Saturday, October 10, 2009

Of Youtube videos and other creative publication.

I did not die from last week, as you may have guessed. Life has taken a minor upswing again, which is very welcome as always. The Decemberists have become my music of choice- there’s just something about the music itself, regardless of who is singing it at the moment, that makes me feel better and for whatever reason makes me a feel a bit empowered. If I’m feeling shy or lacking confidence there are certain Decemberists songs that can instantly make me feel like I’m a force of nature. It’s awesome.

A few days ago I gave an ultimatum on Twitter that if my video for “Cupcakes” (remember it? It’s this one: ) reached 200 views by Monday I would post a new video. I think I underestimated how many people pay attention to what I’m saying because the view count jumped by ten in 24 hours, as did the views on several of my other new videos. I know ten more views in 24 hours isn’t generally impressive, but to have it follow something I said on Twitter is amazing to me. I’m glad to see I’m apparently making some kind of invisible connection. It’s silly if I stop to think about it, which is generally why I don’t stop to think about things like that.

I won’t say more about the video I’m putting up except to say that there may be two videos instead of one. Well see how it goes…

This past week I also recorded a version of “I Have A Theory” that got over 33 views within the first 24 hours of my posting it. That’s pretty funny to me because the video is nothing fancy. It’s me sitting on the kitchen floor with my yamaha keyboard, wearing plaid trousers and a Rogues Gallery shirt, no make-up singing to a jam track. It took two weeks or so to get Cupcakes up to the view count and star rating of this video. Does this mean I shouldn’t be so fancy? I don’t think I can stop being fancy, but it’s an interesting phenomenon to keep in mind:

That strikes me as even funnier because, besides Blood of the Girl, I Have a Theory is one of the oldest songs in my repertoire now that You Say Goodbye has been retired with Gin Circus. I wrote both of those when I was fifteen. I like that I’m still performing them and people like the stripped down sound better than the more complicated things I’m doing now.

There aren’t any pictures this week, really. Mostly because I can’t find my camera cord to upload them.

I have another article printed in The Free Press this week:

They didn’t put the picture in, but in the print edition of the paper they used this photo:


Lovely Tara. I also had a photo published in the Portland edition of the Deli. The photo wasn’t working when I went to the site just now so I’ll just show you which one it was and forgo linking to the site since, well, the portrayal of dear Katherine has become a running joke. No matter! They chose this one:


I have today and Sunday off as well as Monday and Tuesday. Although I have lots of homework I have a musical task ahead of me- the Dresden Dolls’ “Jeep Song” says everything I want to say about some particular thoughts and feelings I have at the moment but I refuse to let it go just because the topics have been covered before. Therefore, I have to write a song that expresses my feelings without tramping on Amanda Palmer’s past feelings on the subject. It will no doubt become another on-the-floor-with-the-yamaha video, don’t worry.

Tonight is family dinner. I get to see my nephew. This makes me very happy since toddlers’ joy is infectious. Actually, toddlers can be pretty infectious in general, so I’m going to go get some vitamin C in my system before I see him.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

post-show round-up; or, a blog in which I over-hyphenate.

This week feels like it will be the death of me. That includes this past Friday. And to top it all off, I’m now wide awake thanks to hearing the familiar yet horrifying skitter of mice in the walls of my room. Having only just found the last of the now liquefied dead mice from last season nestled in their eternal sleep in a bag of school papers I’d moved from Gorham the summer before this past one I’m not looking forward to dealing with them again. Let’s continue, though, with headphones on and Crane Wife blasting because, honestly, I don’t have time for mice and their misdeeds.

Friday began at 5am and then flowed into Pilates class, which flowed into German class, which, once over, turned into a torrent of me flailing like Kermit the Frog about everything I had to get done. I drove back home and shoved everything into the back of my car: outfit, keyboard with new batteries, computer, firebox, donation jar, the whole damn lot of it. I then drove over to Vanessa’s house, missing a call from Ahna about dance rehearsal, and spent an hour with her trying to make my hair look good, which didn’t end up happening. She tried, but now that my hair is longer it’s less cooperative.

I then jumped into my car again to drive over to Alex’s house where we ran through “Color Scientist” three times fast. I love playing with him. It’s too bad it doesn’t work on a constant basis. Ah, well. There was the good news that he found out that Rose, the cat he’s been taking care of since the summer, is now officially his cat. That makes me happy since I grew to love her cranky, accustive meows whenever I visit. She’s feisty and I love it, plus it makes him happy to have her around so that’s awesome he gets to keep her. She’s got more character than any cat I’ve met in a while:


I then had to park a two mile walk away from The Dooryard to pick up a video camera before then driving over to Target to buy a mini-DV tape and AA batteries, all while singing along to the set list which I’d stored on my ipod. Despite which, by the way, I forgot the words to four of the songs once I got on stage. That’s actually a good example of what stress does to me. I might as well be ADHD or on speed when I’m stressed—I shake, I grind my teeth, I can’t form sentences, I generally stumble. Most people don’t get the full effect of it, but I think, if Alex’s reaction is any indication, I’m terribly annoying when I’m like that. The worst that happened other than forgetting lyrics and how to work my keyboard was actually something only two people saw: before I went on stage I had to run over to the Dooryard to get something to bring back over and, being out-of-it and therefore not observant, I ran with full force into a spring-loaded solid wood door, hitting myself right in the face. I stumbled backwards and fell into the two people smoking on the front steps. Embarassing and my nose hurt for the rest of the evening. I’d be a horrible, conspicuous speed junkie. I can’t fake internal balance for the life of me. Even as a kid I was always falling down staircases and off playground equipment. It’s a wonder I’ve never broken a bone.

Below are the three most important men from that night providing, respectively from left to right: electric guitar, acoustic guitar, and sound. I love this picture:

I’m not intending a rockstar pose here. This is my “where the fudge is Irina, we have to start the show?!” look. She was just outside, no big deal. It seemed panic-worthy at the time, though.
Here’s the first number, “Don’t Tell Mama.” The waver you hear in my voice when I’m kneeling on the amp is not from nerves but because I almost fell over. My voice doesn’t shake when I’m nervous. It’s about the only part of me that stays calm at all times:

The other videos are there on my youtube page. I won’t embed every one of them.
Here’s another example of the law of round faces. For those who don’t recall my explanation of it before, it means that if Alex and I are in the same photograph one of us has to look bad. This is my turn to look bad:
Actually, there’s only one exception to the law of round faces. If we’re at a carnival we both look good. Case in point:
It’d be interesting to see if this law extends to pictures of me and other people with round faces. I’ll have to find a few and test the theory….

It was good to play Geno’s and have it go more or less right. The first time meant me crying in the back parking lot and having beer spilled on me. This time it ended with a $10 profit on CD sales and short, flavored make-out sessions with attractive girls at the kissing booth. A clear improvement, I think.

I miss being on stage already. Especially now that people seem to have some interest in what I’m doing. Which reminds me—there was a girl who took photos of me applying my make-up pre-show in the bathroom at Geno’s. She said she’d find me on facebook but hasn’t yet. I hope she does, I want to see how those turned out.

I’ve been thinking of some sad things that happened this past spring. So, in honor of that, I’ll end on a picture of me from that time. With bonus Alex-before-I-wasn’t-afraid-of-him and with people I’ve not talked about cropped out cos, well, there’s no need to drag them into blog-land:

Also- am imposing Alex embargo on this blog. I know he made up a large part of my summer so in referencing the past four or five months of my life it’s inevitable, but I’m sure there’s other things I can talk about. Although if I knew or thought anyone read this other than myself and my sister I’d be more inclined to branch out into other topics. No matter.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

pre-show procrastination; or, writing to avoid writing.

Tomorrow is my first solo show and in anticipation of that I’ve spent my morning burning and hand-labeling 20 demo CDs with a sharpie. I don’t expect I’ll be able to get rid of any more than five at tomorrow’s show, but it’s not as if they have an expiration date. Behold a visual sampling of the future of my music career:

I’ve figured out my set list just now, too. In order to round out the time I’m decided to play a song I told myself I wouldn’t play live. I’ll change some of the words, it’ll be fine. If art can’t be daring then it expresses nothing. Oh, dear, that sounded horribly cliché…my apologies about that.

I have two “special guests” lined up so far. I think I’m allowed surrounding myself (in one case literally) with people who’ll make me more comfortable with being on stage alone. The first one is Jason, aka- my boyfriend and, more importantly, one of my best friends, who will be accompanying me for a cover of his song “Literal Walls.”

The other consists of my friends Ahna and Irina from the Dooryard who are, as I’ve mentioned before, my back-up dancers. We had our first practice this past Sunday for it and it was awesome. I have a video of it, but Ahna said she’d kill me if I posted it. I’m taping the show on Friday so you can see it there, but in the meantime, here’s a screencap of my favorite moment:

Wir sind sehr Berlin Cabaret. Also- having back-up dancers who are so much taller than I am is the best comic relief I could possibly think of. Wunderbar!

In addition to show things, I have to write two articles including one review of a show my friends’ bands played this past Tuesday. I feel like I’ve now photographed Marie Stella at a minimum of three shows now, which is a big number for me, considering I rarely go to shows these days. I was at their first show, but all I have to show from that is a picture of Matt Erickson rocking a very sharp looking mustache. It looks like his evil twin compared to what he looks like now. See what I mean?:

It’s weird how one thing can jolt you into a different life path.

The other band I photographed/wrote about was the Rattlesnakes, who I’m new at being friends with, but they’re all ridiculously nice people. I look forward to getting to know them more. Here’s Tara singing in Jason’s face. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about mimicking some of her Karen O-esque stage moves for tomorrow’s performance. She just knocks everyone over when she’s on stage, it’s awesome:

I hope someone takes a bunch of pictures while I’m on stage tomorrow. I have no clue how I’m going to come off without someone else/other people to steadily interact with while I’m up there.
I guess it’s time to stop avoiding writing those two articles. And doing my reading. I really can’t afford to be up until 2am again.