Gratitude List

I have an alert set on my phone that goes off nightly as a reminder to make a mental list of things I’m grateful for that day. Thanksgiving Day was yesterday and I’ve just gotten done eating a second plate of leftovers today. I’m grateful for that today.

I took the train out to my parent’s house yesterday for an early dinner with most of my mom’s side of the family. A cousin’s fiance commented on my plate above, “Wow, you’re going to eat all of that?!” I’m thankful to have the self control not to punch you in the face. There was lots of talk about the election. I’m thankful that it’s over. I was thankful to see my family, who I hadn’t seen since before I went to Poland. I was also thankful to have the chance to play with their 12-week-old kitten. She’s weighs a whole four pounds now. And she’s cray-cray. 

I stayed the night and left early this morning to return to my apartment for a day of relaxing with Playbill, watching Confirmation on HBO Go and another episode of The Crowns, and tonight I’m going to see Guster at the Beacon Theatre. 

There are still two days left to the holiday weekend. I hope the rest of the weekend has yoga and coffee in it. 

Marie and Rosetta // Atlantic Theatre Company, 9.30.16

Last weekend my friend invited me to Atlantic Theatre Company’s main stage in Chelsea to see Marie and Rosetta. It was about Rosetta Tharpe, a guitar playing musician who brought some swing into gospel music, and when she auditioned Marie Knight, a young singer she saw performing in a church. I was interested mainly because Rebecca Naomi Jones was playing Marie, but I also knew the vocal tour de force Kecia Lewis as Rosetta would not disappoint.

The set was a simple funeral parlor, because black singers in that part of the south weren’t really welcome and they took what accommodations they could get. Through out the 90 minutes, the two performers continually get more comfortable with one another and practice different arrangements of Rosetta’s music. Once Marie sheds her church-girl facade, the two performers sync up and the music flows naturally.

I really loved seeing Jones perform again, having not seen her onstage since Hedwig and the Angry Inch. She’s just such a natural talent. I really enjoyed Kecia Jones, too, with her booming voice. The two were a badass duo.

Marie and Rosetta is playing through October 16th and totally worth seeing, even if you don’t know their music. 

I was really, really confused when I first listened to Green Day’s new track, Bang Bang, from their upcoming album (!) Revolution Radio yesterday morning on Spotify. I got somewhat that it was from the POV of a mass shooter but it wasn’t until I watched the video they made accompanying the song with the lyrics that I realized, yes, this is exactly that.

And the lyrics are subtle as fuck.

Not since the band’s criticism of the Bush administration on American Idiot have they been really political or this discreet with their lyrics (in my opinion). They criticized the hell out of that administration and never once mentioned their names.

But the thing is: I’m not sure which mass shooters they’re criticizing. Billie Joe was quoted saying he was inspired to write the song and the album after joining in a march in NYC for Michael Brown and his unfortunate shooting by the police. But the song sounds much more like a commentary on the Omar Mateen’s (the Orlando shooter) of the country than a commentary on bad police shootings. Basically it sounds like he’s calling out Islamic extremism.

Before you get your panties in a twist, I think it is 100% possible to talk about Islamic extremists without painting every single Muslim as a terrorist (because they’re obviously not). If a Christian went out and killed people and said it was for Jesus, we’d have no problem calling him/her a Christian extremist without implying that all Christians are bad. So, if you can’t handle me using that phrase, than scroll to the next blog and enjoy living your life with trigger warnings. (Side note: all religions are bad, in my opinion.)

I digress. Anyways, I think this is probably the case because of the following lyrics:

I wanna be like the soldiers on the screen
It’s my private movie (Holy War)
Oh baby, baby, this is Viva Vendetta
Oh this is love or it’s World War Zero

What soldiers? Most likely ISIS since the news likes to play videos of them all the time. Holy War? Hmm. Viva Vendetta? ISIS just released a list of reasons why they hate us (meaning western culture); one of which was for invading their lands. And the lyrics,”I want to be a celebrity Martyr” just make me think this is about religion

Then again there are these lyrics that make me think it’s about the Dylan Roof’s of the country:

I am a semi-automatic lonely boy
You’re dead, I’m well fed
Give me death or give me head.

Lots of these mass shooters who haven’t been motivated by Islamic extremism often have in common that they’re loners who aren’t good with girls (give me head). They come from decent families (I’m well fed) who don’t see it coming (or maybe they did and ignored it).  

But despite the supposed-lyrics that it’s about all of the mass shooters, let’s not forget the bridge music that sounds very, very, very like Arabian/Middle Eastern music (2.05 mark in the song). The sound bites before the song starts, too, are about executions which are exclusively an ISIS/Islamic extremist practice right now (at least in the news; I know other religions have partaken throughout history, thank you). 

I really haven’t found much discussion online so I’d love to know what your take on the song is. All I know is that, despite the topic, I love the song. And I love the subtly. It’s American Idiot all over again. There are even homages paid to St. Jimmy and Letterbomb in there.

October 9th can’t get here fast enough.

Weezer @ Warsaw, 3.30.16

Two weeks ago I ventured to the border between Greenpoint and Williamsburg to a little venue called Warsaw for an intimate night with one of my favorites, Weezer. I love their music but admittedly, I don’t follow them as closely as I do Green Day and sometimes I’m not happy about that (I know, #firstworldproblems). I saw them play an epic concert with The Flaming Lips in 2011 and hadn’t had the chance to see them again since. 

Warsaw felt smaller than Irving Plaza. Ben and I stood to the side near the front the entire time. There was another fan next to us who was probably in his late 30′s and was likely in college when the Blue Album came out. He looked like he probably asked his wife to watch their first born for the night so he could relive his college memories. 

They played for an hour and a half and they played all their hits (no, really, look at this setlist). Including Beverly Hills! This was the one song they didn’t play in 2011 that I wanted to play. Weezer is a trip down memory lane through grade school and now through my 20s.

I didn’t get home until 11:30 on a “school” night, but it was worth it. 

#throwbackthursday

I realized I had a bunch of old photo posts that I never actually posted, so they’re being turned into #throwbackthursday posts. 

This is from 2013 when Paul McCartney played a surprise mini-concert in Times Square. It was pretty awesome. Working in midtown kind of sucks, but this was one of the perks: being close to the action. 

Don’t Look Back in Anger

Back when I was unceremoniously downsized (with four days’ severance! And only because I made a point of asking for it!) from the last company that I was working at, I wasn’t all that terribly scared.  The environment in that office was toxic and stifling and this was the last sign I needed that the CEO who’d been all nice and cheery when trying to convince me to work with him was really a total dickbag. So, I was glad to be getting away. I was exhausted with the idea of going through LinkedIn and Indeed but I knew how to do it and I got it done. A week and a half into my search I had an offer from a place that was managed by two awesome women and I’d also gotten really good vibes when I’d been into the office to meet with them. After applying for around 70 jobs, and a couple of other great interviews, I formally accepted the offer and started last Monday. It’s temp-to-perm which is a bit frightening but I have faith that it should go perm pretty fast (fingers crossed). There’s also a woman at a start-up fighting to a new role approved and to hire me, but you never know what’s going to happen at a start-up so we’ll see.

There was a bag of a few things that I’d left at my former job that I needed to pick up. When I emailed the woman who I was supposed to be taking over (she’s a total idiot) for about picking it up, she said we should “grab a bite.” I told her thanks but I needed to come long after lunch time. What did I really want to say? “No fucking way, you asshole.”

I was really mad for a while that I’d let the promise of more opportunity, a bigger workload, and more money cloud my vision and allow myself to be recruited away from a job that I truly loved at a company that I truly adored. But you know what? I would’ve stayed at the job (that I was recruited to) out of principle and I probably would’ve been miserable. So, getting downsized was probably the best thing that could’ve happened. I had to make room in my life for a better job to come along and that was done for me.

There’s no job that’s worth being unhappy for. A larger paycheck is nice but if you’re unhappy or bored, I don’t think it’s worth it. The old way of life when you have a job for 30, or even 5(!), years is over. You work somewhere, learn all you can, and move on for more opportunity. Your job shouldn’t be your life, but I don’t think it’s worth any paycheck if it makes you miserable either.

Whether you’re laid off or you quit, have faith that you’re making space for something different, and probably better. 

PLAY THIS MOVIE REALLY FUCKING LOUD!

Ben and I caught one of the two (or three?) screenings of Heart Like a Hand Grenade, the documentary about the creative process behind Green Day’s American Idiot, last night on the Upper East Side. Our theatre was half-empty but it was nevertheless a good time. 

Heart Like a Hand Grenade was like sitting in your living room and reuniting with old friends for the first time in a while and picking up like no time had passed at all. It was like listening to your favorite high school album for the first time in a decade (even though we all know that we have for sure listened to this album at least a couple times a year for the last 11 years).

The lights went down and onscreen was a notice, “PLAY THIS MOVIE REALLY FUCKING LOUD.” To be honest, they could’ve played it louder, but I’ve been hard-of-hearing from Green Day before so it’s probably best that it wasn’t. Billie Joe and Mike haven’t aged a day in 11 years. They took us through every track on the album, the recording process, the mixing process, and mixed it with cuts from a concert in California, presumably the first time they played through the album (oh, to have been there..). I laughed when Billie Joe was complaining about people on message boards trashing Warning and I wanted to jump up and be like, “Fuck those guys! Warning is the best!” You know, after American Idiot and Dookie

HLAHG was funny, serious, sad, and hilarious. The guys even thanked the fans in the credits: “Thank you to the fans who waited 11 years for this documentary.” You’re welcome, dude. As big fans: we left the theatre happy and sated. If you are in the music business or a Green Day fan, this is definitely worth a watch.