lotesse: (afrofuturist)
--I always find myself wanting to tell someone about, or write about, the times when I experience intense overlays of affect or signification. For me, this is what it's all about, what I read for, what I listen for, what I live for. But they're always so deeply obscure and personal that I'm never sure if they're worth sharing, if the frission of it is something that can be conveyed to people outside of my head.

I'm going to anyway, because this is my journal, and I can be self-indulgent.

The bit from The Dark Is Rising with "Good King Wenceslas" has always been important and central for me. Part of that is that I was a choir girl whose peak event of the year was the holiday concert with the local symphony orchestra; part of it has to do with my general Thing for traditional carols. But it was also about Will and Merriman, alienation and community unlooked-for. Will loses the support of his brother's voice, sings alone as he goes forward, and just as he's wondering what he's going to do to keep the song going by himself Merriman comes in on the joyful king's verse, lyrically offering protection and restoring harmony. The Old Ones aren't always good community for Will - there's a darkly funny way that I think of DiR as the opposite of Harry Potter, where becoming a wizard on your eleventh birthday means leaving your abusive family for a wonderful world of magic, because in his waking Will loses his family, his humanity, and his future, and only gains a set of crochety old absentee mentors. Will Stanton is the eternal graduate student. But in that moment, singing "Good King Wenceslas," Merriman comes through for his pupil. In that moment, at least, Will isn't left alone.

And it means something to me that this is all framed in terms of poverty, generosity, honor, and snow.

So, on the opposite side of the collision--

I keep drawing the Fool card in my tarot, shall I or shan't I, and one of the questions pulling at me now is how much I want to keep fighting to wodge myself into the world versus how much I want to just go be the crazy witch lady at the edge of the woods. And I've been reading a lot of pieces like this one at the Atlantic about reclusive or in-revolt artists who start letting the madness through; the link centers Blackness, touching on Kanye West, Dave Chapelle, Lauryn Hill, and Nina Simone, but Courtney Love and Tori Amos are also artists that are part of this for me, in addition to badgal Rihanna. I grok that there are racialized aspects of this subject position that I can't legitimately lay claim to, but it's been giving me language for the simultaneous turn-away and aggressive-visibility impulses I've been feeling.

Well.

I've had a rough few days, dealing with an unusually nasty menstrual period, handling unfamiliar work that I'm less fluent with, and also doing first talks with a new therapist that I'm checking out. So yes, I was watching What Happened, Miss Simone? on Netflix looking for catharsis; but I really wasn't expecting the doc to open with her coming onstage, pushing the edge of her alienation, and sit down at the piano and start playing "Good King Wenceslas." God. The footage is from her 1976 return concert in Switzerland. She casts this beautiful incantation - she draws her limits verbally, hard, and it's awkward, and she does the throw-away gesture over her shoulder, and tells them they have to go with her to the beginning, girlhood. And this is still before the title card.

I recommend the doc, fwiw. It bothered me sometimes that her songs were used so heavily in the soundtrack; it especially nerdled me that "Put A Spell On You" underscored the section on her experience of marital abuse. It's too specific and too general all at once; those songs are standards, not confessional contemp-style singer-songwriter pieces. The civil rights music is different, it belongs in the context.
lotesse: (faerie)
via [personal profile] thady, this fantastic essay on early Britney Spears: “So if 'manufactured' is unfair, what is the right metaphor for Britney’s relationship to the pop machine? Scanning the pop culture of the late 90s gives us a better possibility: mecha, the Japanese anime genre where beautiful, tragic youth fuse themselves to sublime, state of the art machines. Britney is not the machine’s puppet; she’s its pilot.”
lotesse: (Default)
The new Leonard Cohen album is everything. It's like, as the years wear him away, he just gets closer and closer to divinity.

streaming link
lotesse: (freedom)
I guess my copy of Nina Simone's "Blues for Mama" musta been burned in from somebody's mixtape, because it cuts off abruptly before the end of the song. I determined this to be the case when my playlist jam this morning cut from Nina asking, "Mama what you gonna do now, get your nerves together baby and set the record straight" to Bessie Smith singing "Oh Judge Your Honor hear my plea" in "Send Me to the Lectric Chair." which is actually an awesome flow, considering that Bessie's turning herself in for killing her man - I ended up imagining it as Nina with her nerves all nerved up setting down some truth, Bessie, distraught, bursting into the room pleading for her own end. And then obvs. they would get together and speak truth to power/ fight crime/ be gay for each other. Nina Simone/Bessie Smith = timetravel otp.
lotesse: (narnia)
I've been trying to think since I woke up this morning how to communicate what Peter Seeger, flights of angels sing him to his rest, means to me. And I don't know if I can. My whole life, Pete's voice has been like air: so omnipresent that you almost forget how deeply necessary and important it is. I grew up with Abiyoyo and his banjo method books; "Lonesome Valley" and "Hobo's Lullaby" were my cradlesongs. In a way it feels surreal for him to have gone just now, although heaven knows he'd served his time and trouble here, because I've been listening to his music about mortality a lot since my uncle passed a few weeks back. S'what I always end up doing in grief or sorrow.

In some ways Pete's voice is for me an avatar of my father's: a voice of deep and gentle wisdom, but also burning underneath with righteous anger. Maybe that's something I can tell, that Pete's voice taught me how to be politically angry without being hateful, that political anger is properly rooted in compassion and solidarity even when you see folk being wicked or foolish or just plain wrong.

One of the most important ideas I picked up in college was the difference between having awareness and having an analysis. That awareness of oppression and injustice alone can be counterproductive, overwhelming, disempowering, but once you can get hold of analysis you can start to work toward change in strength. I listen to Pete Seeger when I feel like I'm losing my grip on my analysis, because it seems like he always understands.
lotesse: (freedom)
Wait, what do you mean Janelle Monae wasn't even NOMINATED for a Grammy? INFINITE BULLSHIT. Also my students keep banging on about this Macklemore fella, but dude reads to me as the tooliest of tools.
lotesse: (trek_changein)
the Republicans don't know what they want, the press is misrepresenting petulance as gridlock just as frequently as they can, and nobody seems to know how we're getting out of this. I quite liked the idea of Louise Slaughter as temporary Speaker, but nope. So, some musical reflection: what the hell is this country we've made, and what are we to do with it now that it exists? Apart from shutting it down, that is.


 photo america.jpg

download at sendspace


tracklist behind the cut )
lotesse: (holmes_h/w)
I am five minutes into the pilot of Elementary, freaking out about music. They're using Zoe Keating's "Seven League Boots" on the soundtrack. Not only did I first hear Zoe Keating in [personal profile] damned_colonial's Sherlock Holmes 2009 vid there still remains the cocaine-bottle, which is a weird enough coincidence, but I was listening to a Keating-heavy iTunes playlist right before I switched to the show.

(which I'm enjoying, by the way.)
lotesse: (feminism_assignmentfemale)
I'm finally reading Elaine Scarry's "On Beauty and Being Just," - one of the ones I've been pretending to have read for years - and, idek, guys, I kind of hate it. Like, the prose is gorgeous, of course, hers always is, but I feel like she's strawmanning all over the place. I'll agree that extrapolating from feminist critiques of beauty to argue that, say, a vase is negatively reified when looked at is silly as anything. But similarly, I feel like extrapolating from a vase or a flower to human aesthetics is just as wrongheaded, and that's what she keeps doing. The feminist critique doesn't object to beauty qua beauty, it objects to the weaponization of beauty in the service of racism, classism, and misogyny. So I just. Don't know what to do with this book. And am frustrated.


some linkspamming:

[personal profile] oursin, 'Adequate' and 'competent' are not, in fact, pejoratives - this conversation was something I really needed to read. When I was in fifth grade, my parents convinced me that even top marks were meaningless, because all my As meant was that I was doing better than the other kids, not that I was working at my own maximum potential. So I just possibly have some issues.

Abigail Nussbaum reviews the Avengers - everything she said, please.

new Regina Spektor Album with streaming option!

eta: Garland Grey, Buffy Vs. The Beige Demon: Good Riddance to Riley Finn: Most modern television shows display their enlightenment by unleashing paper sexists at their heroine and allowing us to take the clobbering of these shadows as a triumph over sexism. Which, in the unscripted world, is too often not a douchebag saying “You can’t cuz you’re a girl” but is instead someone internalizing that belief and using their power to punish you for it. This scenario creates a false image in the culture of “What Sexism Looks Like” which men use to calibrate their understanding of misogyny. Which means anything less blatant than THAT is just the moaning of people who can’t compete AND once the show has labeled itself NOT SEXIST, it is free to deal in subtler, more insidious forms of sexism. Also with lovely Classic Trek exempla.
lotesse: (fairylights)
Halftime show: oh my god Madonna ilu. Seriously, I heart her so hard, with such unironic fervor. And, like more than half the internet - yeah, I'm wondering about the Luminosity link.

Avengers preview: oh come on, is that all we get?! Fucking explosions and Portentious Voiceoverage from Fury? I am disappoint, y'all.
lotesse: (shakespeare_pearls)
Yuletide reveal & yearly fic roundup, 2011 edition!

For yuletide, I wrote:

Entreat me with your loveliest lie
Vorkosigan Saga, Gregor/Miles ust with bonus Simon and Aral
longing, betrayal, abandonment, and body & disability issues
summary: Count Vordroza never says the word “mutant” when he talks about Miles.
1669 words, general

and, as treats,

All the way from China
Leonard Cohen - Suzanne, Female Narrator/Jesus/Suzanne
bookmaking, babies, and memories, bittersweet
summary: She doesn't know what Suzanne has done, if she's still there, if she's changed, grown old, died, forgotten.
357 words, general

Come away, come away
Peter Pan, Peter/Wendy contemporary university AU
recreational drug use, impaired consent, and anarchy
summary: They left Wendy's familiar haunts, went to where bright fluorescent lights shimmered through the gathering dark, and vendors sold curry and meat pies and falafel on the curbs, and climbed up to a third-story flat on a dingy ill-lit street. The door was painted sky blue, and huge cumulonimbus clouds surrounded the knob. "Welcome to Neverland," Peter said, not using a key, just opening the door.
3075 words, mature

And for the rest of the year: Star Wars OT, Firefly, Prydain )

By the numbers: 7 stories, 6 fandoms, 34,500 words. \o/
lotesse: (btvs_womanwarrior)
[personal profile] commodorified seems to have started something with her mix for the union revolution We Have Fed You All A Thousand Years - this morning [personal profile] sara posted her fighting-the-man playlist.

And as I am never not happy to wallow around in folkways music, here's my iteration, which ended up being one part union/antiwar/folkways and one part contemporary social justice songs.

Download "Oh Freedom" at Sendspace; tracklist & lyrics behind the cut
oh, freedom, over me )
lotesse: (prydain_taran)
... so I just realized that of course the scene that I meant to be smut persistently refused to get properly explicit. I was writing from Taran's point of view. (somehow I think he'd have trouble naming those things to himself - and as a rule I find I don't like writing het sex scenes from male povs, because I worry about how easy it is to objectify the sexualized female body in that context.) Okay, switching to Eilonwy, who has no trouble thinking dirty thoughts or naming her desires.

Also, my sff comp course got approved for next fall!

And in further rambling - okay so I'm kind of having an affair with Mumford & Sons. It's the banjo, I think - my daddy played the banjo when I was a little girl, and I still turn to the recorded sounds of Pete Seeger's banjo when my heart hurts. Banjos are like direct taps into the place where all my happy optimistic feelings are kept. I will never understand the tendency to stereotype them as "hick" instruments without potential for virtuosity - they're such delicate instruments! All little filigree notes slipping together, a full sound composed of tinier noises combined. Am assuming that it's a race thing that slowly changed into a class/region thing. Urgh.
lotesse: (adipositive_marble)
The new Lady Gaga single made me remember just how much I love Madonna's "Express Yourself"; I spent all night writing papers to 90s Madge. (not that I dislike Gaga or anything, but "Born That Way" is even more of a Madonna homage than the rest of her body of work, and I'd rather listen to the first iteration! Plus, I am of the opinion that Madonna is the bomb, yo.)
lotesse: (neverland)
The Boy's been reading Tamora Pierce's Immortals Quartet. Oh gods above but I loved - love - those books so much. I read them for the first time as a little teen, and they were just so completely the thing that I wanted. Awhile ago, [personal profile] thefourthvine wrote a gorgeous meta on being part of the audience - the Immortals books were one of my first real experiences with being front and center in a writer's audience. To this day, I still have a strong desire to draw little tiny hearts around Tamora Pierce.

So he's been reading them, and we've been talking about them, and I seem to have nerded out and made a ship fanmix. Um.



behind the cut: Fair Strange Lover, a Daine/Numair Immortals Quartet fanmix )
lotesse: (labyrinth - slave)
I think that part of what I love so very much about Miyazaki films is that they use symphonic music the way I remember it from going to concerts as a child. Ordinary movies use symphonic scores, but they're always kind of John Williams-esque. They work in their own particular way. They're meant to underscore, not to lead.

Miyazaki could almost be using classical symphonic compositions unrelated to his films as scores. The instrumentation is free and unconventional and empowered. It really does make me feel like I'm back home, going to symphony concerts with my father, and telling myself stories about the music. The instruments matter just as much as the vocal performances do - sometimes even more.

Also, I love Miyazaki's tendency to draw big, capable women with massive bustlines. It makes me all happy inside.

As it's rainy and I'm going to be alone all night, and as I don't have any classes tomorrow, I'm going to mainline Miyazaki, and then maybe watch Fullmetal Alchemist. Safe warm lovely things, with pretty music. It took me a few years, after I moved out, for me to realize how much I needed orchestral music. As a kid, it was always playing around me, and so I played my own stuff. Without daddy to provide the Bach and Copeland, I have to remember to play those things myself. They make me so awfully happy.
lotesse: (love)
Just bought myself three immeasurably precious songs from Amazon - all three by Pete Seeger. "Crow on the Cradle," "Oh, Had I a Golden Thread," and "Black Girl." Only the last one is widely known, because Nirvana sang a version of it called "Where Did You Sleep Last Night." My Tita used to sing it to me as a little girl, that one sad single verse again and again.

Oh Pete. His voice keys me right back to love, to childhood, to the safety of my big rambunctious passionate family. To the truth of the basic goodness of the world. I may hunt down other versions of his songs, but it's never not his voice I want to be listening to.

In a fabulous segue, "I do not know what it means, but the spell of it has been on my all of my life." Because I've also been listening to "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" again, and Reep! And oh, good god, Caspian, Caspian the boy-king of Narnia. Mmmm.
lotesse: (portia)
So, I have discovered that I can play really good Bach when I'm all tired and tranced-out, but I can't read Plato. Perhaps this needs to be my Bach-playing strategy more often. I bet you could replicate the feeling with drugs. Somehow, though, I don't think that he'd mix very well with alcohol.
lotesse: (Default)
I cannot express my love for ze new Rufus Wainwright CD, aka "Want Two." Just. So much love. So perfect. So beautiful. And there's an Agnus Dei!

daughter of the sea, oregano's first cousin

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