Monthly Archives: June 2011

covers: cuties

I, unlike many people, love a good cover… of a song, that is. I’m actually a total sucker for a good cover, the further off from the original the better. I’ll try to share some favorites here and there, if I remember.

first up in this “series” of sorts are two lovely, sort of sad, and very re-imagined covers done by two artists I like, who are both adorable cuties.

here is mirah’s version of bruce springsteen’s 1984 hit, “dancing in the dark.” the video isn’t really a video, just an audio file. while I’m not really a fan of the boss (although I did see him a few years ago at jazzfest, and I will say he puts on a heck of a show), I love what mirah did with her version. it’s certainly *very* different from the original.

next is swedish alt-pop delight lykke li’s version of “will you still love me tomorrow” written by carole king (a favorite of mine–how can you not love her?!)  and gerry goffin, it was a huge hit for the shirelles in 1960, although I prefer carole’s version, which she did with james taylor.

no offense to the shirelles, though, as I also love me some mid-century girl groups.

the shirelles version is much swoonier, poppier, and puppy-love-crush-sick than carole’s, which is much sadder and prettier, but it retains a redemtive quality that lifts it out of the totally depressing bin. carole certainly knows her way around a sad but redeeming ballad.

lykke li’s version, as you’ll see (er, hear), brings the sad to a new level… she makes it seem like a desperate sadness, a truly lovesick ache. and damn if I’m not a sucker for that kind of stuff.

stay tuned for more covers. I’ll try to avoid anything too hackneyed… a dear musician friend of mine once told me that “everyone thinks they can play a good cover of ‘use me’*… and they can’t.”

well said. if I ever take up the ukulele (the only instrument I think  might stand a chance at mastering) I’ll keep that in mind.

*I hope this isn’t necessary, but I am obviously referring to bill withers’s epic tune.

feet

while browsing my photo library the other day, I discovered a funny thing: I take lots of pictures of my feet. very silly, yes, but it’s interesting to see all the places I have my feet have taken me that I have photographed. I rounded all the “feet portraits” (that almost sounds obscene) into one folder—there are nearly 30 of them. when seen together they make a funny little collection of stories.

here are a few:

new orleans, LA: a day exploring, hence the need for sneakers in the summertime

fountainebleau state park, LA: toes to lake pontchartrain, a day of hiking and animal-sightings

destin, FL: vacation and new shoes

muir beach, ca: drinking coffee after a morning walk

chalmette battlefield/mississippi river, LA: getting too close to the river and sinking in the mud

prospect park, brooklyn, NY: walking on the icy patches and through knee-deep snow

muir beach, ca: tidepooling barefoot in december

14th street subway stop, NY, NY: waiting for the train home after class, favorite oxford shoes

been awhile

well, hello.

it seems I have been absent for some time. well, here I am, alive and well. but the 3 people who read this blog probably already knew that.

I am in the golden state, the place of my birth, the place from which I have been absent for a long time, the place about which joan didion wrote:
“in at least one respect California—the California we are talking about—resembles Eden: it is assumed  that those who absent themselves from its blessings have been banished, exiled by some perversity of the heart.”

no comment, as my own heart resembles something like a ‘perverse’ blend of half California poppies, wine, and ocean water, half crawfish heads, jazz, and Louisiana river silt.

but enough about that.

here is what I am currently reading:

– “listen to this” by alex ross (non-fiction): the new yorker’s music critic on, well, music, from classical (a term he hates) to bjork.

– “st. lucy’s home for girls raised by wolves” by karen russell (fiction): a delightful story collection in the tradition of marquez and katherine dunn. it only mildly depresses me that this book was published when russell was only 25.

– “the purity myth” by jessica valenti (non-fiction): a righteous political powerhouse about america’s (namely the christian right’s) obsession with young women’s virginity, and how it reduces and sexualizes young women’s worth and morality to passivity and virginal “goodness.” valenti kicks ass. this book, in my case, is definitely “preaching to the choir,” but as my sister reminded me recently “even the choir needs practice.”

– “the new kings of nonfiction” edited by ira glass: a collection of essays by glass’s favored writers from malcom gladwell to susan orlean. published a few years ago, and something I’ve always meant to pick up. so far, it’s excellent. of course my love of ira glass is documented.

– “p.t. barnum: america’s greatest showman” by the kunharts (a father and two sons–nonfiction): an awesome illustrated biography of p.t. barnum. as far as historical figures go, I may or may not have a mild obsession with barnum. what’s not to love? insanse hubris! the circus! freak shows! animals! ridiculous (if not exploitative) business-savvy! I’m loving this book, especially all the awesome photos, posters and ephemera from barnum’s circuses and museum in NYC (which burned down in 1865—oh if only time-travel were possible!).

– “the partly cloudy patriot” by sarah vowell (nonfiction): I LOVE sarah vowell, and since her new book “unfamiliar fishes” (about the 1898 annexation of hawaii, which I cannot wait to read) has a library check-out wait-list from hell, I am biding my time by reading through her back-catalog. this is one of her more well-known books, a collection of essays about this here country, and I’m, of course, enjoying it. her piece about visitng disneyworld with david rackoff  is particularly hilarious.

*

completely unrelated, here is a picture of the cake I made last weekend of father’s day:

yum.