Friday, July 31, 2009

made you feel like it's not such a bad world (a music mix)

"untitled" (found photograph)
keep art alive; artist unknown

now your really living: a music mix

je veux te voir ~ yelle
map of the problematique ~ muse
i see spiders when i close my eyes ~ the boy most likely to
getting away with it ~ electronic
tangled up in blue ~ bob dylan
hey man (now your really living) ~ eels
zak and sara ~ ben folds
long shot ~ aimee mann
just like a woman (cover) ~ calexico with charlotte gainsbourg
lay all your love on me (cover) ~ woodpigeon
reckoner ~ radiohead
the ice is getting thinner ~ death cab for cutie
neat neat neat ~ the damned
not if you were the last junkie on earth ~ the dandy warhols
these boots are made for walkin' ~ nancy sinatra
death by diamonds and pearls ~ band of skulls
sour cherry ~ the kills

we might live like never before

"untitled" (found photograph)
keep art alive; artist unknown

"so why'd you fill my sorrows,
with the words you've borrowed,
from the only place you've known
and why'd ya sing hallelujah,
if it means nothing to you.
why'd you sing with me at all?"

delicate (live, video)
~ damien rice

this song came on in the car as i drove four blocks down late last night. it was an old mix of mine that i'd found slipped between the seats, nearly forgotten. it was unexpected, the way the song brought the sudden prickle of almost tears to my eyes. unexpected, the way the feelings of not being good enough rushed through my veins. i try to forget the way it felt to be with him. i try to forget the short span of time we spent together, and the way it left a few new holes in my heart.

i had decided never to write about any of it. it was not a conscious decision, though i know that the lack of words given to any of it was a feigned hope of mine to not recognize the damage. if i avert my eyes from it and keep walking in the opposite direction perhaps you never hurt me at all, or so i wanted to believe. but, it did hurt me, more than words can adequately express.

there was that rush at the start, so strong that it took my breath. i was overwhelmed by it, and my initial reaction was to run. i should have run. all those words of love, they were hollow, and not a single one of them did he mean, at all. he kept me tucked behind a curtain, hidden away from his life, and he told me over and again that it was because i was special, that this was something sacred, and beautiful. but really, it was just a game to him, and eventually he turned his tongue and his words became intentions to make me feel as if i was in the way.

everything i did then felt unwanted. i felt as if even my breathing was a bother to him. i would dial his number and listen to it ring a few times, half-hoping he'd never answer because i could not bear to hear that sound in his voice - irritation, impatience, and that undercurrent of "why are you bothering me?" that was impossible to ignore. it left shards of doubt just below my skin, a sting that grew sharper when he would still ask me to meet him somewhere, and how he'd hold me in a room with the lights out, pressing me close and whispering lies in my ears, always refusing me any real part of his life.

the lies were just part of the game to him. the excuses of why i could never see where he lived, or why i was never welcome into his life. i was just another thing for him to keep secret, to hold in dark places and then deny later, to sing to until i sang along, and then silenced because my voice was just never good enough. he may as well have left me by the side of the road, shivering, because that tone in his voice, when i'd try to reach out, was made of middle of the night frost, and pavement skinned knees - and it left me just wanting to run back home.

there was no exchange of words when he eventually went away. the house lights came on and he just disappeared backstage, leaving me to pick up the props and sweep off the stage, alone. it was as if he was never here at all. the flowers he gave me, they died quickly, the summer heat drying them up and speeding up the wilting petals that eventually all fell to the floor. the card tucked inside, it did not even have my name - just a pet one that could be pinned on anyone - and really, i could have been anyone. i know that i meant nothing much to him really; i'd meant nothing much at all.

and i'm fine to forget him. he never let me care enough to make him matter in some for life kind of way. i can hardly recall what his lips felt like on mine, or how the sound of his voice once made me smile. all that he left, that until i listened to this song i thought i'd escaped without, is another layer of self-doubt.
it sifts through my feelings now, shakes its head in disapproval when i try to reach out to you, and just be myself - i hear something in your voice and it rushes in, that doubt, and tells me "you are only in the way". and i try to silence it, i try to hold my breath and just believe, but right now - in the early break of morning and with this song playing - i feel just that, i feel in the way. and the tears that just teased at my eyelashes last night, now they fall. because you, well it is you that i love completely, and i do not want to ever just be in the way.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

my love affair with aimee mann

originally written october 23, 2006 ~ by me

i'm pretty sure that i discovered aimee mann the same way most people my age did, on mtv. the girl with the punkish hair, and striking features, standing up and singing loudly in the opera audience after being silenced by her boyfriend throughout the video. voices carry caught my attention, first visually via the melodramatic girl stands up to boy video, but a strong second was aimee's unforgettable voice. i believe it was the same week that i saw the video for the first time, that i went out and bought voices carry, the album. from there i began an initial flirtation, with songs like love in a vacuum, no more crying, and i could get used to this.

i bought the third, and final, 'til tuesday album, everything's different now, which is still a favourite album of mine, next. it is within this album that you can hear the first hints and cues of who aimee would end up growing into, musically. aimee, and band, shed their synth-pop sound which made them a hit with voices carry, in 2005, and started to carve out the folky, introspective sound, with songs such as j for jules and (believed you were) lucky, which are both incredible songs. this album began to showcase one of aimee's strongest talents: her ability to weave a story into song.

then, to be honest, aimee's voice and i lost touch. i think i read something about her and michael penn being linked together, possibly around the time i fell in love with penn's first album, march; but, i could be remembering that all wrong. i still had my 'til tuesday cassettes, and played them now and again in the car, and a few songs would even make appearances on mixes i'd make. beyond that, though, i had gone on and started hearing, and falling for, other bands.

it was while working at tower records in the mid-nineties that i bumped into aimee's music again. while shelving cd's i stumbled upon aimee's first solo endeavor, whatever. i endItaliced up cracking it open, playing it in the store, and only got about half the way through the album before i ran in the back, grabbed my purse, and bought it. the album came across as a blending of 1960's folk, 1990's jangle-pop, and something more; i don't know if it was her voice, or her way of storytelling, but there was this thing about the album that made it timeless to me; and every song sounds just as fresh, relevant, and genuine today as it did the first time i played it in the store, that late afternoon. this album began a partnership with a friend aimee made back in the 'til tuesday days, jon brion, who collaborated on the songs stupid thing, say anything, and i know there's a word. my personal favourites from the album are i should've known, i've had it, and fourth of july.

i remember wondering to myself why more people i knew did not know, or listen to, aimee mann. most times when i would bring her up i would get a dismissive "what? the voices carry girl?" response that was backed by a thanks, but i'm not interested nod, and change of subject. it was a time of explosion, that turned eventually to overwhelm and media over-saturation, of women artists at the time; what with the advent of lilith fair, and the powerhouse and successes of alanis morissette, fiona apple, jewel, sarah mclachlan, and even tori amos. i believe that aimee mann should have been up there with the lot of them, taking over for some of them, even. instead it seemed she was part of the sort of underground of other female voices, many who i loved as well; the likes of juliana hatfield, sam phillips, dar williams, post fast car tracy chapman, and kristen hersh.
perhaps it was the low simmer success of whatever that saved aimee mann from just being part of the lilith-revolution, and kept her a bit apart from all of the hype, allowing her to slowly continue to grow and mature musically. critical acclaim took the lead, and soon it was hollywood that followed. her first hit since voices carry, albeit modest, came with the inclusion of that's just what you are on the show, and soundtrack, to fox's evening soap melrose place, in 1995. then, after a nasty battle with a bankrupt label, imago, she regained the rights to make music and aimee released i'm with stupid; once again, she was met with critical acclaim, and lukewarm sales. this album was a grower for me, it did not capture me with that under the skin punch that whatever did; instead it sat in the back and waved at me occasionally, on which i would hold it's hand and take it for a spin, enjoying its company, but not really getting into it, yet.

it was not until a relationship i was in hit the skids that i started to take in i'm with stupid, the songs long shot, that's just what you are, and the aimee mann song that would become so much a part of me that i find myself singing it, out of nowhere, just because it lives somewhere between my heart and my subconscious: you could make a killing. the line "i wish i was both young and stupid" just resonates with me, deeply, and just hearing the opening chords of the song tend to make my eyes begin to water and my skin turn tingle-alert. most definitely my all-time favourite aimee mann song, ever.

then it was hollywood again, this time in the company of friends and lovers: paul thomas anderson, jon brion and michael penn. paul thomas anderson penned much of magnolia as a visual exploration taken from the cues set by aimee's songs.

"I sat down to write an adaptation of Aimee Mann songs.

Like one would adapt a book for the screen. I had the concept of adapting Aimee's songs into a screenplay. All that follows in these liner notes should be prefaced with this notion: I was an Aimee Mann fan before I was an Aimee Mann friend. That said, I will proceed to shine her shoes.

In the late summer and early fall of 1997, I was listening to Aimee's music over and over and over again. This was not something new, this is something that I always did and continue to do. It just so happened that this was the time that I was starting to write my new film.

Now, having the benefit knowing Aimee I was allowed to hear her demos, acoustic experiments and basic work in progress material that she was working on for her upcoming record. So while she was working, I was working.

So here it is, the perfect memento to remember the movie or you can look at the movie as the perfect memento to remember the songs that Aimee has made."

the round robin, sing-a-long to wise up, in the film magnolia, is one of the most moving musically driven scenes in film that i have ever seen; and, the song save me, garnered aimee an oscar nomination. the magnolia soundtrack, and aimee's own bachelor #2, came out almost simultaneously, including some shared songs, and bringing aimee to the attention of many listeners who had never lent her an ear before. the film and music partnership paid off, and i believe fueled the creative forces in aimee mann that made the following two albums so breathtaking.

lost in space broke me open, and broke my heart, over and again. it is the peeled back, journal-like confessional, raw and intense tellings of anyone who has either been an addict, or loved one. the honesty, and rendering truths, within this collection of songs is staggering; i literally could not breathe right when i first gave it a listen. for two years straight the song it's not felt so much my life that i half expected to find the lyrics tattooed to my flesh when i awoke some mornings. aimee has been quoted to say that the link between addiction and love in this album, and the one to follow, the forgotten arm, are more of a reflected take on "the inexorable pull of co-dependency in human relationships", then about drug addiction, itself.

lost in space lives in the list of top ten albums of my life, and i do not see it going away anytime soon, if ever. the album became a part of me in the way that only music can, and every listen, no matter how many it is now, still feels as if she is singing about my life, and experiences, loves and shames.

the forgotten arm continued with the theme of dysfunction, and love under the influence; but, it accomplishes this feat with a bit of a twist. aimee has taken a concept album formula and brought to life, in twelve songs, the musical equivalent of a novella. within the confines of this album we follow along the fell hard for each other love story of the fictional john and caroline, their road trip affair, and their eventual demise in the tawdry streets of a gambling town. the songs stand alone in their moving honesty and richness, especially goodbye caroline, clean up for christmas, and that's how i knew this story would break my heart; that said, one should listen to the album in its entirety, and in song order, to get the full effect of this piece of storytelling genius.

between i'm with stupid, the success of magnolia and bachelor #2, and the pivotal album lost in space came another label dispute, this time with geffen records. since then aimee has been self-releasing her albums, which she started doing with the release of bachelor #2, under the name superego records.

this is where i urge anyone reading to consider visiting, taking a look around, and buying something on the site. aimee offers pre-release discounts, special editions, and streams her albums before release for all of her website fans.

everyone should see aimee mann perform live, as well. check her website for upcoming dates, and give it a go. seriously.

she gets it. and, in the process, she got me; most likely, for forever.

i wish i was both young + stupid: lucy's essential aimee mann mix

you could make a killing
i should've known
you do
the scientist (cover, live)
voices carry
wise up
save me
red vines
driving sideways
4th of july
that's how i knew the story would break my heart
all over now
lost in space
this is how it goes (live)
how am i different
long shot
i've had it
its not

aimee mix ~ zipped up

and some videos...

wise up (round-robin scene from magnolia)
wise up (live)
ghost world
amateur (live)
save me (live)
pavlov's bell
humpty dumpty (live)
jacob marley's chains (live)
you could make a killing (live)
two of us (cover w/michael penn)
lucy in the sky with diamonds (cover)
voice's carry ('til tuesday)

Monday, July 27, 2009

gasoline, saccharine

i know what i am (video) ~ band of skulls
death by diamonds & pearls (live, video) ~ band of skulls
death by diamonds & pearls ~ band of skulls
honest ~ band of skulls
blood (live, video) ~ band of skulls
blood ~ band of skulls

a little bit of the garage, a little bit of the underground, a little 70's rock, a little bit of 70's blues, a little bit white stripes, a little bit chrissie hynde, a little bit of sex and cigarette smoke, a little bit dive bar special, a little bit of the london scene, a little bit of an obsession.

please come quickly

nick and norah's infinite playlist (screen shot)
keep art alive; film by
david levithan

"jars of kisses left on the mantle,
next to orbs of peace and quiet.
reach out and save me,
touch me,
utter those words that once you sang to me."

x is for kisses ~ adem

first thing in the morning, the sun barely peeking through the blinds, my eyes still blurry and my hair is a mess, and i've yet to even make a pot of coffee. you are those first moment thoughts, as i count days down, ticking them off of the calendar, picturing a kiss that does not have to travel through the ether of technology, or via a wish on the first night's star.

i miss you.

[last lines]
"are you sad that we missed it?"
~ norah
"we didn't miss it. this *is* it. c'mon. you wanna go home?" ~ nick
[they kiss]

~ nick and norah's infinite playlist

Sunday, July 26, 2009

but most of all i wish it from myself

"untitled" (found photograph)
keep art alive; artist unknown"

"for you, there'll be no more crying,
for you, the sun will be shining,
and i feel that when i'm with you,
it's alright, i know its right."

songbird (cover, live, video)
~ rosie thomas
songbird (cover) ~ rosie thomas
songbird (cover, video) ~ eva cassidy
songbird (cover) ~ eva cassidy
songbird (live, video) ~ fleetwood mac

words, along with music, are the things i most cling to in this world. they are my truest form of expression, my place of solace and release, and often the very things i hide myself within, most especially in times of my life when i have felt the most vulnerable. there are times that i look back on that i know would have done me in had it not been for the music, and my ability to spill things out on a canvas, of sorts. when i've felt at my lowest i've always found that writing until i cannot write anymore, until my fingers ached and my head felt less full (not sure my head will ever be empty) helped me to keep breathing, keep moving, and not fall apart completely. and at my best of times? sometimes the words slow, something that at one time bothered me because i thought am i only leaving a trail of sorrow behind? the only words to come back to, to revisit, to tell a story of my life - are they only made up of the low points? but then again, perhaps it is in those absences that i can trace the moments i've truly engaged in life, and been celebrating being me instead of curling up into a ball of songs and sentences.

i am trying to forge a balance between lately, though. this year, well it has been quite the carnival ride of emotions, and i think for a spell i just wanted to dwell in it, roll about in the days, and not try to define it all so much. but, the consequence of that meant it was all spinning around in my head so much that i could not sleep (not that i sleep well ever) and i lost a bit of the clarity i find when i write, with the music playing in the background. and then something happened. i left my daily routine. some of this was due to being laid off from work, some of this was due to a family vacation that i had originally decided to pass up on, and some of it was deciding that there were things in my life i wanted to reach out for, whether they worked or not, because maybe all that contemplation, and self-searching my music and writing had always been striving for, was actually working.

i'm still looking for a job. to be honest i think i'm looking for a place to call home, too. i'm not particularly sure that place is still california, but that remains to be seen. i have shed certain things in my life, certain fears, certain people, certain self-doubt and self-loathing that has had me so stalled in the whole living thing. and, i've let myself be so much more open, and consequently so much happier. and, i've let my heart fall in the most amazing of ways. right now, well these may just be the best days of my life. i know i laugh more, i smile more, i feel more alive. and even though there are parts of me that are still very afraid, and parts of myself that i doubt, i am trying to just be myself and hang on to the things i hold dear. and yes, i still have the music playing, and yes, i am still writing. and yes, i do hope the things in my life that are making me this happy stay in my life, and are happy there, too.

"in spite of what i have been through and maybe because of it
let me tell you this
is the best time of my life right now
no one can take that away
this is how
i will always
remember it"

excerpt from open letter to quiet light, francesca lia block

Saturday, July 25, 2009

i know that i am the luckiest

"untitled" (found photograph)
keep art alive; artist unknown

"i don't get many things right the first time,
in fact, I am told that a lot.
now i know all the wrong turns,
the stumbles and falls,
brought me here."

the luckiest (live, video)
~ ben folds
the luckiest ~ ben folds

for you, D.

i should just let them go

"untitled" (found photograph)
keep art alive; artist unknown

"i never will forget those nights,
i wonder if it was a dream.
remember how you made me crazy?
remember how i made you scream?"

in a box that was nearly forgotten i found a stack of postcards and letters, held together by a bright orange rubber band, from quite a few years past. they were from the summer months of one year, and tucked in behind them was a well-worn composition book with some of my ramblings and attempts at poetry scrawled inside. sifting through these found pieces from the past i felt as if i was paging through a photo album, polaroids with single sentence descriptions left on the bottom, or a well-meant wish you were here etched on the back. sometimes, looking back like this feels like peering into someone else's life. a different chapter, i suppose; an earlier version of yourself.

like a coin operated lullabye
july 23, 2004
(written by me)

five steps to disaster
five more steps to a dizzy debauchery
and he was you
yes, darling, and you were me

tricks of the trade
striped violin playing lines
dance around your legs, your hands
without you i'm nothing but sand

reeling and forgetting names, numbers
the drizzle poof trickle
her name is rio and she dances

days go by without tearing the pages
down, dear dark one, down farther still
you leave lipstick marks on my anklesc
riss crossed tic tac toe stains

on your elbows, eyelids
the shadow of my dreamscape
post coital recall
asleep in someone else's story

pour me another, my monkey twin
pose your best pout for me
then twirl, spin, twirl again
without the onset of a recovery

we will be the sun

Friday, July 24, 2009

take a look at me now (a music mix)

"untitled" (found photograph)
keep art alive; artist unknown

i found a picture of you: a music mix

against all odds (cover) ~ the postal service
blood ~ band of skulls
open your eyes ~ snow patrol
carry on up the morning (acoustic) ~ babyshambles
california stars ~ wilco & billy bragg
three wishes ~ the pierces
neopolitan dreams ~ lisa mitchell
dark secret ~ matthew sweet
dream again ~ franz ferdinand
gin & milk ~ dirty pretty things
career suicide ~ dog day
die a little ~ viva voce
back on the chain gang ~ the pretenders
let it be ~ the beatles
the union forever ~ the white stripes
the hardest walk ~ the jesus & mary chain
me & julio down by the school yard (cover) ~ jesse malin
nyc gone, gone ~ conor oberst
runs in the family ~ amanda palmer

found pictures mix ~ zipped up

Thursday, July 23, 2009

pretty little moon with it's head hung down

"untitled" (found photograph)
keep art alive; artist unknown

p.s. you rock my world
~ eels
apple candy ~ ben lee
i've had it ~ aimee mann
calling & not calling my ex ~ okkervil river
chin up, cheer up (48 hour session version) ~ ryan adams
suddenly everything has changed ~ the flaming
memory lane ~ elliott smith
don't take my sunshine away ~ sparklehorse

* eight track thursday = turn your player on shuffle and mix the first eight tracks.

eight tracks ~ zipped

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

oh i do believe

"untitled" (found photograph)
keep art alive; artist unknown

"what comes is better,
than what came before."

i found a reason (cover) ~ cat power
i found a reason (cover, video) ~ cat power
i found a reason (video) ~ the velvet underground

and in the midst of everything, all the changes that have occured in my life over the past years, and all the uncertainty that seems to swirl around me, there are some things i believe in. music, writing, conversations, early morning contemplations, the way vinyl sounds late at night, my children's laughter, coffee, stacks of books, good jukeboxes, memories...

and yes, i believe in you.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

the voices climb and fall

natalie merchant

"i draw a jackal-headed woman in the sand,
sing of a lovers fate sealed by jealous hate,
then wash my hand in the sea.

with just three days more
i'd have just about learned the entire score
to aida.

holidays must end as you know.
all is memory,
taken home with me:
the opera,
the stolen tea,
the sand drawing,
and the verging sea,
all years ago."

verdi cries (live, video) ~ natalie merchant

music has always been my muse, the basis and the background to anything i write, and the undercurrent of emotion that helps the pen slide across the paper (or the fingers dance across the keys) - turning inner thoughts and contemplations into strung together words.

this song has always been one of my favorites, ever since the first time i heard it. another last track that i love, from the 10,000 maniacs album, in my tribe.
years ago i wrote this while listening to verdi cries on repeat:

story re-writes

beneath the surface of love
interlocking webs lie
tangled and varied in direction
latching on and letting go

sometimes the synapse fires
inducing benevolence
at other ends the water leaks in
laced in doubt
as we begin to sink

miles pass between us
even while sitting side by side
and the soul is seen waving
mailing a postcard home

it is then that we must swim upstream
break the mold while wet
as we carve our initials in
glue up the cracks
from the fall

the fog will return
our feet ever slipping off stones
and on better days the parachute opens
for us

no one ever said it would be easy slips
because some cliches write themselves

so we memorize and fluctuate our tone
remind each other we are electricity
that we begin to connect
when we let each other

we begin at the end
and end to begin

Monday, July 20, 2009

to remember you by

wristcutters (screen shot)
keep art alive; film by
goran dukić

"if you be my star,
i'll be your sky,
you can hide underneath me and come out at night."

boats & birds (video) ~ gregory & the hawk
boats & birds ~ gregory & the hawk

what i know, truly and completely, that no matter how far away you are from me i sleep better knowing you exist. and i know, truly and completely, that i would let you go if you wanted me to, but i would rather just hold you close to me.

"being here with you reminds me of what I was like before my suicide." ~ zia

"what were you like?" ~ mikal

"i was happy..." ~ zia

~ wristcutters

Sunday, July 19, 2009

we're caught in a trap

batman (tv series/screen shot)
keep art alive; tv series created by
bob kane, bill finger and william dozier

"oh let our love survive,
our dry the tears from your eyes,
lets dont let a good thing die,
when honey, you know...
i've never lied to you."

this is one of those songs that i have heard, and loved, many a cover of. pete yorn's rendition, especially, is one of my favorites. that said, the original is truly the best to me and does it for me, every single time.

obsessive love, seasoned (or poisoned) by jealousy, and fueled by something that is hard to articulate, and even harder to leave. is it a chemical connection? that kind of pull that attracts to opposites, superheroes and villians, the two least likely to fall?Italic that kind of a pair looks great on a screen, and in the pages between, doesn't it? one of those explosions one likes to watch from afar.

i was reading something earlier on the origins of batman, and catwoman, and while i was reading suspicious minds came on my itunes. it was one of those moments where everything alligned in that magical, and admittedly geeky way, that makes me pause and smile.
what would i do without music and pop culture and the kind of random thinking, and conversations, that come of it?

"if i were to kiss you, would you think i was a bad girl?" ~ catwoman
" of course not catwoman." ~ batman

Friday, July 17, 2009

screaming tag, you are the one (a music mix)

"miss lonely hearts"
keep art alive; art by
joshua petker

her nose is painted pepper sunlight: a music mix

p.s. you rock my world ~ eels
shine on (acoustic) ~ house of love
catch ~ the cure
more than this (cover) ~ missy higgins
walk on the wild side (cover) ~ jesse malin
the mess we're in ~ pj harvey & thom yorke

gimme danger ~ the stooges
summertime rolls (cover) ~ puracane
your arms around me ~ jens lenkman
fists up ~ the blow
roxy ~ concrete blonde
anenome ~
brian jonestown massacre
under the milky way tonight ~ the church
king of the jailhouse (live) ~ aimee mann
suddenly everything has changed ~ the flaming lips
all is full of love (live) ~ death cab for cutie
new york (cover) ~ cat power
death ~ white lies
you're the cocaine ~ joshua james

sunlight mix ~ zipped up

Thursday, July 16, 2009

much communication in a motion

"untitled" (found photograph)
keep art alive; artist unknown

"when the samba takes you,
out of nowhere,
and the background's fading,
out of focus.
yes, the picture's changing,
every moment,
and your destination,
you don't know it."

avalon (video) ~ roxy music
avalon (live) ~ roxy music

avalon was one of those albums that i played over and over again, letting the songs - this one especially - fill the room, and in the process, change it. i was too young to be out in the world - too young to drive, to date, to go out dancing, to lose myself on a dark and smoky dance floor - but i was not too young to imagine it. i remember the sound the needle would make as i laid it down gently on the vinyl, the crackle and hiss it would make just before the opening moments of more than this would begin. i would lie on my floor, a notebook open in front o me, and write about things i'd yet to experience. the music, the way it swirled around me, i almost felt as if i had lived lifetimes already.

did my musical imagined experiences live up to what life was later on?

sometimes an artist can get lost in his or her own imaginings, the painted or scrawled images often so pure, beautiful even if tragic, and unfettered by the pitfalls that lie hidden away. but, i don't know, i think the way i saw things, even at that young of an age, listening to bryan ferry sing about after parties and romantic possibilities, i saw the cracks, too. i never remember thinking that life could not be broken, or break you, at times. though i do think i've carried with me a bit of a dreamer's view, which i hope brings out passion in the things i create, and the way i love.

sometimes i wish i still had my turntable. that i could spin all those records i still have, and write - not type - in spread open composition books while lying on the floor, letting the music take me across the bridge of imagined, and real.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

cos i know i only got this moment and its good

broken english (screen shot)
keep art alive; film by
zoe cassavetes

"laying in bed tonight i was thinking,
and listening to all the dogs,
and the sirens and the shots,
and how the careful man tries to dodge the bullets,
while a happy man takes a walk.
and maybe it is time to live."

p.s. you rock my world (video) ~ eels
p.s. you rock my world (acoustic, video) ~ eels
p.s. you rock my world ~ eels

it is beyond easy to give up and give in to the obstacles and struggles of this life. there are laundry lists and stacks skyscraper high of things that go wrong some days, and so many of them seem insurmountable. it would be easy to let it wash over me, fill my lungs, take my sense of life and laughter away. but, i'm ont giving in so easy. because even in those moments, and even in the roughest of days, there is beauty.

we slip so easily into the skins of discontent. sometimes i catch myself, alongside others who i know and care about, pointing fingers at everyone around us. it is far too easy to recognize the weaknesses in others because really, aren't we all terrified of facing our own?

and, somewhere along the line we learn to be doubtful of the things we want and need, as if admitting that we do have wants and needs it somehow makes us less strong. why do we cheer on those who say they don't need love? why does loneliness get often recognized as stoicism, and strength?

shouldn't it be okay to say you want to love, and be loved back? and to say, yes, this is magic, and rare, and i want this?

and, i know i'm not getting any younger, but older is nothing that i'm scared to be, either. i think i'm just settling into knowing what i want, what makes me happy, and that maybe, yes...maybe its just time to live.

"most people are together just so they are not alone. but some people want magic. i think you are one of those people."

~ jean paul clement, broken english

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


eternal sunshine of the spotless mind (screenshot)
keep art alive ~ film by
michel gondry

"don't give up on the dream,
don't give up on the wanting,
and everything that's true.
don't give up on the dream,
don't give up on the wanting,
because i want you, too."
tonight i just want to believe that nothing is impossible, not the dreams or the wanting, or the possibilities. i want to believe that this will not fade away, no matter what the obstacles.

Monday, July 13, 2009

suddenly everything has changed

"untitled" (found photograph)
keep art alive; artist unknown

"driving home,
the sky accelerates,
and the clouds all form,
a gemometric shape,
and it goes fast,
you think of the past."

suddenly everything has changed ~ the flaming lips
suddenly everything has changed (cover, video) ~ the postal service

i've been reading this book of poetry that deals with the lifespan of a relationship from the writer's perspective. each poem is a glimpse into a moment of these two people, allowing the reader to peer in momentarily through the often blurry window pane, and then the image fades, shifts, and evolves. it is both a beautiful and painful read to me because the voice in the poetry, the colored lens i'm seeing through as i read, is so relatable to my own sense of vision and feeling. i recognize the patterns, the doubts, the insecurities, and the vulnerabilities and i often wince, my eyes stinging with the threat of tears, and that pin-prickly recognition begins to dance on my skin as if to say "you know this, don't you?"

and, i do know it. i battle with the ghosts and shadows of self-doubt and my past all the time. i know where the holes are in my armor, and how certain fears break them open, leave me far too vulnerable. and, i know i've often made the kind of mistakes that leave scars, some of them permanent, and trusted what i thought was love, or at least kindness. it is hard to trust myself, and my instincts, on days like today when a long list of failures are thrown in my face. though, to be honest, i do not need anyone to remind me - i do just find beating myself up all on my own.

consequently, i've built a wall around me for a good long time. often people don't notice it because in words, and writing, and to others i often seem to bleed out everything of myself. but there are parts of me that are so guarded, and hidden away, that after awhile i think i just forget that i'm even capable of feeling certain things at all anymore. so, how do i proceed if i decide to take the walls down, trust someone enough to give the guards a leave of absence, or in actuality, trust myself to choose and love and protect my own heart.

i am trying...i am.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

you're so sweet to try

"young generation"
keep art alive; art by

"well it's a big big city and it's always the same,
can never be too pretty tell me your name,
is it out of line if i was to be bold and say 'would you be mine?'"

whistle for the choir (video) ~ the fratellis
whistle for the choir (acoustic, video) ~ the fratellis
whistle for the choir (acoustic) ~ the fratellis

i have always felt more comfortable in the midst of stoplights and sidewalk passerbys, window displays and the sounds of traffic, all the trappings that make up a city, then i ever have been in the middle of nowhere. true, i have a deep affection for the ocean, and there is something breathtaking when standing atop a mountain looking out over what sprawls below, and i have aquired a new perspective of awe to be found in the starkness of the desert, especially at night spread out beneath a blanket of stars. all of those places have poetry and music and true beauty to me. i take all those images and fold them into pocket-sized origami memories, and some nights when i cannot sleep i take them out, unfold them, and sprinkle the makings of dreams into them. but, it is the city, or cities, that i have walked in, breathed in, been both born and broken in, that is part of the core of me.

there is something within the chaos and clatter that moves me. a sense of rhythm and story that weaves and intertwines between the couple that are walking hand-in-hand next to the busker boy playing guitar with his hat out and the aging woman pushing around a cart filled with what cannot be anything else but her defined treasures. sometimes i catch snippets of conversations, the flush of emotion that blows off of people whether they mean it to or not, and the found art of storefront signs and items in windows - not the things that are heavily marketed and appropriately displayed - you know, the gap windows that are identical no matter what city you may be in - but the unexpected. the sleeping cat in the dry cleaners window snuggled up around a seamstress mannequin, or the well-worn suitcase with fading, whimsical stickers from all over the world affixed to the sides.

sometimes it is a bar coaster with a note scratched on the back and sent like a postcard that ends up meaning the world to me. or the diner napkin where i wrote half a poem on that i find later, half-crumpled at the bottom of my purse, bringing back the momentary inspiration i had over coffee and a slice of pie. and that dress that i bought on a lazy Sunday afternoon from a hole in the wall, blink and you'd miss it boutique. the store owner had a purple streak in her hair and was playing cocteau twins garlands on an old side-by-side tape deck. she smiled and said "that dress was meant for you" with the kind of tone and seers knowledge that a fortune card reader would emenate. and she was right, as it hangs in my closet some five years later, it is still my favorite.

there are more recollections, tales of the cities that could be the basis of many an untold story that i may write someday, and i know there will be more. i mean, i haven't even been to New York City yet...but someday, maybe someday soon.

"when you look at a city, it's like reading the hopes, aspirations and pride of everyone who built it."

~ hugh newell jacobsen

Saturday, July 11, 2009

come back to me

"untitled" (found photograph)
keep art alive; artist unknown

"all this for nothing, yeah yeah yeah,
praying and hoping, fooling yourself.
you know that you can give love a reason,
give love a chance.
we tumble and fall."
waking up early from a dream where things made sense and falling did not leave marks and scars, that is how this morning felt when i first opened my eyes. though i also woke up sleepy-eyed and worn out. perhaps in my subconscious slumber i was running around trying to sort out the loose-ends of my life, or was i in a passionate embrace i was not quite ready to leave? do we live a completely different life in our dreams, or do we just tumble through our waking life wishes and wants?

this was the first song i heard this morning. something about it reminds me of the last song i heard before closing my eyes the night prior which was anenome by the brian jonestown massacre, which i will include in this, as well. there is a similarity in the songs that is not surface clear, but i hear it, or maybe i just feel it. did anenome set the tone for the dreams i had? and did tumble and fall bridge the dreamscape into my waking life this morning? or, is this just all the rambling nonsense of my first cup of coffee psyche? either way, the music is good this morning.

"now i'm missing you more,
cause baby you're not around,
now that you're not around."

anenome (video) ~ the brian jonestown massacre
anenome ~ the brian jonestown massacre

Friday, July 10, 2009

but it never gets dull (a music mix)

"untitled" (found photograph)
keep art alive; artist unknown

there's no rhyme & there's no reason: a music mix

ache for you
~ ben lee
deathly ~ aimee mann
get better ~ mates of state
paper bag ~ fiona apple
i'll be your friend ~ bright eyes
carnival ~ natalie merchant
fix it ~ ryan adams & the cardinals
somebody changed ~ the clientele
jezebel ~ iron & wine
half the world away ~ oasis
if she wants me ~ belle & sebastian
starlight ~ muse
runaway ~ yeah yeah yeahs
yellow ledbetter ~ pearl jam
so long, marianne ~ leonard cohen
elephant ~ damien rice
let my love open the door ~ m. ward
if i fell ~ aqualung
the point of it all ~ amanda palmer

rhyme & reason mix ~ zipped up

Thursday, July 9, 2009

her soul slides away

"untitled" (found photograph)
keep art alive ~ artist unknown

"so i'll start a revolution from my bed
'cos you said the brains i had went to my head.
step outside, summertime's in bloom.
stand up beside the fireplace,
take that look from off your face,
you ain't ever gonna burn my heart out."

there are days when it is so hard to shake all the past hurt and disappointment that act sometimes as shadows to our present day lives. we want to go on and forget, don't we? i don't believe there is any one of us who longs for baggage, or resentments, to come in and cloud what we are trying to do, and become, right now. but, some days you wake up and it all feels so heavy and dismal, even with the summer sun so high in the sky just outside your half-blinded window.

i try to shake it off. pour myself another cup of coffee, go on a walk around the neighborhood, play the music so loud that i can feel the vibration of sound pulse just under my skin - and it works, most of the time, nearly all of the time, truly. but other days, like today, part of me wants to run a hot bath and hide away in the steam, letting the tears fall unabashadly, while the anger seaps out into the vanilla-scented bubbles. maybe if i let it all out, scream into a wash cloth, throw the soap against the tiles, i will appear afterwards a new girl - refreshed and clear eyed, not looking backwards with a scowl and eyes filled with sorrow.

i want the disappointments to heal over, to become nothing but fading scars which the sun will help to cover, that along with time, and age. i want to stop feeling so afraid of failure, and heartbreak, even though i know they happen, and happen often. i want to be able to trust love again. and, i want to work again, and write again - both of them part of what i consider my career - and to be actively putting myself into something again. so much of the last few years, or more, have left me so defeated and full of self-doubt. even still, though, i want to get to the point that i can look back at it all, with forgiveness and
knowledge, because mistakes are some of the most beautiful things we do.

"learn the past, watch the present, and create the future."

~ jesse conrad

time passed and that was that

almost famous (screen shot)
keep art alive; film by
cameron crowe

"its all happening!" ~ polexia aphrodesia, almost famous

gleaming endless ocean ~ scarlet youth
fight song ~ the republic tigers
the scientist (live, acoustic) ~ coldplay
read my mind ~ the killers
songbird (cover) ~ rosie thomas
roxanne should be dancing (the police vs. the bee gees) ~ dj zebra
bodily ~ ani difranco
bend to squares ~ death cab for cutie

* eight track thursday = turn your player on shuffle and mix the first eight tracks.

eight tracks ~ zipped

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

goodbye horses

"untitled" (found photograph)
keep art alive ~ artist unknown

"you told me, i've seen it all before,
i've been there, i've seen my hopes and dreams,
lying on the ground,
i've seen the sky just begin to fall.

and you say, 'all things pass into the night'.
and i say, 'oh no sir, i must say you're wrong,
i must disagree, oh no sir, i must say you're wrong.'
won't you listen to me?"

goodbye horses (video) ~ q lazzarus
goodbye horses (cover, live, video pt. 1) ~ airborne toxic event
goodbye horses (cover, live, video pt. 2) ~ airborne toxic event
goodbye horses ~ q lazzarus

when does one know for sure that goodbye is the only thing left to say? is there not always that opportunity, that chance, that doubt that by the words goodbye may be premature, and that walking away may just be the one action you look back and regret. but then again, is fear of being wrong, or a stubborn refusal to give in, or give up, just a self-fulfilling failure in itself. how does one decide that the best thing for ourselves is to say enough is enough, and wave goodbye?

it is one of those decisions that we often take to everyone we know. we tell the tale, embellishing as we go, even if just a bit, because we want to be the hero, or the victim, of our own story. also, somewhere inside do we not already know what we want our answer to be? do we not tailor the explanation to suit the outcome? do we ask for advice because we truly want it, or because we want someone close to us to validate what we want to - and most likely will do - anyway?

goodbye, though, is a tough one to decide on. there is something so final, so defined, and so irrevocable in the words goodbye. perhaps it is why so many of us say things like "i'm terrible at goodbyes", or "let's just say see you later", or in terms of the break-up you honestly mean to be forever, "we can still be friends, right?" all those half-hearted promises to keep in touch when in that moment we all know - both sides - that we really mean never again, and goodbye for good.

perhaps it is that feeling of permanence that scares us the most. maybe it would be a better thing to recognize that we can change our mind. that we can say goodbye to something, or someone, and be wrong. we can revisit a dream, we can try to reconnect with a friend, and we can look back and think maybe i was rash, maybe i was afraid, maybe i was wrong. and then again, sometimes goodbye is the one word uttered that should stick. deciding what we revisit, or what we never return to - well, that can be just as tricky as deciding whether, and when, to say goodbye in the first place.

"what is the feeling when you're driving away from people, and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? - it's the too huge world vaulting us, and it's good-bye. but we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies."

~ jack kerouac

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

don't let your ears refuse to hear

"untitled" (found photograph)
keep art alive ~ artist unknown

"when you kissed my lips with my mouth so full of questions,
it's my worried mind that you quiet.
place your hands on my face,
close my eyes and say,
love is a poor man's food,
don't prophesize.
i could hold you in my arms,
i could hold you forever."

hold you in my arms (video) ~ ray lamontagne
hold you in my arms ~ ray lamontagne

sometimes the music speaks for itself. tonight, a glass of red wine and the waning moon set in what appears to be a starless sky, this song just seems to fit.

Monday, July 6, 2009

do you miss me?

lost in translation (screen shot)
keep art alive; film by
sofia coppola

"to vanish into oblivion,
is easy to do.
and i try to be,
but you know me,
i come back when you want me to."

miss misery (cover) ~ lex land
miss misery (live, video) ~ elliott smith
miss misery (video) ~ elliott smith

there are moments in a life that stick with us for just that - life. they imprint hours and ideas and visual cues on our skin and we go on living, forever carrying the haze and tint of those memories.

when one of those moments is shared with someone else, the someone else who becomes part of those memories we carry, then the memory also becomes a sense of missing, and of longing. even if we do not remember the same way, we may miss each other similarily.

maybe on days when the heat is unbearable and a song comes on that you'd nearly forgotten, maybe on those days we stop and remember, and wish we could just disappear into that somewhere, vanish into the memory itself, and be reunited with that someone we miss.

"i don't want to leave." ~ bob
"so don't. stay here with me. we'll start a jazz band." ~ charlotte

~ lost in translation

Sunday, July 5, 2009

while i'm still please do not wake me

keep art alive; art by
stella im hultberg

"see the shore light up night sky,

see the beach swing summers high.
august shower after heat,
smell of rain on dry concrete.
feel the air turn cold around,

see leaves fall blur the ground.
wet road slide slither by,
catch reflections petrol sky.

will you wait here?"

patience is not a virtue that has ever been prevalent, or plentiful, in my overall make-up. i was never one to enjoy ticking off days on a calendar in anticipation for something to happen, i was more the one who wanted to take a giant marker pen and slash at the days in one zig zag line, making whatever happen right now. i would jump before looking, run into traffic, close my eyes and hope for the best - i was always rushing and running before i even knew where i was going. this is how i lived most of my life, and this is certainly the way in which i loved.

i think i thought it brave to live like that. the shy girl i was as a child was striving for some kind of statement, a sort of reckless abandon, a leap of courage, or faith, or simply just naivete. i never saw the pitfalls of acting with so little thought until the walls would start to crumble and collapse, and the holes began to leak through, causing myself to begin to sink, and drown. and then i would run again, climb out the window, snagging the hem of my shirt sleeve, or dress, on the latch, and blistering my feet from running away so fast.

i never learned how to relax, how to breathe deeply, how to really wait for things. even in my contemplations, and quiet moments, my thoughts were ever spinning in circles, rarely in any sort of linear fashion. but that part of me is changing, and has been for much of this year in my life. as i veer into finding myself more, and following my own path, and learning to recognize my instincts i'm also learning how to find patience, quiet moments, and the ability - and gift - of waiting. and i'm realizing, as well, that my reluctance to wait has had more to do with my personal sense of self (and often self-loathing/low esteem) then a need to rush things. maybe it has never been a question of patience after all, but more of a fear that if i did not chase and grab and hold on, often prematurely, i would be forgotten.

but somethings are worth waiting for, possibly even me.

"waiting is painful. forgetting is painful. but not knowing which to do is the worse kind of suffering."

~ paulo coelho

Saturday, July 4, 2009

and let me fall into the dream of the astronaut

"untitled" (found photograph)
keep art alive; artist unknown

"i keep going round and round on the same old circuit,
a wire travels underground to a vacant lot,
where something i can't see interrupts the current,
and shrinks the picture down to a tiny dot,
and from behind the screen it can look so perfect,
but it's not."

it's not (video) ~ aimee mann
it's not (live) ~ aimee mann

i have a true affection for the last tracks on albums, an attraction that pulls me, the songs grabbing hold of me right from the start, and more often than not sticking, and becoming one of my all-time favorites. i could write long lists, and make stacks of mixes, filled with last track songs (perhaps i'll try that as a friday mix theme one of these days) and they would be well-loved, and most likely over-played playlists, for me.

i don't quite know how it happens, though it could be in correlation to my habit of reading the last page first when starting a new book, or that almost anxious wishing for a film to end because i just want to see how it does all end. i remember when all my music came in the form of vinyl records, and the whole experience (ritualistic, almost) of opening the sleeve, holding the record carefully as to not leave fingerprints behind, and choosing the side to listen to first. yes, even then, i would fashion the needle to that side b/last track and see what it was.

endings are tricky, and they truly are that last glimpse you leave behind, the final memory. they are impactful, and important, and i suppose i'm ever curious on what an artist of any kind chooses to be their ending. we all want the person leaving to remember us fondly - maybe we secretly want them to look back with longing - to hold with them that desire for more. we all want our final moments to be memorable, do we not? do we not want the same from the art we love? whether it be an album, a book, a show, or a film? is it not the endings that form that final impression, often lasting, on the experience?

i don't mean for this to sound morbid, or painted over with a somber attachment to death. as a matter of fact, i do not mean ending as a final end, per se, but as a last glance (not necessarily a last gasp). think of a concert, and that final encore - is it not usually the artists best of the best? or if not, at least the fan favorite? the song choice soars through the crowd, hopefully inspiring much bouncing, dancing, arms in the air, sing-a-longs, right? when you walk away, with your ears still ringing, is it not that last song that still rattles around inside of you?

is it not the same with films, or shows, or books? do we not all crowd around the symbolic water cooler (or online forum) and discuss ad nausium how that season ender, series finale, last chapter, or final scene either shocked us, moved us, or fell flat on the floor?

it is in that spirit, and probably as part of my own idiosyncrasies, that draws me to the last track. part curiosity (why did the artist, or producer, choose this one?) and part quirky love. though i think i'm not the only one that does this...i'm sure i'm not the only one who has some love for an ending, or last song. pull out one of your favorite albums, check the track list, i bet you have a few last tracks that you have fallen in love with, too.

those last moments, last words, and last lyrics that quickly fade into darkness, and leave you with something...

"if you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story."

~ orson welles