Thursday, September 1, 2016
My most enduring collaboration has been with Lisa Moscatiello, whose commanding yet nuanced alto is reminiscent of Tracy Thorn and Chrissie Hynde. She has done vocal duty on numerous Arthur Loves Plastic tracks, some of which she went on to record acoustically with her amazing backup band about 10 years ago. We also wrote songs together as the Space Dots which you can hear below. I look forward to the privilege of having her sing on the release that is now in the tinkering stages.
Saturday, July 9, 2016
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
I have always been tempted by the ukulele but thought it would be too confusing to learn since my main four string instrument is the bass guitar. However one of my friends from college invited me to a ukulele jam which prompted me to make a modestly priced impulse purchase at House of Musical Traditions that I have not regretted! The build quality on the Makala uke pictured above is impressive considering it is priced less than $50.
The ukulele as it turns out is the adult coloring book of instruments. It can be easy or hard depending on your aspirations. As an underachiever, I am happy learning a song a month using online uke tabs or taking lessons with a Ukulele Teacher on YouTube. So far I have learned Katy Perry's "Roar" and the Smiths "I Know It's Over" and the neighbors have not yet complained. It is also a social instrument. I have already participated in two subsequent uke jams organized by local ukulele teachers who lead a group of adults in playing an assortment of current pop songs and oldies. I recommend this instrument if you want a fun musical outlet for 15 minutes a day.
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
A photo posted by Kensington, MD (@hugosalon) on
Thursday, December 31, 2015
I am going to make a new year's resolution to get to work on time. Kidding!! I take the red line on DC metro which means this would be an exercise in futility. When I do try to arrive at work early snafus such as trains being taken out of service or power outages disincentivize these efforts. #unsuckmetro is full of tweets to validate my complaints.
I commemorate my rare on-time arrivals to the park conservation job by posing with ranger barbie and coworkers. I am striving for punctuality in the new year without being too attached to the outcome. Despite the delays taking metro is still better than driving in DC and I have an automatic excuse for tardiness!
Thursday, September 24, 2015
This has been a phenomenal week! It opened with the unveiling of the new Silver Spring transit center, a multilevel bus depot that has run $80 million dollars over budget and 2 years behind schedule. For the past several years the construction site has been a behemoth obstacle to metro commuters as various agencies squabbled over how to fix structural issues uncovered during its safety inspection. I almost applauded as my bus entered the flashy new terminal on Sunday. I was excited to see Googlemaps was up to speed with the bay numbers as I transfered from the 16th Street bus and an LED screen let me know how long I needed to wait for my connection.
As if this wasn't thrilling enough, the Pope's visit injected some extra excitement into a DC week. Metro's prediction of massive crowds prompted most everyone in the burbs to "work" from home and rendered DC a ghost town. It was like a snow day.
I am one of the last people you would expect to exhibit popemania. Despite being Protestant, my parents sent me to a conveniently located Catholic school. The uniforms took the guesswork out of peer pressured dressing but otherwise it was a shame and guilt-inducing experience. Everything was a sin and there was a patron saint for everything. Any notion of a loving god was replaced with fear of a dogmatic judgmental deity that required bureaucratic adherence to rules and constant donations. Since I wasn't Catholic I was forced to do confession face to face with no screen and felt shunned during communion. I left 6th grade feeling that Catholicism was an anachronistic, patriarchal institution, and the church's handling of the sex abuse scandals and ban on condoms during the AIDS crisis further intensified my alienation.
But Pope Francis' messages on poverty and climate change compelled me to go downtown on Thursday and listen to his historic speech to Congress. Since i didn't have a ticket, I planned on joining the climate rally so as a non-catholic I would have a better excuse for missing half a day at my environmental conservation job. I was greeted at the metro exit by an activist passing out attractive blue posters with pope quotes so I was all set! I got a great seat near a jumbotron.
Much to my surprise Moby was one of the performers and when unexpectedly granted more time at the end of his set he did one of my favorites with help from an amazing vocalist (the shaky cam resulted from me being asked to sign a petition while trying to capture the moment). The pope's message of hope and plea for compassion brought me to tears and the sight of his fiat as his motorcade departed made me squeal. I am so thankful to have been a part of this inspiring, momentous occasion.
The pope's speech had me weeping. You could hear a pin drop on the national mall. I had not been a part of an uplifting event like this since the inauguration and am so thankful to be able to share in the momentous occasion!