Sunday, May 27, 2007

Birthday Card

I made this cute little Birthday Card-type collage the other day with this letter "B" that I found on the ground back in Boston. Who could be so foolish as to throw out such a wonderful sparkly sticker like that? So I stuck it on a piece of painted paint-sample (how meta, painting on paint chips) and voila. But now, who to give it to? I was thinking my friend Bessica. Or maybe Batherine, her birthday's in the fall. Boseph might like it too. (My mind wanders off to Boseph and His Amazing Bechnicolor Breamcoat.) No matter what the recipient, it's clear that their name must begin with a certain sparkly letter.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Stuffing Envelopes

I found out today that not one, not two, but FIVE envelopes from a stack of about 60 invitations to a faculty member's retirement party were sent out, by me alone, completely empty. I think I got into absent-minded "stuff/lick/label/stamp" mode that I forgot to insert anything into some of the envelopes. Luckily all the recipients were family members, and they knew about the party anyway. I did feel bad for the wasted stamps, which just went up in price. (Aside: there are now 'Forever' stamps, which are supposed to be good 'forever', no matter what the price of postage is. I don't believe this one tiny bit!)
It just goes to show, if you pay a guy 7 dollars an hour to sit in a hot closet measuring 6' x 5' with no windows, no air circulation, and all-you-can-watch YouTube, this is the quality of product you may receive.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


I saw this text on the back of a hooded sweatshirt a while back, as I waited for the bus with my friend Andy. Well, everyone knows the phrase, 'Manliness is next to Godliness'. All I'm saying is that I'm standing next to Manliness so I must be Godliness.
Oh, right. It's cleanliness. Not manliness. So that must mean that this guy is just lame.
I'm all for fun typography on clothing. I think people should be far more daring to explore the vast area of tabula rasa that covers our bodies. Armpit text anyone? Why haven't we printed long phrases that curl around our sleeves yet? But some printed words, like the ubiquitous 'COLLEGE' on fratboy teeshirts, are just a little too Abercrombie, a little too cutsie. Next thing you know they'll be putting 'Princess' on the butts of girls' pj pants. Oh, wait, that happened five years ago. Next thing you know they'll be putting self-empowered bitchy sayings like 'I'm crabby' on girls' pj pants. Oh, wait, they make those too. I've got it: next thing you know they'll be putting 'Cheap Whore' on the butts of girls' pants. And hopefully the pants won't sell well at Macy's and the 'Cheap Whore' pants will have to go on sale. Oh, the irony!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

You Know You Work in a Music Office When...

You know you work in a music office're cleaning out the office supply closet and you pick up litter scattered about the floor, and the litter turns out to be clarinet ligatures. You also know you work in a music office when you're cleaning out that same closet and you find a disgarded set of bagpipes.
It sounds like a bad joke, but seriously, I think this could only happen at Carnegie-Mellon. It's the only school in America where you can major in bagpipes. (And there's only one student right now, but doesn't he feel special!)
I also found about a billion hanging file folders and two billion manilla envelopes, but that's pretty normal for an office supply closet, and not very interesting.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

So much music, so little bank account

May has been the month of some great new music albums, from some of my favorite people! In wanting to actually buy the cd's for once, this has made my bank account tiny, but my ears so content. I thought I might give a little run-down on some albums lately, and my stylistic interpretation of them. I even made handy photoshopped Album Cover Comics!
Firstly, Bjork's new album Volta was released last week. It features Bjork in a huge plastic creature-suit on the cover and wacky typography (if you can't read it it must be a cool font!). The music on this album is more raw, improvisational, and just a little bit underdeveloped, but hey, there's also an electronic thumb-piano player, a pipa player, the clavichord, and an all-female brass band. So in other words it's typical Icelandic fare and I'm obsessed with it.

Tori Amos' new album, American Doll Posse features multiple personalities (when do they not?), a more rock-heavy flair of electric guitars, and a very grey cover of multiple Toris, including one Tori holding a rooster. Which I can only presume symbolizes 'cock'. I thought I wouldn't like this album, but its more poppy songs are beginning to grow on me, as are the rest of the 23 tracks on the cd. Also growing on me is the 'typewriter' font of the album cover. Not growing on me is mold, small children, or the fact that Tori doesn't seem to want to actually 'play' the piano in a pianistic way anymore. What ever happened to the notes on the piano above, say A5?

A new artist, Mika, has an album out called Life in Cartoon Motion, which has been out for quite some time but is new to me. So here is my interpretation of the Rainbows! Color! Disregard for Color Schemes! cover that is the album. Some of the songs are quite infectious, as are his hit singles 'Lollipop' and 'Grace Kelly', but I prefer songs like 'Relax' which have a distinctly 'everything good about the 80's' sound to them, which is sort of a combination of sexy/gay/Eurochic/Freddie Mercury/piano/electronic. He can also sing about three octaves higher than I can and make it sound completely off-the-cuff. Thus, I love to hate/hate to love him.

Finally, Feist has a new Cd out called The Reminder, which I'm loving in all of its glamorous, yet shabbychic way. Feist's works can convey so many influences without smacking you in the face with them. Contained within 45 minutes is jazz (a great cover of Nina Simone's 'See-Line/Sea-Lion Woman'), blues, French crooner pop, bossa nova, '60's folk, new indie pop, and my personal favorite, songs that make you get up and dance in choreographed motions, as if the whole world was a music video.
In addition, I still have to go listen to Laura Veirs' new album, Saltbreakers, 'cause who doesn't love rock songs about manatees, glaciers, and igneous rocks? I don't know of anyone!
There just better not be any other new music I want to listen to coming out soon, or I'm going to have to go back to waiting in line for the 23 holds of The Shins CD at the Carnegie Public Library before it comes to me through Interlibrary Loan. With luck, I'll get that album in a year.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Big Bag Theory

Summer vacation started for me 45 minutes ago. Unfortunately, summer work started 4 days ago. I took my last exam this afternoon and let out a sigh of Stravinsky relief, and now I'm looking forward to working at the Music Office and the Ceramics store, and hopefully starting my orchestral piece. I do wish I could hide in this big bag, though, and go with you to some place magical. You could store so much in here! It could be the next big thing in haute couture. Yes, I'd set up a little pillow and a book-reading light in there, if only for a little sleepover, 'cause I'll be off to work again in the morning. Thank goodness I can get paid for looking up celebrity fashion online and generally just smiling a lot, otherwise summer vacation would be kind of a bummer.

Friday, May 04, 2007

The Flood

I watched a ridiculous video in 'Stravinsky' class today, my last 'school day' of the first year of grad school. A bunch of Dutch artists in 1984 tried to recreate a 24-minute long TV show that Igor Stravinsky dreamed up. The piece itself was originally written in the '60's, and Stravinsky has brilliantly scored the TV show with an orchestra playing 12-tone serial rows which sound neither painful nor snobbily intellectual. The score incorporates talking, singing, and ballet dancing to the stories of Noah and the Flood and the book of Genesis (i.e. 'Hey! I made the Earth! Come here, Adam, give your papa a big bear-hug. Eve...don't you touch that apple!') . The TV show, which originally aired in black and white, may be lost, but the original sound recording still exists.
Well. The original concept is brilliant. The original recording of the music is also beautiful. However, the recreated version from 1984 was almost as bad as the all-theremin 'vortex of sound and light' that I had to witness earlier this year. But thankfully the Dutch are funnier than the theremin. The video included a monstrous barrage of outdated special effects, no dancing at all, and 'God' was portrayed by three people (and one of them is Asian) in a pulsating glowing yellow triangle which is green-screened to float on top of all the other action on screen. The action includes gratuitous nudity, as all contemporary Dutch things do (therefore, I love the Dutch). Adam, who is Latino (apparently God isn't picky about race), Eve, and the Devil run around quasi-dancing with their unmentionables hanging out. Then scene cuts to a glowing orb representing the Earth, which cuts to a surrealist painting in which the head of some guy is superimposed, like a carnival-cutout photo opportunity, onto a mirror, or into tiny boxes.
And then the flood comes.
Noah's sons (none of whom look like they could be related, and one of whom is black!) warn their mom to get on the boat, while a fade-in ocean wave slowly encroaches onto the TV screen. The 'Flood' itself is a tumultuous chaos of orchestral sound, but in the TV special, the Dutchmen decided to just show two minutes of calm rippling waves--are you ready?--in various colors, like hot pink, blue, and neon green. Run for your lives! The gentle rippling is coming.
The back of the VHS box says that this production tries to realize Stravinsky's full vision, what with the advent of color television and David Bowie-sequined unitards.
I don't think that this is what Stravinsky was envisioning.

I've saved the best for last, of course- the Expulsion of Adam an Eve from the Garden of Eden. God casts the naked Latino Adam and boobalicious Eve out into the green-screened box of a beach-like scene, and in their shame, Adam and Eve put on clothes. But the clothes are designer clothes. Adam is wearing some kind of fabulous haute couture vesty item with puffy sleeves. And Eve is fixing the strap of her sexy strappy dress. And her high heels...
Man, I'd eat that apple too, if I knew that Satan looked like David Bowie and I'd get to put my toes in some Manolos.
Rest in peace, Stravinsky. May God bless you and may you never see this video from the afterlife.