Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Is it me you're looking for?

My boyfriend got me a turntable for Christmas and I could not be happier. I stopped trying to collect vinyl years ago mainly because my old record player had broken down. Buying a new turntable was one of many things on my to-do list, and of course I never got to it.

After moving a couple of years ago, I decided to clean out my collection and work with the space I had in my new apartment. It was a tough decision, but I didn’t have the space for a big collection in my apartment. I picked out the records I figured I could do without and made them part of my moving sale. I wasn’t playing the records, so I would rather someone else play them. I still remember watching a young college girl walk away with my Lionel Richie “Cant’ Slow Down” record. I really hope she put it to good use.

My collection now consists mainly of 50’s and 60’s lounge, some 70’s and 80’s rock, and some Latin pop and rock from the 70s’ and 80’s. Last night I was listening to a reading of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince. I also listened to some Talking Heads and some Jose Jose. I always listen to music while working on my art, so now I’ll get to explore all the vinyl that I bought at so many different thrift stores throughout the years. Maybe tonight I’ll play my Menudo record. In the meantime though, some college girl is probably spinning this…

Monday, December 22, 2008

You must listen to The Planets

What’s your favorite Los Planetas song? I struggled the other night after I was texted this question. I thought about it for a while, eventually replying with “Anuncio Para Coches”, which is a song that I used to play obsessively. I had the feeling that I was leaving others out though, mainly the whole “Encuentros con Entidades” record. I bought that record the first time I went to Europe and slowly fell in love with it. That travel experience was pretty important in my life, and I like to think of these songs as something I brought back from that trip.

I played the record after I was asked the question to try and pick a favorite track. There are so many stand-out ones that I couldn’t find a favorite song. It’s just one of those records. Your favorite song can depend on your current mood and circumstances. In this case I’ll say it’s this song, being that it’s an introduction to the record and it’s the one I’ve probably played the most. What an amazing video too.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Getting your feet wet

Just wanted to share this piece. It’s a personal favorite of mine. It’s a rainy day today. I walked to the dentist, and my feet got wet in the rain. Being in Los Angeles, that doesn’t really happen that often. It was uncomfortable, but it felt good in a way. It felt way better than the idea of going to the dentist. I was looking a book full of pictures of nature while I waited for my appointment, taking all the beauty in while sitting uncomfortably in the waiting room. There were no blue trees in it though. Maybe they would have relaxed me a little bit.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Today I am a man

A good friend of mine had her birthday recently and although I had already picked her gift, I felt like it still needed something. While at the market, I noticed a free Bar Mitzvah publication. It was meant to be a guide, with topics ranging from the history of the Bar Mitzvah, what to wear and who to invite to the celebration. The intentions of the publication were good, but it was a little cheesy. It was a great read.

I decided to make her a Bar Mitzvah book taking the quotes from this magazine. It was a lot of fun and was also very educating. The first thing I learned was that it’s a Bat Mitzvah if it’s for a female. I guess I should be writing Bar/Bat Mitzvah, but who’s checking really? I also learned that ‘party dresses, no matter how fancy the affair, should offer a degree of modesty’. Great stuff. Next up is the QuinceaƱera book…

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Two questions

Yesterday morning, as I started my car, I noticed there was someone walking behind my parking spot. I thought it was odd, since I never really see anyone behind the house when I leave in the morning. It was one of my downstairs neighbors, who I’ve rarely seen in the two years that I’ve been living there. I don’t really know much about him. I used to hear him fight with his girlfriend, who’s now long gone. I sometimes also hear him playing his bass or organ. That’s about it though.

He walked behind my car and stopped at the rear window to my right. There’s a very small space between the wall and my car, so it was an awkward spot to pick. Not sure what to make of his approach, I lowered my window and said hello. He greets me and says that he’s sorry that he never talks to me. All I could say was “Don’t worry about it. (pause) It’s a cold morning huh? (long pause) What are you up to?” He agreed that it was cold and that was that. He moved out of my way and stood next to his apartment door as I pulled out of the parking area. I waved at him as I passed him, feeling that there was something wrong and wondered if I should have talked to him more. It was a weird way to start the day.

Later that day, while driving to lunch I picked out Kid A by Radiohead out of my CD booklet. It was a very busy day at the office and it felt nice to be away if only for my lunch break. My mood welcomed the sounds of Kid A, which I hadn’t played in a while. “Yesterday I woke up sucking a lemon”, sang Tom Yorke. It’s one of my favorite Radiohead lyrics. I thought of my neighbor as I continued listening. What made him want to approach me like that? What happened with that girlfriend? Maybe I was imagining, but it was almost as if I could feel his pain when he was talking to me. I might never know, but next time maybe I’ll try to ask him more than two questions.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I'll take the bus

I’ll take the bus

I was recently visiting my family in Mexicali, Mexico (a city right on the border with California) and decided to take a stroll down to the downtown area. Instead of driving or taking a taxi, I decided to take a bus. I can’t remember the last time I rode a bus in Mexicali. It must be around 10 years or so. I remember the buses being my means of transportation for many years when I lived there. These are old-school buses, as you can see.

The first thing I noticed was how run-down the bus was and all the graffiti. Most people were sitting near the front. Trying to be cool, I decided to sit all the way to the back. I wasn’t sure of my choice being that there was a veterano-looking dude with all these tattoos sitting in a way which blocked the path to the back of the bus. He politely moved when I passed by and I sat down and for a few seconds took in all the graffiti that was on the seats and walls. I remember graffiti being prevalent back in the day, but not like this. I also noticed that the same hand-painted signs were there: ‘no fume’ (don’t smoke), ‘no escupa’ (don’t spit), etc. I especially love the ‘no escupa’ one.

There was a young girl with painted-over eyebrows who was sitting in the front. Before she got to her stop I saw her pull out her cel phone and tell someone that she was almost there. It felt like this current technology was juxtaposed over an old world of mine. There are plenty of newer buses in Mexicali, but I was glad I boarded the old one. Who knows how much longer they will be around.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What’s your favorite number?

Numbers are everywhere. They’re always present, even if we don’t see them. At work, I am what people refer to as the ‘numbers guy’. Not a name I particularly like, but I understand why they use it. Maybe I should take it as a compliment. I was good at math since I was a kid. I wish I was as good at it as I was back then. But I do OK. I deal with sales data, applying formulas to the data and all that good stuff. It can be entertaining. But I like to leave it all behind as soon as I exit the door. If I have to deal with numbers outside of work, there’s one number I’d rather deal with than all the percentages from work. Who wouldn’t?

Monday, December 1, 2008

I want to travel around the galaxy with La Prohibida

I’m not sure how long I have known about La Prohibida, but I do know that I liked her immediately. I have been a fan of the Spanish scene for many, many years now. I was mesmerized when I first saw Alaska y Dinarama on TV in Mexico. It was unlike anything I had heard or seen. Along with them came many different Spanish artists that I’ve been listening to over the years, the list is really infinite. Some of them include Mecano, Miguel Bose, La Casa Azul, Los Planetas, Fangoria, La Buena Vida, Fresones Rebeldes, Family, etc, etc. Of course, La Prohibida is included in this list.

I believe that well beyond that kitsch that something foreign or unfamiliar might provoke in us, La Prohibida is an artist to be listened to. Her lyrics are about the powers behind love and relationships, many times set in outer space or in a futuristic world. That futuristic world romanticized in the 50s and 60s, which we all wish would still come true. She sings about those human emotions that will always be felt, even when living in a more mechanical world.

I had the pleasure of watching La Prohibida perform in Los Angeles this past Saturday. It was her first ever performance in Los Angeles, and you could feel the excitement everywhere. The room was packed and the crowd exploded when she took the stage. It was great feeling to be next to people singing and dancing to her songs. For many of us it was a long wait, and we were not disappointed. Check out the video for her song 'Flash'. Wonderful.