Monthly Archives: March 2009


Sunday is often my catching up with tv day (after volleyball). And that’s what I did.

I’ve become rabid about two new shows – Dollhouse and Castle. Just found this article about the campaign to save Dollhouse that started before the show ever aired. Let’s just say us Whedonites are nervous nellies (justifiably, I think).

Basically, my thoughts echo the title of this discussion thread: Fox – Don’t You Dare Cancel Dollhouse. But ABC, you consider yourselves similarly addressed regarding Castle.

I’ll burn a cd of my favorite music for the person who can best describe the link between Dollhouse and Castle (and the constant fear of their cancellation) to my amusement and satisfaction.

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Film snob?

Last weekend, I was accused of being a film snob because I have (very legitimate) complaints against Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

It came on t.v. while I was at a friend’s house visiting and her husband insisted that as an Indy fan, I should just appreciate the movie rather than pick apart its (many) faults.

I studied film, so this isn’t a new thing. My defense against accusations of snobbery is always – Dude folks, I own and enjoy Crossroads. And I make people watch it when they come to my house.

Accordingly, I am super excited about Fast & Furious. Seriously. The fact that Vin Diesel and Paul Walker and the uber talented Michelle Rodriguez are back – “New model. Original parts” – makes me a happy, happy girl.

And then there’s the fact that I may actually watch the Hannah Montana movie. Willingly. Even…maybe…happily.

I think I have successfully acquitted myself on all counts of snobbery here. Just remember, not everybody can be this refreshingly honest.


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American Idol again

Okay, so I was still hoping that there’d be a, “hey, after thinking about it and letting her sweat, we decided to invoke the judges’ save and here’s Alexis…” all the way up to when Matt first started singing. Probably I’m in denial, but I still want it to happen.

I’m gonna rank my favorite performances from tonight. Megan Joy (Corkrey) is still my fav in the competition, however –

1. Adam Lambert – Holy shit. Just, like, holy shit. Seriously. He’s never been my fav – sometimes he strikes me as cocky and disingenuous. But I have never denied or been able to deny that he has voice and originality. After his take on Ring of Fire, I was flabbergasted. There aren’t words for his Tracks of My Tears. Smokey Robinson gave him a standing O. When he ended on that last “I need…” oh my. This performance was incredibly controlled (mostly in falsetto!), but I don’t think anybody could call it disingenuous.

2. Allison Iraheta – I have been begging for her to do something softer and more tender so that we can see that she’s a great singer with dimension to her voice. She didn’t exactly do what I’ve been asking for, but I feel like she gave me what I’ve been wanting with Papa Was a Rolling Stone. This kicked ass, it wasn’t screamy and those final notes… Loved Kara’s “It sounds like you’ve been singing for 400 years.” But seriously, the judges need to stop reminding us she’s only 16. It’s getting incredibly annoying. As they always say (before they say she’s 16), it doesn’t matter how old she is – it sounds like she’s been singing for 400 years.

3. Anoop Desai, Kris Allen and Matt Giraud – I couldn’t really pick between the three of them. They were all supremely excellent with Ooh Baby Baby, How Sweet It Is and Let’s Get It On respectively. Oh sooooo excellent, guys.

4. Megan Joy, Lil Rounds and Danny Gokey – I feel like all three of these performances had some really awesome moments but were generally a bit too frenzied or off in some way. For Once In My Life was a a good song for Megan, but she didn’t really nail it. Heat Wave really should have worked for Lil, but she was screaming and pushing for some reason. And Get Ready really worked for Danny, but was a bit campy.

5. Michael Sarver and Scott MacIntyre – They’re both just incredibly redundant to me at this point. I dig that they’re both nice guys and reasonably talented. I think they can both have successful careers and I’ll probably even download a song or two of theirs one day. But I very seriously doubt I’m ever going to want to listen to an entire c.d. straight through (let alone over and over) or attend a concert of theirs. I hope one of these two goes home and I think their performances of Ain’t Too Proud to Beg and You Can’t Hurry Love reinforce my prediction. I’d give them both up if we could have Alexis back – I can’t help wondering what song she would’ve picked for Motown week. 😥

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Yay for Jamey Redux

I’ve thoroughly embarrassed Ms. Hatley again. However, not only am I incredibly proud of her, I’m also a big fan and I wanted an autograph for posterity. So there. :)-

The piece is amazing, Jamey. I can see all the pieces coming together and it’s really a pleasure to witness.


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What a wonderful experiment… Redux

I had a bitty panic after announcing I’d essentially review the cds I bought blind from I’m in a place where I’d rather rave about the things I really like rather than spend time ranting about things I don’t (Crystal Skull is an important exception). So I thought, “What if I don’t like one of these cds, what am I going to do?” And purchasing four cds in a very random way seemed to pretty much guarantee I’d dislike at least one.

And I’m not exactly qualified to review cds in any way that pretends to be objective and technically informed (Dave tries, but I just like what I like, despite how great the production quality is). I mean, keep in mind that you’re about to read reviews by a person who tends to dislike one word song titles. Not necessarily the songs themselves. But one word song titles annoy me. They remind me of when I was writing poetry and when a title didn’t come naturally, I’d just slap one word on it that seemed evocative or, even worse, “Untitled.”

Luckily, I liked all of them (despite a plethora of one word titles). Some more than others, granted. But I don’t regret purchasing a single one. In the order I listed them before (i.e. alphabetical), drumroll please:

Aquaboy The World Still Turns Without You – I’m only just now, as I’m looking up links, realizing that Derek Buckner and Aquaboy are one and the same. I purchased TWSTWY because it was recommended if you like Beck, Wilco, Pavement and Air. And I do like all those folks. The title track is my favorite and also Mediocre Man. One customer likened them to the Beatles. Not really seeing that one, but I’ll vouch for the Wilco and Pavement.

Derek Buckner Symptoms – I saw Lucinda Williams in the recommended if you like and I was all in. This was an okay cd for me. Nothing, after repeated listens, has really stood out, but it was an excellent soundtrack for part of my recent road trip.

Sarah Burton Love Is For Pussies – This is recommended if you like Alanis Morissette, Sheryl Crow and Feist. While I like the first two ladies, I’m a big Feist fan so it was that and the title that struck me. Sarah Burton is probably a compulsive self-Googler (important for an indie musician, in my opinion) because she contacted me the same day I posted about the experiment. On the previously referenced road trip, I was writing the review for her cd in my head. I really like Sarah’s voice, but I’m left hungry by this c.d. It’s not a full meal, but rather an appetizer. In the best sense, it whets your appetite for more and I’ll definitely follow whatever she does next. I think she can ditch the first version of Barcelona because it felt a bit jerky and loose to me whereas the extended flamenco version settled those issues very nicely. Also liked I Hate You quite a lot. Every time I’ve listened to this EP, I’ve liked it more and more, heard something new each time.

Tiffany Randol Kiss Me Kiss Me – Recommended if you like The Cardigans, Regina Spektor and Feist. Then compared to June Carter and Kate Bush. The cover art is a tad reminiscent of my favorite Suzanne Vega cd, Nine Objects of Desire and I wouldn’t say it’s inappropriate to compare Randol to Vega. If I had to pick a favorite of the four, this would be it. Loved every second of this too-short EP. I would recommend it enthusiastically.

So cdbaby – let’s do this again. If you ever need someone to test whether your “recommended if you like”s work, please feel free to send me cds. Or if you’re dying for some really random, entirely subjective reviews…

Now, in other music thoughts.

So, I’ve been really struck by those great Liberty Mutual ads, especially the music. I took a sec to try to find out about the songs in the ads and I’m a bit embarrassed because all of the songs are already in my iTunes. They’re all the work of Hem, a band that Dave turned me onto a while back. Then, I found this really wonderful piece where Mary Chapin Carpenter talks about the ads and Hem for The Washington Times.

And it probably goes without saying that I’m pretty devastated that Alexis Grace got booted off. I have to say that I don’t think that her performances of Jolene proved that she should’ve been given the judges’ save. The entirety of what she’s done on the show does. Part of me keeps hoping that it’s not too late and they’ll change their minds and save her. Why not? This season’s been incredibly wacky anyway. Regardless, I look forward to seeing what she does next.

I felt like Randy Travis was rather wasted in that duet with Carrie Underwood, but I was in love with it anyway. Her voice when she belted out “I told you so.” Wow. It was incredibly cute the way Randy Travis kept looking at her adoringly while she sang. If you don’t believe me, watch this. Didn’t know this song existed before and now it’s in regular rotation – and I still get chills every time.


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Things I’m excited about…

Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival

French Quarter Fest

And that they’re not the same weekend this year.

Also, the piece I did with Clarence Nero will be in next month’s 225. It’s not on the website yet as far as I can see, but until then, you can whet your appetite with this groovy pic I found of him there.

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I’m curious…

I missed AI last night (out having a real life) and caught up the only way I could (listening to the performances without video on YouTube and reading recaps about the judges’ comments). And I’m curious to see if I can still predict who leaves today.

Going home: Michael Sarver or Scott MacIntyre. Probably Michael.

Judges got it wrong: Loved Lil Rounds with “Independence Day.” She’s always been solid, but she hasn’t really gotten my attention before this. I thought it was a great performance, solidly country but still her own take. Adam Lambert with “Ring of Fire.” Ditto as Lil Rounds. I’ve always known he’s a good solid performer, but he’s not my favorite. I’ll give him this, his performances are *always* completely original. He really does his own things with the songs. It might not be Simon’s style, but it was definitely risky and creative. And it sounded amazing.

Lovin’: Anoop Desai and Matt Giraud and Kris Allen. Great performances.

Alright now: Danny Gokey and Allison Iraheta, great solid performances but they are not surprising me. I just wish they’d mix it up, surprise me. Danny should sing something about bitter, dark hearbreak and not something tender and inspirational. Allison should sing something tender and soft and show us that her voice has dimension, that she’s not just a rocker chick. Sure, being true to yourself is great, but I can honestly say I wouldn’t listen to an entire cd or concert of theirs if they’re only going to sing the same type of songs.

Still loving: Alexis Grace and Megan Corkrey. It helps that they both sang songs I know well and really love. Though not terribly surprised that Alexis sang “Jolene” – because it’s a great song for her. She didn’t quite do with it what I know she can. Megan sang sick, had a couple of rocky notes, but did a really nice “Walking After Midnight.”

So let’s see how my predictions turn out…

[3.23.09: I did a very bad job of predicting this one as half of my favorites group went home. Put out a cd Alexis. Like, right now. I’ll buy it. Just like I’ll see Kherington in the remake of Fame.]

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Yay for Jamey

Featured in this photo shoot: the gorgeous Jamey Hatley and the glowing Race Issue of the Oxford American.

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American Idol predictions

I can’t promise I’ll do this every week, but gonna make some AI predictions.

Going home: Jorge or Jasmine. She looked gorgeous, but she’s not ready for this. Sucks cause everyone else is pretty freaking awesome.

Surprised me (pleasantly): Kris Allen. He rocks. And I think he handled Simon pretty well, though I suspected he wanted to beat the crap out of him for the, “Wouldn’t have brought the wife out just yet” comment. Anoop did a pretty good job, I thought, but got trashed by the judges. I always enjoy Matt when he’s singing, but I never remember him.

Not surprising me (unfortunately): Allison Iraheta. She needs to sing something soft next week, to show us she’s not going to be screaming every week. Love her, but we need some variety. Scott can sing, but he’s singing the same stuff I’m not terribly interested in every time. Like Michael, but he doesn’t have a lot of variety either.

They rock, but not my favs: Lil Rounds, Adam Lambert and Danny Gokey. Not worried about any of them.

My favorites: Megan Corkrey and Alexis Grace. Megan looks like she has a lot of nervous energy onstage and physically does the same thing every time. Hasn’t mattered to me one bit cause I love the sound of her voice and I don’t think she’s picked a single bad song. Alexis has got it all. I’m worried she’s pulling a Kherrington (my fav from SYTYCD) and getting cocky. But I loved “Dirty Diana,” especially when she belted out, “make me a star!”

[3.12: So they sent two people home – Jorge and Jasmine, both of the two I said were in danger.]

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Post-graduate studies

Someone commented recently in a private response to my blog that, “You don’t talk about your writing as much as you used to…is this because you’re not writing?”

Yes and no. Yeah, that’s the answer.

I’m making HUGE strides and progress and then standing still. Trying to motivate myself without beating myself up. Having issues with authority (writing about about an elderly, gay, multiracial man can be a real bitch, you know, when you are none of these things yourself, and this is on top of wanting to represent the circus and New Orleans aspects of my book respectfully and accurately as well).

So here’s the answer to what’s going on with my writing at the moment: I’m doing rigorous post-graduate studies with Professors Hatley and Causey (both of whom have cool news on their sites – go read!) with numerous visiting lecturers that range from the baristas at Cheers to my new roommate to whatever music happens to catch my fancy.

I’m continuing with a bit of freelance work, as always, which I realize I’m extremely fortunate to do. For instance, recently met Louie Maistros at a local signing and had a lot of fun hanging out with him, his wife and friends before, during and after the show. Check out his book The Sound of Building Coffins. He’s got a Baton Rouge event this coming Sunday, as well as more New Orleans ones. I’m going to interview him soon for 225, so be on the lookout for that. Speaking of, the 225 feature on Clarence Nero will be out next month.

Always, the book is foremost. Even if I’m not talking about it. There are just gonna be times when it’s a lot more fun to talk about yummy media or President Obama being a die-hard Twitter tweeter. I may actually join now, just so I can follow his tweets.

While I don’t condone thievery, of course, this short piece was heart-warming because it reminded me that at least books are still considered valuable…

And maybe it doesn’t seem so relevant, but I promise this is: I looooove the NY Times’ Paper Cuts Blog and here’s a great quote from Karan Mahajan, the latest author to blog a soundtrack. “I was post-colonial and didn’t even know it….Before globalization, the English-speaking middle class [in India] trusted things that were “imported” more wholeheartedly anyway — a sort of colonial hangover. So we embraced [Freddie] Mercury like he was our own because we thought he wasn’t our own, even though he was our own.”

Care to speculate why it’s relevant?

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