One More Thing About Miley Cyrus…

I know, I know.  I’m sure we’re all sick of Miley Cyrus and her twerky ass, but I just feel like I have to say this…

…and I can’t believe I’m saying this…

…but I think we need to give her one tiny break.

Just one.  Let me explain.

It’s not that I think she’s so totally awesome that she gets a pass because OMG how can you not love everything she does?  No no, I assure you.  I’ve said since seeing the VMA performance that’s caused the avalanche of media hooha that the thing I’m most offended by about her performance is that she’s making bajillions of dollars and can’t fucking sing.  She is a testament to the magical properties of auto-tune, and will keep any skilled vocal-mix professional working for years to come.  (Miley Cyrus: Job creator.)  They claim she wasn’t auto-tuned for the VMAs.  Go on, go watch it again and play the “count the flat notes” drinking game.  Every flat note, take a shot.  You’ll be knackered before the song comes to an end (and if you play through Robin Thicke’s part of the performance, put 911 on your speed dial to counter the inevitable onset of alcohol poisoning).

It’s because, if people had been paying even a tiny bit of attention, there wouldn’t be a public outcry for a national fainting couch to combat the epidemic of swooning from the shock of Miley’s ladyparts being so vigorously and unapologetically diddled on stage.

I took this picture from somewhere off this blog, though God help me I don't remember exactly which page because I've been reading it obsessively the past few days.

I took this picture from somewhere off the blog, though God help me I don’t remember exactly which page because I’ve been reading it obsessively the past few days.

I was talking with my boyfriend the other night and he said, “Someone asked who came up with the choreography for Miley Cyrus’s performance.  Apparently, it’s taken pretty directly from her video.”

Oh, really, I thought.  How ’bout that?  Re-enacting a video (at least in part) at the VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS.  I guess I didn’t see that coming.  I feel so naive.

So I watched her video for “We Can’t Stop”, which was of course the song she sang at the VMAs.  Here it is.  I’ll get back to this in a minute but please, for the sake of the rest of this article, pay attention to what’s going on in the video.  Feel free to watch it without the sound on.  It makes it easier.

Well all right.  There you have it.  They totally pulled parts of the video for her performance.  The giant furry costumes.  Some of the dance moves.  Her goddamned tongue, which I’m pretty sure she can do push ups on.  It also, for the record, included:

  • what looked like fingers being sliced off a hand
  • copious twerking
  • a guy shooting smoke out of his crotch
  • enough with the tongue, Miley
  • abundant ass shots and spread eagled bed writhing
  • girl on girl food wrestling, booty smacking, and at least one boobie fondle
  • oh, yeah, and then she licked that doll’s face

My point is: this was all in the video which has been released for months, so people freaking out about virginal Hannah Montana suddenly becoming sexually supercharged is…well…inauthentic at best and hypocritical at worst.  Clearly, they’re not paying attention to the same things their kids are paying attention to, or else they think that whatever happens in the confines of a three-minute music video can’t ever possibly translate into live performance.

Whatever.  This is why child stars develop substance abuse problems.

But then it gets even more deranged, because Miley didn’t get as much shit for her own performance as she did for her participation in Robin Thicke‘s song, “Blurred Lines”.  Here’s the video, if you’re unfamiliar with the song.  Please notice the plastic clothing on the models, in relation to Miley’s VMA costuming.

God, I hate this song.

For Thicke’s part of the performance, Miley Cyrus ripped off her stupid, stupid furry bear onesie and revealed her vinyl bra and panty set, so she looked shiny and almost-nude.  Which kind of emulates what the models were wearing.  But that finger, good God…what about that giant foam finger she was waving around at the VMAs?  Why was Miley Cyrus just a protective vinyl barrier away from flicking her bean on national TV?  In front of the children?  Wearing that godforsaken foam finger?

OK, point #1: this wasn’t the Kid’s Choice awards, this was the VMAs.  It wasn’t a show for kids.  (Waaah!  But it was prime time!  So is CSI, American Horror Story, The Bachelor, Supernatural, America’s Next Top Model, Bates Hotel, and Californication.  These are all shows that have weird/questionable subject matter that isn’t necessarily kid friendly.  Especially that show about modeling, which I’m sure has helped fuel plenty of eating disorders across the country.  Don’t let them watch it if you don’t like it.)  

Point #2:  It’s the music industry, which is a carnivorous beast that thrives on sex and the blood of the young.  What did you expect?

And point #3:  That finger?  The hyper-sexualized content?  It’s in Robin Thicke’s video.  Not that one.  This one.  The other, unrated, way naked, kid-unfriendly version of “Blurred Lines”.

(I warn you now, this is not safe for work, for kids, for mother, for the good of all humanity.  Watch at your own risk.)

Please note that this video features:

  • Plenty of topless models in nude-colored g-strings and white platform sneakers
  • What’s up with that lamb?
  • Fully clothed men, because of course they can’t be seen as vulnerable/exposed/not in charge
  • That. Fucking. Finger.
  • Mylar balloons spelling out that Robin Thicke has a big dick

So once again, they were re-enacting a video.  Robin Thicke’s video, not Miley Cyrus’s.  It may have been the unrated one but still, these videos have been released since March 2013.  The world has had six months to hate on the goddamned finger and they focus their anger NOT on Robin Thicke, the person who inflicted it unto the world but rather, on the young woman who performed it with him at a live show.  They may as well hate the models who danced in the unrated version, because clearly they were the ones in charge of artistic direction.

Was it over the top?  Sure, I guess, though the entertainment industry as a whole is pretty well known for its decided lack of boundary/sense/taste and there’s not much that shocks me anymore.  When performers are as untalented as Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke, it’s no surprise that they have to become giant media gluttons just to keep the spotlight.  Outrageous behavior distracts from the fact that they’re untalented hacks.  I don’t care who Miley Cyrus grinds her ass up against, or who Robin Thicke has to simu-bone for attention, though I do care that these two performers are being held to entirely different standards for doing essentially the same thing.  Yes, yes, I know, RT is a man and we all know it’s OK for guys to swagga into a room dick-first but if a woman is overtly sexual?  Whoooooooooooooooore!  I feel kind of bad for Miley and her overt sexuality.  You know when a baby discovers his feet?  And then his parents put little jingly socks on him and he waves his munchkin feet around and sticks them in his mouth and can’t keep his hands off them because they’re all fresh and new to him?  That’s exactly how I view Miley Cyrus’s relationship with her vagina: it’s like she just found it and can’t stop (see what I did there?) pointing it out to everyone.  I blame Disney.

So please.  Don’t stop buying Miley’s albums because she committed some very public self-canoodling with a prop from one of Robin Thicke’s videos.  That’s unfair, and doesn’t focus on the source of the behavior, which (I will spell out) is Robin Thicke, or at the very least RT’s artistic director.  And don’t not buy RT’s albums because he’s a misogynistic tool.  Instead, I beg of you all, to do this: don’t buy their albums, because they CAN’T FUCKING SING.

What the hell, Justin Bieber?

Normally, I don’t give a shit about celebrities behaving badly.  I mean duh, of course they’re misbehaving in public.  Of course Lindsay Lohan is violating parole and going to rehab and pick-a-celeb, you’ll find a bar fight and Charlie Sheen became a celebrity anti-hero after a tiger-blood-fueled, insane ragestravaganza (and subsequent publicity tour) and Led Zeppelin are still unfortunately noted for doing unspeakable things with a fish.  And on, and on and on on on on.

Meh.  Whatever.  Celebrities.

But you know, sometimes?  There are those celebriturds who go too far.  For me, the line often gets drawn when there’s thoughtless aggression directed towards people who are just trying to do their jobs.  People who don’t exist in the rarefied circle of celebrity entitlement, who don’t have handlers and fret about health insurance and worry how to put food on the table every day.  People who may hate their jobs but show up because they don’t have the luxury to not get it done, whether “it” is taking care of their kids or making their rent or generating income while they write the Great American Novel in their spare time.

They’re people who deserve better than this.

That’s right. On leaving a nightclub and going out the back way through the kitchen, Justin Bieber thought it would be abso-fucking-lutely hilarious to piss into a mop bucket that’s supposed to be used to keep a restaurant clean and in compliance with health codes, while his professional ass-kissers cheer and his bodyguard (remember him? The guy who sat The Biebs back in his car like he was handling a 4-year-old?) benignly looks on.  Video him peeing, even, with a phone.  This of course begs the question: who’d he piss off enough that they released the video to TMZ?

See, here’s the thing: Someone’s got to clean that up.  The Maple Christ may think his piss is suitable for mass consumption (just listen to his music; it’s not far off) and that wherever it may fall, unicorns will spring forth and fart rainbows.  But to the kitchen staff making $7.25 an hour–the ones who have to empty the bucket and sterilize it before it can be used to clean, you know, a place that processes food, so they may be compliant with state and local health and sanitation standards–he’s just another rich doucheketeer looking for new lows to exploit in his pursuit of privilege.  Go, Wild Kidz!  The baddest gang to ever have a bodyguard to defend them!

Seriously, New York City, if you don’t at least issue a charge for misdemeanor public urination (because how much more public can it get than broadcast on TMZ?), you’re seriously dropping the ball, and that restaurant should consider pressing vandalism charges.

Though it will be interesting when the Bieber train wrecks, like most manufactured pop acts do.  Just look at Brittney and her extraordinary meltdown in 2007.  And Biebs is fifty times as arrogant as she was, so one can only hope that when he melts it will be fifty times as spectacular.

Maybe I should just sit back and enjoy the show, because it’s bound to happen and his behavior is increasingly erratic.  This could be fun.

But first, asshole, the least you could do is apologize.

Canada, can you please come here and take him back?

Ellis Paul at the James V. Brown Library

Or rather, at the “liberry”, as I like to say.

Ellis Paul, the folk singer I’ve written about once or twice before, finally played somewhere that’s a reasonable driving distance from my little hamlet of a town.  I’ve been known  to make the three+ hour trek to Philly to see him, or drive an hour and a half to Harrisburg.  Twenty-six miles?  Less than thirty measly minutes?  To Williamsport?

Pfft.   Chump change.

OK, so it was a children’s show and I don’t have any kids.  Understandably, one might think that was a little quirky (Hello, my name is Terri but you can call me Aunt Creepster) BUT I am friends with one of the programming coordinators at James V. Brown Library.  The library, opened in 1907, is a gorgeous building bequeathed to the city by lumber baron James VanDuzee Brown (and thus not to be confused with a certain other James Brown, regardless of the music being performed).  Performers–Ellis, and anyone who plays there for First Friday events–get to play in the Rotunda Room, which boasts a beautiful stained glass rotunda and wrought iron gazebo.  It’s kind of an amazing place to spend a day regardless of why you’re there.  I got to help set up and hang out and feel all cool.  What a different person I’ve become, now that I think hauling chairs around a library on a Saturday morning to prep for a kids’ show is “cool”.  And yet I was.  A girl can’t help it, even if I wasn’t quite a roadie and was more of a…ummmm…venue monkey.  Or something.

Here’s the thing: even when he’s putting on a kid’s show, Ellis Paul is a great act to catch.  He’s funny and engaging.  He keeps the kids entertained and throws in enough references so the parents “get” that he’s winking at them.  He plays long enough to be worth it but not so long that the kids are losing their minds.  And even though these songs are written for children, they’re still conceptually interesting.  I didn’t know there was such a thing called “wabi-sabi“, never mind that it was a Japanese aesthetic that focuses on the acceptance of imperfection.  Not until I heard a song about it at a kid’s show.

It’s a great message for kids.  Not a bad one for adults either, when you come down to it.  But it’s one that’s far more challenging and evocative than “I love you, you love me.”  Which I suppose is nice too, but a little pedestrian and not always true.

Here’s some photos from the show.

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Travel Theme: Benches, Part Deux

I had forgotten about this funny, quirky, adorable song when I wrote my previous “bench” blog, but my boyfriend kindly reminded me of its existence.  Originally written by French singer-songwriter/poet Georges BrassensLes Amoreux des Bancs Publics is all about couples making out on park benches.  If this doesn’t belong in Ailsa‘s bench-themed blog, I don’t quite know what does.

Below are the original and a translated version, and below those are the lyrics.  Enjoy!


Words and Music : Georges Brassens

Les gens qui voient de travers

Pensent que les bancs verts

Qu’on voit sur les trottoirs

Sont faits pour les impotents ou les ventripotents

Mais c’est une absurdite

Car, a la verite

Ils sont la, c’est notoire

Pour accueillir quelques temps les amours debutants

Les amoureux qui s’becotent sur les bancs publics

Bancs publics, bancs publics

En s’foutant pas mal des r’gards obliques

des passants honetes

Les amoureux qui s’becotent sur les bancs publics

Bancs publics, bancs publics

En s’disant des *je t’aime* pathetiques

Ont des p’tites gueules bien sympathiques

Ils se tiennent par la main

Parlent du lendemain

Du papier bleu d’azur

Que revetiront les murs de leur chambre a coucher

Ils se voient deja douc’ment

Elle cousant, lui fumant

Dans un bien-etre sur

Et choisissent les prenoms de leur premier bebe…


Quand la sainte famille Machin

Croise sur son chemin

Deux de ces malappris

Elle leur decroche hardiment des propos venimeux

N’empeche que toute la famille

Le pere, la mere, la fille, le fils, le saint-esprit

Voudrait bien de temps en temps

Pouvoir s’conduire comme eux.


Quand les mois auront passe

Quand seront apaises

Leur beaux reves flambants

Quand leur ciel se couvrira de gros nuages lourds

Ils s’apercevront emus,

Qu’c’est au hasard des rues

Sur un d’ces fameux bancs

Qu’ils ont vecu le meilleur morceau de leur amour



by Georges Bressens, translated and performed by Pierre de Gaillande 

People who see upside-down

Think the benches around

The sidewalks and the streets

Are made only for the impotent or the obese

But it’s an absurdity

For in reality

These venerable seats

Are there to accommodate young lovers when they meet


Young lovers kissing on park benches publicly,

Publicly, publicly

Not giving the slightest damn for the

Honest people’s stares

Young lovers kissing on park benches publicly,

Publicly, publicly

Saying “I love you” pathetically

Look pretty nice if you ask me

As they sit there holding hands

They speak of future plans

Of sky blue wallpaper

That will dress the pretty walls of their nuptial bedside

They see what tomorrow knows

He’s smoking while she sews

Their happiness assured

While deliberating the name of their first-born child


When the noble what’s-their-names

Happen to contemplate

Two of these so-and-so’s

They never hesitate to toss out some venomous names

Though the entire family clan

The mom, the girl, the dad

The son, the Holy Ghost

Wouldn’t mind once in a while behaving just the same


When the heady months have ceased

When they will have appeased

All of their burning dreams

When their sky grows heavy with the darkening clouds above

They will sadly come to see

That it was on these streets

Upon these famous seats

That they lived the greatest moments of their budding love


Delicious Meat-Shell Pie: The Musical!

My boyfriend, who I think may be clinically insane, was so profoundly inspired by my post about cooking with soup and the majesty that is a Meat-Shell Pie that he has set the recipe to music.

It’s chock full of oo-ooo’s and alludes to the wonderous Kitchen of the Future, and (if I may be so bold) is kind of genius.



OK, so maybe “The Musical!” was a little over the top but it’s still a song about a pie with a shell made out of meat.  And that’s pretty tasty, no matter how you slice it.

Travel Theme: Shadows

All hail the mighty Groundhog!  Long may he reign!

In honor of Groundhog Day, Ailsa has decreed this week’s travel theme to be: Shadows.  So to celebrate my shadowy side I figured I’d look at the rascally bunch of ne’er-do-wells I am privileged to be friends with.

Damn musicians.  Step out into the sunlight every so often, people.  These aren’t the tidiest or least grainy pictures I’ve ever taken, but I had a lot of fun taking them.  🙂

Anyway.  First up!  Check out the local favorite Snakes Are Strong, a punk band who trades vocals between their male and female singer a la the band X.  SAS likes to play with their set lighting by projecting a movie–usually some kind of trippy horror flick–over the band.  Below is a picture of the drummer, Pete, and you can see the shadows of the other two members of the bad, Jeff and Brianna, off to the right.  The band’s movie of choice for this performance–I would bet money on this–is Dario Argento‘s Suspiria.

Pete, beasting it on the drums while Brianna and Jeff loom menacingly to the side.

Pete, beasting it on the drums while Brianna and Jeff loom menacingly to the side.

Next:  Drift Division.  My friend Andy’s band played at our gem of an art deco movie house, the Campus Theatre, right here in beautiful downtown Lewisburg.  The band set up in front of the movie screen and also had a film (made for them by a friend of theirs) that projected over them as they played, which seems like a no-brainer when you’ve got a giant screen behind you just begging to be used.

Shadowy men playing moody music.

Shadowy men playing moody music.

And then there’s: Fear Factory.  This taken when I went to see Burt at a show in Philadelphia, and what I love about this picture is that Burt isn’t the primary focus but rather, it’s the silhouettes of the fans up front.  Because the fist pump and the metal horns?  Yeah.  That’s what it’s all about.

Metal. \m/

Metal! \m/

And finally, because my boyfriend starting giving me a hard time about my choice of Fear Factory picture (“Technically that’s a silhouette, not a shadow” he said, to which I replied, “I don’t think Ailsa’s going to call the blog police on me,” though maybe I’m wrong), here is me.  And what is clearly, inarguably, a shadow.  Taken  at Jockey’s Ridge State Park in North Carolina, from the top of one mo’fo’ of a sand dune.



Go check out the rest of the blogs at Ailsa’s travel theme!  You know you want to join in on the fun.  See you there.

Music: An Interview with Ellis Paul

This interview also appeared in the Local Music Collective Newsletter

Guitar-totin’ folk singer Ellis Paul is a busy man.  He tours anywhere between 150 and 200 days a year.  He writes every day.  And he is preparing to record his 18th album, the latest in a series of albums he is recording independently since leaving his former label in 2005.  After a recent performance at the Midtown Scholar Bookstore in Harrisburg, Paul sat down with me for a few minutes to talk about songwriting and the pros and cons of recording without a label.


Paul broke with his former label and started the process of independently-funded music when he decided he wanted full creative control over his work.   He says, “You have to please people who aren’t you, and the reason you’re trying to do that is because they’re the ones who are paying for everything–the studio time, the mixing, the marketing.  You keep clamoring for the attention of the label executives who, understandably, want a positive return on their investment.  The big problem with that thinking is, the labels want to pigeonhole artists and have them create songs that are more formulaic and will end up on the radio.”

He continues, “When I work without a label, I’m only responsible to my fans, and myself.  With fan-funded music, you get to make all the choices, create your own deadlines, own all your own masters.  The downside is that you then have to pretend you’re a record label, and do your own marketing and promotion, which is not my favorite part of the industry.”

Bring it home, Ellis.

Playing Guinness, his beloved guitar, in fine form after a prolonged repair due to a tragic speaker incident.

Paul says his music has benefited by becoming more broad since he’s struck out on his own.  A former track athlete who didn’t start playing guitar until an injury sidelined him in college, he says, “I’ve been able to explore music I haven’t had a chance to yet.  I started playing in college and writing my own stuff as soon as I learned to play, so I didn’t have that high school cover band experience.  I don’t know a lot of covers.  Reinterpreting other people’s music alters the way you understand chords and song structure and so the vocabulary you’ve developed with your own music changes.  I’ve written a list of 200 songs by other artists I admire, and my goal is to learn them all.  And we’ll see how that impacts my writing.”

Songwriting, says Paul, is a combination of crafting and inspiration, and good songs find a successful balance between the two.  “When I’m working on a new album, I probably break in six or seven new songs on the road.  I like to watch how my audience responds to a song because it helps keep me in balance.  If inspiration takes over, it’s easy to start trying to be increasingly clever in your phrasing, or keep making cloaked references, and in doing so you can lose sight of what the song is about.  Conversely, if you give craft too much control, then your song can become contrived and joyless and your audience can start to follow how you think.  Playing new songs live can be a great way to stay self-aware and determine if you’re over-crafting or if you’re being too clever for your own good.”

Here’s a song already written for his upcoming album.

This article will also appear in an upcoming issue of the Local Music Collective newsletter.  

What I’m Watching: High Fidelity

I have a confession to make.  It’s not that I never saw High Fidelity; it’s more that I saw it at exactly the wrong point in my life and have shunned High Fidelity for years.

Let me explain.

When High Fidelity first came out, I was sort of in an “I’m over John Cusack” state of mind so I didn’t go see it in the movies, despite the allure of the record store setting.  (For the unknowing: I worked in a record store for a few years in high school, and it was pretty fantastic.  A thousand years later I’m still friends with many of my former co-workers and we get to music-geek out anew whenever we get together, much to the chagrin of our spouses and partners.  And I digress.)  When I DID see it…

I had taken a road trip to Massachusetts to visit some friends of mine a few weeks after my ex-husband and I split up.  Even though I was the one who initiated the split, it was still a difficult transitional period; I had unraveled the fabric of my life and had no idea what was next other than that I wanted to get the hell out of Dodge.  My friends (you know who you are, ladies, and I still love you!  XO) thought it would be totally girly to watch a John Cusack movie together, since they’re usually funny and full of endearingly pithy bumblings.  Normally they’d be right. I didn’t really know what the movie was about except that it was sort of a disaffected Gen-X romantic comedy that took place in a record store.  I think I’d only ever seen the trailer…

…which doesn’t exactly tell you that the movie opens with John Cusack’s girlfriend moving out as they end their long-term relationship, and then launches into a diatribe about Rob Gordon (Cusack)’s Top Five breakups…


Did you know you can develop an eye twitch in just 4 minutes and 39 seconds?  It’s true.  I timed it.  My friends stopped the film perhaps five or six minutes in and asked me if I wanted to watch something else but I said, “Oh, no.  It’s too late now, I’m sure I’ve seen the worst of it,” which was true.  We watched it through to the end and while there was no other part of the movie that punched me in the throat, the damage was done.  I haven’t seen it since.  Despite the allure of the record store stuff.  Despite the inherent music geekery.  But!  As I am a resilient human being, I’ve thought for a while now that I really ought to watch it again.

So I did.

First, I have to make note as to how my sensibilities have changed.  There was a part of me that wanted to retitle the movie to John Cusack Smokes, because he’s got a grit in nearly every scene, which at one point in my life I would have thought was totally cool, if it had even registered as something worth my notice.

Second, they nail the music geekery.  So.  So.  Well.  This “Top 5 Songs About Death” scene nearly killed me, it was so spot-on.

Especially because there was an immediate disqualification involving an unspoken, never-before-considered and organically understood rule of what “counts”.  Genius!  And the part where Rob Gordon discusses the rules of the mixtape?  Perfection.  When Rob reorganizes his record collection autobiographically?  Wow.  I mean, I’ve got mine organized alphabetically by group or artist, and then alphabetically by title for those groups in which there is more than one album.  And I have argued with the people who have them categorized alphabetically by artist and then, for more than one record by an artist, chronologically.  Oh, yes, I’ve argued.  Passionately.  But autobiographically?  Never.  The mind wobbles.  Oh!  And the line, “Get your patchouli stink outta my store” should be immortalized the world over, because I was with Rob on that.  I mean, I was really with him on that.

And I also…it gives me much chagrin to say this…I loved…I mean, lovedJack Black in this film.  Sure, he was the asshole snotty record store guy, but he was awesome.  Passionate.  Funny.  Abrasive, of course, but he kept his eyebrows under control and didn’t spend an inordinate amount of time mugging for the camera.  Maybe I liked him so much because my perceptions are colored by his latter-day tendency to rely on facial contortions but nevertheless, his performance gets a win from me.



I can honestly say, without the impact of a recent breakup influencing me, that I really didn’t like this movie all that much.  I thought Rob Gordon was a terrible person who didn’t deserve any of the girlfriends he had.  I thought the writers didn’t give him enough time to grow up as much as he supposedly grew up in this movie.  I didn’t believe in his journey, and I didn’t believe that {{{spoiler alert}}} Laura came back to him for any reason other than it was preferable to re-entering the dating scene.   The movie was written by Nick Hornby, who I know can give the world a believable coming-of-adulthood story about a self-absorbed man-child since he did that so wonderfully in About A Boy.  I found it a little sad that this movie–which I had given so much negative energy to for so long because of bad timing–was really kind of an emotional letdown.  Though it’s nice to finally have that weird little clutch purse of emotional baggage destroyed.

As an aside…if you want to watch a great record store movie (even with the few temporal flaws and leaps of logic you would have to accept), watch Empire Records.  (Please enjoy the slightly extended scene below.)

And so, there you have it.  I need to go watch all of Empire Records now, I feel it calling to me.  I’m sure I’ll write about this movie soon enough.  Though it always begs this question of me: why do so many of my favorite movies feature Liv Tyler?

H! Challenge: Headstock

Headstock.  Not to be confused with Woodstock… I like to take photos of the headstocks of guitars.  Or basses.  Stringed instruments, really, and it’s just a matter of time until I co-opt my friend’s little girl’s violin for a photo shoot.  What?  No, she’ll be fine.  I’ll just distract her from her pursuit of mastering the scales with the clever use of television and candy.

Because people, I give.  AND, then I get to feel all cool and be like, pish-tosh, these silly old geetars?  You mean the ones my groovy musician boyfriend plays?

True story:  I was on the phone with a friend of mine, catching up, and was telling her about my new boyfriend (this was, clearly, years ago).  She asked what he was like and I said, you know, nice, smart, plays guitar, has a band.  She was silent for about fifteen seconds and then said, “So you’re FINALLY dating a musician, huh?” and I’m like, “God, YES!  And the best part is, he’s a musician, but he’s totally stable!”  Anyway.  Ahh, memories.

So.  I started playing around with photographing instruments, but felt like I hooked into something when I took the following picture of my brother’s bass.

Where it all began.

Usually I end up having a photo shoot with one of George’s guitars.  They don’t demand pay, I don’t have to worry about their late night parties with the newly-single Johnny Depp.  Though he is a musician too, so maybe I’m being a little cavalier here.


Below are some of my favorite pictures I’ve taken of George’s electric and acoustic guitars.  This is how a photo shoot goes in my house.

Yes, that’s a record in the background.

The first thing George said was, “Wow, that’s really dusty.”  I said, “Don’t think of it as dust.  Think of it as the spirits of great notes come to rest on your guitar.”

Nah, I’m just messing with you.  What I thought but did not say was, “Damn skippy, son. Why don’t you see if Pat Sajak will sell you a dustcloth?”

I think this is one of the first guitars George ever had.

And then there was that fine winter’s day when the sun was slanting in through the blinds and caught his electric guitar just so…

The sunlight, glinting off the tuning pegs…ahhh, l’amour.

In all seriousness, I love how the design on the pick sort of mimics the slats on the blinds. Really. Not joking here.

So that’s my tale of the headstock.  Remember, local peeps, if you want a groovy sexy headstock picture…*ahem*…call me.

This post is for the H! Challenge by Frizztext

Because I love a good alphabet challenge.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Merge

Sometimes, you have to appreciate that the world will collide around you and present you with said collision, wrapped up in a plastic album sleeve, for sale in a local used record store.  “Merge” is the weekly photo challenge from WordPress this week, and you can see all the entries here.

Apparently, Jackie Gleason was more than the buffoonish comedian from The Honeymoonershe was a bandleader in his own right (even though he was admittedly not a conductor and apparently could neither read nor write music, and “vocally conveyed” his musical compositions) and his Music for Lovers Only stayed on the Billboard charts for 153 weeks.  Which is not too shabby.

BUT!  He also put out the LP Lonesome Echo, a tightly orchestrated swath of strings and tinkly piano that would be most appropriately packaged in an album sporting a cover bearing ladies in puffy chiffon.  However, no.  Lonesome Echo‘s cover was designed by and features none other than surrealist painter Salvador Dali.  (And while you’re checking out the surrealists, take a look at Man Ray.  Just for fun.)  For those who aren’t familiar with Dali, go check out his work here.  For those who are familiar with his stuff and just want to see the hellscape that is Jackie Gleason meets Salavador Dali…behold.

Front cover.

So, OK, is not so bad, no?  There’s a butterfly on a kebab spike and some ominous shadow looming in the lower left, probably just a guy searching for his…is that an oud, randomly dropped in the rear center of the painting?  Generally speaking, it’s weird, but whatever.  Until you see the back cover.

Back cover.

Wow.  Surely the record exec who dreamed this up never imagined there could be a photo wherein both participants would have looked happier being eaten by alligators.  Look at Gleason; he’s smiling, but he’s arching his body, literally trying to pull himself as far away as possible from Dali.  And Dali’s not even trying, bless his pointed little moustache.  Said exec probably thought, “Artistic type + artistic type = WIN!” without ever thinking…maybe this won’t work.  This ain’t some kind of Mexi-Thai fusion cooking that sounds crazy but has important commonalities upon which fusion may occur.  Oh, no no no no.  This is, “I know, let’s mix chlorine with ammonia and take a deep breath!”  (<–Kids, remember, that is an extraordinarily bad idea.)  And does the spiked butterfly seem like an appropriate cover for the man who orchestrates songs that make Mantovani seem edgy?  If nothing else, it should grace an exotica album, and a freakish one at that, perhaps something by Yma Sumac.  Sometimes, the merger between two different creative forces doesn’t result in groundbreaking innovations.  Sometimes, merging two creative forces who clearly can’t relate to one another is a train wreck towards which we, the viewing public, cannot stop looking.

Below are some of my favorite contributions to this week’s photo challenge, which is indeed quite challenging.


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