“I don’t care if people talk through shows. They paid for their ticket; they can do what they want. It’s not a church. But the appropriateness of chatter is all about context. There is a time and place for listening, for capturing every word, every nuance, every motion on stage. But this isn’t the case for a lot of popular music today, which, by incorporating dance beats, disco beats, Afro-beats (or whatever), lends itself to a party, where people should drink generously and talk loudly. It’s a good thing. For a songwriter like myself, the audience can be overwhelmingly attentive. I don’t tour often and my songs have a lot of words (and very little “four on the floor”), so I understand wanting to hear everything. I don’t create a party vibe. But honestly I don’t always like the standing and staring zombie look I get from the stage. The reverent, respectful posture from a crowd can be a bit overbearing. I would rather people lighten up, get drunk and have fun. The whole enterprise of music is about celebration and exhibitionism. Crowd chatter, catcalling, shushing, drunken revelry – all that noise allows for the public to participate. This is the era of exhibitionism. We are entitled to it.”—Sufjan Stevens (The Independent) (via fuckyeahsufjanstevens)
Holly Miranda continues to win. Not many stories inspire and resonate with me anymore, but hers does. Not much music makes me a fan in one listen, hers did and I heard one set of hers at a soundcheck and was hooked.
Last night at 7pm I dozed off then woke up startled on the sofa, and staggered over to the table to eat dinner, and asked “Can you pass the chocolate sauce?”. This was nonexistent. My sister handed me the ketchup.
This song is like that movie Amelie in 3 minutes. It also reminds me of a rainy night which was my last at a job that had really drained a lot from me. I had almost no money and no job prospects, but got happier and happier (and more soaked in the rain) the further into the East Village I walked, thinking about music and bumping into random friends in an enormous city which suddenly felt like a small town.
(Thanks to my sister who put this on a mixtape for me)
PS: Happy Chinese New Year! Maybe I’m biased because I have some Chinese ancestry and a ton of Chinese friends and grew up going to Chinese supermarkets on both coasts for weekly grocery shopping, but I’ve always liked this New Year more. So, in case the last two months have been tough, here’s to a lucky, happy New Year.
(And remember, the Chinese invented the printing press and non-imperialist circumnavigation before anyone else did, so they might know something about Lunar New Year you don’t.)
1) About to set out to play a Geek Chic Party for the College of Visual and Performing Arts at my alma mater. It requires geek attire, and I dressed up for it, looked in the mirror and realized this outfit is what I normally wear.
2) If you put hornrimmed glasses on Josh Holloway and cut his hair and put him in 50s garb, you would have the definitive Misfit from A Good Man is Hard to Find. My one time English major heart would go pitter patter at the Southern gothic-ness of it all. But it would have to be a short film or an HBO series based on the stories of Flannery O’Connor. Anything else would be literary sacrilege.
My most successful friend in terms of learning new things, self-improvement, and actually achieving interesting stuff (yeah Mullstie, that’s you!) once said “yeah, people don’t need to know that”. She never EVER announces her goals bombastically. She sort of mutters them inaudibly to the janitor and the dog and then the next time you see her she 30lbs lighter and knows how to play the didgeridoo.
“Once when I was 12, Lila [our grandmother] told me that if I get married and my husband doesn’t appreciate my baking, she was the first person I should go to, because she had a pistol in her closet.”—My sister recounting an order from my grandmother, who survived WWII on the run in the Philippines as a girl, the Marcos dictatorship, and cancer; is a crack shot with a gun; rides rollercoasters for fun because she’s not afraid of anything; and uses better, newer technology (iPods, laptops) before I even know they exist.
“For it is not inertia alone that is responsible for human relationships repeating themselves from case to case, indescribably monotonous and unrenewed: it is shyness before any sort of new, unforeseeable experience with which one does not think oneself able to cope. But only someone who is ready for everything, who excludes nothing, not even the most enigmatical, will live the relation to another as something alive and will himself draw exhaustively from his own existence.”—
Rainer Maria Rilke.
It’s 4:30 AM and I’m writing more cover letters and watching IFC (Jon Hamm! ahoy!) and in this random movie they’re quoting Rilke and it reminds me of a time that Jess Hodge lent me Letters to a Young Poet when I was pretty down and out, and I read the whole thing riding the trains until I could do something other than ride the trains. Thank you Jess.
Last week I had a drink with an experienced exec that has worked in big companies all of his life and never worked for a startup. That’s fine, not everyone is made for a startup life.
But at one point, in the conversation he told me that he’s been tempted by startups a number of times but reminded himself of that old saying “the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t”.
I paused when I heard that comment. I believe that saying is counter productive.
To me, it says that the person is unwilling or unable to take chance or make a decision where the outcome is unknown. I told him that the outcome is rarely ever known.
I thought about that conversation last night while watching the Super Bowl. The Saints started the second half with an onside kick. I was blown away. What a gutsy call. I’m not sure how many teams recover an onside kick but that didn’t stop the Saints from giving it a try. They just went for it. And it paid off big time.
Gutsy calls knock on your door when you least expect it. Every startup I’ve been part of had uncertainly baked in. The first gutsy call I made was at 22. I quit my first job, took my life savings of <$3k, packed my life possessions in the back of my hatch back and drove from Boston to San Francisco in 4 days. I had no idea what life was going to bring.
Most people I’ve met in SF actually came from somewhere else. They left it all behind and didn’t think about the devil they know vs the devil they don’t. They just went for it. Maybe that is one reason why SF is a special place to me. It’s a gathering of folks that are taking personal risks.
Now, don’t get me wrong, people take risks everywhere but my direct & personal experience with SF transplants is an interesting datapoint (for me at least)
Most people that I’ve met who have remarkable life stories always looked back on their gutsy calls and were happy that they took that chance. Even if it didn’t work out in that specific instance they were better for leaving behind that safe cozy place.