Artist: Stephen Sondheim/ Album: Assassins
I split my Memorial day yesterday into two celebrations: 1. Hanging out with my friend Kris and helping her put together her new chesapeake outdoor furniture and 2. watching movies in the comfort of my air conditioned apartment. (The latter of which isn’t exactly blog worthy so I’ll just stick to covering my foray into woodworking for the time being)
The Chesapeake collection is Pottery Barn’s most popular outdoor collection and I used to have many pieces of it when I lived in Michigan. Unfortunately I wasn’t exactly able to pack it on my drive down so it is living happily with my friend Amanda.
I look a little tentative in the first one, but look at that flourish in the second!
THIS CITY IS SO HOTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!
Tah-dah! Kris reaping the rewards of a
hard relatively easy days 30 minutes work
Plus as a thank you she took me out for what I’m pretty sure is the perfect Texas meal: Tex-Mex and margaritas!!! (I totally would have done it for free but didn’t put up too much of a fight…)
Artist: Barbra Streisand/ Album: The Second Barbra Streisand Album
When I was in Michigan recently for a rehearsal I went to a nearby gas station to grab a coffee and saw this glorious piece of machinery staring me in the face:
How do these not exist in the south?!?!
Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
“START YOUR DAY RIGHT!”
Artist: Billie Holiday/ Album: The Very Best of Billie Holiday
I saw the second of these videos on my friend, Ben’s, facebook wall and felt it was fun enough to share with everyone. A little back story first, though: Cecilia Bartoli is one of the top mezzo-sopranos in the world and is known universally for her ridiculous technical ability (think very very fast runs, coloratura, etc.) She is also, however, known just as equally for the somewhat ridiculous faces she uses in order to achieve said technique.
The video I saw today was a parody of sorts of the above video. I know the University of Michigan has a “comedy day” in opera workshop and that Indiana University has a concert called “All Fached Up” (a fach is basically what voice type you are, so IU students will switch up arias from their respective fach’s— ex: a baritone singing soprano rep). Apparently a counter tenor (yes, it’s a male singer) decided to perform the same aria in the style of Cecilia Bartoli and does a fan.tas.tic job. Even if you just watch a minute or two of each then you’ll see how perfect it is.
What a breath of fresh air on a hot, balmy Texas afternoon!
Artist: Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings/ Album: Naturally
So today is Queen Oprah’s last day at her talk show and not that I was an avid watcher by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s certainly a seismic shift of large proportions on the pop culture Richter scale. (Andy Richter, that is, not that four eyed dweeb Charles) And let’s be honest, without pop culture I’d be reduced to a withering hull of a human being.
Speaking of Team Coco, I’ve put up a couple of Oprah-centric video’s I love, the first of which comes from The Conan O’Brian Show. It’s a riff on the famous “FREE CAAAAARRRR” episode.
Next up is Kathy Griffin talking about Oprah and Gayle participating in one of PBS’s “Frontier” reality shows. It’s an excerpt from one of her Bravo specials so any of her saltier language is bleeped out. And you know Mizz Griffin is like the Morton’s of MSG.
The last one can be seen here (I tried tirelessly to find one that I could embed on the blog but it’s almost non-existent and NBC has the clamp down on putting it back up.) It’s an SNL skit about Oprah’s Favorite Things from a couple of years ago. I also read today that her give-aways have amassed almost a cool $25 million since starting (!). Keep an eye out for a shout out to Greenburg Turkeys, which our family gets every year for Thanksgiving from Tyler, TX. They changed the name of it for the skit but Greenburg actually was one of her favorite things one year.
Artist: Radiohead/ Album: Moonstruck
In the midst of getting ready (both mentally and musically) for Blue Lake this last weekend I completely forgot to post about my singing at the commencement ceremonies for the Houston campus of Texas Woman’s University last Sunday. The event was held at the George R. Brown Convention Center and, though I’m sure I must have gone at some point in my childhood, I can’t actually recall doing anything but driving past the behemoth building since moving to Houston.
Get it, George!
One of the perks of being part of the podium posse is that you don’t have to gather with all of the riff raff commoners before the procession (aka the graduates). I didn’t really take many pictures at the event but managed to snap one of the faculty ready room.
For those of you interested in the musical selections for the event, I sang the National Anthem (duh), the TWU Alma Mater (set to the tune of the Russian National Anthem), and a little ditty called “To The Texas Woman’s University.” Whenever I first told Catherine I got the gig she immediately went: PUH-LEEAAAAASE tell me you’re going to be singing “Climb Every Mountain”?!?!?!?!?!?!? Though the answer was obviously no, amazingly enough as I was driving home from the commencement I turned on the radio and I kid. you. not—it was playing on NPR. What syzygy! So, because apparently Catherine needs a bit of a Rogers and Hammerstein II fix… I must oblige.
CLIMB IT, SHIRLEY!!!!!
I never particularly get over to this area of the city and it was nice to get a different vantage point of the downtown area from the convention center.
I LOVE THIS CITY!!!!
It really is hard to believe I’ve been out of school for a year already, and in the spirit of the day (and because I know I haven’t put one of these pictures up on the blog yet) here are some snapshots from my own college graduations!
Baylor University 2006
U of M 2008 (confession: I didn’t go to the ceremony) U of M 2010
Artist: Kanye West/ Album: The College Dropout
By the time you are reading this I will have already spent TWO nights in a cabin at the hallowed grounds of the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. *pause for shock and awe* That’s right, folks, this summer I’m headed on another European tour and will be singing the baritone solo in Johannes Brahm’s German Requiem—with the return of Sabrina Laney Warren as the soprano soloist! I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before on the blog so… there ya go.
My previous post on the first time I went to the camp grounds can be found here, but I thought it would be fun to put up a couple of pictures to remind everyone about how beautiful (and rustic) the setting for this weekend and then intensive week in June will be.
The mystical Blue Lake
My cabin (That would be the Beaux cabin of the Sienna unit for those of you who care to know)
The Stuart outdoor performance shell
My sanity will be lost somewhere amongst these trees next month
It’s definitely going to be a surreal experience going back, but very different this year as well. For one thing, last year I was able to throw whatever I needed into the back of the General and drive—I don’t have that luxury living in Houston and have had to be a veeeerrrryyy careful packer. I’m also sad that some of the other staff members won’t be returning (that means YOU Mason, Ellen, Emily, John and Zach !!) but you’ll also be seeing some familiar faces on the blog in posts to come.
Artist: Alan Menken/ Album: Little Shop of Horrors
Last Thursday I decided to head over to church a little bit early in order to get some personal practicing done before rehearsal and, unfortunately, I arrived on the scene about five minutes after a burst pipe was discovered in the Narthex (I didn’t even know that’s what it was called! Silly Baptist) and was raining down upon the entry way.
Getting carted off to dryer pastures…
Eeeeeeverything was soaked and it was a mad dash to get ALL of the church’s files out of the storage closet and out of danger.
But why just take pictures when you can video it, right? Plus, you can hear and see just how much water was pouring out of the ceiling.
Artist: Mahalia Jackson/ Album: The Queen of Gospel
White Sands 36, 2009
White Sands 03, 2009
White Sands 13, 2009
White Sands 04, 2009
White Sands 35, 2009
Artist: The Village People/ Album: The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Dessert
I know it’s been quite a while, but don’t think I’ve forgotten about…
This video was featured on BoingBoing today and I just felt like it was screeeaming to be accompanied by Philip Glass’ “The Secret Agent”… so I dabbled in a bit of video-editing and put it in myself! I have been ub-sessed with this piece for years and have been waiting to feature it somehow on the blog. And heres we are!
Artist: Martha Wainwright/ Album: Martha Wainwright
*btw, this was supposed to go up yesterday but Blogger was being llllame
WELL! Houston has finally gotten some rain to quench our Texas sized thirst… and I’m pretty sure it’s been months since any kind of sizeable amount of H20 has graced our fare city.
The moment the sky turned gray I knew it would be the perfect time to do a bit of a preview of the Mitch Dobrowner show opening on June 4th!!
Trees-Clouds, Texline, Texas 2009
Ever since I was a kid I have always been fascinated with thunderstorms. I lived in Michigan for a couple of years and the natives would always get in such a tizzy whenever one came through—except for them, a thunderstorm was basically your run-of-the-mill Texas shower. Can you even call it a thunderstorm if there’s no thunder?
Road, Near Guymon, Oklahoma 2009
No… the kind I longed for in the Great Lakes State were the ones that I grew up with in East Texas (or behind the “pine curtain” as my friend Mallory so aptly puts it). You know, the ones where the sky turns ominously green and you can qualify it not by the inches of rain measured but by the number of large limbs that have fallen into your yard.
Mesocyclone, Valentine, Nebraska 2009
Artist: Joni Mitchell/ Album: Both Sides Now
Occasionally Catherine’s son, Andre, will come up to the gallery after school or whenever they are going to leave on a family trip after work is over. What I love most is that he just starts grabbing stuff from all over and builds little forts, caves, etc. This time he was grabbing a bunch of things from the back and setting them up near the photo files.
Catherine: What are you making, honey?
Andre: Water sale mother’s day!
Catherine: Ummm, I don’t really know what that means…
Well—what it meant was that he was setting up a water sale to collect funds for Mother’s day! He even got his dad to make a sign for the business (can’t see it here because it was in pencil so I did a little photoshopping). Here I am being the first patron!
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY FROM ANDRE AND JOSEPH!
Artist: Elliot Gould/ Album: I Can Get It For You Wholesale
It’s been a week since Brett and Kat’s wedding so I figure my photo’s will have reached an expiration date if I don’t get the rest of the reception shots up! After the appetizer portion of the party came dinner and dancing, and Monica and I didn’t let up on either fronts.
For example, here I am acting like I don’t want to push down that little girl to my left in order to get to the chocolate fountain:
There’s a strawberry in there somewhere, so get off my back already Michelle Obama!!!
Monica managed to take a surreptitious shot with the bouquet
The bride and groom dancing with the band.
You might notice that Kat has a fuchsia fedora (that sounds much fancier than “pink hat,” right?)—you can always tell a good party when props are passed out. In addition to hats they also had GLOW BRACELETS and BALLOON INSTRUMENTS and OTHER VARIOUS ENTERTAINING PARTY FAVORS (oh my!)
“Rockin’ out” (part two of two of Monica looking good fake-playing an instrument)
I was havin’ a bit of New Years Eve flashback with my new neon neckwear!
Dad, who stayed out and partied hours after I was home and in bed (… seriously)
Bucket Bull David, a groomsman, former roommate of Matt and Brett’s and winner of the garter. And by winner I of course mean he was the lone male standing closest to it when it fell on the ground
L to R: Kat’s hand, Brett, Matt, some-girl-I-don’t-know, Joanie, some-other-hand. Doing an Aggie song/ritual thingy.
Needless to say the whole day was loads of fun (I mean, I did get four blog posts out of it, so that’s not too shabby!) and I am unbelievably happy for Brett and Kat.
Artist: James Brown/ Album: Sister Act 2
I was saddened to hear this morning that entertainment legend Arthur Laurents, most widely known for his work on Gypsy and West Side Story, passed away yesterday. ( Playbill.com has a great retrospective of his career and of the man himself here.) In addition to writing he also directed many productions on the Great White Way, including the 2008 Patti LuPone helmed revival of Gypsy.
So… in memory of him, here is La LuPone buh-belting out Everything’s Coming Up Roses from the Tony awards broadcast:
I had the pleasure of seeing Patti perform at Hill auditorium last year when I was still a student at the University of Michigan. And by pleasure I mean I sat 4 rows from her!! Not that this is news to anyone, but biscuit is a BEAST… I have no idea how she does what she does but I’m in awe of her nonetheless.
Oddly enough, Catherine and I were talking about the now infamous performance of Gypsy when she stopped a performance mid-song in order to chew out an audience member who was taking pictures.
Who do you think you ARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Artist: Julie Styne, Stephen Sondheim/ Album: Gypsy
Our next installment of Joseph and Monica enjoying the wedding festivities comes in-between the ceremony and dinner/dancing… we took full advantage of the fact that no one really knew who we were at the aperatif portion of the reception and decided to do a bit of playing around!
Everyone looks a little better with a gold tint
Not so cool as it may seem… that’s a zucchini stick I’m holding and not a cigarette (You know, because cigarettes are cool!!!)
Part one in a series of Monica looking good fake-playing an instrument
I LOOOVE this picture! We found a phone booth type area and I said something like: look really tragic. It actually reminds me a lot of the woman in one of my favorite Edward Hopper paintings…
New York Movie
We’ll never know what was happening on the other end of that phone call to prompt such a weary pose. Oh… guess it coulda been this:
“I TOLD YOU TO WEAR YOUR HAIR IN A BUN!!!!!!!!!!”
We also had a little too much fun with the staircase… … …
Monica sliding gracefully down the banister. Joseph falling quickly down the banister.
Artist: Stephen Warbeck/ Album: Shakespeare in Love