really accent the piece and especially a Wilco record which is full of hidden goodness. It makes the music thicker...a little layering never hurt a soul.

I have had this record for quite awhile now but a good record it will take you awhile to really set your teeth into it.
The record is excellent (obviously) and it brings me into the story more and more that I listen to Jeff Tweedy expressing hopeful poetry unlike the brokenness of the past. The record has an honest approach to feelings of loneliness but also of love. It is if he is responding with a healthy image of what is happening to and with his life.

It's lovely.

....I have been sitting with these thoughts a lot lately and then last night I treated myself to reading an interview with Jeff Tweedy at Pitchfork. It was a good interview (not by the interviewer though) with Jeff having some very thoughtful insights to music and culture.

Here are some of the thought provoking comments:

Avant-garde is the one area of music that has never changed. It doesn't mean anything. There are very few terms that mean anything. To me, rock'n' roll-- as trite and as clich├ęd and as goofy as it is, I don't really give a shit-- is the only thing that stirs up any emotion in me. Alt-country, all of these other things just have something to do with where you're from, or I don't know what the fuck it has to do with anything. Making it easier for somebody to walk around in a record store without looking at shit they don't think they're going to like.

His thoughts on music downloading:
still have a lot of faith that there's very few people who are savvy enough to actually produce a good sounding copy of the record. I also believe that in general there is no good sounding copy of the record other than the vinyl. I think that vinyl versions of the last few records are far superior. This one in particular I think is going to sound great on vinyl. Other than that I think its not necessarily heading people off at the pass. I think that it's good for us to have people listen to our music.

As well as consumption of art:
We liked the idea of people listening to our music. I guess the simplest way of saying it is that I don't think that artists should expend any energy keeping people from listening or seeing or hearing or reading their art. I think that's antithetical to the whole principle of being an artist.

I think this sums up a lot of what I believe in when it comes to music and culture. I think we can learn a lot from these ideals. I think I can learn a lot from what it means to experience, live in, and engage our culture.

Somedays i feel really lucky to be in love with this band.....

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

In between relationships.

It's not a lie that I watch Sex and the City as MUCH as I possibly can. I watch it because I absolutely love it and I learn a lot about myself as well as my own perceptions about relationships. I think it's important that we explore different facets about relationships and ask questions of what is important.

Before my friend Charissa lent me all of the seasons I watched the show religiously on the CW (or the WB, whatever I don't know anymore). I realize now that I watch the full episodes in sequential order, or individual DVDs I know the whole story. The CW just shows the episodes with Carrie in a significant relationship (Big, Burger, the Jazz guy, the Russian) and yet you never see the in-between. Those moments where Carrie is not in a relationship. Those moments, in my opinion, are very important. It's important to know and understand how we feel in the in-between.

These are the moments that I am in. The in-between. Granted it has been about three years (gulp...) since my last relationship. I can't say that it has been easy since I move at the same speed as every new trend and that I might not be the simple, sweet, docile, girl so many men presume to want. I am grateful for the time off...I think. Don't get me wrong there are some days when that's all I have on my mind (like yesterday), but overall my work has become stronger and I am understanding who I am and what I want.

What I want is still TBA. I am still figuring that out. I am more stable than the past. I know where I want to head and if you are willing to travel there with me and I with you, that will make me happy. I don't need (nor desire) to get married tomorrow. I don't need to even be swept off my feet. I can honestly say that that stuff (and yes it's stuff) doesn't get me excited. I need something sensible. Even in my space where I am far from sensible.

So yes, the in-between...

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

a Renegade of funk?

I attended the Coachella music fest on Sunday. It was hot, I got burnt, had some good conversations. I could leave it at that but I that doesn't sound like one of my blogs.

Music at an outdoor festival is interesting. The culture of people who show up is not your typical show. People are excited, they wear the t-shirt of why they paid the extra hundred dollars to come to their show. People feel like they can do whatever the hell they want to make the blistering heat somewhat bearable. I started off attending why I came to this event in the first place, to see Erica Froman do some singing with Anathallo. Great set, high-energy, played a couple of new songs that were fun. Two words: hand bells.

My highlights included Explosions in the Sky. Literally a taste of heaven. This band live in the heat had more energy than kids running towards the ice cream man. They were intense, light, and overall delightful. It's one of the few bands I have seen live that I can feel their music in my chest. I wanted the music to surround me, which it did and it felt good. There was a couple of moments where I wanted it so loud that my ears would heart. That would be great, though unhealthy. During the set I realized how I would replace this with church anytime. I felt so connected with the spirit, something bigger than me, and things (for just a small moment) were okay. Things are going well and I am sure things will continue to move and progress.

The Roots were amazing. They had a tuba dropping fat beats. The set was hot, high energy, and many songs of the familiar.

What this will end on is the understanding of Rage Against the Machine. I will preface the next few statements with prior to this I felt that I had received a sunburn and that I was dehydrated. I puked alot, rested my eyes and then went to attend what would be something I thought would be memorable. It was cool to know that so many people were there for Rage Against the Machine. Though when they played I was immensely disappointed. It was if I knew that they were there and they got paid to do it. There was no band interaction. There was no fire. There was rage and intensity from Zack but overall I have seen more energy in a church basement with sweaty hardcore kids standing around with bandanas over their faces.

It was interesting to know the meaning making behind Rage Against the Machine. Their intensity of their revolution filled lyrics have pushed boundaries of rock that hadn't been pushed in quite a long time. They, in a sense, were calling for a revolutionary. Is is revolutionary for blonde, tubed topped girls, dancing and pumping their fist to every word that was memorized in jr. high against? When is it revolution? Do we hear or do we just follow the pact towards what is popular?

Are we ready for revolution? or does the idea just sound really nice in between Rancid and Rod Stewart?