Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Fraggle Rock

Under smoke screen of a Bailey's Pub late night drinking session with Kristie and Daniel, sitting quietly by Adam's side, we listened to song after song roll off the satellite radio. It felt like someone was scavenging through my high school cd collection, now long hidden in a deep dark corner of my bedroom closet. At least that's the way I felt....Smashing Pumpkins, Beck, Butthole Surfers, Nirvana, Pearl Jam...

It brought out this starry eyed girl, all of these little memories, sitting in sophomore art class and listening to the LA's on "Bring Your Own Music Day" as the other kids grumbled about how they wanted to listen to Randy Travis. I thought of my first Lollapalooza, the bonfires we danced around at the frenzied end of a long, extremely exhausting day as Billy Corgan screeched and swallowed us whole into his own oblivion. Singing the lyrics to Beck's Loser in my high school bathroom, thinking I was alone, and giggles and a "you're weird", falling out of the mouth of the mighty Margie Sefton as she slammed open the end stall door. She laughed at the befuddled look on my face and told me it was true...

I was weird. I guess I still am. Sitting around with friends and discussing the beginnings and ending of our many music loves, I realize that there is so much that I regret missing out on, growing up in such a hollow small prairie town. And there are so many things that I'm glad I never found out about until later, until I was ready to appreciate. Yes, I never had MTV. I'll never see those visions in my head when I hear a song that others see. I only see those moments, late night driving moments, art all nighters at Archer, somber nights sitting on the hood of my car and watching the strange lights in the distance coming from the direction of St. Elmo...what were those anyway... I've no idea. I dream alot in these thoughts, walking through these memories like a great hall of portraits, only they are guided by a song, telling me the importance of each grating and blissful brushstoke made by Mark Kozelek, Michael Stipe, Jason Falkner, Over the Rhine.

These dark and course rounds of song, a porthole, bringing me back to myself a few minutes later down the road. I'd just seen Kelly and Josh listening to Led Zeppelin, hovered around a blazing fire in a field somewhere. I'd just been told over the top of NIN's haunting heart wrenchers that Neil Skippers loved another girl more than me. I just danced through a crowd and into the arms of my friends as Sunny Day Real Estate took the stage and heads began to sway, as Ben Folds played his piano with his stool, as Mad Richard of the Verve writhed and flailed and yowled, and as I wiped the tired tears of a long day in New Orleans away from my eyes and stretched to the top of my toes to see Elliott Smith frown his way into my heart.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Jeff Higgason

He stood at the counter, fumbling with his keys, eyes peeking down through thick glasses, gaze then quickly turning away. Shifting from side to side, perspiration forming on his brow. I had no idea what to say. I had seen him in the store before. Here he was asking me to go to a music festival, a girl he didn't even know.

We drove to St. Louis for Point Fest. I remember They Might Be Giants causing a giant conga line to be formed across the lawn at Riverport. I jumped up, running to break in and join this line of hundreds of kids snaking around and up and down the hill yelling and dancing and singing in the summer sun. Jeff sat with his friends, unaffected and quiet.

I never really knew. Or maybe didn't want to think about the fact that he liked me. It was several years later, riding in my car and listening to the mixed tapes that he had made for me that I suddenly realized...
I was an idiot.

We lost touch long ago. I'll probably never be able to tell him what an amazing influence he had on me, how he changed my way of thinking about music.

The "I just Felt Like Making Sara a Tape" Mix

Vincent - NOFX
Tears of a Clown - English Beat
Where Did You Sleep Last Night - Lead Belly
Shimmer like a Girl - Veruca Salt
Outer Space - The Muffs
I've Been Waiting - Matthew Sweet
I Don't Want to Go to Chelsea - Elvis Costello
If You Could Only See - Tonic
Superstition - Stevie Wonder
Yes, The River Knows - The Doors
Panama City Motel - Sugar
Prove Yourself - Radiohead


Naima - John Coltrane
The Man in Me - Bob Dylan
Clove - Green Pyramids
99 Red Balloons - 7 Seconds
Just Like Heaven - The Cure
Whip - Fred Schneider
Don't Tell Your Mother - The Sundays
Swan Theme No. 10 Act II - Rimsky - Korsakov
I want the Angel - Jim Carroll
Ain't No Cure For Love - Leonard Cohen
Here Comes Your Man - the Pixies

Sara Mix : Vol 2


Where Is My Mind - The Pixies
There Is A Light That Never Goes Out - The Smiths
If I Should Die Tonight - Marvin Gaye
Moment - The Pietasters
California Dreamin - Hi-Standard
Can't Fight It - Bob Mould
The Unseen Power of the Picket Fence - Pavement
We're the Same - Matthew Sweet


The Killing Moon - Echo and the Bunnymen
Shimmer - Fuel
What Does It Take? - Jr Walker and the Allstars
In Dreams - Roy Orbison
Nite Club - The Specials
Crazy Love - Van Morrison
In A Sentimental Mood - Duke Ellington & John Coltrane
Coney Island Baby - Lou Reed

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Erick and I sat on the porch of Seama's apartment. Kids slouched in tired chairs around us, a crowd gyrated and jumped to Outkast just inside the door. Downstairs, bottles were breaking, laughter, yelling. We sat, eyes bright, leaning forward, discussing his radio show in Tuscaloosa, soul music, projects, collectors. Fifteen minutes before, I had felt a bit lost walking through the hazy, loud apartment, bumping into people, Adeeba pulling me out to the center of the room to dance. I had already had my night out with Jess and Hollis and Rebecca. I was a bit tired. I was there...why was I there? To see Seama and Adeeba and Charles. To hug them. Charles sat beside me, Adeeba and Seama were shimmying and twirling a few feet away. Erick told me of his baby sister and her unusual interest in music, that at 11 she was already telling him what she really did and didn't like in different songs, her preferences in soul and classic rock.

"You'd expect her to like something like..." He scratched his chin and looked around.

"Britney Spears?" I finished his thought.

"I got her a Beatles t-shirt..I'm making her a compilation of their songs."

I smiled. I thought of that musty coat closet by the front door in my childhood home. Down under the hem of a London Fog duster, through the scent of mothballs and leather and dust, I spent many a morning, digging and shifting and pulling out a wonderland of sound. Stacks and stacks of records. I can't imagine who I'd be today with out that, without my father's record collection. I wondered as Erick talked glowingly, proudly of his little sister if she would feel the same way about his gift of music in a few years time.

Discovery of the Day

Um...my birthday is coming soon. You know, like in November...
Do you think we can put one of these together by then so I can drive it with joy through the streets of Birmingam? Holy crapness. What a beautiful and disturbing thing,

Karaoke Ice



From the Website:

"Project Overview
Imagine an ice cream truck transformed into a mobile karaoke unit, driven by a squirrel cub with a penchant for cheap magic, deployed to spark spontaneous interaction between passersby in Chavez Plaza and surrounding neighborhoods.

The truck, or Lucci as she is known, is a tasty pop culture hybrid, one that brings three familiar expressions of network cultureice cream trucks, datasets, and karaoke barsinto conversation. Dressed in song and shimmer, Lucci broadcasts twinkly pop songs in endless, repetitive loops as she weaves her way through the zone of the festival. At nighttime, once her work for the day is done, its time to let loose. She finds a party to join, dispatches the squirrel to hustle some more karaoke, and enjoys the festival entertainment.

Participants perform for an audience from a stage in the transformed rear of the vehicle, and use a customized karaoke engine to select, sing, and record a song for later broadcast. Free popsicles lure passersby to participate, creating an economy of exchange: She gives you icies, and you give her a song. Remedios the Squirrel Cub, the resident MC, distributes the pops and dances badly while choreographing enigmatic rituals of his own. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. Work it. Heart of Glass. I Want You to Want Me. The streets of San Jose transformed through flavor and song. The resulting mix is one that celebrates the power of music to entice and inflame, as well as the sense of community that can be fostered among strangers trapped in a terrestrial network.