TimberBrit Forever!!

Ok….. all done TimberBrit for now…. (until our multiple city tour) Our last performance was in New Haven Saturday night, and it rocked! We have a great review in the New Haven Advocate, and HOT photos. Check it out…. it’s really nice to read an article by someone who had some real insight into the performance.

And yes, that’s a new wig… I drunkenly lost mine in the cab post first performance at the Tank.

Melly go sleepy now….

More TimberBrit Press….

For those of you following Melly’s tour of front page Ivy-League newspapers, the New Haven Advocate has a great front page spread on TimberBrit, including a great interview with Jacob Cooper. Not sure why they chose the photos they did, when we provided them with stills from the video performance, which were HOT, but they DID call my singing deranged. Fabulous!

It’s hard out there for a heroine

Ah, debate…… how I DO enjoy it, but as a woman, I’m inclined to agree with the final statement at the end of this video, that women are afraid to talk. Often times I’ll wait to engage in debate on a topic until I feel I’m properly informed. Maybe it’s just in my personal nature to accept that I don’t know the ins and outs of every particular political situation, and so I default to “no comment”. Maybe it’s because the academic in me wants to wait until I’ve properly consulted source after source before I feel that I’m qualified to make an intelligent and informed opinion…

or maybe it’s something else….

I agree that men are more eager to offer their opinions on just about anything, even if they don’t know much about it, as evidenced by the puppy guy at the end of the video. Are women ignorant? or just afraid to talk? or hey, maybe we just don’t want to be labeled “stupid”.

I don’t feel that there is enough room for women to be “wrong”, or uninformed, and the media is very quick to make examples of stupid women. When women open our mouths to give an opinion we are battling against the opposite sex. Oh hell, I’m feeling feisty, let’s call it the patriarchy! We are already subjected to scrutiny because we are seen first as women, and then as individuals second. Personally, I feel a need to back up everything I say with data, or at least a hell of a lot of passion on the subject at hand, BEFORE I open my mouth. The truth is that often times I don’t feel comfortable opening my mouth without a battery of evidence behind me to support anything from my presidential candidate to how I like my burger.

I wanted to post on this yesterday, so I’m gonna try and tie it in here. McCain was quoted as calling his wife a cunt in front of 3 other individuals back in 1992. The story goes that she was playfully twirling his hair in her fingers and teased him by saying, “Looking a little thin up there, dear.” Now, this is a sensitive issue for a lot of men, but his reaction was not so tit for tat. McCain said “At least I don’t pile on the make-up like a trollop, you cunt.”

OK, maybe she pressed a button that was a bit too sensitive, but his retaliation was to cut where it’s deepest- her genitals, her sexuality. Not only did he reduce her entire essence and individuality to her sex, he also reinforced that he thought her sex was something that she should be ashamed of. Not cool. (Hi Matt! come out and play…..)This is why I and numerous other women AND men think Superbad SUPER-FUCKING-SUCKED for feminism.

It’s a hot button issue for me. Yes, it’s just a word, and I’m giving it power, and Lenny Bruce and bla bla bla, it’s just not being used appropriately. Your Firewire 410 isn’t being a little slut because it isn’t working properly, and your new MacBook Pro is overheating, it’s not being a bitch…these are two sayings I’ve overheard this week, and yeah, my ears perked up.

Wrapping it all up, you know, it’s kind of exhausting being a woman sometimes. Labeling yourself as a feminist means that there is this oppressive need to identify with a certain culture, to like what they like. I wonder to myself, am I betraying the sisterhood by wearing a miracle bra? Hell no, I just want my tits to look good in my new dress, but do I want my tits to look good for me, or for someone else? What would Gloria Steinem do?? The constant need to defend my shampoo, why I do/not shave my legs, to wear a bra, to not wear a bra, Hillary, books I’m reading, blogs I indulge in, anything pink, porn, my ice cream choice, my presidential candidate, reproductive rights, sexuality, kinkiness, and how that all relates to being a woman. It’s exhausting! I just want to like what Melly likes, because I like it, and not have it always need to reinforce the image of “woman” that others feel they need to have of me.

An honest question: if there was a woman who was willing to talk on that video, and she compared Bush to Sarah Jessica Parker forced to wear KEDS, “You know I don’t really like them, but….” would the words running through your head sound like ” wow, what a dumb bitch??” Did you have the same type of colorful words for the Darth Vader guy? Because when you look back at the footage, none of the men said anything profound, the women just did a craptastic job at making themselves look like vacuous arm candy. Grrrr.

via Mob Logic TV

Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam [The Pretty Pretty Princess Edition]

Spot the Sexism!!

Girls long to be loved and adored, and give their heart to their hero. God is that hero! The characteristics focused on in this Bible storybook will help your little girl blossom into the princess she was created to be. Virtues to create beauty such as compassion, sharing, and truth are highlighted in fun and engaging ways. The perfect format for girls to learn about their destiny as a daughter of their King. Features included are: Beauty Secrets, Bible Princesses, My Hero (Scripture promises), Take a Bow (Easy plays that are Bible-focused), I Adore You (Put girls energy to use with songs, scripture and worship), Royal Truths, Down In My Heart (Scripture Memory), Princess Charming, Worthy of Love (Ideas to show how to love her royal subjects: family, siblings, friends and those in the community).

Just like God created little girls in a special way, He created little boys to be mighty warriors . . . even when they feel small. Now with this new devotional Bible in storybook format, boys can learn how to be strong, honorable, courageous and true. Selections of Bible text from the International Children’s BibleĀ® are combined with delightful articles to help a budding warrior earn his armor.

Features include:

* The Belt of Truth (Article on values)
* Guard Your Heart (Manners for boys)
* Stand Strong (Sharing the Good News with friends)
* Shield of Faith (How to make right choices)
* Helmet of Salvation (Knowing right from wrong)
* Sword of the Spirit (Scripture memory)
* Mighty Warriors (Bible heroes)
* Adventure Quest (Encouragement for imagination and adventure)

Two books, same content, two completely different marketing schemes. A few questions: Why is the first highlighted item on the Princess Bible “Beauty Secrets”? Why can’t a princess pick up the helmet of salvation, or a sword of the spirit?? and do I HAVE to be a princess? can’t I be a page-girl, or a serf or something??

The boy Bible tells the consumer that it’s ok for boys to be boisterous, that their imaginations and adventure is to be encouraged, but girls need to harness their energy and quiet themselves with scripture memorization – to prepare themselves for a life of submission to God and their future husbands.

The phrase “Daughter of the King” makes me want to vomit. You’ll notice there is not a mention of a prince, oh no, the male equivalent product is labeled a “warrior”, a somewhat scrappy, but self-reliant term.

In fairy-tale criticism, daughters and princesses are usually hidden away in towers (Sleeping Beauty), locked behind castle walls (Jasmine), or in the cases of Cinderella and Snow White, are naively unaware of their beauty and royal blood (aka their instrinsic value) and must be rescued by Prince Charming before they can live happily ever after. (And for those of you who don’t enjoy dissecting myths and fairy tales, towers and castle walls are a metaphor for virginity.) Your intrinsic value has nothing to do with the treasure between your legs, despite what the church and your fathers tell you.
The princess consumer culture has always irked me, but all that pink satin and ribbon is appealing to 9 year old girls, especially when society is telling you that you are a princess, and that you should like princess things. But the little princess market only upholds and perpetuates the stereotype that little girls fantasize about becoming women who need heroes, and that women are somehow incapable of sustaining ourselves without the help of a Prince Charming.

Austism Awareness Month – Happy Month of April!

Maybe this will be the final impetus for my first Autism post.

Jack is Autistic. I may have mentioned it before….. One of the scariest things I think about is that he will grow up some day and go to college, or a dance, or go on a date, or have his own apartment….Oh god.

Watching him play at the park is like social anxiety torture for me. A few weeks ago a group of little girls -little Park Slope Princesses- were running around the playground near Jack. One of them ran up to Jack (wearing a tiara, I KID YOU NOT!!!) and told him “we’re playing house, and you’re the husband!” Jack didn’t care, he flapped his hands at them and continued running around in his very carefully triangulated pattern, as he is prone to do….. The girls didn’t like it, and at first told him Jack that he couldn’t run near their “house” which was a section of the jungle gym. Again, Jack didn’t care. Then they started calling him a monster, and would scream and run from him when he came near them, which he thought was funny, and chased them. This is where I started to freak out a little. After one of them pushed Jack, I walked straight up to one of the mothers with tears in my eyes and told her that her daughter had pushed my son, and that I didn’t appreciate the little princess calling him a monster. To her, I was just some uber-sensitive Mommy but to me, it was a far more complicated situation.

Now, about the post. I remember around the time when Jack was diagnosed, it was almost the end of my second year at Yale. A colleague of mine in the vocal program, we’ll call him Dave, told us that he wouldn’t be giving his first year recital, but would give two in his second year. The reason for this, was that he had always had problems memorizing music due to his dyslexia and ADD, the first year language requirements (4 sets of songs in 4 languages) were even more problematic. Fine, I was sympathetic.

Another colleague of mine, we’ll call him Larry, was PISSED at Dave’s recital extension. Over a few bears at some Irish pub place he said something like “Dave should have never made it passed the admission process. Don’t they screen for that stuff?”

At which point I said something snarky about how everyone has a right to an education, and the IDEA is all over that, etc. To which Larry smartly replied, “Yeah, but this is YALE…”

Yeah, this is YALE, School of Music, VOICE DEPARTMENT, where we earn two credits for yoga, one credit for a weekly coaching with a professional pianist who will spoon feed you your notes if you aren’t smart enough to find Middle C, and a theory class where it is recommended to call a chord pink and sparkly, and not necessarily a German Augmented 6th.. Yeah, the center of the academic universe, not. so. much.

A challenge: Imagine Yale’s student body without Dyslexia, ADD, Hello, FUCKING ASPERGER’S SYNDROME- why stop there? what about glasses? deafness? emotional disorders? bi-polar/manic depressives? eating disorders? shall we continue?

Wait, didn’t HITLER try to do that with like, the world? And like hello, didn’t we all see A Beautiful Mind?

Anyways, April is Autism Awareness Month, and strangely enough, as we were leaving a gamelan rehearsal today with Jack he said “Happy Month of April!” to a friend as a goodbye…. didn’t really think about it until just now, but it’s kind of fitting and cute, huh?

MATA Festival Review

Newspeak rounded out the 10th (!!!) MATA Festival on Friday night. Kudos to Missy Mazzoli and Chris McIntyre, new directors, in what seemed like a flawlessly executed festival. I’m really looking forward to seeing what they have in store for the future. I’ve performed at the Brooklyn Lyceum before. As a performance space, it just made sense with this repertoire, and it was packed, and I have to say as a Brooklynite, it was sweet going three stops home!!

I had a total blast performing David T. Little’s “Sweet Light Crude” a song “about loving something you know is really bad for you”…. we can all relate to that, can’t we??? I think out of all the vocal Newspeak music I’ve done, this may be the best text setting I’ve come across. Composers take note!!! When the text setting is well thought out, it just feels good in the mouth, the singer will want to linger on the consonants. That’s the key to lieder, you just want to taste the words… it’s also why hearing Winterreise in English is just tragic.

I digress, There’s a great festival review on Feast of Music. and there’s a pic of me rocking out towards the bottom!! Here’s some Newspeak highlights:

It’s not every day that you see a composer leading his work from the drumkit, but that’s exactly what Little did for his sweet light crude (2007). Set to his own gothic poem relating a lover’s desperate pleas, Little built a soundscape of searing intensity, mixing techniques familiar from both rock ballads and new music. Vocalist Melissa Hughes delivered an intense performance, ripping through the poem with a voice that was both haunting and beautiful. Unlike so many of today’s academic composers, Little writes from the gut. He is someone to watch.
Newspeak ended their set with Oscar Bettison’s Breaking and Entering (with aggravated assault). Holy crazy ass shit: talk about loud and aggressive. It was balls out, the kind of thing I’d expect to hear at some of the better experimental rock venues in town. I don’t know if people were screaming for the exits or not: I was too busy rocking out in my chair to care.

I’ll take haunting and beautiful…..and hell-total-ass-shit-crazy-yeah! Every time I hear the Bettison I just want to bang on something!!! Which is kind of embarrassing seeing as there’s no vocal part in it…….