Category Archives: Thoughts

I failed at Tumblr, but found this

I failed at tumblr recently…  I started a page, thought I’d rather blog there, but it hasn’t worked out. Perhaps ‘ll go back… Check this out in the meantime.

I recently stumbled across this image, and found it intriguing. Its a temporary art installation by Imke Rust, titled, A Lamp, A Chair, A Rock (2010)

“A symbolically significant location in the Namibian bush, on the slopes of the Waterberg Mountains (near Waterberg Wilderness Lodge) where the historical battle between the German colonial troops and the Hereros has been fought in 1904, was used for my temporary land art intervention. Ideograms representing European everyday life (light, electricity and a chair) were drawn with masking tape onto a large rock in the middle of the wilderness, photographed and shortly afterwards removed again.”

 

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I caved in

The pressure to pin finally became too much for me to handle, so you can now follow my random internet image re-postings on Pinterest!

Let’s follow each other!

Follow Me on Pinterest

xo sarah

Muses come in many forms…

This is one of mine…

Gustav Mahler + Jean Paul Gaultier. Yes Please.

Ballet Preljocaj is making their way from France to Los Angeles this weekend to perform their 2008 version of Mahler’s “Snow White” (“Blanche Neige“) and I can’t wait to see it (since I’m on the modern dance train now, and I love all things French, of course).

Just a little FYI… this avant-garde production is based on the Grimms’ version of the fairytail, with choreography by Angelin Preljocaj, costumes by Jean Paul Gaultier and sets by Thierry Leproust — a threesome made in heaven from what I hear…

Read more HERE | Buy LA tix HERE 

See you there!

xo

Missing Austin…

So instead of going to SXSW this year, I stayed at home and wrote. In hindsight though, I with I’d just gone for the weekend as a spectator (for a desert lover, the drive there from LA is amazing, relaxing, inspiring, therapeutic etc). Daydrifter was actually conceived the week I got back from SXSW last year. I performed a dozen times with my other band, wore the soles off my favorite pair of boots, and when I returned I made some musical fireworks in my mind on the way to the cobbler.

SXSW is a crazy thing. For fans, I’m sure it’s overwhelming with all of the parties, and the live music options, but for a musician it’s a physically and creatively exhausting experience. You have the same desire as a music fan to see bands and be seen, but there’s so much pressure to perform a million times, to reach a million people. You spend weeks building yourself up, mentally preparing for the trip, and then it happens so quickly. Suddenly you’re home, wondering where your week went, trying to remember if you saw any other bands, if you lost money, made money, if it was worth it, or rather what it was worth. While you’re there though, it’s amazing. You’re on a performance high. There you’re surrounded by “your people;” a million folks with the same agenda – Its perfect really. See you next year Austin… I miss your breakfast tacos!

“Dance, dance… otherwise we are lost.”

OK, I know I am not going to do this film justice, so please just go see it. See it at the theater, in 3D, they way it was meant to be seen. Do not wait a minute, or you’ll miss it. I’ll also state that this is not a movie review, rather a confession.

I have to admit, I’ve never been much a dance fan. Although maybe its just lack of exposure to the idea of choreography living independent of music. I longed to be a ballerina when I was a little girl (for the tutu not the craft), but thanks to my family’s many moves around the globe, I didn’t actually get involved in the performing arts until I was in junior high… much too late to be “en pointe.”

Until that time, I painted pictures, wrote stories and sang along with my favorite albums in the privacy of my own room, but seldom danced.  I’ve always had a keen sense of movement and rhythm, and I certainly learned plenty about dance, but mostly in the context of how composers worked with choreographers (i.e. Tchaikovsky + Petipa or John Cage + Merce Cunningham… music school obviously thought the music was the driver in such collaborations), so i guess I’ve never given myself the chance to fully appreciate the body as an instrument of motion. I never discredited dance as modern art or what not, I just haven’t been thinking about it. Then I saw Pina. I was wrong about everything.

(This is a track written for the movie by Japanese composer, Jun Miyake)

With images, words, music and motion, once they are deliberate, they become art. I think the general public, like me, has had a hard time conceptualizing modern art as physical motion (I’m not talking about ballet or ballroom here people). There is no doubt though that what Bausch creates is art in one of its highest forms, and her deliberate subtle movement-making, dare I say, proves sound to be secondary.

So in terms of the movie… Pina, frames dance in a series of breathtaking vignettes. You see the stylistic choices made by both choreographer and dancer, played out on stage and in life. Director, Wim Wenders, does a great job at showing how, when it comes to the body, a choreographer isn’t bound by the notes in a scale; movement is as boundless as the imagination. The film takes you inside the hearts of the dancers (which match in passion, the intent of the choreographer), and surrounds you with the dance works themselves. Through 3D, you get to see 360 degrees of first person perspective – taking the audience to place far past “spectator”. The works jump off the stage and screen, and envelope you.  I would see it again in the theater, a million times over.  Please do the same.

Foot notes… Pina Bausch sadly died of cancer in 2009, five days after diagnosis and two days before shooting was scheduled to begin for the documentary, resulting in a film that is as much a planned collaboration between Wenders and Bausch, as an homage and celebration of her contribution to modern dance and to the lives of her dance company.

If you’re headed to Germany make  a B-line for Wuppertal and catch a performance of one of her works, by the troop that knows her best. Works by Bausch will also be staged in London this June and July, as a highlight of the Cultural Olympiad preceding the Olympic Games 2012. If you see her work in person, please tell me about it. Make me jealous.

PS. I think its time to give Merce another shot. I’m still saying no to broadway musicals though.

xo sarah

Free Reeding in a Fancy Dress…

Say hello to my little friend… We met at a Goodwill in Hollywood, while I was looking for a ball gown to destroy by jumping in to a pool, later that day (see Exhibits A, B and C). The ball gown survived after all, so it was a win-win sort of day!

I hadn’t played Harmonium before this, but now that I have, I am in love.

Inspired by my new toy, I went searching for Harmonium music, and the majority of it is not surprisingly Qawwali (Indian / Pakistani etc.) music. I keep getting hypnotized by this clip of Farrukh Fateh Ali Khan (brother of Nusrat, who you probably know) jamming for 10 minutes in the early 1980s (i think).

Listen and zone out with me…

Now its time to go make some magic with this thing… another track is on the way!

xo

The weight of words and a ukulele…

Here’s another demo track at last.  I wrote this song on a ukulele (this one)… which, as you can probably imagine, I’m not much of an expert at. I had my eye on it for weeks as it laid around the studio, begging to be played.  Finally I picked it up one morning and pressed record, capturing my first attempts at playing it (inspired by Edison, of course). What emerged was “The Weight of Words”, a nearly complete impassioned folk-ish song, not really in the vein of my usual writing style, but in keeping with the texturally additive and harmonically simple essence of Daydrifter. This is my first love affair with the ukulele, and the words tell a tale of an impending end, void of regrets.

Again, Daniel added electric guitar and some other bells and whistles, all of which added to its magic. (Download HERE if you don’t see the embedded player below.) Enjoy.

PS. This is a photo I snapped while descending in to New Orleans (while disobeying the order to turn off all electronic devices). It makes me feel weightless.

The weight of words defies me
And sentiments, more than you could hide from me
Hurting more, ’cause you waited all this time

But I’m not gonna hide,
No I’m not gonna go quietly.

Sitting, Wishing, Wanting,
Pretending? No, not so far. No not so far.
Sitting, Wishing, Waiting,
Regretting? No, not so far. No not so far.

You did more than just define me
Silence said more than you could try, to me
I’m easy game ’cause I’ve given all this time

But I’m not gonna hide,
No I’m not gonna go quietly.

Sitting, Wishing, Wanting,
Pretending? No, not so far. No not so far.
Sitting, Wishing, Waiting,
Regretting? No, not so far. No not so far.

Pina Bausch? Yes Please.

I NEED TO SEE THIS.

WHY HAVEN’T I SEEN THIS YET?

Beneath the Singing Oak Tree…

Daniel and I recently returned from our annual trek back to my hometown, New Orleans where we always march in the St Anne’s Parade on Mardi Gras day.

After an amazing march through the quarter on Fat Tuesday, we spent a leisurely Ash Wednesday scouring pawn shops for gear, eating the first crawfish of the season and lounging beneath the “Singing Oak Tree” at Big Lake in City Park.  We shot a little clip of the tree in action, but its hard to capture or explain the serenity that overcomes you in person, as the wind conducts its chance music orchestra of pentatonic bells (some 14 feet tall), strung up in the branches of the old oak.

There are dozens of home videos of the tree, made by fellow admirers, trying to capture its voice to no avail – here’s my attempt. (I’m going to try to use this windy recording in a song at some point, so stay tuned for that.)

And, with New Orleans still on my mind, I thought I’d share one more rare find (feel free to download for free as usual), called “Let Me be the First to Kiss You Good Morning,” by The Dixie Stars. There was a time that New Orleans had a very melancholy heaviness in my heart, but the longer i am away the closer we get. This is a charming little love song… one I sing in my heart to the city of New Orleans whenever I am there.

Here’s a little more about the writer and singer, in case you’re interested:

Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, Al Bernard started his recording career around 1916. He was one of the first white singers to record blues songs. He recorded with songwriter J. Russel Robinson as “The Dixie Stars” and, with Robinson, wrote the Bessie Smith feature “Sam Jones Blues”.