Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Flashback to the 90's

While moving furniture this past weekend, I was forced to empty my hope chest of all of my photo albums. That, of course, meant that I had look through a few of them and experience the inevitable pangs of loneliness and nostalgia as I looked back on times when I had lots of friends nearby. Nearby meaning in the dorm room next to me. But aside from strengthening my resolve to get back to my college weight (which wasn't all that great then, but better than now), and reminding me just how long my hair used to be, there were a few moments of laugh-out-loud recall:

A picture of yours truly in a high-school one-act (I think it was called Of Widows and Vegetables - I can't believe I remember that!), wearing purple tights, a white floral prom-type dress and yellow lace up high heels. That character's name was Wench. Priceless. And no, that one's staying in the album, thank you very much.

A photo of me and my roommates, dressed up as if we were going to a college dance. We were going to the grocery store. We laughed for hours.

Two of my friends and I in our "bitch pants" which we bought in England. We thought were so hot.

But the best, by far, was this one:

My fabulous Geneva apartment with...wait for it...a giant Val Kilmer poster next to the calendar. And not Top Gun Val. Island of Dr. Moreau Val. Genius. I'd forgotten about my Val Kilmer phase. I always prided myself on being an Iceman fan rather than a Maverick fan. Even then my intuition about Tom Cruise was dead on.

It was a fun little journey back in time. I should move furniture more often.

Friday, June 26, 2009

not only am I a rock music idiot...

...but I don't get jazz either. Tonight, I saw a lovely concert full of, according to those who know, virtuosic piano and saxophone musicianship. Excellent. Too bad I don't know what I'm supposed to be hearing that is so amazing.

I've found most jazz concerts to be full of sagely nodding intellectuals, bopping along to a beat that I will swear DOES NOT EXIST. Tonight, I enjoyed a piece called Chrysalis (I think it was called that - there wasn't a program to tell us so we had to rely on the musicians to tell us what they were playing), but only because I knew it was called Chrysalis and I could try to paint the image of butterflies and cocoons in my head. I enjoyed when piano and sax would chase each other up and down the scales, or toss a note back and forth like it was a ping pong ball. The audience clapped after those sections. Ok, I get it. That was cool.

But I know I missed the point. I spent most of my intellectual power wondering why I liked the sound of the soprano sax so much. Aren't you impressed that I knew it was a soprano sax? I only knew it because we asked someone who knows these things. But I did like that instrument; it's pitch and tone hit my ears just right.

Anyway, the nice thing is I'm not going to lose any sleep over this. I don't get jazz. That's ok. I'm still worthy of life. Even my jazz loving friends say so.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Confessions of a rock music idiot...

There was a time in my life when being laughed at or ridiculed in any way would have crushed my tender spirit and sent me crying into the hummus-colored bathrooms of my elementary, middle and/or high schools. Thankfully, I got over it and now probably spend more time laughing at myself than everyone else does.

That's why I'm not afraid to make this statement: I do not, nor to I really care to, have intimate knowledge of dozens and dozens of bands and their songs, whether they are local, regional or national. I can't name every song written by the angsty bands of the 90's. Nor can I tell you what band is playing at the local dive. When I first came to Arkansas, I shocked my colleagues by not knowing who Al Green is. And when a certain famous drummer recently visited our small town, I had to look him up on Google. Yes, I knew the song The Weight, but only because my good pals sang it a capella in college. (It's a great song, by the way. I'm glad I know it.)

My music comes to me via friends and inertia. For example, U2 and Dave Matthews are around so much that I happen to like their music. Some of my favorite tunes/artists were introduced to me by my previously-mentioned harmonizing buddies. And I get to explore all kinds of great music that isn't rock through my job. (The Silent City by Kayhan Kalhor and Brooklyn Rider, by the way, is completely awesome)

So it's with no regret that I proclaim myself a rock music idiot. I'm not interested in being educated, except when my job requires it. That sad, self-conscious kid who would rather have died before admitting she didn't know the latest New Kids song is long gone. Send good songs and artists my way and I might listen to them. Or I might not. But it will not hurt me when you drop your jaw and say theatrically "you don't know who (insert brilliant band here) is?"

Sorry. It's nothing personal. I know there are lots of you out there who know lots more than I do. And I humbly bow to your expertise.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Thanks, humanity...

I will admit I've been a little antsy in my small Arkansas town/city lately. Thoughts of bigger cities, and my friends and family so far away, have set my sense of peace and contentment on edge.

Tonight, though, a lovely group of people gave me a special gift.

First, some context. For all those marketing/PR types out there, you know what I mean when I say that there is nothing worse than a public event to which no one shows up. You shrink inside, and your self-worth goes right out the window. Tonight, a photo shoot for our season brochure, could have been one of those nights.

But, one by one, they trickled in. A pair of our dedicated volunteers, a few staff members and their friends, the random person who heard about the photo shoot on twitter. Even people on the street, families out for a walk with their kids on a warm spring evening, joined in.

They waited patiently for nearly an hour, then spent another 45 minutes walking in circles on cue, and then patiently waiting again for us to say "ok, folks, just once more!" Not one of them left. They did whatever we asked of them. They kept smiling and laughing and when we were done, many of them thanked us. Several of them didn't even know why they were with us, but were content to sit with strangers and enjoy themselves.

I'm not sure the same sense of easy conversation and laughter would have existed in a bigger city setting. Certainly the air wouldn't have smelled so luscious, laden as it was with the scents of spring flowers; the light wouldn't have been so pure, glowing from the sun hidden below the horizon. Maybe the sense of fun and friendship would have been the same, but I wonder.