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Local Musician-ing

My band was recently the victim of extortion by a booking agent we had stopped working with. I won’t go into personal details here, but as a warning to small bands, mainly cover bands that are just starting out, beware of the people you work with. Don’t sign a damn thing. I’m glad we didn’t. This woman threatened us, and unfortunately one of our band members decided it was ok to cave to her bluffs without my knowledge. I am tempted to type out her name here, but I will take the high road.

Some people are just leeches.

I simply suggest this: do the work yourselves. Find venues, talk to bar owners that you know, look into local festivals and chat with other bands. Don’t trust a third party. It’s not worth it.

On a lighter note I think DJ Earworm summed up 2009’s top of the pops really well in this video/mashup he made. Always makes me smile.

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I live at the edge of Baltimore City. While I feel it’s less savory aspects are continuing to lap up upon the shore of my quiet suburbs, I also find a deep peace in this city of two faces. It’s a cultural center, which is varied areas (Fed Hill, Fells Point, Charles Street, Little Italy, etc.), a sports lovers dream (Orioles, RAVENS central), and a home to many different people (business people, hipsters, college kids, families, homeboys (and gals), Hons). It’s also a drug den, a broken place, industrial, and in some ways, forgotten. It can be like an ugly child only a mother (or local) could possibly love. And I love it.

It’s a great place to spend a cold, near Christmas night. The city was strung with white holiday light, couples strolling hand in hand as the harbor glistened all around. Shoppers were darting around shops for gifts, and some cooks could be heard in the kitchens singing Christmas tunes as loud as they could.

I hope our newcomer enjoyed the patchwork quilt that is Baltimore. I guess somethings can be wonderful and terrible at the same time. I have never been so aware of my city as I was clutching my shopping bags on the rickety metro train watching the scenery shift.

Baltimore Harbor

still life- starbucks explosion

I spent another relaxed and lovely evening on the town. First a much needed trip to Chipotle (should always be once a week for me) and then coffee and parfait at the local Starbucks. Yes, I also go to a lot of small town coffee shops, but that Starbucks in the closest and it’s open late.

We emerged, buzzing and giggly into the suburban night to discover that it was snowing. The flakes were large enough to catch. There was something comforting about walking in the snow, at night, route 40 roaring only feet away. There is something beautiful and damaged about the whole scene. I’m not a country girl, and I can appreciate the juxtaposition of natures beautiful miracles and the man made landscape eating away at the winter night. Such is life.

Currently I am watching HGTV (a new obsession on the prospect of looking at condos soon) and dreading/anticipating my bands very first full gig. I know we won’t sound as polished as we want, but it’ll be fun regardless.

Excited for shopping Thursday. Will post any finds worth mentioning. I am after a high waist skirt, more oversized sweaters/cardigans, leggings and casual dresses.

Fashion Force

The lovely Ana over at Ripped Knees posted a really cool entry about dressing habits and the disruption of winter and how it impacts how we might plan (or not plan) our daily outfits.  Personally I am an unconscious dresser. Once in a while I will have a vague idea of what I want to wear and piece it together, trying different things as I see fit. I also really enjoy layering, so winter isn’t such a drag for me. I adore sweaters, some black, some very bright. Both are essential to me.  I love baggy silhouettes as well, even though it’s sometimes hard to pull off in appropriate proportions if the layers don’t fit just right.

People ask me how I decide to wear things, or what made me decide to put an outfit together and how they could never pull it off. First of all (and I know this is cliche) it takes confidence to wear what you want. I also, like my friend said, have an established style. The things I wear, no matter how unique, suit me because that’s who I am. I have a fashion identity. She explained that she couldn’t wake up one day and wear an outfit I might wear because she has a different established look. Can people phase in and out of looks? Sure they can, but there has to be an adjustment time.

Another friend of mine just started to embrace her own sense of style. I have actually always admired her taste in tee, sweaters, and winter hats. Now she’s doing the ‘casual dress with warm toasty tights and boots’ thing, and she pulls it off flawlessly. I guess if you’re ready for change it simply happens naturally, and the key is not to be scared. At the end of the day, they are just clothes and another way to express yourself. There isn’t anything wrong with that.

Oh and here’s a nice tame little number from the other day. It’s one of my favorite casual outfits right now. I need more casual dresses…

sweater and dress

second

Surface Levels

When someone is successful so quickly, with brilliant ideas, and a commanding presence they garner all sorts of attention. Positive and negative. Lady Gaga is such a presence on the pop scene these days. Let’s see…she can dance, she can sing, she can write, and has considerable artistic control over her sound, image, and videos. I credit her with giving the face of pop music a lift. It’s refreshing to see commercial pop become a way of true artistic expression. Her image is powerful, and I actually find her incredibly liberating in terms of sexuality, not only becoming a new gay idol, but also warranting a sort of demanding sexual presence that isn’t strictly feminine or masculine. She isn’t Britney Spears- the commercial ideal of a pop idol (submissive naughty school girl anyone?). A friend of mine said maybe she’s the new Cher. And that’s a good comparison.

But people still feel the need to tear her down. They can’t seem to find any other way to do so other than attacking her physical appearance. Her contributions to the music world suddenly don’t matter if her nose is a bit bigger than the average one. Rumors that she’s a man, rumors that she is both a man and a lady. Come on. Listen to her. She’s brilliant, and people can only focus on the most superficial aspects of who she is or might be. No wonder women struggle so much with their image. You can discover a new planet, or write a brilliant book, or have the voice of an angel, but if you have a proud schnoz you can forget about it. We don’t say these things about exceptional male idols. Sure we find some of them dreamy, but when they aren’t it doesn’t matter. We talk about their songwriting skills, their musical abilities, their power over groupies. I mean, the male rock idols I adore aren’t male models, and Lennon had a pretty large nose himself. Bob Marley wasn’t George Clooney, and Paul Simon? Well, you get the point. When someone brings up a male music legend you don’t think of looks first. Ever. You think of sick guitar riffs, their inspiring political beliefs, their poetry. With powerful women it always seems to be looks first.  I mean, poor Janice Joplin was voted ugliest man at her school.

I have more to say on the subject, but the post has gotten a bit long winded. The ideas are nothing knew, but once I get pissed, I have to rant.

Grey Scale Fall

I have to admit that I am also guilty of wearing mostly black and gray this fall but I have to remind myself that color is never bad. ever. I hope everyone else dusts their colors off and shows them some love this season.

orange

blue

In his own words

Below is a clip of John Lennon discussing his use of LSD. It’s interesting to hear a user recall how ridiculous drugs actually are. What I also find really cool about this clip is that he addresses that the drugs were destroying him, particularly when it came to his ambition and his personality. It’s definitely a point of insecurity, a time where he might not have been totally happy (and note it’s just before he meets Yoko again). Yoko reminds him of who he is (or should be). The point, kiddies? Drugs aren’t always the gateway to creativity or happiness.