Musical Monday 5/2/16

Musical covers take something already familiar for some and twist it. Like a chef deconstructing a dish. Separating the usual BLT into a B, an L, and a T. The next time you have a BLT it's a new experience. For others who were not already familiar, a cover might provide the first exposure to the material at all. When David Bowie died I recognized his great contributions and appreciated all he had done. I'm at least somewhat aware of the world. But I lacked a total appreciation for his full impact. I like all of his music fine. I do, I like it a lot. But it wasn’t until hearing others perform it that I obtained a fresh perspective on his work. That fresh perspective provided a better appreciation of the significance of his impact.

Hearing and watching, “Space Oddity,” performed by an astronaut, Commander Chris Hadfield, in space completely changed my perspective. It deconstructed the song by taking something I always listened to in one context (performed on Earth!) and very much twisting it (a performance on space station orbiting Earth!).


In a similar fashion, the Portuguese covers of Bowie by Seu Jorge, especially “Life on Mars” completely flipped my usual perspective of Bowie’s songs. I will admit that my Portuguese isn't in tip-top shape but the tune still captured my attention and the mystery of the lyrics might have made the songs even more alluring.


Hearing both of these interpretations of David Bowie’s work steeply escalated my appreciation for his creations and his own performances. I now saw these works in a new light. Then, with a new appreciation for the artist and his work established, he very unexpectedly died (while I mentioned before working on expecting the unexpected when dealing with mortality that's more of a group goal where I am part of the group than a lesson from the head of the class. And this happened well before Prince's "early" demise anyway).

Understandably, and more expectedly, a bevy of tributes issued forth acknowledging David Bowie's tremendous impact. The most effective tributes, in my mind, both came from the Tonight Show. I saw neither live (because on the West Coast the show airs at 11:30 (PM!) which is crazy late and provides no real opportunity to watch the show and have a normal morning! #Sorrynotsorry). Both appeared later on social media which is where I discovered and enjoyed them. 

(There was a link to the Michael Stipe video but it  no longer works. Bummer cause it was good. I guess the early bird gets the worm.)

It provides a true testament to work when the deconstruction of it continues AD. Especially when it continues to make the whole BLT taste so much better.

Musical Monday 4/25/16

Even now, after death, Prince continues to be prolific, kinda. His influence still spreads across many aspects of life.

I didn’t see it but, apparently SNL issued a retrospective of Prince performances. Jimmy Fallon hosted and also offered a recap of Prince’s performance at the 40th anniversary of SNL afterparty. I am not completely familiar with all of Prince’s extensive catalogue, but this one performance (like his Superbowl halftime show provides a good idea of the concept of him for those searching for a more complete encapsulation. A video of the after show performance exists and it’s legitimately cool. I loved seeing a bunch of popular people at the celebration jam along to Prince as he sings.

On top of that, Bruce Springsteen, someone I am more familiar with most of the work (but definitely not all), opened a recent show with Purple Rain. And, still, in Jenga fashion the tributes stack higher, at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) there’s a exhibit called the “rain room.” In the “Rain Room” I guess you stand in the center and it rains around you but not on you. From all reports it looks pretty cool. 

After the surprising revelation of Prince’s death, the “rain room” rained down purple colored rain in Prince’s honor. 

While it doesn’t cleanse the sorrow from those missing Prince’s presence, the tributes serve as a touching reminder of Prince’s wide influence.

Freedom Friday 4/15/16

This section for weeks and weeks, at least two, was named philosophy Friday. But, I found even that loose framework too constricting. I now say to forget it. That's beyond my attention for Friday. Henceforth, I’m changing the framework, as is my prerogative. Now, here I will be calling Fridays, Freedom Friday. (Not similar or connected in any way to freedom fries which was a stupid thing for a while.) I could still sometimes discuss some sort of philosophical quarries on Friday but now, if I don’t feel like it, I don't have to, because it’s Freedom Friday. Just like on Wednesdays, this new framework allows for a little more freedom. Forgot the framework because Friday is now Freedom Friday.

Haaa. Exhale. Ooooh. Are you tense? Probably. I know. I know. It’s easy for life to beat you down and run you ragged. To overwhelm you. To make you feel like you're drowning. Like you're always walking through an endless, rainy, film-noir alley. It's dark and shadowy. Uncomfortable and infrequent wind gusts. Maybe a little wet with sporadic puddles. Luckily an antidote to the relentless pelting of the world exists in the form of cuteness. It’s hard to be daunted by too much when there's this:

Cuteness! The cure all for despair. And the embodiment of cuteness also arrives here: