Sunday, July 29, 2012

Closet case

Wow, another post so soon? Something must be wrong! Well, nothing is, not at this exact moment. I've been dealing with a summer cold for the last few days, and today is the first day I haven't needed sinus medication, so I figure things are looking up. I've been in my head a lot over the past few days - I spend too much time in that vacant room at the best of times, but more so when I'm sick I guess. My illness addled insights?

Orange - orange gets a bad rap.  It's not as hot as red, and not as cheery as yellow.  But it's awesome, as colours go.

To thine own self be true - I *think* I'm finally learning to listen to my intuition.  I have a very very  LOUD, persistent inner voice, and I've learned over the years to beat it down with complex flights of well intentioned but misguided logic - something else I'm very good at.  The problem is, I don't always want to hear what that voice has to say.  From now on, I'm going to try and do a better job of listening.  It will be worth it in the end, even if it doesn't necessarily feel like it at the time.

Bodies like to do stuff -  Eating better, exercise - apparently it really is worthwhile. I am finally getting back into a regular exercise routine (much of which is made so much more fun because it is disguised as social time with my deal pal L.), and I am feeling so much better.  Mentally, and physically.  It feels good to treat myself well. 

Bodies like change - there is some...modification...on the horizon, after years of contemplation.  Timing is everything, and the time is right, now. It's secret for now, sort of, but watch this space and maybe I'll talk about it when it happens.

It's easier with two - The closet space in the basement is in progress - phase one of clothing rack installation happened with Mum's help, phase two with the lovely L's hands holding the level.  It's coming together really nicely!  Thank you Rubbermaid Closet Solutions!

Things look clearer from the outside - It's been interesting recently, in my brain.  I have moments of going up/down/sideways with my thoughts, some crazy emotional stuff, but I also finding the ability to step outside myself and see exactly what is going on in a strangely dispassionate way.  I am finding that I know (at times) when I should know better, if that makes any sense at all.  The first sign of schizophrenia, or the first sign of sanity? Hmmm.

Cats have way too much fur - they should have just enough that shedding would be detrimental to their health. Enough said.

Other than that, I am enjoying the spoils of winning some free tickets to the Neanderthal Arts Festival (yay to the Georgia Straight and my repeated luck re winning their contests...), and I went to see the always delightful Beirut last night - I've blogged about them a couple of times before (with better footage) so I will just say they didn't disappoint, and Zach Condon is as impressive as always.

Friday, July 27, 2012

No undies this time

The last time I saw the Dirty Projectors, it was my last show at Richards (unbeknownst to me at the time, or I would have stolen a stool or something).  The last time I saw the Dirty Projectors, my brother and I also saw Dave Longstreth's undies as he changed on the street in front of our car - a bizarre and memorable moment.  Unfortunately, this year there is no street parking on Granville conducive to outdoor lead-singer outfit changes.  And no show venue can live up to Richards, let alone the Venue (the most poorly conceived balcony space anywhere, IMHO).  All that being said, the gig was still a joy.

I love the Dirty Projectors because they force you to listen - I realize that might sound a bit odd, but I mean actively listen.  There is so much going on in terms of crazy time signatures and complex harmonies, it all feels held together by a thread that could snap at any time.  But the thread never does snap, and I'm left marvelling at that fact.  It is so good to hear a band that really DOES sound unique - Longstreth moves to the beat of his own quirky drum, and the musical world is a better place because of it.

I did take three videos - they aren't great because the lighting at the Venue (bleh) wasn't great, but the sound isn't bad - a minor miracle as I was maybe 6' away from a huge bank of flown speakers.  The tracks I recorded are from the new album, Swing Lo Magellan -  perhaps a shade more accessible that some of the other Dirty Projector albums, but still complex and inventive.

My only regret?  That Fiona Apple was playing on the same night - a show that was apparently excellent but not that well attended (Vancouverites, shame on you).  Oh, if only I could be in two places at the same time.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Folk Festival 2012 ... burn baby burn

Good for Grapes - oh to be that young and have that energy

Sorry, no interpretive dancing in this shot....
Yes, the burn refers to my shoulders.  It's been years since I've let that happen, but at least it means there was some sun this weekend.

Last year's fest experience was a huge disappointment - to be honest, I've pretty much scrubbed it from memory, except a vague recollection of being wet, cold, and generally miserable.  Thankfully, this year more than made up for it.

Where to start?  Well, firstly to say that whoever is responsible for putting the workshop stages together did a truly kick ass job.  In terms of artists jamming together and making some truly special moments, I don't think I've seen a better year.  Who knew that Mali's Sidi Toure  would work so well with Oliver Shroer protige Jaron Freeman Fox and the bluesy Barr Brothers?  Apparently the programmers did. Brilliance.

And yay to the talented youngsters in Good for Grapes - I'm not certain that they are all out of their teens yet to be honest, but their talent and energy is frightening.  A little bit of Mumford & Sons, a little bit of Arcade Fire, and a little bit of Red Bull, and you've just about got it.  Oh - and an accordion player who has legs that deserve their own agent (you get a hint of that in the video below)
Royal Wood - yes, that IS his name...

Other highlights? Montreal's raucous Canailles (another impressive group of youngsters), and The Cave Singers, who brought something a bit old school to the mix.

Other than the music? Well, there was the audience, which really is a performance all on its own.  I saw a new "white guy dance" performed (step 1: put left hand in pocket; step 2: lean forward slightly from hips; step 3: shuffle feet from side to side; step 4: pretend to dribble a ball slowly and meaningfully with right hand); a beautiful topless blonde who walking with her lovely black girlfriend, who may come to regret her toplessness in the age of social media when she starts looking for gainful employment...well, depending on her career path I guess; and the drunken 35+ year olds standing beside me that contributed the self conscious clapping in the Cave Singers video below, who should know that they are lucky I curbed my desire to push my fingers into their eye sockets to SHUT THEM THE F&CK UP.

But enough of that.  The only other minor blip was slightly uncooperative weather Sunday morning - but if you were willing to brave the misty rain that hit until about 11:30, the rest of the day was fantastic.  And even the mist wasn't all that bad.  And as always, it is a delight to share this all with my BFF (Best Folkfest Friend) the lovely A, this year in our NEW matching chairs.

Great memories for sure.  Can't wait until next year!
Evening stage 

The Head and the Heart

The Cave Singers - personal fave from this year's outing

Dan Mangan (sorry Tui, he's getting married in the fall)

Yes, we are wearing raincoats - SO WHAT?! There are tank tops under there somewhere....

Canailles - the guy on the left has a voice like gravel scraping along the bottom of a well.   SO MUCH FUN

Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole - a serious washboard....

Canailles watch Bijou Creole across the stage

Friday, July 13, 2012



Folk Fest is here - and the SUN is here this year.  So very very pumped and happy.  The Fest is one of my favorite things, and last year was such a complete disappointment (rain, rain, rain...and more) that I'm ready this year to get back to a true, hot, exhausting weekend of music.

Really ready.  As in new chair, new FF hat (long live the $8 straw cowboy hat).

And once again, I will be attending with my FF "partner" the lovely A. (quotes intentional - we have matching shoes and matching chairs.  In FF terms, that is enough to define our relationship)

I'm sure you'll hear more soon.

And if you are wondering about the sweater wearing tree....well, that's another post :)

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Take this Waltz - please

Finally a gorgeous sunny hot weekend, and I have, rather quietly, been enjoying it.  Quietly as I really have been ... quiet ... today.  No music or radio (apart from during some early morning exercise), not much interaction with the outside world, and only the occasional back and forth about something serious (like cat treats) with Maggie.  It's been really nice.  The rhythm of the day, which started early thanks to Maggie and the sun, has been pretty good overall.

But on to more interesting things.  I went to see Take this Waltz with my pal A. last night - this is Sarah Polley's latest directorial effort after the lovely Away from Her.  FINALLY a movie that has me feels like it has been a very long time since that has happened.

The movie revolves around writer Margot (Michelle Williams), who is married to chef/cookbook writer Lou (Seth Rogan), and whose head has been turned by the handsome artist next door, Daniel (Luke Kirby).  It all sounds like a pretty simple, been-there-done-that plot, but Polley doesn't take the easy road.  Lou and Margot are not a dysfunctional couple, they are quite happy together; and we actually stay with the characters long enough to feel the consequences of what transpires.  At the heart of this film is that weird emptiness that we've all felt (I assume) at some point, that we mistakenly think someone else's presence will fill...and if you're feeling that emptiness with your current partner, well, maybe the guy next door will pack that void for you...

As I watched it unfold, I dreaded the inevitable betrayal...but I understood it.  The characters are beautifully written, and their relationships feel real. You're privy to the very particular intimacies between Lou and Margot - the way they talk to each other when no one else is around, and the moments of hurt and frustration that seem to materialize out of nowhere.  It's everyday life, and it is painfully familiar to anyone who has been in a long term relationship.

And cudos to Polley for creating a hyper-saturated, gorgeous look at one of my favorite neighbourhoods in Toronto.  The colour and art direction and the soundtrack are all fantastic.

I could go on, but I won't - go see it for yourself.  If I was back in film studies at University, this is one I'd want to write about.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Things that start with C

It has been a busy couple of "holiday" days (ha) since I came back from Penticton - the great news is that my kitchen ceiling (aka keeper of the wiring holes) is FINALLY repaired and looking fine, 5 (or is it 6?) years after I had the electricians rewire the place, thanks to the help of a drywall elf who came to repair when I was away (thanks Brad!).  So, I spent the last two days painting the ceiling and walls.  As I get older, I find my tolerance for painting has been ... diminished.   But, it is done, and as you see from the photos attached, I had company.  I include the light photo only to provide an update to the photo here.

Other than that, I've been listening to a lot of music.  I'm gravitating towards singer songwriters right now - hooked on the new Fiona Apple, The idler wheel is wiser than the driver of the screw and whipping chords will server you more than ropes will ever do.  Take a listen here.  It is tempting me to shell out for her concert at the Orpheum in a couple of weeks - I had written it off because the good seats are pricey, but now....hmmm.

Less poetic, but grabbing me maybe because of that (and because it deals with everything from antibiotics to back pain to cats to relationships - with women, his dad, guitar repair guys...) is the new Sun Kil Moon (Mark Kozelek), Among the Leaves.  Listen here.  Quite a lot less dark than earlier Sun Kil Moon, or the Red House Painters he fronted in the 90s, a much folkier vibe, but it is suiting my mood.

And that is all she wrote.  For now.