Saturday, June 30, 2007

Inside my present, there's so much past

Last week my friend Brett emailed me and asked if I would want the extra Feist ticket he had. Without a hesitation I knew this would be such a fantastic idea and promptly responded with an enthusiastic yes! I had not heard the new record by this point but got my hands on it pretty quick. My initial reaction to the Reminder is that is beautiful and the record I wish Cat Power would have made. (To be honest The Greatest falls pretty short of that title). The record itself is lovely, beautiful, and has a done a damn good job of pulling on my heart strings within it's lyrics. This record is better than I thought it was going to be. I think it focuses on those lost loves, those lost chances, but also strength of character to endure. On the way home from the show I put the cd because I was stuck in traffic (It was 1:30am and of course I was stopped still on an expressway in Los Angeles) and got lost in this track Intuition. Imagine a beautiful soulful voice with an acoustic guitar lightly strummed and plucked:

A map is more unreal
Than where you've been
Or how you feel
And it's impossible to tell
How important someone was
And what you might have missed out on
And how he might have changed it all
And did I
Did I
Did l (oh)

At the end of the song there is a choir of voices in a crowd singing "Did I, Did I". Last night she rounded the crowd together to sing throughout the night. She called it her choir of strangers. I think there is something beautiful to a room full of people who wish to sing together for the sake of the musical experience. In so many ways it's this unifier to the experience, a common bond we were all sharing. I think it eased the crowd because as she ended the night there were many people dancing in the aisles, enjoying themselves and putting off anything that hindered and danced the evening away. Not to many shows I go to end up with that type of response. There was this comfort about the whole thing that was marvelous. She made the whole evening very comfortable to watch and experience.

She set up her band not with her in front but in a u-shape that really showed a unification to the process. Her backing band was amazing. Every single one of them were multi-instrumentalists. Each taking their turn on percussion instruments, trumpets, horns, and pianos. The talent was obvious.

The show, as well as her album and video, focuses and plays with the concept of color. The lightening really accented what she was doing and really played off the mood of each song. It was beautiful, and at some point glittery. The video for 1 2 3 4 accents the color but also really I think her playful nature. I love that women are becoming more and more of the musical scope. I hope Feist continues to make good records....

Monday, June 25, 2007

a happy day for a swim

I spent the day busy. Working to make sure I can continue my coffee fixation and running errands. The most important was the oh so important deposit of the financial aid so i could buy the books that I have stacking up in my Amazon wish list. I took care of a sliver but there will always be more to add and more to consume. I walked around the city today with really no care in the world other than not dehydrate and get some sort of tan without having to go to the beach. A place that I get bored to quickly, I wear a leg warmer so my tattoo dodesn't fade, and I try to avoid as much sand as possible. Yet the later is almost near to impossible sincee it's the beach and that's whats there, Sand. Loads of it....

The sand is besides the point to the adventure of the day. I ventured to Amoeba last week to purchase a couple new records but walked away with nothing old but my hands on albums I have wanted to explore for quite some time now and the celebration of being born warranted such an outing. I purchased Happy Day" from Jim O'Rourke. It was in the extremely experimental section in the corner between the ""no one will ever buy these used cds" and "Goth/Industrial." I have been thinking abaout exploring the avante-garde sound for quite some time since I have been listening to too much Wilco and a lot of Sonic Youth lately. It seemed that the natural progression would be to get my hands on the highly experimental Jim to engage in literally noise.

I was a little apprehensive at first towards the repetitive nature and was waiting for my roommate to enter our aparment and wonder what the hell I was listening to. I also thought my neighbors would walk by, hear the noise, and wonder why (yet again) I was listening to something that had nothing to do with yesterdays Top 40 hits. The sounds were intriguing. I was trying to multi task and read while I was listening but I was captured by the sounds. It was a pretty intesnse musical journey as the last 25 minutes of the 48 minute record was repetive sound with little movement and limited direction. I was captured though. I am sucked in. I don't understand the pupose but some sort of mad lib where you fill your own adverb into the blank.

I purchased another 'extremely experimental' recprd and I am intrigued with the process. To the point where I think about making my own at some point. I don't know how to exactly approach making it and no one really will want to hear it but there is somehting about the process that drags me in, like a kid from the community pool when there parents want to go home and they want to stay. That's how I feel. I want to see and experience this. I don't want to get out of the water.

This needs to be said though that the goal was to sit and listen today. I couldn't skip ahead. I couldn't jump forward. I needed to sit and listen. The goal was accomplished and prompthy needed to move to something more poppy. I was okay with that becuase I know I was pushing myself to undertand and to aknowledge what was happening and what was trying to be said through the simple guitar plucks and static. There is meaning and purpose. I needed to sit through the mess to try to understand it. Which seems really familiar to what my life is going through at this moment. I need to sit through the mess to one day try to understand it. The only thing is I want to go back for more. I want to keep swimming.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Just breathe...

In times of the in-between I feel restless. I am used to knowing and having books upon books to read, riffle through, and engage with. As I lift my us I see those books sitting on my book shelf calling to me to read them and process their wealth of knowledge. I want to read these books but my body is tired, my mind aches, and I have to work in a few minutes.

I just finished a paper that engaged Wilco with cultural theory. It was a good paper, not the best thing, it could use revision, polishing, and sharpening. I know that if I wish to get a Ph.d. then I need to find a way to write healthy sentences, not ones that are filled with to many words. Like many of these sentences. I am grateful for the opportunities I am receiving in this life. I just hope I make the best of what I have and give me all to the opportunities that are given to me.

Because this week was my birthday I became a consumeristic pig and spent some money at clothing stores that support child labor, or some sort of explotation, and a lot of money on good music. I am interested to see how I process through the hip hop I bought as well as the extreme opposite of noise rock, or unusually experimental, that I am finding myself attracted to lately. I am sure, with time. my thoughts on these albums will be revealed.

I am also joining a book club where we are going to read some classics (the Metamorphosis, Brave New World, tropic of Cancer) and some new reads as well (Safron Foer, vonnegaut, and Sedaris). I am sure with the summer my thoughts on these cultural artifacts will be exposed as well.

In all of this I am trying to breathe. I am trying to see beauty. I am trying to laugh. and above all I am trying to love in a new and healthy ways. So this is me taking a breath, hopefully taking a nap, and seeing laugh with new eyes. Eyes that are no longer heavily jaded but eyes to see what is happening in our culture without trying to shove a dagger inside!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Is the Price Right?

Sick days at the Kaherl house usually meant missing school, laying helplessly on the green sofa usually with a glass of orange juice and hoping my mom would bring home McDonalds cheeseburgers. Like clockwork at eleven the channel would be switched to the Price is Right, knowing that you were one of the few kids that encountered the day time television show.

Today I am not ill but found myself on my lovely lime green chair hoping that I could pick the right price on a horrible sculpture being hawked on the popular show. It hit me this morning as I laughed at the prizes being won, the horrible movements of Barkers beauties, and the funny games being played that this show really is against everything I fight for in my work and studies. It's funny that I really despise the over consumer nature of our American population as well our television and movies push the overly large breasted women with little personality but a wink and a smile.

It's funny how most of childhood and then reflections of my childhood always included the Price is Right. I don't think that this show is inherently bad but the reputation of the show usually is discussed as one of Americas favorite game show. It adheres to American values of the almighty dollar and 'beautiful' women. After all this is what we need to be successful in our culture, more things and a beautiful woman to sell it to you. It is a perfect example of how we value and what we value in our American society.

It will be interesting to see what happens once Bob Barker leaves the show. Will it lose it's beauties? I hear that Rosie O'Donnell might be the host of show, would that mean a whole new setup, will there be glitz, glamour, and Koosh balls? One can only make speculation at this point in time, but it will be interesting to see what happens if the values will change and could America change through time.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

more memories for this chapter...

As a child I remember celebrating my birthday at places like McDonald's (we got a tour), Bead World, swimming in pools, and sliding on the slip and slide. Birthdays were filled with cake, ice cream, presents, and lots and lots of friends. They were there to celebrate, get the goodie bag that always had those magical pixie sticks and bouncy balls.

This years birthday consisted of cake with blue icing, Transformers plates, Pirate bars, 80s music, friends, friends, pizza, and more friends. It was a very good birthday. One that reminded me that grace is better than anger and love is better than hate. I was reminded over and over that my life has moved forward and that I am not the person I used to be. Often times I didn't choose where I was at in my life but I love that I am past the early twenties. I believe a couple of weeks ago i mentioned that I would have rather do middle school over again than try to recreate those early twenties. That were not easy but they were so important. I now recognize that beauty needs pain.

This birthday was important because i realized where i am have been and where I am excited about going. I know that the patterns that are in my life are those that I have set myself. I am ready to break those patterns and try something new. I know that I move a lot and so I see patterns changing form but not changing entirely. I am ready to break it down and apart. Moving on and moving forward.

I love that as I think about my birthday and turning 26 I still have a kid like attitude. I love that it was Transformers and Pirates. It was no longer Strawberry Shortcake, Unicorns, or ice cream cake. I think it's funny that I like the fact that I am growing up but I never want to let go of that strange innocence that makes us children. The hurt and the pain will come and go and good times as well. That's life i guess.

Let's see where the year takes me. i made two wishes. I hope one of them comes true....

Friday, June 15, 2007

Through the eyes of a woman

I don't know if I grew up a feminist but I know that this is a title that I use or other people know me as.I think I understand my obsession of feminism as I look at some of the movies I watched (Mary Poppins) or family structure (my father did my hair ever morning for all of elementary school while my mother went to work). It's a huge part of who I am and it's funny how the name became stamped on my heart and life. I became a feminist because I was oppressed in a Christian context. Because of that I was able to move on and find my freedom not only in my Christ but also in my womanhood.

Today my friend Jenny and I spent the say touring the feminist art exhibit, entitled WACK at the Geffen Contemporary Museum of Art, part of the MOCA in LA.

This was my second of hopefully three times to visit the exhibit that I think is absolutely fascinating. This exhibit is the first feminist exhibit of all women artists. It surprises me that it's 2007 and only now we are celebrating the work and achievements of women. My first encounter was with my friends Grant and Josh.

We had a great time and it was intriguing to bring a male perspective into what I was thinking, feeling, and reacting. Grant is a friend who knows quite a bit about art so it was lovely to have his thoughts and knowledge of the pieces and the layout of the show. It was a lovely afternoon where I felt like I stepped into something that I was always meant to step in. As I encountered the art my soul felt at rest and at ease because it was resonating with the images that so much of it has encountered with brokenness and the agony of silence.

One of my favorite pieces is Yoko Ono's Cut Piece

This piece really strikes me as the basics of human nature and human interaction. I think watching the video is worth the time and your interactions with it makes the meaning that much richer. Other pieces that I really enjoyed were ads that juxtaposed real woman that were taken years before the ads were introduced. I loved this piece where a woman's face was being tied up with string and towards the point where it seems like suffocation there are scissors that cut the thread. There were also a couple of pieces that had to do with what ads show and what are really underneath the clothing of the models. A piece that showed the struggle of women trying to work in the art fields that are dominated by men. There were so many pieces that spoke to me.

Because this was the second visit I choose to spend time at spaces that I really enjoyed and moved past the pieces that either I didn't relate to or didn't connect with. I love this exhibit and feel so lucky that this is in Los angeles, just a train ride from my home. I left rethinking the same questions I have been asking myself and others for awhile...what is beauty? Who defines it? What defines it? Why do we give it so much worth?

Monday, June 11, 2007

As Ryamakauh comes to a close

i just wanted to take a moment and pay a little homage to my best friend since the seventh grade. Many people may know (or not realize) that we have been friends for such a long time.

We have been friends for over half of our lives. Knowing that I will be twenty six in a week from today doesn't seem that old, and I don't feel old, but know you have a friend who has been there for all of the crap, sicknesses, brokenness, graduations, and overall good times has been amazing. We don't share a birthday but we share a holiday; Ryamakauh. I spell it differently each time because a) I don't always remember how I did it the last time b) it really expresses the fluidity of such a holiday holds. It has no rules, just many gifts sent through the help of the people at the United States Postal Service.

The reason the holiday is celebrated is not that we have the same date of birth but that Ryan's birthday is May 18 and mine is June 18. The month in between growing up was spent celebrating these days with separate parties, drinks, and dinners. A couple of years ago we realized we were going to be living in separate states so we should finally name this silly holiday of ours. I believe it was settled that night we saw Wilco at Meadowbrook in late June where they sang Happy Birthday to someone in the band but in my mind it was sung to me and Ryan for our birthday celebration. Many of these birthdays have had some sort of Wilco theme a) because I am obsessed and b) albums seem to come out or they play shows about the times when our births are celebrated.

I have one of the most amazing friends in my life. I have a couple of girls (Erica and Wendy) who like Ryan are family. They are like my brother and sisters. I owe Ryan a lot. He has seen my illnesses, seen me through my ultra conservative phase and helped me to get through that with love and calling me out when it was needed. He has pushed me to continue to be the feminist I knew I could be with buying me books at graduation to supporting the possible Ph.D. in the horizon. It's pretty amazing to know that if I died at 75 he would have been there for over 60 of those years. That is a mark of a great friend and I feel very lucky that we have endured despite never being in the same city for the last eight years. Our friendship is traverses over the great United States....and to that I am grateful.

So Ryan...thanks for being a great friend and believing in me. Birthdays are great...I get to share mine twice. Once with my twin sister and a whole month with the kid in our seventh grade pictures could have passed as my brother. I think we even brought the ids home and asked our respective parents if he was estranged from our family and put a five where the six should have been!

Well this is my homage to Ryamakauh and to a great friend.

Happy Ryamakah!!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Stranger Than Fiction

I had been recommended this film for the last month or so. Stranger than Fiction is a brilliantly funny with it's simple presence, yet left me with tears. These were not the sad kind of tears but the kind where you know you just realized something about your life and that you will need to take the time to sort through the thoughts and reactions.

The plot, without trying to give the film away, faces the truth that we all die. Will Farrell is the lead in this picture, he hears voices in his head that narrates his life, the mundane plan of the day to day, from brushing his teeth the exact amount of time to taking the same amount of steps to the bus stop. Everything seems to be integral to the story. The background players seem just as important as the major crew that takes the dialogue and makes it the kind of funny that you know you shouldn't be laughing but you are anyway.

The writing is smart, funny, dry, and thoughtful. Overall I loved the film and felt the importance of life and how we can not take it for granted. It reminded me that I continually need to look at life through the lens of simple beauty and pleasure. Life gets me down more than I thought it might but I think what gets me through is the fact that there are the small moments that make it worth it. Sometimes they really are these small moments that swoop me up and then they are gone or sometimes they are really big moments that alters and shifts your life, for the better or the worse.

I know that these moments will always be there and I feel the comfort in those thoughts. The good and the bad are there to interact with. Each are so important to how we grow, evolve, and change as human beings. We can never go back and change those moments so we need to allow them to shape us and form our life. I feel lucky and sometimes sad that these moments have happened.

Stranger than Fiction was a good choice. Healthy and helpful reminder that the choices we make are worth the pain and the glory....

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


Tonight I treated myself to a movie. School is not really done yet but I needed to do something like this for myself. I have been pinching my pennies lately and decided that tonight was the night I was going to splurge. I took myself to see the film Once. It is beautiful and simple. It is a movie about music, though some might say it is a musical. It really is not.

The film helps us see the process of making music. When we face brokenness it is many times helpful to try to get it out, whatever way possible. It is through the songs you can hear their stories. The stories that resonate with heartbreak, betrayal, miscommunication, and misplaced feelings. It made me cry because it was beautiful. For a moment I questioned where the tears came from but I know that I am moving from that space of brokenness.

I also realized that I resonated with the process of making music. That someone touched your life and your response was trying to make your feelings into melodies and harmonies. The pictures tell stories of someone that you were and not the person you are becoming. It's amazing to know what the story is rather than dictating what or how you should feel.

The music is from the front-man of The Frames. It is beautiful, simple, and yet powerful. The picture the music paints for the film is all you really need. The characters do not have names and yet you never really need to know their names. They are simply guy and girl in the credits. The idea and desire for friendship is so powerful. It is a helping to see what you have rather than seeing the brokenness and sitting in that despair. It was so so so good. It is along the lines of Amelie for me...

The need to see this movie is great. I hope I can go again and hear how the music impacts and breaks with others as well.

Monday, June 4, 2007

A new one and an old one.

I have been listening to the new Arcade Fire record, Neon Bible, and an old The Appleseed Cast record: Two conversations. Each record very different yet each one bringing me to a new thought, feeling, or idea.

Neon Bible was a record that I was a little hesitant to approach. I am one of the few people who didn't go crazy for the release of Funeral. I might be crazy. I might even have bad taste in music. But in the words of Erica Froman, I was underwhelmed. When I listened to Neon Bible I really enjoy two tracks. The first being the titled track, Neon Bible. I can't get the little guy out of my head but I think it's this video below that really sucked me in. I think the concept is marvelous and quite inventive. I think this is a huge reason why I continue to come back to this short little track.

The other track that makes me want to dance is The Well and the Lighthouse (Track 7). It makes me want to dance, it has a new wave flavor. The vibe is quite different than the rest of the album. Not that it's not upbeat but it takes a different pulse. I like the vocal duality of using both male and female to tell the story. The track is lovely.

How I responded to this record is how I responded to the Hold Steady Record. I could put on any other track and get the same mood and feeling. It is pretty repetitive and often reminds me of Bruce Springsteen. This could tell you some things about myself or the music I tend to listen to but at the end of the record I am usually a little disappointed. Overall I enjoy the record. I keep listening to it but overall I am still overwhelmed.

One last thought and I will move on....So you can debate me on the last fact with the understanding that I loved the new Wilco record. It really is a throw back to 1970 and you could say that The Arcade Fire is just reinventing a familiar sound ( I won't argue with that)....but really I am in love with Wilco and haven't taken the same exhaustive time with Neon as I have with Sky.

The second record I have been enjoying is this Appleseed Cast Record...Two Conversations. It's simple, innocent, and intrusive. It takes you on a ride. I remember going to the beach as a kid and playing in the water all day. When I would lie in bed and hear the ocean I could still feel the waves crashing into my body. That's how this record affects me. I can feel the pull and push of feelings and emotions. I can feel the relationships, I can feel the hurt, want, and pain. I have been there and I think it strikes me that in some way I still want to resonate in that space.

The record is this nice little story with bookends of instrumental opening and closing with songs that drive home emotions and raw feelings. There is something like telling the old lover how you feel and how they have changed you but also made you the person that you are today...hopefully stronger from the brokenness and oddly grateful that it happened.

This record is perfect to read Ethics notes and books about music culture. One that made me realize I was finally doing something that I loved and that music was the root and foundation of why we do it all. This all makes sense to me as I loved loved loved Mineral, especially endserenading... it was (and really still is) one of my favorite records that I listened to in college and still savor and respond to.

Friday, June 1, 2007

decisions, decisions...

I have been handed opportunity this week. I have been asked to help write and to help create a class at Fuller. This quarter I TA-ed Theology and Hip Hop culture and was moved spiritually, musically, and intellectually. It was such a healthy endeavor and through that opportunity I realized the desire that was in me to teach in the future. Mix this all together and I might be helping the Professor do research in the area of Hip Hop and feminism. It would be a dream come true to approach the topic and help with the dialogue regarding such an issue. It seems as if the scholarship in this area is pretty slim and lines seemd to be drawn in the sand and each side asks the reader to choice one or the other. I hope to help ask for both sides of the story...

Growing up hip hop was something you participated in because it was everywhere. I chose more the lines of rock, punk, and alternative, but if you wanted to dance hip hop was it. I can't believe sometimes that I get to be a part of this, to take the time to interact with this story and the stories of those who choose to participate in the art.

It is the end of the quarter and there seems like so much still to do. I am tired and I can't seem to shake it.

There are so many new, exciting, decisions to make. It seems tough sometimes to make a healthy, wise, decision; hoping that I make a choice that not just affects me but where I live, work, play, and communicate. I am excited for the time but there is so much one competes with...classes, work, the GRE, doctoral applications, reading for the future, and then being able to listen, watch, and hear what's happening in the bear of our culture. I close my eyes as I write this because I never would have thought this would have been my life.

Who knows what the day might bring...