Sunday, January 31, 2010
The band formed in 1987 and my first exposure to them came in 1994. As Green Day became more in more successful, like many bands before them, they were viewed by some die hard fans as sell outs.
As the years went on my interest in Green Day became less and less. Not because I felt they had sold out, I suppose I just admired their earlier work all the more.
I remember hearing complaints from Green Day fans stating that the band had becoming increasingly poppy. But Green Day had always made pop music. They went by the "punk" genre however they always made sing along music (and I do think that punk music can be combined with pop and still considered punk). I think what happened to Green Day is that they became not increasingly pop but increasingly commercial and they did so even with their political stance after 9/11.
I am not opposed to Green Day's music or their choice to back a musical, although I do notice this move to be a reflection of changed times. No way could Green Day do this in the 90s without being crucified.
American Idiot the Musical - Trailer
So, it seems by the trailer that the punk flavor in this production has definitely been tailored and modified to a more generalized commercial brand. But hey it's theater. It wouldn't be a big production without it.
I haven't seen the musical and who knows perhaps if I did I may even enjoy it. I don't know enough about it so I dug up some articles.
According to Tonic.com the storyline, "follows working-class characters from the suburbs to the city to the Middle East, as they seek redemption in a world filled with frustration — an exhilarating journey borne along by Green Day’s electrifying songs." The soundtrack includes songs from both American Idiot as well as Green Day's newest album, 21st Century Breakdown."
"The entire concept of Green Day's album was based on the zeitgeist of 2004 — Americans were confused about the post-9/11 climate of the country and young people felt more disaffected and out of touch than ever despite how plugged in everyone thought they were because of the dawn of the Internet and smartphone era."
So, who knows folks. If anyone sees this let me know. Is a Tony in the future for Green Day?
I don't consider this a motion of selling out if there is heart behind the decision. Selling out after all is a move made based on economics and fame. So, how can we know for sure? In other words I have retracted my claws, especially considering the fact that Green Day is a band that I don't follow so much anymore.
Good luck to them and hopefully the message of unifying individuals after the heartbreak of 9/11 will shine through.
Unicorn Peeing Rainbows and Cupcake
For those of you who don't get it, the glasses on this unicorn are meant to replicate glasses that hip hop artist Kanye West has worn.
Every Day I'm Hustlin' Unicorn
While I never take people who boast about hustling seriously, I dig this tattoo. It's so wonderfully tacky that it's got to be a joke.
Unicorn Eating Pizza
Yeah, I don't understand it either.
Robocop Riding Unicorn
My Little Ponies
Ok I know that My Little Ponies aren't unicorns but they are cute enough and also represent the 80s in my opinion. I think they are fitting for this category.
from flickr user amy amy sue sue
The Last Unicorn
I think this one is my favorite. How endearing! Two robots in love, riding on a unicorn.
Leg warmers, bangle bracelets, spandex, Blondie and unicorns!
Enjoy the loveliness..
By flickr user Brickie
From A Swirl of Meringue
Montreal's Crazy About Cupcakes via Flickr
From I heart unicorns
Posted by medicinalcupcake on January 31st, 2010
Posted by medicinalcupcake on January 31st, 2010
Was watching the Grammy Awards and saw a commercial that disturbed me. Automobile company Lincoln is initiating a contest in which music fans can vote for which song and band will be cast for an upcoming Lincoln commercial.
I remember a time when a musician volunteering for a piece of advertisement was considered to be an act of selling out. It's so strange to me now how this is a concept that is embraced so easily and without a bat of an eye.
Musicians that I deeply respect and adore have gone along this road in recent years. Band of Horses, Iron and Wine, Andrew Bird, M. Ward and others.
I have no idea how these bands are doing financially. Perhaps they are truly struggling and we just don't know it.
I am also not sure how bands pick and choose which commercials their music will be featured in. I'd hope they'd choose to back a product that they believed in or used readily, however, my guess is that their choice depends on how many companies approach them and how much the companies are willing to pay.
So, is this selling out or are artists simply trying to make a buck? I suppose it's debatable but it still makes me sad. The artists I mentioned above are rarely featured on generic radio. You've got to seek an indie station in order to hear them. Because they aren't on the largely publicized radars I suppose they have to get their music out in other ways. But this is the challenge of any independent artist.
When these artists wrote their songs for the world to hear I don't think they initially intended them for television commercials.
I suppose so many artists have gone the way of commercialdom that it is now common place enough for others to embrace it. Hence the Lincoln music contest.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
A couple years ago I read an interesting book entitled What Makes a Man: 22 Writers Imagine the Future edited by Rebecca Walker. I revisited this book tonight.
I enjoyed this book as it the essays were written by men not women. It was written by men who had their own things to say about the limits and confines in which manhood sprouts. Although, I am proud of the women who speak up and out about patriarchy and all it's evil I feel we need to hear more voices from men. Not only because men gain from patriarchy but because men suffer from it too. In order to axe it down men and women must give up the perks that patriarachy can tempt so many with.
The book consists of essays from critics, authors, journalists, prisoners, pundants and more.
Ms. Walker also lends her own experience with this topic when she shares a story involving her own son. She spoke of her young son who came to her one day and said that he thought he should take up sports so that girls might like him better. Additionally, his frustration stemmed from his inability to relate to other young boys who often spoke about sports and video games. These were two hobbies in which he was not involved.
"'You don't understand', he said huffily. 'Boys talk about sports, like their matches and who scored what and stuff, or they talk about new versions of computer games or tricks they learned to get to higher levels.' Tears welled up in his eyes. 'I don't have anything to talk about.'"
"He was right; until that moment I had no idea, but suddenly the truth of being a sixth grade boy in America crystalized before me. My beautiful boy and every other mother's beautiful boy had what essentially boiled down to two options: fight actually in sport, or fight virtually on the computer. Athlete, gladiator, secret agent, Tomb Raider. The truth of his existence, his many likes and dislikes, none of them having to do with winning or killing of any kind, had no social currency. My son could compete and score, perform and win, or be an outcast or worse, invisible, his unique talents unnoticed and unharvested, the world around him that much more impoverished."
Walker goes on to say "There is a war being waged on boys and it starts before they are even born. It is war against vulnerability, creativity, individuality, and the mysterious unknown. It is a war against tenderness, empathy, grief, fear, longing and feeling itself. It is a war against wholeness and psychological integration. It is fermination to annihilate the authentic self, it is war against peace."
Lastly she says, "The war against what is considered feminine that is wounding our sons and brothers, fathers and uncles, is familiar to women, but now we see that it is killing the other half of the planet, too. But instead of dying of heartache and botched abortions and breast cancer and sexual trauma and low self-esteem, this half is dying of radiation from modern weaponry, suicidal depression and heart attacks and workaholism and an overwhelming sense of failure, of missing something exceedingly important that they cannot name."
"What many men today are missing is themselves, the complex and unique experience of self that has been rerouted and surpressed in the name of work, war, and the arduous task of "being a man." This mandate to repress or obliterate anything and everything expansive or off the grid has defined generations, so much so that most men cannot even perceive the extent to which they have been robbed."
"While the woman's movement had been successful in encouraging women to abandon restrictive stereotypes and to question and redefine the very foundation of their identities, men have yet to embark upon a similar mass reeducation, opting instead to - surprise! - suffer in stoic silence."
I know feminist women who are raising sons and I think that the above notion is constantly record playing in their heads. To raise a child be it male or female is certainly a challenge. Parents want to keep their little ones healthy and safe and joyous. However, from the moment they enter school their protective little world suddenly erupts.
Boys and girls must receive a different kind of tutelage. One that harvests the individuality of the child devoid of gender stereotype. Good luck parents! I tip my hat to you all. What a journey!
In an essay entitled Perfect Picture by author Douglas Rushkof the topic of sexual objectification.
"Staying actively apart from women, according to the logic of machismo, confirms male status more than melting into one. For a woman to remain desirous but distant sustains that objectified dynamic between boy and airbrushed photo. This is what generates the boner. We've trained ourselves to respond this way."
"I watched with chagrin as the marketplace capitalized on the sexual objectification trend, and strove to exacerbate our worst impulses for economic gain. With women back at work, teens had replaced women as America's target demographic by the late seventies. Those first Bruce Weber photos of Marky Mark and other muscular teens in their Calvin Klein underwear may not have been any worse than what advertiser have done with maciated female models since the 1960s. But it gave marketers the permission to objectify boys with the same intensity they had used to drive millions of teenage girls to stick fingers down their throats. Instead of looking at pictures of naked girls, they are not poring through magazines filled with the ripped torsos of young men."
Combine this pressure for the mass media with the availability of stark video porn to replace the glossy photos of Daddy's favorite skin mags, and you've got a recipe for objectification on an order of magnitude unimaginable by those of us raised on Playboy and wedgies. Instead of just objectifying females, today's boys objectify the entire sex act, and insist on pulling out before orgasm so that they can watch the "money shot" for themselves."
I feel that there isn't a lot to add to what Rushkof has said here, I think he says it pretty well. My only issue is that I think too many men and women take for granted the oppressive attitudes that so many are fit to carry. Why are so many comfortable with this? It seems obvious that objectification is destroying ourselves, destroying our abilities to relate, to create intimacy, to value, to promote humble attitudes, and to role model to our children.
At the end of this book Howard Zinn presents the afterword. I feel it is fitting to present this piece in honor of a great author, professor, leftist activist and historian who passed away at the age of 87 on January 27th, 2010.
Zinn's death is a great loss but his work lives on. So, I will close with his words.
"The trick played on men is that while they are supposed to relish their strength, the reality is that they live in a hierarchical world in which only a small number of men have power over the rest: can exploit them economically, can send them off to war. The trick played on women is that their presumed natural delicacy is under constant attack by a world that limits their possibilities for a full life. While pretending to revere them as mothers this world puts impossible economic pressures on their ability to raise children, then takes these children, when they are grown off to die.
The challenge then, as Rebecca Walker reminds us, is for men and women to find their purpose in life independent of what the dominant culture has ordained for them. We must not let the rulers of society define us, because if left on our own, we may find that we define ourselves solely by our capacity for love and connectedness, and not by our allegiance to artificial ideals of masculine or feminine.
Perhaps the most pernicious of these artified definitions is that which says men are naturally violent and women, as bearers of children and supporters of men, will therefore be willing accomplices in this violence.
If this were so, political leaders would not have to work so strenuously to inculcate "patriotism" from the time little children are taught to salute the flag and pledge allegiance and admire military heroes. They would not have to use the most sophisticated propaganda tools to persuade the population that a war is necessary for "freedom" or "democracy" or "national security" or "to end all wars." They would not have to entice young men into military services with promises of economic security, nor have to work hard to convince their mothers and wives and sweethearts that they are doing something noble, for their country."
I suppose all I can add is that if these words from these various authors do not ring a bell at least let them be food for thought.
The question needn't be what makes a man but what makes any of us. What makes a human being. Let us rebel against the push to exist in this corner or in that. If you are disturbed by constructual confines, if you are sick and tired of being sick and tired you will rebel and thus grow.
As a woman I too am familiar with societal constructs. I have male friends in my life, I have had male romantic partners and have interacted with male family members, co-workers and random strangers.
In other words I have felt the presence of a socially constructed notion of what manhood should be and I have felt violated by it.
So, what is this social construct? In a word, dominance. The word is essentially an umbrella for many specifics. Sexual dominance is often on the top of the list when I think of male dominance. I do not speak just of rape but I speak of attitudes that we accept as the norm. Attitudes that men are responsible for initiating sex, dates, payment of dates, or opening doors. Attitudes that men are responsible alone for creating a female orgasm or pleasure rather than WITH the woman. A general sense of machismo that comes across in language, demeanor, and energy. In general, dominance equates to a lack of humility and a lack of genuine appreciation. These are attitudes that so many women accept. These are attitudes that are perpetrated and accepted among straight and gay partners alike.
Many parents today may not literally turn to their male children and tell them that they need to be more masculine (although I'm sure there are a fair number of parents who do) however at some point in a boy's life I wouldn't be surprised if someone at some point conveys to them than they need to just "be a man" or that they just need to "man up".
Some link certain qualities such as responsibility and protection with manliness. While taking responsibility for oneself may be a good quality to harvest it is a human quality not a manly quality. Imagine the pressure of having to live up to being manly when one is already born a male? I can attest to having heard phrases like these being used towards young men and I have cringed each time.
While there are probably innate differences between men and women I think too often do men rely and do women accept the concept of, "well, I'm just a guy." I think that is the easy and lazy way out. It provides men with an excuse to avoid asking some serious questions about their own behaviors and personal ideals and many women have accepted the idea that they have to settle for men in their lives that are less respectful, less sensitive, less conscientious, less aware, less likely to seek self improvement.
Today I came across the below video of anti-pornography feminist, activist, professor and author Robert Jensen. I am a great admirer of Jensen and have read several of his books and follow his work.
Here Jensen speaks about the concepts of what masculinity is in our culture.
Robert Jensen speaks about masculinity and feminism at the Minnesota Mens Action Network on October 2nd, 2009
In his speech Jensen mentions that pornography is a reminder of who you are in the world particularly if you are a woman. Some may combat that statement to say that porn and real life can certainly be compartmentalized. I beg to differ. Not all individuals gay or straight view pornography in the form of explicit videos or from a seat in a strip club. Despite this, advertising, magazines, television, radio and other forms of media have often grabbed our attention or at the very least flashed before our eyes from time to time. In addition attitudes that mimic, applaud and promote a pornographic line of thinking exist within many. In short we live in a pornographic society.
Jensen is pointing out that the idea of dominance is deeply woven into our society and into idea of what sexuality is and can be, and it is woven into our definitions of masculinity and femininity.
So, how can men and women release themselves from the threads of patriarchy? I'd say it takes time. If one is truly fed up, truly confused, truly irritated, truly exhausted then one must educate themselves and decided for themselves how they want to live. And that my friends takes time. Will we take the time? Is it worth it? I think it is.
For more information on Robert Jensen go to his faculty home page.
This page lists his books, documentaries, articles, speaking dates and contact information.
Bad Romance by Lady Gaga - Beatboxing and Acapella cover by Ivana and Jessica Nwokike
So Hard by Rihanna - Beatboxing and Acapella cover by Ivana and Jessica Nwokike
Poker Face by Lady Gaga - Beatboxing and Acapella cover by Ivana and Jessica Nwokike
Telephone by Lady Gaga feat. Beyonce - Beatboxing and Acapella cover by Ivana Jessica Nwokike
To hear more from these ladies go to their youtube page VanJess24 or their facebook page VanJess.
Below photos from hungry runner on January 30th, 2010.
Snow cupcakes in central North Carolina. What a glorious idea! Of course I have to say that the candle does look a bit phallic. I'm sure I'm not the only one who noticed!
Never the less a grand idea! It's too bad we don't have real Winters here in California or else this is exactly what I'd be doing with all that white stuff that seems to fall from other people's skies.
Photograph by Maciek Mabrdalik
The gateway sign says "Work Will Set You Free," a monstrous lie told to the men, women and children imprisoned there.
January 27, 2010 marked the 65th anniversary of Auschwitz’s liberation by Soviet soldiers. The Nazis operated the camp between May 1940 and January 1945. In 1947 the Polish government began maintaining Auschwitz as a museum and memorial.
The issue now is that Auschwitz is deteriorating. It has 155 buildings and hundreds of thousands of artifacts.
Photograph by Maciek Mabrdalik
Human Hair shorn from prisoners for use in German products is exhibited in cases but, as human remains, will be allowed to decay.
According to Smithsonian.com, The Auschwitz camp covers 50 acres and consists of 46 historical buildings, including two-story red brick barracks, a kitchen, a crematorium and several administration buildings. In addition, Birkenau, (officially labeled Auschwitz II) a satellite camp about two miles away, covers over 400 acres and has 30 barracks and 20 wooden structures, railroad tracks and of four gas chambers and crematoria. In total 150 buildings and more than 300 ruins at the two sites.
Currently dozens of barracks have cracked walls and sinking foundations. Certain areas have been closed for safety reasons.
Photograph by Maciek Mabrdalik
The Polish government in 2009 asked European nations, the United States and Israel to contribute to a fund from which the Auschwitz museum could draw $6 million to $7 million a year for restoration projects. Last December, the German government pledged $87 million—about half of the $170 million target endowment.
Interestingly enough until 1990, the museum’s directors were all former prisoners. The last survivors are living links to what happened at Auschwitz however they will not live forever. Many believe that preserving the are is important especially for younger generations. Then there are some who are critical of maintaining Auschwitz. Some feel that the camp has become somewhat of a theme park and is far too manicured to offer the reality of what took place there.
Auschwitz was designed to work its prisoners to death. According to Smithsonian, most of the hard labor assisted in expanding the camp and other labors such as gravel mining and farming, earned money for the SS. The Nazis term for it was, Vernichtung durch Arbeit or “Destruction through work”. New arrivals to the camp were often greeted with a speech. “You have arrived here not at a sanatorium, but at a German concentration camp, from which the only exit is through the chimney of its crematorium.”For more information go to Smithsonian.com.
The below tutorial shows us how to make cupcake nail art. This is great because I have been wanting to do this. I've never had a manicure in my life and it has been years since I have painted my nails. But I have been entertaining the idea of finding a nail salon to put cupcakes or cups of tea on my nails.
How To Make Cupcake Nail Art
I personally would not want to place smilie faces on my cupcakes nor would I want the cupcakes facing outward towards the viewer. However, this is a good video for me to base my ideas from.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Vashti Bunyan is an English musician who's debut dropped in 1970. The LP was titled Just Another Diamond Day. Vashti, who has been labeled in some circles as "The Godmother of Freak Folk" disappeared from the music world after this release.
Just Another Diamond Day
Although her album had an impact her album did not reach a large audience.
Since her only album recording Vashti raised three children in Ireland and Scottland. Vashti only occasionally contributed vocals to albums belonging to such artists as Devendra Banhart and Animal Collective.
In 2005 she released Lookaftering which came 35 years after her initial release.
In 2007 she released of a compilation album of her mid-1960s singles and unreleased demos recorded entitled Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind - Singles and Demos 1964 to 1967.
Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind
Why don't we have more like Vashti? Actually we probably do however our fast paced world is often suffocated by flashes of MTV and VH1. Where does that leave music?
I am not so arrogant as to say that if one does not appreciate Vashti Bunyan or folk music in general then the result is a shallow understanding of music.
I will say that we as a whole are exposed to a limited interpretation as to what music can be. The radio and tv gives us a narrow view. So narrow that one must be inspired to look for other means in order to educate oneself of other generes, and artists past and present.
What I have found is that Vashti's voice is almost childlike and the delicacy in her music some how makes her a powerhouse. When I hear her I hear a lifetime. Because her releases have been few and far between I am left to wonder what time has done for her.
Vashti considered Just Another Diamond Day to be a failure and it apparently broke her heart. In 2005 at the release of Lookaftering she told Pitchfork, "Diamond Day's failure-- as I saw it-- made me unable to pick up my lovely old Martin guitar without waves of sadness overwhelming me and so I'd put it back up on the wall where it gathered dust till I gave it to my oldest son."
I am glad that Vashti now can pick up a guitar. Will she release more music? Only time will tell. in 2005 Pitchfork asked Vashti if she believed in destiny.
"I suspend belief, always. I cannot believe one thing over another. As far as I can see the minute you shackle an idea it withers and dies. If in anything I have faith in something you could call the human spirit-- I have faith it will always save itself at the last minute."
As of late I have been revisiting Vashti's work and it has reminded me that revisiting music you haven't listened to in a while is like revisiting an old friend. Sometimes we remember what it was like to feel certain past emotions and sometimes we gain new perspectives just by listening. Just by listening.
For some time now I have been collecting coffee mugs as I think there is nothing like a good mug. The aesthetics add to the experience of curling up with a cozy warm drink. Now, I have branched out to tea cups. There is something so grand in the tackiness and delicacy of vintage tea cups.
Below are three that I just purchased. I can't wait till' they arrive!
I realize that I love just looking at these images. Just as I enjoy viewing images of cupcakes, tea and tea cups gets my attention.
Royal Vale Mint and Gold Cup and Saucer
From Antiques to Jewelry
I had been looking for a mint green shade and here I found one complimented with a delicate gold lace design. I love how the base of the cup is smaller and then spreads our towards a bulbous top.
Retro White Porcelain Teacup Trios with Strawberries
From the The Oxford Tea Party
I had been looking for a strawberry pattern eureka I found it! This kitschy retro pattern has a gold trim which I love. The strawberries gives off a childlike feel and a sort of 70s theme.
Vintage Muave & Gold with Stars Porcelain Tea Cup and Saucer
I love stars and as evident by the above tea cups I am favoring gold lately. I enjoy the contrast of the metallic against the dark mauve.
I hope I have enough room in my cupboards for this new hobby of mine!
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Cigarette Tea Bags
Cigarettea are tea bags that look like cigarettes (link)
tPod Tea Bags
Small paper boats attached to tea bags by Elizabeth Soos (link)
Polyhedral infuser tea packs by Peter Hewitt (link)
Tea To Go Sticks
Tea bags are attached inside the stick (link)
T-Shirt and Hanger Tea Bags
Designed by Soon Mo Kang (link)
Tea Bags from The House Cafe
Designed to promote healthy living (link)
Origami Tea Bags
Designed by Natalia Pomomareva (link)