jesse_the_k: mirror reflection of 1/3 of my head, creating a central third eye, a heart shaped face, and a super-pucker mouth (Default)

LeKesha, at the group blog Black Girl Nerds, meditates on the talents and mental illness of the marvelous Nina Simone:

quote, link, video  )

Spotify playlist

jesse_the_k: Well nourished white woman riding black Quantum 4400 powerchair off the right edge, chased by the word "powertool" (JK powertool)

One of my earliest and longest-lasting fandoms is civic infrastructure. Not only did I float boats down the gutters when I was a child, I built dams and spillways.

decoding the title of this post )

A musical rabbit hole )

jesse_the_k: amazed Alanna (hero of Staples/Vaughn SAGA comic) (alanna is amazed)

The Bottle Boys make beautiful music using found instruments:

  • Melodies from blowing across beer bottles (in 10-packs, carefully tuned) and
  • Percussion from shaking pop bottles full of rocks and beating a large, empty carboy.

You can see the many instrumental pop songs they’ve covered at

Combine that with a quartet of three violin & a cello and you’ve got this video:

Stings Strings & Bottles )

[description: All players are white, blond, male Danes. Additional melodies come from

  • a glass harmonica of wine glasses, their rims excited by chopsticks, finger tips, and violin bows
  • an alto pan pipe of test-tubes
  • a tenor pan pipe of wine bottles
  • a bass pan pipe of growlers
  • inserting fingers in bottle neck and swiftly popping them

Percussion includes

  • hand slapping chest
  • hands & chopsticks on the cello
  • a wee plastic egg full of rice]
jesse_the_k: Cartoon of white male drowning in storm, right hand reaching out desperately, with text "Someone tweeted" (death by tweet)
Yesterday I went up to the Capitol and found it shorn of all the signs. The line from the Republiguns is the blue tape is damaging the marble -- of which none of us would approve. But the good news was a stack of songsheets, so I had the chance to share an hour in song with good-hearted comrades from all over.

A better taste here: Long time favorites Lou and Peter Berryman were rousing the crowd a few weeks back, as captured on video by Luciano. There were stereo interpreters, but they're not always in frame. I don't have the energy or cognition to provide full transcripts: a couple of polished folk singers changed up the lyrics of two standards to fit current conditions.

on the frame of We Shall Not Be Moved....

We'll keep this rally rolling
We Shall Not Be Moved
Although we should be bowling...
We Shall Not Be Moved

and to the tune of My Bonny Lies Over the Ocean:

Wisconsin whose motto was 'Forward'
Was populist as it could be
But now the new motto is 'Backward'
O bring back Wisconsin to me.

and finally, all the verses to Solidarity Forever!
(what a grand song!)
jesse_the_k: Human in professorial suit but with head of Golden Retriever, labeled "Woof" (doctor dog to you)
Major excitement continues. Madison is the arena for a fierce battle between newly-elected Gov Scott Walker and all unions. Also many Democrats and, it seems, most Madisonians. (It's a company town, between the State, County and University. Walker's all about the cuts.) Jesse Jackson was talking today, Sarah Palin is due to talk tomorrow, and I'm planning on staying the hell out of Dodge. Navigating a crowd in a powerchair is claustrophobic at best, imprisoning at worst.

Ever wondered how to ensure that the maximum amount of money goes to the musician when you buy tunes? I surely have! NPR's story says (in summary). Any retail, whether online or bricks-and-mortar, takes a huge chunk out of the transaction before the musicians see any of it. Best way to buy is direct from the band.
jesse_the_k: kitty pawing the surface of Atlantic phonograph record on turntable  (scratch this!)
The song Bread & Roses was inspired by the IWW (Wobbly) organizing campaign in the Lawrence, Mass textile mills. The workers were almost all female (since the owners could pay them less) and mostly immigrants. My family history somehow intersects here: I heard fuzzy stories growing up about my Socialist Grandfather Knebel running away from the company police on the Lawrence train platform—I assumed he was in town making trouble.

March 8th used to be one pivot point of my year.
Read and hear all the details )
jesse_the_k: Human in professorial suit but with head of Golden Retriever, labeled "Woof" (doctor dog to you)
Full disclosure: we are 100% bah humbug at our house. I'm culturally Jewish and personally athiest. MyGuy was double-dipped Baptized and left organized religion with junior high. Christmas means Asian food and avoiding family members. No presents, no singing, no hits, no runs, no errors.

When we started listening to A Prairie Home Companion in 1977, it was cool and retro. Unfortunately Garrison Keillor decided around a decade ago that he could really sing, and now it's just annoying.

Even worse was his column this week asking the non-Christians to stay away from Christmas. In particular, why are these annoying Jews writing those annoyingly secular holiday tunes (like White Christmas and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer).

That bastion of Hebraic effete East-coast elitism, the NYTimes, followed up with Michael Feinstein's story of complaints because his Christmas program included too many Jewish songs.

Nicely matched, both linked at this TIME blog from James Poniewozik's Christmas is Too Jewish? Oy Vey.

But the real reason to follow the link is the fabulous Saturday Night Live animation, where the genuine Darleen Love sings "Christmas Time for the Jews" in all her Motown glory.
jesse_the_k: mirror reflection of 1/3 of my head, creating a central third eye, a heart shaped face, and a super-pucker mouth (on guard)
This is Your Brain on Music
The Science of a Human Obsession
Daniel J Levitin
ISBN 0-525-94969-0
Dutton, 2006

Eight out of ten stars.

A delightful, page-turning introduction to the neurological basis of musical performance and appreciation. I love "scientist-for-a-day" books, which explore a topic in enough depth to surprise and educate me, and are aimed at the curious lay reader who lacks calculus, chemistry, or other deep scientific fundamentals. I have the flattering illusion that I actually understand the material as I read it, and retain some high points. and you'll read about them in the cut )

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jesse_the_k: mirror reflection of 1/3 of my head, creating a central third eye, a heart shaped face, and a super-pucker mouth (Default)
Jesse the K

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