Archive for June, 2011

Cross it off my bucket list, I have now recorded and released a solo CD.  Sure, it’s been mixed and mastered for a few months now, but this is America where nothing is real until it’s really for sale. Right now it’s only available on CD Baby, but soon it will be on iTunes, Amazon Digital Downloads and emusic.com too! 

Coming in July, the big CD Release Party, so stay tuned!

Click the pic, buy my CD!!!

Back when I lived in the city proper, Gay Pride weekend meant that most of my friends were having parties and celebrating.  I was often the token straight girl in the crowd and I loved going along for the ride.  I vowed that should I ever become  a mother I would bring my kids to the parade and be completely open with them about all kinds of love and relationships.  And should any of my children one day be part of the LGBT community, I would be totally cool with that. 

Then Z came along and my husband and I moved out of the city to the suburbs where the streets were safer and the schools were better.  Z turned out to be the kind of kid who doesn’t deal well with crowds, and so the Pride Parade has never felt like a good idea as a family outing.  In fact, I don’t think he’s ever been to a parade of any kind.  

Sometimes I will casually mention to Z that this person and that person are not just friends, but are in love, like his dad and I.  This boggles Z’s mind as the heterosexual couple is the norm in our society even in the bay area.  Z knows these people; these are our friends who come to our family gatherings,  and friends who have babysat Z and his brother.  I realize that there’s no need to force the issue or make him uncomfortable,  so I’ve been trying to figure out what I do want him to know at this point.  Kids at school calling other kids gay as a derogatory term – not  okay in my book.  Realizing that some of our close friends are not married because they can’t legally be married – that’s discrimination and it’s something to fight against.  I’m not sure if there’s more for him to understand at this point.  I am considering taking him to the Dyke March on Saturday in Dolores Park.  We would be going with another family and hopefully have a fun afternoon.

So what am I doing on Pride Weekend?  Glad you asked.

Starting tomorrow night, Friday, June 24th, I’m playing a half hour set at The Brainwash Cafe with The Passion Kings.  I go on around 9:00 pm and I’ll be debuting some new material, so stop by if you get a chance.

On Saturday I may be taking my kids to the Dyke March as I’ve already mentioned.   And then in the evening I’m taking part in a music salon organized by my fabulous vocal teacher, Karina Denike.  This event starts at 6:30 PM and is held at a private live/work space, but if you’re in the area and interested in attending e-mail me and I’ll give you details.  paula@phaseslikethemoon.com

Sunday is the Pride Parade.  It kicks off at 10:30 AM from Market and Beale St.  I don’t think I’ll be making it out to the parade, but I highly recommend it to anyone who has never experienced it before.  It’s a wonderful event and Chaz Bono and Olympia Dukakis are Grand Marshals this year, so you should check it out!

Today is my oldest son’s last day as an elementary school student. On the grand scale of lifetime milestones, leaving elementary school is probably around a 4 or 5.     Still, knowing that  all those early school day events - the classroom holiday parties, Halloween Parades, recesses, library story times, field days, are coming to an end for him makes me sad.

One morning earlier this year I was watching my son walk across the field into school. Ludovico Einuadi came on my MP3 player  and suddenly that moment became very poignant (cleaning ear wax out of your ears can be poignant while listening to Ludovico Einaudi) Before I knew it I was sitting in my car sobbing over my son growing up and coming into his own as a person.  I went home and wrote a short poem called Chiaroscuro. That poem turned into this song, Infinite Line, here to commemorate the last time my son will walk across that field to his elementary school.

You were something more than fragile
And I was always unprepared
I held my breath and stayed awake for a year
Thinking I could hold you
In midair

The quality of light this morning
Threw the world in sharp relief
I closed my eyes to keep it all in my mind
The shapes and lines, while you walked away from me

The shadows cut across your back
Your silhouette stretched tall over the grass
Chiaroscuro
You and I define a single point
And an infinite line

I tried to keep us in that moment
I want to pull us out of time
We remain connected by the story
But now I see the story isn’t mine

The shadows cut across your back
Your silhouette stretched tall over the grass
Chiaroscuro
You and I define a single point
And an infinite line

 

 

We took my oldest son to his first concert this past Friday. Okay, technically it wasn’t his first if you count The Wiggles when he was 3 (for the record, The Wiggles really work it; obviously it takes more than a little red car and a dinosaur named Dorothy to stay on top of your game as a major act for the preschool set, and The Wiggles delivered . . . But I digress). But on Friday, we took him to The Greek in Berkeley to see Peter Gabriel’s New Blood tour.

This happened to be a perfect first show for my son, Z. First and foremost, the song “Darkness” off of Gabriel’s album Up, is one of his favorite songs at the moment. Second, Gabriel is touring with an orchestra this time around, which means the sound level was bearable, particularly for an 11-year-old who has an aversion to loud noise. And finally, because it was an orchestral show the mood was sedate and even somber at times (and also perhaps because the age of the average audience member was somewhere around 45) everyone stayed seated. Z, being himself, wasn’t particularly excited about going to the concert. However, he was awed by the video projection that accompanied the music, he thankfully did not question the strange smells that wafted through the air, and when Gabriel performed “Darkness” my son was mesmerized.

At first I found it odd that my son was drawn to a song about fear (“I have my fears, they do not have me” goes the refrain). But Gabriel explained that the song was inspired by venturing into the woods near his home as a child. An old woman lived in a caravan in those woods and  he and his friends decided she was a witch, so it was scary to go there and see her house.  In that light, it makes sense that my son is connecting with the theme of childhood fears. I’m not sure he hears the message in the song, but I hope he does.

On the downside, the concert was outside and it was cold; my son is not a night owl and the show started just an hour before his bedtime; Peter Gabriel did not jump inside the big human hamster ball he used on the “Up” tour, which my son has seen on DVD and was hoping to see in person; and “Darkness” came up before the intermission, dousing any desire Z might have had to brave it out for the next half of the show. So yes, we left early and my husband and I missed out on all the songs we had hoped to hear. But we also missed out on the post-concert traffic jam, and that was ok too.

Peter Gabriel in the ball on the Up tour

Home Studio, Sweet Home Studio

 

For the record, my show at the Hotel Utah went pretty well.  I’ve been tyring to find some pictures, but alas, there are none.  My camera died before I went onstage, and even though a few friends attempted to take video with their phones, it all turned out too dark.   

In the meantime, I’ve been hustling to get my artwork together and send everything off to the manufacturer so I will actually have a CD.  Recorded mostly in my home studio, written and produced by me, my CD is the exact definition of “vanity project”. This has caused me to reflect on the long strange trip it’s been, and in that spirit I bring you my list of The Pros and Cons of Recording Your  Solo Vanity Project Home Alone

Enjoy!

 

Pro- You will never experience this: You glance into the control room at an off moment only to catch the recording engineer giving you a bored/smug/judgmental look;  when he realizes you’re looking at him he puts on his game face and tells you it sounds good.*

"Sounds great! Rock and Roll!"

Pro – When you know that this part of the song needs a synth and bass interlude (and you can never have too many, really)  no one (i.e. no guitarist) will argue that this is the perfect spot for a 12 minute, uber-wanky guitar solo. 

"Twelve minutes of feedback, that's what it needs, don't it?"

Pro – On the days when you just can’t get into the groove and lay down a decent track, you don’t have to face an anxious bandmate eager to give you the “stop fucking up” speech, thinly disguised as a pep talk while his eyes turn into a taxi meter ticking off the wasted studio time.

Pro – You get all the props.  Sure you may be an antisocial, ego maniacal, control freak, but if someone, somewhere likes just one part of one song on your CD you can proudly take all the credit.

"Yep. Did it all by myself!"

Pro- More beer for you!

Beer!

Con –  No entourage since  your antisocial nature has lead you to spending countless hours alone in a dark corner of your basement with nothing but a computer, some instruments and a rats nest of audio cables that you have begun to name and assign personalities.

"Your basement is kind of depressing. Catch you later."

 Con – No scapegoats.  When the whole thing turns out half-baked you won’t be whispering to your friends that it could have been amazing if only the bass player had learned to play her instrument. 

"Can you believe I showed up drunk for half the sessions? And I didn' t even know my songs. I kicked me out of the band. That's why the CD sucks."

Con –  Singing well.  It’s hard.  Don’t try this at home, kids. Leave it to the professionals.

Con – At that moment when you’ve just made a glorious mistake that has taken the song someplace new and exciting, the only one there to revel in your genius is Pinky, the pink  guitar cable who is always cheerful and has only nice things to say.

"You go, girl! You're the rockstar you always wanted to be!"

Con – More beer for you!

Beer!

 
 
 

*This has nothing to do with James, my recording engineer from New, Improved Recording Studio, and everything to do with some guy named Tony who recorded my band in Delaware back in the 90′s.  Not that I’m the type to hold on to bad memories . . .