Saturday, April 30, 2011
Mumford and Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Old Crow Medicine Show stop at San Pedro during their 2011 Railroad Revival Tour
Mumford and Sons came to San Pedro
The Cave by Mumford and Sons
Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Hard to Tell by Old Crow Medicine Show
The Pedro played at Ports O' Call which is a port village with restaurants and shops. It is also the departure point for various cruises.
It seems the band didn't know that we locals call San Pedro, San Pee-dro rather than San Pay-dro.
I was surprised that a show of this magnitude took place in my little city.
This Train is Bound for Glory - Sung by all three bands. Mumford and Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Old Crow Medicine Show
This show was full of camaraderie, energy, happiness and hope. This is what music does. It brings people together. Dance, clap, cheer, and sing!
For more information on Mumford and Sons click here
For more information on Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros click here
For more information on Old Crow Medicine Show click here
From Sapling Press on Etsy.
Sapling Press is selling cards with humorous statements from Dear Blank Please Blank. Dear Blank Please Blank is website where people can send in humorous, sarcastic, witty "to whom it may concern" quotes.
What did catch my eye is when I saw the above photo of Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie wearing these lovely creations by hat designer Philip Treacy.
My first thought was, "I like the Lady Gaga hats!" Turns out Gaga has worn many a Treacy hat and so have the Royals.
Here are some of Treacy's amazing creations which I consider more than fashion but great works of art. Someone give me some dough so I can buy a Philip Treacy hat!
Sarah Jessica Parker
Sarah Jessica Parker
To learn more about Philip Treacy
and to view more of his pieces visit http://www.philiptreacy.co.uk
Friday, April 29, 2011
Musical artist Beyonce has a new single out entitled, "Run the World (Girls)." The song is no doubt within the "Girl Power" genre and uses its punch, grind and roar to rally the troops.
As a feminist I was never able to embrace the mid-90s Girl Power scene. It seemed to exist because at that time there were many female music artists coming out with number one hits. Major music mags were calling the period, "a time for women in music", as if women had been hiding or non-existent until then.
Flipping through the pages of Rolling Stone Magazine and SPIN Magazine at that time was quite depressing as women were rarely referred to as "musicians" without the word "female" before it. Women weren't placed in the general "musician" category because music is male dominated and the attitude is that if there is a woman who is a musician she is exceptional. An absurd concept as there have been female music makers since the very beginning.
I am more so connected with the Riot Girl or Riot Grrrl scenes in the 80s and 90s than the Girl Power scene of the mid-90s and the folk music generations that have always been with us. Folk music a raw expression of storytelling and poety lyricism that is often the basis for other forms of music. Notable musicians such as Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, and Ani Difranco, have inspired countless musicians of all genres with their art and politics.
Riot Girl was an underground punk scene that embraced empowerment over issues such a sexism, rape, and domestic violence. It promoted personal autonomy, a DIY ethic, art and socio-political activism. I was an wee lass during that time and unaware, but as an adult now, I see Riot Girl as a good example of proactive women in music who were interested in making music without selling themselves as an ornament for display.
Even with all this music herstory, "Women in Rock" or "Women in Punk" became a double edged sword. It's always great to recognize women in a male dominated arena but when done improperly the lasting idea remaining is that women in music is something exceptional rather than a rule. During the 90s, I never once read a music article that not only praised a woman's talent but also insisted that women have been talented for ions alongside men. It's much safer to state that women are great without addressing the issue as to why women have had to prove that they too can be talented.
In air of the Girl Power trend it seemed that the notion of girl empowerment through music was separated into two categories. Heavyweights Alanis Morissette and The Spice Girls were two of name that seemed to sum up the atmosphere of Girl Power. On the Alanis side, we had women who adored the song "You Outta Know" (I was one of them) and felt that they too could be angry and not feel ashamed. For better or for worse, it felt good to feel empowered in our anger against the men who hurt us. It was a way to vent and release pain and frustration. And then we had The Spice Girls telling us to be positive and happy. There is nothing wrong with this at all, but the Girls o' Spice, didn't really give us any explanation and didn't offer any substance, depth or real inspiration.
During that time period I personally don't think that Morissette was polluting our airwaves with attention seeking lyrics for profit gain. The Spice Girls on the other hand; well, that's a different story. But let me not stray too far here.
Here we are in 2011 and the Girl Power songs seem to come in different packaging. Oversexualized songs which market an illogical hope to bring forth female empowerment by showing men just how much of a sex object women can be; or self praising songs which offer nothing more than a concept of overcompensation in attempts to promote equality. Beyonce's video and song seem to be a combo platter of the two.
Beyonce - Run the World (Girls)
I'm repping for the girls who're taking over the world have me raise a glass for the college grats ...
i'll let you know what time it is
You can't hold me I broke my 9 to 5 and cut my check
This goes out to all the women getting it in get on your grind
To other men that respect what I do please accept my shine
Boy you know you love it how we're smart enough to make these millions
Strong enough to bear the children then get back to business
You better not play me oh come here baby
Hope you still like me if you hate me My persuasion can build a nation
In this hour our love we can devour
You'll do anything for me
Who run the world? Girls
First let me say that I have no idea as to whether Beyonce truly thinks that women run the world or that women have the potential to do so. I'm not sure if she wrote the song or if it was co-written or if the lyrics were not of her own making. I will say, that the lyrics are trite in concept. Girls run the world just because she says so and because the lyrics are set to a fist pumping beat. Beyonce has presented songs like this before as a solo artist and when she was part of the musical group Destiny's Child.
I believe that women are influential and that a sense of self empowerment is important. Self empowerment through, accomplishment, contentment, introspection, personal growth, education, employment. Empowerment through knowledge, through the will to persevere, through making mistakes, through connection, through relationships, through health and wellness, through spirituality, through sexuality, through patience, understanding, falling short, through strengths, weakness, fatigue, energy, and so much more. Women have proven a lot over the years and this is nothing to dismiss. The feminist movement in general has come a long way and this too is nothing to dismiss.
My issue with Beyonce's song is that it presents a falsehood. Women do not run the world. Even if this is a song of hope and promotion, I cannot get on board with the idea that either sex should be superior to another. I don't want one sex over another to run the world. Pushing the notion that women can DO MORE than men and/or ARE MORE than men is not a promotion of equality but rather a reinstatement of sexism.
Beyonce's song suggests that girls rule because women can work, make their own money, graduate from college, and raise children. These are great accomplishments of value however patriarchy stands taller. True girl power is more than just being able to do the same things that men do. It's more than placing women in political positions of power, it's more than multi-tasking, it's more than independence.
A song about how girls run the world or should run the world wouldn't even exist if there wasn't an overwhelming system known as patriarchy that actually rules over women. I highly doubt that after hearing Beyonce's song and viewing her video's kickass dance choreography, will men (gay and straight) burst with popcorn like epiphanies and realize that it is finally time to set down some male privilege. A rebel song does not equate to true equality among sexes.
Girls do not run the world as long as rape still exists.
Girls do not run the world if some men feel threatened by a female supervisor in the work place.
Girls do not run the world as long as pornography exists.
Girls do not run the world when sexual dominance exists.
Girls do not run the world when domestic violence exists.
Girls do not run the world when a female has to worry that a man may think what she is wearing is an invitation for sex.
Girls do not run the world when female genital mutilation exists.
Girls do not run the world when a man thinks it is a insult to refer to another man as a "bitch", a "pussy" or anything else that is stereotypically feminine.
Girls do not run the world when they are deemed as "bitches" by men and women alike.
Girls do not run the world when being female is a barrier to obtaining a position that is typically carried out by men.
Girls do not run the world when they are expected to uphold stereotypical gender roles.
The list goes on and on and on.
Women all over the world continue to fight for equality but at this point and time patriarchy wins. And while girl power songs may feel good and make us feel empowered it is important to know that ignorance is bliss and an awesome beat doesn't challenge oppressing forces.
I am not opposed to songs of empowerment, I am opposed to anything that is not the truth. Beyonce's song will no doubt garner popularity as I think there will be many women who will want to dance to a song that tells them that they are powerful. This may seem like innocent fun but it is actually harmful. By doing this we deny that sexism exists and to deny that is to deny a need for action and to deny that there is anything left to be done.
I think it's important to acknowledge the positives that feminism has brought forth but it's also important to recognize where we need to go from here.
I learned of this event when I was attending college in Olympia, WA at The Evergreen State College.
The event was given birth in 1995 by a group of Olympia residents. The Procession was originally created to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Earth Day and to support Congressional renewal of the Endangered Species Act.
What does the Procession look like? Well according to the site..
- A preschool class attending as frogs after making their masks out of cereal boxes and paint.
- Two young friends in batik butterfly wings, fluttering high in the air on stilts.
- Species of all kinds created in a wide range of nature art.
- People of all ages bound by a common desire to play music, who learn to drum in a workshop, form a band, and celebrate by dressing as the element of fire.
- A community group in love with movement, who form a dance group and choreograph their steps to become a night of swirling stars.
- The Procession is a few thousand people, melded into a sea of celebration--colorful, diverse, alive. They flow through another 30,000-plus people who are watching, laughing, dancing, and cheering to the infectious beats of homegrown bands.
- From jazz to samba to world beat rhythms, community musicians pound out sound on five-gallon buckets, tin can shakers, and handmade and conventional musical instruments.
- It looks like all of us, using our creativity to celebrate the natural world and holding these things (and each other) close to our hearts.
Procession of the Species 2011
For more information visit POSC.
To see a slide show of the event from The Evergreen State College click here.
There are four "coaches" which include Cee-lo Green, Christina Aguilera, Adam Levine (Maroon 5) and Blake Shelton. The judges have their backs to the performers so they can focus only on their voices. If they like what they hear and want to help coach them they will push a button which will swing their chairs around. One the performers finish their chosen songs they must pick a coach. In other words the coaches are in competition with each other.
After watching the premiere episode I was hooked. One of the performers who caught my attention was 16 year old Xenia. Her full name is Xenia Martinez however she just goes by Xenia on the show.
Xenia chose to sing a song called "Break Even" by The Script. I had heard parts of this song on the radio but did not know who the song belonged to. I did appreciate some of the lyrics and I think that Xenia's voice brought the song to life. It was no longer just a pop song but it had more depth and struck me as more of a folk song.
Break Even - The Script cover by Xenia
When I first heard Xenia's voice it very slightly reminded me of Alana Davis.
I first heard of Davis' work in 1007 as she covered Ani Difranco's song 32 Flavors. There was a controversy over the song as Davis' version is very pop and Difranco's work is socio-political in nature and some fans considered Ani to have sold out as she allowed Davis to cover the song.
32 Flavors - Ani Difranco cover by Alana Davis
I must say that I enjoy Xenia's voice much more. The rasp in her voice is quite profound and I can say that I am now a fan.
Break Even - The Script cover by Xenia (full song recorded in 2010)
The song is originally sung by a male vocalist and he is singing about a woman. Xenia made the song her own by not only singing in reference to a male counterpart but by changing the lyric, "praying to a God that I don't believe in" to "praying to a God that I do believe in."
Break Even - The Script cover by Xenia (studio version 2011)
Cuz when a heart breaks
No it don't break even"
"Choose to align yourself with people who are like-minded in their search for simplified inspiration. Give those who find fault or who are confrontational a silent blessing and remove yourself from their energy as quickly as possible. Your life is simplified enormously when you don’t have to defend yourself to anyone, and when you receive support rather than criticism."
- Dr. Wayne Dyer
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
The story behind the denim? Here it is as described by Denim Day in LA.
An 18-year old girl is picked up by her married 45-year old driving instructor for her very first lesson. He takes her to an isolated road, pulls her out of the car, wrestles her out of one leg of her jeans and forcefully rapes her. Threatened with death if she tells anyone, he makes her drive the car home. Later that night she tells her parents, and they help and support her to press charges. The perpetrator gets arrested and is prosecuted. He is convicted of rape and sentenced to jail.
He appeals the sentence. The case makes it all the way to the Italian Supreme Court. Within a matter of days the case against the driving instructor is overturned, dismissed, and the perpetrator released. In a statement by the Chief Judge, he argued, “because the victim wore very, very tight jeans, she had to help him remove them, and by removing the jeans it was no longer rape but consensual sex.”Enraged by the verdict, within a matter of hours the women in the Italian Parliament launched into immediate action and protested by wearing jeans to work. This call to action motivated and emboldened the California Senate and Assembly to do the same, which in turn spread to Patricia Giggans, Executive Director of Peace Over Violence, and Denim Day in LA was born. The first Denim Day in LA was in April 1999, and has continued every year since.
The day is about rape prevention and education and taking a stand against sexual assault.
Here are some important and saddening statistics from the website.
Every two and a half minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted.
One in six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape.
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, there were 1,117 rapes during the year 2003, with only 260 rape suspects arrested.
82.8% of rapes committed by an intimate are not reported to the police.
35% of college men who voluntarily participated in psychological research conducted at several universities indicated they might commit a rape if they knew they could get away with it.
Two million children around the world are forced into prostitution every year.
Law enforcement arrests for internet sex crimes against minors are on the rise.
15,000 to 19,000 people with developmental disabilities are raped each year in North America.
Today Wednesday 4/27/11 is Denim Day. Women and men have been dressing in denim and attending rallies in support of this day.
Support male survivors as well!
To learn how to educate others and become more involved visit Denim Day LA
Here are resources offered by the website.
The Los Angeles Rape and Battering hotline is a confidential non-judgmental support service where staff and volunteers are available to provide emotional support, advocacy, information and referrals. If you or someone you care about has been a victim of sexual assault, domestic violence or stalking, please call our 24 hour crisis line.
- 213-626-3393 (Central Los Angeles)
- 310-392-8381 (South Los Angeles)
- 626-793-3386 (West San Gabriel Valley)
- 877-633-0044 (Stalking Hotline)
If you are not from this region you can find help through dialing the national hotlines:
Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN)
- 800.656.HOPE (4673)
National Domestic Violence Hotline
- 800.799.SAFE (7233)
- 800.787.3224 TDD