art department whenever november 2013
Music book Soundtrack to your escape long live vinyl britney PLus: five things mother of all albums albums of the year
r A e rh
t r yA
“She’d be screwed up the wazoo” -ian
“You gotta make sure to shake your banana” -Sam
“Humble I’m not” -luis
“I went to state school” -vrabel
“Matchbox 20 and the GooGoo Dolls, that was a good show... in ’99” -luis
Thanks to David Schiffrin for sending us this pic of Thor and Loki checking out the Black Widow’s assets.
“It looks like Katie Holmes got punched in the face” -maxim reader
“Oh my god, they think I look like Katie Holmes” -heather
“You mean redheads don’t get a discount at Wendy’s?” -luis Teefury.com has some amazing pop culture tees. Two of my favorites are Han and Chewie reimagined as Calvin and Hobbes and The Starks Winter is Coming album.
“Dawg, that monkey face fucked you” -John
S c i om r
c rne co LV did not know those people before he took the mic from them. Music = unity. Kind of.
the muSic iSSue The idea of a Music Issue annoyed me to say the least. I abhor the question, “What kind of music are you into?” It’s never asked in a way that’s like, “Hey, let’s have a philosophical discussion about why you seem to really respond to a specific rhythm.” It’s not even about establishing why it is that the same person can so desperately love “Nothing” from A Chorus Line and “Break Stuff” by Limp Bizkit. The question is always another way of saying, “Hey, how quickly can I pigeon hole you and/or make you feel stupid?” But Music Issue we have... And not just 12 pages of best-of lists and an editorial where Madeline complains about music snobs. No, this is a 20-page mega issue where we go outside the Art Department to explore what musicians and people who love music are doing. Given that I completely lack confidence in my opinions about music, this issue was never going to be about telling you what’s good in music right now. First it was about pondering why music is important. Then it was about remembering all those things that music got me through—everything from staying up all night to finish a design project to burying my grandmother. It’s amazing that I can put a song on repeat and all of my problems become more manageable. Aside from its power to express what I can’t put into words or pull out a motivation I wasn’t sure existed, I am awed by the way music connects people. On Page 9 I interview a former boss. I wanted to label him a first boss, but that was far from true. And the boss after him used to write music reviews, so he
couldn’t be hands down the most musical. But the boss from Page 9 will forever be burned in my memory and someone who’s café I want to promote (even if I’ve never actually been there) because we shared music. “This is funny.” “Try this.” “We’re going to karaoke.” (I think the karaoke really cemented it.) Karaoke is extremely important to the Dubs. Not because we like to sing, but because there would be no Dubs without karaoke. Let me explain. Madeline is not hired by Blender in December 2002. She desperately interviews with Bailey (Page 9) for an internship at Hachette. It pays like nothing, so the very generous friends of Kim (page 10) let Madeline live in their apartment. She gets a full time job at Hachette and joins the softball team. Without karaoke, the third basemen (hint: Luis) might have just gone home... So, if you’re not already getting the sense that many of the people in this issue are important to me, they are—as is their music and their causes. Hopefully this issue gives you lots of new sites to explore, music to enjoy, and, of course, things to talk about. —Madeline
MAN OF sTEEL When I learned the new Superman movie would not be incorporating any of the original John Williams score, I was pissed. Williams perfectly captured the tone of the original with his soaring arrangement. Then I saw the new movie and fell in love with Hans Zimmer’s score. Vastly different than Williams, Zimmer’s take is heavy on rising drum beats. You get the sense of a darker, heavier tone almost from the outset. The end credit song, “Flight,” is so rousing you feel like you can actually don a cape and fly alongside Superman. While often a little heavy-handed, the soundtrack perfectly captures the darker world Zack Snyder wanted to create.
f o t ear ’n’
live music 2013
k c ro oll
From the wall of Steve Douglass... Back when I was working as a guitar tech for Huey Lewis and the News— this was, like 1987—I got pretty sick of taking shit from a certain bunch of people (hint: Huey Lewis and the goddamn fucking News) and what happened next changed the course of rock and roll history. Keep in mind that I had been with these assclowns since the Workin’ for a Livin’ tour in ’83. Anyway, they had that “The Heart of Rock & Roll” song, right, and somehow it became my job to remind Huey what city we were in each night so that he could throw the name of the town into the song—the heart of rock and roll is still beating… in fucking Massapequa or wherever. One night, I’d had enough. Huey’s about to go on stage, and he’s all, “Hey, man, what fucking town is this again?” And so I tell him. Only not the name of the town we’re in. The band gets through their set, and “Heart of Rock & Roll” is their encore number, their big fucking closer, right? Whoopee. And so they’re going through the song, fucking listing all the places where the heart of rock & roll is still beating, and then Huey goes in for his big crowd pleaser, the one line that always gets them, all about how the heart of rock and roll is still beating RIGHT FUCKING THERE! RIGHT IN YOUR OWN FUCKING SHIT TOWN! RIGHT AT THIS LAMEASS BAR/ NIGHTCLUB! Only, Huey doesn’t know the name of the town, he just knows what I told him, so that’s what he blurts out, “The heart of rock & roll is still beating… in my butt!” The whole room goes silent and finally one guy in the crowd is like, “Fuck you, Huey Lewis!” Huey Lewis and the News never had another platinum album again. You’re welcome.
Colin Surprenant About how many shows do you think you’ve seen in 2013? (How many were part of events you produced?) If you count the individual performances, I’d have to guess around 50+ shows this year. What was the biggest venue? Not counting the festivals, probably Barclays Center in Brooklyn, 19,000+ capacity. Counting festivals, I think NOLA Jazzfest has something like 650,000 through the gates...
SOME ACCOLADES most Surpsingly Good Performance:
Macklemore And Ryan Lewis Runner Up: Phoenix Most Surprisingly Disappointing Performance: Goodie Mob
Runner Up: Black Keys Favorite “Swaying With Your Girl” Performance: The Xx
Runner Up: Band Of Horses
What was the smallest? Maybe the club room at the McKittrick Hotel.
Best Positive Juju Show: Matt And Kim
Do you prefer bands or DJs? Bands.
Runner Up: Trombone Shorty And The Orleans Avenue Band
Who was your favorite headliner? Jay Z. (Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam are two close seconds...)
Trippiest Dj Stage Show: Avicci
Runner Up: Boys Noize
Were there any memorable opening acts? Seeing Jurassic 5 reunite at Outside Lands in San Francisco was great. They are one of my favorite hip-hop groups. Matt and Kim would be another. They are lots of fun live.
Most Fun At An EDM Show Filled With Underaged Tweakers: Calvin Harris
Do you have one concert memory/ experience that can never be trumped? (Can you share it in a publication that your boss reads?) Too many! I’m supposed to focus on this year alone—I think I am supposed to say that seeing Paul McCartney is a once-in-a-lifetime experience... So there’s that Beatles moment... Also ringing in the new year with Coldplay and Jay Z was pretty amazing. We had Ludacris and Jermaine Dupri (both ATL natives) perform “Welcome to Atlanta” at our Final Four party in ATL... That was very memorable!
Runner Up: Billy Joel
Runner Up: Pretty Lights Legend Who Delivered Exactly What I Was Expecting: Willie Nelson
Favorite “Bounce Around The Room” Performance: Rudimental
Runner Up: Dirty Dozen Brass Band Best Show To Feel Like A G: Jay Z
Runner Up: Big Krit Biggest Surprise Surprise: Learning Rhye Was An All Male Duo/Band
Runner Up: The Crystal Method Can Still Rock A Party Like It’s 1997
Music Book while we here in the art department do enjoy sharing our opinions, it seemed high time to talk to our musical friends. In case you haven’t been with us since the early days, Issue 3 of the Dubbs was a “Music to design by” theme. We could have updated our lists and added some new essays, but Madeline realized she has a lot of musical connections only an email away. This is her 11-page section devoted to promoting other people’s work (and some of her photography). 11/23 - Hoboken Music Awards
11/25 - Cabaret for a Cause
Lamayah Collier Back in July, Lamayah posted an ad on craigslist, looking for a photographer. It’s not often that I’m clairvoyant, but the idea of following around a super chill musician while she strummed a guitar was the overwhelming vision I got from the brief ad. See photo... When she sang for me and makeup artist Aquira Andall, it was the most intimate concert I’ve attended. How would you describe your sound? My sound. That question is so one dimensional to me. But the bulk of my sound would be an acoustic singer/ songwriter style. Most of the time I write the words first and then find a melody to accentuate them. Or, sometimes I will make the melody first and wait for a wave to come in with the perfect story of words. I would hate to categorize my music as R&B or pop. It is so many things, not just one thing. Maybe I should call my sound “Acoustic singer/songwriter Diary of Lamayah” Haha! Where has been the best place to perform—a specific venue, a certain part of the country, or a favorite memory? Just in September I did some shows here in NYC, and I was at a bar named “Wicked Willies” and all my family and few friends that I have out here came out. Plus there were so many bar heads there having a good time and they looked interested in hearing me. The crowd response was so amazing. I was on for an hour and loved every minute. At one point, three couples slow danced to my cover of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” by Roberta Flack, and it just made my heart smile. But what made the night so special was that it was my mom’s birthday and it was her first time seeing me perform live. What are you working on right now? Right now I am working on a new album. My last piece of work was initially supposed to be demos, but the few people that I let hear it said that I should put it out there for everyone to hear, and this turned out to be my 6-track Digital EP “Bad Love.” It is still so well-received. The new songs are stronger and not so sad and angry. It will be happier because I have been happier. I plan to tour the East Coast and promote it. I don’t yet have a title for it, but I’m sure it’ll name itself
If you could open for anyone, what would be your dream tour? If I could open and tour with anyone, it would probably be singer Justin Nozuka. He is simply amazing and I’ve sort of grown with him. I remember first hearing him in high school and listening to him right before I had a soccer game. I’ve seen him live so many times, in so many places (Canada being one... eh), and I’ve met him numerous times. I am connected to him and his music and I think that being
Music is what makes me feel alive. It’s about making others feel good. once it’s all complete. I just want it to be beautiful. I also want to shoot a video for one of the songs.
on stages with him in front of so many admiring supporters and all this energy and flow would be beyond a dream come
true. He really has inspired me immensely for so many years. I feel we are the same in a way. Maybe that is why I immediately connected to his music. I understand it. What’s one thing everyone should know about you? What everyone should know about me is that I truly am in love with music and these dreams of mine to sing and travel and be known is not superficial and in no way about money or status. Music is what makes me feel alive. It’s about making others feel good. Music, as everyone knows, is the universal language. It’s what drives me. It’s what motivates other. It has saved my life and I’m sure so many other people. Music connects us all. I want to meet so many people and go so many places and just pick up my guitar and sing. adw
Shane Leonard I put off checking out my cousin’s music until like right before he came to Brooklyn on tour. My aunt had recommended his music years earlier in an email, and I was like, “Yeah, yeah. Of course I’ll listen...” And when I finally did, my thoughts were, Why didn’t I do this sooner! If you work with Luis, you have probably heard him play one of the Kalispell albums. It’s quite amazing. (Especially if you’re me and you have a clear memory of damaging little Shane’s ears by holding the toy amp next to his head while he was holding the microphone. (I was like 9. I knew nothing about feedback before that moment...)) Kalispell’s Facebook page has a lot of Field Report on it right now. We’d be happy to help you promote either, but I guess the first question should be how would you describe your role in each (and where do the names come from)? In Field Report (anagram of Chris Porterfield’s last name), I’m on drums, mostly. Sometimes other things (guitar, banjo, fiddle, electronics) get thrown into my mix. Chris writes the songs and then we address things like chord structure, arrangement, etc. as a band. Kalispell (named after the Montana city) is my solo project, and thus far I’ve been alone at the wheel on writing and arranging. Although for the next album I’m bringing in some favorite musicians to collaborate on every aspect except lyrics. How would you describe your sound? I grew up playing jazz, and since high school my attention has been split between that and American roots music... Old weird fiddlers and banjoists, singers, etc. I like those two things meeting. Another shorter way is to just mention, “Bill Frisell is the coolest.” Where’s the best place for people to find your music? www.kalispellband.com. Where has been the best place to perform—a specific venue, a certain part of the country, or a favorite memory? Wisconsin is king where “sacred” feeling rooms for songwriters are concerned. The Shitty Barn, Stoughton Opera House, Mabel Tainter Theater. But other than those, Nelsonville, Ohio!
Check out kalispellband.com What are you working on right now? The next Kalispell album, which will be recorded this winter at Justin Vernon’s April Base studio, the next Field Report album, and producing an EP by the band Count This Penny. I’m also working on getting cooler looking clothes for jazz gigs. Indie bands kind of get away with wearing whatever they want, but I’ve recently realized that all the other musicians at jazz gigs look much slicker than I do. I’m trying to resolve that in 2014. If you could open for anyone, what would be your dream tour? I’d be opening for The Bad Plus, but not playing music—just doing long-form improv comedy for 30 minutes before they play. Or is touring just a complete nightmare and you’d rather be featured on someone’s album? If so, whose album? Yes. Well, no, touring’s a lot of fun but it’s also mind-numbing. I’d love to play drums/clawhammer banjo for an Aoife Odonovan or Anais Mitchell album... Backing up great songwriters is tops.
From Facebook... A few status updates that related to this issue Is it weird/just me that I’m not sure if I want to see a particular band because I don’t want to spoil the memory of when I first saw them (over 20 years ago) and it ranks as one of the best shows I’ve ever seen? Gary Clarke Jr at the Apollo last night was probably the best live music show I’ve ever seen. And I’ve see a lot of shows.
If you had your choice between being picked up for a car commercial or an Apple commercial, which would you prefer? I’d book both on the same day and make them fight over it until they destroy each other and we’d never have to deal with cars or computers again. I also love my MacBook and will need a new one soon. What’s one thing everyone should know about Kalispell? We’re launching a Kickstarter campaign soon to fund the next album! The backer rewards are numerous and tantalizing. Check it out. adw
Music Education not only makes you smarter, but it also makes you more interesting. Katie Schmidt Patrizio
Katie lalama This section couldn’t completely exclude magazine people, so, because she can sing songs from Rogers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella on demand, I present Katie Lalama’s Q&A (which was answered on a frigid afternoon full of leaves to be raked). How musical would rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is “Not at All” and 10 is “Julie Andrews” (because I like to imagine she walks around, bursting into song continuously)? 6.5 - so really a 5 but 1.5 points added because I also burst into song constantly. If you could wander onto the set of a musical and take the place of anybody, what role would you steal? Anita of West Side Story If you could open for anyone, what would be your dream tour? KTU’s Beatstock - RIP If you had your choice between being picked up for a car commercial or an Apple commercial, which would you prefer? Car How influential were your parents in your own musical journey? Extremely. I knew the lyrics to “That’s Amore” and “Good Lovin’” before “Twinkle Twinkle.” Do you have a prepared soap box speech for supporting music education? It’s called a first class beating from Dave and Roxanne if I didn’t... adw
I follow Katie on Facebook because way back her husband and my husband became friends in an art department. But also because she is super smart, has a lot to say about schools, and posts great pics. (I borrowed the above image from the Special Patrol Group band page.) If someone on the street asked you what you do, what would say? I currently teach General Music to high school students in Brooklyn. The Special Patrol Group page doesn’t have a lot of recent activity. Do you still perform? We haven’t performed together in quite a while. Jon always wanted to do a show with me big and pregnant, but I think we may be running out of time. How would you describe your sound? What do you gravitate toward? I’m opera trained. If I just start to hum or vocalize, I sound like an opera singer. I’m also a theatre nerd. The story, the character, or the emotion of the music is the biggest influence on my overall style. Ella Fitzgerald, Theresa Stratas and Julie Andrews influence my phrasing. Where has been the best place to perform—a type of venue, a certain part of the country, or a favorite memory? I really liked singing at The Most Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Detroit Michigan where I used to sing Sacred Music as an undergrad. The acoustics were awesome; my voice would come back to me as if I could never run out of air. The crowd was supportive. What are you working on right now? I’ve been trying to put together some songs for voice and ukulele, influenced by married life, Brooklyn and babies. If you could open for anyone, what would be your dream tour? I would love to open for Nina Simone because she scares the hell out of me. I saw her in concert before she died back in the 1990s. She would keep me on point. Or is touring just a complete nightmare and you’d rather be featured on someone’s album? If so, whose album?
I never did much touring. I have a sensitive voice and always seem to get sick when I try to sing and travel. I also like my own bed. I much prefer to be on vacation when I am on vacation. However, I’d love to be on an Andrew Bird record. I think we could rock a whistling duet. If you had your choice between being picked up for a car commercial or an Apple commercial, which would you prefer? I don’t drive much anymore, but being from The Dirty D, I’d have to pick car commercial. I’m not hip enough to be in an Apple commercial. Have you devised a plan for Lucia’s musical education—instruments or songs you’ve always imagined your children will learn? I’ve read that she can already hear me, so, I sing to her as much as I can and tap rhythms on my growing belly. I think the best way to introduce music is to just be musical. I would love for her to sing and dance and feel comfortable being musically creative. She would break a million hearts if she learned how to play the cello. How influential were your parents in your own musical journey? I grew up in a house where everyone sang and played music to some degree. My father sang opera and my mom sang musical theatre. They still both sing in church choirs. We always listened to music in the car and sang along no matter if it was top 40, jazz or whatever. It’s made me comfortable being musical and open to different genres. Do you have a prepared soap box speech for supporting music education? Music Education not only makes you smarter, but it makes you more interesting. It forces boring people to be more creative, but also gives form and focus to the dreamy artist. I know a lot of people who may have never graduated high school if it wasn’t for the arts opportunities presented to them. As a teacher of adolescents, I see how kids struggle with their own development every day. It helps to have an outlet to express these transitions that uses but also goes beyond language and formula. adw
music of Hoboken with a big party. It’s been a struggle to even think of this year’s awards. With the closing of Maxwell’s and the ongoing devastation of Sandy, we didn’t know if we could do it. Thankfully a bunch of bands came out of the woodwork to tell us all they’d been working on and an old (but newly renovated) venue in Hoboken—Willie McBride’s—will be hosting the event. It’ll be on Saturday 11/23.
Breakfast burrito at D’s Soul Full Cafe
Stephen Bailey When I could not find an art department job my second year in New York, I became Mr. Bailey’s web intern. While I might have seen him perform more karaoke than his own music, it was always apparent that Bailey loves to be part of the arts scene. If someone on the street asked you what you do, what would say? I say, “Who wants to know!?” Then—once my paranoia wears off—I say I’m a writer, musician and the owner of D’s Soul Full Cafe in Hoboken, NJ. Do you still perform? Not really. I picked up the guitar and played in public for the first time in over six years not too long ago. It was part of a predictably failed attempt to break a world record. The folks at Guitar Bar in Hoboken wanted to gather the most guitar players ever in one place to perform “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan. While we fell far short of the record, there were several hundred of us just having a grand ol’ time on the banks of the Hudson. Proof that there is still much music here in the Mile Square. Have you ever not been involved in music? I’m sure there’s a week or two back in 1966 when I was too busy crying for food or waiting for a diaper change when music wasn’t a first thought. What sounds do you gravitate toward? Anything real and honest. I know that sounds like some elitist musician answer, but it’s true. I really don’t have a particular style that I lean to anymore. I could love the sound of outta tune instruments and clanging pots and pans if I can feel the passion of the players. On the other hand, I could absolutely hate the most pristine, well thought out composition if it feels contrived or dishonest in some way. Where do you find new music? Mostly by word of mouth (or word of
keyboard). From my involvement with writing about music and co-producing the Hoboken Music Awards, I get a lot of folks approaching me. And now that I have this li’l cafe with a li’l stage, I get even more. It’s really kinda cool when a group I never heard of sends me an email because they were told my place is a place they should play. How would you describe your cafe? It’s the best fucking sandwich shop in town. That’s what I usually start with. We are very unique. We take traditional breakfast and lunch ideas and flip them into something different. We’re also an art gallery and tiny music venue. Being centrally located between three schools has also made us a hot community spot for kids, teachers, parents, etc. to come and hang. And it’s the best thing I’ve ever done with my life. Period. Where has been the best place to perform—a type of venue, a certain part of the country, or a favorite memory? Oh wow. That’s a tough one. So many great venues are gone. Most recently Maxwell’s in Hoboken stopped having live music. That was probably the place with most of my greatest memories. My old band Ya-Ne-Zniyoo played our very last show there in 2006. Then there are the shitty joints that hold a great place in my heart because of the friends I made or the adventures we had. I got to play one of the last shows ever at CBGB, plus I was there for their very last New Year’s party. There was a dive of a place in Hoboken called The Love Sexy. Terrible sound. Horrible stage (I hit my head on the ceiling more times than I care to admit). Never any drink specials. The bands always got screwed. And yet I wouldn’t change anything about it. What are you working on right now? The Hoboken Music Awards. For five years now we’ve celebrated the great
What has been the biggest change in music that you’ve witnessed—a certain artist/sound or technology? Or something I would never think of? The biggest change I’ve seen in music has actually been a gradual one. Over the past ten years, live music has taken a beating. Not just with the constant closing of venues around the country, but even in recording and on the radio. Yes, there’s always been a certain degree of prefabricated music since the beginning of time, but it was a minority. Now it seems the norm in the business is to just throw together whatever crap will sell. Sell it. Then rake in the cash and move on. No one cares enough to develop talent. Not the producers, not even the performers. The result is there’s no soul, no heart. It’s not simply a case of an older generation just thinking the music of the younger generation is not good. It’s a case of the music actually not being any good in the deepest, most spiritual meaning of the word ‘good.’ Do you have a prepared soap box speech for supporting music education? Not really, but I think the proof is out there that studying art and music will make your kid smarter. And all these people who want to cut education for whatever political reasons they have still send their kids to summer camp where they do arts & crafts. Or to music lessons. Or dance lessons. Or make them sing in church. The hypocrisy of it all just makes no logical sense. Where should people look for the latest info about D’s Soul Full Cafe? The best place is our website: www.dssoulfullcafe.com. We’re also on Twitter and Facebook. Don’t look for us on Instagram, we’re not there. Two social media sites are enough to worry about. What’s the best way for magazine art department people to make their way over? PATH to Hoboken. It’s a very walkable town. We’re about 10-15 minutes or so away on foot at 918 Willow Ave. Or take a cab. It’s $5 per stop, not per passenger so don’t let them try to rip you off. adw
Facebook can be full of talk. Endless opinions about what should be done. For me, it’s always exciting to see that someone has moved beyond the talking and is actually doing something. Kimberly Strafford is bringing theater education to students with special needs, and I wanted to help capture this part of the highlight reel. —Madeline
Kimberly Strafford Kimberly is the creator and director of Story Shifters—a storytelling residency for students with special needs. She believes that Story Shifters can not only help keep arts in the classroom, but can also help some students find their voice. Songs for Story Shifters was a cabaret featuring kids from Broadway shows to raise money for the Story Shifters program. I photographed the rehearsal and the first show, where I was delighted to witness some of the original Story Shifters students perform their first revival, as Kim called it.
What works for Story Shifters is what works for all of us—nothing bonds us like a common goal— or common experience.
When did the original Shifters first perform “Red and Rio”? Who is typically their audience? The first Story Shift was created and performed in a self-contained special ed class. It was two 6:1 classes (six students to one teacher). So, they were pretty high functioning. We met for about 12 weeks, once a week. The teachers then carried through the lessons during the school week. The end culmination was a performance at their Spring Fling for all of the schools five sites.
How does it fit in with regular school subjects? We worked specifically with the teachers to support curriculum already being covered. In “Red’s” case they were studying fiction and looking at folk/fairy tales. We needed to be age appropriate (high school) so the teacher had fairy tale comic books, and we used that as inspiriation. Do they usually tackle problems within the story that therapists might want them to focus on—like how the wolf can’t express himself? We originally had this idea to use the play to tackle some social issues (i.e. we were going to make the wolf have aspects of autism) but then we realized that it wouldn’t be completely their story if we did that. We could gently steer brainstorming and conversation that way—but we didn’t want to influence the dialouge or conflict. It did kind of organically go that way—for instance they came up with the concept that Red just had to ask for what he wanted instead of assuming the wolf was mean. And through rehearsal— we worked on eye contact and aspects of empathy through the characters’ point of view.
Songs for Story Shifters performers met, sang “Firework” together a few times (opposite page), and then took turns rehearsing individually. They signed totes to raffle off and danced when the mood struck.
For people who don’t have kids and never think about the current state of education, let alone special education, is there any quick way to explain what a program like Story Shifters means to personal development or education? What works for Story Shifters is what works for all of us—nothing bonds us like a common goal—or common experience. Story Shifters gives ownership to the storytelling process. Plus, it instantly creates a feeling of ensemble. Lastly, the highest form of learning is teaching others—and the themes of the stories come through the publishing and performing of the piece. Where is the best place to send people for more information on Story Shifters? For more info - www.kefproductions. com/education Or my blog kimberlystrafford.com I wrote about the whole first year. How did Songs for Story Shifters come about? Songs for Story Shifters came about through Tiffany. She is a great friend and a strong force. She was interested in the work and really wanted to help. It’s important to me to keep this work free for the schools, while at the same time have the funds to compensate the talented teaching artists, make sure everyone is insured, and provide the supplies for the show. Most teachers get a supply budget of 100 bucks for the whole year! That’s crazy—part of the process is working on sets and costumes and it’s something when I can walk in with the box of fun and put on a show. So, I like to be the rock star in that aspect. :) So, donations are the way to go. adw
Some veteran Broadway performers attended the rehearsal to cheer on the Story Shifters and share some wisdom with the cabaret performers. (Opposite page) Kimberly Strafford sings “Firework” with some of the Story Shifter students.
Tiffany Schleigh I only started to follow Tiffany on Facebook after shooting Songs for Story Shifters. Seeing as she was moving from one benefit concert to another, I thought maybe I could burden her with articulating why music is so vital to human existance. Is there any way to describe how important music is in life? How about, in terms of explaining to people who never think about music, how important music is as a form of self-expression or as a shared experience? How important music is in life—yikes! Let me try to answer that... Music to me seems like something EVERYONE responds to positively. It’s natural—sound, rhythm, tone—it’s all a part of everyday life. Babies bob around to music and have no idea what it is. That’s really beautiful to me. And it is so, so, so important when it comes to self-expression. There are hundreds and hundreds of genres and new ones are being created all the time and everyone identifies with at least one.
Brooklyn Shuck watched more than one rehearsal with a look of admiration. The producers and performers moved across the street to Stage 72 to not only do a sound check and continue rehearsals, but to also figure out how to hide all of the performers when they were not on stage. Programs and raffle entries adorned the tables. The older performers socialize in the green room.
A dear friend of mine is a brilliant musical theatre composer, and I happened to be at an event in 2009 when he was debuting a new song in front of an audience for the first time. It was a quarter. Had you asked me the next day what the song was about or even asked me what some of the lyrics were, I wouldn’t have been able to remember—but I do remember the audience jumping to their feet before the song was even over because it filled them with so much hope and excitement. I remember literally turning to my friend and saying, “That is what music is supposed to feel like ALL the time!” Also—you saw how excited the Story Shifters students were to sing “Firework.” It’s amazing how a simple song can bring out so much emotion. Can you explain more about the communication devices Cabaret for a Cause is hoping to raise money for? Basically, an actor will pre-record the lines for a non-verbal student. The student has to remember their lines and push the button to “speak.” Kim told me all about it—they used it for Shifting Shakespeare, another of Kim’s residency programs, over the summer. She wants to be able to buy a bunch and re-use them with different classes. I think it’s awesome—especially because some class rooms for children with special needs have kids all over the spectrum, and I think these will make it easier to include everyone! adw Cabaret for a Cause: West End Meets Broadway will be presented Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. at The Duplex Cabaret Theatre.
The hosts for the evening, Steven Strafford and Tyrah Skye Odoms, work on their banter, including Steven singing in the hopes that Tyrah will hook him up with her Broadway connections. (It was a no go.) While it might be easy to imagine that anyone who has been in multiple shows (or performed “Red and Rio” at least three times in one day) could become jaded, many of the kids seemed honestly thrilled with the audience reaction—even their own performances.
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What they lacked in size or age, the performers made up for in sound and emotion. Before the final number, Tiffany thanked her youngest producers.
Dan Strafford SongMeanings.com sponsored Songs for Story Shifters. The site not only deciphers lyrics, but also allows you to talk about what they mean to you. I had to know more... Were you part of the original Ben Fold’s Five “Brick” discussion? If not, how did you become involved in SongMeanings? I was not part of that original conversation. Mike Schiano, one of the two co-founders and operators of the site, was the one who had the debate over the lyrics. While the song had a definite impact on me when I heard it, I wasn’t there for that one. Mike and I have been friends since high school. During college, I worked on a website/project called the Online Rock Festival with a few friends from Rutgers. I tried like hell to get us aligned with Mike and SongMeanings but we were never able to pull it off. Over the next few years, I was always a major fan and promoter of SM. Mike and I played roller hockey together and worked together for a long time, so we were always in touch. About two years ago, Mike brought me on as a volunteer to the SM team. I manage their Digital presence outside of
the site. So, I help them with social media, YouTube, press releases, and media training. Are there any collected statistics on the forum community—where they are, how they got to your site, how often they post? Mike has all the analytics surrounding the site down to city, age, likes and dislikes in music. We push people to “1up” the posts they like and it helps to weed out the comments that are either spam or not really part of the conversation. It allows for a bit of a crowdsourcing of the “best” interpretations of lyrics. From our Facebook page (almost hitting 19K likes) and the SM page, with over a million comments and users numbering the hundreds of thousands, we see people from all over the world and from all walks of life. Some come to talk about just one song and leave when they think they understand, while others are regular users who go from song to song to learn all they can. Do you think the fact that there are pages and pages of comments dissecting “Stairway to Heaven” and virtually no comments about “(Hit Me) One More Time” paints enough of a picture about the community? I think
the community trends away from pop music for the most part. We did a “March Madness” contest where we listed out the top 64 visited lyric pages on the site during that month. It was amazing to see older music make its way through each round unmatched by anything out recently. A couple of new songs snuck through, but for the most part it was all Zeppelin, Floyd, the Beatles, and more classic rock. I also think that pop music tends to have little substance to the lyrics, so one comment may be able to sum it all up, where as some of the best lyrics need multiple view points and pages of discussions. I did see that One Direction lyrics are up there with “Hotel California” on the Top Lyrics list. Can the community be divided between fans of new songs who want to sing along accurately and people who’ve been haunted by lyrics for decades? I think there are a variety of users on SM. Lyrics as a whole tends to be a very specific shopping experience. You want to know what the lyrics to Song X are. You search for it, get to the page, find the lyrics, and move on. What SM does, is it brings people together to talk about the lyrics, not just figure out what they are. It’s there to
help you not only find out what the artist may say its about, but even more so for you to talk about what music means to you. I think there will always be room for a large swath of music fans to enjoy SongMeanings on various levels of engagement. We are trying hard to break into content creation for the site. We want to give our users even more to explore on the site. Mike and Brian Adams, Mike’s co-operator, are the only two who work on it regularly and Brian still works full time. We are working to set up artist interviews and try to get them directly involved with their songs. Do you participate in the discussions on the site? Has the site ever led you to a major revelation about a song? I do. And it’s under another name than my “Dan” admin name. It’s always fun to talk about music and what it means. I’ve discussed some of my favorite songs and passed along how the music has influenced parts of my life. Funny enough, I am pretty terrible at lyrics the first few times I listen to a song. I am the guy who makes up his own lyrics all the time. So SM has always been the place I go to make sure I know what the hell I am talking about.
I know Kim is your wife and this is her program, but what description should we use when summing up how SongMeanings became a sponsor for Songs for Story Shifters? Well, I reached out to Mike saying that I thought this was a great opportunity. Kim uses the tag line “every kid has a story to tell” for Story Shifters. At SongMeanings, we like to ask “What does music mean to you?” We think it’s important to use music and lyrics to help your own personal story. It isn’t always about what the artist was truly saying, but just how you hear it. It’s really about what the lyrics mean to you. And with the obvious implication of music being used as the fundraising device, it seemed like a perfect
the Story Shifters kids hit the stage and get genuine laughs and applause from the audience. We had known these kids were great, but having this completely separate audience enjoy their show was amazing. And I’ll be honest, I teared up during “Firework.” It’s just great to see how far this program is going. For people who don’t work in music and aren’t so familiar with why some smaller musicians loath iTunes, can you explain how important it is that SongMeanings licenses lyrics? Well, there is evidence that artists receive more money from a lyric view than they do from a digital download of their music. That’s crazy to even think about, but I
It isn’t always about what the artist was truly saying, but just how you hear it. fit. Mike saw it as the same and said he would help whatever way he could. What was it like for you to be there Monday? Well, personally it was everything all at once. I am so damn proud of my wife. To see that many people out to support her program, was nothing short of amazing. It was also just amazing to see
think being licensed just means that SongMeanings cares about the artists. SM cares about the creation of music and wants to support those who are doing the creative work. It seems since the dawn of the record industry that hasn’t always been the case. We love independent and small artists as much as the greats. adw
y e n t i Br eArS Sp There is no bigger Britney spears fan than Brookelyn. For the Music Issue, I had her put together a list of the Top 10 Britney songs. I would have done it myself, but my knowledge of Britney stops with “Toxic.” (You mean she actually recorded new music after that?) Here is BK’s list: 1.
2. “TOxIC” 3. “DROP DEAD BEAuTIFuL” 4. “I’M A sLAVE 4 u” 5. “3” 6. “TILL THE WORLD ENDs” 7.
8. “I WANNA GO” 9. “GAsOLINE” 10. “(HIT ME BABY) ONE MORE TIME”
SounDtrAck to your eScApe
The scene opens up: Several children are playing stickball under a bridge when one of them spots a flamingo pink Cadillac. The children approach the parked car as the camera booms up to reveal a dead couple inside, murdered. At that moment the piano coda from Eric Clapton’s “Layla” kicks on and we’re transported into the violent reality of Goodfellas. The song continues and collectively, we float through the aftermath of several other murders, all the while Jim Gordon’s (Clapton’s collaborator) piano continues. I cannot think of a more pitch perfect example of juxtaposing music with images to evoke emotion. This, ideally, is what all soundtracks should strive to accomplish and what Martin Scorsese did accomplish with his Academy Award nominated vision of mob life in and around the New York City area. It’s been said that the right music can make a bad movie good and a good movie great. I am going to take it one step further and talk about how the middle of the road American Crime drama, Dead Presidents, took this leap. The film focuses on Anthony Curtis, an inner city black youth played by Larenz Tate, who returns home to the Bronx after serving several tours of duty in a combat-heavy unit in Vietnam. Anthony soon discovers that, despite his valiant military service, he’s unable to maintain gainful employment and support his family. Seeing no other option, Anthony puts together a “crew” consisting mostly of other Vietnam vets and devises a plan to take down an armored car. The robbery quickly turns violent and several innocent people are killed. The film ends with Anthony riding a prison bus on his way to serve a life sentence as Isaac Hayes’ “Walk On By” plays hauntingly in the background. The prison bus, populated exclusively with African American inmates, further solidifies the film’s underlying message of racism and socioeconomics in America. Dead Presidents is by no means a great movie, but in my humble opinion it has a soundtrack that goes toe-to-toe with soundtracks from such classic films as Goodfellas, Kill Bill, Dazed and Confused, and American Grafﬁti. The soundtrack
single-handedly transforms a mediocre film into a worthwhile investment. The musical selection consists entirely of Blues, funk and soul songs of the late ’60s early ’70s Vietnam era. The works of such notable artists as James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Sam & Dave, Barry White and Al Green, just to name a few, fill almost every scene. The music, like the cast, comes almost exclusively from black artists, and I believe this is an intentional move by the directors, The Hughes Brothers, in an effort to further the dividing line between races. On the flip side, part of being a thorough director means sometimes knowing when not to use music in a situation that would normally call for it. The absence of a soundtrack is an important tool. Dead Presidents is virtually wall-to-wall music with the exception of one or two key scenes that take place during skirmishes in Vietnam. Heat, directed by Michael Mann the same year as Dead Presidents, features a 12-minute shootout between bank robbers and police, in which there is absolutely no soundtrack of any kind. No music, no score, only the startling echo of automatic gunfire erupting in the cavernous financial district of downtown Los Angeles. Every red-blooded American should own Heat on Blu-ray and they should watch this scene with the volume way up and take note, because it is masterful. Music has been an integral part of movies since the early days of silent film. During the turn of the century, a pianist— sometimes an entire orchestra—would play in the theater as the film ran through the projector. From the onset, music was recognized as essential, contributing to the overall atmosphere and giving the viewers vital emotional cues. Fundamentally, very little has changed. Live orchestras have been replaced by professional sound mixers, designers and foley artists, but the intention has always remained the same—to bring out an emotional response that propels the story forward and connects viewers to the film on a guttural level. —Mike Posillico
albums of the year so far 1. Disclosure - Settle
Best Tracks: “Latch,” “Help Me Lose My Mind,” “White Noise” 2. Pusha T - My Name is My Name
“Suicide,” “Who I Am,” “40 Acres”
Mother of all albums I was a huge fan of the Dixie Chicks. I think Natalie Maines, their lead singer, has one of the best voices in all of music. It’s not a technically perfect voice, but it’s a voice that beautifully tells a story while dripping with soul and emotion. To my delight, back in May, Natalie released her first post-Dixie Chicks album, Mother. The album is a collection of covers of relatively obscure songs recorded by Natalie and produced by Ben Harper that showcase the elasticity of Natalie’s voice. Ben’s fingerprints are all over this album (literally, he plays slide guitar on multiple songs). Mother is quite the departure for an artist who made her fame in the country realm. There are no banjos or twangy country vocals as the album goes for a harder rock edge. Mother is hands down my favorite album of 2013. I agree with music critic Jim Farber who called it “a flat-out masterpiece, an ideal match of singer and songs that
moves Maines from being a skilled and decorative singer into one of the most emotive vocalists of our time.” The album is a great start to Natalie’s solo career (even though I hope the door is not closed on a Dixie Chicks reunion). The album starts out on a strong note with a brilliant cover of Eddie Veder’s “Without You.” If you haven’t heard the original, give it a listen. It’s on Eddie’s amazing but barely heard ukelele album. It then goes into the title track “Mother,” which is a tender and vulnerable version of the Pink Floyd classic. The album reaches an emotional high right in the middle with a stirring rendition of Jeff Buckley’s “Lover You Should’ve Come Over.” An extremely difficult and long song (at over 7 minutes long this song wasn’t made for the current airwaves) to attempt. For me, the absolute standout track is “Vein in Vein.” Raw and emotional the song is the emotional epicenter of the whole album. The music takes a back seat on this track as Natalie’s vocals shine in a way that few artists in music can. Tracks 8 through 10 pale in comparison to “Vein in Vein,” but still perform at a high level. Those three songs in particular feel like left-overs from a Dixie Chicks album. Those were the first three tracks where I felt like the harmonies of her former bandmates were missing. If you are looking for a happy, fun country album, skip this. If you want to listen to an amazing vocalists performing raw, emotional rock songs, this is for you. All in all this was a great first foray into Natalie’s solo career. I can’t wait to hear more. —LV
3.Daft Punk - Random Access Memories
“Doin’ it Right,” “Get Lucky,” “Lose Yourself to Dance” 4. Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience
“Suit & Tie,” “Mirrors,” “That Girl” 5. Drake - Nothing Was The Same
“All Me,” “Too Much,” “Tuscan Leather” 6. CHVRCHES - The Bones of What you Believe
“Lungs,” “Recover,” “By The Throat” 7. Kanye West - Yeezus “Black Skinhead,” “New Slaves,”
“I Am A God” 8. Hot Natured - Different Sides of the Sun
“Revers Skydiving,” “Operate,” “Isis” 9. Jay-Z - Magna Carta… Holy Grail
“Tom Ford,” “F*ckwithmeyouknowigotit,” “Holy Grail” 10. John Mayer - Paradise Valley “Paper Doll,” “Wildfire,” “On The
Ever since I told Luis that I collected records when I was younger and that I still have every one I ever bought, he’s been asking me to submit something for the Dubs. So when he told me this month that he needed a theme and I blurted out “Do a music issue,” I immediately panicked knowing that he might actually expect me to contribute something after all these years of artful procrastination. Now when I say that I’ve kept all my records, I mean ALL my records, including my scratchy old 45’s, 8-Tracks (yep—still have the player), and all my glorious, glorious vinyl. Not only did I always love music, but I also loved album cover design and all the artwork (magazines, posters, t-shirts, ticket stubs & backstage passes) that went along with promoting music. I often bought albums by bands that I never heard of just because I liked the artwork. Little did I know that this strange obsession was just a precursor to a career in graphic design. Through the years, my collection grew to include covers by such artists as Robert Rauschenberg, Alex Steinweiss, Andy Warhol, Paula Scher, Neville Brody, Richard Avedon, Neon Park, Milton Glaser, Art Chantry, Mouse-Kelley Studios, Ed Fotheringham, Robert Crumb, etc, etc. I can’t begin to name all the artists, designers, illustrators & photographers whose work has inspired me. So instead, I’m offering up a very small sampling of some of the fun stuff I’ve gathered while sifting through all those dusty album bins in record stores around the world. —Kathy
1. GOLDILOCKs I started collecting early.
8. BOsTON Design by Paula Sher, did all the branding for the Public Theater.
2. ARETHA Cover art by Andy Warhol 3. sQuEEZE Die-cut cover for an early EP. 4. B52s Their first 45 featuring “Rock Lobster”! 5. sPRINGsTEEN Born in the USA picture disc 6. PATTI sMITH Horses cover shot by Robert Mapplethorpe. 7. JIM CARROLL Catholic Boy cover by Annie Leibovitz
9. ROLLING sTONEs Andy Warhol cover with actual zipper for Sticky Fingers album 10. WARRANT Ch-Ch-Ch-Cherry Pie! 11. DEPECHE MODE “Just Can’t Get Enough” of designer Neville Brody 12. BAND AID Africa-shaped guitar picture disc of “Do They Know It’s Chrismas” single.
13. DEVO “Beautiful World” picture disc 14. BIG BROTHER & THE HOLDING COMPANY Cheap thrills cover illustrated by Robert Crumb 15. THE CLAsH Joe Strummer interview on gun-shaped 45 disc 16. PEARL JAM Ten basketball album 17. FINE YOuNG CANNIBALs “Don’t Look Back” on colored vinyl in film cannister
18. DOC WATsON Designed by Milton Glaser— as in Dylan poster & I ♥ NY 19. MuDHONEY Cover illustrated by Edward Fotheringham 20. TALKING HEADs Cover design by Robert Rauschenberg 21. GRATEFuL DEAD Mouse/Kelley illustration— art of the Dead 22. BING CROsBY Had to have it. 23. WOODY HERMAN Designed by forefather Alex Steinweiss
24. ROCKY HORROR Isn’t she beautiful?
31. THE JAM A Gift came in a gift bag.
25. JACK O’ FIRE The 45 inside glows in the dark.
32. GANG GREEN Skateboard die-cut picture disc
26. sIMON & GARFuNKEL Photo by Richard Avedon 27. ANTHRAx Some comic art for Luis! 28. MOTHERs OF INVENTION Compliments of artist Neon Park 29. THE CRAMPs RIP Lux! 30. sINATRA Just a great little single cover.
33. THE sONICs Designed by Seattle’s Art Chantry—my all-time fav! 34. JuDAs PRIEsT “Love Bites” 35. CHEECH & CHONG Sleeping Beauty die-cut 36. GENEsIs “That’s All” bouquet of flowers die-cut picture disc
five things Childish Gambino – 3005, one of the best lyric
videos ever! Well not really but it does help to have adult film star Abella Anderson as the main focus of the video! A$AP Rocky – Phoenix, starring Michael K. Williams
aka Omar from The Wire aka Chalkey White from Boardwalk Empire and Joan Smalls, in a very intense video where it seems that this couple has undergone an argument and you see striking visuals of the aftermath. Lily Allen – Hard Out Here, Theon Greyjoy’s big sister’s response to the Blurred Lines music video and Miley’s twerking obsession. Deltron 3030 Featuring Zack De La Rocha – Melding of the Minds, if you’re a fan of cool
animation by Justin Ian Lee, Rage Against the Machine and hip hop, then this music video won’t disappoint! Phoenix – Chloroform, directed by Sofia Coppola, and premiered at MoMa this past month. The video was inspired by the Joseph Sterling photograph, The Age of Adolescence, where it captures the fantasy of young girls fixated on a band they love.
Sterling’s Must-see music videos