Shangri La

…That’s the name of the new DMB album, to be released this Tuesday, June 2. First full-length album in 4 years! I remember buying that last CD, « Stand Up, » during the orientation of my very first job in an electronics store lol. Oh the memories. Dave Matthews +/- Band is one of those artists who I would probably never remember to say is my favorite if someone asked me what my favorite band/singer was, but I seriously love his energy. I love his lyrics too. He captures love and longing and temptation and playfulness and lazy days and just everything. Those are the two things that capture me, but then again I’m sure that’s the same for everyone haha. I love that his songs are just these huge…performances. Steady awesomeness with even better swells. Like, I can picture all those guys in the studio just fucking rocking out with huge smiles on their faces. They’ve been recording and touring for so long, they’re going to be to our kids what the Dead is to us. 

Pandora teamed up with the DMB and has been streaming « Big Whiskey » for a few weeks now I believe, and I highly recommend that the zero people who read this blog all go check it out! Haha – my favorites so far are definitely « Seven, » « Alligator Pie, » « You and Me, » « Shake Me Like a Monkey, » and « Why I Am. » So, basically, half of the album is my favorite! I’m a big fan of upbeat DMB. When they’re great, they’re great. Which is always.

Check it out here: http://pandora.com/davematthewsband

Went to Spring Awakening this past weekend at the Colonial Theater. It’s been a long time coming, me seeing this show. I first heard about it when I was a senior in high school, and kept hearing about it like everyone else as it grew in popularity. I was shocked when they announced that the show was closing. Now they’re on tour with a different cast than the original, and the energy was amazing. I’ve seen YouTube clips of various performances with the cast, and they all were only okay to me. I was really into the show on Sunday though. The kid who played Moritz was seriously great. The dancing around and overall movement/choreography of the show was bizarre, but the music was pretty good. The story was pretty heady at times, and you could tell that kids in the audience were going to be scarred for life with the sex/rape scenes….definitely heard some tears! It did sort of bother me that the character of Melchior was supposed to be this upstanding, intelligent and smart gentleman who all the girls admired and fellow male classmates looked up to, yet he basically rapes Wendla and she does not appear at all to be enjoying it yet it’s a turning point for the play for the two of them, especially her, that they finally « gave into their desires. » I mean, I suppose her hesitation and obvious fear was over not knowing what was going on, but he was clearly more knowledgable and he could have controlled himself. But then again, the point of the story is that teenagers aren’t supposed to control their desires, that these are tumultuous times for growth. It was interesting that severe consequences were forced upon those who acted on their desires, since the play had a « fuck the establishment » mentality. This is what happens with censorship, people! All across the board. If you’re close-minded and don’t teach those who need teaching, you’re doing them a huge disservice. The mother not telling her daughter where babies came from created huge problems, just because she was too uptight to talk about it.

 

Another thing that bothered me was the gay relationship. Every time the gay character, Hanschen (who looks very much like Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter) hints at seducing his virginal male classmate, it’s always supposed to be funny. I couldn’t figure out what made it funny – was it because his target was this very innocent boy intending on being a minister and the gay character was manipulative and determined to conquer him? Because I think if that had a been a guy looking to do that to an innocent girl it would be handled differently. Or, was it because being gay at the time (late 19th century Germany) wasn’t even a topic of discussion, and anything he did was supposed to be funny? I mean, the character was very sure of himself and his sexuality, more so than his heterosexual counterparts. I can see where it’s funny that this virginal kid who always says something dorky at the wrong time has no idea that his classmate fantasizes about him, but why do they have to be gay? I don’t know. I wouldn’t think anything of it if there were similar scenarios like that in the rest of the play, but that one is exclusive. As a writer of a play, film, whatever, you always have a choice. I have no knowledge of the original play, so perhaps I have this all wrong, but I don’t think something of this nature written 200 years ago would not have featured such humor. So however the writers retooled it for the stage, I am sure they made conscious decisions about how they wanted these characters portrayed and how they wanted the audience to receive them. I just feel like it’s poking fun and picking a target for an unclear reason. Comic relief is necessary in highly dramatic plays like this, but ehh.

 

Ok well regardless of subliminal social messages, the music is electrifying and totally great. I’m sure the story does open up a lot of dialogue between parents and kids, which is a good thing. I would see it again if I could, but it was closing night! I’m pissed now! Haha definitely see it if you have the chance. Getting the soundtrack alone isn’t enough I would say, because I had it long before I saw it, and it never made sense and seemed bizarre to me. I think I’ll try to read the play this week and see what they changed.

« I mean, everyone knows I dated Winona Ryder. Big fucking deal. Who would not? I really like her. She’s actually a very nice person. She’s nothing like anybody thinks. She’s a normal girl with normal girl problems who talks about normal girl things, who needs a guy, needs her hand held, needs to walk across a fucking street. So what if she dates musicians. She likes music! Everybody knows I went out with Beth Orton. It’s not a lie. We were each other’s muse. So fucking be it. I’m an artist and so is she. It isn’t like Lisa fucking Marie Presley and Nicolas Cage. It’s artists being with artists. Why not? Fuck! I love women with great lips. It doesn’t make me a fucking jerk. If I were a general contractor for a fucking construction firm in Louisville, I might have nothing in common with Winona Ryder or Beth Orton. As it happens, I am Ryan Adams, who writes a lot of songs, who goes out way too late and gets fucked up, who obsesses about his life, who is a guilt-ridden individual, who would like to pretend to be an artist, who therefore might get along with a girl with full lips who is an actress. »

 

With all the run-on rambling and craziness radiating from that one super long statement, the man has a point. Concerning pretty much everything: who cares? I almost hate posting his little rant there because it’s obvious he was going through a rough patch with the drugs, but I’m not going to lie, my favorite music of his all came out during this time. Why is it that so many of the best musicians and writers have to be on drugs to produce their best work?? Then again, what is « best » is all subjective but I’m not going to go off on a tangent again. Instead of studying for finals, I’ve obviously (um) been reading Ryan Adams interviews from the 2001-2002 era… which all began when I watched « Come Pick Me Up, » on YouTube (his performance from Letterman in 2004, I believe). It’s great and you should check it out. Anyways, there was a link on the side that featured an angry voicemail RA had left to a music critic who ripped one of his shows in Chicago. I listened to it and was 1. surprised that a journalist leaked it. Seriously petty and exploitative given RA’s state of mind, and 2. struck by RA’s un/professionalism. Obviously it’s not something every musician does, call a journalist who criticized you and tear him a new one, but RA does it with austerity. I was surprised at his voice! His singing voice is so croony and sort of high-pitched, but his voice was very steady and ..average. On another note, I’m not too happy about one of his top 20 (it’s too hard to pick just one) songs being about Alanis Morisette. Haha…kind of ruins it for me. I don’t even want to know who Cannonball Days, Firecracker, Rosalie Come and Go, Starlite Diner, So Alive and about 10 others are dedicated to………………….I can’t believe he’s married to Mandy Moore now.

I could literally talk about my admiration for Ryan Adams’ music for hours. But I should get back to intermediate macro theory. Call me on your way back home.

Medical studies are fascinating. I think this would be my favorite part if I was actually involved in the medical field, but for now I’m just doing economics studies. I recently did a survey of 8 Econ majors and 8 non-Econ majors and I got some interesting results. All of the respondents are over 18, yet of the 16 people, only 3 knew their credit scores and interest rates. I found that being an Economics major doesn’t necessarily mean you have real-time financial literacy. Obviously the field itself is very different from basic financial literacy, and there is no real reason why they should be connected, but I was still surprised. I asked respondents to decide quickly which of these three aspects contributes most to financial literacy (parental influence, secondary education, influence of the media). Not a single person indicated that they thought media influence was integral to possessing financial literacy. I admit, my questions were sort of all over the place, and none of them really asked anything below the surface except this one. And for all the people who indicated that parental influence was important, only one of them knew about credit scores and what goes into them. For those who indicated secondary education, two of them recorded knowledge of credit. This was a short-term project and was done as a final paper for an internship evaluation, but I am holding onto the results and seeing if I can do something more with this.

But back to the media thing. We are constantly consuming it! No one would know about the economic crisis we are in if it were not for the media and their reporting. I mean, people would know about it because it would hit their homes eventually in the form of rising or falling prices, job layoffs, oil price changes, lost stock value, etc. but a lot of what is happening is in sectors that people previously knew little about. To me, I feel that media is really important because at least in my case, when I hear something on the news that I don’t know about, I go right to my computer to look it up and become more well-versed in the topic. So, when all this talk of a seriously tight credit market hits the waves, why don’t people take the time to look up or listen to what credit actually means?

Total tangent there. Has next to nothing to do with what I found interesting about the New Yorker article url I have linked below- (Sorry, I don’t know how to put it as a link within the text…still figuring out how to do anything but type on this blog). The article basically chronicles a study of children and what the results mean for their success in life. Children in a room are given the chance between having one marshmallow at that immediate moment, or waiting 15 minutes to get a second one. They have a bell to ring while the instructor is out of the room, so that if the temptation becomes too much, they can ring the bell and get their one marshmallow. The scientists conducting the study found that children who were able to stick out the fifteen minutes were far more likely to be successful in later life. Meaning, they received much higher SAT scores, gained admission to Ivy League schools, and were high up on the ladder in their respective careers.

I wonder what I would have done if I were in the study. Likely, I would have said I could wait and then guiltily snarfed it down after a minute. There are some days where I find my patience being tested within seconds in some situations. Like, if there’s a person that I am not particularly a fan of and they say one annoying thing, I am more likely to get frustrated with them if it were a friend. That’s natural. But then again, there are some days where I get impatient with everyone. That’s also natural. I try really hard not to show it though, since usually it’s not their fault and I »m more upset with some bigger picture completely unrelated to them. I even get angry with myself for showing patience towards people who I have nothing but dislike for (there aren’t many of them…). I feel as though it is easy to be friends with everyone, and just show more attention to the people I like. But there are some people out there that I seriously cannot believe walk around just…living their lives. There are some seriously obnoxious, self-absorbed, greedy, close-minded, sycophantic people out there who believe they are models of altruism and progression when in reality they are anything but. Ugh. Wow, major tangent but I needed to get that off my chest apparently. Thank God for this blog and the fact that no one knows it exists HA.

ANYWAYS, wow sorry for that. Anyways, I don’t know how I feel about this. The results are extremely interesting, but then again, I don’t want to put myself in those restrictions! Damnit, I think I’ve been successful! Besides having the attention span of a gnat, I did very well on my SATs. I didn’t even bother applying to any Ivy League schools, but I have been successful in where I am. If you make the most of what your school has to offer, you are successful. Just going to an Ivy League school means nothing.  You are a success if you are happy every day, constantly learning new things, and have strong connections with people around you who can challenge and be honest with you. That’s all I want. I want to do what I want and be happy with it! I don’t want people looking down on me for where I graduated college, for not pursuing a career in a « respectable » or « knowledge-demanding » field, or even for what my grades are like. You know what? They suck! My grades have always been bad, ever since 7th grade. That’s not MY measure of success. So for those kids in the study who were impatient and couldn’t resist temptation, I’m sure they’re doing interesting things. Not just following a standard progression that equates success with titles on a piece of paper, but gaining skills equal to their « more successful » counterparts. Variety is the spice of life, people.

I just read this post over and my incoherence is embarrassing. Oh well. The article is largely about self-control, varying stereotypes, behavioral problems and the like. I guess I don’t like the implication that a short attention span is a bad thing. I have a short attention span, yet feel lucky that I’m always doing new things. Short attention spans are not a « shortcoming » at all.

 

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/05/18/090518fa_fact_lehrer?currentPage=1

Below is just a link to an article published in The Economist online on April 2, 2009. It’s an interesting look at wealth internationally, and the disproportionate amount of money and assets held by those in the top 10% compared with the bottom 90% and how HUGE the differences are between them. We discussed this several weeks ago in my Intermediate Macro class, and it fascinates me. I’m loathe to admit that a lot of what the Economist publishes is over my head and beyond simple comprehension, but who doesn’t like a challenge?! This one is accessible though, and worth a read.  http://www.economist.com/specialreports/displayStory.cfm?story_id=13356686

This movie.

I rented it this past summer, watched 45 minutes of it before I decided it was too insufferable for my liking, and sent it back to Netflix. Fast forward nine months, and we’re watching it in my film class to « explore the taboo of children’s sexuality. » While it did make children’s sexuality an integral focus, there are more movies out there that do a better job of showing what kids really are going through instead of finding highly unlikely scenarios to highlight innocence. Ones like « Kids, » « Thirteen, » even some corny ones like « Now and Then, » or « E.T. » I know those are varied examples, but you get my drift.

I really dislike movies that try to make some statement about the human experience by being extra quirky and just so…aloof, which is exactly with MaYaEWK does. I felt the same about Punch-Drunk Love, but I saw that about 5-6 years ago and I know I should give it another chance. I always try to give a second chance to movies that I can appreciate, but not necessarily like. A lot of times, on the second try I end up loving it! So keep an open mind.

Anyways, I understand that directors have visions, and that it’s not up to the audience to decide what the creatives who are responsible for the film are trying to do. The director/writer/lead actress Miranda July had some interesting things to say in interview excerpts that we discussed in class, but her vision just was not to my taste. There were individual scenes that were entertaining as stand-alones, but they didn’t work with the rest of the film. July just seemed to want to make a movie highlighting her own peculiarities and how unique of a person she was by stalking a man she meets at a department store, through that annoying performance art piece (that she sent to a gallery owner who we the viewers see as searching for her own emotional connection) and more.

 One Netflix customer who left a review said perfectly in one phrase what I’ve been using way too many to do, « …the movie succeeds more at being different than at being thought provoking, inspiring or entertaining. » Yes, it’s unique. No, I wouldn’t recommend it to people. Yes, it’s original, but it did nothing for me. However, I’m glad July got to see her vision through. That doesn’t happen too often, especially with a script like that, but I’m glad we have movies like this to even disagree about.

					RUSSELL (cont'd)
			Miss Penny Lane.  Let me tell you what
			Rock and Roll will miss the day you
			truly retire.

	He tosses cubes in his glass, one by one.  After the first cube:

					RUSSELL (cont'd)
			The way you turn a hotel room into a
			home.
				(cube)
			The way you pick up strays wherever
			you go.  Like Pied Piper.
				(cube)
			The way you know the words to every
			song.  Every song.  Especially the bad
			ones.  Mostly the bad ones.
				(cube)
			That green coat in the middle of summer.
				(cube)
			The real name you won't reveal.
				(cube)
			And.  I'd keep going, but my glass is
			full.
Awesome.
Get the "Untitled" Edition of Almost Famous. It's incredible, and the way
the director wanted it made.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Act One, in which she pretends she doesn't care about him.
Act Two, in which he pretends he doesn't care about her.
Act Three, in which it all plays out the way she planned it. 
She'll eat him alive."
juillet 2017
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