Archive for December, 2010
I stated before that I love the Holidays. This is true, Chanukah & Christmas are awesome. I’m also a big fan of St. Lucia’s day (shout out to Tanya who got me one of those candle crowns to wear!), and the year I got to celebrate Kwanzaa was totally sweet (I was dating Saki whose family only celebrates Kwanzaa and not Christmas). Seriously, Kwanzaa rules– you have to MAKE stuff for people! It’s a holiday I can completely get behind! Unfortunately, I’m not of the demographic that can celebrate it with a clear conscience. Oh well.
Anyway, though I do think that this is The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (except perhaps Groundhog Day), I must say the music blows. I enjoy singing Christmas carols, so I tried to figure out exactly what I hate about Christmas music. I think the answer is: you shouldn’t be listening to it. It’s not a spectator sport. I wracked my brain and tried to think of what kind of Christmas music I enjoy. The contemporary rock stuff makes me want to rip my eardrums out, as does the Frank Sinatra-oid spectrum, but in a different way. Choirs singing carols are just boring. So, what? The answer is I only like singing Christmas carols. It doesn’t matter how bad you sound, when you get together in groups and belt out “The First Noel,” it’s not about the sound, it’s about the process! I don’t want to listen to other people interpreting songs!
Since I’ve been working retail for December, I’ve heard a lot of Christmas music. Seriously, if I hear Cyndi Lauper’s Christmas album one more time I think I will go postal. Not that I dislike Cyndi per se, just that popular Christmas albums seem to fall into two categories: the ones that try to make the songs “fun” and the ones that try to make them “cool.” Now call me a traditionalist, but there is nothing fun about “Hark The Herald Angels Sing,” unless you are singing it. “The Holly and the Ivy” may possibly be the most un-cool song out there; making it jazzy is just going to make it worse. Sing, people! It’s kind of like soccer is for me. I really don’t want to watch it on tv, but it’s fun to play with your friends.
I suppose it’s mandatory that you hear X-mas music in the background while you’re in every store this season, though. What kind of music would enhance my shopping experience? Maybe some bland, quiet instrumentals. That way they could hint at festivity, but wouldn’t be flogging you with a sodden lump of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” all day. In my ideal world, there would be more of the indication of celebration, and not someone else’s interpretation of Celebration itself.
Now comes the curmudgeonly part. I really don’t like any Christmas songs written after 1900. OK, I lied, I like “Fairytale of New York,” and “Christmas in Hollis.” However, the Rudolph-Frosty-Jingle Bell Rock spectrum gets on my nerves. Maybe it’s because people who record these songs feel the need to make them extra cheesy because they’re supposed to be “fun.” Maybe it’s just because Christmas albums are tailor-made for the masses and therefore bland and soulless, and pop music made to be Christmasy is a double whammy of lame. I don’t know. Maybe I’m just a Scrooge in training.
I just want to say, though it is uncool, that I FUCKING LOVE THE HOLIDAYS!!! Seriously. We had a killer Chanukah bash this past weekend. I made a ton of decorations for it and I ate latkes until I almost puked. I found some inflation gelt (it’s a chocolate bar with a gold shiny $1,000,000 bill printed on it). Dreydls were spun. Sour cream and applesauce were liberally applied to pancakes. Booze was drunk. 2 Live Jews were playing on the stereo. In short, ROCK THE FUCK ON!
Why do I love The Holidays?
1. decorating. I can decorate the everloving fuck out of anything. Seriously. I was born to adorn. I worked nearly 40 hours in 3 days at 4 Seasons, putting up X-mas decorations in lobbies and did it make me burn out on decorating? NO, IT JUST MADE ME STRONGER!!! MUHAHAHAHAH!!! I came home after a long pre-game weekend of making giant bows, sticking seasonal branches spray painted gold into containers of fake pine sprigs and arranging X-mas bulbs in giant vases and what did I do next? YES, I MADE A FUCKING CHRONICAH WREATH! Why? Because decorating RULES! A side note: I am an expert at finding the problem bulbs in strings of lights. Another side note: Tanya claims she doesn’t hate my curb-found multicolored fiber optic acid trip X-mas tree as much as she thought she would.
2. food & booze in copious amounts. Need I say more? Festivity, people!
3. singing. I’ll admit, I totally dig Christmas carols. Not the cheesy ones like Rudolph and Jingle Bell Rock, I mean the old school ones like Adeste Fidelis and O Come Emmanuel. Basically, anything that was written before 1900. It’s my yearly tradition to sing X-mas carols for at least an hour while driving home from Boston to Ithaca every year– at least from Bainbridge to Ithaca. I make Moth and Slug sing too when I get home. Note to self: find a “Messiah” sing-in, those rule. I can sing the crap out of “Life Up Your Heads O Ye Gates” and of course the “Hallelujah Chorus.” However, “How Beautiful Are the Feet Of Them” is totally my jam. I don’t care that Handel’s “Messiah” was actually written for Easter. I’m not a purist. Stuff it, purists!
4. presents. The best one, of course! I’m a compulsive present-giver. I like figuring out what people like and then getting it for them. Thus, for me, this whole month is like crack. Of course, I enjoy getting presents as well. Who doesn’t? I’m shoving my Amazon Wish List in your face now because I’m a jerk like that.
5. My birthday. I know I always complain about how my birthday is on New Year’s Eve and how that sucks because I don’t get presents and everyone is busy and when I do get presents it’s usually re-gifted stuff people got for Christmas (the fondue pot was actually an awesome re-gift, though! You can keep all the shower gel, it just makes me itch). yes, I complain. However, it’s my birthday and a reason to be festive. AND I GET CAKE!!! Cake rules. Seriously. There is nothing more festive than a cake and I will eat the shit out of any cake that is thrust upon me.
And, in the spirit of Chanukah, I made latkes for dinner tonight. We have this giant vat of bacon fat, and we all know how much I love bacon. I thought to myself “latkes cooked in bacon. That would RULE!” but, though I am an atheist, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I don’t fear a deity striking me dead, it’s more like I don’t want my zombiefied ancestors to come back from the grave to kick my ass. And eat my brain. You know they would. I should be so lucky. On my dad’s side they obviously wouldn’t care, unless it was perceived as a Protestant Thing.
Also: see my rant about Holiday Trees because I keep coming back to it in random conversations with people.
Several years ago when I was working at Newbury Comics, one of my co-workers put on a CD in the store by Edan. It was called “Beauty and the Beat” and I instantly thought it was the awesomest thing ever and bought it that day. I had no idea who Edan was (a former Berklee student), how many people were in the group (one, it’s just a dude named Edan) or even how to pronounce it (ee-don), but I liked the CD a lot. It’s a hip hop album full of samples and rapping, but it’s amazingly well cut together. It’s also funny, random at times, both reverent and irreverent, and just fun to listen to. It sounds like it was fun to make, or at least like there was a light heart that went into the creative process.
Last week I saw that Edan was going to be at the Brattle Theater playing a show after a short film that he did the music to. Or rather, a film that was made to fit his music. Maybe both. At any rate, the film was really cool– a pastiche of everything from school health movies to Bollywood films to pretty much a little bit of everything else ever put down in film.
Afterwards he played a show with Dagha, another MC from Boston (OK, Edan isn’t *from* Boston, but he went to Berklee and was a local when he started out). The two of them freestyled over music they took turns spinning and it was SO AMAZING!!! Have you ever been to a show that you thought changed your life? The last one I went to like that was Daft Punk in 2007. I can’t exactly say how, but I left the show a different person than from when I went in. This show was like that. I’m inspired to take a crack at those electronic pieces I was putting together and never finished (well, theoretically anyway. I have ideas, just not a good way to make them work!). I’m inspired to just… do anything!
The show itself was awesome. The music was great, and the interplay of Edan and Dagha was almost ethereal. They were trading rhymes kind of like the opposite of an MC battle– they were collaborating, and, as 2 heads are better than one, 2 MCs that are really amazing on their own collaborating is like magic. I can’t really describe the show in concrete terms. This is the place where my brain and sensitivity start fighting– this show was awesome on a visceral level, a place that my normally sarcastic and (I like to think) logical brain doesn’t venture and couldn’t begin to put words to.
When Edan was spinning, he was so graceful and skilled that the actual act of DJing was a show itself. It was like he was conducting an orchestra, or speaking sign language, and in a way he kind of was doing both.
This is the part where my brain reads what I have just written and squirms in embarrassment that my other half has just gushed on about something so intangible and has to add a disclaimer. At any rate, go see Echo Party.