Friday, June 26, 2015

Lucinda Williams

Last night's Lucinda Williams concert at Celebrate Brooklyn! was phenomenal!

She was raw, and slow and rocking. Her songs convey so much anguish and longing, in such a gorgeous, sad, and truthful way. She is a terrific performer and her band (The Big Six?) was fucking awesome. They really went all out on some numbers.

I've been listening to Lucinda Williams for many years but had never seen her live. Some favorites from the evening: "Foolishness"; "Drunken Angel"; "Lake Charles"; "Joy"; and the haunting "Unsuffer Me".

Garfunkel and Oates

The other night I watched the totally delightful, uniquely funny series, Garfunkel and Oates. The show is about two women in their early thirties in LA who are a comedic song duo. Their songs, as well as the series in general, is off-beat, surprising and sexually frank, self-deprecating, and smart. It's really a tremendous amount of fun, with a little social and feminist insight thrown in. I hope they make a second season, because I'm now a huge fan.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

I liked Dawn of the Planet of the Apes so much that right after I watched the earlier movie in the series, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. While watching Dawn I was not aware of not understanding anything; there was no point of confusion. But seeing the first one I realize I would have enjoyed Dawn more if I had watched these in the proper order.

Rise shows us Caesar as a baby and his development in a human family -- which explains his tolerance and affection for humans in Dawn (which I didn't question but which now makes much more sense). It also explains his knowledge of events that led up to everything, and his ultimate position as alpha among the apes. In Rise we see several characters such as Maurice (my favorite) and Koba (such a perfect villain), which provides background for their relationships depicted in Dawn.

I was very charmed by and invested in Caesar's story throughout, and was not expecting that emotional connection. I guess he was just such a cute baby and little imp. Plus, a real range of feeling were conveyed by his eyes.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

I'm not exactly sure how it happened but I found myself watching Dawn of Planet of the Apes. Even odder: I enjoyed it! Very much in fact. I kept trying to feel superior to it, but the truth is I was very drawn into the action and the conflicts. The only thing I didn't like was the unnecessary but thankfully slight development of the emotional story line between some of the humans. Of course I was rooting for Caesar and his family the whole time.

Van Morrison at Forest Hills Stadium!

I have adored Van Morrison since I was about 14. For years I listened to the Moondance album until later I was introduced to Astral Weeks. Those albums plus Saint Dominic's Preview, TB Sheets, and Veedon Fleece were deeply important to me for many years. His voice is so soulful and brings out so many emotions.

I finally got a chance to see him live. Last night at Forest Hills Stadium he was so incredible. His voice was deep and rocking and powerful. The sound was more smooth and jazzy than I expected, particularly the first few songs, but then he kind of picked up the energy. Because I am unfamiliar with much of his recent work, many of the songs were new to me. They were all phenomenal. The second to last number was just so energizing and uplifting and miraculous. The show ended with a version of Gloria that was probably fifteen minutes long. Fifteen minutes of musical brilliance.

My seats were not great, but not terrible. I don't like large venues, but what can you do. The sound was wonderful, which is I guess what counts.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Mad Men

For the last month I have been utterly obsessed with Mad Men. I binge watched all 7 seasons in a few weeks, growing deeply attached to these nuanced and well-developed characters.

The story spans the entire decade of the 60s when the country was going through incredible social, cultural, and political changes. It's basically a very high end soap opera about an ad agency (although I don't mean soap opera in a bad way). The drama goes so deep, and the writing is so stellar, the directing just beautiful. Each episode is filled with exquisite scenes.

Most of the characters are very ego-driven and all have assholish aspects of the personalities. But with the exceptions of Duck Philips, Lou Avery, and Bert Peterson, I like all of them and I was rooting for all them.

If I had to choose a favorite, it would clearly be Roger Sterling. But tied in close second would be Joan, Betty, Ken, Peggy, Bert Cooper, Ted, Sally, Henry Francis, Lane, even Pete Campbell and Trudy...  Don, the hero, was great, but he began to wear on me a bit. His inner crises went through several redundant journeys through the course of the series. Megan didn't do much for me either.

The final season and the final episode were stunning.

Mad Men is so well executed that I plan on watching the whole thing again. Not right away, of course, but probably within a year. I don't know what I'm going to do without those guys.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Kate Copeland, Recollection Room

I've been listening to Kate Copeland's debut album all afternoon. Recollection Room is such a lush and lovely and endlessly gorgeous work. Copeland's voice is so inviting. She is so delightful to listen to. There is a lot of warmth and mastery to the vocals. The music is complex and nuanced with soft mossy depths, and crystal clear heights.

I've been waiting for the release of this album for a while. I was already addicted to a couple of the singles. "Breaking" is entirely captivating, devastatingly romantic. I've listened to it numerous times and each time hear something new. I heard Copeland perform "Cruel Tongue" live a couple of years ago and this song never fails to send chills down my spine with it's emotional sophistication and haunting expression of regret.

It was great to hear all the songs on this wonderful album. Today I played the final track, "Rosaline", over and over. It's one of the prettiest things I've ever heard. The thing about Kate Copeland's voice is I don't believe one can ever tire of listening to it. I would be perfectly happy if songs such as "Seam Down the Middle" went on forever.