24 February 2016

Freakwater's Scheherazade

After nearly eleven long years, one of my favorite bands -- ever -- of all time --  bar none -- released a new album.  I love Freakwater. And yes, they did release and album and CD and download entitled Scheherazade.  It is a great title for a Freakwater album as they are wonderful storytellers.

Freakwater has always been fronted by Janet Beveridge Bean and Catherine Irwin.  They produce raw and aching harmonies that one can never forget.  In a world of cookie cutter pop songs and predictable country, Freakwater is a breathtaking alternative.  Often tossed in the alt-country pile, they are much more. 

Their lyrics seem straight forward, but they often have a undercurrent of pain like salty chips on a cut lip.  And then, so funny and poignant one cannot help but smile.  The writer Chris Parker might have written the best description of the band (damn, I wish I had written this.)
"Freakwater is a 27-year-old Chicago-by-way-of-Louisville, Ky., combo founded by singer/guitarists Janet Beveridge Bean and Catherine Irwin, whose vocals intertwine like vines climbing a country-folk trellis in the Carter Family's backyard."
Well that is exactly what they sound like.  Actually, it is the old Carter family, channeling  Maybelle and Sara into snarky, wicked lyrics.

I once had the band playing in the background. A friend heard them and had little appreciation for the melancholy twang.  But to this day, she still remembers them.  To have such a unique sound; one that lingers in the mind years later, that is greatness.  Be forewarned by this story, not everyone will be drawn to the music, but if you give it a chance, Scheherazade might become your favorite album of the year.  In fact, you might just buy every album Freakwater ever recorded and play them over and over again, like I do.

22 February 2016

The Black Dancing Body

One of the good things about being trapped in the house through snows and floods is getting to catch up on various documentaries you have missed.  About once every two months I click through all the documentaries that will be shown on Direct TV and tape the ones I am interested in.  They usually sit for several months until I finally get around to them.

The first doc I watched was Carmen & Geoffrey.  Directed by Linda Atkinson and Nick Doob, the 2009 release follows this dynamic partnership.

Geoffery Holder was a theater and dance fixture beginning in the early 1950's.  His stunning art work has often been compared to that of Paul Gauguin.  In 1955, Carmen de Lavallade appeared with Holder in "House of Flowers"  and they married shortly after and spent 59 years working and creating until Holder's death in 2014.

The documentary is a bit heavy on the Holder side, and the dance sequences featuring de Lavallade could have been much longer.  Still, a wonderful look at two giants of dance.

After watching it, I pulled Brenda Dixon Gottschild's The Black Dancing Body off the shelf.  The book looks at race, racism, body image, body language, and stereotypes in dance and how they echo and comment on racism in society as a whole.

When I got to A Ballerina's Tale, the story of Misty Copeland, I was glad to see that one of the interviews was with Gottschild, whose book was published long before Copeland's rise.  The contrast of time is very interesting.

Copeland is like a rock star, mobbed every time she walks out the stage door. She is, for many young girls, the corporeal realization of what can be. Even as a dancer, Copeland speaks eloquently about seeing black dancers on film and weeping as they were dancers she never knew existed.

One hopes that with the Netfixification of culture, films like A Ballerina's Tale as well as Carmen & Geoffery will have a much wider audience and all little girls and boys can envision themselves dancing... or what ever they want to do.

16 February 2016

Beachfront Property

The view from the front door.
I know nothing is more boring than the weather.  While about 98% of the time, living in the country is great, there are those other times. Many of them are in the winter. Aside from being cold and white, much of the day is devoted to the weather.

The last week is a case in point. We had snow. We had to make sure we had gas for the generator in case the power went off. We had big, fluffy wet snow...but the power stayed on. Until it went off. The generator keeps the pump working, it keeps the refrigerator running, it keeps the Internet and television on, but not the heat.

Power returned and we were warm again. But the temp dropped into single digits so we had to worry about the water freezing. Once it freezes, there is no getting it back on until a thaw. This week there was a seven day stretch of below freezing weather. So water dripped like some sort of Chinese water torture. We kept the water going, until the cold water in the kitchen froze. We opened the faucet and hoped that the bright sun would hit it just right and free up the water.

The sun worked. It freed up the water while I was vacuuming. Not only was the water line frozen, but the drain was frozen. When the vacuum turned off, one could hear the water pouring into the floor. After sopping up water, towel were left outside to freeze solid.

In an attempt to keep the water running, we opened the faucets more, but a plunge in the temperature froze all the water. Yesterday, the temperature went up, but it took a full 24 hours of spring like weather to get water back to the house.

The spring like weather melted the snow, then it rained. Now the property is flooded.

It will be 24 hours before the water subsides. So we are spending another day trapped inside. A lot of time is spent under the SAD light. Even if one does not have seasonal affect disorder, the dark and cold and wet will eventually get to you.

So, we haven't been posting, because hey, if you don't have something interesting to say, why post.  But spring is around the corner.

09 February 2016

Mardi Gras

Above is the Mardi Gras court from 1900 in Mobile, Alabama.  As you know, the tradition of Mardi Gras in America began in Mobile.  Well in 1703, when the tradition began, Mobile was actually French Louisiana, but we won't quibble.

Here is a cavalcade of vintage shots from some of Mobile's finest moments. Enjoy.

 1907 King and Queen of Mardi Gras

A 1919 postcard of the festivities.

Marching in the 1920's

Way to much revelry!

Mardi Gras court, no date.

Mardi Gras ball

Zippy Mardi Gras chapeaus

On the parade route, no date

Mobile Mardi Gras, Bienville Square

Blog Widget by LinkWithin