Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Here are 3 women-based comedy/dramas from 1991-2 that I watched over the holiday break on late-late night cable. These movies were well cast, chockfull of important women issues, and fully (I swear!) worth re-watching.
A real "Rockford Peach"
A real "Rockford Peach"
A League of Their Own (1992) starring Lori Petty, Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Madonna. Directed by Penny Marshall.
Taglines: "There's no crying in baseball!" and "A women's place is on home, first, second, and third."
Madonna was at her apex of super-stardom here, yet cast as a co-star. Thats why all the posters show her bigger than Tom Hanks, or sometimes just her with a baseball bat. This is the fictionalized story of the real Rockford Peaches, one of the All-American Girls Pro Baseball Leagues (1943-1954) that existed while men were off fighting the war. Tom Hanks is the consistently hungover coach who learns to curb his drinking for the sake of the women's team and finds a friend in the do-gooder Dottie, the team catcher (Geena Davis). His spitting physical comedy here is at its best and quite possibly the last really funny role he's played. The women play ball with fury all the while knowing that inevitably the men will be back and Women's Baseball will sadly soon come to an end. There's a real Girls-Rock-Camp feel to the characters - all the women work their way into a boy's club, all are dedicated, hard hitters, and most are loud yet vulnerable. The ending is a bit of a mixed bag bummer (looking back when they're older in 1988) but in all its silly, fun, retro, and totally inspirational.
Thelma and Louise (1991) starring Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis, Harvey Keitel, Brad Pitt. Directed by Ridley Scott.
Tagline: "Someone said get a life... so they did."
Don't let The Simpson's parodies of this or the general saturation of "2 women in a Thunderbird convertible on a nihilistic road-trip" stop you from watching this movie again. Try to watch it as if you've never seen it before. When this movie came out, we thought women's roles in cinema were going to change forever, that this would clearly rewrite women's characters in to multi-dimensional rebels and leading roles ...but its easy to see that it didn't change as much or as often as we thought. Geena Davis stars again, this time as a housewife who barely escapes a violent act, and learns to live for the first time as a fearless, gun holding yet politely feminine outlaw (manners count!). Susan Sarandon, always amazing, is scared, trapped, fighting, and beautiful all at the same MOMENT. Harvey Keitel is not at his best, but then again, this isn't his most ambitious role. Brad Pitt always plays a perfect dumb blonde with humor. Raw, enlightening, scary, ultra modern.
Death Becomes Her (1992) starring Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn, Bruce Willis. Directed by Robert Zemeckis.
Tagline: "Some people will go to any lengths to stay looking young."
This story of 2 L.A. women obsessed with looking young is just as poignant today, if not MORE, then ever. Meryl Streep plays a character who has consistently stolen Goldie Hawn's men since they were kids, then goes on to steal her husband (the bumbling DUD of a man Bruce Willis). And c'mon, Meryl Streep can do no wrong, she is always fabulous, so watch it for that alone. This is some serious silliness and some seriously early CGI...but it works. Full on comedy/90's slapstick. The problem is this: we laugh at these women who will do anything to hang on to firm butts, wonder-bra chests, and perfect skin.. but, because of Isabella Rossellini's insatiable sexiness as the head mistress of anti-aging, who can blame them for wanting it? I might want the youth-serum too if she's selling it. In a nut-shell its funny, light, smart, & cringeworthy.
Friday, December 23, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
R&B/Disco band "A Taste of Honey" (1971-82) from Los Angeles were Janice Marie Johnson (bass) and Hazel Payne (guitar), as well as Perry Kibble (keys) and Donald Johnson (drums). As any bassist knows, its not so easy to sing and play at the same time - especially over disco rhythms and riffs.
I saw this on VH1 Classics about 15 years ago and have been searching for a video of it ever since. Her bass hand and style really blew me away. I remember sitting on a couch at a friend's apartment on Bowery and seeing this, both of us saying "whoa" at the same time. And I never forgot it after all these years. Thanks to the internet, I was able to find out that it was "A Taste of Honey" and here it is.
Monday, December 19, 2011
Last minute gift? Packages of 1, 2, 3, or 4 lessons available before Xmas. Comes with a card. Wrap up a guitar or a pair of drumsticks and get them started. They are welcome to contact us anytime throughout the year to schedule lessons. Info and email here!
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Did a little bandcoaching this weekend for the women putting on "KARATE KID, the Musical." With songs like "Your the Best - Around" by Joe Esposito, "Cruel Summer" by Bananarama and originals such as "Mr. Miyagi," this show will be a SUREFIRE effin hit. I CAN'T WAIT!
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
2011 Nobel Peace Prize Winners illustrated:
* activist LEYMAH GBOWEE of Liberia
* Liberian President ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF
* rights activist TAWAKULL KARMEN of Yemen.
According to the Nobel committee in Oslo, these 3 women were chosen "for their nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work. We cannot achieve democracy and lasting peace in the world unless women obtain the same opportunities as men to influence developments at all levels of society."
LEYMAH GBOWEE helped organize and then lead the Liberian Mass Action for Peace which confronted the country's president, changed the infrastructure of men and women in her country, and brought an end to the Liberian Civil War in 2003. Their demonstrations culminated in his exile and the election of Africa's first female head of state Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (also a Nobel winner) . She was the central character in the 2008 documentary filmPray the Devil Back to Hell.
Here is a Must-See 5 minute introductory video about Leymah Gbowee. LEYMAH VIDEO
(I could NOT EMBED THIS VIDEO unfortunately! PLEASE click to watch!)
Liberian President ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF, knicknamed the "Iron Lady," was the world's first elected black female president (2006) and is the first and only elected female head of state in Africa. She has declared a zero tolerance policy against corruption and has made education free for all children. She said the peace that had ended 14 years of civil war should be attributed to the country's women who stood up against the former dictatorship. "My sisters, my daughters, my friends," she says,"find your voice."
For a lighter look at Ellen Johnson Sirleaf....See her here on THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART
Rights activist TAWAKKUL KARMEN of Yemen is the first Arab woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize. She is the president of Women Journalists Without Chains, a group campaigning for press freedom, and the public face of the 2011 Yemeni uprisings. Karmen has fought for human rights and the rights of women in a conservative Muslim and tribal society.
A Must-See look at Karmen in action! Tawakul Karmen VIDEO
(Again, this I'm not able to EMBED THIS VIDEO. Please click and watch!)
Who chooses the Nobel Peace Prize anyway, and why does it matter?
* Exposure matters. We may not have studied these 3 particular women's actions if we just saw their names in passing, now we're moved, inspired, and even changed.
* The award consists of a cash prize of $1.4 million.
Nominations are made from lawmakers around the world, university professors, previous Nobel laureates, and members of the Nobel committee (made up of 5 Norwegians chosen by their country's parliament).
The Nobel Peace Prize was created by Alfred Nobel, the Swedish scientist and industrialist.
(Illustrations by me)
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Monday, December 5, 2011
Saturday, December 3, 2011
So I took apart this Epiphone Les Paul in a previous post, sanded it for 2 weeks, painted it magenta with yellow racing stripes over its old dull Sunburst coat, ordered "Mod" white speed knobs from Hong Kong on Ebay, sprayed sealers, set it up, strung it, and got it playing. The other day I felt that twitch that something was wrong, and then I finally decided its just too "rosey." I've re-taped and went over it with a solid Candy Apple RED spray.
Here it is drying over a torn apart issue of Bust Magazine. TBC.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
Saw them play at Mercury Lounge on Saturday 11-12-11, poised, perfect, gorgeous, and better than ever...
Not the best video I found on youtube...but you get the idea.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Sunday, November 6, 2011
The original Epihpone Les Paul in picture #1. I love the way this guitar sounds and it plays beautifully, but I'm not a fan of sunburst. Maybe I'm just sick of it? I dunno. Too "Slash"? Yeah, a little. So I decided to take on the ambitious project of repainting it. This was a MUCH bigger project than I ever imagined! Patience was crucial here and there was a lot of waiting for paint to dry (literally). If you're the type who likes to sit for hours in a monk like meditation and sand wood, this is for you. Luckily I do love to sand and listen to music...
Inspiration: The BMW art cars. I like quite a few of them. This one was painted by Andy Warhol and I love the colors and the ripped tape effect. My friend Josh introduced me to these.
So since Josh is kinda the guy who know everything, I took him with to the hardware store on Metropolitan in Williamsburg. We picked out sandpaper.
The guy working at Crest Hardware casually told us about THE PIG WHO LIVES IN BACK. Just look at this!
First layer of Easter Yellow over everything with the goal of ripping tape and having it show through.
Several days later, after sanding twice and 2 coats later, I add painters tape down the center.
The trick with spray paint, I've learned, is to stay far away and do VERY LIGHT coats, one per day. Unlike acrylics, oils, or other paints I'm familiar with, this has an extremely light touch. I got excited and moved in an inch and....damn, a drip. Now I have to sand all over again, layer. Several more days go by.
I went with the Magenta spray.
Sand and spray.
Final coat. Or so I think.
Clear gloss. Several layers and days worth. How do I know when to stop?
The final guitar before putting strings on.
With strings! Completed except now I need to work on its set up since the bridge got a little buzzy in the process.
I left some scratches/paint accidents on the body I liked. Also some red spray paint went off in a bag and sprayed the bottom bridge. Looks good.