Saturday, January 31, 2009

One Year of Blogging

So, this experiment is now one year and six days old. In that time, I've learned over 49 posts that this blog is not a diary.

If I'd really thought about it, I'd have known that. In reading back, I'm struck by how proud I am of the writing and even more so by the regularity of it, but equally noticeable is just how much is unchronicled.

Though the existence of this blog belies the fact, I'm a fairly private person...who chose to start a blog about me and the stuff I do, see, hear, think, read, eat, and feel. In the process of writing this blog, my sense of privacy changed. It became easy to share the ordinary things, but when it came to the more intimate details of my life, did I want to share that? How much of it? Could I tell a compelling story that didn't include crucial facts? You're the better judge, but I don't look back and wish I had said less so I think I've struck a balance I'm comfortable with.

The more interesting questions though: Is there a reason not to share crucial facts? How honest do I want to be? Who am I really lying to if I lie? Where's the line between the things I share and those I don't?

The questions bring me to the larger point: Is the most fully-realized existence also the most fully-shared existence? On a personal level, I think so, but this isn't personal.

This is not a letter from me to you. I don't think I realized all of that that until I just wrote it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Go. Stop.

Stage is SetI didn't get to the Inauguration with the pre-dawn masses. In fact, I left home an hour before the swearing in and happened to make it to the Washington Monument as Copland's "Air and Simple Things" was playing.

It was like walking into a bubble of emotion - I couldn't help but cry at the moment. I was surprised to be moved though. I was happy of course - as much for Bush to be gone as for Obama to be his replacement, but I didn't expect the gravity of the moment or the current of collective anticipation which were awe-inspiring. I stayed for Obama's speech, the poetry reading, and Dr. Lowry's benediction - which I loved and thought was perfect - and then I left.

And that was the spectacular end of a week that was. Lots and lots of live music filled the rest:

- James Intveld: I'd never heard of him until my friend Puck suggested going. It was an evening of swinging rockabilly complete with couples taking to the floor. It was a fun night that had great players.

- Mobius Band: I enjoyed the band, but they were under-rehearsed and they'd be much better live if they had someone whose sole job was to trigger samples. It gets herky-jerky to sing, play, trigger samples and rock out. Major points for having a xylophone as a major instrument. Middle Distance Runner, who headlined the show, are big in DC, but they were kind of boring.

- The Holmes Brothers: These guys are friends of mine from my days at their management agency, Concerted Efforts. They've been playing their blend of blues/soul/gospel for decades and they're the real thing. One of them has been struggling with health issues, so it was especially good to see them play and catch up with them.

- Dueling Playboys (I think that was their name?): This was more an excuse to not go anywhere for a night while still catching up with the peeps in the hood. A non-amplified, acoustic hootenanny ensued.

Big Shoulders Ball: The Hideout in Chicago bussed a huge group of musicians to DC to play a benefit inaugural ball for FMC and the Chicago Public School marching band program on the night before the Inauguration, so I got to work the event. DCist's take and mine is below. The marching bands didn't make an appearance (boo!) but a dozen acts did. The ones that stood out:

- Waco Brothers, who always look like they're having the most rollicking good time ever. My co-worker Jean rocking out on violin with them was an added bonus. "I Fought the Law" even inspired me to tweet about it!

- Andrew Bird solo looped his way through a 20-minute set. I admit I don't pay attention to the lyrics because if I did I'd spend time deciphering them rather than listening and I'd rather listen. The violin virtuoso was ALL that.

- Icy Demons were cool and a breather from the indie rock.

- Tortoise. I kept hearing how they were so great and I liked their soundcheck, but the live set meandered and left me underwhelmed. Eh.

- Janet Bean from Freakwater/Eleventh Dream Day. While I wasn't so much for Freakwater - except for their oddly swinging country-fried cover of Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" - Janet Bean demolished that drum kit during her set with Eleventh Dream Day. I witnessed a magnificent sighting of the rare species known as "female drummer".

See photos from everything above on my flickr page!

Since the Inauguration, I've been home sick with a bad head cold...which has brought my adventures in the land of 24-hour-party-people to a halt.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Chair Dancing

flower axeLong time no blog. Alas, my handy open ISP network - named HannahBanana - seems to have disappeared, so I pretty much have to be at work to get online.

Lots going on with work as usual. We're putting on a one-day festival of wonkyness for musicians. Putting on events is always a marketing game, but I find the challenge of integrating more multimedia to be the stuff I look most forward to working on - some questions via video to break up the panelist talk, a live webcast perhaps, our own personal roving newswoman maybe in addition to the usual archiving. Anyone been around when Google Moderator was in use? Anything interesting you've seen or heard about in use in conference-land?

In music news, maybe you've heard that iTunes is dropping DRM and going to tiered pricing? EFF suggests that the labels held DRM over Apple's head as leverage for tiered pricing which makes sense given Steve Jobs' previous statements on DRM. I only wonder why anyone should care? It's too little too late regardless of why. Though The Lefsetz Letter manages to get excited enough to use exclamation marks like they were going out of style, he covers all my exasperated points, too.

I've been sort of keeping up on the latest movies, too, which is unusual for me. Caught Gran Torino last weekend. Clint Eastwood plays the non-PC curmudgeon that you like despite his crankiness. I'm still not sure what I thought. I was part of an audience that found the entire movie hilarious - every swear, every epithet, every slur. And they weren't laughing in that way people laugh at Chris Rock because he manages to make the truth funny. Yes, the outrageous factor WAS funny, but after a while, I wondered if it wasn't a cop-out to so easily defang this guy's anger and disappointment with life and make them into an episode of All in the Family. Then I wonder how much of my opinion is colored by the people in the theater with me? Can anyone say over-thinking?!?

Enjoying the new School of Seven Bells album Alpinisms which is a dreamy electronic pop that reminds of Peter Gabriel a bit. However, I write this while listening to Justice's live Fader 50 mix. It's over a year old, but it's 34 minutes 38 seconds that I can't make it through without at least a little chair dancing.