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Monica Pasqual and the Handsome Brunettes / Blog

From Jan. 20th - What a Difference 8 Years Makes

Posted at monica's blog page: Sweettomorrow.blogspot.com on Jan. 20th

What a difference 8 years makes This morning Tom and I woke up at 6:15 with plans to see the inauguration ceremony at the Parkway Theater in Oakland. We got dressed, brushed our teeth and headed out the door at 6:45 knowing that the doors opened at 7:00 am. Well, by the time we got there (on time) there was a line stretching around the block - and even though we lost the desire to fight for a seat in that big crowd, it was amazingly gratifying to see so many excited humans coming together to celebrate the beginning of a new era. We called our friends BZ and Margaret and headed up to their house to watch the celebration in their living room.

I didn't watch the inauguration of George Bush 4 years ago, but 8 years ago I caught a little bit of it. This morning I was recalling that bleak day on which I gave birth to my song, If You Tell a Lie. My enduring memory of Bush's first inauguration was his closed limo riding down Pennsylvania Avenue surrounded by security vehicles on a bleak and rainy day. I'm sure there was more to it than that, but that's what stays, and the horrible feeling that our democracy had just been hijacked by a bunch of liars.

Today, as we sat together with our friends and their two small children, we felt pride, joy, hope and trepidation, (will this man be able to fulfill the promise of a different future)? And we felt connected to the country in a way that I'm not sure I've ever felt before. Incredible to know that over 80% of the people believe that the right man is leading us, that we may actually be entering an age that is not defined but fear, greed and callousness.

I heard that a few people booed as the soon to be ex-president Bush made his last presidential entrance, and one of the CNN commentators remarked that it was in bad taste. I must say I'm probably a little more in the camp of the shoe throwers - I mean, what's a little bad taste compared to the millions of lives that have been destroyed because of the actions of Bush and Company?

Now I'm watching TV again, back at home - Barack and Michelle were just walking down the avenue - crowds of people waving and cheering and I'm smiling. What a difference 8 years makes.

Inspiration

I find that as I get older it's a lot harder to get myself out the door at night and a lot easier to choose the internet or a Netflix movie as my evening's entertainment. Like most bad habits, it feels good in the moment and sort of empty and pointless at the end of it. When I actually make the effort to go out of the house and experience something that my amazing city has to offer, I rarely regret it.

Take last night, for instance. While SURFING THE NET a couple of nights ago I saw that an artist I'm quite fond of was playing at the new Yoshi's in San Francisco. I impulsively pulled out my credit card and got two tickets for the next night.

Juana Molina's music was introduced to me by my friend Sonya Hunter, the songwriter. Molina's albums are a strange blend of folk, indie and electronica. Very mysterious and at times slightly uncomfortable – her vocals are childlike and right on the edges of in-tune. Somehow when mixed with her guitar, her synths and the odd polyrhythms she creates it lands between playful and creepy.

But back to the evening. Tom and I finished our NETFLIX MOVIE (the sad truth), then headed over to Yoshi’s on Fillmore Street. First let me say that the new Yoshi’s has got to be among the very top venues in the city. It seats about 500 people, but feels small and intimate, all the seats are great. You sit at small 4-top tables that are arranged in a semi-circle around the stage with about 4 or 5 tiers. The lighting is beautiful, the décor modern and sleek. They serve sushi appetizers in the concert hall, but there’s also a separate restaurant if you want to make a whole evening of it.

At about 8:15 Juana Molina came onstage with very little fanfare. I loved her dress – which was navy blue tailored top and skirt that looked sort of like a high-fashion school uniform. She looked super young, but I looked her up last night online and found out she’s about 40.

She plays acoustic guitar but also has a synth and a mixer with her on stage, as well as loop contraptions. I’m not at all familiar with live looping techniques, but she is obviously a master. I can tell you what it’s like musically, though. It starts out simply – one line, because, of course, she’s up there solo and playing everything herself. So she usually starts out with a simple guitar riff or a keyboard line (when she plays the keyboard, she almost always uses very electronic sounds and simple lines) and she sings. Throughout the songs she builds the parts, using the loop recorders to add part after part. Some people might think that this is cheating, or that it isn’t “live”, but it absolutely is. She plays every part and records it in the moment, adding layers of vocals, guitar, synth and percussion. It is absolutely transporting.

Tom and I both loved it even more when we closed our eyes, because then you stopped thinking about how she was doing it and then just got swept into the music and the moment, and it was at times glorious.

If I have any complaints at all about Molina, I think it would be that as a performance style it seems less fascinating to watch than if she were working with other musicians or even if she was able to let go a little more in her body. The nature of what she’s doing requires so much focus on the various recording and looping instruments that she rarely seems carried away by the music (even though, as I said, the music was completely transporting). But it might also just be her style. Her humor and persona seem very dry and detached, but compelling. It turns out she used to be a famous comedic television actress in Argentina. At first I thought she was she and quiet, but in very little time it was obvious that she is very funny and very comfortable.

The evening was pretty short. We were home by about 10 PM. And I felt all the energy and joy and excitement pushing me towards creativity that is the inevitable result of hearing great live music.

Why do I resist?

Inspiration

I find that as I get older it's a lot harder to get myself out the door at night and a lot easier to choose the internet or a Netflix movie as my evening's entertainment. Like most bad habits, it feels good in the moment and sort of empty and pointless at the end of it. When I actually make the effort to go out of the house and experience something that my amazing city has to offer, I rarely regret it.

Take last night, for instance. While SURFING THE NET a couple of nights ago I saw that an artist I'm quite fond of was playing at the new Yoshi's in San Francisco. I impulsively pulled out my credit card and got two tickets for the next night.

Juana Molina's music was introduced to me by my friend Sonya Hunter, the songwriter. Molina's albums are a strange blend of folk, indie and electronica. Very mysterious and at times slightly uncomfortable – her vocals are childlike and right on the edges of in-tune. Somehow when mixed with her guitar, her synths and the odd polyrhythms she creates it lands between playful and creepy.

But back to the evening. Tom and I finished our NETFLIX MOVIE (the sad truth), then headed over to Yoshi’s on Fillmore Street. The new Yoshi’s has got to be among the very top venues in the city. It seats about 500 people, but feels small and intimate, all the seats are great. You sit at small 4-top tables that are arranged in a semi-circle around the stage with about 4 or 5 tiers. The lighting is beautiful, the décor modern and sleek. They serve sushi appetizers in the concert hall, but there’s also a separate restaurant if you want to make a whole evening of it.

At about 8:15 Juana Molina came onstage with very little fanfare. I loved her dress – which was navy blue tailored top and skirt that looked sort of like a high-fashion school uniform. She looked super young, but I looked her up last night online and found out she’s about 40.

She plays acoustic guitar but also has a synth and a mixer with her on stage, as well as loop contraptions. I’m not at all familiar with live looping techniques, but she is obviously a master. I can tell you what it’s like musically, though. It starts out simply – one line, because, of course, she’s up there solo and playing everything herself. So she usually starts out with a simple guitar riff or a keyboard line (when she plays the keyboard, she almost always uses very electronic sounds and simple lines) and she sings. Throughout the songs she builds the parts, using the loop recorders to add part after part. Some people might think that this is cheating, or that it isn’t “live”, but it absolutely is. She plays every part and records it in the moment, adding layers of vocals, guitar, synth and percussion. It is absolutely transporting.

Tom and I both loved it even more when we closed our eyes, because then you stopped thinking about how she was doing it and then just got swept into the music and the moment, and it was at times glorious.

If I have any complaints at all about Molina, I think it would be that as a performance style it seems less fascinating to watch than if she were working with other musicians or even if she was able to let go a little more in her body. The nature of what she’s doing requires so much focus on the various recording and looping instruments that she rarely seems carried away by the music (even though, as I said, the music was completely transporting). But it might also just be her style. Her humor and persona seem very dry and detached, but compelling. It turns out she used to be a famous comedic television actress in Argentina. At first I thought she was she and quiet, but in very little time it was obvious that she is very funny and very comfortable.

The evening was pretty short. We were home by about 10 PM. And I felt all the energy and joy and excitement pushing me towards creativity that is the inevitable result of hearing great live music.

Why do I resist?

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