Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water

It’s funny how emotions can hit you at any point in the day, sometimes with no mercy. It just takes a small alignment of events to render feelings that are happy, sad, or transcendent. Even more so possible with music in the mix.

Last night I was getting my son ready for his bath and I happened upon an NPR interview with music supervisor Scott Vener. He’s been the music supervisor for HBO shows like Entourage and currently How To Make It In America – shows that I watch, the latter which I’ve listed in other posts. Whatever disdain you may have for either of these shows there are still small essential moments that sometimes make these shows bigger, better than they’re whole. They are the moments when the music cue hits a key point within the storyline. When they catch characters within a moment of struggle, happiness, sadness or anger – that music typically reflects and enhances the scene and takes that moment to a whole other level.

I’ve caught myself being romanced by the darkly tinged La Roux track “In for the Kill” out into the credits as central character Vincent Chase is falling down on a drug filled, downward spiral or picked up by the M83 track “Midnight City” leading out of the positive moment for Cam and Ben as they reach a turning point where their hard work is finally seeing fruition.

Before you balk at my investment into these seemingly petty moments I should mention it’s not as much the investment into the show or it’s characters as it is a reflection of the moments we’ve all had at one point or another in our lives. The combination of the relatable scene, the music, and the emotion can make us reflect a little and possibly be more willing to connect to others around us.

Ironically, during this interview I was shushing the sounds of my significant other and missing a moment of my own right in front of me…bathtime. That is until Led Zeppelin’s “Going to California” started playing. Scott was telling how ever since he started on Entourage he wanted this song to be the cap to the final series episode. To me, the song is about starting over again, beginning on a new road to something unknown and at the same time being at peace with that. At least this is how I’ve always interpreted it. This mid-interview interlude lulled me back into my own moment listening to the acoustic picking of Jimmy Page while watching my 13 month year old boy playing in the water. I wandered off in my mind thinking of what his future might be like. The paths he might take and the moments he might have either happy, sad, or transcendent.

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Imagine.

It’s appropriate that I haven’t gotten to writing this post until today. What would be John Lennon’s 70th birthday. Wasn’t writing to say anything about how great John was. He was obviously amazing in many way, but just like all of us he had his faults.

Early in his career he had a son at a time where the Beatles were just beginning to explode throughout the world. At the same time he was put in a position of having to choose to embark on this journey with his band vs his life with his wife and new son. It’s obvious now what direction he chose, but the effect of his decisions would carry on for years within his young son, Julian Lennon’s life.

If you know a little of the story, Julian missed his connection with his father. Only to watch him in later years, take off from music to spend time with and dote on his younger son Sean, who he had with Yoko Ono.

Hurtful as it may have seemed it was just a matter of circumstance. The Beatles had broken up and John had the luxury of not having to work and spend time with his new family. Julian just watched as a young boy wondering why he was neglected. Add to that the years he fought with Yoko after John passed. Fighting for his right to have a piece of his late father’s estate. All giving him more reason to hate Yoko.

On the Oct 3 edition of CBS Sunday Morning, they aired a segment on Julian and the relationship he now has with Sean and Yoko. It was moving in many ways as it was about his new life as a photographer and more so his ability to leave his past feelings of hurt and anger towards Yoko and his father behind for the good of his relationship with Sean.

I mention all of this as I only aspire to be able to leave past feelings of hurt and/or anger behind. We’ve all experienced these feelings in some way, but strength to move past them, accept them and understand is a true gift to oneself. I’ve felt that being an only child of a single mother watching my father not participate in any part of my life. All the while trying to make contact and a connection with him over the years to no avail. Those feelings of hurt and anger I held onto for so long until he passed away, finally able to let them go.

I still have feelings of anger and hurt that linger from past relationships, friendships, etc. I keep pushing myself to understand that holding onto these feelings for too long will only hurt me in the end. Only forgiveness and understanding will free me to an internal peace. For now I’ll just aspire to others that have gotten there like Julian. For now I will just have to imagine…

Good Memories…

Was browsing through the LA Times and came across an article on an old friend that was written up in the magazine. Jonathan Wilson was one half of the North Carolina band Muscadine along with Benji Hughes. Both salt of the earth, super guys with an extreme love of music who I had the privilege of touring with while I was in the band Sugarsmack. One of my favorite trips was both bands traveling together in a rented RV playing shows across the South all the way to SXSW to play our showcase and mingle with Sandra Bullock, Forrest Whitaker and Bill Paxton – random. Ah…the glory days.

I heard Jonathan had jumped around a bit til finally settling in Laurel Canyon. LA is lucky to have him. He is an amazing musician that can pick up any instrument and make it sing. Yeah, one of those guys…the ones you’re lucky to get to hang with. Although he still plays shows supporting Benji on his solo gigs, he has carved out a nice scene for himself in the Canyon. Nice to see old friends doing great things…

You can read the article here…

I Need A Dollar

One of my guilty pleasures in television watching is Entourage. juvenile and sometimes not very well written I know, but when it’s fun, it’s good. Being set in LA also delivers a lot of “been there” moments within each episode, some weird relatability from having worked there  a lot.

Point I’m getting to is that I’ve been suckered into another Mark Wahlberg EP joint called “How To Make It In America.” Sort of the same basic formula on a smaller scale, friends trying to “make it.” I’m hooked for now, Lake Bell and Shannyn Sossoman aren’t a bad reason to watch either.

Always hooked on the visual, I initially gravitated towards watching based on the show’s title sequence and song. The song by Aloe Blacc, “I Need a Dollar” is classic. It has complete 70’s feel, captures that era wonderfully. The title sequence is a series of stills and live action, quick jump cuts from still to still, then slow motion – all captured in and around NYC. Large, bold fonts for credits cover the screen from moment to moment while stills from NYC party life ala Last Night’s Party make you want to put on your Friday’s best and get out of the house…Alright, maybe a title sequence can’t really do all this. Maybe depends on how many beers you’ve had sitting on your couch at 10p on a Sunday night…

Check out the title sequence here…

When I’m older…

I’m wondering when that day will come to when I can be that old wise guy that says things that sound like sage advice. Not in a preachy kind of way, just worldly. Schooled, wiser from experience, etc.

Was flipping through the latest issue of Dwell, half into it when I passed by a small article on architect and designer Piero Lissoni. Dwell had a simple, phoned in Q&A for him and he made it sing. All of his responses related more to life than what he did for a living which are most designers typical response. Just seems like a guy you would want to hang and have a beer with…the best kind.

I’ve posted the article here in case the link goes bad…

Ideal working environment:

Everywhere. I may prefer to work at a classical table in a classical office with a lot of noise, or a beautiful park, or in a forest, or on the top of a mountain. It’s totally personal; there are no limits.

Lucky break:

Love is the real lucky break. It can happen in a flash.

“Eureka!” moment:

To enjoy a fantastic cappuccino in the morning with a very good croissant. This can help the creative process a lot.

Hero:

Donald Duck. He is, at the same time, human, stupid, and a genius.

Best seat in the house:

In the kitchen.

A book:

I have a biblioteca. Two of my favorite books are The Odyssey, by Homer, and Six Memos for the Next Millennium, by Italo Calvino.

A film:

There are too many.

Worst-ever idea:

It’s not possible to talk about it.

Highest compliment:

To be human. Humanity is so complex. You have to be nice, angry, and arrogant. A fighter and a lover.

Soundtrack:

I like baroque music from the 17th century, especially Bach, and the piano player Glenn Gould.

Antihero:

Stupidity is the antihero. I’m against ignorant people and unfortunately this world is full of them.

Best advice:

Every moment of every day is a long intellectual process. Professionally, everything is possible. You have to be lucky, but you also have to be good.

When not designing:

I design a lot.

Dream commission:

To be able to continue in this way for many years.

I wish I had:

More time to spend sailing, skiing, climbing, walking somewhere—–anywhere.

Looking forward to:

Girls. Beauty is a special alphabet. More than just long legs, artifice, and plastic; it’s looking true, a nice light in the eyes, some natural movement.

Lars and the Real Furor.

You’ve probably heard many of stories on Lars Vilks, the Swedish artist who drew the cartoon depicting Muslim Prophet Muhammad in a not so favorable light. After his cartoon was published a bounty of $100,000 was placed on his head by al-Qaida as well threats from other extremist Muslims. Since 2007 he’s had to watch his back from constant threats and even more recently from American Jihad Jane and a few other crazies.

Recently saw this article about his day to day since then and I was struck by how somewhat normal his life seems to be. He lives in rural southern Sweden with seemingly no security and a half put together safe room. He’s not trying to barricade himself, or hire loads of security. He just accepts the fact that he can’t control fate. That’s brave.

In the article it goes on to talk about Sweden’s lax regulation of immigration and how some right wing elements are wanting to change that which will push more muslims and other immigrants from coming into the country. The irony to me is that Lars is much more sympathetic to the Muslims than these seemingly polite right wing politicians, but they can’t see through that because of a cartoon and it’s depiction of their religion.

To be fair, all religions have these kind of issues. Their followers always running with scissors, defending ideals that are never as easily defined as they were written.

Heard on NPR…

Yeah, I’m one of those avid NPR listeners. I just like to hear other people talk, tell their stories. I’ve never been a great storyteller so in some ways I think it helps me better my skills or just kill time in my day.

Regardless I happen to catch this interview about an upcoming Bill Withers documentary. Bill is the guy that wrote classics like “Lovely Day” and “Ain’t No Sunshine.” He has that classic voice and from hearing the interview about him a classic attitude.

Like with any good interviewee there is usually a great line, quote, that was said. The good ones always stick with you. Bill had a great quote that he used as advice to his daughter about the road to success and to life for that matter…

“One of the things I always tell my kids is that it’s OK to head out for wonderful, but on your way to wonderful, you’re gonna have to pass through all right,” Withers says. “When you get to all right, take a good look around and get used to it, because that may be as far as you’re gonna go.”