Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘music’

So You Think You Can Dance?

It doesn’t really matter who wins, it’s the process and amazing choreography, dancers and dancing that occurs throughout the show So You Think You Can Dance? It’s on in the summer, every Wednesday and Thursday evening.

For those who aren’t familiar with it, the show has all kinds of dancing (hip-hop, ballet, modern, jazz, tango, quick-step, breaking, folk, Bollywood, waltz, contemporary, etc. etc.) and incredible guest dancers (and dance troupes). It’s been nominated for 8 Emmy awards and deserves more.

Last night there were 3 over the top performances which took your breath away and the last of the evening topping it off with Melanie and Sasha dancing a strong, graceful powerful piece choreographed by Sonya. It was mistressful!

If you like to dance or watch dance (of any persuasion) you may want to take a peek at So You Think You Can Dance. No need to get caught up in the competition part of the show, just enjoy the dance.

Wow! What a Celebration!

I‘ve lived in Santa Cruz for over 35 years and never seen such a huge celebration. It was wonderful and at times felt like a love in or peace rally from the sixties. The White Ensemble sang All You Need Is Love and Come Together and then James sang Will you Still Love Me Tomorrow, While My Guitar Gently Weeps and Don’t Stop Believing. It had been cloudy all day, but the sun broke through shortly before James got on stage. It stayed sunny for the next few hours until it rained later in the evening.

James Durbin came back to his hometown and greeted the 30,000 plus crowd at the Boardwalk (as well as others along the parade route and community center), with sincerity and appreciation for the support and positive energy he’s gotten (and continues to get) from the city of his birth.

Here are several articles, photos and videos of James and the event.

JAMES DURBIN DAY or what is now known as James Durbin year.

Fiddler On the Roof

Harbor High School’s Fiddler On the Roof is one of the best high school productions I’ve seen in years. The casting and direction are top notch. The acting, singing and dancing superb. And the costumes, sets and musicians provide the perfect accompaniment and atmosphere.

We watched the film version of Fiddler the day before it opened at Harbor and were quite impressed with how close to the movie the students presented. The dance numbers were quite amazing and each actor seemed perfectly matched and suited for their part. The roles could have been custom made for David Warner, who plays Tevye and Jade Gregg, who is Golde.

A lot of the issues in the play are also very relevant for these times. Many people around the world are still persecuted because of their beliefs, religion and/or culture and more than half of the world’s marriages are arranged.

Fiddler On the Roof plays for 2 more weekends (Friday & Saturdays at 7:30) at Harbor High School. If you get a chance, go see it. You will be hard pressed to find a better production anywhere.

American Idol Rocks On!

Our young man from my hometown Santa Cruz, James Durbin, is rocking American Idol week after week and as of today, is in the top 7. That is out of over 100,000 people that tried out for the show this season. Quite amazing, considering the odds.

Not only has James continued to stay true to his interests, style and background, but he’s also been able to be quite authentic and not get too caught up in all the hype, publicity and judgments from the show, media and public.

Everyone talks about what he’s been through (father died young from overdose) and what he lives with (autism and Tourette Syndrome) and his supportive and affirmation producing girlfriend and their child, but what is most important and should be the quality that is most desired, is the music that comes through him (heart and soul).

James seems to be a natural performer and in some ways like Lady Gaga, is able to actualize what he sees in his head on stage. Combine that with a good voice and musicianship and it looks like he’s got it all.

Regardless of whether he ends up “winning” this season or not (as voted by the same people who voted off the best singer of the lot – Pia Toscano), James will have a long career doing what he loves and continuing to bring people to their feet.

American Idol has never had someone quite like James. Season eights runner-up Adam Lambert was probably the closest in temperament and musical variety. Adam has an amazing voice, which is more nuanced than James, but James is also James and when you hear him and see him, you know who it is right away… a big time winner against all odds on America’s most watched television show.

In Bed With Joan Baez

Here is an article about my life long affair with Joan Baez, which first appeared in My Latino Voice.

When I was sixteen year of age, I fell in love with Joan Baez. It wasn’t just her beautiful long black hair, big eyes and luscious lips that attracted my teenage attention; it was primarily her powerful voice and what she said in her songs with her words, and her actions on and off stage. She was one of the first to join in the fight for civil rights in the South and protest the war in Vietnam, long before the majority of U.S. citizens opposed the war. (She has taken similar actions against the illegal invasion of Iraq.) She sang about freedom, peace, faith and love, as if they were the most important things in the world. Some people believe they still are. MORE

My Mother’s Son

After spending a week together, I discovered that my Mama-San, as I used to call her when I was a teen, is getting older! I know that shouldn’t be a surprise, but alas, it made me acutely aware that I too am a little hard of hearing, don’t walk as far as I used to and can’t read small print, even with my glasses on.

Being alone with my mother, for the first time in about a decade, without other siblings or grandchildren around, also reminded me of other ways we’re alike. We both “plan” and worry about the future, whether it’s days or hours away. We both love reading, movies and music; often the same books, films and artists. We are both interested in other people and like to hear about their lives, thoughts and feelings. We both have big noses, big feet and love cats.

She has a habit of starting to talk about something that she has been thinking of in her head, but when she speaks you have no idea why she’s suddenly talking about a friend’s son in Washington who builds houses. It usually takes a minute or two and some investigative skills, to discover how she got to where she is and why you didn’t understand the connection.

Alas, some people, including my wife, tell me I do the same thing! For instance, she’ll be talking about the garden, which “naturally” makes me think of carrots, which in turn leads me to thoughts of Bugs Bunny, which lapses into “What’s up Doc.” At that point I began to think of doctors, health care and insurance, which inevitably causes me to blurt out, “Did we pay that last bill from the doctor visit?”

After a week with my mother I understand more clearly then ever why people often have such a perplexed look on their faces when I make such statements and why, upon explanation of my “logical” train of thought, they laugh or ignore me altogether.

Neither my Mom nor I can read our own handwriting, which can cause countless confusion and misunderstanding. We would make excellent physicians, as nobody could read our prescriptions.

On the other hand, we do have our differences, thank goodness. My mother has always loved to wear bright colored clothing with animal shaped earrings. In contrast, I tend to wear the same tired old blue, green and black that I’ve worn since childhood and I never wear earrings. She was raised as a Methodist and I have practiced Buddhism, converted to Catholicism for a few years and attended Quaker Meeting for a few more. And she posed nude for an art class, in her younger years, which I wouldn’t be caught dead doing at any age!

Remember that book that said, “Everything You Needed to Know You Learned in Kindergarten”? Well, everything important that I’ve learned has come from my Mom. She has always been an example of strength and independence, even when women were not “supposed” to be that way. She taught me to be honest, caring, involved and to respect others. And most importantly, she showed me that personal happiness and love could live simultaneously with responsibility. Maybe it’s not so bad to be like my mother after all!

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